after charlie stormed off, i drug myself back to arabella's room. as i was walking down the hallway, julio was slipping out of d.j.'s room, his shirt in his hand.
he jumped when he saw me, "oh, miss groves, i did not see you," he said with wide eyes.
"is d.j. in there?" i asked, my voice tired.
julio opened the door for me. "he just got out of the shower. we did three extra miles today."
i walked into the room, and d.j. was standing in front of his dresser, butt naked, looking at his phone.
i cleared my throat. "i have a question."
"i have an answer," he replied, unfazed as he continued to look at his phone.
"why are you always naked?" i asked with a smile.
his head shot up. "what?"
i laughed as i rolled onto his couch. "i mean, i always see you naked. when do you ever see me naked?"
his face grew bright red. "maybe you should just stop coming in my room."
"fine then," i said as i spun around and walked out the door.
"bitch!" he called out after me in a joking manner.
i opened the door to arabella's room. isabel was sitting on the edge of the bed, looking at a photo album. she didn't look up as i sat next to her on the bed.
"whatcha doin'?" i asked as i leaned over her shoulder.
she adjusted herself on the bed so we could both see the photographs. "do you think she'll ever come home?" isabel asked with a sigh.
i scrunched up my nose. "i'm sure she will. you've just gotta give her time. i mean, she was absolutely in love with someone that her parents, her family, her government, told her she couldn't marry, and if she did, she would be disowned and dethroned."
isabel rested her head on my shoulder. "i just hope she forgives me someday."
i smiled lightly. "i think even i'll have to forgive my mom one day."
* * *
after isabel and i's talk, i went back to d.j.'s room. he had paperwork spread out in front of him and all over the floor.
"what's all this?" i asked.
he looked up from his spot on the floor. "paperwork and plans for my goodwill trip next month."
"where we goin'?" i asked as i sat on the floor next to him.
i had been going on goodwill trips with the royal family since third grade. we would pack up in the car and drive for hours or fly in the royal jet, to different states or country, and spend a week or so there, doing different projects, meeting with important people... you get the idea.
"uhh, nor," he said, as he took off his glasses, "this is a, uh, royals only trip."
i nodded. "oh," i said quietly.
he leaned closer to me. "listen, it's nothing against you, but with charlie coming up on his crown preparation, and me getting ready to run of senate. then there's the whole thing with arabella. the senate thinks it would be a good idea for charlie and i, and arabella if she comes home, and whoever my new future sister-in-law is if she exists at that point, to go to baja-"
"you're going to baja?!" i exclaimed, jumping to my feet. we had gone to baja three times growing up, and each time was incredible. we would do service projects all day and relax on the beach at night.
"yeah," d.j. replied, and then he smirked. "want me to tell ambrose 'hi?'"
my face went bright red. we met ambrose on our first trip to baja. his dad was the head contractor on a lot of our building projects. he was absolutely gorgeous, and there had always been something between us. when we went to back to baja seven years ago, he had kissed me the last night we were there. i'd been dying to see him again, but never had the opportunity.
"matter-of-fact," i said, "yes, yes i do." i stuck my tongue out at him.
d.j. laughed. "listen, i have to get all of this done by tonight. i've been putting it off for weeks, but why don't we spend all of tonight hanging out? i'll have lynette go pick up pizza or mexican... or both," he said when he saw the look on my face, "and we can just chill and watch t.v."
"make it movies," i said with the widest smile in awhile, "and i'm in."
* * *
i went back into my room, dying to take a nap. when i opened the door, there she was. her toasty brown skin, wavy chestnut brown hair that was so full of bouncy and body, her slender figure that was so perfect, it made me want to throw up.
she turned around as i shut the door and smiled. "miss me?" she asked coolly.
"oh my god!" i squealed as i threw my arms around her in a huge hug. "what are you doing here?!"
she laughed out loud. "you think i would miss my big brother's engagement event? to watch him suffer through that? embarrass himself in front of all of those women?"
"do your parents know you're here?" i asked. i was overwhelmed at the sight of arabella. she was my saving grace in this family, especially when d.j. started going through puberty.
her face grew serious. "not yet. petra snuck me in, and i just wanted a minute to adjust back without all the fan fair of me being back."
"are you back for good?" i asked.
arabella shrugged. "i haven't decided yet."
i grabbed her hand and drug her over to the bed. "you have to catch me up on everything that's been going on. what about you and mikey? what happened there?"
"oh, no, first you have to tell me about this girl that spent the night with my brother!"
my face went blank, "uh, uh, well," i stammered.
arabella jumped up from her spot on the bed. "i knew it! it was you!"
my face fell. "please, please, don't tell anyone!" i begged. "how did you know?"
she laughed. "oh, please. the only time in the history of loyalty weekend that a girl spends the night in the castle is the same night as your loyalty weekend? i'm surprised the press didn't figure that one out."
i was blushing. "it was nothing, uh, we-"
"he passed on you, didn't he?"
"god!" i exclaimed. "how do you know all this?"
she sat up straighter and gave me her 'i'm such a genius' look. "well, if you promise not to tell anyone-"
i held up my right hand. "swear!"
"mikey and i may not be together anymore," she paused, "but shawn in legal and i totally are!"
we squealed. "shawn?! oh my god! in legal?! he's so cute!"
arabella laughed. "and he's a lawyer. with total approval for the crown. and he's amazing!"
we laughed and giggled and gossiped until we were exhausted. she told me about mikey leaving her at a college party for a nineteen-year-old philosophy major, and about meeting shawn when she moved into the calabasas cottage. then arabella sighed. "i need to go tell my parents that i'm here," she said as she patted my leg.
"good luck," i smiled.
"but when i get back," she said, as she walked toward the door, "we're going to talk about you and my brother more."
YOU ARE READING
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