Giselle let out a breath of air when she dropped onto her bed. Finally! She thought she’d never get out of that ballroom. She somehow ended up chatting with the prince for a while even after deciding to head home directly after her little performance. Then Rose and Shane showed up and that cascaded into more of her cousins joining the conversation. Eventually even Marie got pulled in and . . .
Giselle felt a small smile touch her lips. It wasn’t really all that bad in the end. Rose was in love and free to be with the guy she wanted, Rosemarie finally got her father’s blessing to date Ethan, Mark was single and for the first time since the guy hit puberty, he spent the evening in the company of his family and not chasing some girl or fulfilling royal duties. Giselle couldn’t remember the last time she laughed so much with her cousins.
Then there was the look on Prince Eric’s face when she finished her performance. Giselle felt her smile deepen. She lived for moments like that, moments where her music could reveal who the person was under that layer of manners.
She opened her eyes and laughed out loud. She pushed her hair back and left her palm on her forehead as she stared at the ceiling. It was quite sad that, that might be the last time she saw him.
She shook her head when she realized something; she actually liked the guy. Despite her foul mood earlier she enjoyed his company.
Pity, she thought as she rolled over to her side, they could’ve been good friends.
Eric stared out the car window as they drove from the Cashadin palace. For such a modern kingdom, they held on to their cobblestoned roads and tower-like buildings. The kingdom had a whimsical feel to it, so different from back home where the trees were more abundant than houses, the roads were smooth and made from tar. Eric wondered for a moment when he would see this kingdom again. He was sure Shane would come back to visit Rosaline, but there was nothing left for Eric. The thought caused a strange, dull ache inside his chest.
He turned and looked at his brother. Shane gave him a grin that made him want to open the door and jump right out.
"You seem to have gotten along well with Giselle Balaco."
Eric smiled sardonically. "As much as I would love to indulge you in a gossip session to recap the night’s events like a teenage girl –." Shane’s smile dropped. " – maybe another time," Eric said dryly with a tip of his head.
"Don’t even act ignorant about it. There was definite chemistry."
"Was there now?" Eric regarded his brother with mild annoyance. Shane usually got too cocky when he thought he had the upper hand. Shane was a heart first kind of man, Eric was not. Heart was the last thing he placed his trust in. Emotions were deceptive, Shane had proved that many times before. The guy jumped in and out of infatuation like he was on a trampoline and as different as he was with Rosaline, Eric was holding his breath to see if this one would last. He hoped it would, he had never made a choice as impulsive as the one he had made tonight. He consoled himself with the notion that Shane could only grow with a girl like Rosaline at his side. If he were ever to hold on to her, he’d have to mature a bit, a sacrifice Eric was sure Shane would gladly make by the looks of it. Rosaline challenged him in ways that would build his character, especially since they would be in different kingdoms most of the time. If nothing else, Shane couldn’t get any worse with her.
"You, brother, are a man of stature, intellect, and nobility. But you’re a man, nonetheless. You’re susceptible to the charms of the opposite sex and with Giselle Balaco, you succumbed completely," Shane said then laughed. He shook his head. "How long did it take for your brain to function again after you finished speaking to her?"
"Is that rhetorical or do you actually want an answer to such an abstruse question," Eric mocked, leaving emotion out of his tone. The best way to handle his brother when he was like this was to give him as little response possible. Shane was a sportsman, he enjoyed competition, if Eric gave him none he would get bored soon enough and this would be over within the next three minutes. "For any normal man, you held up well." He paused and brought a hand to his chest. "But I will do you this favor. I’ll let you live in this little illusion for a while and when you’re ready to get out of denial, come find me. I’ve never had the pleasure of saying ‘I told you so’ to my immaculate older brother." Shane gave Eric a slap on his shoulder and an amused grin. Despite himself, Eric felt his lip tug as a grin. "If I ever do in fact decide to face reality, you’ll be the first to know," he assured. Shane smirked.
"But on a serious note." His hand remained on Eric’s shoulder as his tone dropped and lost its humor. "Thank you for what you did tonight, Eric." His lips tipped up. "It means more to me than you think."
"Shane, just treat this one right, and you’ll be doing me a favor," Eric said. Shane nodded. "I will. I promise," he said and took his arm off Eric’s shoulder.
Eric turned back to the window and tried to close his mind around the memory of the evening that pushed to the surface.
Eric wanted to shake his head. Enough.
Giselle was a nice distraction. But the night was over and soon they would be in their own kingdom.
Back to business.
Okay, so it's almost 1 am as I'm posting and I'm honestly just want to press the button and switch off for the evening, so I'm very sorry Miha and Butterfly!
I promise to reply to your comments for the next chapter.
I'll be posting Chapter 3 sometime tomorrow - it's finished, I promise, I just want to proofread but, again, it's almost 1 am (haha).
I'm tired guys, I'm actually at that point where I'm laughing at nothing.
Have a great day, everybody!