Evenings in Madain Saleh were mornings in America. The senator would be at his office by now. The king’s personal secretary placed the phone call on a secure diplomatic line. She reached one of his staffers.
“Senator Alejandro Cohen’s office, this is Jake. How may I help you?”
“His Highness, Prince Marcos Sayid of Madain Saleh is holding to speak with the senator,” Emra said in thickly accented English.
“One moment please,” Jake said, and the line was placed on hold. Annoying elevator music filled the king’s office through the speaker phone.
“This is Senator Cohen,” a Latin American accented voice rang through the line. “How may I help you, Your Highness?”
“Please hold for His Highness, Prince Marcos Sayid of Madain Saleh,” Emra said again and Mark picked up the receiver creating the illusion that he’d been on another line while simultaneously providing a more private conversation.
“Good evening, Senator Cohen,” Mark said with confidence. “Or should I say, ‘Good morning?’”
“Depends on what part of the world you’re in, I suppose.” Alejandro chuckled.
“I am in the Middle East where I’m baking and perpetually thirsty,” Mark said. “And you are in America, where my future queen is completing her senior year of high school and nearing the age at which I can request her hand in marriage.”
“I’d assume you were over-confident had I not witnessed my daughter pouring over wedding magazines the past few weeks.”
“Spare no expense,” Mark said. “I recently inherited just over a billion dollars and intend to lavish the beautiful and feisty Hazel Marie Cohen with a wedding fit for a princess.”
“Complete with a coronation, I understand,” Alejandro said.
“If you have not called to ask for her hand, why have you called?”
“I have a challenge I hope you can help remedy,” Mark said. “Your father dragged my sweet Hazel from my palace before she had the opportunity to give me her phone number.”
“Can’t you just stalk her on social media?” the senator asked.
“I would never disrespect her, or you, in such a manner. I felt this was a good excuse to make your acquaintance.”
“I don’t normally give my daughter’s personal information out to strange guys in the Middle East. But seeing as how you’re the grandson of my father’s oldest and best friend, and my daughter seems to be convinced you’re planning to sweep her off her feet, I might be able to make an exception.”
“I appreciate that, Senator,” Mark said.
“Do you a pen ready, Your Highness?”
“In my hand…”