Growing up, I always had everything I wanted. The prettiest clothes. The nicest dolls. The greatest toys. Servants who fulfilled my ever need. Every weekend I had a party where I was the princess, and danced in our great ballroom while sipping ‘champagne’, which was really just sparkling apple juice.
But I didn’t have one thing, and that was friends.
Papa says that albinism has run in the family for many generations, giving us fair skin, fine hair, and either icy blue or rose pink eyes. I have the rose pink. My hair has always been so thin that I began wearing wigs when I realized why people looked at me differently. I always had nice wigs, of course, but the other kids always stared and kept their distance. Papa said they were jealous of how pretty I was. After a while I learned that was a lie. They thought I was a freak.
Of course there were the servants and their children. But a princess doesn’t make friends with the staff. Even so, occasionally I’d order them to play with me. Dolls, usually. They always complied, but it wasn’t the same. I’d always invite the other students at school to play with me, but they always declined. I was so lonely.
When I reached eleven years old, I had my very first crush, and desired something new.
His name was Jacob. He was thirteen, and he was the prettiest boy I’d ever seen. With eyes the soft brown of a puppy dog’s and shaggy blond hair, he was the most popular boy in our school. He wasn’t just pretty either. He excelled in sports, I enjoyed to watch him from the sidelines as I was always too delicate to play. He was kind to everyone, including the teachers. He was the nicest boy. And I was in love.
My crush I kept quiet for a while. I placed boxes of the finest chocolates on his desk, signed only from his secret admirer. I’d always compliment his clothes and hair, occasionally running my fingers through it or resting my hand on his shoulder. He’d always be so shy.
Then Jacob got his very first girlfriend.
And it wasn’t me.
Her name was Abby. Abby had pretty skin with glowing cheeks and thick, wavy black hair. She also liked sports. Her favorite was soccer. So was Jacob’s.
When I heard that Jacob and Abby had kissed behind the school, my heart was entirely shattered. I called my father to take me home early, and once I was inside I threw myself across my bed and wept like I hadn’t since my mother’s death.
There was no point anymore. I tried so hard, and he didn’t even notice.
Papa came in after my wails had died down. I love my Papa. I’m his little girl. He rubbed my back and had the servants bring me tea and cookies. And then we talked.
I told him how Jacob had entirely broken my heart. I wanted so badly to be with him. How angry I was with Abby for stealing him. Everyone knew I liked him! They had to have! It wasn’t fair!
My Papa, my good sweet Papa, kissed the top of my head and said something that made it all better:
“Don’t worry, my sweet Eliza. My princess always gets what she wants.”
The next Monday was the start of our spring vacation. I went down to the dining room, expecting to hear what we were doing for vacation, when I saw it.
My Papa was sitting at the table with Jacob!
He looked up and smiled. “Eliza! You have good taste, this Jacob is a wonderful boy! Apparently things haven’t worked out with Abby after all. How about you two have a walk through the gardens? That should set the mood!”
That was our first date. Jacob was so nervous, he barely talked, but he listened to every word I said. I told him about every flower we had out there, how Momma had bred the roses to have the most beautiful blossoms but the sharpest thorns, as to discourage the servants from picking them. I would someday continue my mother’s work and work on giving them the most delightful scent. The most tempting thing that could never be touched.
He slept in my room, on a cot nearby of course. I was far too young to have boys sharing my bed. We had so many dates though, we watched movies, we had dinner, and of course plenty of walks through the gardens. However, Jacob’s personality seemed… different, away from the school.
Like I said, he hardly talked. And his appetite which was nothing short of ravenous was lessened. It was like he could barely stomach the gourmet pizzas and cakes the servants had prepared for us. He jerked away whenever I attempted to hold his hand.
And at night I’d hear him cry.
It got irritating, to be honest. Here I was, the perfect girlfriend, and he barely seemed interested. My infatuation slowly dried up until I was finding it difficult to keep him in my presence. Nevertheless, I kept trying, my Papa had gone through the trouble of getting him for me after all.
But then Jacob became cruel.
We were playing video games when I heard Jacob’s stomach growl.
“Jacob, you barely ate any lunch. Am I not giving you enough food?” I asked as my character on the screen knocked his off the platform, again. He wasn’t even trying, I’ve learned to tell when people were letting me win.
Jacob was quiet… before he slammed down his controller.
“I can’t do this anymore! I can’t!” He turned to me, the whites of his eyes red from lack of sleep and withheld tears. “I don’t like you, Eliza!”
I gasped. The game forgotten, I turned to him and clutched his hand.
“But I love you! I’ve been nothing but good to you, Jacob! Please like me!”
Jacob choked on a sob before he shoved me.
No one had dared been violent to me before that day. Papa hadn’t so much as spanked my bottom for anything. I was too shocked to react as Jacob started to babble, he’d lost his mind.
“You took me from my home! Your dad said, said he’d kill my mom if I didn’t go! And he… he killed Abby!” The tears came like waterfalls then. “Bobby texted me, he said she’s missing and no one knows where she went! I know he killed her! I liked her, Eliza! I liked her a lot! I don’t want to do this anymore, I… I wanna go hoooome…” Unable to control it any longer, Jacob went to the floor and curled up, full on bawling like a baby. “Please, Eliza, I wanna go home…”
I stood up, still in shock from where he pushed me. The skin where he made contact was already starting to bruise. I walked around the room, lost in thought… until my eyes landed on the sharpened letter opener on my dresser.
I picked it up.
“You love Abby so much?”
My voice was calm.
“Then you can be with her again. In the rose garden.”
His neck was easy to reach, I simply pulled him up by his hair and slit open his throat.
Jacob’s scream came out a burbled mess as his hands clutched around the gaping wound in his neck, blood spurting out like a geyser. It got on my TV, on the carpet, on my dress…. It got everywhere.
As his struggles and screams lessened, I knelt down and kissed him on his blood soaked lips. My first kiss. His last. “I loved you,” I whispered.
And then he stopped moving.
I did have him buried next to Abby, and a bush of yellow roses were to be planted there. He would be with Abby forever.
I have grown since then. There have been other boys, but none who captured my love like Jacob. There is nothing like your first love, after all.
But I still hold onto the hope, that I will someday soon find my true love and marry him. Or who knows?