Chapter 1

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With his head resting on his hands, Benji looked out the palace windows. He scanned through the vast courtyard, seeming to notice new things every day. The sun was setting, and because his room was in a nice spot, he was able to see the sunset perfectly. After getting bored of a few minutes of looking out the glass, he spun around in his chair, getting a good look at his bedroom. It wasn't small by any means, quite spacious, with a king bed by the wall. There was also double doors leading to a balcony, but Benji never had much time to enjoy it nowadays.  The room was constantly clean with the number of maids running around, and it all felt right. Taking off his crown, he heard a knock at the door. 

"Come in." He said more demanding than he meant to. His mother walked in, a pretty pink evening dress fitting her body almost perfectly. Benji had always wondered how she perfected her queen-like walk, she came off as almost magical. 

"Hello, darling. Your father wanted me to talk to you about finding a-"

"Yes, yes. I know, a wife. I'm just not interested right now, mom." Benji sighed, he could at least try to escape the request from his parents for as long as he could.

"The people want to see a woman by your side. Someone to lead with you. You're already eighteen, almost nineteen. It won't be long until you're running this country, and you need to understand there are responsibilities that come with that." 

"Yes, mother." There was no use arguing. She would eventually get under his skin, and Benji would be in even more trouble if he raised his voice or started to argue. 

"Perfect! I'll tell your father."

"Wait but I didn't-" Before Benji could say anything else, his mother was rushing out of the room so she couldn't hear any other objection. He knew this was coming, his parents were on the edge of just pairing him up with a maid. 

Picking up his crown and adjusting his white button-up shirt which was tucked into a pair of black formal slacks he walked out of his silent room. Even his wardrobe couldn't catch a break. As his shoes paced the carpeted hallways he checked every corner, making sure his mother or father wasn't behind it. To ease his mind, Benji headed towards the gardens. Usually walks there could help calm him down and clear his brain. Two guards stood at the sliding doors, moving out of the way once they saw Benji. 

"Your highness." The two said in unison, bowing as well. 

"Good evening, I'll just be outside walking around if anyone needs me." Although Benji prayed nobody actually needed him. The two guards nodded, closing the doors behind him as the warm summer air pressed itself onto Benji's skin. It felt really good. The only other person out there was the gardener, who Benji didn't recognize. He couldn't be any older than himself since he didn't seem fluent with his gardening motions. Benji did his best to ignore him, walking in peace. When the boy noticed he was there, he shot up into a bow.

"Y-your highness." Benji smiled, wanting to be polite.

"Good evening, don't let me distract you, I'll just be here for a little bit." The boy nodded, going back to trimming the hedges and planting small plants. He looked stiff, Benji couldn't tell if it was because he was there, or if it was just his nature. He found himself watching the boy work with the leaves, trimming almost unevenly. Walking up behind him, he wanted to correct the boy's techniques. 

"You have to hold the cutters at an angle so it's even." The boy jumped, almost hitting Benji in the head with them. 

"Sorry, sorry!" He moved the oversized scissors away from his face. 

"It's alright, here." Benji held the gardening tool in his hands, tilting it to the side. "I used to garden as a hobby, it was kind of put on the back burner when I, y'know, have to run the country." The boy didn't pick up on the joke, so it was an awkward couple of seconds. "Here, hold on to the handles, that's the angle you should cut at. It'll look more smooth." Sure enough, after the boy snipped a few branches off, it was looking even better, even if they were just squares in the first place. "I didn't catch your name, what was it?" 

"Jorge, and you are?" The two laughed. 

"Well, Jorge, have a good night, I'm gonna head inside. Don't cut your hands off, it'd be a shame if all that skill went to waste." Benji winked. Normally, he was quite a charismatic guy, but it seemed to show even more tonight. The same guards at the door stepped aside, letting Benji in. 

Even after being inside for less than ten seconds, a butler was already walking up to him.

"Your highness," He bowed. "Is there anything I can get you before bed?" Benji shook his head. 

"Actually, send this message to my father. Tell him I'm ready to find a wife." The butler nodded and walked off, going to send the message for Benji. 

Maybe one of the women he meets will turn him straight. 

~

Don't worry! I'll still be updating Double Curls too! I just thought of this idea and might as well get it rolling!

The Gardener ~ Benjey ~Where stories live. Discover now