When I was young, if anything the word ‘chubby’ was a euphemism when it came to describing the way I looked. And thanks to the way I looked, I was always an outcast compared to the other beautiful noble girls who gathered for those ladylike tea parties, it was the same no matter where it was I was invited to.
And when adults would try and skirt the issue or use softer words, children were much more brutally honest.
“Hey, did you see? That piggy they dressed up in frills and lace came again, didn’t she?”
“She’s so huge, she just looks like a leg of ham.”
“You shouldn’t say things like that. Though, if I were in her shoes, I wouldn’t have the gall to attend a tea party looking like such a travesty.”
Their venomous words felt like thorns piercing right through me, but all I could do was shudder and desperately endure their barbs, since I knew that attending tea parties like that was important for my future in high society.
My parents, who worried about me as their ‘shy little girl’, always wondered just why it was that I couldn’t make friends, and thought that I would eventually find that friend if I just attended more and more tea parties. So whenever an invitation arrived, they’d dress me up in those same frilly dresses and send me there, but…
“It will be okay, I’m sure that you’ll be able to make lots of new friends today, right?”
“Yes, that’s right. You’re a kind and clever girl, after all. Once you make one friend, I’m sure that all the other girls will be lining up for you!”
My parents always doted on me and only wished the best for me, they had no idea just what kind of pain their words were causing their daughter. And as I looked at my gorgeous mother, who gave me a reassuring smile, the only thing I could wonder is just how did I turn out to be so ugly, despite being her daughter?
In the end, apart from being the butt of the odd joke, it was as if I barely existed at the tea party at all, and in the end I found myself trying to while away the time until I could go home in the corner of the mansion’s garden…
“Oh, dear, someone let loose a dressed up pig in our home. You, didn’t you know that only people were meant to be invited to today’s party?”
It felt strange to hear such ugly words being said by such a pretty voice, as high and clear as a songbird’s call.
But, I couldn’t even reply to that beautiful girl, who I remembered was the daughter of a purveyor to the Royal Family, let alone talk back to her.
If anything, I was so surprised by it that it was as if I’d lost my voice completely, and I could only stand there, stunned.
But, unlike the other girls who would gossip behind my back, this girl told me all this right to my face, as if she had no intention of letting me escape.
“You know, you’re even uglier up close than from a distance, aren’t you? But, that’s perfect. In fact, I’ve been looking for someone just like you.”
I looked at the face of the girl who stared straight at me with a bewitching smile on her lips, a face I’d already seen several times before. Sophia Lydia-Rose Redmayne.
The sole daughter of Count Redmayne, and the fiancee of James Christopher Hereford, who will one day be the next Marquess Hereford.
“Hey, you… From today onwards, become mine. I will be able to show my magnamity and generosity by keeping an ugly thing like you at my side, and in return I will help you take revenge on those cowardly girls who can only gossip about you when they think you aren’t listening, what do you say?”
With an angelic smile on her lips and a devil’s words on her tongue, she was the very picture of the aristocracy. Usually if someone said something so absurdly arrogant, you’d be taken aback, but the only thing I could feel at the time was a sense of astonishment.
And, before I even knew it, I nodded and replied.
“If you really mean everything you said, then please let me… Please let this Chloe Evans stay by your side!!”
From the very moment I made that oath to her, I was never looked down on in the same way I had been back then. Because, from that day forth, I stood beside a shining Queen.
With Sophie’s words and presence protecting me, I was never once called ‘Piggy’ at tea parties ever again, only ‘Miss Evans’.