"I can't marry her, father! She's a baby!" Prince Phillip wrinkled his nose at the infant in the bassinette.
The short, fat king laughed and said, "You were that size once, my boy. She won't be a baby forever."
"What are you thinking about?" Rose's voice pulled the Prince from his memories. Her blue eyes were amused when he locked gazes with her.
"Nothing," Phillip replied, reaching into the river as he did.
"You act like I can't tell you're lying." She smiled and rested her chin on her knees. Her hair, impossibly golden in color, was braided and leaning over her right shoulder.
"Shouldn't you be picking more berries?" He asked as he popped a few into his mouth from her basket.
She shrugged, "I picked some yesterday. Whatever they're up to, it's not cooking."
"Maybe it has to do with a certain birthday." He handed her a small box, and she blushed.
"I thought you'd forgotten."
"Never," he smiled.
She gently undid the packaging until she found a small bracelet. The charm was a spinning wheel. She glared at Phillip half-heartedly, "Really?"
He nodded, "After tomorrow you won't have to worry anymore."
"If my aunt's catch me with this there will be no end to it."
"I'm sure you'll think of something, Princess."
She splashed water at him playfully, "Don't you start."
When Phillip and Rose met in the forest a few years ago, he'd known who she was in an instant. There was little he remembered about the baby that would one day be his future bride. The day was a blur. He'd been too young to understand. A few details remained forever in his mind after the fairies had blessed the princess.
Hair of sunshine gold, lips as red as the rose. She'll walk in springtime wherever she goes.
A wave of familiarity had crashed over him. How could this girl be anyone but her?
Rose, on the other hand, had taken some convincing. She'd been angry with Phillip. Evidently, he was playing some form of a sick joke. One night she'd snuck around the cottage while her aunts were fast asleep. She found the wands, and couldn't deny the truth any longer.
At least it explained why she wasn't allowed to sew.
"Do you believe the rumors?" Rose stared at her hands, nervously waiting for his answer.
He sighed, "I don't know what I believe. All I can picture is a creature with horns and a long black robe."
She shook her head, "Everyone says I'm going to die."
"People just like to talk."
Her lips frowned as she thought out loud, "I'm afraid. Maybe I shouldn't be, but I am."
The Prince's chest felt tight as she confided in him. He reached out a hand and gently cupped her jaw.
"I won't let that happen," he promised. "We have a long life ahead of us."
A smile lit her face, "You really think that?"
Phillip smiled back, "Many things change after this."
"We marry tomorrow." She pointed out, "You sure you want that?"
The moment they'd met, neither could deny the pull they felt toward the other. Even when Rose thought he was crazy, it was his face waiting for her every time she closed her eyes.
He leaned in close, and just before their lips met, a massive bang in the distance made them both jump.
Phillips' mouth fell as he watched colors, more intense than he could have imagined, light the sky.
"What on earth?" Rose exclaimed as she looked back in the direction of the cottage.
"My aunts!" Rose exclaimed before breaking into a sprint.
"Wait!" the Prince cursed as he followed, carrying the basket she'd left behind.