the nightmare.

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we kicked ass at the baseball game.  courtney and i faced off in the sixth inning when she was pitching and i was up to bat.  though we hadn't spoken in about two years, i could still read courtney like a book.  she leaned her head to the left as she wound up her pitch, and i knew, she was throwing a curve ball.

i swung and heard the beautifully metal crack as the ball and bat collided.  everyone on the field turned to watch as the ball sailed through the sky.  i took off running for the bases as courtney barked out orders to her fielders, who in turn couldn't catch my ball.  it made it over the fence and into the river before anyone realized what was happening.

* * *

after the game, i went back to the palace and crashed in d.j.'s room.  the royal family was having a meeting with the senate, to address charlie's future engagement, followed by a press conference for the same purpose.  i slept through the entire thing.

i woke up to d.j. standing in front of the t.v.

"what time is it?" i asked.

he rubbed the tip of his nose with the remote.  "it's after eight."  he wasn't looking at me.  his eyes were glued to the t.v.  his stance was stiff as his back was to me, but i could tell his arms were crossed against his chest.

"what's wrong?" i asked, nervously.

d.j. shook his head and sighed, but didn't change his demeanor.  "senate switched some things up on us.  with all the new tax laws, and me looking for the senate vote, the timing of goodwill trip," he paused.  "if charlie isn't engaged within three days, he's forced to abdicate."

"what's wrong with that?" i asked, feeling like the question master.

"arabella's not eligible for the crown."

"so? there's still you," i said, becoming more and more confused with every second.

he finally looked over his shoulder at me and his eyes dropped, sadness pulling at the corners of his big, deep, chocolate eyes.  "i abdicated yesterday, so that i could take the senate run."

"you did what?" i whispered out.

d.j. turned around without a word and tossed the remote on the bed.  "i'm going for a run.  julio is downstairs waiting." he yanked on his nikes that were lying on the floor and then sighed.  "look, i love you, but i just want to be alone when i get back so, c-can you, you not be here?" he asked.

"i guess," i said quietly.

he tore out of the room, and i slid off the bed.  arabella and shawn had gone out for the night, and the palace aids were having their usual saturday night game night in the rec room, so i padded down the hallway to charlie's room.

i knocked lightly on the door.  it took a minute for him to answer the door, but when he did, i gasped.  he was sloshed.  charlie had on a light grey suit.  his tie was hanging loose around his neck, his shirt was halfway unbuttoned, and his sleeves were pushed up.  he had a glass of whiskey in his right hand.

"hi," he smiled.

"charlie," i shook my head, "what's wrong?"

he stepped aside and waved me into the room.  i walked into the room and went to the arm chair in his library.  he tossed his suit jacket on the floor and sat down on the arm and looked down at me.  "i gotta get married," he said, slurring his words.

"i know," i giggled nervously.  "you've known about this since you were a little kid."

"but now i got three months to be married, then i got two years to have a baby. that's a lot."

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