Chapter 1; Nice too meet you 3

'God this party is awful' I thought. I was sitting at a back table near the fir exit near the dance floor looking at everyone else dancing to Tinie Tempha. Don't get me wrong I'm not a party pooper it's just my family. You see my family is a part of the 'upper class' and I'm not I'm from Romford Essex and proud. They have to invite me to the party because my mum is there family and therefore I am blood, my dad on the other hand is so not invited even though he is very successful business man in London he doesn't make the cut. You see my mum came from the 'right' background. The family have big stately homes in Suffolk and have holiday homes (well more technically castles) in Scotland. There not royal or have a title but they may as well. The 'Lions' are like the peoples royals. My mum went through that life the private schools and everything but she met my dad and married for love and was outcast because back then he was a lowly Essex boy. When I was born he went into a London business firm in power or something and became the London man he is today (one I never really see). My mum was allowed back into the family not long after my Nan died because they felt guilty but it wasn't without rules. Only my mum and I were allowed back in. They offered to get me into all the 'right' schools and meet the 'right' boys but I didn't want that I was already 7 and happy with what I had in life. We only saw that at particular festivals, Christmas, Easter ECT. It was Louisa my cousins birthday, her 18th no less. She had invited me and my mum but my mother politely declined saying she had 'business' to attend to too, so I had to go. Thanks mum! So here I was in a £18 half price new look dress slowly sipping my champagne which in all honesty I hate but you have to look the part right? While all the rest of my family my age (13-19) danced with their friends. It's so easy for them; they see each other all time. It's at times like these I sometimes wish my mum had got me more into the family but then I know I would have regretted it eventually, well maybe? Taking the last sip out of the bottom of my glass I sighed and stood up, the heavy base beat was starting to rack my bones and I needed some fresh air.

'Annabel' I heard a voice shout. I whipped my head round and saw Louisa's Sister Melissa making her way through the throbbing dancing bodies. 'Where are you going? It's a party come dance!' She grabbed my hand and started dragging me onto the dance floor.

'I need some fresh air but I will be back' I smiled and turned around leaving Melissa shaking her head sighing to herself. I know I was a disappointment I was regularly told so by all of the Lion family but I just didn't fit in and couldn't pretend I did.

The cold night air hit me as soon as I stepped out onto the patio to the side of the ballroom. The party was being held in an exclusive hotel just on the outskirts of London where all the 'it' parties are held according to Louisa. To me it was just a fancy room with a very expensive bar thank God it was already paid for or I was going to be drinking tap water all evening. As my heels clicked along the stone I stared into the beautiful night sky. Its times like this I wish I had used my family connections. They regularly stayed in hotels like this is they were having a London fashion spree weekend. Me, I was being picked up later on by my dad or mum because I couldn't really afford the night. Don't get me wrong mum and dad would happily pay but really it's just a ridiculous amount of money for just a bed! I saw the reception up ahead and decided to go sit in the lobby for a bit to get the sick feeling out of my stomach from the base of the music.

The door man opened the door and tipped his head as I thanked him. I made my way across the marble floor feeling slightly self conscious as the emptiness seemed to be looking me up and down. I saw the bar tucked round the corner started to make my way over as my cell went off.

'Hey, having fun with the family? ;) jokes hehe ,, fancy going out tomorrow? Love ya xx' – Lauren.

My BFFL really, she understood my family problems, her izzy and Amy were the only ones who did. I didn't trust just anyone to know about the family. I hit reply and started typing

'Oh soooooo much ;) sounds good lunch at na ...'

Crash.

I dropped my phone and bag as I walked straight into someone. I blushed from my toes to the top of my head, seriously what has everyone always told me about looking where you are going while texting.

'I'm so sorry' I started picking up my phone as a hand went out and grabbed my bag. I looked up and stared into a pair of sky blue eyes and smiled fittie my head said.

'It's fine, are you alright?' His voice was pure silk, very upper class but I'm not complaining.

'I'm fine are ...' I stopped my sentence as I looked at my bumpy in full.

OMG!

'I'm so sorry your highness' I started to courtesy. I had just bumped straight into Prince harry! How embarrassing.

'Please call me Harry and it was all my fault I was not looking where I was going, would you like a drink?' He said pointing to the bar.

I gave him a look of are you having a laugh. Me, Annabel Carter, from Romford have a drink with Prince Harry, 3rd in line to the throne, the most eligible bachelor in England as his brother is with Kate Middleton. He grabbed my arm and started leading me to bar as my head was still spinning , I think I actually did need a drink, it's a shame they wouldn't serve me as I was underage.

'So ...' He began 'Do you always wonder through hotel lobby's at 9 o'clock at night miss ...'

'Annabel Carter, and no I'm actually here for a family party, you?' I answered my head still reeling but taking a calmer edge.

'I needed to get away from the family' He laughed. Oh I knew how he felt, well slightly his family was the queen?

'Oh, I see, I know how you feel, well I think I do' I laughed at my stupid statement as I saw I pair of eyes intently on me. I shifted in my set and met the hard eyes of a man all in black. I realised Harry was talking and snapped my head back as he looked at me as if waiting for an answer.

'I'm sorry I missed that, there's a man over there staring at you very intently' I whispered as if he could hear me. Harry didn't even look behind me and just rolled his eyes.

'That's Laurence my bodyguard just ignore him' He sighed and signalled to the bartender. 'I will have a scotch on the rocks and Annabel will have ...'

'A water will be fine thank-you' I smiled at the bartender as she turned to make the drinks.

'So ... family problems' Harry started again.

I sighed 'It's complicated; I wouldn't want to bore you with the details, trust me it could take till Christmas, how about you?' I saw him raise an eyebrow at my compliment.

'It's a bit ... hectic ... at home' He chooses his words carefully. I nodded as our drinks came.

'Thank-you' I smiled at the bartender who seemed to be fluttering her eyelashes at Harry, oh great! 'Would you like it your tab your highness?' She flashed a winning smile as I rolled me eyes and sipped my water.

'Of course thank-you Sophie' He replied as he dismissed her.

'You're a regular here?' I raised an eyebrow.

He laughed 'Yes, it's where I come to ... escape' He smiled at me and cocked my head to the side. 'If you don't mine me saying I have never seen you here before me and you seem a tad out of place, not meaning to be out of line but you don't seem like a regular yourself'

I laughed 'far from it, your quite right, I'm not exactly Dalton material' I gestured around at the Dalton hotel 'my family are though so here I am, talking of my family I regret to say so but I must depart, I promise my cousin a dance' I started to collect my bag and take a last sip of my water.

'Well Annabel it's been a pleasure but I would love to talk to you more, if you need to 'escape' from the party please come and find me I'm staying in room 106.' He stood up and took my hand and kissed my palm and I blushed bright red.

'Thank-you very much for the drink but I am not staying here tonight so might not be able to take you up on that offer.' I said and started to walk away taking a glimpse over my shoulder as I saw Harry smile and turn back round and sit on his bar stall as 'Sophie' rushed over to refill his glass.

As I stepped back out into the night air, it all caught up to me.

OMG I just had a drink with Prince Harry, I stopped still and blinked a few times and pinched myself. No that really happened. OMG. He gave me his room number as well, maybe he liked me! OMG. I fished my phone out of bag and saw I was still on my text to Lauren and knew I just had to tell her, she would tell me what to do. I pressed to ring button and held the phone to my ear as I slowly walked up and down the patio waiting for her to pick up.

'That bad that you needed to ring me' Lauren laughed down the phone.

'No' I laughed 'I just had the strangest moment ever'

'Do tell' she said interest.

'I just had drinks with Prince Harry'

'Pause' She said 'Did you say prince harry as in prince harry, his royal highness'

'Yeah!' I said 'I cannot believe it myself'

'Tell me everything' she said as I could hear she sat down on her bed and get ready for the story in a way only a best friend could. So I did I told her everything.

'WOW' She screeched at the end 'Annabel that's like wow, oh my god, just wow.'

'I know' I laughed 'I was there'

'So are you going to go? To his room I mean, you could like be the next Kate! Omg that would be like soooo cool and it sounds like you actually like him you deserve someone after your last ass of a boyfriend.' She waited intently for my answer as I sighed

'I don't no Loz, I mean it's like wow, Prince harry wants me to go to his room, but a. I do have to party .B. Look at his rep am I just going to be another girl on his notch, he don't even nothing at all about me you know, why does he want me ?' I let it all out.

'A, you will never know if you don't go' I smiled only Loz could say that 'and screw your family, if you and him ever did get together I'm sure they would forgive you from missing them all getting pissed and dancing like loons, look your my best mate so I'll support you whatever but A, I wouldn't miss this one it's like a dream come true. Go see your prince' She laughed at the innuendo.

'Ok' I said letting out a big breath 'look I got to go and go back to the party but I might go, see how then night takes me and I will see you tomorrow at 12:30 at nando's?'

'YEAH, after the night you might have I want to be the first to know' She laughed

'I'm only 15 you slut' I laughed and so did she.

'Sure sure, love you A, I'm here if you need me' with that she hung up.

I put my phone back in my clutch and headed back into the party, I barely got in the door before I was swamped by Melissa dragging me onto the dance floor chastising me for taking forever. Mel and I danced for a good 30 minutes to the heavy pop beat before my mind started drifting to Harry. God what was wrong with me I'm never like this and I know your thinking gold digger right but I don't know it just seemed right you know?

'You ok Annabel?' Mel asked as we headed over to the bar to get a drink. It was getting late and people were starting to leave.

'Yeah I'm not feeling that well' I lied 'I might go call my dad to pick me up or something'

'Don't be silly I have a room with a spare bed, you can stay with me if you need a room' I smiled gratefully at Mel; she was always so nice to me.

'Thank-you' I said giving her a hug

'Annabel, I brought some spare clothes if you want to borrow them' She said as I started to leave. I probably couldn't get my left leg in her clothes but I could try I had a pair of leggings in my bag just in case my tights ripped so all I needed was a top. I turned the key she gave me over in my hand room 123, I smiled as I remembered Harry's invitation. I took the elevator up and got out at the first floor and started walking down the hallway I saw the Harry's room was at a corner which probably meant it was the biggest on the floor and laughed, of course. I carried on and found Mel's room a couple of doors down on the opposite side. I unlocked the door and dumped my clutch of the spare bed and took my phone out and rang home.

'Hello' my mother answered.

'Hey mum, it's Annabel' I answered

'Hello darling do you need me to come pick you up'

'No' I squeezed my eyes shut with nervousness 'Mel, has invited me to stay with her for the night, she had a spare room and offered it to me, I agreed is that ok?' I crossed my fingers that weren't holding the phone.

I heard my mother sigh 'ok, but I will be there to pick you up at 10' A huge smile spread across my face

'Thank-you, I'm going out with Lauren at 12:30 tomorrow bither way'

'Ok , have fun' With that she hung up.

I did a little happy dance and laughed at my own childishness. I bit my lip. Should I go? I looked at the florescent alarm clock on the bedside desk '11:13'. I paced back and forward having a mini war going on in my head I eventually plopped back down on the bed and shook my head , who am I kidding I'm Annabel Carter, prefect, form captain, previous head girl. I'm going to go. I put my cardigan on and grabbed the door key shutting the door behind me and striding to 106.

I knocked 3 times every time my confidence lessened. Finally the door swung open to reveal the man (Laurence was it) who was staring at me.

'Yes' He looked shocked at my being 'I'm sorry but we don't appreciate stalkers, now if you would kindly leave' He started to close the door as I stood there shocked.

'Ermmmm, Laurence was it, Harry gave me the room number and told me I was allowed to come to see him' Laurence's eyes started to roll as he started to step back before I evened finished my speech. 'Of course he did' he muttered under his breath.

'Miss Annabel Carter was it' He said smirking 'I will need you to sign some papers before you leave.' He said leading me to a door and knocking on it 'Your highness Miss Annabel is here to see you' You could here movement and the door then opened to reveal those sky blue eyes again which had a smile in them.

'I knew you would come back' He said and gestured me into the room.