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The January Princess


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#1 dbcWinter

dbcWinter

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Posted 11 April 2015 - 07:57 AM

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.

"Now? Why?"

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.

Ha.

 

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.

Well, two.

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?"

"No."

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?"

"Yes."

"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.

He frowned.

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.

"Yeah."

"Why?"

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.

Broughttoyouby:::winter.


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#2 dbcWinter

dbcWinter

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Posted 10 September 2016 - 07:55 AM

January 25, 11 am, the bed

I decided to call Lars first.

"Why would you want me to come to Switzerland?" he asked. He didn't sound too happy. Apparently since Lars and Pierre both had some free time on their hands, they rented a boat and went fishing (I made sure they didn't throw any garbage into the water, of course.).

"Do you feel threatened?" he went on.

"No," I repeated for like a billionth time. "I just really want you to come here, that's all."

Of course I couldn't tell him that Michael needed best man. Lars' phone could easily be tapped or something. You never know in this time and day – I mean, just look at Kate.

She is a perfect princess, and yet the photographers caught her in a delicate moment of not wearing her bikini top. Kate. Who looks like Gisele Bündchen like a day after she gives birth. I am sure she knows every trick in the book of avoiding the paparazzi (I obviously don't. Otherwise I wouldn't be friends with a guy who called the reporters every time we were within a mile of each other for YEARS until it finally occurred to me), and now there are pictures of her boobs floating around the internet. If this isn't big enough of a reason for me to be CAREFUL with this wedding thing (maybe I should start using a code for it? Like, RWWG – Royal Wedding Without Grandmere? But then I would have to go buy a new diary and burn this one in the fireplace. Which is both impossible, as, a) I don't know how to light a fire in a fireplace, and B) it is too cold outside to go out in search of a stationer's. We are so high in the mountains, I doubt there even is one. Though, on the other hand, what do people do around here other than write when it's freezing and the blizzards bring down the electrical wires, thus they can't watch TV in the evening? I am sure people living in Iceland write in the evenings. I don't remember any of their writers at the moment, but I am sure their high literary rate and cultural awareness rank them among the best literates in the world. I am even surer that Damien Rice knew just what he was doing when he chose Iceland for his second home. Great art speaks for itself.).

I mean, I know Michael always tells me I am being paranoid about this whole there-might-be-paparazzi-on-the-desert-island-you-rented-just-for-us-for-a-weekend-thus-I-will-not-take-my-top-off-besides-nothing-more-has-grown-during-the-transatlantic-flight-anyway thing. But, hey, like Kurt said, just because you're paranoid, it doesn't mean they're not after you. Of course Michael rolls his eyes even more when I say this, given I picked this line up while we were listening to Nirvana (I read on Twitter that couples who listen to music together tend to have longer relationships. Since I am a firm believer in never throwing an advice away if it is handed to you on a silver plate (which my Twitter feed of course is), I immediately implemented this in our relationship. So two days per week we both listen to the same music – on Mondays, his (I don't really like his grunge stuff, so I figure better to get over with it at the start of the week), and Thursdays are mine. (Go, Hilary Duff! I have never heard a transition more perfect from a teen idol to a sophisticated pop star. Michael of course doesn't have necessary experiences to appreciate Breathe In. Breathe Out., since he never listened to any of the teen idols, not even Ryan Cabrera, who was like totally not what you'd expect from a teenage star. I mean, he actually wrote his own songs and played the guitar. Oh, those were the golden days of the MTV. And probably the reason why I couldn't pass Algebra. I was doing nothing but watch videos! Maybe there something good about MTV having such a crappy program these days - teenagers aren't as distracted when it comes to doing their homework (and most of them probably aren't royals, or obliged to help their best friend shoot her TV Show, but whatever)).

So I said, "Lars, I am really saddened by the fact I need to mention this, but you are my bodyguard. I am basically your boss, and since you are not on an official holiday, you should do whatever I tell you to. I don't want to sound bossy or authoritative, but it's the truth. Besides, you totally owe me after that thing in Bolivia when I covered for you and said you got sick from eating a raw fish, supposedly a delicacy there, and hid the fact you were actually hangover from partying with a Guatemalan blonde claiming to be the Guatemalan best muffin baker, who got away with all your money, and your best pairs of underwear since your room key too was in your wallet."

"I still can't believe she didn't end up selling them on the Guatemalan eBay," Lars sighed. "She could get a fortune for them, you know."

(They were handmade, a gift from Grandmere's friend from Brunei. They were originally intended for Michael, but I told him I would sleep in a room closer to Grandmere's for a month if he ever wore them, because yellow underwear just doesn't look good on him. It just doesn't. And no, it wasn't a sex manipulation. And no, I didn't learn it form Grandmere.)

"So I expect you to arrive before the evening?" I asked.

"There better be some lakes around," he said and hung up. Which I know is sort of disrespectful since I am his boss (and a royalty, but whatever), but I found people work better if you don't impose yourself as this scary, authoritative figure with control over their salaries and health insurance. And besides, Lars has been with me through so much he is basically family. And family members sometimes lie for each other. And to each other, but whatever (I remember Grandmere once saying I'd outgrow this word. And yet I keep saying it. And I am planning a wedding. I might not be at my maturity peak yet, but I am mature enough not include any unicorns and Britney song as a wedding march. Why would anyone want to be any more mature than this, I have no idea.)

*Things To Do Before I Say I Do*

1- Get Lars – Done.

2- Get René, Sebastiano + Harry? – Done

3 - Get croquembouche! Find out if there's anyone in this village that makes them! If not, get Michael to pay the head chef of the hotel kitchen to let me make one myself.

4 – Find something white to wear.

5 – Find a spot to get married at (ask Edward? I think he said something about knowing the Alps quite well. But it needs to be somewhere heels-accessible).

6 – Pick a wedding song (write a list of pros and cons of making this decision with Michael. I don't think I trust him with this important task. I mean, he doesn't like Mumford and Sons! Who in their right minds doesn't like M&S? Except for that review of Pop Matters, but he's a troll anyway (even though he used the Obi quote in the review, and no, Michael, these are not double standards))

7 – Find someone with a license to wed people – Done

8 – Check the phone for any potential mini microphone or whatever the NSA and reporters use to spy on people (this is when my preferring NCIS to NCIS: LA comes to bite me in my derriere. The LA one is so much more technological-orientated, they probably had this micro stuff million times.)

9 – Exfoliate.

10 – Watch TV commercials. Swiss TV apparently has promos for My Man Can that are different than the ones we have in Genovia. I have to see clips from which episodes they chose. I hope they didn't use the episode in which René had that large scar over his left eyes as a result of a bet with Harry which of them could climb higher on the northern wall of the Genovian palace after five beers. I know how people are. Everyone would start looking for info on what caused the scar, and that's not the kind of promotion Genovia needs now, just months before our referendum on whether in public toilets, should loose toilet paper hang over or under the roll.

I know it sounds funny, but in the parliament, this caused a debate so heated only the one about parking meters beat. They have this new guy who is kind of like Monk, super worried about bacteria and all, and he read this research that showed hanging the loose end over roll makes it easier to see and grasp, thus it reduces the risk of accidentally brushing the wall with your hand and transferring nasty germs. When she heard the last line, the health minister of course immediately agreed that in case of an epidemic – whether flu or something intestines-related - this could significantly reduce chances of getting infected on a public toilet, sparing Genovia possible millions in health care. Then this other guy who is supposed to be responsible for infrastructure, which of course has nothing to do with health, but was a classmate of Monk's wife (and by some reports in love with her), brought to everyone's attention this other research that said that on the other hand, hanging the paper under the roll makes it look tidier and reduces the risk of pulling too many sheets off. The guy responsible for finance sided with him, saying this could reduce the use of toilet paper, leading to maybe saving a significant amount of money for year, and the health lady said that whatever that number was, it couldn't be as important as preventing the spread of contagious diseases. Then all other ministers chose a side, and for a week they tried to make a decision (even working extra hours).

Then somebody finally suggested a referendum, so that is what we are having soon. The absurdity of the topic has stunned the world and landed us on the front covers of all major newspapers worldwide, and hotels reported a staggering rise in reservations, so at least the tourism minister hopes the crises won't be resolved so soon, as we are this year's hottest tourist destination in Europe.

11 – Figure out what I want to have done with my hair.

 

January 26, 10 am

Update on the pre-wedding jitters: not present yet. I am either too busy googling the wedding essentials or havin' myself some pre-honeymooninging. Actually, mainly the latter. And judging by the way the boat rocks (Aaliyah style. I have no idea what is up with that Cambridge definition), I kind of like the idea of getting hitched twice (Michael agrees).

Update on the Wedding Prep: I have printed out the list of all the sweet shops in the area, and am planning on going to each of them to see if they are making if there is something I liked about Dad's and Grandmere's over-the-top garnish of their weddings, it was the croquembouche. And I am so having it when I tie the knot. Both times.

You'd think I'd get some help from my dear cousins, but no. No no no.

Mainly because I haven't told them yet.

*List Of Reasons Why None Of The Members Of Siblinghood Of Genovia-Based Royal Renegades Or Their Bodyguards Has Been Notified Of The True Reason For The Urgent Need Of Their Presence Here**

1. Sebastiano is appalled by the ski suits skiers are wearing when racing. They are in this neon blue color with a side line in a hue of a lime. Which I must say I sort of agree with him. I mean, I know sport is not about looking pretty, but challenging yourself to be the best version of your (athletic) self and to hopefully make some money along the way, but neon colors don't look good on anyone – except for maybe Beyoncé, but Beyoncé would probably look good even wearing a potato sack while singing the lines of the phone book, so she sort of isn't a valid argument. So I obviously sided with Sebastiano on this one, only to have him scream out in horror when I started talking of all the nice dresses I have seen in my years of late-night binge-watching figure skating when Mr G has finished with all 39752398 billion of NBA and NFL and other abbreviated leagues that give teenagers excuse to drop out of school in dreams of once getting The Ring.

"Those dress are the worst kind of fash!" Sebastiano screamed. "If you don't make it onto the Proj Runw you go into fig skating!"

"Oh, I didn't know," I said, but he still wouldn't shut up. I am pretty sure my telling him about the wedding would calm him down before sending back up into the elated highs of euphoria, but that would take all the bombasticness out of the news.

2. René totally lost Harry. He said he had arrived with them, but between check-in and carrying the bags up the stairs (once René realized how many females knew who he was, he ditched the elevator, as apparently taking the stairs not only prolongs their nice-smelling company, but also impresses them with 'his immense strength in the upper arms that can carry both of his bags at the same time' (I didn't know you need biceps for a backpack, but whatever)) Harry mysteriously disappeared. It totally made me wonder if John Walsh would come and tape a primetime special about a missing royal, but then I figured the participation of numerous Genovian-based Royals and their subsequent escaping without a scratch would most likely cause another diplomatic hostility between the UK and Genovia, probably even bigger than the feud Contessa Trevanni and Grandmere had back in the day before the latter got married, the former got married and the latter divorced, during all of which they had at least slightly matured.

Anyway, while we were looking for Harry all over the hotel and I feared I would never get to go to Baker Street again due to the Queen's fury, the news of my wedding was not only postponed, but also put in question. No way am I tying the knot without Harry there. Who will play music? Sebastiano? Yeah, I love him and all, but I am not getting married while One Direction plays. N.O. W.A.Y. and Michael's 'today is the greatest day that I will ever know' is also out of the question, since the guy singing it was talking about a suicide!

Lars wasn't happy about the having to put the hotel on the lockdown and scaring the group of elderly Taiwanese tourists.

"I totally thought we were going to be vacationing," he kept puffing.

The truth is, ever since the turmoil in my life has subsided, there hasn't been a real need for him to be in true shape. I mean, Genovia is so small that even in the event of a wild chase after a random tourist stole the princess' purse, one wouldn't get that tired that quickly. Besides, if my purse indeed got stolen, other members of Genovian Royal Guard and/or passers-by are likely to get involved in a chase. I think it would be statistically impossible for all of them to be as slightly out of shape as Lars is.

So obviously, if he was so completely breathless while bending down and looking under desks in the dining room, imagine what the news of having to organize security would do to his already oxygen-deprived heart! It could kill him! I'm just saying getting him to agree to forge a few documents to hide Michael's and mine matrimony would be easier to accomplish after mellowing him with a few drinks (and cookies).

Oh, and of course after we were finally notified that the local police discovered a sleeping man in a car on a parking lot about an hour ago and took him to the police station, not believing his insisting he was actually THE Harry, we were too occupied telling the police officers who made the elephantine mistake that it was alright and we were not planning on suing them, and after we finally left the station, Harry took the spotlight. He said that during the check-in he realized he had forgotten one of his bags in the car, so he returned to get it. While in the car, the nearest bar started playing a song he liked, so he decided to wait until it was over the next thing that happened was the police officer knocking on the window.

"I mean," he said, "look at me! Do I look like someone who is in line for the throne?"

He had a point - he looked like he hadn't slept in about three weeks, and the beard he is growing out only aggravates the situation.

"I came to Genovia," he cried, "hoping to get a good weekend's sleep, now that Geoffrey is spending a week at Will and Kate's. Throughout the years, Genovia has been an excellent retreat. This year, not so much. Everyone kept knocking on the door, asking if I wanted this or that. What is so hard to understand about one man's wish to sleep? And then we go on this long journey to – wherever the hell we are, and I just want to sleep!"

3. Lars meeting his Mustache Idol was traumatizing. I'd rather not go too much into that, to be honest. Seeing his stutter and fidget like, well, like Sebastiano when he met Liam Payne, made me realize just how likely it is for some crazy North Korean teenage hacker to somehow hack into a drone and drive it by the window just as Michael and I are getting it on, most likely topless (it happened to Kate!). I mean, you just flash a picture of mustache in front of Lars, and he'll be busy asking Google who their owner is instead of checking FlightRadar24 for any drones!

"You know," Michael said upon seeing Lars acting like a teenage girl, "maybe it is a good idea to get married now. I guess this is as calm as it would get."

So, in conclusion – number of people knowing about the wedding: 2.

I might want to up that number if I'd like to wear The Ring before the week ends. Weekend verses René and his sobriety is like me verses calculus. It is prone to fail.

I better get out of this bed I like so much I might just end up asking Michael to buy for us, and busy planninng the hitching.

 

January 26, 11 am

Well, I am progressing. I finally got out of the bed. I made it all the way to the bathroom, where I wetted a towel with cold water, then returned to the not-so-honeymooning bed and wrapped the towel around Michael's arm.

Yes.

It happened.

After almost 5 years, it happened. After all the marathons Tina and I had of that awful show (whose awfulness can only compare to that of I Didn't Know I Was Pregnant), and all the pride I took in Michael's and my fitness.

(People don't really know this, but wearing long, intricate gowns actually demands some level of being in shape. I mean, some of Sebastiano's dresses have IRON in. And god knows what else, because trust me, there HAS to be something to push something up in my chest department. And then all the hairstyles Paolo creates, well, we go through like one can of hairspray per shooting. And make up! I surely don't look good after being up till 2 in the morning, then woken up at 6 and being in the studio by 8! I am aware that good blood flow makes your skin nicer, but – well, whatever, this has nothing to do with this. And the heels? Try to look graceful in the huge gown AND deliver the lines effortlessly and funnily while on high heels! Of course, Michael always says that being in shape is not only associated with evening gowns – and sex -, but also with better immune system and being sick less, but he also thinks Hiddleswift was a marketing move, so obviously his opinion outside of computers, changing lightbulbs, banana pancakes, Star Wars, Buffy, most efficient ways to kill flies (and he should leave this to Lars, as Lars is a trained killer), picking bikinis I look best in, sex, and, ok, sex again, doesn't really matter (he wanted to paint our bedroom RED! RED! So that I would always think of Taylor Swift and Harry Styles or Jake Gyllenhaal! Yeah, right! And not to mention perfumes! He has actually stated that Chanel Number 5 smells nice. Yes. Grandmere's perfume. Dr. Coletti – my new shrink – said that this is Michael's way of subtlety telling me he has made peace with all the crap Grandmere put us through before Michael made millions. Clearly this guy hasn't been my shrink in the years of my wild emotional instability. Then he would know Michael does not have any problems with saying things out loud clearly. I AM THE ONE! But of course I can't fire him. He is, after all, Dad's brother in law. Which is probably the best proof ever that you really should never employ your relatives. You can't fire them. And then the hell breaks loose. Because there is no supervision. Sort of like what happened with Boris when he dropped that globe on his head in our Freshman Year. But whatever, this has nothing to do with IT. I just wanted to point out that I am FIT. I have never been in better shape.))

(And Michael, too, obviously is fit. You don't just get those muscles sitting around creating emojis. Not to mention, his second favorite past time activity is jogging around Genovia. He says this way he learns about the history and culture of his new home. And I know that given the size of Genovia, this is not the best example, but it is sort of hard concentrate when your fingers are still totally frozen from nursing the love of my life back to a wedding-proper state.)

I truly never, ever thought we would experience any sex-related emergency. Of course there is that thing with my not taking pills (can you blame me? It seems like every other week Daily Mail has a tearjerker about a girl MY AGE that started taking birth control pills and dropped dead like three months later. Obviously I cannot risk pushing up daisies before I have pushed at least two kids out of my womb. And if I leave blood clots out of my worries for a second (but I shouldn't. I am in the risk group. Not in the most riskiest group, but I am in more danger of developing life-threatening conditions as a result of birth control pills than, say, most women.), well, I read on Twitter that a longtime use of hormonal contraceptives can with some women lead to problems with conception. Which, have I mentioned, I cannot afford, as the future of the throne relies on my reproductive hormones being in a complete balance till there are two kids smiling from the Christmas photographs of the Genovian Royal Family. Yes. No 22-year-old should be this concerned with the state of her womb. Not to mention the fertility exercises I do three times per day), but we are extra EXTRA careful when it comes to protection (remember Friends? If it happened there, it can happen ANYWHERE. And it happened to my mother. Apparently three times.), so we never had to go to the ER for the morning-after pill. And, as I mentioned, we are so fit that up until this morning, we haven't really been in danger of needing medical attention because of, well, sex.

And we weren't even doing anything special or acrobatic (NOT LIKE I DARE, NOW WHEN WE ARE SHOOTING MY MAN CAN! I cannot walk around the set AND IN FRONT OF CAMERAS with a splint on my leg!). Just, you know, the normal me on top like a thousand times before (no, this is not a feminist statement! Actually, I came to a conclusion that being feminist is not all that. Like, it is totally sexist if you choose members of the Goal Squad solely based on gender, or only employ women because you support feminism! Hello? You choose somebody based on gender, something they have no control over whatsoever (sort of like being born into a royal family), not because of their competences. Please, how is this not discrimination? I don't believe just in the equality of women – I believe in equality of EVERYONE.), and then Michael lifted himself up and intended to lean on his left arm while keeping the right one tightly wrapped around my waist, when – well, I don't know. Apparently his muscle snapped.

And next thing I ran to the bathroom to get him something cold to wrap around his arm.

I am sure Kate wasn't dealing with a sex injury two days before her wedding.

I grabbed my phone and googled his symptoms. Of course it took me like TEN MINUTES to type in the search box the proper symptoms. Like that time when our apartment was being repainted and I was staying in the palace (Michael was in New York on one of his work trips) and I came home after midnight when we were done shooting, and Lulu (my cat) waited on me in the room, hungry (well, not HUNGRY. I don't starve my cat. She just likes to, well, eat. Don't worry, she is not as, well, fat as Louie was. Mainly because she is free to run around all the gardens. Which of course results in another problem; that is, she is free to eat all the mice she wants, and yet she gets fed three times per day and has access to milk (it is good for bones). So, as a consequence, she doesn't just put a little weight on in the autumn, but is enautumned basically the whole year. But the vet insists her weight is still within normal range.), so we walked to the kitchen and THERE WAS A GREY CAT. Just like that, on the counter Pierre uses most. I almost got a heart attack. I love cats, and have a cat shelter to prove this, but walking in on stray cats in the kitchen … not a good idea if the following day there is this super important dinner with the president of the United States. So I just called René and we rubbed the kitchen and … nobody got sick or anything. I don't know where the cat went. But Lulu did try to bite my ankles for the three following weeks, so I suppose the two were friends.

"Relax, Mia," Michael said when I was all panicky when I couldn't find anything on Google (and if you can't find the answer in Google, well, then not even Cryonics will solve your problem, because Google is like the past, the present and the future). "It is nothing, really. It is probably just…"

I didn't hear his diagnosis, as then Google told me that the pain in the arm can be a sign of a stroke, so of course Michael had to start laughing.

You see why I do not want to be known as a passionate feminist? As a feminist I should focus on his laughing and how it insults me. But the real problem was his arm. So this is why it is better to focus on people, rather than gender. I cannot have a sex injury ruin my wedding.

"Wait here," I told him. "I'll go ask René what to do."

And you know what Michael did next? He wrapped both of his arms around me to stop me from going, and pulled me on the bed. Where I landed on his injured arm. And surely exacerbated the injury. LIKE JUST TWO DAYS BEFORE THE WEDDING.

So it was absolutely clear what I needed to do.

"That's it!" I screamed. "No more sex before the wedding!"

That made Michael stop laughing. I wish he took me as seriously.

"You're joking, right?" he said. "We are back to a no sex rule?"

Apparently my pulling my pants on and desperately seeking my bra (it was in the bathroom) wasn't a big enough of a clue for him.

"I am not having a sex injury destroying my wedding," I told him, and I was more serious than –

1. when I spoke in the Genovian parliament and told them of parking clocks;

2. lobbied for euthanasia of pets to be free of charge for the owners;

3. supported feminine hygiene products to be free of charge;

4. got grading PE in schools forbidden, as being successful there has so much to do with genetics that it is just not fair to grade it. And it does nothing to make a child love exercise. If anything, children start hating PE and being active because there are rules they have to follow. Instead I told schools to have an hour of PE every day. Teachers introduce sports, but every child gets to decide which one they will take on every hour. Jogging is fine. Table tennis is fine. As are badminton, dodgeball, grass hockey. And after the Olympics, everyone started loving Rugby 7. We have a school league now, it is a big thing. I awarded the medals. Teachers tell me kids love the new PE format.

"I am not!" I repeated.

"Okay, Mia, this is my wedding, too. And I will probably be the one paying for it, so don't you think I should have a say in this no sex thing?" Michael sounded kind of panicky.

I gasped.

"So you would rather have sex now than full use of your body at your wedding?" I yelled. Then I remembered reading on Twitter that saying something in a calm manner has better effects than screaming it. So I went, calmly, "You are going to pay for the wedding, Michael, and I will make sure the wedding happens outside of the hospital or rehab center, okay? And then we will have our wedding night."

He considered my words for a moment, then sighed really loud and threw himself back on the pillows. I took it as a yes.

 

January 26, 1 pm

I knew it was time to go all in with the wedding planning. First thing to do was tell my wedding conspirators that I didn't invite them over solely to take in the beauty of the Swiss Alps.

I told them that Michael and I are getting married. I admit, I may not really be into big celebrations and fanfares and parades and confetti when it comes to my private life, but I did sort of expect them to beam up and, I don't know, congratulate me or whatever.

They just stood there and kept looking at each other, probably arguing who would speak up first.

René finally manned up.

"Well, Mia, I don't know why you have to interrupt our morning to tell us something we all know anyway," he said, pointing to Tinder on his phone. "I am in talks for a date."

"And I am sleeping," added Harry.

"No, I mean, Michael and I are getting married THIS WEEKEND," I repeated. "And I need your help."

"Princess, you and Michael are not getting hitched this weekend," Lars responded very calmly. "Believe me, getting all security done for the wedding will force me into early retirement, as it will take at least five months to get everything ready. I have had plans made years ago, so I know what I am saying."

"Exactly!" Harry nodded. "And you will need music, and cake, and…"

"A dress!" screamed René and pointed at Sebastiano.

"AND CLARISSE!" added Sebastiano. "Clarisse will kill you, if you marry without her. Or during the Baby Lamb Pageant."

I have known Sebastiano now for, what, 8 years? I have never until today heard him say one sentence correctly. And when he finally gets it right? He basically threatens me with early demise in the hands of my own grandmother. Am I mean for wishing he would remain grammatically-challenged?

"No, you don't understand," I insisted. "It is not the huge royal wedding. Michael and I just want to get married for, well, us. Just us, and we need your help."

They again exchanged glances, like they figured I had finally gone nuts.

"Help with what?" René asked.

"Like," I started, "Lars, we need the wedding license without anyone knowing we have it. We need music and someone to marry us. And I need a dress."

"Princess," Lars said as though I was the one with a restraining order, "what you are asking me to do is illegal."

"I am not really that good with music," Harry admitted.

"The only pair I ever married got divorced in less than a year," René said. Harry nodded surprisingly enthusiastically, given he was one half of the aforementioned pair.

"I have wait my whole li," started Sebastiano, and I already knew it wouldn't end well, "to create a wed dress for you. And you ask me to make you a dress a day bef a wed and say that the wed will not be on the TV?"

"I don't want a big dress," I protested. "Just a white dress."

"You want me to mak you a wed dress that is not a wed dress?" Sebastiano shouted. "A wed dress is a wed dress! There is no JUST A WHITE DRESS here! Wed dress is big!"

"Fine. Then make me a big wedding dress."

I seriously thought this would make him happy. Really. That I gave him the permission to make a huge wedding dress with lace and veil and a half a mile of the train. And, I mean, what is the big deal? He created every dress in which Lady Gaga got married on the screen. And obviously she gets married like in every third video she makes. So he totally knows how to create a stunning gown. But no. He totally lost it. And I mean LOST IT.

"She want me to make her a wed dress," he said (I think. His erratic English gets even worse when he is upset) like I wasn't even right there in front of him, like he was lost in some fashion world of his where sun is glitter, clouds are leather and landscape is made of lace and colorful buttons. Body paint probably stands in for rivers and oceans. I don't really know what butterflies are, but whatever. I totally don't fit there. Michael can say whatever he wants, but I am not glamorous. "A wed dress two days bef? That's imposs! All my dreams, stomped on like this! And no one would see it! I might as well dress a manneq in a mus!"

And then my phone beeped. Michael sent me a text to get to our room ASAP. So I left calming Sebastiano down for later and ran to our room.

God, I hope he didn't injure anything else!

January 26, 1:30 pm, at the reception desk of the hotel across the street

Michael's fine.

Apparently it was only a pulled muscle or something.

He called up Edward (the guy I am sponsoring with his money/Michael is sponsoring) who then brought the team doctor with him, and after the examination Michael was told his arm was fine.

It totally doesn't mean that have trust issues if I say that I do not believe Michael's words one bit. It's just that I know Michael, and I know that he loves sex. I mean, I do too, but I would also love to marry him without Grandmere screaming at me to fix my posture. And I think that two no-sex days are absolutely worth it. Michael should know how it feels when you are on Grandmere's black list. But apparently millions on his bank account and free Swedish sheep cheese shortened his memory.

So I told Michael that it doesn't matter that his arm is fine.

"What is that supposed to mean?" he was in complete disbelief.

"I am saying, Michael, that is doesn't matter that your arm is fine. It doesn't prove – or change – anything. I don't want us to be in slings on our wedding photos. I will not endanger my wedding, okay?"

"So everything can be fine for years, but the moment I pull a muscle a little, you think everything will be shot to hell from now on?"

"Well, that's the thing with luck. You never know when it has its time of the month. So don't provoke it!"

"Well, Mia, just for the record, I think you are crazy," Michael said and pulled a t-shirt over his head. You know, just to show me that his arm worked just fine now. And how huge his arms actually are. All to remind me of all the stomach perfection I will be missing on. But whatever. I am not a sex maniac. "And may I suggest you seek another bed in the hotel? Because I have to say, it will be a lot easier to miss you when you are not sleeping in the same bed."

And so I got evicted from my hotel room. By my fiancé. Because I want to be in one piece on my wedding photos.

But I don't really care. All great martyrs suffer. Lilly taught me that once.

I just went upstairs to the room in which my cousins and Lars were staying.

My luck totally needs a Midol (or two) as Sebastiano opened the door. He looked at me like I was polyester on a Milan Fashion show and then just shut the door to my face.

So I descended the stairs again (if anything, all this exercise will make my butt look great in the wedding photos) and went to the reception and asked if they have any vacant rooms.

The lady sent me to this hotel across the street.

Her colleague here has just informed me that indeed there are rooms here. I asked for the price, and let's just say that if I don't find a way to convince Michael that this no sex rule is a good one, my bank account will lose 120 of those 133.67 euros it has on. (The money I get for hosting My Man Can goes directly to a foundation that distributes tampons to rural parts of India and Africa; also, I no longer have a credit card without a limit, as Dad and Michael both agree it is not really a smart thing to do.)

January 26, 2 pm, my OWN room

This eviction thing is actually a blessing in disguise. I now get to experience life as it is for people who are not royal and are not about to marry one of the youngest self-made millionaires in the world. Like, I am in a room with one smallish bed, an average-size bathroom (that does not include a shower curtain and whose flushing system is the weirdest I have ever seen. Like, there is a handle you have to pull down. Which is fine, as the palace too has ancient flushing system, but this one? Either it doesn't flush at all, or the water doesn't stop running or like TEN MINUTES! But at least the complimentary shampoo smells nice!), and complimentary tea. Sure I almost pulled a muscle opening the door, but its weight proves to me that I am safe here. And the window totally doesn't open enough for me to throw myself through it. Not now that I have hips, at least.

And there's TV. With TWO music channels.

I think now I'll print out the list of all the bakeries nearby and then go order croquembouche for the wedding.

Did I mention? I get 30 minutes of the free internet every day!

January 26, 2:10 pm, my OWN room

I can totally live without having brought with me any extra items of clothing.

But that I left the charger for my wireless headphones?

I don't even know why I abandoned the good ol' plug-in headphones. Wait, I know! Because Michael was sooo happy the world was technologically advancing! Of course MICHAEL never forgets his chargers for anything. Of course MICHAEL doesn't lose the 160-dollar worth of headphones every month. And, by extension, I don't either, because I always have MICHAEL around to lend me the charger.

I guess I'll just go listen to the couple honeymooning in the room next to mine (did I mention? These usual rooms seem to have thinner walls).

I think I'll order myself some chocolate cake.

January 26, 2:15 pm, my OWN room

They don't have room service.

The couple next door obviously doesn't mind.

I think I'll shower before I go croquembouche-hunting.

Despite the no shower curtain thing.

Apparently you have to go get hair dryer at the reception desk.

January 26, 2:20 pm, my OWN room

Is it just me or are there three distinct voices coming from the room next to mine?

This bathroom as crazy acoustics.

January 26, 2:55 pm, my OWN room

I think I broke it. The hair dryer, I mean.

It's not like I sat on it! I was drying my hair, and then … I don't know. Something went pop and this weird smell of something burning came out of the dryer. So I shut it off and unplugged it.

Oh, my god, what if I REALLY broke it? And it won't work again?

God. Where is Michael when you need him? He would totally know how to fix it.

Right. In his room, being childish over this no sex for two days thing.

My bank account totally cannot afford to buy a new hairdryer!

January 26, 3 pm, my OWN room

SOMEBODY IS KNOCKING!

I swear it's that lady at the reception desk! She probably smelt something burning in my room and has come to investigate. The room is probably surveilled. This must be why Lars always sweeps every place in which I am staying, in case it is bugged.

What good does it do me now, knowing how not to drown if I am thrown in the water with my hands tied? Lars totally doesn't teach me anything useful!

Arghhhh, she is knocking again.

Well, if I can enjoy a sex life like a mature adult (speaking of this, I am TOTALLY sure there are three people in the adjacent room. Good for them. They must be Britney fans.), then I guess I can face paying for a new hairdryer.

January 26, 4 pm, my OWN room

It wasn't the lady from the front desk.

When I opened the door Sebastiano threw his arms around my neck.

"We thought you w kidnap!" he cried.

"No, we didn't," Michael sounded amused. He was standing behind Sebastiano, along with Harry, René and Lars. Lars especially looked out of his usual calm demeanor.

"Don't you ever dare to escape the hotel without notifying me!" he said.

"What are you guys even doing here?" I asked. I mean, it wasn't that I didn't want to see them or anything, but it was sort of hard to be excited with a hairdryer that was prone to spontaneous combustion in the room.

"Michael paid the receptionist to tell us where you went," Harry said.

"I thought you w kidnap by Chechen terror!" Sebastiano still clung to me.

"He wanted to apologize about the whole dress incident, so we went to look for you in Michael's room," René explained.

"Of co I will design yo wed dress!" Sebastiano shouted. "I have wan to do it since I met you! and I don't car if no one sees it, I just wan to make you your per dress! The one you wan! Bec I love you!"

"Okay, let's get the preparations on the road," René stepped closer and pulled Sebastiano off me.

My eyes went all big.

"So you will help us with the wedding?" I asked.

"Of course!" Harry exclaimed. "We love you, you heard him."

"Okay, let's leave the happy couple alone," Lars said, then focused his eyes on me. "I'll be in the lobby," he added. He probably noticed how cute the receptionist was and wanted to inquire whether baking is one of her favorite past times.

I waited until they got to the staircase (have I mentioned? My hotel doesn't have the elevator), then turned to Michael. He was in my room now, holding the hairdryer. I didn't like the grin on his face one bit. I never hid the fact I am incapable of functioning effectively in the real world.

"So this is where you'll be staying till the wedding," he said, looking around. He probably noticed just how small the bed was and how uncomfortable the pillows seemed. And the sheets don't smell of anything. They are just … clean.

"I wouldn't mind coming back," I said, looking at just how well the T-shirt he was wearing fit him.

I wonder why he didn't put his coat on when exiting the hotel. He must have been sooo worried about the whereabouts of his fiancée.

Not.

"Have you changed your mind about the sex ban?" he asked like he was asking me if I remembered to buy the salad while in the supermarket.

And right then the trio in the adjacent room apparently reached the climax of their honeymooning. REALLY LOUDLY. TOGETHER. I swear, focusing on our conversation was excruciating!

Michael totally looked like he was amused by it all.

And he put down the hairdryer. OF COURSE he knew it was broken.

"Well, then I guess we will text regarding the details of the wedding," he smiled, turned around and walked out of the room.

Oh, this thing is so totally on.

 

January 26, 5 pm, Joëlle's Pastry

I got René to bring me the charger for my headphones. I tried to discreetly ask him whether or not Michael willingly handed it over, but René seemed more interested in the list of bakeries we were to check out in order to find the master of croquembouche.

Of course Lars had to chime in and say that he believed Michael laughed and then added that 'there was more where that came from'.

Completely outrageous!

I think he is forgetting that I am a Renaldo woman. We strangle or men with our hair or cut their heads off. And throw ourselves from bridges. It's just that, you know, my hair is not really long enough, there are not any bridges around and, well, I do not condone death penalty.

But still. We are stubborn.

This really is for the best.

Joëlle's Pastry was the first place we checked out. It was located on the main street, just between the shoe maker's and hairdresser's. The sign above the door was flapping in the slight wind, and the pink muffins in the window looked promising. I of course felt my thighs exploding just from looking at it.

The moment René opened the door (I have to say he was taking his role as a food taster really seriously. Up to that point, I mean. He even printed out pictures of croquembouche and carried them in a very important-looking folder, just like I usually do when I am presenting the Parliament with a new proposition), the delicious smell of vanilla sugar and cinnamon embraced us. At that point I TOTALLY felt my thighs exploding! And I wasn't even wearing my skinny jeans!

"Bonjour," a woman not much older than me appeared behind the counter. She was wearing a pink apron with muffins – it matched the sign above the door – and kept her red hair in a bun. Wild curls fell down at each side of her face and she wore the lipstick in the matching shade. There was an earring in her nose. And from then on I of course knew the path René's thoughts would take. Gee, I wonder where else she has those. And by the way he looked at me over his shoulder I knew I was quite correct.

You know, I want people to be themselves. I think this is the easiest, yet the hardest thing to achieve. Being yourself, so completely alienated from the expectations of others, so absolutely immune to their stares, glares and so unwaveringly focused on your own fulfillment. It is something I am striving and struggling to achieve myself, and René has aided me tremendously in this aspect. I will forever owe him for being amongst the ones who picked me up after I broke apart following Michael's departure for Japan. But still, it ached to see him opting for a girl with earrings rather than help me pick the right baker for my dream wedding pastry.

"Hello," he said with his most seductive voice, "we seek some baking assistance."

"Well, maybe I can help!" she replied to his voice without even registering Lars and me. And that says something, given Lars's size.

"Well, here's the thing," René started, "my cousin here," he of course emphasized our family relation, "is getting married. And she wants a croquembouche for the wedding. I was wondering if you might be able to help me make this dream of my darling cousin's come true. We will, of course, pay."

"Oh," the girl responded with a voice that I think was supposed to be regret, but there was none in her eyes. "You have come here at the wrong time. My mother, she is great baking anything. But I am substituting her for the week, and I can barely get the muffins together." Then she looked around, as if to see if anyone was listening, and dropped her voice to the whisper. "And even they are from the bag."

René sat down on the edge of the counter and leant closer to her. "I don't care in the slightest," he said, and she bit her lower lip. Of course by that point my thighs weren't exploding at all anymore.

Shockingly René managed to tear himself off her and dashed toward Lars and me.

"Well, only two to go," he said and pushed the folder in my hands. Then he turned to Lars and pulled an envelope from his jacket.

"The money Michael gave us for the food," he whispered. Surprisingly, this was not as loud as the discreet hooking up.

"I'll guard it with my life," Lars's words made my eyes roll. Trust me, I will probably never be as unhungry after leaving a bakery as I was right then. Even more so after I saw Lars give René thumbs up.

January 26, 5:30 pm, Angélique's Pastry

By the time Lars and I left the bakery that will never only smell of cinnamon and vanilla sugar again – I hate to say it, but René's cologne has an ability to find little cracks in the wall and then stay there. Which would be a nice thing if it smell anything like, I don't know, Michael, for example, but trust me, it doesn't. Mostly because René isn't what you'd call a dedicated bather. And sadly not an empathetic one, either – it was snowing.

Snow and certain people are a good combination. Like Michael, for example. His hair is so dark that when little snowflakes land on it, it looks like his head is covered with diamonds. I swear. Or maybe as if little angels have landed on him. It is intoxicating, really, especially because usually he wears a scarf when it snows, tightly wrapped around his neck. And then after we get inside the car, he unbuttons the first button of his black coat and takes off his scarf. And he gently wraps it around my neck and from then on I feel a little tipsy, just like he knows I will. I swear, Michael seems like was made for winter. Of course summer has its perks, such as minimal clothing, but romantic-wise, winter totally wins.

And autumn, too. When we saunter around Central Park, with lattes in our hands. … Jake Gyllenhaal has nothing on him.

Besides, more clothing means longer, well, process of unclothing. Taking off Michael's clothes is like unwrapping Christmas gifts (not the ones from Tante Jean Marie. She keeps giving me fur bags. After the sixth, I convinced René to hint at her that I may want something else, but apparently only young women are susceptible to René's charms. (And, yeah, René too keeps giving me shoes on all proper occasions. But at least them I can wear!)), just better. Like, I know what it is waiting for me under the layers of fabric, which totally, you know, excites me, and yet every time I feel like I am doing it for the first time. Which adds an entirely new dimension to excitement.

"Better be careful, Princess," Lars then said. "Snow may be covering some icy patches."

Lars of course knows everything about snow. He grew up in cold climates of Scandinavia. I had always wondered why he ended up working in Genovia, a country with sunny weather through the year and scorching summer, so I asked him once. He said he simply needed money very bad after his second divorce. "Besides," he added, "Phillipe lets me have summers off. So I stayed. And the country offers great fishing."

Anyway, when we entered the second bakery on the list, I felt like I was in Cupcake Heaven. Along the sides walls of the place were little round tables, and on them plates of pastry. They had EVERYTHING. And EVERYTHING looked delicious. They had cupcakes of every color. It looked like a rainbow. They even had PIZZA MUFFINS. MUFFINS WITH A TASTE OF PIZZA. And I swear I wasn't high from all the chocolate in the air.

Of course it was too good to be true.

Angélique turned out to be in her early forties (like Lars), with brown hair and huge, quite disproportionate eyes. She was slightly rounder around the hips (just like Lars likes them – he likes to show his past wedding pictures when the jet in stuck on the tarmac and he has had a drink or two. I think it is because it reminds him that being away a lot was one of the reasons that his marriages ended in divorce. And as a bodyguard, he isn't allowed to drink most of the time (you never know when the palace might have to be evacuated during the night, and the sheer number of halls could be unconquerable when intoxicated), so it doesn't take him long to get in the talkative mode) and there was flour in her hair (which Lars loves).

And since we were in the bakery, I knew there must have been something in the air tonight among my entourage.

"Excuse me, do you bake croquembouche?" Lars asked her.

"Could be arranged," she replied.

Lars hesitated a bit before asking the following question: "You don't use the mixture from the bag, do you?"

Lars is probably skilled as at reading people, thus he hesitated because he could anticipate the reaction the question would trigger. Angélique screamed something that sounded like German and not at all nice and threw a bowl in Lars's direction (and by extension at me, as I was standing right next to him). It turned out the bowl contained the mixture for the next batch of muffins, and the cloud of flour suddenly invaded by nostrils. Not to mention the egg that landed on my jeans. And that my hair was now all sticky with butter and smelt like vanilla (the latter was a good thing. I have tried out so many different shampoos, but never have has my hair had such a distinctive smell!). By what I could taste on my lips, it was a shame that this batch went to such tragic and unnecessary waste. It tasted totally yummy.

Obviously the woman was crazy. I didn't want her to contribute in any way to the deliciousness of my wedding.

I turned to Lars, totally expecting to get into his bodyguard mode and push me out of the bakery, protecting me with his rock solid body and the bulletproof vest. Actually, I was surprised he hadn't done it already.

And by the looks of things, he wasn't planning on doing it at all. I swear, he totally looked like Rocky that time Frederik (Grandmere's farmer husband) showed him how to recreate farting noises with his shoulder. IMPRESSED.

I AM NOT JOKING. MY BODYGUARD WAS TOTALLY TURNED ON WHEN A RANDOM WOMAN THREW A BOWL AT ME.

Thank god it was plastic, that's all I will say.

"Mia," he said with a heavy breath, without moving his eyes off the woman, "take the folder and the envelope and find out what they are offering at the last place. I will inquire what it is offered here. I will meet you at the hotel tomorrow morning."

And I ran out of there as fast as I could. I think I heard a lock turn behind me.

January 26, 6:30 pm, Girl's Best Pastry

It got weirder.

The third and final bakery turned out to be small and quirky. It smelt just as nice as the first two (yes, I am obsessed with olfaction), the pastry looked just good, but the girl behind the counter looked totally harmless. Which I immediately took as a good sign.

Boy, was I wrong!

She was about my age and when I told her I wanted croquembouche for my wedding she heartily congratulated me and hugged me. Then she noticed how snowy I was (by that time it snowed REALLY heavily). She sat me down behind the table which stood by the radiator and placed a plate with a huge chocolate muffin in front of me. The following minute she added a cup of hot chocolate.

I mean, I totally loved her.

But I love anyone who gives me chocolate (well, except those creepy fans that send me candy along with their naked pictures. That's just gross. Besides, I am not allowed to eat anything sent by mail, so people are just wasting the money (well, those pictures are kind of useful when Tina, Lilly (not that Lilly has much time for social visits now when she is exposing corruption in Haiti) and Lana come to visit.)), so I am not the best judge.

I told her I wanted croquembouche for my wedding and she brought a special folder with pictures of it. Like, what kind of plate I want it to be on, if I want it to be in different colors, decorations, everything. I once again felt my thighs getting fatter (though this time they probably did because of all the chocolate). I felt assured that at least this part of my wedding is handled by a professional (since pretty much everyone else is too busy risking sex injuries), and then the door just HAD to open.

Sebastiano walked in, holding a huge suitcase which, I presume, contained the beginnings of my wedding dress.

"I ho you don't mind I ask Michael whe to find you, I need feed on the dress…" he managed to get out before he noticed the girl sitting by me. And I don't mean noticed like, how mismatched her sweater was to her pants (it was), or how unbecoming (well, to me she looked just fine), or how the colors just didn't bring out her best assets. He also didn't look like he found a potential model; no, he looked, well, kind of like Jack when he saw Rose for the first time on Titanic. Or maybe Noah in The Notebook, when he saw Allie at that carnival.

Yes. THAT look.

Thank god I was sitting. Otherwise I think I would fall back, like Rebecca in the fourth cycle of America's Next Top Model. I mean, I have known Sebastiano for a really long time now, and while we never exactly discussed some things, I just assumed. Obviously I am terrible at assuming things (Re: Michael's virginity). Which I guess explains why I am so terrible at anything numbers-related. Numbers are FACTUAL. You can't just MAKE UP that you have enough money for a new Gucci.

"Oh, are those the sketches for the dress?" the girl (her name is Sophie, by the way? Isn't it adorable?).

"They are not done yet," Sebastiano said, looking totally perplexed. Which I probably mirrored.

"Well, maybe we could coordinate and make the dress and croquembouche match a little," Sophie smiled at the idea. (Which, by the way, I so totally approve)

"I don't think so," Sebastiano hurried, then turned around and ran back into the snowstorm (by then it was snowing like I had never seen it before).

"He's always afraid somebody will sell his sketches," I quickly explained to Sophie, "don't worry, it is not you."

January 26, close to midnight, back in my room

By the time I left Sophie's, the snowing was so bad I almost got lost. But I didn't. I did almost slip on one of those icy patches Lars had warned me of. But my ankles stayed whole. I was just totally snow-sodden. When I walked into my room and stood there for a minute, just coming to terms with the fact nothing was falling on me anymore, a paddle formed around me. Even my bra was soaked.

It felt kind of cold in the room, so I squatted by the radiator and tried to get it to work.

It was too slow for my liking, so I just boiled some water for tea and went to the bed. I pulled the covers and the blanket up to my neck.

That was when my phone beeped.

I got a text from Michael:

Michael: What are you doin'? I miss you.

To which I replied:

Mia: I got us a cake! And now I am warming up in bed.

Michael: I'm just saying' you could do better (than blankets). Wanna come over?

Do you see the complete ignorance regarding the croquembouche?

Mia: I think I am doing just fine on my own, thank you.

And I sent him a picture of myself. The blankets were strategically placed just up my naval. And I had my best bra on.

I proudly sipped tea while I waited for his reply.

Michael: I don't want to brag, but my bed is totally bigger.

And he sent a picture, too. Not only was Michael's chest so better defined than mine; the blanket was placed just a little lower than mine, and the thing it insinuated totally made me spill my tea all over. HOT TEA. ALL OVER MY CHEST. IN WHICH I AM GETTING MARRIED IN A COUPLE OF DAYS. TO A GUY WHO BASICALLY JUST SHOWED ME THAT HIS ROOM IS WARM ENOUGH FOR HIM TO SLEEP NAKED. NAKED, WHILE I AM FREEZING HERE. BECAUSE I DON'T KNOW HOW THESE EUROPEAN RADIATORS WORK. AND I HAVE RUN OUT OF MINUTES FOR THE FREE INTERNET.

Obviously I was too distraught (AND BURNT) to reply.

Michael: You not gon' come? I guess I'll just chill here, then…

Michael: Come on, Mia, this is ridiculous. Come here. Or I'm coming to you, I don't care. I miss you.

Michael: Mia? You okay?

And I could reply to neither as I was in the bedroom pouring cold water all over my chest because my skin was still BURNING. BUT OF COURSE I COULDN'T TELL HIM THAT. I basically mutilated myself with TEA after I implemented the no sex rule in order for us to be in good physical condition for the wedding. I would never hear the end of it.

But he was totally capable of coming over. So I just went,

Mia: I am going to sleep now. Good night.

And then I returned to the bathroom to save what could be saved.

January 26, still close to midnight, back in my room

At least if this burn turns out to be fatal for me, they will be able to write on my gravestone that HER HAIR SMELT LIKE VANILLA AND HER B-OOBS SMELT OF ENGLISH TEA.


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