Prince Arion wasn’t such a bad kid. Along with the fact that he gave me his plate of cake, he also poured me tea when I thought I was going to choke on some tarts. All in all, I think we were going to be good friends.
But I didn’t really know what to talk about during this ‘meeting’ of ours. I was mostly interested in the cakes, and once I felt too bloated, I fixated my eyes on his shiny cravat.
If Prince Arion was here to do an inspection of his future bride, then I knew he was most probably disillusioned. I was betting all my money (which was just a copper coin I saw under my bed,) that he wouldn’t even ask to see me again!
Arion took out a pocket watch from inside his coat and looked at the time. “Pardon me, but I’m afraid that I have to take my leave.”
If I closed my eyes and just listened to his words, I would think I was speaking to an adult, and not a ten-year-old kid. His demeanor and conduct were a lot more adult-like than my own. Based on how proper he is it’s safe to assume he probably grew up with no entertainment in his life and that’s why he found my pig-like eating habits so amusing. He probably looked at me as if I were a baboon from a zoo.
“Elena, please accompany His Highness to his carriage,” my father nudged me from the side.
I rolled my eyes. Was I his footman or something?
While walking to the front of the estate, with our butler Hendrik at the forefront, Arion and I walked side by side. I felt a bit awkward for some reason, as if I didn’t know where to place my hands while I walked. Maybe that’s normal when seeing a real live breathing prince. I only ever saw foreign Royals on TV, and the impact was undeniably different in person. They exuded a certain aura of dignity that I don’t think I’ll ever be able to mimic in this life or any other.
“Prince Arion,” I said, trying to break the awkward silence. I wanted to talk to him about his future prospects.
“Arion,” he corrected calmly.
“Arion.” I nodded. “There is this lady named Nerissa, the daughter of Marquess de Vere.”
Arion raised an eyebrow, listening, but still looking confused as to why I was talking about some other chick.
“She’s really pretty and nice. She’s got long brown hair and sparkly blue eyes. She laughs and you’ll be mesmerized by her melodious cackle.” Okay, I kind of felt like I was marketing a product like I did at my old job. And were cackles even considered melodious?
“Melodious cackle?” Arion repeated after me, chuckling. “You really do have interesting choices of words, Elena.”
“Yeah, I’m just naturally witty that’s all,” I shrugged, trying not to look so smug about one of my best personality traits (says my ego).
Arion’s smile deepened, and I found out he had a dimple on his left cheek. It was cute. But that’s not important.
“Anyway, as I was saying.” I looked serious and convincing. I put on my best sales representative demeanor. “You should look for Nerissa de Vere. Once you meet her, you’ll realize you’ve fallen head-over-heels in love with her, and you won’t want anyone else!”
Arion’s expression changed, as if he’s talking to some crazy person (sometimes I really do think I am,) but it didn’t matter. I wanted to tell him straight off that he’s going to find that Nerissa chick. Being with me right now was a waste of time. If he could just find Nerissa, he could leave me alone, and I wouldn’t have to see his face anymore. I could live the rest of my life-whatever that looks like-the way I’ve always wanted, without my head rolling. Perfect!
“Yeah, I know you probably think I’m crazy,” I said.
Arion nodded his head. I didn’t expect him to suddenly confirm what I said with such a serious face, and I wanted to punch him.
I added, “But, this is better, you know? You get to find the love of your life without having to deal with me.” I made hand gestures to show how a truly great idea this was. “We’re not officially engaged yet, so nothing is announced. You can tell His Majesty that this purple-haired lady,” I motioned to myself theatrically, “Is just not your type. So go. Be free!” I raised my hand to the ceiling.
Arion started laughing, curling as he held onto his stomach.
“I’m being serious here!” I said, offended. Was my face not serious enough?! “You should find the lady you’ll be in love with in the future!” He definitely wasn’t my “destined one,” Granny spoke of, when he already had his own girl to be “destined” with.
I glared begrudgingly at Arion, until he stopped laughing. He realized I was being serious, so he mirrored my expression.
“I don’t understand.” Arion shook his head, his bangs shifting with the movement. “Why do I have to give up on the present because of something that might or might not happen in the future?”
I looked back at him, my mouth agape. I didn’t expect him to deliver such a mature response to my crazy suggestion for his love life, and it stunned me.
But what he said was true. Who was to say that the future would play out the same way? As much as I would no longer be the villainess I had been in the past, he could also choose to love someone else other than Nerissa, given another route. What he said was plausible, and I felt a tad discomfited at forcing my views on him.
“That is true.” I sighed.
I was so into our conversation that I didn’t realize we were already standing in front of Prince Arion’s carriage. Hendrik bowed as he opened the carriage door.
“Elena.” Arion stopped before the open door and turned around to do a small bow towards me. “It was a pleasure to meet you. I will come visit again.”
“You don’t have to,” I said, trying not to scrunch my face. “I don’t want to force you to visit again just because His Majesty dictates it.”
Arion tilted his head, looking surprised at my words. “My father is not dictating anything. It is my own choice.”
Arion and I stared at each other for a couple of minutes, and I didn’t know what else to say to break the silence.
“Ok, bye!” I did a tiny wave, feeling a bit awkward. Could he just leave already?
Arion laughed once more before closing the carriage door behind him. Could this kid stop laughing at me?! I wasn’t some clown!
As the carriage drove away, Hendrik followed me back inside the mansion.