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Authors: Casey McQuiston

Red, White & Royal Blue (9 page)

BOOK: Red, White & Royal Blue
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Has June also got a fondness for sneaking your leftover curry out of the refrigerator in the dead of night like a Dickensian street urchin?

More common are cameos by Pez, a man who cuts such an intriguing and bizarre figure that Alex wonders how someone like him ever became best friends with someone like Henry, who can drone on about Lord Byron until you threaten to block his number. He’s always either doing something insane—
BASE jumping in Malaysia, eating plantains with someone who might be Jay-Z, showing up to lunch wearing a studded, hot-pink Gucci jacket—or launching a new nonprofit. It’s kind of incredible.

He realizes that he’s shared June and Nora too, when Henry remembers June’s Secret Service codename is Bluebonnet or jokes about how eerie Nora’s photographic memory is. It’s weird, considering how fiercely protective Alex is of them, that he never even noticed until Henry’s Twitter exchange with June about their mutual love of the 2005
Pride & Prejudice
movie goes viral.

“That’s not your emails-from-Zahra face,” Nora says, nosing her way over his shoulder. He elbows her away. “You keep doing that stupid smile every time you look at your phone. Who are you texting?”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about, and literally no one,” Alex tells her. From the screen in his hand, Henry’s message reads,
In world’s most boring meeting with Philip. Don’t let the papers print lies about me after I’ve garroted myself with my tie.

“Wait,” she says, reaching for his phone again, “are you watching videos of Justin Trudeau speaking French again?”

“That’s not a thing I do!”

“That is a thing I have caught you doing at least twice since you met him at the state dinner last year, so yeah, it is,” she says. Alex flips her off. “Wait, oh my God, is it fan fiction about yourself? And you didn’t
invite me
? Who do they have you boning now? Did you read the one I sent you with Macron? I

“If you don’t stop, I’m gonna call Taylor Swift and tell her you changed your mind and want to go to her Fourth of July party after all.”

“That is
a proportional response.”

Later that night, once he’s alone at his desk, he replies:
was it a meeting about which of your cousins have to marry each other to take back casterly rock?

Ha. It was about royal finances. I’ll be hearing Philip’s voice saying the words “return on investment” in my nightmares for the rest of time.

Alex rolls his eyes and sends back,
the harrowing struggle of managing the empire’s blood money.

Henry’s response comes a minute later.

That was actually the crux of the meeting—I’ve tried to refuse my share of the crown’s money. Dad left us each more than enough, and I’d rather cover my expenses with that than the spoils of, you know, centuries of genocide. Philip thinks I’m being ridiculous.

Alex scans the message twice to make sure he’s read it correctly.

i am low-key impressed.

He stares at the screen, at his own message, for a few seconds too long, suddenly afraid it was a stupid thing to say. He shakes his head, puts the phone down. Locks it. Changes his mind, picks it up again. Unlocks it. Sees the little typing bubble on Henry’s side of the conversation. Puts the phone down. Looks away. Looks back.

One does not foster a lifelong love of Star Wars without knowing an “empire” isn’t a good thing.

He would really appreciate it if Henry would stop proving him wrong.

HRH Prince Dickhead

Oct 30, 2019, 1:07 PM

i hate that tie
HRH Prince Dickhead
What tie?
the one in that instagram you just posted
HRH Prince Dickhead
What’s wrong with it? It’s only grey.
exactly. try patterns sometime, and stop frowning at your phone like i know you’re doing rn
HRH Prince Dickhead
Patterns are considered a “statement.” Royals aren’t supposed to make statements with what we wear.
do it for the gram
HRH Prince Dickhead
You are the thistle in the tender and sensitive arse crack of my life.

Nov 17, 2019, 11:04 AM

HRH Prince Dickhead
I’ve just received a 5-kilo parcel of Ellen Claremont campaign buttons with your face on them. Is this your idea of a prank?
just trying to brighten up that wardrobe, sunshine
HRH Prince Dickhead
I hope this gross miscarriage of campaign funds is worth it to you. My security thought it was a bomb. Shaan almost called in the sniffer dogs.
oh, definitely worth it. even more worth it now. tell shaan i say hi and i miss that sweet sweet ass xoxoxo
HRH Prince Dickhead
BOOK: Red, White & Royal Blue
13.9Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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