Later that night, there’s a knock at the door, waking us both from a sound sleep. I don’t know what time it is, but it’s still dark outside and the rain has stopped. Nicholas slips into his robe and opens the door.
Logan stands on the other side, his face is lined with worry. “Sorry to disturb you, Your Grace—but you’re gonna want to see this.”
He picks up the television remote from the nightstand and turns on the news. I squint against the blaring light and it takes me a few seconds to focus, but when I do—holy shit!
“Son of a bitch,” Nicholas curses, because he sees it too.
His brother, Henry, is being led into the police station in handcuffs, and the banner at the bottom of the screen reads:
PRINCE HENRY & ENTOURAGE ARRESTED
COUSIN MARCUS IS AN IMBECILE…Cousin Marcus is an imbecile…
I force the thought to repeat in my head. As a reminder that I can’t kill my brother when I see him. Wessco needs a backup plan and regardless of his most recent antics, Henry’s still our best option.
What a fucking cock-up.
It’s almost three in the morning when we reach the police station. Olivia yawns next to me, her hair wild, looking beautifully, wearily rumpled in a sweatshirt and denim shorts. Thankfully, there’s a back entrance to the station, because the front is already mobbed. The arrest of a royal is big news—particularly in America, where the only thing they like more than building their celebrities up is tearing them down.
I shake hands with a burly, gray-haired officer who regards me with coarse sympathy. “Follow me.”
He leads us down a corridor, through two barred gates that open with a buzz, then into a cubicle area with a desk and a younger-looking officer stationed there. Down the hall are bar-lined doors on the left and the right—holding cells.
I hear the distinct sound of my brother’s voice. He’s singing.
“Nooobody knows the trouble I’m in……Nooobody knows till tomorrow.”
Cousin Marcus is an imbecile…imbecile…imbecile…imbecile. And Louis Armstrong is rolling in his grave.
The younger officer gives me some forms to sign. “The rest of the paperwork will be sent to the embassy,” he says.
“Thank you,” I tell them tightly.
And then Henry is brought in—he’s drunk, unsteady on his feet, his hair in need of a cut and a comb—and I war between concern and condemnation. What the fuck is wrong with him?
He zeroes in on Olivia with a stupid smile.
“Olive. You’re still here—I’m so glad. You can help me walk—I’m having a bit of trouble managing at the moment.” Then he flings his arms around her, almost making her knees buckle.
I yank him away from her and toss him to Logan. “Help him walk.”
Then I warn, “Behave yourself or you’ll be wheeled out on a stretcher when I’m done with you.”
He makes a face, mimicking my words like an eight-year-old, and my hand literally twitches to smack him. But I don’t. Because we’re in public—and while he has zero respect for his position in the world, I do.
Princes get the piss beaten out of them in private.
But I can’t stop myself from hissing. “Cocaine, Henry? Is that why you’re such a disaster, that what you’re into these days?”
It was found in the car he was traveling in—without security—with several “friends,” when they were pulled over for driving erratically.
He stands with Logan’s assistance and his bleary eyes rise to mine. “No,” he scoffs. “I wouldn’t touch the stuff—I’m high on life.” He rubs his forehead. “It was Damian Clutterbuck’s. I met up with him while he was on holiday in Vegas and he came to New York with me. I didn’t know he had it on him. He’s a…” His brow crinkles as he looks to Olivia. “What’s the word again? Pitz…patz?”
“Putz?” Olivia suggests.
Henry snaps his fingers. “That’s the one. Damian’s a putz.”
“You’re a putz.” I lean over him. “You’re being deported.”
“Oh well…thank God for diplomatic immunity, then.” He shrugs. “I was thinking of visiting Amsterdam anyway.”
“Oh no, little brother,” I warn him. “You’re going home. If I have to tie you like a hog and box you up in a crate to get you there, it’s the only place you’re going.”
He inhales deeply, like he’s about to announce something profound, but all he comes out with is, “You’re very cranky, Nicholas.”
I rub my eyes and shake my head. “Shut up, Henry.”
And then we head out the way we came in.
Because of the time, I take Olivia home before I deal with Henry. We park around the back just in case—although, since the NYPD has been assisting us, the crowds outside Amelia’s have been smaller. I walk her in, and Henry insists on tagging along.
I suggest locking him in the trunk, but Olivia—sweethearted as she is—overrules me.
And it looks like tonight is the night for little brothers and sisters, because when we walk into the kitchen from the alley, we find Ellie Hammond covered head to toe in flour and sugar. Her hair looks like a powdered wig from the Revolutionary period and “Pressure” by Billy Joel plays so loud in her earbuds, we can hear it across the room.
She bounces and sings to the music, tossing white powder on the counter…and everywhere else.