Leelah quickly walked into her room and shut the door, thought about locking it, but then thought better of it.
'I did the right thing, didn't I?' She thought over and over in her head. She had been in that room for almost an hour, she listened to them talk, those who wanted to talk. Then the Elders talked, she had to respect them, and their wishes. But was this really what she wanted. She had tried to cut all ties leading back to Tonaya, try to start a new life. She had friends, and now it looked like a boyfriend. She was still considered young, in both worlds.
But was she really ready to become queen? How would she tell Joey and Charlotte? They would be... well she wouldn't blame them if they were mad. Who knows how long it be before she saw them again. It would seem like no time at all on Earth, but in Tonaya, it would be years. She dropped on her bed and put her hands over her face, sighing in frustration.
Then there was the other thing that the Council discussed. They wanted to train Charlotte to use her powers, but they wanted to train her in Tonaya, in the castle. She knew that Charlotte wouldn't stay here, she would want to go home. As would Joey, but they would want her to come with them. And now it seemed that she couldn't. Leelah was stuck between a boulder and a cliff.
"I should have just let Torin kill me when he had the chance," Leelah mumbled under her breath. There was a knock at the door then the door was pushed open quickly, revealing Charlotte and Joey. "Maybe I should just kill myself right now."
"What is this talk about being Queen?" Charlotte demanded first. "Does this mean that you're staying here? 'Cause you can't leave us!"
Leelah sat up on the bed but couldn't bring herself to look at them. "Im sorry, I don't know what's happening anymore. It's all just one thing after another and I can't grasp it all. Things are happening too fast."
"What are you going to do?" Charlotte asked. Joey stayed quiet and stared at Leelah. "This situation is confusing to us too." Joey could sense that the girls needed to talk this one out. He silently left the room, figuring he would just ask Charlotte what happened later. "We didn't even know about all of this, then it was like, boom!"
"I know, I'm sorry. I didn't think that I would have to tell anyone, but that plan backfired."
"I learned about your past from a book, and I still don't know everything about you. I didn't know why you moved to Agana, I didn't know that you had powers, I didn't know anything. I mean, are you even 16 years old?" Leelah shook her head no.
"In Tonaya I'm 112, and still very young."
"Are you serious! That's ridiculous. But I didn't know any of this, and we're supposed to be best friends."
"We are! I would trust my life with you!"
"But not enough to tell me the truth?"
"I didn't think you would believe me. I mean not everyone would readily accept the fact that their friend has powers, and might be the heir of a throne." Leelah looked up at Charlotte, her eyes sad. "I didn't know what to do, I still don't, I'm so confused."
"Maybe you should try to talking to someone about it," Charlottes' expression softened a little. "I hear that it sometimes works."
The castle was full of people now, the news had spread that Tonaya would once again have a ruler. Joey walked through the halls, staying close to the walls and out of the way. He knew that Charlotte would talk to Leelah, but he didn't know if she could change her mind. Something had finally gone right, a few things, and now all hopes were dashed. Leelah wouldn't stay here forever, he knew that, she would have to come and visit. But that didn't cheer him up any.
"Joey!" Charlotte came running up behind him as he slowed down. "Hey are you alright?" Her temper had seemed to simmer down.
"Yea, I'm good. Uh, just can't wait to get home," Joey said, his gaze staring straight ahead of him.
"You wanna know what happened, right?" Charlotte asked him as they started to walk again. Joey merely nodded. "She is staying, she has to. But it's not like she won't come and visit, or us coming to visit her. We'll still see her. I mean it sounds like I might be coming back sooner than thought," Joey looked at her with a confused expression on his face. "They want to train my powers, make them stronger and such. They understand that I can't come and live here, so some sort of schedule is gonna be set up, Leelah will take care of that."
"They want to train you in Tonaya?" Joey asked.
"Yeah. Leelah told them what happened, and they agreed to train me, even though I wasn't born here. But we don't have to worry about that right away." The two were silent for a few minutes.
"We've been invited to stay at the castle when Leelah is crowned queen," Charlotte said quietly. "They have to announce it to the city first, and then there's gonna be like a three day celebration or something. After that they'll crown her and there'll be a big ball. And we've been invited of course."
Joey nodded. "Then I guess we'll have to come, huh?"
"What about mom and dad?"
"We'll make something up, we won't be gone that long. Only a few hours," Charlotte smiled and hugged Joey. "I just hope that it isn't during school, because that one will be a little tricky to get by. I don't think the teachers will understand."
"We'll be back later mom," Charlotte called as she ran out to the car where Joey was waiting. "Okay, I think we're good."
"What did you tell her?" Joey asked, making his way to Leelah's apartment, or rather that apartment which was still under her name.
"She thinks that we're going to a movie, then dinner."
"Well, there will be dinner," Joey joked. It was only about sixteen hours ago that they got back home, and they would be going back to Tonaya. Time was a strange thing when it came to that place. "Now she said that she would have clothes for us right? Cause I'm not exactly sure how they dress for occasions like this."
"That's what she said. I'd laugh if they wore tuxes like here."
"Yea, cause I got a nice red one at home."
"You wouldn't dare wear that!" Charlotte exclaimed. Joey only smiled as he found a parking place in front of the apartment building. The elevator was working again and Charlotte and Joey took it up to the top floor. On Leelah's door was a note for them.
'Joey and Char-
There are clothes for inside the apartment. I would like to be there myself to see your faces, but I'm told that I have to stay here. I can't even leave for one second without someone freaking out. (Charlotte was chuckling.) After you two change then go ahead and walk into the bedroom, there will your one way ticket. You'll end up in the castle, I'll meet up with you there. Have fun! ;)
–Leelah (aka Ainsley (I'm trying to get other people to start calling me Ainsley here, isn't going too well))'
Joey opened the door and laying on the couch were two outfits. One was a blue dress, and on Charlotte's request, it was not puffy. It was long, halter dress that had a slit on the side. A pair of matching blue heels were next to the dress. On the other side of the dress was a black tux, with a pair of black shoes next to it, Charlotte picked up her dress then started giggling and ran into the bathroom before Joey could hit her.
Charlotte had her arm linked with Joey's when the arrived in the castle. Charlotte had put her hair up in a bun with two strands hanging down, and Joey had spiked his hair up a little in the front. Conversations could be heard in the hallway, almost being a guide to the ballroom for Joey and Charlotte.
"Okay, there's no turning back now," Charlotte said as they started walking towards the room.
"What exactly do we do? I mean we don't know any of these people, do we make conversation?" Joey asked, sounding nervous.
"Well, if they talk to us I think it would be only polite enough that we talk back to them. About what though I don't know. Why don't we just go in there and find Lee- I mean Ainsley." Charlotte shook her head. "I think that she has to stop changing her name."
They entered the ballroom, it was the size of three football fields put together, and it was packed. A grand staircase was opposite the entrance doors, and a blue carpet outlined in silver ran down the stairs. It looked as if all of Tonaya had appeared. It was a sea of colors, blues, reds, greens, every color imaginable. All the men had on black tuxes, as Charlotte had predicted.
"Okay, so this is after she's been crowned right?" Joey whispered to Charlotte as they entered the mob of people. "She's already queen and everything?"
"Yea, and we have to start calling by some royal title, or something," Charlotte whispered back, smiling at the people who turned to look at them. The people were nice and smiled back. A bell sounded from somewhere in the room and all the people stopped talking and turned their attention to the staircase.
"Introducing, the newly crowned Queen of Tonaya, Her Majesty, Lady Leelah," The people started to clap as a shy looking Ainsley appeared at the top of the staircase. Charlotte's breath was caught in her throat, and Joey nearly died of a heart attack.
Aisnley's hair was pulled back into a half ponytail, with a few strands hanging in front of her face. Silver and blue beads hung in her hair, as she wore an elegant silver headpiece with beads and little gems hanging from it and into her hair. Her dress was strapless and her neck was shown off with a thick choker with strands of beads that hung from it. Her dress was also decorated with beads, beads that outlined designs on the dress. Her dress was a pure white, accented with blue and silver, as was the theme, the dress hung straight down and had a belt that tied and hung at her waist. She looked taller and more elegant than ever.
As she reached the bottom of the stairwell the conversations started up again. Some people flocked over to Ainsley to talk with her. Others bowed as she passed them, that's when she saw Joey and Charlotte. They could hear the clicking of her heels as she half ran over to them. She smiled and threw her arms around Charlotte, then looked at Joey and threw her arms around him, giving him a small kiss on the cheek.
"I'm so happy to see you guys!" Ainsley exclaimed, letting go of them.
"I see that the name thing isn't going to well?" Charlotte asked. Ainsley rolled her eyes and sighed.
"No, you would think that after five days most people would get the hang on of it. I think there is someone going around and deliberately telling people not to call me that." Charlotte chuckled as Joey just smiled.
From inside the ballroom a band started to play, and couples started to dance around the room while others moved to the outside of the room. "So is this gonna be like a Cinderella thing?" Joey smirked a little. "There's dancing all night, and then someone runs out, and loses a shoe."
"I hope not, because I then have to lead up the search party."
A young man then approached the trio, looking at Charlotte. "Excuse me ma'am, may I have this dance?" Charlotte looked at the other two, her eyes a little wide. Ainsley just smiled and nodded a little as Joey shrugged.
Charlotte turned back to the man, who had his hand extended out. She smiled and took his hand. "I'd like that." They made their way out to dance floor, getting lost in the crowds.
"So how is this whole queen business making out for you?" Joey asked, turning back to Ainsley.
"It's okay I guess, I mean I've never been a queen before,"Ainsley smiled a little. "Why don't we go out on the balcony and talk, get away from all the people." Joey nodded and they silently slipped out of the room, and onto a balcony that overlooked the palace gardens.
"I'm kind of amazed at how easy it was for you to slip out of the room, no one following you or anything," Joey commented.
"I have bodyguards, but I let them enjoy the party tonight, only after promising to be on my best behavior." Ainsley smiled, slowly taking Joey's hand. Joey looked down then looked back up, smiling. "It's nice out here, isn't it?"
"It really is, it's quiet, and not too cold." A slow song started up from inside the palace. Joey looked Ainsley. "Would you honor me by sharing this dance?" Ainsley smiled and took his other hand, leaning her head on his chest. Joey wrapped his arms around her as they started to sway to the music. "Ainsley?"
"Hmm," Ainsley looked up at him.
"I love you," He whispered in her ear.
"I love you, too," She whispered back. Joey leaned down as their lips met and Ainsley put her arms around his neck. Leaning her head on his shoulder they continued to dance, a smile dancing on their lips.