A/N: I don't own Twilight or any of the Cullens. Stephenie Meyer does.
This is my first attempt at writing. Years ago, I remembered reading a few chapters of a story where Edward is a prince and Bella was forced to go as his concubine to bear him a heir. Unfortunately, the story was unfinished when it was deleted, but I couldn't get it out of my head. So that's my inspiration. Here you go.
Please remember that this is a historical fiction, which means the men of the era are be quite a bit controlling. Bella is a young and naive teen, so don't be hard on her for not having a backbone. Women were horribly suppressed back then. She will become more confident by the end of the story, be assured.
There will be slight physical abuse in this story. The Edward in this story will be an arrogant asshole for a while. Please be patient and do not give up.
It's been two years since my uncle went off to the war and only a few days ago did our family receive the word that he was expected back any day now. My uncle Geoffrey is like my father figure for as long as I could remember, and I longed to see his kind, crinkly face. As much as I wished, his wife Helen never replaced my mother. She was kind enough to let me live in her home but the hardships of having the king's knight as a husband made her tough and bitter. My uncle was dedicated to the royal family, which meant that his own family became a second priority. This made Helen totally mad. Often, I would hear her grumble and mutter about my uncle's absence, though on a few rare nights, I would hear silent sobs.
"Bella! What are you doing? Hurry up." Helen shouted.
"Yes, Lady Helen" I said, snapping out of my thoughts and returned to the dishes I was washing. Hard work and domestic chores weren't new to me, because that's what I've been doing for as long as I remember.
"Need a hand, Bella?" I heard my cousin and only friend, Angela say.
Although Lady Helen wanted her precious daughter nowhere too near with me, Angela would find time for me often. We would talk about everything and anything. We both loved each other.
"It's alright, Ange. I'm almost done. You wouldn't want to ruin your gown, anyway" I said, looking at her expensive sea green gown Helen forced her into.
"Phew! Who cares about the stupid gown!" she frowned. Lady Helen made sure her daughter is always dressed in the finest while I was to wear her old clothes. Although Angela was upset about this fact, she couldn't fight her mother on this.
"Isabella!" Helen called me.
I walked into the kitchen where she was stirring a pot of aromatic stew. My mouth watered.
"Stir this for me. Don't let it burn. I'm going to get ready." She snapped.
Taking care not to burn it, I sat there stirring the stew and watching the beautiful swirls of colour and texture forming and disappearing. Suddenly, I heard a loud booming sound echo all over the place and I clamped my hands over my ears.
Boom! Boom! Boom!
It was the church bell. I heard the bell ring only two times in my life. Whenever the knights and soldiers went off to the war or returned from it, they would ring the huge bell ten times.
Lady Helen and Angela came rushing downstairs looking their finest while I looked like a piece of crap.
"Clean yourself, dirty girl. Hurry!" she snarled at me.
I scowled and washed my face, hands and legs and smoothed my deep blue dress the best I could. Luckily there weren't any stains on the gown.
We all could see several beautiful white stallions moving towards our home from distance. In the front was tied the king's banner, which swayed gently with the wind.
"They are the royals. Looks like the King's guard." I said.
"What are they doing here? I hope father is alright" Angela whispered, clearly frightened. I patted her hand, hoping to soothe her.
"He'll be fine. He'll be fine." Helen chanted, worry etched on her face. Inspite of my previous annoyance, I couldn't help but feel sorry for her. She did face a tough life.
As they came closer however, my uncle's face stood clearly among the sea of royals, and next to me I felt Angela's and Helen's combined sighs of relief. Uncle Geoffrey's face looked tired and thinner than I saw him last time, or perhaps it was the overgrown hair and beard that made him look weak. The horses galloped towards us and my uncle leapt off his horse and threw himself at Helen and Angela. A moment later, I was grabbed into the tiny group of hugging people.
We were all a sobbing mess; Helen was rubbing her husband's back looking utterly relieved and happy.
As I stepped aside to give the family privacy during their reunion moment, my gaze fell on the man leading the group, standing there watching the scene of affection. His shoulder length copper coloured hair and beard looked untamed just like everyone else. He had dirt on his face and clothes. But none of this masked his devastatingly handsome features. He had a piercing set of green eyes that twinkled like emeralds and his jaw was strong, giving his face a beautiful shape.
I was about to shift my gaze, not wanting to get caught staring, when his eyes snapped to mine. His eyes were intense. My cheeks burned with embarrassment. He tilted his head minutely and a tiny smirk appeared on his face. I dropped my head.
My uncle turned to me. "Bella, how nice to see you again. You are more beautiful than I remember." he said patting my cheek affectionately, making me earn a scowl from Helen.
Behind him, Angela smiled. Honestly, she is one of the sweetest girls ever. Angela is without a doubt more beautiful than me, but that didn't stop Helen from passing snide remarks about how I dominate and threaten her daughters beauty and prospective betrothals. Angela however, never tainted our friendship with jealousy.
My uncle turned to Helen. "Helen, these gentlemen would be our guests tonight. As it is almost dusk, it would be prudent for them not to continue the journey now."
"Of course, it is our pleasure. Welcome home." She said haughtily. Helen loved having people over. She was a great host but this was is also an opportunity to show off her grand family home.
The handsome knight with green eyes stepped forward.
"Thank you for your hospitality, Lady Helen. I was most eager to meet the family of the knight who saved my brother's life more than once during the war."
"Your... brother?" she asked, looking shocked.
My uncle spoke. "Yes Helen. This is King Jasper's brother. His Highness Prince Edward Cullen."
He turned to the Prince. "Your Royal Highness, allow me to introduce my family. This is my wife Helen, my daughter Angela and my friend's daughter Isabella Swan."
Prince Edward's thick and beautiful eyebrows raised slightly as he looked at me, probably wondering why I was living here. He opened his mouth to say something, but before he could, Helen spoke.
"It is a great pleasure to meet you, Your Highness. We are most honoured to have you in our family home. We hope you find your stay here comfortable." Helen said breathlessly, her demeanour changing instantly. Both Angela and I curtsied.
He nodded in our direction before turning away. My uncle quickly introduced the other knights of the group to us.
"Ladies, these are Billy, Sam, Quil, Jared, Paul, Embry, Harry and Brady."
"Kind of you and your husband to offer us food and a night's rest, my lady." a burly knight said.
"And women! He promised women too. Don't forget that, Geoffrey." another knight boomed and the group of men howled in laughter.
"I expect you to keep your hands and eyes off my girls' here." My uncle said sternly but none of them seemed offended at his severe voice. Being in life threatening circumstances for the last two years perhaps formed a brotherly bond among them. They all looked very close. "There's a brothel a short ride away and I'll take you there after you clean yourselves up."
"Aye. Can't let the whores pushin' us away 'cause right now, we're the stinkin' like pigs. Come on, Paul. You smell worse than all of us combined." said a knight and another ripple of laughter spread in the group.
I left it to the group and turned to walk away, but not before stealing another glance at the Prince. He was talking to a knight, exuding authority. Even in his dirty clothes and unkept face, he looked powerful. I walked to the kitchen quickly and grabbed a stack of plates when I heard Helen and Angela behind me. We silently worked for sometime. My uncle came into the kitchen a few minutes later, bathed and clean, reached Helen and soundly kissed her.
"Geoffrey, not in front of the girls." she whispered, looking annoyed, embarrassed and a bit shy. Angela and I avoided each others' eyes, trying to keep our faces straight.
"Bella, I need a shave. Would you care?" He turned to me, not even a least bit embarrassed about his intimate display with his wife infront on us.
"Of course, Uncle. Let me get the kit." I said, my face still red. I ran upstairs to get leather pouch that contained a sharp blade and scissors. I was taught to shave men as a child.
I made a concoction of water and soap, and had another bowl with cool aloe herb water and went to the front porch, where my uncle was sitting, waiting for me. I massaged the concoction and proceeded to gently shave while I bombarded him with questions about the war.
"It is ruthless game, Bella." He told me at one point during the conversation. "When you are there in the battlefield, every single move is a question of life and death. A knight is to protect himself and also the king. Having Prince Edward on our side is a huge strength, though. Powerful and fierce and lethal he is. Should've seen him fighting. Heads and limbs flying everywhere. Half the enemy clan are rolling away in their graves because of him alone."
"Ah, sorry Bella. No more questions about war now." My uncle said. I couldn't help thank God once again that my uncle and the others returned healthy and well from such a brutal war.
I finished his shave and began cleaning the blade carefully when I heard footsteps. I turned around and felt a jolt go through me as I stood face to face in front of the Prince. He was clean now and his silky hair and beard looked shiny.
"May I ask for a shave too? You've done a great job with your uncle." He said, his voice dripping like honey but also with a slight regal edge to it.
"Of course, Your Highness. Please be seated." I said, feeling a tad nervous.
He sat on the chair in front of me, piercing me with his unblinking stare. I massaged his thick copper haired beard with the soapy concoction, my belly fluttering.
"Why aren't you living with your parents?" He demanded suddenly.
"They are dead, Your Highness. My mother died giving birth to my baby sister. The baby didn't survive either. And my father died of fever."
As I brought the blade to his jaw, he tensed. Perhaps this was an unconscious reaction to being in such a vulnerable position. I began to move the blade gently removing the thick hair, revealing his beautiful jaw.
"How old are you, Isabella?" He asked me as I continued.
"Bella, Your Highness. I'm sixteen." I said.
"Aren't you girls betrothed yet?" He asked again, curious.
"Angela is to be wed to Lord Ben Cheney in a few months, Your Highness. I'm not yet..." I trailed off.
He stared at me again, intense. His extremely handsome face didn't stop me from being intimidated.
"You are the youngest son, Your Highness?" I asked him, trying to distract him and myself.
"Yes. My elder brother is the King. Obviously you would've heard of him."
"Yes, King Jasper. They say he has blond hair, married to Queen Maria." I said
"And what else do you know about him?" He asked
"I personally do not know anything about him except the opinions and views of the people around me." I said cautiously. I may be naive but certainly not naive enough to repeat the local gossip to a prince.
"And what have you heard of him?" he pressed. There was no escape. I thought once before speaking.
"People say he is very clever, strategic and balanced. His strength lies in making excellent ties with other kingdoms. And I've also heard that his military training is very powerful and organised. I've heard you are his biggest strength when it comes to a war." I said feeling unsure of his reaction.
He watched me intently. I wondered if he ever blinked. Feeling conscious and nervous, I moved to the other side of his face and began removing the beard there.
"And what have you heard of me?" His whispered, making my entire body tingle.
"That you are the younger sibling and married to Princess Gianna of Spain." I said, slightly trembling.
"And?" He pressed again. I gulped. He's not giving up easily.
"I... heard you are very.. um, ruthless and lethal" I said. "Towards enemies." I added. "Extremely powerful in the battlefield. " I whispered, feeling nervous.
His green eyes were boring into mine now. Had I offended him? Had I been too direct? Why couldn't I keep my mouth shut? I cursed myself, and tried to rectify the situation.
"Your Highness, I feel it is important to add that these aren't my opinions nor would I ever repeat them without knowing the truth myself. I simply told you what I've heard from people because you ordered me to do so." I managed as respectfully as I could.
Prince Edward tilted his head slightly.
"Would you agree with the opinions you've heard of me, Bella?" He asked, his voice smouldering.
Hearing him say my name did something to my body. My heart began to beat wildly and my head slightly spun.
"I... don't know. Um.. yes.. My uncle seem to think that you are the enemies' worst nightmare. And too many people I've heard from said that you are like the backbone of the English army. Powerful and... uh... intense. So it must be truth. Hundreds of people can't be wrong. Not to mention, all those wars you were victorious in. You never lost a battle, if I'm right...Your Highness." I added after a pause.
"So I take it that you don't entirely believe people's opinion?" He interrogated.
"I would not blindly believe it but I wouldn't entirely discard it either. Different people have different opinions and they get skewed as the message gets passed from person to person. It would be terrible to be a victim of a false gossip, Your Highness." I said, internally smacking myself a moment later. Why on earth was I rambling all this nonsense? His gaze was making me blurt out the truth. I needed to get away from him.
Before he could as much open his mouth, I said quickly "I... I am finished, Your Highness."
Anxious to get away from him, I quickly took a generous amount of cool aloe herb water and gently patted on his freshly shaved cheeks and jaw. His eyes half closed and his lips parted. He looked utterly relaxed. A small groan escaped his parted lips, making belly flutter violently.
"My services are required in the kitchen, Your Highness. May I go?"
He simply nodded, not taking his eyes off me. I could feel his stare as I walked back into the kitchen, feeling slightly uneasy.
The men ate their dinner greedily, each devouring double the amount a person usually eats. Having their first true supper after several months of measly meals must have made them extra hungry. Thanking my aunt profusely, most of them - including the Prince - left to the brothel without wasting another second, to satisfy their other hunger.
I slept uneasily that night. Green eyes and bronze hair invaded my dreams. The feel of his cheeks and jaw when I massaged the aloe herb water was beyond anything I've ever experienced. I recalled how soft his skin felt.
I woke up early next morning feeling tired and groggy, having had very little sleep. I walked to our outdoor bath chamber and took a long shower, loudly humming a random tune in an attempt to relax myself. It worked. By the end of the shower, I was totally refreshed.
Twirling around and skipping my steps, I opened door and was welcomed by a gentle breeze from a tree blew against my face and body. I closed my eyes, feeling the cool air and drowning in the serenity of the moment. When I opened my eyes, I found the Prince casually leaning against the wall of our home a few feet away, watching me. My heart skipped a beat. Internally relieved that I was fully dressed, I dropped my head and walked towards the home.
"Who would have thought you were a singer!" he said with sarcasm dripping his voice.
I felt heat rise in my cheeks. How loudly was I droning on those stupid weird tunes?
"I'm not a singer." I mumbled, feeling utterly foolish.
He chucked, revealing a perfect set of white teeth. His smile was so breathtaking that I couldn't help but stare at him in awe. This was the first time I saw him do something as friendly as a smile.
He walked towards me slowly and stood in front of me. His gentle smile still in place, he took my hand and placed my palm on his cheek, his eyelids fluttering close. I froze. All the rational thought left my head. We stood there for a few seconds or perhaps it was an eternity; both of us were lost in the utter beauty of the moment.
Hesitantly, he released me. Without a word, he turned around and left the place. I stood there, trying to get back to my senses. Angela came to me a few minutes later informing me that Prince Edward and the rest of the Knights left our home to continue their journey.
A/N: What do you think? Reviews are appreciated but please be gentle. This is my first story ever.