Chapter 1: The Wrong One
In one of the grandest rooms of the royal palace, Prince Ivan Candelstone lay on his bed and heaved a sigh of relief. After a whole day of wearing the stiff and starchy royal attire, he was relieved to change into more comfortable clothes.
Ivan Candelstone—a twenty-four-year-old man with sleek brown hair and green eyes who just happened to be England's prince—was exhausted; he had just finished attending a meeting with his father, whom the world knew as Devin Candelstone, the King of England. The meeting ended around midnight, so Ivan was sure that his girlfriend, Rain Summers, was already asleep.
Tapping his fingers in boredom, Ivan decided to check his social media accounts. He grabbed his phone off the bedside table, scuffling around his sheets to find a comfortable position before starting to browse.
It took him several minutes, but he got around to checking his fake Instagram account.
Ivan never used his real name in any of his accounts, especially Instagram. He was a careful man; making sure no one saw his real face on his posts. If anyone ever did see his face, he made sure they did not know his real identity as the Prince of England. The username he used was 'Ivan_Cands', and his online girlfriend and best friends were one of those who had seen his face but never knew he was the prince.
When he saw that his online best friend, Diana Stevens, was online, his lips automatically lifted into a grin.
"It would just be around seven o'clock in Diana's country," he mumbled. "She's definitely free at this time of the night."
Diana Stevens was the online best friend whom he had never met personally. It happened during a time when Ivan tried sharing a meme with his brother who also ran a fake account, but accidentally sent it to Diana. That was how their friendship began. And even though that happened merely six years ago, they became very close long-distance friends. They started talking over the phone and face-timing each other every day when Diana went to the United States for further studies though.
An idea popped into Ivan's mind, and he immediately dialed Diana.
One ring later, Diana instantly picked up the call and let out, "Thank God, you didn't video-call me. I was in the washroom."
Ivan chuckled, turning on his side. His locks mussed up on the side of his highly-angled face. "That's how you greet your best friend?"
"The best friend of mine whom I’ve never met in real life? Of course!" Her voice was sweet, laced with sarcasm. "So, how was the meeting you attended today? I do hope your business is going well."
To make up a new him, Ivan had told Diana and Rain that his father was a businessman. After all, they were the only ones he knew apart from the people inside the palace.
"The meeting was boring. I'm glad it ended," Ivan said.
Diana giggled, and the sound of something being shuffled could be heard in the background. "I really wonder how you're going to take over your father's business. Whenever you tell me you're having a meeting, you sound like you are going to war."
"Oh, but I do really go on war," he joked. "I fight with my eyelids to keep them open."
They both laughed, and Ivan continued talking with Diana, completely unaware of his surroundings.
Suzanne Candelstone, the Queen of England, was walking across the hallway of her son's room to her personal chambers. The sound of her heels tapping across the marble floor stopped upon hearing Ivan laugh. It had been a few days since she started noticing that her son always seemed to laugh and talk to someone at midnight.
Ivan's continuous laughter made her reach for the doorknob and push the door open, stepping in to check his activity like a normal nosy mother. She found Ivan lying on the bed with his phone stuck to his ear, but when he saw his mother, he mumbled in haste, "Diana, I'll talk to you later. Bye."
He had said Diana's name in an almost inaudible tone, but Suzanne heard it crystal clear.
"Mom," he greeted, sliding his phone underneath the pillows. "Did you want something?"
Suzanne smiled warmly. "I just wanted to say goodnight."
A huff proclaimed his annoyance, followed by the resisted urge to roll his eyes. "Well, goodnight, Mom."
She patted his head then walked out of his room nonchalantly, trying to look unhurried. But as soon as she reached her chamber, Suzanne turned to her personal assistant, Mark.
"Find out about the Diana girl the prince is talking to," she ordered him. "I want every single detail, including her picture immediately."
Mark bowed, disappearing to complete his task. He returned within ten minutes though, hands full with folders of the required information, right when Suzanne sat on her easy chair with her back leaning against the soft cushion.
"Your Majesty, this is all I've got about Diana Stevens." He placed the files on the table.
The queen took one look at the thick folder before closing her eyes. "Speak all you know. I will check the files later."
Mark nodded. "Diana Stevens used to live in London. When she got a scholarship at Harvard, she went to the United States. Her mother is still in London, but her father died of a heart attack when she was eight. She seems to have a close connection with the prince. He only follows two women through his fake profile, and Ms. Stevens' one of them."
Suzanne quickly lifted her lashes. She took the file on her table and opened it to see a picture of the beautiful girl. A smile grew on Her Majesty's lips. "So this is the Diana whom my son always talks to at midnight."
The girl seemed very fashionable, with her roundish, yet stunning features and soft brown eyes. Suzanne was impressed with her appearance in the picture, so the queen knew Diana's behavior would be equally beautiful. Suzanne could already envision her being the next Queen of England.
"What do you think of this girl, Mark? Also, what does her mother do?"
"Your Majesty, she is a fashion blogger. Despite not having a high-profile family background, she seems very well-educated and decent. She's just what our palace needs," Mark answered. "Her mother runs a famous bakery. In fact, the royal family uses the buns only from that bakery."
"What about the other girl he follows? Who is she?" she asked.
"That girl is Rain Summers." Mark handed another file. "She is in London; the only child of her parents. Her family runs a chocolate factory."
When Suzanne saw the picture, she scrunched her eyebrows within recognition. "Isn't that the same girl who used to study with Ivan in high school?"
"Yes, Your Majesty."
She gave a disgusted scoff. The queen never liked Rain Summers. The first thing she disliked about Rain was her name. Who in their right minds would name a child with two seasons?
Besides, Rain always seemed clingy. She would not fit in with the royal family. Suzanne hoped that Rain was not the girl her son was dating. She wanted it to be Diana. And if it was Rain, she'd have to act fast.
"I will talk to the king. Tomorrow, we will go to the Stevens' place to meet her mother," Suzanne let out. "Prepare gifts."
Suzanne was ecstatic. The girl her son liked was perfect. She was proud of Ivan for choosing the perfect girl to love. This woman was fit to be a queen, and her image screamed royalty. Diana Stevens would be the royally chosen princess. There was no doubt in that.
Usually, the queen disliked girls, the women that seemed to cling to her sons were always deemed clingy, overly complacent, too phony, or the so-called 'prima donna divas'. It was a hard task impressing the queen. But if a picture of Diana could already impress her, there was certainly no misunderstanding then.
Suzanne reached for a phone, opening the file to call Diana's mother using the number typed in the information she was given with.
"Hello?" a woman—no doubt Diana's mother—answered.
"Hi. Is this Mrs. Merida Stevens?"
"Yes. Who is it?"
"I am Suzanne Candelstone, the queen. Can you spare a few minutes? I need to talk to you."