She woke up and it was all a dream. And while we're at it a cute guy just stormed in to sweep her off her feet. Either he was a prince, or they would be married at the country club in March. Both would suit.
Except right now the only guy was the facially long-haired bloke that just thumped himself into the seat in front of me. It would be nice if it was a dream, then I wouldn't have be on this shuddering lump of a bus making better realities in my mind.
She was lying in a soft bed, not in the disaster that had just been in her mind. There was a man standing over her, a cloak billowing out behind him, and an emblem placed on his chest. A prince. She gasped, realisation dawning on her warm lips.
"My lady," he said, offering her his hand.
"Oh m rescuer!" She declared.
"I hope you slept well." He smiled charmingly, like every prince would.
She recalled. "oh it was terrible. I was in this horrible world, full of, full of…" She took a deep breath. "Peasant. I had to share my carriage with them, and they hadn't the decency to prepare themselves for my presence and shave."
The prince shook his head sadly. "You are very lucky it was a dream them. You shall be alright now, because I am here, you're daring rescuer."
The princess gasped again and with a hand to her forehead, she collapsed daintily onto her bed.
When she came to, the prince was making room beside her for himself.
"Can I sit there?"
I moved my bag without glancing up, sliding it onto my lap. He put himself down, not in a hurried way, like he didn't really care whether he sat there or not. But I suppose he didn't.
"Your eyes are like stars, twinkling on a moonless night."
She was breathless at his compliment, something that she would soon be used to. "You my dear knight, are as brave as any dragon, and as fearless as a lion."
Suddenly something overcame the man, and he lurched forward.
My bag slid to the floor as the bus decided to make a sudden stop at a red light. The boy beside me leant down and picked it up.
I realised he must be about my age, maybe he went to the same university as me.
The prince has recovered?"
"Tell me," she implored, "what kingdom are you from?"
"From over the mountains, beneath the rivers start."
She had never been there, but knew it must be beautiful if such a beautiful person came from it.
"Are you ready to go there?" He asked.
They took the stairs down and there was waiting for them his pure white horse.
I turned from the window.
"Have you got the time?"
I took a look at my watch. "Almost quarter to six."
With the sun setting behind them, they galloped off into the distance, the only remnant of their existence left by the horse's hooves, which fell light into the ground.
"Thanks. I really need to get myself a watch, but I never do. It means I'd have to learn to tell time first."
I didn't laugh at his attempted joking, but instead replied politely. "Get a digital then."
Perhaps his face fell at my reply, or perhaps the sudden gush of wind through the window had stretched his mouth. "Good idea." He was silent, then spoke again. "This bus takes so long sometimes, you just wish it would cut all the corners don't you."
Despite not wanting to open my mouth I felt a reply to this stranger necessary, just in case I ever saw him again and wasn't so lucky to avoid him. "Yeah it can take awhile." I pulled out my phone in vain hope.
"How far to your kingdom?" The princess asked.
"We shall be there by tomorrow evening, and then the next day we will be wed."
The princess contained a squeal in delight. She thought about her dress, a shimmering golden white gown of a puff, which would be considerably disproportionate to her size but would fit her all the same.
"Then again, it means less time at home babysitting my sister."
"How nice," I said dryly.
"My prince," She said on a sudden thought. "What of my family?"
"Your family, what of them?"
"Will they be at our wedding?"
A fallen face comes over the prince, but she is looking straight ahead and does not see it.
"You have been captured in that tower many years, I am afraid your family are gone."
It was the princess's turn to take the fallen face. "But I was in there barely a year, I counted the days with my weaving."
"My dear you must have been sleeping."
The princess, such a terribly confused image on her dainty little face, had not an idea what to think. She was helpless, unsurprisingly enough.
"But the days…"
"You want some gum?"
I wished more than anything that he would stop bothering. I was tempted to get off the bus there and caught the next one that came along, but the effort of the day had caught up, and I decided to go through this pain to get home fifteen minutes earlier.
"A dream. Tell me, what did you eat and drink during this time?" The prince expected an answer of nothing.
"The birds would bring me food and water each day through my window."
"You know if you give a bird gum it will explode."
I stared at him. "I thought rice did that."
He thought for a moment. "Maybe gum just makes them choke."
Neither the prince nor the princess has an answer to the time the princess had gone through. It had been forgotten when she was first known to be there, and she herself and thought it had been only a year. They concluded in the end, that for the unexplainable there must be an explanation, but one that needn't bother them nor get in the way of their love. The present was the importance, not the past.
The bus stopped at a green light. The boy leant forward, as if trying to see through the front window, and as we waited the rush of a siren fled past.
"You think someone's dying?" He said.
"That's really what you're thinking?"
"Well I'm just thinking that if someone is I hope they help the poor bugger." His brash attitude was annoying me more with every sentence. The bus started again and I willed it on steadily.
The night had come and gone and in the morning they speed swiftly onto the kingdom. It was not long before they had crossed the pass in the mountains and the princess got her first sight of the kingdom. Bright green grass, bright leafy trees, bright colourful flowers and a bright clear stream. A perfect kingdom.
"You're kingdom is very beautiful."
We had arrived at the tip of the suburbs, and I sighed gratefully. A few more winds and hopefully no red lights and I would be home soon.
"Not long now my princess and we shall be home."
She wondered what her new home would be like, and she did not doubt that it would be anything but beautiful. They galloped through the kingdom, her in a daze, amazed at what she saw, and all the while preparing herself for her awaited arrival.
We turned a corner and I reached over to press the button. He had pressed it first.
"You live around here?" I had to ask. The sudden curiosity had risen through me.
The bus pushed into the curb and we got off together.
"Just down that street. You?"
For a moment I considered taking the long way, but my already drained effort levels had been exerted by him on the bus. I sighed.
"I'm on the street off the end."
With a cheery stride he waited for me to start and we set off.
In the distance the castle had started to form. Golden spires erupted from the ground, and a dazzling array of whatever else makes a castle pretty enshrouded it. They rode closer and soon they were coming to the doors. They were open wide, welcoming and as the princess took her first look inside
"Here?" I stared at the house he had stopped by. It was probably the nicest looking house in the street, but a certain mother of mine happened to be friends with one of the neighbour. She took round baked food occasionally. She rarely saw the father of the four children, apparently he was in hospital all the time.
"This place is mine. My shining castle."
It's odd when you think about what someone must go through, someone that you've never known, but someone that you know about. The son, he works every day in the supermarket and comes home and looks after the girls whilst she goes and works a night shift.
The prince helped her off the horse. She looked around at the destruction inside the palace, the rumbles of bricks only just being held together by-
"It was nice to meet you, I've gotta run in and babysit now" he said.
I smiled. "Have fun."
"Yeah we'll they'll probably want me to play princesses with them. Three princesses and one prince, whew, high demand."
I laughed, and he laughed to.
"I'm James. I hope we can chat again sometime." He held out his hand.
"Georgia." And I smiled, realisation dawning as I took his warm fingers. "So do I."