Chapter 4 - Explained
Warily I turn the handle of the door. I look at the room behind the doors. It’s luxurious like nothing I have seen before. The walls are lined with gold panels and are painted an eggshell white. The furniture is like the ones you see in the movies that are supposed to take place in the 1800th.
My thoughts are disturbed as someone starts talking to me.
“Your highness? How are you feeling?” It is Sir Bisalion that interrupts me from gawking at the room.
The way he addresses me is uncomfortable. I don’t like this whole situation and I don’t even understand it completely. Well, there is only one way to clear this situation.
“I am fine. Can you please not call me that? Nathalie will do just fine,” I tell him. The whole situation is stressing me out and I can feel the effects of my fainting. My body is still tired, considering I got out of bed immediately after waking up.
“Alright, Miss King. Please take a seat,” Bisalion says while pointing to the chair on the other side of the lounge table. Only now do I realize that Bisalion has been sitting on the couch the whole time. I look at the chair and look at the other people in the room. The Men In Black men are standing all around the room, only this time they aren’t wearing their shades. I walk to the chair and sit down.
“How much do you remember before fainting, Miss King?” Bisalion asks. That man is stubborn and stuck on his tradition of addressing others by Mr, Mrs, and Miss.
“I remember everything,” I tell him with sadness in my voice. This is easily turning into the worst birthday so far.
“Good. Then you understand your situation...” he says but is cut off by me saying:
“No. I don’t understand. I don’t understand any of this. This can’t be true. I can’t be some royalty. I don’t want to be royalty. What am I suppose to do? What exactly is it that you want from me?” I blurt out, finally voicing by inner turmoil and confusion. I can feel the tears about to spill from my eyes. This is all too much for me to handle. I hold back the tears. I can’t show weakness right now. Not in front of these grown men.
I suddenly feel very alone, being the only woman in the room and the youngest. I look away from Bisalion to try and regain my focus. My eyes get stuck on the ′body-god’ from before as he is standing in the doorway of the room I was sleeping in previously. He is looking at me. The pity is shown in his eyes as he slightly smiles at me. If there is one thing I hate, it’s a look of pity. I don’t need his pity, I simply need to understand this situation.
With my newfound determination, I look back at Bisalion. The old man is looking at me with uncertainty in his eyes. He is probably wondering how to explain this whole situation in the best way.
“Your Highness, I can assure you that you are the next heir to the throne of Monaco, thereby making you a princess. As for what I want from you, it is simple. I want you to accept the throne and come to Monaco to be the Crown-princess.” He says quite boldly not hiding his intentions.
“That is not going to happen. Find someone else. I don’t want this and I am not the right person for this job or whatever you wanna call it,” I say with finality in my voice. Because I am certain that I do not want to be a princess.
“Your Highness, if I may ask. Why is it that you don’t believe you are the right person for this duty?” He asks me. The question takes me by surprise. I didn’t expect him to question me. However, I can see the curiosity in his eyes. He genuinely wants to know why.
“Because I don’t know how to do such a thing. I don’t know how to be a princess let alone how to be responsible for millions of people’s lives. If you didn’t notice from you stalking me, then let me tell you that I am still in high school. I am not even legally an adult yet, and you expect me to abandon everyone and everything. How is that fair? No, you need to find someone else for this duty,” I explain to him. I can see the small smile on his face and it irritates me to no end. This is not funny. This is my life and I am not messing with my future that I have planned and worked so hard to achieve. I have studied more than others and I work a part-time job as well, so I don’t have to rely on my parents for money. I am so close to getting into my nr. 1 University. I won’t give up on my future.
Bisalion is still looking at me. It looks like he is studying my movements and reactions, trying to figure out what is going on in my head. Well, let me make it easier for you I think to myself before I speak:
“Look, Bisalion, I have worked so hard to get where I am now. I have my future planned out and I want to go to university. I won’t give it up because my grandfather, that I, by the way, didn’t even know existed until you told me, need someone to rule his country. You need to find someone else and leave me out of this whole situation,” I tell him. I just hope this makes him understand my point of view.
“Very well, Your Highness. Just know that the next in line to the throne is your little sister Selene. If she declines the offer of the throne as well, I will go to your younger cousin Sofina. If by chance she also declines the throne I will simply return to you. You three are the only possible heirs to the throne. The loop will continue until one of you accepts the throne. If that is what you want then you are free to leave,” He says irritated.
I can’t believe he said that. He is clearly blackmailing me, and to use my sister and my cousin against me. I might not be the closest to my cousin but she is still family. And my sister? She doesn’t need any of this. She’s been through enough already. He has really pissed me off now. He has no right to use my family against me. This whole situation is absolutely ridiculous.
“You do realize that this is blackmail right? And my sister is only 8 years old. My cousin is 7 years old. They are hardly old enough to make such a decision. Why are you doing this to us?!” In the end, I am almost yelling at him. My anger has reached new levels, seeing as he has no problem with using kids who aren’t old enough to make such an important decision. They wouldn’t realize the seriousness of the situation.
“Your Highness, if you would calm down. This is not blackmailing, I am simply stating the way this works. If you do not accept I move on to the next in line,” he says in an impassive voice.
“Well, your way of doing this is just wrong. You can’t do this! Please don’t do this to us,” I am practically begging him at the end, and the tears are closer than ever to burst through. I thought that I was strong and capable of handling all the things being thrown at me. But this? My family? I can’t handle the possibility of losing them. They don’t deserve this.
“I am sorry Your Highness. I have my orders and I have to follow them. If you are unwilling to accept the duty simply because you are afraid you won’t be able to handle the responsibilities, then let me offer you some advice based upon observation. When I asked you why you thought you weren’t the right person for the situation, you told me you were afraid. Afraid of failure and disappointing the citizens of Monaco. Only a compassionate and caring person would think of this as the first reason why they can’t handle such responsibility. In my experience, it is these people who are the best leaders, and the ones most capable of ensuring a whole country’s continuing prosperity,” he says in a caring and calm voice this time.
His words are really affecting me now. Firstly, I now understand that it is the King, my grandfather, that has ordered him to do this. Secondly, could he be right? Can I possibly care for a whole country? I am so confused and conflicted. I don’t know what to do.
“You would want me to move to Monaco immediately?” I ask him.
“Yes, Your Highness.” He says. I can see the hope in his eyes when he thinks that I will accept the throne.
But I am not accepting the throne. At least not yet. I can’t think clearly here with Bisalion pressuring me and preventing me from thinking things through.
“Can I at least have some time to think about this before I decide?” I ask him, clinging on to the hope that I might be able to find a solution to this mess.
Bisalion is staring at me. I can clearly see the wheels turning in his head. I really hope he gives me some time to think about this. I need to understand all of the information that has been thrown my way in the last few hours.
“Your Highness, this is a delicate situation.” He says and instantly my hope is crushed. I don’t have time to think. He wants me to give him an answer right now. I can’t do that.
“But,” he pauses, igniting a small hope again.
“I will grand you till Sunday to reach a decision. If you do not have an answer by noon on Sunday, then I am moving on to the next heir. I can’t waste too much time, Your Highness.” He says.
Yes! I have till Sunday. That’s in three days. It’s not a lot of time, but at least it’s something.
“Thank you Bisalion,” I say while smiling at him.
“You’re welcome, Your Highness. All I ask is that you do not underestimate the seriousness of this situation. Our country’s future is at stake here. Please make the right decision Your Highness.” He says smiling although I can see the uncertainty and concern in his eyes.
“I will have agent St. Laurent take you home again.” He says while gesturing to the ‘body-god’.
So that’s his name. I mean at least his last name. It’s better than constantly calling him ′body-god′ although he clearly is a god with that body and those eyes. Stop it, Nathalie! I tell myself. He is at least 4 years older than I am. He is an adult and I am still only sixteen as of today.
“Thank you Bisalion,” I say while getting up from the chair I have been sitting on. Bisalion gets up as well and walks towards a door. I see agent St. Laurent follow him and I do as well, counting on it being the exit.
“Happy Birthday Your Highness,” Bisalion says right before I leave the hotel room and follow St Laurent.
We walk down the halls of the hotel towards the elevator. The halls are just as classy as the room I just exited. We reach the elevator and it opens as soon as St. Laurent presses the button. I walk into the elevator right behind St. Laurent and he presses the button for the garage. We don’t talk but I can feel him staring at the side of my face as I am looking straight ahead at the doors. Normally, I would say something to stop someone from staring at me, but I am simply drained at the moment. This day has been exhausting and I am just about ready to sleep away my problems. Or at least try to sleep them away.
The doors of the elevator open and I follow St. Laurent out of the elevator. He walks towards a black SUV similar to the one I saw earlier. He opens the door to the backseat and waits for me to get in. I get in and he closes the door after me, before walking around the car and getting in to drive the car. I gotta say this whole agent and doors being opened for me is something I’ll have to get used to if I decide to become the next heir.
The car starts moving and we exit the garage. I look out the tinted windows of the car and see that we are driving past the park we were in earlier. I will never see that park as a happy place. Not after today. Now it simply brings back memories of confusion, betrayal, anger, sadness, and changes. Looking at it now I remember my grandma’s betrayal. I can’t believe she kept something like this from me. I tell her everything. I told her about the time Kat and I got into a fight because we wanted the same ice cream but there was only one left. Kat ended up snatching the ice cream from my hands and eating it right in front of me. I didn’t talk to her for a week. I was only 6 at the time, but back then that was my biggest problem. Kat stealing my ice cream. Now, my problems are far worse and more serious. I don’t think I can forgive my grandma for keeping this secret from me. She better have a damn good reason for keeping this from me.
I look back in the car and look at St. Laurent. He has both hands placed firmly on the wheel in a 3 and 9 position. His eyes are fixed on the road. He is clearly concentrated. I keep looking at him, taking in all of his features. I don’t think I have ever seen a jaw so sharp. His shoulders are big and muscular as is the rest of his body, at least the parts of his body that I can see from here. I look up to his face again and notice his eyes are now flickering between the road and something else. I look up to see what that something else is, and I am met with his eyes looking back at me from the rearview mirror.
Oh, sh*t! He clearly caught me staring at him. My face heats up and I know that if I looked in a mirror right now I would be able to see myself blushing as red as a boiled lobster. I quickly look the other way and hide behind my hair that I can cover some of my face with. He doesn’t say anything he simply continues with driving the car not losing focus at any time. After a few minutes, I can see that we have almost reached my house. I don’t know why, but it bothers me that I will have to get out of the car. I am not ready to get out of the car.
“Can you take a detour? Just for a couple of minutes?” I ask him with a timid voice, yet loud enough for him to hear me.
“Of course Your Highness” he answers in this husky voice that somehow sends chills up and down my spine. What is this man doing to me? He is clearly older than me making it all kinds of wrong. So, why is my body reacting this way just by hearing his voice?
“Can I ask you a question?” I ask St. Laurent. Magically I found an ounce of courage to ask my next question. That is if he allows me to ask.
“Sure,” he says in that husky voice again.
“What is your first name? Unless it’s St.?” I ask him. This way I will know a bit more about him, without making it obvious that he has an effect on me.
He chuckles lightly. Wow. Even his chuckle is hot as hell.
Seriously Nathalie! I scold myself. Why is it that I can’t keep these inappropriate thoughts out of my head?
“My first name is not St., it’s Raphael.” He answers with a bit of amusement in his tone. Jesus Christ. Even his name is as sexy as he is. Raphael St. Laurent. Has an almost bible ring to it. It suits him with the whole ′body-god’ thing.
“Alright. Is it alright if I just call you Raphael then?” I ask. Saying his name out loud is only satisfying and relieving. Like I have been committing a sin so far, by only saying his name in my head. I am in way too deep already. But just looking at him in that suit with his perfect face and body. Every woman would be chasing him.
“You can call me whatever you want Your Highness,” he says while smiling. I am just about to blurt out ′Even body-god?′ But I stop myself at the last minute. That would seriously be inappropriate if I called him that.
“Is it alright for me to drive you home now Your Highness?” He asks me after a couple of minutes in silence.
“Yeah. I guess you can take me home now,” I answer with sadness. I really enjoyed spending time in the car. Somehow it made me feel safe. Like all my problems went away and that I wouldn’t have to face them ever again. I remember feeling the same way when I was on the bed earlier with Raphael sitting on a chair next to me. I’m beginning to think that it’s not the car making me feel safe, but perhaps it’s Raphael.
All too soon the car stops in front of my house, and I get ready to head out of the car but I’m stopped by Raphael talking to me.
“Here we are, Your Highness. Sir Bisalion asked me to remind you that it would be best if you do not speak of what has happened today. Not with anybody. Also, here is your book,” he says handing me my book which I had forgotten completely. It had been laying on the front passenger seat the entire time and I didn’t notice. Good thing he remembered.
“Thank you, Raphael. And thank you for the ride.” I say as I get out of the car and close the door behind me.
I watch as the car drives away. No where to go now. All I am left with now is a major decision that will change my life. No matter what I choose. Is it wrong that I want to turn back the clock so that I can avoid all of this ever happening?