“Sir, your brother is performing tonight. I thought you’d care to see the show,” my assistant said, handing me the news article for my brother’s performance in the bright lights of New York City. It said the performance was amazing and the leads were phenomenal.
“I do. Do we have time to get some tickets or is the performance sold out?”
“He has left you tickets at the box office, according to the lady I spoke with an hour ago.” Hassan had been with my grandfather’s family for the past five years as my grandfather’s advisor. He wasn’t much older than myself, but he was wise and born to take the position of royal advisor.
“Thank you, Hassan, you have thought of everything. I’d hate to miss his last performance of the show’s run. My mother wouldn’t let me hear the end of it.”
Hassan tried to bite back a laugh, especially as I scowled at him. “What’s so funny?”
“Forgive me, sir. It is just that women, particularly mothers, can make a man cower, even one such as yourself,” he admitted.
“Yes, I have learned a valuable lesson that I shall use when I marry. Learn to never be right when arguing with your wife.”
“I shall have to learn that one as well one day.” At twenty-eight, Hassan Mahdavi was still young, but he was just as firm with the ways of our life to change for a woman. I was only twenty-six. A bit young to rule over a small country, but it was the way of it. My grandfather had grown too old and my father chose to live in America with my mother. As the next in line for the crown, I stepped up to the table. Khaleel was one of the few monarchies left in the world. It was a small but efficient nation. I only hoped I could do as good of a job as my grandfather had. The meeting I had with a few UN officials had gone swimmingly, but now it was time to get on the road to see the performance I was told was a smash hit.
I stepped out from their offices onto the slushy streets a bit peeved that it chose to snow a week earlier than usual. Having grown up in upstate New York, I knew what the weather could be like. This was as dreadful as I remembered. The brisk cold air swept at my face, burning my skin. My new home was warm all year round. Snow rarely fell and the sun had a way of being brutal, but I had forgotten to plan ahead with my winter attire. Thankfully, my mother had some sent to my hotel on arrival to New York.
“Should we walk or do you believe it’s too far?” I asked. I hadn’t attended the theater since I was seventeen. Nothing was the same once it was made clear that I would be the ruler. All the normal freedoms were gone.
“It’s too far for a person of your ranking to make. I’m sorry, but the carefree life is a thing of the past.” I was reminded that a simple stroll through the park was no longer an option.
It has only been a short time and I already feel the yoke around my neck. I enjoyed the path I was on, but after a long day, I had no one to come home to and tell them how much I needed them. I didn’t want to marry an American woman. No, I wanted to keep the royal family mostly Persian, so I searched throughout the kingdom for the right woman. I had yet to find her. Many families tried to throw their daughters that were of marrying age at me, and I had found none with any sense or reason.
The bellman hailed a cab for us and we headed out to the theater. I planned out my itinerary with him while we made the twenty-minute drive through NYC traffic.
“Did you want to schedule the date with the daughter of the Khahir province?” he asked in our native Farsi. The driver, a Hispanic man, did not look twice at us and I respected that. It was hard to speak anything but English in America without getting a scathing look. Yes, it was considered rude to speak another language in front of others that did not know it, but in such a public setting, it wasn’t considered the same.
“No. I did not care for her teeth. It was strange, but they were pristinely white and completely straight. It was as though her parents used all their funds on her smile and neglected any of it on her education. The woman was a total fool.”
“Sir, I believe you are mixing her up with the daughter of Sir Raimi.”
“It does not matter. They all smiled too much.” It sounded petty and dreadful coming from my mouth and reaching my ears, but it was true. Their smiles were put on and not genuine. My mother loved to laugh and I adored her for it, but a smile out of turn irked me. It was as though they hoped I would take more notice if they looked at me with a provocative glance or a charming smile.
We arrived at the theater and I paid the driver before stepping out of the cab. “Thank you, sir, and have a blessed day.”
“Thank you,” he said, looking at the large bill I had given him. It wasn’t often that I’d taken a cab, but muddling through these streets at this time of year was tedious and rather dangerous. We entered the theater through the front entrance, however, the moment I stepped through the door, several of the staff circled me and asked that I take a seat in a special area. I suppose it had more to do with me being Michael’s twin brother rather than my ranking. It was something Michael didn’t tell a soul about, even his girlfriend. She was also starring in this play as the female lead. I rolled my eyes. It was typical in the industry for couples to meet and fall in love. Or pretend love, in my opinion. This Mina Holden woman was probably out to see if she could use my brother to get ahead. I’d never heard of her in the entertainment world, so I assumed she has no experience.
I got the playbill and opened it up. On the first page was my brother with his bio. I’d read it before he sent it in and was grateful that he didn’t add anything about his royal background. It wasn’t that I had a problem with his choice of career, it was all the women that would be after him for it. I turned to the next page and caught the shock of my life. The female lead Mina was fucking stunning. It was a professional headshot, but it wasn’t one where she had her face dolled up. All she had on was a simple pink lip gloss and some mascara. She had the girl next door look, but then I read her bio. I was wrong.
The bright and shining new addition to the theater world: Mina Holden is the daughter of movie director Eric Holden and the gorgeous Academy Award Winning Minx Holden. This is her acting debut. We look forward to more of her talents yet to come. With her stellar beauty and her inherited gifts, she is sure to be a starlet in no time.
During her free time, Mina likes to read vigorously and hang out at the local bookstores.