He was a thing of time and stone, and quick wits simply confused him. This wasn’t to say he wasn’t smart. He was a brilliant man, who spend much of his time reading, and remembering a lot of what he read without much effort. He knew the history of his country backwards and forwards, and could tell you all about even the quietest of events. But he was a man of form and tradition and manners, and everything in his world followed a slow, careful meter.
That’s why he didn’t know what to do with her. She was a princess, first in line to the throne of the neighboring country. That meant that there were certain levels of respect to be paid and certain levels of grand events that were supposed to occur. And she was having none of it.
She met him for a dinner, asking him a hundred questions a minute, sitting with a leg tucked up under her leaning forward over the table to listen to his answers. When they were done eating, she thought it would be fun to dance, and even though there wasn’t any music. She pulled him to his feet and she hummed them a waltz, before kissing him on the cheek, thanking him a lovely evening well spent, and rushing off to bed. Only as he watched her leave did he realize that she wasn’t wearing any shoes.
The next day he was more prepared for her energy, ready with several topics to discuss over their breakfast, hoping to keep her mind busy enough to not bound around the room, but for every point, she had a counterpoint and a follow up question, and before he knew it he had lost control of the conversation again, and for some reason they were arguing international politics over eggs. He stood up, sharply demanding that the inappropriate conversation come to a halt. She sat back in her chair heavily, a look of genuine shock on her face after his outburst. She apologized, insisting that she didn’t mean to offend. She tried to explain these were the kind of conversations that she often had with her family over meals—not to attack each other or to raise tempers, but to help them understand all viewpoints in an argument, to make sure they’d heard all sides of a story. He sat down to apologize for his outburst—but not sure what else to do to fix the quiet awkwardness settling around their table.
“Well,” she says carefully, “Our fathers have decided that we will both benefit from living in a shared house for a while. We’ll have to learn how to interact with each other. Perhaps that is what our fathers wanted us to learn.”
“Perhaps,” he replied, cutting a dainty piece of his egg, “We’ll have to figure something out.”