Royal Wedding - Meg Cabot


2:37 p.m., Tuesday, April 28

Third-Floor Apartment

Consulate General of Genovia

New York City

I don’t know what’s happening to me. I lie when I should tell the truth, and tell the truth when I should lie.

Like half an hour ago, when Dr. Delgado, the newly appointed “royal physician,” was here, and asked if I’ve been under any “unusual” stress lately.

I laughed and said, “Gosh, no, Doctor, none that I can’t think of.”

You would think Dr. Delgado might have noticed the hordes of paparazzi gathered outside the consulate doors when he came in, and figured out that I was being sarcastic.

But no.

Instead, he said I shouldn’t be concerned about the fact that my left eyelid has been twitching pretty much nonstop for the past week, which is why I asked for an appointment in the first place.

According to Dr. Delgado, this sort of thing “happens all the time, and is not at all indicative of a brain tumor or stroke.”

Then he suggested I stop putting my symptoms into iTriage and instead get “plenty of sleep and exercise.” Oh, and I might try eating healthier.

Sleep? Exercise? Who has time to sleep or exercise? And how am I supposed to eat healthier when I’m literally trapped by the press inside the Genovian consulate and can only order food from places that deliver near the United Nations (which are basically steak houses, Chinese restaurants, or gyro joints)?

It wasn’t until he was packing up his medical equipment that I realized Dr. Delgado was immune to sarcasm and really intended to leave without writing me a prescription.

So I said, “The truth is, Doctor, I have been feeling a little stressed. You might have heard about my recent family difficulties, which have led to . . .”

I pointed meaningfully out the window. Dominique, the director of Royal Genovian Press Relations and Marketing, says if we don’t encourage the media, they’ll go away—like stray cats are supposed to, if you don’t feed them—but this isn’t true. I’ve never fed the media, and they still won’t go away.

“Oh, yes, yes, yes,” Dr. Delgado said, seeming to realize things were a little out of the ordinary—as if the fact that he was visiting me in the consulate instead of seeing me in his office hadn’t given it away. “Of course! But your father is doing very well, isn’t he? All the reports I’ve heard say that he’ll most likely be given a slap on the wrist, and then he’ll be able to return to Genovia. The press seem to find his little mishap with the law quite amusing.”

Little mishap with the law! Thanks to my father’s decision to take a midnight jaunt down the West Side Highway in his newly purchased race car, Count Ivan Renaldo, Dad’s opponent for prime minister, is ahead five points in the polls. If the count wins, Genovia will be transformed from a charming medieval-walled microstate on the French Riviera to something that looks more like Main Street USA in Disneyland, with everyone strolling around in T-shirts that say WHO FARTED? and eating giant turkey legs.

“Oh, Dad’s doing great!” I made the huge mistake of lying (I realize now). This is what we’re supposed to tell the extended family and the press. It’s not the truth. Royals never tell the truth. It isn’t “done.”

It’s for this reason that I think I’m losing my grip on my sanity and can no longer tell the difference between what’s real and what’s a façade for the sake of the media (iTriage says this is called disassociation and is generally used as a coping mechanism to manage stress).

“Wonderful!” Dr. Delgado cried. “And things are going well between you and—what is the young man’s name?”

I swear Dr. Delgado must be the only person in the entire western hemisphere who doesn’t know Michael’s name.

“Is Michael Moscovitz the World’s Greatest Lover? ‘YES!’ Says Sex-Mad Princess Mia,” declares the cover of this week’s InTouch.

Michael’s dad thought this was so hilarious he bought dozens of copies to give to his friends and even his patients. Michael’s asked him to stop, but his dad won’t listen.

“You really expect me not to buy this?” Dr. Moscovitz asked. “My son is the world’s greatest lover! It says so right here. Of course I’m going to buy it!”

This could be one of the reasons for my twitch.

“Michael,” I said to Dr. Delgado. “Michael Moscovitz. And yes, everything’s fine between us.”

Except that’s a lie. Michael and I hardly ever see each other anymore thanks to our work schedules and the fact that