Maxon was on my mind all night. He was away on a mission in New Asia with his father. He had already been gone for three days and with no contact, I was getting worried.

I was sleeping in the Princess' suite. I had decorated it to suit more my style. The walls had a beautiful floral pattern. In the corner near the balcony was my piano with a vase of flowers of multiple colours. My walk-in closet was in the corner. You can just barely make out the variety of colours glowing from it in the dim light. I had added some other touches like pictures of my family, who now live in the palace as well as little decorations that really made the place look better. The room was really too big for just one person. I remember my room back in Carolina, just big enough to fit my single bed and my small piano. The comparison between the two was unbelievable.

I had kept my past maids, Anne, Mary and Lucy. I really wouldn't be able to stand seeing them go. And we have been through so much. They are a part of my family now. They kind of make up for Kenna and Kota. Kenna, my lovely older sister, is married with a husband, and lives with him somewhere nice. I know she would like it here, but she can visit. I simply refused to allow Kota to stay in the palace, no matter how much he begs and pleads, he left us. He took his own path to the top of the caste, ignoring his own family! Therefore he doesn't deserve it. So, it is only my parents, May and Gerard who stay at the palace with me.

I sit up and look around my furnished bedroom. I haven't realized that I have been gripping the floral sheets that match the walls. I let go and take a sip of water that sits on my bedside table. Once satisfying my sudden thirst, I look at the door that separates my bedroom from Maxon's. Just a few seconds away. I wished so much to run through the short hallway and see him sleeping soundly in his bed. I imagine the relief that would flood my emotions. But he's not there. He is somewhere in New Asia with his father. I suddenly realize why Queen Amberley was always so worried when Maxon and King Clarkson went away. I now understand what she has gone through and my heart aches for her as well as my own.

It is nearly dawn so there is no point in going back to sleep. I hop out of bed and walk into my closet, that I not one bit deserve.

But it is amazing. Not only is it filled with gowns I have worn during The Selection, but tons more that my gifted maids created. I always have a tough decision on what to wear, but since nothing important is happening today I settle for a casual green gown that matches the February/Spring weather.

I suddenly realize the date. February 1. That means my birthday, the 26 of February is coming up. It will be my first birthday as princess and I am nervous and excited as to how it will turn out.

Hopefully Maxon will be back by then.

Stop it America! You have to stop thinking that, he is just on a simple mission in New Asia. Besides, Maxon can take care of himself.

I bathe in my luxurious shower, dress quickly and wait for my maids to do my hair and makeup. They always get upset when I am already dressed, so whenever this happens I make sure I leave something for them to do.

While I wait for my maids, that I really should summon, I walk out onto the balcony. This balcony is much different from my old one. This one is larger and much higher up. I can just barely make out the garden far below. I do most of my thinking on my balcony. The fresh air gives me soft embraces on my cheeks. The cool air gives my breathing rate a break. I slow down my breaths and close my eyes.

Memories surround my mind. From the beginning of The Selection to our wedding day. I remember Maxon and I's first meeting in the gardens to day we both said,

"I do."

The ceremony took place in a Royal Cathedral. All of my family, except Kota attended. I wore a beautiful, luxurious dress my maids made. I felt truly princess-like that day. And my prince was waiting at the end of the aisle. My father held my arm. May was the flower girl, tossing pedals elegantly with a beaming smile on her face. Marlee was my maid of honour. I was glad she could finally come out of hiding. I have to admit, I was barely listening to the priest half the time because I was so excited. When he finally said that Maxon may now kiss the bride I was practically jumping up and down.

He held my face softly, but tight. And planted a soft, gently kiss on my lips. Although we had kissed before, that kiss felt more special, more magical than any other kiss we had shared. He picked me up and spun me around, his lips still planted firmly on mine. The greatest moment of my life.

I suddenly felt a small tap on my shoulder. I spun around hoping it to be Maxon, but I knew in my heart it wouldn't be. Instead it was May. She was rubbing her eyes and yawning, obviously had just woken up. I bend slightly, so we are face to face.

"Good morning princess." I say. May giggles.

"You're the princess, America." She replies and I smile. I take her cheek in my hand, softly.

"What's up?" I ask, wondering why she is in my room so early. She looks into my eyes. Her blue ones are so similar to mine, and I see tears start to well up. "What's wrong May?" I pull her in for a hug and run my fingers through her hair. I can hear her start to stifle and cry softly into my shoulder. "Are you homesick?" I ask. She shakes her head.

"No! I love it here America!" She complains as though it is obvious.

"Then what's the matter?" I pull out of the hug so I can see her face.

"I had a bad dream…" May looks down. I sigh. She is nearly ten years old and still letting dreams get the better of her.

"Why didn't you go see mother or father?" I ask.

"You do it better than them." May explains. 'It' being soothing her until she feels better.

"Oh May" I sigh and embrace her. "What was the dream about?" She looks up at me and gulps.

"Well, you me and Maxon were having a picnic." I instantly smile at this thought. "And…and… then it started to rain and we started running. And then I lost you guys. That's not even the worst part!" She exclaims and I raise my eyebrows. "I was suddenly in a dark forest and…and…and someone was chasing me!" She buries her face in my shoulder again crying.

I cannot blame her for being scared. I was chased in and unknown place by an unknown person, a rebel for a fact. I have to admit a nightmare that has haunted me is losing May in a rebel attack.

"May…" I try to soothe her. "It was only a dream. You are safe and not lost and no one is chasing you." I rub her back because I know she feels so much better when people do that. I pull her out to look at me. "If you want…" I say. "When Maxon gets back, we can have a picnic. Just us three!" She looks at me hopefully.

"Really?" May asks. "Just us three?"

"Absolutely!" I answer. "I need some May time anyway." She beams, but then grows solemn.

"You promise you won't leave me if it rains."

"Promise." I motion my fingers across my chest and May smiles again before hugging me one last time.

I hear a knock come to the door and it's my maids. They never hesitate to enter my room. When it comes to me, nothing is private. They see May and ask her little questions they know May loves to answer. My maids did my hair and make up, as well as May's. I know May has her own maid, but I think she likes mine better. And my maids don't mind one bit, they enjoy a little extra work to do. Honestly we should send May's maid to work on someone else.

We are both prepped for breakfast and are down after a while. I walk down the main staircase with May, holding her hand. There are no longer multiple tables as there were for The Selection, but just one large one. Queen Amberley is already sitting there, looking quite anxious. She is obviously worried about her husband and son, but when she sees us her face lights up.

"Hello ladies. How are you both?" The queen asks politely. I look down at May for her to answer, but she's already looking at me. I think May is still a bit starstruck when she is around the royal family.

"I'm fine your majesty, a bit nervous, but fine. How are you?" I reply.

"I believe that makes two of us, America." The queen says with a weak laugh. "How are you Miss May?" May inches closer to me and plays with my gown.

"I'm feeling alright your majesty. How are you?" May finally says. I can see the queen's face shine as she answers May,

"I'm good, May and I'm glad you are, too."

May and I both take a seat and we begin to eat almost immediately, politely, but immediately. I am wondering where my parents are when a guard shows up and hands me a note.

"Princess America, I believe this is for you." I am still getting used to people calling me 'princess' instead of 'lady'.

The note is from my father.

Dearest America,

Your mother and Gerard are feeling quite ill this morning, so I will tend to them and receive breakfast in our bedroom. Please don't worry too much and take care of May.

Lots of Love,


Queen Amberley is looking hopefully at me. She is probably wondering if it's from Maxon.

"From my parents…" I say and she sits back, disappointed, but May looks up at me. "Mother and Gerard are felling unwell, so father is taking care of her." I tell May and she nods. "That means I'm stuck with you for the rest of the day!" I rub May's hair while she giggles. I glance at the queen and she is smiling, trying to hide her anxiety.

"Well if you both would excuse me, I have some work to do." Queen Amberley stands and curtsies and then quickly leaves the dining hall.

"What are we gonna do today America?" May looks up at me hopefully.

"Whatever you want." I smile down at her.

End of Chapter 1