The Princeís Diaries - Gena
Note: Story is based on the movie The Princess Diaries.
October, 17th. Gallatin, Mylos
I am bored. How can a prince be bored, you ask. I used to wonder the same thing. I mean, Iíd read all about other princes for years in books I borrowed from the library. Those guys were always out doing something; slaying dragons, rescuing people, righting wrongs, adventuresome folk, right? Well, not here in Mylos. No, here the prince gets to appear at the opening day of Parliament in a hot, wool suit, smile and wave until his jaws ache and he has carpal tunnel. Here in Mylos the prince, if heís lucky, gets to spend his time listening to foreign dignitaries blow smoke up our ministersí asses. Yeah, my life is a party alright. Welcome to my world, Iíll be your guide in this hotbed of activity. Let me introduce myself, His Royal Highness, Beauford Lanier Arturo Ian Rainier, Prince of Mylos, and Defender of the Realm, but you can call me Blair.
Oct. 18th, same place - yea, me.
I can not believe my mother. She knows I had plans for the weekend and she springs this on me! Give a woman a country and she thinks she rules your life. I am now the Official Door Keeper - or something, I wasnít really listening beyond the part where Queen Naomi ordered me to forget two days of hedonist pleasure with the babes and boys of Monte Carlo. I get to welcome a bunch of old farts to our country and keep them amused with my wit and charm. Why couldnít I be the son of a baker? Or a teacher? Or something other than a queen? When Iím King there WILL be changes - Iím going to make sweeping reforms in the government. This place will rock when I rule!
Oct. 19th, Hell.
Yes, it is official - I am in Hell and it can get no worse. This morning my mother informed me a threat had been made against my life. First of all - a threat against me? What the hell did I ever do to anyone? I canít think of a single person Iíve pissed off. Well, Mrs. Labachuk, my first governess, but she deserved the garden snails I put in her bed, she shouldnít have called me a spoiled brat. Okay, and there was Mr. Parker, but I had every right to dig up those roses - itís called the Royal Garden for a reason, and I, as the Royal Offspring, was making a royal fort. And Stephanie Garbaldiís father doesnít count because everybody knows the future Princess of Mylos canít be an aspiring underwear model, I just wish someone would have told her old man there wouldnít be a wedding. As for political stuff - well, I know we are working with the Yanks against terrorism but Iím a bit fuzzy on the details, so if Iíve pissed off any foreign countries it was totally unintentional. Which brings me to my second point - a bodyguard? Naomi wants me to have a bodyguard! I told her I was not being saddled with some brawny thug who canít string two words together. Unfortunately, my mother, the queen, never listens to me. Iím to get an American agent, their best (yipee) as a gesture of goodwill between our countries. I guess the Americans think if they keep my butt safe Naomi will be eternally grateful and allow them to build their airbase on Mylosian land.
Oct. 20th - The Ninth level of Hell.
Remember when I said it couldnít get worse - well, I was wrong. Simon Banks, the head of US Defense Bureau, introduced me to the agent who will insure my safety. His name is James Ellison and he is my worst nightmare. Heís tall, with classic features, a square jaw, high forehead and that smart black suit he wore could not hide the fact heís totally ripped, believe me I can tell. He moves like a knife blade but he seems to have the personality of a spoon, donít get me wrong, heís handsome, but I think his face might crack if he attempted a smile. Itís just my luck that some perverse little quirk of nature has left me attracted to exactly this kind of lump. Still, Naomi always says some times the hottest fires are banked under the deepest embers. Unfortunately, Agent Ellison wonít be around long enough for me to find out; I plan on getting rid of him. Get this Iím supposed to do what he tells me! Is that a load or what? Hello? Iím the Crown Prince here and this - this arrogant, muscle head comes in and Iím just going to follow his orders like a little soldier - not happening.
Oct.25th - Dungeon cell I call home
Itís been five days. Nothing Iíve said will make my mother change her mind. Iím stuck with him. Ellison is like this giant albatross hung around my neck, an albatross in a dark silk suit, that is. I asked him why the hell he dresses in a silk suit and get this - he told me wool was too harsh on his skin! I canít stand the guy! He thinks he can run my life, Iím supposed to clear every detail with him and he totally treats me with no respect! Every time I remind him to call me by my title he gets this smug look and says ďokay, PrinceĒ. He makes it sound like heís talking to his pet dog. The man is infuriating! He has no idea how I live, how I have a certain lifestyle to maintain, an image to conserve. My friends hate him. Whenever I plan a little excursion with the guys Commando Jim turns it into a military operation. And he watches me constantly! I canít turn around without finding those amazing blue eyes pinned to me. Unnerving, but kinda neat, too.
Oct. 26th - The Magpie Pub, Abbottsville
Randy, Lord Whitford, has come round to take me to this nifty little dance club just outside the capital city. Sounds great, music, dancing, girls and guys working up a sweat. Wonder what Ellison will do while I amuse myself? Hope he doesnít think Iíll set him up with one of my cast-offs!
Oct. 26th - 11:23 PM, Limo
What a shitty night! When did my friends become such a tiresome and boorish group? So what if Ellison is annoying, heís my bodyguard. It started with Randy and Jacob, Viscount Piermont to the commoners; they took one look at Ellison and began making snide comments. Sure Iím partially to blame, I might have given them the wrong impression about the guy but that does not give them the right to rag on him, heís my problem, not theirs. Jim was doing his thing, he blends into the background but, shit, heís not deaf he couldnít help but hear what they were saying. I really wanted to apologize but I couldnít think of a way to do it without looking like a fool to my friends. Thatís not the worst of it though; Randy and Jake must have noticed that the loud music and strobe lights seemed to bother Jim. Well, before I knew it they bribed the DJ to hype it up to maximum. I was busy putting the moves on a few of my more lovely subjects so it wasnít until I got back to the table Jim had commandeered as his post that I saw he wasnít doing well. He was white as a sheet and his eyes were red and watering. I figured out what was going on and sent everyone packing! Yeah, itís one of the perks of being the son of the ruling monarch. I ordered the car brought around and did my best to help Jim into it without looking as if I was helping. He sighed with relief once we settled into the silent and dim interior. ďThanks,Ē he said all quiet like. I smiled at him and he smiled back. What a difference it makes. Jim has an amazing smile; it dazzles you to see it! He has a million tiny laugh lines around his eyes that you canít see when heís doing his stoic agent thing, but when he smiles they crinkle delightfully. Right now heís got his head back, eyes closed but every time I stop scratching in my journal he cants a narrow eyed glance towards me. Heís not as bad as I thought he would be, you know?
Oct. 27th - My apartments, the palace
Itís after midnight so it is the 27th. Jimís bedroom is a tiny thing next to mine. Thereís a door between us but I left it open, he has me a bit worried. He wouldnít admit it but I can tell his head is killing him and his eyes havenít stopped watering since the club. I wanted to call a doctor but he wouldnít hear of it. I threatened to do it anyway and thatís when I saw that it wasnít macho bullshit that made him want to suffer in silence but fear. Jim is scared of something. What the hell would scare a man like him? I ordered him into bed, his own and alone, and got a wet cloth for his eyes. Then I sneaked down to the kitchen and made hot chocolate and brought it back up. Jim was horrified; he thinks I should have protection 24/7. Like assassins are lurking in the pantry ready to slit my throat with a butter knife. Talk about paranoid. When he told me I shouldnít fool around with my safety I just grinned and said protection was something I took very serious. He laughed! I did not think it possible, but he did. Man, when heís not doing his Mr. Spock impression the guy can be such a hottie. We drank our chocolate in silence after that but it was a nice silence, no idle chatter, I didnít feel any pressure to be The Prince. I was just me- Blair. It felt really nice.
Oct 27th - Breakfast, the Palace
He looked much better this morning. Well, to be fair, Ellison always looks great, but this morning I was expecting him to show the aftereffects of whatever took him down at the club. Instead he showed up look bright-eyed and delectable. Heís given up the dark suits and dressed in khaki slacks and a blue shirt, though he still wears his shades. I think our bright Mylosian days are hard on his eyes. He doesnít look so much like an American security agent now, more like a well armed tourist. I pushed out a chair for him and he joined me for breakfast, a big improvement over our normal routine. Usually, he stands near the window and kind of looms. Weíre both a bit more relaxed around each other; guess last night was good for us. We talked about this and that, I was curious about his ďdistressĒ last night. Jim told me he was very sensitive to light and sound, seems heís not as invincible as heíd like everyone to believe.
Oct. 30th - The Palace garage
I am not allowed to drive MY Mercedes in the Mylos 500! Oh, this is not a Royal Decree by Her Serene Highness, Queen of the Realm, Naomi. No, itís a fuckiní order from Ellison! I was just beginning to like the guy and he pulls this. He went to my mother and told her he could not insure my safety in a race through the winding streets of our ancient capital city. Am I asking him to? It was a hell of a row, him with his jaw clenching so hard I could hear teeth grinding and me up in his face not backing down an inch. In the end he called me an impudent child and said I didnít know a thing about living in the real world. ďItís my life, I know thereís a risk and if anything happens Iíll make sure they know itís not your fault if thatís what youíre worried about!Ē Jim went white, his face drained of color so fast I thought he would pass out. ďDonít say that. Donít ever say that.Ē His voice had lost all its fight; he just stared at me, like he was seeing something else. ďJim?Ē I said. I touched him, my hand moving slowly because Iíve seen the manís reflexes when startled, and it was like touching a solid wall. I called his name a few more times but he just kept staring, unblinking, and I knew heíd sunk into a place so deep inside himself he couldnít get out. Why? Iíd only said I was willing to take the risk to my safety.
Something had happened, if not to Jim then to someone he protected - someone he protected. Shit! Something must have gone wrong in one of his jobs and he felt heíd failed. I doubt Jim Ellison could ever fail but obviously he wasnít so convinced. I kept rubbing at Jimís hand and repeating his name, he didnít even look like he was breathing and Iíd just decided to call for help when he shuddered. It was like a computer coming back on line, he just blinked and focused on me and then he looked down at where I still had a hold on his hand. Have you ever just known when something was right? I had no idea if he was gay or straight or swung both ways but it felt right between us. He squeezed my fingers and I squeezed back. I said I would think about it, about not participating in the race this year and he nodded. He pulled away, returning us to our professional roles, but I could tell he didnít want to and you know what? Neither did I. I decided Iíd ask Agent Banks about Jimís background, of all the agents he appeared to be the only one Jim was close to.
Oct. 31st - my apartments
Banks didnít want to talk but when I threatened to go to my mother and have her send them all packing he changed his mind. Damn, itís nice to be Prince. I demanded to know what was up with Ellison. I made him think I was angry with Jim in the hopes he would be candid. He was. Banks said Jim had been in the American Army, in the Rangers. Heíd been a Captain and his unit was one of the very best. Jim and his men had been sent to Peru to help a native tribe hold a strategic pass. Ellison had asked for volunteers for the mission, explaining the risk and letting them make the decision. Seven men went with him. What no one knew at the time was the Colonel who had authorized the mission was on the take. He was using his connections as a pipeline for drugs and if Jimís mission succeeded it would close him down. Jimís chopper mysteriously crashed in the jungle and all his men were killed if not outright then they died from their injuries. Only Jim survived, ill, terribly injured; the tribe they had come to help found him and nursed him back to health. He spent eighteen months in the jungle and when he was finally rescued and sent home as a hero he quit the service. Simon recruited him year later but by then Ellison had shut down emotionally; he lived only for his job, making no personal connections and setting exacting standards for his own behavior. It explained a lot - about Jim and about what this assignment meant to him. He had to keep me safe. I think that was the first time in my life Iíve been so scared, terrified. Accidents happen all the time to people and right then I knew if anything happened to me I would be responsible for destroying Jim. Something inside me withered at the thought. I could be careless and reckless with my own life but not with his. I found Ellison patrolling the halls and told him Iíd decided not to participate in the race this year. It was the party afterwards I looked forward to anyway. He chuckled and asked if I was planning on dancing all night. I told him I was but Iíd save the last one for him. He said, ďYou do that, Chief.Ē
Nov. 4th -The middle of nowhere
Who knew Mylos has huge wheat fields that seem to stretch from horizon to horizon! I know, our chief export is grain, but Iíd never been to an actual field until today and it changed my life. It started innocently enough; it was Jimís day off. Yeah, surprised the hell out of me too, Jim taking a day off. I was just getting ready to give him a hard time about it when I noticed how tired he looked. I guess guarding me is a tough job. He told me he planned to drive through the countryside and see just how beautiful our country was for himself. I think I might have invited myself along - see I was thinking how nice that sounded. I never get to do anything like that - just be with real people. Jim looked up and maybe the longing was still on my face. He kinda smiled and said, ďWhy donít you come with me, Chief?Ē Jim was dressed in jeans so soft and worn they clung to every muscle in his long legs and his black t-shirt showed just how ripped he really was. I scrambled up to my rooms and dug out a tattered pair of jeans and a couple of old shirts. I have long, dark hair that curls so much I usually wear it pulled back, but I couldnít get a picture of the two of us, sunshine on our faces and the wind in our hair, mine anyway, out of my mind, so I left it down. I thought Jim was going to say something when I presented myself at the bottom of the grand staircase - his lips parted and he wore this dazed expression but a second later he put his hand on my back and steered me towards his car without a word.
Once we were on the roadway I asked him why we could do this, the two of us driving when I wasnít allowed to participate in the 500. He said it was different here; he didnít have to be constantly watching the buildings or fighting the noise of traffic or the chaos of thousands of people to keep me safe. ďYou donít like crowds, do you?Ē I asked and he kind of grimaced and said he couldnít stand the smell of a crowd, perfume, shampoo, garlic; it all choked him until he thought he would suffocate. He said so many people all together wore him out. I looked at him, really looked at him and I could see it was true. He looked more drawn and tired in the bright light.
We drove until hunger made us stop. Jim pulled the car up in front of this tiny restaurant; there was no one else around. The owner and his family might have recognized me but I like to think they were this friendly to everyone who found their way there. We had the best meal! Thick slices of bread and sharp cheese, pasta dripping with alfredo sauce and sweet wine made right there. I ate until I thought I would burst and then sat back to enjoy watching Jim. Iíd never seen him eat very much before. At breakfast he usually picked at his food or pushed it away entirely and just drank coffee but he dug in like a man starving to death. He didnít notice I was enthralled for a long time then he looked up and glared at me. I laughed. He blushed, honest to god! I explained that I wasnít laughing at him, just happy that he was enjoying himself.
It was the best meal I've ever had and when we were done, we wandered out back to this thick grove of apple trees. We picked a few to eat then just sat there for a while watching the leaves stir in the breeze, listening to the birds singing on the branches. Jim fell asleep, he looked so young and carefree, and he really needed to rest so I just sat quietly beside him. Is it possible to have an epiphany in an orchard? I think it is. I was sitting there, watching Jim sleep and I canít explain how that felt. Even now, writing this down in my journal, Iím not sure I can convey the depth of the emotions running through me. I look at Jim and the thought of what heís been through blows me away. Simon told me how Jim came back from Peru a hero in the eyes of the nation, how people made a big deal about what heíd done but Jim had never considered himself a hero, not when he came back alone. People look at me, they hold me up as some example and what have I done? Iíve lent my name to charities I believe in but never gotten in there and helped cure anyone. Iíve never saved a life. Iím a figurehead but I let them cheer me, let them believe Iím special. Why couldnít I be like Jim? I donít have the strength to be so honest, if Iím not The Prince then what am I? I sat there stunned by what I could see, heís still a soldier, he came here to protect me even though he didnít want to, didnít like me. Jimís a natural guardian; it makes him who he is. I just wish I knew who I was.
I donít know how long I sat there mulling over the things that churned in my mind but eventually Jim woke. I had an apple in my hand and he reached out, taking it and biting into its tender, red skin. ďYou know what happened the last time two people were alone in a garden eating apples,ď he mused. I know my eyes got huge. Innuendo from Agent Ellison? Wow! I could feel my heart slamming against my ribs but I decided I had to risk it; I had to know if we could have it all. ďIs there something here that could tempt you?Ē I asked. His hand closed on the nape of my neck, his fingers sliding underneath my curls. A thrill of lust went straight through me, turning my insides to water. He reeled me in and fit his mouth over mine. It was hot and sweet and apple flavored. I wanted it to last just like that but some part of me needed more. I deepened the kiss, prying his lips apart and invading his mouth with my tongue. He made this low sound, almost like a growl and I pushed him over. Kissing a guy is not like kissing a girl, I mean aside from the obvious. Usually when I kiss a guy its about control and dominance, whoís got the power, whoís calling the shots. With a girl itís all about cooperation. You need to coax her along, make her want what you have because force will turn her off. Kissing Jim wasnít like either of these. It was about merging, about two people who hadnít known they needed to be together until that instant. I couldnít have stopped kissing him if Iíd wanted, that kiss was destined from the beginning of time. It was Jim who pulled back. Breathless, mussed and looking totally debauched, he stared up at me and his eyes were filled with wonder.
ďWe canít do this,Ē he whispered. I grinned and said, ďWhy? Are you married or something?Ē He got this shattered expression on his face and my world went black, I could not draw breath into my lungs. Jim can read me like no one else ever has and he quickly caught my hand, pressing it to his chest. ďNo,Ē he swore, ďIím not married - now. She divorced me, she - said things I canít forget, Chief. Iím a fucked up mess. You wonít want anything to do with me when you find out just how fucked up I am.Ē His voice was flat, no inflection at all. His ex must have really done a number on him, but I was willing to chance anything to be with him. ďHey, Iím a Prince, I can fix anything.Ē He managed a small smile, hope flickering in his eyes but I donít think I convinced him. I swooped in for another kiss, a feather-light brush of lips while I worked at the buttons on his shirt but he stopped me. He tilted his head, then shook it and said someone was coming. A second later the restaurant ownerís daughter and her boyfriend strolled into the orchard. Wouldnít do for the Prince of Mylos to be caught making out with his bodyguard so I pulled Jim to his feet and we headed for the car.
I thought weíd rush back to the palace, maybe barricade ourselves in my apartments for a week and ravish each other but Jim wanted to see more of the countryside. Thatís how I found out about the wheat fields - firsthand. Weíre driving along through this little village, its one of the ones our tourist bureau uses in its ads, all narrow cobble streets and fountains and people sipping coffee at sidewalk cafes. Jim mentions in this offhand way that a storm is coming. The sky is blue and thereís sunshine but he insists a storm is heading our way and about that time we spot a bunch of people laughing and singing as they tromp out towards this wheat field. We slowed and stopped to let them pass and I asked what they were doing. One of the men said they were heading into the fields to finish the last of the harvest before the storm came. I could hear Jim being smug but he had the good sense not to say anything. I looked at him and he looked at me and before I knew it we had joined the group.
I can barely hold this pen as I write, my arms are so tired, but itís a good tired. I feel as if I really accomplished something. Jim and I worked side by side that afternoon, cutting stalks, or carrying bundles to where women in colorful bandannas tossed the threshed wheatheads into the air to separate the chaff. Everyone sang and I taught Jim the words to some of the old songs Naomiís mother had sung to me. I didnít even know I remembered them but they were there, buried in my memories. The sun beat down, warm and wonderful, and we stripped off our shirts and Iíll never forget the sight of Jim, sweat glistening on his beautiful body, helping this old woman tie stalks together. He must have felt my stare because he looked up and our eyes locked. Nothing else existed but him, the world faded away and all I could see was his face, smiling and happy and my chest ached with the strength of it all. When sunset came storm clouds could be seen in the distance and the rumble of thunder heard. The village fed us and thanked us and we were on our way back to the palace, dusty and tired and happy.
Nov. 7th - My apartments
During the day I convince myself itís all a dream. Nothing has changed on the surface - Iím still a prince and Jim is my bodyguard. He shadows me, face impassive, his manner absolutely professional. I go about my duties, opening schools, attending charity events or whatever and Jim makes sure no one gets too close, too exuberant. There are times, when Iím murmuring my well rehearsed patter, that I think I see something in his eye, but maybe itís just a reflection in his sunglasses. Then night descends, blotting out reality, and the dream begins again. It starts the same way, Iím alone in my rooms, reading, propped up in my big bed, just relaxing and then I hear a noise. Itís soft, a footstep I think. I hold my breath, the book in my hand falling forgotten onto the covers and I strain to hear the sound again. Iíve just given up; put it down to imagination when it comes again, louder. My heart is hammering in my chest; my breath is coming in short painful gasps because I know there is someone in the room with me. Shadows ring the bed, making deep patches of velvety black around the walls and as I lay there paralyzed, something moves within them. Like a great jet black feline, Jim stalks closer, his eyes glinting dangerously, a feral smile curling his lips. I rise to my knees and he sinks to his and my arms enfold him and then I know itís not a dream but it feels unreal all the same.
Itís been this way for three nights, heís come to me and Iíve stripped the shirt from his chest, the slacks from his legs and Iíve spread my palms over his skin, making him groan with pleasure, my own sounds of delight stifled by his mouth. Jim presses me into silk sheets and Iím trapped in the middle, fire down one side and ice down the other. Iíve never made love with anyone like Jim, itís like his whole body is alight, his senses so acute that anything I do sends him into orbit. My hands, my mouth, even my voice has the power to convulse him in ecstasy. But itís more than that, more than the undeniable physical attraction between us, more than pleasure we take in each otherís body. I feel absolute peace and contentment. I wish I could stop time, if I could I would stop it with him in my arms. Holding him is like the place, the time, the person I have been looking for since the moment of my birth have all come together. He looks at me and what I see in his eyes makes me want to give it back to him, but Iím afraid. What if I show him the real me and it isnít good enough? Before I met him my life was pretty much an endless party, but now I want him to be proud of me, to witness my accomplishments and say, ďGood job, Chief.Ē What is this feeling and why does it make my chest ache?
People fawn over me, they see The Prince, not Blair. Iím like some expensive party favor to most of them. My friends, Randy and Jake, they were the only other guys my age in the exclusive prep school I attended, we hang out because I know they arenít anymore impressed by my title than I am by theirs. So who do I talk to? Who shares my secrets? Not Naomi. Sheís a great mom, but sheís a bitchiní Queen. She took over when my father was killed in a helicopter crash. I was six at the time and mom was all Iíd ever known but suddenly she had DUTIES and I wasnít one of them anymore. She still loved me, I could tell, but it wasnít us in our own little world, it was her kingdom and she had to get everyone through times of great sorrow and hardship. I adapted, Iím flexible. But I always wanted one person who would look at me like she had for those first six years, someone who saw me, who wanted me. Is it Jim? Maybe I am a self absorbed idiot and maybe heís an emotionally disabled guard but it could work, couldnít it?
I donít know what Jim sees when he looks at me, thereís this sadness I donít understand. He can spend hours just brushing his hands along my skin as he stares at me. Itís erotic as hell. I donít know much about his past, Jim isnít a big talker, but I know he was married, from the little he said I guess it was only for a year or so and she pretty much accused him of being emotionally dead inside. He isnít, you know? Jim Ellison is a passionate man, heís compassionate and sensitive but you have to look deeper than the surface. Thatís funny, isnít it? I can peer deep into his soul and all the while Iím the original Teflon Man. Let it slide off; donít let anyone beneath that surface. But Jim has beautiful eyes, they seem to look right through me and that terrifies me. What if he doesnít find anything underneath this shallow exterior? What will happen then?
Nov. 10th - Trianon Palace Hotel, Paris
Mmmmm, Paris when it sizzles. Man, they must have been talking about a night spent on the town with Jim. We ditched the rest of the bodyguard gang and did Paree on our own terms. Iím sure thereíll be telegrams to Naomi and reports filed in several countries but I am so glad I talked Jim into it. Iíve been to Paris more times than I can count, practically grew up here. I spent all my summers here, must have attended a thousand parties up and down the Seine but I was always tempted to just duck out of the soiree and head out on my own. Iím glad I waited for Jim; Paris is definitely the City of Romance.
I have a suite at the Trianon, itís marble and gilding and elegance. This place was built at the turn of the century as a showplace and it hasnít changed at all. You should see the pool! Sunlight floods the room and the golden filigree dazzles your eyes. Thereís a beautiful white marble balustrade around the upper deck and you can gaze out over the pool and pretend itís your own tropical island. I could see Jim was impressed with the place even though he tried to keep his expression bland. He kept staring at the gold leaf and the silver fixtures and shaking his head. I told Banks I wanted Jim in the connecting bedroom. Security, you know? I think Simon bought it. He might suspect something is going on between me and Jim since weíve stopped trying to kill each other but I donít know if heís figured out how far itís gone yet.
You ever see that old Audrey Hepburn movie, Funny Face? Thatís the Paris Iíve always longed to see - coffee houses and beatnicks. Iíve always been trapped in places like the Trianon, the glitzy, glamorous Paris of the super-rich. Jim helped me look for Audreyís Paris. We sneaked out of the hotel and made our way along narrow, cobbled streets. We found places I doubt anyone other than the locals know about - cafes in abandoned warehouses, clubs in subway lines, poets and artists and thinkers all jammed together trying to change the world. It was fabulous. I half expected Audrey and Fred Astaire to pop out of the shadows and dance their way out of sight. I canít remember a more magical night and all the time it was just Jim and Blair, not a prince and his bodyguard, just two men who laughed and dreamed and had more fun in one night than in two lifetimes.
We got back here to the hotel at four thirty. Jim went all covert; we sneaked through the kitchen and up a service elevator, then ducked into a linen closet and finally hotfooted it back to my suite. Weíre both exhausted and just lying here in this gigantic bed, the Eiffel Tower blazing like a roman candle just outside my window. I made love to Jim, taking him for the first time not more than a half hour ago. He was like some magnificent beast beneath me, his skin satin smooth and hot to the touch. I could feel his heart beating through the connection of our bodies. How amazing is that? Iíve never felt this close to anyone in my entire life. Iím terrified. Heís sleeping, one hand curled on my thigh, his face towards me. He looks so beautiful with the lights painting golden hues across that sensual body.
Nov. 16th - My apartments
Once again I have proven why Fate made me a prince - I have royally fucked up. Itís nothing new, in fact, my psychology prof once explained it all to me in excruciating detail but the only phrase which had stuck with me is - fear based response What Jim and I shared was pure undiluted bliss for twelve days and then he goes and says he loves me and that freaked me out! Hell, I donít even know if he meant it like that but it made me panic all the same. We were laying there all sticky and breathing hard and he leans over and plants one on me. Jim has this way of kissing, it doesnít just involve his mouth itís like his whole being is concentrated in his lips and he focuses all this attention and strength of will into a laser that sears a man down to his soul. But I digress, so he kisses me and I say ďWhatís that in aid of, stud?Ē Only it sounded really sexy, and he grins and says ďJust because I love you.Ē He then rolls over onto his back and starts snoring but I was in shock. SHOCK! What if he did love me? What would happen? I know Jim, even after only a couple of weeks, I know heís honorable and upstanding, noble and loyal and has a purpose in life. Iím a prince. Iím a prince in a tiny European country that relies on tourists buying postcards of the Royal Family to keep us solvent.
I didnít sleep at all thinking about what it meant and when he got out of bed a few hours later to return to his own room I pretended to be asleep so I wouldnít have to face him. I guess that explains why I fucked it up but not how. Tonight was the Royal Gala; itís like the pinnacle of a series of charity events we hold every year in Mylos. After the Knights of Lights, a kind of winter Mardi Gras taking place in two days time, the Gala is THE social event. All my cousins show up, that means royalty from nearly every country in Europe, the Americanís send us a bunch of celebrities and the rich flock here like lemmings.
I convinced Agent Banks Jim should wear a tuxedo to blend in tonight. Jim was not happy about it but he looked fantastic. A restless feeling had gripped me, every time I looked over at Jim, at that confident face, his bland expression and the eyes which burned whenever they locked on to mine, I could feel my heart start to race. I had to get away from him; I couldnít face him one more minute, knowing I couldnít be enough. I was like Narcissus, happily gazing into my pool and then Jim comes along and dunks my head under the water. Thereís a whole world down there beneath the surface, one teeming with life and purpose. Damn him.
Thatís when I saw Bridget. Sheís a friend; we sleep together when we feel like it. I grabbed her arm and pulled her along up the grand staircase. I could see Jim at the bottom of the stairs as we climbed. He looked up and our eyes met. His face was blank but his eyes were filled with hurt. I hated him for making me want more than the shiny balloon my life had been up until that point. I hated him for making me feel worthless and redundant and totally useless to the world. I didnít do anything with Bridget; every time I closed my eyes I saw the hurt on Jimís face. She dozed off on the bed waiting for me but I sat in front of the fireplace, gazing into the flames. It wasnít until there was a discrete knock on the door that I found the strength to break away. It was Simon; he wanted to know if I was ready to go. I asked where Jim was and Simon said heíd been taken ill and gone back to the palace to rest.
Iím sitting here now; I can feel him on the other side of the door. I canít open it, I canít apologize. He has to know this is all I am - I can never be the person he thinks I am. Jim must hate me because I hate myself.
Nov. 18th - Midnight, Surgical Theater, St. Sebastianís Hospital
I have to write this, Iíll go crazy if I just sit here waiting. My hands are shaking. It looks like a two year old scribbled this down. I have to write this out, I canít think about whatís happening in there. I canít stop shaking. He would have died to protect me. Died. I know itís his job. I said the same thing. He asked if I was okay - okay? Someone had just tried to kill me and they would have if Jim hadnít pushed me down, shielding my body with his own. And then he asked if I was okay. My brain wouldnít work, I couldnít think, all I could do was stare up at him. I could see relief and something immense and beautiful in his eyes but I was frightened. I did what I always do - I lashed out, I had to channel that fear into something I could handle and it just happened he was closest. I yelled and shouted and told him he was incompetent. I was so terrified and I didnít want to be, I hadnít done anything. I said it was his fucking job to make sure I was okay so I better damn well be. What an idiot I am. I could see how much that hurt him, so much pain in a man who doesnít want anyone to see it. His eyes went dark and he slowly rolled off me, allowing one of the other guards to pull me to my feet and hustle me to safety. I didnít notice anything then, too fucking scared, I didnít realize for hours, I guess and by then it was too late. See, the bullet hit him instead of me. I yelled at him and I didnít even know what he had done. It wasnít until heíd gotten the rest of the team to take me back to the palace that I even found out. I wouldnít have known the truth even then if Simon hadnít let it slip. Simon is Jimís friend. His only friend, I think. When Iím scared, I freak. I wanted armed guards on all the doors and when Jim didnít show up I told Simon I wanted his ass in my office that instant. The room went silent; they just looked at me like I was scum - the lowest of the low. I hit the roof, I was screaming at them and thatís when Simon, in a voice ice cold and full of contempt, told me Jim had been shot. He would have died to protect me.
How did this start? He could die and he thinks I cheated on him. Hang on, Jim. I have to tell you the truth, I have to tell you Iím a fucking coward and thatís why I pushed you away. Every since the Gala, Jim and I have existed in these clear plastic bubbles. We can see each other, nod and be civil if we have to but we can not touch, even eye contact slips off the surface of our bubbles. It was time for the Ceremony of the Knights, Jim and I had barely exchanged two words all night and those were about which guard would accompany me. Jim rode in the front of the limo and Simon took the seat in back with me. I felt sick with what Iíd done, and the sight of Jimís frozen expression, his eyes as unreadable as if he still wore his sunglasses, twisted my guts into knots. I donít remember much of the ceremony itself, a lot of speeches, some singing, pomp and circumstances stuff, and then Jim grabbed me. I was so shocked, heíd been standing several feet away and when I felt the touch I looked up into his face. He gave a little gasp and kind of pushed at me then his weight crashed down on me and we fell.
I couldnít see anything because his arms were up around my head, my face pressed into his chest. I could hear screams and shouts and what I thought at the time were firecrackers, but I guess were really bullets. And then it was quiet. I wanted to cling to Jim, I felt so helpless and that made me angry. Thatís when he asked if I was okay.
1 AM, St. Sebastianís Hospital
Heís in surgery. The bullet hit him in the back, itís still in there. I made Simon tell me what happened after I was whisked away. Simon says Jim tried to stand but he couldnít. There wasnít much blood, even when they got his coat off him, just a round, red stain. He asked about me - in the ambulance as they were rushing him here - he asked if I was doing okay. Why the hell should he care? Itís only his fucking job, right? Why do I care? Oh, god, what if heís not okay? What the hell am I going to do?
2AM - Royal Mylosian Hospital
Theyíre losing him. My hands are shaking so badly as I write this I doubt anyone will ever know what it says, but I do. Jim is fighting for his life as I spill out my emotions in this fucking journal but itís the only thing I can do. God, if I could be in there, if anything I could do would help save his life I would do it. I want to scream, I want to fight - I want to change the world into some place where no one else ever has to die. Donít let him die. Please, donít let him die. The doctor said Jimís reactions are all over the place, the drugs they used to stabilize him are killing him. They donít understand it. I need to find someone who knows what to do. Oh god, she says I should go in now, to say goodbye.
6AM - hospital corridor
My butt is numb up to my armpits and my eyes feel like someone threw acid in them but Jim is still alive. He looks so frail lying there in a hospital bed, almost unrecognizable as the hulking badass whoís been rough on me for a month. They didnít want me in there but I guess the doctors could tell if I wasnít allowed into Jimís room they might be facing the whole Mylosian Guard. Itís a small force but they are deadly. So Dr. Korby, a tenacious woman of middle years, ushered me into the ICU and gave me a few moments alone with Jim. I wanted to cry, heís so still and so pale and Iím so scared he might die. He stirred, coming around and up until that moment he was a friend, a lover, a companion but when he opened his eyes and they locked on to me I knew I loved him with all my heart. I donít mean any fluffy Romantic love; I mean soul deep, life changing, not-going-to-get-over-this-if-I-live-to-be-a-hundred kind of love.
He spoke, in a barely audible rasp, ďHurts, Blair. Hurts, so much.Ē I honestly donít know if it was everything, all the little clues Iíd picked up in the weeks weíd been together, coming together at that instant or the fact that the man I loved was hurting so bad tears were in his eyes. Whatever it was, a blinding thought hit me, a memory from my schooldays in England. I took Jimís hand, mindful of the tubes and wires and weird equipment theyíd stuck all over him, I took his hand and said, ďConcentrate on my touch, Jim. Feel my hand? Your senses are spiking, youíre feeling everything too intensely. I want you to try and picture something like a dial in your mind. Itís set at 10. You can scale back, you can control the level. Just ease it down, babe. Take a breath, let it out slowly, your pain is going with it.Ē It worked! I could see his eyes clearing and he seemed to breathe easier. He gave me a dopey grin and drifted to sleep. I kissed his forehead, and left quickly. I didnít want anyone to see me crying. Agent Banks insisted on taking me back to the palace but not before I demanded round the clock guards on Jimís door.
Nov. 19thh - The palace
Iíve been tearing through my university stuff like a madman, Banks is convinced Iíve suffered some stress induced breakdown but really Iím a man on a mission. I knew it was here someplace but it took hours to find it. Oh well, itís not like I would have slept anyway. What I found was a copy of an old manuscript a professor had given me when I attended Oxford for a term. Anthropology has always fascinated me and this old guy knew it. He said it was an authentic manuscript by Sir, Richard Burton, but the subject matter had always been deemed one of Burtonís practical jokes. In it, he talks about discovering a tribe of Indians in South America and meeting what he called their sentinel. According to Burton, this man was able to hear, see, smell, taste and feel to a much higher degree than anyone else in the tribe - in the world. Burtonís theory was that over the centuries, certain traits had led to a natural development of heightened senses and this Indian tribe had actively sought out individuals who showed the signs and used them to their advantage. The tribe was able to flourish because their sentinel warned of danger, found food and water despite its scarcity, and directed them to shelter before the situation became critical. He spoke of another individual who kept watch over the sentinel, a guide of sorts, whose function was to make sure the sentinel didnít become overwhelmed by his senses. I was enthralled by the subject of sentinels. They became a hobby of sorts. I read any article I found about people with heightened senses. Usually it was just about people with specific jobs that require a honed sense of smell or someone who works with sound, or is a taste-tester. I was always vaguely disappointed that no one seemed to possess all five heightened senses. I guess thatís why I knew what would help Jim. Strong light hurts his eyes, loud sounds hurt his ears, he wears only silk suits because anything else chafes his skin, he barely eats because food tastes odd to him and he hates crowds because the combined odors make him retch. Add all this together and you get heightened senses. God, I hope Burton has written something in here about what might happen to a sentinel when heís in ICU.
Nov 19th - 7 PM, hospital
Jimís come around a few times, heís in a lot of pain and nothing less than morphine seems able to put a dent in it so itís been up to me to make him comfortable. Up until yesterday the thought of me doing something like this, helping to save a manís life, would have made me pretty nervous but I feel very sure of myself right now. I canít explain it, except to say that I believe I was destined to meet Jim and be beside him when he needed me. The doctors around here are completely baffled by Jimís reactions, some of the drugs have produced such horrendous reactions they feared it would kill him. I ordered it all stopped. I know, theyíre doctors and their only responsibility is to keep Jim alive, but they are also Mylosians and loyal to the Crown. I proved I could help him, with my coaching Jim is resting comfortably, giving his body a chance to heal itself without the aid of any major drugs. Dr. Korby has listened to me; she doesnít seem to think itís odd that I would know how to handle this situation. I tried to explain, without giving too much away, about Jimís senses.
Heís going to be in here a while, they need to make sure thereís no nerve damage, but I have a feeling Jim will pull through just fine. I made the first step in repairing what we have between us a few minutes ago. Jim woke and I told him right away that I loved him and hoped he would forgive me. ďForgive you?Ē He said all confused like and I worried that the trauma might have wiped away his memories of the last few days. ďI know you didnít sleep with that woman, Chief,Ē he said and my heart froze in my chest. ďThe only thing I smelled on you when you got back was her perfume.Ē I gulped a few times then wiped at my eyes, not wanting him to see how relieved I was not to have to explain my insecurities to him, not since he already understood them so well.
Nov. 30th - My apartments
Itís kind of a unique experience to be the bodyguard for once. Jim was released from the hospital yesterday, heís weak and in a lot of pain but heís here in my bed. I worry about him constantly, is he doing too much, is he hurting, are his senses acting up or is he just being a dick? Itís all so new but I donít think Iíd trade it for the world. Jimís counting on me - Iím the only person in the world who knows how to help him and itís something I was born to do. An accident of birth made me a Prince but meeting Jim couldnít have been an accident, it was destiny. One of the last sentinels in the world, as far as I can tell, ends up as a bodyguard to a prince in a tiny European country and the fellow just happens to know all about them - come on, what are the odds! My biggest challenge is getting Jim to think of his abilities as a gift. Heís afraid, all his life has been about control - his senses, his emotions, his body, as if by controlling all these things heíd keep from getting lost. Now Iíve come along and pretty much told him his control is a thing of the past.
A sentinel needs a guide to ground him, let him dedicate himself 100% to the cause, and a man needs someone to love him and let him be 100% true to himself. Neither one of these things is a solitary endeavor, they both take someone you trust and love and someone you give over control to once in a while. Itís going to be hard for him and I admit itís going to be hard for me - Iím used to snapping my fingers and having everything I want exactly as I want it. Weíll either learn to live together and trust each other enough to give up that control or weíll self-destruct. I hope I can live up to the task Iíve set for myself. I have no doubt if Jimís abilities had been allowed to develop as he grew up he wouldnít need me at all but from what heís said, or rather from what he hasnít said, I gather he was made ashamed of being different. Thatís a powerful tool to use on a child and itís a fear thatís going to lurk in the back of his mind for a long, long time.
Dec. 19th Ė Home
Jim is leaving in three days. The USDB wonít let him be a field agent anymore; heíll always have problems with his back - nothing life altering but not good enough for the demands of the job. They offered him a desk job, shuffling papers in some windowless place in a cold city but thatís not for my Jim. He wants me to come with him, Jimís from this town in Washington State, Cascade. Thereís a university, named after my great-grandfather actually, I checked it out on the internet, and they have a great anthropology department, one of the best in America. I could help him with his senses, study at Rainier. Jim sees something in me I canít see in myself; I guess Iíll have to trust him. Thatís what itís all about, isnít it? Trust, faith and love. I have all three and you know what? For the first time in my life - I feel like a real Prince but you can call me Blair.
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Acknowledgments: Thank you to Mary for the quick beta and thank you to Corinne for the lovely artwork.