Twenty Six

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Arden
•••

It's been almost two weeks since I've seen my father. Two weeks that I've been making sure to spend extra time with William.

   Not that we weren't close before, but now we were closer than ever. At least in a friendship sense, I haven't even tried to make it more yet. That's mostly due to fear.

I try don't need to do anything anymore for now. I received an invite to his birthday. I was one of the select few allowed to go.

   Not all the kids here could be invite, mostly for safety reasons. But Andrews made an exception for Carter, Levi, Lily, and I. Will's closest friends.

Our friendship being a load of crap.

I think we could've been true friends. We were friends, close even. But my father had to specifically tell me to get close with him. So any sort of realness was taken away, whether I wanted it to or not.

"Arden." I turn my head to the voice.

"Gwen." I give a small smile.

   Over the past couple of weeks, I have been spending more time with Gwen. We started off as training partners, and now talk here and there. I would say we were quite growing on each other, maybe even friends.

"Have a dress for tonight?" Oh fuck. Why didn't think of that? "I'm taking your oh shit face as a no."

"I didn't think about that."

She lets out a little laugh, "I didn't think you would." I roll my eyes at her small diss. "No worries, I have extra ones."

"What's the catch?" I ask with a raising a brow.

She rolls her eyes, "No catch. I just can't promise they will be as good as my pick. Since, I am of course, picking the best one for myself."

"Obviously."

"I can't have you outshining me for William's heart." I know she says it in a joking way, but some part of me thinks she's serious. "But, I'll at least have you outshining Lily. If I can't have William, I'm hoping you get him."

Lily and Gwen have some sort of rivalry between the two of them. One, I'm guessing that has gone on for years.

   Gwen always hints to me that there's something going on between Lily and Will.

"Gwen I'm almost certain there's nothing going on between then. William himself has told me there isn't." I tell her for the millionth time.

"William is a boy, Arden." Gwen says like it's the most obvious thing. Yes, I know that. "Boys are oblivious. Lily has been interested in William the second she found out he was a prince."

"Lily's not like that though." I defend her.

"Every girl wants to be a princess."

"I don't." I say.

She laughs, "Because you are one." I shake my head laughing. I know a part of me thinks I shouldn't like Gwen. But no matter how much I try not to, she's not so bad. "I'll get dressed, then come over to help you."

"You really want to help me? Villain and all." I use the word she used to describe me the first time we met. "You're not supposed to help me. You're being a pretty bad hero." I tease her.

"Well, you're a pretty bad villain." She smirks back. "Plus if anything, this is me being a hero. Call me, your fairy godmother for the night. A younger, more beautiful one."

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