On Saturday I went again and had my hair and makeup done. I selected my favourite outfit and perfume.
At 7.30 exactly he rang the buzzer, I put on my coat and went down. His eyes widened most appreciatively when he saw me and that made me smile. He was still on his crutches, but made the effort to open the car door for me. I do appreciate courtesy like that.
At the restaurant we chatted like old friends, settling on food and wine that we would both like. He has an adventurous streak, cycling through the French wine country with a friend. I wondered how it would be if it was the two of us.
The meal was superb, the conversation flowed easily. But the problem was it was like two old friends, not full of electricity as I had hoped. We talked about our childhood experiences, our hopes growing up. General things like favourite places, music and art. Maybe we had left it too long. Maybe he didn’t feel what I felt, and was just being polite because I rescued him.
Maybe the formality of the restaurant reminded him of diplomatic events and so he was being fairly formal?
Then I had a bright idea. The club. It was a place people had gathered during the freedom struggle, talked, played music and felt at home.
So I suggested it and he agreed. We went off and he seemed happier and more relaxed. He battled a bit with the stairs at the club, but relaxed on the comfortable seating. He seemed a bit surprised that I was a regular there, but soon relaxed. He was relieved to learn that the stuff he had consumed in quantities at the ball was actually only for sipping. When the music started he seemed even more relaxed. But still our conversation felt just like good friends.
I can’t even remember what he said, but suddenly I felt like jolting him to get a reaction, and told him that the King had told me at the ball, that it was time we were married.
He went white and looked quite distressed.
I leaned over and took his hand. “I told him he’s two years ahead of our agreement” I said.
He still seemed distressed. I gave him his glass and he took a big sip.
“But if you are a princess, you are too closely related”, he stuttered.
I laughed. “The title is from my youthful mistake. At 16 I fell in love with and eloped with Prince x of y. Unfortunately his taste for fast cars killed him before my 17th birthday. I carry the title if I like, but it means nothing”. I use my normal name and hopefully soon will precede it with Doctor.
He relaxed and leaned back again, with a huge sigh, stretching his legs out.
That was when the disaster occurred, A somewhat inebriated member of the club sitting near us got up, stumbled, and tripped over Philip’s foot, landing heavily on it. Philip screamed in pain, going as white as a sheet.
The rest of the night involved me getting the paramedics out and getting him to hospital for a checkup. He was booked in overnight. I took his rented car home.