Alone With Prince Crenip

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          Princess Atamar was curious what Prince Crenip would choose for their activity.  She had learned a great deal about the others in their choice of activities. 

She tried to imagine what he would choose, but was totally surprised when he said, "What would you most like to do Princess Atamar?" 

None of the other princes had asked her that.  Of course they had agreed to plan the activities, but still...  Princess Atamar hesitated before answering unsure what to say. 

What would be right?  Before she could decide, Prince Crenip said, "I imagine that you are trying to decide what activity to choose that I would enjoy.  However, I really want to know what you would most like to do. 

I know the arrangements were that we should plan the activity, but it doesn't seem fair that I always get to choose something I like and you don't.  Therefore, I want you to give me your honest answer. 

What would you most like to do right now?"  After staring hard at him for a minute, Princess Atamar answered, "Honestly, I would love to just sit down with a good book.  However, that is not fair to use your time for that." 

    Prince Crenip smiled.  "Not a problem.  I enjoy reading.  Thank you for being honest.  Let's go to the library.  Do you have any good books you would recommend that I read?" 

    When they got to the library, Atamar suggested he read Dragon Games.  It was Belac's favorite book.  Prince Crenip accepted her suggestion and found a comfortable window seat. 

Atamar chose a book of her own and then sat down in her favorite chair, which was some distance away from his.  She could watch him from where she sat, but he couldn't see her without turning around. 

She was surprised that he didn't wait to see where she sat so he could sit nearby.  She was also surprised that he paid no attention to her.   He never once looked her way, but was instead engrossed in the book. 

She saw him smile several times and he laughed heartily once.  Atamar had trouble paying attention to her own book at first, but soon she forgot about Crenip.  She was very surprised when Hamori touched her elbow to quietly let her know that the time was up. 

    As they exited the library to find the others, Atamar said, "Thank you so much for a wonderful 30 minutes.  I haven't had as much time for reading as I would like, and I've missed it.  I hope that you enjoyed the time as well and that you aren't too disappointed in my choice." 

    "On the contrary Princess, I can't thank you enough for pointing me to that book.  I can't wait to read more.  I also enjoyed the time." 

    When they reached the other princes, Crenip once again faded into the background.  At dinner, as at lunch, he did not try to sit with the princess.  Instead, he found a seat with Nehat & Noj Vidad. 

The two greeted him warmly.  They were soon joined by Enielda, Mitym, Isoje, & Eticia.  All of them wanted to get to know the prince better.  They weren't the only ones. 

Most of the palace youth sat as close to Prince Crenip as they could.  Word had been passed around, and all wanted to find out about him and judge for themselves what kind of prince he was. 

Those he had already met were surprised that he remembered their names.  They eagerly introduced the other young people.  All of them enjoyed listening to as well as talking to the prince.

    By the end of the week, though, all the teens had noticed that Prince Crenip showed no special interest in Princess Atamar.  They started talking about her to see if that would get a reaction. 

He listened politely, but he didn't seem to be hanging on their every word.  All of them were worried.  They liked the prince, but he didn't seem to like Atamar, at least not in the way they wanted him to like her. 

Prince Crenip chose reading as his activity for the rest of the week.  Those half hours were very quiet except a few times when Prince Crenip laughed out loud at the things he was reading in Dragon Games. 

He finished the book at the end of the week, and closed it with a sigh.  For the first time during their reading time, he turned and looked at Atamar.  (He had continued to sit in the window seat he had first chosen.)  She looked up questioningly.  "Have you read this book," he asked. 

    That was the beginning of a long discussion of the book.  Atamar enjoyed it immensely.  She liked this prince.  With him there, life was more tolerable. It would have been a great week except...

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