C O N D I G N
(adj.) Appropriate to the crime or wrongdoing; fitting and deserved.
THE VIDEO was obviously taken from a hidden camera. A cloth in which it was probably buried in covered part of the screen, but the important people could be clearly seen.
Cateline Ivy's slim form was unmistakable as she spoke with Dante. The only other person in the room was a bearded man that was standing guard at the door.
"I've heard rumors that my niece is alive," Dante said lowly, his voice quite static in the video. "I need you to keep a lookout at your little town. The Duchess was laughably fond of your town, so the princess will most likely be there."
"I already have my suspicions, Your Highness," Mrs. Ivy's silky voice filled the quiet room. "I'll let you know when I'm sure."
"For the sake of your family, Mrs. Ivy, I hope so," Dante Grimaldi straightened his tie. "I didn't kill my brother and his wife just for their child to walk away free. If she is indeed alive and I find out your family has associated with her in any way, there will be consequences. And we don't want that, do we?"
"No, Your Highness." Mrs. Ivy's voice slightly trembled. Then the video suddenly cut off right there. It was but a few seconds worth of footage, but the impact it had on everyone that heard could last a lifetime.
Bleu's chest constricted as realization dawned on her. Your family has associated with her... there will be consequences. At the sleepover, while they were watching a movie, her own mother had slipped the pig's heart on her sink to scare her and to keep her away from Paris. She was also the one who drove Kael back to their house to pick up their things. She probably kept Kael in the car a few extra minutes longer, just enough time for the ambush to set in place. After the shooting at school, she was the first one on the scene, unscathed. It took at least a twenty-minute drive from their house to school. No way could she have been there in five minutes. She must have known about the shooting. They weren't supposed to shoot at Bleu, even. Because she was her daughter. That was a mistake and Dean had been hurt because of it. Her own mother had told them to stay at their house. Because she knew that in a few days they would get abducted from there. All of the puzzle pieces came into place in Bleu's mind and her knees weakened at the weight of it all.
Paris stared at her own uncle with hatred. Her fingers itched to clutch the mic and stab it into his eye. Kael watched her tense up and tightened her grip on his throat, making him claw at her arm. She gave her a look, reminding her that she was on television and millions were watching.
"You...killed my parents," Paris' voice and tone had never been this dark, this low. It was low enough so that only he could hear, and the mic couldn't pick it up. "You'll spend the rest of your life regretting that. You shouldn't have touched me." And everyone I hold dear.
The crowd were murmuring once more, this time in anger and horror at what their temporary leader had done. The cameras were clicking and flashing like crazy, still going live on record.
Dante let out a yell of anger and slammed his head against Kael's nose, stunning her and weakening her grip on him. "Get them you useless fucktards!" He yelled at his guards from across the room.
They charged at the stage, but they forgot that the celebrities were not only paid to look good, but to be physically fit as well. They blocked them easily, grabbing their guns and keeping them from getting close to the Crown Princess. Actors that did blockbuster movies, stuntmen, and even some women joined in the block, not letting a single one pass through.
Seeing his plan fail, Dante grabbed Paris before Kael could recover and took out a handgun from behind his shirt. He gripped her tight across her throat, the barrel of the gun pressed against her temple.
"I'll fucking shoot her," he looked like a madman. Dean took a step towards him and he pressed the gun harder against her head, making Paris cry out. Dean stopped, his hands splayed out to try and calm down his dad. Bleu was beside him, adrenaline coursing through her veins.
"I am your king!" He screamed. "This bitch can't rule you because she doesn't know shit about Monaco. She deserves to die."
"What are you talking about? We all know you're in this for the money," Dean growled. "I know you. You never cared about this country. You want power and wealth. Just like any other greedy bastard."
"True," Dante contemplated. Then he cocked his gun, making Paris gasp. "But this bitch still deserves to die. Game's done."
"Stop, dad!" Dean shouted. "Listen to yourself! Is this what mom would've wanted?"
For a moment, Dante's features softened at the mention of his wife. "Your mother wasn't happy here. I did her a favor."
"You fucking psychopath," Dean growled and quickly lunged at his father's leg, pulling it and making him lose his balance. A gun shot rang out and Paris screamed. Bleu yelled and ran forward, not caring about her own safety anymore.
"Bleu, don't!" Her mother screamed. Her husband held her back, his arms linked through hers behind her back.
"Haven't you done enough damage? Stop it!" He coldly told his wife. Tears ran down her face as she sobbed, watching Bleu run towards the stage.
The bullet had gone through Paris' thigh, and the blood was quickly seeping through her dress. The uncle kicked Dean at his head and scrambled for the gun, intending to shoot Bleu.
And if necessary, his own son.
Paris quickly swiped the gun farther away, allowing it to slide across the stage. "You bitch," Dante stomped his foot on her arm, and a crack was heard. The pain that shot through Paris was so strong she almost fainted. "Even when I was spying on you, you just never learned to mind your own busine-" He didn't get to finish his sentence.
Natasja had gone behind him, jumped, wrapped her thighs around his head, and spun. The velocity threw his whole body face down on the floor. But Dante quickly recovered and hit the side of her knee with his elbow, making her lose her balance. He got up to his feet and punched her in the face, probably breaking her nose. Natasja grunted and stumbled back. Just when he pulled back to deliver another blow, Kael's leg was already high in the air, delivering a powerful heel kick to his outstretched arm. The impact was, of course, fatal. Dante dropped to his knees, his face contorted in pain while he gripped his arm.
"Don't touch," Kael's german accent was thick with anger. "Or I kill you."
She helped her lover up to her feet and Natasja slammed Dante's body face-down on the ground, stepping on the back of his neck to keep him down. Dante groaned in anger and pain.
"What a disgusting excuse of a human being." She said, grabbing some of his clothing and using it to bind his hands behind his back.
"Paris!" Bleu ran to the bleeding princess. "Oh my god, call an ambulance!" She gathered her up in her arms, pushing her hair back.
"Stay with me, stay with me," Bleu said, holding her cheek. "You can do this, milady."
Paris weakly smiled, "That's your nickname, you doofus," she tried to sit up but Bleu clicked her tongue when she winced in pain. "What's happening now?" Paris asked as Bleu kept her hand compressed against the wound in her thigh.
Bleu looked around, relieved that Paris was conscious and communicating well despite her condition. Someone had already called the ambulance and she knew they'd be here soon.
"The guards are standing down," Bleu reported to Paris. "Just hang in there, you'll be alright. There's not that much blood-"
"I love you," Paris whispered. "I'd love you over and over again."
"You're not dying on me, are you?" Bleu panicked. The blood was pooling quickly.
"No, no," Paris weakly chuckled. "I'm just so relieved. It's all over." She felt dizzy, the world around her was fuzzy, and it felt as if she had no control over what she was saying. She just said what she felt. She could vaguely hear the fuzzy voices of her uncle and the police.
"You're under arrest for charges of murder, fraud, and sabotage of the throne," they recited to him as he gained conciousness. "You have the right to remain silent. Everything you say and do will be held against you in the court of law."
"What? No! I am your king!" He sounded like a clichè screeching villain from a disney movie. His commands fell on deaf ears as they escorted him out. He was facing either life in prison or a death sentence. He had killed his wife, the royal couple, and many more innocent lives in his quest to have his hands on the oil. Selfish greed was just as deadly as revenge.
"Bye, Dad." Dean said. His voice held no hint of anger, of hatred. In fact, he almost sounded sad. Dante didn't hear his son's goodbye over his own screaming as they pushed him through the door.
That was the last thing Paris saw before her eyes closed and she faded into darkness.
There was a hum. Beeping and fuzzy sounds that murmured around her. Her head ached, her mouth parched. She worked to open an eyelid and tried to sit up.
Paris' vision blurred before coming back into focus. Her leg hurt like hell, and her head even more so. She was in a hospital room, alone, and the tv was turned on. The person watching over her must have left to do something and had left it turned on. Paris struggled to pull herself up to lean against the bed upright, trying to breath normally at the sight of tubes stuck to her body. She remembered losing blood. Lots of it.
She sighed with the effort of sitting up, and tiredly stared at the tv in front of her. The news.
She reached to the side for the remote and was just about to change the channel when something the reporter said caught her attention and made her widen her eyes.
"Dante Grimaldi, who was earlier arrested today for murder and treason against the royal family, is reportedly missing," Paris quickly turned the volume up, the beeping intensifying at the beat of her heart."Sources say that the driver of the van he was placed in was in fact his accomplice, therefore aiding in his escape. Police are unable to identify the driver, nor the suspect's whereabouts." The door clicked open, and Paris whipped her head, tensed in fear. What if her uncle had escaped to finish what he started? To kill her?
"Oh hey, you're up," Brooke grinned, holding a cup of water. Paris sighed in relief and mild surprise, her uncle's escape temporarily forgotten at the sight of Brooke here.
"Hey," her voice croaked as she gratefully accepted the cup. "What are you doing here?"
"Well, after you called me, the twins, and Mr. Hobbs about your plan, naturally we wanted in on the action," Brooke giggled. "We did exactly as you said and then some. We took the next plane here to see you at your coronation."
Paris raised a brow. "You were that confident it was going to work?"
Brooke chortled, "Duh. We persuaded huge newscasting lines to connect with the live broadcast in Europe for the reveal of the undead princess. Who wouldn't watch that?" She sat down next to the bed. "We just didn't expect to arrive to news that you were in the hospital. I thought I'd see you in a different gown." She eyed Paris' current attire.
Paris laughed, picking at her hospital gown. "I'm glad you're here. The twins?"
"They went with Bleu to eat," Brooke smiled. "They haven't left your side since the accident."
Suddenly, the report on the news came back to Paris and she quickly grabbed Brooke's hand.
"Brooke, listen, my uncle-"
Before she could finish, a doctor wearing scrubs walked in, holding a clip board in his hand. "I see you're up, Miss Grimaldi," he said behind his face mask. Paris stiffened. Could it be that he was her uncle?
"Oh, by the way he's the surgeon that did the surgery on you a few hours ago," Brooke smiled. "Dr. Smith."
Paris couldn't see the man's full face. His hair fell over his forehead.
"We're just going to be checking your vital signs," Dr. Smith said, walking towards Paris. She tensed, ready to bolt but knowing she couldn't even move because of the pain and numbness. When the doctor had gone to the side of the bed, he checked the monitor, then his clip board, seemingly just doing exactly as he said.
Maybe I'm overthinking, Paris thought.
It was too soon.
"'Miss Grimaldi'? Wait a minute-" Brooke said a fraction of a second before Paris caught a glimpse of a cast underneath the doctor's sleeve. Before his good hand could reach in his scrubs pocket, Brooke let out a banshee scream and launched her petite self on to the man's back, trying to take him down. He grunted, turning around to slam her body against the wall. Her head hit the wall and she slumped to the ground, motionless. The man quickly walked to the door to lock it, blocking out the sounds and sight from what he was about to do.
He ripped off his face mask, and Dante Grimaldi leered evilly at a shaking Paris. "I wasn't done with you."
He took out a knife from under his white coat and lunged at Paris. His movements were jerky, like that of a rabid dog's. His face was unrecognizable, the look in his eyes terrifying enough to haunt Paris in her dreams. He straddled the frozen brunette and held the knife high above his head, his usually handsome face now sickly twisted into that of an animal's; desperate for the kill.
Time slowed down. This was how Paris was going to die.
Suddenly, Natasja's training for her came rushing through her muscles. She had been trapped in this position many times. Fight to survive, fight for your life, that french-tinted accent echoed through her mind.
With pure adrenaline fueling her, she barely noticed the pain shooting up her arm as she leaned up so quick he didn't see what was coming. She slammed her head against the bottom of his chin, making his teeth grind against each other so hard he saw stars. He lost grip of the knife and Paris took advantage by quickly pinning him down to her side and flipping herself to take his place on top. She punched him in the cheek, knocking his head to the side. She ignored the numbing pain shooting up her fist and arm as his jawbone cracked. Suddenly, he gave a shout, sat up, and grabbed her neck. Her neck bled from his nails as he clutched her throat in a death-grip. She couldn't get it off. She clawed at his hands, drawing blood, but his grip didn't slip. A manic look overcame his face, and his eyes were wild with hunger. He was hungry to see her dead.
She was losing air, quickly. Her head was starting to feel light. Her hand clawed around for something, anything, to make him lose his clutch. Something black caught her eye and she grabbed it without thinking. With all the strength left in her, she brought it down on his chest.
He gasped, his eyes going wide in shock. He looked down to where her hands gripped the knife he had brought in with him, impaled on his chest. Blood seeped and spread across his light blue scrubs as they both stared in shock. Paris was the first to recover, scrambling away from him and cradling her trembling hands. She watched as he slumped forward, impaling the knife deeper within him.
He was dead. She killed a man.
She screamed. The door slammed open. Bleu and the twins burst in, the latter rushing to Brooke and Bleu moving to hold Paris in her arms. The princess couldn't believe what had happened, and she vaguely recalled Bleu yelling at the twins to call the police. Nurses and doctors came rushing in, immediately checking for Dante's pulse or sign of life. A doctor pronounced him dead.
It was over. Truly, over.
And so Bleu was right. Everything was going to turn out fine.
"I'd like to have a private word with Paris, if you all don't mind." Daemon said a few hours later, after everyone had come in to check on Paris and Brooke was once more conscious. She wouldn't stop talking about how she sing-handedly tackled the french mob leader and won the battle. Paris just chuckled and let her have her victory. Besides, if it weren't for Brooke, she would have been stabbed earlier.
At Daemon Ivy's request, everyone walked out.
And a moment of silence ensued.
"So," Mr. Ivy stood beside Paris as she watched the news. "You love my daughter, huh?"
Paris almost choked on her own saliva. She couldn't believe they were having this conversation now.
"Y-yes sir, I do." She carefully regarded her girlfriend's dad. Was he homophobic?
"And does she love you?"
Paris bit her lip. "I hope so, sir."
Mr. Ivy chuckled. "I think she does, Paris. I think she does."
"And is that...alright with you, sir?"
Daemon looked through the small glass window at the room's door, seeing his daughter laugh at something Brooke said. She caught sight of Paris sitting with him and gave them a wave and a glowing grin. He smiled.
"As long as my Bleu is happy, I'm with her on it," He looked at Paris. "If you make my daughter happy and smile like that, then who am I to stop that?"
Paris' eyes welled up with joy. She had his approval, and it matter more than anything else in the world for her. Without thinking, she hugged him, ignoring the pain it gave her casted arm.
He chuckled, hugging her back. "But if you dare hurt my Bleu, you'll have to answer to me. It doesn't matter if you're the Queen, I won't tolerate my daughter being heartbroken."
"I promise," Paris whispered, smiling against his shirt and probably soaking it with her tears of joy.
Bleu and Paris decided to finish the rest of high school. They flew back to their town, and got back into the flow of school and assignments for their senior year.
"I don't think I'll ever get used to the stares," Paris muttered, as they walked past another group of gawkers. The world knew about the princess that came back to life, about how she was hid in this town by her birth parents. And how her uncle had his suspicions and sent his own son to the same town, not expecting the princess to be right in the same school. They didn't recognize her either, because of the added weight. The world knew of her transformation. They knew of her wealth. They knew of her fame.
In just a few days of being back into school, there was never a moment when a flock of students weren't gathered around Paris and Bleu, asking for pictures and autographs. The very same people who looked at Paris with such disgust now stood in line to have a picture with the miracle princess.
Paris sighed, then smiled as another high schooler took a selfie with her. It didn't help either that Natasja and Kael were always right at their tails, their beauties and auras attracting more people. Brooke had taken it upon herself to be their agent, setting up schedules for their "interviews" and such. The twins couldn't care less. Olivia and Owen still owned every sport, and had their own fan clubs. Dean, on the other hand, had gone to explore the rest of the world. The last they heard of him, he had fallen in love with a girl from South Korea. He never blamed Paris for his father's death, he simply grieved, and moved on.
"Brooke," Paris asked, the night before their graduation day. "That day at the hospital, how did you know he was my uncle? You hit him like a rocket."
"Oh," Brooke waved a hand. "While you were out, everyone was already referring to you as 'Your Highness'. So when he said 'Miss Grimaldi' instead of that, I knew something was up."
"You're a pretty smart cookie," Bleu patted Brooke's head. "One smart fortune cookie."
"Oy." Brooke rolled her eyes.
They were seated around a campfire in Bleu's backyard, looking up at the stars. Mrs. Ivy had prepared dinner for them, and as much as Bleu wanted to stay angry at her mother, she couldn't. She knew she had to do what she thought was best for her family as a mother, and she couldn't blame her for being placed in a situation Dante had forced her in. Paris had dropped the charges against Mrs. Ivy after hearing that from Bleu.
Bleu walked over to where Paris sat, looking breathtaking in a blue sweater and a simple bun. When she leaned over to kiss her, applause and wolf whistles sounded around them from their friends. The twins and Brooke cackled when they pulled apart, blushing. Natasja and Kael were wrapped in each other in one seat, softly smiling and observing the not-so-average teenagers.
"What time does our flight leave tomorrow?" Bleu nuzzled Paris affectionately.
"Right after we get our diplomas," Paris grinned. "And then we're off to go shopping."
"In preparation for your coronation!" Brooke squealed, clapping her hands together like a retarded seal.
"Are you ready?" Bleu asked her girlfriend seriously. She left the 'to rule a country' hanging in the air unsaid. She was going to stay by her side, for as long as she would let her. Paris took her hand in her own.
"With you, always," Paris whispered against Bleu's knuckle. "Milady."