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The maid's mouth was hot and needy as her lips trailed rough kisses down his neck. Her hands were roaming quickly, like she couldn't believe she was here, making out with the crown prince of Illéa. To be fair, the Prince wasn't exactly thrilled to be there.

Everett reciprocated as much as he could, but even while he was getting what he wanted, he was longing for a cigarette or a drink, or something. Still, he had a feeling that the maid didn't notice how far away his mind was, simply content to enjoy herself.

She was certainly trying, that was for sure, and he gave her points for that. But for some reason, it just wasn't doing it for him today. He was bored and tired and stressed, and he was sorely regretting leading her on. This was quickly growing from half-heartedly listless, to vaguely uncomfortable for him, to downright unpleasant.

Her hands were bold, too bold, snaking past his waistband, and her skin was growing sticky and sweaty. Not to mention the heavy amount of heady perfume she was wearing. Everett hated perfume.

He reached out with his mind to any god above to spare him from this, as her hands reached lower and lower.

And apparently his prayers were heard. By the Devil himself.

"What is going on here?" A booming voice demanded. Everett's heart stopped in his chest, and the maid froze, lips against his collarbone.

Shit.

...

Everett glared at the floor as his father paced back and forth in front of him. His rumpled shirt was untucked, four buttons undone, and he was barefoot.

A glance at the mirror to his left showed his hair was sticking up awkwardly and numerous hickeys ran down the column of his throat and his chest, standing out starkly against his pale skin.

The king stopped in front of his son, face taut with rage. His mouth opened several times, but he still didn't speak, as if he didn't trust himself to. Everett's pulse was running wild, as he sensed an oncoming storm from the man. Maybe this time, he had finally pushed things too far.

"What on earth possessed you to sleep with the maid, boy?" Jonathan spoke quietly, voice trembling with anger.

Everett remained silently sullen, eyes never leaving the floor. Too be fair, she wasn't his most esteemed romantic partner, but she had been enthusiastic.

"Answer me!" Jonathan roared, backhanding Everett across the face so hard he stumbled. White-hot pain flared at the contact and he winced.

"I don't know," Everett whispered.

"Speak up!" Another crushing blow sent Everett tripping into the wall. Spots flared in his eyes, and he blinked to clear his vision, trying to swallow the pain.

His hand flew up to touch his throbbing jaw, already, he was sure, blooming with a bruise.

"I don't know," he said, louder.

"That's not a real answer!" Jonathan shouted, spittle flying.

Everett flinched away, then berated himself for it. No weakness, no weakness, no weakness.

He straightened himself up, ignoring the ache in his jaw and met his father's eyes.

"I'm sorry, my king," he said, digging nails into his palm as his jaw pulsed with agony.

"No you're not," Jonathan said, eyes narrowed. "But I've thought up a solution. If you insist on sleeping with every female in the castle, drinking yourself into the gutter, smoking three packs a day, and directly disobeying my orders not to, I have to take action."

Everett's jaw clenched and he immediately regretted the action as a spike of pain shot through the left side of his face.

"You're a lazy man-whore, and a despicable mess. You're a disappointment to your country and your mother," Jonathan jeered, lips curling up slightly. The sadistic asshole was taking pleasure in this.

"You don't know anything about Mother," Everett snarled under his breath.

"What did you say to me, boy?" In an instant, Jonathan had grabbed him by his shirt front and slammed him into the wall. The impact knocked the wind right out of him, and the younger man wheezed.

"Nothing, sir. I'm sorry," Everett rasped, heart jumping a million miles an hour in his chest. Stupid, stupid, stupid-

"Here's what you're going to do. You're going to shut up and do what I tell you, or take fifty lashes," his father snapped, leaning forward. "You're going to have a Selection."

And with that, Everett's life began to end.

...

Everett stalked down the hall, an ice pack to his face.

Fury radiated off every line of his body, and he held the pack to his face with his shoulder as he rummaged around in his pocket for a cigarette.

His fingers shook, making it difficult to take out, but he succeeded after a moment and he lit it quickly.

The first drag had the most effect, and the tension faded from his shoulders. Everett exhaled a plume of smoke and reached back up to hold the ice pack to his bruise.

He slowed in the hall, all the rage draining away with his second drag.

Everett started walking slowly to his room, feeling three hundred years old. His shoulders slumped with exhaustion, and he rubbed his eyes.

Everett's eyes flickered up as he noticed a figure standing in front of his door.

It was his brother, Cal. Perfect Cal, Father's favorite, Cal. Cal who took after their mother, with his quiet nature and gentle tendencies. Cal who was sweet and intelligent and put-together, always. Easy-to-like, kind Cal. Everything Everett was not.

Despite the pain, his guard went up immediately, and he straightened. Everett's teeth pulled back over his teeth in a snarl, and he advanced menacingly.

"What do you want?" He spat, scowling threateningly.

Cal shrank back, obviously afraid, and rubbed the back of his neck. He was a little shorter than Everett, and definitely slimmer, his narrower frame caving in the closer Everett came.

"I-I heard about the Selection. I just- wanted to say I'm sorry," Cal mumbled, not meeting his eyes.

Everett sneered. "What do you care? You're probably thrilled some girls will be in the house."

Cal reddened and he looked away. "No, no. It's your Selection, I would never-,"

Everett snorted and shoved him out of the way. "Go read one of your books, Cal. That's all you ever do anyway."

"I'm sorr-,"

The door slammed before Cal could finish speaking, and Everett was left in silence at last.

He massaged his temples and reached for a glass and a bottle of whiskey.

"What a dilemma," he murmured to himself, as he looked between the bottle and his cigarette. How pathetic it was he was genuinely having trouble deciding.

He put the cigarette between his teeth and took a drag as he poured the whiskey into a small glass. The amber liquid flashed gold under the light, and he sighed in anticipation.

Everett put out his cigarette in the ash tray on his bedside table and gulped down a mouthful of whiskey.

Sweet mother above, he hated himself. Everything. His father. God, he didn't even know what he hated anymore.

More importantly, he didn't know what he liked anymore.

A knock sounded at the door, and he growled, lifting his head. The last thing he wanted right now was some stupid maid coming in to try and clean. He reached for a paperweight to lob at any intruder. "No one enters!"

"Not even me?" Came a soft, musical voice, and Everett slumped, putting the paperweight down.

"Except you," he called reluctantly, sipping from his glass.

Queen Oriana Schreave entered, pale blue eyes sparkling and lips pulled into a smile. Her blonde waves cascaded neatly around her face, and her posture was as immaculate as always. Lines framed her eyes and mouth, but other than that, she hadn't aged much since his father's Selection.

His mother closed the door behind her quietly and glided forward to sit on her son's bed.

"It's not so bad," Oriana said softly. "Maybe a Selection will be good for you."

Everett laughed bitterly. "If Father thinks it's a good idea, it rarely is."

"Well, I think it might be a good chance for you to get out and meet some people," Oriana commented.

"Get out?" Everett mocked cynically. "I'm not getting anywhere. In fact, I'd be shocked if I ever left this castle. God, I hate this place."

Oriana sighed and reached out to take her Everett's hand. She began making slow, soothing circles on the back of his hand with her thumbs, and he relaxed in her grip.

"You will be King, someday, Ev," she reminded him. "You may do whatever you want when you are king."

"I'm gonna be a shitty king," Everett groaned, setting the glass down. "I think Father's hoping I'll die before the time comes and Cal will get to take over. Cal's his little puppet anyway."

"Don't speak about your brother that way," Oriana chided. "You and Callum should stick together. All brothers should."

Everett shook his head. "We're too different. Cal doesn't understand anything about me."

"It's not for a lack of trying, Everett," Oriana replied. "I heard him try to talk to you just now."

Everett glowered at the floor. "It doesn't matter. Father likes him better than me anyway. I'm sure that love is enough to make up for my lack of."

"It's not," Oriana said simply. She took his hand and helped him onto the bed. He placed his head in her lap, and she began to card her fingers through the dirty blond waves.

Everett sighed, eyes sliding shut. "Sure it is. Me and Cal have never gotten on well, he's fine."

"He's not," his mother corrected. "You should try to be nicer to him."

Everett just grunted, not refusing, but not accepting either.

"Ev, during the Selection..." Oriana trailed off and Everett opened his eyes to look up at her.

"What?"

"I want you to try and keep an open mind," she said. "There are some nice girls out there, and I want you to give them a chance."

"No promises," he muttered, but that wasn't a no, and Oriana smiled.

"Good. Another thing, I'd like you to try and stay sober while the girls are here," she said.

"You're ashamed of me," Everett snorted. "I don't blame you."

"That's not why," Oriana said sharply, her fingers pausing in his hair. "I just think it's a good opportunity for you to begin to... shape up a little. All these things you do, they'll kill you before your father does. I need you to try and clean yourself up a bit."

Everett's eyes remained closed. "Again, no promises."

"Everett," Oriana teased, leaning forward. "You want to outlive your father, don't you?"

His lips twitched and he opened his eyes.

"Yeah," he admitted, grinning. "Just so I can spit on his dead body when he finally dies. Maybe throw a party."

Oriana chuckled and kissed her son's forehead affectionately.

"When are they announcing the news?" Everett asked, looking up at her.

"Tonight, on the Report," his mother said.

Everett sat up, blinking. "Tonight? That's-that's soon."

"I think Jonathan was eager to get things moving. But it will be fine. Please be sober on the show tonight, okay?" Oriana said, squeezing his shoulder.

Everett wrestled free, and stood up. "I- I don't-, I need to think."

"Ev-,"

"Please leave."

His mother's eyes flashed with hurt but she nodded agreeably, getting to her feet.

"Just remember I love you," she said gently, kissing his cheek and gliding from the room.

Everett just exhaled and picked up his glass, still half full with whiskey.

"Sorry, Mom," he muttered, finishing it off.

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Hello and welcome to my first Selection fanfic! I'm going to leave the form here in the document and on my profile as well, please submit a girl as soon as possible so I can move this story forward! I'm really excited to be doing this, and I hope it all goes well. Please PM me with this form filled out thoroughly, do NOT leave it in a review. Sorry Guests!

Form

Name:

Age (17-23):

Caste:

Province:

Faceclaim (if you need help, just mention it here and I will find one for you):

Reason they joined the Selection:

Reaction to being selected:

Personality (more than four sentences):

Background/history (what has their life been like up to this point?):

Style (What kind of clothes do they like to wear casually and formally? What colors do they prefer?):

Family members:

Interactions (How do they interact with their family? Friends? The other girls?):

How they treat Prince Everett? Prince Callum? The Queen? The King?:

Interests:

Occupation (please be mindful of their caste):

Makeover changes:

Languages spoken:

Treatment of maids and guards:

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

Goal in life:

Favorite color, food, animal:

Reaction to being eliminated: