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I turned myself around and around in front of the mirror, trying to get good look at the small bump that was now forming. I wore nothing but my wraps when Edelmar burst into the bathroom.
"Love, come on," He urged gently. "The townspeople are waiting." He smiled when he realized what I was doing. He came up behind me and wrapped his arms around me.
"You have made me the happiest man that has ever taken a breath of air," he murmured.
I turned around and leaned in closer to his lips, stopping just a few centimeters away. "I know," I hummed. I pushed him out the door of the bathroom, and was about to close it, but Edelmar held the door open with his arm.
"We'll be continuing that later," he said, a gleam in his silvery blue eyes. I rolled my eyes, though a smile gracing my lips, pushing the door closed.
I hurried to put on a dark gold dress. It was off-the-shoulder and was bordered with white fur. After I was finished dressing and putting on my makeup, Cerulean, Jade, and Sienna burst into the room.
After they had saved me and Edelmar explained to me who they were, the three sisters asked me if they could remain as my handmaidens. My only answer was 'of course' for I felt as though they had become my family.
"Amoretta, we must hurry or you'll be late!" Cerulean said.
"Yes, this is an extremely important occasion and you must be there!" Jade said as she fixed my hair and straightened my dress.
Sienna only nodded as she sprayed me with jasmine scented perfume. The scent relaxed me and I smiled at my close friends.
I walked out of the bathroom with my maids close behind me. Edelmar had been waiting for me in the sitting room.
"I'm ready," I said, grinning at him.
"Not yet," he replied. He pulled a case from behind him and handed it to Cerulean. Jade opened the case and Sienna took out the crown that I had been given at my coronation. Edelmar and I had a pair of crowns that looked like our coronation crowns but less decorative. We wore those crowns to all public occasions and only wore our important ones for the most imperative events.
Sienna handed the crown to Edelmar who placed it on my head. Cerulean was handed another case and the same routine took place except, I was given Edelmar's crown and had to place it on his head. When we were finally ready, Edelmar gave me one last kiss before leading me out the door.
We stopped in front of the main castle balcony. From here, speeches were given or news was spread. A thick curtain in the doorway could not block out the loud and excited crowd that had gathered in front of the castle today. I gulped but shook my fears away.
"Now presenting, your royal highnesses, the King and Queen of Forsythia!" someone announced. The curtain opened and Edelmar and I walked onto the balcony, waving at the crowd below. They all applauded and cheered at the sight of their rulers. I blushed at how much the Forsythian people loved us.
"People of Forsythia," Edelmar called. "It has been three months since the Queen was abducted from us and taken hostage in the kingdom of Tabor. Now, with all adverse events behind us, Queen Amoretta and I have some very wonderful news to tell you…" Edelmar waited a moment in the tense silence that had come upon the once boisterous crowd.
"Queen Amoretta is pregnant!"
After the one second it took for the crowd to absorb what Edelmar had just said, it cheered and yelled ten times louder than before. I laughed and Edelmar kissed me in front of the crowd. After he pulled away, he held me close, placing his chin on my head. I placed one hand on my growing stomach, feeling love and excitement for the life being nurtured there.
I lay in bed, trying in vain to fall asleep. It was mostly because of all the people in the room: Saphronia was sitting in one of the armchairs while Celesta was kneeled beside my bed and Permelia was sitting next to me. They had all come to help me pick out the baby's name.
I was curled up, massaging my swollen and aching legs.
"What about…Rosalyn?" Celesta asked.
"It means pretty," Saphronia interjected.
"Hmm…I don't know. I want a first name and a middle name that will mean something together," I replied.
"What do you want her names to mean?" Permelia asked.
"Good question…" I opened my mouth to speak again but the door opened. My mother walked into the room and gave me a hug. When she sat down beside me, my sisters took that as their cue to leave. Each of them waved or smiled before leaving.
"So, you're choosing baby names?" My mother smiled.
"Yes, but I'm having a lot of trouble with it."
"I am to have a granddaughter, correct?" I nodded. "Well, when I was choosing your name, I was coming up blank as well. It wasn't until your father kissed me that I chose 'Amoretta'," she laughed. I laughed along with her, glad to have my mind taken off of my swollen legs.
"I think that you will know exactly what you want to call your daughter when you spend a special moment with Edelmar," my mother advised.
I yawned and my mother brushed my hair out of my face. "Rest dear, you have a long 4 months ahead of you."
I sat under a tree on a thick blanket with a down pillow behind me. Edelmar's head lay in my lap as I laid my legs to the side. I ran my hand through his hair, enjoying the feel of his thick locks of hair.
I stared out at the beautiful waterfall bordered with jasmine flowers. The heavenly scent and amazing sound of rushing water was exactly what Edelmar and I needed to relax. Ever since we had announced my pregnancy to Forsythia, the court had also been a little more lenient on Edelmar with his royal duties. We had taken to coming to the waterfall at least once a week, sometimes coming four times a week.
I looked down to lock eyes with Edelmar. I blushed when I realized he had been staring at me during my reverie.
"What are you thinking about?" He murmured.
"I was just thinking how pleasant it is that the court is allowing you to spend a little more time with me outside of your royal duties."
"Yes, this definitely better than having to listen to the Treasure Lord's stingy voice ringing in my ears during meetings," he said. I giggled at what he said, but broke out laughing when I realized he was being serious.
He sat up as I finished quaking with laughter. Edelmar was smiling adoringly at me as I wiped away a few tears. He cupped my cheeks and leaned in closer to me.
"Laugh again," he whispered.
"You know it doesn't work like that," I said, staring into his cavernous eyes, knowing he was doing the same.
"That's a pity," he said as he crossed the distance between our lips. At the last minute, I turned my face to the side, causing his lips to come into contact with my cheek. He pulled away, a childish pout on his lips. I laughed again at the expression on his face.
He grinned at me before kissing me full on the lips. I kissed him back, not one to back down from a challenge. I wrapped my arms around his neck while his arms tried to wrap around my waist—my seven month pregnant stomach seemed to be causing some trouble for him. Just when the kiss was becoming heated, I felt a flutter in my stomach.
I gasped, pulling away to look at my growing stomach, placing a hand where I had felt the tiny kick.
"Amoretta, is everything okay? Is something wrong?" Edelmar asked. Anxiety and fear darkened his eyes as he questioned me.
I could only shake my head dumbly. My mouth hung open and I gasped again when I felt another kick. "What's the matter, love?" Edelmar inquired.
I wordlessly took his hand in mine and placed it on the spot where the baby seemed to be kicking the most. We waited a few seconds before the next assault, this one a little harder than the last.
Edelmar gaped before breaking into a grin. I laughed and he soon joined me. Tears of joy began falling from my face as I realized how real my baby was.
Everyone in the room laughed again at one of my father's stories. As my pregnancy was coming to a close, everyone dear to me wanted to be around for my baby's birth.
Celesta, Saphronia, and Permelia sat at a low table on cushions with me and Edelmar. My mother and father as well as Daivian sat on a few arm chairs while Kodey leaned against my father-in-law's chair. Cerulean and Jade were pouring cups of tea for our guests while Sienna carried a tray of pastries.
I leaned back against Edelmar, putting a hand on my protruding stomach while trying to quail my laughter. My laughter died as the baby seemed to give an extremely hard kick. I breathed deeply to endure the pain until it slowly faded away. I sighed in exhaustion; lately, the baby's kicks seemed harder and more often.
"Why don't you just come out already?" I murmured, lovingly rubbing the spot where my baby was. "We're all waiting for you…"
"What's wrong, Amora?" Celesta asked. "Is the baby ready to come out already?" She teased. We all laughed along with her. At least, I began to before I heard a pop and felt a liquid begin to spill out from between my legs. I gasped in surprise.
"Actually, Celesta, I think she is ready!" I choked out. Everyone laughed uneasily while Edelmar sat there shocked.
"Are you sure?" he asked. I raised an eyebrow at him, giving him a look that questioned his intelligence. "Okay," he replied. "Father, King Caspar, would you mind fetching the midwife? Cerulean, Jade, help me get Amoretta to the bedroom. Sienna, get as many towels as you can find," he ordered like a true king.
Everyone nodded and got to work. Edelmar put my arm around his shoulder while Cerulean and Jade supported me from behind. After they placed me on the bed, Sienna came into the room carrying as many towels as possible. The three of them left the room just as my mother and sisters came in with the midwife. My mother turned to Edelmar.
"Edelmar, it is best that you wait outside for this. We will call you when its truly time," my mother said. Edelmar opened his mouth to protest but I spoke instead: "Love, it's alright. You go ahead and wait with my father and your father. I'll have you come in when you're needed."
He sighed before nodding. His eyes stayed on mine as he walked out of the room.
All of a sudden, I was hit with a sudden pain in my abdomen.
I gasped and tears immediately came to my eyes. The midwife could only prop up the pillows behind me and smile at me sympathetically. The contractions were so painful that I could barely speak, let alone breathe. "4 centimeters dilated," the midwife murmured.
"You have a while to go, Amora," Saphronia said. "You need to be about 10 centimeters in order to push."
I gasped again as a rather strong contraction waved through my body. However, the intense pain I was feeling couldn't quail the excitement and joy in my heart. At last, after a long nine months, my baby was finally ready to come into the world.
Permelia mopped my head with a towel as Celesta gave me water to drink. It was essential that I stay as comfortable as possible until it was time to give birth. My mother stayed by my side, holding my hand. Saphronia conversed with the midwife but I was in too much pain to try to pay attention. My contractions were beginning to overlap each other, no longer giving me the small breaks I had between each contraction. It was a pity: just as I was getting used to the contractions, they had become worse.
"8 centimeters, your highness. You're almost there," the midwife spoke gently. Her voice was soothing and calm, making me relax. I could tell that she was experienced in her job, which was comforting.
Soon, the contractions were closer in between and longer lasting. "Alright, you are 10 centimeters, Queen Amoretta. It's nearly time to push, you just have a little while longer…" the midwife comforted and encouraged me for a few more minutes before nodding to my mother. As if it were a signal, my sisters left the room, sending Edelmar in. My mother stood up, kissed me on the forehead, and left. But not before saying, "Take care of my daughter" to Edelmar. He nodded and took his place beside me. He held my hand in both of his and squeezed.
"I'm scared," I said. "I don't know what I'm doing."
"Shh, love. It's alright, everything is going exactly as it should. The midwife is here and you're going to be fine."
"But…but what if—what if something goes wrong? I mean, what if—" Edelmar cut me off.
"Amoretta," he began. He took my hand and placed it on his heart. "Do you feel my heart? It beats for the most beautiful, smartest, kindest, and strongest woman I know. It was meant to beat for you and it always will. As long as it is beating, I know you can achieve anything. Not only will your hopes and dreams carry you far, but I, along with your friends and family, will be here to support you. I love you," he said.
Tears came to my eyes and, in that single moment, I knew exactly what I wanted to name my baby.
I held a tiny bundle in my arms. Just an hour ago, I had given birth to a beautiful baby girl. Edelmar had held my hand through the entire ordeal.
"What will be her name?" The midwife asked, her quill ready on the birth certificate.
"Aurelia Cordelle," I murmured.
The midwife smiled and nodded before leaving the room. Edelmar lay on the bed beside me, his arms wrapped around me as we stared down at our baby. Where I had bronze colored skin, my daughter had light ochre—a color that I presume came from both me and Edelmar. The soft tuft of hair on her head was dark brown, not necessarily black, but more like Edelmar's hair color. She had Edelmar's nose and ears, yet my jaw line, cheekbones, and eyebrows. Identifying these traits just made her seem more real to me.
"Aurelia Cordelle...'golden heart'? Why?" Edelmar asked.
I shrugged. "It's the name that popped into my mind when you gave your little speech," I teased. I sobered. "It feels like Athanasia gave the name to me, as though I heard it on the wind, or the ocean's spray, or from the smoke of a flame. It feels as though this name is meant for our daughter."
Edelmar raised his eyebrows at my words, but his eyes softened immediately. He leaned in closer, capturing my lips in a kiss that I didn't know I had been yearning for. His lips hungrily feasted on mine, my tongue tracing his bottom lip. I moaned into the kiss, only to pull away. "I'm sorry, but I think we'll have to wait awhile before I can have another baby," I joked. Edelmar laughed before pecking me on the cheek.
After a while, the rest of our family members entered the room and Aurelia was passed around, going from arms to arms. Only when she was finally placed in Edelmar's arms did she cry. I smiled at him before taking her into my arms. I caught a glimpse of her eyes as she cried—as I'm sure that Edelmar did— for we both gasped: her eyes were the same molten gold color as mine and my mother's. A smile broke out on my face as I laughed. As I laughed, Aurelia's whimpering subsided. She stared up at her parents through half-open eyes before drifting back to sleep. My eyes glanced at each of the faces in the room, all staring at my baby. They were all different, yet they all had a soft love in their gazes.
I leaned against the tree, much like I had when I was pregnant. But now, there was no baby growing in me. My stomach had quickly slimmed down to its previous state, yet I still had a little fat on my hips that came with being a mother. Edelmar didn't mind; in fact, I did notice him watching me as I walked around the room, putting Aurelia to sleep. I wouldn't be surprised if I was pregnant again in the next coming months.
Laughter filled the air as I looked up from my book.
Edelmar was dressed in nothing but a pair of trunks. His broad chest and well-toned abs glistened as the sun shone on his wet body. My 5 month old baby girl wore her own swimsuit as she sat on the edge of the waterfall's pool, laughing at the funny faces her father made. I made sure that she could sit up on her own before letting her sit by the pool's edge without someone watching her. But she was still a foot away from the pool: I won't take the risk.
I put my book down and stood up, dressed in my wrappings. I walked over to the water's edge, smiling at Edelmar. He raised an eyebrow before raking his eyes over my body. I shivered at the lust evident in his grin.
"Now, what could possibly be making you smile like that?" I said.
"I wonder," he responded sarcastically. He climbed out of the pool, water dripping off of him. He used the three inches he had on me to come up close to me and look down into my eyes. I felt myself getting lost in his gray-blue eyes as he wrapped his arms around me. He kissed me, long and hard before picking me up bridal style.
I gasped in surprise, clinging to him. I looked at him suspiciously before glancing at the water. My gaze shifted between the water and his face.
"No! No, don't you dare! King Edelmar, if you jump into that water, I swear to Athanasi—AAAH!" I screamed as he jumped into the pool, taking me with him. I resurfaced, facing Edelmar's smirking face. I was just about to drown him before my baby's laughter echoed louder than before.
She gurgled and laughed as she reached her arms toward me, waving them frantically. Her shoulder-length, dark brown wavy curls trembled with her movement. I took her in my arms, making sure to keep the water away from her head. She snuggled against me and I held her close, not having to wait long before I felt Edelmar's arms wrap around the both of us.
"Nothing like seeing my two favorite women in bathing suits," he smirked. I rolled my eyes before giggling. I guess it's safe to say that I managed to get a happy ending that I know will last forever.
FINALLY! It's all done! I hope you all enjoyed the story and please, do not hesitate to review even though I've finished.
I will be writing a sequel to the story called: Golden Heart
Look out for it and please, recommend my story to others! Thank you to all of my faithful reviewers and readers for sticking to the story and offering constructive criticism.