Chapter 1

Today I turn sixteen. I thought to myself as I awoke. Today was the twelfth of November, or as it is known today, my birthday.

My maid, Sophie opened my windows, letting the bright light into my room. She has been my maid since we were both in the schoolroom. She was one of my most trusted friends. When we were alone there was no class distinctions, just two girls talking.

"Time to get up Anna." she said with a smile. "And happy birthday." She left the room to get my clothes from the seamstress. The dress I was to wear today, was only finished last night. It drove my
mother into conniptions.

I got out of bed and walked to my vanity. Sophie brought my day dress to me and I quickly pulled it on, and she set to work on my hair. The dress was just a loose blue dress with a buttoned collar. I put on a
brown belt and sat down.

"Stop fidgeting!" Sophie instructed. "What are you so nervous about?" she asked.

I thought about that. I didn't really know why I was nervous. Maybe it was just jitters about the party tonight. My parents are throwing a ball on my honor tonight. This is my official coming out into society.

"I think I'm just nervous about tonight, Sophie." I said.
She arranged my hair simply, in a twist at the nape of my neck. The auburn color of my hair shone brightly against the pale blue of the dress. And the color brought out my blue eyes. The Romanov eyes, my father said. After a while of getting dressed and preparing for the day Sophie let me out of her clutches. I headed down the staircase to the parlor for breakfast.
My father and mother were sitting at the head of the breakfast table with my little brother Alexei on a stool next to them.

"Good morning, darling!" My father called from across the table.

"Happy birthday, dear." my mother said as Alexei came to hug me.

"Happy birthday, Anna!" he said, using his pet name for me. I hugged him back and went to kiss my parents.

"Where are Tatiana, Olga, and Maria?" I asked them. Normally my older sisters were already up and about. They were all early risers, something I could never understand.

"They went out riding this morning." My mother said.

I shrugged it off and went to get some fruit and bread for breakfast. There was a grand painting on the north walk of the parlor of our family.
I looked at it and smiled. Everyone else in my family had brown hair. I was a throwback to my grandmother with my reddish colored hair.

"Are you nervous about tonight, dousha?" my father asked.

I shook my head and tried to answer in the steadiest and most mature voice I could muster at the moment.

"No, father, I'm actually rather excited."

He smiled. I could tell he hadn't believed me.

"Well, I'm glad you are," My mother said. "-because it is incredibly important that you behave tonight. The entire court will be there to see you." She was looking down at card in her lap. Her dark hair was twisted into a chignon at the base of her neck like mine, but on her it looked perfect. My mother was beautiful. I had always been told I resembled her but I never believed them.

Before I could respond to her, my older sister Maria walked in.

"Happy birthday, Stania!" She cried as soon as she saw me. She came and kissed me on the cheek before sitting down to the breakfast table.

I smiled at her and went to get up from the table but my father stopped me.

"Dear, we have decided to assign you a personal guard." He said.

I was about to protest but he continued without letting me argue.

"It's for your own safety and it is only for large events and for events outside the palace. As you know, your sisters, your mother and I all have guards with us when we leave the palace. And you are now old enough to do that." He told his case, leaving me no room to argue.

He signaled to a servant standing near the door. "I believe you two know each other." He said with a smile.

I felt my jaw drop when I saw who stepped out from the doorway, but closed it quickly before anyone could see. But he saw, he always did.

He looked so different from the boy I knew when I was young. The man with the blond hair and piercing green eyes couldn't be my childhood friend.

"It is nice to see you again, Princess." He said formally with a slight bow.

He wore the uniform of a Russian soldier. The buttons and decorations on the lapel clinked softly as he bowed. I managed a stiff nod.

"If you'll excuse me, I need to go prepare for tonight." I said and nearly ran out of the room before I received an answer.

First chapter: done!

Review please!