Alright, so this chapter went in a bit of a different direction than I had expected it to. But the more I think about it, the more I like it, so I'm posting it today. I was going to rewrite it and post next week, but I'm going to keep it and upload now, so please enjoy!
Ps. Really friggin long chapter compared to normal. Hope that's all good with y'all, though I don't know who would complain about reading more...
She was joking, right? This whole thing was becoming a huge practical joke.
"I think I misheard you." I said, slowly backing toward the way I'd come in. "You don't mean to say I'm meeting the Prince right now, right?" Rebecca's smile faltered slightly before returning.
"Of course that's what I mean. Very rarely do I speak incorrectly." No. This wasn't happening. I was too confused to leave when I met the Queen, but I was fully aware of what was going on now. There was no way in hell they could get me to meet the prince. The group leading me picked up walking again, expecting me to follow, but instead, I pulled off the heels I was wearing, and turned around, running down the hall. I tried to retrace my steps in order to leave, finding the smaller wooden hallway I had entered from. I'd nearly made it to the door, when a strong pair of arms wrapped themselves around my waist and hoisted me off the ground.
"This is agent 43, I have found and captured the target."
"Roger that. Escort her to the Charlesmen Room."
"Alright, we can do this the easy way, or we can do this the hard way. If I set you down, will you run?" I shook my head.
Of course I would say that. Would I really be honest with agent 43? He set me down, and I turned and glanced at him, recognizing him as one of the men who were in the car that drove me here. I smiled briefly.
"Sorry about this. I really am. I just can't do this." Before he got too confused, I punched him in the nose, continuing my run toward the exit, slowing when I found it to be blocked by a bunch of men in black suits. Damn. So close.
I put my hands up in surrender, hoping they wouldn't start shooting at me or something for punching an agent.
"I'm really sorry!" I yelled, praying they'd forgive me. "I didn't mean it in a bad way!" I squeezed my eyes shut when I saw several agents rush toward me. This was how I was going to die. Because I punched an agent in the face.
My eyes opened quickly when I felt one of the agents grab me by the waist and hoist me up off of the ground. I yelped in surprise and tried to find steady ground as I was whisked back deeper into the palace.
I squirmed against the guards hands, wanting nothing more than to punch this guy in the nose too. I didn't want to be here. I shouldn't even have had to be here. I don't care who my parents were. I wasn't raised by them. It's a blood tie. I didn't have any qualifications to be a princess other than that blood type. But wouldn't a princess from another country be better suited to be a princess? When Mr. Wickens had read the news article to us in class, they thought maybe the prince would marry an already princess. I liked that idea. It gave the royals a good princess, and it got me out of all of this.
And lets be honest. I wasn't going to be a good princess. I was used to sneaking out, and going to parties, and punching people in the nose. I wouldn't be a good princess. At least not the way they wanted a princess to be.
The agent carrying me finally stopped, the other agent opening a set of large, beautifully gilded doors, before the agent holding me walked into the room, set me down on a couch, and hightailed it out of there before I could get off the couch and protest. They slammed the doors behind them, and I rushed toward the doors, struggling as I tried to open them, with no avail. I looked around the room to see if there was another exit, and I saw another set of doors across the room. I ran as quickly as I could to the other set of doors, and attempted a grand push, only to have the wind knocked out of me from running into the solidly shut doors. I grunted quietly as I pushed again, the doors standing firmly in place. So they'd locked me in here, eh?
I glanced to my left and saw a row of long windows, going to them to see if I could maybe hop out. While planning my escape this time, however, I was caught in the act.
"Should I alert the gardeners to trim the thorns from the rose bushes below the windows?" I froze. There were two things wrong here. One was that I was caught. The second was that if I jumped from the window now, I'd definitely be caught in the thorny bushes. I also couldn't put this amazing dress through that trauma. So I turned around, sighing all the while, expecting a palace guard to alert me that the prince was ready to meet me. Imagine my surprise when the person who had come into the room was the prince himself.
Yes, Prince Warren Frederick Sutton of Anbor was standing across the room from me. And not to sound like a starstruck teenager, but he was even better looking in person. That thick, dark golden hair, those piercing blue grey eyes. He was the picture of perfect genetic breeding. And he was always so stoic on television and in the papers, but here he was, silently smirking at the girl trying to hop out a window just a second ago.
I straightened my dress and pulled the heels back on, doing my best to smile politely, though I felt it falter when the prince's smirk grew into a grin, and the grin grew into a burst of deep chuckles.
"I apologize." He said, regaining composure while I stood like an idiot in front of the windows. "This is the first time that I've met someone as they're trying to escape my company."
"Oh don't make me feel special. I'm sure it happens all the time. These windows sure do make you want to jump out of them."
Have I ever mentioned I get stupid when I'm nervous? Yeah. I get really stupid.
"Well you have succeeded in being the first. I should introduce myself, though. I'm Warren." He crossed the room, offering his hand to me in a way that seemed far too old fashioned and formal for an almost 18 year old, regular girl. Instead, I grabbed his hand and shook it.
"Lila. So the whole purpose of trapping me here was just to meet you, right?" He nodded.
"It was to get us acquainted, considering our marriage in a month." I nearly keeled over as the words dropped from his mouth. Yes I had known my reason for being involved with the royal family was a marriage I was avoiding, but hearing it come from the prospective groom's mouth was terrifying.
"Y-yeah. Anyway, I've got some stuff to do today, so could we maybe, you know, skip all of this? Say we're buddies to anyone who asks, and just let me go home now?" The princes face showed signs of shock.
"I could tell by your desperate attempts to leave that you don't want to be here, but don't you think it's for the best? Would you rather just marry me in a month without knowing me at all?" I scoffed. I knew the prince had grown up with these standard rules like that he'd marry when he turned twenty, but I was new to all of this. And I wasn't going down without a fight.
"Here's the deal." I stated, folding my hands behind my back. "I'm not marrying you." I put up a finger as he went to speak, amazed with my controlling habits over the prince. Had it been any other situation, and I would basically be bowing to this dude right about now. "I'm a student. At a public school. That's not good for a princess."
"You will be transferred over to a private school immediately." I glared at the prince.
"I'm an art student. I do weird things like take pictures that aren't what princesses should take."
"Easily erased. We're a powerful family." Would he just give it up?
"I work. I sneak out. I go to parties. I drink. What do you want me to say that'll convince you that I'm not a good princess? That I talk back? That I'd rather lounge in sweatpants and socks and read high fashion magazines than live as one?" The prince paused.
"I understand this is all sudden for you, but please consider your place. You are a Lady. That makes you royalty, and the woman I am to marry. I am aware that your life is changing exponentially, and will never be the same, but this is for Anbor. Consider your country and not just your own needs."
I nearly groaned. It came out more as a sigh, but I couldn't handle this guy. Clearly none of the royals knew of my hatred for the royalty. Yes, hatred. After meeting two of them and dealing with their agents, I couldn't stand them. I let out a patient sigh.
"Look, Prince Warren-"
"Just Warren." I grimaced slightly. He wasn't making this easy.
"Alright, Warren, as hard as it is for me to say, I don't see how I'd be doing anything good for Anbor. And I most likely think that because I think so little of the royal family." To say he looked shocked was an understatement.
"Y-you what?" I nodded.
"Yep. After the way I've been treated lately, and how little the royal family actually does, I'd say you're better off getting a princess who wants the title, because I sure don't. Now if you'll excuse me."
I went to pass him to leave, but he caught my arm by the elbow, his grip gentle yet firm.
"You surprise me." He said. "I learn about my future bride for most of my life, and I begin to feel I know her as I watch her grow throughout the years, but clearly who is standing in front of me today is not the woman I heard about and watched growing up." The royals had been keeping tabs on me? How fitting.
I clearly missed the point of the prince's speech, seeing as he sighed and let go of my arm.
"I met your parents several times before you were born, and I barely remember them, but they were great and kind people. If they could see what has come of their daughter, I fear what they would say. You are free to go." He turned and left, leaving me alone to think about what he had just said.
I hadn't expected anything about my parents to strum a chord with me, seeing how nothing about them has until this point, but I felt...odd. I didn't want to be a princess. That much I knew for sure. But my parents. The people I never really knew. They had wanted to be royalty. Why? If I was 50% royalty by blood, I should feel some attachment to the throne. Some loyalty to the crown.
And maybe I did. But if I had any, it was so buried inside of me that I'd actually have to find it.
And maybe I could try.