I’ve only truly been embarrassed once in my life before. I wore a silk white top with nothing under to Nick Collin’s party this past summer and it just happened to be a pool party. Some jerk threw me into the pool and when I got out, my whole top was exposed. I played it off pretending I didn’t care but truth is, I went home and cried the whole next day. Although, it really did hurt that Nick, the boy that I tried to impress that night, laughed at me along with his friends.
Somehow meeting the Prince this way has made it to my number one spot. My face was hot from embarrassment. I just told a freaking Prince that he was insane and selfish. Was that a crime in his country? Would I be fined or incarcerated for speaking out the way I did? All these thoughts continued in my head, yet Phoenix stood there looking like he got told this every single day.
“Wow um I am so sor---” I began to say.
“No need for apologies. You are entitled to your opinion,” He said raising his hand to stop me, “and plus I find your babbling amusing.” He chuckled.
“Well Phon—uh your majesty?, I know you don’t do interviews but I--”
“No. I am just a regular student so you will treat me as so.” He said with the superiority in his voice.
The way he spoke made the impression that he was not seventeen but rather has lived a million years. My eyes wondered taking his full image in. Only now did I get to fully see him in that suit and tie of his.
“Ok. But, just so you know, regular students do not dress like that. You’re dressed like you’re going to a funeral!” I blurted out. My mouth was going to get me in trouble. I had only known the Prince for 5 minutes and I have already managed to offend him twice.
Phoenix stared at me in a way that made me feel like an extinct animal.
I backed up feeling uncomfortable. Phoenix must have noticed my reaction because he quietly apologized.
“I am truly sorry about your squashed bagel Ms. —”
“Oh yeah sorry, I’m Mila,” I said finally shaking his hand, sealing a proper introduction.
“Well Mila, how about I buy you some lunch later to make up for that atrocious thing you call a “pizza bagel”?” He grinned.
This was my chance. Lunch with the prince on his first day? I could definitely squeeze some information out of him for the newspaper.
“You obviously haven’t lived If you haven’t tried a pizza bagel, but sure sounds like a plan. Do you need help getting around the school?” I returned the smile.
He handed me his schedule it read:
Phoenix Elliot James
1) Personal Finances AP - Mr. Silva - 216
2) Forensics Honors - Mr. Biel - 315
3) U.S Government AP - Mr. Perez - 227
4) English 12 Honors - Mrs. Morales - 412
5) Advanced Culinary Arts - Mrs. Anderson - 305
6) Advanced Piano (Private) - Mr. Harden - 307
“Regular kid you say?” I said widening my eyes at his schedule.
He looked at me and shrugged his shoulders before I led him to his first class. I was already extremely late for mine so a few minutes more wouldn’t matter.
“So why here?” I asked.
“Here as in this school or here as in the United States”, he responded.
“When you are as suffocated as I was in the palace, you would do pretty much anything to get out of there. The United States was the farthest and this school caught my attention.”
I looked at him. I had small expectations when I heard that the future king of a small county was coming to our school. I thought he would be obnoxious and entitled. Yet, just looking at him, I could feel that he wasn’t.
Before we reached the door of Phoenix’s first classroom, Mr. Mendoza shouted for us to stop from down the hall. As he got closer, I could see how much he was sweating. I was worried he would fall over with how hard he was breathing.
“Mr. Mendoza, are you okay?” I said curiously.
“Of course, I just spent all morning making sure everything was set for Mr. James here and then we heard that he was already at the school. I spent a lot of time running around the school.” He said between breaths.
“Well, it is a pleasure to meet you, sir. I am quite glad you reached out to my family regarding your school. It is a true beauty and I have already found great help here,” Phoenix nodded his head towards me.
I felt my cheeks flare-up.
“Yes, it does appear so. Thank you, Ms. Torres. Please rush on to your first period before you miss it completely,” Mr. Mendoza said, now with even breathing.
I nodded and began walking towards my class. Behind me, I could hear Phoenix and Mr. Mendoza walking into the classroom where they were met with girls’ gasps. He would have every girl wrapped around his finger if he wanted.
I went to the bathroom to try to wash the pizza stain out of my pants before my first class when I overheard a conversation outside of the bathroom.
“Who knew the Prince was such a hottie?” A female voice said.
“I would make a great princess.” Her friend added.
I rolled my eyes. It wasn’t even lunchtime and people were already obsessed with him. I should get use to these conversations.
My morning classes passed by quickly and soon enough came my favorite part of the day, lunch. I met with Ava and some other of the journalists at our usual table. I started eating some of Ava’s french fries while wishing I had my pizza bagel at the same time.
Suddenly, the usual crowd at lunch split into two and I knew who was walking by before I saw him. The girls awed and the guys gave dirty looks but Phoenix seemed totally oblivious to everyone as he began searching around the cafeteria. It appears that he ditched the suit at some point in the morning. He now had on dark jeans on with sneakers and a white button-up shirt. How is it possible that he makes even jeans look regal?
Phoenix caught my stare and smiled, heading towards me before someone stepped in his bath. I recognized the back of Nick’s head and watched as he directed Phoenix to sit at his table. I recognized some of Nick’s friends at the table as they all greeted Phoenix. I quietly observed as Nick faked his laughter when Phoenix would say something and then it became clear what his true intention was. Nick wanted that interview and I would not let him take that away from me.
“Quick Ava, how do I get a guy’s attention?” I said grabbing Ava’s shoulders.
“Well, last time I said to free boob it and that didn’t go as well, so I’m beat” She shrugged.
I sighed. I had to think as my life depended on this because in a way it did. This interview would surely get me in any college and get small-town Mila on the map.
I got up before I knew what I was doing. My body took me over to the table that Phoenix was sitting at and he looked thrilled that I was there.
“Hello Ms. Mila, it is nice seeing you again. Please join us” Phoenix said.
“Actually Phoenix, I’m here to steal you away from your new friends and take you up on that lunch invite?” I smiled innocently.
“Quit it Mila, let the man enjoy some guy time” Nick added noticing the reason for my actions. I was not giving up. I stared down at Nick. It felt like we were locked in an old western standoff.
Nick’s friends had his back and started saying something about guy time being important before Phoenix interrupted.
“On second thought, I actually do owe Mila a lunch. I will talk to you all later” Phoenix said standing up and walking with me to the lunch line.
I looked back and stuck out my tongue at Nick. He might be the main editor, but he was not going to get this interview before me. I could see a vein popping out on his forehead before I turned back around.
When we were far enough for no one to hear us Phoenix said, “I fear that you will not receive an interview with yours truly either so you might want to think about pursuing other goals.”
“Well Phoenix Elliot James, you must know I never give up and you are just going to have to deal with me like a nasty pizza bagel stain,” I said grinning.
Phoenix looked down towards my stain and gave a real laugh, not like those fake chuckles he did earlier.
We walked towards the food lanes where he handed me some french fries and water before handing the lunch lady his credit card. I kindly explained that it was cash only and paid for the both of us. It made me think about how Phoenix is totally out of his element here. Not only was he out of his country, but he was surrounded by average high schoolers.
I led Phoenix towards a lunch bench outside where he sat next to me.
“So tell me Mila, what is this thing you call homecoming?” Phoenix asked catching me off guard.
“Um, well homecoming is a school dance where you get all dressed up and spend lots of money for a few lame slow dances. Why do you ask?” I answered.
Phoenix grabbed his backpack and opened it, giving it to me to look inside. Inside his backpack was around 50 notes, from what I assume are his classmates, asking if he would be their homecoming date. I would be lying if I said I was surprised.
“How have you been asked to Homecoming that many times? It’s only lunch and it’s your first day! But, don’t worry, homecoming is not until next month. You got some time to respond.”
“You Americans sure do have many odd traditions” Phoenix shrugged.
“And your country doesn’t? Come on. Tell me one weird tradition that your country has.”
“On October 1st, we gather around and run naked down the streets for good fortune.”
My mouth dropped.
“I am surely kidding. It appears that my American sense of humor deserves some assistance” Phoenix said with a smirk.
“Oh, it needs a lot of assistance.” I bumped my shoulder into his.
At that moment, Phoenix’s phone began to ring. He held his shiny iPhone out and accepted the FaceTime. A woman with dark hair began to yell on the screen as soon as the video connected.
“Oh my dear boy, look at you in America! How are you? Are you eating well? You look a bit red. Are you using sunscreen? Tell me everything” She spoke quickly.
“I am well Cassandra. All is well. I am happy and eating not so nutritional. Americans sure love frying their food” Phoenix held up his french fries to show the woman named Cassandra.
“It’s because it makes it taste better” I responded.
“Who was that?” Cassandra replied.
“Cassandra, let me introduce you to my new friend, Ms. Mila Torres” He tilted the phone to include me in the screen, “Mila, this is Cassandra, she works for my family, but is more like my second mother.”
“Oh look how beautiful you are! I am very happy to meet a friend of Phoenix’s. You will sure to keep my boy out of trouble right Mila?” Cassandra replied enthusiastically.
“It’s nice to meet you too. I will keep him out of trouble I promise. He won’t leave my sight” I smirked at Phoenix. He chuckled and maintained chatting with Cassandra until the lunch bell rang.
The rest of the school day was a blur. My first day back was exhausting and I just wanted to get home and nap. When I got closer to my Jeep, I heard my name being called out.
I looked back and saw Phoenix running towards me. I never imagined in a million years that a prince would be running towards me.
“Hello Mila, I just wanted to say thank you for showing me around school today. I promise lunch will truly be on me tomorrow.” He said with a grin.
“You know we could skip the lunch and do a few questions instead, what do you think?” I said only partially joking.
Phoenix began to walk towards his car with his driver waiting with the car door open, “Forget about it Ms. Torres, it will never happen,” he shouted behind towards me.
“It will happen. I will not give up,” I whispered before I got into my Jeep and went home for a well-deserved nap.