Valentines: 4

(Part 2 of the story from yesterday)

William was on break at work when his phone rang. It was his parents. He assumed the worst. He thought maybe one of his ailing grandparents had died or something as terrible as that. He answered the call.

“Hello?” he was cautious.

“Have you seen the news?” It was William’s mother,

“Should I have? What’s going on?” William was far too confused. From the way his mother was talking he was now under the assumption that some kind of horrible car accident had happened, or maybe a building collapsed near where his parents worked.

“Well I don’t want to spoil the surprise! Go and find the news online.” His mother then hung up before William could figure out what was happening.

As William was opening up the browser on the staff room’s computer, his phone rang again. William hadn’t even had the time to scour the headlines. This time it was his friend, Kyle. Kyle was a bit of an excitable guy, and so Kyle got right to the chase.

“So when are you and Kate getting engaged, huh?” Kyle said.

“What are you on?” William replied. “We’re 20 years old, for god’s sake! Don’t you think it’s a little sudden?”

“Well Prince William and Kate Middleton are getting married too, so why can’t you guys?”

“What are you–” William cut himself off. “I’ll call you back.” It finally clicked.

***

Meanwhile, Kate was lying on her bed doing some readings for the next day’s class. She was in the middle of a particularly dense read and had to keep everything around her quiet. She had even resorted to downloading a track off the internet that was just white noise to put on her iPod. It helped filter out everything.

She couldn’t ignore, however, when she looked up from reading momentarily and saw the door vibrating. Someone, or several someones, were knocking. Kate had adjusted to having roommates but sometimes they could just be so demanding. Sighing, she got up and opened the door. She took off her headphones. In front of the door were all three of her roommates, with huge smiles plastered on their faces.

Kate was alarmed. She felt like she was a character in Brave New World and her roommates had just taken their daily dose of Soma. “Uh… What are you all so happy about?”

“Look!” said Nina. She pointed to the TV, where CP24 was on.

“Uh, yes, CP24 is on. What about it?”

“Just go and read the headlines!” said Jordan.

Kate sighed again and went to the TV. “What am I looking for?”

“You’ll know it when you see it!” Nina said.

Kate scanned the headlines. There was a headline about cholera continuing to hit parts of Haiti. Something about Katy Perry releasing her first fragrance. And then, there it was. “British Royal Family announces today that Prince William and long-time girlfriend Kate Middleton are engaged.”

***

Kate was back in her room  and reading, but not comprehending anything when that bombshell of a news hit happened. She waited until she knew William was done with work and at home to call him on his cell. She tried to be as quiet as possible so as to not encourage her gossipy roommates to have anything else to talk about.

“So, you must have heard, right?” Kate asked once William had picked up.

“Yeah, I did, Who would’ve thought, huh?” William paused for a second. “Well we are going to have to deal with a lot of good-natured teasing, I imagine.”

“Do we have to be that couple?” Kate said. “It seems like a lot of pressure, don’t you think?”

“Yeah, but… we’ll get through it.” That was enough for them, or so they thought.

When they went into class the next day, which was a Wednesday, everybody who knew either Kate or William enough to know who they were dating went out of their way to comment on how freaky it was that this couple had the same name as the newly-engaged royal couple. William and Kate, for the most part, laughed it off, but the constant harassment started to irk them more and more with each passing day.

For Christmas that year, William spent it with Kate and her family. After a typically extravagant dinner of several courses, they got to opening presents. One of the first gifts Kate opened was in a kind of large box, but it was so light that she didn’t think anything was in it for a moment.

The note on the tag said it was from her parents, with an extra message: “To our princess.” She glared at her parents for a second, slightly embarrassed with their sentimentality, to which her parents just smiled back. She opened the box, and inside was none other than a tiara. Then it clicked.

“Are you guys serious?” Kate said. She had raised her voice. “You don’t think I get this enough at school and from all my friends? Goddamnit!” She kicked the tiara into the kitchen. Then she ran up the stairs to her room and slammed the door.

There was an awkward silence between the three people still remaining in the living room. “I… should go talk to her,” William said. He got up and walked up the stairs while her parents sat in stunned silence. Their daughter didn’t get so angry unless they really messed up. They hadn’t realized how much this had upset her.

William knocked on the door to Kate’s room lightly. “It’s me,” William said. Kate opened the door a few seconds later. She had been crying, and her face was pretty red, She sniffled a little bit.

“That was so fucking stupid of them,” Kate said. “You think they’d know how much this drove me nuts.”

“They were just trying to be funny, but obviously that didn’t quite work,” William said softly. He kissed her on the cheek and wrapped his arms around her.

“What are we going to do about this?” Kate said.

“Well, we have to do something,” William said. “Let’s wait it out a bit longer.”

***

It was April 29, 2011. Kate, William and all of their respective friends had finished with third-year exams and were gathered at a British bar that had gotten a license to open early for the Royal Wedding. Kate and William had decided to watch the royal William and Kate get married, and then had invited all of their friends to join them for a celebration.

Excitement was in the air at this bar, because all of Kate and William’s friends figured they knew exactly why they had invited so many people along.

Sure enough, a few hours into the drinks and pub food, William clinked his glass. “If I could have all of your attention for a moment,” he said. Everyone hushed immediately. It was happening!

“Kate,” William said, turning in his chair to face her. She did the same. “I’ve loved you for as long as we’ve been in school, and you’ve always been the most faithful and patient woman I’ve ever known. I can’t believe we’ve been together for almost three years. It’s incredible, actually. We were kind of cursed with our names, but there’s nothing we can do about it, can we?” At this point, William got off his chair and kneeled down on one knee. The silence in the bar was such that you could hear cars passing by outside. “And that’s why I’m so sorry to have to say that we can’t be together. It’s too much.” A gasp went up in the room. Without another word, William got up and left the bar.

Everyone couldn’t help but look at Kate. Everyone expected her to start sobbing, but instead she was silent, a few tears running down her cheeks.

“Are you alright?” Jordan, one of Kate’s roommates, asked.

She didn’t respond. Finally, she began to weep, and she rushed out of the bar as well. People started to chase after her but realized she needed a few minutes to herself.

Kate exited the bar and went around the corner, where William was leaning against the wall. He grinned as she came over.

“Did you convince them?” he asked.

“Oh boy, did I ever,” Kate said. “I just had to start thinking about John Coffey from The Green Mile to get the tears going.”

“Alright, let’s go,” William said. They ran as quickly as they could into the Bloor subway station and went along on the northbound train to Kate’s apartment. They ignored any and all texts and calls as they made their way to Kate’s apartment.

***

For weeks, everyone assumed William and Kate had broken up. The two found it a little difficult holding up the charade, but they’d been together long enough that a bit of time apart didn’t hurt too much. Near the end of May they flew to Jamaica for a vacation, and before they left they sent a text message to all their friends with the following message: “We haven’t broken up. We just couldn’t handle being royalty.”

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One thought on “Valentines: 4

  1. Pingback: Valentine’s Day, and other assorted topics | Michael Writes

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