The one trait that I’d always considered my biggest flaw-my moodiness, was to prove my greatest asset. The one that led me to joy, love and my happily ever after. If only that was permitted to be.Chapter One.
Prince of the Broken
I caught the bouquet, it’s the first time it’s ever happened to me. All the guests looked on, amazed. Its just a bunch of flowers. That was last summer and I’m still single.
I’ve seen this guy I like. His eyes struck me like a lightning bolt. He had me from the very beginning. He’s physically flawless but a secret lurks beneath. That’s what intrigued me, this masquerade of perfection.
I’ve only ever wanted this one man. I thought I might be asexual, but now I realize that I’m not. I see him everyday around the school. I won’t be just another girl falling for this untouchable human being. I’ve said ‘hi’ to him in the hall out of politeness but that’s it.
Books are my thing .I have a favourite spot in the library, my table. I go alone to do my assignment. I pour over a Sociology book, devouring the facts before I evaluate them.
“Hi,” a male voice interrupts my study.
I look up and see him in front of me.
“Hello,” I say shyly, wondering what he wants.
“Can I sit with you?”
“Sure, okay,” I say baffled.
“What’s your name?”
“Seren, and you?”
“I’ve seen you around. I had to ask you, are you happy?” he asks.
“I’m okay, just bored by all this studying, ” I reply.
“No. I mean in life in general, have you ever been happy?”
Now I am confused. Why is a person I’ve hardly ever spoken to asking me this question?
“Why do you ask?” I enquire trying to find his motive.
“Just answer the question,” he persists.
Honestly I’m not sure I want to answer.
“I guess I’m not truly happy. There‘s a lot in my life I‘d want to fix,” I reply honestly.
“Okay, I’ll speak to you again tomorrow,” he says getting up to leave.
“What?” I ask as he walks away ,stalked by female eyes.
“Tomorrow, library, lunchtime,” he says in a matter of fact tone.
That was bizarre. This guy makes me feel like I have to question who I am.
After school, I go shopping. I cannot stop thinking about him, he’s so unusual. I wonder why he wants to speak to me again. Maybe he’s a philosophy student and has asked loads of students this question.
I curiously check social networking websites but I can’t find him. What baffles me is that he paid attention to me. No guys ever do. But I consider his question. “Are you happy, have you ever been happy?”
Maybe I look depressed. I’ve always been told I don’t smile much but that doesn’t necessarily equate unhappiness. Perhaps he’s a psychology student researching depression. I’ll ask him tomorrow.
I’m late for class so scuttle in, trying to be invisible. It’s sociology. I sit next to Charlotte. I talk about her boyfriend to wake her up.
“How’s it going with you and Adam?”
“Good thanks. Have you seen any guys that you like?”.
“Most guys in school are dating, and the ones that aren’t…well there’s a reason for that,” I smirk.
“That supermodel -alike is single, have you seen him?” She asks and I know instantly who she’s referring to.
“Why is he single? He can’t be short of candidates,” I say.
“Maybe he is foreign,” says Charlotte.
“Actually I spoke to him yesterday. He’s definitely not foreign.”
“Really? I’ve never even heard him speak,” she says sounding surprised.
“Does he study philosophy?” I ask hoping to clarify this.
“No, he studies history. I’ve seen him in Professor Thornton’s class,” she says.
“Oh.” I say, slightly concerned that he has targeted me specifically.
“Calix is really brainy .We were taking IQ tests and he got 149,” Charlotte says.
“Wow, isn’t that genius level?” I ask impressed.
“Yes, I think so,” says Charlotte.
“Gorgeous and smart, that’s a rare combination,” I say and Charlotte nods in agreement.
Walking to the library at lunchtime, I feel daunted. This is why he wanted to speak to me. He must have seen me in here reading and figured that I’m as brainy as him. He’s probably expecting some intellectual debate, but I’ll end up feeling like a fool. I walk over to my usual table, a spot where few people go. He’s already there waiting for me.
“Hey,” he says softly.
“So what’s all this questioning about?” I ask.
“You’re unhappy Seren, I know you are. You’re sad and lonely.”
I am horrified, this guy has got a nerve.
“Excuse me, you can’t tell me how I feel. You don’t even know me.” I screech but he ignores me.
“Are you doing some sort of unhappiness assignment?” I probe.
“No. I’m saying this because I can tell how you feel. You know I‘m right.”
I don’t answer because what he’s saying is true .I do feel lonely.
“Will you meet me tonight at seven?” he asks abruptly.
Is the best looking guy on campus asking me on a date? I can’t help but do a mental victory dance.
“Okay, where?” I ask. I should tell him to get lost, but no sane girl ever would.
“By the gate next to the Graveyard,” he says.
The Graveyard is directly opposite the school. Seems like an odd place to meet a date.
“Umm okay.” I say, hoping I won’t have to wait long in the dark.
“Where are we going after I meet you?” I ask.
“You’ll see,” he smiles knowingly.
“Let me ask you something.”
“Go on,” he says smiling his enigmatic smile.
“Are you speaking to me because you think I’m a genius?”
“No. I’m speaking to you as I have something to show you, and tonight I will,” he says.
After school, I go straight home to plan what I’ll wear tonight. I want to look good but as it’s a cold night ,I need to be warm. I choose a black skirt, woolly tights and a pink top.
I feel a bizarre combination of livid at being called lonely and euphoric for being asked out by him. How unromantic of him to pick a graveyard as a meeting place. I hope he’s not going to murder me. Despite my doubts, my curiosity gets the better of me and I head towards the school/graveyard at 6:50.
The graveyard doesn’t bother me in the daylight, I’m not fazed by death. But in the dark it’s a different matter. I hope this isn’t some twisted joke he’s playing. Pick some pathetic girl, get her to come to a graveyard alone at night, then just don’t turn up.
Just as I am letting my imagination overtake my rationality, I see him standing by the rusty gate that is situated next to the cemetery. It has had a padlock around it for as long as I can remember.
“Hey you’re right on time,” he smiles, looking surprised as though he thought I might not come.
“So are you. I was worried you might stand me up,” I say relieved that I don’t have to wait for him.
“No, of course I wouldn’t. You intrigue me so much you know,” he says charmingly.
I intrigue him? I don’t think I’ve ever felt so complimented.
“So what did you want to show me?” I ask still wondering why he brought me to this location.
“Wait and see,” he says retrieving a antique key from his coat pocket.
He unlocks the padlock and the gate creeks as it opens, startling me.
“Where does this lead, another part of the cemetery?” I ask because its hard to tell what lies behind the gate. Bushes have grown up all around.
“No. Follow me and be careful,” he says holding out his hand.
It looks as though no one has entered through this gate for a long time. Even though I’m with Calix, I feel scared.
We walk through what I take to be an overgrown garden. I try my best to avoid the thorns and branches but its not easy. His navigation does help though, he seems to know this place well.
“I hope I’m not standing on anyone’s grave,” I say because its too dark to tell.
“There are no graves in here,” he reassures me.
As the overgrowth gets sparser I can see streetlamps ahead of me. Maybe this is just a shortcut to town.
We head through a clearing of trees and find ourselves in a new part of town . The first thing that catches my eye is a black skyscraper. Actually, every building is black. One shop has a neon purple sign, although every outfit in the window is black. This is extreme. Every person I see bustling about is wearing black. Have I gone colour blind?
“Is this where all the Goths hang out?” I ask
“This is the City of the Broken,” he says as we walk further in.
A large sign of varnished black wood with purple lettering reads “Welcome to the City of the Broken”.
“I haven’t heard of it before. Is it a trendy part of town?” I ask, baffled.
“No. You can only find out about this place if you are invited by the Prince himself,” he informs me.
“Well who is the Prince?” I ask before the realization of what he has said hits me.
“Wait…you?” I ask
He nods .
“You’re a Prince?”
He nods again, looking as though he’s trying to gauge my reaction as good or bad.
“Who rules with you?”
“My Father is King. My Mother died when I was young. I don’t have any siblings so I’ll be King one day .”
This guy is too much for my ordinariness to take.
“So why do you come to our school? Surely you should be privately educated if you’re a prince,”
“That’s what my Father wanted but I insisted on going to a regular school,” he says.
“So that you could be ‘normal’, ”I say guessing his answer.
“No. Actually its so I could scout potential citizens,” he says
“Citizens?” I ask not really understanding what he means.
“Citizens to join our city,” he smiles at me.
“So you want me to be a citizen?” I ask.
I feel idiotic for thinking His Royal Hotness would want to date me. This is just business to him.
“Remember how I asked you if you were happy?” he asks.
“Sure. How could I forget?”
“I see you in the corridors. You never smile. You look lost, lonely and depressed.”
“And?” I ask feeling more insulted than ever.
“Those are the features we look for in citizens,” he says.
“What?” I ask in disbelief.
“We are the City of the Broken. We want broken hearts, depressed people, rejects and the like,” he says in an official tone.
“Okay, you want me to be a member of your city because you think that I’m a reject?” I ask feeling on the verge of bursting into tears or punching him in the face. I should have known he would never want me.
“It really isn’t like that, the city is thriving. I’m well aware it’s the quiet and melancholic types who actually have the most potential,” he says convincingly.
“Okay then, Prince, if you’re ruler of this city, do you have the qualities needed? Are you broken?” I ask.
“Yes, of course. As the head of state, I make it my mission to embody the traits of the city,” he says in a formal tone.
“This is absolutely crazy. Goodbye,” I say turning back towards the overgrowth.
“Wait, there’s something else,” he says longingly.
“What?” I yell, losing my patience and self confidence by the second.
“Would you like to go out with me?” he asks.
And suddenly my interest is rekindled.
Now I am confused .He has exceeded even my expectations of him.
“But you’re a prince, I felt out of your league even before you told me this.”
“But Seren I like you. I’ve been curious about you ever since I first saw you. I knew I’d have to pluck up the courage to ask you to be a citizen. That was my formal reason to ask you here, but casually it was always my intention to ask you to date me.”
This boy fascinates me in a way no human ever has before. Its because there is a mystery or charisma I can’t put my finger on.
“Okay, yes,” I smile shyly
“Brilliant, I’m so pleased. I’ll meet you tomorrow in school, then afterwards we can come straight here and I’ll give you a guided tour” he smiles, his eyes glowing with expectation.
Wow. He makes me feel so alive.
We walk back through the thorns and through the gate.
“Are you really a prince?” I ask. This is so overwhelming.
He opens up his blazer and inside is a stitched coat of arms, C.B with a dagger through a broken heart.
“I’ll show you the palace tomorrow if you don’t believe me,” he says.
“So, library tomorrow at 12?” he asks.
“At my table,” I smile
“Your table,” he says as he takes my hand and kisses it.
He’s like a chivalrous knight. I feel like a Maiden. I flush from embarrassment and joy. If you have to be depressed to be a member of this city, he isn’t going about it in the right way.
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