“Who would be calling this late at night?” Mark grumbled. His heart sunk when he saw the number on his caller ID and feared that something had happened to his father. Rarely did he get a call from the palace and never this time of day.
He had barely removed his soaking wet tuxedo and sat at his dressing table in a dry t-shirt and boxers while Collins carefully removed his crown.
“Petra? Is everything alright?” Mark touched the screen to set the call on speaker phone so that both he and Collins could hear the king’s most trusted advisor.
“Your Highness, there’s been an accident,” Petra said. “You need to come home immediately.”
“Has my father been injured?” Mark waved his hand in annoyance, indicating that Collins should hurry up his ceremonial removal of the crown. Collins quickly had the band of gold off his head and into its velvet and Mahogany box.
“No sir, your brother, Jared. He was riding that stupid motorcycle again and slid on some loose gravel.” Petra became choked up and paused. His voice cracked when he said, “Your Highness, they don’t think he’s going to make it.”
“I’ll be there as quickly as I can.” He glanced up at Collins, who already had his cell phone to his ear and was ordering the helicopter to come immediately.
Having barely ended the call, Mark hurried into the closet and pulled on a pair of comfortable jeans and slipped a hoodie over his t-shirt. Almost as an afterthought, Mark grabbed a piece of hotel stationary and scrawled a quick message.
Princess Lyla, my brother was in an accident on his motorcycle and I’m taking the helicopter home to Madain Saleh. Please text me your number so I can contact you in a day or two. I’m sorry to cut our night short. Yours truly, Prince Marcos
He scribbled his phone number, tucked the note in his pocket along with his wallet and rushed to meet Collins, who brought one leather satchel with him, which Mark knew contained his crown.
“The pilot said he’ll be on the helipad in less than ten minutes, Your Highness. Let’s head down.”
“I need to stop at the bar first,” Mark insisted.
“Your Highness, this is no time to go to the bar. They can provide you a drink once you’re aboard the helicopter.”
Mark pulled the slip of stationary from his pocket. “You idiot, I just need to drop off this note for my future queen.”
Collins snickered in spite of the seriousness of the situation. “Presumptuous, much?”
“Completely,” Mark stated. “Now let’s go.”
They hurried to the elevator and rushed out to the tiki bar where they found Nick’s brothers still lounging by the pool. Mark explained the situation and handed the important note to the only Cohen brother who was sober, young Jacob.
“Be sure she gets this,” Mark told him.
“You have my word,” Jacob said.
Collins pulled at Mark’s arm gently but insistently and they ran toward the back of the resort where they could already hear the whir of the helicopter approaching the helipad.
As they lifted into the sky, Mark pressed his face near the window, longing to see the pool and catch a glimpse of Lyla and her long, blond hair. The rotating blades of the helicopter lifted him the opposite direction and Mark swore under his breath. He knew that ghosting Lyla was the least of the horrors this night would bring.