You know, I never really noticed how pretty the snow was. The way it looked when it was falling; never-ending, it seemed. As if the world was a snowglobe in a child's hand; never stopping, always swirling around. The air was crisp, yet not too cold. The slight chill felt nice against my hot skin.
My old buddy Flynn Rider was never one for going gaga over the season; he was more preoccupied with the joy and thrill of the new hiding places. Now, Eugene, on the other hand, saw it for what it was. I was really starting to like the look of winter.
Or, maybe I just liked the look of Rapunzel in the winter.
I stood, arms crossed, watching her. She ran around, throwing snow into the air, adding to the millions of flakes already falling beside her. She'd lay down, make a snow angel or two, and go back to her attempt at making a snowman. It was a failed attempt though, for the snow was unpackable. Too light and crisp, for it had fallen just last evening.
The look of her reminded me of the day I freed her from her tower. The excitement in her eyes. How light she looked as she danced around, stirring up the flakes beneath her feet.
I couldn't keep track of her, though, due to her speed and ever-changing activities. She was simply a bright streak of pink and brown against the white snow. Lost in my thoughts, though, I hadn't noticed her sneak up behind me.
A pile of snow hit the back of my head, throwing snow into my shirt around onto my face. I turned towards the culprit.
"I think I prefer the frying pan to this," I said, trying to shake the snow from my shirt. "Snow is too cold."
"Why are you just standing there?" she said, twirling around. "This stuff is amazing!"
"You have to remember, Blondie," I winked, shaking the snow from my hair. "I wasn't locked up in a tower for eighteen years. I've seen my fair share of this stuff."
I walked up to her, and put my hand on the side of her face. "Besides, I was enjoying watching you, anyway."
She stared up at me, her body moving with light pants; worn out from all the fun she had been having. Her cheeks and nose were bright red, and her eyes against the white backdrop were stunning.
I leaned down and pressed my lips softly to hers. She stirred beneath me and wrapped her arms around my waist, pulling me closer.
This was pretty damn close to heaven, if I could say so myself.
But, apparently, in this kingdom, all good things must come to an end.
As you can probably guess, I felt an ice cold, yet familiar tongue shoot into my ear.
"Pascal!" I yelled, pulling my head away from Rapunzel, yet still holding her close. She giggled and snuggled herself against me, enjoying the warmth. And myself, I hoped. Pascal jumped onto her head. I silently rolled my eyes to myself, seeing the small sweater he was wearing that Rapunzel had made for him.
"Why do you do that?" I said, eyeing him. He seemed to chuckle back at me.
"I think it's a sigh of affection, Eugene," Rapunzel mumbled. "Maybe."
"If it is," I kissed her forhead. "Why do you not do it to me?"
She looked up, smirking, and I winked. Unfortunately, well, not to me, the movement startled the chameleon atop her head, and he lost his balance and fell into the blanket of snow beneath her. I laughed to myself as Rapunzel gasped and bent over to get him, leaving my arms.
She rose from the ground and turned toward me, holding a shivering Pascal covered in snow in her palm. I put on a serious face and held up my hands.
"Not my fault. I'm blaming it all on you, Princess," I smiled. She sighed, shaking her head, and turning away.
"Let's go get you warm and away from the mean, mean man," she cooed to the chameleon, taking him inside. I sighed and walked after her. I wouldn't hear the end of this.
Later in her room.
"Eugene," Rapunzel called over to me as she brushed her hair infront of her mirror. I was stuck sitting on the bed holding Pascal, keeping him warm. Apparently, after almost a half an hour of Rapunzel scolding me and teaching me the cares of a chameleon, they aren't supposed to go in the snow. Who knew.
"Yes?" I glared at the sleeping reptile in my hands, who was bundled up in a blanket Rapunzel had also knitted for him a few weeks prior.
"I was walking up to the room earlier after you dumped my chameleon in the snow-"
"Ah, now here's where you're wrong, Princess," I attempted, once again, to explain the story. She held up her hand.
"Unimportant," she continued on. "When I passed the main foyer, I noticed something different."
"What was it?" I tried to picture something that could've stuck out to her, but failed doing so.
"Well, it was a tree. But like, not a fake plant. A tree. A pine tree! And it had like shiney things hanging off of it. And lots of colored lights," she turned toward me. "Why would they chop down a tree from the woods and decorate it in our foyer?"
I laughed. "That's a Christmas tree, Blondie."
She cocked her head to the side, a confused look on her face.
Then it hit me.
Eighteen years of isolation.
"You don't know what Christmas is, do you?" I said, slowly. She shook her head, slowly.
Hm. I thought of a way to explain it to her. I couldn't tell her the story; she'd just get too confused. I needed some visual objects.
The foyer. There was a little Town Of Bethlehem set up on the other side of the foyer.
I stood up and set Pascal inbetween the bed and the large comforter. He didn't wake up, but he wasn't shivering any longer. I think that was a good I walked over to Rapunzel and took her hand, pulling her up.
"Come on. I'll show you."
"Oh, I think I get it."
Rapunzel messed toyed around with the figurines sitting in front of us. I explained the whole story, I think, and I'm pretty sure she understood.
"But," she toyed around with one of the animals. "You haven't answered my question. Why is there a tree in our foyer with lights on it?"
I laughed, and took the animal from her hands and set it back down. I walked her over to the large, grand tree in the middle of the room. She looked up at it, her eyes big.
"It's just something that's been done for hundreds of years," I took her hand in mine. "There's just something about it that reminds people of the holiday."
"What do people do for Christmas?" she said absentmindedly, toying with an ornament in front of her.
"Well, there are a lot of parties. People celebrating. And it's also called the 'season of giving'."
She looked up at me. "'Season of giving'?"
I smiled. "Presents."
"So it's like a birthday?" she smiled. I nodded.
"Yeah, kind of. But you've gotta give presents to recieve them," I laughed.
"Oh, no. I've got to get people things! When is Christmas?" she said.
I chuckled. "Tomorrow's Christmas Eve. So, the day after tomorrow."
Her eyes were wide with panic. "Eugene! We have to go into town! I've got to get something for mother, and father, and you, and Pascal!"
I smiled and pulled her close. "I'll take you out tomorrow, okay?"
She smiled. "Okay."
The next day was pretty much the most hectic day of my entire life.
Rapunzel was up early, pulling me out of bed.
"I wanna get there before all the good things sell out!" she claimed, nearly dragging me to the floor.
She didn't have shopping experience, so the things she picked out weren't exactly what someone would get their parents for the holiday. She picked out a necklace with a bright green gem in the center, and a geographical book for her father. It was the thought that counted, though, and I found it cute.
It was nearly sundown, and Rapunzel was worn out. We got the shopping done early, but she had taking place in all sorts of festivals around the city. She sang Christmas carols with any group she could find (and even made a few herself), spent well over an hour roaming around the tree store; not being able to decide which decorated tree was best. And, after seeing a man dressed up as Santa, I had the pleasure of the long explination of why Santa comes and what he does.
It was all very exhausting.
She leaned against a brick wall, just been dancing with a few people, and puffed out a tired breath. I laughed and held up the bags she got today.
"All done?" I asked. She nodded. I took her hand and led my tired princess to the castle.
As we passed the tree, she stopped and stared. "Eugene, what is under the tree?"
I laughed and put my arm around her waist. "Those are the presents. You are supposed to wrap them and put them under the tree."
She looked up at me and groaned. "But I'm so tired."
I laughed and lead her to her room. "I'll do it for you."
She shook her head, claiming it was her responibility. Once to her room. we sent for one of the servents to go get her wrapping and ribbons.
I sat on the edge of her bed as she said cross-legged on the ground attempting to wrap it perfectly. I smiled, finding it adorably cute.
Finally, nearly an hour later, she huffed. "All done. Finally."
I went over to her and helped her up, keeping my hands around her waist as she toyed with the gifts in her hands.
"Do you think they will like them?" she asked hesitantly. I squeezed her tightly and set my chin on her shoulder.
"They'll love it," I kissed her shoulder softly. "Promise."
She walked towards the door and turned toward me. "I'm gonna go put these under the tree, okay?"
I nodded and waved her goodbye. I listened to her feet pat against the wooden floor as she ran towards the foyer. I sighed and went over to her dresser. I picked up a pencil and a strip of paper and scrawled a quick message on it.
Don't be worried about the presents, Rapunzel. I promise you that they will love them. Goodnight, and I love you.
I could read her like a book, and I could tell how nervous she was about making sure she got them exactly what they would love. I could tell that she was scared because she didn't know them well. All day I watched the nervousness dance in her green eyes as she stressed about what to get them.
I signed it as Your Prince, and stuck it halfway under her pillow. Just as I turned around, she came in the room, panting.
"Sorry. I didn't want them to see me putting them down, and they were in there," she held a hand to her chest, trying to calm her breathing. I smiled and walked over to her, taking her hands in mine.
"They can see them being put down, Blondie," I winked. She shrugged. I glanced at the now-darkened sky outside her window.
"Time for bed," I murmed, turning back to her. She frowned slightly. I kissed her softly for a moment.
"I'll see you in the morning, Rapunzel," I walked over to the door. She went and sat next to her chameleon, who was now just waking up.
"Goodnight, Eugene," she smiled. I waved and shut the door behind me.
I walked into the foyer, hoping to find the king and queen still there. I looked around the corner and saw them sitting in front of the fire reading. I walked over to the side of the queen's chair.
"Ma'am, sir," I bowed slightly. They looked up from their reading.
"Ahh, Eugene," the king tipped his head at me. The queen smiled and waved slightly.
"I was just coming to say goodnight," I sat down in the empty chair. "and to make sure everything for tomorrow is still on."
The king nodded and smiled. "Of course, Eugene. I don't know a better person to marry my daughter."
My heart swelled at the words, and the 'Flynn Rider' that was left in me laughed at myself. Flynn Rider was never in love with anyone.
The king had been quick to tell me that I was to become the Prince of Corona once he saw the bond Rapunzel and I shared. It was only a few short weeks after we had returned to the kingdom. The queen was a bit wary on letting her daughter marry a thief, as was the king. But this disapaited quickly as I passed all the little 'tests' they had set up for me. Leaving precious jewels unnatended. Hiding guards in the shadows while the king or queen had set down their crowns. Not to mention the random jewelry that was draped on the statues near my quarters. I just laughed, that man long gone.
Well, his ways, anyway. The witt still appeared sometimes.
About a week ago, I had been nearly sweating trying to figure out what to get her for Christmas. The conversation came up between the king and I one day during one of these 'bonding outings' I was required to go out on.
"What have you decided to get Rapunzel for Christmas?" the king asked as we sat down to lunch that day.
"I don't know," I had said, running my hand through my hair. "I've been trying to find something for her. I can't find anything. Any ideas?"
He laughed and nodded. "I actually do. It depends on how serious you are about my daughter."
"Oh, she's everything to me, sir," I had said, my eyes down. I wasn't used to expressing my feelings like so. Especially to someone I'd only known a few months. "I'm very serious with her."
"Do you think she feels the same way about you?" he asked, folding his hands under his chin and leaning foward. "Because, to me, it surely looks like it."
"I think she does," I smiled slightly. "Why do you ask?"
"I think you should ask her to marry you, Eugene," my eyes grew wide as the words slipped from his mouth. "She loves you, and you her. And, despite you past, I think you will make a good husband to her, and a loyal prince to Corona."
Now I was here, nearly hours away from asking the most amazing girl to marry me, and my stomach was filled with foreign butterflies. 'Flynn Rider' would've never felt like this. 'Flynn Rider' wouldn't even be getting married. But I couldn't help it.
Would I be everything she needed? Wanted? Will I be the son that the queen and king ever had? Will I be able to be the Prince of Corona, without screwing everything up?
The main worry I had was would Rapunzel accept the proposal.
She acted like she loved me. The way she looked at me. The way she held my hand when she was nervous, or scared. The way she hugged me after we hadn't seen each other all day. She acted like it. But then, I watch the way she acts with everyone else. Loving is just her nature. How do I know she knows the difference between loves?
But here I was, about to drop my pride on the floor, and ask the Princess of Corona to marry me.
Flynn Rider had never done anything this exciting, yet nerve-wracking, in his life.
The Next Day
I groaned, opening my eyes slightly. The room was filled slightly with the light from the rising sun. It was still early, though. Probably seven in the morning. The room was silent once more, so I rolled over, closing my eyes once again..
Knock, knock, knock.
They shot open again. I glanced at the door. I could see shadows beneath the door from where the light was shining in from the hall. It looked as if one foot was tapping.
"Eugene," an quiet whisper filtered to me. She seemed aggrivated. I smiled slightly and rolled my eyes, throwing my legs over the edge of the bed.
Knock, knock, knock. "Eugene?"
I walked over to the door, not bothering to put a shirt on. I unlocked it and opened it so my head was sticking out.
She stood there, her arms crossed, in her purple nightgown. That look of aggrivation was replaced by staring as she took in my look.
"Don't you know its early?" I waved in front of my face. She looked up. "I was still sleeping."
"But it's Christmas!" she exclaimed. "I want to give everyone their presents!"
"Everyone is still sleeping, Blondie," I rubbed my eyes. She frowned.
"When does everyone usually wake up?" she said quietly.
"In about an hour," I took her hand. "Go wait in the foyer, and I'll get dressed and then meet you. Then we'll wait for them to get up. Okay?"
She smiled and kissed me quickly. "Thank you!"
I shut my door and went over to my wardrobe. I stood for a moment, attempting to pick out the best outfit. I was proposing today; I wanted to look good.
I got dressed and went over to the spot I had my ring hidden. I opened the box and looked at the band inside. It was silver, with a brilliant blue diamond in the middle. I couldn't wait to see it on her finger.
I shoved it in my pocket and left for the foyer.
I rounded the corner and leaned against the wall, crossing my arms. She was sitting, her back to me, presents in her hand. She held them close to her face, as if she could see through the paper.
"What are you doing?" I said quietly, startling her. I went to take a seat next to her.
"This one is to me! And this one!" she held up a small box. "This one is for you!"
I was curious, and flattered. It had been so, so long since someone had gotten a gift for me. "From who?"
"My parents," She said, handing me the box. I stared at it in my hands.
"They like you, you know," she said quietly, putting her hand on my leg. "they really do."
I was quiet, for something had come over me. A feeling I wasn't used to.
I had always been on my own. Moving from place to place, only focused on my own selfish needs. But what I hadn't realized until now is that I was running away. Away from the pain I had from growing up in an orphanage. Sure, I had people who said they loved me, but it was their job. I never really believed it, and I was alone.
But now, I could actually feel it. Did they love me? No. Well, Rapunzel did. Or she said she did. But, even if they didn't, they still welcomed me as apart of their family. The family they never thought they had until a few months prior.
It was kind of a big moment for me.
"Yeah," I set the present down. "Yeah, I guess they do, don't they?"
I looked over at her and she was smiling. "They do."
We waited in the foyer for the next hour, awaiting the king and queen's awaken. Rapunzel lounged across my lap, playing with my fingers absentmindedly while she sang Christmas songs quietly to me. I was perfectly at ease. I could definately get used to it.
Finally, we began to feel the castle awaken. The light shoe brightly through the window, and the sounds of walking filled the hall. Rapunzel was beginning to get antsy, loosing her patience. She was about to go searching for her parents, but I told her to just give them time. She then mumbled something to herself, and I smiled.
The king and queen finally stumbled in. Rapunzel didnt bother to change her postition from laying on me to sitting up. They didn't seem to mind.
"Can we open presents now?" she asked excitedly. The king looked at me.
"I've been up for two hours. You would've been, too, but I told her to wait," I laughed. She smiled and sat down in a chair across from us. The queen joined him.
Rapunzel jumped up and grabbed the two presents she got. She handed her mother the first one; her father the second. She then sat next to me, and was completely still. I grabbed her hand a rubbed her thumb with mine, a sign we've always had that meant 'it's going to be okay.'
Her mother opened hers first, and a smile spread across her face as she held up the necklace. "Oh, Rapunzel. It's absolutely beautiful."
Rapunzel's eyes lit up. "You like it?"
"I love it, darling," she put it back in the box. "Thank you so much."
Next her father opened his.
"Oh," he looked at the cover. "It's very nice, Rapunzel. Thank you."
"It's a book I really enjoyed," she smiled. "I thought you might to."
"I do," he looked up at her. "Thank you."
Rapunzel was beaming. "I gave Pascal his already. It was a new sweater I knitted for him. He wanted to join us, but he wasn't feeling very well."
Next, her parents gave her the gift they got for her. Her mother gave her a silver bracelet with charms on it. Her father gave her all kinds of new books for her to read. She was esstatic.
She set the present from her parents to me on my lap. It was quiet as I opened the box. Inside it was a golden pocket watch.
"It's been passed down for generations," the king said as I examined it. "I found it only fitting for you."
"Thank you," I looked up, holding it tightly. "It really means a lot."
There were no presents under the tree anymore. I looked over at the king, who nodded for me to give mine.
"I have a gift for you," I took Rapunzel's hand.
"No, wait," she pulled away. "I want to give you the one from me first."
My eyes grew. What had she gotten for me?
She handed me a folded up piece of paper, and then sat quietly, her eyes glued to my face. I unfolded the paper and read.
I'm sorry. This isn't the best Christmas present I could give you. I looked all over today for something that would make you happy, but I failed to find anything. So, I guess, I just want to tell you that I'm very thankful for you. For everything you've done. Everything you've said. I want to thank you for the times you've held me when I cried. For all the times you've given me strength when I needed it most.
I was locked in a tower for eighteen years and only knew one type of love. And, even though I'm still trying to figure this whole 'love' thing out, I know enough to know that I love you.
I hope that's enough for me to give you today.
I love you, Eugene. Thank you.
I took a deep breath and looked up at her. I set the paper at my feet and placed my hand on the side of her face.
"It's enough. Forever," I said quietly. She smiled.
"Now, my turn," I stood up and took both of her hands, pulling her up with me. She looked at me puzzled.
Now to repeat the speech I had practiced in my head so many times before.
"I used to be the man of the world. Living on the edge every single day. I didn't care about anyone or anything except my self. But this was wrong. So very, very wrong. And all it took to see the real me was a silly girl with really long hair," I laughed quietly and she smiled. "This girl showed me that I was missing something very important in my life, and that she was there to help me find it. Little did she, nor I know that it was her."
"Eugene," she said quietly, her eyes watering up.
"Rapunzel, there is nothing else in life I want to do except be with you every single day. You've changed me for good, and I'd like it to stay that way."
I got down on one knee, and pulled out the ring. She gasped.
"I love you, Rapunzel. Would you please marry me?" I opened the box, exposing the ring. She smiled, nodding furiously.
"Yes, yes, yes," she said, tears spilling over. I placed the ring on her finger. It was better than I imagined it. She threw her arms around me and I held her tight.
Yeah, I could definately get used to this.