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We piled into a rented limo, it was not nearly as nice as Prince Hayes's. Rightfully so, he was royalty, we were just renting. I looked around at all of us girls. We looked stunning.
"Where did you run off to Cinderella?" Hannah sneered.
"I'm working on a secret project." I smiled smugly. The smile from her face, fell. Hannah just crossed her arms and looked forward.
"Are you really?" Savannah whispered. A laugh caught in my throat.
"No, but she doesn't need to know that." I whispered back. We laughed.
"Are you excited to see the prince?" Vanessa whispered to me from my other side.
"I'm trying not to think about it." She nodded and squeezed my hand. Vanessa meant well but she was also excited about the Prince, I could understand that. I looked up at Pam. She was smiling softly at me. I drew in a deep breath and smiled back at her. Pam winked then turned her attention backed to Ryan. If my mom was still alive I had a feeling she'd be a lot like Pam, I found a great deal of comfort in that. Outside Baltaver passed us by. There were tall buildings, old buildings, beautiful flags and snow everywhere. The city outside was beautiful. As cold as it was, I wish I was outside walking and not stuck in a rented limo. We pulled into the castles driveway. That's a very loose term for what this was. It was a long path surrounded by flowers, statues, and other beautiful things. Some I have no idea what they were. Most of us girls gasped and whispered about the beautiful of the castle, myself included.
"Have you ever been here?" Vanessa whispered.
"No." I clutched the back of my seat as we pulled in. I couldn't wait to get out of the car to really see the castle.

After taking in the beauty of the outside and the inside of the castle we found ourselves in a room just outside the grand ballroom. I caught a glimpse as we walk by. Prince Hayes was already inside. He was socializing with guests so he didn't see me. The room we were set up in was quite beautiful as well. The walls were a melt vanilla ice cream color with a lot of gold fixtures. Gold light switch covers to a gold chandelier. The room almost made me feel cheep.
"I want to be this rich one day." I looked at Hannah. She day dreamed about having wealth. I rolled my eyes.
"She'd have to marry all the doctors in California for that kind of wealth." I said under my breath. Savannah busted out laughing. I smiled back at her.
"What did I miss?" Michelle looked between the two of us.
"A different time." I assured her. She wrinkled her eyebrows for a second. Vanessa grabbed Michelle and my arms.
"We almost getting ready to walk out, let's go." We headed for the door.

The 14 of us girls glided out towards the stage you could hear minor rustling from the audience but no one uttered a word. I wasn't normally stage fright since I had done this all my life but this was different. I didn't dare look out into the audience. My skirt jostled back and forth a little. I didn't think much of it, it was something we all did. We just fix each other's outfits when it was needed.
"Someone one is staring at you." Michelle quietly sang behind me. I turned my head to face her.
"Who?" I whispered back.
"Don't act like you don't know." She looked at me like I was dumb. "The handsome Prince William." I smiled and shook my head. I turned to face forward again. "Wow not even a look his way." I turned my head to her again.
"I'm a little busy."
"Being stuck up?"
"No, working." I turned back around. I let my gaze wonder for one second to Prince Hayes, he was staring directly at me. I smiled softly then licked my lips to regain my composure. I stared at the back of Mariah's head. Never had I been so nervous to do a show. I had been filmed, danced solo in front of a crowd much bigger than this one, but this way different. This was for the King, Queen and Prince of Baltaver. I drew in a deep breath. Let the show begin.

The three songs flew by. The dance turned out amazing. Surprisingly, for as nervous as I was, I enjoyed myself. I couldn't help but smile through a lot through the performance. After the show we got back on stage and bowed as the room gave us a polite applause. Savannah and Vanessa grabbed my hands. I squeezed them. We exchanged glances. Michelle was beaming brightly. She belonged on the cover of something with that smile. Pam and Ryan shuffled us off stage, I think we would all gladly soak in the glory of royal appreciation. Once we were back into the room I took my hair out the bun and sprayed water and leave in conditioner in my hair. That was our trick to being able to take our buns out after a performance so it was kinky and weird looking. I massaged my scalp.
"My hair is too think and long, I get such a head ache." Michelle laughed at me.
"That's why I keep it short." I rolled my eyes at her. I loved short hair on her but on me it wasn't exactly flattering.
"Autumn?" I looked at Ryan. "Could you do a sweep of the stage to make sure we got everything?" I nodded. I slipped into the yoga pants I brought with me and walked back into the ball room. Most of the people were talking amongst themselves and didn't notice me at all. I glanced around, we had everything.
"Autumn." I spun around.
"Prince William." I smiled.
"Hayes, please."
"Right." I scrunched my nose. "Sorry."
"Your hair," He paused.
"Is unruly?" I raised my brows. He opened his mouth to talk but said nothing for a moment.
"Let's go with that." I giggled and tried to tuck a piece of hair behind my ear. Most of it just fell back into place.
"Yeah." I bit my lower lip.
"You are a lovely dancer." I smiled again.
"Thank you."
"So this is what you do for a living?" I smiled.
"Yeah, I'm a dancer."
"Why didn't you tell me?" He took a small step forward.
"Because," I paused. I didn't have a valid reason for not telling him. It wasn't like he wasn't going to recognize me. "I don't know." I laughed nervously. "I was trying to be mysterious, how did I do?"
"Splendid." I laughed again. For standing in a castle talking to the Prince who lived in said castle, this almost felt like a normal conversation. "Would you like to join me for a walk?" He offered.
"I'd love to, but," I pointed behind me. "I can't." I wrinkled my nose.
"Ah, of course, you're working." I nodded. Hayes smiled softly. I did really want to go on a walk with him. I wanted to see the castle and I just liked talking to Hayes. "When do you leave?"
"Monday, afternoon."
"I will see you later, then, yes?" I smiled at him.
"Sure." I whispered as I slowly back away. Savannah linked arms with me. She pulled my out of my trance with Hayes. I looked at her.
"Is it hot in here or is it the two of you?" She whisper as she beamed at me. I rolled my eyes.
"God, shut up." We all grabbed our dance bags from the doorway to the hall.
"Autumn, did I see you talking to the Prince?" Pam asked with a smile. I looked up at her.
"Yeah." I said softly. She nodded with a knowing smile on her face. I had an inkling her and Ryan set me up to go out there in hopes Prince William would come talk to me. Pam was like that and Ryan was hopeless when it came to 'love stories'.
"Come on, we have a celebration to be had." I licked my lips a little. Before leaving the doorway I took one more quick glance at Prince Hayes. He was still watching me.  I smiled to myself and followed Savannah.

We piled back into the limo and headed out to a bar for dinner and some drinks.
"Autumn." Hannah's voice sounded more irritated than normal. I looked at her. "I saw you talking with Prince William." All the girls attention fell on me now.
"He was just telling me how lovely of dancers we all are." I felt uncomfortable.
"No, he told you, you were a lovely dancer." Savannah corrected me.
"Remember that someone she met?" Vanessa bragged. I could feel my face grow warm with embarrassment.
"You met the Prince?" Hannah gawked.
"Accidentally," I made clear. "but yes. It's no big deal." I assured everyone, or myself. I'm not sure.
"No big deal!" Hannah snapped. "You met the Prince of Baltaver and it's no big deal?"
"Not only that but he's cute! He's single and can run a country!" Gina added in.
"He can't run a country, he's just a prince." I looked between the two of them.
"How do you know?" Rachel asked.
"Because a King rules a country, a Prince is raised to become a King one day, but until then he can't rule anything."
"How do you know that?" Becky repeated Rachel's question.
"Because I've learned about constitutional monarchies?" I looked at her baffled.
"What's that?"
"Their government?"
"What's that mean?" Michelle asked.
"In simple terms, they are governed or ruled by a King and Queen who follow constitutions."
"But how does it work?" Hannah asked. As much as I hated explaining government, it was good that they forgot about the whole me meeting Prince Hayes thing.
"We have a government of constitutions, which are written rules and regulations we all must follow. Not only does it protect its government but protects its people. We get to elect who runs our country but for a limited amount of time. Where here, they have a family that rules the country."
"That must suck to not get to pick your leader." Tina said.
"Well, you might think that but surprisingly a lot of countries are run as constitutional monarchies. The United States government is actually rarity, and honestly, quite flawed."
"Really?" Diane leaned forward in her seat.
"Yeah, there are a lot of loopholes. Also we elect people by what they present to the public. They can lie about anything, really. With constitutional monarchies they are born and raised into the life. They are taught proper etiquette and how to rule a country from the start. Now they can choose abdicate the throne but it's not common."
"What does it mean to abdicate?" Savannah asked. I seemed to have everyone's attention on government.
"It means to give up your right to rule your country."
"Well then who takes over?" Tina asked.
"Well, it goes to next bloodline of the king. So if they had any younger siblings it would go to them, but if not it would get extended out to the oldest male cousin on the Kings side."
"How do you know so much?" Asked Hannah.
"I took a government class in high school."
"Why?" She seemed baffled by this idea. I laughed a little.
"Well, I was slightly interested and had extra credits to fill."
"You did not have extra credits to fill," Vanessa piped in. "you wanted a full roster your senior year."
"It's free education, I'd be stupid not to take advantage of it." I glanced at Pam. She had a huge smile on her face. I had successfully deflected the topic from Prince Hayes and I. The best part is I didn't even have to try.

At the restaurant all 16 of us squeezed around the table. We had ordered and we're slowly throwing back some drinks. I held up my glass.
"Here's to Baltaver." I toasted.
"And to new opportunities." Pam joined me in the toast. I smiled at her.
"To Christmas." Hannah joined in.
"To an American dance troop!" Savannah raised her glass.
"To my girls." Ryan added as he admired all of us.
"And a hell of performance!" I topped of the speech. We all raised our drinks.
"Cheers!" We yelled into the bar. Some of us pounded our drinks and some just took baby sips. I babysat my drink, I wasn't looking to get drunk, just a little fun. I looked around the table at everyone. As much as Hannah could get on my nerves and we could all push each other's buttons; these people were a second family to me. I couldn't do what I do without them and I loved them all. Hannah looked over the table at me. We exchanged smiles. The waitstaff brought out our food. After every performance we went out, we all usually order greasy, fatty foods. We earned it. Tonight we definitely earned it. Savannah stole a fry from my basket, I stole one of her onion rings. She was one of the few people I knew who liked onions like I did. Michelle put her tomatoes on my plate, she hated tomatoes but I loved them so she never asked for them to take them off, just put it on the side. I picked up my pickle and crunched away.
"Ladies, I just have to say," Pam started a speech. Pam wasn't the speech type so if she gave one, you listened. They were important. "you all did so wonderful tonight. I know a lot of you were nervous because this is our most fastidious crowd but you wowed them over, all of them." She looked at me when she said that. I smiled. I'm sure she was hinting at Prince Hayes. "I couldn't be prouder of you all, but I say that after every performance and yet you keep showing me that in fact you can. So thank you, for all your hard work and for everything that you all bring to the table. None of you go by unnoticed or unappreciated." We all applauded her speech. I looked between Michelle and Savannah. This is what this team is about, the comradery, the hard work but most importantly, the passion.

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