Author's Note:

Before anything else, I would just like to apologize for all the typos/spelling mistakes/grammar mistakes. English is not my first language. Really sorry, for all those who are annoyed by things like that.

Do Princes Still Exist?

A Study of 21st Century Royal Families

A Research Paper by: Rachel M. Winters

Sixteen words. The title and her name. That was all she had managed to write for the past two hours.

She heaved a deep sigh and laughed at herself. It wasn't really necessary for her to finish the thing in a day anyway. She had her whole life in university to do it and, as it stood at the moment, she still has four years ahead of her.

She saved the document and shut the lid of her laptop. The research paper wouldn't write itself on its own, yes, but she had all the time in the world to write it. As her friend and trustworthy roommate, Bethany, told her, she should enjoy her freedom for a change.

Why was she being such a study-freak anyway? It was only her first year in university. Yes, she did have all the time in the world. She should be partying and getting wasted and not staring into her computer for two hours, wondering if princes still exist.

Why did she choose that as her research topic anyway? Did she have some deep-seated feeling of wanting to be Cinderella? She suspected she had, at first, but then she realized that the real reason why she wanted to study 21st century royal families was because they seemed to her to be completely... pointless.

Why do they continue to exist in such a time when they're not needed anymore? That was the question she wanted to answer the most.

She sighed again and got up from her chair. It was past two o'clock in the morning but she usually goes to bed in the weekend at around four o'clock.

She grabbed her jacket and her keys and decided to have a little walk in the grounds. It was nice to walk in the grounds at that time of the morning. There was no one around and it was pretty cold. She liked to do that when she couldn't sleep.

She started to walk around, pulling the jacket tighter around her. The trees were swaying in the wind, the grounds were quiet and the stars... were non-existent. It was such a city thing. Except for the last part, the whole place would have been extremely poetic.

She stopped and sat down on a bench overlooking the lake.

It had been four months since she first set eyes on that lake. She decided to arrive two months ahead of the start of semester because she wanted to get acquainted. She was from a million miles away after all—OK, maybe not a million, but the school she chose was very far from home. She decided to go there because, and she wasn't proud of it, she wanted to run away.

Just then, she saw someone walking by in front of her. He looked like a student too, but well, not really. Maybe a senior, since he seemed to be older than her.

He smiled as he passed her and she smiled back. He walked away and she watched. But then, a few minutes later, he came back, looking rather sheepish. He stared at her for a moment before approaching her.

"Hi. Is the seat taken?" He asked quite formally and it surprised her. She supposed he must be one of those posh language majors to be speaking like that. She held back her laughter and shook her head without saying a thing. He sat down beside her and added, "I did not think someone would still be awake at this time of night—or should I say morning?"

She shrugged her shoulders and just smiled. "I can't sleep 'til it's four o'clock," she shared in a little less formal way than the guy, hoping he would ease up on his a-little-bit-too-formal tone. "Rachel, by the way." She added, holding out her hand to him.

"Andrew," he answered, shaking her hand briefly, as though he was not accustomed to handshakes. She let it go and just went back to looking over at the lake. After a while, he spoke again. "What are you looking at?"

"The lake," she answered as though it was the most obvious thing in the world. "It sparkles in the light. How fucking sad that there are no stars. I bet it would be more beautiful that way." She said carelessly.

He looked offended for some reason, like he wasn't used to people swearing. She gathered then that maybe he was some sort of rich-privileged-kid. He might have looked cute but she was starting to hate him already. She hated spoiled brats.

"I'm sorry. I'm just not used to people swearing in front of me," he said, as though reading her mind. She shrugged her shoulders again, not saying a word. "I suppose you think that's weird?" He asked, just to continue the conversation.

"Yeah, kind of is. I mean, who doesn't swear anyway? Even the most primped up, majestic people swear." She said reasonably. "It's a form of human expression. At least, that's what Stephen Pinker said." She thought back to that time when she read that article. She smiled a little, remembering how enlightened she felt then. She also felt slightly ridiculous for some reason.

"I'm sorry. I do swear, just..." he trailed off, looking into the lake too.

"Never mind," she said dismissively, getting to her feet. It was only three o'clock. She still had an hour but she couldn't stand sitting next to the spoiled brat any longer. She figured she could get some work done by the library. "I really need to get back to my room. I'm kinda sleepy. It was nice meeting you, Andrew."

"You too, Rachel," he said with a smile before she drifted off toward the general direction of the university library.

After a while, she stopped walking. Convinced that the spoiled brat was nowhere in sight, she dropped down on one of the benches again, this time a little farther away from the lake. She stared at the quiet, peaceful grounds, thinking about everything that has happened in her life so far.

Why did she want to escape? Basically, it was just because of one thing.

She killed a person.

She clutched her stomach, recoiling from the jolt of pain that seemed to shoot through her. She could feel her tears flowing from her eyes. Luckily, there was no one around to see. She knew clearly what she had done and yet no one in the world can know about it.

She had thought of killing herself a couple of times but then that would just make things worse. Instead of killing just one person, then she would be killing two. She had enough reasons for God to hate her. She didn't need any more reasons for Him to banish her into hell.

She knew she was going there sooner or later anyway.

Why couldn't morning come sooner?