I woke up before my alarm went off which was really odd for a Monday morning. My mom usually had to drag me out of bed which I believe she secretly loves to do. As the only child, I know she never wants me to grow up and will forever treat me as her baby. However, I didn’t need her help waking me up this morning because my body knew that it’s the first day of senior year.
The first day of school jitters filled me as I jumped out of bed and checked my agenda.
I had to show up to school early today for a journalist meeting. Our town has been preparing like crazy for the arrival of some prince that would be attending my high school. Why would a prince, who had everything, want to come to Brownsville? He must be insane.
“Good morning, Princess Mila.” My mom walked in as I got my laptop and papers ready.
“Ha-ha, mom you are so funny,” I said sarcastically.
My mother was really excited when she heard the news about a prince coming to my school. She said she once traveled to the country of Cálida before I was born and that she loved it. She told me bedtime stories of the king and queen that lived there when I was younger and I remember telling her that I wanted to be a princess when I grew up. From that day until I was 7, I only answered to princess and never Mila. My mom still insists on calling me princess.
“You don’t seem so excited to meet royalty today Ms. Sarcastic,” She sat at the foot of my bed sipping on her morning coffee.
“No one even knows what the guy even looks like. They make it seem like its Mr. President himself attending our school.” I rolled my eyes. It was odd learning that there were no pictures of the royal family of Cálida because it was illegal to take a photo of a royal in Cálida. The media has many strict laws to follow in Cálida which I was made aware during our last week’s journalist meeting. We definitely had more free reign when it came to journalism in the states.
I picked up my bag and dumped all my belongings into it, including a pizza bagel for lunch later. I brushed my teeth and put my dark hair up in a ponytail. My outfit consisted of my favorite black booties, a pair of light washed skinny jeans and a gray knitted sweater for the light rain that drizzled outside.
I kissed my mom on the cheek before getting into my white 2002 Jeep Wrangler, a present that my mother and I bought with our savings for my 17th birthday.
The school’s parking lot was oddly full for this early in the morning. I parked in one of the last parking spots I could find and noticed there were tons of students painting banners that welcomed the prince. They hanged the banners all around the front of the school making it look like a parade. Yup, they were sure sucking up. I spotted our principle, Mr. Mendoza, shaking his head nervously as the light rain became a heavy pour and began to drench through the homemade banners.
I walked into the computer lab where we always had our meetings and was greeted with a big hug by my best friend, Ava. Her glossy brown hair ended at her shoulders that so made me so jealous of due to my plain black hair. Ava smiled and did a quick signal for us to sit down in the front before Nick Collins, our editor-in-chief, started the meeting.
“OK everyone, listen up. Prince Phoenix James of Calida will begin his first day of high school today and we will be the first ones to witness it. I want everyone to take a camera with them and bring me some of the best candids I have ever seen. Ava, Jimmy, and Mila I want you to get close to him. Get an interview with the man! I don’t care if you have to follow him in the bathroom stall, I want his first words printed in our school newspaper. And I swear Jimmy if you turn in one more mediocre piece to me I will personally ban you from this room,” Nick quickly gives Nick a deathly glare with Jimmy shakes underneath the table.
“At the end of the week, I will pick one article to publish in this weeks paper. The prince hates interviews and he has never done one before so you will be known for having the first and only interview with the prince. So make sure to be prepared at all times. Get that damn interview!” Nick said shouting in front of all of us.
“You will be known for having the first and only interview....“, Nick’s words replayed over and over in my head. I have gotten some of my work published through the high school’s paper but nothing as big as this could be. I had to get that interview, my name could be blasted on all types of magazines and newspapers. The thought made me so eager to get this interview. This is exactly the type of attention I needed to get into my dream college, NYU.
The rest of the meeting was about the prince, of course, and a very little background about his life. This guy lived in a castle that was about 100 times bigger than my house. Nick acknowledged that there were no photos of the guy, how could there not be one photo of this guy? It felt like a game of “Where’s Waldo?“.
The bell rang and interrupted my thoughts.
“I could see the wheels turning in that head of yours Mila,” Ava said getting up from her desk.
“I just really want this interview,” I admitted. Ava and I were both the top journalists in our school, but Ava focused less on people and more on social trends. She always seemed to know what was cool before it actually was. She was still extremely talented.
We walked out of the classroom and the hallway was empty.
“What the hell?” Both Ava and I said.
We looked left and right as if we were trying to cross traffic, but there was no one. We look at each other confusingly. Then there was the sound of heels clicking behind us, we turned around to find Mr. Mendoza -- and also Ava’s mom -- walking towards us.
“Why aren’t you two in class?” Mrs. Johnson asked. She had her light brown hair that matched Ava’s tied back and a long gray pencil skirt matched with black heels. She was also our school’s vice principal.
“Mom, where is everyone?” Ava asked.
“I told you this morning Ava, every student will be required to be in class early today so the prince does not feel overwhelmed when he arrives.”
Of course, one day here and he already had changed our school’s schedule to make him more comfortable.
“Is he here?” I interrupted a little too eagerly.
“Yes Ms. Torres, that is where I was headed to before I bumped into you two. Now get to class please.” Mrs. Johnson continued to walk down the hallway.
“This is our chance Ava! Everyone is in class and the prince is by himself!” I said pulling Ava’s hand.
“I don’t think so, you are the one who wants this interview so, go get it girl! Plus, my mom is kind of scary when she is all Mrs. Vice Principal and all.” Ava added.
I nodded and ran down the hallway. As soon as I turned around the hallway, my face came in contact with someone’s chest. My bag flew open when I landed ass first on the floor. All of my belongings scattered on the floor next to me.
“Ah fuck, my pizza bagel,” I said noticing the pizza stain on my pants from landing on the bagel.
That was followed with a low chuckle silently alerting me that I bumped into someone. The guy that stood in front of me had sandy blond hair and lord was he tall, six feet at least. He was smiling at me like he hadn’t just knocked me over.
“I apologize for your dear bagel.” He said in an accent I couldn’t distinguish. He bent down and helped me pick up the few things that had fallen out of my bag, thankfully, my tampons remained tucked in my bag.
“Don’t worry about it, it was my fault. You must be new here.” I said standing back onto my two feet. I need everyone who went to our school. There were only 300 students and I had interview almost all of them in the last 3 years for our yearbook and school newspaper.
“Yes, I am. Everyone is going nuts around here about the prince arriving and then there’s just plain old me.” He added with a sweet smile added at the end. I noticed his bright blue eyes glisten and felt my heart start pounding faster.
Tell me about it.
“That reminds me, I have to go find this prince. I can’t believe they changed our schedule for him! He probably isn’t even grateful for it. He has everything I would die for and leaves it to go to high school? He’s insane.” I started to babble.
He chuckled again and held out his hand for me to shake.
“Well let me introduce myself, I’m Phoenix James, the insane prince.” He said bowing.