Can I Really?

From a series of short form fictions taking inspiration from collage

“Can I really? Can I stay to help you? Will you let me?” Although Princess Marrigova hardly knew the young man, a mystery concealed within his gentle gaze gave reassurance. Today, she thought, would be the beginning of a new chapter in her life.

“Your Royal Highness, your father be King. He is Head of State across three-quarters of the Developing World and ownership of all these isles. Has he not controlling interests in leading industries, are not universities and schools dedicated to his name? This land is his land and all the land as far as we can see, stood still right here.” Hooking a wayward straggle of blue hair back in place to the rear of his earlobe, he continued. “Ma’am, if you want to pick up litter with me on this chilly morn, you need not ask. I merely say nod your head once like a pony and it is done.”

The young man was correct in his assertion relating to the temperature. Marrigova held herself each time a cold breeze whistled by, barely managing to preserve a gracious smile all the while.

“What is your name?” she asked, “On many occasions in the past I have heard it called across the courtyard, yet have never quite caught it clearly.”

“Antonius, Ma’am.”
“An-tone-nius. What a delightful name! I will refer to you as so from this very moment forward!”

Marrigova clapped her hands together above her head in excitement and spun around until she wobbled unsteadily on her feet. With all the deft of a fit, young ballerino’s footwork, Antonius slid behind the princess – thus defying gravity of it’s wicked way. Instead, the princess fell gently backwards and into his waiting open arms.

“Ma’am! I have you!”

Marrigova felt the strength of hands devoted to the tasks demanded by manual labour. Each finger exuded sublime confidence, while in unison they firmly encircled her rib cage and offered safety. At that same moment, despite his inscrutable countenance giving little away, Marrigova knew this man to be her future husband. It would be this man – her darling Antonius, who would come to father the numerous children she’d planned for – ever since she’d been but a child herself.

“Antonius! Antonius!” she cried aloud, “My love, Antonius!”

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