They won't recognize you. Of-course they won't recognize you-right?
That's what I kept on telling myself. But this was a train, fully crowded.
I was disguised. They won't discover who I really am. They can't. I can't go back to that awful place I used to call "home". I was supposed to be crowned last week, I was to be crowned a queen. Queen of a country. A country. Like I could ever be a queen. I wasn't fit for it, and everyone knew. Well, that is, except for my mother. Perhaps she refused to understand.
"You will be a queen. And you will do it without complaint or bad behavior. No snarky comments either, understand me?"
Ha. Who does she expect me to be? I am not a proper, normal little princess. Do as I am told. Eat my vegetables. Fit into tight, suffocating dresses. Put on false smiles in the saddest of days. I will not live that life anymore. I will never go back, I mustn't.
"Hello," Said a soft voice. Oh no. Oh no. They found me. They are here to take me back. I can't go back. I can´t. But no. They won't take me back there, not if I can help it. With a smooth hand, I pulled out my sharp blade and grabbed him by his neck.
"Who are you? Why are you here?" The questions spilled out faster then I realized what I was saying-and doing. "I will kill you if you don't answer."
"I-Could you put that knife away? I was just coming to say hello."
Stupid. Stupid. Stupid. What a stupid decision.
"Sorry." I said, letting him go, but still not letting my guard down. I made sure he was within reach if he needed to be taken care of.
"Yeah, no problem." He tried forming a smile.
His eyes shifted over mine, searching for something I could not comprehend. He was, well, different from all others. He was handsome, not perhaps in the conventional sense, but he had that appearance which could make him stand out in the crowd. He was fair, almost pale white. His unfathomable, golden brown eyes contrasted exceptionally with his light toned face. His eyes were as deep and expressive, where you could get lost if you stared long enough. His face had that faraway look in it, which couldn't be described in words. His smile, which reached up to his eyes and wrinkled them, flaunted his modesty and humility.
Ugh, no. What am I even thinking?
"Si, where are you headed?" He asked, thinking I would answer him. I stayed silent, careful not to say anything that would give me away.
"Not a talker? That's fine."
I woke up to the touch of someone shaking my arm. My eyes opened, but my body still didn't get the memo that it's time to wake up.
"What are you doing? Don´t touch me." I immediately said.
"Oh, sorry." His politeness only angered me further.
"What is your name?" I asked, hoping to find out more about him.
"Lance, at your service. And you?"
"I don't give out my personal information to strangers."
"Ah, yes, well I suppose that is fine since we aren't strangers anymore." He grinned.
"Well, you know my name, so technically, that makes us not-strangers."
He had a point. "I would hardly call us acquaintances."
"Then what would you call us?"
I saw what he was trying to do.
"We are passerby's, if that makes sense to you?" He started at me, never looking away.
I said, to try and deflate some of the tension around us.
"So?" He said, infuriating me. Do I always have to start the conversation? I stood up to walk away, but he-Lance-held my hand.
"Let me go, lance."
"Look, I can tell that you don't belong here-right?"
Ugh. He knows. I felt my face pale with worry. I stood, frozen in place, not knowing what to do.
Calm down. Lance stared up at me, grinning. He enjoyed this, watching me, scared like a little girl.
"Don´t worry, I won't tell. I have no need to."
I let out a small sigh of relief, allowing myself to breathe, but not allowing myself to let my guard down. After all, I don't really know this man, I didn't know what he could do. What if his name isn't even Lance?"
"Wha-what do you want then?"
"I want to come along with you. Wherever you are going. It doesn't matter to me. I just want to be somewhere else, anywhere else." He slowly answered.
"ABSOLUTELY NOT, that won't happen."
I blurted out before I could stop myself, as Lance just laughed.
"Look, either, I come along with you-all the while keeping my mouth shut-or I tell everyone that you don't belong here, princess."
"How do you know-I mean-who told you?"
"I had my suspicions but I wasn't certain. You just cleared everything up for me, princess." Stupid. Idiot. My skin bubbled with anger, and I was sure my face was reflecting the same feeling. "Fine." was all I said. I want to wipe that big, stupid grin off his face, but couldn't.
You brought this upon yourself. There is no one to blame but you, yourself. Dumbass.
The next morning, I woke up before Lance. I could leave. I could jump off the train and leave without him. I should. But, for some reason, I just couldn't. Something was stopping me.
"You woke up before me."
"Oh, did I? I hadn't noticed."
He didn't give me the satisfaction of a smile, but instead, he seemed confused.
"Why didn't you leave?"
I looked down at the floor, disappointed in myself, "I don't, I don't know."
"A day, and you already like me," I punched his arm, hard, hoping it'll leave a bruise later. "Ow!"
He stared at me in disbelief. I just shrugged.
"I don't like you, and you deserved it."
"No, I didn´t." He rolled his eyes.
I give him a sharp glare, making my point. Again, he throwed his hands up, surrendering. I stuck out my tongue at him in response, and he returned the favor. I felt myself smile, a real smile. I haven't received one of those in a long time.
What was he doing to me?
"So, I think you should tell me where we are going."
"Right. Well, you see, I haven't exactly made it that far yet."
His eyes went wide, "You-you don´t know?"
"Hey, cut me some slack. I am a runaway princess, these weeks have not been easy for me."
"Mhm, I am still trying to comprehend the fact that you don't know where we are going."
I punched him again. "Well you could help too, you know."
"You really are something…and I like it."
"And you really are an ass, and I don't like it." I said, blowing him a kiss. In return, I got one of his smiles that are so stupid yet still contagious. The smile I would give anything for.
A blush formed across my cheeks, putting my embarrassment on display. Lance noticed and grinned even bigger, only encouraging my embarrassment and deepening my blush even more.
"Has the princess found something...interesting?" He asked.
I didn't rise to the bait. "Shut up."
I turned to walk away, then stop myself midstep. In front of me, I saw Advard. The man I was going to marry. A King. "What are you doing here, my darling?" He asked.
I didn't answer. Lance came to my side, forcing Advard's attention to shift on him.
"Why, who is your little friend?" Advard asked.
I still didn't talk. Instead, I felt like I was gonna pass out.
"Lance. The name´s Lance, and you are?"
"Surprised you don't know me. I am Advard, King of Correl." He turned to look back at me, I tried to look away, but couldn't. I stared at him straight in his evil, dark eyes.
He was talking to Lance, but his eyes were on me. Just on me.
"I am not going back to that place." I finally managed to say.
"Oh, but you are, darling." Lance stepped in between me and Advard, but he didn't mind, enjoying a little challenge.
"Do we have to make such a big scene?" He asked.
I didn't answer. My silence was an answer enough.
"Alright then." Advard snapped his fingers, and three guards appear behind Lance, pulling him.
"STOP!"I shouted, but the guards didn't listen. Advard took slow, pacing steps toward me. Teasing me. But little did he know, I had a few tricks up my sleeve. I wasn't completely useless. I waited until he was right in front of me, his hands on my chin.
"Oh, we'll leave him, when you are to become my wife." He smirked.
I pulled out my tiny blade and cut his throat in the matter of five seconds. Blood on my hands, face, and clothes, I grabbed Lance from the guards, who were not putting up much of a fight, more focused on saving their king who is long dead.
"We have to jump!" I yelled at Lance over the train's loud engine. He seemed scared, but nodded. "On the count of three." We both took a deep breath. "One. Two. Three!" We yelled in unison as we jumped into what felt like darkness. Everything went black.
I woke up to find Lance sitting right next to me, watching me with very worried eyes.
"I am fine." I told him, ignoring the big gash I received across my stomach on the way here. It could be dealt with later. Right now, we needed to find some place to stay.
After a while of walking under the heated sun, I spotted a building a little farther into the trees. I started to point at it, but found Lance already running towards it. I ran and catch up with him in no time, enjoying the wind now blowing on my face. We knocked on the door, not sure of what we hoped to find. We were greeted with a small fragile woman who looked startled, but happy.
"Why, what brings you two down here?" She asked with a smile.
"We, uh, we are hoping to find somewhere to stay, perhaps permanently?" I asked.
"Well, then, you have come to the right place." Lance and I exchanged looks of worry, but also comfort and hope.
After a night of sleeping in a comfortable bed, I got up to go outside but found Lance already there. What a beautiful place, isn't it?" He asked, as I looked over our balcony to see a beautiful forest glimmering beneath us. "Absolutely."
He turned to look at me fully, eyes sweeping over me.
"Do you feel any better?" He asked, his eyes full of worry.
"I'm good, better. What about you, Lance?"
"Yeah, I'm fine." Good. I thought so, but I didn't say it out loud. We both needed time to heal and understand what was going to happen between us.
"After that adventure, we're not strangers anymore."
I nodded, thinking of the right words. "We're…more than strangers. That’s for sure."
Lance smirked, "Then, tell me your name?"
"Eleanor, at your service." I replied, as big smile spread across my face, but this time, it didn't feel so stupid. In fact, it actually felt wonderful.