Flipping my life upside down again
but hopefully for the better
We landed in the middle of the day so the sun was beating down hard on the new Rolls Royce. I slid inside as we set off. Once at the palace my father hugged me tightly. He was really anxious now.
‘Christopher I need to talk to you, alone.’ He nodded and followed him away. There were a lot of hand gestures from my father and too many nods from Chris. Jane pulled me inside to unpack and to meet the new staff. Rebecca and Ray were getting married next Christmas after he asked her to marry him last week.
‘Chris has a month left.’ I was flicking through facebook. I had been getting so many posts from random people like “Marry me because we have chemistry.” “Marry me I will make you any food you want”. That one was tempting, but then I had maids to do that for me. ”Marry me I am an Olympic champion”. He really was but not my type. I did even see one which was I have a small dick.
‘I know. I don’t want to let Jamie get it. He will be insufferable for the rest of my life.’ I sighed as Jane put more of my things away.
‘I think that he is going to do something really special. He has really changed since you met him.’
‘He has not changed we just never knew him.’ I said. I walked out onto the balcony. The roses were in bloom and filling the air with their exotic sent. Chris knocked on the door and walked in.
‘Hey, Taylor can we talk?’ I nodded.
We walked down to the plum tree which was by the main drive. I saw loads of reporters sat outside looking excited and pressing each other against the bars of the gates. I was still in my school uniform just without my tie. My shirt was now white not blue as I was in year 11. We sat on the bench that ran around the base of the tree.
‘Okay this is completely spontaneous and I really do love you. And you know sometime last year when I said I didn’t know if I had positive or negative feelings to you?’ I nodded. ‘Well, I have worked them out. Sometimes you are the most annoying person in the world and I hate you for it. The way you always have the right answer or are so sarcastic it hurts or you just don’t think first and then ask the questions. But then you are the most sensitive person in the world and I love you for it. Like when Rebecca and Ray had problems you helped them work it out and look where they are. The way you battle for what you believe in. In Ethics way back in year 10 when they said that rebellion leads to death and you said not always. The way you put others first before yourself, like when there was the party and you gave up your sleeping bag for somebody else in the middle of winter. You curled up next to me like a little squirrel and we were buried under mounds of clothes and jackets. ’
‘So. You have made a beautiful speech pointing out all my faults and then pointing out why you love me. Just saying it is not a balanced argument.’
‘Comments like that make me hate you, but then I look at your eyes and see that you don’t mean it that is why I love you. See I fell in love with you the way water freezes: painstakingly slowly. And it was when my father said I had to marry Phoenix did I realise that I loved you and I never want to leave you. You keep me on my toes. You have amazing hair which if it catches the sunlight in the right way will glitter. l love when you smile the whole room lights up and the world stops for that one small moment ’
‘Your point is?’ I asked. I was putting off the realisation of what he was saying. I knew what he wanted to say and he knew I knew, but I was just not wanting to accept it yet.
‘I hate you sometimes. Do you know that?’ I nodded. ‘Well. My Taylor I would really like it if you married me.’ He brought out the blue box he had been given from my grandmother and tossed it to me. I caught it. Inside was a white gold ring with a small flower shaped diamond. Inscribed on the inside was “Tale as old as time...’
‘Oh, my gods. It is real. This is really happening.’
‘Well?’ Chris asked. I looked up at him. He was twisting his hands in his lap and his eyes were looking hopeful.
‘Yes. Oh, yes. I thought I would seriously have to hand over the throne to Jamie.’ Chris leaned down and kissed me as all the cameras clicked and people talked hurriedly into microphones and cameras.
‘Earth Rainbows going to have a field day when she finds out.’ I whispered.
‘Yeah. Shall we go in before they take even more photos.’ I nodded. He got up and offered me his hand. I took it as he helped me up.
‘Aren’t we a little young?’ I asked. Chris nodded.
‘I think we are, but the law got in the way and if it goes wrong then we can divorce quietly or separate.’
‘I doubt it will come to that.’ I said. He kissed the top of my head.
‘This is why I love you sometimes. You are so optimistic. Come on put it on.’ He held the box as I put it on. My dad met me halfway across the lawn.
‘Taylor! I never got to say hello when you got here. I have missed you so much.’ I was pulled into a massive hug which Barney joined in with and Vanessa. I was squashed in the middle. Vanessa was looking me over and then grabbed my left hand and brought it up to eye level to inspect the lovely jewel that was sat there.
‘Chris you did well. I must admit.’
‘Did what well?’ Dad asked.
‘Oh, you asked her! How did he ask you?’ Barney was like a gay uncle who was not gay. He always wanted to hear my gossip. We would have long talks on girls and shoes.
‘Well, he made this long romantic speech about stuff then said I fell in love with you the way water freezes. I was going how romantic.’
‘Hey, I tried.’ Chris said with an indignant note in his voice.
‘Hay is what horses eat do you want some?’ Chris stuck out his tongue.
We all walked inside as Vanessa gushed over how pretty my ring was.
‘Tony spent one million on mine. It is gorgeous, though.’ It was a large pink pear shaped diamond framed my small sapphires, diamonds, emeralds, rubies and a hella lot of diamonds. It was all on one thin band of gold. Inside was the inscription “less than tomorrow more than yesterday” To me it looked too much but then Vanessa came from a very wealthy family and this was out of the ordinary.
‘I guess he just wants this relationship to work. Mum was bloody awful putting it mildly.’ Vanessa put an arm around my shoulders.
‘Tony told me about her. She sounds horrible.’
‘Grandmother had her assassinated because she was so evil. Don’t tell anyone.’ She smiled.
‘I won’t I think she got what was coming for her. She did abuse you after all.’ I grinned at her.
‘Lets put this behind us. Do I have to have official engagement photos like you and Dad did?’ She nodded.
‘Oh yeah. Come one. I have a bet with Barney on who will be on the front cover of Chanders Weekly. I say you because you are the princess but he says me because I am going to be Queen before you. There is a dinner at Frankies and fifty pounds in on it.’ My dad tapped me on the shoulder
‘Congratulations. Three days time and the photographers will be swarming to get your pictures and the ring and ask about the wedding.’
‘Only you would have booked the photographers in advance.’ I muttered. He looked sheepish.
‘Well I gave Chris quite a scary talk.’
‘What the hell did you say?’
‘If he does not pop the question you will be shunned in society, you will be disgraced, you will be teased by the family. Nasty rumors. Married off the the king of France or something like that.’
‘DAD! That is nearly as bad as I don’t know. No, I have it. Tell your daughter’s boyfriend he can come in and having a loaded shotgun on the table.’ Dads face lit up.
‘I can imagine that. The look on his face.’ I closed my eyes trying not to laugh.
Three days later and there were thousands of photographers swarming around the front gates. Chris had woken me up at eight by opening more balcony door and crawling out commando style in all black. He had a walkie talkie and started speaking.
‘Apollo to Ares. Roughly fifty. I am situated in Poseidon's room. Over’ There was some incurrent muttering later and he replied.
‘She is awake over.’ I had better explain what is going on. We gave each other code names so we would know what was going on. In public we had birds like hawk, twit, eagle, sparrow. You get the jist. We also had private ones. I was named Poseidon because I like blue, Dad was Zeus because he was King and Vanessa was Hades because she was marrying Dad and it is an inside joke. Fine you want to know.
Vanessa had been slightly cold to me and in return I had cold shouldered her and she had diffused the tension by getting dead animals and hanging them around where I liked to go. In response I got all the shot glasses I could find and drove them to her house, with her father's permission (which he gave very quickly), I filled each one and placed them in her room. Chris was Apollo while Titus was Ares. The maids were all Mortals, mundanes. Mainly Mortal and Mundane. Sometimes Mundie. He crawled out of my room and then stood up and walked away. Jane stood me up.
‘Okay. MARY GET IN HERE I NEED HELP!’ Mary trotted in with a white dress with shoulder thingys. Like they went not over but across your shoulder. I can’t explain it. It had a sort of lace covering with an a line skirt. Because Chris had gone on a random growth spurt he was now a good foot above me so I had to wear high heels until I caught up in height. Mary started to curl my hair to give it some style while Jane did my makeup. We only had an hour left to debate if I needed a clutch bag or not Chris had snuck into the room and we were playing slaps while Mary shouted at Jane. I had bright red hands and so did Chris by the end of it. Jane grabbed my hands.
‘No no no. Mary!’ She wailed like one of those little kids who yell mum. Mary grabbed my hands and started using tinted moisturiser on them to make the colour go away.
‘Your majesty how did he ask you to marry him?’ An excited reporter asked. he was only eighteen by the looks of him and excited to be on the job.
‘He asked me in the nicest way and said some of the most romantic things possible.’ There was a collective “aw” as they scribbled frantically in their notebooks.
‘Your Lordship do you think you are too young to be getting married?’ Chris flashed the woman a smile.
‘Yes I do think we are just a bit too young but the law did say before she turned seventeen and I would have asked her in four years when she is at least twenty. So the law has forced us into this position but I think I can speak for both of us when I say that I am very happy with the way things are going.’
‘Your Majesty how much was the ring?’ A woman asked. Her hair was in multi coloured streaks. Rainbow streaks. I guessed this was Earth Rainbow.
‘I don’t know and I don’t want to.’ Cameras kept flashing at us. We were stood in the ballroom because it let in the most natural light due to its large windows and doors and it could fit the sheer amount of reporters who had turned up.
‘How long has the ring been in your family?’ Someone shouted from the back.
‘I would say a good one hundred years. It has been reset at least once due to the general wear and tear of life and it has been recently resized due to the fact that my grandmother has slightly larger fingers than me.’ There was more scribbling. I hated reporters. They walked all over my privacy ignoring all of my fathers warnings.
‘How did you two meet?’ Earth Rainbow shouted.
‘Well Taylor was my charge as in bodyguard charge. We slowly became friends and then I asked her out still being her bodyguard. And here we are a year on.’
‘Are you still her bodyguard then.’
‘Yes I am and will be until she dies or I die. Hopefully not anytime soon. She can protect her self very well. We once had an argument and to prove her point she broke my arm.’ I kept smiling even though I knew I had broken Threes arm and shot him in the foot. They kept scribbling.
‘Taylor, I have a question. Do you really think that your marriage will last?’ A voice shouted. I felt slightly stuck at that question. My deepest fear was that it would fall apart when we would have children like my father’s marriage but then the sheer amount of things we had been through together I doubted that it would happen. I looked to my father for help. He took my look of help as a look of desperation. He walked in front of us and spread his arms wide.
‘Thank you very much for being here today. Sadly you must now all go as it is time for lunch. Thank you and goodbye.’ He nodded to some of the men in black who started shepherding them out. Cameras still kept flashing as they were pushed away. Once the large oak doors were closed I relaxed.
‘Now I am going to frown my fake smile off.’ I was opening and closing my mouth like a fish. I was double jointed in my jaw so that if I opened my mouth too wide it would get stuck and I would have to pop it back into place. I kept popping it in and out of place.
‘Taylor that is gross. Please stop it.’ Barney looked revolted. as I clicked it back into place.
‘Dad the maids were complaining of a swimming pool somewhere.’ Dads face lit up.
‘I had a swimming pool installed just after Easter.’
‘YOU HAVE TO TRY AND FIND IT!’ He shouted as I took off. I stopped took off my shoes and started running. Chris followed and picked up my shoes. They were slingbacks so he did not have to stop just lean down and hook the backs over his fingers and keep going. I made a slight detour to get my swimming costume. Jane had recently got a bikini and thrown out my last one because it was “too last season” so she said. I had kept it though and given it second hand to Hannah because it was Chandlers and cost a bomb in her world. She had squeezed into it for Emilies pool party. I remembered that because I was the only one with a six pack and it was winter so everyone was freezing their butts off but me because Ethelburgesa gets really extreme winters and summers. Jane held it out as I passed by. Alec held Chris’s swimming trunks out as well.
‘He is on the second floor.’ I shouted as I passed him. He walked back inside Chris's room.
I got to the pool first. It was in a sea green room where there were small pegs with a name above each one. There were doors at each end with names as well. I walked into the one which had my name on it. I got into my bikini. I was navy blue with white straps. The bottoms were like short shorts but shorter and made out of swimming stuff. There was a band at the top which was a white strap. The rest was navey. There was a logo of a man playing golf in the corner of the bottoms and the top. I was already in the pool when Chris walked in with his matching trunks.
‘Are our wardrobes co-ordinated?’ He asked. I shrugged. He got changed and bombed into the water. I might have forgotten to say that Chris is different. You can see that his skin, on his back, is not really that even like someone whipped him when he was younger and now he has the scars to prove it. I kept letting it slide because it was Chris and he has a mysterious past. To be honest I was shocked by it at first but then I grew to like it. It is a part of him and nothing can change that.
We spent an hour messing about having a water fight and swimming races before Jane walked in.
‘Guys lunch time.’ She handed me a towel with my name stitched into the corner.
‘Cheers.’ I got dressed back into my dress and put my hair into a ponytail.
‘I think I might have it cut.’ I mused once out of the small cubical.
‘Yeah. And you can give it to charity!’ Jane said excitedly. I nodded.
‘Maybe.’ Chris kissed the top of my head.
‘I think it looks amazing.’
‘You are biased though.’
‘There are many annoying things about you. I know of eight I can list right now.’
‘Really? You are going there. I could leave you right now. No wedding. Blugh. I hate being engaged even if it is to you. How is everyone at school going to react?’
‘I think I might die.’ Chris muttered. ‘Of embarrassment. It is proberly international news by now.’
‘Let me get a gun and shoot myself.’
‘No! I want to have a hand in planning this wedding.’ Chris said loudly.
‘Can I go and get a tattoo?’ I asked. Wondering what would her reaction be.
‘No.’ It was Chris who spoke up. ‘I think you are perfect the way you are. Anyway who would we go to?’ We linked arms and walked to the dining room.
Dad had organised a professional photoshoot of our engagement so we could have reminders. It was all of the typical hands linked together, flashing around of my ring. I was sick and tired of it all by the end of it.
The holiday went slowly by with me revising and Chris watching me. It got to the point where Titus took him out for pony trekking because he was distracting me too much. He did come bursting into the room three hours later when I had gone from Biology to Physics. He kissed me quickly and then went and got a book. I sat there beavering away as he lounged around.
I soon had to leave home and go back to England. Jane had picked out a special leaving outfit which was a black loose dress, a cream coloured blazer, brown belt and beige coloured ballet flats. My dad pulled me into a hug.
‘Okay promise me if anyone and I mean anyone teases you, bullies you. Anything you will call me and the wrath of the king will come down and smite them all.’ I laughed.
‘I promise.’ Vanessa gave me a huge hug.
‘I am going to yank you out of school early. You will try on wedding things and stuff and find jewelry to match that gem you have now.’ I laughed.
‘I doubt I will be allowed. Mr Strong is pretty uptight on that kind of thing.’
‘But it is a royal wedding.’ Dad countered. Chris took my arm and gently lead me away.
‘You will get the jet flight back.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Father as in my father has the plane in Italy bailing Shinji out of jail.’ Titus had been having plenty of trouble with Akki and Shinji. They were getting put into jail all over the world meaning he had to jet over to rescue them. He was still going through the final stages of his divorce and so could not disown his children yet. The fact that they were born out of wedlock made them bastard children. In both senses of the word.
‘We are going on a commercial plane aren’t we?’ He nodded. I climbed into the limo followed by Chris, Jane and Mary.