Was the feeling he was experiencing nervousness? No, there was no chewing of nail buds and eyes darting from one blank wall to another. The maid had come in. The selected are here, your majesty. The selected are here. The selected. Ah, yes. The selected. He didn't remember how many girls he had looked at. He remembered thinking they were pretty-- he remembered thinking a lot of things-- and now, now that they were more than faces and numbers and potential political pawns sliding across the table, he wasn't exactly how he felt. Nervous? No. Excited? Not quite. Loud. He felt loud. He felt the sharp intake of breath before high pitched giggles, the footsteps running back and forth in the hallways below, the cameras shutters crackling like brushfire, the news spreading throughout the castle-- surely everyone knew by now. For all he knew, he could've been the last. Was he ready? Technically speaking, yes. God knows how many times he ran through neatly organized notecards with Bryant and Marco, and occasionally Tari although that had stopped once it became evident she had no real interest actually helping him and just wanted to find an excuse to get him to take his shirt off. He knew Astoria had an interest in architecture, and Brielle's sister worked at the palace, and that Minerva had recently won her third taekwondo championship. But was he ready. Now, that was a question. The boy sat at his desk, toying with an old camera-- thinking. He may have felt loud, but the room was quiet. The movements were few. A long exhale of breath. A film canister slowly rolling off the table. An intercom crackling. Your highness, do you need anything? It asked. "Send me my men."
Bryant was, to say the least, excited. He was excited that he got summoned and got out of another Arthur meeting because let's face it, we don't need to go over these things three times a week. Bryant had barely been able to sit through the first one, nevermind the third. It wasn't something he liked, or what he was born to do. Heck, Bryant was born to use his hands and to make art, something he wasn't doing in the palace. Most of the time anyway. He spent most of the time being a guard and doing things that guards do. Things like to patrol the hallways. And do tricks with your rifle. And then there were other guard things, like kissing each other during your shift, but Bryant didn't participate in that kind of stuff. At least, not yet. But then there's something that a few guards do as well, and Bryant was one of them. He wasn't exactly sure why, or what the point of it was, but he enjoyed spending time with the Prince. He was actually a very cool guy, along with Marco.Bryant was definitely the childish one, bursting through the door after Marco and smiling wide. "Today's the day! The sun is shining! The selected are finally-" And a pause, as Bryant suddenly realized the facial expression of the prince. Marco took the liberty of questioning him, so Bryant just retreated to close the door. Perhaps Nick really was his father's son, or maybe he was nervous. Though that'd be weird, he ran through everything with Bryant and Marco a hundred times, why should he be nervous?
"I'm not nervous," Nick said, nose crinkling up as his voice took on a slightly petulant tone. He adjusted the shutter speed from 1/500 to 1/250, and then back to 1/500. "It's just loud." At this, he looked up at the other guards in the room-- perhaps the only ones in the palace who would understand such an ambiguous complaint. He was silent for a moment. You could almost mistake his mood for pensiveness. But Nick wasn't reflecting-- he was only trying to figure out what to say. Contrary to popular belief, Nick had never been good with words. Sure, he could rattle off political jargon and decipher legislative vernacular much in the same way a sewing machine stitched-- quickly, smoothly, methodically. But expression? In Nick's mind, thought and speech were, while familiar enough to him, foreign to each other. "Your camera's done." He finally said, handing it to the closer guard before cracking his knuckles and moving from his desk to his bed, falling back into it, phantom dimples finding their place in his cheek. "What if I don't like them." Worded like a question, said as a statement. Most would ask the opposite-- what if they don't like me? But Nick knew better than anyone that liking Nicholas Schreave was part of the job description, regardless of their actual thoughts. He blinked up at his guards from his bed, ensconced in white linen and incoherent hypotheticals, a curious smile spreading itself across the boy as he mused about his uncertain emotions, his fickle tastes, his certain doom.
Let it be known that Bryant was good at listening. He would always sit there quietly, and listen to your problems. Or stories. Or whatever it was that you wanted him to listen to, just because that was the polite way to do things. Nick mumbled something along the lines of him worrying about his feelings for them all, and Bryant thought about it while Marco went on, talking about this like it was some psychology class before asking Nick if he had been worrying about this for a longer time. And maybe he had, without telling anyone.Bryant could see why Nick was stressed. He was about to meet his new thirty-five girlfriends, one of which he would eventually marry and then he would be king. And that sentence in itself was stressful. But Nick shouldn't think about it like that. He should think about today, and how the weather was nice and he looked nice and that he was about to meet a bunch of pretty girls and at some point have lunch. Now that barely sounds stressful. At least, to Bryant it did. He was always the calm one when it came to stressful situations."I don't think it really matters right now, though. I mean think about it, you haven't even met them yet, and even when you do don't you have to have some private conversation with each of them? You'll probably find something in at least one of those, so you shouldn't stress over such a possibility." Bryant's input into the situation was short, sweet, and just a basic outline on how he felt. He totally understood why Nick was, what, worrying? He just didn't think he should be.
Nick didn't understand why they thought he was worrying. He was-- hmm... the word, the right word failed him, it fell from beneath him before he could reach down and pull it to where he could see. But he wasn't worried. He gave his trademark smile to his men and pushed himself off of the bed, not realizing until then that his brows had been wrinkled (ah, so that's why they thought he was worried). Wrinkled brows didn't suit Nicholas Schreave. No, he was supposed to be crisp, and smooth, and made for leisure. So he stopped. Worrying. At least, he hoped he had stopped. He vaguely wondered what the word worrying meant, if he was doing it right, if this is what nervousness felt like. Loud. "I've eaten," He said to Marco with an annoyed? amused? appreciative? smile, gesturing at a half empty pack of gum (it counts) and then choosing to ignore all his fussing (about sleep, which he'd almost completely replaced with Americanos these past five days). Food, sleep-- he took it when it came-- but he would never deliberately search it out. They can't all be horrible people... You haven't even met them yet....You'll probably find something in at least one of those... His head tried to clear up-- to match the bare walls, the white linen, the organized desk-- you're worrying them. Stop worrying. He commanded himself, because that was what he was best at-- orders, lists, duties, treaties... He straightened up, looked them in the eyes. "You're right. Of course you're right." The confidence. The smile. He gave an easy laugh and shrugged away the tide pulling him under. Nicholas Schreave was back, and now, all he wanted was to laugh on camera and play the old game and have fun, stop worrying, just have fun."I need an Americano-- you want anything?"
Okay so Bryant was usually on Nick's side of things. Really, they got along really well and thought the same things, and could both just lounge around and eat meat lover's pizza for three hours. Marco tended to tell them they were going to get fat and sick and just stick around and complain most of the time, but he was still super cool. But the gum thing? Sure, it technically counts but it also doesn't. Marco went on to threaten the prince, and Bryant just kind of nodded his head in agreement. Would he pull Nick by his hair? No, but he would probably hold the door open for Marco while he did it.Things took a sudden flip when Nick stood up and was smiling. He even laughed, assuring the two guards that a) he was alright and b) they were right. Which was good. He laughed, and that was good, but he wanted to drink before he ate, and didn't that kind of stuff make you sick? There was no way Bryant was going to allow that. "A drink sounds nice, but you should really eat something first, Nick. You might get sick, and no offense but I'm sure even the most lovesick girl wouldn't appreciate you vomiting all over her silk dress."
Nick grinned-- wide and boyish, mouth pulling from a crescent to a rectangle, making him look years younger than he actually was. "You just called gum food," he said to the closer guard, voice tinged with, for those who knew him well enough, a hint of triumph. "So it counts. Besides, I'm not hungry, and I'm not allowed to use delivery today because of all this fuckery." He gestured vaguely toward the door, motioning at the source of everything unnatural about his life the past four months-- the loud that didn't seem to go away. Contrary to popular belief-- Nick had a rather simple mind. Sure, a lot went on, but he had learned to compartmentalize over the years, and to compartmentalize well. "And I won't vomit because I haven't eaten anything, so it all works out, Bry. Besides, mom, taking care of me's your job, if I did that, what'd I keep you around for?" Still grinning, Nick walked over to his intercom, pressing the button. How may I assist you? "Cecilia? Yeah, just an Americano. With four pumps of vanila. Oh, and caramel. That's all, thanks." He sat, or, technically, hurled himself back at his desk, the swivel chair, the momentum driving his swivel chair back a good fifteen feet. "See? I got coffee." I'm taking care of myself. For a moment, he looked content-- as if thirty five girls were not literally in his gigantic, but pathetic, excuse of a house, ready to flirt with him, or fight him, or fuck him, or maybe all three. And speaking of flirting... "Oh! Right. I forgot why I called you." He paused, wondering how exactly he should phrase his next request. "I need you to teach me how to flirt."
Okay, so Bryant knew he wasn't always right, because, well he wasn't. But this time, he knew he was. He just knew it. The fact that there was nothing in his stomach was going to only help him vomit, not stop him or anything. And as much as Bryant liked to think Nick was always right, he would have to give him the L on this one. What kind of psychopath orders his coffee with four pumps of vanilla? Easy, the king that is a prince, the heir to be exact, and is about to begin his selection, a competition between thirty-five girls all trying to win his heart. And what did he have to do? Nothing really, just sit around and date all thirty-five of them, eliminating the one's he doesn't like and ultimately choosing only one of them to marry and spend the rest of his days with. So pretty much, only Nick orders his coffee with four pumps of vanilla because he was stressed and had a pretty good reason to be feeling that way. Or, that's what Bryant thought anyway.Bryant actually laughed a little when Nick said that. Did Nick just seriously ask him and Marco how to flirt? Marco, Maternal Marco Morales™ and Bryant, Baby Bryant? Was this guy nuts? Technically, no. In fact, they were good people to ask. Marco was a flirt, and Bryant was well something. He wasn't sure, but he could tell maids liked him because they would always giggle when he walked by. Weird.Anyways, back to this sad excuse for a Prince. "You know, I hope you have a general idea of what flirting is because I'm not sure we can get you up to speed on this whole 'flirting concept' before you have to go and test the waters." It wasn't like flirting was hard or anything, or, Bryant didn't think it was anyway. Truthfully he had no idea what flirting really was, but he figured it wouldn't be too hard if you were already a prince. Right?
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