He flounced into the dining room, ignoring the king and Justin who were already seated. He flopped into an empty chair, swearing when his skirts once again got in the way.
“Did you sleep well my dear?” the king asked in an attempt to be friendly.
“The bed is hard and lumpy,” Joshua snapped back.
The king clapped his hands gleefully. “A real princess,” he gushed. “Only a real princess could have felt the pea through the padding of the mattress.”
Joshua screwed up his face. “You put peas in my bed! What kind of Ass….”
“It was a bit unnecessary father. Princess Jasmine is a real princess, we know that.” Justin said interrupting the barrage of obscene words he was sure was going to flow from his princess’s mouth
Joshua glared angrily at his liberator. His scowl softened a little as he saw Justin as if for the first time. The young prince was very attractive. Dark blond hair that had been clipped short but hinted at the wild curls that would develop if allowed to grow out. He had bright blue eyes and a strong jaw line that was covered with a fine brownish fuzz. He smiled reassuringly at Joshua and Joshua found himself smiling back bashfully.
“I’m still annoyed,” Joshua said as he reached for the platter of delicious looking meat with his right hand while his left snagged a piece of bread.
The king sipped at his wine grinning. “So children when do we set the date for the wedding?”
“Wedding!” Joshua and Justin both exclaimed together.
“I really don’t think …” Joshua started to reply.
“Father I’m not sure I want to get married right now. I am only 22 and I sort of thought I might go backpacking for a few years in the Land of Far, Far away.”
“You don’t want to marry me?” Joshua pouted.
Justin winced at his tone. “I …”
“What’s wrong with me? Maybe I don’t want to marry you, did you think of that?”
Justin laughed cockily. “Of course you want to marry me. I’m Prince Justin.”
“And I’m out of here.” Joshua stood up, knocking his chair over in his hurry to leave. As he spun around his skirt tangled around his legs and he pitched forward with a small distressed yelp.
In a flash Justin was in front of him and he was stopped from hitting the ground. His arms found their way around Justin's neck and he held on tightly as the strapping young prince lifted him back to his feet.
Their eyes met and an orchestra played in Joshua's head while fireworks exploded behind his eyes.
“Are you alright?” Justin asked concern mirrored in his eyes.
Joshua's voice deserted him and he found it hard to break eye contact. He became acutely aware of the rippling muscles under Justin's tunic and the warmness of his breath on his face. He found himself moving closer and closer until their mouths were almost touching. “I’m fine,” he squeaked.
Justin grinned infuriatingly. “See I told you, you wanted me,” he said as he dropped Joshua on the floor.
“Fucking princes,” Joshua huffed as he stormed back up the stairs to his tower, his bacon sandwich in hand. “If I was really Jasmine I’d kick his ass so hard he’d be chewing on the leather of my boot for the next month.” Joshua plopped himself onto a big brightly coloured bean bag and sulked. Princes just weren’t like they used to be. There was a time a princess would be rescued and be made to feel special, wined and dined.
“I’m not a fucking princess!” he cried out loud. “Why do I keep forgetting that?” he looked down at the pale green silk that bellowed out around his legs. “Because you’re wearing a fucking dress that’s why.” He struggled to stand up, falling back down as he stood on his skirt. As soon as he had managed to detangle himself once more he gathered the miles of green fabric in his arms and went looking for some pants.
He had tried a few doors before he found one that was open. “Probably full of other princesses that Justin has kidnapped,” he muttered. He entered the room taken back by the luxiouriousness of it. The floor was littered with assorted silk cushions and rugs and finely stitched tapestries covered the wall. In the middle of the room was a large brass bed, draped in various silk throws and bathed in bright sunlight from the long window slit.
Joshua shook himself out of his stupor and ran to the closet, tripping and pulling down a long rail of tunics. He cussed loudly and stripped off the hated frock, throwing it in the corner of the room before hunting for something more manly. Minutes later he was creeping down the long winding staircase dressed in black pants high boots and a pale pink tunic. He poked his head into the dining room, breathing out the breath he had been holding when he discovered it was empty. Quickly and quietly he ran for the door and slipped outside into the courtyard unseen. He stopped to catch his breath then made a break for the gate that led to freedom.
Justin had spent the rest of his day fishing and was just packing up for the day when he spotted what looked suspiciously like his best pink tunic running through the trees. Dropping his fishing rod he leaped onto his horses back and gave chase. Within minutes he had over taken his escaping ‘princess’ and dropped to the ground in front of her cutting off her route of escape. Joshua ran into the suddenly appeared prince and fell back landing on his ass with a loud “Oomph.”
“That’s my jacket,” Justin tugged at the pink satin tunic and scowled. “Why are you dressed as a man?”
Joshua held up his hand so that Justin could help him back to his feet. “Probably because I am a man asshole!”
“No, no you are princess Jasmine, I rescued you from your tower remember.
Joshua rolled his eyes. “You really are stupid aren’t you?”
Justin pouted. “No need to be insulting,” he sulked.
“I’m not Jasmine. I’m Joshua, Prince Joshua to be formal. Jasmine is my twin.”
Justin stepped closer and peered into Joshua's face. “Well that explains a lot. What were you doing locked in a tower?”
“I wasn’t locked in I was taking a nap you idiot.”
“Why did you rescue me in the first place you obviously didn’t want to?”
Justin motioned for Joshua to sit on a rock next to him. “It’s the whole prince thing. My father, the king says go rescue this girl, I say no and he makes me go anyway. Ever since Prince Charming married that scullery maid and Prince Phillip married that princess with narcolepsy he’s been badgering me to prove my manhood and brave it myself.”
“Wow must really suck.” Joshua said sympathetically. “I have a twin sister that is more of a man than I will ever be. That’s how I ended up in the tower, she beat me at arm wrestling and I had to swap rooms with her.”
Justin rolled off the rock clenching his stomach as he laughed hysterically.
“It’s not funny Justin. She is a master swords man, rides like she was born in the saddle, has no fear what so ever and eats like a squaddie.”
“What’s a squaddie?” Justin spluttered, tears of laughter running down his face.
“It’s what we call a foot soldier in our army. Something got fucked up somewhere along the line I tell you.”
“Sounds to me like you are making excuses.”
“Go fuck yourself!”
Justin scowled at the pink clad prince/princess next to him and shoved him hard making him fall off the rock. “Fuck you, you mean. You are really the most ungrateful princess ever.”
“How many times do I have to tell you? I’m not a fucking princess.”
Justin looked down at him unconvinced and burst out laughing once again.