The Prince or My Lover……..{Episode-18}

I’m sry…sry…sry….sry….couldn’t keep up my promise…..that was because a sweet lil disturbance has come to distract me…….my cousin sister suprised me with a visit…..she stays in trichy….and as all of u know…i stay in chennai……i missed her alot…anyways the point is she came to stay with us for a week as my mama(sis’s husband) he has gone out for a business meeting…so she came to our house to spend tym with us….and guess what she bought my sweet lil…cute…..nephew with her…..he’s only 1 yr old…but a very naughty one….Man!!!!!……he makes us all tired by the mid day…and he sleeps peacefully….but wakes up soon…..we both got really attatched to him that he started sleeping with me…..he’s soo cute…..but the thing is that…he starts to cry….when i go to do anything else….so i’m helpless….pls understand guys….he’s such a cutie that i cant see tears in his eyes……sry abt that again….and sry for the late update too….
Sry…..
{Jeni…..pls 4give me na…pls…ik that i promised u another chap on last friday….but never fulfilled it……sry again….pls 4gv me…u r my buttercup na?????}
Kk….enough if my bak bak’s…..
On to the epi….
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Not proof read
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Link 4 this ff’s previous epi’s:
http://www.tellyupdates.com/?s=the+prince+or+my+lover
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Episode-18

“Because?”
I looked at Maxon, his adoring face so hopeful. Say it, Swara. Just tell him.
“Because?” he asked again, this time with an impish smile coming to his lips, which made me soften even more.

I thought about my conversation with Ragini and the way I’d felt the other day when we talked about the Selection. It was hard to think of Maxon as my boyfriend when there were other girls dating him, but he wasn’t just my friend. That hopeful feeling hit me again, the wonder that we might be something special. Maxon was more to me than I’d let myself believe.

I gave him a flirtatious smile and started walking toward the door.

“America Singer, you get back here.” He ran in front of me, wrapping an arm around my waist as we stood, chest to chest. “Tell me,” he whispered.

I pinched my lips together.

“Fine, then I shall have to rely on other means of communication.”

Without any warning, he kissed me. I felt myself dip backward a bit, completely supported by his arms. I placed my hands on his neck, wanting to hold him to me … and something shifted in my head.

Usually when we were alone together, I could block out the other girls. But tonight I thought about the possibility of someone else in my place. Just imagining it: someone else in Maxon’s arms, making him laugh, marrying him … It broke my heart. I couldn’t help it; I started to cry.

“Darling, what’s wrong?”

Darling? The word, so tender and personal, enveloped me. In that moment, any desire I had to fight my feelings for Maxon disappeared. I wanted to be his dear, his darling. I wanted to be Maxon’s alone.

It might mean welcoming a future I never thought I would and saying good-bye to things I never intended to, but the thought of leaving him now wasn’t something I could handle.

It was true that I wasn’t the best candidate for the crown, but I didn’t deserve to be in the running at all if I couldn’t at least be brave enough to confess how I felt.

I sighed, trying to keep my voice steady. “I don’t want to leave all this.”

“If I remember correctly, the first time we met, you said it was like a cage.” He smiled. “It does grow on you, though, doesn’t it?”

I gave my head a small shake. “Sometimes you can be so stupid.” A weak laugh pushed through my choked-up throat.

Maxon let me pull away just enough so I could look into his brown eyes.

“Not the palace, Maxon. I could care less about the clothes or my bed or, believe it or not, the food.”

Maxon laughed. It was no secret how excited I had been about the extravagant meals here.

“It’s you,” I said. “I don’t want to leave you.”

“Me?”

I nodded.

“You want me?”

I giggled at his bewildered expression. “That’s what I’m saying.”

He paused a moment. “How—But—What did I do?”

“I don’t know,” I said with a shrug. “I just think that we’d be a good us.”

He smiled slowly. “We’d be a wonderful us.”

Maxon pulled me in, roughly by his standards, and kissed me again.

“Are you sure?” he asked, holding me at arm’s length, staring intently at me. “Are you absolutely positive?”

“If you’re sure, I’m sure.”

For a flicker of a second, something changed in his expression. But it passed so quickly, I wondered if it—whatever it was—was even real.

In the very next moment, he led me over to the bed, and we perched on the edge together, holding hands as my head rested on his shoulder. I was expecting him to say something. After all, wasn’t this what he had been waiting for? But there were no words. Every once in a while he’d let out a long sigh, and in that sound alone I could hear how happy he was. That helped me not to feel so anxious.

After a while—perhaps because neither of us knew what to say—Maxon sat up straighter. “I should probably go. If we’re going to add all the families to the celebration, I need to make extra plans.”

I pulled back and smiled, still giddy that I was going to get to hug my mom, dad, and ladoo soon. “Thank you again.”

We stood together, walking toward the door. I held on to his hand tightly. For some reason, I dreaded letting it go. It felt like this whole moment was fragile somehow, and if it shifted too much it might break.

“I’ll see you tomorrow,” he promised in a whisper, his nose millimeters away from mine. He looked upon me with such adoration that I felt silly for worrying. “You’re astonishing.”

Once he was gone, I closed my eyes and pulled in everything from our short time together: the way he stared at me, the playful smiles, the sweet kisses. I thought about them over and over as I got ready for bed, wondering if Maxon was doing the same thing.
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“LOVELY, MISS. KEEP POINTING AT the sketches, and the rest of you, try not to look at me,” the photographer asked.

It was Saturday, and all the Elite had been excused from our obligatory day of sitting in the Women’s Room. At breakfast, Maxon made his announcement about the Holi party; and by the afternoon, our maids had started working on costume designs, and photographers had shown up to document the whole process.

Now I was attempting to look natural as I went over Anne’s drawings while my maids stood behind the table with pieces of fabric, containers of sequins, and much more.

The camera snapped and flashed as we tried to give several options. Just as I was about to pose with some gold fabric held up to my face, we had a visitor.

“Good morning, ladies,” Maxon said, strolling through the open doorway.

I couldn’t help but stand a little straighter, and it felt like my smile was taking over my face. The photographer caught that moment before addressing Maxon.

“Your Majesty, always an honor. Would you mind posing with the young lady?”

“It would be my pleasure.”

My maids stepped back, and Maxon picked up a few sketches and stood right behind me, the papers in front of us in one hand and his other settled low on my waist. That touch conveyed so much to me. See, it said, soon I’ll get to touch you like this in front of the world. You don’t have to worry about anything.

A few pictures were taken, and the photographer left for the next girl on his list. I realized my maids had inconspicuously dismissed themselves at some point as well.
Your maids are quite talented,” Maxon said. “These are wonderful concepts.”

I tried to act like I always did with Maxon, but things felt different now, better and worse at the same time. “I know. I couldn’t be in better hands.”
He nodded. “Just a quick visit to chat. I’m afraid I can’t stay long here, either. Father’s not thrilled about all this, but with the Selection still going on, he understood that it would be nice to have some more festivities. And he agreed it would be a much better way to meet the families, all things considered.”

“Like what?”

“He’s eager for an elimination, and I’m supposed to do one after I meet with everyone’s parents. The sooner they come, the better in his eyes.”

I hadn’t realized sending someone home was part of the Holi plan. I thought it was just a big party. It made me nervous, though I told myself there was no reason I should be. Not after our conversation last night. Of all the moments I’d shared with Maxon, nothing seemed quite so real as that one.
“I suppose I ought to finish my rounds.”

“You’re leaving already?”

“Not to worry, darling. I’ll see you at dinner.”

Yes, I thought, but you’ll see all of us at dinner.

“Is everything all right?” I asked.

“Of course,” he answered, offering me a quick kiss. On the cheek. “I have to run. We’ll talk again soon.”

And, just as suddenly as he appeared, he was gone.

As of Sunday, the Holi party was eight days away, which meant the palace was a hurricane of activity.

On Monday the Elite spent the morning with Queen Amberly taste testing and approving a menu for the party. It was easily the best task we’d been given so far. That afternoon, however, Celeste was missing from the Women’s Room for a few hours. When she returned around four, she announced to us all, “Maxon sends his love.”

Tuesday afternoon we greeted extended members of the royal family who were coming to town for the festivities. But that morning we all watched out the window as Maxon gave Kriss an archery lesson in the gardens.

Meals were full of guests who had come to stay early, but Maxon was often missing, as well as Ragini and Natalie.

I felt more and more embarrassed. I’d made a mistake by confessing my feelings to Maxon. For all his talk, he couldn’t really be interested in me if his first instinct was to spend time with everyone else.

I’d all but lost hope by Friday when I found myself sitting at the piano in my room after the Report, wishing that Maxon would come.

He didn’t.

I tried to put it out of my mind on Saturday, as the Elite were obligated to entertain the influx of ladies at the palace in the Women’s Room in the morning and have yet another dance rehearsal in the afternoon.

Thank goodness our family chose to focus on music and art as Fives, because I was a terrible dancer. The only person in the room worse than me was Natalie. Obnoxiously enough, Celeste was the epitome of gracefulness. More than once the instructors asked her to help others in the room, the result of which was Natalie nearly twisting her ankle because of Celeste’s intentionally poor guidance.

Smooth as a snake, Celeste faulted Natalie’s two left feet for her problems. The teachers believed her, and Natalie laughed it all off. I admired Natalie for not letting Celeste get to her.

Laksh had been there for all the lessons. The first few times I avoided him, not really sure I wanted to interact with him. I heard rumors that the guards were switching schedules so fast it was dizzying. Some wanted to go to the party desperately while others had girls back home and would be in huge trouble if they were seen dancing with someone else, especially since five of us would be eligible again soon and in very high demand.

But seeing as this was our last formal rehearsal, when laksh was near enough to offer me a dance, I didn’t turn him down.

“Are you all right?” he asked. “You’ve seemed down the last few times I’ve seen you.”

“Just tired,” I lied. I couldn’t talk with him about boy problems.

“Really?” he asked doubtfully. “I was sure that it meant bad news was coming.”

“What do you mean?” Did he know something I didn’t?

He sighed. “If you’re preparing to tell me that I need to stop fighting for you, that’s not a conversation I want to have.”

In truth, I hadn’t even thought about laksh , letting me go, Aspen had been worrying about me doing the same to him.

“That’s not what it is,” I answered vaguely, feeling guilty.

He nodded, satisfied with that response for now. “Ouch!”

“Oops!” I said. I genuinely hadn’t meant to step on him. I worked to focus a little more on the dancing.

“I’m sorry, Mer, but you’re terrible.” He was chuckling even though the heel of my shoe had to have hurt him.

“I know, I know,” I said breathlessly. “I’m trying, I swear!”

I pranced around the room like a blind moose, but what I lacked in grace I made up for in effort. Laksh kindly, did his best to make me look good, attempting to be a little less on the beat to be in time with me. That was so typical of him, always trying to be my hero.

By the end of that last lesson, I at least knew all the steps. I couldn’t promise I wouldn’t accidentally take out a visiting diplomat with an energetic kick of my leg, but I’d do my best. As I considered that image, I realized it was no wonder Maxon was having second thoughts. I’d be an embarrassment to take to another country let alone receive anyone here. I just didn’t have that princess air about me.
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I STOOD IN LINE WITH the other girls in the massive foyer of the palace, bouncing on the balls of my feet.

“Lady America,” Silvia whispered, and that was all it took to know I was behaving in an unacceptable way. As our main tutor for the Selection, she took our actions quite personally.

I tried to still myself. I envied Silvia and the staff and the handful of guards who were moving around the space if only for the fact that they were allowed to walk. If I could do the same, I knew I’d feel much calmer.

Maybe if Maxon was here already it wouldn’t be so bad. Then again, maybe it would make me more anxious. I still couldn’t figure out why, after everything, he hadn’t made any time for me lately.

“They’re here!” I heard through the palace doors. I wasn’t the only one who made sounds of delight.

“All right, ladies!” Silvia called. “Best behavior! Butlers and maids against the wall, please.”

We tried to be the lovely, regal young women Silvia wanted us to, but the second Kriss’s and Ragini’s parents made it through the doorway, it all fell apart. I knew that both girls were only children, and it was obvious their parents missed them too much to bother with decorum. They ran in screaming, and Ragini dashed out of the line without so much as a pause.

Celeste’s parents were more put together, though they clearly were thrilled to see their daughter. She broke rank as well, but in a much more civilized way than Ragini. I didn’t even register Natalie’s or Elise’s parents, because a short figure with wild brown hair blazed around the open door, her eyes searching.

“May!”

She heard my call and saw my waving arm and rushed to me, Mumma and papa following her lead. I knelt on the floor, embracing her.

“Ames! I can’t believe it!” she crooned, admiration and jealousy in her voice. “You look so, so beautiful!”

I couldn’t speak. I could barely even see her, I was crying so much.

A moment later, I felt the steady arms of my father taking us both in. Then Mom, abandoning her usual propriety, joined us, and we all held one another in a heap on the palace floor.

I heard a sigh that I knew was Silvia’s, but I really didn’t care at the moment.

Once I could breathe again, I spoke. “I’m so happy you guys are here.”

“We are, too, kitten,” Dad said. “Can’t even tell you how much we missed you.” I felt his kiss on the back of my head.

I twisted so I could hug him better. I didn’t know until this very moment how badly I had needed to see them.

I reached for Mom last. I was shocked that she was so quiet. I couldn’t believe she hadn’t already demanded a detailed report of my progress with Maxon. But when I pulled back, I noticed the tears in her eyes.

“You’re so beautiful, sweetheart. You look like a princess.”

I smiled. It was nice not to have her question or instruct me for once. She was just happy in the moment, and that meant the world to me. Because I was, too.

I noticed ladoo’s eyes focus on something over my shoulder.

“That’s him,” she breathed.

“Hmm?” I asked, looking down at her. I turned to see Maxon watching us from behind the grand stairwell. His smile was amused as he made his way to where we were huddled on the floor. My father stood immediately.

“Your Highness,” he said, his voice full of admiration.

Maxon walked up to him, hand outstretched. “Mr. Singer, it’s an honor. I’ve heard so much about you. And you, too, Mrs. Singer.” He moved to my mother, who had also risen and straightened her hair.

“Your Majesty,” she squeaked, a little starstruck. “Sorry about all that.” She motioned to the floor as May and I stood, still holding each other tightly.

Maxon chuckled. “Not at all. I’d expect no less enthusiasm from anyone related to Lady America.” I was sure Mom would want an explanation for that later. “And you must be May.”

May blushed as she extended her hand, expecting a shake but getting a kiss. “I never did get to thank you for not crying.”

“What?” she asked, blushing even more in her confusion.

“No one told you?” Maxon said brightly. “You won me my first date with your lovely sister here. I’ll be forever in your debt.”

May giggled back. “Well, you’re welcome, I guess.”

Maxon put his hands behind his back, his education coming back to him. “I’m afraid I must meet the others, but please stay here for a moment. I’ll be making a short announcement to the group. And I’m hoping to get to speak with you more very soon. So glad you could come.”

“He’s even cuter in person!” ladoo whispered loudly, and I could tell by the slight shake of his head that Maxon had heard.

He went off to Elise’s family, who were easily the most refined of the group. Her older brothers looked as rigid as the guards, and her parents bowed to Maxon as he approached. I wondered if Elise had told them to do that or if that was just who they were. They all looked so polished, with matching heads of jet-black hair topping their small, smartly dressed frames.

Beside them, Natalie and her very pretty younger sister were whispering to Kriss as their parents shook hands. The whole space was full of warm energy.

“What does he mean, he expected enthusiasm from us?” Mom demanded in a low whisper. “Is this because you yelled at him when you met? You haven’t been doing that again, have you?”
I sighed. “Actually, Mumma, we argue pretty regularly.”

“What?” She gaped at me. “Well, stop it!”

“Oh, and I kneed him in the groin once.”

There was a split second of silence before ladoo barked a laugh. She covered her mouth and tried to stop, but it kept coming out in awkward, squeaky sounds. Papa’s lips were pressed together, but I could tell he was on the verge of losing it himself.

Mumna was paler than snow.

“swara, tell me you’re joking. Tell me you didn’t assault the prince.”

I didn’t know why, but the word assault pushed us all over the edge; and ladoo, papa, and I bent over laughing as Mumma stared at us.

“Sorry, Mumma,” I managed.

“Oh, good lord.” She suddenly seemed very excited to meet Ragini’s parents, and I didn’t stop her from going.

“So he enjoys a girl who stands up to him,” papa said once we all calmed down. “I like him more already.”
Papa looked around the room, taking in the palace, and I stood there trying to absorb his words. How many times in the years laksh and I had been dating in secret had he and my father been in the same room? A dozen at least. Maybe more. And I’d never really worried about him approving of laksh. I knew getting him to consent to me marrying down a caste would be hard, but I had always assumed I’d get his permission in the end.

For some reason, this felt a thousand times more stressful. Even with Maxon being a One, with him being able to provide for the lot of us, I was suddenly aware that there was a chance my dad might not like him.
Papa wasn’t a rebel, out burning houses or anything. But I knew he was unhappy with the way things were run. What if his issues with the government extended to Maxon? What if he said I shouldn’t be with him?

Before I could go too far down that path of thought, Maxon bounded up a few of the steps so he could see all of us.

“I want to thank you again for coming. We’re so pleased to have you at the palace, not only to celebrate the first Holi in Illéa in decades, but so that we can get to know all of you. I’m sorry my parents weren’t able to greet you as well. You will meet them very soon.

“The mothers, sisters, and Elite are invited to have tea with my mother this afternoon in the Women’s Room. Your daughters will be able to escort you there. And the gentlemen will be having cigars with my father and myself. We’ll have a butler come for you, so no worries about getting lost.

“Your maids will escort you to the rooms you’ll use for the duration of your stay, and they will get you properly suited for your visit, as well as for the celebration tomorrow night.”

He gave us all a quick wave and went on his way. Almost immediately, a maid was at our side.

“Mr. and Mrs. Singer? I’m here to escort you and your daughter to your quarters.”

“But I want to stay with Ames!” Ladoo protested.

“Sweetie, I’m sure the king gave us a room every bit as nice as swara’s. Don’t you want to see it?” my mother encouraged.
Ladoo turned to me. “I want to live exactly how you live. Just for a little while. Can’t I stay with you?”

I sighed. So I’d have to forgo some privacy for a few days, so what? There was no way I could say no to that face.

“Fine. Maybe with two of us, my maids will actually have something to do.”

She hugged me so tightly, it was instantly worth it.

“What else have you learned?” papa asked. I looped my arm through his, still getting used to him in a suit. If I hadn’t seen papa a thousand times in his dirty paint clothes, I could have sworn he was born to be a One. He looked so young and smart in the formal outfit. He even seemed taller.

“I think I told you everything we were taught about our history, how President Wallis was the last leader of what was the United States, and then he led the American State of China. I didn’t know about him at all, did you?”

Papa nodded. “Your grandpa told me about him. I heard he was a decent guy, but there wasn’t much he could do when things got as bad as they did.”

I’d only learned the solid truth of the history of Illéa since I’d been at the palace. For some reason, the story of our country’s origin was mostly passed on orally. I’d heard several different things, and none of them was as complete as the education I’d received in the last few months.

The United States was invaded at the beginning of the Third World War after they couldn’t repay their crippling debt to China. Instead of getting money, which the United States didn’t have, the Chinese set up a government here, creating the American State of China and using the Americans as labor. Eventually the United States rebelled—not only against China, but also against the Russians, who were trying to steal the labor force set up by the Chinese—joining with Canada, Mexico, and several other Latin countries to form one country. That was the Fourth World War, and—while we survived it, became a new country because of it—it was pretty economically devastating.

“Maxon told me that right before the Fourth World War people hardly had anything.”

“He’s right. It’s part of why the caste system is so unfair. No one had much to offer in the way of help in the first place, which is why so many people ended up in the lower castes.”

I didn’t really want to go down this path with Dad, because I knew he could get really worked up. He wasn’t wrong—the castes weren’t fair—but this was a happy visit, and I didn’t want to waste it talking about things we couldn’t change.

“Besides the little history, it’s mostly etiquette lessons. We’re getting a bit more into diplomacy now. I think we might have to do something with that soon, they’re pushing it so hard. The girls who stay will have to anyway.”

“Who stay?”

“It turns out one girl will be going home with her family. Maxon’s supposed to make an elimination after meeting you all.”

“You sound unhappy. Do you think he’ll send you home?”

I shrugged.

“Come on now. You must know if he likes you or not by this point. If he does, you have nothing to worry about. If he doesn’t, why would you even want to stay?”

“I guess you’re right.”

He stopped walking. “So which is it?”

This was kind of embarrassing to talk about with my dad, but I wouldn’t have talked about it with Mumma either. And ladoo would be worse at interpreting Maxon than I was.
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Thats it for today guys……sry for the late update……now shoot ur comments….

11 comments

  1. Kiara

    |Registered Member

    it was awesome specially singer family conversation with maxon…and swara’s mom reaction was worth it.

  2. Pramudi

    As usual an awesome update. ?
    Loved it a lot.
    It’s ok dear, take your time & update.
    Your nephew seems so cute.. Even i have 3 nephews & 2 neices. They r vry cute & i luv them a lot. Give this ? to him on behalf of my side.
    Luv u… ??

  3. Jenisha

    |Registered Member

    It’s very lovely di……. di plz make Celeste drunk in holi party so she accept her doing……

    I forgive you di….. you can update a small part in return???……

    I too have have small cousin bro and sis and my bro only listen to me and talk with me freely….. hehehe…

    Love you loads di??…

  4. Sweetie

    |Registered Member

    Hi Natasha..I finished reading the previous 17 episodes 2 days back..Was waiting for your next episode to tell you how much I loved the story..Very well written.. 🙂 I’ve read many historical romance novels,but this is the first future romance story..Lovely episode BTW..Waiting for the next..Stay blessed and keep smiling.. 😀

  5. Teddy

    Hi Natasha…. I red ur stry recently… It’s really amazing…. I loved it so much… This has become my fav… U r an amazing writer… I am eagerly waiting for the next part… Wen u r gng to post it…?? Pls try to update it soon.. Waiting for it..

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