It had taken me a little bit of time adjusting to life in America. I still had my title. That really wouldn’t go away until I was married. But I wasn’t going to have to wait for much longer. Not if tonight went according to plan.
Friday evenings were our date night. With both of our schedules being hectic as hell, we both made sure to make time for one another. In light of the hotel laying her off, Hannah managed to find full-time work as a store clerk at her friend Lara’s bookshop. I myself was busy writing off all my royal rights, arranging allowances, and renting off properties I owned back in England. It was turning out to be a lengthy process, but well worth it, in my opinion.
I was sitting at the kitchen table, the one Hannah and I picked out from an Ikea catalogue, twiddling my thumbs anxiously. Every other minute, I patted at my ribs, ensuring that the little box hiding in my inside blazer pocket was still there. It always was. It wasn’t like it was going to sprout legs and leave me hanging on one of the most important nights of my life. Still, I had to continue to reassure myself that it was still there, like some nervous little tick. The sound of the second hand making its way around the clock face in the kitchen kept me grounded, reminding me that I still had plenty of time to pull myself together.
Hannah stepped out of the bedroom. She wore a lovely black dress that hugged her in all the right places. She was in a comfortable pair of black flats and had a beautiful pearl necklace hanging around her fair neck. Hannah had curled her hair, allowing her blonde locks like liquid gold pool over her shoulders. She smiled at me when she noticed me staring.
“Is there something on my face?” she giggled.
I rose from my chair and smiled. “Just perfection,” I answered warmly.
Hannah smirked as she grabbed her jacket from the back of the kitchen chair. It didn’t match her outfit, but I didn’t care. She looked gorgeous in everything. From her formal evening-out dresses to her make-up free sweatpants and oversized shirt look. I walked over and wrapped my arm around her waist, pulling her in for a kiss. I loved the sensation of her long lashes tickling my cheeks.
“So,” she hummed, “what did you have in mind for date night?”
“It’s a surprise,” I chuckled.
She immediately looked suspicious, squinting at me in scrutiny. “Okay,” she said slowly.
“The last time you said you had a surprise waiting for me, you wound up taking me in a helicopter ride. It’s not something extreme like bungy jumping, is it?”
“Do you want to go bungy jumping? I can make that happen.”
Hannah stroked my cheek with her fingers, amused. “Maybe one day. But not tonight. It took me an hour and a half to get ready, and I don’t think I’m appropriately dressed.”
I kissed her again, noting the faint taste of her vanilla lip gloss. “It’s a good kind of surprise, I swear. Do you trust me?”
“Of course I do,” she sighed contently.
“Let’s get going. I think our ride is here.”
Downstairs, a stretch limo was waiting for us out on the curb. A couple of curious pedestrians appeared genuinely shocked to see such a fancy vehicle in this part of town. A few of them whispered to one another, making guesses as to what kind of people would use such a thing to ride about town. I paid them no mind and held the door open for Hannah, holding her hand to help her slip inside. I got in right after, once again patting my ribs to make sure the little box hadn’t somehow fallen out of my pocket.
The driver peeled away from the curb and merged into traffic, which was nice and light considering how late the evening was getting.
We eventually arrived at the very lake that I took Hannah to on our first date. I even had a table set up in the exact same spot where we had dinner. I had to handle the flower arrangement and food delivery by myself, and it certainly didn’t look as chic as the first time around, but I was proud at my efforts. All in all, everything looked relatively the same.
Hannah laced her fingers in mine and gave my hand a squeeze. “Well, this is a pleasant surprise.”
I pulled her chair out and helped her take her seat, rounding the table to sit across from her. The twinkling lights of the stars above reflected off of the dark surface of the water, like little fireflies moving about with the soft waves caused by the gently passing breeze. I had once again ordered from La Royale. This time, I was sure to order ahead of time. I just didn’t want there to be any delays. Tonight needed to be as perfect for Hannah as possible.