the good news.

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i sighed.  "sign it."

charlie rolled his neck. "okay, i'll get this to legal in the morning."

i nodded. "i should go see if d.j. is back yet. i'll come back later."

* * *

i rushed out the door and into d.j.'s room. he was standing in the middle of his room, wrapped in nothing but a towel. d.j. was about three-inches shorter than charlie, who was a skyscraper of a man, his skin was darker than his brother, and d.j. spent more time in they gym. his skin was toned and tanned. his jet black hair was dripping wet, and the water was rolling down his body.

"attack him," my body screamed.

i shook my head. what the hell was my body doing? that was d.j.

 "what are you doing?" i asked.

d.j. jumped and spun around. "where have you been?" he exclaimed.

"i just needed air," i lied.  "how was the senate meeting?"

d.j. motioned to the towel and i nodded.  he grabbed his green boxer briefs from the top drawer of his dresser and then dropped the towel.  my eyes bulged.  why was i ogling my best friend?

"i met with the senate balancing committee while my dad and the prime speaker were , and they said that i have a really good shot at being named prime speaker once speaker reynolds steps down.  if i don't have to take the throne," he added.

"that's awesome!" i exclaimed.

he walked over to me, still in his underwear, and placed a hand on each of my arms.  "i really want it, too." he said.  "i just hope i get the opportunity to run."

i sighed.  "well, if charlie gets his shit together and finds a wife, then you should have no problem."

d.j. chuckled.  "let's talk about the odds of that happening."

"well," i shrugged, "the engagement events start next week."

"oh god," d.j. groaned and hung his head back, "i have to go to those, too,"

i laid down on his bed.  "i'll be there.  at least we can be miserable together."

he slid on a pair of navy sweatpants and slid onto the bed next to me.  "so, uh," he said quietly, "how was last night?"

i gulped, "he passed."

d.j.'s eyes narrowed.  "what do you mean he passed?"

"on me."  d.j. didn't respond for several seconds, so i added, "we didn't sleep together... i'm still a vir-"

"yeah, yeah, i got that part."

"what's wrong?" i asked.

i watched as he sat there quietly.  slowly, he began to speak.  "so what exactly does that mean?"

i scooted closer to lay under his arm.  "well, i can either participate the next loyalty weekend with a different royal, or i name my kids after your family."

he laughed, "what's it going to be? a night with marvin or d.j. the third, d.j. jr., and d.j. jr. jr.?"

rolling my eyes, i laughed.  "you think dominick junior junior junior is an acceptable name for a child?  you would let me, as my best friend, you would actually let me name my child that?"

d.j. brushed his fingernails across his bare chest.  "of course i would.  he'd be named after me," he smirked.

again, i rolled my eyes, and heard my mother's squeaky voice in my head telling me not to.  "i'm going to get food."

my best friend opted to stay in his room and watch royal news network's closing remarks about that day's senate hearing,  while i floated through the halls of the castle, down to the galley.  from the time i was a kid, even to now, i dreamed about what it would be like to be a princess actually living in this castle.  whenever i was by myself, i would walk a little higher, shoulders pushed back, chin raised, and toes pointed.

the staff had the day off, so the palace was empty.  i threw the swinging door to the galley open and glided in.

"playing princess again?" a voice asked from off to my left side.

i jumped.  it was isabel.  i smiled, absolutely busted, "sorry," i blushed.

she laughed, her mouth full of ice cream, "there's nothing wrong with it.  this home is just as much yours as it is ours." i hung my head with a smile, and started to speak, but she interrupted me as she slid over to my side of the large, stainless steel prep station.  "which reminds me," she paused, "the royal senate counsel met today, with dom and d.j.," she sighed, "and they have finally approved you to stay in the harper house during school."

my eyes widened, "really?!" i shrieked.

the harper house was another one of the royal's properties.  it was right on the edge of king's university's campus.  d.j. lived there when we were away at school, but since it was a royal property, i had to have permission from the senate.  every year, they declined my request.

she nodded and hugged me.  "you guys can move in a week before school starts."

i screeched.  "i'm so excited!"

isabel stared at me and her smile grew wider.  "there's more."

"what more?" i smiled nervously.

"d.j. also talked the senate into approving your residency change," she said.

"yeaaah," i said, "to move into the harper house."

the queen shook her head.  "no, honey, a total residency change.  you don't ever have to go back to your parents' house, if you don't want to.  you can officially live here... instead of just staying here on and off every other week."

"really?!" i shrieked again.

isabel laughed and hugged me again.  "yes, and i need you here as my spy," her eyes widened with the last word.  "i need to know who this girl is that's spending the night with my chuckie."

i chuckled nervously and blushed as she squeezed my neck.

i pulled away from our hug and rushed for the pantry, digging in to find something to eat, mainly so i could hide my red face.  i heard isabel put her ice cream in the freezer and walk toward the door.  the door began to swing open, and then isabel said, "oh, and we're having the grout in arabella's bathroom redone, so you'll have to use one of the boys' bathrooms."

* * *

after i ate, i trotted back to d.j.'s room, beyond ready to shower and go to bed.  i'd barely slept the night before and all i wanted was to curl up in arabella's huge bed and sleep.  as i entered d.j.'s room, he was nowhere to be seen and his bathroom door was shut.  i tried to open it, but it was locked.

"busy!" he called from inside.

"hurry up!" i yelled.  "i need to bathe."

"i'm gonna be awhile!" d.j. shouted.  "i had lots of dairy today.  use charlie's bathroom! he's out for the night."

i groaned.  fan-fucking-tastic.

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