Kiss Me Forever[Chapter 2]

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I inhaled deeply and turned. And there he was. Looking like perfection in a well-trimmed French pinstripes suit, expensive Italian leather black shoes and a mother of pearl watch adorning his wrist.

"Your Highness," Ciro nodded his head in respect.

But Athan was not looking at Ciro. He was looking at me. Like he expects me to jump and hug him in delight for coming back. I've done that before. And I'm not doing it again.

"Prince Athan." I curtsied instead.

He raised an eyebrow and studied me up and down. "Gaia, there was a time when we drop formalities between us." He reminded me.

I allowed myself a wry smile. "Times change, Your Highness."

This seemed to annoy him and I resisted the urge to grin. "Very well," he began again. "I was asking who's getting mar-"

Ciro interrupted him. "How was your flight, Your Highness?"

Athan looked at him oddly but answered reluctantly, "It was fine, Ciro."

Ciro smiled and I almost laughed out loud then and there. He was clearly embarrassed by my suggestion of marriage with Laura and to know that Athan heard it too. God, it must be tough for him.

I cleared my throat and smiled at Ciro. "I should take that now," I said as I took the box of strawberries from. It was a little heavy but what the hell? I want to escape now.

"Isn't that a little bit heavy for you?" Athan inquired.

I wanted to dump the box at him but then my practical side could not just let the strawberries go to waste. "No, it isn't, Your Highness. Thank you, Ciro. I should call Polyanna now."

Just at that moment, Marcus drove up with his truck.

"Gaia!" he yelled from the open window of his truck, waving.

I smiled at him and waved back. I watched him get out of the truck and take the supplies he was surely requested to deliver here by his aunt.

"Hi." He greeted me with a boyish kind of smile. And then he turned to Ciro and turned somber. "Ciro." He addressed him like a military comrade. "Looking gigantic today, aren't we?"

This caused me to giggle and saw Athan's head turn sharply towards me. I ignored him.

"Your aunt sent you here again?" Ciro asked.

"Hmm, yes. More supplies. Apparently, the prince's arrival with the fresh from school princess is a really big event. But it's not like he hasn't been here before." Marcus shook his head. "The man grew up here for-"

"Yes, you are right. I grew up here." Athan interjected.

Marcus, bless him, focused for the first time on Athan. I saw the exact moment when the truth hit him. His face flushed, he managed to choke out, "Your Highness." He bowed his head in embarrassment and looked at me for support. When I only stared back at him, he reddened even more. "I-I'm sorry, Prince...I am Marcus West, from the village and..."

"I don't remember you growing up here," Athan declared.

"Yeah, that's right because I'm from England, you know and-" With Ciro's not-so-subtle nudge, Marcus must have realized he was talking like a boy barely out of high school-to a prince nonetheless. "I am here for vacation, Prince...Your Highness."

Athan just nodded his arrogant head.

"If you'll excuse me, Prince Athan, I need to go on with my duties."

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