Stand By Me

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How does a simple American foreign exchange student change the course of history? By falling in love with a Prince of Spain -- of course. She was finding a long-lost part of herself. He was escaping a life he never asked for. · · · · · LAUREL IS LOST IN SPAIN. Having lost her study-abroad scholarship to the University of Madrid, she is struggling to find the means to stay in Spain long enough to find a missing part of her fabricated past: her biological father. ANTONIO IS LOST IN SPAIN. After a sudden tragedy lands him next in line for the Spanish throne, he is frantic to escape the country and his family, unprepared and unwilling to become the face and leader of a whole nation. Through fateful circumstances, a royal prince and a commoner forge an unlikely business deal, where an American foreign exchange student is hired to smuggle the Prince of Spain out of his own country. Driving across Spain was difficult enough, but having to hide one of the most high-profile, high maintenance, and highly attractive bachelor princes in all of Europe without killing each other in frustration along the way? Impossible.

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“Not until we are lost

Do we begin to understand ourselves.”


Dear Antonio,

I pray that you won’t have to read this letter, but if you are, I hope you know how truly sorry I am.

In a matter of minutes, someone will probably deliver you this crumpled piece of wide-ruled notebook paper on a silver platter. I imagine them ringing your bell outside your room, and bowing before they spoke to you. I imagine it’d be a butler with white gloves and not a single wrinkle on his royal uniform. I imagine you getting dressed for an appearance or dinner with some ambassador to some country. I can picture you already. Getting fitted for yet another suit even though you have hundreds. Velvet, maybe. With satin linings -- your favorite. I bet you look so good right now.

I want to say, before everything else, how truly grateful I am. I never meant for any of this to happen, but I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. Not even your infuriating attitude, snide remarks, or downright snarky comments. I would relive those all tomorrow, if I could.

If you are reading this, please don’t try to find me; you won’t succeed. And please don’t drop this letter thinking the worst without reading it all -- please finish it down to the very last word.

These past few months have been a whirlwind adventure, one that I’ll never forget for as long as I live. There is only one person that has made this experience so breathtaking, so infuriating, and so impossibly fantastic -- and that is you. I would never have accomplished so many wonderful things in a such a short span of time. Thank you for showing me what is truly possible, and who I truly am.

These coming months will be the hardest for the both of us; I know for sure that you will hate me, maybe even downright despise me, for some of the things that I’ve done, but please believe me when I say, that I had only done them to protect you and to save you. All I’ve done was for you.

I half-expect you to forget me; that’s fine. But promise me this: don’t ever forget who you are. If you’ve taught me anything, it is that being lost in one’s self is the worst kind of being lost.

Antonio, there is so much more to say. But right now, all I can say is

thank you.


Laurel Avery James

p.s. Tell my mom I’m sorry for everything.

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