I was looking through my files the other day and this old thing popped up. Honestly I don't know what I was thinking when I wrote it, but I figured that someone might look the sugary-sweet romance to brighten their day. Again, I honestly don't remember why I wrote something as…happy as this.

~:o:~

The rain soaked through to my skin as I ran. My hair stuck about my face and ears, and my breath spurted from my mouth in short bursts. The sharp pain in my side pricked as I went on; yet I knew I couldn't stop.

If only I hadn't done what I did. Though, I suppose I should probably start from the beginning. It's only proper, after all.

My name is Rosalina, heir to the royal throne. My parents are the king and queen Lawrence (affectionately known as King Law) and Evelyn respectably. I left my parents to rule the country as I learn how to eventually run it myself when I am married. And seeing as how I'm sixteen, it would come sooner than I'd like.

Unlike popular belief, I have friends. I don't have many friends, but I do have some. But… Sometimes I feel as if it would be better just not to have them. After all, what do they do, other than come to me with all their problems?

I tended to wander the halls of my castle alone because of this. Often I'd go to the gardens and walk for hours on end through the flowers and bushes, their sweet smell calming my nerves. I could forget about my troubles (and my friends' troubles) there and instead daydream about the future. And about a certain young man.

He wasn't anyone I knew. I wanted to know him, though. This man comprised of all the things I wanted in my future love, and of what a proper prince should be, of course. Courteous, chivalrous, kind and caring… All those things. The more I thought about him, the more I wanted him.

So, try to imagine my surprise when I met him one night.

There was a party going on. Just a normal, run-of-the-mill party that my parents used as an excuse to get royals to come take a gawk at me. Not that I minded. The ultimate decision was always up to me.

I went out to my gardens for a moment or two, for I felt faint in the stuffy air. After stretching my legs among the bushes, I sat myself on the edge of a great stone fountain. The water flashed and sparkled in the lights from the castle.

As I looked down at myself, admiring the handiwork of my hair, I noticed another presence behind me. He had jagged brown hair that hung just before his green eyes that were set on me intently. "Hello." His clear voice blasted into my consciousness with the sort of tremble that sent shivers down my spine.

"H-hello." I swiftly stood, brushing myself off.

"Please, don't get up. I hadn't meant to startle you." He held his hand out in a way that made me feel at ease.

I merely nodded and sat again. He smiled slightly, tilting his head. "May I have your name?"

"I am Rosalina." For polite's sake, I held up my gloved hand.

He took it in his palm. "Title?"

"Princess. And you?"

"Prince Seth, at your service." His lips brushed the satin material before he looked at me with his intent eyes again.

I felt my face heat up in a blush. "Are… Are you enjoying yourself?"

"Yes, very much. The king and queen here certainly know how to make a good showing."

I smiled slightly. "I've always thought so."

He placed his foot on the fountain and leaned on his thigh. "From what kingdom do you hail, my lady?"

"From this one." I gazed up at him as he stood above me, the moon outlining his head.

"And what a lovely kingdom it is." He winked coyly. "With an even lovelier princess."

My face burned as it turned scarlet and I looked away. He chuckled. "I embarrass you."

"I'm just not used to it."

"Amazing. I assumed that every young man said those things to you."

I merely shook my head. "No, never."

"Well, staying out here amongst the flowers, of course you wouldn't." He sat next to me, taking my hand in his. "Would you permit me to change that?"

"Yes… Yes I would." I entwined my fingers with his. "I'd like that very much."

"My pleasure, Princess."

Again I felt the unfaltering stare of his green eyes as they drilled down to my core. How could I possibly wish to escape from him? Already I felt he knew me too well, that I could hide nothing from this young man.

~:o:~

Our courtship started smoothly. As tradition, he gained permission to stay the month with us to see whether or not he truly wanted to commit himself to me. In society we acted the golden pair; only the most courteous angel could have hoped to outshine us in politeness. But when we were alone, and in my gardens… That was when the magic happened.

He would immediately grab my hand in his own, entwining our fingers and bringing mine to his lips. "I hate not having privacy."

"But now we do, my Lord." I gazed up at him endearingly.

"Indeed we do."

He kissed me one day, full and passionately as we sat on the fountain where we met. Never had I felt another's lips upon my own before that moment. It seemed like all the world halted and time stretched on forever in that moment.

Too soon he pulled away, leaving me breathless and strangely wanting more. "My lady…"

"Seth. Seth, please… Call me Rosalina." I held his face in my hands. "I'd like that much better."

"As you wish it." He kissed me again.

That was the beginning. He stayed the month and procured another, and yet another after that. As the days went by I found myself eagerly awaiting the morning so that I could have another cycle of sunshine in his arms. Perhaps that is where I faulted. Perhaps my joy was not his own. Perhaps…he fell away from me. I…loved him too much. Maybe that is where it all went wrong.

It happened one night, late in the evening where twilight is nearly over and candles are necessary. We sat in one of the smaller libraries, perusing the books and basking in the firelight. I suddenly stood and lounged by him.

"Seth."

He didn't look up.

"Seth."

He still refused.

"Seth, listen to me!"

He started, fumbling with the book. He whipped his head around to glare at me. "What is it?"

"You've…been ignoring me lately. Have I done something wrong?"

"No. No, it's… You're fine. It's me." He kept his gaze averted from me.

I moved closer to him and laid my hand on his arm. "Are you sure? You've been quiet around me, and it just seems like something's missing."

"I've been tired."

"I see… Well, I was thinking the other day. Maybe, since I feel that we are quite comfortable around each other, that maybe we should start considering marriage."

His eyes grew wild and he stared at me. "Marriage? Are you crazy?"

"No! I just… We love each other, don't we?"

Seth's face clouded over. My shoulders fell and I backed away from him. "You…don't love me, do you?" My voice sounded flat.

"It's not that—"

"Then what is it?" It became my turn to stare at him hopelessly. My eyes misted and I felt tears threaten to overflow. "What's wrong?"

He sighed heavily and looked away again. "I just don't feel like we should do this. I don't like how we've been going the last few weeks."

When he mentioned that I thought of all that happened. Seth was right, for quite some time I felt as if we were growing apart. But I never wanted to admit it. It hurt too much to think of.

"So… You don't love me."

"No!" He grabbed my hand fervently. "No. I do love you, Rosalina, but… I'm not sure if this is what we want."

"We don't have a choice! We're both at the age where we need to choose a spouse for the betterment of our kingdoms!" I sprang to my feet. "Do you, Prince Seth, want me or not?"

"I do…but not as my wife." He looked away as if I had struck him.

"I see." The tears began to flow. "I see how it is now."

He stood next to me. "Tomorrow I'm leaving. I have to get away. I've outlived my welcome. I'm…sorry."

"I doubt that." I glared at him, and my very core burned with sudden intense hatred. "I never want to see you again!" My bare hand whipped his head to the side as I struck his cheek.

I ran off then, off to my chambers where I knew I could be alone. I didn't come out until the next morning. But by then, it was already too late. I woke ready to apologize. Instead I ended up sprinting through the heavy rain in a light cotton dress to bring him back to me.

This, I believe, brings us to the present.

I screamed his name above the din of the rain hitting the cobblestone. I slipped; I hit the hard ground and didn't bother getting up again. Through my tears and the rain I watched the carriage bounce out of sight. "Seth…"

My voice was reduced to a hoarse whisper. I weakly pounded the ground with my scraped fist in anger. Behind me I heard a guard rushing toward me. He helped me stand and ushered me back to the castle. But I kept looking toward the gates, hoping beyond all hope that he would return.

Of course, I knew he wouldn't. After that I fell ill and didn't have anyone to blame but myself. There were nights when I almost didn't pull through; and to be honest, I wouldn't have cared. There was something in me that just didn't have the strength to fight anymore. I wanted to go on living, however… It seemed so pointless.

Two weeks flashed by of this. The royal physician finally figured that I didn't care what happened to me and broke the news to my parents. Needless to say, they were disappointed in me. But that didn't help anything. Certainly didn't make my fever go down.

The day came when I felt deep in my heart that it would be my last. I lay very still in my bed, waiting for it all to end. I must've fallen asleep, for it seemed that I only blinked when the next instant I felt a hand upon my own.

The hand felt warm, and the fingers entwined with mine gently. My gaze flickered up the arm to lock with the all-too-familiar intensity of green eyes. "Seth…" My voice was soft, and weak.

"I heard that you were sick." His eyes flashed with worry. "I… I was tempted not to come back, but I just couldn't help it."

"…Why?" I propped myself up on my elbow. "Why did you come back?"

"Because I guess I love you." He smiled and moved closer to me. "I didn't want you to die and know that I never told you that again."

For a moment my heart swelled and I felt irrevocably happy. "I always knew that you loved me. Somehow. From that first night at the fountain."

He had nothing to do but grin at that. Then, he softly placed a short kiss on my forehead. "Get better, Rosalina. I mean it."

"I will. I promise." I smiled at him, knowing that this time he wouldn't leave me.

~:o:~

Reviews are appreciated!

-A.K.