They welcomed him with open arms, finding him to be a refreshing change of pace in the stale environment they had cultivated for themselves. The dim lights. The loud music flowing out of the band on the stage. The bottles of beer and the drinks served in sharp edged plastic cups. The collection of round tables arranged in perfect patterns, each seating six to eight people but never sitting more than four. It had always been this way.

She wasn't the most charismatic person in the room, nor was she the most beautiful. She was understated in the way that the most gracious of princesses usually are. While the others ran about indulging in all means of self promotion, she sat back and watched. She watched him. She wondered if perhaps he would find the time to free himself from the attentions of the thorny vines of the women who knew no shame long enough to send a smile her way.

The obnoxious and outspoken are perceived as always getting the rewards, but those rewards are short term. Their fire burns out quickly and their fingers get singed. One should know better than to douse a match with gasoline before lighting it. Those that burn quietly and stay in the background waiting for the right cue stand the test of time. When the battlefield is cleared of debris, they are the ones who comb through the wreckage looking for beauty that may otherwise have been lost.

In the fabric of his explorations of life, she would become an important stitching. The other faces in that room would fade away with the passage of time, but she would remain an eternal constant. When his eyes finally did find hers, they would rarely look away. The other eyes in the room radiated vague emptiness and pretense based on a convoluted image they wished to project to potential suitors. This princess was but a mouse, a small and retreating creature who did not expect to be picked out of the crowd. Like him, she preferred to be an observer rather than a performer. When she stepped forward she forced him to redefine the parameters of love.

Sometimes you are tempted to oversimply life. You have to create categories in order to neatly tuck away the people, places and things you encounter. This person is a lover. This person is a friend. This person is a nemesis. This person is an enemy. When you start sliding people into ready made slots, you need someone to come along who doesn't fit in a slot to remind you that people don't work that way. People aren't that simple, no matter how much they pretend to be.

It took time for him to work his way through the vines and find the time to explore those ever deepening eyes further. He was too systematic in his approach to women. The wining, the dining, the bringing home, the kiss... he tried to take her on the same route but she found her strength at the point at which it should have broken. There was magic there and there were sparks, but sparks do not a fire make and she was well aware of that. As he held her in his arms, she changed in the blink of an eye and left his arms longing. A princess cannot allow herself to be reduced to just another conquest of a wayward knight.

Unless you throw a wrench into the gears, they just keep turning, the way they have for thousands of years. It is those who are willing to throw the wrench that are the ones you need to pay attention to. Those who are looking for just another way to become a cog in the wheel are less likely to make a real impact on life. They just keep turning and leave fires burning. Those who throw the wrench know how to fan the flames without anyone knowing that they are.

"How many of the others have you brought here?"

Temptation and loneliness are dangerous bedfellows. Those who are strong can determine whether they are getting the better of you and take the defiant path. Sometimes when you leave the bed made you learn more about love and passion than when you toss the sheets aside. Instant gratification of the animal inside has its rewards, but those rewards live in a different universe than the rewards that come when you appeal to your higher self.

There are those who have mastered the art of screaming, crying and playing the victim in order to get what they want. There are those who are stone faced and cold who don't let anyone know who they really are. Then there are those who know how to bare themselves to a trusted few and still maintain perspective. A true princess knows that is the only way to be. This princess knew she was a princess, but she also knew he could never make her his queen. Some know the limitations of a situation. Some demand more and storm off angrily when their bloated expectations aren't met. He loved the princess and he loves her still. He just knew he could never make her his queen. Sometimes you have to take the time to figure out who you are and where you fit in the world around you. Sometimes people never quite get it. His princess taught him that sometimes people do.

No matter how fine your mattress may be
the true princess always senses the pea beneath it
and that is what makes a princess a princess.