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The Prince and the Duke (Book 1)

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Copyright © 2011 by J.D Ruiz


Every one of us believed in fairytales once when we were young. I think because they are always pleasant. I mean they always have that happily ever after part at the end. I still believe in that, even now in junior high school. I believe that everyone can have that ever after in their own ways—and I know I’ll have my fair share of that someday. And I know it could be in any form.

But my view on that matter is about to be challenged on what seemed to be a very ordinary Friday morning of October.

“Do you think the rain’s going to stop?” My friend Clarisse asked as we stare out the window of our classroom.

“I have no idea…” My other friend Joan answered her.

It’s our first period and we’re waiting for our English professor, Mr. Harper. “I don’t think we can make it tonight if it’ll continue to rain like this.”

“But we already went through all the trouble just to go tonight,” Clarisse exclaimed.

“We still have tomorrow, right?” I said, trying to be cheerful. We were planning to go and hang out with friends. We planned this for like a week and now it’s going to be jeopardized by a storm.

“But if it’s only a drizzle we can go, right?” Clarisse looked at me and Joan hopefully.

“Clarisse, there’s no way it’s going to drizzle tonight. The storm’s not going away until Sunday.” Joan explained.

“Says who?” Clarisse placed her hands on her hips and faced Joan.

Okay, this is not going anywhere. “Guys—”

“Miss Duke, Miss Davis and Miss Lewis, back on your seats please.” Mr. Harper’s deep voice rang out. We turned and saw him standing behind the desk. We silently went to our seats in front of the class. As I sat down, I noticed that Mr. Harper is not the only one standing in front. With him is the person I least expect to see. “Thank you,” Mr. Harper said once everyone has settled down. “Good morning, everyone.”

After the class acknowledged his greetings with murmurs, Mr. Harper fixed his spectacled gaze down at me and said, “Miss Duke, Mrs. Jackson would like you in her office at once. This is Mr. Stephen and he’s going with you at the principal’s office.”

“Can I ask what—?”

“I would be honored to explain everything, Ms. Duke,” Mr. Stephen spoke in his usual gentle voice. “If you please.” He gracefully waved his hand towards the door with a low bow. He’s almost sixty-five and he still bows perfectly. But he can’t do this here!

“You can bring your things with you,” Mr. Harper added as I stood up, trying to give Stephen a warning look.  As I picked up my things, I stole at glance at Clarisse and Joan. They are gaping openly at Mr. Stephen. I gave them a look that says, don’t you dare spill something.

I turned at Mr. Harper, “Can I bring a friend?”

“What?” he looked dazed.

“Ms. Duke, there’s no need for that. Your parents are going to be at the office,” Mr. Stephen cut in. Then, he stepped aside as I slowly made my way to the door. Did he just bow again? He is so dead.

“Stephen,” I turned to face him the moment we were alone in the empty corridors. “What the hell are you doing here? What was that? Is mother here as well?”

 “That would be explained later. I was asked to get you from your class. Would you like me to carry your things for you, Lady Johanna?” He just can’t stop himself!

“It’s not that heavy. I can handle. And next time, don’t come in my classroom looking all so formal.” I warned. “And that includes your bowing mannerisms. And don’t call me Lady Johanna, please.”

We walked silently all the way to the principal’s office. Before we enter, Mr. Stephen stopped me by saying, “Lady—” he stopped himself, “I mean, Ms. Duke, I would like to caution you that what might befall you this morning might be a shock. It would be good if you would think first before you react.”

“I don’t know what you mean by that, Stephen, but I’ll try to keep that in mind.” I gave him a sincere smile. He’s almost like a father to me and I respect him greatly. Well, I just don’t like it when he gets so very formal.

“Please, don’t throw any tantrums.”

“Okay, whatever you want.” With that, he opened the door and ushered me inside. “Lady Johanna is here.” He announced at the group sitting by Mrs. Jackson’s table. The group consists of Mrs. Jackson sitting behind her table, my fake parents sitting across her, and my real mother sitting across them.

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