maybe it's not my weekend, but it's gonna be my year
and i'm so sick of watching while the minutes pass as I go nowhere
Crown Prince Miles Schreave's POV
Miles felt himself wake with a start as his head bumped into the back of his headrest. He let out a small sound of surprise, before rubbing the back of his head with his brows narrowed in groggy confusion.
"Sorry, your highness, a bit of turbulence." The copilot's head popped out from the cockpit and he smiled apologetically at the prince. "We should be landing shortly though! Make sure you've got your seatbelt done up."
"It's probably for the best that you were woken up, because your snoring was about to drive me insane." The voice came from beside him, a coy smile turning up the lips of his friend. Miles laughed, rubbing the sleep out of his eyes.
"Preston, is that any way to talk to your boss?" Miles asked, poking the dark haired man in the side, who immediately chopped at his finger. It only caused his smile to broaden - Miles had learned in the first year of the two rooming together of his friend's secret ticklishness. He may not always be the best with witty comebacks, but a single poke gave him more power than any retort ever would.
"Don't you dare." Preston pushed his lips into a playful purse, spinning his pen in his fingers before continuing to jot down in the notepad sitting on his lap. Feeling a little bit awkward that he wasn't doing anything, he shimmied his phone out of his pocket, unlocking it quickly. He swiped to one of his favorite apps, the motion almost engraved into his muscle memory from how often he had been using it over the last year or two. As the Shutterscape app opened up, the feed refreshed to show a soft watercolor painting. It was in a traditional New Asian style, the dark ink branches wrapping around a woman's nude body. Pink cherry blossoms floated lazily around her pale skin, and her head was tipped back, letting her lips part slightly as if she were breathing in the petals around her. He double tapped the image. It was one of his favorite artists - his watercolor work was always exquisite. As much as Miles had tried to emulate the style himself, watercolors simply weren't his medium of choice.
The next image in his feed was a quick sketchy portrait. The features were etched in with sharp strokes of charcoal, but many of the finer details were not finished. He read the caption, 'Work in progress of my beautiful sister. Xoxo -clo' How sweet. He hadn't done a portrait of anybody yet… Maybe that's something he could work on. His work, as of late, had been more abstract in nature. Miles wondered to himself how his father would react to his new hobby. As a child, he had always enjoyed making art, but there was never really enough time for him to truly delve deep into his passion. Now, it felt like it was one of his most defining features.
He was barely scrolling to the next image when Preston's voice interrupted once more. "Actually, since you're awake now, I was going to give you a heads up before we get home-"
"What? Did my sister decide to cut her hair herself again?" Miles asked with a smirk. He remembered it clear as day - he was eight years old, and his older sister barely thirteen. She had insisted that her hair was too long, although their mother always said that long hair is befitting for a princess and declined her request to get it done shorter. His sister never really wanted to be a princess anyway, so she had no qualms about shearing it off herself. Their nanny had been mortified, almost passing out when she saw the beautiful auburn locks spread all across the floor. Miles could've sworn his mother's face lightened a few shades in shock when she saw the hack job.
"No, no, it's nothing to do with Princess Penelope's hair, it has to do with you." Preston's voice brought MIles back to the current day once more, and, though his smile lingered, he raised a brow.
"I would assume that it has something to do with a party." Mother always loved to throw parties. What better occasion than her son's arrival back to the palace? It had been five long years since the Schreaves had sent their son to boarding school, all the way in a secluded and expensive area of Whites.
"No, King Frederickson thought it would be better to let you settle in and prepare for your-" The jet jostled once more, cutting off his assistant. This time, the rumbling in the cabin was clear - they were landing. His cheeks stretched with his grin.
As soon as he heard the ding for his seatbelt, he was up and out of the chair. Sure, it was a luxurious chair, with beautiful white fabric that he was amazed he hadn't managed to dirty, but Miles was ready to be home. Preston chuckled lightly behind him, but Miles didn't wait to exit the private jet.
The sun was shining brightly in the sky. The bright blue of the sky was unblemished by even a single cloud, and Miles closed his eyes as he took in a deep breath through his nose. Nostalgia washed over him in waves. He could smell the plants in the lush gardens surrounding the small landing pad. It was maybe a fifteen minute walk from the palace gardens - arguably a part of the gardens, considering it was just as stunning as the main displays.
His eyes shot open, and he ran into the open arms of his mother. She laughed, pressing kisses into his unruly blonde hair and over his cheeks. "Mom, you're going to get lipstick all over me." He groaned in a mock annoyance. She covered her mouth with a dainty hand, her nails perfectly manicured with long french tips.
"Oh! I'm sorry… I've just missed you so much." She said simply, pulling him into a hug. She smelled of her signature perfume, hints of floral and sophistication. He couldn't place the exact flowers, but it was the scent his mother always wore, ever since he was little, so the nostalgia hit him in waves.
"It hasn't been that long! What, five years now?" Delphine pursed her plum colored lips into a pout, holding her son at arm's length to do so before seeing the teasing look in his eyes and pulling him back in. Miles laughed. "I'm kidding! I missed you too, Mom."
"Delphine, you'll suffocate the boy! Let him breathe." The King scolded his wife, but his tone was light and gentle. Mother loosened her grip, instead moving to hold Mile's hand as the two turned towards the king. His face twisted into a smile, slightly forced and awkward. "How've you been feeling, son?"
"I've been well. Glad to be back home." Miles replied, nodding politely.
And it was true. When Miles had been sent away to pursue his education at fifteen years old, he had been yearning for something more than the castle walls and his royal duties. But, as the one year turned into two, then to three, all the way to five long years… He had missed his family more than he could imagine. It had been meant to be a short year abroad, and if he was honest with himself, Miles wasn't so sure why he had been away so long.
"Miles!" Before he could say anything else, he felt another pair of arms wrap around him tightly. He almost fell over at the ferocity of the hug, which made it immediately obvious who it was.
"Abilene! Manners, child!" Aunt Azalea tugged on her daughter's arm, but Abilene didn't release her vice grip, simply pulling away with both hands on his arms. Miles beamed at her, and she returned the expression joyfully.
"Awww, come on, mother! He can handle it." Abilene's lips spread into a wide grin. "Unless you stayed a wussy after all this time!"
Miles laughed. "You haven't changed one bit."
"Pffft, shut your mouth. I got way hotter." Abi challenged, earning an amused snort from Miles.
"Abilene Grace!" Her mother said sternly, finally getting Mile's cousin to let go of him. Azalea shook her head, "You better get all this nonsense out of your system before the cameras get here."
"The cameras?" Miles asked, turning his gaze to Preston, who was a few shades paler than he usually was. The unease started to crawl under his skin. Preston didn't usually get nervous - but if the look on his face said anything, it was that Miles should be nervous too. "What cameras?"
"Your whole family has come to welcome you back home!" Delphine put a hand on her son's shoulder.
"You guys really took the whole trip from Allens just to see me?" Miles asked, his heart warming in his chest. He let his worries about the cameras fizzle out. Of course there would be cameras - he was the prince. It had been nice to spend so long away from home - away from the needy eyes of the journalists and reporters - but the cameras were simply something he couldn't avoid.
"Of course, dear. We wouldn't have missed it for the world." Aunt Azalea replied, her smile warm. It was one of her best features - that smile that could ease any worries. It was the smile that made it clear that Delphine and Azalea were related - the compassion radiated from them. Miles hoped that he had that gene hidden somewhere away too.
"Is it almost time to eat? I'm starving." The younger of his two cousins spoke softly to her mother, but it was loud enough that father heard it as well.
"Come on, son. Let's get back to the gardens. You've got an old friend waiting!" King Frederickson coaxed the group away from the plane to a small group of golf carts meant for easy travel around the large palace. The grounds were huge, not to mention that the private landing strip was a ways away from the palace itself to keep the nose to a minimum.
Preston took a seat on the back of one of the golf carts that Mile's parents were taking, patting the seat beside him.
"Where's Penny?" Miles asked, looking around the groups to see what groups were taking which carts. Preston bit the inside of his cheek, the look in his eyes telling Miles that he should stay quiet. But why? Surely his own sister would be excited to see him? It's been years since they talked. For some reason, she was never present when he had his video chats with his parents. Eventually, his father got annoyed with Miles constantly asking, and he stopped all together.
"She's ill. Couldn't make it." Preston responded quickly. The king turned around to smile at his son once more.
"Are you excited?" He asked. Miles tried not to let his confusion paint his features. Excited for what? Just being home?
"Absolutely! I've been waiting years for this." Miles responded with a smile.
"Aha! I'm so glad son." He turned back forward, wrapping his arm around his wife once more. "I told you he'd be ready, Delly."
"Well, I guess a few years can change a person." Her smile felt more genuine to Miles as she turned around. She winked at him. "Just don't have too much fun, alright? Don't do anything you wouldn't want me to see."
Why was everyone acting so odd? The confusion came back to the prince once more. He wanted to ask Preston about it, but the medical student looked like he could turn into a ghost if he got any more white. Maybe he was just nervous about being in the palace for the first time? After all, they had met as roommates all those years ago.
The pack of carts pulled into the gardens and the immediate flash of cameras could've blinded Miles. He pushed a smile to his face almost habitually. 'If there are cameras, always smile.' His mother would tell him. 'You want Illea to think that you're happy to see them.'
Miles stepped out of the cart, his eyes barely adjusting to the semi-familiar greenery around him before he felt an arm wrapped an arm around the prince's shoulders, turning him towards one of the cameras. Initially perplexed, Miles almost forgot to keep the smile on his face and barely bit an expletive back on his tongue.
"The one and only Miles Schreave! We have been anxiously awaiting your arrival!" The voice of the Report boomed, swinging his microphone in the air in a grandiose fashion.
"It's good to see you too, Sebastian! I've missed you Illea!" Trying to not look as ruffled as he was, Miles blew a kiss from his hands to the camera, earning a roar of laughter from the host.
"Charming as ever, aren't we? You better save those moves for your ladies!"
Miles blinked a few times in confusion, tilting his head slightly to the side, "For my ladies?"
His father quickly joined the pair, standing next to Miles, "I'm sure Miles can't wait to meet his lovely ladies of Illea - do be sure to get your applications in quickly, though. We are ready to welcome thirty five lovely young women by the end of the week."
Thirty five women, applications… The pieces suddenly clicked. Waa his father implying that there was going to be a Selection? Miles felt his eyes widen, and he searched frantically through the crowd of his family and the paparazzi for Preston. Where had he gone? Preston was the one thing keeping him grounded - after all, it had been so long since Miles had been a prince. It was familiar, but in the way that a foggy street from your childhood may be familiar. The prince opened his mouth to speak, but no words came out, and instead he just floundered like an empty headed goldfish.
"Look at him - he's so excited that he's speechless!" The navy haired host patted Miles on the shoulder, surely meaning well, but Miles felt sick to his stomach. Why did he not know about this? It seemed like everybody else did. Miles felt a tug on his sleeve, and whipped his head around to see Preston pulling him away from the host and his camera crew. Relief flooded through him as Preston began to speak.
"Your Highness, it was quite a flight. Perhaps Miles and I should be heading back to unpack his things." Preston said. His voice held a soft authority that Miles was sure that very few could get away with when they were speaking to a King, but his father had always liked Preston. He was sure that his father had done a lot of rigorous searching to find the right roommate to keep the secret prince from having his location compromised.
King Frederickson nodded, "Yes, Mister Shepherd, you're right. Go ahead, we can discuss your arrangements in more detail when you two have settled in." The king's dark eyes lingered on his son once more, and he smiled. "It's good to have you back home where you belong."
Miles swallowed the lump that was forming in his throat and nodded, grabbing Preston by the arm and pulling him down the walkway towards their home. He wasted no time finding another golf cart to get back to the palace itself, the path paved with dark stone. The keys were sitting in the ignition already from the drive from the jet, and Preston took the driver's seat while Miles slid quietly into the passenger seat beside him. With all of the cameras gone, he felt the confidence deflate from his chest. Preston revved up the engine of the small cart, but over the small roar there was a voice calling.
"Hey, wait up!" Miles turned around to see Abilene running over, the ground audibly crunching beneath her sneakers. She offered a smile, her chest heaving as she grabbed the bar of the cart, "Can I hitch a ride with you guys?"
Preston looked over at the prince, but Miles answered before he even realized the words were out of his mouth. "Of course, Abi."
The engine puttered slightly as the cart began to move, traveling briskly through the gardens. Preston kept his voice low, "I'm sorry that I didn't mention the Selection… You seemed so excited to come home, I didn't want to ruin it."
"Ruin it?" Miles asked, running a hand through his hair sheepishly. "What do you mean by that?"
"Well, I didn't want you to think that the only reason you were coming home was to marry you off. You know? The King and Queen decided that it was safe for you to be back, and most Selections begin around the twentieth birthday, so-"
Miles dismissed his assistant's words with a flick of his wrist. "Nah, I didn't think that. It's just weird, because I thought that Penny was going to have one since she's the heir."
Preston kept his eyes on the road. "Well, you're the one with the tattered reputation. Perhaps they thought it'd be better for you to have one."
"Maybe…" Miles sank bank into his seat. He knew that after his… his incident that his public image had suffered immensely. The most irritating part was the fact that he couldn't even remember what he did. He had gone into a comatose state for months; it had been a miracle that he even woke up. Miles knew that whatever he did must've been very taboo, though, since it was the real reason he had been sent to a remote area of Illea to the private school of Edenborough.
Preston nodded, his lips pressed into a hard line. "I'm glad you understand. It won't be that bad, I promise you. Just imagine it as a big group date."
"I'm actually kind of looking forward to it." Miles admitted, turning his dark eyes to gaze at the trees as they whipped by. "I've never really had a girlfriend, but I think it could be kind of fun. I like meeting new people."
"Did they tell you the best news?" Abi butted in, peeking her head over the small railing separating the back seat from the front. Her smile was broad, her blonde hair wisping around her face in the breeze, "Uncle Frederickson put me in charge!"
"Well, shit. I'm doomed then." Miles teased, twisting in his seat to shoot his cousin a mischievous grin.
"Hey now, don't be a dick." Abi laughed. "I'm ready for it! In fact, I'm thinking of it as a sort of mini-internship."
"Wow, my love life is going to be a job for my cousin. That sounds like some Kent kind of stuff there."
Abilene gagged. "You know I didn't mean it like that. I mean that I'm gonna make sure those uptight Angeles snobs don't mess this up for you."
"She has a point. Miss Gartner is a good choice - with her experience and her background with you. I can't think of anyone better to help lead the process. You're in good hands.." Preston pointed out, watching the two cousins from the corner of his eye. "Plus, she's putting her degree in marketing to use much faster than you are."
"If you can even put an arts' degree to use." Abilene scoffed.
"Wow, you cut me deep, cousin." The prince put a hand to his forehead in mock woe. Miles had been given the choice of any academic branch he wanted to pursue, so he had chosen something he was passionate about. He didn't care as much about being 'useful' as he did being happy. Miles flicked Abilene in the nose, "Besides, you don't give me enough credit. I double majored."
"Does it even count as double majoring if one of them was an art major?" Abi asked. Miles raised his hand to swat at her playfully, but she grabbed his hand before he had a chance, flicking him in the nose back with a triumphant smile. When they were little, the fights always fell in her favor. His physical prowess was never Miles' greatest feature. Instead, he threw up his hands in defeat.
"I'm being attacked. And here I thought you two were my friends."
Preston turned the wheel to drive the small group into the parking garage made for all the carts - His grandfather had reworked what used to be the stables into a garage of sorts. It was one of King Eugene Schreave's crowning achievements. The palace before had been very traditional, refusing to adapt to the world around it. Illea had changed a lot - technology was more prevalent than ever. Perhaps it was more thanks to his wife, Queen Consort Charlotte - a crazy smart network engineer that had brought the internet, smart phones, and even created programs for all of the palace staff to help with their work.
"Well, Miles, here we are." Preston put the cart into park. As his friend and cousin got out of the cart, Miles didn't move. His feet felt heavy.
The prince eyed the door into the palace warily, chuckling to himself. "I don't think I even remember where my room is."
"Don't worry Miles. We're here for you." Preston offered a hand to help Miles out of his seat. Miles swallowed, his throat feeling hot and sticky. He took Preston's hand.
Abilene put her hands on her hips, her smile not once budging from her features. "Welcome home, Princey-poo."
A/N - thank you to everyone that's been sending ladies my way or showing interest in the story! I've got many plans here, so I'm excited to get everything rolling. Here we get a POV from our crown prince - what do we think of him? Our main trio have all had a POV, we've got one more prologue and then we'll start getting glimpses of our Selected!
For everyone that's been asking about a date, I don't really have one set in stone but I'm thinking by mid next month I'd like to have all of them submitted. Definitely don't hesitate to shoot me a message for questions or if you need an extension, but I figure that'll give everyone time to get through finals and graduations and such. Thanks for reading, don't forget to review and let me know your thoughts!