On the day of the big party, I find the Emperor alone in bed.
“What’s wrong?” I ask him. “Why aren’t you getting ready for the party?”
“I’m not going,” he replies. “I don’t feel well.”
I look down at him worriedly.
“But you have to go to the party! You love parties! Everyone will be wanting to see you there!”
The Emperor rolls over and puts a pillow over his head.
“I’m not going,” he says again. “I don’t feel well.”
“But you’re the Emperor! You have to go! Your people need you!”
“I’m not the Emperor!” he barks. “Today I am just another ordinary man who doesn’t want to deal with the rest of the world. Now go away and leave me alone!”
I nod at him silently and turn for the door.
“I love you, Andrew Darling.”
The Emperor lifts his head up and glares at me. I can’t help but smile at the way his hair is sticking out in every direction.
“You’re only saying that because I paid you,” he snaps.
“No… I’m saying it for real.”
He looks at me harshly but his anger fades when he sees me smiling at him.
“Were you invited to the party?” he asks curiously.
“Of course not!” I answer cheerfully. “You know I’m not cool enough to be a member of the club. But I thought about going anyway, just because it seems like a lot of fun. And I thought you might be there. I was hoping to catch a glimpse of my favourite hot Boss with no shirt on.”
He smiles up at me.
“So you’re not going to the party at all?” I ask gently. “Not even to make an appearance?”
“Well… I guess that I can make an appearance,” he says reasonably. “Since you were looking for me and all.”
The Emperor gets out of bed and walks over to me. He pulls me into his arms and holds me close.
“For making a cranky old man feel young again.”
He smiles at me again and kisses my forehead.
“Now,” he says. “We’ve got to get ready. We don’t want to be too fashionably late to the party. What should I wear?”
“The red one,” I say quickly. “It’s your best color by far.”
The Emperor looks at himself in the mirror and messes up his hair.
“Where would I be without you?” he says.
“Still chained up like a sad little puppy left out in the yard.”
He laughs and dips me down to kiss me.
“In that case, thank you for finally setting me free.”
“You’re welcome,” I say pleasantly. “Now stop fooling around and get ready for the party!”
He grins at me and saunters off to the closet to change.