"Well, that was fun." Mark said sarcastically as we exited the dining room, leaving our parents to talk as usual. "Wasn't it?" Chanelle added to the sarcasm. "Are you sure you guys weren't adopted? No offense to your parents but there's no way any of you are anything like them." Chanelle said and turned to look at all of us. I nodded. "Thank you," Matthew and I said simultaneously. I added an eye roll to that statement. "Gosh, it's pathetic how little they know about us," I said as we walked through the castle. "And mother! Acting like you're supposed to just be okay with forgetting to tell you about the date of the party," Mark said. "And the move," Matthew added. I shook my head with disbelief, wanting to get off the topic. I needed some physical outlet. "Football anyone?" I asked and bit my tongue. Shane had a bigger influence on me than I thought. Mark, Matthew, and Chanelle, all shot me confused looks. Mark raised an eyebrow. "Did Shane teach you how to play in my absence?" He asked. I nibbled on my lip. "No," I said. "Rose, you can't even kick a ball," Matthew said. "Then maybe you guys can teach me tonight," I said suggestively. "I need to get my mind off this stupid engagement, plus I want to spend some more time with you guys. I'll be out of your hair in a month," I said. Their expressions softened and they nodded.
"Okay, sis. Get ready for the workout of your life. Let's all change and meet at the field in ten?" Mark suggested and smiled but I could see the sadness in his eyes. He was going to miss me. I smiled, my heart warming at the thought. Then we were all off. I changed into sweats and a black tank, and my sneakers. I tied my hair into a ponytail as I walked down the hall to Mark's room. He came out of his room and closed it slowly behind his back. "Hey, you ready?" He asked enthusiastically. I smiled a bit. He was excited to be my coach. I looked towards his room. "Is Rosie in there?" I asked. He nodded and suddenly seemed grim. "What's really wrong with her?" I asked, knowing for a fact it wasn't that time of the month. Mark pulled up his shoulders and shook his head. "She's been crying since this afternoon and she won't talk," he said. I nodded. "I'll talk to her. Is she awake?" I asked and looked at him. Mark nodded. "Then you go ahead. I'll catch up in a few," I said. "Okay," Mark said and started jogging down the hall.
"Hey, Rosie," I said quietly as I entered my brother's room. Rosemarie was lying on Mark's bed, deep under the covers with her back to the door. I got on the queen size bed and sat on my knees before giving a sigh. The lights were off and it was almost pitch black, except for some light streaming in from a crack between the curtains. I touched my twin's shoulder gently. "What's wrong?" I asked. Rosie didn't move but I knew she heard me. After a few seconds she pulled the blankets up to her earlobes. "We missed you at dinner," I tried again. "You would not believe what happened tonight." I waited. "My engagement party is in a week! Can you believe it? I'm okay though. What's the point in being depressed about this forever? I'm just wasting precious time I still have with you guys." I sighed, wondering for how much longer she was going to let me talk. "I feel awful about being like a zombie around you guys. I can't believe how detached I had become ... but I want to make things right. I really want to enjoy the time I have with you guys, especially since I'll be out of here in a month." I waited for anything from Rosie. This wasn't working. I needed a new topic. Talking about me and my problems were not the solution, I realized. "I'm not sure what's going on with Matthew and Chanelle. I mean, I thought they were going to start dating after her birthday because of Autumn's baby, but it doesn't seem that way. Neither of them will tell me anything, so I have no idea what's going on in either of their heads. I just hope things will work out for them. They deserve each other. Matthew practically worships the ground Chanelle walks on and-."
"Okay, enough already." Rosemarie pushed the blankets away and sat up in her bed. "Rose, I'm really sorry about the wedding and the party, I can't imagine what you must be going through. I'm sorry, I'm being so selfish." Well, she said something like that, I wasn't completely listening. I was too stunned. I stared at my sister in the dark. The little light from the window fell on her face. Her cheeks were red and her eyes were swollen. Her skin was pale, making her freckles look odd between the redness of her cheeks and the paleness of the rest of her face. She looked like she had spent the whole day crying. I blinked when I realized that ... that was exactly what she had done. I put my arms around her. "Oh, Rosie." I moved closer and put her head under my chin. "What's wrong?" I asked gently.
After a few seconds, Rosie started sobbing. I stroked her hair gently. "What happened?" I asked, my heart going out to my little sister. Hearing Rosie cry was one of the worst things in the world. Everyone that knew Rosie, felt that way. She was a saint. She never did anything wrong and never deserved to be hurt. I suppose that's what made us all so protective over her. Rosie wiped at her face and sniffed. I felt her shake her head. "There's too much to tell, Rose," she said after she had calmed a little. I smiled sadly, not looking down at her. "Okay, we have time later. Mark and them are waiting outside for me," I smiled a bit and felt my eyes well up with tears as Rosie sobbed. "They're going to teach me how to play football ... I'm guessing you don't want to come?" I asked. Rosie shook her head. I bit my lip. "Just come, you need to get out of this room," I said. She sighed and pushed away from me. I looked at her. "I will, Rose ... but not right now. Go. Learn. Just give me sometime alone, I'll tell you when you get back," she said. I looked at her. "You know what, I can stay here with you. I don't want you alone," I said. Rosie shook her head. "No, let me get my thoughts together and wash my face," she said. I nodded and kissed her forehead. "Are you sure?" I asked. She nodded, not looking at me. I smiled weakly. "Okay," I whispered and left her.
I woke up to the sound of my phone's message tone going off. I groaned and rolled over. The tone started again and I felt around on my bedside table without lifting my head from the pillows. When I felt my phone, I brought it closer to my eyes and unlocked it. My eyes took a while to adjust to the bright light coming from the screen but when they finally did, I checked the time. "Who the hell would text me at one in the morning?" I mumbled and remembered that normal teenagers actually stayed up that late, with that thought, imagine my surprise when I realized the messages was from Mark. I blinked a few times to make sure I read the name right before opening the first message. It was a picture of their football field with ... I sat up in my bed and blinked again, not believing my eyes. Was that Rose? In sweats? I smiled at the picture. Rose was standing with Matthew at the goal post with a football in her hands, it looked like Matthew was explaining something to her. I opened the second message, also a picture of Rose standing closer to the camera, looking at something in the distance, again with the football ball in her hands. Her hair was in a high pony and bits of it messily hung into her face. I stared at the picture, feeling my heart skip a beat. I would have given anything to have had the privilege of being there. A third message came through, again from Mark.
:: Teaching my little sister the art of football. You would have been a better coach. ::
I smiled sadly at the message and typed back.
:: Would have loved to be there. Miss her like you won't believe. I'm sure I can teach her a few things when she comes to live here. She'll be better than you in a week. ::
I stared at the screen then deleted the second sentence before pressing send. I blew out a breath of air before returning to the last picture Mark had sent me and lay back into my pillows and stared at the frozen Rosaline on my screen. I smiled. She looked great in sportswear. I felt the urge to call her again but that would have been a huge mistake. This was driving me crazy. There was a light knock on the door and I stared at the door. Was I the only one that slept at one in the morning? "Come in," I called. The door opened a crack and a little brown head appeared. I smiled. "Hey, buddy, couldn't sleep?" I asked as my cousin's five-year-old son walked to my bed in his light blue PJs. I put my phone on the table and turned to him.
James shook his head and I helped him up on the bed, and put him on my lap. He looked at me with his big, green eyes. "There's an owl on my window. It keeps staring at me," he said in his cute little five-year-old voice. I smiled and put my hand on his shoulder. James usually slept by me when he came to the castle. He hated the big room he had to sleep in and I was his favorite uncle. "Well, I can't guarantee you that there won't be any owls on my window but I can promise you, they won't bother you with me around," I said and rubbed his curly black hair. He smiled brightly then pointed at my phone. "Who's that?" He asked. I looked back at my phone and remembered the picture. "That's Rose," I said. James picked up my phone between his little fingers and used both hands to hold it up to his face. "Is that your girlfriend?" He asked and, for some reason, my heart rate sped up.
I cleared my throat. "Uh, no, no ... that's uncle Eric's fiancé," I said. James wrinkled his brow with confusion and looked at me. "But she's holding a football ball," he said. I laughed. Eric didn't care for football - at all. "I know, she's just learning," I said and took the phone out of his hands, closing it. "She doesn't look like a Princess," James said. I raised an eyebrow. "Why not?" I asked. "Princesses don't wear pants," he said. I laughed. "Sure they do," I said. "And they wear makeup to look beautiful," he said. I smiled and unlocked my phone again. "Okay, you want me to prove she's a Princess?" I asked. James nodded, smiling. I opened my images and scrolled down to an image of her that I stole off of Mark's phone. It was a picture of Rose sitting outside in their garden on the fountain, smiling shyly at the camera with a white summer dress on. Her curls hung loose over her shoulders with a few thin braids in between. I stared at it for a while, just looking at the picture made me miss her even more.
James took the phone out of my hands and looked at the picture. He smiled again. "Does she look like a Princess there?" I asked. James nodded. "And no, she's not wearing makeup, buddy." I added. James handed the phone back to me. "She's pretty. Is that why uncle Eric is marrying her?" He asked. I put my phone back on the bedside table and looked at James. How do you explain royal duties to a five-year-old? I smiled a bit and leaned back on my elbows. "He has to," I tried and pulled up my shoulders. "To strengthen the kingdom and become King," I said. "If he marries her, he becomes King?" James asked. I nodded. "Why don't you marry her? Then you can become King," he said. I laughed. "That's not how it works," I said. "Why not? She's pretty and she likes football. She's perfect for you," James said. I stared at him for a while, feeling my smile fade a little. I sighed. "I can't. She's marrying Eric. End of story. You'll understand when you're older," I said and moved up. "Now, come on, get some sleep before your mother scolds me for keeping you awake."
James got comfortable under the covers and closed his eyes. "Promise no owls?" He asked. I smirked. "No owls," I promised and looked at the roof. James hadn't realized how much he had made me miss Rose right then. I had no idea how I was going to be able to sit through that wedding and watch her give herself away to my brother. How was I going to be able to sit there knowing that I would never be able to be with her?
BriBri: Haha. Solo commenter.