“Knight Michael, what a pleasure to see you. I see you’ve met my daughter,” my dad, the King, said as he pulled me away.
“Yes, I have,” Michael smiled.
“You know she’s getting married in two months. Didn’t I do a good job, Leah?” He asks me. I give him a look. “Right, right. We’ll talk about this when your mother wakes, okay?”
“What do you think of Rupert?” I have him another look. “Ah, I see. Okay then. Well, enjoy yourselves,” he said and walked away.
“You really don’t like Rupert, huh?” Michael asked as we walked over to get some wine.
“I have to get to know him first. If I didn’t give him money last week, what makes my dad think I want to marry him?”
“Maybe it’s his personality.”
“Uh huh. Yeah, right. Rupert said my dad just picked him up and left, so I doubt it had anything to do with his personality.”
“You have a point. Want some wine?”
“I don’t drink.”
“If it’s my dad’s party, it most likely is.”
“Oh. Never mind.” We walked over to the benches and sit down as we watch everyone else dance.
“Michael!” Elizabeth smiles as she comes over to us and sits beside him. “My goodness, I haven’t seen you in so long! What in the world are you doing here?” Am I missing something here? “Leah, this is my brother, Michael.”
“We’ve already met,” I told her with a small smile.
“Oh, you have? When?”
“Never mind that.”
“Well…Michael, what on earth are you doing here? How’s father? Why are you even here? Questions, questions, questions!””
“I see you’re still an annoying pest like you were when we were younger,” Michael said and took her hands off of him. I tried hiding my laughed.
“Well then. At least answer one of my questions.”
“Why are you back here?”
“What about him?”
“He abandoned me. So, I came back.”
“For mother and I?”
“No, to start a new life in the city I was born in and taken away from.”
“Oh, well, Mother will be so happy that you’re back.”
“Don’t tell her.”
“I’ll surprise her.”
“Well, alright. Leah, how are you and Rupert getting along?” I rolled my eyes as Michael laughed. “What’s so funny?” Elizabeth asked, wanting to laugh as well.
“It’s nothing. We’re getting along just fine.”
“Well… that’s splendid. Toodles,” she said and finally walked away.
“Come on. I’m tired of being in this stuffy room,” Michael said and helped me up. We walked out the castle into the back garden.
“How did you know this was back here?” I asked him.
“Your dad singled me out and decided to give me a tour of the castle.”
“Hmm.” He singled you out?! Then why didn’t he choose you to be my husband?!
“How do you know my sister?”
“It’s a long story.”
“It’ll be a long night,” I looked at him and noticed he still had his mask on. “Why don’t you take your mask off?” I suggested and stopped in front of the lake.
“No, thank you. I like wearing it.”
“What if I take off mine?”
“Fine. Go ahead,” he smiled.
I took my mask off and ran my hands through my curly hair, “now, your turn,” I smirked.
“What? I took off mine! You agreed to taking off yours too.”
“No, I didn’t. You said you would take off yours and I said ‘okay, fine.’”
I squinted at him realizing that he was right, “fine,” I said and walked closer to the lake.
“Walk any closer and you’re gonna fall in,” Michael warned.
“I’ve fallen in this lake thousands of times. I’m not afraid of-“
“Halt! Who goes there?” I heard someone ask.
I screamed and fell right into the lake. As I swam back up to the surface, all I heard was Michael’s absurd laughter. “That’s not funny,” I said as I walked onto the grass holding up my soaked and now heavy dress. He continued to laugh as I squeezed the water out my hair and put it in a tight bun. “Michael, quit the laughing.”
“I’m sorry,” he said as he held his stomach. First, he doesn’t take off his mask after I do, now he’s laughing at me.
“You better be.”
“Princess Leah, have I startled you?” Knight Adrian asked me.
“Oh, no, you didn’t, Adrian. I just jumped in the lake with my beautiful white dress on because I was hot.”
“Oh. Did you have fun?”
“No, darn it! Yes, you startled me!”
“My apologies, Princess.”
“Knight Michael? Are you accompanying Princess Leah?”
“Yes, I am,” Michael said.
“Well, where’s Sir Rupert?”
“Are the two of you having an affair?”
“No, Adrian! We just met,” I blurted out. He assumes too much. Father needs to fire him.
“My apologies. Have a good night,” he said and went back to his post.
I stood near the lake and looked up at the stars. Although, I’m freezing, my dress will dry a little bit.
“Don’t you think you should get inside?” Michael suggested.
“And let everyone see me like this? No, sir.”
“Oh,” Michael smiled.
“Can you take your mask off now?” I asked.
“Nah, it’s keeping my face warm.”
I laughed at his sly remark, “what if I want to see you again some time?”
“You’ll see me all the time cause I’m a knight for your father and when I see you, I’ll recognize you.”
“Alright. Well. On a more fun topic, I haven’t had fun like this for a while.”
“Fun like what? All we did was dance a little, talk to Elizabeth, and you fell in the lake.”
“Well… I’ve never danced with anyone besides my father before, you and Elizabeth are funny when you’re around one another, and I’ve never made anyone laugh like you did at me when I fell in that lake.”
“Hmm, I suppose you’re right. We did have fun.”
“Well, I think it’s time to go in now,” I said as I got up.
He stood up too and walked beside me as I held my drenched dress up.
“Princess! What are you doing?” Alice as we walked in and pulled me away from Michael.
“What do you mean?” I asked her, startled.
“Was that a Knight you were conversing with?”
“Yes, Knight Michael to be exact.”
“That’s your father’s favorite. Don’t ever speak with him again.”
“Princesses never talk to the Knights. Especially the King’s favorites.”
“Why not? We were just having fun.”
“How much fun?” She asked as she examined me. “What in the- Why are you all wet, darling?”
“I fell in the lake.”
“Did he do something to startle you?”
“No, no, no. It was Knight Adrian.”
“You talked to another Knight?!”
“No. He started me and I fell into the lake.”
“No more. Do you understand me?”
“Yes, but why can’t I talk to him? It’s not like we’re having an affair.”
“It looked like an affair, dearest and when a royal talks to a Knight for whatever reason other than security results in death.”
“Daddy won’t do that. He saw me dancing with Knight Michael. He had no problem with it whatsoever.”
“Darling, he hid it. He had to hide it. What would you have done if he had threatened Knight Michale in your face?” I got silent. She was right. What would I have done? “Now, it’s time for you and your father to say goodnight to the guests.”
“In this?” I asked.
She looked me up and down, “darling, it doesn’t look that bad. Go on.”
I sighed and walked up to the stand to meet my father.
“Leah, what in the world?” He gasped.
“I’ll tell you later,” I said.
He sighed heavily and looked out at the crowd, “good evening, everyone. I’m so happy you could come to the Masquerade party. My daughter, Princess Leah, and I want to thank you for coming,” he smiled.
I smiled too and scanned the crowd. Elizabeth was whispering in Michael’s ear, but I doubt he was listening because all he did was stare at me behind his mask.