Short story. When you love someone you can't have, you have no choice but to learn to love the ones you can have.
She watched as the sun set and the world turned a warm pink. Instantly, she thought of those silly cliché stories, where the girl and the guy kiss just as the sun sets, and then it fades to black. She lowered her head and rested it on her knees, which were pulled to her chest, and smiled.
This is how it should be. This is how it is. This is how it ends.
I know that somehow when I fall, there will be someone to catch me. it won’t be you, but that’s okay.
They met when he was seven years old.
He didn’t understand yet that when he was with her, it was wrong.
He didn’t understand that she was a commoner. He didn’t understand that it could cause trouble for her. He didn’t understand that he would never be able to be with her.
She was only five.
She knew the difference. She knew she was lower than he was. She knew that she should’ve never been playing with this boy of such a higher status. She knew that if her mother was still around, she would scold her for doing such a thing.
They did anyway.
She snuck into the palace every morning, and they would play games in the royal garden. Hide and seek, chase, and his favorite: save the princess.
“Ally! You’ll be the princess, and I’ll be your knight!”
Alice chewed her lip. “But Nic!… Why don’t you play a prince today…?”
“Because I hate being a prince!” Nicolas balled up his chubby fists. “I wanna be normal,” his voice lowered and he turned his face away, “like Ally. I wanna be a normal boy! I wanna be able to play with Ally, not in secret!”
Alice smiled sadly.
That was a dream unreachable.
And it was still unreachable, thirteen years later.
Alice, now eighteen, sat on his bed, her green dress barely covering her knees, showing her sheer stockings. He was used to this. She hated long dresses.
“Niiiiiiiiiiiiic,” she sang. He gave her a cold glare.
“But that’s what I used to call you, if you don’t remember.” She balled her fists up in the skirt of her dress, and her smile became forced.
He turned away from the window.
“You should go home, y’know. It’s getting dark out.” He held out his hand to her, and she slapped it away with a roll of her green eyes.
“Jeez, mom. I can get home by myself. Besides, don’t you need to go see your fiancé?” Her voice tightened at the word. He didn’t notice.
He cleared his throat. “You’re right. I should check on her. You sure you’ll… be alright?” His eyes held concern, and she brushed it off with a grin. She stood up, her knees knocking together. He saw how thin her legs were. When did they get that thin?
“I’ll be fine, Nicolas. Go see Amelia.” He nodded, and watched her walk out of his room with careful steps.
He waited before he left.
She nodded to the guards who she passed on the way out of the castle. She knew everyone who lived here, and she liked most of them.
She passed one particular soldier, who stopped her by placing a hand on her small shoulder.
“Alice,” he said curtly, and she recognized the rough voice immediately.
“Randal,” she replied, with a small smile, lips tight.
“Alice, you can’t keep doing this to yourself.” He shook his head and turned to face her. “You’re destroying yourself. Little by little.”
“Oh Randal, hush. You don’t know what you’re talking about!” She laughed and grinned big. Fake. He frowned at her and he ground his teeth together.
“You know that you two will never be together. Just come with me,” he pleaded with glassy eyes.
“Forget about him… Forget all about him, and be with me.” She turned away sharply.
“Never. I will never forget about him,” she said tersely. He frowned and started to stroke her hair. She pulled away, not looking at him. He clenched his fists tightly.
“Don’t you dare say it.”
“I love you.”
She walked away, and out of the palace, her green skirts swishing against her legs.
He sighed, then walked on.
Amelia brushed invisible dirt off her long, deep red dress. She crossed, then uncrossed her legs. She tucked a strand of fiery red hair behind an ear adorned with a dangling crystal earring.
She was elegant, and she knew it. Who else was fit to be a queen? She was grand, and she showed it off to everyone, her head held high.
Nicolas sighed, and looked at his watch. The room was stuffy and quiet.
She twirled a strand of hair, looking at the ceiling absentmindedly.
She scooted a little closer to him, filing up the space on the blue loveseat. She grinned and at, and stroked her hand down his arm. He moved away.
“So, about that Alice girl. What is she to you?”
His head snapped up to look at her, then he looked away.
“She’s a friend.”
Amelia inspected her fingernails with a disgusted look, and then her face softened.
“You love her.”
Nicolas closed his eyes.
“So how do you feel about getting married in 3 months?”
“Fine,” he replied monotonously. Alice turned to him, pulling her boring, dull brown hair up in a small bun.
“Oh, I know you. The big bad Nicolas Lou is scared of a wedding!” She snickered and turned to his mirror to check her hair.
“That’s not…” He broke off. She pursed her lips, and turned to him, grabbing his big hands in hers.
“Dance with me!” She twirled around the room, taking him with her. For a moment he was surprised, then he stopped her.
“Don’t be childish,” he murmured. She looked away to hide her disappointment and her teeth ripped into her bottom lip.
“What happened to the boy I used to play with everyday?”
He looked at her sharply.
Tears filled her green eyes and she stormed out of the room, wiping them way with her sleeves.
He didn’t follow.
She went straight to him.
He motioned her to sit across from him at the table.
She didn’t move.
She looked down at the floor, the chipped wood, the uneven boards. Hiding her hands in the folds of her dress, she sighed.
“I want to… take your offer.”
His blue eyes widened.
“Ally,” he whispered in his raspy voice, then stood and pulled her into his arms. She tensed up. “Thank you. Thank you for trying.”
It took her a long time to relax, and an even longer time to start crying.
She wrapped her arms around him.
“I want to forget him. All I want to remember is you, Randal.”
He pulled away and brushed her tears away lightly.
“I promise that I will take your pain away. I won’t let you hurt,” he murmured, then leaned down and kissed her pearly lips.
The first thing she noticed was that she felt nothing.
Nicolas cleared his throat loudly.
“Why must you pick dresses in my room? You practically live in here. And why are you picking out a dress?”
Alice giggled and slapped his shoulder. “Oh, don’t be a grump. I’m going on a date!”
Nicolas dropped the book he was reading.
Alice laid a dark blue dress across her body, then a lacy yellow one, and smiled at him.
He nearly choked. He coughed and ran a hand through his hair, looking away.
“What, Nicolas? Have a problem with that? Now, which dress should I wear?”
He sighed and picked up the book he had dropped. “The yellow one. Bright colors suit you best.”
She smiled big, and set the blue one on his bed.
“Thanks! I’ll go put it on.”
She left out the room to change, twirling and humming on the way, and he closed his dark eyes.
She didn’t call him Nic anymore.
It started to flow. Life started to flow. Finally.
She learned to love Randal.
He learned to love Amelia.
And they both lied to themselves, every single day.
“Alice,” he called softly, walking over to her briskly, with careful steps.
She looked to him, a small smile on her lips. Fake.
“Yes, Your Highness?”
Nicolas pulled back, his eyes wide. He pulled her to him and leaned down to gaze right into her.
“My name is Nicolas.”
She stared him down. He growled under his breath.
“You will become king today. Your father steps down. I have to, and will, call you Your Highness now.”
Nicolas clenched his fists.
“We were best friends! What happened to that? What happened to us? What went wrong?”
“You did.” Her jade eyes turned cold and empty.
“You lost the little boy in you. The true you. He’s gone. That’s what changed.”
Nicolas held his face in his hands. The church bell rang, and Alice picked up her light pink skirt.
“It’s time for you to say your vows.”
Nicolas shook his head.
“Say it,” he whispered
He growled and shook her shoulders hard. She turned away from him quickly.
“Say it! I want to hear you say it!” he growled at her.
She whirled on him.
“What? Do you want me to call you Nic and remember all those goddamn memories that are destroyed now? Do you want me to say I love you, and that I can never love Randal like I should, even if I want to? Do you want me to? Huh?”
Nicolas closed his eyes.
“It’s time for you to leave. It’s time for your wedding,Nic.”
“Alice… please,” he begged. “Let me… Let me…”
He straightened up, and looked away, sliding his hands in his pockets.
“Nothing. I need to go.”
That was a dream unreachable.
She heard the cheering and the clapping and the laughter as her best friend was married and crowned king of England.
She sighed and hung her legs over the edge of the cliff, letting them swing back and forth. She considered jumping for a moment, letting her teeth rip into her pearly lips.
Hearing footsteps behind her, she turned her head.
“Randal,” she greeted quietly.
He sat beside her, hanging his legs over the edge as well. She leaned back on her forearms.
“You okay?” he asked, looking at her, searching for tears.
“Yeah, for now I am. I guess. I’m happy for him.” She smiled.
The blonde knew better.
“I know you can’t love me like you did him… But… Thank you for trying. Thank you.”
She smiled. “I’m sorry I can’t. But I’m giving you everything I can give you. I want to.”
He turned her head to him, and kissed her softly, crying.
“I love you Ally.”
“I know, Randal…”