Chapter 3: Entertainment - Phoenix
I woke up in Milo’s arms the next morning. He was still asleep. I was careful not to wake him as I moved. I picked up my tote bag and headed to the bathroom. After going and brushing my teeth, I removed my hairbrush from my bag. I ran it through my hair to remove the tangles. I removed a hair elastic from my wrist and tossed it up into a bun. I checked myself out in the mirror after that. The lighting was far from flattering. It was difficult for me to sleep comfortably. The light bags beneath my eyes made that evident. I frowned at the early signs of a breakout I noticed forming on my forehead. I picked up my facial cleanser and washed my face, paying extra attention to the problem area. Having packed my make-up in my suitcase, that was all that I could do in terms of improving my appearance.
I returned to my seat. I draped my blanket over my lap and brought my knees up to my chest. I glanced out the window. The rich oranges, reds, and blue hues of the rising sun seeped in and washed over the white mounds of fluff. I was brought breakfast as Milo continued to rest. I was more than content eating, looking out the window and listening to music.
When I felt movement beside me, I looked over in Milo’s direction. I removed one of my headphones, seeing that he was awake.
“Morning, Sleepyhead.” I greeted with a smile.
He rubbed his eyes with the back of his hand. “Why are you awake?” His voice was raspy.
“It’s hard for me to sleep on planes.”
“Good to know.”
“File it alongside ‘loves juice boxes’ and ‘hates goodbyes’.” I joked lightly.
He smiled and nodded. He unbuckled his seat belt and headed to the bathroom. I placed my Earbud back into my ear and resumed my cloud-side breakfast. Our plane landed in Listonenia at noon. I texted Audrey to inform her of my safe arrival before I packed up the items I removed from my bag during the flight.
“Ready?” Milo offered me his hand.
I nodded and gave him mine. Upon stepping foot outside, I was blown away by Listonenia’s beauty. Though we were on a runway, I could see the luscious green hills in the distance. The weather was absolutely perfect – warm, but not uncomfortably hot, sunny with picturesque clouds. We followed Gaston to the limo. I looked around in awe. If Milo wasn’t pulling me along, I would’ve stopped and stared with a dopey smile on my face. It felt like the location of a fantasy. Somehow, it felt magical.
I rolled down the car window and kept my eyes glued to the landscape. Never pulling my eyes away, I rested my arms on the window sill and scooted up as close as possible. We were hillside when I finally caught sight of the sea. Its blue surface almost looked metallic as it glistened in the sunlight. White sailboats with brightly colored sails glided along with ease, bouncing gently with the waves. The smell of salt water wafted in. It was oddly exhilarating when accompanied by the warm breeze billowing through my hair. With all of my senses consumed, I was given a false sense of freedom and invincibility.
“I’m afraid you’re going to fall out the window.” Milo called to me teasingly, pulling me out of my reverie.
I remained in my spot. “I’ll take my chances.”
“Is it safe to assume that you like Listonenia thus far?”
“I think I’m in love.” I mused in a dreamy tone.
“I feel neglected.” He joked.
“I’m going to cheat on you with this place. I can feel it. I’m sorry, Babe. It’s too sexy to resist.” I played along.
“What do I have to do to win you back?” I could hear the smile in his voice.
I finally tore my eyes away from the landscape and glanced over at him.
“Give me a tour. If you show me the place yourself, I think I’ll be able to resist enjoying it behind your back and instead of you.” I smiled.
“That is all you want?”
“What are my other options?”
“Anything. We certainly have access.”
I thought to myself for a moment. “Just the tour. A picture with a mini horse was guaranteed in the trip package.”
He smiled and moved in close. “I offered to give you the world. Instead of demanding diamonds or something designer, you have asked me to show you around and allow you to simply meet a pony,not keep it. That’s strange.”
“Mini horse. Big difference.”
His smiled widened. “My apologies. Meet a mini horse.” He corrected.
“They stay little forever. They are amazing. Besides, who lied and told you that I’m normal?” A smile of my own crept onto my face.
He closed his eyes and kissed me. Mine eased shut and deepened the kiss by opening my mouth. He reached over and rolled up my window by pressing the button. I guided his face back to mine afterward. He placed his hand on my waist. It didn’t take long before we were having a full on make out session in the back seat of the limo. Gaston was in the front seat with the driver and the divider was up.
He pulled away suddenly.
“What --?” I started to question.
He removed his glasses and tossed them aside before crashing his lips back to mine. I tangled my fingers in the back of his hair, using my hands to keep him close. He hitched one of my legs around his waist. Our positioning became somewhat awkward, but we kissed through it without complaining or attempting to fix it.
“I suggest you get yourselves straightened out. We’ll be arriving at the palace soon.” Gaston called over his shoulder teasingly after he lowered the divider a small amount.
“We really need to stop getting caught making out by Gaston.” I blushed slightly, pulling away from him.
“But we are so good at it.” He smiled at me and retrieved his glasses from the floor.
“We’re a little TOO good at it.” I giggled.
There were hoards of people across the street from the palace when the car pulled up.
“Is it always like this?” I looked to Milo.
He shook his head. “Only when something happens.”
“So, they’re all here to get a sneak peek at me? I wish I had time to wash my hair and put on something nicer.” I glanced down at my black Sella Moora T-shirt and gray cotton shorts.
“We just got off of a 14-hour flight. It’s not a crime to look like it.” He reassured.
“It’s beautiful.” I glanced out the window and looked at the grand palace before us.
The centuries old architecture, the country’s flag that graced a flag pole on top of the structure, the massive windows, and expensive accents made it all so much more real for me. I had plenty of time to cope with Milo’s title prior to that point. But seeing his country, curious citizens, and a palace made it all sink in and firmly remain in place. He was my Milo, but he was born to be theirs.
My door was opened for me by a man in a uniform. I quickly fished my sunglasses from my bag and shoved them on my face. I pulled my satchel over my torso and stepped out of the vehicle. Unsure of where to go, I remained still, holding on to the strap of my purse.
“Incognito is a cute look on you.” Milo removed my hand from its nervous position and took it into his.
“It’s the hair.” I smirked.
He smiled and kissed me. The crowd went wild.
“I’m ready to stop being a spectacle in yesterday’s clothes.” I pecked him once more.
He kissed the side of my head. Together, we walked to the entrance. He waved to the crowd politely with a smile. He strolled along like it was normal to have people camped out on his front lawn. He didn’t bat an eyelash at the cameras. He simply moved about his life the same way. The knowledge they were all watching was shoved to furthest crevice of his mind. I knew I needed to be that if I were to survive in his world as myself.