Chapter 2

1877 Words
I was turning fourteen, and my parents were throwing a glorious party, though it was also a way to show the new baby. Liam, they had named him, but it was clear one person wasn’t very happy about his appearance. Carter had refused to even as much as look at him. It seemed like he wasn’t the adorable younger brother anymore, who got all the attention. Of course, the sight of Carter pouting just made me smile. I was happy for the new sibling, and I knew another was on its way. I knew the signs. My mother always got a strong need for sweets and cakes once she got pregnant, and she would also get less angry when we did something we weren’t supposed to do. Like skipping our lessons. Not that our mother really got angry. Maybe I should say she had a hard time even lecturing us about missing class. She would try to tell us how important it was, and then once she saw us make puppy eyes, she would ask who wanted to go eat some cake. It was rather funny, but of course, I enjoyed having more siblings. I loved taking care of them and protecting them. I loved our family was growing, because there truly was nothing more important than family. “Happy birthday your highness,” a beautiful older woman said. She bowed elegantly and then moved a little out of the way to make room for a younger version of her. She couldn’t be older than eleven maybe. “Serina, bow to the prince. It is his birthday,” she said. The young girl was dressed in this awful pink dress that made her look like a big pillow or something. I almost wanted to laugh at the sight, yet despite the ugliness of her dress, she was still very pretty. She had long blond hair and very blue eyes. I had no idea why it was so hard for me to look away and why I almost felt a need to tease her and the ugly dress she was wearing. “Happy birthday, prince,” she said in this small and very light voice. I wanted to roll my eyes at it. Who even had such a light voice? She curtsied as she wished me a happy birthday and then slowly looked up. I just smiled a bit cruelly and then looked away, making it look like I was awfully bored by her. She didn’t like that, and I could even hear her huff. For some reason, I liked her reaction. It was fun to see, and I wanted to make her even angrier. Her cheeks got this funny red color. “Say thank you, boy.” My father slammed his hard against my back, so I had to move a step closer, and stood right in front of the little girl. I looked annoyed up at my father. He was standing by my side, making conversation with the older lords and ladies, while he made sure I was polite and greeted our guests and thanked them for the many presents. My father just raised an eyebrow at me, not understanding why I was hesitating, but as I turned, I saw the girl’s smug look, and I did not like it. I wanted to annoy her so I could see her face go all red again, but instead I had to thank her. “Thank you …” I mumbled. “Louder James,” my father said. I glared at him from over my shoulder, and then saw the smile only spread on the little girl’s lips. Serina was her name. What a ridiculous name. It sounded like you were trying to make an animal sound, but it just came out wrong. “Thank you,” I said louder. She crossed her arms and looked like she had won some kind of battle between us, but I promised myself this wasn’t over. I mean, who even stood like that? Was she not a lady? She looked like a young boy when she crossed her arms like that. “Come, Serina, let the prince greet the next ones,” her mother said. She gently took her daughter’s hand and started to walk away. I watched them, and then suddenly Serina turned her head and poked her tongue out. It made me angrier than I could describe. I was not used to such a feeling and that only angered me more. “James!” My father brought my attention back to the guests who continued to arrive, and I quickly masked my anger, but I promised myself I would find that ugly little girl later and show her who exactly was the future king, and you did not disrespect the next king like that. It took a while though before I could get away from all the guests and their happy birthday wishes, and all that, yet through it all, all I could think about was that annoying little girl. I looked around for her, as I moved through the big crowd. Where was she? Then suddenly I saw her. She was dancing around on the dancefloor with … Henry?! The two of them were laughing as they spun around, not really following any steps but just having fun. She smiled and laughed, as her hands were connected with his and they went around in circles. Why did I not like that? I shook my head at the sight before I turned around and almost crashed with Will. He hated these parties. I was certain he would have found a way to sneak into his room. “What are you doing here?” I asked. He just shrugged a little while looking at the ground. “Will?” “Mother is keeping an eye on me,” he said. He did a small head nod to the side, and I saw our mother in a conversation with another lady, yet her eyes would move away, sometimes just checking on Will. I smiled a little and then turned back to my brother. He really hated it here, yet as a prince he had to attend. “And … I wanted to give you this.” He then suddenly handed me something wrapped in an old cloth. I took it and looked a bit confused at him, but he did not look at me. While our parents would often give us gifts, we would usually not give each other. For now, our parents told us that the biggest gift we could give to each other was our bond to each other. I knew they were trying to make us see how important it was to have each other without asking or needing to be given something back. Yet now Will had given me something, and I wasn’t sure what to do with it. I slowly unwrapped his gift, knowing I couldn’t just give it back. That would be rude, and it really said something that he had come to give it to me himself. I removed the cloth and then … my eyes grew big from the small blade in my hand. It was beautiful with a handle that was dark red and had gold lines running through it, and just in the middle there was carved a crown with a J in the middle. The blade was covered by its scabbard that also had a dark red color and gold on it, and I slowly pulled it out, seeing it shine in the many lights from the party. “You made this?” I asked in awe. He slowly nodded. Will was already showing great talent at forging blades and swords. He was quite skilled actually. Even though he was a prince and should not really be taught something like that, our father actually encouraged it. Maybe because he knew how quiet Will was, he knew it would be good for him to be good at something else. “This is amazing!” I said. My brother looked up looking almost shocked. Did he think I would hate it? I smiled at him and placed my hand on his shoulder, shaking him a little to see I was truly happy about this. It made him smile and he no longer looked so scared. “Really?” he asked. I nodded. How could I not be thrilled about this? He had made it himself and therefore it was a great gift. “I will keep this on me forever!” I said. I put the blade back in its scabbard and then placed it in my belt before looking at Will again. While he always kept his emotions hidden deep down. He had a hard time doing that now. I could see how happy he was to hear I liked his gift. It made him almost smile, and Will never really smiled. “Come!” I said and pulled him with me. We walked over to get some food, and I knew he appreciated that I was keeping him entertained and so he didn’t have to feel so watched by our mother. Yet I had a hard time concentrating on being the one to talk, since Serina was still twirling around on the dance floor with my brother. “Who is she?” Will asked. He must have seen me look at her and I turned away and shrugged. “Probably a daughter of some lady, I’m guessing,” I said. “Henry seems to like her,” he said. Yeah, he did seem to like her... “Well, you know him. He just likes to use his charm.” Will just nodded a little, while I turned my head again to watch the two of them, but then the music ended and the two of them bowed to each other before leaving the dance floor. Yet, they didn’t split up, instead they walked over to one of the tables with food and started to talk. They were both laughing a lot and then Henry started to tease her by making her try some kind of cake that she clearly didn’t want to eat. She laughed as she pushed his hand away. I couldn’t stand there and watch it anymore. I just didn’t like how the two of them were laughing and having fun and so I walked over there, and the laughter instantly stopped. “Hello brother,” Henry said. “Have you met Serina?” I looked down at her, but she just turned and gave me a cold shoulder. “I have had … the pleasure of it, yes,” I said. “She is a really good dancer,” Henry said. Serina’s face lit up from his compliment, and I did not like it, so I made a bad decision and said, “I guess I will have to see for myself.” I grabbed her hand and pulled her to the dancefloor. She, of course, could not refuse me, but she didn’t let loose like she did with Henry but followed the stiff steps we had both been taught since we could walk. I didn’t like it. Why could she laugh with Henry, but not me?
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