Here’s another little taste of one of my stories, this time Swan Prince. Another one of my erotic fairytales, Swan Prince takes place in my favourite city, London (where I am off to tomorrow!). Most of the action unfolds in the beauties of Hyde Park. Like Central Park in New York, it’s an unexpectedly large green space in the midst of a bustling city. The Serpentine offers a wonderful little waterway where people can stroll around and feed the birds or paddle around in the little boats as Lena and her little brother do at the start of the story.
There’s also the magical presence of Peter Pan, whose statue can be found near the lake over in Kensington Park. Where the green parakeets fly (yes, really — outdoors in London, all year) the statue of the boy who wouldn’t grow up, the fairies and the woodland creatures lends an air of enchantment to the water’s edge.
Lena loaded up her canvas bag with sandwiches, apples and juice boxes. She had a wistful thought about a bottle of wine, but decided not to splurge any more than necessary. The sunshine remained and a fine perspiration covered her skin as she strode across Hyde Park. A lot of people had apparently decided on having their lunch al fresco and the park hummed with happy noises. Lena crossed the bridge over the Serpentine and in few minutes reached the Peter Pan statue in Kensington Gardens.
“Hello, Pan,” she whispered to the bronze figure. He blew his pipe amid the fairies and mice and birds and squirrels circling the monument’s base, waiting to steal away the children who fell out of their prams. From childhood, Lena had loved this statue of the magical boy who never grew up. She took it as a sign about Charles wanting to meet here and eagerly looked for him.
He arrived spot on time; another good sign. As Charles waved from the path, Lena took a bolder assessment of him. He had a fine shape, indeed—broad shoulders, strong hands, and long legs. And a very handsome face. Okay, admit it, Lena: he is gorgeous. And that shock of white hair only made him look more intriguing.
Lena jumped up from her seat at the base of the statue and, without thinking, gave him a peck on the cheek. “Morning.”
Charles grinned and blushed slightly. “You look lovely.” Another point in his favour.
“You’re a picture yourself.”
Charles regarded her face with interest as if he, too, found the boldness to make a proper assessment today. Lena felt self-conscious and wished she’d taken the time to tame her honey blonde curls a little more or wore something more dazzling than her favourite red top and her most comfortable pair of jeans.
Then again, it was a picnic after all.
“Where shall we spread our picnic blanket?” Lena looked around the clearing, which had swelled with more Pan devotees since she had first arrived.
“Picnic?” Charles looked startled.
“I thought it would be fun. S’alright, isn’t it?”
Charles shrugged but Lena caught another blush. Oh, I must have embarrassed him! Was he worried about taking me to lunch? Thinking fast she said, “My dad’s wife, Rose, begged me to bring some of last night’s leftovers so they wouldn’t spoil. We’re doing her a favour.”
“Well, that’s all right then.” Charles nodded, appeased. “How about in the next meadow over there?” He pointed just in time to mark a bright green bird’s flight just where he indicated.
“Oooh, a parakeet!” Lena crowed.
Charles frowned. “A parakeet? Here?”
Lena grinned. “They were brought back from India but escaped ages ago. They live here all year round now.”
“I’m not sure how they survive,” Charles said with a little shiver, “it must get cold in the winter. Feathers aren’t as warm as they are in a duvet.”
Lena laughed and linked arms with him. “Sounds like you’ve thought about that in depth.”
Charles shrugged, but Lena noticed some sort of trouble flicker across his features. What sorrow lay in his past? Was it more than just being out of work? She hoped she could cheer him up, if only for a few hours.
“How about over there? That looks like a great picnic spot.”
Their al fresco lunch went well. Lena found herself delighted by Charles, who had a bright, curious mind and a good sense of humour. She loved how his laugh rumbled a little before its release. Gazing up at him, his eyes looked different in the sun than in the shade; the color of them sparkled in the light.
He seemed to be equally comfortable with her, asking after Freddy as well as her father and step-mother with a certain wistfulness.
“I’m so full!” Charles said at last with a groan. He flopped onto his back on the blanket.