"Good morning, my little football star." I said to Rose on our way to breakfast the next morning. Rose's eyes looked tired and she had a slight slump in her step. She rubbed the back of her neck and I laughed. "My legs are killing me!" She said. I laughed again. "You're supposed to be fit, you gym!" I said. Rose rolled her eyes. "Yeah, but that's lady push-ups, sit-ups, skip rope, rope climbing, and jogging. Football is all of those combined ten times," she said and squeezed her shoulders. I smiled, amused. "Do you think I could skip lunch today? I need a full body massage after last night ... or maybe just go to see a physiotherapist," she said and I laughed again. "No pain, no g-."
"Yeah, yeah, Mark, I get it." She said and winced as she squeezed a tender spot on her shoulders. I shook my head and noticed Chanelle bouncing down the hall towards us. "Morning!" She said cheerfully. Rose's surprised expression made me crack up again. "How are you bouncing after last night? I can barely walk!" She exclaimed. Chanelle laughed. "Sweetie, have you forgotten that I am an only child and my dad wanted a boy? You get pushed into all this sport stuff practically since birth," she said with a shrug. Rose groaned and stared ahead as she walked with her hand on her shoulder. "Have you talked to Rosie?" Chanelle asked Rose. I looked at my sister and she looked at me, then back at Chanelle. "She was asleep when I went to check on her," Rose said then looked at me. "How is she?" Rose asked. I dropped my eyes. "She slept like a rock all night, she was still sleeping when I woke up," I said. Rose nodded. "So she's missing breakfast as well?" She asked. I pulled up my shoulders. "I'm assuming," I said.
My phone rang in my pocket and I jumped. I stopped and took it out, motioning for the girls to keep going. When I checked the caller ID, I almost didn't want to answer, but I did. "Hey," I said. "Hi, please don't hang up," she said softly. I looked up at the roof, reminding myself that I was Jeremy's best friend. "I wasn't going to," I said. "Oh." She sounded relieved. I waited. "I just wanted to apologize for everything. I should have thought it through and I just don't want to leave things like I did ... not that you gave me a chance to fix it," she said. I nodded, realizing I could have handled the situation better. "Yeah, you're right, I'm sorry too," I said. She made a sound that made me think she was smiling. "So, friends? I had so much fun yesterday, I wouldn't want it to go to waste because I was an idiot," she said. I smiled. "Friends," I agreed. "And I wanted to thank you for yesterday, I hope it won't be a once off," she said. "Promise not to kiss me again?" I teased. Aqua was silent for a while before giggling. "I can't promise that. You're irresistible but I won't unless you want to," she said. I dropped my eyes. "Mark, there's something I need to tell you." Matthew tapped my shoulder as he passed and pointed toward his wrist, indicating that I was late. "I've got to go, thanks for the call," I said. She sighed. "Bye Mark."
I bit my lip as I stared down at the piano. My fingers slowly positioned themselves on the keys and moved automatically over the keys. The tune 'If I Ain't Got You' by Alicia Keys filled the air around me. I closed my eyes and let it flow for a while. This was one of my favorite songs and I had mastered it years ago. There was no way I could sing it but I loved the music. The sound of footsteps in the room made my fingers stop mid-melody. I turned, heart racing and felt disappointed when I saw my sister smiling at me. "Hi," she said softly. "Hi," I said and turned back toward the piano. "You look like you were expecting someone else," Rose said and sat next to me. I looked at the keys and shook my head, not ready to tell her the truth yet. "That was beautiful. I can't remember the last time I've heard you play," Rose said. I closed my eyes, feeling a wave of hurt crash onto me. "What made you start again?" She asked. I looked away and Rose sighed. "Still not ready to talk?" She asked. I looked back at her and pulled up my shoulders. "Rose, I don't know how to tell you the truth. I did something that was so wrong but it felt right, it felt amazing actually. I learned so much in so little time and I..." I closed my eyes against the tears. "You don't have to worry about it, though. It's over and it will remain over," I said.
Rose's arm looped around my shoulder. "Whatever it is, Rosie, I'm sure it's not that bad," she said carefully. I shook my head. "Tell me ... please," Rose said carefully. I dropped my head and nibbled on my lip. "Okay," I breathed out and kept my eyes on my fingers as they fidgeted on my lap. "Uhm ... I ... there was ..." I blew out a breath of air and felt my cheeks burn. "It's okay, take your time," Rose encouraged. I took a deep breath. "Don't freak out though," I said, closing my eyes. Rose squeezed my shoulders. "Promise," she said. "Do you remember that guard that kept quiet about you escaping?" I asked and raised my eyes to Rose's. It took a while before realization flashed across her eyes. "The really cute one with curly hair?" She asked. I nodded and took a breath before proceeding to tell her the whole, long story.
Rose seemed too stunned to speak throughout my tale and I was grateful for that. If she had said something, I probably would have stopped and never spoken about it again. She finally reached breaking point when the words. "... I left the castle ..." Escaped out of my mouth. "You did what?!" Rose exclaimed then looked around the empty room to make sure no one heard that. She stood up and walked toward the open door of the study and closed it. It took a few seconds for her to turn and she remained standing at the door. I turned in my chair. "You went with him, to his house?" She asked, leaning forward slightly. I nodded a little. Rose seemed stunned again but she could speak now. "Well, what happened?" She asked. I smiled a little. "His family is amazing. They're all so kind and loving, and welcoming and ..." I trailed off. "Do you have any idea what a Sloppy Joe is?" I asked. Rose scrunched up her nose. "That sounds absolutely disgusting!" She called out. I laughed. "I know! But it's really delicious," I said. "You've had one?!" Rose asked, looking horrified. I giggled and Rose smiled a bit. "But what happened with you and Ethan?" She asked. I dropped my eyes and ran a hand through my hair. "He couldn't take being with me anymore..." I said, my heart breaking for the millionth time I was reminded of his words as we stood in the rain.
"I'm dangerously close to falling in love with you," his words echoed through my mind. Tears burned the back of my eyes and I fought them back. "He, uh, he knew this couldn't go any further because it was forbidden ... and he's right." I took a breath. "I've wasted enough of his life. He deserves someone that's worth it. Someone that can really make him happy and I know that, no matter how badly I want to be that someone, it will never work because ..." I closed my eyes and felt tears escape my eyelids. "Because you're a royal," Rose finished for me. She breathed out a shaky breath of air and I looked up at her, wiping my tears in the process. Rose was staring at the ground and she slid down to the soft carpet. She shook her head. "This is messed up..." I wasn't sure what exactly she was referring to. I studied her as her eyes glazed over. She missed Shane. Anyone who knew the story could see it.
There was a knock on the door and Rose stood up instantly, she stared at the door for a while before looking at me. "It's mother." I sighed. Rose winced a bit. I nodded and winced as well. "I know, let's just get this over with," I said. "I don't want to!" Rose whispered. I pulled up my shoulders and Rose turned toward the door and opened it. My mother was standing there with a massive smile on her face. She took Rose's hand. "Come, the engagement dress and rings are here!" She said and noticed me. "Rosemarie! You're up!" I fought back a grimace. How my mother manages to be so merry all the time was beyond me. I reluctantly stood up and walked toward them. My mother's eyebrows shot up. "Maybe you can go get your hair done," she suggested. "You look absolutely dreadful, dear," she said. I raised an eyebrow. "Thank you, mother," I said sarcastically and noticed Rose trying not to roll her eyes. My mother let out an excited squeal. "Isn't this exciting, dears?" She asked and smiled at us. "Yeah," both of us said in a simultaneous sarcasm.
As I walked through the halls, I could hear Rosie playing in the study. She had left the door open, an unspoken sign between the two of us signaling that she was waiting for me. I slowed to a stop, listening. I closed my eyes and leaned back against the wall behind me, tilting my head upwards. The beautiful music filled my ears and I felt my heart ache with a longing to be with her. "Hi."
My heart raced and I jerked up straight. I turned to where the voice had come from and had a mini-heart attack before realizing that it wasn't Rosie standing behind me. I bowed. "There's no need for that," Princess Rosaline said and I stood back up. "I-uh- am sorry. I got distracted," I apologized for the previous position she had found me in. She studied me for a few seconds, squinting slightly. "You miss her, don't you?" It was more of a statement than a question. I wished Rosie would stop playing. The music was clouding my mind with images of her sitting at the piano. "Pardon, your highness," I said. The princess felt at her dress but didn't break eye contact with me. "You miss Rosemarie," she said. My pulse quickened. "She told you?" I asked. Rosaline nodded. "Everything." She smiled sadly. "You broke her heart," she said. I dropped my eyes and felt my heart twinge with pain as I thought of that day in the rain. If she had only known how much that had hurt me. I hadn't slept properly since that day. I looked back at the princess and shook my head. "We're from two completely different worlds ... I can't -."
"Don't give me that! You can't what? Give her what she wants? Be what she wants you to be? Be what our parents want you to be?" She shook her head. "Look love ... I'm younger than you but I know that when you find something as strong as what you and Rosie have, you need to fight for it if there's a chance ... even if it seems impossible," she said. I sighed shakily and looked to the ceiling. "Tell me, princess, did you fight?" I asked and looked back at her. She dropped her eyes and shook her head. "I was waiting for that ... I tried ... and Shane tried but ..."
"It's complicated," I finished. She looked at me and took a deep breath. "I know that telling you to fight for Rosie sounds hypocritical of me but believe me, she's worth it ... at least just go to talk to her."
Anne: It's fine. Thank you for commenting on the last one.
Kaely91215: Haha. Glad you're enjoying it and I'm trying to post as soon as I can.
Mady: Thank you.
Naomi M: Yeah, it kind of is but that's what keeps it interesting, but don't worry, we're almost near the ending.
MP: Haha. I love them all ... is that weird?
Viviene: I can't tell you that. Then you'll stop reading.
Simone Reeds 14: Haha. It looks like I commented to myself.
Mar: Yeah, it's a very, very empty feeling but it gets easier over time, don't worry.
Kameela: Just a few more chapters, hopefully.
BriBri: I actually pictured that and laughed! That would be so adorable! But James has got a different roll in this story.