*A Couple Hours Later*
“You know, Princess, you’re a very pretty girl. I mean, the first time I saw you… when I was on the street, I was amazed to see such a beautiful girl. You probably hear that all the time, seeing that you’re the Princess and all,” Rupert smiled at me as he held my hand.
“No, not really,” I admitted.
“Really? How is that? Everyone I talk to say that you’re the most beautiful girl in the land. The other girls in the kingdom are jealous of you.”
“I mean, I don’t hear it at home a lot. Everywhere else I hear it.”
“Well, at least you hear it, right?”
“Yeah, I guess so.”
“Are you sure you don’t want to go to Alice? That sea smell is starting to irritate my nose.”
“Okay, fine,” I sigh and walk faster.
“Slow down, Princess. Your palace isn’t that far away and it’s only two p.m.”
“But you’ve been bugging me about ti for the last two hours!”
“Exactly! Come along then,” I pulled him along as Michael followed behind us.
“Have I made her upset again?” I heard Rupert whisper to Michael.
“I suppose so. Should have kept your mouth shut.”
“Good point. Can you go talk to her for me?”
“What do you want me to say?”
“Tell her that I’m sorry.”
“Sure. Anything else you can think of.”
“Positive. Go, go,” he said and pushed Michael toward me.
“What? Oh. It’s you,” I said as I softened up a bit.
“Yeah. Rupert says he’s sorry.”
“All I’ve heard was that he was sorry today.”
“He’s apologizing for his mistakes though. He doesn’t want to seem like a horrible husband.”
He laughed at my comment, “I think I’m startin’ to smell that-”
“Ugh! You too? It’s not that bad!” I said as I pushed him a bit.
“Well… you don’t wanna smell like sea salt all day, do you? Sea salt at that.”
“Then, let’s hurry to Alice.”
“Fine,” I sighed.
“See? Was it that hard the first time?”
“Well, yeah! He kept complaining about it. He didn’t ask like you did. He’s annoying already. I mean, yeah, he cleaned up a bit, but I don’t like him at all. My mother didn’t marry who she was supposed to be with. Why should I?”
“I’m pretty sure you have the choice too.”
“Maybe,” I said as we walked up to the doors of my palace.
“Princess? You’re back early,” Alice shouted from a window.
I looked up, “oh. Uh. I fell,” I said, placing a hand on my head.
“You fell?! Oh my! Here I come,” I sighed and opened the door. Michael and Rupert followed in behind me.
“This will soon be my palace,” I heard Rupert whisper to Michael.
“Uh huh,” Michael mumbled back as he walked beside me.
“My goodness, Leah! You look… did he do this to you?” Alice asked, pointing to Michael.
“What? No. Why would you think that?”
“Well, if you fell, he should of- What is that god-awful smell?” She asked, sniffing the air. Rupert burst into laughs. Michael and I looked at him like he was crazy. “Rupert, what’s so funny? Alice asked him.
“Well, Alice, we were riding in the sea on our horses and Leah, here, got sick and jumped into the water and now she reeks of the sea.”
“And that’s funny because…?” She asked, raising an eyebrow.
“Never mind. My apologies.”
“Come along, Princess,” I followed behind Alice. “You’re not going out for the rest of the day.”
“You’re sick, dear!”
“Oh, right,” I sighed. “Goodnight, Michael. Bye, Rupert,” I smiled as I walked up the stairs.
“Goodnight, Princess,” they said in unison.
After my hot bath and dinner, I went to talk to my parents.
“Mother?” I asked before I came in their room.
“Come in, dear,” she said in a soft voice.
I walked in to see my father sitting beside her, patting her forehead. “More sweating?” I sighed.
“Yes. It’s been like this all day.”
“I’m sorry I couldn’t be here for you, Mother,” I apologized and held her hand.
“It’s alright. Did you have a good day with Rupert and Michael?”
“Hardly?” My father asked.
“Yes. I jumped in the sea.”
“What? Why?” They asked in unison.
“We were riding horses in the sea and I got sick and that was my only option.”
“So, you must have smelled of sea salt all day,” my father said.
“Yes. They kept making fun of me because of it. Mainly Rupert.”
“Oh my. See Horatio? I told you he was no good! A man should never laugh at a woman because of something major like that.”
“Just give him a chance, love.”
“Fine,” she sighed and lay back down.
“I’m going to get a good nights sleep. I’ll see you all tomorrow. I love you both,” Is aid as I kissed them and went to my room.
“Did you wish your parents goodnight?” Alice asked me.
“Yeah,” I sighed as I crawled in my bed.
“Not yet. You need your fish oil.”
“Not that disgusting stuff.”
“Come on. Open up,” I took the spoon and sipped the fish oil.
“Gawd! I hate that stuff,” I said as I gave the spoon back to her.
“You get some rest, okay?”
“Yeah, sure,” I said and lay in bed.
“Night, Princess,” she said as she shut the door.
I closed my eyes and tried to drift off to sleep.
Thirty minutes later, I couldn’t sleep. I still tossed and turned in my bed.
“Ugh! What is wrong with me?” I asked aloud as I sat up from bed and got up to look out at the window. “Stars, you’re the onl-”
“Princess!” I heard a shout from below and looked down. “Princess!” They shouted again.
“Who’s there?” I whisper-shouted back. Finally they came out and looked up at me. “Michael?” I asked back.
“Come out,” he motioned.
“What? Why? It’s time for me to go to bed.”
“Alice. I need my beauty sleep for the next day.”
“Come on, Princess. You’re beautiful enough. It won’t go away. Trust me. You’re naturally beautiful,” he smiled.
I blushed at his comment, “okay.” I sighed. “I’ll be down. Just give me a minute.”
“Hurry,” he said as he left.
I put on some slippers and a quick dress and slowly walked down the stairs. As I approached the door, Alice began walking up the stairs.
“Princess?” She asked as she pushed her gray hair back.
“Alice, how are you?” I fake smiled.
“What are you doing?”
“I was just going to get some warm milk from the kitchen.”
“Hmm. Hurry along.”
“Okay,” I said as I walked toward the kitchen and listened to her go upstairs. After she went upstairs, I hurried to the front door and left. “What a relief,” I sighed as I walked around searching for Michael.
“Looking for me?” He asked with a smile as he came from around the corner.
“Yes, I am,” I smiled back.
“Well, you look… dashing.”
“Well, thank you. It’s not my best, but it’s better than what I had on earlier.”
“The dress you wore earlier was beautiful too.”
“You’re welcome, your highness.”
“What did you call me out here for, Michael? It better be important. I had to sneak past Alice.”
“You snuck past Alice?”
“Yes. It was not hard either. What was so important?”
“Stroll? Do you realize people could see me? Do you know how much-”
“Leah, let’s just walk,” he said in a calm voice as he brushed his hand against mine and began walking in front of me.
“Fine,” I mumbled as I walked behind him looking at the stars.
“You like looking at the stars?” Michael asked me.
“Oh, yes. They’re beautiful.”
“They sure are. Every night when I have duty, I always look to the stars and admire their beauty.”
“When do you usually have duty?”
“Every other night.”
“Do you get lonely patrolling the palace?”
“Well, maybe you should call me out here more. I would love to keep you company.”
“All I do is walk around the palace at night.”
“I still want to see your drawing.”
“It’s up in my room.”
“Well, can I see it tomorrow?”
“Sure, if I remember.”
“I’ll remind you.”
“Tell you what, we should go over to the shore.”
“I have to watch the palace.”
“Oh, come on, Michael. It’s not like someone is going to attack the place in under thirty minutes.”
“It could happen. It’s happened to other palaces.”
“My father doesn’t have some long lost argument with anyone. I’m pretty sure everything will be okay.”
“Are you sure?”
“Michael, I’m positive. Now come on before Alice sees me,” I say as I grab his hand and run.
“You run quite fast, Leah.”
“Shh. Come on,” I whispered as I let go and continued running.
“Slow down,” he laughed. I stopped and waited for him. “Whew!” He breathed.
“I’ve never been this free before. May as well take advantage of it, right?”
“I guess,” he sighed as he sat up.
“Come on, Michael. We’re almost there,” I said and walked ahead of him.
“Look at the moon. Isn’t it pretty?” I asked as we sat on the sand. “I mean, look at the reflection on the water.”
“It’s very pretty.”
“Wanna know somethin’?”
“Yeah,” he said, looking in my eyes.
“When I was younger, I always wanted to be a moon water princess.”
“A moon water princess? How does that work?” He laughed.
“Well, I would be the princess of the moon and whenever it reflected on the water, I would then… hey! I’m not a lunatic!” I laughed.
“I never said you were. It’s very funny though.”
“I know, I know. My mother always said I would be a moon water princess one day though.”
“You would be a great moon water princess.”
“Thank you, Michael,” I said as I got up and walked toward the water letting my feet feel the cool water. He got up and stood beside me as I admired the beautiful moon.
“You’re a very beautiful woman,” Michael whispered to me.
“Thank you,” I smiled. “Michael?”
I looked in his beautiful brown eyes, finding myself getting lost in them. As I opened my mouth to speak, he looked at my lips as if he wanted something. “Never mind,” I quickly said.
“No, say it.”
“Never mind. It’s nothing important.”
“Are you sure?”
No. “Yeah, I’m positive. Nothing important at all.” How would he react if I told him I was more interested in him than Rupert? What would he said if I told him I would want to marry him instead? Would he find me crazy? Absurd? All of the above?
“It looks like you were about to say something important,” he said as he held my face in his hand.
“It’s fine,” I said, making sure I didn’t make eye contact, in fear that I would get lost in those beautiful eyes again.
He still held my face in his hand and before I knew it, his lips were planted on mine. I closed my eyes and kissed him back. Gawd, his lips are so soft. Don’t stop. Please. This is what… damn. He stopped. I bit my lip and smiled. Embarrassed as to what he would think of my poor kissing skills.
“You have soft lips,” he whispered as he traced them with his thumb.
“You too,” I whispered.
“Yes. How could you tell?”
“Mmhm. You don’t mind if I do it aga-”
“PRINCESS LEAH!” I turned around to see Alice with her arms folded.
“Alice?” I asked as I walked toward her.
“Come along!” She shouted.
“Yes, ma’am,” I sighed and slowly walked toward her.
“And, you, sir are in very big trouble. I’ll make sure you… Princess, come along!”
“Goodnight, Michael,” I said.
“Goodnight, Princess,” he said as he hurried past us to patrol the palace.
“What were you thinking? Kissing that fool!”
“No! What were you thinking?”
“I don’t know.”
“I’ll make sure he goes to the dungeon immediately.”
“Alice, you don’t have to do that. I’m the one who wanted to kiss him.”
“Don’t try to cover up for him, young lady.
I rolled my eyes at her comment and hurried to the palace. “I doubt we’ll be punished, Alice.”
“Oh, your father will surely make sure Knight Michael- Do you want to be some whore?”
“Well, do you?!”
“It was just a kiss!”
“I did not raise you to be a whore!”
“Goodnight, Alice!” I said and shut the door and locked it.
“Open this door!” I ignored her and lay in my bed.
Whore? It was just a kiss for Pete’s sake! Tears fell from my eyes as I tried to go to sleep. Nothing will happen. Nothing will happen…