The Good Prince
“Miss Nora, will you tell us a story before you go?” a little girl, Stephanie cried eagerly. “A fairytale?”
“Please, please, please!” the other children begged, instantly joining in. I sighed, but smiled. I glanced at the clock on the wall and saw it was already getting late, that I should be leaving if I wanted to be ready for the gala on time. But Dani was clinging to my leg with an adorable pout, her lavender eyes all shiny. I couldn’t say no.
“Okay, okay. Everybody gather round,” I said, sitting cross legged on the floor. The children formed a circle around me and Dani climbed into my lap, all of them listening with rapt attention.
“Once upon a time,” I began, ready to tell the tale of Cinderella, or perhaps Snow White, but something stopped me. I wanted to tell a different story. My own story. “There was a young prince and princess.
“The prince and princess both lived in a kingdom far, far away. The houses in the kingdom were small, and the prince and princess shared a room in a small house. They became best friends and they loved each other very, very much.
“But the prince and princess lived under the rule of an evil king. The king was a bad, bad man and he was very mean to the prince and princess.”
“Did he yell at them?” someone asked, staring up at me wide eyed. I half smiled.
“Sometimes. But the prince and princess stayed in the land with the evil king, because they wanted to be together, and they knew if they left they would be separated. They didn’t want to be apart, so they stayed in the small house, in the land of the wicked king.
“One day, the king came into their small house and yelled at the prince and princess. He was very mean to them. And someone heard, a kind king and queen who were visiting from another land. They came in and yelled at the evil king, who was sent away like all mean people are.” Many of the children were nodding in agreement, watching with wide eyes, completely enthralled in the story I was telling.
“But the kind king and queen didn’t have enough room in their kingdom for the prince and princess. So they took only the princess.” There were a few gasps and frowns at this. “The princess was sad she had to leave her prince, but she knew she would be happy in the new kingdom. She said goodbye to the prince, both of them thinking they would never see each other again.” I paused dramatically, more gasps filling the silence as I collected my thoughts for the next part of the story while trying to fight back the memories that were creeping to the surface.
“What happened then?” someone asked eagerly.
“The princess went to her new kingdom. She became best friends with her new sister, the fairy princess. The princess was happy, but she always missed her prince. She always had the toys she wanted and the clothes she wanted, but she always wanted her prince.
“Many years passed and the princess grew up, always thinking of her prince. She left her land to travel with her sister and the two were happy. She kept in touch with the kind king and queen and the princess and her sister explored many different lands, with many different people.
“The princess and her sister eventually settled in a far away land, a place that they both instantly liked when they found it. After they settled into their new castle, the princess decided to take a walk and explore her new home, the new land. And guess who she saw when she was walking along the streets of the new kingdom?”
“The prince!” came a few eager shouts and giggles.
“The prince,” I agreed. “The princess didn’t recognize him at first, although she thought he looked familiar. He smiled and the princess realized who he was. She ran to him and hugged him and the prince realized he had found his long lost princess and they were both happy.”
“Did they live happily ever after?” a little girl asked.
“They would have…except for the evil princess,” I said in an ominous voice. Many children gasped.
“The evil princess?” someone repeated, sounding afraid. I nodded.
“The evil princess had cast a spell upon the prince, making him fall in love with her.” Several gasps and cries of “oh no!” filled the air. I smiled softly. “But that didn’t mean the prince couldn’t still be best friends with the princess, his princess. And so they became best friends, just like before.
“But the evil princess wasn’t happy when the prince started spending all of his time with the princess. The evil princess’ spell was wearing off, but the prince still loved the evil princess. The good princess didn’t want to make her prince unhappy, even if it meant making herself unhappy.
“So the good princess remained only a friend to the prince she had once loved, and let him stay with the other princess, because the other princess did love her prince, and the prince loved the other princess. The good princess only wanted peace and happiness in the land, so she didn’t tell the prince of her love, and let the prince and the evil princess get married and rule the kingdom together forever.” I finished my story while many of the children gaped up at me.
“Well that was a crappy ending,” an older girl commented.
“Language,” I scolded.
“Sorry,” she said, grinning sheepishly.
“That’s not a very good ending,” someone else said and everyone murmured in agreement.
“But that’s how the story happened,” I said, not wanting to add that I didn’t like the ending much either.
“That’s silly,” a girl named Jenny said, shaking her head slightly.
“Dinnertime!” The children looked towards the door where Rose was standing. “And time for Miss Nora to go home. Say goodbye!”
“Bye Miss Nora!” the children chorused, showering me with hugs and kisses. Dani stayed firmly planted in my lap until the room was empty.
“Do you have to go?” she asked softly and I nodded pulling her tighter against me and kissing the top of her head.
“Sorry, sweetie. I’ll be back soon, okay?” I promised her. She nodded.
“The princess should tell the prince she loves him. And live happily ever after,” she said, one of the most insightful things to ever come out of a toddler’s mouth. I sighed and hugged her closer, breathing in her familiar scent, and wishing her words could be true.
“I think so too.”
Lucy was furious when I finally got home, nearly an hour later than I was supposed to. She was already showered and had her hair done, her hands on her hips and her eyes narrowed into slits as she glared at me.
“I’ll hop in the shower right now!” I promised her instantly, hurrying into the bathroom and stripping off my jeans and sweater. The hot water of the shower was like heaven compared to the winter weather outside. I wanted to stay in there and relax the sadness and tension out of my body but I needed to get my ass in gear, so I quickly shampooed and conditioned and washed my body with flowery scented body wash.
I shivered when I stepped out of the shower, quickly towel drying myself off. I pulled on a strapless bra and panties and walked out of the bathroom with my hair wrapped in a towel. Lucy instantly pushed me into a chair and pulled out a blow dryer. She dried my hair as quickly as possible and plugged in a curling iron. She curled my hair into small, loopy curls and tied it back with an elastic so it draped over my left shoulder, just touching the top of my dress. A few loose pieces hung on the right side of my face, balancing off the look. It looked wonderful.
“Wow Lucy this is great!” I exclaimed. Lucy had outdone herself.
“I know,” she said smugly, but also quickly since we were in a rush. “Now close your eyes for make-up!” I did as she asked and held as still as possible as she attacked me with a variety of brushes. She pressed lightly on my eyelids, curled my eyelashes and covered my skin with a light layer of foundation. When she allowed me to open my eyes, I looked beautiful. My make-up was dark, which gave my face an elegant, night-on-the-town sort of look.
“Lucy seriously, you should be a professional,” I said, admiring my flawless looking skin.
“I’m just that good,” Lucy said, holding the blow dryer tip up to her mouth and blowing on it like it was a gun. I giggled. “Now we just need to get dressed and we can hopefully get there before people start arriving.” She sent me a stern glare here and I smiled apologetically. Lucy tossed me my dress, which was still wrapped in dry cleaning plastic, and I tugged it out and pulled it on carefully.
My dress was dark blue, strapless and floor length. The top part was tight, with silver beading across the top and a few silver beaded diamonds on the chest. The bottom flowed out, with overlapping pieces of fabric on the skirt. It fit me perfectly and looked amazing. I paired it with strappy silver heels to match the silver beading. Lucy’s dress was light purple, strapless like mine and floor length as well. It was tight along most of her body, but flared out at around the end of her thighs. The dress was all clipped together with a silver broach on her thigh, just under her hip. She had silver heels on as well.
“Wow Lucy you look beautiful,” I told her, and she truly did. She had lightly curled her long hair and it made her face look even more delicate.
“Yeah, yeah, we’re hot, now let’s go!” she said, dragging me by the hand.
“One sec,” I said. “I’ll meet you in the car.”
“Fine, but hurry!” she said, sending me a warning glare. I promised her I would and waited until she was outside before rushing back into my bedroom. I pulled out a string of pearls and clasped them on and for the first time in a long time, I took of my locket. I twirled it around in my fingers for a moment and wondered if I was making the right decision. I sighed and shoved it into my small silver clutch before running outside to meet Lucy.
“Finally,” she muttered as I climbed into the car.
“Sorry I had to do something,” I said vaguely and Lucy just nodded. She hit the gas almost the moment I shut the door. She muttered to herself the whole way there, making me feel even more stressed than I already was. When we pulled into the parking lot my whole body was tense and stiff with nerves. My stomach was full of butterflies—even though I’d done this party for the last three years, and it had been successful each time, I was still a nervous wreck.
“Come on Nora people will be arriving in half an hour!” Lucy shrieked shrilly.
“Coming, coming,” I called, climbing out of the car and holding my dress away from the ground. Lucy was half running up the stairs towards the hall and I followed as quickly as my heels would allow. When I got upstairs, I beamed. It was exactly how I had pictured it. Perfect.
The chandeliers were dimmed and hung low, looking like a flowing waterfall, so that if you reached up, you could just touch the bottom, making them all shimmer and shake. The tables were draped in red velvet and high backed chairs lined the circular tables. The band equipment was set up on the stage, but the curtains would be closed when everyone first entered. There was a long table along the walls that was covered in food—Delia, one of the caterers, was walking along the table, muttering to herself and lying switching food around. Windows covered one wall, showing the city lights at their best. It was lovely.
“Holy shit,” Lucy gasped, grinning at the room. She half ran into the center of the dance floor and did a happy little twirl. “It looks great!”
“It’s just how I imagined it,” I said giggling giddily. My nerves washed away the moment I walked into the room—seeing it look just how I pictured it made me feel certain this party would be a success. I could feel it. I could only hope the rest of the night would be just as successful.
“Come on Nora we need to get ready, the guests will be arriving in like fifteen minutes!” Lucy gasped, glancing at the grandfather clock nestled in the corner.
“Right, right,” I said. I hurried to the bathroom to make sure my hair and make-up were perfect. Once I was satisfied, I made my way back to the entrance to greet people when they first walked in. The caterers were preparing as well—Macy, Delia, Bert and Kristy were holding trays, and waiting by the bar. I figured Monica would be in the kitchen. I had only met the caterers a few days ago, and they seemed like they would do, although I had my doubts about Monica.
“Welcome, sir, glad you could make it,” I heard Lucy say. I turned and saw a couple entering, the man a successful businessman, his trophy wife on his arm. They came every year and always made generous donations. I plastered a smile on my face and walked over.
“Hello, Mr. and Mrs. Kelvin, how are you?” I asked, air kissing both of their cheeks.
“Ah, Nora, it looks perfect, as usual,” Mr. Kelvin said, winking playfully. I grinned and giggled back, knowing that flirting a bit always raised the donation—but not flirting enough that his wife felt threatened. It was a delicate balance that I had perfected in the last few years. I only did it for the kids though—not for anything else. Those creepy old men were gross.
“Thank you, sir,” I said, looking up at him from under my lashes. He grinned cheekily back.
“You’ve gone above and beyond, Nora,” Mrs. Kelvin said, smiling kindly.
“Well, it’s all for the children,” I replied, returning her smile full force. Another couple walked in and I turned to greet them. “Oh, Mr. and Mrs. Jackson, so good to see you again!” I said, heading over to them. I greeted them both as if it made my day to see them when it was quite the opposite—the wife was a wench and the husband was known for his love of eighteen year old girls.
“Honey!” I heard Lucy squeal and she ran over and nearly tossed herself into her boyfriend’s arms, kissing his lips, much to the disapproval of the guests that were steadily streaming in. He was looking dashing in a dark suit with a silver tie. He grinned with all the easy happiness in the world when they split apart, and I felt a stab of jealousy when they rested their foreheads together, grinning, clearly sharing a private moment of love. I looked away.
I continued to greet people until the gala was mostly full. Laughter and chatter filled the room as people ate and sat and caught up with their friends. The music wasn’t on yet, so no one was dancing, but I knew the band would be coming on in about a half an hour, and by then the floor would be packed. I waited by the door until almost everyone entered, and then I walked through the room, mingling, hoping to find someone around my age to talk to.
“Nora!” I whirled around to see Mary standing with Mark and I hurried over to them. “It looks wonderful here. You look amazing. I’m so glad you invited me,” she gushed. Mary was wearing a simple black halter that had a small slit up the middle that ended at her knees. Her pregnant stomach was barely visible, but she was glowing and had her hands rested on her stomach, fingers laced, and you could tell she was holding the baby in her stomach.
“You look beautiful Mary,” I said sincerely, pulling her into a hug. “How’s the baby?” I hadn’t seen Mary in a few weeks due to Christmas break, and it was great to see her again. It seemed like she had inflated since the last time I saw her.
“Oh she’s wonderful! She’s been kicking like crazy,” Mary giggled, rubbing a hand over her stomach again. “Feel.” She reached out and grabbed my hand and placed it on her stomach. I waited for a moment and felt a light pressure pressing back up at me. It was a crazy feeling.
“Wow, Mary that’s insane,” I said in awe, pulling away. She instantly replaced my hand with hers. “Wow.” Mary giggled excitedly.
“I know, I know!” Mark was beaming as he stared at his wife, and he wrapped his arms around her stomach and pressed his hands over hers. Mary sighed contently. I felt another pang of jealousy—it seemed like everyone was coupled off except for me. I headed for the bar, hoping a glass of champagne would make me feel better. When I got to the bar, I noticed Macy, one of the caterers, sitting down, holding hands with Wes, the bartender, and they were whispering to each other and sneaking kisses when they thought no one was watching. I didn’t want to interrupt, so I just turned and headed for the stage so I could tell the band to get started.
When I got on stage, everyone quieted, and I knew they were ready for a speech. I smiled shyly and grabbed the microphone, clearing my throat once. It was almost silent in the room as everyone watched me. I felt a blush rising on my cheeks and nerves bubbling in my stomach.
“Hi everyone. I’d like to thank you all for coming here tonight. Your generosity really makes this event the success it is every year. Hopefully we can get even more for the children this year—let’s make it their best Christmas yet. Thank you!” Everyone clapped politely, knowing I would be giving another speech at the end of the night announcing the money raised for the children. I headed behind the curtain and told the band to go on in five. When I finally made my way back into the hall, the band was just starting their first song. Couples rushed onto the dance floor, excited to finally have music.
“Guess who?” a voice sang as large, warm hands covered my eyes. I giggled, reaching up to grab his hands and pull them away.
“Hi Niall,” I said and he was pouting when I turned to face him.
“I thought I might finally get you,” he said, frowning.
“It’s too obvious when it’s you—your hands are always warm,” I told him.
“Next time I’ll ice them before I do it, that way you’ll be totally baffled,” he joked and I just rolled my eyes. “This place looks great though Nora. You did an awesome job, congratulations.”
“Thanks. My speech kind of blew though, huh?” I said, grimacing.
“No, no, it was good,” he assured me and I just rolled my eyes. “Would you care to dance?” he asked, raising his eyebrows in a way that was clearly a challenge.
“Can you dance?” I asked skeptically and he made a face.
“Of course. I’m the best dancer ever,” he said, doing a little spin to show off his skills. I snorted a laugh.
“I’ll dance with you if you promise not to do that ever again,” I teased.
“Deal,” he chuckled, taking my hands and leading me to the dance floor. I placed my arms around his neck and he took the lead, slowly spinning us. My hands could barely reach his neck he was so tall, and it was a little uncomfortable. But I liked the feeling of dancing with him—it was comforting, and easy. And at least I wasn’t all alone.
We danced for a few songs before Niall slowed to a near stop, staring somewhere over my head, eyes narrowed. “What?” I asked curiously, trying to see what he was staring at. He quickly flipped us around.
“Nothing,” he said with an easy smile and I believed him. But a few moments later I saw what had made him stare angrily over my shoulder. Harry was quickly approaching, having spotted me, grinning my favorite gentle grin. Niall wasn’t a huge fan of Harry—he didn’t like him much at the dinner, but it just got worse as time went on. They never really got along and were always snapping at each other and trying to put the other down. It was quite frustrating.
“Mind if I cut in?” Harry asked, winking at me and tapping Niall on the shoulder. Niall closed his eyes and shook his head, but mumbled a “yes.” Niall let my arms fall and he stepped away, letting Harry step into his place. I couldn’t help but notice how nice Harry looked in a tux. It was black, contrasting with his light skin, and he was wearing a navy blue tie that matched my dress perfectly. I grinned and wrapped my arms closer around him. I noticed how much more comfortable and effortless it was to dance with Harry than Niall.
“Where have you been all night?” I asked, raising my eyebrows. I hadn’t seen him at all.
“Trying to find you. You kept slipping away,” he said, frowning at me. “I thought I’d finally catch you when you left the stage but this couple my parents know came up to me and they just had to show me the pictures of their granddaughter.” He rolled his eyes and I giggled. “But I’m glad I finally caught up with you.”
“Me too,” I said, sighing and leaning even closer to him. It felt so right to be in his arms and I hated that. After all, I’m not the princess in his happily ever after. “I feel like we never see each other anymore. And you’re getting…married…in a few days.” It physically burned my throat to say the word.
“Yeah,” Harry said uncomfortably. He glanced away for a moment before turning back to me, his gentle grin back on his face. “We have all of tonight though. Tanya’s at her bachelorette party remember?”
“Go—yeah, of course,” I said, quickly turning my grumbled “good” into something a little more positive. “Well I hope she’s having fun.”
“Not too much fun though,” he grumbled and I giggled, hoping she was having way too much fun—fun she would regret and that would ruin her wedding. Hopefully. I banished the thoughts before they could show on my face.
“Niall didn’t look too happy to see me,” Harry noted, an amused smile on his face. I could tell he liked annoying Niall.
“Be nice, please. He is my friend,” I reminded him sternly. He just laughed.
“I can’t help it if I don’t like him. He clearly likes you more than he should and that’s not okay with me,” he replied, glaring at a spot over my shoulder—a spot which I’m sure Niall was standing in.
“Be nice,” I said firmly.
“Yeah, yeah,” he said reluctantly and I giggled, pulling myself closer to him. He sighed contently and wrapped his arms tighter around me, and for a moment, it felt like he didn’t want to let me go. We were barely moving, we were mostly just holding each other, and for a moment, no one else existed. The room was empty, there was no Tanya and it was just us, the prince and princess, happy together.
“I brought your present,” Harry murmured in my ear. It made me shiver. “Since you’re not going to be around for Christmas.” Lucy and I were leaving for Washington in two days, Christmas Eve. We were spending the few days before New Years there as well and then coming back for the wedding (unfortunately).
“What is it?” I asked curiously—what could Harry possibly give me? That wouldn’t break his fiancée’s heart or anything.
“It’s in the car,” he said, and he pulled away so he can look in my eyes. “Come with me and we can get it.”
“Okay,” I said eagerly. Harry laced his fingers through mine and led the way out of the hall—I didn’t even mind that I was leaving my own party. I just wanted to see what Harry had gotten me, and to just be with him. We rarely got enough time alone. Tanya was always there, or Lucy or Niall. It was never just us—the way it used to be.
“Come on,” Harry said, hurrying to the car. I giggled and lifted the edge of my dress up to keep it away from the snow covered ground. I made my way to his familiar white Chrysler and he opened the backseat and we both climbed in so we wouldn’t have to be in the cold. It was intimate in there, quiet and we were both squished together.
“It’s not much,” Harry said as he reached into the front seat to grab a bag. He handed it to me. “But I figured it’s quality not quantity right?”
“Always,” I agreed, pulling out the tissue paper slowly. I felt something soft and plush at the bottom and I tugged it out. It was an old, stuffed bunny, a small bow tied around its neck. It was clearly worn out and overused but that’s what made it special. It was my Bunny.
“Oh my God,” I whispered, and I felt my breath catch in my throat. “You kept it? All this time…” I stared down at the stuffed rabbit that had been so important to me, the token I had left with Harry that I thought he had long forgotten. And he had really kept it, all along. A tear fell down my cheek and Harry wiped it away silently.
“I love this. It’s the best gift you could’ve gotten me,” I told him, although I knew there was only one thing better. “I love it. Thank you.” I pulled him into a hug and let a few more tears fall. And as I did, I made my decision in my mind—I knew what I had to do next.
“I want to show you something too,” I said when I pulled away. “It’s only a few minutes walk from here. Can we go?”
“Sure,” Harry agreed, sounding surprised. I beamed at him and climbed out of the car, eager already. I held my dress up again and knew it would be frustrating to walk holding it up, but also knowing Lucy would kill me if I ruined it.
“You don’t want to ruin that do you?” Harry asked, making me wonder if he could read my mind.
“Lucy would not be happy,” I said, staring at the snow swirling along the ground.
“Fine then, hop up,” he said, standing in front of me and bending down slightly.
“Are you serious?” I giggled, looking at him like he was crazy.
“Yeah, just jump up, come on, it’ll be quicker this way,” he assured me.
“Okay…” I took a step closer, lifting my dress up so I could bend my knees more, and hopped up onto his back. He supported my legs with his arms and started walking, bouncing me slightly with each step. I was giggling like crazy, my arms clinging around his neck, hugging my body against his back. I rested my chin on his shoulder so I could see where we were going and he didn’t seem to mind. I noticed he was a lot more laid back since Tanya had left for her mini vacation.
“Take a left up here,” I said softly as we walked. It was mostly silent, but I didn’t want to ruin the peaceful moment. It was late, quiet, everything seeming hushed. A few flakes of snow were beginning to fall and I didn’t mind. My skin was overheating as it was, my heart beating too quickly. The snow helped cool me down, calm me. I was sure I could do this.
I’m sure we were quite the sight—him in a tux and me in a ball gown. Me hanging on his back while he walked, holding a stuffed bunny against his chest. Me not wearing a sweater in the snow. But I didn’t care. I was just happy to be where I was.
“Take this right,” I whispered and Harry followed mutely. He took the right and I told him to stop, right in front of the building I wanted to be at. I slid off his back and stood next to him, lacing my fingers through his so we were both facing it. Harry squinted his eyes to read the sign in the dark.
“Chicago City Orphanage?” Harry read. I nodded.
“Here,” I said, handing him a key that I had stashed in my silver clutch. I pulled the locket out as well, keeping it clutched in my hand. “Unlock it.” He walked up the stairs and I took his moment of distraction to quickly clasp the necklace in place, pulling my hair over it to make sure it didn’t show—not yet.
“You coming?” he called. I nodded and stepped up the few stairs towards the door he had just unlocked. He waited at the door and I took his hand. The doors were open and I knew that Rose and Garret had hired a few babysitters to make sure the kids stayed in bed and were safe. I waved to them—they knew who I was anyways.
“Good to see you again Nora,” one of the girls said, smiling.
“You too,” I answered. “I’ll be right back okay?”
“Have fun,” she sang, eyeing Harry with obvious interest. I winked back and pulled him into room 12.
“Why are we here? We can’t wake the kids up,” Harry said softly, trying not to wake the two small sleeping forms.
“It’s okay,” I told him. I sat at the edge of one of the beds and gently placed my hand on the forehead of the sleeping child. Her lavender blue eyes blinked open.
“Miss Nora?” Dani said.
“Hey sweetie,” I answered. She sat up and climbed onto my lap, resting her head on my chest.
“I missed you,” she mumbled. “You’re back early.”
“Yeah I am honey. I wanted you to meet my friend Harry,” I said, gesturing to Harry who was standing awkwardly at the edge of the bed.
“Hi Harry,” Dani said.
“Hey there,” Harry answered in a gentle tone.
“He’s pretty,” Dani said in a whisper that carried across the room. Harry bit back a chuckle and I smiled.
“I know,” I answered. “I’m going to stay with you till you fall asleep okay? But then I have to go with Harry.”
“Kay Miss Nora.” Dani crawled back under her covers, her blond curls splaying across the pillow.
“Harry, go wait for me in the playroom, alright?” I told him, gently playing with Dani’s hair while she closed her eyes. He nodded and silently exited the room. I sighed and twirled a strand of Dani’s hair around my finger. She yawned.
“Is he the good prince Miss Nora?” she asked, and I wondered if anything got by her.
“The good princess should tell him she loves him,” she mumbled sleepily.
“I love you,” she sighed, just before falling back to sleep. I waited for a moment before standing and making my way into the playroom. Harry was waiting, examining the pictures on the wall. I noticed he had paused on one of me with the children all around me, a photograph taken last year.
“Is this where you work Nora?” he asked gently, somehow knowing I had entered the room.
“Yeah. For the last few years,” I answered. I sat down on one of the few chairs in the room and Harry pulled one up next to me.
“That’s amazing,” he said. I took a deep breath and I reached through the empty space between us and took his hands in mine.
“Harry…” I began. “I need to tell you something.” Harry stiffened, but didn’t pull away.
“What?” he whispered.
“I…we were such good friends when we were at our orphanage. You were my whole life and it killed me when you left. I never stopped thinking about you, ever. I couldn’t. You were the most important part in my life.” My voice was the only sound in the room. Harry barely seemed to be breathing. I didn’t look up at him—I knew if I looked up too soon, I would chicken out.
“And then when I saw you again, it was like my world was suddenly whole again. Because you were there again. Because I had my best friend again. And I was so sure that nothing could go wrong. You had Tanya, but that was okay, because we were only going to be friends, best friends. Just like before.
“Only we weren’t just friends. We were so much more. And…once I got to know you again, I still wanted to be just like before. I wanted to love you again, the way I did. And I knew you had Tanya so I tried so hard to keep my feeling away. I didn’t want to ruin anything you two had—but I was really upset because…I wanted more. I want more.” I finally looked up to meet Harry’s eye as I finished my little speech.
“I know this is wrong and I know it’s inconvenient…but I love you Harry. I’m in love with you. I know that you love Tanya and I know that if this works it would be so hard for us, but I don’t care. I know we can make it and I know we can work. Just like before.” I moved closer, staring into his blank eyes. “I love you Harry.” And I pressed my lips to his.
At first he was unresponsive. He didn’t move—he seemed frozen almost. I just attacked his lips with fervor until eventually he kissed me back. I nearly laughed as I laced my fingers into his hair, loving the feel of his silky soft hair. His hands moved to my body, one arm winding around my waist and pulling me closer, the other hand wound through my hair. He pulled me onto his chair and I pressed my body closer to his, letting every part of my body fit perfectly against his.
It was Heaven. It was perfect. It was everything I had expected it to be and more.
Until it wasn’t.
His lips were pulled off mine, his body away from mine. My eyes blinked open and I nearly fell as I stared. He was pacing, somehow across the room in the time it took me to recover. I could feel my heart sinking to the floor.
“Nora…Nora we can’t do this!” he choked, and his voice was desperate. My heart split in two. “I love Tanya…I-I’m getting married in a week! I’ve been with Tanya for years. Nora you’re my best friend but I’ve only been with you for a few months. It wouldn’t…work. It just couldn’t. Nora I’m sorry and I—” I just shook my head, wishing he would stop. I was afraid that if I opened my mouth I would throw up.
“Nora, please, I wish this could be different and I care about you too but—”
“Just go!” I shouted standing up. “Oh and give her this. It’s clearly not meant for me after all.” I reached up and yanked on my locket, breaking the chain. I didn’t care. I tossed it at him, feeling a slight rush of revenge when it bounced off of his forehead. I didn’t stay to watch him pick it up. I just ran.
I knew that at the hall Lucy was probably searching for me. Donations were probably being made, people were dancing, eating. But for right now, the good princess just wanted to go home and cry—because the prince would never be hers.