Theo Knight could easily remember the first time he saw Flora Stone. She was a tiny little thing dressed in a pink dress and hideously green wellington boots that looked like they had seen better days. Her hair looked like silky strands of dark chocolate yet her skin was as pale as the porcelain dolls his sister kept in her room.
At first, he didn't know what he was watching as strangers quickly moved boxes from a large truck to the empty house next to his, huffing and puffing as water rained down heavily. He was about to move from his window but then his eyes widened at the sight of an angel skipping around the puddles on the edge of the road.
It wasn't an actual angel of course but through his seven year old eyes, she was pretty d*mn close.
He couldn't move away from the window as he eagerly wondered what she'd do next, finding her every action interesting. She lifted her arms at random times and looked as if she was talking to herself, making him wish to be a part of the private conversation.
To him, she was like a shiny object to a magpie. He was completely captivated by the creature that was Flora Stone.
Much to his luck, his parents were socialites and wanted their children to be as well so they often arranged playdates. While Theo stopped having playdates due to pure refusal of having friends, his sister on the other hand was much more adapt to the idea of social interaction.
So, he should've expected that on May 20th, his shy neighbour would be been standing in his living room with her chubby arms wrapped tightly around her mother's legs. His lips quirked up when he saw her head peak out to glance around the room but then quickly hide when she got too scared again.
His sister, being the lively and overly energetic person that she was, jumped out from behind him and ran to the frightened girl, laughing with glee.
Theo stayed quiet but frowned when he noticed the girl squirm away from Kate's grubby hands as she touched her yellow dress with green dinosaurs printed on it.
His head turned to his mother when she called him name. "Say hello to Flora, sweetheart."
He thought her name suited her perfectly. When their eyes finally met, Theo honestly felt like his heart had stopped and his breath hitch at the sight of those wide blue eyes.
Just when he thought he couldn't be more enthralled, his sweet girl waved at him with a shy smile. It was the most interaction he had seen her given to someone else and it quite honestly could've killed him.
After that, he was determined to treat that four year old girl like a princess and that meant he never wanted to be away from her.
That's why it tore him to pieces when after nine years, he was forced to pry her hands away from his t-shirt and wipe away the salty tears covering her cheeks, knowing that he was the cause of them. He had to purse his lips and keep a stony expression in order to prevent his lips from wobbling when he blew her runny nose with a tissue he found in his pocket, just like he had done since she was a child every time she cried.
And he knew a pesky tear or two escaped when a lingering kiss was placed gently on the crown of her head as he whispered his final goodbyes with the promise to come back.
"Please don't go," she whimpered, rubbing her eyes with her balled up fists, a habit he had tried to get her to stop for years. Flora wasn't like other thirteen year olds and while he loved that about her, it meant his sweet girl was naïve to the dangers of the world and it pained him to know he wouldn't be there to look after her in the way that she needed to be.
But unfortunately, he had no choice. He had what was coming to him, according to his parents. Theo just wished Flora didn't have to suffer too.
He had to ignore her pleas, knowing he wouldn't be able to leave if stayed any longer, and turned away with his last image of her consisting of tears running down her face. Those f*cking tears were carved into his mind.
Now, he was back after five years with his brown hair longer, his body bigger and more muscular from hours spent at the gym and the new addition of tattoos that littered his tan skin. Theo's heart thumped against it's chest, beating faster than it had in five painstakingly long years in anticipation of seeing his princess.
He couldn't care less about reuniting with his parents because if it wasn't for them, he would've never had to suffer from a gut wrenching feeling every time he thought about Flora dating.
He just hoped his doe-eyed girl wasn't too oblivious to know that she was his, whether in the country or not. Maybe Theo should've felt guilty about wanting to do not-so-innocent things to someone he has known since he was a child, but his feelings didn't sprout until it was too late and she was making him cards that said best brother ever.
He had to have a long talk with her after that.
When he parked outside the house he once called his home, he scowled, seeing the large home-made welcome home banner hanging over the front door. It shouldn't have surprised him that they wanted to put on a good show for the neighbour hood. As soon as his engine stopped, his mother scurried out of the house with a plate of cookies in her hand and his father in tow. Both with large sh*t eating grins on their faces.
"Welcome home, son!" They said cheered in unison as if they had rehearsed it.
Theo wanted to remind them that he wasn't their son but only grumbled a hello in reply and stepped out of his expensive sports car, a seventeenth birthday gift from them. His mood had instantly went down and he had nothing but his lovely parents to thank.
Now with a more awkward and slightly nervous smile, his mother, as youthful and elegant as ever in her designer dress, shoved the plate in front of him quickly, almost causing the cookies to fall off it. "I made you cookies, Theodore. I know they're your favourite!"
"It's Theo," he muttered and then added, "thanks". He almost felt guilty when the smile fell from her face but if he could do anything, it was hold a grudge.
"So how was Belnesse?" his dad said, scratching his balding head, something that had admittedly shocked Theo when he first saw it. His stomach had gone noticeably bigger, a clear indicator of his fathers love for Mrs Knight's food.
He shrugged, "didn't get arrested if that's what you're asking."
"Theo," his mother sighed, "of course he didn't mean that and you know that we sent you away for your owned good. If you carried on with your behaviour, you could've gone to prison." She widened her eyes to stress the severity.
"And your uncle sang your praises before he... y'know. He said you could have a future in baking if you wanted!"
"Bubba!" He managed a small smile when he saw his sister walking toward him. He felt like she was saying boys had germs just a few days ago and if her hickey on her neck was anything to go by, germs were the least of her worries.
He reminded himself to question her about that before saying, "you're not still calling me bubba are you? Aren't you too old for that?"
Kate hugged him, the first hug has had in a long time. They weren't extremely close but he liked to think they had a better relationship than other siblings, especially since they weren't even related. "I guess you're right. I mean, I don't even think you deserve the name considering you didn't return any of my calls." Though she looked like she was being playful, the look in her eyes told him she was more than angry about it.
"Been busy," he said dismissively. Truth was, he didn't want to hear from anyone back home because he'd miss it too much and for a strong stubborn person like himself, it tortured him to know he couldn't do something as simple as go home.
His mind went back to Flora and he knew that with Kate there, she wouldn't be too far behind. He felt like a dog that had sniffed out a treat.
As if hearing his thoughts, his mother shouted, "Flora, sweetheart! What are you doing over there? Come say hi to Theo, you remember him right?"
What was this woman talking about? Remember him? Of course she bloody remembers me! How could she possibly forget the person that looked after her better than her own parents ever did!
He couldn't wait any longer and looked up to see the very angel that lived in his dreams for five years.
Sh*t. She was beautiful.
It was like staring at utter perfection and it was staring right back at him with that shy innocent look he had saved as his phone wallpaper. She hadn't changed too much - adorned in her cute skirt and dinosaur backpack. Except now, the puppy fat she used to hate disappeared and was replaced with womanly curves in all the right places, a small amount but very visible to him. He was pleased to see she hadn't lost the plushy tummy that loved to be rubbed and the long brown nearly black hair that called to be played with. The pure angelic look was now accompanied by the sensual aura of an eighteen year old.
Again. She was beautiful. He didn't know what he wanted to do more. Squeeze her cheeks or... squeeze her cheeks.
But then a worried-embarrassed look covered her face, making him frown. Why wasn't she running to him and wrapping those tiny luscious legs around his waist like he predicted she would? Why wasn't she beaming with pure joy? Surely she wouldn't have forgo-
Oh! Theo nearly face palmed. Or course she wouldn't initiate anything, especially after not seeing each other for years. His girl was as sweet and timid as ever.
He took a step away from his family, haven completely forgotten that any of them were there, and bent his knees knowing that she was a considerable amount shorter than him, before holding his arms out with a wide Cheshire cat smile.
"PRINCESS!" He called the name only he was allowed call her. The sound of it caused a warm feeling in his chest and he knew it made her feel special or 'fuzzy' as she had once said.
As predicted, he watched her face morph into one of utmost happiness as she scrambled clumsily to him before jumping into his arms, wrapping her entire body around him as close of physically possible. He easily lifted her up with both hands under her plump bottom and sighed in complete bliss, feeling a wave of euphoria wash over him.
Finally, he was home.
Thank you for reading!
I'm so excited for this book. It's gonna have the typical cliche but with the same consensus as my other books. I'm making it cute and adorable.
The whole book is in a male pov so hopefully you're as excited for that as I am.
WORD COUNT: 1954
Much love <3