I was so stressed out for the next day that I have no memory of it. I just know that at some point, I was so useless that father let me go. I went for a jog. Damn, it felt good. But then I asked for my dinner in my room, wanting to be alone until I had to meet them. I would lock my door if I had to.
The girls were coming in the morning, would have there makeover and dine together. My door would stay locked, that was for sure : I didn't want to see them before I had to.
I had managed to postpone the Selection until I was twenty-one. But a few months ago, father recieved a document stating that crime rate was encreasing fast. So he decided, without even consulting me, that my Selection should be sooner, so as to distract and entertain our people. He told me it was a sacrifice I had nothing to say about, it was my duty as Crown Prince.
The next morning, I woke up very early to go running. Again. I needed it, in order to calm myself and empty my mind. I ran until I couldn't breathe anymore or think straight. I heard a Limo enter the gravel path and bolted to the back door to lock myself in my room. The first girls were arriving already! How long have I been running? Gosh, I needed to be more careful in the future.
From my room I could already hear them. Seriously? Ugh. I jumped in the shower and made it quick this time. I had work to do, and I intended to seclude myself from everything and everyone today. Numbers would help me.
At noon, Jacob asked me if I wanted my lunch here in my room.
"Jacob, you are a mind reader. Yes I will. And dinner, too. Thank you."
He smiled and bowed. Saying 'thank you' to a servant wasn't required. Imagine how many times you'd have to say it in one day? But I liked Jacob and he deserved to be proprely thanked from time to time. He was loyal, and by far my only friend around here. He had been working for me for four years, he understood me, and knew things I needed or wanted before I would even ask for them. Not all the servants were like that. Some just went about their job without thinking. Jacob was different.
Lunch came in and I ate, my nose still in my budget documents, having no intention to distract myself with the outer world. I don't even remember what I ate. When I was finished, Jacob took the tray away and let me alone for the rest of the day. Peace and silence. I worked without interruption until dinner, which Jacob brought up. After that, my head was ready to explode. I needed to go outside, but it was still too early, I might bump into one of the girls.
"Yes, Your Majesty?"
"Gosh, Jacob, how many times do I have to tell you... it's Logan."
He chuckled. "I'm sorry, Your M- I mean Logan."
"That's better. Would you care for a game of cards with me?"
His eyes lit up. I don't think he had a lot of opportunities to play card games. "Of course! I'll go fetch a pack of cards." That said, he fled and came back after a couple minutes.
We cleared my working table and started playing. We both loved that game and always had a good time together. At the end of those game sessions, we often had great conversations about life and all sorts of other things.
"Jacob, have you ever loved someone?"
I saw him stiffen a bit. "I have, yes."
"Do you still love her?"
He hesitated answering, but then nodded. "Yes."
"Do you have any advice for me? I'm about to meet my 35 girlfriends and I have no idea what to do or say."
"The only advice I can give you, because it worked with me, is to be yourself. They already know who you are on screen, and they probably already have a certain image of you. But show them who you really are."
"But I don't want to do that until I'm sure of who is going to be my wife..." I frowned.
"Then give them just a glimps of who you are. Instead of showing yourself completely to each one, give a slice of yourself to each."
"Yeah. And you have a great advantage : you'll know each and everyone much better then they'll know you. Besides, you're the one doing the chosing, right? Not them."
"But I still want my future wife to know me. Not just a slice of me, but everything. And yes, I'm the one doing the chosing, but she still has to say yes."
Jacob thought for a moment. "When you're pretty sure of who you want, start opening up. It's the best I can give you, Logan."
"Thanks. It helps. A lot, I promise." I breathed deeply. "Why am I so scared? They're just girls."
"Yeah, but remember your future wife is amongst them."
"I think that's the scary part."
No, the real scary part was that I had absolutely no interest in girls too thin. I had looked at magazines and movies, but I did not unterstand why they would all want to be as thin as models? They had no curves, and to me it was inatractive. In my world – my mind, that was – men were the lean but muscular ones. Women were supposed to be curvy and comfortable. Not overly fat, but not a bag of bones either. And I had a feeling they would all be that way.
"Jacob, Thank you for staying with me. But I think you'll need your sleep as much as I will."
"Do you need help getting ready?"
"I'm a grown man, I can take care of myself." I chuckled. "Well, I think so!"
He laughed. "Of course you are." Then he stood and bowed. " Goodnight, then, Your Majesty Logan." He turned on his heals and left the room.
I waited a few minutes, then I slightly opened the door to check the halls and listen for anyone. Nobody. Good. I silently walked down to the first floor, opening the doors to the Women's Room. I know I wasn't supposed to be in here, but I just loved this room. And it would be the last time before a long time. I didn't turn on the light, closed the doors and chose my favorite couch, against the wall, from where I could oversee the whole room, lit by the moon outside.
I relaxed in this peacefull silence and closed my eyes for a little while. A few minutes later, the lights were turned on. I opened my eyes but didn't move. A girl was in the room! And in her nightgown! What on earth was she doing here? I held my breath, hoping she wouldn't see me.
She walked straight to the bookshelf and brushed the bookspines with her fingers. She slipped a book out and read the back cover, then put it back. She did the same thing a couple times, and she still didn't see me. She took another book and read the summary, but this time she did not replace it, and she was about to head back.
"I wouldn't take that one if I were you."
She jumped and shrieked. Then she recognised me, and dropped in a low curtsey. "Your Majesty! I didn't see you there. I'm sorry!"
"Oh, don't be sorry." I waved her apology away. "I'm the one not supposed to be in here." I chuckled. "But I still wouldn't take that book."
She looked at it and frowned. "Why not?"
"If you plan on sleeping tonight, you should put it back and take something else." I stood and came closer.
"Is it scary?"
"Oh no, not at all. But my mother read it and she couldn't put it down. She litteraly read non-stop during the night and the next day."
"But if you're not planning on sleeping, do take it. Be my guest."
"I'll take it, but I won't read it tonight." She blushed a little, revealing some freckles.
"I have 35 faces and names mixed up in my mind. Would you mind helping me out, please?" Huge lie : I had no face and no name whatsoever in my mind...
She giggled. "I'm sure it must be dreadful to remember all of us. I'm Caitlynn Marshal, from Carolina."
"Nice to meet, you, Lady Caitlynn. I'm sorry I startled you earlier."
"Not to worry. I wasn't even suppose to leave my room, but I told the guard in the hall that I would be quick. I better go back."
"Of course. Don't let me hold you back." I took her hand in mine and kissed the back of it. "Good night, Lady Caitlynn. Oh, and please don't mention this to anyone. I'm not suppose to see you until tomorrow morning."
"Mention what?" She winked at me, curtsied and left.
Well, that wasn't so bad. I wondered was I was so scared. I bet they were all as nervous as I was. Caitlynn. I liked that name. I just had to remember the face : dark blond hair, chocolate eyes, and I saw freckles on her nose, and dimples on her cheeks when she smiled. If they were all as cute and nice as her, it wouldn't be too hard.