Philip, crown prince and heir apparent to the throne of Miionis, lay in his dark hotel suite in Brussels staring at the ceiling. He'd had a long day and tomorrow was going to be the same. He knew he should make the most of whatever rest he managed to get. He tried everything to force his eyes to stay close, stopping short of welding his lids together. But it was impossible. Every time he tried, he saw the same thing. Like a replay. Over and over again.
His thoughts took him back to earlier that evening. This was his first time representing his country, unsupervised, as the King in waiting. Much hinged on his ability to charter a trade agreement with the Belgians. Something he could use as a foundation to build trust in his reign amongst his people. At age twenty two, he was still considered wet behind the years, and he knew he had a long way to go to even try and fill his grandmother's shoes. He stood talking to a Belgian politician and all things considered, he thought it was going quite well.
Philip was just getting comfortable with the flow of the conversation. He managed to hold his own and proved himself a good conversationalist. He was witty, insightful, appeared knowledgeable yet maintained a tone of humility that showed he wanted to learn from those more experienced than him. In short, he was on a roll and was starting to enjoy himself thoroughly. In a move that had become second nature to him since he got married, he was simultaneously watching his wife as she charmed her way across the room. She was positioned right behind the politician and was directly in his line of vision. She was standing with a Baroness they had earlier been introduced to and seemed to having a very animated conversation. Still watching his wife, he smiled at what the older man was saying and opened his mouth, ready with a smart rejoinder. At something the Baroness said, his wife threw her head back and laughed in delight. And Philip promptly lost his train of thought.
And as he lay in his bed that night, he was yet to get his wits back. She smiled. She smiled. The kind of smile he hadn't seen in the last six months. Oh, he had seen her smile often enough. A tight movement of the lips. Nothing more than was expected from royalty. But this? This was something he hadn't seen in a while and he was shocked he didn't even realize how much he'd missed that. A smile that came from the heart, that started with a naughty upward tilt at the corners of her mouth, reached her eyes, so full of goodness and trust, and to be at the receiving end of that smile was like a jolt straight to the heart.
Philip sighed as he gave up trying to sleep. He swung his legs over the side of his bed and dropped his head to his hands. That smile brought out feelings he had worked so hard to come to terms with. Feelings of loss, of helplessness, of anger and most of all guilt. She had once smiled like that at him, open trusting and honest. He had repaid her with betrayal. That smile made him realize he couldn't push things away. It made him realize that he needed to proactively do something to achieve the life he imagined he would lead with his wife. What though? He was at a loss. How could he convince her of the honesty of his feelings? And more importantly, that his first loyalty was to her. He wouldn't blame her if she threw it all back in his face. But he had to try. He opened the door and walked out onto the balcony, his thoughts filled with how he could possibly make things better with his wife.
And so Prince Philip, crown prince and heir apparent to the throne of Miionis, spent a sleepless night staring into the city streets below. It was all because she smiled.