Flynn felt like everyone in the castle wanted to kill him, or at least maim him, or maybe just slap him. No, he was pretty sure everyone wanted to punch him. Whatever ill feelings he felt radiating from the servants, dignitaries, the king and queen, and various other people, Flynn felt it right back, but maybe knocked down a few decimals.
All day, everyone he saw tried to remind him of how he romantically and dashingly escaped execution to save the woman he loved from her kidnapper, or how he was compassionate and caring towards the people of Corona or how much he loved the princess, more than his own life. It was beyond irritating; it was infuriating. He didn’t care if it was true. He was tired and hearing it.
After hours of ‘trying to talk sense into him,’ king and queen finally released Flynn. Even though he had promised to not to run (why would he; he was sort of being treated like an honored guest at the palace, or so he liked to think) he was taken to the room he stayed in before he was married to the princess, at least, that was what the servant told him.
Married to a princess. That was something Flynn could not wrap his head around. He wasn’t lying when he said he wasn’t the marrying type. Even Eugene Fitzherbert didn’t want to get married. Too many strings: commitment, settling down, reliable income, kids, in-laws. Talk about life over.
Flynn ran his fingers through his hair and sighed. It had been a long day. Waking up in a strange place, running for his life, everyone he met knowing his name, people saying he had amnesia. It was a lot for one day.
Flynn began to unclip his vest and pulled it off.
The princess had told him he was stabbed. He wondered where. Flynn went into the bathroom to look for a stab wound. He lifted up his shirt, but there was nothing. Literally nothing. Every single scar Eugene Fitzherbert and Flynn Rider had ever gotten was gone. He turned in circles as he looked for the scrape he’d gotten on his elbow when William Shoemaker had knocked him down at the orphanage. The puncture mark on his side was gone from the guy who didn’t like him talking to his girl. Even the thin white line just below his hairline, from when a branch had wacked him when he was running through the woods was gone. What did it all mean?
“Ugh…I’m going to bed… this is all just too much.”
Flynn shuffled to the bed, but there was a knock on his door. Who on earth would want to talk to him?
He crossed the room. “I swear if it is one more person, desperately trying to get me to remember some wonderful life…” He opened the door. “What?” It was a palace solider and he had a huge bruise across his face that ran from his right eye to his left cheek. “You here to guard my door? I already said I wouldn’t run.”
“No,” said Gerald, “I’m not here because of that. I just want to know if you’re okay.”
Flynn blinked at the man, and eyed him suspiciously. “Why?”
“Because we’re friends,” he replied simply.
“Oh.” Flynn walked away from the door and Gerald stepped in, closing it behind him. “Wow,” Flynn breathed, “just when I was trying to get used to the idea of being married to a princess, I find out I’m friends with a guard. I’m sorry, but, that’s a little much.”
Gerald chuckled. “Hey, if it’s any consolation, I still can’t believe I’m friends with Flynn Rider, the most notorious thief in all the kingdom.”
“But I’m not Flynn Rider,” Flynn said, flopping down in a cushioned seat and kicking his boots off. “I’m the wonderfully stupendous, all around fantastic, Mr. Congeniality, Eugene Fitzherbert, who’s married to the gorgeous, lovely, caring, and just Princess Rapunzel, who I brought back after being lost for eighteen years.” Flynn looked at Gerald. “People seriously expect me to be able to swallow that all in one day?”
“Well, when you say it sarcastically, no, but I do see your point.” Gerald sat down across from Eugene and pulled a flask from his pocket. He offered it to Flynn. “I know Eugene doesn’t drink much, but I think even Flynn Rider could use something.”
“Oh, yes. Thank you.” Flynn took Gerald’s offer and took a draft. He coughed. “Woo, whiskey! Mm!”
“Hey, only the best stuff for Flynn Rider, right?” Gerald paused. “You know, Flynn, most people would jump at the chance to be in your shoes.”
“How do you mean?” Flynn took another gulp of whiskey.
“You live in a palace. You’re married to a princess, you live without a care into the world. There are too many people who would love to wake up one day and be told this is their life.”
Flynn locked eyes with Gerald. “And just as many saying this is all too good to be true.”
“Sure,” agreed Gerald. “And you’re one of them.”
“I don’t know. Why would I be lied to? Why does everyone know my name? It’s got to be true, right?”
“You’re no help,” Flynn sighed as he crossed his arms. “I thought you were supposed to be my best friend or something like that.”
“Actually, the princess is your best friend, then it’s Max, then me. Wow, that should bother me that I’m after a horse.”
“Horse… that crazy horse that beat me up today?”
“The very one. And you really weren’t lying, or rather, Eugene wasn’t lying when he said that Max can punch.”
“Can he ever.” Flynn rubbed his jaw. His own pain made him think of Gerald’s bruise. “By the way, where’d that bruise come from…what’s your name.”
“Gerald, and you stepped on my face this morning.”
“Oh. Right. Should I say I’m sorry?”
“Only if you mean it.”
“Heh, then I’ll pretend I’m sorry.”
“Way to be a friend, Flynn.”
Flynn shrugged. “Man, this day has sucked,” he said, standing up to stretch. “Strange place, strange people, no offense.”
“None taken. I’m sure you mean the ruffians.”
“Yeah. Then being chased, and the nightmare of everyone calling me Eugene, and the king and queen’s interrogation.” Flynn trailed off. He sat back down and looked at Gerald. “Do you think if I go back to sleep, and then wake up tomorrow, all this will…fix itself.”
“How do you mean?”
“You know, everything’s…normal.”
“But what’s your normal? You being a thief with no string attached? Or being married to a princess and living a cushy life?”
“I don’t know. The normal where everyone is…happy.”
“Mm. Okay.” Gerald stood and walked to the door.
“Hey, where are you going?”
“Hm?” Gerald turned around, his hand on the door handle. “Oh, well, you just said you had a horrible day. And then you mentioned falling asleep, so I’m letting you get to that.”
“You’re welcome. Good night, Flynn.”
“Yeah, night… Gerald.”
The guard left his friend, pulling the door closed. When he turned to go down the hall, he nearly ran into Rapunzel.
“Oh, hello, Princess.”
“Hello, Gerald.” Rapunzel looked over his shoulder at the closed door. “Were you just talking to Eugene?”
“Did he say anything?”
“No, not really.”
“I see.” She was still looking at the door, like she was trying to convince herself to jump off a ledge. “Do you think he’d be willing to talk to me?”
“Oh. I don’t know, Princess. He said he was tired.”
“Oh, did he? Well, he did have a long day… he wouldn’t want to talk to me, right now. Alright, then. Good-night, Gerald.”
“Good-night, Princess.’ Gerald watched as Rapunzel padded down the hall, her shoulders hunched in disappointment. He sighed and looked back at Eugene’s door. “For both your sakes, I hope this is sorted out soon.”