“Hey, can you sit down? I wanna talk about something important.”
Fuck. It was happening. Of course, she had been expecting. Why wouldn’t she? There had been clues everywhere. She had looked. Keenly. And noticed things. Like the hushed conversations with his mum that she had interrupted last week. He had finally picked up on all the hints she’d been dropping for … ever, now, actually.
But here he was. “So … yeah … I wanna say something … no, ask you something,”
And here it was.
very important. To me. For this … uhh … relationship to go forward, this needs
Almost there, now.
“I think for both of you, I mean, both of us. So, uhhh… ”
Any minute now.
“I need you to follow me on Twitch.”
“Otherwise we’re gonna have to break up.”
Shit. That was number 12. That was number 12! What now? How was he going to fill up the rest of the – “I hate your eyes.” – time?
“Too … er … blue,” his mouth finished, as his brain waddled to catch up.
“Your mouth too … ummm … Too bitey,” his mouth continued and his waddling brain gave up. It was gonna get away from him anyway. Might as well embrace the moment. And here he had thought this moment would have been romantic. Tch. He should have done the math better.
“And I hate how you still let me cheat at Scrabble.”
How had a simple list of 12 things he loved about her become this?
“And you’re never going be able to say my name without that accent. It’s cute, sure but also not technically correct, you know.”
A simple list of 12 things he loved about her for to mark the 12 months since they’d met. The day that they had met that was going to be their anniversary date. Why hadn’t his wristband buzzed yet to mark the twelfth hour!
“And your feet are always cold. I have to buy you socks.”
“Is this building up to something?” she said eyebrows cocked.
And his wristband buzzed.
“Yes,” he said and reached into his pocket.
Anna sighed. Twenty-five men had just completed a series of competitions to earn the chance to marry her. This day could not have been more depressing and more wrong. It had been exactly the opposite of everything Anna had imagined it would have been ever since she’d been a kid.
She looked over at Aaresh, Prince of Ranth as she started walking down the line of her 25 suitors that were standing to the left of her. Syam, Prince of Agragadh stood next to Aaresh. Aaresh had been nice, and charming and courteous. Syam had not. Both of them looked straight ahead, stoic expressions on their faces – just as the rituals demanded.
And she walked forward too, just as the rituals demanded, until she was next to Aaresh. It was all still within reach. A good life. A happy life. Just a simple choice away. But Syam’s father had the money to keep her father’s Kingdom together.
So she kept walking. And stopped in front of Syam.
Anna put the flower-garland that she was carrying over his shoulders and married Syam.