He takes a deep breath.
“So what do you say, Liz?”
The air crackles with electricity. There is not a murmur in the house. All faces swing from him to me. Everyone is looking at me, expecting me to say something.
What do I want?
Oh, do I even have to ask myself?
I still myself to block out everyone else except Alex.
He is the reason I’m here.
His proposal changes everything. No longer will I have to be afraid that he is going to dump me down the line. Well … you know what I mean. He can still dump me, but I’m on firmer footing. Anyway, I don’t think of Alex that way.
My eyes are brimming with tears as I say in a small voice, “Yes.”
The crowd whoops with delight and cheers as Alex gets to his feet to sweep me in a bear hug. I’m crushed in his fervent embrace, but I don’t care if all the breath is knocked out of me, because I’m wrapping him in my arms equally as tightly.
It’s nice to know that the common people are generally happy for us.
A commotion parts the crowd.
Jasper elbows his way through, flanked by a couple of aides. Uh oh, I think. They’re coming to separate us and tell us it can’t be done.
“Your highness.” Jasper wears the gravest of expressions. “May I have a private moment?”
“Yes, of course.”
Jasper glances at me. “Alone, if you please, your highness.”
“I’ve just asked Liz to marry me, Jasper, and she said yes. Anything you say to me can be said to her as well.”
Jasper is momentarily stunned. His eyes flit, and then he nods.
“Step this way, please.”
My heart beating, I follow Alex and Jasper as the aides usher us to a room.
It is empty. Jasper closes the door.
“Your highness, you may want to sit down.”
“Cut the crap, Jasper,” Alex says irritably. “I’ve had a long and very trying day for most part. What is it?”
“Your father, the King, is dead.”
All three palace aides are the portrait of utmost solemnity.
As is Alex.
Jasper adds, “Long live our new King.”