Living in a palace was not all it was cracked up to be. There was nothing to do, and it was no fun alone. So Flynn turned to his only solace: books. He had holed himself up in his room with as many books as he could manage and was reading them to keep his mind off the princess, but she was all he thought about.
“Damnnit! Why can’t I get her out of my head?” Flynn threw his most recent read across the room. He began to pace, trying to keep his frustrations and anxieties down. He needed to get out, he needed to leave. Flynn knew he should leave. Him living in the palace was only hurting the princess, and himself. It would be easier for the both of them if they never saw one another again. However, no one had specifically told him to vacate the royal abode. And part of him did not want to leave. He didn’t want to leave Rapunzel.
Flynn was taken away from his inner demons by a knock on the door. He didn’t want to answer, but he did anyway. It was a servant.
“The princess asked me to inform you that you have visitors.”
“Yes. They are in the entrance hall.” Flynn scratched his head, but followed the servant anyway. His curiosity was getting the better of him; who would possibly be visiting him?
As he neared the entrance hall, Flynn began to hear a gaggle of squeaky, high pitched voices. He turned the corner and saw a large group of children all standing around Rapunzel. A few noticed him.
“Eugene!” they shrieked. Rapunzel smiled at him.
“Look at who came all the way to the palace to visit, Eugene. The children from the orphanage.”
Flynn was, to say the least, in a state of shock. Children were visiting him?
He walked over to Rapunzel, smiling on instinct at the youngsters who tried to jump and climb on him and pull him in every direction. They all spoke at once.
“Now, now, everyone, don’t climb on Eugene like he’s a tree. Now then, why don’t you tell him why all of you are here?”
Flynn looked from Rapunzel to the children. A few came forward, holding bouquets of flowers that looked like they’d been picked by the children themselves.
“We heard you got sick, Eugene, so we brought you get well flowers.”
Flynn stared down at the lead girl.
Rapunzel watched him intently, anxious to know how he would react.
He kneeled down to them, with a big smile on his face.
“Why thank you so much!” He took the flowers and sniffed them. “Hm, I think they’re working, I feel better already.” The children giggled.
“Does that mean you’ll be well enough soon to come read to us again?”
“And play with us?”
“And tell us cool stories about being a thief?”
“And play with us?”
“You already said that, Tom.”
“I’m bored playing with all of you. Eugene is a lot more fun.”
Flynn forced a laugh.
“Of course I’ll be back soon! Nothing keeps me down. I am Eugene Fitzherbert after all. They don’t let just anyone marry the princess, you know.”
“Will you come play with us today?”
Rapunzel put her hand on Flynn’s arm.
“Eugene still isn’t well enough to go out yet, but he will be.”
“Well, make sure you get lots of sleep.”
“And don’t stress youself.”
“You mean ‘force yourself’, Sharon.”
“You already said soup, Tom.”
“Oh, don’t any of you worry about me; I’ll be fine. Just make sure you all keep your noses clean until I get back.”
“Our noses are usually clean. The nuns make us all take a bath once a week.”
“Thank you for the get well flowers,” Flynn said, and he sounded like he truly meant it. “I promise I’ll be back soon.” Flynn smiled at all of the children before saying good-bye and leaving.
Rapunzel looked after him.
“Okay, everyone, thank for coming. It was so sweet of you visit Eugene, but I’m sure all of you have chores to do at the orphanage, not to mention supper to get to. You all better get back home.” The children whined that they did not want to leave, but Rapunzel coaxed them to.
“See you later!”
“Tell Eugene to eat lots of soup.”
“Tom, they understand.”
As Rapunzel waved to the children, she motioned for a guard to come over.
“Will you please escort them back to the orphanage?”
“Of course, your highness.”
Rapunzel left the guard to his task and followed after the path Flynn had taken. She had no idea where he had gone and she back tracked many times when she finally saw him down one corridor sitting on the floor. Relieved, she started towards him, but stopped when she noticed he was wiping tears from his face. He was looking at the flowers. They were horribly mangled, with petals missing and some were even dandelions, but Flynn was looking at them like they were the greatest treasure on earth. He wiped another tear away.
“I can’t leave, can I?” Flynn had asked himself this, but Rapunzel was sure it was a question meant for her, until he said, “No, no I can’t.”
Rapunzel bit her lip, truly sorry for Flynn, but as she looked at him, she knew there was nothing she could do for him. She left as quietly as she could, half wishing that the children had not stopped by.