The Heart-throb with Brown Eyes
Darcy dragged their finger down the spines of books, suddenly stopping at random. They pulled the book out of the shelf, read the blurb, and nodded, satisfied.
“The Heart-throb with Brown Eyes, hmm. I've never seen this book before, it must be new,” They whispered to themself, carrying the book to the librarian’s counter. “Just this book please,” They handed it to the old woman, who smiled and scanned it.
“Do you have your library card with you, Miss Atkinson?” Mrs Cox-Stuart asked, and Darcy handed that over as well. The old librarian had been the town’s local librarian for years, and she’d always had a legacy of being strict. However, Darcy always found she was just like any sweet old lady. Or maybe the woman had favourites, that was possible too.
“Excellent. This will be due back on the 19th of May,”
“Wonderful. Thank you, Mrs Cox-Stuart,”
“My pleasure. Have a wonderful day, Darcy. That book is a beautiful read.” Mrs Cox-Stuart beamed, and Darcy waved goodbye. The Heart-throb with Brown Eyes was about a girl named Christine, who’d fallen in love with the boy next door, but there was a problem; Justin was gay. Darcy smiled to themself, it was so exciting to delve into a new novel. They knew reading while walking was a terrible idea, but they were already hooked. Besides, the sidewalk was fairly empty. They kept their head down, absorbing the words like it was her life source.
“Hey! Watch where you’re going!” A voice called out, and Darcy suddenly looked up. A boy with tousled brown hair, peering over his aviator sunglasses stared at her, disapprovingly.
“Sorry,” They apologised meekly. Darcy had never seen this guy before, just like the novel she’d borrowed.
“Don’t worry. Be more careful next time, okay?” He looked at her one more time, then continued on his way. Darcy watched him walk along, realising they didn’t know the name of this handsome stranger. “Oh, and,” he suddenly stopped on the footpath, turning back around to them. “I’ve read that book.” He smiled, before going on his way. Darcy continued walking, deciding their destination was the park since it was always nice in the afternoon. She looked behind her shoulder one last time at the boy who happened to perfectly match the description of Justin.
Prince Ward was not a prince, but he certainly felt like one, when he’d seen the book the girl had been holding. He was silently giddy for the girl he’d passed on the street. To be honest, he hadn’t cared she was reading while walking, he did it all the time. He had just wanted to talk to the girl because he knew The Heart-Throb with Brown Eyes was his comfort book. He wanted to turn around and discuss the book with her because none of his friends loved books as much as he did. They were missing out if anything. Prince repressed the urge to chase after the girl, asking if they could meet up after she’d finished it, but he figured that might make him sound like a creep. At the same time, he desperately wanted someone to discuss the book with. Prince sighed, giving in to his temptations, and raced after the girl.
“Hi, sorry,” He tapped her shoulder, and she whirled around to face him, surprised. “Sorry, uh, this might sound a little strange but… Can I get your number? I’ve never met anyone who’s read this book, except Mrs Cox-Stuart. I suppose I’m asking if you want to join my book club. Although, fair warning, I’m the only one in it. You can say no. I know in books the protagonist always says yes to the stranger, but that’s unlikely in real life and- Sorry, I’m ranting on, aren’t I?” He blushed furiously, rubbing his neck awkwardly. The girl’s mouth quivered up into a grin.
“No, no, don’t worry! I think it’s really sweet you’re so enthusiastic about books. I wish some of my friends were. It’s hard being a bookworm without fellow fans to talk to,” She rolled her eyes, “Honestly, they’re the ones missing out on reading,”
“I know exactly what you mean. No one appreciates books these days,”
“Right? It’s a little sad, but hey, that’s what this modern world has become,” She sighed, and Prince nodded in agreement.
“Darcy,” She said, and Prince looked at her strangely. “My name? It’s Darcy Atkinson,” She laughed, and Prince felt his cheeks grow hot; again.
“Oh, right! I’m Prince Ward,” He introduced himself in a rush.
“Wait, is your name Ward or Prince? I’m confused,” Darcy asked, perplexed.
“It’s Prince. I’m not royalty if that’s what you’re thinking,”
“I was going to say. Wow, a prince that reads, living in my local town? That’s new,” She smirked, and Prince rubbed his hands together.
“Don’t tell anyone, but I’m secretly a spy from the royal family, and I’m meant to finish reading all the library books in the world. It’s a hard job, but someone has to do it,” He confessed jokingly, and Darcy chuckled.
“So, I suppose I should call you Prince Prince?”
“You wouldn’t believe how many times people have called me that,”
“I’m not. In Year Seven, a teacher thought I was royalty, and asked the Administration for my credentials,”
“Woah, funky,” She pulled out her phone, “I’ll put your number in my phone,” She typed away as Prince told her the eight-digit phone number. He bit his lip to stop himself from laughing as she put his name in as “Prince Prince Ward”.
“I have to go,” He said after she’d put his contact in.
“Alright. I’ll text you later, is that okay?”
“Sure. One last thing,” He added, and Darcy nodded at him to continue. “No one’s ever called you Mr Darcy, have they?” He watched Darcy grin widely.
“No one has, surprisingly. I am non-binary though, so technically someone could. You can call me that if you like, keep Jane Austen’s legacy alive,”
“I feel like it will always be alive, for the most part,”
“Fair. I like Supreme Leader Darcy as well. See you around Prince Prince,”
“And to you, Supreme Leader Darcy.” He grinned and he heard her chuckle before she turned away.
Darcy couldn't read once they’d gotten to the park. They couldn't stop thinking about Prince. It must've been fate that they’d met him and that he loved the same book she was reading. Or, she was living in a novel. That seemed highly unlikely. Darcy sighed, rubbing their temples. She was going to read this book, so she could talk to Prince with no distractions. They opened the novel, and began reading it, almost like she was deprived of words. Immediately, she was sucked back into the world of Christine and Justin. The author, Majesty Wane, was killing her.
New Conversation: Prince Prince Ward
Me: JUSTIN IS SO WHOLESOME- DOES HE END UP WITH ISIAH??
Prince Prince Ward: Agree, Justin is cool. Also, no spoilers.
Me: I borrowed this book an hour ago, and I’m halfway through. I can’t handle this
Prince Prince Ward: Patience, Supreme Leader
Me: Yes, but why does Christine still think she has a chance????
Me: When she doesn’t-
Prince Prince Ward: I know, I know. Trust me, keep reading, Darcy
Me: I will :D
Half an hour later, Darcy was done. They inhaled sharply and then exhaled slowly. She set the book down gently, beside her on the bench and resisted the urge to scream. She scrolled through her contacts and called Prince.
“Did you finish?” Prince asked immediately, and Darcy sighed.
“Majesty Wane is such a good writer, I don’t even know where to begin. Also, the plot twist was insane,”
“Did you like it?”
“Yes, of course! It’s such a good read, I can see why you like it so much,”
“We should start a book club,” He replied,
“I could fangirl for the next year if I could, but I’ll let you go,” She confessed and Prince laughed.
“No worries, maybe Mrs Cox-Stuart can use this book for the next book club meeting. Then you can express your love for it,”
“That’s a good idea,” They remarked, getting up from the bench, and started walking home.
“I’ll see you around?” Prince asked them, and Darcy smiled to herself.
“Sure thing. Talk later, Princey Prince,”
“Do you like the new nickname?”
“It’s interesting, I’ll give you that, Darcy,”
“Great! Bye!” She farewelled, and walked home, glad that both Justin and Christine had gotten their deserved happy endings.
It had been a few days since Prince had last seen Darcy. They had recently met up at the local library as Darcy dramatically returned The Heart-throb with Brown Eyes with great sadness. Prince pointed out she could just borrow again. Darcy had said she felt emotionally attached to the book, so she was probably going to end up buying the book. Prince sat up from the floor, still thinking about Darcy. They'd become friends, sharing their favourite stories, and Prince expressed his love for writing, which had impressed Darcy.
“I love reading but I'm not very good at writing,”
“Writing takes practice, Darcy,”
“I bet it does. I can barely write essays in school, I can't write a whole novel!”
“I could give you some tips?”
“Seriously, Princey? That would be awesome,”
“Sure, I write a lot,”
“That's so cool. I wish I could write like the amazing stories I read,”
“It takes time, Supreme Leader,”
“I'd be grateful if you taught me for the rest of the holidays, Princey Prince,”
“That's Master to you, now. You will become my successor,”
“Of course, Master. I look forward to being your pupil.”
Prince’s phone vibrated on his table and he picked up, answering the call.
“Princey, this is serious. I have recently discovered my sister is in love and she's acting strange. She’s also being nice to me, which is concerning because she's never nice,”
“And you’re asking me for help?”
“Yes! You write stories, Master. Explain to me what I can do to put her back to normal, it’s so freaky,”
“It’s not that easy, Darcy. You can’t change someone’s feelings when you don’t know them yourself,”
“Are you implying I’ve never been in love with someone?” She asked, and Prince thought about his answer carefully.
“It sounds like you’re inexperienced in love but have had many encounters of crushes,” He answered, and for a moment, there was silence.
“I swear, Princey, you know me better than I know myself. Are you my long lost soulmate?” She joked, and Prince stopped himself from making a strangled sort of noise. Was Darcy implying he was right for her? Or was he overthinking everything? He couldn’t keep this secret any longer, it was time to tell Darcy the truth.
It was a Thursday, when Prince texted Darcy, saying he had to tell them something. If this was about the library not having the first book in a series again, she’d said, she would personally walk over to Mrs Cox-Stuart and demand for the first book in the Maximum Ride series. He’d said over the phone that it was something important, and he did sound serious, so Darcy knew it was urgent.
“Hey, Princey,” She greeted as she spotted Prince sitting on one of the benches in the park. He looked up from his phone, brown hair glinting in the sunlight. His iconic sunglasses were perched on his head, and he was wearing a tight-fitting t-shirt and jeans. Darcy reminded herself staring was rude, and quickly looked away.
“Oh, hey. Didn’t see you there,” He replied, and Darcy sat down next to him.
“So, what did you want to tell me?” They asked, and Prince sighed.
“I’ve been keeping a secret from you, Darcy. Don’t be mad, okay?”
“Why would I be mad? Don’t tell me you started a book club without me?”
“I’m not kidding. I shouldn’t have kept this from you for so long,”
“Okay, I won’t get mad, I promise. You can tell me,”
“Have you searched up Majesty Wane before?”
“I have, but not much came up. They don’t seem to be very well known,”
“Do you think there’s a reason for that?”
“I don’t know, why?” Darcy watched Prince adjust his sunglasses, looking nervous.
“I wrote The Heart-throb with Brown Eyes.” He whispered, and Darcy stared.
“I wrote it, under a pseudonym,”
“Majesty Wane? Ohh, like royalty, like Prince, and Wane like Ward,” Darcy froze, realising the truth. “Holy crap, why didn’t you tell me, Prince?!”
“I didn’t want to brag. No one knows, except Mrs Cox-Stuart. Even my parents don't know,”
“I- huh? Why didn’t you tell me? I wouldn’t have been mad! You wrote that amazing novel, and you didn’t tell me? I’ve been admiring your work, and I didn’t know?!” She cried out, exasperated.
“You said you wouldn’t get mad,” Prince muttered weakly.
“Oh my God, I’m not mad, Prince! You wrote that novel! I know an actual author, do you know how cool that is?” She yelled, her excitement overflowing. She moved closer to Prince, taking his hand. “You’re an author of my favourite book! You knew this whole time and kept it a secret because you’re so humble. Oh, my sweet goodness, Prince. I can’t believe this!” She noticed Prince smiling widely, and without thinking, she leaned in and kissed him.
“Darcy…” Prince murmured as they kissed him again.
“You’re amazing, Prince, seriously.” They answered, and Prince kissed Darcy, and suddenly, everything was right in their world. They pulled apart, and Darcy hugged Prince tightly.
“I’m never going to get over this. Are you going to write another novel? How did you get your story published? I’m going to Mrs Cox-Stuart right now, and I’m going to put your book at the front of the recommendations section!” She stood up abruptly, and Prince laughed.
“You don’t have to do that for me, Darcy,”
“But I want to! You, sir, are a writing prodigy, and your work needs to be recognised,”
“Yes, but I want you to stay, just for a little longer,” He smiled, and Darcy pretended to think about it for a second.
“Okay, if that’s what the Master wants,”
“You can stop calling me that, you know,”
“Would you prefer, Princey Prince?”
“You can call me anything, Darcy. As long as it makes you happy.” And he held her tightly, kissing her again, and Darcy realised she didn’t have to be Christine, or Justin to experience love. Not when she had her own heart-throb with brown eyes, Prince.