Princess Moments

Always You

By Hannah Currie


If I could tell my eighteen-year-old self three things, they would be these:

One: Eat the doughnut.

Two: Buy the shoes.

Three: Say yes to the prince. The first time he proposes. Because he won’t ask again. At least, he won’t ask you.

“I’m so nervous.”

“You’ll be fine,” I assured Prince Cameron yet again as I tucked the edge of his collar down and brushed aside the piece of hair which insisted on curling the wrong way, no matter how many times he smoothed it down. I loved that stubborn piece of hair. It made me smile to know that no matter how many crowns he wore or hundreds of thousands of people knew his name and demurred to him across the world, Cameron was still just a man.

A man who currently looked like he was about to throw up. On my living room floor. I should never have invited him in. I knew better. My broken heart knew better. But before he’d been the man I loved, he’d been my friend, and old habits die hard.

“You make speeches all the time in front of crowds of thousands. Televised live across the world even.”

He huffed. “Speeches, Bayley, not proposals.”

“Same thing.”

“Hardly.” He rubbed his hands on the sides of his jeans and muttered something I couldn’t quite catch. Probably a good thing. I could deal with his nerves, and his fiddling, and his wayward hair, and pour him a glass of water from the side table to clear his throat, but no way could my heart bear to listen to him proclaim his love for another woman. Even if she was sweet, kind and—to my dismay—utterly perfect for Cam.

“You’ve done it before,” I said, taking the glass from his shaking hand before he dropped it.

“And been rejected.”

Yes. Well. I returned the glass to the table. “Not because of—”

He sighed and raised his hands. “I know, not because of me. You needed time to travel and live and meet other people before settling down and committing your life to king and country. Literally.”

Not that I’d done any of that. Cam had proposed at the airport, of all places, minutes before I was supposed to board. I’d almost said yes. Might well have, if not for the shock of the moment and the flash of a camera nearby. I hadn’t looked to see if it was us the person was photographing or someone else entirely. It hadn’t mattered. Whether Cam and I had been the subjects or not, we would be. If I’d said yes.

I’d been eighteen. In love with my best friend but also very aware that I was eighteen and had never once been on a plane or anywhere farther than a few hours east of the town I’d grown up in. Never had any true friends outside of those I’d known since we were toddlers, coddled and calmed by the familiarity of the palace grounds we’d all lived within. Cameron the prince, Isabella the princess, and Charlotte, Abbie, John, Penny, and I, children of King Fredrick’s various advisors and staff. The seven of us had played together, gone to school together, learned security protocols together. Cam was the first boy who’d ever shown any interest in me. Of course I’d fallen for him.

But what if I’d only done so because he was the first one to notice me? The only one to notice me—quiet, polite, plain but well-dressed and well-read me. It had seemed so wise in that moment to turn him down, even though my heart ached to agree. Eighteen was too young and I too sheltered to make such a momentous life choice.

So I said no. Assured Cam he was still my best friend and boarded the plane.

I traveled halfway across the world, buoyed with pride in the wisdom, maturity and strength I’d shown only to see Cam’s face on a sign when I stepped off the plane. I didn’t even make it out of the terminal before admitting my mistake.

The world, the adventure at my fingertips, new foods to experience and people to meet—none of it meant anything without the man I loved to share it with.

He was peanut butter to my jelly. Fudge sauce to my vanilla ice-cream. Milk to my cookies. The spring in my step. We were good as individuals but so much better together. He made me laugh. I got him in trouble by doing so. He taught me to ride a horse. I taught him how to get back up after falling off one. His courage made me brave. My creativity made him strong. He was the best friend I’d ever had, our closeness born of too many years of ups and downs and inside jokes for any other man to ever compare.

I’d walked right to a service desk and bought a ticket home.

The traveling had been my excuse. I hadn’t wanted to see the world. Not alone. I’d simply needed to see myself and—in that second waiting lounge so far from home, I’d seen clearly for the first time. It didn’t matter where in the world I traveled or how many people I met, there would never be another man for me. Cameron was the one I wanted to marry. The man I loved.

He’d been at back-to-back events for two weeks when I arrived home. Not wanting to distract him from his work—and ashamed of the way I’d treated him—I convinced myself our conversation could wait.

I would have made a different choice if I’d known Cam would meet Alyssa at one of the events.

They’d been photographed.

She’d been mortified.

He’d invited her to the palace to assure her it was fine. By Izz’s account, Cam had had Alyssa laughing within minutes and in love with him within an hour. One visit had led to another and now, fifteen months later, he was proposing.

To her.

I should have told him how I felt. There had been plenty of opportunities but how could I when he and Alyssa were so happy?

“Breathe, Cam. She’ll say yes.”

If anything, he looked more nervous, tugging at the hem of his button-up shirt like I hadn’t seen him do since he was a child. “Will she?”

“Of course. She’s in love with you.”

“Is she?”

He pulled the blue velvet box out of his pocket, flipping the case open and closed three times before I stilled his hand with mine. My heart thudded at the touch. I told it to shut up. This wasn’t about me. I’d had my chance.

“Cameron, take a breath. You’re getting all worked up over nothing. Alyssa is beautiful, kind, compassionate, regal, and smart. Smart enough to know you’re everything she could ever want in a husband.” I squeezed his hand and pushed truth past the regret clogging my throat. My friend needed me, my feelings be damned.

“You’re amazing, Cam. I know my opinion doesn’t mean much anymore but you really are. Loving, patient, funny, confident—and so humble you can’t even see that. You have the wisdom and courage to lead this country. Every single adult you’ve taken time over the years to shake hands with or child you’ve ducked down to make smile knows it. The papers labelled you The People’s Prince for a reason, and for once, I agree with them. They love you and Alyssa does too. You’re going to be a great husband and, some day, dad. The woman who marries you will be the luckiest girl in the world.”

“You’re wrong.”

I scoffed. Of course he’d argue this. The man couldn’t take a compliment if it showed up on his desk with several million signatures.

He brushed a finger across my cheek, the corners of his mouth tipping up in the closest to a smile I’d seen all day. “Your opinion means everything.”

My heart didn’t bother to thud this time. It just stopped altogether before racing to catch up. I gulped and spun away before he noticed. “Um, thanks.” I straightened up the glasses grouped around the water jug on the table. I might have taken a drink myself if I hadn’t been worried my hands were shaking as much as Cam’s had been. Why was he still here? Why couldn’t he just leave me to fall apart in peace? Oh wait. He didn’t know I was falling apart. Because I’d never told him my heart was his.

“Bays? Will you read this for me? Tell me what you think?”

I turned around, dread warring with disbelief. The piece of fear-worried paper he held out to me couldn’t be his proposal. He wouldn’t do that to me. With hands far steadier than they felt, I took the page and began to read.

To the woman who holds my heart

I never meant to fall in love with you. I don’t even know when it was I did. Perhaps it was the first time you smiled, or when you—

I thrust the page back at him. “Cam, I can’t. I’m sure every word you’ve written will be perfect. But this is between you and—”

“I just want to know I got the words right.”

“Can’t you ask Abbie or Izz?”

“They’re not here.”

No, because this was my house. But Abbie lived right next door and Izz’s room was all of three away from Cam’s. Even Penny, scatterbrained as she was, would be thrilled to help him. Better yet, Alyssa. He’d written it for her after all.

As I stared at the man who meant so much to me, I wondered what my future self might tell me today. This went so far beyond doughnuts and shoes. Would she tell me to admit to Cam the truth of why I couldn’t read this, that I’d been lying to him all these months about how I felt? Or to hold it in, shutter my heart just a little bit longer, help my friend, and then walk away. While he married someone else. Never knowing how much I regretted that moment in the airport.


With a sigh, I started over.

“Aloud, if that’s okay.”

No. It wasn’t, but I did it anyway.

“I never meant to fall in love with you. I don’t even know when it was I did. Perhaps it was the first time you smiled, or when you laughed as we danced in the ballroom that day, you in your blue gown and me in that black suit with the tie I never could get to sit right.”

Alyssa’s gown had been turquoise at the dance. Cam never had been one to deliberate over whether a fabric was peach, salmon, melon, or coral. Orange, he’d say. They’re all orange. Blue was close enough.

“Whenever it happened, all I can say is, I’m so glad it did. You are more than the woman I love, you’re my closest friend—”


“—my other half, and all the best parts of me. I love your laugh, the way you care about people, the way your blue eyes—”

Blue? I could have sworn Alyssa’s eyes were green, although I hadn’t looked that closely. Perhaps they were blue-green. Or changed with the color of the sky.

“—sparkle like the sun’s touch on the atrium’s fountain when you’re trying not to laugh, the way your hand feels tucked in mine, and how your breath catches each time I come near. Your smile is hope tucked in sunshine and—”

No wonder Cam wanted another person’s opinion on this. I’d never heard him so soppy or sentimental. Not that I wouldn’t have been utterly charmed if his words had been directed at me instead. Heart, quiet. Packed away, remember?

“Your smile is hope tucked inside sunshine and I will never get enough of the way your brown hair looks when— Fix that bit. Alyssa’s hair is blonde,” I said as my eyes kept skimming. White blonde. There was no way in the world anyone, even a fashion-clueless male, could mistake it for brown.

“Yours isn’t.”

I looked up from the paper. Blinked.

“Yours is brown like Spanish hot chocolate.”

“This isn’t about me.”

“It’s always been about you.”

Cam fell to his knees.

“Cam, are you—”

No. Not knees. Knee. One knee. His smile was crooked, uncertain, as he met my gaze. “Marry me?” He held up a ring.

The page fluttered from my hand.


“I love you, Bayley. I want to marry you, if you’ll have me.”


“Is a friend. She always has been. But she could never be you. I don’t know if it’s too late but I had to ask.”

“You’re proposing to me?”

“Trying to.”

“This letter is for me? All the things you said?”

“Too much?”

Yes. Way too much. He made me sound lovely. Desirable. And like a cartoon character with those sunshine-wrapped sparkles. Or whatever he’d said. Suddenly I was wishing I hadn’t dropped the page. If that truly was my proposal, I was keeping that piece of paper forever. Every messy bit of it.

“My sixteenth birthday ball. My gown was blue.”

“I couldn’t take my eyes of you all night. Ask anyone.”

He’d told me he liked me that night. Hours later, the memory of his words had been my lullaby as I fell asleep smiling. I know we’ve been friends for a long time, Bayley, but would you ever consider being more? With me, that is. See, I like you. Like, like like you and you have no idea how much I want to kiss you right now.

He’d been adorable then. He was heart-stopping now.


“Threatened this morning that if I didn’t hurry up and ask you, she’d do it herself. She’s already planned our engagement party and will start planning the wedding if you take too much longer to answer. If you’re not ready to answer yet then please, just tell me, am I too late?”


“No, you won’t marry me or no, I’m not too late?”

“You’re not too late.”


I tugged his hand and pulled him to my side. “Yes, Cameron. A million times, yes. I’d love to be your wife.”






Books by Hannah Currie