After much convincing, Beth finally had the prince in her house. She had forced him to climb up the rope she had made by stringing a few bed sheets together, though he had to leave the pizza on the ground in order to climb it. Now he was standing in her home and she could get a better look at him.
Beth had much to expect due to her books and he was exactly what she wanted: dark hair, dark eyes, tall, and well built. His splay of freckles differed from the picture she had in mind, so did his tanned skin, but she could manage. He also looked more timid than expected but this was something she could also deal with. Her books never mentioned anything about their personalities so Beth assumed any type was good. Besides, if he had looks, who cared about his character?
“So… money?” He looked a little impatient; maybe he was in a hurry to marry her? The thought suddenly struck her and she gave a little gasp.
She commanded the prince to wait exactly where he was before rushing to the library down the hall. All her reference books for this situation were hidden behind the books on flowers. She furiously flipped through pages to find her favorite story of the trapped princess in the tower.
The prince was starting to get worried. Entering the house of a customer was strictly against the Pixie Pizza Code of Conduct yet so was leaving money behind, so technically he was following the rules. The more pressing matter was the fact that this ditzy girl seemed to have no idea what money is. He rechecked the paper in his hand, 2400 Bellflower Street…
Princess Beth reentered the room. She had redone her hair and even changed the sash around her dress. In a silvery voice she gave her proclamation, “Young Prince, I will willingly go away with you-”
“Hold on. What is the address of this place?”
“The address? What’s your address?”
Beth had never felt so insulted. First this prince doesn’t immediately climb into her home, and then he just expects her to marry him without even asking, and then interrupts her while she accepts the unspoken proposal, what was the princess of the world to do? Well she knew he was going to be a tough one, though her storybooks never had difficult princes.
He probably was asking so he knew where to send the invitation for their wedding. All her irritation evaporated and she cheerfully relayed the address that Joy had imbedded into her mind, “2400 Bellflower Lane. Now if you’ll let me continue, I do believe I was in the middle of accepting your-”
The prince shook his head, “No need, it looks like I messed up. Good bye!” And started for the window.
Poor Princess Beth almost burst into tears. All her hard work just for her prince to be chasing a different princess!
The prince looked into her watery eyes and knew he had to escape now or he’d never get to leave. What he didn’t know was that eighteen years of reading princess stories had taught something to Beth. She pressed a pale hand to her heart and sank to her knees. With a loud moan followed by a sob, she curled over. She called this ‘Damsel in Distress’, a genius ploy to gain pity.
Peaking up at him, Beth noticed he had hesitated. “At least… tell me your name.”
“I think what’s more important is that we call for help.”
She had preformed the trick too well – he thought she was really ill! His concern did make her blush and she almost allowed him to get help, but Joy had warned of the dangers of too many people seeing Beth. Then again, Joy also warned her of inviting random people into the mansion.
“I’ll be fine,” she said quickly. “It happens from time to time. I just want to know your name. For future reference.”
He moved closer to the window, “Since you’re fine, I’m going to go. I still have to deliver the…” He looked down and froze. The pizza box he’d left on the ground had disappeared. A wandering forest nymph must’ve stolen the delicious goods. His heart sank as he calculated how much this loss would take out his pay.
His dismay did not keep him still for long. Before the princess could react, he was starting down the rope.
She ran over and set her hands on the rope, determined to pull him back up. He glanced up and their eyes connected. Beth knew he didn’t want to stay. Slowly she released the rope and watched him reach the ground. The boy made a half-hearted attempt to find the pizza before dejectedly walking away.
Beth still waited by the window; not knowing what she was expecting but unwilling to look away. Perhaps it was because he felt sorry for her or perhaps it was because he felt her stare burning holes into his back, no matter the reason, the prince turned around. “I’m Eric Benson, by the way. Also, I’m not a prince.”
Of course, Princess Beth didn’t hear the last line.