Disclaimer: Anything you recognise is not mine – it belongs to Gail Carson Levine. So please don't sue!
-Once Upon An Arranged Marriage -
Okay, this is going to be different from other Ella Enchanted fics – or at least, I am going to try to make it different. Sarah Enchanted, my other Ella Enchanted fic, is still going to be my first priority but I just wanted to see what people thought of this. It is related in no way to Sarah Enchanted.
This story is about how King Jerrold and Queen Daria (Char's parents) met and their romance. Jerrold is the Prince of Kyrria whereas Daria is the Princess of a neighbouring kingdom, Valrie.
Please review and tell me what you think!
Daria gazed at her appearance in the mirror. Her maid, Silvana, had braided her dark hair back and her face was devoid of any make-up – though she did not need to wear any for she was naturally beautiful. Her hazel eyes were mischievous with long dark eyelashes. Her lips were a cherry red and when she smiled, she had the sweetest dimples you had ever seen.
She was wearing a light green dress that brought out the specks of green in her eyes. At sixteen years of age, she looked every part the Princess of Valrie. Because of her station in life, Daria often felt lonely and did not have that many friends because everybody treated her like a princess, and not like an actual person that they could relate too.
She was the heir to the Valrien throne and she had one other sister, Katie, who was a year younger than her, though they did not get along very well. Katie was the direct opposite of Daria. Daria was fun, vivacious and intelligent whereas Katie was boring, dull and simple in comparison. Daria had dark features where as Katie was blonde and fair. Both were attractive though Katie often played second fiddle as Daria was the heir and slightly more attractive. They did love each other as sisters but they were too different to ever be great friends.
Daria looked at her reflection one last time and nodded in approval. She had to unfortunately attend a banquet to celebrate the beginning of spring, where most likely, every bachelor would be vying for her attention when all she wanted to do was converse with somebody who did not see her as a possible marriage prospect.
She made her way down to the banquet hall and was approached by her sister.
"You have finally decided to leave your room. How long does it take for you to get ready?" Katie asked, exasperated.
Daria just rolled her eyes at her sister's theatrics.
"Where are mother and father?"
"They have already gone down." Katie replied.
"Have you gone down yet?" Daria wanted to know anything interesting about her guests.
"Yes. And there are plenty of young men down there, just waiting for you to arrive, so lets not disappoint them." Katie replied and dragged her older sister down a set of stairs.
As soon as Daria entered the banquet hall she was indeed accosted by several men.
"Delighted to meet you, Sir Andrew." "Pleased to meet your acquaintance, Sir Peter." "No, I am not thinking of getting 'hitched' as you call it, soon." "Yes, I did enjoy my trip to Ayortha." Daria smiled so much that her cheeks hurt.
Katie just sighed, dejected, and went over to talk to some guests.
Daria greeted her mother, Queen Henrietta, and father, King Robert, and sat down beside them at the front of the room. They were then approached by more people.
Daria always got very bored at these functions. She was polite and courteous to everyone but the people whose company she was in were all so bent on pleasing Daria, that they often acted like they had no personality whatsoever. Daria kept herself amused by silently making up conversations with invisible courtiers.
She noticed one particular group of people approach them. It consisted of a middle-aged man, a woman presumably his wife, and a handsome young man who looked as bored as Daria was.
They were announced as King George, Queen Eliza and Prince Jerrold of Kyrria.
Out of the corner of her eye, Daria could see her father smiling and she wondered if there was another reason that they were invited to the banquet, other than the fact that they were the rulers of Kyrria.
Her parents started talking to King George and Queen Eliza, so that left Prince Jerrold, the heir of Kyrria, and Daria to make conversation with each other.
"So, how are you liking it in Valrie?" Daria asked.
Jerrold looked sullenly at Daria. He was really quite handsome. He had tawny brown curls and swarthy skin. On closer inspection, he also had freckles, which was quite surprising on such a dark face. His looks though, were overshadowed by his arrogance.
"What's there to like?" he responded.
Daria looked disconcerted for a moment. Nobody had ever spoken to her like that before.
"Excuse me?" she frowned. Sure, she wanted a change in the kind of people she associated with, but not like this. What was this man's problem?
"Are you deaf as well as a snob?" he rudely questioned.
Daria almost gasped in disbelief. She was a snob?
"You should talk." she retorted and she saw anger flash across the Prince's face. She was about to add that she thought he was haughty, conceited and rude when they were interrupted.
King George asked pleasantly, "Are you two getting along well?"
Daria was about to tell him that she thought his son resembled a swine in both manners and looks but the Prince beat her first.
"We are having a splendid time. I myself, have never been in such beautiful and enjoyable company." He answered and smiled innocently. Their parents were satisfied, though Daria did not miss the sarcasm when he spoke the words "beautiful" and "enjoyable".
If she had not been so shocked at Prince Jerrold's behaviour, she might have noticed the secretive smiles that the four rulers gave each other.
Jerrold excused himself and some other young man approached Daria.
She noticed that Jerrold had gone to talk to Katie and they seemed to be getting along wonderfully. Then what did he have against Daria? She tried to ignore the hurt and confusion that she was feeling but her thoughts kept turning back to Prince Jerrold. What exactly was going on?
Later that night, Daria was sitting up in bed, combing her hair. Her sister waltzed into the room with an ecstatic expression on her face.
"How did you find tonight?" Daria asked her curiously.
"Everything was brilliant. Prince Jerrold was charming." Katie fell back onto Daria's king-sized bed, a dreamy expression on her face.
"I'm glad you thought so." Daria muttered.
Katie ignored Daria and continued talking. "He was quite the gentleman. He told me he loved Valrie and wanted to stay here forever. He's certainly handsome. I wonder what he thought of me?"
Daria stared at her sister. He loved Valrie? What on earth did I do to him that made him act so nastily towards me?
Katie continued talking on and on about Prince Jerrold's redeeming qualities and left Daria with a feeling of trepidation. Her sister could not possibly be falling in love with Jerrold; she had only just met him. However, it was certainly looking like this was the case.
The next morning, Daria was summoned to her parents' chambers. Once she had arrived, after a hasty good morning they immediately began interrogating her.
"How did you find Prince Jerrold?"
"Did you like him?"
"He is quite handsome…"
"Did he say much to you?"
And so on and so forth. Daria looked bewildered from one parent to the other.
Everyone has gone mad. She thought to herself.
She was then told to get dressed immediately for the King, Queen and Prince of Kyrria were to visit them again today.
Daria put on a dark blue dress this time, as dark as midnight. She tied her hair into a loose bun and then went to her sister's room. She was amazed for once to find that her sister had still not finished getting ready. Usually it was the other way round – Daria had to be practically dragged away from her room whereas Katie could get ready in five seconds if she had to.
Daria pulled Katie away from the mirror and made it to the foyer in time to greet everyone.
Jerrold looked distastefully at Daria and immediately stood next to Katie and began talking to her. Usually men clambered over each other to get to Daria, whereas Katie was often left out, as she was not the heir of Valrie. Daria could tell that this was going to be a strange day indeed.
Lunch was quite uneventful. Daria was made to sit between Jerrold and Katie, much to the discomfort of all three.
Jerrold managed to insult her eleven times without anybody hearing. His insults ranged from, "Do you always look that ugly or does it just come naturally?" to "You better not eat anything or you will not fit into that dress much longer."
Daria did hit back though with, "Pig is next on the menu – I hope you do not mind eating one of your own kind," and "I can tell that you are a man of few words; 'me, myself and I.'"
Eventually, lunch came to an end and all five of them went to King Robert's (Daria's father) private study.
"Daria and Jerrold, as your parents, we all need to think about your futures," Daria's father started. "Jerrold, I know that you know the reason that you have been called here, but Daria I am afraid has yet to be informed of the real reason for your visit to Valrie."
Daria glanced at Jerrold – perhaps this would explain his bizarre attitude towards her.
"As both the heirs of two powerful and important kingdoms, it has been decided between us that it would be best if we unite and join forces." Her father continued.
Daria began to comprehend what her father was saying and prayed that he was not going to say what she thought he was.
"We have decided that you two are to be married."
"What?" Daria blurted out. She looked over at Katie, who's mouth was wide open. Daria tried to make eye contact with her sister but she fled from the room. Nobody else noticed her going.
"You are old enough for marriage now Daria, as you are well aware and you and Jerrold would make a splendid couple." Queen Henrietta said.
"But what about what I want?" Daria questioned. She faced Jerrold. "How long have you known about this?"
"For about a week. Believe me, I do not like it anymore than you do." He answered.
"You have a duty to us as parents to obey our wishes. We expect you to go along with the wedding." It was King George who spoke this time.
Both heirs started to protest but their parents refused to listen.
"Cannot Katie marry him? I am sure she would be suited to him more than me." Daria begged, which was something she never did.
"Katie is not the heir of Valrie." Was the only answer that she got.
Daria stood there helplessly. She felt like crying. She was too young to get married – she was only sixteen for Pete's sake! And she least of all did not want to marry that git Prince Jerrold even if he was the last man on earth.
King Robert held up his hand in response to their protests. "You two are to be wed, whether you like it or not, in a month's time. And that," he glowered at Daria and Jerrold, daring either of them to complain, "Is final."
Jerrold glared wrathfully at Daria, who returned the look. The next few weeks were going to be interesting indeed…
A/N: So, what do you think? Please let me know so I do not keep on writing and find out that I am torturing everybody.