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Royal Undead

By SEMalri19 All Rights Reserved ©

Thriller / Fantasy

Prologue

There will come a time when there is a sole heir to the monarchy.

That sole heir will be bound to the undead.

Only the heir’s true guardian can help them keep the throne.

-Personal Guard Alexanna Natasha Jones

I awoke with a start, rushing to the door where I thought that the pounding was coming from and opened.  I was greeted with an empty hallway and the pounding getting louder.  Great I thought as I stupidly followed the noise.  Down the hallway and further and further away from my peers and my warm bed.  I reached the end of the hallway and then I died, a knife thrown into my jugular. 

Welcome to my life, about once a week around here someone dies.  However, this past month it has only been me that dies.  Someone found out that I cannot die, I hope they don’t know how I can just not die even when it is so obvious that I do.  If they find that out then my best friend and I will be in trouble and actually dead.  I believe that I should actually start at the beginning of our start at this particular place they like to call a school.

Actually, I will give a brief over view of our years leading up to our current school.  My best friend is Prince Daniel Anton Sebastian Hamilton and he is the only child of our beloved King Tristen.  Most of their subjects refer to my friend as Prince Dash but to me he will always be Danny.  The reason a mere peasant like Rosemary Katia Jones, that’s me by the way, is allowed to call the heir to the throne by a clearly personal name a simple one.  In the rules somewhere it states that a member of my family must be one of the four personal guards of the ruling monarchy.

My mother was Queen Katia’s personal guard before she married the King and my father was the King’s personal guard from grade school.  Sadly the Queen died before I was born, but only just before.  Danny might have only been one when I was born but everyone says he took to me right away.  I believe now that the prophecy about the only living heir to the monarchy being attached to the undead is the reason he took to me.  Most of the people believe that he will become one of the undead, a vampire or some such being that comes back from the dead; But we found out when he was about to leave for this school that none of the traditional versions of undead applied. 

We grew up together as the King allowed my mother to help raise him and the King also allowed me to be playing alongside his son.  So, when he was six Danny stood outside waiting for a car to pull up to take him to school, I was five and really didn’t want my friend to go without me so I wanted to go along.  The car pulls up and I dart across the driveway before any of the adults could stop me.  Obviously I get hit by the car and that is my first death.  Danny was next to me instantly and before anyone could pull him off of my body I am completely naked and standing next to him.  Needless to say Danny and I never started at the school we were supposed to; instead we got sent to a place that no one would ever expect the King to send his son, public school in the non-magic world.

I guess I should have mentioned the fact that there are several monarchies in the world and then there is a non-magic world we blend into and try to stay separate from.  Every race has a monarchy that works together as a cabinet of sorts and every fifty or so years the ruling monarchy rotates to the next race.  Only those in contention for their respective thrones are not required to participate in what I like to call not-actually-defense classes.  And by in contention they mean there are less than five people between you and a direct line to the crown.

King Tristen is the king of the literal magic users, which has a few subgroups; Innate, Elemental, Conjure, and Illusion.  The King and his son are both Innate Magic users as their magic comes natural, second nature.  Elemental Magic users can only use the elements, some are specific and others are broader in use and in terms of element.  Conjure Magic users can only conjure up things that they are aware of and the Illusion Magic users can make you believe what they say or do is true, to an extent.  I almost forgot to say why my family is always a part of the personal guard for the ruling monarch, we don’t fit into a race.  We have excellent strength and stamina compared to the non-magic world but we all have a gift, one that no others have, we can all catch a glimpse of the future.  Unlike all other races we cannot train to get control of the gift.

So, growing up we lived within the non-magic world and learned not-magic forms of self-defense.  Both of us took those self-defense classes not because we were forced but because we thought the uniforms they wore looked great and we wanted to wear them.  Over the next few years we learned non-magic things during the weekdays and on the weekends my mother taught us more of the self-defense for in the magic world.  King Tristen also taught us the history of our world and more importantly the history of the monarchy.  It was during these times that some people tried to kidnap us, kill us or even kill the King.  One of those times King Tristen and Danny were visiting another monarch a few hours’ drive away and they killed me in his home.  It was this death in particular that we found out that when I die I don’t just come back alive and naked but also to where ever Danny is located. 

After that death they decided to make it official, like it wasn’t official before, that Danny and I were betrothed.  Danny and I both knew by the time I was ten that we were going to be married,  still it did freak us out a bit when at fifteen and sixteen we were told that we were to be married when we graduated.  Although it went on record that we were betrothed there was never an official announcement as the school we were supposed to be at the entire time was now experiencing a death once a week and the killer only left a note that they wanted the prince to join in the schooling.  What they didn’t count on was me; if the king sent his son to the school then he would send me as well, one way or another.  King Tristen sent a letter to the school and said that I would be arriving a few days before his son to make sure the rooms for his son were up to standards.  Basically, if the killer intercepted the note they would read that the prince’s personal guard with lack of training from the school was going to arrive and set up the prince’s room for when the prince arrived. 

What I got out of it was training for those rare times I would have to be sent ahead to scope out a threat.  And also a chance to place some of my clothes in his room along with his clothes in case I am the one who dies while he is here.  By this time we were used to the strange ways and times I died that he carried around a change of clothes for me in his school bag.  There are two ways to get to the school, a Teleporter, a Conjure Magic user who turned into a vampire, brings you or you take a long flight.  The school has four Teleporters on staff and King Tristen has one, actually all of the monarchs have one Teleporter on their payroll; Danny and I left at the same time, he flew and I was teleported. 

Those three days seemed to never end.  Let me back up, King Tristen’s Teleporter was a short round woman named Laura.  Laura had worked for the King since he ascended the throne so she knew to teleport to the jet after dropping me off.  The way she teleported me was after he took all of our belongings to the school she grabbed my hand.  In that instance I felt a shock and the hall of my home disappeared.  After a moment of darkness a new scene appeared in my vision.  I blinked a few times before taking in the scope of my new surroundings.  Looking around I noticed a gate about a mile behind us as well as at least two men on guard and three walking the perimeter before some trees obscured my view.  In front of us was a sprawling campus and Laura led me to the huge building in the center.  As we walked I could feel everyone staring at me, whispering about what they heard.

Inside the doors was a huge room with a floor to ceiling painting of King Tristen and Queen Katia.  Unlike the students who walked in and out without registering the painting, I bowed my head at the painting as a sign of respect.  And that got the whisperers to pick up their chatter as though I were not there.  I was led to the left of the painting and down a narrow hall.  To me all the doors looked the same but Laura stopped at one about half way down and knocked twice in rapid succession.  She opened the door and teleported away to the jet.  I stepped into a room that looked like it had once been a bedroom centuries ago.  Shutting the door behind me I walked the short distance to the desk, glancing around at each step.  The freshly painted white walls, heavy dark blue drapes that block out any sunlight trying to filter in, and the dim lights all told me the one who runs the school is a vampire.  A massive oak desk was in the center of the room with two matching oak high back chairs this side of the desk.  Across the desk watching my every move was a slender woman with some shade of brown hair I have never seen before, or since, sitting in another oak high back chair that seemed more like a throne than a common chair. 

I stepped between the chairs and nodded my head before I stupidly said, “Princessa Rex, I’m afraid I am a bid overdressed compared to the last time we met.”

And there it was, the proof I am just a teenager.  Before I could dwell on my stupidity she replied, “I am Headmistress King here and you are Rosemary.  Here I am in charge and not a member of the Rex monarchy; here you are not a favorite of the King but one of his subjects.  I am risking a lot to agree to Tristen’s request.  So, if you die while you are here let me know.  I am your only ally in finding this killer, do not let anyone else know.”

I breath our a sigh of relief and took a seat; I chose the one on the right and Headmistress King gave me a weird look.  I huffed our, “What?”

“All the students sit in the other chair, the only other person I know of who automatically chose that chair was Katia.  It seems when you know you will be sitting on the right of the King you always choose the right chair.”  She smiled sadly, I think she was reliving Queen Katia as a young girl coming into her office.

“Okay,” I said hoping to break her out of her memory, “I need both class schedules, a tour of the school, and time alone in the Prince’s room to ‘get it ready’ for his arrival.”

“Nice change of subject Rosemary, however the person showing you around does not get out of class for another half hour.  I chose them because if you rule them out as the killer then I believe they would be a great addition to Prince Daniel’s personal guard.  And we both know you will be choosing his personal guard and telling those responsible for placement after graduation who you want.” She told me with a smile playing on her lips.

With the same tone I answered, “I have no idea what you are talking about.  I have no say in anything regarding the Prince.  If I did then I would take our recommendation into consideration.  On the other side, I understand keeping boys and girls separate but if I die at night I will be leaving the Prince’s room after hours.  What I am asking is will you back up the story that if he has nightmares as an innate magic user his subconscious rings me to him to wake him up?”

“When did you think that up?” She asked me but to me she looked amused.

“The Prince and I came up with that story a few years ago when they got a new housekeeper.  We figured that it would work here too.” I replied as my mind wandered to when the new housekeeper waltzed right into Danny’s room after I was killed.

Headmistress King’s next words brought me out of my memories, “Ahh, yes, I do remember a story like that going around.  If that does happen I will say I have heard the stories.  I assume there is a reason the King was so vague in his letter.”

I smiled and said, “Only if this room is secure and has no cameras or listening devices.” My smile grew wider as I motioned for the headmistress to be quiet.  I pulled out a small box like one for jewelry and set it on her desk.  The room around us was pitch black and sounded like someone in the next room had their music up too loud.  I then continued, “I know this wonderful illusionist.  Anyway, it’s in case the killer got a hold of the letter.  If he did then I will die the night before Danny gets here.  You will deny I died and say you allowed me to pick up the Prince at the airport.”

“Douse that.” Headmistress King said and once I did she continued,
I do not like your implications young lady.  This establishment has no need to covertly spy on its students.”

“I’m sorry but it is part of my job here.  I learned form the best students this school has seen in less time than this school takes to teach, so forgive me if I offend, it is nothing personal.”  I replied with a tone that surprised me.

Before we could go farther down this road there was a knock on the door.  The headmistress looked at a clock on her desk and said, “Come in.  As I was saying if you have any questions or concerns pleas come see me and I will relay them on to King Tristen as he requested.”

I stood up and said, “Thank you, ma’am.”

She looked toward the door and said, “Daisy, this is Rosemary, would you be so kind as to show her both hers and Prince Daniel’s classes and rooms.  Show her the Prince’s last and leave her there to prepare his rooms for his arrival.  Rosemary, please follow Daisy.  She can answer your questions about the school itself."

I turned to the door and saw a lithe young woman with long layered reddish blond hair.  I strode the distance between us, hoping that if she overheard it would seem like I am eager to get out.  Upon reaching her I said, “Nice to meet you.”  As we walked out the door I added, “What is there to do around here for fun when we are not in class?”

The door shut but I could swear I could see the headmistress smile at that.  Daisy lit up as she answered, “There are loads of things to do, I am involved in a few sports and the fight team.  There are also a movie playing each night and a marathon of movies on the weekends.  What do you like to do?”

“I am not sure what the equivalent would be around here, I grew up in the non-magic school system.  I was encouraged to pick things in their world to integrate myself in their culture.  But the fight team sounds like I might like it and movies are always great.”  I replied, like I was taught.

She lead me right back out the way Laura brought me in.  Once we got outside Daisy picked up the conversation, “So, I am going to show you where your dorm is first as it is the closest.  Once you are sure you got your room number memorized then I will show you the classrooms.  They will be in no particular order as all the classes have numbers and most of them will be in the same building.  The boy’s dorm is on the other side of campus and I will just leave you at reception.”

At the cross paths we took the left one toward a massive brick building, my room was on the third floor in the middle of the hallway.  Once I told Daisy that I would remember where my room was she led me back down the stairs and outside.  Across the courtyard was the academic building where most of the classes were; they just put both of us in most of the same classes as we should have the same amount of schooling.  She showed me where his magic class would be held and then the gym.  The gym was at least four stories tall and you could easily fit four football fields inside.  In the middle where the fields would form a cross was a lone rope hanging down from the ceiling.  There was every machine imaginable and free weights plus an obstacle course and a place set aside for sparing. 

Seeing my face Daisy said, “I guess you were right the fight team might be your best bet to know people.  Anyway, you can come back after you fix up Prince Dash’s room.”

I blinked and didn’t follow her as she walked out.  She waved a hand in front of my face and I replied, “Sorry, I know people actually call him Prince Dash but it is the first time I have actually heard someone call the Prince that.”

I started to follow her and she asked, “So what do you call him then?”

Now, I couldn’t actually tell her so I skirted the truth and answered, “I have a few things I call him; My Prince and Daniel are the ones you will hear the most while we are here.”

“What do you mean while you are here?” She asked

I smiled and continued to skirt, “Do you have a good friend that you have a nickname for or know their full name and can call them out on things?”

She replied, “Of course I do, we bunk across the hall from one another here.”

I continued, “Now would you say any of those in front of people you don’t really know?”

Her answer, “Never! Oh, that is why.  But everyone knows Prince Dash’s full name.”

Now, this is where I pulled her in.  She would either kill me before he gets here or she will help me protect him.  “But do you know anyone who can say it without the girly tone? Someone who could make it sound like you are in trouble because they used your full name?”

“I don’t think there is anyone who could.” She answered with a hint of skepticism in her voice.

I smiled and said, “Wait until he gets here, if he does something he is not supposed to and I see it I won’t be able to get past saying Daniel before he is cowering and apologizing.”

We arrived on the other side of campus and a few feet from the door she said, “Here is the boy’s dorms have fun.”

She turned and practically ran away.  I wondered why but that is something I don’t have time to worry about.  I walked right up to the door and opened it.  Walking in I could understand why, an entire building full of teenage boys and even the ones guarding the doors were not that old.  I think that Daisy doesn’t have brothers.  I walked up to the reception desk, if I wasn’t already betrothed to Danny I would so try to date this dark haired boy, and said, “I am here to get Prince Daniel’s rooms in order for his arrival in three days.”

He looked at a clipboard and gave me a key.  Then he looked up and those amber eyes could melt any girl.  He said, “Typically we don’t allow girls up above the common room but as you are only preparing the prince’s room and are already his personal guard it is a temporary waiver of the rules.  Room 509”

I kept staring into his eyes as I replied, “Got it, temporary waiver so I can set up Prince Daniel’s room.”

I grabbed the key and started up the stairs.  All the boys I passed just stared and on the third floor I stopped.  I smiled and said, “I am here to fix up Prince Daniel’s rooms, yes I am a girl and you all are acting like you have never seen a girl before.  Now, please go about your days as if I am just another person going up the stairs and when I come down I am just another person on the stairs.”

I continued up the stairs and on the fifth floor I heard clapping.  It was from the boy with cropped blonde hair leaning in his doorway, the door said 510.  I walk over to Danny’s room and he said, “That was a nice speech, I’m Bret.”

I look into his brown eyes and said, “I’m Personal Guard Rosemary Jones, the only one who knows for a fact that I will be guarding Prince Daniel when we graduate from here.”  Everyone else has to go through a test to get placed.  My last name alone means I am a personal guard but I should get placed with a random monarch; however, I can’t guard one monarch and be married to another.

He continued, “I hope to be a personal guard too.  How do you know you will be his personal guard?”

“I have been looking out for him since I was like five, it is only recently that I gained the title of Personal Guard.  Now, if you excuse me it will take me a while to get his room ready for how he likes it.”  The teenager in me boasted.  When will I get the teenager out of me; I would like to know that.

Bret continued, “How could you gain a title without graduating from here?”

My smart-ass reply of ‘let me show you’ got caught in my throat as my personal guard self said, “Hard work, dedication, and the fact that my family is the personal guard for the monarchies.”

I opened the door to Danny’s room, walked in and shut and locked it behind me.  I sighed and out loud I asked, “How can you want to be a personal guard and not know that the Jones’ are a family of personal guards who have to be one of the guards in each of the monarchies?”

I looked around at all the boxes that Danny packed, sure one of those were full of my clothes but still it seemed he packed more than I did.  There was a queen sized bed up against one wall and two chests of drawers each with six drawers.  There was also a small closet but it’s not like he has much to hang up.  I unpack the first box on which he labeled ‘Don’t open Katia’.  Of course he knew I would but that also told me what was in the square box, it was as if he didn’t want to write undergarments or socks on the box.  I pick the top drawer of the chest at the foot of the bed and put all the contents from that box in the drawer.  I break down the box and set it on the bed, next I grab a box labeled ‘bottoms up’.  I opened the bottom drawer to put the contents into and I realized he just threw all his pants and shorts into the box.  So I dumped them on the floor and sat down to fold and put up.  They took up the two bottom drawers.  The next box was labeled ‘Katia’s stuff’ so I just sat it on the bed and figured I could put my stuff up last.  The next box I grabbed was labeled ‘shirts and stuff’.  This ought to be good at least this box was folded.  The shirts took up two drawers and the stuff was sweats that I moved to the other chest and put in the top two drawers.  He also had a box labeled ‘Katia hang these up’.  I open it up and he has his tux and a few suits neatly folded with the button up shirts on top and ties.  So I hang them up and it takes up half the closet.  The last box was labeled ‘Misc. figure out if I need these’.  What will I do if he doesn’t need whatever is in there, ship it back?  So I open it and he has photos of us growing up and a poster of my favorite group.  I bust out laughing, how did he get a poster of my favorite group and those photos past his father?  I leave those alone and put my clothes in the bottom of the chest with his sweats and start placing the photos around his room.  I hang my poster above the chest with my clothes in it so we both know which one it is.

I decide that I don’t want to go back to my dorm just yet so I change out of my clothes and into Danny’s shorts and t-shirt.  I figure those will work to test out their obstacle course, besides I wonder who will be at the gym.  I really need to pose a threat to whoever the killer is because he wants Danny here for a reason so I might as well say ‘kill me first’.  This time on my way down there is no one in sight so it is easier to run down the stairs.  I jog to the gym and when I open the doors I can see the fight team practicing in the sparing room.  Good, maybe Daisy will notice me on the course and suggest to the teacher that I should try out.

There are harnesses to help you climb up a steep almost vertical wall that I pass and just start climbing.  I am about half way when I hear a crowd gather and marvel at my skills of getting so high without a harness.  I continue knowing I have most of the attention in the gym, a higher chance that the killer will hear of this.  Also, I am remembering that I am not supposed to die in front of these people so I speed up because the slower I go the more unsure I get.  I reach the top and there is a platform for you to pick your next move.  I survey the gym and plan out my course, I decide to go what seems like the harder path and jump down a few feet and use the rope bridge to get across to where there is a zip line with no netting below.  The best part is if I time it just right I can jump from the zip line onto a Jacobs’ ladder net and climb across to a rope that drops straight down with no knots to help you hang on better.

As I threw myself sideways off the zip line I heard a collective gasp followed by a cheer when I landed on the Jacobs’ ladder.  When I successfully lowered myself from the rope I was met with pats on the back and cheers.  You would think there were no daredevils in this school by the way they reacted.  Daisy pushed everyone away and said, “That was crazy, what made you do that?”

I replied, “That looked like the most fun option besides that is what being a guard is about, risking your life.”

Daisy retorted, “No it is about protecting life.”

I paused and answered, “We risk our lives to protect the life of another.  If we don’t find fun in the risk then we can’t pursue those who try to kill our charge when they flee.  If you can find another way to get where they are without following that might be more dangerous but faster how do you know if you will take that risk if when in a controlled environment you don’t even attempt the risk?”

One of the other people who was there replied, “That is not the way they teach here.”

My mind just replied ‘and that is why at fifteen I was given the title of Personal Guard and no one else around here my age has that title yet.’ But aloud I replied, “And who can I talk to about that?”

Daisy answered, “Let me take you to the fight teacher and you can talk to him about that.”

I followed her over to where I noticed the mats down for sparing.  A tall tan dark haired man was talking to someone, he had his back to us so I wasn’t sure who he was talking to until Daisy shouted, “Yo, coach, here she is the one I told you about.”

He turned and I’m grounded, the person on the other side of him was none other than my mom.  Before he could speak she asked, “So, the reckless person they all had to watch was you?”

My head sank in defeat as I replied, “I’m sorry, mom.  I just surveyed the layout and found the one that looked the most fun.  I didn’t know that no one did that here.”

Before she could continue he said, “This is your daughter?  Rosemary, I have heard a lot about you I am Coach Andrews.  I will personally continue your training but not in front of the other students.  During your fighting and self-defense classes I will meet you here to see where you are at and how we can improve upon what you know.  Guardian Jones, it was a pleasure catching up with you.”

My mother slapped me upside the head and left, as punishments go I take that as I am not in as much trouble as I thought.  She left and it took me a moment to realize that as the head of King Tristen’s personal guard her title is just Guardian.  I guess I need to ask Coach a question and before I could wait until we are alone I asked, “Coach, is it possible that some days I get a break and go to my normal fight and self-defense classes?  I would really like to see those who could be personal guards with me.” Luckily he agreed by a nod of his head, as the guards need to have a knowledge of the fighting skills of the others.  I then said “Thank you, coach.  I must be going now, I need to shower and get my things in order.  I will meet up with you here tomorrow during those classes.”

I walked off and once I was outside of the gym I jogged back to my dorm and grabbed my stuff.  I took a quick in and out shower as I didn’t even build up a sweat on that course.  Once I got back into my room I put on my night clothes and unpacked all my boxes and put them up.  My room had the same layout as Danny’s but a bigger closet, I guess they thought the girls would have a lot of dresses.  My first night was quiet and strange as I didn’t have Danny nearby.

Welcome to day two without Danny, I got up went to class and skipped out of my two classes that knew I was skipping out for private lessons with Coach Andrews.  Coach and I sparred for a good hour before he broke it off and said we needed to drink water.  I could tell it had been a while for him to spar this long with a partner who was almost evenly matched with him.  As he took his drink he asked me, “How often do you and your mother spar like this?”

“Every weekend we spared, as I got older the length of out sessions got longer.  Also I was five when she started to teach me.  And from what I have heard what I did yesterday is practically unheard of here.  Why is that?” I asked curious.

“Well,” he started, “back when your mom and I went to school here we did things like that all the time until someone on their first time tried it and fell.  From then on daredevils were punished for encouraging reckless behavior in young students.”

“Isn’t reckless behavior and how to keep it in check what makes a good personal guard?” I asked, wanting to see how far I could probe into this before getting shut down.

“Not really, it’s what makes you Jones’s perfect for the monarchy but not all reckless behavior is suited for personal guard.  Some of it is just down right endangerment of others.  After you see a few classes we can pick this conversation back up and hopefully you will see what I mean.”  He replied, “Oh, and I’m an old man.  Don’t tell the other students I said that but you can go, I don’t think I can do another round today.”

The rest of my day went by in a blur.  The night I missed having Danny near but nothing happened.  I awake and it is day three without Danny, I know we said we wanted to see what it was like to not see each other for a few days.  I am sure he is counting too, I don’t think there was ever a time that we spent more than twelve hours away from each other.  I go to classes and then to my private lesson.  I went to bed early, Danny would be landing in the morning.  Someone places a hand over my mouth and my eyes jolt open, I don’t struggle or try to scream.  Why bother when I can try to see who my captor is.  All I see is darkness and then my eyes adjust, above me is a face that I can’t make the features out and the hair comes into view.  It is most likely a guy judging by the hair cut, short and spiky.  I can see them smile, they lean down and whisper, “We need to get rid of the sole heir before he becomes one of the undead.” 

The voice is husky, so it has to be a man.  He takes out a knife and slides it across my throat.  He leaves my room, leaving me to bleed out.  I twist my head and make the blood spray out faster and then I died.  A moment later I am sitting naked on a plane next to Danny.  He is sleeping in his chair but his bag is below my seat so I reach down, grab out my clothes and put them on before waking him up the same way I always do when I wake up next to his sleeping body.  I rake my hand up his leg as I say in what he calls my creepy voice, “I will drag you down to…”

I can’t even finish it before he is awake and hugging me.  Since everyone on King Tristen’s plane knows about my deaths, as they all were there on my first death, I stand up and say “I know the killer is a guy.  And this death is already covered up by Headmistress King.  I was given permission to pick up the prince when he arrives.”

Danny pulled me down in the seat and said, “That was the worst three days.”

I smiled and replied, “I know and I got slapped upside the head by mom.  Apparently, the crazy things I do when we are on obstacle courses is not the norm here.  I set up your room you are in the boys’ dorm room 509 and across the hall is a guy named Bret.  I am in the girls’ dorm in room 319.  Oh, some of our classes are the same.  They are boring and we’ve gone over it years ago.”

Danny grabbed my hand and said, “I think what will kill us the most is not using the names we call each other.”

I replied, “I know but I had this one girl who showed me around the campus ask me what I call you and I said that while we are there she will hear me call you My Prince or Daniel.  I also told her that I can full name you and make it sound like you are in trouble.”

Danny answered, “That’s because when you full name me I am in trouble.” He kissed my hand absently and continued, “Wait, I have to call you Rosemary and not do this,” He gestured to my hand as he said, “And what about dating? I mean although it is official there was not a major announcement.”

I thought about that and smiled a smile that only he gets to see as I said, “Well, how about we flirt with other people and if they want more you have someone you are betrothed to but you don’t know who it is, while I am going to wait until your personal guard is set up to decide who I am going to be with.  Because we both know those answers will let us flirt but not make it so multiple people will want to try to make us date them.”

“You spotted some boys you wanted to flirt with didn’t you?” Danny asked, amused more than hurt.

“All the boys I saw couldn’t compare to you,” I sweetly said, “That being said, there were some contenders if I didn’t know you were already mine.”

“I’m yours?” he playfully asked

“Why else could I be able to say My Prince?” I responded

“Oh, my Katia, how are we going to make it through this?” He genuinely asked slightly terrified.

“Danny, we will get through this like we will get through everything.  TOGETHER.” Sometimes I hated how grownup I sounded.  Then again, I knew we both had to be beyond our years for this to work.

We lifted the arm from between us and I leaned on him and we dozed off for the rest of the flight.  No one bothered us as they knew this was the last time for a long while that we could just relax in each other’s arms.


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Deleted User: This is a very clever story in the style of 19th century (and turn of the century) Gothic writing, very reminiscent of Stevenson's The Body Snatchers or even of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (less so of Frankenstein itself, since the author is more minimalist than Shelley's florid, Romantic rhetoric). ...

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Felisa Yoder Osburn: I really enjoyed the story. Civil War stories are some of my favorites and the intertwining of the past with current times was wonderful. I look forward to reading the next stories.

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