Search This Blog

Friday, March 16, 2012

Forgotten Prince Ch. 2


Back in his hotel room, Tepin collapsed onto the single bed, his arm over his face. He was angry and exhausted. He'd gotten off the plane only two hours ago. The cab ride to this modest hotel had taken an agonizingly slow half hour. Traffic had been horrendous due to an accident out on the freeway.

Another drunk driver had plowed into a minivan with a toddler and newborn. He only knew that much because his phone had internet service. He'd gone online and watched the live newscast. The news anchor had said that the newborn was miraculously unscathed, the mother had only minor injuries, but the toddler was in critical condition. He remembered feeling grateful that most people on his island country used bicycles and motor scooters. There were very few cars in Nefer.

Once he'd arrived at the hotel, he'd taken a shower, shaved, and changed his day-old clothes. Then, just as he was about to leave for his consort's, his mother had called.

"Have you arrived safely?" His mother had asked in lieu of a greeting.

"Yes, Mother."

"Have you made contact with Theodore yet?"

"No, Mother."

"Why not?"

"I just got here. I've only had time to get myself presentable," he'd said, some exasperation leaking into his voice.

His mother had clucked at him, but he knew she wasn't upset with him.

"Call me when you've talked with him. I love you, habib albi."

"Love you, too, Momma. I will call and let you know how it goes," he'd said, smiling.

Now, as he lay on the lumpy hotel bed, staring up at the ceiling, he wanted to kick himself. With a flick of a wrist he lifted the other pillow and pulled it to him, hugging it close, like a favorite teddy bear. That was the very first time he and his consort had met since he was five and Taz was three, and he'd ruined it by telling him things he should have already been aware of. He sighed heavily, wishing things had gone a lot better. But Gods! The Langleys were supposed to have raised Theodore knowing who and what he was. That was the plan.

Well, at least the kid hadn't thrown him out on his ass, or worse. Maybe things would still turn out all right. Maybe Theodore would talk to Stephen and Bethany Langley, and they'd talk him into accepting his fate. Gods, but this had to work. It just had to.

Because Taz was his soul mate.

When a Neferian or Hotepian first meets their soul mate as an adult, they experience a zing upon touching for the first time. He had felt that zing today, when he shook his consort's hand. That zing changed everything for him. He wasn't going along with this arranged marriage because he had to, but because he wanted to. Soul mates were greatly cherished by their people, partly because only thirty percent of their people have found their soul mate.

He pushed the thought aside for the time being.

With another, softer sigh Tepin dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed his mother. He'd promised to call when he got back, and he always kept his promises.

"Tepin, habib albi. I trust everything went according to plan? When shall I expect you here?"


"What went wrong?" His mother asked warily.

"He was not aware of who he was. The Langleys raised him ignorant of his royal blood. He didn't know he was a prince, let alone engaged to be married."

His mother drew in a sharp, indrawn breath. "He knew nothing?"

"Nothing," Tepin confirmed.

"I shall have words with King Bakhoun. This arrangement has been made since before you were born, habib albi."

"Before I was born? Don't you mean before he was born?"

"No, habib albi. Before you were born. We made this arrangement while I was pregnant with you. King and Queen Bakhoun were trying for a child of their own at the time, it just took them a few years to conceive."

"Oy, Mother. I still do not see

"It is not your job to see or understand this arrangement," she said, much too sharply. He felt her ire like a punch to the gut. But then, in a much gentler voice, she said, "I love you, habib albi, but I cannot tell you just yet."

"Do you know how frustrating that is, Mother?" he asked, the resignation clear in his voice.

Chuckling softly, she said, "Yes, I do."

"Mother, is this arranged marriage really that important to you?"

"Yes, habib albi," she said, not unkindly. "This is very important for your father, myself, you, and our country. I've got to go now. I love you, habib albi."

"I love you, too, Momma."

Tepin closed his cell phone, and just stared at it for a moment. Then, with a sigh, he reached over and set it on the bedside table. Flopping back down onto his back, he stared at the ceiling, resignation and frustration battling within him. He knew something wasn't right, but he couldn't quite figure it out.

Ten minutes later, he snorted his disgust, no closer to the truth than he had been before. Figuring he'd have more luck and a clearer mind after a nap, he rolled over onto his side, flipped the light switch on the wall by the door off, and shut his eyes. He hadn't thought he was that sleepy, but he felt himself drifting off almost immediately. And surprisingly, the image of Taz floated through his mind...


"Mom, Dad, what is going on?" Taz asked as soon as he entered his parents' house. It was a nice
house. Two stories tall, three decent-sized bedrooms, big living room, and an open kitchen/dining room. The living room walls were painted a light blue. Framed photos of Dane and himself growing up hung on the walls. A few family portraits were up there, as well as framed certificates they'd gotten in school, such as the Honor Roll.

There was a stone fireplace at one end with an overstuffed light green couch facing it. A dark wood end table with a glass center and a Tiffany lamp sat at each end of the couch. More pictures of Dane and himself adorned the mantle. In the center was his parents' wedding photo. They looked so young and happy in that picture. And totally in love. The picture made Taz want to smile every time he saw it, and this time was no exception.

At the other end of the big living room was another light green, overstuffed couch and two matching recliners. The recliners were on either side of the couch, a little closer to the flat screen HDTV, and at a slight angle, so the furniture made a semi-circle around the TV. There was an end table that matched the ones by the fireplace next to the recliners, on the side closest to the wall. Two more end tables sat at either side of the couch. The tables closer to the wall held a clear glass vase of fake flowers, while the ones by the couch held Tiffany lamps.

A coffee table—a match to the end tables—sat in front of the couch. Another clear vase of fake flowers were neatly arranged atop the coffee table.

Taz looked at his parents now, waiting for one of them to answer him. His father had short, dark hair. It wasn't quite black, with silver at the temples. He had crow's feet at the corners of light brown eyes that lit up when he was excited about something. He had a slightly cleft chin and a strong jaw, and straight white teeth. He was tall, six foot four and well-toned.

His mother, on the other hand, was only five foot seven. She was a little on the plump side, had long black hair, and a quick smile. She also had laugh lines, but they weren't as prominent as his father's. Her eyes were a deep brown, framed by long lashes.

"What do you mean, son?" His father finally asked.

"You know damn well what I mean, Dad. This guy showed up at my house this morning, spouting nonsense about me being a prince of some island country next to his."

His father's face conveyed his chagrin as he gazed back at him.

"Oh dear," his mother murmured in dismay. "I thought we'd have more time."

"More time for what, Mom?" Taz asked, his stomach churning with dread.

"Well, we had hoped to talk to you before he got here," his father said. "We were going to sit you down this weekend and explain everything to you."

"Explain it now," he said, suddenly angry with his parents for keeping something this big from him. He felt angry at this whole situation.

"Perhaps we should all sit down, my lovelies," his mother interjected.

When they were all seated—him on one of the recliners, and his parents on the couch—his father took a deep, fortifying breath.

"Twenty-five years ago," his father began, "King Blankht's brother, Charlie, attempted to assassinate King Bakhoun. Charlie was caught, and the king recognized him. Since Charlie was a royal, the two kings argued over where Charlie should be held prisoner. After months of discussion and arguing, King Bakhoun told the king of Nefer that he'd allow them to punish Charlie, but in return, he wanted the heir to Nefer's throne to wed his own heir."

"What does that have to do with me?" Taz asked, incredulous. Although, he had a bad feeling he already knew.

"You are King Bakhoun's heir," his mother said, simply; confirming what he already knew., and supporting Mr. Tepin Blankht's story.


"But... I'm only twenty-three," he protested.

"You are their heir, their only heir. It took the queen a while to conceive."

"But, then, why am I here? Why did they send me away?"

"They sent you away because Charlie escaped his prison cell when you were three," his father said. "He went after you, because he knew it would hurt King Bakhoun to lose you. They sent you to your mother and I, and told us to come here, to America. He gave us temporary custody until they caught Charlie again, but Charlie vanished."

Taz was silent for a moment, his brows furrowed in consternation. "If I was already three, why don't I remember any of this?"

"Because, lovely," his mother said, "you were only three. You were so young still."

"So why did you keep this from me?" Taz asked, suddenly angry all over again.

"We were supposed to raise you knowing who you were, but..."

"But what?"

"But your mother and I thought it would be better for you to not grow up always looking over your shoulder, waiting for Charlie to show up."

"Maybe I should have grown up always looking over my shoulder!" he yelled, jumping up from the recliner. "Then at least I'd know who I am!"

"Son, you're still

"Don't call me that!" he said vehemently. Then he cringed at the hurt he could see in his father's eyes. He knew they'd been doing what they thought was right at the time. They hadn't sought to hurt him with their deception and lies. They never meant to make him question his very life.

Taz sighed, then said softly, "Look, I'm sorry. I just” He paused, then; "I just need some time to process this. I'll talk to you guys la


Turning around, Taz saw his little brother coming toward him from the hall. Dane had shaggy black hair, his father's light brown eyes, and his mother's full lashes. He had the sweetest smile, despite being a teenage boy. He was five foot nine inches of skin and bones. And like their parents, Taz, and Mr. Tepin Blankht, he had light brown skin, almost like a permanent tan.

He smiled at Dane, because he could never not smile at the kid. Although, okay, Dane had turned fifteen the month before, so technically he wasn't a kid anymore, even if he sometimes acted like one.

Dane threw his too-thin arms around Taz's waist and buried his face in his chest. "Please don't be mad at them," he said, his voice muffled.

Taz hugged him back, his chest tight. "Dane, just because I'm mad at them, doesn't mean I love them any less. Besides, aren't you a bit too old to be eavesdropping?"

Dane looked up at him, smiling sheepishly. "How else will I know what's going on? Nobody ever tells me the important stuff."

Grinning, Taz chucked him lightly under the chin. "If it's really important, then somebody will tell you." He paused dramatically, then said, "Eventually."

Dane smiled. "Tell me about this island country you mentioned."

He drew in a breath to answer, but then he frowned. "I don't know much about it. I only had enough time to do a quick Google search to make sure it even existed. I know it's called Hotep, and that it's part of a group of eleven islands that form a star. But other than that, I know nothing about it."

He purposely left out the memory that had come to him earlier. He wasn't ready to deal with the fact that he had identified a woman who wasn't Bethany Langley as his mother. It brought home the fact that Bethany wasn't his mother. She had never been his mother. He had just been some kid that had been thrust upon her.

Duty. That's the word. It had been her duty—and Stephen Langley's—to take care of him. He doubted their love for him now, and he hated it.

"Dad, can you tell us about Hotep?" Taz asked, pushing those destructive thoughts aside for now.

"If you sit back down and have one of your mother's brownies, I will tell you about Hotep and At—the surrounding islands."

"I'll get the brownies!" Dane volunteered excitedly.

When everybody was seated again with a brownie and a drink, Stephen began.

“Our islands were officially discovered in 1507 by the Portuguese. We have resisted the colonization of the Portuguese—and several other empires—until the eighteenth century, when we were finally recognized as our own people.”

Taz felt conflicted. He wanted to know more about the place of his birth. He wanted to know what it looked like. He wanted to know about the kingdom, and the king and queen.

The need to know more also scared him. It felt like the worst kind of betrayal—the betrayal of his heart and family. Which didn't make much sense to him, because of this knew doubt of Stephen and Bethany Langley's love for him.

The inside of his head was beginning to look like a kaleidoscope of emotions. Fear. Self-doubt. Confusion. Curiosity. It was starting to make him dizzy.

What—” He stopped to clear his throat.

Taz took a few Werther's Originals caramel candy from his pocket, and popped one into his mouth. “Anybody want one?” he asked.

Yes, please,” Dane said. Taz tossed one to him.

When he looked at his parents, they shook their heads. He put the rest into one pocket, and the wrapper in the other pocket. He had been taught from an early age to never leave trash lying about.

Dad... what do the islands look like?” It was a safe, neutral topic. He didn't want to get into the more volatile subjects yet.

His father looked around the room, collecting his thoughts, but then he turned his gaze to Taz.

All eleven islands were formed by volcanoes, though none of the islands have had recorded volcanic activity since 1510. Sheer black cliffs fall into an ocean that is usually a good temperature to swim. There are mountains great for climbing. Rolling emerald valleys surrounds huge craters of sapphire water. We have geysers, waterfalls, hot mineral springs, and, of course, there are volcanoes.

There are no busy cities on our islands, no cars or buses; we have villages, feet, and . . . horses.”

Horses?” That hesitation before the word 'horses' told him that wasn't what his father had been about to say.

Yes, horses.”

Taz opened his mouth to ask what his father had really been about to say, but his mother cut him off.

Stephen, we need to go, or we'll be late.”

His father looked up, startled. “Is it that time already?”

It is. The Johnsons are expecting us in a half hour.”

Then we should be getting ready,” his father said.

His parents got up and left the room, presumably to get ready.

"So, you're some prince, huh?" Dane said, smiling.

Taz ruffled Dane's shaggy black hair. "Hey! I just got my hair how I wanted it! You big jerk!"

"You wanted it to look like a bird's nest?" Taz easily danced away from his brother's shove. Then he got serious. "You know I love you, right? That, even if I'm some prince, even if I go live there, you'll always be my baby brother?"

"Shokran," Dane said, quietly.

Taz hugged Dane again, said goodbye to his parents, and left. He had a lot to think about.


  1. Very nice!LOl, I like Taz, have from the beginning. ;)


    1. Lol. I like Taz, too. xD

      I have definitely decided what I'm gonna do with Connor, btw. *Grin*

  2. Taz is a wonderful character! I was wondering if you were still working with his story... and I'm so glad to see you are!

    1. Yes, I am still working on it! I haven't actually written anything new for it, but I got what I DO have edited. :)

  3. The actions of the parents make me believe they hoped they would never have to tell him. Even with their miscalculations, I like the whole family.