Chapter 1

"Miss! You have to get up!" Ugh, I did not want to get up yet. "No. Not yet!" I rolled onto my stomach. "Miss please! We're under attack!" My eyes shot open; Anne was opening up the passage in the corner. That meant it was the southerners. A crash sounded from outside the door, Lucy started to frantically cry. "Take her! Mary take her down the passage Go." "Miss what about you?" Mary asked. The door began shaking violently. "NOW MARY!" I shouted. "We'll be right behind you Mary! We just have to close the passage first!" Anne and I began closing the door just as the door burst open. The rebels were in the room, we were out of time, Anne was in front of me, and there was only enough time for one of us to get through. Instinctively I pushed Anne through, and pressed the close button. She was safe I on the other hand was still in the room with the rebel. Well at least everyone was safe, especially Maxon. Then everything went Black.

My eyes searched for her, the other five girls were here but where was America. My eyes stayed fixed on the door for what seemed like hours, but it must have only been a few minutes. To my relief I saw two of her maids walk through the door; I think their names were Mary, and Lucy. She must be just after them. The relief rushed through my body. I walked to the door, fast, but America was not behind them. Wait there was someone else was at the door, could it be her? My heart soared with hope, only to crash and burn. It was not America, but her maid Anne. I rushed to her side. Her eyes looked so sad. "I'm so sorry, your highness. The door burst open and she pushed me through than closed and locked the door. There was nothing I could. Sh-sh-she must have been taken by them." She kept rambling on but I couldn't hear her anymore. They took her, the girl I love. She can't be gone, she can't be dead I would be able to tell. It took all of a second for me to decide to go find her. I throw the door open, take the guard's weapon, and run up to her room's door. I get there, but it's still locked. I bang on the door, until I remember the code to open the door. I find the padlock; enter the code, and the door flies open. I sprint into the room just in time to see the rebel leave the room with her, America, dangling over his shoulder. She looks unconscious and for a moment I'm stricken with fear, but I quickly snap out of it and run after them. As I enter the hallway, I see guards and rebels everywhere, all fighting. It takes a moment to find them in all the confusion. "AMERICA!" I keep screaming her name as I run towards them. I realize she is unconscious but I keep screaming her name louder and louder willing her to hear me, and fight back against him. "AMERICA! AMERICA WAKE UP!"

"America. America wake up!" I hear a voice, but my mind is foggy and I can't tell who it is. "AMERICA" This time it was definitely Maxon, but what was Maxon doing here? I look up , or try to anyways because I am currently being carried over a rebels shoulder. "America!" I look and see Maxon running towards us "Maxon!" I start fighting back; kicking my legs jabbing my nails into him, scratching clawing, whatever it took to break free. This slowed him down enough to let Maxon catch up to us. "Let go of her!" He points the guard's gun squarely at the rebel, why won't he take the shot? Then I realize why I am in the way, he doesn't want to risk hitting me. The rebel turns around to face Maxon this is my chance. I keep struggling fighting, until finally he drops me. Maxon takes his shot. It hits the rebel, and he falls down. We should check if he's dead, but I am too consumed with Maxon. They way he is looking at me.

I know I just shot someone and I really should care about the fact that I just took a life, but all I can think of is that America is safe, for now. I run over to her. "America, Oh America I was so worried." And without a second thought I kiss her, a deep passion filled kiss.

Chapter 2

The kiss radiated down my body, and I was lost in it. A crash brought us back down. "Maxon…" I said as I looked around. The rebels and guards were still fighting. "We should get you back to the safe-room. It's dangerous here, you could get hurt." He grabbed my hand, and led me back to the secret entrance to the safe room, making sure we weren't followed. He shut and locked the door behind us. Right before we rounded the last corner to the door entering the safe room. "I'm sorry America, I shouldn't have done that-" "Done what? Save me? I could have been killed! I'm glad you saved me." He looks at me shyly, then down at his feet "No, not about that, about the kiss, I'm sorry I was just so caught up in the moment, and I couldn't resist, and I-I" I could stop his ramblings with a kiss, and I wanted to. What about Aspen though? Could I just forget about him and my love for him? And in that moment I could. "Don't worry about the kiss, the kiss was passionate and wonderful." He looked up at me with longing hopeful eyes, and with a mischievous grin. I took my opportunity and kissed him. It was a slow kiss, at first, tender and sweet, but it grew. This kiss became more powerful and passionate. That moment was pure bliss, and happiness. No thoughts about the rebels, no worry for our lives. Just a sweet, passionate kiss filled our minds, our thoughts. Neither of us wanted to break the moment but we had to, people were definitely worried about Maxon. "We have to go in the safe room now" he said. "I know, we do." I say with a sigh. "I wish I could hold your hand as we walked in." He whispered, and I could tell he was asking for permission. Should I let him? He just saved me, risked his life for mine. It was more than that though, the thought of walking holding hands made me happy, excited even. "Then why don't you?" I whisper back. He smiles. One of those smiles that reaches your ears, then he grabs my hand.

We walk through the doors, my hand in hers, fingers entwined. Happiness radiates throughout my body. She kissed Me. We are met with people rushing towards us; America's maids, Silvia, Marlee, and lastly my parents. "Why would you ever do something like that? I was so worried!" My mom rushes up and hugs me "Mom I had to" I say hugging her back "Can we talk about this later? In a more private setting." She looks at me with knowing eyes "Of course honey." Then she goes and sits back down with my father. She knows how I feel about America now, there's no hiding it anymore. I know this means she'll be expecting me to choose America to be my wife and soon. I also know this puts me in a tight spot with America, I still don't know her exact feelings on me, and I know she's still hurt over her ex-boyfriend from back home. I'll have to talk to her after, but right now none of it matters cause I am holding her hand and she is looking at me with those dazzling eyes, I'm about to kiss her when a voice, and a rather forceful pull rips me from her. "Oh Prince Maxon I thought you were going to die! I'm so glad your back!" I turn my head to face the voice to find Celeste staring back at me.

We were about to kiss. Right in front of everyone, but of course Celeste wouldn't let that happen. Of course she would rip Maxon's hand away from mine. Just like that my happy joyous mood is gone. My hand feels cold now, but I put a smile on my face. I'll talk to him later anyways. Marlee comes up and hugs me so tight I feel like my ribs are going to break. "Mar-lee I-can't-breathe!" "Oh my gosh sorry!" She lets me down and I take a large breath. Marlee is speaking so fast I can hardly keep up "I thought you were captured or worse DEAD, and then Maxon rushed off and grabbed the guards weapon and everyone was having a fit, but then you guys came back and were holding hands! Oh just come here!" She hugs me again, but this time more gentle, and I hug straight back.

We walk off from the group. "I guess Celeste didn't waste anytime stealing the spotlight from you, America. Just look at her over there! She didn't even you a minute before she ripped your hands apart. I just don't understand how she's still here!" Marlee was right I stared over at Celeste, hugging Maxon, I almost died, and she couldn't even give me my moment without ruining it. I see Maxon looking across the room, looking for me. His eyes search until they find me, he excuses himself from Celeste and begins to cross the room. I can see Celeste staring daggers at me but I don't care, I'm just happy that I mean more to him than she does. "Hello my, Dear" "Oh don't even start" I reply, but I can't help the smile escaping my lips.

Chapter 3

"Marlee, could we have a moment alone? Please?" "Oh yes sure, Prince Maxon of course!" I take the spot next to America, and just look at her for a minute, all of her. It only takes a moment until I notice her hands; they're covered in blood. How did I not notice this earlier? Was it her blood, or the blood from the rebel? "Your hands!" I say as I grab them from her lap. I hold them in my hands, turning them over, examining them. Her hands were fine, as far as I could tell, but still. "We'll have to clean that up later." I look up at her, I want to kiss her so bad, and I can tell that she wants to kiss me too that look in her eyes tells me so. I can't kiss her though, not in here when the room is filled with all the other girls that wouldn't be right. "Maxon, thanks for saving me. I know that must have taken a lot. You risked your life for me. I don't know how I could ever repay you." She looks into my eyes "Seriously, thank you." I put my arm around her, and she leans her head on my shoulder. It felt right being this close. "America, it only took a minute for me to decide to save you. You know how I feel about you, and I would never let anything bad happen to you." I kiss her on top of her head. That much is acceptable with everyone else here, but I really just want to kiss her lips and never stop. "America, speaking of my feelings… My mom can tell, and she wants to talk about it. I know I said I would by you time, especially now since it's possible, and I want to give you enough time to figure out your feelings. But… I don't know how this will affect that plan." She looked at me.

"Don't worry, you don't have to say anything for now. I'll talk to you after I talk to her, and let you know what's happening." The all-clear signal started. America and I stood up together. "Want to walk me to my room?" she asked eyes hopeful. I smiled "You ask for such simple things, I can't deny you." I extend my arm to her. That brought a smile to her face.

Maxon and I began to walk to the door, the girls giving me the death stare, except for Marlee of course. I could care less though; I was in my own bubble of bliss. As we walked I thought more about what Maxon had said about his mom knowing how he felt. This put things in a more rushed state, but my feelings for Maxon were growing, and my feelings for Aspen were changing. It was confusing, and I would have to spend time sorting this out. "What are you thinking about?" "My feelings for you." I say as I look at him. "Are they good or bad thoughts?" He asked sheepishly, but they way his eyes looked at mine, like they were searching for something, I could tell he really wanted to know the answer. "Good thoughts, confusing, but good thoughts" I entwine my fingers into his. We arrive at my door, and just stand there. Neither of us wanting to end the moment, until finally he gives me a shy kiss, and says goodbye. "I have to go talk to my mother now, you'll see me at dinner though." I watched him walk down the hallway, then I went into my room. The door was pretty much busted, and the rest was in shambles. I sighed. Lucy, Anne, and Mary entered the room, and we began to get to work on fixing the room, except Lucy, I let her sleep in my bed and recover from the attack. It took us until dinner but we finished most of the cleaning. I spent the time cleaning to sort my feelings; it was easier with something to do. I thought about all the memories I had with Aspen, and the life I had planned with him. Could I just forget about all of them? They say you never forget your first love and I know I will never forget Aspen. I will always have feelings for him I'm sure, but the feelings I have for him have changed. They no longer feel like the fireworks, 100% completely in love anymore. I look at them more as my past; I love him like anyone loves their first love when they look back at it. What I have with Maxon is, well its indescribable. He understands every thing about me, when he looks at me my heart races, I- I- I love him. I understand that now. I love Maxon Schreave.

"Maxon, do you love her?" How could I explain America and I's relationship? I love her, I know I do, but what does she feel for me. "Mom, it's not that simple. I love her, I know you have already figured that out. However America's and I's situation is hard to explain." "Oh I knew you loved her! Well Maxon if you love her, marry her, it's as simple as that." I would if I could mom. "Mom it's not that simple. I have an opportunity to help the war by marrying Elise, and Marlee is Illéa's favourite, and I don't want them to dislike me or my wife from the start, or-" I was interrupted from my ramblings by my mother "Maxon, we can figure out another way to end the war, and I'm sure no one will hate you because you followed your heart." I sighed, then we went to dinner. As we walked through the doors I caught America's eye, and tugged my ear. She tugged her ear in response. She looked excited, nervous, and happy. I wanted to kiss her badly, dinner, was going to be hard to sit through.

"America, I don't think I can hold my mom off for very long, she keeps insisting I marry you. That I get down on one knee and propose right now." I told America as we entered her room. I wondered how she would take this, but I didn't expect what she said next. "Then why don't you? Maxon I know I told you it's possible, but I didn't realize how fast I would fall in love you." I look at her, surprise and shock on my face. "You- You love me?" She looks down at the floor now, and shuffles her feet. "Yes, Maxon I love you."

Chapter 4

That was all it took, just to hear her say she loves me. I kiss her. A real kiss, not a shy slow kiss. We just stand there kissing; the passion burns throughout our bodies. We move closer to the bed now, and I know we need to stop but it's hard to concentrate on anything but kissing her. "Am- (kiss)Erica. We need to stop now." I pull her away from me. She looks at me, longing written all over her face, and in her eyes. "I know." She sighs, disappointment now covers her face, "It's illegal." "Not for long." I reply with a wink, and a mischievous grin. That makes her laugh. I love her laugh. I just stand there staring at her laugh. There's a knock on the door. I sigh "I guess I better be leaving now, until next time Lady America." I bend down kiss her hand, give one last wink and leave, just as her three maids, Lucy, Anne, and Mary walk through the door. "Ladies." I say as I leave. I have to find my parents, and ask them what the next step is, now that I plan on marrying America.

I sighed then fell back onto my bed. Did I rush into this? I know I love Maxon, but should I have thought about it for longer than I did? Was telling him this soon a mistake, I mean I just got out of a serious relationship. No, No I know it wasn't a mistake. "Miss, do you want us to stay tonight?" Hmm what? I lift my head up off the bed and look over at Anne "No, that's fine you guys can go." I smile then lay my head back down on the bed. I get ready for bed, my mind still racing with so many questions. What will happen tomorrow? Will he just send everyone home? Will his parents like his decision? Well at least his mom will, but how will his dad take the news, when he could have ended the war by marrying Elise? Should I tell aspen? Or let him find out on his own? No, I should tell him, that's the right thing to do. I pull the covers up, to my face and fall asleep wondering how I would break the news.

"Mom, Dad." I say looking them squarely in the eyes "I have decided who I want to marry." My mom looks at me, smiling from ear to ear "America?" She asks me already knowing the answer. "Yes, America, I love her." My dad looks happy, and excited but still keeps restrained. "Son, have you thought about this all the way through?" He asks me keeping his tone level, but I can hear some of his excitement behind it. "Yes, I've thought about it for so long, I fall asleep thinking about our lives together, and how beautiful she is. She's all I dream about, and thinking about not marrying her pains me. I want to spend all of my time with her, and never let her leave my side." I look up to my dad's eyes. He's smiling down at me "Well son, that means you love her, and if you love her, I love her." Once my parents fully understood my feelings we got down to talking about how we should approach this, since we had only narrowed it down to the elite, The final six. The main question we had was should we send everyone home and propose now, or narrow it down to the final 3 then decide, as was normal. It took a while, but we decided on narrowing down to the final 3, I love America, and that wouldn't change, but this made it easier. The girls thought there would be one more "cut" and it would be easier dealing with 3 crying girls, and then 2 crying girls separately, than all 5 at once. I left the room feeling accomplished, and happy. In two, maybe three weeks I would officially be engaged to America. The thought made me smile.

I woke up calm. I had thought about how I would do this all night, but I finally decided I would just tell Aspen everything all at once. Mary, Lucy, and Anne help me get dressed and I see Aspen outside waiting for me. I mouth to him we need to talk. He nods. "Excuse me ladies, but I have to speak with Lady America after what happened during the last attack, there are a few more security measures we have to go over." They leave the room, then it's just Aspen and I alone in the room. He smiles at me, but I only give a weak one in response. Now that I actually have to tell him, it seems so much harder than what I pictured. "What's wrong?" He looks at me now with a frown. "Aspen, I- I wanted to tell you in a person. I don't know how to tell you this but, I-" He cuts me off. He knows me too well "You don't love me anymore. I can tell." He looks at me, it's easy to tell he's hurt. I understand but I have to keep telling him everything "Maxon, and I were talking and well, he feels the same way as I do." "You love him?" He's hurt, and angry, but the words come out as barely whispers. "Aspen, I do love him. Something changed about my feelings for you in-between that night in the treehouse, and now. I'm sorry, I really am Aspen, and you'll always have a place in my heart, but my heart belongs to Maxon." He turns to leave, "America, I hope you're happy with him. I know that sounds sarcastic, but I truly mean it. You deserve to be happy Mer." Just like that he walks out of the room. I sit there for a while. I feel like a horrible person, I told him I never stopped loving him, and at the time I thought it was true. I sigh. Then Mary and them come back in and help me get ready.

Chapter 5

Mom and I had talked about whether or not we should send home 3 of the girls before the Illéa Capital report, or after. I said I would feel bad knowing that I'm going to be sending them home soon, but talking about them on the report. However since it was Thursday, my mother decided it should be after, let them have one more night of fun, so I agreed. We agreed that I should hint at the fact that I have found a favourite, or maybe 3 favourites in this case, so that the girls going home wouldn't be blindsided by the fact. I wanted to spend the day with America, just like I want to spend everyday, but I was kept busy with meetings for most of the day, and didn't get to see her once, except when we passed each other in the hallway. I wouldn't be able to see her at all until the couple interviews later tonight with Gavril. I checked my watch; it was time to get ready for the Capitol Report.

"Miss we have your dress ready!" I stared as Lucy, and Mary brought in the gown. It was beautiful; The top half was all silver crystals, it was a sweetheart neckline and strapless, the bottom half was a lovely lilac. "It's gorgeous, and amazing, and beautiful!" "Try it on!" They all say in unison. They help me get the dress on and zipped up. It feels so soft. They help me finish getting ready for The Report, and do my hair, and makeup. I head down the stairs, and see all many of the other girls, this time a few of them in red, Celeste among them. I find Marlee and walk over to her "America! You look stunning! I love your dress." She hugs me and I hug her back. "Thank you! Marlee you're dazzling! And your dress is much more enchanting! I love the colour!" Her dress was a like a light gold, with a light pink as well. It looked lovely on her. "Ladies." I could tell it was Maxon I turned around, smiling. "You two look amazing." He hugged Marlee first then me. "Marlee, I hope you wouldn't mind me stealing Lady America away for a few moments?" "No problem." Marlee gave me a huge smile and a wink, before I walked off with Maxon.

America looked stunning. I could barely keep myself from kissing her in front of everyone. "You look beautiful. Honestly, I don't think I have ever seen anyone look as good as you do right now." "Well, one can't help being born into perfection." I laughed at that, and so did she. "So I talked to my mother about what we should do moving forward, and me wanting to marry you. She suggested that during the interview that I have a favourite, or maybe 3 since I will have to choose 3 girls to stay, and then pick you." "That's smart, this way we won't be blindsided when you send girls home." "We?" I ask her "Yes, I am one of the elite, aren't I?" I laugh, "My dear you are so much more than that, you're practically my fiancée!" That makes her smile. I love her smile. It's the kind of smile that makes you want to smile. "So, Prince Maxon, is there a reason why you would make me walk inside, where no one else can see us?" I looked around; wow we did walk inside huh. "Well it wasn't my intention, but lets take advantage of this opportunity." I cup her face in my hand and kiss her. It was just a quick kiss, but already my mood is better. "We better get back, it's almost time for the interviews." She's right but I can't help myself from stealing a kiss, before taking extending arm to her and leaving the room.

Chapter 6

I watched America take her seat, and then ran over to my spot just in time. "Ladies and Gentlemen the man of the hour, His majesty Prince Maxon." The camera focused on Gavril and I "So Prince Maxon, you almost didn't make it to your seat in time? Would you like to explain why?" Should of guessed I would be asked why "Well, I misjudged how much time I actually had, so I asked Lady America for a walk, and we lost track of time." Should I have said that, would America be mad? I glanced over at her, she didn't look mad; she was just smiling. "So, would you say you are closest to Miss. America?" "I am closer to a few girls, America, being one of them." "Well, let's see if we can figure out who your favourites are tonight!

First up was Elise, she was one of the ones I planned on keeping, with her family in New Asia, hopefully keeping her might help the situation over there, even the slightest bit would be help. "I sat close to her, laughed when she made jokes, did what I could to see to make it look like she was a favourite, when really I was just thinking of America. "Well Elise it was great talking to you! But now it's time for Lady Celeste! Lady Celeste if you please!" Celeste wasn't one of the ones I planned on keeping. She sat near me, too close. I tried to discretely move away. "So Lady Celeste do you believe you are one of the favourites?" I looked at her as she answered, "Well I sure hope so Gavril." They way she said it sounded like it was sweet, and yet I wasn't sure. As the interview carried on I found my eyes wandering to America. I saw her there and caught her eye, we both smiled. "Prince Maxon? Who are you looking at over there?" Gavril asked me. I had glanced over one too many times. Oh well, America never liked Celeste anyways. "Would it be Lady America perhaps?" "Now what would give you that idea?" I say with a smile, "Oh, just an intuitive guess, but also because it's Lady America's turn!"

I walked out towards the couch, making sure not to trip on my way there. This meant I had to keep my eyes on my feet, and couldn't look at Maxon. That didn't mean I couldn't sense his smile at my approach. I sit down close to Maxon, but he still scoots closer. I longed for him to put his arm around me, but I was more surprised when he did. Wasn't this really obvious? I thought he was only supposed to hint at the fact that he had a favourite. "Well Prince Maxon, it appears that Lady America is one of your favourites!" he laughs, "Yes, I would say America and I have a close relationship, she was my first kiss after all." I sit there, shocked. That was not at all what I expected him to say? Weren't we supposed to be a little more low-key? I thought he was only going to hint at the fact that he had a FEW favourites! The shock must have shown on my face because the next thing Gavril asked was "Well Lady America you seem shocked! Did you not know you were his first kiss?" I straighten my posture "Yes, and No. I mean before he kissed me I had only guessed that he had never had kissed anyone. And the kiss took me by surprise I was honestly shocked. So I mean I hadn't known at first that I was his first kiss, but I figured it out afterwards." I looked at Maxon and smiled, he looked back with sheepish grin. "Aww what a cute story, but what did you mean you were shocked, you must have been on a date, no? Wouldn't you be hoping to kiss him on a date?" How do I explain this to Gavril, and the country? "No, we weren't on a date we were just talking on the balcony" Maxon said. "Just talking" Gavril raised his eyebrows up and down a couple times, this made us laugh "Well, Maxon I heard that you were being quite the hero to Lady America a few fays ago, care to elaborate on that?" "Oh you heard about that did you?" Maxon looked embarrassed, he ran his fingers through his hair. "Well, umm, I saw America's maids come into the safe-room, but not America, so I asked where she was, she had been taken by the Rebels, so I took the guards gun, and chased after them until he let her go." The way he said made it seem as if it wasn't as big a deal as it was, so I decided I would add to that "It was much more than that Maxon" I turn to face Gavril "I had been knocked unconscious, had Maxon not come after me I don't know what would have happened. Honestly if it wasn't for him I don't know if I would be here today." I face Maxon again, his face is red; he still seems embarrassed. "Well I think you deserve a round of applause for that!" Everyone started clapping, and his face turned even redder. "I'm sorry America, but that's all the time we have for you!" I get up to walk over to the other girls. Maxon's hand trails my arm and hand, and finally my fingertips before letting go. I sit back down next to Marlee and watched as Kriss went up to the stage.

The interview with America went well. I wondered if she would be mad that I told the country that she was my first kiss, or how I made it obvious that she was my favourite. I'm glad it's more noticeable, I clame really close to just proposing to her right here and now, but that wouldn't be right. The rest of the interviews went by fast. I sat there, commenting, laughing, and smiling. "Thank you Lady Marlee, that's all the time we have with you!" As Marlee took her seat Gavril continued "Well Ladies and Gentleman of Illéa, Your Majesty, It has been a pleasure, until next time!"

Chapter 7

I enter the dining hall, after everyone else. I sit down, next to my father, and search for America. Our eyes meet and I tug my ear, she tugs hers back in response then we go back to our dinner. I reach her after dinner in her room. "What was that? I thought we were supposed to keep it a little more private?" She's mad, "I'm sorry, but I'm tired of keeping it secretive! I just- I'm sorry, you're right. I should have told you I was going to do it, but I didn't really have time it was just a spur of the moment thing. I felt bold so I went with it. Please don't be angry." I reach for her hand, and she turns to face me. "Maxon, I'm not surprised, it's just I wasn't expecting it. Not for another two weeks at least" She gives me a sly grin and we break out laughing. I grab her hand, and twirl her into a hug, one where she's facing away from me. We stand there swaying back and forth, almost dancing. "Maxon can I ask you something?" "Anything." I whisper into her ear. "What made you love me?" Hmm I thought for a minute, "I don't know when I exactly started loving you, it just kind of hit me one day. You were so different, and kind and caring. You saw me as Maxon Schreave, not as Prince Maxon, you were always so beautiful." I kissed her on the cheek. She grabs my face, and kisses me, and then she turns her body around in my arms. I pull her in closer to me, and kiss her back. The door opens, and we break from our embrace "Oh! I'm so sorry, I should have knocked!" "No it's quite alright! I should be leaving now anyway." I give America a quick kiss then a hug. I whisper into her ear "I'll miss you."

I watch Maxon leave the room, and sigh. "I'm sorry Miss America!" "Don't worry about it Lucy." Anne and Mary enter the room, "You were his first kiss!" They gush, and tell them the whole story of us on the balcony, well not the whole story, not about the mess up kiss. "I think he's going to choose you!" Mary states, "I sure hope so I say with a laugh. We spend another hour gushing over my relationship with the prince, including his heroic efforts. It was nice, I hadn't gushed about him to anyone, not even Marlee. I told them they could go to bed then I changed out of my dress and got into bed. I dreamed that night of how Maxon would propose. I was awoken by a knock on my door; before I could answer Aspen opens the door and sits on the bed. "Aspen? What are you doing?" "I just needed to see your face again." "You're drunk aren't you? How did you even have any alcohol?" I felt so guilty, "America I know it's late bu- What's going on here?" Of course Maxon would walk in right now, ugh! "Nothing, Officer Ledger was just leaving." I get out of the bed and hold open the door gesturing to Aspen to leave.

I stared at Prince Maxon. What made him so special? Why would America choose him? "Officer Ledger, you are behaving inappropriately. Now I believe America asked you to leave." Oh please "Oh America asked me to leave did she? You know what gives you the right to put your arm around her? Or kiss her? I LOVED HER FIRST!" and with that I punched him. I regretted it instantly "Oh, Aspen what have you done?" I looked at America, and then he tackled me.

I stood there as Maxon tackled Aspen. He punched him in the face, "You're the jerk that broke her heart?" Then he punched him again "Stop! Maxon!" I run over and pull Maxon off of him, "It's okay, it's okay I'm done." Maxon looks at me, he has a cut on his eyebrow, "You're hurt." I say with a grimace. "What about me America? Do you even care about me anymore?" Aspen says as he stands up. I turn to face Maxon "could you go and sit in the bathroom for a bit, I have to talk with Aspen, and then I need to talk with you." "And leave you alone with him? No!" I sigh, "Maxon please, I just need to talk to him." Maxon looks at my face, really looks at it. "Okay, fine." He walks into the bathroom and I go walk over to Aspen. "How could you love him America?" I sigh as aspen sits down against the wall then join him. "Maxon is kind, and caring, smart, and he managed to wriggle his way into my heart. He was there for me when I you had broken my heart. Aspen I need you to accept the fact that I have moved on." He looks at me his face full of regret and sadness "I regret that night in the treehouse every day. The worst part is that it's my fault you fell in love with him." "Aspen, it's no ones fault. I need you to accept the fact that I'm happy with Maxon, I love him. I need you to move on." He looks at my face, "you really do love him don't you?" I look him in the eyes "I do." He sighs and stands up, I stand up with him. "I have to accept that and move on now don't I?" "That would be helpful." I say with a smile. "Now go apologize to him. Maxon you can come out now, I know you've been listening this whole time." Maxon opens the door "Be nice!" I say to him "Your majesty, I am truly sorry for everything I have done. I hope we can put tonight behind us." Aspen extends his hand but Maxon hesistates "Be nice" I say. Maxon shakes his hand "America has that effect on people." They both laugh, then Aspen leaves. "Thank you for being nice," I say. "So remind me why I had to be nice to him?" "Because he is a nice person, and my friend, and also," I kiss him and kiss him "because you have something he lost." I smile "I'm sorry could you remind me one more time?" Maxon says and I laugh then kiss him once more.

Chapter 8

"You're right, I should be extra nice to him. He lost something so beautiful, and wonderful as can be." I look down at her eyes. Her hand reaches up to my cut. "You're hurt" she says with a grimace. Lets get that cleaned up. She drags me to the bathroom, grabs a hand towel and runs water over it. "Sit." she instructs. I sit down on the edge of the bathtub. She comes over and starts to clean off the blood on my forehead. "There, much better. I think it's already healed." "I don't know, it still hurts, kiss me to make it better?" She laughed, "I'm supposed to kiss the cut to make it feel better, not you." I grinned, "Forehead, lips, close enough!" I take hold of her face in my hands and bring her in for a kiss. Just as our lips meet, our weight shifts my balance and we fall into the tub. We sit there laughing our heads off. "Hey Maxon?" "Ya" I respond. "What were you coming to my room for, you know before the fight broke out. You said America I know it's late but, what were you going to ask me?" I sighed that "I was just going to show you this breath-taking place I found, but it's okay will do it tomorrow, this way I can make it even more special." "Okay." I made her go back to sleep, than I left. Now that I had time to plan it, I might as well do it.

I wake up rather late. I notice Anne, Mary, and Lucy aren't here so I get dressed and ready for breakfast myself then head to the dining hall. When I get there I notice that only Marlee, and Elise are sitting there. The other girls are gone so soon? I would have thought they would be here until at least tomorrow, even tonight. I didn't even get a chance to say goodbye. I sit next to Marlee "You're late! You missed Maxon sending the girls home." "I know, no one woke me up! I didn't even get to say goodbye. Although I can't say I'm distraught over missing Celeste." "Oh but you should have seen her face when she wasn't chosen to stay" I look around the room "Where's Maxon?" I notice he's not in his seat "He said something about a special project then excused himself." "I wonder what the special project is." I said you could hear the curiosity in my voice. I wonder if it has anything to do with last night I thought to myself "You and me both." Marlee and I go back to our breakfasts. After breakfast is over I head back up to my room, but Mary, Anne, and Lucy still aren't there. I head back down to the women's room. It seems so empty now with so little of us left. I notice the Queen walk in, I thought she would just go and sit in her usual spot but instead she walks over to me. "Do you mind if I sit here?" She gestures to the seat next to mine. "Not at all your Majesty go ahead, it is your house afterall!" She smiles "Not for long, soon it will be one your homes too." She seems more excited today. "America I wanted to get to know you better. My son always talks about you, and he says that it was your idea to give people a meal if they can't afford it themselves?" I look surprised, Maxon talks about me to her? "Oh, umm yes it was my idea. Maxon and I were talking and he brought up the issue of how he thought that if you put more money into the education that it would help lower the crime rates. Personally I thought that the crime rates are higher, especially among the lower castes because they have to steal food in order to survive, so I told him that, and got him to see it from my point of view." We spent the next couple of hours talking about anything and everything. It was nice getting to know her on a more personal level.

I take a step back and look at what we had created in just a few short hours. "What do you think?" I ask Mary, "It really is stunning sir. It will look magical at night." I smile "Really do you think she'll like it?" Lucy looked at me "Oh I know she will. We head back to the palace, where I change into a clean pair of clothes. I catch America right before she heads into the dining hall. "So what have you been up to all day?" She asks me. I can't hide my smile. I grab her hand "Come on, we're having dinner elsewhere tonight."

Maxon drags me out into the garden. "Maxon where are we going, it's dark outside." He smiles "You'll see." He drags me up a big hill, it's surrounded by maple trees, and willow trees. As we round the corner, I see all the lights set up, with a table in the middle. Maxon hands me a beautiful red rose, "I remember hearing you loved romance?" I laughed, just a small laugh "Yes, I do remember saying that once. Maxon it's beautiful, how did you manage to set this up?" "Oh Mary, Lucy, and Anne were a big help." Oh that's where they were all day. Maxon leads me to the table; it's set up in the middle of a gazebo canopy. He pulls out the chair for me, "Why thank you," I say as I sit down. I look around in awe, "It's so beautiful, it just it looks so magi-" I stop when I see Maxon on one knee next to my chair. "Maxon?" I whisper. He opens a ring box "America, will you marry me?" My smile grows until it's ear to ear "Yes! Of course I will!" He puts the ring on my finger; it's a simple band with two sapphires on the side, and a diamond in the middle. I hug him, and he picks me up and spins me around in a circle. We stand there in the middle, kissing, and kissing, and kissing.

Chapter 9

I stared at the ring; it was beautiful, not ostentatious. I looked up to his face "But isn't the proposal supposed to happen on camera? Will your parents be mad?" He laughed, "No, my parents won't be mad. Still I will have to say goodbye to Elise and Marlee before they notice the ring," he sighed, "I'm never good at dealing with crying girls." He looked down his face seemed apologetic. "Maxon, this- it's magical! Honestly." He smiles, "I'm glad you like it, I thought that you might enjoy a more private proposal, away from the camera's, since you don't like them very much." I laughed "You find crying girls confusing, I find not having complete privacy confusing." I shrug my shoulders, and smile. "Would you like to dance?" he stands up and extends his hand towards me. I take it, "There's no music, though!" I realize. He pulls me out of my chair, "You don't need to music to dance, " he starts dancing, and I follow "though, I suppose you could always sing to me. Ever since I heard you play the violin I have wondered how beautiful your singing is," He smiles as he looks in my eyes "It ranges from Angelic, to otherworldly." My thoughts flash back to those nights in the treehouse, with Aspen, when I would sing for him. The memory lasts only a moment before I go back to picturing the future with Maxon. "What song do you want to hear?" He thinks for a moment "Whichever one is your favourite to sing." I think about it for a moment then start singing the national anthem.

America's singing was more divine than he had imagined. I smile at her, a look of admiration all over my face. Her voice really is heavenly. Her singing ends "That was one of the most beautiful things I have ever heard in my entire life," My face showed my awe. I looked at America, really looked at her. I can't believe that this beautiful, most wonderful, smart, musical, unpretentious girl is marrying me. Something that at the beginning, was impossible. I kissed her, my lips beating down on hers hard. She kissed me back, standing on her tip-toes to reach. She leaned so far in to the kiss, her balance throwing me off, until we fall over onto the grass. "I'm sorry!" She says but she's in a laughing fit, we both are. I roll over to her. She's looking at me now laughing "You look so ridiculous when you do that." She says, smiling and laughing "Ridiculously attractive." I laugh, then kiss her. Her hands are on my neck, pulling me closer to her. Her hands move up to my head, her fingers playing with my hair. We both know we can't go any farther then this, so we just stay there kissing. Eventually the kissing stops and we sit there cuddling. Her lips are swollen from the kissing. "You're lips are swollen." I say putting my arm around her, bringing her closer. "Yours are too." She looks at me, then up at the sky. "When did it get pitch black out?" What? I look up at the sky "Oh, wow, it really is dark out… It seems like we spent more time kissing then I thought." I know we should get back, that people would be worried about us, but this moment was too perfect and I wanted to be selfish right now. "You know we never finished our dinner?" She says to me. "Ya, sorry I thought we could just skip to dessert," I laugh. She's laughing "That was such a bad joke!" I smirk at her "Then why are you laughing?" We just sit there laughing, talking, and cuddling for a while, a few kisses included. I wished this moment never had to end. "I wish this moment never had to end." America looks up at me and gives me a kiss. "I was just thinking about that," she sighs "but we have to go back eventually." "I know" and with that I stand up, and offer my hand to help get up. She takes my hand, and stands up. Brushes off her dress, then takes my hand again. I hold her hand and give it a tight squeeze. "Shall we?" She looks at me and I recall the first time we met, just as she does "Did you really just us the word `shall'?" "I'm afraid I did. Forgive me it's a product of my education." I look at her "Still think this is all ridiculous?" She looks up at me, reaches up to give me a quick peck on the cheek "No, it's not ridiculous at all."

Chapter 10

I reach down and kiss her one last time, and take a last glance at the hidden grove, and then go back to staring at her. We start walking towards the pathway when a rustling in the branches stops us. "Did you hear that?" She whispers to me, "Have there been any rebel warnings lately?" I racked the back of my mind. There had been a few rebel warnings, though they had been so far away. There was no way they could have reached the castle so soon. "Not close to the castle, not anywhere near the castle." I grab her hand and begin urging her to the pathway. "We should get going now America." Twigs snap behind us, and the leaves rustle "Aww, leaving so soon? Not even going to say hello little prince?" The voice sounded bloodthirsty, eerie even. "Maxon," America urged on yanking me on down the pathway. We didn't get far more rebels had appeared and blocked the way to the palace. I didn't think, I charged at them immediately leaving a gap open, "America RUN, GO GET HELP!" She hesitated for a moment, and gave me one last look her eyes showed her confliction, but she ran towards the palace, glancing back every so often as she ran.

I was breathing heavily by the time my hands struck the doors. I threw them open and ran to the closest guard I could find. Aspen. "America? What is it what's wrong?" I could barely get the words out because I was breathing so heavily "It's Maxon (breath) the rebels are in the garden (breath) they got him." Aspen wasted no time he sounded the alarm, and radioed to the rest of the guards, in seconds, then dashed out the door. I ran after him, glad I had worn flats today. By the time I had reached the grove, Aspen was already fighting a rebel. My eyes scanned for Maxon, until I found him. He was lying on the ground, from where I was I couldn't tell if he was breathing or not. "MAXON!" I scream, I run to him. As I get closer I can see his clothes are soaked in blood. I reach his body, and crumple to the ground.

I can hear America through the haze. The pain is almost unbearable, but I can't lose consciousness now. I have to at least see her face. I hear a noise next to me. I open an eye "America" I whisper. I see her face, she's crying. Then everything goes black.

I kneel over him, his wound showing. I try and apply pressure, but it's too big. "Maxon! Maxon wake up!" Tears are streaming down my face. The guards and rebels fighting are all a blur and rush beside me, all I cared about was Maxon. "Maxon! You have to wake up! Everything's going to be all right just please wake up!" My eyes were blinded with tears, I didn't even realize the rebel rushing up behind me. "AMERICA." I look over to see Aspen pointing to a rebel with a sword. I didn't move quickly enough, and sword pierced my shoulder. The pain was excruciating. Aspen ran over, and began to fight the rebel, until finally the Rebel fell to the ground. "We have to get him out of here." Said another guard. Aspen nodded. "America, do you think you could help lift him at all?" For Maxon I could do anything "yes." We each take a hold of him, and then lift him up and out of the grove. The pain in my shoulder, almost making me pass out. I could barely lift with this arm, and put most of the weight on the left one.

Somehow we manage to get Maxon to the infirmary where the doctors and nurses rush to his side instantaneously. They get him to a bed, and hook him up to the fluids, and heart rate monitor. "He's lost a lot of blood." "How long as he been unconscious? I think in my head "Maybe fifteen minutes I-" The doctor went back to working on Maxon. "His heart rates declining-" "This may be fatal" I only catch a few more snippets of what the doctors are saying before I pass out myself.

Chapter 11

Beep. Beep. Beep. I try to open my eyes, but they're too heavy. I can hear somebody crying next to me. "Darling, it's alright." Another sob "But what if he doesn't wake up." I can tell it's my mother that's crying now. "The doctors said he should wake up-" "It's been a week!" "His body just needs to recover, he'll wake up when he's ready." I slipped back into the blackness.

I felt very groggy as I woke up. My eyelids feeling like they were ten-pound weights. My mouth and throat felt like sandpaper. There was a glass of water on the side-table and I gulped it down. "Maxon? Are you awake?" I look over to my side my mom is sitting there in a chair. Her eyes are rimmed with red, and there are bags under her eyes. "Mom?" She rushes over and hugs me. It's awkward since I'm lying down, and it's not long before I feel a sharp pain "Ow." "Oh I'm sorry honey!" I struggle to sit up, "It's fine mom." I settle into my upright position "What happened? Why am I in the infirmary?" "There was a rebel attack, when you were with America, you were stabbed, and lost a lot of blood." That night comes rushing back. I had charged at rebels to get America away. America! "What happened to America? Is she okay? Was she hurt?" My mom smiled "She's fine, woke up yesterday actually, she was here waiting for you to get up. I just sent her to go get some food, she hadn't eaten in a while." "But she wasn't hurt?" "She was stabbed in the shoulder, and passed out from shock." My heartbeat sped up "But don't worry honey she's fine now, the doctors patched her up." She added after seeing the panic on my face. America walked through the door. Her eyes were red, just like my mothers. She was wearing jeans, her right arm in a sling. When she saw me sitting up she ran over "Maxon! You're up!" She hugs me, and I try to hold in the pain, but I can't, I wince. "Oh I'm sorry, did that hurt a lot?" I look at her "nothing a kiss can't fix" and I wink. She laughs, the tears in her eyes spilling over and kisses me. She tries to be gentle, so she doesn't hurt me.

"It's all my fault I shouldn't have left you." I say breaking from the kiss. He looks at me, "No, we needed help it's not your fault at all. If you hadn't gone we might both be dead." I still felt guilty "No, but I left, and when I came back you were just laying on the ground, surrounded by blood." I take a breath, as I try to push the tears back. He reached out his hand towards me and I took it instantly. "But you came back for me, you endangered your own life again, to come get me." He squeezed my hand. It felt strong, that was a good sign right? "I love you." I blurt out. I look down awkwardly remembering his mom was in the room "Just thought I should say it again, just in case…" I trailed off. He chuckles, squeezes my hand, then says "I love you too."

As I squeezed her hand I felt the ring, then I remembered the other girls. "What about Marlee and Elise? Were they okay? Are they still here?" My mother looked at me "Yes, they're still here. They were okay they made it to the safe room with me and your father." I sighed. On one hand I would have hated if they had been sent home without an explanation, and a goodbye, but on the other hand dealing with two crying girls seemed like a lot to deal with after waking up from a coma. "It's okay honey. You can deal with that after your done recovering if you want." My mother added after hearing my sigh. "No, I think I should do it as soon as possible. It wouldn't be right keeping them here after I've already proposed." I looked at America. She was smiling, not a full smile though "What's wrong?" "Nothing it's just going to be different with no other girls here anymore. I know I'll miss Marlee, I think I might get lonely not having her around." "Well if you're worried about being lonely looks like I'm going to have spend every second with you." I smile she laughs and looks at me "What ever are we going to do for every second of every day?" She quirks up an eyebrow "I can think of a few things" I smirk and wink at her. Her face turns beet red "Maxon!" She breathes "You're mom is sitting right next to me!" I turn to my mother "You want grandkids don't you mom?" I laugh, and my mom joins in too, meanwhile America's face is turning redder.

They're both laughing and it's so embarrassing! Luckily his mom ends it "Maxon there will be none of that until you are married. Sorry but it's the law," she gets up, "I better go fetch the doctor that your up now." She turns and starts to walk, as she leaves she yells "No funny business while I'm gone." We both laugh at that. He pats the side of the bed "You feel so far away, come sit on the bed with me." I quirk my eyebrows up at him "Alright but your mom said no funny business." I sit on the side of the bed, as he scoots over to give me some space. I try and scoot back, but with one hand it's hard and it just looks really awkward. He puts his arm around me, and I lean my head down. He winces, and I immediately take my head off and look at him "Did that hurt? Sorry!" He pulls me closer with his arm, "No I don't mind." I go to how I was before. "I love you America." He says as he tilts down his head on top of mine. I smile "I love you Maxon." He kisses the top of my head the heart rate monitor starts to beat faster. I look at him and smile "I guess it gives me away doesn't it?" I laugh "only a little bit" I kiss him, then his mom returns with the doctor. The doctor smiled when he saw us, I guess he was one of the only people to know about our engagement so far. I scooted off the bed, and sat down in the chair next to the bed, and Maxon frowned "I'll come back once the doctor's done."

"So Maxon how are you feeling?" I thought about it for a moment, "Umm, thirsty, and a little hungry." The doctor laughed "Understandable you haven't eaten anything in a week, but I meant how does your head feel? Does the wound still hurt a lot?" "If I put weight on it, or sit awkwardly it will hurt a lot, but otherwise it's just sore and tender. My head felt a little groggy but it's all clear now." I pause for the doctor to reply "Well that's good, I'm just going to change your bandages. The doctor left to go get the bandages. "Have I really been asleep for a week?" I looked around at my mom and America. "Ya, you were in a coma. You're body needed time to recover." America said. The doctor came back with the bandages. It took about 15 minutes and then I was all-good to go "Now normally I would say to go about your day but take it slow and carefully. However since it's the middle of the night, perhaps you could think up of something else to do since you probably aren't tired." I look over at America and wink. She blushes "America are you tired?" I ask her "No, not really." I smile "Do you want to go on a walk with me? Or go get some food we never did finish our dinner." She gets out of her chair, "I loved to."

We walk through the halls, her hand in mine. As we round the corner to the kitchen I stare at her. She glances at me and blushes "Why are you looking at me like that?" I smile, "You just look so lovely." I bend down to kiss her, but the bandages stop me; they're too restrictive. She laughs and goes up on her tiptoes to kiss me. As we enter the kitchen I see the strawberry tarts just sitting there. I can see her eyeing them too I go and take a bite "MMM, they're so good they could almost make your sister cry." She laughs "Too good for you." She steals the tart and stuffs the rest in her mouth. "Hey!" "Oh I'm sorry, here." She picks up a tart and raises it to my face. I go to take a bite, but then I see the look in her eye. It's too late she smushes it all in my face. She bursts out in laughter. "Your face right now- it's just" She can't finish her sentence, she's laughing to hard. "Come here babe, give me a kiss. I start walking near her, and she backs away. "Oh no, your face isn't getting anywhere near mine!" I run after her, and chase her all around the kitchen until I finally corner her, and give her a big kiss. "Ugh! Haha" she's laughing and then she kisses me again, and again, and again.