Fiction Friday: Five Minutes Till Midnight

photo by mac(3), via Flickr

I’m dancing with the prince when the text message comes in, but I don’t realize it till he’s bent over my hand and helped me into my seat at the table in the corner. “Back in a bit,” he says, his brain clearly already on his next task as the world’s most famous Best Man.

Still, as he saunters toward the head table, one hand in his pocket, I suppress a very unprofessional head shake; he does cut quite a figure in his tux. Let’s be honest, this is the sweetest gig I’ve ever landed, playing the public face of Prince Charming’s shy fiancee–to whom, I must admit, I do bear a striking resemblance, though not so much it would hold up if the paparazzi outside ever got a closeup of the girl herself.

Charming and the groom put their heads together, no doubt rehashing some male rite of passage known only to college roommates. The bride flashes me a grin, and it’s at that moment that the cell phone in my clutch, the special phone given me at the start of this gig, rattles the ice in my glass, announcing a missed call. I shouldn’t check it–the stored texts would be fodder for every gossip rag on both sides of the Atlantic–but nobody has this number except…

I glance around the table at my companions, but they are more or less ignoring me as they have all night. Under orders from His Highness, no doubt. He hasn’t decided for sure that he trusts me, yet. I slide the phone just far enough out to read the text message:

U have to come home RIGHT NOW. ***EMERGENCY.***

Kurt would never use this number unless it was really important. I keep my game face on, but inwardly, I wince. Charming will not like this, not one little bit.

He’s looking at me. I fasten the clutch and stand, enjoying even now the swish of silk around my legs. A worried look crosses Charming’s face. He excuses himself and meets me halfway. “What’s going on?” he says.

“I’m sorry, but I have to go.”

I have to give him credit; his face remains serene. “What are you talking about?” He smiles through his teeth. “You’re on the job.” Liberating the clutch and laying it on the table, he draws me back onto the dance floor.

“I got a text. Kurt says it’s an emergency.”

“Kurt?” His control slips, but only for a moment. Oh, come on. Not jealousy–not from the world’s most eligible bachelor. “You can’t leave. The limos aren’t here.”

“Yes, well, I think I can survive in a cab.”

“You might, but those blood-suckers outside…”

I hadn’t thought about the paparazzi, who doubtless have every exit from the building covered, all of them desperate to be the one who snags The Shot of Prince Charming’s elusive fiancee.

I look at the clock. Five minutes to midnight. I give him my wickedest smile. “I have a plan,” I say.

*

And that’s the word count…so I’ll just have to leave you hanging. 🙂

Write On Edge: Red-Writing-Hood