Monday, January 23, Genovian TV studios
Of course, my life is nothing like I always thought it would be at 22.
I am still not entirely sure whether that is a good or a bad thing. But given my father is still a prime minister, I guess I have not done much damage in my free-spirited life. You'd think mom would be happy for me, or at least supportive, since I have definitely picked the gene up for this from her. The more free-spirited thing my dad ever did was dancing polka at his and Gloria's wedding last year. And, I mean, it was free-spirited, because he only had one glass of champagne to drink (even though Lars wasn't completely sober, by the time the reception ended, I think he got this quite right).
(Of course I also have to mention that early next morning, dad came out of the honeymoon suite wearing an Armani suit – he refuses to wear Sebastiano, but Sebastiano doesn't really mind because he has Michael and René to dress on regular bases. If we only limit his regulars to males – and went straight to his office, working on a new law that requires employers to provide at least one pet for their employees in their working environment, as it is scientifically proven this reduces stress, thus leading to less sick leaves. I know this makes my dad seem like a very uncaring husband, but I have to also add that Gloria followed him less than five minutes later, as she was at the time organizing the Genovian Summer Music Festival, which was highlighted by Paramore and Mumford and Sons. And Boris Pelkowski, of course – if his crowd wasn't the biggest, it was definitely the most sophisticated. (Lana del Rey really wanted to come too, but was unable to attend due to 'personal reasons' (and I can personally vouch for that, given we speak on weekly bases), while Damien Rice was apparently back to his no touring phase. I ordered Gloria to keep sending him invitations every year until he shows up. I've seen enough of his live show that I know what my fellow Genovians are missing.)
Oh, and not to mention, I am the most popular royal 11 months running (well, for more than two years, actually, if your exclude the months in which royals babies were born), and Michael + Mia is people's favorite celebrity couple. Vigo was so worried that our moving in together while still not being married would hurt out public image, but in fact, it has only made us more popular. A perfect example of how the stereotypically rigid royals live firmly in 21st century, was one of the headlines. (He should warn us about Sebastiano's intention to help us decorate the place, though. Or pull René aside and tell him not to give us a collection of wooden figures from Madagascar that are supposed to enflame your sexual desire. I gave them to mom, and thank god I was that rational, as they must be working flawlessly, given Rocky has a baby brother now.)
If someone told me at 14, right after I learnt I was a princess, that I would be this content with my princessy life at 22, I would think there was an ecological disaster in progress, and that chemicals were attacking people's sanity. I am still amazed by how well I managed to balance the whole royal thing with my everyday life.
And if I managed that, than people really are adaptable and capable of everything. If I die tomorrow, at least I'll die knowing I left the world my influential story.
I can't believe I used to think that living in Genovia is bad. Actually, it is amazing. As long as you don't close the blinds in the bedroom before going to bed, you are awoken by warm sunrays before your alarm clock starts ringing. Which then gives you time for other things. Seriously, how many other places on earth can say the same even during winter?
"Morning, gorgeous," Michael said, still sleepily, and kissed my bare shoulder.
"Morning, not too bad yourself," I beamed.
With his eyes still half closed, he reaches over me, toward the night stand on my left, looking at the time.
"If I'm not mistaken," I told him, "you don't have to go anywhere for about another two hours."
"Yeah, well, that's the good thing about running your own company from your own office," he said, kissing my lips.
He does. Thank god for Skype, that's all I'll say. Michael flies to the States two to three times per month, discussing possible improvements to his CardioArm with his team (though lately Michael's been researching the field of prosthetics. As if he needs another Nobel Prize.)
Of course, Vigo makes sure he is not bored when he is in Genovia. With Grandmere now happily married on Frederik's farm all the way in Sweden, Michael is his favorite choice of host. Though he'd never admit it, Michael loves the role. I mean, his charms get to every woman (I should know, as Queen Elizabeth now finally likes coming to visit Genovia. Before that, she held a grudge against me, believing it was my fault that Harry married his model girlfriend, Nastassja, in Vegas (René was the officiant. For a while I was therefore assured that the marriage wasn't valid anyway, but was sadly proven wrong.). Nastassja got pregnant soon after, but about a week after their son Geoffrey was born, she filed to divorce and willingly gave Harry full custody. How she managed to be on the cover of Sports Illustrated a month later and rock the miniature bikini, I still don't know) and every male guest is thrilled to meet the youngest Nobel Prize for Medicine winner in history. Besides, it is a chance for Michael to work on his linguistic skills. How he managed to learn Italian in three months, I still have no idea. He speaks it better than René, and René is supposed to be the native speaker (though René maintains the only language he is a native speaker of, is the language of love. How he managed to be 26 and without children, while Harry is a divorced single father, is beyond me.).
Vigo is so impressed with Michael's hosting skills, he even lets him train for a pilot's license, even though prince consorts are not supposed to indulge in anything risky until there's an offspring.
Really, since Grandmere packed her favorite five bags and donated the other thousand to charity and moved to Sweden, things have been quite loose at the home of Genovian Royal Family.
As always, things heated up pretty quickly with the two of us. I rolled on top of Michael and took off my top.
That was when the bell rang, of course.
For some reason, René texts me every time he is about to hide the salami. In return, he has this super sensitive radar of the most inconvenient times to come over. Maybe it's because I gave those figures away, I don't know.
"I'm telling you, we need another apartment," Michael groaned.
"Don't be silly, he's family," I dismissed him. "Besides, you know he won't be over at our place as much once Lilly is done with that Haiti Corruption movie of hers. That's when their year-long break ends."
"You better start counting down the days to us getting another flat," Michael said.
I wrapped the sheet around me and tiptoed to the door.
"Morning, BC!" René screamed as I opened the door. Then he noticed my attire. "Well, I think it is high time we drop that Baby prefix."
"It's not a prefix," I told him for a billionth time.
"Until you major in English, BC, it is a prefix," he said, walking in past me. He brought a bunch of donuts with him, as usual. Sebastiano will need another hair implant if René keeps up with his kindness for much longer.
"Morning, René," Michael too came to the kitchen, of course his boxers completely distracting me from the whole dropping out of college thing.
Yeah, dropping out of Sarah Lawrence. That was something nobody in my family foresaw, that's for sure. It wasn't intentional, or anything, it just sort of happened. NBC offered me a lot, and I mean A LOT of money to go save baby seals with Greenpeace. Of course I agreed, earning more money for Greenpeace and giving them the much needed publicity, but about a week in, the doctor on the ship diagnosed me with pneumonia and ordered me to be sent someplace warmer. I joined my father and his wedding preparations in Genovia (he did need some help. His mother was more interested in the world pageant of the cutest lamb (she came third)). Because I still had weeks of shooting on my contract, we then filmed a series about the cat shelter in Genovia, as dad forbade me from going anywhere cold again, and the network couldn't generate enough interest in langurs. Bastards. I didn't leave Dr. Coletti's – my new shrink – office for hours. But given the new sofa he had when I next saw him, I think my dad made sure he was compensated well for those three boxes of tissues I had used.
I thought there were plenty of pet rescue shows on TV already, but everyone seemed ecstatic by the idea. Probably because shooting it in Genovia meant that Michael would appear in practically every episode. We are more into PDA than we used to be, I admit. Plus, once we had a film crew inside our apartment, paparazzi stopped bothering us. They probably realized just how boring we are. Though god knows if I was as lucky if they got a shot of those dreadful sex figures.
Anyway, when I started appearing on TV more often, I didn't really have much time to attend college anymore. I finished my third year, but only god knows when I will have time for the final year. If my pregnancy will be as troubled as mom's latest, I'll probably finish my studies while on mandatory bed rest in Genovian Royal chambers.
Actually, I doubt that. Sebastiano is so enthralled with Harry's son that I fear to even think of how he'll act around my kid, given they will be related. Well, if anything, he has already proven to be a good nanny. Geoffrey is more fashion aware that Suri Cruise, I swear.
René started making coffee while Michael and I started tasting the donuts. Of course by now I already know the blueberry one is the best, but I like to confirm my preferences every morning. I like to think that every evening I spend with Michael burns those calories. Well, of course it does. Otherwise I would be the biggest blueberry in history by now.
"So, Michael, what are you up to today?" René asked him, like he does every morning.
"Actually, I am having lunch with Philippe today. I promised him I would translate some files into Italian."
"What does he need Italian for?" René asked as I stuffed another donut into my mouth, this time the chocolate one, into my mouth.
"He just wants something from Italian to be translated into French, that's all."
René detected the change in Michael's voice, immediately glancing at me. Unfortunately, I had nothing but sprinkles around my mouth to offer.
"I don't see a reason why Genovian legislation should look up to the Italian one," René clutched his teeth. "Nothing about Italy is as good as in Genovia. Even pizzas here are better. Well, maybe shoe designers in Italy have better headquarters, but that's about it."
"It's not for work," Michael said. "It's a poem he wants to give to Gloria for their wedding anniversary."
"And he thinks if he translates it from Italian, she won't notice he got it off the internet?" I laughed.
"I guess," Michael sighed.
"Well, anyway," René took the donuts away from me before I could start my third, "BC, you better get dressed. The shooting begins at noon."
"It's not even seven," I dismissed him, reaching out for a donut. I mean, I totally didn't have the strawberry one yet.
"Sebastiano wants to try the dress on, and then hair and makeup and rehearsal," René says. "Just think of all the baby seals you are saving with being a TV star."
That thing I said about my life turning out to be so unexpected? Yeah, well, growing to love Genovia has nothing on me becoming a TV presenter. Yeah, okay, it is only in Genovia, but I am said to be the first royal to host one of the most watched TV shows in their country (though I think we are so watched primarily because René and I are the hosts, but whatever).
At first there was supposed to be only one episode of My Man Can (a gaming show in which women gamble on their partners' abilities to complete a given task, such as how many country flags out of ten your man can name, or how many chili peppers he can eat in two minutes), but it was such a hit that we are currently in our second season. I think by now the producers have started to worry about just how many couples Genovia has. Maybe the next season will also be opened to couples from Monaco (our diplomatic relations have never been as good as they are now. I think it's because Arne and Contessa Trevanni have already divorced and due to Charlene loving the clothes Sebastiano has made for little Geoffrey. Or maybe just because Grandmere is not here as much anymore.).
So here I am now, writing this in my room in the studios, still sorry to have missed out on my Michael time this morning, as I wait for Sebastiano to show up with his creation for me to wear for this week's episode. Because obviously my cousins and I do everything as a family these days, he is taking care of my attire. Even though he's now one of the most famous designers in the world (he designed all clothes Lana del Rey wore during her latest world tour, but he politely refuses to make clothes for Hayley, as, in his words, dresses don't really work for her outside the red carpet), he lives in Genovia.
I swear, my life feels like constant holiday. I have a job, I have a royal title, I am saving baby seals, and yet I feel like I am on vacation ALL THE TIME!
Of course I can't say this out loud too much. All my friends from New York are still in college, cramming, even Lana (she enjoys school so much better now that she can study fashion. She even gave up cheerleading for it). Well, just not Lilly, because no one really knows where Lilly is. After she met a woman from Haiti who came to America to have a better life after that devastating earthquake, Lilly found out just how bad life still is on Haiti despite the international efforts right after the disaster. This enraged her so bad she took a semester off, determined to film a film about how poor people of Haiti never even seen a dime of the money donated. By now, she has been in Haiti for a semester and a half, and her phone calls are seldom, at best. Nobody has seen any part of the movie-in-the-making yet. Drs. Moscovitzes have stated they would only wait until the current semester end, and then go to Haiti and drag their daughter home. I think if they truly go through with that, she will tell them a thing or two about free speech.
Oh, Sebastiano is here. The dress is still covered, but looks enormous, as always. I just hope it's not orange. I look awful in orange.
January 23, flat
"You look just fine in orange," Lars said as we left the studio. "You're overreacting."
"I am not overreacting!" I insisted. "Orange is just not my color. I don't understand why Sebastiano is suddenly so obsessed with it."
"Well, think of it this way, Princess," Lars said, fumbling for cigarettes in his pockets. He totally took up smoking after this pastry girl here in Genovia said no to his asking her out on a date. Now that I am in Genovia practically all the time, old Lars has decided to settle down as well. For some reason he wants a baker for a wife. Not a chef, a baker. But pretty much everyone around me is weird, so I am not even surprised anymore.
I hope smoking is just his way of coping, and that it will pass once he finds another 'beauty with long legs and flour in her hair like snow'. I don't want to switch bodyguards just because his smoking would be harming my future child (okay, not everything about my life is a fairytale. It is not normal for 22-year-olds to be this obsessed with the state of their uterus, I am telling you. But here's what you get when the future of the throne relies on you. I can't really blame Grandmere for sending both Michael and me to a fertilization specialist, to check if any of us is in any way reproductively challenged (we passed with flying colors). I mean, it doesn't feel right to hold it against her, as that's pretty much the last mean thing she has done. I think the cell reception in Sweden is to blame.). "Would you rather have messed up the text while on camera?"
"I'd get to say it again," I told him.
"Well, Princess, I think you are just not used to being happy," he then said.
"What?" I frowned.
"I mean, you like to whine and complain. Always have, it's not just a hobby for you, in a way it is a necessity. And since you have nothing to complain about right now, you pick on the dress," Lars said. "You don't need a diploma from psychology to figure that out."
I didn't even know where to start.
"Okay, first of all, my life is not PERFECT PERFECT," I argued.
"Not? Well, then tell me what is so wrong with it?"
See? Smoking is totally bad for not only your lungs, but for your brain cells as well.
"I don't know. René keeps interrupting my morning routine?"
"He gets you donuts every morning," Lars dismissed me. "It doesn't count."
"My cat's dead," I pointed out.
"Louie died almost two years ago," was his response, as careless as if we were talking about changing curtains.
Fat Louie died of kidney stones. I think. I didn't ask for the autopsy. Because it doesn't matter, really. He's playing with pigeons in heaven as we speak. I think he can play now that he is not as fat anymore.
Sure, it's been a while since he peacefully passed in his sleep, but it still hurts. Not as much as it did straight after. I might no longer eat nothing but meat for three straight weeks, gaining enough b –oobs, derriere and thighs to have to go on a diet (Sebastiano is always on a diet, so he joined me), but I am still not completely fine.
But of course someone trained in booby traps and dynamite cannot possibly understand this.
"Well, alright. Langurs are still endangered."
He started laughing.
"Face it, Princess, you are happy!"
When I told Michael about the free therapy I got, he wasn't as outraged by it as I was.
"I think you are confirming Lars's words," he smiled at me. Then he embraced me and pulled me even closer to him. Not that I minded, of course.
"Now," he said, "I'm sorry in advance for spoiling your imperfect existence even more, but I was wondering if you might like to go on a little road trip with me?"
"Sure," I shrugged. "When?"
"Well, I was thinking right now."
I moved away from him.
I still don't know what was so funny about my words.
"Well, why not?"
"I have a job?" I reminded him.
"You're not shooting another episode for a week. We'll be back by then. I think we need to get away for a few days."
"Is this about René and his donuts?" I asked him. "Because I can tell him to stop."
I might not want to, because I like fresh donuts for breakfast, but I love Michael more. When a woman says no to chocolate, then she really loves a man.
"No, it's not about René," he said, but I could see he was lying. "You don't want me to whisk you away, is that it?"
"N, of course I want you to," I said, for a second forgetting I was a feminist.
"Well, then, aren't you as a princess required to listen to the wishes of your people? And do as much as you can to make sure they happen?" he teased me.
"Actually, I always thought my people are supposed to do anything to please me," I said.
"Consider it done," he grinned and kissed me.
January 24, a diner somewhere in Italy
Well, Michael must seriously be in need of an R & R. We have room reservations in Venice, starting tomorrow. But I am being princessy, so I didn't say anything, such as that I do not really like Venice due to their mass tourism policy. If you really think about it, Venice is everything my father's political opponents are trying to turn Genovia into. Thank god dad is reasonable enough to care more about Genovia's ecosystems and infrastructure than millions of tourists. Or, more specifically, thank god he has a daughter that's more than eager to worry about our tourism policies while he worries about taxes, education and health care.
But I didn't tell Michael that, of course. You'd think he'd realize it himself, but I guess it's just one more proof of how badly he needs vacation.
Lars is not coming with us. I just hope he won't use this short break for something stupid, such as trying to change that pastry girl's mind. She has threatened him with calling the police the last time. Even if he quits smoking, I will so not be allowed to have a bodyguard that has a restraining order. Trust me, I went to the Genovian Royal Library and read laws about that (okay, Michael went with me and read it for me, as I don't really understand the court language). Anyone who works close with the member of a royal family has to have a clean record. When I sat down with Lars and explain this to him, Michael also pinched in, saying he couldn't hack into the system and erase the complaint, as if it is filed in Genovia, people will probably know right away.
I know Lars has promised to behave better, but he is not always trustworthy. Like last year, when we were filming Seals Saving Princess and my period was a week late, he totally mentioned it to Sebastiano when the latter called to ask Lars about his measurements for the wedding suit. And then Sebastiano, who of course doesn't understand English well enough to know that in sentences such as 'princess might be preggo', MIGHT is the essential word, went a bit nuts from the baby fever, and made a special 'I hope it's twins' T-shirt for Michael. Without telling me first, he then gave it to Michael, with whom I hadn't had the chance to discuss my hormonal imbalance yet. Rational as he is, Michael just figured the peroxide finally got to Sebastiano's brain (Sebastiano was blond at the time), so he didn't kick a fuss about it. Still, showing me that T-shirt when I came from the boat prematurely, with my hormones by then already balancing out and sick with pneumonia, didn't really speed up my recovery.
Therefore, I called René before Michael and I took off, asking him to keep an eye on my temporarily troubled bodyguard.
"Sure, BC!" he screamed. He always spends the night after a successfully filmed episode celebrating, and by the sound of things, last night was no exception. "We'll eat donuts together!"
Of course it wasn't until we were already an hour from Genovia that Michel pointed out that René was a former smoker. Sure, he stopped smoking almost five years ago (he called it a gift for my 18th birthday), but once you are addicted to something, you never truly shake the addiction. Just look at that poor guy from Glee!
"Calm down, Mia," Michael said before I could even start freaking out. This is why we stopped at this diner. For me to get some chocolate to calm down. Though I think this situation requires meat.
January 24, by the road somewhere in Italy
Of course Michael didn't let me eat anything with meat in. You'd think he wouldn't mind my b-oobs' elevated growth resulting in my buying a new stash of bras, but no. All I got was a hot chocolate and a chocolate cake. And two more slices of chocolate cake to go.
I'm sure there's some deeper meaning to all this that only genius people like Michael can comprehend. We, simple-minded people, just see it as a violation of basic human needs. I mean, I would understand if it had lots of onion in, thus giving me a bad breath, but he ate a horse burger and his breath was more than fine afterward.
I can't believe I am calling 50 Shades of Grey unfeminist. I really can't.
But whatever. I am not blaming my meat ban for what happened later.
Once we were back in the car, I didn't waste any time. I started another piece of the cake right away. Chocolate makes everything better. Even realization that your boyfriend prefers you skinny to bootylicious. He was never really into Beyoncé for some reason.
I still had some cake left Michael turned down the music (new, currently still unreleased Lana CD.)
"Listen, Mia, I wasn't completely honest with you," he said.
"Oh?" I said after swallowing. "About what?"
"This trip," he said.
I think my not thinking he was going to dump me is a clear sign I am not 14 anymore. Back in the day, I'd think he was about to use my current sans-bodyguard status to kill me and fake his own death. He could totally pull it off. I mean, 'How To Get Away With Murder' is the only Shonda Rhimes production he actually watches with me (I think he is jealous of Patrick Dempsey's hair).
"Oh," I said, "Are we not going to Venice?"
"It's not that," he shook his head. "Mia, I thought it would be smart for us to get away from Genovia for a few days to talk about our future."
"Our future?" I frowned. "What about it?"
I am so busy living in the present I don't even think about next week. I mean, with Sebastiano taking care of my clothes, I don't really have to. Future is such an ambiguous concept for me, probably because I already know what I'll be for the rest of my life. A princess. I mean, it's not like I can afford having a mid-life crisis and change my profession.
"Look, Mia, I know you're just 22, but I do think there are certain things we need to discuss," Michael said.
"If this is about kids," I said, "we don't have a choice. We have to have them. Two, at least."
"Yes, I am aware of that and I am looking forward to it," Michael beamed. "But don't you think we have to get married first?"
The chocolaty bite I was about to take landed on my lap. Sebastiano won't like his jeans covered with chocolate. But I couldn't care less.
"Michael, are you proposing?" I gasped.
For some reason, he laughed. I totally thought he would say something like how he didn't see my perceptiveness coming. Well, clearly.
"No," he said instead. "Don't you think I could do a bit better than this, you smudged with chocolate, me behind the wheel, us on the way to Venice?"
"Are you taking me to Venice to propose?"
"No," he replied. "I told you, I want us to talk about the wedding first."
"Well, it's the same as with kids," I told him. "We have to get married eventually."
"I know. But I've been thinking about it a lot lately, with your mother having another baby, with Harry getting a son, and with your father getting married. And especially around Clarisse's wedding. I keep wishing we would join them. And I know that you are just 22, but I love you, and I know that will never change. So in a way, this is as perfect time to talk about this as ever."
"Okay. Why do I sense there is a but coming after all this?"
"Because it is. You were there for both weddings. You know what they were like."
It was crazy, to put it lightly. All hotels in Genovia, and in a two-hundred-mile radius, were filled. So many Genovians took a day off for the wedding that we decided to just call a day before, the day and the day after work-free days, dedicating to celebrating the Royal Family (we are one of those countries that could afford it. Plus, with all tourists flocking here, and the memorabilia sells, we more than compensated. Not to mention ruined the environment). Everyone in the palace was so touched my Genovians' love that we hired extra kitchen staff and as a wedding gift, every Genovian got special 'Royally Approved' muffins (this and the twelve-course dinner at the reception left Pierre so exhausted he took a three-week long vacation in Bora Bora – paid by my dad, of course).
And this was all thanks to the excitement in Genovia. My dad and Grandmere aren't that popular worldwide. Not as much as Michael and I – we are world's favorite couple. When we get hitched, the whole world will stop rotating for a while. It will be even crazier, with more people coming, more reporters writing about us. The Genovian Association of Bus Drivers has already made plans how they will organize transport from all major cities around Genovia, even from as far as Milan. There's even a special website on which Genovians are putting empty beds in their house for rent, and Francois, whose mother is also listed on the site, tells me most beds are already booked, even though Michael and I aren't even engaged yet.
"Ours will be even worse," Michael read my thoughts out loud.
"And you don't want that," I said.
"Well, I want to marry you, not the celebrity. I know royal weddings are a very public event, I've known it since get-go, but more and more I wish we could get married without cameras."
And this comes from the half of the couple which isn't likely to trip on the way to the altar, with a whole world – okay, half of the world – watching. This tells everything about how I feel about the situation.
"I'm sure Grandmere or Vigo will hire people to get us ready," I assured him.
"People will teach me how to marry the girl I love," Michael snorted. "Is it just me, or is there something wrong with this sentence?"
"Well," I tried to find words to, you know, console him, since neither of us can do anything about our wedding, really. In a way, we will be just actors once the day comes. Only, the act will permanently change our documents, but whatever. "With two weddings in the past two years, we don't have to rush."
"I know," Michael smiled at me, "but the thing, Mia, whether we get married tomorrow or in ten years, it doesn't change the situation. We need to find a way to make it work for both us and the world."
And that was when our car broke down. Which, you have to admit, pretty much shows how much control either of us has over our own wedding.
And now I am sitting by the road – the heating in the car stopped working, so inside it is pretty much as cold as outside. So I chose to enjoy the fresh air – while Michael is trying to figure out what's wrong with the car. Apparently cars are not much like surgical robots.
Maybe if he watched Pimp My Ride as a teenager, instead of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, he might know what to do.
January 24, 14:15, by the same secluded road in Italy. At least I think we're still in Italy. I have no way to tell. I think forests look the same whether you are in Italy or Vermont. (At least I can rule out being in Amazon rainforest. Yay.)
Sure Michael had a good reason for choosing a road that wasn't the highway. That happened to be high up there in the mountains, with a gorgeous view all around. I mean, it is totally romantic, whichever way you look at, but it also very secluded. So secluded that we have been stranded here, with a broken car, for THREE HOURS and not a SINGLE car has driven by.
Thank god for that slice of chocolate cake that is still in the car. I think we will survive today. Though, once the night falls, I am not so sure anymore, I think there are wolves here. I am pretty sure I can hear them. Or maybe Big Foot. I may be a TV personality – oh, and a princess -, but I doubt the forest creatures care that I still have three more episodes of this season contracted. I can't just drop out and leave producers with a difficult task of finding a host as good as me. And with such good chemistry with René that I possess.
I can't believe I will be eaten alive, now that I am finally happy.
Michael is of course not at all concerned. He is walking up and down the road holding his cell, hoping for the reception.
Yeah, have I mentioned? I am a princess and he a famous and rich inventor, and between us we have no phone that would work out here, in the middle of nothing and nowhere.
I can't believe people haven't thought of putting a satellite phone into the emergency kit.
"Don't worry," he keeps telling me. "Somebody will drive by."
Oh, they will. And you know who? A serial killer on his way to dump the latest bodies. AND HE WILL TAKE US WITH HIM. DEAD. Michael should realize this by now. After all, Godfathers are his favorite movies, beside the Star Wars.
"And if that doesn't happen by nighttime," he goes on, "I'm sure there are matches in the car someplace. We'll start a fire so that we won't freeze to death."
I made him check. There are two packs of matches.
But aside from that cake, there is no food.
"If we don't get 'rescued' by morning, I will walk to the nearest town and get help," he promised me, but because he was laughing so hard, I didn't believe him one bit.
As, of course, by morning he'll be so weak he won't make it to the nearest town. Besides, when in the wild, you should never separate. I watched all Bear Grylls shows. Yeah, he is alone in most of them. And yes, I mainly watch for the naked swimming in glacial lakes scenes, but I know that YOU SHOULD STICK TOGETHER.
Actually, I leant pretty much the same thing in horror movies, but whatever.
January 24, 14:20
Wait. He can't actually think I am watching Bear Grylls to learn anything, does he?
January 24, 14:22
Michael just started playing a game on his phone.
"Your writing into a diary isn't that much more productive either," he said.
Well what else does he want me to do? Freak out? He's a guy. He is supposed to know what to do in situations like this. Feminism has its limits, you know.
January 24, 14:27
Yes, Michael, the bears won't eat you because you got to the third level.
January 24, 14:43
You'd think compulsively watching Air Crash Investigation would be useful in cases like this. But sadly, the airplane's anatomy is not much alike that of the car. At least I don't think it has rudder anywhere.
January 24, 14:55
I can't believe I will die never knowing what happens in new Star Wars.
And in BBC Sherlock. Whenever the season will come.
January 24, 15:01
I just thought I heard a car. It turned out to be a bird.
That's how emaciated I am.
I am saving the cake for rainy hours.
Maybe it will turn out that bears prefer chocolate to human flesh.
January 24, 15:07
Maybe I could start writing another book. That will get my mind of my nearing demise. I could leave the world my greatest masterpiece. It would be my first published book since Ransom My Heart.
Not that I stopped writing, of course. I wrote a Young Adult series about a teenage popstar that runs a detective agency. I just didn't publish it anywhere. I mean, people who say they like my writing, like it because I am a princess. And those who criticize it, well, they hate it because I am a princess. So it is pretty much pointless. I write only for myself now.
Because I am totally awesome.
January 24, 15:17
Update: Michael just got to level four.
I swear, when they find our bodies, me with a pen and him with his cell in the hand, no one will still wonder how come we haven't gotten engaged yet.
January 24, 15:23
Great. That bird that makes car noises is back.
January 24, 15:24
Michael just read that over my shoulder.
"If it's a bird, it's a really, really big one. And it doesn't just sound like a car, but actually even looks like one," he said, pointing up the road.
And oh, my god, he is right! It's a car! No, it's a VAN!
We are saved!
Well, unless we just ran into the family of serial killers.
January 24, 7 pm, Switzerland
I just got off the phone with Grandmere. I had to call her, now that it has turned out she is a psychic. That she has saved me from getting eaten alive by a boar today a way back, when I was sixteen. I have to give her something really nice for birthday this year (I used to think it was difficult to buy her presents. Now that she is basically a cowgirl, it is even trickier. There are just this many things a baby lamb can wear.)
Oh, no, it wasn't a mechanic that got out of the van. In fact, at first I didn't even recognize the guy. It was kind of hard to focus as his mustache was just so big. It pretty much looked like the mustache Lars is still trying to grow, but can't because he is naturally blond. This guy's stash could blow the Stalin's out of the water.
I think Michael thought of it too, as I heard him chuckling.
"Well, hello, Princess!" the guy exclaimed.
I put on that smile I always wear when I meet my fans.
"Hello, hi, how are you?" I smiled, totally thinking he recognized me from being on TV so much lately. For some reason, I completely missed his American accent.
"You don't remember me, do you?" he grinned.
That is totally the worst thing a princess can hear. Because a princess always remembers everyone (or, her ladies-in-waiting do).
I frowned, trying to remember where I might have seen the guy before. But I so couldn't focus on his face as the mustache was just so … HUGE. Just like Lars wishes his was … and then I realized. He didn't just have the mustache my bodyguard covets; he was THE guy who inspired him to wear mustache!
I almost fell over.
"Coach Tom?" I gasped and looked at the van again. Only then I noticed it had 'American Skiing' written all over.
"Who?" Michael asked, because of course he wasn't around when Grandmere decided that I needed to learn how to ski, thus she hired this guy who was coaching the best skiers in America (okay, it wasn't exactly like that. She didn't care whether or not I knew how to ski. She just wanted to outshine Monaco in skiing championships, but because Monaco's top skier was just so much better than Genovia's, she figured having a Genovian royal supporting our team would outshine Monaco by a mile. By the time the championships started, the Monaco ski star was out with concussion, so the whole Genovian Royal Family on the Slopes project was abandoned and I had sprained my ankle for basically no reason.).
"Yes, Princess," Tom nodded, all excited to see me. Well, he had every reason to be, as I saw the check Grandmere gave him. "Car trouble?"
He then offered to take a look under the hood, saying something about years on the road making him a car master. It gave me a chance to pull Michael aside and tell him how I knew Coach Tom. Though, he said, he pretty much guessed who he was, as during a certain dinner with Contessa Trevanni, Grandmere called me the greatest animal protector, as I chose to rather injure myself than ski over Rommel (of course she forgot to mention that she would ski over me if Rommel would sustain a scratch.)
"And how is that poodle doing these days?" Tom asked.
"Fine," I said.
I didn't feel the need to tell him how Rommel is now a 'lamb whisperer'. At least that's what Grandmere calls him. She insists he has the ability to determine which regnant sheep will have a baby lamb that could potentially win the world lamb pageant, simply by sniffing their bellies. And it does seem to work, as she has placed no worse than third in every event she entered (Frederik swears she hasn't harassed and/or bribed any of the judges).
"It's your radiator," Tom declared in a true car specialist manner. But it totally didn't make me feel like I was in Crossroads. Probably because I was so cold and I sing nowhere near as good as Britney (though I am past that phase when I thought she was the best thing that had ever blessed the music industry.).
He then offered to take us to the closest town to find a mechanic or whatever (I am beginning to realize I don't really know much about cars; probably because I am driven around in black limos ever since I was 14.), and Michael and I sat down among the skis, ski boots, and bags (Tom said he was driving the equipment from their previous race in Bulgaria to the next one in Switzerland. He sent the boys via plane, but driving the equipment was cheaper than paying for all the extra luggage (at this point I wanted to ask him how come they didn't just take the private jet, like football stars always do, but then I noticed that one of the patches on his jacket was sewed on upside down)).
But as we were driving around the little Italian town (yes, we were still in Italy, as I discovered. Apparently my orientation skills are not as bad as the survival ones), I suddenly got a very good idea.
I mean, when it comes to Switzerland and Italy, there is just no competition. Italy, Venice in particular, just wants as many tourists as possible, thus earning as much money as they can, all with complete disregard of just how much the environment and infrastructure can take.
Switzerland, on the other hand, has chosen a different path. They don't focus on mass tourism, but on attracting richer tourists. Yeah, they charge more, but the nature is much, much more intact. In a way, wintry Switzerland is exactly what I am trying to achieve with Genovia. Mass tourists, those who just want to bask on the beaches, risking skin cancer before forty, can go to Spanish beaches where there are hotels where palm trees should grow, and people who appreciate the beauty of nature and the importance of its proper care, can visit Genovia. Because we have just so much more to offer than sandy beaches and umbrellas for ten euros per hour.
And so I asked Tom if he minded us coming with him to St. Moritz. And I choose to believe that he didn't say yes just because of the check Grandmere had given him all those years ago.
(Michael too agreed. I mean, when it comes to his vacation place, I think he's happy with any, as long as there's me and my lingerie.)
So this is how I ended up in Switzerland!
Okay, it wasn't THAT smooth. As soon as we got the hotel, a bunch of people in the lobby totally recognized me. But, wait for it, not as a princess, but as a TV personality (even though my show is broadcast everywhere because the hosts are royals, but whatever)! I took an hour for the autographs and pictures, as, I never forget, because people watch, I get to donate my weekly salary to baby seals my lungs have so cruelly betrayed.
Then I went to the hotel room (Michael paid for the luxury suite) and took a LONG shower to get rid of all the bugs crawling all over me - though Michael said it is impossible for any bugs to actually be on me, as there is snow everywhere and bugs are not around during winter, but, hey, if Michael knew EVERYTHING, he wouldn't have taken me to Venice! But, okay, I forgive him, he joined me in the shower 'to help me get the bugs off', and … yeah. I hope we didn't use the hotel's entire supply of hot water.
January 24, 8 pm, Michael's arms.
Just got off the phone; I had to let Lars know about the change of plans. I told him we were in Switzerland, but didn't say why. He doesn't need to know that we bumped into his mustache idol. I can't have my bodyguard turn into a fanboy. I just can't.
January 24, 10 pm, bed.
I know Michael is running his own company and I am sure it very exhausting.
But we are on VACATION! How dare he be asleep at 10 in the evening already?
What am I supposed to do? I obviously cannot be online. Sebastiano has learnt that I left for a few days, and is waiting on me to be available on any of the social media, so that he can tell me for the hundredth time that he is not happy with me, as now he will have to make the next week's dress WITHOUT me as a living model.
I told him he has my measurements anyway, and that he should just follow them.
He said it's not the same. Which probably means he misses me.
January 24, 11 pm, bed.
"He took you on vacation?" mom yelled in my ear. Well, into the phone, but into my ear indirectly. "To Switzerland?"
"Yeah, mom," I said.
"Well, why couldn't he take you to New York? You do realize I haven't seen you since Christmas, right?"
"Mom, Christmas was a month ago."
"It doesn't matter. Do you know how awkward it is, showing Ringo your picture, so that he will know his big sister when she arrives, and not go into the crying fit like the last time you came to visit?"
I swear my mom is incapable of naming her sons in any modern fashion. I know Mr. G loves the Beatles, but come on, you can't burden your kid like that. What if he happens to be a rapper? How credible will he be in the eyes of music producers, if he raps about golden necklaces and cars and, well, you know, if he is named after, well, Ringo?
Best Baby Boy Names That Are Completely Rad Right Now, by Mia Thermopolis
Benedict (it's completely rational to name baby that rather than Sherlock, I tell you)
Avery (you can't fail if you name your kid after a doctor.)
Ryan (Ryan Gosling is always rad)
Mumford (bound to get a Grammy for best album one day)
Anthony (classy. And thanks to DiNozzo sexy.)
January 25, Hotel room, Switzerland, 6 am
Things are different now that I have managed to dodge the bear attack. I see things way more clearly now. They are much simpler. Who cares if I wear orange on national TV, and that it makes my skin look like my liver is failing? I'm alive! I am not in one bear's stomach, and I live! And, yes, langurs are unfortunately dying out, but it happens. Species become extinct. They have ever since like ever. It is just happening a bit more frequently now that people go to McDonald's to eat burgers with beef from Amazonian rainforests. And, yes, tourists are easy money, and the more of them, the more luxurious vacation mayors can take. Hey, everyone wants time off! Everyone wants to go to Tahiti and snorkel there and, well, sunbath. Yes, it can lead to skin cancer, but we all die one day, right? So some people just choose to die tanned, it's their right. It is not really fair of me to judge, as I don't have to use people to get this exotic getaway paid, as I am royal and a girlfriend of a very wealthy man. But not everyone is as lucky as me, and as a princess, I have to kind and understanding to people who have less than I do.
Everyone just does their best to live as well as they can in this tough economy. Not everyone can develop a robotic surgeon. No, I mean, surgical robot. And, if anyone could, then it wouldn't really make you a lot of money since everyone would have it. Or something. I don't really know much about robots.
Oh. I am just so happy right now.
Because I did a good, good thing.
Since Michael was fully using both his and my ability to sleep, and the new NCIS episode was downloading painfully slowly (well, given it was an illegal download, I guess I can see why), I decided to go get myself a drink while waiting.
I went to the hotel bar, and ordered myself a margarita. I sat down at the counter, next to this guy. Who, as it turned out, knew me.
"You're the presenter, right?" he said.
"Yes, yes, I am," I smiled. "Do you like the show?"
"Yeah, well, it's hard to miss it since pretty much every European country we go to, it's on the TV there," he grinned.
That was when I realized he was one of the skiers Tom coached. Edward from Vermont, he said (he actually did look a bit like Edward, with his tall, somewhat scrawny figure and very pale skin. But I guess that made sense, given he spends so much time in wintry climate. I always thought you can get sunburn from not wearing sunscreen during winter, but apparently I was wrong. Well, I am half-Genovian, so I guess my naiveté of anything snow related – skiing is another example – is completely justified).
Because I have been in love with Vermont ever since Harry took Geoffrey see how maple syrup is produced (Harry is raising his son to be cosmopolitan, so that he can choose where he wants to live when he grows up. Actually, I think it is a way for Harry to have a childhood all over again, this time a more fun one. I've been to enough to shrinks to learn a trick or two), I started babbling about pretty Vermont autumns.
Or maybe it was because I was already half-way through the margarita. Then I remembered I had survived the almost bear attack, which obviously deserved more than just physical celebration, so I ordered myself another one.
Margarita, not sex.
I don't really remember much of what Edward and I were talking about. All I seem to remember is that around three in the morning, Grandmere texted me a picture of the newest baby lamb with the 'Rrrrrommel sniffffed herr, she will bee une championne!' caption, and I remembered how without Grandmere I wouldn't be in gorgeous Switzerland (though Michael maintains it is beautiful, as the word gorgeous is reserved for me), so Edward and I drank a Sidecar in her honor. And then another for the baby lamb (which was really cute, especially covered with a pink blanket Grandmere knitted from wool herself). Edward also paid for chocolate cake, and from the moment he pulled the wallet from his pocket, my memory is a bit clearer.
A piece of paper fell out of the wallet as he opened it. I reached out to hand it back to him, and, well, you know, accidently read what was written on it. Which was a bunch of numbers with euro symbols.
"What is this?" I asked.
"I was just counting how much this season's gonna cost me," he said.
"You're kidding, right?" I laughed. "Why would it cost you anything? I know you athletes people are paid a lot."
And trust me, I know exactly how A LOT that a lot it. Every time mom reads an article about the money NBA stars get per season, she spends the rest of the day ranting how unfair it is that someone who does nothing but throw a ball to the basket and hopes to score, gets paid so much more than, for example, her husband who has to know not just everything there is to know about math functions and fractions and, well, you know, triangles, but also has to be aware of how to pass his knowledge onto the younger generations, without making them feel they are being preached at. (And as someone who was exposed to both math and basketball in high school, I sort of agree with her remark – math is definitely more difficult, and given how uncoordinated I am, that says a lot, though you have to take into consideration that famous athletes not only entertain the whole nation, but also start trends when it comes to the filters they use on Instagram.)
"Well, it's easier to get money once you are an Olympian," he said. "But it costs to get there."
"Yeah, but what could possibly cost that much? I mean, all you need is a pair of skis, a helmet and, well, the mountain to ski down."
"Yeah, but you need more than just one pair of skis, and the skis you use for racing are just a tiniest littlest bit different than those you see in stores. But most of the equipment comes with sponsors, so that's not the core of the problem. But you have to count in the air fares to get to Europe, driving around Europe, accommodation, food, ski passes for training, entry fees for races, god forbid medical costs, and, yeah, well, of course, the internet in the hotel rooms."
"Aha. But you make money by winning races, right?"
"It's not like in tennis where you get a million for a win. If you get a thousand, it's a good race."
Which, of course, made me think that Grandmere's Princess Lessons weren't really that useful after all. Obviously they thought me nothing about prize money in sports, and given how much time the royals spend with professional athletes, well, I think I should have been better informed. Maybe I would be if Grandmere let my dad teach me from time to time.
(Of course I could make sure I was more sport-friendly myself, but between princess stuff, personal life and Lifetime, it is hard to squeeze in a minute for writing, yet alone watching sports!)
(See? And people say being a princess is easy!)
"Oh. And how much money does it cost you, then, skiing?"
"Right now we're looking at about 18 thousand."
I was about to say that this was the amount I got for some of Grandmere's handbags after she realized she wouldn't need all thousand of them on the farm with Frederik, but luckily I had the decency to not.
"So why do you do it, you know, ski, if it is so expensive?" I asked.
He looked at me like I was crazy. Though I probably did look crazy, as by then I was on my, I think, sixth cocktail.
"Because I love it," he said. "I love it more than anything in the world. Yeah, I might be in debt until I'm eighty, but I am having the time of my life. I am skiing the greatest mountains in the world, with some of the coolest people I know. I am living my dream. I don't see why I should throw it away, just because it could leave me in debt."
Which, you know, I could totally relate to, as I was practically on death bed with pneumonia after saving baby seals in the Antarctic
"When you love something – or someone -, everything else is completely insignificant. Money, people's opinion, the whatever is convenient. Just forget about everything and do what you love. You do it. You can't go wrong."
Which totally sounded better than quite a lot of Britney songs. I swear, it sounded like poetry – not like Bob Dylan poetry Michael adores and I cannot understand, but a lot like something Hayley could sing about.
And it totally gave me two ideas.
"Wait here," I told him, and ran out of the bar, straight to the room. Michael was – what a surprise - sleeping (actually, what could possibly make him so tired? It's couldn't have been just sex; I mean, it's like I tried out any new moves. And he totally didn't take on a bear while we were lost in the wild. He wasn't even worried, and I know that playing games on your phone does not tire you that much), but I didn't wake him just to get his permission. I just took his credit card out of his wallet and grabbed my laptop (new NCIS was still only 65% downloaded. But whatever, it's not like I love the show as much now as I did when there was still a chance of Tiva). Then I returned to the bar, and transferred 9999 dollars from Michael's account to Edward's.
I would have made it a round number, but Michael has this alarm system on that sends a text to his phone every time someone – well, me – spends over ten thousand dollars. He started this after I ordered snails for Genovia's National Environmental Day, as throwing alga-eating snails is its trademark, and whoever was responsible for organization didn't order enough of them (not that Michael was angry; he said he just didn't want this credit card company to interrupt him during important meetings (well, important. As if saving the bay from alga isn't important), telling him some eco-terrorists have gotten a hold of his credit card, in case I forget to tell him ahead that I found a new environmental cause worth pursuing. He maintains this this way he can call THEM before they notify the FBI).
Anyway, I just wanted to tell Michael in person that he was now sponsoring an Olympic prospect.
And Edward started arguing that it was too much, I told him to shut up, otherwise I'd call Harry and demand that he added the money still needed for Edward to have his season funded entirely.
And you know what? As good as it feels to save, you know, the sea and the animals, it is an entirely different thing to help people. Because, yeah, most animals I financially support are cute and cuddly, but they don't really know that I choose to buy them food instead of new Gucci high heel boots (not that it matters, as René gets them for me for my birthday AND Christmas). People, on the other hand, know and can appreciate what you do for them. And I think I have just done enough good to last for the entire year (I hope this will ensure that Grandmere won't fight with Frederik. Because if she does, she will come to Genovia, like every time those two fight, and will order the staff in the palace to catch all the pigeons I set free).
I was of course so excited about it – oh, and the other idea -, I couldn't wait to tell Michael. and I swear it wasn't because of all the cocktails. I went back to the room, but he was still out. So, like every resourceful girl, I sat down on the futon and called his phone. Because Michael always answers his phone – well, with the exception of one activity -, and seems to always hear it, no matter at which level of sleep he is.
Probably because he knows how likely it is that the Genovian Royal hospital is calling him that his girlfriend broke her ankle while trying to save a cat off the tree.
But not that it happened. The broken ankle, I mean. It was just sprained.
"Hello?" he sleepily said into the phone.
"Come to the living room. At once," I ordered him and hang up.
I can't exactly say he looked happy to see me. But I totally compensated, being happy for the both of us.
"What is so important that you had to wake me up at five in the morning, on our vacation?" he groaned. Then he noticed the laptop by my feet. "And please don't tell me the new NCIS episode is taking forever to load. I told you I cannot do anything about it."
"It is," I said, "but it doesn't matter. I mean, it does matter, because I really wanna know what Sergei is up to, but, I mean, that's not what I woke you up for."
He sat down next to me.
"Okay. Then, let me guess, you want me to hack into Shonda's computers to read the scripts for the rest of the season."
"No, that's not either – but could you do that?"
Seriously, what's the point of having a computer genius for a boyfriend, if he uses his knowledge solely to make emoji?
"Well, okay, then. Do you remember how you always say you fell in love with me because I am always so eager to help everyone?"
"That's one of the reasons, "he corrected me. "I don't mean to sound shallow, but you are gorgeous."
Not that it had much to do with my ideas, but every girl likes to hear it. Even the girl that has been named the hottest royal for the fourth straight year.
Actually, especially that girl.
"Yeah, well, let's stick to the first reason," I said. "Because I just helped someone."
"Okay. And I take it my credit card played the main role?"
"Okay. Please don't tell me you decided to fund Switzerland's cosmic adventures?"
"No. I gave Edward – one of the skiers Tom coaches – ten thousand dollars to fund his season."
I figured one cent wouldn't make such a big difference.
He actually looked relieved.
"Okay. You actually had me worried there for a second."
"I know that on a day you sell a CardioArm – which is every day – you make that much money just by rolling around in bed, but I will pay you back when I get the advance for the next season of My Man Can."
"Actually, you are right about my finances, so just use that money to save something critically endangered in Cambodia. Now will you let me double that amount by making love to you?"
"No," I said, because there was that other thing I needed to tell him.
And I realized how frigid I sounded.
"Well, no, I mean, yes, just … I have something else to tell you."
"You want to fund the season for every guy Tom coaches?"
Which, you have to admit, sounded like a completely great idea, worth considering, but it wasn't it.
"No," I said and took a deep breath before I continued. I felt like I would explode from all the pride I was feeling. I mean, I wasn't this happy about an idea ever since I bought Grandmere a Baby Names book for Christmas, so that she could stop limiting her lambs' names to Army Generals from Second World War.
"Michael, let's do it," I said.
He looked at me funny, and then started laughing.
I totally didn't get what was so funny. I mean, he just said he wanted it just yesterday.
And I know that things are different know what we weren't eaten by a bear, but still. They are not THAT different.
"I just suggested that, gorgeous," he said, already reaching out for me.
"No, not sex," I exclaimed. "Let's get married."
January 25, bathroom, Switzerland, 10 am
In the bathroom. Go figure.
When I suggested to Michael that we just go ahead and get married, he at first just stared at me, completely baffled, actually looking like he thought I wasn't kidding. I mean, for a second, I truly thought he'd agree. That was before he burst out laughing.
"You shouldn't joke about our wedding, Mia," he told me.
"Why would I be joking?" now I was the one baffled. It was as if I got sober in an instant. I totally wasn't happy anymore. At all.
"Oh, come on, Mia, we talked about this yesterday. We decided we can wait a few years."
Michael is totally playing too many video games. His emotions seem to be changing faster than he's advancing at whatever 'kill you enemy' game he's playing right now. He actually looked angry.
"Yeah, and we will. With the whole royal wedding thing," I didn't know how to make it clearer.
"Okay, you have completely lost me, Mia. What are talking about? How you been drinking?"
"You're accusing me of being drunk? Just because for a change I am not causing a problem, but solving it?"
Honestly, it hurt to be accused of being drunk while proposing marriage. Especially given how he practically asked ME to marry HIM just yesterday.
And, okay, I know we survived a potential bear attack since then, both honestly nothing that happened was traumatic enough to make him doubt me. I mean, yes, I freaked out. Hello, I ALWAYS freak out. It's my trademark.
Besides, we didn't even SEE a bear. I could SENSE it nearby. That's a difference. It's like I can SENSE that the next Grey's Anatomy will be kind of mediocre, but I can't actually SEE it. Yet, anyway. Maybe I can convince Michael to turn into a hacker for an evening.
"You are seriously suggesting we get married?" he crossed his arms on his chest.
There was an unopened champagne bottle by the futon. We didn't get to open it last night, as our way from the shower to the bed didn't exactly lead near it. And he fell asleep afterward. But now I was kind of glad that he had, though. Because I totally wanted to take the bottle and hit him on the head with it.
Don't blame me. People are scientifically proven to be more aggressive after a drink or two. Or six of them.
"Why I wanna marry you? I don't know, because I love you? And because you love me? And because you just said yesterday we need to talk about our future? Well, I am talking about our future. Let's get married."
"Mia, I told you, I would marry you in an instant. But I am just not ready to have the cameras pointing at my face as I promise to love you forever."
I swear, sometimes I just can't believe he, of all people, invented CardioArm. And honestly, I sort of like those moments. They make me feel, well, intellectual.
"We don't have to get married in front of cameras, Michael, that is what I am telling you! We can have TWO weddings. One for us, and one for the world. And my grandmother."
"I have to ask, Mia, where did you even get this idea from?"
"Because we love each other. And when you truly love each other, like we do, you shouldn't listen to what people, and money, and conventionality say. You should just do what you love, I mean, just focus on the one you love. And if we want to get married, that's more important than anything else."
It sounded so much better coming out of Edward's mouth.
Which is probably why Michael wasn't won over immediately, like I had been.
"While I agree with the whole not being part of the herd thing, Mia, you have to consider that there are exceptions to every rule. And one of these exceptions are people like you. Royals. It's tradition to get married in a big, extravagant way, something I thought we agreed we weren't doing at this time."
"No!" I felt like I was speaking Chinese. "Look, we get married now, just for us, without telling the world, and then you are gonna propose in some beautiful place, and we will play the role of two people getting married. It's not rocket science."
Though, actually, I think if it were rocket science, he would understand it better.
"Basically you are suggesting we just lie to the whole world?"
"Michael, we lie all the time!" I exclaimed. "Like in interviews, when I say I am looking forward to the next tourist season, or how much I enjoy changing Genovia's health policies, or how happy I am that I get to have a party for 500 people, on a boat, for my birthday! You really think I wouldn't rather just be with you in our apartment? Oh, and what about My Man Can, huh? That's just such a lie! I look nowhere near as good away from the cameras I do in front of it!"
He totally should know that. Because he experienced the whole TV Cameras Beauty himself that time he hired the Tanked crew to come to Pavlov Surgical headquarters and build an aquarium in a shape of the heart. I know he had a zit on his chin that week, but it was nowhere to be seen on TV!
And I say this with guarantee, as I can check, because I have that episode taped! On an old VHS cassette, because the week it was shown I was in Indiana visiting Mamaw and Papaw (and Hank, as he discovered modelling industry is not all it's cracked up to be, so he chose to use his fame to promote heathy lifestyle, and lots of inspiration for his now kaput TV show Healthy Hank came from his humble life in Indiana (he is currently the organizer of Versailles Corn Princess Contest)), and they didn't have any recording device more advanced than video tape recorder.
"Don't you think this is a bit disrespectful to the people who look up to you?"
"Oh, and people going through our trash aren't being disrespectful?"
They totally do. Though it is not as bad as it used to be. After Michael and I bought he apartment in downtown Genovia (actually, Genovia is so small that pretty much all of it is downtown, but whatever), some reporters were CAMPING by our dumpster, so that they could pay the garbage collectors not to take our trash. And then they opened the bags and looked inside, RIGHT THERE UNDER THE WINDOW. And then the sales of certain tampons spiked, 'because Princess Mia was using them'.
Well, at least it killed rumors of me being pregnant for a few weeks.
Oh, and have I mentioned? The reporters started a special Instagram account, on which they shared tidbits from under Princess Mia's window. Luckily after a few days they didn't have much to report, as Michael and I started taking our trash elsewhere.
"That has nothing to do with it," Michael insisted.
"It has EVERYTHING to do with it! Our trash is private! Just like we are private! We have a right for a life outside the spotlight. We have a right to get marry wherever, whenever and however we want. Yes, they are expectations, so we will just live up to that and give people that perfect wedding! Just because our visions of that perfection don't match, it doesn't mean we should not get our wedding as well!"
He was trying to put the 'no' face on, but I could see he was liking the idea.
"And where do you suggest is this wedding to take place?"
"Here. Now. Or maybe two days for now, just to get things ready"
"What about the officiant?" Michael said. "If we want to get married, we need a license, and to get a license, we have to use our real names. People will find out about that."
"Michael, Lars is totally in charge of these things," I said. "He can make the documents disappear or something."
"So we, hypothetically, tell Lars."
"And René can perform the ceremony."
"And Sebastiano will design a wedding dress," Michael laughed.
"See? We can totally do it, Michael."
"What about my parents? Lilly? Your mom? Clarisse? We can't just get them all the way here in a day."
"Well, then we don't," I shrugged. "And before you say it's not fair, I didn't go to my mom's wedding, and neither did you to your parents'."
My mom got married in Mexico, as she didn't want a big, over-the-top wedding she was to get as a mother of Genovian princess. And Michael didn't because they got married before he was born, but I still found it to be a handy argument.
"The thing with your mom was different."
"I think not attending doesn't really have many interpretations, Michael."
"And you think if I don't tell my parents and you don't tell yours, then it doesn't matter that I will get married without my family present?"
"I thought we agreed the main thing we want about our wedding is just you and me, and no cameras?"
I know we could totally get married on a post-it, like Derek and Meredith did in Grey's anatomy, but every time I rewatch that episode, Michael tells me he still wants a ceremony for his wedding.
"But we invite all of your cousins?"
"They're not my cousins, Michael, they are our family. And we wouldn't invite them we would use them for our advantage."
He didn't have a response to that, and I could see that he was really considering my words. I sat closer to him, putting my feet into his lap.
Because I totally deserved a foot massage for my incredible smarts.
"But what are we going to do if people find out?" he worried.
"We will cross that bridge when we get there," I gently said. "But whatever happens, if we get married here, then it's a moment nobody can ever take away from us. Besides, if you invent that prosthetics thing, then people are gonna love you whether or not you eloped with the world's favorite princess."
That made him smile.
"I have to say, though, that there is one aspect of this hurried wedding I do not like."
"What's that?" I asked.
"I don't have the ring to propose."
I can't explain what those words did to my heart.
"Well," I said, "we do have champagne and a bed. So I might just let you off the hook if you improvise."
I smiled, and as I moved my feet of his lap, he got up, kneeling down on one knee in front of me. It made me feel so much more high than all that mix of cocktails.
"Well, then," he whispered, taking my hand. "Amelia Mignonette Grimaldi Thermopolis Renaldo, I will be honest with you. I cannot tell you how my heart stopped when I first saw you, because, frankly, I don't remember the day we met. I don't even know when that happened for the first time, but I can tell you and promise you, that it will never stop. Every time I look at you, I am astound by your grace, your beauty, and every time you return the look, I still can't believe you are actually mine. I will not say that you are my sole reason for existing, but you make my existence so much more meaningful just with your presence. Just as I think I couldn't possibly be any happier, you smile, and I uncover a whole new level of bliss. And you keep borrowing my credit cards to make the world a better place for everyone, people and animals, we have people going through our trash, your cousin keeps bursting in on us in exchange for donuts, and your grandmother keeps bringing me sheep cheese from Sweden … pretty much every other minute of my life with you drives me crazy, but I love it so much I wouldn't trade it for anything. Every moment with you is an adventure, and I don't want to miss a single one. Therefore, I am asking you, will you do me the honor of marrying me?"
I think it goes without saying that I was so overwhelmed that I couldn't even say yes. All I wanted to do was … cry. And so I did, because I cry for pretty much everything, even every time a cat from Genovian Cat Shelter finds a new home. Which happens to like a dozen cats every day.
I threw my arms around him, pulling him closer. I buried my face in his neck – he still smells fantastic - and just took in the moment (yes, I also sniffed him, like Rommel sniffs pregnant sheep).
"Is that a yes?" he whispered.
"It's such a big yes that I am relieved to have every day for the rest of my life to say it," I smiled and gently kissed his lips. "Did you rehearse that speech?"
"A few times," he admitted, kissing me again. This time, though more passionately. And as much as I wanted to focus on that, I couldn't, because my not waterproof mascara got all smudged from my tears and started irritating my eyes.
Well, irritating. It burned like hell.
So I pushed him away, saying I'd be right back. And I ran into the bathroom where I got rid of the makeup. And wrote this all down.
And now I will go back to him. And we will consummate our engagement.
Engagement. Ha. What a gorgeous word.
To Be Continued.