Sofia, age 19, sat hunched over the table with a disgruntled look on her face. Her pretty blue eyes now possessed dark circles that gave her appearance and sunken in look. She stared blankly at the table's wooden surface, polished to a fine finish. She grimaced at her appearance, noting her zombified expression. It wasn't like she hadn't tried to get enough sleep, she most certainly did her best, but her mind was always plagued with thoughts of her future.

Lately, her feelings have been shifting, for better or worse, she wasn't sure. And not only that, but different princes from various kingdoms have sent out marriage proposals for her. Something that Amber was over the moon for. Sofia's older sister loved weddings and was eager to help Sofia plan hers. It didn't help that her dad, King Roland, was always hinting (not so subtly) that Sofia should find a nice man soon.

Thankfully, Miranda was always there to calm him down, explaining that Sofia wasn't the type to worry about such things. When Sofia was ready, she'll be ready, in the meantime, there was no need to rush these things.

"...fia. Sofia. Sofia!"

The princess jerked, "Huh, what?" She chuckled nervously at Cedric's pointed look. "Oh, I'm sorry Cedric, did you say something?"

Her mentor now best friend (and secret crush) sighed aloud, "My dear, if you're wanting me to teach you this new spell, you need to listen."

"I'm sorry," she said, her voice growing drowsy as she yawned, "I just haven't been getting much sleep lately."

"Oh," Cedric asked, genuinely concerned now. He moved closer, noting her look, "Yes, I've noticed you seem exhausted lately. What's keeping you up so late, my dear?"

"You," she wanted to say but bit her tongue. How can she tell him, it's him who's been keeping her up. So many princes want to marry her, and Sofia just couldn't accept. Not because she wasn't flattered, but because her heart had already been swept up in the gloved hands of her best friend.

However, there was no way he would return her feelings in the slightest. He was much older than her and probably only saw her as that pupil he met all those years ago.

Still, the heart wants what it wants. And Sofia couldn't bring herself to speak up about it. She was scared it would ruin everything. In all honestly, she had tried to push her feelings aside, believing she just had a strong admiration for the royal sorcerer. However, her feelings only increased with time, not diminished, like she thought they would. The princess blushed as he peered at her closely. Just a little closer and maybe she could steal a kiss from him. Nothing bad, just a little kiss.

"Is it stress?' Cedric asked, drawing back, much to her disappointment. "I've noticed you've been getting a lot of attention recently from your former classmates in Royal Prep," Sofia swore she heard him growl a little.

"Yeah.." she glanced away shyly. "I just wasn't expecting them to see me as anything more than a friend." I want you to see me that way, Cedric.

Cedric shook his head, "They could at least give you some time to think it all over. I, for one, think they should calm down. They're acting like Wormwood when my mother gives him a fly cake made of blueberries."

Sofia laughed, easily imagining the scene in her head. It had taken some time for Cedric to move on from his familiar, but he had. Now they were free to speak about him, even if the raven was currently serving time in the Mystic Isles. "Yeah, I would appreciate it if they calm down. The worst offender is probably Amber, she won't stop asking me who I've chosen."

"Perhaps I should have a talk with her? This idea of marriage is obviously affecting your sleep. As your former mentor and now close friend, your health is very important to me."

"Thank you, Cedric," She smiled and shifted a little nervously, "You know, there's something I've been curious about for a while now. How come you never got married?"

"Who says I'm not?" He smirked while spinning his wand, "I'm married to my work."

"Well what if you weren't, is there anyone you have in mind?" She asked cautiously, preparing her heart for his answer. Cedric blushed darkly and stuttered his answer.

"We-Well, yes, but I doubt she'll be interested in an old fool like me..." He said while rubbing his hands together.

Sofia's heart cracked a little. Not because he admitted to having an interest in someone, but because of how he still seemed to have little self-confidence in himself. Really, anyone would be lucky to have Cedric as their lover. He was kind, thoughtful, and he had changed so much over the years they've known each other. He was no longer the bumbling sorcerer that the kingdom made fun of. He was well respected and admired. From what she heard, he had a small crowd of admirers growing. It made Sofia feel less adequate since most of the sorceresses that liked Cedric were all well respected and had a noble background.

The stepdaughter of the king had no chance against that.

"Don't sell yourself short, Cedric." She spoke kindly, "Whoever she is, I bet she cares about you as well."

Cedric smiled, "I do appreciate that, my dear." He smirked then, "Now, I'm curious as to who you might be interested in. Is there anyone, in particular, you might want to court?"

"Oh!" She looked away, her face feeling hot. She hoped her blush wasn't as bright as it felt. "Well... Heh, there is this one person, I like. He's very sweet to me..." She couldn't meet Cedric's eyes, knowing she'll melt on the spot if she caught sight of his pretty brown pools.

"He's older than me, but that's not bad in my opinion. I mean, people should marry for love, right? I always admired him, even when he didn't see himself as a good person. I think he's incredible. Ah-mazing! I want to make him happy and to show him that he's worth something more than he realizes. He's inspired me so much and I fell for him pretty hard. I don't know if he'll ever see me that way though. I mean, to him, I'm probably just that little princess that showed up out of the blue. I'm worried that he might not want to see me as anything other than the princess because of reasons. He might be too scared or think it's wrong. I wouldn't be surprised if someone else comes along and wins his heart. If that happens... I just hope she makes him happy."

Cedric stared at her, stunned, "Sofia..."

She smiled a few tears leaked from her eyes. She gasped when Cedric gently wiped them away with the pad of his thumb. "My dear, whoever you're in love with, I only hope he can treat you the way you deserve to be treated. If he doesn't see you the way you see him, regardless of age then he is a fool who deserves nothing but misery for looking past you."

Sofia whimpered, smiling, "Thank you, Cedric. That means a lot to hear that from you."

"I'll always be here for you, Sofia. I owe you so much. Now, how about I fix your sleeping problem." With a wave of his wand, he summoned a spray bottle and handed it to her, "Here. Take it. It's a lavender spray that should help you relax and give a good night's sleep. I even made sure it had some chamomile in it as well. I don't want you stressing over some princes anymore."

She smiled, opening the bottle and taking a whiff, "Oh, it smells wonderful. Thank you, Cedric."

He smiled lovingly, "Of course, my dear. Anytime. And if that person you mentioned before ends up breaking your heart, I'll hex him."

Sofia laughed, "I don't doubt it." Rising up she kissed his cheek, "Thank you again."

Cedric blinked, a faint blush rising to his cheeks. He watched Sofia leave before touching the spot she had kissed and sighing contently. His heart pounding in his chest, "Of course, my love..."

That night, after spraying her blanket and pillows, Sofia had a nice, wonderful dream where she was dancing on her wedding day with a man in purple. They both swayed to the gentle music. Lavender springs hung all over the white walls. It was a wonderful lavender dream.