Four shots of Tequila later and I was feeling great. I wasn’t worried about my mom being mad anymore. I would get home a little while after she did if I left in the next thirty minutes, but for now, I was going to enjoy the rest of my night and dance with Terrance. As I swayed to the music, with him behind his hands on my waist, I felt like I didn’t have a care in the world. That might be the liquor clouding my judgment, but isn’t that what it was supposed to do?
Suddenly, Terrence was in front of me, his tall form casting a shadow over me, blocking out the night sky and the moon. His hands on my hips pulled me closer as we fell into an easy rhythm. “You are so fucking fine,” he said.
I smiled and looked into his beautiful eyes. I thought he was fine too, but I would not tell him that. The urge to kiss him was strong, though, so I ran my hands up his chest to his neck to pull him down. His lips were so close to mine, that I could his breath on mine. He would be a good kisser. I just knew it.
Before I could take that leap, though, the music was stopped and, from a distance, I heard my name being called. A moment later, I was pulled to look into the angry eyes of my mother. Well shit.
“Why do you never listen to me?” My mom yelled, pacing the room. “I told you to not go anywhere. I told you that this was important. This is bigger than you and me. How could you do this? Is this how you are going to be now?”
This is what my mom had been doing for the last fifteen minutes since we got home. I was indeed pulled away from the party and any hope of a kiss with Terrance, and pushed into a car I had never seen before. What I knew was that it was a Rolls Royce. That scared me more than my mom. Inside there were two men and woman dressed in suits like the mafia. They had guns. I saw the one the lady had. I had questions and looking at my mom, I saw I would not get any.
The ride was quiet as I wondered what my mother was into. Was someone after us, were we going to be killed? The relief I felt when the car pulled up to our apartment must have shown on my face because the woman smiled a little before getting out and then helping me out. My relief was short lived, however, as we entered our apartment to see more mafia men and an older woman. I was thrown on the couch where my mom proceeded to chew me out in front of all these people.
“Of all the irresponsible things you can do, you get drunk. I can smell the liquor on you,” My mom yelled, and she was not done what stopped her, however was the older woman.
“Jalisa, enough,” The woman spoke quietly and stood with all the grace of a beauty queen. “Let me talk to her.”
When she stood, everyone around her seemed to stand straighter. The air became tense, and the tension was eased with a slight wave of her hand. I watched astonished as, my mother took a seat beside the one she had vacated. The lady trained her watchful eyes on me, and I wanted to squirm. she was tall and thin. She wore a black and gold off the shoulder jumpsuit, with a purple sash across her chest. Her jewelry shined brightly on her neck, arms and fingers. Her hair was a long fro of black and grey curls flowing down her back. Her makeup was perfect for her Hershey brown complexion, her eyes small and deep.
“You caused quite a stir with your insubordinate, reckless behaviors girl. We were worried something happened to you. In the future, when you are given a direct order from your superiors, you will listen intently and obey.”
Who was this woman and who was she talking to. One thing was for sure, she didn’t know me and I could not care less if she was a part of some mafia regime. She did not run me. Looking around the tall lady, I made eye contact with my mom. I’m sure the question was in my eyes before I even spoke. “Who is this?”
Mom opened her mouth to talk, but it was the woman who answered. “I am Beatrice Amelia Ruby Duvall, Queen of LaCresha and your grandmother.”
It could have been the liquor or just the way she said it, but I burst out laughing. “What?” I asked, “is this some kind of a joke?” My laughter slowly died as I looked around the room and I was the only one laughing. The men all looked anywhere else. My mom was shaking her head, looking terrified, and the queen huffed and pressed her lips in a tight line.
“This is not a joke Victoria.” The queen spat. “You are just like your father.”
That got me to stop my hysterical laughter. My father was a subject that I had not thought about in a long time. My mom never spoke of my sperm donor, and I had stopped asking long ago. Every time I did, it felt like I reopened a wound that she was trying desperately to close. Glancing at my mom, I saw the saw the same faraway look she always got whenever he who must not be named was mentioned. I was sure that he had hurt her badly.
“What do you know about my dad?” I asked.
The queen looked at me with a mix of regret and sadness. “He was my son and your father. He was a great man. He was going to be king someday.”
“Your father died a month ago in a plane crash along with his wife and only other child. Under normal circumstances they would not have flown together, but It was an emergency and we feared the worse for a close family friend. He disobeyed my order and was just as reckless are you have been tonight. Your father Prince Unief Christopher Duvall, is dead and you, Victoria, are the last of the Duvall royal bloodline.”
He was dead, along with a wife and child. My sibling was dead. Closing my eyes, I let that sink in. I was the only survivor of the bloodline. Which meant I was the only one left. They needed me. I felt a tear run down my face as I opened my eyes and looked at my mom. She had her hands wrapped around her midsection and she was crying real tears. It didn’t feel right to me to cry for someone I hadn’t known. My tears were because I knew in the back of my mind that this was something I would have never figured out on my own. If he were alive, these people, my grandmother, wouldn’t be here.
“So what?” I asked harshly. “I’m supposed to take his place? Now that no one is left, you want me to step up and represent? Is that why you’re here now? You want me to come out of hiding?”
“The only one in hiding has been your mother,” the queen boomed. “You were never meant to be here. You were supposed to know who you were. You have always been in the line of succession. Your mother left with you like a thief in the night as soon as she learned she would not marry your father.”
My mother gasped and held up a hand as if to stop the words. “You forbid us to wed. Forgive me for not standing around and watching the love of my life marry someone else.”
The queen rounded on her and snapped, “you knew the moment you met him he was promised to another. A child would not change what was set in stone, but had you stayed, she would know our ways and she would know her father.”
I couldn’t take anymore. This was a lot to take in, and I heard more than felt myself yell, “Stop!” It was too much. I felt myself stand and walk to my room. I felt betrayed and anxious. There was so much I didn’t know about myself, so many secrets, so many lies. All my life, my mom had lied to me. All my life, I had wondered about the missing part of myself. I had been determined to keep it buried, but now it had found me. I had just assumed he was a lowlife like all my friends’ dads, maybe a drug dealer, or a murderer, or just a bastard who left my mother when he found out she was knocked up. However, he was a prince, and they had been in love. it had been duty that separated my parents.
I wanted to cry, I wanted to scream for the life I could have had, and for the father I would never know. As I lay in my bed, no one came to check on me. I fell asleep dreaming of a man with my mother who had no face.