A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (Chapter 9: No Goodbyes) I promise you I won’t forget the times we shared, the tears we criedYou’ll always be the sun in my skyIt may be fate that brings us back to meet again somedayEven though we go separate...
A Modern Fairy Tale Romance (Chapter 9: No Goodbyes)
I promise you I won’t forget the times we shared, the tears we cried
You’ll always be the sun in my sky
It may be fate that brings us back to meet again someday
Even though we go separate ways
You made me believe
that I can do almost anything
You stood right by me
through the tears through everything
I’ll remember you, No Secrets
THE Home-Coming ball was a grand and magnificent one. It was after all, a Home-coming ball for the long absent of His Highness the Prince. Which also meant mingling between the members of the Royal Family and the Lords and Ladies and the Nobles was a must.
The talk between the Noblemen on that night raging from the constant changing of the weather, to the market’s price in the town skyrocketed, to political matters.
One thing that those people have in common, was the number one topic that was surely came out from their mouth:
The mysterious Honourable Guest of Prince Duke, who claimed to come from the ‘Other World’.
Some of the Noblemen were actually quite excited to see the Prince’s Honourable Guest, for they have plenty of questions to ask regarding the Other World. Others were merely curious and wondered just how a plain Commoner got to befriended with their Crown Prince in the first place.
It was at that moment, Anya Romans, dressed in a beautiful red gown, yawned for what seemed to be her fifteenth times of that night. Seated at the high table amongst the Royal family and the noblemen, Anya was trying so hard not to fall asleep right then and there while she listened to the ramblings and boring speeches made by Noblemen.
Once or twice, she’d almost dropped her table on the table if it wasn’t for her escort who discreetly pitched her bare arm to keep her awake.
Anya scowled at her escort and rubbed her arm where he’d just pitched. She was too tired to have a verbal argument with him right now and could only think of sleep. She had been ready to fall to sleep had it not been for the darn engagement ring that suddenly glowed, for God’s sake!
Anya sighed. Tuning out the speeches, she recalled moment that happened an hour ago.
Upon meeting with Duke and his father, King Edwin, before entering the dining hall, Anya had never been so terrified her whole life meeting with the man face-to-face whom she had bravely told off through the computer screen about walking in her shoes when he’d unintentionally insulted and accused her for treating his son poorly during his stayed at her place.
Thankfully Aidan had been there when her knees started to give away.
Closeup, the King was a large, muscular man with intimidating eyes. He had a face of a man who had just killed someone and still lusting for blood. Anya’s eyes drifted from the King to the Prince who had smiled gleefully at her. Her gaze quickly returned back to the King who still staring down at her.
Are they really related? She wondered in silence.
“It is a great pleasure to finally meet the young lady whom my son wouldn’t stop talking about, Miss Romans.” King Edwin’s deep voice broke any thoughts she had, leaving her awkwardly standing still in front of the man.
“I-It is an honour to meet you, Your Majesty.” Anya hadn’t forgotten to bow curtsy.
“As Duke had told informed me, the reason why you are in this world was due to the Engagement Ring which you had forgotten to give back to him. Is that correct, Miss Romans?”
“Yes.” Anya nodded.
When she had told Duke and his Butler how she had come about to this place was due to his Engagement Ring, both had reacted very differently.
Duke had been more of a surprise and glad that she’d found his Engagement Ring. He’d also confessed that while he had been searching for the ring during their earlier stay, as time went by, he had forgotten all about it.
Nonetheless, Duke had grateful that Anya kept it safe until now and not throwing it away when she could have.
Aidan on the other hand, had not been pleased with the news at all. He’d lectured the young woman for taking away the Prince’s possession especially when it was something that had high value and meaningful. Needless to say, Anya had not been too happy to hear about it.
She had ready to give him a piece of her mind when Duke decided to step in and broke those two apart. His butler might have been calm and collected most of the time, but even he had his own share of temper. And surprisingly, the only person who managed to make Aidan lose his cool, as far as Duke concerned, was Anya herself.
The King’s constant stare had crept her out. Anya desperately felt like running for miles far away from the man when something broke her thoughts.
“Y-Yes, Your Majesty?” One large hand had reached out to her, causing Anya to take several steps back.
Anya looked up and hitched her breath at the soft and kind expression on the King’s face.
“I’d like to personally welcome you to my kingdom, Excalibell. Welcome!”
“W-What?” Anya looked dumbfounded at the three of them
“His Majesty King Edwin had merely wanted to test you, Miss Romans.” said Aidan stepped forward from behind her. A knowing smirk graced on his lips.
“His Majesty wanted to see for himself if you are the same as the fiercely young woman on the monitor screen the other day, the one who, had bravely scolded him after belittling your family’s life hard earning. It seemed you have once again proven him wrong. Well done.”
Anya choked out on the next words she had wanted to say. Several heads turned to look at them, wandering what was the commotion all and what was taking them so long too wait in order to speak with the Royal Family. Her face turned deep red as she swallowed hard.
Sensing the mood, Duke changed the topic and pulled his father to mingle with the other Noblemen who had been getting impatient of having to wait for their turns to speak with the Royal Family. He had entrusted Anya in the good hands of his Butler to keep her safe and sound until he returned.
Sighed for almost the tenth time in the last twenty minutes, Anya picked up the same sparkling drink glass she’d been drinking since the start of the party and sipped on it. The drink did not contained any alcohol at all, but she was not fond of any of the other sparkling drinks and thus, had chose to drink this one slowly in order not to upset her already full stomach.
“Miss Romans, could you please not sigh for every five minutes? It’s getting on my nerves.”
“I’m sleepy.” Anya snapped back. “I have classes tomorrow. Wait. What day is tomorrow?”
“Friday.” Her escort answered plainly.
At his answer, the young woman beside him gasped. Rising an eyebrow, he decided to ask. “What’s wrong with Friday?”
“Idiot! Friday is the busiest day in the whole week! I have three classes; two in the morning and one in the afternoon and THEN I have to help out at Home’s! Friday is our special half-price day so I’ll be extremely busy!”
Scowled, she lightly punched his arm. “You’ve been living with me for months. How could you not know about this?”
“True. I’ve lived with you long but not too long enough for me care about your daily schedule.” Aidan smirked satisfyingly before reaching out for his own glass on the table — Red Wine.
Anya looked away. Just how long do one needs to make a speech anyway? Shouldn’t there be a time limit? Groaned, Anya tried to find a way to distract herself when a shadow came out from behind her.
“My, I never knew the talk of the night would be so beautifully gorgeous in person!”
Anya blinked rapidly at the tall, middle-aged figure with a glass on his right hand, smiling lecherously behind her.
“You, of course! I’ve heard that someone from the Other World had come and caused troubles in the castle. But who would have thought that someone would be so beautiful to look at, my dear. Yes.. A rare flower, indeed.”
Okay... Anya swallowed the gulp on her throat and smiled politely. “I’m flattened by your comments, kind Sir.“”
The man raised his glass in the air and winked at her, before he left for another table.
Anya was left stunned by the man’s reaction.
What the hell just happened back then? He came out of nowhere and started flattering her and then he’d just...Left? Maybe she should stopped drinking those sparkling water.
“You should have never let your guards down.” Aidan’s voice caught her attention.
Still holding the red win glass in his hand, he glared the back of the Lord at the other table who was
mingling with other people.
“What happened back there? I’m...confused. One moment he was flattening me, and then he just went away?”
“Lord Harmon was simply testing the water on you.”
“There’s a specific reason why His Highness the Prince did not wished for you to be left alone tonight, Miss Romans. It’s because men like Lord Harmon would not think twice doing inappropriate things to someone like you. That was just merely the first step.”
“Lucky for you, he didn’t dare to go far with his flattering because I’m here with you. Had you were to be left alone, there’s no telling what else would he be saying to you. Men, especially like Lord Harmon, still think that women live only to serve their needs and desire.”
“That’s filthy and not to mention, sexist to the fault!”
Aidan shrugged. “That’s the world you are in now, unfortunately. You’ll be pleased to know that both His Majesty and His Highness are working hard at dissolving the issue. Though it will takes time, considering how stubborn the other Lords are in the consult, nevertheless, it is still better than not doing anything about it at all.”
Anya nodded. She really hoped Duke and his father could changed the mindset of the men here. Degrading women into becoming sex-slaves was the worse thing and should be condemned.
Shaking her head to get her topic out of her mind before it ruined any mood she had left for the party, Anya sighed softly. She was having a hard time to stay awake.
Rubbing her eyes, she said, “Aidan, take me home. I don’t think I can stay awake much longer. Please?”
Unknown to her, the butler had gasped softly when she had called his name. For as long as the two of them had known each other, Anya had never called him by his name.
She’d called him names, yes. Very rude, unladylike and distasteful names. But never once had she called him by his own name.
Caught by surprised at her small action, Aidan decided the best way not to let her know was to clear his throat.
“I’ll see what I can do. Though, I highly doubt the Prince would be happy that you want to leave early.” He looked at the big clock hanging on the wall. “At ten thirty o’clock.”
Anya snorted. “I have classes tomorrow. Besides, it’s not like you guys won’t be coming back again, right?”
No reply coming from her escort.
Realisation hit her again, and Anya straightened her posture and looked straight at Aidan.
“You guys won’t be coming back again...”
Aidan finished the rest of his drink before he putting it down on the table.
“I don’t see any reason why we should stay there any more.” Aidan said in a quiet tone.
Anya stared at him for a whole minute. Her shock filled face was gone and replaced by a deep scowl.
“So when are you planning me telling me about this? Do you ever plan on telling me at all? Or do you prefer when I come to your place one day and found out it has already been evacuated?”
Aidan remained silence, which irritated the young woman further.
“Oh my god, that was your plan all along, isn’t it? You bastard!” She kicked his leg under the table. “After all that we’ve been through you don’t have any courtesy to say ‘thank you’ or something?!”
Aidan winced at her kick but his face remained stoic. “I’m simply following orders, Miss Romans. Had the King ordered me to let you know, I certainly would. However, his strict order was not to let you nor the Prince knew about the magic portal until after his three months Probation Period is over. I’m sure you’ve heard of that from him?”
Anya gritted her teeth. “I did, but that’s not the problem here! The problem here is that you are constantly following orders without considering other people’s feelings! I mean, sure we didn’t get along at first, but after months of living together, one would have thought we’ve grown closer enough to be able at least to say a goodbye!”
“Is that what you really think?” Aidan stared unblinkingly at her. “We are neither friends nor acquaintances, Miss Romans. I’d assumed our relationship was purely based on tolerance. When the Prince had informed me how greatly upset you seemed to be when we left your place, I thought it was rather strange. I honestly thought you’d be more than happy to finally getting rid of us. It seemed our presences at the Other World had begun to have effect on you...”
Aidan sighed, brushing his fingers through his hair. “In all honesty, Miss Roman, I’m glad things happened the way they were supposed to happen.”
Anya kept her gaze on the man. She tried to get her head around at the meaning of his words when she felt a hand tapped her on the shoulder.
“Miss Anya!” Duke’s handsome face came to sight. He immediately took an empty seat beside her and said, “I’m very sorry for not able to entertain you. The Lords had been so eager to see me regarding the so called ‘business trip’. I’m escaping from them and have my father deal with them in the meantime. ”
“Your Highness.” Aidan scolded.
Duke playfully rolled his eyes, and focused his attention on Anya. He smiled warmly at her and asked, “Are you enjoying the night so far?”
Anya mutely nodded.
Duke’s smile faded at her silence. Sighed softly, he reached out and took her hands into his own.
“I’m guessing Aidan has told you about us not coming back?” He whispered softly. Duke smiled sadly as his eyes moved from her face to their hands.
“You don’t plan on telling me either about you not coming back, Duke?”
“I can’t.” Duke shook his head. “When my father confronted me about it, I’d been against it. Though everything happened was my fault and it was my punishment, but you and your family had been nothing kind to us, Miss Anya. On top of that, we’ve grown close over the months... That’s why I feel, it does not feels right to leave without saying goodbyes.”
A smile graced upon Anya’s pink lips. She raise one hand from the Prince’s gentle grip and flicked his forehead.
“Dummy. You’d put a spell on them. That’s why Mum’s-“Duke suddenly chuckled heartily, causing Anya to halt her words.
“Maybe at the beginning of it.” He winked. “But I’d made Aidan removed all spells we’ve cast on your family and friends, a month ago.”
"What?! B-But James! When he got back home that night, he shove you two off to the door. And then when you came back...”
“Ah, that.” Duke coughed embarrassingly and turned to Aidan who grew a smirk.
“Aidan had promised me that would be the last time he’d used a magic on anyone. Of course, when Zenon had unexpectedly made his presence known at Home’s the very next day, Aidan had no choice but to break his words, to keep you safe and sound from him. But since then, have you noticed that he did not used any of his magic at all? Not even once!”
Anya crossed her arms and subtly kicked the Prince on his legs under the table. Duke’s legs jerked slightly from her hit. He chuckled again, letting go of her hands to rub his sightly stung leg.
“So, they’re okay now, right?”
Duke nodded. “Indeed. And by tonight, as the clock struck at twelve o’clock, our memories will be erased from their minds, all except for yours, Miss Anya.”
Anya nodded. She wouldn’t admit it out loud, but something inside her cracked a little at the thought of everyone not remembering them ever again.
I suppose it’s the best for everyone.
“So what now? Back to Castle’s life?” Anya asked the Prince while scooping the desert — a caramel pudding — the servant had served on to their table, with a tiny spoon.
The night was slowly moving toward midnight. Many of the guests had excused themselves and left the dais, reeling toward the exit.
Duke shrugged. “I suppose. A lot have changed since I’d left. I’ll be missing working at Home’s though.” He smiled fondly.
“What about meeting with Marian? Have you at least tried to contact her yet or something?”
Duke shook his head. “I don’t think that would be necessarily. It was because of my own stubbornness that I’ve gotten trouble in the first place. Marian had already informed me that she would be busy with her dance recitals. Even if I were to contact her now and told her what’d happened, she would just be worried about me and you as well. I guess I’ll just have to wait until she finishes with her recitals to meet up and explain everything then.”
“When will that be?”
Duke tapped one finger on his cheek. “August, if I’m not mistaken.”
Anya snorted. “That’s just like two months away!”
Duke smiled sheepishly at her comment. He finished off his desert with a final scoop when Anya opened her mouth again.
“But you know, I don’t think what you’ve done was wrong at all. Sure, you’ve caused me more trouble than you worth,” she flapped away the glare Aidan was giving her.
“See the thing is, when you’re in love with someone, you wanted to spend every moment with that person. It’s very common. I can’t possibility imagine the feelings to have a long-distance relationship — in your case, a time-travelling long distance relationship! When you love someone, sometimes, they’re just all you could think about — till the point that it might drives you crazy. I guess, that’s what they say crazily in love.” Anya chuckled.
“Thank you, Miss Anya.” Duke smiled. “I hope you will find someone whom you can be crazily in love with.” He raised an eyebrow, “Say, Mr. Carter?”
Anya felt her face starting to warm up at the mentioned of her crush’s name. Shaking her head, she tried to think of something else to distract herself from thinking about it even further.
“I think I’d better go. My brain is starting to go crazy on me if I don’t sleep soon.”
“Of course. I’ll go with you. Aidan?”
Aidan nodded, pulled himself to his feet and escort them to the exit.
The trio had escaped from the dining hall, and with the King’s permission, went to the beautiful rose garden where the Prince and his butler had arrived upon landing the Kingdom. Instead of the same portal Duke had used countless times before to go to the Other World, standing before them was a simple transparent portal that looked a lot like mirror.
“This is the magical portal?” Anya raised one eyebrow.
“Yes, what do you expect?” Aidan asked.
“Well, more magical! Duh."
“Magic doesn’t always means magical, Miss Anya. Sometimes, subtle is enough.” Explained Duke diligently.
“Shall we? It’s getting quiet late. Even though I’ve slower the time and space at your place, Miss Romans, it’s still not appropriate for a young lady to be out so late at night.”
“I’m going to miss you so much!” Duke pulled Anya into a firm hug.
“Hey, it’s not like you can’t come and visit me any time, right? You WILL visit me, right?”
“Of course, we will!” Duke pulled away from the hug and smiled widely. “I’ll make sure to take a great care of the mobile phone that you’ve given me. Feel free to call anytime, Miss Anya.”
“You’d better take a good care of that phone, or else!” Anya smiled. “Thank you. I’m so glad I get to meet you, Duke.”
“And I am to you. Even though you are certainly not the usual kind of lady I often met, nevertheless, it’s a great honour to meet with you, Miss Anya. I am glad and proud to call you as my closest and dear friend.”
Anya couldn’t help but to blush at Duke’s kind words. Playfully, she punched him on the right.
“Take care of yourself, Your Highness.” She bowed curtsy, in which made Duke laughed delightfully.
“Take care of yourself too, Miss Anya. Call me if something happens.” His tone lose its playfulness. “Zenon is still in your world. Now that I’m back here, there’s no telling if he’s still interested in you or not.”
“Got it. I’ll be more careful.” Anya nodded.
The Prince and the commoner said their final goodbyes and goodnight before Aidan wrapped one arm around Anya’s waist and entered the magical portal.
The entering process felt like she was being sucked into a whirlwind. Quick yet it made her head spinning so much Anya thought she might throw up there and then. Just how did they got in and out of the portal without feeling a bit of nauseous anyway?
Slowly opening her eyes, the first thing that caught Anya’s eyes was Casey’s small frame, hissing at her. Next, she found herself was lying on the floor, face down, with an arm still attached around her waist.
Groaning, she slowly turned her head to look at her escort. “This is a poor landing. Ow, my back...”
“My apology, Miss Romans. I didn’t have enough time to prepare a perfect landing. Though, you might want to cut down some of the calories that you’ve been eating.” He grinned cheekily. “I’d almost dropped you back there.”
Anya instantly turned deep shades of red. “Y-You... Are you calling me FAT?!” She reached out her hand in the air, before grabbing a pillow that was lying on the floor on her right side, and attempted to hit him with it. To her surprise, Aidan didn’t avoid the attack like he would normally does.
“Shhh. You do not want your mother to hear our commotion don’t you? Moreover at this late hour...” He pointed at the clock on the wall that; three o’clock in the morning.
Anya scowled as she got up to her feet. Checking for any injuries, she sighed in relief when there was none.
“I need to change. Thank you... For bringing me home safely, Aidan.”
There she goes again. Saying his name like it was a prayer. And what were that red glowed on her cheeks when she turned her head away?
No matter. It was cute. Despite his humorous tease about her being an ugly duckling on numerous occasions, there was no doubt that Anya was a in fact, a pleasant to look at.
Silently, Aidan got up to his feet, brushing off any dusts and dirt off his Tuxedo.
“Very well. I’ll be taking my leave then.”
Anya was about to thank him again when Aidan did something totally unexpected — he took by the hand and kissed the back of her hand.
Don’t freak out. Don’t freak out. Don’t freak out. Anya kept telling herself while trying not to blush as much as she possibly could.
When Aidan released her hand a moment later, he looked stoically at her.
“Farewell, Miss Romans.” With a snap of his fingers, the man disappeared in the thin air.
AUGUST came in peacefully after her last encountered with the Excalibellian Prince and his trusty butler.
Two months of being back to normal.
It was hard for Anya not to struck with sadness (yes, she finally admitted she felt sad with those two gone), during the first few weeks after they’d left, but Anya got over it and moved on with her life.
The night of the ball felt like a far-away dream. It was truly wonderful and magical, something that Anya knew she would cherished for the rest of her life.
As for Duke’s warning on Zenon, she hadn’t heard nor saw him anywhere near her ever since their so-called ‘date’.
Anya jokingly thought that she must had turned him off on that date that he decided she was not worth pursuing. Not that it ever mattered to her anyway.
Within in these peaceful two months, a lot of things had changed; Anya was now a proud bridesmaid to her best friend Emma Greens for her upcoming wedding! when she had found out that her two best friends in the whole world were now engaged, Anya was so happy, she’s nearly nearly hyperventilated out of excitement!
Since then, Anya made it her top mission to keep all the boys away from flirting with Emma.
If they won’t budge, no problem. She could always made them go away with her fists, and plus, she knew where they lived, so that should keep them away with a first warning.
Besides the Engagement announcement, Dean, Anya’s older twin brother had made a quick recovery from the car accident he was involved in. Though he still wouldn’t be able to do any of the heavy lifting anytime soon (Rina had insisted he should be kept in the hospital for another month), at least he could monitored and managed the restaurant.
Both the twins were still busied themselves with the managing restaurant, however, they did made an effort to regularly called home everyday from now on.Ever since Anya’s emotional outburst, they had been very considered and sensitive of her feelings- much to her embarrassment.
All in all, everything was going smooth and well in Anya’s daily life.
It was the first week of August, Friday night. Anya had just finished washing the dishes and was making her way to the back of Home’s, carrying two large plastic bags filled with garbage to the big garbage bin outside. She put them both inside the bin and huffed once her job was done.
Anya stretched her arms and back after a long hard day at school and work. She had just finished her mid-term examination and was excited for two weeks of long vacation after today. Stretching her head left and right, she was just about to return the restaurant when something caught her.
Anya saw a silhouette figure of a tall man standing across the road, waving at her.
She scowled deeply. Her hand gripped tightly on the doorknob. She could barely identified who the man was from the distance, but he was starting to creep her out. Anya would have entered the restaurant, but chose not to as her mother was inside, counting all the profits they’d made today. What if she ran and the man decided to chase after her? She would put them both in grave danger.
None of them made a move until a minute later, the figure lifted his head. She saw him grinned at her, before he dissolved into a thin air.
That same night, Anya couldn’t sleep. Not after meeting with that thing that was most definitely not a man by all means. Normal men wouldn’t dissolved in thin air. Anya shivered remembering the incident. She felt very uncomfortable and almost told her mother what had happened when Rosy had questioned her what was taking her so long taking out the garbage.
Decided it was best to lie to her mother as not to freak her out, Anya had told her the garbage bin’s opener got stuck by something so it took her a while to open it and put the garbage in, which Rosy believed her and had told her that she would check it out tomorrow.
Tossing and turning on her bed, Anya groaned and decided she wouldn’t be getting a sleep at this rate. Instead, she sat up on her bed and picked up her mobile phone on the side of the table. She scrolled down to the menu and then clicked on the ‘Contact List’.
The first name appeared on the screen.
Anya stared at the number on the screen. She admitted, if this was any normal ‘stalking business’, she would have handled it on her own. But it wasn’t, and Anya knew better than to handle the mysterious figure by herself.
Hesitatingly, she pressed the call button and wait for the recipient to answer.
After several minutes of waiting, Anya had almost given up and cancelled the call when someone finally answered.
“H-Hey!” Her voice suddenly cracked. Anya took a deep breath and gulped heavily.
“I have to say this is rather surprise, hearing from you. Is everything all right?”
Anya gripped tightly on her blanket, causing Casey to meow annoyingly.
“Um, maybe? How are you, though? How’s the Prince? I don’t want to disturb him in case he’s busy doing on whatever it is a Princely duty he does. That’s why I call you instead. Isn’t that amazing?”
On the other side, she heard him sighed. “So instead, you’ve decided it’s okay to bother me?”
Anya bit her lips guiltily and pouted. “Sorry. Is this a bad time calling? Because there’s a reason why I’m making this call, you know.”
“And what might that be?”
I need you to come here, as soon as possible. Something happened to me tonight, and I’m pretty sure a normal man wouldn’t dissolved in the thin air.”
“Dissolved, you say?”
“Yes.” As Anya told the Gran Mago what happened to her tonight; she was ignorant to Casey’s hissing and growling at the window.
"- Whatever it was, it must have come from your side.”
“Indeed, Miss Romans. I will be there shortly. In the meanwhile, I’d appreciate if you-"
A sudden loud crash and glass being smashed, followed by Anya’s loud screaming broke the conversation.
“Miss Romans? Anya!" Aidan shouted over the phone.
Wasting no time, Aidan disappeared from his private bathroom. He had just finished taking a bath after a long hard day at work, with a towel wrapped around his waist.
When Aidan appeared at Anya’s bedroom in less than seconds later in his normal attire, he found the place was in huge mess; her window was being smashed with scattered glasses lying on the floor.
Aidan bended down and picked up something that had caught his eyes and confirmed his suspection.
He scowled, at a small piece of moulded scales.