“I feel the same way.” Michael smiled. “While you were gone I did some thinking and decided I need you in my life. You’re my friend, you make me smile, and you make me nervous at the same time.”
“Michael…” Sydney’s heart fluttered.
“And I kinda liked kissing you.” Michael said softly with a blush rising to his cheeks.
“Me too.” Sydney smiled, leaning towards him and giving him a soft peck on the lips. She pulled back and giggled girlishly.
“What did you do to your leg?” Michael asked as his eyes fell to her cut, too embarrassed from the kiss to look her in the eye.
“Oh, it’s no big deal.” Sydney tried to brush it off, but Michael wouldn’t leave it alone.
“You should have that looked at, to make sure it’s not infected.” Michael suggested, still staring fixedly at her leg. If there hadn’t been a gash there, Sydney would have thought he was checking her out.
“Just get me some water and a rag, it’ll be fine.” Sydney started walking into the palace, followed closely by Michael.
“Are you sure you don’t need me to carry you?” Michael offered.
“You can hold my hand.” Sydney grinned, extending her hand to him. He took it carefully, falling in step with her as they returned to his bedroom.
“Have you ever touched a woman’s leg before?” Sydney laughed as Michael tried and failed to clean her cut. He was too nervous about touching her in the wrong place or hurting her worse to be doing a good job.
“Only my mothers.” Michael replied, taking his hand away from her leg.
“God, you would be like, totally made fun of back home.” Sydney laughed.
“Why?” Michael asked, eager to know more about where Sydney was from. One day he was listlessly ruling a country and the next he had a beautiful woman in his bedroom laughing and smiling at him and making his heart beat faster.
“Well, most guys your age would either be married or living the life of a bachelor.” Sydney told him, taking the rag from his hand and cleaning the rest of the cut herself.
“What does a bachelor do?” Michael asked.
“Um… basically sleeps around and never gets too involved.” Sydney answered, shrugging her shoulders.
“Sleeps around?” Michael questioned, wanting to know how someone so different could have come to Egypt.
“Has sex with a bunch of different women.” Sydney replied, looking up to see the shocked look on his face.
“And that’s tolerated?” Michael asked in horror.
“It’s somewhat expected.” Sydney responded.
“Wow.” Michael gulped. “That must be an entirely different world.”
“No kidding.” Sydney smiled.
The next day, Michael was to be present at a ceremony at the temple and had to leave before dawn. Sydney stayed in his bed and slept as long as she could before she was awoken by a knock at the door.
“Michael?” She asked as the door opened. “Wh-who are you?” Sydney asked the man who appeared. He started to approach the bed with a malicious grin on his face that scared Sydney. “What- what’s going on?”
Michael returned to the Palace that night exhausted and wanting to just curl up with Sydney and go to sleep. The ceremony had lasted all day in the sun and he had been sweating the whole time. He returned to his cool room to find Sydney missing. Seeing the covers slightly disheveled, he thought maybe she had gone to get some food or entertain herself.
Even though he told her there were servants to do these things for her, she still persisted to do it herself. This independent quality was something he loved about her. She wasn’t helpless like some of the princesses his father had introduced him to before his death. His last wish was for his son to marry and carry on the royal line. Michael could see a future with Sydney and knew he had strong feelings for her.
Wanting to fall asleep with her in his arms, Michael attempted to wait for her to return. When she didn’t come back an hour later, Michael started to get worried. Waiting for a few more minutes, Michael climbed from bed and rang for a servant. His advisor came into the room and asked what the matter was.
“Have you seen Sydney?”
“She’s been taken care of.” He replied with a smirk on his face.