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So much for wishing for a quiet night. The crown prince hid his disappointment behind a rather long swig of the strong liquor. It had taken a few sips, but he had pretty much gotten used to the drink. Or at least his throat no longer fought to expel the liquid. He was after that comforting buzz, that sweet spot between being sober and intoxicated. It was what he needed after having willingly entered a non-exclusive bar and which brought him to the present circumstances – being surrounded by people he would rather not meet in his lifetime. There were Terzo and Sebastian who at least was able to hold a decent conversation with him, but statistics dictated that there must be more who were a lot less pleasant company than the two.

He smiled a little at the insult her fiancee effectively shot at the man who called himself Mon. The guy deserved it. But the smile faltered as Luke understood the unsaid words, that the ass of a man must have been one of the exes she talked about earlier. Tall, tanned, ill-mannered. The prince could have asked if her taste in men had always been bad if she had not continued to approve to entertain the questions of her friends and neighbors. Yet what he thought was important was how she conducted their reunion. The cold shoulder and the slur should be enough to discourage others of his kind. “You enjoyed that, didn’t you?” Terzo prodded, smiling at Luke as if the commoner read the expression on the royal’s face perfectly.

“Meeting one of my fiancee’s exes, no. Definitely not.” Luke’s face almost automatically shuttered as he turned to the plate before him which begged for attention. He wondered whether the food was indeed good or that he underestimated the hunger of his stomach. One thing he learned when he willingly submitted himself to slavery at the training camp was that hunger made every food better.

Terzo chuckled. For some reason unknown to the royal, the commoner did not join the crowd who were trying to have a catch-up session with Rhiane. He remained in his sit peacefully sipping on his pint. Luke had finished his without even knowing. “Want more?” When Luke nodded, Terzo was more than pleased to call a waitress and order another round for the two of them. He leaned on his forearm on the table, peering at the royal as he continued attacking his food in silence. “It did not occur to me that his royal highness is such a possessive man.”

The statement was not glorified with a reply, but Luke did pause and stare long enough for the commoner to backpedal though figuratively. “I watch the news, Luke. Between you and Rhiane, it’s she who has the right to be anxious about the past relationships of her future spouse.” The waitress arrived with their liquors. Terzo grabbed his unfinished mug and clinked the glass against Luke’s. “With all due respect,” he added as if as an afterthought.

To be fair, Terzo was correct. Luke let the issue be. Half listening to the discussion being led by his fiancee, he finished the plate of spicy pasta and drank half of his liquor. Terzo would chime in occasionally, but most of the time he was an active listener too. Rhiane’s friends honored their part of the bargain. Though a number of them kept on stealing glances at the future king, none confronted him directly. Therefore, he was able to finish his meal. He had just placed the fork down, reading a message from his staff reminding him of the authorization his air force staff needed, when somebody from farther in the back of the bar called Terzo.

“Aren’t you gonna join in?” A male voice asked.

“Why not join in, Luke?” It was Sebastian. He had migrated, apparently, from the bar seat to the empty seat beside Luke. “It’s a popular game from the old world,” the farmer explained. “The goal of the game is to shoot these little balls into the cups arranged on the table. There will be two teams.” He made one of the plastic balls bounce on the table.

“And every time the opposing team makes a goal, you take a shot. Simple.”

“Yet, a lot of the drunken stories begin with it.”

It sounded familiar. Maybe he saw the game being played in one of the old world movies he watched. Regardless that it sounded simple enough to be fun, he was prepared to decline the invitation. If it had been his people, he could have humored them, but who knew what these farmers had in mind. What if they set it up to humiliate or get something out of him.

Terzo persisted with a grin. “It will be fun. We will agree to put all our devices down here on the table. No cameras. What happens in The Long Night remains in The Long Night.”

Well, it did not take much convincing to make Luke get to his feet. Gerald commented about Luke not cut out for sports. But it was Sebastian leaning over to whisper that there was a password on the drive that got the royal. The prince shot the foreigner a dirty look, emptied the remaining content of his mug, and followed Terzo to the far end of the bar. The people cheered when he did.

“Don’t worry, we’ll take care of him,” Sebastian told Rhiane before following the two men. Gerald was on his heels.

It was Terzo and Luke on the team, a male and female farmer on the opposite team. The game had not been long before Luke learned that Terzo sucked at it. They were drinking glass after glass of the poison before the first goal was secured by Luke. The bar erupted in a roar, even the prince cheered with them. Grinning, he locked gaze with Rhiane and pointed at her as if dedicating the first point of his team to his fiancee. Once he got his rhythm, the game was his, although they were too far into it for him to save it. In the end, Luke’s team lost. Such failure cost them several glasses of alcohol in their bellies and the bill for the liquors consumed for the game. Traditionally, the loser was replaced by a challenger, but that night, the crown prince whose cheeks was already pinkish due to the alcohol, insisted on another round. Terzo begged off the game and his place taken over by Gerald. The second round was theirs therefore they had to remain for the third round.
Luke smiled despite the humiliation at having two commoners laugh at him. In all fairness, Rhiane did caution against the liquor. It was he who, as usual, disregarded the warning, believing himself to be above the common people in all aspects of life, alcohol tolerance included. Though it was not that the prince was about to back down on his personal mission to prove Rhiane wrong, the first swig just took him by surprise. “Perhaps I shouldn’t have gulped as much on the first try.” The furrowed brows disappeared as he took the mug by its handle to give it another chance. The dark liquid slid down his throat with a little less fight than before, because maybe he did not force a lot.

As he gently placed the mug back on the table, savoring the bitter taste and warmth, his attention turned to Rhiane. He told her before they left her room that he did not want the attention of the whole town. It had been a physically tiring day, the night had no right to be equally tiring. But the way her friend framed the question sounded as if her neighbors had lost somebody to look up to when she left to join the contest and consequently won the crown. He remained silent, not wanting to appear as if he was dictating the woman. Instead, he looked down at the pasta bathed in olive oil, overwhelmed with spices, and started his counter-attack. Food and drink were what he came to the bar for, and it was what he would fight to get.

Needless of a yes or no from the princess elect though, the bartender tilted his head towards the direction of the couple and their uninvited guest. Heads turned, including that of Rhiane’s father and brothers. The men may not have disclosed that the only living female of their household was going to grace them with her presence, but she was right when she said that it was impossible to hide from the crowd once they entered the establishment. Without knowing about the impending crowd about to approach them to at least catch a few words with Rhiane, the crown prince quietly chewed on his food in perfect poise and table etiquette.

Without his bodyguards, nobody stopped the commoners from approaching the table. A tall man in blue jeans and a plain white shirt braved the prince’s wrath first. Luke was busy pushing away some of the red flakes from the strands of pasta when the second uninvited guest leaned against the edge of the table and stared openly at his fiancee. The commoner faked a surprised look. “Rhiane?” His smile was broad and friendly, but not friendly enough to greet the other people joining the princess elect on the table. “I did not think we will see each other again. I mean, not here or anywhere near here.”

Terzo glanced at Rhiane then at Luke. “Mon, they must be tired from traveling all over the kingdom. Why don’t I buy you a drink at the bar and --”

Mon waved him off with a gesture of his hand. “It’s fine, Terzo. Rhiane and I have a lot of catching up to do, don’t we? Have you heard about Clara? She was duped by this creditor and she lost her family’s farm.”

Luke quietly gulped a mouthful of the liquor. It was not so bad after a few sips and gulps. He was getting used to the warmth and bitterness and the occasional fight. What he could never bring himself to get used to was the constant rudeness of the people around Rhiane. On one hand, he disliked how privacy seemed to be scarce in the countryside, but on the other hand, he should be happy that he was treated as if he was nothing but another farmer looking to smoothen the edges. If he was to assert himself, it was surely another subject of their argument, but who cared. He was annoyed.
“We prefer our privacy, thank you.” The prince told the man, whose back was on him. Mon’s grin slowly vanished, but his cockiness remained. He shifted his weight, turning to face the royal. Again, a look of feigned surprise was on his face.

“Oh, your royal highness, I did not see you sitting there.” He mocked a bow.

“Mon, stop terrorizing them,” an unfamiliar voice called out. Luke’s jaw was set. Others had discovered their spot and was drawn by his supposedly date for the night.
Skipping any alcoholic drink in a bar where she and her brothers had been known to, at least once, drank more than they could was suspicious. Terzo was not at all bothered by her omission, but Luke was. Rhiane confided the truth, not the easy diversion she employed with her words, but the hard truth that their carefree trysts may have already resulted in a more permanent consequence. Was he ready to face it? No.

“I must insist.” He badly needed that drink. Besides, he must not allow a less fortunate individual pay for his indulgence for two reasons -- it was not good for his image, and he disliked taking favors from other people especially from somebody he just met. Terzo seemed to be a nice guy. No longing gazes. His body language showed casual ease that had nothing to do with any romantic fantasies directed towards Rhiane. So far so good. She said he was married. Luke was apprehensive at first even with the ring on the other man’s finger, because marriage was a contract and contracts could be breached. But as he listened to the two recount each other’s experiences in negotiations and bargaining, he was somehow convinced that Rhiane and this older guy were no more than just good friends.

Luke’s attention fell on his fiancee’s hand touching his arm and her subsequent question about whether he wanted to have a drink. Of course, he did. “Yes, please. I’ll have whatever liquor the bar offers.” He may have high class taste, but he was not as delicate as she must be imagining him to be. Although it was true that he would rather have a beautifully aged whisky, there was no harm in trying out something new. Moreover, when he was in the military training camp, being picky was not an option. He ate and drank what was served or he slept with an empty stomach. It was that non-exemption to the rules that made a difference in his personality. Because while other noblemen would have opted to spend the night wishing that sleep will come sooner than hunger, he wanted that drink. Honestly, the prince would prefer a more upscale place. Maybe the idea that visiting her favorite places was a chance to get to know Rhiane through her friends and through the establishments she enjoyed was a good motivation.

“She doesn’t use that technique to me,” Luke joined the conversation. “Rhiane just puts her foot down and tells me what she wants. She will not move an inch until she had it her way. It’s like negotiating with a block of stone.” He teased, watching her reaction in a sideways glance. “I wonder which is more unfortunate, that I am going to inherit a difficult brother-in-law or that I am marrying such a pig-headed woman.”

When the waitress returned with Terzo’s pint, Luke ordered one for himself as well. The same local liquor which his fiancee thought was beyond his tolerance. The more she repeated that it was stronger than what he was used to, the more determined he was to prove her wrong. “She can survive on sweets alone. I find her diet disturbingly unhealthy, but as they say – happy wife, happy life.” Luke shrugged. The words slipped out before he realized the mistake. “We’re technically not yet married, but we know it’s where we’re getting at,” he corrected hastily.

Thankfully, the noodles came marching out the kitchen soon enough. Two plates were served on their table. It was, as Terzo described, a huge plate of noodles. The spices wafted in the air, teasing his nostrils. Small red flakes clung to the noodles like glitters but not at all glittery. He shot Rhiane a look of disbelief. This was what the normal amount of food she ate when she still lived at the farm. It was nothing like the volume of food she would eat at the palace. He’d seen her order sandwiches and some pasta, but nothing like a big plate of spicy noodles. He twirled a few strands with his fork and pitched it into his mouth. The heat was tolerable, it settled nicely on the tongue making the flavor of the otherwise bland dish a little more exciting. His head nodded in slight approval as he chewed his food slowly. They may be in an informal establishment, but a prince never forgot his manners. He never did while in public. Rhiane had seen how informal he could be when shielded from the eyes of the public.

As if suddenly remembering that the third member of the table did not order anything to eat, Luke offered, “Have you had dinner? You may order anything you like. Or perhaps order something to bring home to your wife.” He chewed into the second twirl of pasta. The spice was building up in his mouth. Thankfully, the waitress dropped by their table with a tall mug of liquor. Luke instantly grabbed it, swallowed the noodles, and gulped cold alcohol. The bitter taste filled his mouth instantly, followed by the heat and that hard kick as if the liquid was fighting its way out his esophagus. He slammed the mug down the table as he coughed. It was strong alright. Tears formed at the corner of his eyes from the spiciness of his dinner and the spirit of his drink. He frowned at the mug, straightening himself up to regain a bit of dignity. “What kind of poison is this?”
In The Betrothed 10 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
While celebrities who desired to keep their identities unknown bow their heads and hide their faces, Luke stood confidently tall. Even in just a plain v-neck shirt, tailored pants, and sneakers, his blonde head and elegant features were out of place. If he thought that an old-fashioned building with all its loud patrons was not where cameras would catch him in, it did to show on his face. The place glowed in a soft yellow hue from well-kept post-war lamps hanging from the wooden beams overhead. Names of food and concocted drinks were written using bright colored chalks on a chalkboard behind screens showing sports coverage. A line of wooden bar stools filed parallel the counter. The barkeep lifted his head and grinned upon finding the familiar face of a patron. Then his eyes drifted to the man beside Rhiane.

Luke nodded absently as he entwined his fingers around hers. So far so good. No mobile phones pointed at his direction, nobody staring openly at him except for the few moments with the barkeep. Maybe Rhiane was right, it was fine.

They passed the men of the Black household without their notice. It was as if they were people who belonged to the crowd, unremarkable and not at all interesting. Most of the crowd was drawn to the stories of the newly rich men and the renovations that their home was undergoing. A small settlement such as Rhiane’s hometown tend to be knit tighter together. It was therefore not surprising to overhear talks and jokes about the renovation of the estate that Rhiane had pioneered. He would not be surprised if these men and women already heard about how he did manual labor the whole day. But so long as nobody asked, he didn’t care what they knew.

Luke followed his fiancee’s lead to an unoccupied table. But the couple had barely sat down when a man who Luke branded automatically as one of Rhiane’s exes offered to buy them a drink. The prince’s initial reaction was a cold blue sideways glance. As if the man was not worth moving his face for. His eyes went over the feature of the stranger’s face then it returned to watching the match being aired on the monitors. He was perfectly content to ignore the friendly hospitality offered by the stranger until Rhiane introduced her fiance to the married man. The royal locked eyes with the princess elect, not frowning, but questioning her life choices. Of all the people inside the bar, she was the only one who was aware of how uneager the crown prince was in making acquaintances out of commoners. Yet, there she was introducing a stranger who unabashedly called his future king by his nickname. Not even by his first name, but his nickname.

“Manners are taught in kindergarten. Unl--” Upon turning his head to face the stranger, his eyes grazed the face of his betrothed. Luke cleared his throat and straightened his back. He ignored the outstretched hand and instead raised his to call the attention of a waitress.

She was a petite lady in black button-up uniform and dark brown ponytail. Her face paled and just as quickly colored a shade of pink as realization dawned her. She took tentative steps to the table. The impatience on her customer’s level gaze encouraged her to move faster. “Hello, Rhiane. You’ll have the usual?”

“Your menu, please.” Luke demanded. In bars he visited, there was no need to demand for the menu or even call for a server. His presence was enough to trigger the management to mobilize his crew to ensure that the royal was comfortable and happy. The rural, it seemed, was left behind not only in terms of technological advances, but also in customer service.

The waitress, flustered by the quiet command, fished a tablet tucked on her back and presented it to Luke. He pushed the device to the man Rhiane called Terzo. “Tonight is on me. Order whatever you want.” Then to the waitress he said, “I’ll have whatever she will have. I’m curious what the usual is.” He turned to her and finally smiled as if mischievous thoughts ran in his head.
In The Betrothed 13 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
Luke didn’t need to hear it – her confession that she had been with men who they may meet that night. He didn’t feel that she needed to know who he had been with in the past. Their arrangement was one out of political convenience. Nothing personal. Nothing emotional. “I’m not jealous,” he corrected hastily, without much conviction, before his words were spun into something it was not. Some days ago, his mother told him off for being too honest for his own sake. It wasn’t as if he was being completely honest with himself though. “I have nothing against you meeting your exes, no matter how many they may be.” Truth be told, he would not be able to concentrate with whatever he was doing if she was to go out alone. “Without a signed document, we made an agreement not to meddle with each other’s personal lives. I honor that promise, and maybe even encourage you to…” He heaved a sigh as he felt her fingers weave the dark golden strands of his hair. “When all of this is over, I promised to return you to your family one way or the other to live out your life in comfort. One of those boys may be the one waiting for you to come home.”

Her apprehension at court may be the same apprehension he felt with common people. Each belonged to a different ecosystem, an outsider forced to live in a different habitat. What he found comfortable and familiar was alien and uneasy to her. The same was true for him. That night, they were living inside her world. Though the entirety of the nation bend at his command, he could not help but feel awkward and unsure about entering the world she grew up in. What was there to see? How different was it from the elegant courts and flashy fashion statements?

“Alright, promise that if we go out tonight, you’ll stay close and I promise not to trouble you if I get drunk.” He forced a smile, then pointed out, “If.” One thing he disliked most about being with common people was being gawked at, photographed, and scrutinized for his perfect manners. Rhiane said it was alright to be human, but the other humans act as if it was not. A royal ought to be perfect, else he had no rightful claim as a ruler. It may be too much to ask, but he hoped that the night would be different.

The Black household treated him as just another common person -- asked him to stay under the sun, to harvest the produce, to tend to the compost pit. It was a tiring, but refreshing day. The night, he hoped, would be the same. Unconscious or not, his instincts told him to find her hand and entwine his fingers around hers. “Your brother will be so mad at me he’ll make me mix the poop pile with my bare hands next time. Let’s be on our way before your family lost their cool.” Luke let her by the hand as they exited the security of her room to meet with the rest of the family.

As was his plan, two cars were dispatched as their ride. Nolan and Tobias firmly objected to let the couple out of their sight in a crowded establishment. They insisted, one after the other, to stand by the door or by the window, somewhere or anywhere where they would not bother the couple. Luke was just as firm. No, the bodyguards would just make everyone uneasy. Tobias kept on stealing glances of the princess elect from the rearview mirror as if waiting for her to jump to their cause anytime. The prince, though, effortlessly negotiated to arm himself instead of having two stiff and obviously armed gentlemen hover over their shoulders. The rest of the ride to Rhiane’s favorite bar was spent tossing arguments back and forth, but as it was, nobody could outdo the arguments of a future king. In the end, Nolan sighed, grumbling about his life choices.

“We’ll be fine. It’s just a couple of drinks.” He kept on adjusting the neckline of the borrowed shirt.

Luke’s bodyguard snorted. “He said the same thing years back and ended up getting stabbed by a drunk pissed off lord.”

“Bleeding and a little bit tipsy, I managed to break that asshole’s nose and arm.” Luke reached for the latch that opened the rear door. He was, of course, proud of his misadventures as a wayward princeling, those that made her mother’s list of why she should disown the boy.

“Tipsy is a grave understatement, my lord,” Nolan mocked a bow. “Do look after our future king, Miss Black. He is no longer at that age when his antics can be construed as cute.”
In The Betrothed 18 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
“I most certainly did not suggest to shower and bath together, ma’am.” He pulled-off a lopsided grin that was as cocky as it was mischievous. Not that he did not think about it, the prince was just concerned about the impression he would make to her family should he carelessly voice out his wishes. Besides, he was counting on his fiancee to make the offer and she did. “I specifically and politely – mind you – asked permission to use your bathroom so that I may clean myself. It was you who suggested that we do it together.” Which made him a much greater enemy to her brother.

Truth be told, he had not thought of their recent intimacy the way she did. Her words took him aback that the grin was wiped off his face and his jaw went a little slack. It may be the difference in the maturity between a playboy and a woman. He was all about the fun, while her mind was already preparing for motherhood. If the tables were turned and she was the female in the relationship, he wouldn’t have thought to stop partying on the account of a possible pregnancy. Besides, he was not ready to father a child. There were other consequences of a successful pregnancy which he was not prepared to tackle that night, so he let it go.

When she raised the question about how they ought to disguise themselves, Luke shrugged. “Being a little stealthy is better than announcing our presence in the local bar like superstars. Let your father and brother enter the bar first. We’ll wait a few minutes while the patrons fawn over them asking about you and me and if rumors are true that we are visiting town.” Her face was a face that was difficult to hide in a village that most probably knew each resident’s face. His had been in the broadcast, magazines, papers, and every media platform ever invented. She was correct to point out that the exercise of pretending to be common villagers was futile, except that his plan was more than pretending but redirecting as much attention as possible. “Then we come in and take a seat somewhere in the background. Could you call your friend to tell him that we do not want too much attention, and because of that he should be the one to take our order?”

The more she talked about it, the more excited her voice got due to the prospect of meeting old friends and sweethearts, the more anxious Luke became about their night out. He was good at holding a conversation with the working class. The working class, on the other hand, had opinions about the royals which he was not in agreement with. Some may even be resentful of his presence. All Luke wanted was a drink, good food, a quiet night and none of those ex-lovers she was talking about.

A soft knock disturbed their conversation. Luke, having nothing else to do, went on to check who it was, saying, “You seem excited to meet those exes. What, to flaunt the guy with the ‘best offer’?”

Sebastian’s face greeted Luke when he cracked the door open. A few of his belongings were bundled on the foreigner’s arms, which he turned-over to Luke. Most were made of a material that was a bit stiffer and rougher than what he was used to wearing. He set the clothes on Rhiane’s desk. The clothes were all the same to him and it did not matter which one he picked so he did the topmost article. It was a plain blue t-shirt. “Should I just stay behind?” He mumbled into the shirt as he pulled it over his head. His hair was mussed after he emerged from the shirt. “Or maybe drive you to the bar and then pick you up after you’re done rekindling old flames.”
In The Betrothed 20 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
There were a lot going on in his mind, but none of it had to do with his position, the amount of work he left behind, or that he had been ignoring calls for the past few hours. Without precedence, his day doing manual labor had taken most of the worries about trade relations, global concerns, and security. In its place bloomed his curiosity about crops propagated in the different topographies of his mother’s kingdom. He had eaten tomatoes harvested from different regions and he knew that each had its own unique characteristic, as if coming from different species entirely, but that day was the first time he picked one from its shrub.

Needless to say, he had almost forgotten the reason he insisted to visit the farm in the first place. Luke paced to the bed then back to Rhiane’s door to come after Sebastian, but then decided that discussing their secret arrangement around the other men might not be for the best of all concerned. He sat on the bed, feeling the cold metal of the drive deposited inside his pocket. One reason why he could not allow himself to explore the limits of his alcohol tolerance that night.

“Thank you for not letting her win.” He pushed his hair out of his eyes. “I’m a bit frightened to find out what else she knew about me that I myself had no idea about. Makes me wonder if you would still have joined the contest if you had the knowledge that this third placer had.” That he had never really fallen in love – except maybe with Sophia even though it was still a debatable subject – or that he had no respect whatsoever to women, or that he was arguably the rudest elitist of all the elitists in the land, were but two reasons for any sane common woman to run the other direction. It was his power, his position, his looks that blinded his paramours and made his previous relations superficial. None had cared to dig deeper to really get to know the person behind the mask. None but the woman he was not meant to be with at least for the next decade.

A forlorn smile graced his features while his mind wandered outside the farm and into memories he created with someone else. Good thing Rhiane had her back on him, laughing a little as she pulled on her jeans. “Why should you remain sober?” He absently asked the most obvious question in a voice that was uncharacteristically his, then lifted his gaze from the floral bedspread and into that spot that the sweater’s neckline emphasized. “But it doesn’t matter. Drunk or not, you take advantage of me and my weakness.” He arched a royal brow and cocked his head to the side, imitating her. “Undressing in front of me, joining me in the shower, jumping in the same bath that I am in. What else must I believe other my fiancee getting out of her way to seduce me?”

He pushed himself to his still bare feet, past her only to open the closet full of her clothes. There was a variety of colors and styles. Most were not suited for the season’s favorite fashion, though most were wearable. The prince scanned the collection of clothes until he found a cotton scarf that he felt complemented the color of her sweater. It was also of decent size that she could drape it over her shoulder to compensate for the lack of cloth of her v-neck sweater. He handed the material to her.

“I will do that later.” He unraveled the scarf himself then draped it around her. “Wouldn’t want you to catch colds tonight.” Wouldn’t want men looking at her chest more than the colds thing. “The bodyguards can stay and guard the perimeter if you’re not happy to be in their company tonight. Did you mean Tobias too?” Luke teased. He had expressed how he suspected the bodyguard saw the princess elect as more than his charge. Rhiane was not unfriendly towards the man. “Though we must not be spotted coming into the bar with your family, else everybody will instantly know and our disguises will be pointless. Remember our first date?” His lips stretched to a genuine smile. “How you mutinied against me and made us both starve? Well, we’re doing this undercover dinner for real this time, and I honestly do not want any paparazzi photographs or videos circulating the internet. No picture taking with the locals as well, let’s just enjoy the night as normal people. You think it’s possible?”
In The Betrothed 25 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
“You do not watch a lot of news, do you?” He crossed his arms over his bare chest, watching as she waltzed into the room followed by a train of droplets dripping from her long hair. The crown prince was not exactly the prim and proper type of royal like most would expect one whose entire life was scrutinized under the lens of a camera. While sons and daughters of noble houses projected an image of a seemingly obedient offspring, the heir to the throne had this notion, at least when he was younger, that he need not prove anything to anybody, because he was going to be the next king. Sleepless nights held a different meaning then, right when he was about to graduate from the flight school and freedom was within his grasp. Rhiane must have been either too busy with the farm or did not care about the local showbiz scene to not hear about the drinking habits of the royal.

He pulled his pants and sat on the bed, then resorted to watching her browse the clothes hidden in her closet. “I’ve nothing to prove to you or the people, but I don’t see any reason not to go out and get us some drinks tonight. Just a few bottles to soften the edges. Your brothers don’t have to catch up with me if you don’t want to take care of drunken men tonight.”

Her bedroom had a touch of femininity in it that if he was to enter the house alone and then asked to find which was her bedroom, it was clearly that one. Some canvasses leaned against the wall adjacent the bathroom. Out of curiosity, Luke pushed himself off the bed then inspected the canvasses. They were paintings. Definitely the work of the same artist as the style appeared to be the same though the themes were different. He touched the dried paint on the cavass. The vivid colors bled on the white sheet forming interesting portrayal of reality as Rhiane saw it. Not every painting was realism, some were abstract, while a few had a touch of the drama of impressionism. He remembered Sebastian, during their first conversation, saying that she loved to paint.

Luke was going to change the topic and ask her about the paintings when a soft rap sounded from the door. Since his fiancee was not yet fully dressed, the prince went for the door, cracked it open a bit, only to find Sebastian on the other side. The foreign gentleman appeared to be both flustered and uncertain about knocking again. He cleared his throat and asked, “Are you two about ready to step out of the room?” Sebastian looked over his shoulder to the banister to the living are as it was visible from where he stood. “They are getting hungry and are starting to complain about the lack of food. We can prepare food on our own, but Rhiane rarely comes home so perhaps they wanted to taste her food once more.”

“But we are planning to dine out tonight. All of us.” Rhiane was correct, it was quicker than preparing a meal for the rest of the household. Besides, though he said that he did not need to prove anything, his ego was ticked when she implied that princes such as his self, did not know how to handle their liquor. He wanted to prover her wrong, show her that he was better than the common people even at drinking strong spirits.

Sebastian looked thoughtful. Perhaps having the same thoughts as his in-law. Luke and his bodyguards would stand out in their designer clothes then it would be a disaster in the bar with people either loving him or hating him to the core. “You can’t step out of the house wearing your clothes, your highness. I’ll bring some clothes for you to try on. We may be the same size.” At Luke’s slight frown, Sebastian added, “Don’t worry, there will be no holes and it will be as comfortable as your designer clothes.”

Sebastian disappeared into the hallway. “If it itches, I am not going to wear it,” Luke pronounced sounding like a whiny teenage girl who did not like her dress for the ball.
In The Betrothed 28 days ago Forum: 1x1 Roleplay
Queen Camilla had two younger siblings – the Chief of Defense and the Secretary of Economic and Financial Affairs. Both used to live in the castle with the queen. They could still be living with her, except that the younger royals chose to plant their roots outside the walls that had imprisoned them all their lives. It was therefore a rare occurrence that the Chief of Defense paid the Queen a visit at night without appointment, and without any event requiring his attendance.

He stood in front of the glass walls of the tower, overlooking the tiny lights of the city sprawled before him. New Rome was a superpower in a world nearly destroyed by humanity’s greed. Its influence stretched far beyond the boundaries of one of the world’s oldest civilizations to modern day France and Germany. All these were the work of his forefathers. Lords and Ladies of Europe’s wastelands, who organized the survivors in order to build a civilization far greater than its predecessor. He was in it now, a member of the dynasty, to protect what had been built, what had been handed down to their generation.

“I got back from the reception of Ambassador Kim, I’m sorry to keep you waiting, Dante.” The attendants at the door bowed as it slid open to let the queen in. She dismissed both, walking into the center of the room and assuming a seat behind her brother. “To what do I owe the pleasure of your company tonight?” It was not everyday that the prince visited his sister. Truth was the siblings more frequently saw each other in formal events than personal visits.

The Duke exchanged the beautiful skyline for his sister’s attention. He resembled the queen so much that they used to be mistaken as twins. However, where the queen learned a semblance of calm, even friendly, demeanor, her brother was all frowns and business. “I have to talk to you about your son.”

“Which son? I have three of those, you know.”

“Camilla,” he sighed, exasperated at how the queen sometimes toyed with him. “you, of all people, are the most well-informed in terms of the current events in this kingdom. I am assuming that as his mother, you are closely looking into the ‘activities’ of your eldest. Where is he right now, and whatever is he doing there?”

The queen craned her neck so she could see her brother’s face, one that looks a lot like her, except for the hardness in his eyes that not even the security of their privacy hid. Of course, she knew where her son was, but her eldest was not one to spill his plans or what was in his mind. One side of her trusted that Luke understood the consequences of royal mistakes and that his actions were as well-calculated as the proposals he authored that morning, the other side worried that he was allowing his emotions get the best of him. Unlike the noble men and women, her Luke and Callie, no matter what they said, listened to the tiny voice of conscience from the deepest recesses of their minds.

Luke was successful in taking a step back and stopping himself from raising a point when she told him what she believed about cooking. The men of her household were already against him, he could not possibly survive the next few hours with Rhiane mad at her too. Because if he told her what was on his mind, it was certainly going to be another war of words. Her beliefs against his.

He lay on his side, his head leaning against the ceramic tub with her cradled in his arms. They had kissed and touched and flirted time away. His eyes were closed as he let the warmth soothe his tired muscles, when Sebastian’s voice came through the closed door. It was something about that object he supposedly left in his pocket that caught his attention. He normally did not place anything in his pants’ pockets, but even though that was the case, he did not say a word. “Thank you, Sebastian.”

If Rhiane watched his face closely, she would have noticed the uncertainty before his body stirred to pull his fiancee closer to his body, as if the tub made for just one person was still too wide for him. “Should we step out and dress ourselves?” If the tightening of his embrace was any indication, he did not want to step out into the real world just yet. The calmness of having nothing to worry about if only for a few minutes was addicting. Luke tilted her chin to meet his kiss. “Just a few more minutes,” he seemed to answer his question, then kissed her again.

The couple spent the few more minutes taking advantage of the privacy to get to know each other in an intimate manner. He basked in her beauty and toiled to make her comfortable and content at the same time. It was just like the night at the spa, where they pretended to be different people. People who were not told who to marry.

After the minutes ran out, Luke stepped out of the tub first to fetch soft towels from beneath the sink. He draped his over his head then passed Rhiane’s before helping her out the water. “Your brother will be more intent on murdering me now. Your father too. Especially if there is no one else in this house who can cook the way you do.”
Taking care of the logistics was supposed to be up Anelle’s avenue. She was appointed not only to make the couple look good in public, but also make sure that both were in their prime condition for work. Such work included taking care to think about what the prince and his princess elect needed and where it should be. The change of clothes, for example, was supposed to be loaded into the service in any eventuality that the couple decided to stay in the farm house. Anelle, smart as she was, could only hope to sabotage the day probably by “forgetting” to ask her team to pack a change of clothes for the couple. It ensured that they would return to the hotel, thus she could find a way to take the prince aside and have a private moment with him.

The lack of coordination annoyed the crown prince. It was evident in the way his lips were pressed in a thin line when he turned to look at Octavia. Although if he was about to say something, the opportunity was taken away from him by Sebastian and subsequently Rhiane. Especially when she said “we” and not “he.” He allowed her to lead him upstairs where he met the paintings on top of the stairs. She did not stop to give him the chance to critic the paintings, maybe because she thought he would, but instead continued to her room.

“I don’t know, maybe it was this that made me stop you.” He opened the door for her then followed her inside. “Imagine where we’d be right now if I did not stop you from hitting your brother. I’m not sure where you think, but I’m sure it’s not in the privacy of your room. The looks on their faces when you announced where we’ll be is revenge enough.” He pressed a kiss on her temple before she started undressing.

The bathroom was not as cramped as he imagined it would be. It had a shower and a tub, which was more than what a typical household would own given their financial status. However, some tiles were cracked and the paint on the wall stained with time. It was old, but functional and clean. At that moment, he was not in the position to picky. It was either Rhiane’s bath or the dirt and grime on his skin.

Luke kicked his sneakers off. His feet felt awful, it looked raw though if he felt any pain, he did not let it show in the way he walked. The confidence of his strides was misleading. He undressed before he answered, “Whichever takes the longest. There’s no way you can make me wear your clothes while waiting for Sebastian.” So, they must take their private time in her bathroom. “I’ll help clean you up under the shower before we soak in your tub.” He turned the hot water on then did the same for the shower. It sputtered a few times before the water came running smoothly. A glass of wine would have been nice while they relaxed their tired muscles, but it was more than he could ask for from a poor household.

He stepped under the cascading water and waited for her. “Did you cook lunch today? It was delicious.” The four of them sat under the shade of a tree devouring the flavors of homecooked meal. There was an uncertainty as to why the food tasted so tasty when it was just a salad, minestra, and pasta. Maybe he was just hungry. The memory reminded his stomach that it was in need of sustenance. It growled much to Luke’s embarrassment. “It was delicious,” he repeated with a sheepish grin.

They took their time, without regard to how much water they wasted. The stipend would pay for the expenses, and if it would not then Luke would. Time alone together and away from the eyes of the press, however, was rare and precious. They touched and kissed and cared not that they were not alone in the property or that the following day would greet them with as much challenges as the previous day left.
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