I was looking down at the sea below me. The waves chopping way out, then crashing down on the shore. The little kids running away from the water as it crashed to the shore, like little sandpipers. There was only one word that I could use to describe the sea. Entrancing. I could stare at it for hours on end and yet it would only seem like a few seconds.
I folded my arms across my chest casually and leaned into the wall next to the window I was looking out of. It was a little jagged, but, then, so was my life. Nothing new there.
Oh, how I wish I was out on the water. It was an absolute amazing day for sailing. But, of course, I had to go to a meeting today, then a press conference. Sounds like fun, right?
I straightened up when I heard footsteps approaching behind me. Then I slowly turned around to see who was disturbing me in my only time of peace for the day.
It was just one of my servants. I could tell that they — my servants — thought I was a rather peculiar, always gazing longingly at the sea. They did not understand that it brought me peace, tranquility, which was something that my life seriously lacked now.
Ever since my parents died, there has not really been much peace or happiness around here. My sisters and I have been coping, but its still hard. Especially if you are the one that has to rule an entire country. But let's not go there.
The servant cleared his throat and I looked up from where I was staring at a little spot on the floor. "Sir," he said genially, "Parliament has requested your presence."
I nodded, showing him that I would go. If I did not go now, they would only just bother me later. Might as well get it over with.
The servant started toward the conference room, and I followed silently behind him.
I was properly seated at the end of the table about five minutes later. A few of my subjects, followed by the most important members of Parliament, began filing in.
Once seated, the Prime Minister began talking. "Your Majesty," he addressed me, "It has come to our attention that your twenty-first birthday is nearing."
I nodded, fully aware of this fact. What I was not aware of, however, was his point.
"With all due respect, Your Majesty, this country has not really been properly ruled since your father was king — God bless his soul."
I did not take offense to it. I never wanted to be a king or any royalty for that matter. Actually, I always wanted to be a doctor, help people, but I doubt that would ever become a reality.
"Now, I know this is mainly because of your inadequate training prior to your father's assassination, but that cannot be fixed now. We realize, though, that maybe if you had someone to rule by your side . . ." he trailed off and looked at me expectantly.
I stiffened up then. "What about my sisters? They're perfectly capable of—"
"Of course, Your Majesty," he cut in, "but they're not of age yet."
"Well, then, I'm sure you can wait until Marta is at least. It's only one more year."
He sighed. "It's not about that, sir. We think your sisters would be great rulers, but your father wanted you to rule. And, well, we need you to get married, Your Majesty."
I blinked. Once. Twice. "Married?" I echoed.
"Yes, sir, married. All of our rulers have been married."
Married? No. I could not get married. Not yet. I just . . . I couldn't. I was still young. I didn't have to settled down yet.
But as much as I didn't want to, I knew it was the right thing to do. For my country.
"Four months, Your Majesty," he said.
I choked on my saliva. "Four months? How the hell am I supposed to fall in love in four months?"
"It's not about love, Sir. It's about your country." He said it like I was ignorant.
I never really liked this guy anyway. He was always going on about how it was my duty to my country. I have always done what I was told, my whole life. What if, for once, I wanted to do something for myself?
That would be thought of as unthinkable.
I scoffed. "Well, then, how am I supposed to rule my country if its not even with someone I love?"
He sighed and looked to the man at his right. That man, whose name has completely slipped my mind, just shrugged and whispered something to him. The Prime Minister nodded and turned back to me.
"Fine," he said. "Six months. By June."
I sighed resignedly. That would have to do.
- § -
Three months later . . .
"Come on, man, you've only got three months left, and you haven't even given any of the bachelorettes and second glance. And, I mean, those girls were pretty hot, too."
I just shook my head. "Must you talk like that?"
Jake knitted his eyebrows in confusion. "Like what?"
I rolled my eyes. "Disrespectfully," I said. "Those women have feelings, you know."
"Dude," he said, "if they knew I was talking about them like that they would be very pleased."
I shook my head. Arrogance is him. He knew he was good looking and he used it to his advantage. In more ways than one.
He stopped abruptly and turned to me. The person behind us nearly bumped into me and was about to say something rude when he noticed who I was. He just scurried on his way.
"What are you looking for, anyway?" he asked.
Confused, I asked, "What do you mean?"
He shrugged his shoulders. "I don't know. You just seem to be looking for something in those women. Apparently they're not perfect enough for you."
I looked him straight in the eye and said, "Perfection is not what I'm looking for."
He looked at me scrutinizingly. "Then what ARE you looking for, man?"
I hesitated, trying to find the right words to say. "I guess I just want a woman who is real. It seems like all of them nowadays are just . . . fake. They have no true personality, always trying to impress people. They can never just be themselves."
He blinked a few times before he said, "You are in way over your head here, dude."
That, however, was what I was expecting to hear. Well, along those lines anyway.
"You are hopeless," he continued, walking ahead of me. "God, just pick a woman, bang her, marry her, and live happily ever after."
I glared at him. He knew I hated it when he talked about women like that. And, needless to say, he shut up pretty quickly after that.
"Okay, okay," he said, stopping again, "sorry. I just . . . you don't really have a lot of time left."
I nodded. "I am aware of this."
He just rolled his eyes at me and continued to walk ahead of me.
I just could not stand him sometimes. He was my best friend, but he was ignorant. Not stupid, just ignorant. But, well, he was the only one that understood me, my morals, my life, and everything I lived for. Which wasn't much, mind you.
"Hey, man, you comin'?" Jake yelled from ahead.
I nodded and ran to catch up with him. My day of freedom, after all, was ending quickly. Then I would be shut up in the palace for a weak doing work for hours on end.
There were only about two days a month where I was free of meetings, press conferences, and, well, my life. You know, where I could just go out and not have to worry about anything. And one of those days happened to be today. But still, I had to worry about this whole marriage thing.
Don't get me wrong. I want to get marriend, but I wanted it to be with someone that I loved, not someone I was just marrying because I had to. And I probably would end up marrying one of those rich, royal bimbos who was just born with looks and wealth. As I have said before, I want a real woman, who has actually lived. Someone who hasn't been shielded from the real world their entire lives. Someone who actually has a clue.
How I am going to find someone like that in less than three months, I do not know.
But Jake was right. I was running out of time.
I was brought out of my musings when I collided with something and heard a girl yell, "Hey! Watch it!" Apparently I wasn't watching where I was going.
I looked down and noticed the girl on the ground. She didn't look too happy. That was when I realized that it was my fault she was there.
Good going, de Silva.
I reached my hand out for her to grab. She did and I pulled her gracefully to her feet.
The first thing I noticed about her was that she was pretty. No, beautiful. Very beautiful. But it was like a natural beauty, not a face carved under a surgeon's knife.
With her emerald green eyes and stunning chestnut hair, she could render any man speechless.
Including, well, me.
I blinked and regained my composure. "Miss," I said, "I am terribly sorry about that, I—"
She held her hand up. "Don't worry about it," she said, brushing her shirt off, which, I noticed, she filled out quite well. "I'm just not having a fantastic day is all."
I smiled knowingly. Neither was I.
"Are you sure you're all right?" I asked, concerned.
She looked up at me, squinting from the bright sunlight behind me, and nodded. "Yeah, yeah. I'm fine. Thanks." Then she stuck her hand out. "I'm Suze, by the way," she said.
I shook her hand. "Jesse," I said. "Is that short for . . . Susan?"
She shook her head. "No, Susannah. As in 'Oh, Susannah, don't you cry for me'."
I laughed at her reference. "I know the song. It's a beautiful name, by the way."
I noticed her blushing at that moment. I decided not to say anything, though. That was when I heard my name being called, and it wasn't Susannah who was saying it.
"Jesse! Man, what are you doing? Come on!" Jake yelled from ahead. I guess he didn't notice that I had stopped. That doesn't really surprise me, since he's usually always half asleep.
Then I noticed he was running back to me. When he got to me, he looked at Susannah incredulously. "Suze?"
She turned and looked at him in surprise. "Jake? What the hell are you doing here?"
He smiled at her. "I should ask you the same question. I live here now. Surf's great year round." Then he looked back at me, who was completely confused by the situation. "I see you've met my sister."
"Step-sister," Susannah corrected. "We're not related." Then she muttered under her breath, "Thank God."
I grinned. At least she had a sense of humor.
Jake just rolled his eyes. "Whatever."
Meanwhile I was still surprised. "Small world," I muttered.
Susannah turned her green eyes to me. "So, what's the deal with you two?"
"Oh," Jake said. "Well, Jesse's the k—"
I elbowed him. "Friends. We're friends."
Susannah looked at me with a strange expression on her face. "Oh," she said, "well, that's nice."
Jake just glared at me. I really didn't understand what the deal was. I just didn't want her to know who I was yet. Because if she did, she would start acting like I was superior to her.
That's what I hate about being who I am. Once people learn who you are, they stop being themselves and continuously try to impress you.
Story of my life.
Susannah looked at her watch. "Hey, look," she said, "I've gotta go. Gina is probably wondering if I got mugged or something."
Jake perked up then. "Gina's here?"
Susannah's lips curved into a smirk. "Of course she is. She's my best friend, after all."
"Hey," he said, "how 'bout the four of us get together for some time. You know, for coffee or something."
Susannah looked at me and smiled. One that made my heart practically stop beating. Then she looked at Jake and said, "I'll see what Gina says." She straightened the purse on her shoulder. "Well," she said, "it was nice bumping into you, Jesse." The smirk returned to her face. "Maybe we'll see each other again soon."
And for the first time that day, I felt myself truly, genuinely smile.
After she walked away and out of sight, Jake elbowed me in the side. "You like her, don't you?"
I didn't say anything. She was, after all, his sister. Albeit, they weren't really related, but his sister nonetheless.
But I realized then that she was the kind of woman I had been searching for. Beautiful, but in a natural way. Confident, but not arrogant. Smart, funny, possessing a personality . . . and the list goes on.
I never really believed in love at first sight until then.
And my main goal after that was to make Susannah my querida.
A/N: So, how'd you all like it? I know a little bit of it is out of character, and some of the stuff regarding royalty is probably not right. But I was actually kinda happy with this and I wanted to post it right away. If you have any suggestions for corrections, tell me, and I'll make them. In the meantime, review!
I was also thinking of making this into a story. It was originally going to be a one-shot, but I've found a bit of inspiration for a story. As if I don't all ready have enough stories going as it is. But anyway, let me know.
Disclaimer: All of the Mediator characters belong to Meg Cabot.