"Rose, I'm still not so sure about this," I said as we walked down an empty corridor on the ground floor. "Honestly, Rosie, we've been over this. You know you can't change my mind. We've been talking about this since last week. I'm going and that's final," Rosaline said as we reached the oldest window in the castle. It was shaped like a house, square at the bottom, pointed at the top. It led to the part of the palace where the bakers did stock. It was easy for one of us to get out because our baker was a kind old lady that we used to spend hours with when we were younger. We had sitters but we preferred to be with her. None of our sitters were as kind to us as she was so my mother made her the princesses personal baker. Rose and I could both now bake almost everything she could.
"Ms. White!" I called when I saw her walk past the window. She stopped dead in her tracks and faced us. She smiled, she had those kind smiles that make you feel loved without even a word or touch. Her once red hair was now fading into gray a bit and her round face was getting more wrinkles by the week. Her eyes will never change though, clear blue eyes that always shone with life. She was old, almost sixty-five. Whenever my mother asked about her retirement, she'd just say she'd never retire unless her bones gave in. She had a passion for baking and a passion for us. Whenever she said that, I was always close to tears. Rose and I both loved her like we'd love a grandmother.
"Why, good morning, dears. What brings you two here?" She asked and looked at Rose. "And with such hat?" She asked. I looked at Rose. For the first time ever Rose was wearing jeans. She looked good in them though. She had on a pink tank top and black sneakers (sneakers!) with a black tennis hat on her head. Ms. White laughed. "I hardly recognized you, my dear," she said and touched Rose's cheek.
Rose smiled. "Good. Ms. White, I need your help," Rose said. We explained to her about our plan and she seemed cautious at first but when Rose promised she'd be back within three hours and that she knew the town well enough and wouldn't go far, Ms. White finally nodded.
"Okay, but you be careful, now," she said and helped Rose out the window. I must say, I doubt I would have been able to recognize my own sister if I hadn't helped her get dressed that morning. I watched Ms. White walk with her past the gates, even the guards didn't recognize her! Ms. White explained that it was her grandchild and that she'd be back later to help with a few things. I held my breath and saw them nod. They actually bought it!
As I watched my sister walk into town, a deep worry settled in my stomach. I took a deep breath to calm myself down. "She'll be fine," I said and exhaled. "I wouldn't be so sure about that." I jumped and turned around, my eyes wide. A young boy, dressed in the palace guard uniform stood behind me, his expression serious. The uniform consisted of a white button up shirt with a black bulletproof vest disguised as a pullover and black pants with a black tie. His eyes were a deep brown as well as his curly hair. He seemed a bit young for a guard, nineteen or twenty.
"Please, please, please! Don't tell anyone. She'll be back in three hours, she promised," I begged. His expression softened a bit but not much. "I have to. It's my job," he said and turned around. I grabbed his arm and spun him back. "Wait! Please, I'll do anything. Yesterday Rose found out she's being forced into marriage and she just wants one day of freedom, to see what it's like to be normal. It's all she wants, please don't take it away from her," I said, my arms tightening around his uniform and my eyes pleading with him. He stared at me for a while before he finally sighed.
"Okay, fine, I won't tell but you need to promise me that I won't lose my job because of this," he said. I nodded frantically.
"I promise! They won't find out if you don't tell," I said and hugged him quickly. "Thank you," I said and smiled at him. He seemed a bit surprised and I realized I had just hugged a total stranger. I shyly tucked a hair behind my ear.
"I'm sorry. That was out of line," I said and cleared my throat then looked at him. He shook his head.
"It's okay, princess. Shouldn't you be getting to your room?" He asked. "I should wait here for my sister," I said.
He raised his eyebrows. "For three hours?" He asked.
I nodded. "I need to be here in case she comes back," I said.
He smiled. "What?" I asked.
He shook his head a little. "You and your sister... you two are very close," he said.
"Well I should hope so, we're twins," I said and I dropped my eyes. "I need to be there for her. This is going to be difficult for her and I need her to know that I'll always be there for her," I said and cleared my throat again.
"Yeah, I get that. I've got two younger sisters of my own," he said. I smiled and dropped my eyes. "Uh... shouldn't you be heading to your station?" I asked.
"Actually, this is my station," he said. I smiled, actually glad I'd have some company. "Are you new?" I asked.
He nodded. "Yes, princess. I started last week," he said.
I nodded. "You seem young for a guard," I said.
"I'm nineteen. I finished school at seventeen and went into training immediately after," he explained.
I blinked. "So being a palace guard was in your plans?" I asked.
He pulled up his shoulders. "I didn't have much of a choice actually," he said. I tilted my head. "Oh?" I asked. He smiled slightly.
"You see, I have two younger sisters, my mother passed away a long time ago and my father barely made enough to send me to school. He's a carver and so, as soon as I could, I started working."
He pulled up his shoulders. "I can't expect my dad to give out a lot of money on college or university for me. He's got my sister's future to think of and so do I. I want them to have it easier," he said. I studied him for a while. My heart sinking lower as he spoke and even lower as what he said sunk in.
I blinked. "That's so . . . wow. That's very . . ." I couldn't find the right word to describe what I had just heard. "Princess Rosemarie?" I stiffened and looked to where the deep voice came from. "Johnson," I said when I saw an older palace guard stand a few steps away from us. Johnson had worked for us for over ten years now and he was always friendly. He was almost like a grandfather to me ever since I was younger. He was almost sixty and would have to retire soon. He had black and gray hair and soft gray eyes that were surrounded by wrinkles but his eyes always smiled. He had an open face that was comforting at any time. "What are you doing here?" I asked. He took a step closer. "I should be asking you the same question," he said.
I stiffened. "I was, uh . . . uh, I was just -."
"She was just welcoming me to the new job, sir. Letting me know what's expected of me and helping me feel more comfortable," the boy saved me. Johnson smiled a little. "Well I'm here to relieve this young boy. It's his lunch break. Why don't you show him around the castle, princess. I'm sure he'd like that," Johnson said. "Very well," I said, not knowing what else to say. The boy offered his hand as I struggled off the windowsill. "Bye, Johnson," I called over my shoulder. I could see Johnson trying to contain a chuckle but I wasn't sure why.
I looked around the town and smiled. People were walking around about their daily business, something I've only seen from behind a tinted car window. I noticed that the roads were cobblestoned and the houses were all in the shapes of towers. It was like walking through the Disney movie Tangled but with cars driving around and modern people with modern jobs. For the first time ever, I was out! I was free! I tilted my head upwards and even the sun felt different today. I walked around the town just looking at everything there was to see, enjoying the smells and sounds. I saw a public football field ahead and my smile grew when I saw people playing on it. I've always had a thing for a good football game. My curiosity got the better of me and I walked closer. When I got to the gate, I stood still as I watched a player pass the ball to another. The one team was wearing black t-shirts and the other was wearing green t-shirt. It was obviously street football since the designs on the t-shirts were all different and they were all wearing different sorts of pants. Some wore sweats, some wore shorts and some even wore jeans.
The team with the black's defending was excellent. I stood at the gate for a few minutes before walking inside and towards the little bleachers at the side of the field and sat down on the second step. The only spectators were myself and an elderly man sitting at the side of the bleacher on the first step. "Excuse me, sir!" I called out. He turned his head and looked at me. He had gray hair, soft blue eyes that were surrounded by wrinkles and was dressed in a black t-shirt and navy sweats. His eyes widened and he was about to point when I put my finger to my lips.
"Shhhh!" I said.
He nodded. "Afternoon, princess, what are you doing out?" He asked with a friendly smile. I had to smile back.
"Afternoon, sir. I'm watching football," I said with a wink. He nodded as if he understood. "Could you please tell me what the score is?" I asked.
"It's 2-1," he said. "In whose favor?" I asked.
"The team with the green," he said. I nodded,
"And now how much time is left?" I asked.
"They're heading into the last five," he said, lifting the whistle around his neck to let me know that he was the ref.
I thanked him and watched the game again. A tall, muscular man on the field that had a neon green band around his arm and a black shirt had the ball. I assumed he was the captain. He quickly passed it to a teammate at the far side of the field as they came closer to the goal. "Come on, Shane, make it happen!" The muscular man called to the boy he had passed the ball to. I watched the boy as he faked his way past two defenders and held my breath as he struck the ball towards the goal right in the corner! There was cheering from the team in black.
Before I could stop myself, I cheered with them, standing up and clapping my hands. When I realized what I was doing, it was too late. The boy that took the goal (who was now surrounded by his teammates) looked at me from the middle of the celebration. Even from the distance I was standing, I could still make out his sharp gray eyes and glistening black hair. He held my gaze for a few seconds then smiled a sincere smile. My heart skipped a beat and I was so surprised that I couldn't smile back. I sat back down and rather watched the last few minutes as the team in black tried breaking the team in green's defense again. They came pretty close. If they had a little more time, I'm sure they would have had another goal and have won the game. At least they made the draw. As the teams shook hands at the end of the game, I got off the bleachers and headed towards the gate again. I still had so much I wanted to see in town, although that game was worth the six-seven minutes I had spent watching it.
"Hey!" I glanced over my shoulder and saw that boy that had scored running towards me. He caught up with me and stood about a step away from me. His face was glistening with sweat and he had on a plain black shirt, black sweats and dark shoes. He was panting slightly but he was smiling. I studied him, he was even better looking up close. Beautiful smile, perfect teeth, sharp gray eyes and black hair. He had a football player build that's for sure. "I'm Shane," he said and extended a hand to me. I took it gingerly. "Rose," I said and continued walking, he fell into step with me. I was happy he did. "Pleased to meet you," I said. "The pleasure's all mine," he said. I raised an eyebrow at his smoothness but smiled anyway. "So how did you enjoy the game?" He asked. I shook my head. "Good game. I must say, you were great out there. I saw the way you broke through that defense, that was some great footwork. How long have you been doing this?" I asked.
He pulled up his shoulders. "My dad taught me how to play the game ever since I could walk but this was my first time playing street," he said.
I was a bit surprised. "You're not part of the team?" I asked. "Nope, I was goofing around with them earlier so they asked me if I wanted to play with them today since their reserve was at a wedding or something," he explained. I nodded.
"Well they made a good choice. You've got some serious skill," I said. He rubbed the back of his head. "Thanks. Where are you heading?" He asked. I shook my head. "Anywhere I feel like. I'm sort of just getting to know the town from a different point of view since I always just drive through it," I said.
"Hey, that's great! You mind if I walk with you? I don't know the town and I'd like to see more of it," he said.
I tilted my head a little. "You're new here?" I asked.
He nodded. "My mother's here on business but for me it's like a mini vacation," he explained. I smiled. "So can I walk with you? We could get to know the town together. Trust me, I'm great company," he bragged but his eyes were playful enough to make me believe he wasn't arrogant. I gave in, how could I not? He was just too adorable.
"Sure," I said.
"I'd love to find out how true that statement is." He smiled.
"Hey, Shane!" Both of us turned around and saw the captain standing on the field. He tossed the game ball to Shane and Shane caught it. "Nice game. There's a little souvenir for you," he called. Shane laughed and spun the ball between his fingers. "Thanks, captain," he called back and saluted the captain. The man just laughed and shook his head then turned back to his team. I laughed as we walked through the open gate. "Looks like you've made quite the impression on them," I said. He smirked. "And you?" He asked. I raised an eyebrow. "Have I made one on you?" He asked. I smiled and raised an eyebrow. "If you're referring to your football skills, then yeah," I said as we walked through the town. I looked around. "Gosh, this place is beautiful," I said, looking past the buildings to the beautiful mountains that surrounded our small kingdom. Unfortunately, I couldn't see their tops since the clouds had covered them.
"It really is," Shane said. I looked at him. "It must be incredible waking up to have these mountains greet you every morning. I'm sure they're amazing when the clouds aren't blocking them," he said.
I nodded. "Yeah, they are... but cloudy weather.... I don't know. There's something magical about it," I said and looked towards the mountains again.
"You think?" Shane asked. I looked at him.
"You don't like cloudy weather?" I asked. He pulled up his shoulders.
"I've never really thought about it. Everyday, no matter what the weather is, it is always a good day for me. Every kind of weather gives a new feel for the day. Sunny weather means I get to play football without worrying about ending the game early. Rainy weather means getting to sit inside playing PlayStation games all day, you know. Chilled weather. Cloudy weather.... I don't know, I suppose it means you can do anything you want, you can still play football." He twirled the ball around on his finger. I laughed a little. "But you can also just stay at home 'cause there's the risk of rain," he said. I smiled a little. We were talking about weather, but it wasn't small talk. "So where do you wanna go?" He asked.
"Uhm... Let's just walk and see where we end up. Would you mind doing that?" I asked, hoping it didn't sound too boring to him. He smiled and I relaxed.
"Sounds perfect," he said.
*Spohie: Haha, I hope you like what I have in plan.
*BriBri: I have so many ideas so I don't plan on stopping any time soon.
*Yvotte: Haha. That sounds like a good thing.
*Tileah 'Dobby': I should really check out your stories sometime and thank you. I would love some help some time and haha yeah I always tell myself I'd fall for a Matthew but end up going for the Mark's in this world (one of my weak points).
It's Royally Complicated - Chapter 1 (Part 2)Long Chapter...
By Simone Reeds