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His Royal Highness

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Aaron looked in the mirror one more time, just to check he looked good. He was going on a date with Robert, a proper one and he didn’t know where they were going. Robert had just told him “casual’s fine.” But then Aaron didn’t know if his definition of casual even came in the same country as Roberts.

“Getting serious then?” Adam said from the sofa.

“No,” Aaron said. “But I’m going to enjoy it while it lasts.”

“Are you going to tell me who he is yet?” Adam asked.

“No,” Aaron said. “I will when it’s all over.”

“It might not be over,” Adam said fairly.

“Come on,” Aaron said. “What’s he going to want with me hanging around him permanently?” He sighed.  “Anyway, I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“Where are you going?”

“I don’t know,” Aaron said. “His driver’s picking me up. It’s a surprise apparently.”

“Aaron, just be careful,” Adam said. “Don’t let him use you.” Aaron frowned, but it seemed like a strange warning.

“I’ve got to go,” Aaron said, grabbing his phone.


Aaron didn’t know where he was being driven to, but it looked like a tourist trap in central London. Not exactly where he’d picture Robert when he didn’t want attention. But Aaron just closed his eyes in the backseat of the car and waited. He trusted by now that he’d be… well, delivered to Robert for lack of a better description. Aaron didn’t like being treated like this, but he understood why it was necessary.

What surprised him was the driver stopping him outside The Shard. Aaron looked at him questioningly, but the driver just nodded and Aaron got out of the car, seeing John who he made a beeline for. “Where is he?”

“Upstairs,” John said, walking through the entrance, Aaron following. “He’s had to pull some strings.”

“What, closing the entire building to the public?” Aaron said in disbelief. One look at John’s face and Aaron realised that’s exactly what he’d done. “He’s crazy.”

“He’s used to getting what he wants,” John said. They bypassed the eerily empty ticket desks and headed to the lift. Aaron had been here once before, when he’d just arrived in London and was doing all the touristy things with Adam. Back then it’d been manic with people. Now there was no one in the place other than Robert’s security, it felt very empty.

“Top floor,” John said.

“You’re staying here?” Aaron asked.

“Robert wanted to be alone,” John said. “It’s not my company he wants. It’s safe, we’ve triple checked the building. Aaron pressed the button in the lift, and on the journey up he marvelled at how strange his life had become. How had he done this? Managed to close off one of London’s landmarks, just so he could have a date with the Prince of the country? God, it made his head spin. It didn’t make any rational sense how he’d ended up like this.

The lift dinged, opening up on the viewing floor and Robert was waiting there. If Aaron didn’t know better he’d say Robert looked nervous. “You’ve closed off the entire building?” Aaron asked, Robert kissing him hello.

“Well, I didn’t have many alternatives,” Robert said. “I want some time with you that’s not sneaking around or in that hotel room. As much as I like that hotel room.” Aaron rolled his eyes, but good natured.

“You do realise your life is insane, don’t you?” Aaron said.

“Yeah, but,” Robert said. “My diary is full of appointments for other people. Charities, things I have to do. Occasionally I want to use my position for my own benefit.” Robert hesitated. “Or is this your way of telling me you hate the surprise and don’t like the view?”

“Rob, come on,” Aaron said. “This is amazing, but…” Robert’s face dropped at the but “I still don’t know what you want with me. You could have anyone, why’d you keep coming back to me?”

“Because I want you,” Robert said. “I can’t explain it, but I just can’t stop thinking about you. I haven’t felt like this about anyone in ages. If you want out, just say.”

“I don’t, of course I don’t,” Aaron said. “But this? It’s a lot.”

“I know,” Robert said. He turned to the bar area, also closed but with a cooler there. He grabbed Aaron a beer and Aaron smiled. For the first time he started to relax and he looked at the view. London at night, from this high up looked so pretty, the lights twinkling. Particularly having Robert to himself, that he appreciated too. “Calming down now?” Robert asked, his hands around Aaron’s waist.

“Just a bit,” Aaron said.

“What do you like about being a royal?” Aaron asked. He was curious, because right now they’d only discussed the negative aspects of it. But here, alone on the top floor of The Shard, Aaron could see that there must be some advantages.

“The travel’s pretty good,” Robert said. “I do enjoy that. The lack of money worries, financial security.”

“Yeah, but other than that,” Aaron said. “I’m trying to get to know you better.”

“The horses,” Robert said, surprising him. “The stables, I mean.”

“You like horses?”

“You know about my dad?” Robert asked.

“Er, vaguely,” Aaron said. The Queen, Robert’s mother, had married a commoner, and worse, a farmer. She’d been the first one in the monarchy to ever pull it off successfully, but Jack had never exactly been popular with the public. Jack had died when the kids were teenagers of a heart problem.

“He was a farmer. He always missed it,” Robert said. “Something must have passed on to me, because I do like the stables. The horses… yeah. That’s a perk I like.”

“Do you miss him?” Aaron asked. “Your dad.”

“No,” Robert said. “It sounds bad to say, but… no. Him and my mum… I don’t ever remember them getting on. A few years before he died, they were living separately. We didn’t get to see him very often. Even without the… obligations, I preferred living with mum at the time. Me and Vic got the choice. Andy didn’t, because he was the heir, he had to stay with mum. Ironic really, since he always got on better with dad. Not that it matters now, they’re both gone.”

“Do you get on with Vic?” Robert mentioned her quite often, she seemed to be on his mind a lot.”

“Yeah,” Robert said. “She’s my baby sister, you know? I’m protective of her. Probably too much.” Robert sighed as they fell into silence.

“You know what,” Aaron said, looking out over the city. “This is a pretty impressive date.” Robert smiled.

They ended up at the hotel as they usually did. Aaron woke up with a start at three in the morning, Robert’s arm draped over his waist. He didn’t know what had woken him, but his heart was racing. Had he had a nightmare? He felt hot and he shifted so Robert’s arm wasn’t over him, getting out of bed. He opened the window for some fresh air, wondering why he felt so unsettled.

Robert muttered in his sleep and Aaron looked at him, but he didn’t wake. God, he loved him. The thought made Aaron freeze. No, don’t go that way. It’s been… Aaron counted backwards in his head. Six weeks. Six weeks of meeting up in hotel rooms, trying to grab any spare moment together that they could. Six weeks was not enough to fall completely in love with someone. And he was a Prince on top of all of that. It couldn’t be happening. You cannot be in love with him, Aaron told himself silently. No, it couldn’t be happening. But another little voice inside him said “but what if you are?”

Aaron couldn’t be here. He quickly got dressed, wanting to make his escape, trying to fend off the panic. This couldn’t be happening. He couldn’t fall in love with Robert, he was leagues above him. This… no. He was about to leave and he looked at Robert. He felt the urge to thread his fingers through his hair, but he didn’t. Aaron didn’t want to wake him up. Instead he left the hotel, quickly going home.