Chapter 2

I woke up the next morning with the test still open on my laptop. Faye was an absolute trooper when it came to alcohol, even though she was much smaller than me, and didn't even have a hangover. With a bowl of oatmeal, we continued the test. 

Write down your full knowledge on Medora (Please note that cheating is not permitted and if you open a new window we will get an alert)

Medora has been feuding with England and Ireland since the middle ages, causing them to go in isolation. 

Medora is located in the North sea

Medora has a monarchy

If you were the queen of your country, what would you change?

Easier access to affordable education. 

"Amen." I heard Faye say from behind me. 

The questions went on and on. Until I finally reached the last one. It was much smaller than the other ones had been, and kind of took me by surprise.

What is your favourite book?

Alice's adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

"You want the prince to think you're into kids books?" Faye asked me, rolling her bright blue eyes. 

"Yeah what did you write down? Twilight?" I asked back. I pressed enter and watched the screen turn white, with a blue loading symbol in the middle. 

"You know I don't read." She laughed back. "I just wrote down Romeo and Juliette. I read it in high school."

The loading screen took forever, to the point that Faye was trying to convince me that it meant I got picked. We spend another hour bickering about books, and then half an hour on TV shows. Faye was getting her coat when the screen finally changed. 

'Congratulations. In half an hour you will receive a video call so you can be interviewed. Please make sure that your webcam is in working order.'

"Wait what?" I said, rereading the message three more times. Faye was chomping down an apple, and looked over my shoulder, probably expecting that I pranked her. When she saw the message she completely discarded her food. 

"What are you waiting for?" She said to me. "You look like a train wreck!"

I ran upstairs, leaving half my mind still with the laptop downstairs. I pulled a comb through my hair, only making the fuzziness worse, and removed the makeup that I had fallen asleep with. They said congratulations, does that mean I am definitively chosen? What would they possibly ask me in the interview that they had not asked me in the five hundred questions before?

I put on a fresh blouse, it was white with black birds on it, and smeared a new layer of foundation on. I heard Faye scream from downstairs that I only had ten minutes left, so I wouldn’t have a cat-eye today seeing as those take me a minimum of eight hours to perfect. 

I did put on a nude lip colour and some blush, to make me look a little less dead on my feet. When I came down, I had about a minute left. 

Faye had completely forgotten about the bus she needed to catch, and sat down across from me so that my webcam couldn't see her. "Do I film it?" She asked me. There was an underlying pressure to the question. Faye had made herself quite big on Instagram. She had made a page that shared memes back when we were freshmen in high school. It now had over six million followers. 

"Film it," I answered. "Just to be sure."

She started recording when the countdown on my laptop showed a big ten on my screen. I straightened my back, made sure the webcam did not get an unflattering chin shot, and took a deep breath.

The woman on the other side had blonde hair, and also wore red lipstick. She had on a blazer and a blue shirt, and when she saw me she smiled a pearly white smile. 

"You are Jane Rozen?" She asked me, I quickly nodded. "My name is Gwen, I am one of the people administering the test. Your answers seem to match with the prince's." She paused for a second as I saw her eyes dance over a page she had in front of her. "Have you ever been to Medora before?" Something had changed in her voice, she started off all happy and bubbly, but now she looked more distrusting.

"No, I have not." My throat felt dry and scratchy. 

"Have you ever been in contact with the prince?" She asked.

"No, ma'am." I said. 

She looked a bit distrusting, but at least put the paper away. She asked me some questions about my answers and my reasoning behind them. At the end of the talk, which only took about twenty minutes, the distrusting demeanour went away, and she just smiled at me. 

"I think you will have a very good chance in the competition." She smiled.

"Does that mean...?" I really didn't feel confident enough to answer my own question. 

"We will fly you out here, and you will join our competition." She said. "You might just be the queen someday."

The way I saw it, I was getting a free vacation. The way Faye saw it, I was a queen already.

She posted the end of the conversation to her account and tagged my personal account in the caption. Within minutes my phone was blowing up with calls from all sorts of people. My gold digger aunt, people I went to elementary school with, Anne's boyfriend. I didn't feel like explaining them anything just yet. I needed to talk to my parents first.

Faye ended up spending the entire day with me. At around noon she turned on the news, and to my surprise an awkward selfie I had taken two years ago was right next to the presenter. I was from the Netherlands, a smaller country in Europe, and they were damn proud that they got to send a girl to the competition. 

"I severely underestimated this." I said once the presenter had given pretty much a rundown about my life. It wasn't even sinking in what was happening. I would be going to Medora, which was right on the list with North Korea on secret nations no one knows anything about. I would be meeting royals, I would be competing for a crown.

"It's kinda funny you know," Faye said to me when I voiced my opinion to her. "You spend all this time reading about these kinds of things happening to people, but you refuse to believe it that it could be you this time."

"That's because the people that that stuff happens to are really smart," I said. "They have fitting personalities for that type of stuff."

"So pretend that you do too." She answered easily. I wanted to tell her she was wrong, but then the idea popped in my head that maybe she was right. Maybe it would be as easy as just playing a role, trying to fit in. 

One call ended on my phone and another popped up, it was my boss. I absolutely hated her. Her husband was the actual boss of the store, but ever since he married her she had pretty much taken over. Even if I told her weeks in advance that I couldn't work that day, she still planned me in, saying that I didn't tell her. 

"Congratulations." She said as soon as I picked up the phone. "But you still have to work."

"I can't really work when I am not in the country." I answered. I wasn't one to cause waves, I wasn't one to talk back. She knew that. She was quiet for a few moments.

"Either you come in, or you are fired." She said.

I had worked for her for a full year now, and I would be lying if I said that I wasn't thinking about quitting every day I was there. Maybe that's why the words escaped my mouth so easily.

"Good luck with finding someone new."

My fingers trembled when I pressed the red 'end call' button. I looked at Faye with big eyes. She had quit her job loads of times before. She smiled back at me. 

"Look at you! You're already becoming bolder." She grinned. 

I spoke to my parents over the phone, both of which congratulated me about the test, and scolded me for quitting my job over the phone. Even if I wasn't coming home a queen, I figured finding a job would still be easy. I had experience as a barista already, and there would always be more coffee shops. 

My brother came home two hours before he was supposed to come home from school. He's thirteen years old, and still in high school. 

"Are you fucking kidding me?" He said once he saw me.

"Language." I scolded him. My parents may have given up on my vocabulary, but I wasn't going to give up on his yet.

"It's actually you." He said. 

"You'd think he'd remember his own sister." I said to Faye, who grinned back at me. 

"Mike showed it to me during math." He said, throwing his dark blue backpack in the corner of the room. Much like me, he had brown, frizzy hair and a smaller nose. That's where the likeness between us stops though. He had green eyes, I had grey. He still needed to hit a growth spurt, so I was quite a bit taller than him. 

"I got stopped by every teacher on my way here," He said. "even Mrs Kendri." She had always hated me the most, and by that extent also decided to pick on my little brother Sean. It wasn't his fault that I never did my homework. 

The doorbell rang, but before I got up Sean already walked over to the hallway and shut the door to it, so no one could look inside. "I saw a couple of news vans pull up when I got here."

"Dad works for the newspaper," I said. "You think they're nagging at him too?"

"Must be." Faye shrugged. Ever since the interview, she hadn't been able to wipe the smirk off of her face.

"You know just a few hours ago I was waking up from a nice rum coma." I sighed and leaned back on the couch.

"Half a day ago we were searching for someone on Tinder, but instead you got the prince of Medora." She smiled. "I'd take that as a win, Jane."

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