“Your highness! What a surprise!”. The store owner Tara exclaimed when she saw Sebastian. She’d thought her sales girl was crazy when the girl had told her the crown prince had come into the store.
“Hello.” Sebastian greeted.
“Um…Hello. She greeted back. Sarah!”.
“Yes Ma!”. Sarah came running.
“Get a chair for the prince.”
Sarah went off to get the said chair and returned within a minute with one.
“Please sit your highness. Tara gestured to the seat.
“Get another one for her.” He pointed to Celine who was looking around the store.
“Go.” Tara ordered the girl. What can I offer you, your highness?”.
“I’m good thank you. He smiled at her. I’m here to get her clothes.”
Tara stared at Celine who’d now come to join Sebastian with a disgusted expression on her face.
“Come with me.” Tara motioned Celine over.
Celine looked from Tara to Sebastian with a scared expression on her face. She didn’t know they were coming here or else she’d have told him not to bother.
Mrs Tara Wilson hated her as much as the queen did.
“Your highness…” She began slowly.
“Go with her Ce. We don’t have all day.” Sebastian said smiling assuringly. He leaned forward to whisper in her ear. She won’t bite but if she does...holler.”
Celine giggled and nodded even though she didn’t know what he meant by holler. She stood up.
“I’ll hold that for you.” He took the headphone from her and shooed her away.
Celine liked all the clothes she saw but she took just one which she changed into. A knee length slim fit gown with sleeves reaching her elbows.
“An ugly duckling can never turn into a swan no matter how much it is pampered.” Tara said. Why didn’t you die with your wretched father?”.
Celine flinched from the hate and contempt she saw in Tara’s eyes.
“Thank God my sister had enough sense to leave early. Tara said. Maybe she’d have ended up the same way as him. But you should count yourself lucky that you came in here with the prince or else…only God knows what I’d have done to you.”
“Can I go ma?”. Celine’s voice shook.
“If you dare tell the prince what I said, I’ll make your worthless life miserable. Do you understand?”.
“Yes. She nodded.
Tara eyed her over, huffed and sashayed away.
“All done?”. Sebastian looked up from his phone when Celine walked up to him.
“Yes your highness. Tara said. She only wanted this dress.”
“Celine?. He looked at her and noticed how she was trying so hard to school her expression. She was on the verge of tears. Celine, are you okay?”.
“I’m fine. Celine smiled. We should get going your highness. We don’t have all day as you said.”
Sebastian said nothing and nodded then went to pay for the dress and they left the store.
Celine was quiet in the car and even refused to continue listening to her music which worried him but he knew better than to push her to talk.
There wasn’t much to see because the sky turned dark quickly when they were at the stream and before they could blink, the sky opened and rain came down in torrents.
Celine screamed in excitement running around with her arms raised in the air. It had been so long since she played in the rain.
“Celine! What are you doing?!”. Sebastian was shocked to see her playing in the rain. He’d thought she’d follow him back to the car.
“This is so much fun your highness!”. Celine exclaimed.
“You’ll catch pneumonia and die.” He told her.
“I don’t get sick that easily except when I over eat.” She said.
“Well I’m freezing already.” Sebastian said.
Celine sighed. “Okay…let’s go.”
They got back into the car and Sebastian immediately pulled off his shirt causing Celine to shriek and cover her eyes.
“Oh come on! Don’t tell me you’ve not seen a shirtless guy before Celine?”. He asked with a teasing smile.
“I have not your highness.”
“Good. Sebastian said.
“What do you mean by…good?”. She frowned.
“It means that I’m your first.”
“Can you please put on a shirt?”. She asked.
“Call me by my name first.”
“Okay. No shirt then.”
“Urgh. She shook her head. Okay fine!. She agreed. Sebastian.” She whispered.
“Can’t hear you.” He sang.
“Sebastian. She said through gritted teeth.
“Sebastian!”. She yelled startling the driver who applied the brakes so fast, the car screeched to a stop.
“Are you alright your highness?”. He asked. He glowered at Celine. Why are you yelling at the prince? Are you stupid?”.
“I’m sorry. She apologized. I didn’t mean to yell at you, your highness.”
“How dare you call her stupid in my presence?”. Sebastian growled at the driver.
“Get out of the car. Sebastian ordered.
Sebastian pulled his shirt back on, got out of the car and slammed the door. He rounded the hood and opened the driver’s door.
The driver got out of the car shocked by his attitude and watched as Sebastian got in behind the wheel, closed the door and drove off.
“Because I called her stupid?. He wondered. He shook his head and began the long walk back to the palace.