Avery went straight to her bedroom when she got home from school and she placed her worn out backpack on the floor and just laid in bed looking at the ceiling.
The kids that she shared the room with were not back yet so she had a little time to herself.
Her thoughts went straight to Bradley who practically saved the day today.
She started worrying about the party that they were supposed to go to.
She asked herself many times on why did she agree to go this party. Mrs. Welch would never agree to such a thing. She'd rather have her clean the whole orphanage than go out and hang out with people her age. She was that cruel but it didn't bother Avery that much anymore because when you get used to being treated differently you almost become immune to it and all that's left is the scars of that battlefield.
Bradley on the other hand was asking her father to go to the orphanage and ask Avery's guardian to let her come with him to the party tonight and his father agreed. If this was going to make Bradley happy then his father would do it in a heart beat.
King Howard wasn't your typical stuck up king that followed all the rules. He bent them a little to spice things up in his family's daily lives. He didn't want royalty to go to anyone's head nor did he want it to keep his family from having fun, especially his son. He has always wanted Bradley to have a normal life. He was more happy that Bradley was interested in taking a girl out. To him it showed that his son was at least socializing.
On the other hand, the king's kindness and humbleness helps everyone around to be at ease and to do their work to their utmost best. Every helper and every gardener in this household love coming to work because it's not a toxic working place, it's actually worth waking up in the morning and coming to work. That's how loving, thoughtful and respectful he is to his employees.
His wife is a very lucky woman to have found a man who is so caring. She is treated like the queen she already is and she is very happy.
Queen Victoria is a very sweet lady and a great mom to her children. Her handsome Bradley and Riley, her beautiful daughter who is already in college.
Bradley couldn't wait to go to college too because he's had enough of that toxic high school and the worst part about it is that no one was doing anything about it. His thoughts shifted to Avery who he has saved today, he wondered if he didn't push it too far with the fake kiss, the fake boyfriend and girlfriend thing but he shook those thoughts away because if it was the only way to help her through the day then he'd do all over again.
His phone buzzed in his pocket followed by his dance monkey ringtone. He took it out of his pocket and looked at the caller and he quickly answered when he saw Casey's name popped up on the Screen.
"Hey Cuz. How are you?" He asked her sweetly.
"Hey Cuz? Really? Don't freaken cuz me Bradley. I asked you to protect my bestfriend not kiss her and make her your girlfriend. What the hell?" She yelled on the other side of the phone.
"Who told you that? I never kissed Avery!" He panicked and lied when Casey yelled at him.
"There are pictures of you and her all over Facebook that was shared over a hundred times already so don't think you can get away with that lie. Are you insane Bradley? You know how fragile Avery is, why would you put her in a position like this?" She asked him still angry.
"I'm sorry. I just wanted to help her like you asked me to Casey." He said to her.
"Through her mouth? I don't remember asking you to suck my bestfriends face. Hmm you're getting me all riled up over here Bradley!" She snapped. "You know it's a good thing that she doesn't have a phone. She won't see the nasty things that everyone is saying about her on social media." She said to him pacing up and down in her bedroom.
"Uhm there's something else..." He trailed off.
"There's something else? Are you kidding me? I already don't like the sound of this." She ran her fingers through her hair.
"I asked her to come to a party with me tonight." He confessed.
"Are you being serious right now?" She asked in shock. "Bradley, Avery has never attended a party before! Besides... her guardian would never let her out of her sight. Are you trying to get her into trouble now?" She asked him irritated.
"No I'm not. I asked my dad to go and talk to her guardian to let her come with me and he agreed." He explained.
"Of course he'll agree. His my cool uncle. The person I'm worried about is Avery." She said still pacing up and down.
"I'm sorry Casey. I didn't know how else to protect Avery and at the time what I did was the only option." He said truthfully and Casey sighed in defeat.
"Argh...fine! I guess you meant well but please don't drag this out for Avery's sake. The longer you keep this couple thing going the harder it'll be for her. Please don't put her in a difficult position, the kids at school are already giving her a hard time." She begged him.
"I won't... A few days after the party I'll tell her to break up with me in front of everyone. I think that'll work." He suggested.
"That sounds dramatic but if you think that idea will work then I support it." She said. "Well I got to go Brad. I'll see you later." She added.
"Before you hang up do you think you can come over and help her get ready at my house? I think this being her first party she should make a first impression." He said.
"Hmmm... Sure will do hey. Just let me know when she's on her way there." She said to him then hung up the call.
One of the housekeepers came to call Bradley on behalf of his dad. He walked out of his room heading downstairs to his father's study. He was there reading a letter. He gently folded it when his son walked in.
"Dad, you called me... What's up?" He asked casually.
"Son, I couldn't go to the orphanage earlier on because I had a pressing matter that needed my undivided attention but I'm free now so I'll go there. Anyway I wanted to ask you if I'm going alone or you're coming with me?" He asked his son.
"I think I should stay behind and get ready. I also need to prepare a few things for her. She probably needs an outfit for the party, so I should organize that for her." He replied.
"You know you remind me of when I first started dating your mom." He started off.
"Dad don't start please... you are going to make this whole thing awkward for me." He whined.
"I'm just letting you know that your father was on his A-game. I was always thinking of what's best for your mother and that made her appreciate all the good I did." His dad said slightly smiling and his son smiled too.
"Please don't embarrass me dad." He teased and his dad just chuckled.
After their productive conversation his dad left with two of his guards. When they arrived at the orphanage, King Howard realized that the place was getting worn out. It was an old building and it needed renovations.
Mrs. Welch didn't care about fixing the place. Most of the donations she got, she kept it for herself and took care of her own needs. She just used the little that's left to buy necessary staff like food, stationery for the children but she didn't care about other necessities, like medication.
The king and his guards walked towards the door and one of the guards knocked at the front door. The door was opened by Teresa and the guard made way for the king.
"King Howard!?" She called him out in a surprised manner and she quickly curtsied while bowing her head. This was an unexpected visit from the king himself.
"Mrs. Rivera. I didn't know you lived here." The king said.
Teresa and the King know each other from way back when her husband was still alive. The couple worked at the palace until a tragedy happened and she left the country for a while to recuperate. She came back when she felt sane enough to face the world.
"Uhm.. ah.. I actually work here your majesty. Please come inside." She made way for him and he walked inside while his guards waited outside guarding the door. She closed the door and they walked to the living room where there was a bit of a mess that she was cleaning up with Avery. "I'm sorry for the mess, I was still cleaning up before you got here." She said collecting the kids books and crayons from one couch and placed them on the table.
"It's okay. I understand that kids create little messes most of the time." He answered knowingly. He had a brief flash back of his own children when they were small. Teresa chuckled because she remembered some of the mess Bradley and his sister used to make.
"Please sit." She said and he sat down. She also took a seat.
"Since you left the palace, you never came back. My family really missed your presence. We called, texted but you never replied." The king said to her.
"I'm sorry. I couldn't come back. I shared too many memories with my late husband there. I don't think I could've been able to handle being there." She said truthfully with a little bit of sadness in her voice. "Anyway I'm sure you're here for something important than to discuss our past." She quickly said changing the subject.
"Right... well I'm here on behalf of my son. I'm here to talk to the owner of the orphanage." He said.
"Right... that'll be Mrs. Welch. I'll quickly go and call her. In the meantime can I get you anything to drink? Tea, coffee, Juice?" She asked.
"I'm good thank you." He replied.
Teresa excused herself to go and call Mrs. Welch. She found her on a call. She didn't want to interrupt her but then again she didn't want to keep the king waiting. She knocked twice then entered her office.
"I'm very sorry for interrupting you Mrs. Welch but there's someone very important downstairs to see you." She said to her and she looked up at Teresa briefly then she went back to talking on her phone. "Mrs. Welch.." She called her out.
"For Pete's sake I'm on a call Teresa! She snapped at her.
"But the-" She cut her off.
"Do you want me to fire you?" She asked nonchalantly.
"Ma'am I'm trying to tell you that the k-" She cut her off again.
"Who is this person you're so worried about? They can wait like everybody else unless it's the president of the United States. Nobody is as important as him. Now go and tell whoever it is to wait or they can leave." She firmly said.
"Yes ma'am." Teresa said then she left her office.
She didn't know what she was going to tell the king but something came up. So she quickly walked to the living room and she found the king looking around the living room area. The king realised that the orphanage wasn't in good condition at all.
"Excuse me your majesty, uhm the owner cannot come and talk to you at this moment. She's on a very important phone call which she can't get off it. I'm really sorry but maybe I can help." Teresa said as politely as she could.
"As a matter of fact you can. My son asked for Avery Montgomery. I believe my son is interested in taking her out tonight. We wanted permission from her guardian but I'm sure she won't mind if we borrow Avery for the night, right?" He asked.
"Not at all." Teresa replied inwardly jumping up and down because she was very happy for Avery. "I'll make sure I tell Mrs Welch about this so she doesn't worry. I'll go ahead and call her for you." She added.
"Thank you." He replied.
Teresa hurried to go and call Avery. She arrived at her room and softly knocked on her door.
"Come in." Avery replied softly and Teresa entered her room. She found Avery studying with her night light on. "Oh Teresa, is everything okay? Did I forget to pack something?" She asked sounding panicky.
"Oh no sweetheart everything's fine. I just came to get you. Bradley's dad is here and he's asking for you." She whispered not to wake Avery's room mates. They were sleeping so peacefully.
"Bradley's dad? So he was serious about taking me to the party. Teresa no, please tell his dad I'm sorry. I can't go with Bradley to that party. Those kids are going to make me regret going there. Anyway Mrs. Welch will never let me go out and I'd rather stay here and wash a pile of dishes than go out." Avery said panicking.
"Hey... listen to me. You need to be a teenager for once. Just forget chores, Mrs. Welch, school and every kid that messes with you all the time. Go out and enjoy yourself. I promise you that you'll be fine." Teresa assured her. "Now come with me." She added taking her hand.
"Teresa I have nothing nice to wear to the party." Avery said when they were on their way to the living room.
"Oh shoot! I didn't think about that." She replied when they were on their last stair of the staircase.
"It's okay. My son said he'll organize something for you." King Howard said. He heard them when they were coming downstairs. Avery was slightly hiding behind Teresa. "Hello young lady. I'm glad to meet the lady that my son likes." He added.
"Hi sir, it's nice to meet you too." She replied coming to stand next to Teresa.
"Well I'm sure you two will get acquainted on your way out but right now we don't want to keep Bradley waiting for long. You should go." Teresa said dismissing them. She was afraid that Mrs. Welch would appear any minute now and ruin the whole thing.
They finally left the orphanage heading to king Howard's car. The kings guards drove them to the palace. Avery was nervous and the king realized it so he tried to calm her down by offering her a packet of Mentos.
"Thank you sir." She said taking them from him.
"You're welcome." He graced her with his smile.
"So tell me Ms. Montgomery how long have you been living in the orphanage?" He asked politely.
"Since I was 8." She replied softly.
"So the orphanage has been your home for quite a while now, huh?" He asked.
"Yes. Everyone there have been the closest thing to a family." She said.
"Family is important. You should always cherish the ones you love. That's what I always tell my children and my wife." He said to her and Avery started to feel at ease.
"Children? Meaning Bradley has siblings right?" She asked knowingly.
"He has an older sister whose in college now." He answered.
"That's great. I'm sure it's really nice for him to have someone he can share stuff with." She said.
"I'm sure it is but I wouldn't know. I was an only child." He said to her and she could relate. "It was lonely at times, so I told myself that one day when I have children of my own I'll make sure they have a sibling or two so they don't experience my loneliness." He said.
"I see. Well I'm an only child too. My parents never wanted any other children after me." She explained.
"Well I guess you and I have something in common then." He chuckled and she just smiled.
They finally arrived at the palace and Avery was amazed at how huge the palace was. She has never seen such a beautiful palace in real life, she just saw it in books. When they got inside, every maid curtsied at King Howard every time he passed by them and Avery wondered why. She still didn't know that Bradley's father was the king.
Bradley appeared walking down the stairs in a pair of black jeans, a white shirt, white Nikey sneakers and a black leather jacket that gave out that bad boy vibe. Avery was glued to this gorgeous human being that was walking towards her with his breath taking smile.
"You're here." He said when he stood in front of her.
"Yeah I'm here." She said nervously.
His dad smiled at his son and he left the two teenagers by themselves. He walked towards his wife and side hugged while they watched their son with his first girlfriend or so they thought. They didn't know that all this was an act, an act of kindness from Brad.
He walked with Avery up to one of the bedrooms in the palace and they found a few dresses and shoes lined up. Her bestfriend was waiting for her and Avery was very happy to see her. She quickly walked towards her and they hugged each other.
"I'll let you two be." Bradley said closing the door behind him, leaving the two bestfriends by themselves. They were so giddy to see each other but they didn't have enough time to catch up. Casey had to work her magic to make her bestfriend look more gorgeous and turn heads at the party.
"I really miss you at school. I can't wait for you to come back." She said to her.
"Don't worry I'll be back soon my friend." She replied while curling Avery's hair.
"Casey why didn't you tell me that Bradley was your cousin?" She asked.
"Uhm.. well.. it's complicated." She said.
"Complicated how?" She asked curiously and Casey turned Avery's chair to herself and she sat on the bed.
"Well Bradley's parents don't want everyone to know who he is and by not knowing who he is makes me less of a target. That's why I didn't disclose my relation with him. Actually a lot you don't know is going on in our family and it's better if you don't know anything more." She explained.
"Casey you're scaring me. Am I safe being around Brad?" Avery asked.
"Ofcourse you are. Just as long as you're with him at all times then you have nothing to worry." She replied but Avery wasn't convinced. Her nervousness came back because she was worried that maybe this whole thing was a mistake. "Ave, I'm your bestfriend, would I ever lie to you?" She asked and she shook her head. "Then trust me when I say the less you know, the better. Just enjoy the party tonight." She said squeezing her bestfriends hand reassuring her and she smiled.
"There's something I need to tell you about Brad and I. Uhmm... it just happened and now I'm confused about it." Avery said.
"If it's about the kiss then I know." She replied.
"He told you?" She asked and Casey nodded. She didn't want to tell her that it was all over social media.
"Why are you confused though? Don't tell me that you like my annoying cousin?" Casey teased with a chuckle.
"Casey, he gave me my first kiss and it was amazing." Avery said shyly.
"OMG you're blushing. You really liked it, didn't you?" Casey said, making her bestfriend blush even more.
"I did but I'm confused because you know that I always wanted Oliver to be the first guy I share my first kiss with." She confessed.
"I know but what if it wasn't going to be as amazing as it was with Brad, think about that. What I can tell you is that don't regret this, when the right time with you and Oliver comes you'll know." She said to her.
"Yeah... I guess you're right." She replied.
"I'm always right." She grinned. "Anyway let's get you all dolled up, I'm pretty sure the party has already started by now. You want to arrive fashionably late, not when everyone's gone home." She added.
Casey finished doing her hair and she took out a dress that fitted Avery like a glove. She did a little bit of make-up. She looked so pretty after Casey got her ready.
Ready to see the end result?" Casey asked and Avery nodded. She presented her in front of the mirror and Avery almost didn't recognize herself.
"Wow I feel like a reflection of my mom." She commented looking at her beautiful eyes that the make-up made stand out.
"That means your mom was just as pretty as you are." Casey said.
"I think I'm going to cry." She replied feeling emotional.
"No we don't want that right now. Your mom wouldn't want you to be all emotional right now right?" She asked and Avery nodded. "So let's go." Casey said taking Avery by her hand and they walked downstairs where Bradley was waiting.
He was amazed when he saw Avery walking down the stairs too. He was in awe as she walked slowly towards him. She was different and more beautiful than he remembered.
"Wow..." He said outloud. "You look beautiful. You really look amazing." He complimented her and she smiled shyly.
"Thank you. You look good too." Avery replied and they stared at each other for a few seconds.
"You two need to get going hey." Casey said and they snapped out of it.
"Right..." Brad said.
They finally left the palace heading to the party with Bradley's Tesla. He didn't want to be driven to the party. He wanted to feel like a teenager for once and not feel like a prince just for one day. So he thought the guards stayed behind like he requested but his father made sure they follow him from a distance just to keep an eye on him. He wouldn't want his only heir to come into any trouble and not have back up or protection.
They arrived at the party and it was already lit. A lot of kids at their school were already there and Avery started to get nervous all over again.
She asked herself over and over again if this was really a good idea.