Prince of Dreams
by Megan Hussey
Teacher Juditha Collins finds herself short one prince for a Renaissance fair. While reading a book about that time period, she releases gorgeous Prince Valentin. She has broken the curse that bound him to its pages. He offers his body and all the pleasure he can bring her.
As the winds of a sultry spring swept across the landscape of a heather-strewn Florida field, they also swept the lavender skirts of ladies in waiting, and the tall, silk-embroidered headdress of a princess most fair.
And, in the view of at least one spectator, most royally annoying.
“Holly, I’m sorry your shoes pinch, but they were the most historically accurate ones we could find. And lest you didn’t hear my first ten assurances, I’ll hasten to issue an eleventh: that is indeed diet soda in your tankard.”
Mopping a sweaty brow, Juditha Collins stooped to retrieve the blue event program that lay at her sneaker-clad feet. Juditha, a history teacher at Jennings Community College, also supervised the school’s annual Renaissance Fair and its cast of spirited students that, year after year, presented new ideas and fresh challenges. Not always in that order.
“Okay, I’m seeing one princess.” To the nth degree. And that would be Holly Hawthorn, the student that rarely shows up for tests but jumped at the chance to wear a semi-elegant gown and be blindly worshipped by her ‘court’ of classmates. “I also see three ladies-in-waiting, one court jester and two shackled prisoners in distress,” she sighed.
They’re not the only ones, Juditha gritted her teeth as Holly swept a disdainful gaze across the tips of her inferior slippers.
“Where is my prince?” the student princess barked.
The coterie of costumed college students before her exchanged a marked number of uneasy glances, all of which eventually came to rest on a satin-clad lady-in-waiting, one who sported both a worried frown and a Metallica tattoo.
Aside from being a designated lady-in-waiting, Lillibet Mars dated the handsome collegiate athlete who played the prince in this year’s fair. “I’m afraid Pete won’t be able to participate this year,” she shrugged. “He hit a killer kegger marathon last night and probably as a direct consequence, got violently ill in algebra class this morning.”
Summoning every ounce of patience taught her in the pages of “Relax and Put Away Your Firearms: Students Are People Too,” her favorite instructional manual, Juditha rubbed her forehead with firm but weary fingers.
“I’m sorry Pete is ill,” she managed a small smile for Lillibet’s benefit. “However, attending a killer kegger two days before the Renaissance Fair may not be in line with what we normally would consider ‘courtly’ behavior.”
“I’m so sorry, Ms. Collins,” Lillibet bit her lip.
“It’s okay,” Juditha stepped forward to grace her student’s shoulder with a reassuring pat. “I only hope we can find another prince for tomorrow’s fair.”
Adjusting her spectacles across her nose, Juditha pursed her lips in thought. “Well, let’s break for the evening, and I’ll do some brainstorming.” She waved her weary students toward a nearby dormitory. “I’ll come up with something.”
“And while you’re at it, could you come up with some more comfortable slippers?” The pouty Princess Holly tapped her pinched foot for emphasis.
“Stuff it, your Highness,” Lillibet said as she rolled her eyes.Juditha stifled a laugh and turned away.