Chapter 6
Mia

"You have to go back," Tina encouraged, gently patting my back.

The makeup that Paolo had so meticulously painted onto my face was washed away by the tears I had been shedding for the past half hour. "I can't go back out like this," I sniffed while wiping away the rest of my ruined face. After the break-up with Kenny, Tina followed me to my bedroom with a box of tissues she had the foresight to grab before leaving the ball.

I wasn't really torn up about breaking up with Kenny, because honestly, it was coming. I was more torn up about the fact that he took my first kiss in the most disgusting, most horrific way in front of the Michael and the entire Genovian court.

And in the end, that dance at GiGi's meant nothing to Michael. Nothing. And that's what killed me.

"Mia, I refuse to let you mope up here for the rest of the evening," Tina said in a steely voice that I had only heard her use once before and I'm pretty sure the kid at school who throws a tantrum when they put corn in the chili will never be the same. "You will stop crying, I will fix your makeup and you will march downstairs with your head held high and continue having a good time."

Right when she said that, someone knocked on the door to my chambers. Tina walked to the door and opened it to find Julia standing there with a first aid kit in her hand. She crossed the room and sat down at the foot of my bed where I had thrown myself. "Mia?" she asked tentatively, "the guests have already left, so you don't have to come back down."

I wasn't facing her, but I nodded enough so she could see. She gently patted my head and the weight at the end of my bed vanished. Tina stayed with me the rest of the night to translate my sobs and help me out of my fabulous ball gown and into my oldest, most comfortable pajamas. She gently combed my hair while I cried myself to sleep.

Michael

"Mia, what are you doing?" I asked.

She stepped forward, with a playful smile on her face. "I'm visiting," she replied. She came closer at an agonizingly slow pace, until she was standing less than two inches away. "I heard you're injured."

I pulled a suffering face. "I can manage."

She laughed, a wonderful, throaty sound, as she wrapped her arms around my neck. "Well if you can manage, I suppose I don't need to give you my get well present."

I raised my eyebrows. "Oh? And what would that be?"

"This," and before I could say another word, she pressed her lips against mine and the fire that had been in the pit of my stomach since that day at GiGi's rose up with a burning passion. I wrapped my arms around the small of her back and pulled her closer to me, but it wasn't enough.

She pulled away and grinned teasingly. "Better now?"

"Not yet," I replied and kissed her again. She opened her mouth and the kiss deepened. She tasted so fresh and sweet, like warmapple cider on a cold winter's day. She bit my lip and I lost control. With a sudden surge of strength I pushed her onto the bed, our lips never parting.

"Michael," she moaned. My name sounded so good on her lips.

With a sudden concern, I pulled away and looked her in the eyes. "Are you sure about this? I don't want you to—"

I never got to finish what I was going to say because she cut me off with a heated kiss, so full of lust and promise that my own reservations flew out the window.

A sharp rapping interrupted us. We tried to ignore it, but the rapping became louder and soon became insistent pounding.

"Your Highness? Are you still asleep?"

My eyes wrenched open and I found myself twisted in my bed sheets, fighting for air. It was just a dream.

I should've known.

"I'm awake, I'm awake," I grumbled as I threw the sheets aside and swung my feet to the side of the bed, fumbling in a haze for my house slippers.

"Prince Philippe charged me to take care of you," a female voice said from the other side of the door. "Your Highness? Are you alright?"

I threw my bathrobe on over my pajamas and tied it hastily. "I'm okay," I called. Finally situated, I opened the door and found a petite little blonde girl standing in my doorway with a granny cardigan draped over her shoulders. "Um, it's kind of you to take this job and all, but—"

"Oh, your nose looks horrible!" she squealed as she gingerly touched it with her fingers. "You poor thing! Do you need anything? Do you want your pillows fluffed, or an extra blanket or—"

"I'm sorry, but what's your name?" I interrupted.

"Judith Gershner. Do you take any Advil? Tylenol? Let me go get your breakfast—"

I interrupted her again. "Judith, it's okay. I'm in good enough condition to go downstairs and eat breakfast with the royal family."

She bit her lip and she reminded me of Mia biting her lip and my less than decent dream last night. I gulped uncomfortably and said, "On second thought, I'll have my breakfast up here today."

Judith grinned toothily and winked. "Coming right up! You stay in bed, love, and I'll get it for you."

My relief caused me to forget any discomfort I might have felt over her calling me "love." After she left, I turned back into my room and stared at the bed distrustfully. It wasn't a horrible dream, not in the least. But it brought up really, really naughty thoughts that could probably start a war between our two countries.

Not to mention, she apparently didn't want to have anything to do with me romantically, so on that front, I probably didn't have anything to worry about.

Mia

"You want me to bring up your breakfast for you?" asked Tina worriedly. "You're still looking a little pale."

"Nah, I'm fine," I said with a dismissive wave of my hand. "I'm gonna have to explain to Dad and Grandmère why I left the party sooner or later. I'd rather it be sooner."

"Okay," she began slowly, "but there's something you should know before you go down there."

"What?" I asked as I slipped on a pair of shoes. The look on Tina's face worried me. "Are you okay?"

"I'm fine," she said, "but Prince Michael isn't."

It was like someone had wrapped their hands around my throat and was squeezing as hard as they could. I felt color rush up to my face and I couldn't breathe. Worst case scenarios were running through my head and I was beginning to panic. "What happened to him?" I choked.

"After you broke up with Kenny last night, the two of them got in a fight."

"Fight?" I repeated faintly.

"I don't know all the details, but while you were sleeping Julia filled me in. Apparently Michael's nose is broken, but he didn't sustain any other serious damage. Your father hired a nurse though, just in case."

"Michael's nose is broken?" Oh God, I felt like I was going to pass out. "What about Kenny, what happened to him?"

"I don't know, all I know is that the security guards helped him out of the palace."

The pit of my stomach seemed to have fallen out. Michael wasn't someone who would be pushed around so easily. If Kenny managed to break his nose, God only knows what Michael did to Kenny. "I have to go," I said breathlessly.

"Where are you going?" Tina asked in confusion. "Are you going to visit Prince Michael?"

"No, I'm going to visit Kenny."

Tina's jaw dropped, but I ignored it as I flew to my closet to pick out an outfit. "Mia, you just broke up with they guy."

"So?" I asked distractedly as I pulled out a pair of jeans and a white top.

"Do you know how entirely awkward that would be?"

"I don't care."

"Mia," Tina said in a patient tone that drove me insane, "you can't go to your ex-boyfriend's house the day after you broke up with him. It goes against all the rules of dating, you have to wait at least a month—"

"I have to go."

"No, you don't, and you definitely can't. He needs to be given time—"

I lost it. "LOOK, THIS ISN'T ABOUT THE STUPID BREAK UP, OKAY? HE AND MICHAEL GOT IN A FIGHT! YES, MICHAEL'S GOT A BROKEN NOSE, BUT AT LEAST WE KNOW HE'S OKAY! I DON'T KNOW WHAT HAPPENED TO KENNY, BUT I NEED TO FIND OUT RIGHT NOW! HE MIGHT BE MY EX-BOYFRIEND, BUT HE'S STILL A FRIEND AND I CAN'T LEAVE HIM ALONE WHEN HE COULD BE SERIOUSLY INJURED!"

Tina looked positively frightened. "O-okay," she stammered. "Do you want me to tell your family where you went?"

"Don't bother, Julia will tell them," I muttered, already feeling a little embarrassed for losing it at my best friend. "I'll see you later, okay? Thanks for all your help. You should go home and rest."

"Alright," she said awkwardly. "I'll give you a call later." She kissed me on the cheek and hurried out of the room before I had the chance to explode at her again.

When she was gone, I went to find Julia and told her to tell my family that I was going out to meet some friends for breakfast. They nodded, not believing my lie for a moment, but realizing my need for some space, and for that I was very grateful.

I pulled up to the gate of the Showalter property. I pressed on the intercom and was greeted by their security guard. "Hello, Your Highness. Go right on in."

The gates swung open and I slowly brought my car onto the circular driveway. The guards helped me out of my car and escorted me inside. I stood waiting in the foyer for a moment when Lady Showalter came flying down the stairs. "Oh, Your Highness! I'm so glad you're here."

"Why, is Kenny alright?" I asked anxiously.

"Oh, didn't you hear?" she asked while biting her lips. I was surprised that the woman could even show emotions, what with all the plastic surgery she had undergone, but she continued to surprise me everyday.

"I heard he got into a fight and that Prince Michael's nose is broken, but that's all I know."

She scoffed. "Prince Michael! That brute, he beat up my poor boy!"

I could feel the blood drain out of my face. "Where is he? Can I go see him?"

"Of course, of course! I'll take you to him at once." And without another word, she waved at me to follow her and we flew up the stairs.

When we got to his bedchambers, his mother gently knocked on the door.

"Who is it?" I weak voice answered.

"Kenneth, darling, Princess Amelia is here," his mother said gently.

"Come in," the voice replied.

Lady Showalter pushed the door open and I felt something blocking my windpipe. Kenny lay there with two black eyes, swollen lips, and bandages around his forearms. He probably had more wounds, but his blanket was covering the rest of his body. "Oh, Kenny," I whispered in horror as I rushed to his bedside.

"Hey, Mia," he greeted hoarsely. He tried to smile, but his lips started to bleed again.

"Oh, I can't believe this." My voice was quivering with emotion and horror. I couldn't believe that Michael could do this. This was low, even for him.

"I'm sorry, Mia," he rasped. "I'm so sorry."

"What are you sorry for, Kenny?" I asked shakily. "You didn't do anything."

"Yes, I did," he said thickly through his swollen lips. "I broke Prince Michael's nose, but I didn't mean to. He was beating me up and I was just trying to get him to stop…"

My eyes swelled up in tears. I didn't love Kenny like that, but Kenny was a friend nevertheless and I hated seeing him in pain, a pain no one deserved. "Shhhh, don't worry about it Kenny. I know you didn't mean to."

"I'm so sorry," he repeated.

"It's okay," I said soothingly. I reached up to his forehead and stroked the skin underneath his messy blonde hair comfortingly. "Is there anything I can do for you? Is there anything you want me to get you?"

He shook his head, but winced, apparently from the pain. "I just want you to stay with me. Please?"

I nodded, and behind me I could hear Lady Showalter discreetly bowing out of the room and closing the door behind her.

As Kenny began to drift off into sleep, I continued to rub his forehead as I held his hand. He was almost asleep when he whispered, almost inaudibly, "I love you, Mia."

My heart broke at the vulnerability in his voice, and I knew I couldn't hurt him again. "I love you too, Kenny."

Michael

"I'm sorry, but he doesn't want any visitors—"

"I don't care," the angry voice of Princess Mia came ringing out with piercing clarity. "I command you to step aside and let me see him."

"But Your Highness—"

"MOVE!"

"Yes, Your Highness," Judith squeaked and I heard a muffling sound. It appeared that the poor nurse scurried off in fear.

An uncomfortable sense of déjà vu washed over me when Mia opened the door and closed it behind her. "Mia, what are you doing?" I asked in curiosity.

Instead of coming closer with a coy look on her face, however, she stomped to my bedside with a look of pure hatred and anger. "HOW DARE YOU!" she shrieked.

"Whoa whoa whoa, what are you talking about?" I asked in complete bewilderment.

"I can't believe you would do something like that to poor, defenseless Kenny!"

My jaw dropped. "What? Poor, defenseless Kenny? He broke my nose!"

"And you more than repaid him for it!"

I felt my own anger rise despite of myself. "Look, Mia, I know you didn't see anything, but I didn't hit the guy, okay? He hit me! He broke my nose for crying out loud!"

"YOU'RE SUCH A LIAR!" she screamed. I was alarmed to see that tears were welling at the corners of her eyes and were dangerously close to spilling over. "I saw what you did to him! He's lying in bed with two black eyes, a swollen lip, and a sprained wrist! You even kicked him in between the legs, you jerk!"

"WHAT?" I roared. "I didn't even touch the him, Mia!"

"YES YOU DID!" she yelled.

I leapt off my bed and grabbed her by the shoulders, ignoring her struggles against my hands. "Look, Mia, you gotta believe me, I didn't lay a hand on him! He was the one who threw the first and last punch! I didn't even hit him once!"

"I don't believe you!" she sobbed.

"You have to!" I pleaded desperately. "I didn't, I swear!"

"And those black eyes and swollen lip appeared of their own accord, did they?" she shot accusingly. "I can't believe you would pick on him, Michael!"

"I didn't!"

She pulled herself away from my grip and stomped out of my room, slamming the door behind her.

Heaving a heavy sigh, I stared at the motionless door. That definitely didn't happen in my dreams.

A/N- Now, before you guys start stoning me for that unexpected twist, I would just like to say, Kenny's a crafty SOB, ain't he? Hehehe, please review!