And did you miss me while you were looking for yourself out there?
Diana Rose sang seated on her concrete bench, ukelele in hand.
Behind her, mountains across the lake, surrounded by the Enchanted Forest. The breathtaking vista was framed by two pillars with lilacs curled around them.
The Suitors gathered around her, seated on the floor. They sipped hot tea flavored with wildflowers — daisies, tulips and other ones they weren’t familiar with. The blossoms floated in the cups and tickled their upper lips.
Diana finished the song to soft, stoned applause and cries of “Excelsior” and “a-LAH, a-LAH!”
“So many beautiful lines in that song,” Diana said. She sang again. “‘Did you finally get the chance to dance along the light of day?’ Beautiful.”
“I heard they’re coming up with a new Coronation for you, my princess,” said one of the nearest Suitors. The twenty or so men all talked to her one by one, and she responded as if they were one entity. This was a private event held in Diana’s personal Palace Residency.
“They are,” replied Diana. “Diamond level.”
“It’s because there is no one else of your beauty.”
“I may choose a different name,” said Diana. “To mark the occasion.”
“Have you thought of one yet, my princess?”
“I’m thinking something having to do with a new day. That’s all so far.”
“I heard there’s talk they’ll let Repentants become Suitors at some point in the next few seasons.”
“Yes, they are,” said Diana.
“How can they do that?”
“They have served their time in True Earth. Restricting them serves no purpose.”
“It’s because of expansion,” said a kinky-haired Suitor to Emilie’s left. “Membership is actually declining. People are bored with the Palace. Been there, done that. Majors wants fresh meat.”
“But they’ll only sow more discord and division.”
“Nonsense,” said Diana. “Repentants ruled for centuries. Now their turn is over. They’ve served their purpose. They’ve learned their place.”
“Plus they’ll still have all the same restrictions from before — they’re basically allowed to spend time and BICs at the Palace,” the kinky-haired Suitor continued. “We don’t even let them talk to each other in public, let alone meet in private. They’ll never get anything organized even if they wanted to.”
“What’s your name, Suitor?” Diana wanted to know of the kinky-haired one.
“My name is Spready Grunt, my princess,” he replied.
“And how did you get that name?”
“I grunted when my asscheeks were spread by an Anodyne on my first day here.”
“Of course,” she said. “You have a reasonable outlook, and a bold personality to answer questions meant for me.”
“I’m just participating in the discussion, my princess.”
“I see. I’d like to do another song at your request, Spready Grunt.”
“Thank you, my princess.”
“What’s your request?”
“Honestly, I’d like to hear something by a Repentant, my princess. I’d forgotten all about that Train song, and they were the whitest band ever.”
“How about a song about devotion and wishing someone well? Done by one of the coolest white guys ever.”
“My princess, will you do it in the nude?” asked another Suitor.
“Only if you all get naked with me.”
“Yes, my princess,” they chorused.
Everyone sat in the grass around her bench. Some Suitors joined in with violin and percussion. They all got naked and very much enjoyed doing so.
Diana sang and strummed.
You belong among the wildflowers
You belong on a boat out at sea
Sail away and kill off the hours
You belong somewhere you feel free
Summer turned to fall at her voice’s command, and by the time she was done all their tea was gone, the wildflower blossoms soggy at the bottom of their cups.