Chapter Two: First Friend
Eating breakfast with the Ambassador and his family is like bathing in a tub full of boa constrictors. The Ambassador said his courtesies and nothing else to me during the entire meal. His daughter, Cersei, looked radiant. She had her hair pulled up in a messy bun and had on a dressy blouse and slacks. She is her father's secretary. He expects her to always look professional.
The Ambassador's granddaughter is a young girl of ten. She has her mother's grace and elegance. She keeps staring at me. I ignore it. I am used to being stared and gawked at as if I were a painting on display.
"How old are you?" Myrcella asks me.
I salt my scrambled eggs and shove a small forkful into my mouth. The Ambassador is watching every move I make and listening to everything I say.
"Fifteen," I say. Myrcella seems pleased with that answer.
Her younger brother Tommen is telling jokes with Joffrey at the far end of the table. I sat close to the Ambassador as far from Joff as I could get. The Ambassador does not seem interested in me. He mentions something to Cersei in a hushed, hardened tone.
This feels different from my home. My family is very loving and spirited. We always talk and carry on at meals. It's the one time formalities are forgotten. Well not forgotten, more like ignored. I miss my family.
"Grandfather, could I invite Mya over today?" Joff asks.
If I have to keep the doors open if I invite a girl over, does Joff have the same rule? If so then how have they been able to have sex?
The Ambassador scratches his whiskers and stares at his grandson with contempt.
"No. I want you go with Prince Loras to enroll at Winterfell and register for classes. Tell that deformed son of mine to give you boys a tour. When you have finished that task bring the prince back here and then you may invite Miss Stone over, but not until you do as I say."
I look at Joff. He seems terrified of his grandfather, not that I blame him. I had no desire to hang out with Joffrey today. I wanted to stay as far away from him as possible, but I am being thrown into the lion's den with him.
We have a diplomatic procession to run errands complete with police escorts. Joff loves the attention. He waves and smiles at the all the pretty girls we pass on the street. I roll up my window to avoid being seen.
My attempts at being inconspicuous flew out the window the second I climbed in the backseat of the stretch limousine with flags and a diplomatic license plate.
The limousine comes to a stop and pulls up to a curb. A police officer opens my door. Joff slides over to climb out as the police officer slams the door in his face. A detail of police officers stand by the school entrances and exits.
"Is your life always this glamorous?" Joff asks.
"Yes," I say.
My handler precedes me through the door of the Headmaster's office. The headmaster is a gentle looking man with short hair and a well groomed beard. He stands to shake my hand and asks Joff to wait outside.
"I am Eddard Stark, Headmaster of Winterfell Academy," says the Headmaster.
I shake his hand and introduce myself. He asks me to sit down and offers me a cup of coffee. I sit, but I politely refuse the coffee. His office is very natural. The carpet is gray, and the walls are white. He has pictures of his family just about everywhere. I count six children; only two of them resemble him the rest take after his wife.
An interesting photograph on his desk catches my eyes. It's all six of his kids holding six Husky puppies. He has six kids and six dogs.
"I have two sons about your age, Robb and Jon. Robb is here today getting a physical for football. Do you play any sports, Loras?"
He called me Loras. I like this guy already.
"I am not sure if Americans consider fencing a sport. I also know martial arts. My parents wanted me to always be able to defend myself. It was one of the few things they'd actually let me do."
"If you would like to play I am sure I can arrange something," Headmaster Stark says.
"Thank you, I will let you know. I have a favor to ask," I say.
"If it is in my power it is yours," says Stark.
"I want to be normal. I know I'm a prince, but I don't want to be treated like one. I don't want teachers to give me high marks because of who I am. I want the marks I deserve. I want to be like everyone else," I say.
"I imagine that so. I will see what I can do. I have your class schedule here. I am sorry, but most of our electives were full so I put you in drama. I hope you're okay with that," Mr. Stark says.
"Yes, thank you," I say.
"Dad, there is the rudest boy in the lobby," says a boy with dark auburn hair.
"I'll deal with him, Robb. Robb, this is Loras Tyrell," Mr. Stark says.
I stand up to shake hands with his son. He's good-looking. He has pale blue eyes and a warm smile. He has a firm handshake. My father says you can tell a gentleman by his handshake.
"You're Prince Loras," says Robb smiling.
"I would prefer to be Loras," I say kindly.
"Loras it is. Let me show you around," says Robb.
I follow Robb out of his father's office. He leads me down hallways explaining what things are. He takes me to the library, cafeteria, gymnasium, swimming pool, shop class, art rooms, choir rooms, the auditorium, and the football field.
I look over my shoulder a couple times to see if any of my handlers followed us. We are alone. It's the first time I have really been alone with someone my own age before, unless you count pizza with Joff last night.
Robb is 180 degrees opposite Joff. He's down to earth. We sit on the bleachers overlooking the football field. Robb leans back and talks about the time his dog, Grey Wind, pissed on a lady from his mother's church then chased her up a tree.
"Do you have any pets?" asks Robb.
"Only if you count my older brother Willas," I say.
"I forgot you had brothers and a sister. What's her name?"
"Margaery," I say.
"I have three brothers and two sisters. They're a pain at times. My little sister Arya is a free spirit, you'd like her. She's about eleven or twelve and tough of nails. My sister Sansa is in the 8th grade this year. She's a girly-girl and a cheerleader. You'll get to meet her soon," Robb finishes telling me about his siblings.
They sound like a wonderful bunch. I miss my siblings. My brother Garlan just got engaged not long ago. Their wedding is going to be a big television event. I get to stand up front with him. I am not looking forward to it.
"There you are," says Joff.
"Oh great he found us," I say.
With Joff are my handlers, our security, and a small man I have never seen before. He has blond hair and mismatched eyes, but a welcoming smile. He shakes hands with Robb.
"Hello, Professor Lannister," says Robb.
"How was your summer, Robb?"
"It was splendid. Professor, I would like you to meet my new friend Loras Tyrell," says Robb.
I shake hands with the teacher. He must be the Ambassador's son. He seems much warmer than his father or sister.
"Nice to meet you, Loras, I look forward to having you in class," Professor Lannister says.
"What do you teach?" I ask.
"History," says Professor Lannister.
I like history. It's one of my better subjects.
"Prince Loras, we have to go," says my handler.
"I don't want to go," I say.
I want to say and talk to Robb.
"Come on, Loras," says Joff.
"I have to go, I suppose I will see you when school starts," I tell Robb.
"Do you want to hang out tomorrow?" Robb asks.
"Yes, definitely, I'm just not really allowed to go out in public without permission, being a prince and all. Why don't you come over? I have the entire west wing of the mansion to myself," I say. Robb grins.
"Alright, I'll see you then," says Robb.
"Bye," I say.
I smile to myself the whole ride back to the mansion. I have a new friend. I have never had a friend before, at least not one my own age. I suddenly remember I forgot to tell Robb my address. His father is the Headmaster he knows my address.
"You know you have to ask permission for him to come over in advance," Joff says on the ride home.
"Yes," I say.
"He's stupid. Did you see that stupid red hair? He's a fire crotch. I bet you anything that the carpet matches the drapes," Joff says.
"What does that mean?" I ask.
"Never mind, I don't want to know," I say.
I think I am going to really like this place. Last night I spent an hour with Joff. It was the longest hour of my life. Today I spent an hour with Robb and I wish it was longer. Tomorrow needs to come faster.