Title: For the love of a Prince.
Which fairytale inspired you: The Princess and the Pea
Rating & Any Needed Warning: M rating, contains sexual content.
Word Count: 7621
Pairing: Edward & Bella
Summary: Edward's Parents insist he marries a true Princess, but all he wants is a woman he can love who hasn't been had by half the kingdom already!
Disclaimer: Twilight and all of its Character's belong to Stephenie Meyer.
Edward Cullen was the only Prince of the Volturi Kingdom. He was a handsome young man who tried to please his parents in every choice that he made, making King Carlisle and Queen Esme very happy parents indeed. However, it was becoming apparent for the first time that Prince Edward and his parents were not going to see eye to eye about something for the first time…his marriage.
The King and Queen wanted their son to marry a princess in order to keep the blood of the Royal family as blue as possible, but Prince Edward had other ideas regarding that. The only princesses he knew were highly conceited, not to mention less pure than the sheets at the local brothel. From what he knew, most of these princesses opened their legs as easily as they opened their treasuries to purchase copious amounts of clothing and jewelry to wear and those that hadn't had already been claimed for the sake of a suitable marriage.
Prince Edward's friend, Prince Benjamin, was soon going to marry Princess Angela. The two men had talked long and hard about the topic of marriage and the sort of women the desired and they had agreed on one thing…the women they took as their wives could not have given their virginity to anyone else. They both refused to share their future kingdoms with any woman who had shared herself before marriage.
Prince Benjamin had even had Princess Angela checked by the royal doctors to ensure that she was indeed of virtue as she proclaimed, and Benjamin had been delighted to find she had spoken true, as he had already fallen in love with her understated charm. Now that Edward had arrived at marrying age, his parents wished him to wed as his two older sisters had before him.
Princess Rose and Princess Alice had both married well to men from other kingdoms, and his brothers-in-law, Prince Emmett and Prince Jasper, had tried to offer their advice on selecting the perfect wife.
"I don't think there is anything wrong with having a wife who knows her way around a bedchamber. It makes for some very interesting fun!" Prince Emmett explained, causing Edward to recoil as he realized Emmett was referring to his sister as well as informing him that his sister was not among those innocent women. Were even his own sisters as shallow as the other princesses he knew?
"I agree with Edward. It is important to know that your wife has belonged to no other…to know that she is yours and yours alone." Prince Jasper exclaimed, giving Edward hope. From that comment alone Edward knew that there must be a princess somewhere who was untainted by other men…one that he could find and call his own.
With that idea in mind, Edward arranged a masked ball with his parents' blessing. They wanted their son to marry immediately, but they also wished to see him happily settled down with the right girl. They were far less demanding than most parents who forced arranged unions on their children, but they did expect him to marry before his twenty first birthday.
Prince Edward took advantage of their agreement and immediately had invitations distributed to every kingdom within a three day ride. The invitations were sent to every Royal Family, and in particular to those with available daughters. They requested that the princesses to arrive the day before the ball and to stay the night at the Palace. Edward awaited the replies impatiently.
For days before the masked ball, the kingdom was a-twitter. Everyone knew that Prince Edward hoped to choose a wife from the many princesses that would arrive with their escorts based on the hastily written replies to the invitations he had sent. The entire kingdom held their collective breath in hope that their kindhearted prince would choose a princess that would suit him and befit his royal calling.
The palace was hung with new tapestries depicting romantic scenes and decorated with swaths of brightly colored fabrics, which were meant to help inspire thoughts of love. Edward personally had each bedroom suite suited for the princesses and their entourages.
If there was one thing Edward knew well while growing up as a prince, it was princesses. His two sisters were beautiful and graceful; they were witty, charming and delicate. He had been given the right by his parents to choose his wife with only one condition…that she must be a genuine princess and not a commoner.
With all of this information in mind, and as his parents required, he set about making sure that he could test each princess to ensure they were everything a princess should be. He would also make certain that whomever he selected was pure for him and only him.
Prince Edward had each bed layered with pillows, soft blankets and the finest of linens. Under each feather mattress he placed a dried, rock hard pea that he was sure would irritate their delicate skin. Pleased with the measures he had taken to ensure his parents' demands, he set about figuring out how to make sure his own demands were met.
The day before the ball, the princesses began arriving. Their numerous wagons drew up to the gate, all loaded down with luggage and hand maidens. The princesses stalked about, haughtily throwing out orders to their servants and stomping their dainty little feet when they did not get their way. Edward watched from a tower high above the courtyard with his friend Benjamin and his two brothers-in-law as the ladies arrived, and after a few moments, he sighed deeply as he drew back from the stone lined window.
"My friends," he said to his fellow princes. "I am not sure how to go about the task I set for myself."
"Edward, you could simply ask them and have whatever princess that takes your fancy visit the physician to be inspected," Ben suggested logically.
"Perhaps," interjected Prince Emmett, "Or, you could try to bed each and every one and then you would know for sure…personally!" Edward shook his head at his brother=in=law's distasteful idea.
"I might suggest that you try to use your wiles upon those lovely women and see which ones try to resist you. A woman who has retained her honor will make herself known by her actions," Jasper suggested quietly, causing Edward to smile. It was a novel idea…to try and lure the woman with his charm and good looks to see which of them refused him. That was the idea Edward liked best.
The rest of the day passed quickly, now that Edward had a plan. He strolled about the castle, identifying the princesses that had arrived and noting which were available to be wedded and which were already spoken for, and he realized that the list of princesses was quite lengthy.
There was Princess Lauren. Edward had met her before. She came from a nearby smaller kingdom. She was a dreadful bore, and even though she was fairly attractive, her dry nature left Edward hoping that she would not be the one to reject his advances as he had no desire to be wedded to her, pure or otherwise.
Next was Princess Jessica. She was a beautiful girl, and quite pleasant. The problem with this particular princess was that she did not seem to know her elbow from her ankle. How such a bright King like her father Eleazar and his beautiful wife Queen Carmen had created such a simple minded daughter was beyond Edward's reasoning.
Princess Victoria was a woman whose beauty was spoken about throughout the kingdoms. Her hair was an unusual color of fiery red. Edward had never been given the opportunity to meet her before, but he had heard rumors that Prince James had bedded her on more than one occasion. Edward did desire beauty, but his bride had to have so much more than that alone.
The next to arrive were the twin sisters Princess Tanya and Irina, who were both fair haired beauties. Edward had heard nothing about them from his fellow Princes and was interested to see if one of them might be the sort of woman he sought to be his bride.
Princess Leah arrived later in the day. She was very regal and rather tall…so tall in fact that she made Edward feel short in comparison. She seemed nice enough though, so Edward decided to give the young woman a chance. It wouldn't do to limit one's possible choices he had for a future wife.
There were other families arriving through the day with daughters in tow. Some were mere children whom Edward refused to consider. He would not pick a wife from a brood of youth and wait for her to come to an acceptable age. The very idea made him queasy and he could not understand how any man could pick a wife from those of such a tender age.
The castle was alive with the sounds of merriment as the numerous guests settled in for the night, quite an undertaking with so many guests staying inside its carved stones walls. Edward quietly patrolled the halls, greeting each princess and making sure she was shown to the appropriate room that he had had readied for her stay.
The night drew late and outside a storm brewed, the wind lashing outside as the rain pelted against the strong stones. Edward was thankful that all of his guests had arrived before the storm had begun.
The Princesses, their families and Ladies in Waiting had finally settled in for a night of tossing and turning when there was a rather alarming bang at the front doors of the Castle. Being close at hand when the sound erupted, Edward himself, under the supervision of the guards, opened the door.
There at the door was the sopping, bedraggled form of some sort of creature. It appeared to be a girl, but Edward could barely tell through the mud and debris that covered every inch of her and the darkness that surrounded her petite frame. Edward stepped forward; curious as to whom it could be, only to have a guardsman pull him back. The small figure held out a hand, a hand that held a dirt encrusted piece of parchment. Edward delicately removed it and upon inspection he realized it was one of his invitations to the masque.
Edward was speechless. Before him stood a mysterious girl who was covered in filth and twigs and the only explanation she offered was that slip of paper? There was a sudden rush of footsteps and a man in uniform raced up to stand beside the girl. He too was splattered in mud.
"Princess…Princess, are you quite alright?" The muddied form nodded her head in response before the man spoke up again. "Can you please see that the princess has a bath drawn? Our carriage was overthrown when the storm blew a loose branch under the horses' feet. The Princess tried to help calm the beasts, but they trampled everything, and very nearly killed our beloved princess in the same instance.
The man turned back to his charge, telling her that her handmaiden Kate was currently trying to collect her gowns, but that it seemed everything was beyond salvaging. The muddied princess sighed and bowed her head…saying nothing. I was intrigued. Any other princess I knew would have been screaming about her things and throwing the whole palace into turmoil… but this small, soiled creature was silent. The least I could do was to have bathwater brought to her room for her to clean herself with.
I requested it from the household staff at once and they set to work boiling the water. My sisters, hearing the commotion had come downstairs and taken the bedraggled creature with them up the stairs and towards the chambers that the princesses were utilizing this evening.
With her temporarily taken care of, I sent out my guards to assist her manservant with the retrieval of the carriage and the beasts that had overturned it. Less than an hour later the coach was in the stable being tended to and the beasts were being cleaned, fed and watered for the evening. Once inside the castle, I headed for the upstairs floor wanting to be sure that our latest guest was settling in comfortably.
I made my way past many of the chambers only to stop at the last and most recently filled one. I knocked on the door but there was no reply from within. I did not wish to intrude, but wanted to be sure that my guest knew her people and her animals were safe before she retired for the evening, so I tried the handle, quietly easing the door open.
The heavy wooden door moved easily on well greased hinges. It opened into the main chamber, and there before the great central fireplace that adorned each room was a brass bathing tub. The room was darkened save for the bright flames the snapped and crackled as the wood in the grate burned. I had not spoken a word and all that could be heard was the sound of the wood hissing and snapping as the heat caressed them in its deathly embrace.
Just as I turned to leave through the still slightly opened door, a new sound met my ears…the sound of water moving slightly as it was disturbed. My eyes darted back to the bathing tub and there before my eyes stood a vision. The red glow of the flames lit up the silhouette of a nude woman…and she was most certainly a woman. As she rose from the tub, the flames outlined every curve and rounded bit of skin. I found myself swallowing reflectively as my throat suddenly became dry.
The woman's face was not turned in my direction, but as she rose from the water, the bright oranges and yellows showed the curve of her hips and the pertness of her breasts as she stepped out from the water and it slipped silently over her skin. I felt myself become uncomfortable as my manhood grew in size at the very sight of this beguiling creature in front of me.
I could not see her face as long dark hair fell down around her shoulders, nearly reaching her waist. I inhaled sharply, but did not utter a sound, instead slowly stepping backward through the slightly cracked door through which I had just entered.
Once in the hallway, I stepped quickly away from her door to the other side of the hall, pressing my forehead against the cool stone. I took many deep breaths, trying to calm the beast between my legs. As I began to regain control, I heard people approaching. I quickly took a few more steps away from the door of the mysterious princess.
I looked down the hall and saw my sister approaching with another unfamiliar woman. Rosalie saw me in the hall and hailed me over.
"Edward? Whatever are you doing here?" she asked me earnestly. Her face was curious but calm.
"I came to see if anything was needed for the Princess…she must be very upset," I explained haltingly.
My sister Alice smiled at me gently.
"How kind of you, Edward. But it seems that Princess Isabella is more concerned for the state of her horses than the state of her clothing. What a strange girl." Alice murmured offhandedly. "That is why Rosalie and I came to the rescue. Kate has brought us to help the princess settle in. They have come from far away after all."
"Really? Where have they travelled from?" I asked curiously, content that at last the mystery princess had a name…though I still had not seen her…um…face. Rosalie turned to Kate and inclined her head at the girl, indicating she should speak.
"Your Highness, we travelled from the distant Kingdom of Forks. We had been journeying to visit a close friend in the La Push Nation, when their King. William. received the invitation to your ball. He and Isabella's father, King Charles, are close friends as well as allies, and since he had no daughters that were available for marriage that he could send…he requested that Princess Isabella attend instead." the young woman said, her head bowed to the young Prince.
Forks? I had only heard tales from that kingdom as it was such a large distance away, but the rumor was that the King was a wise man, intuitive and gracious, but also a stickler for justice. He did not allow crime to go unpunished. I had never heard about any children, yet years ago it had spread through the land that the Queen had died suddenly. I had never heard rumors of another marriage, and Royal weddings were a highly popular topic, so I was sure that he must have remained a widower.
I bowed respectfully, excusing myself from their presence and left the woman to go to the princess before I resigned to my rooms for the night. After closing the thick wooden doors and latching them, I drew the curtains surrounding my bed closed. I lay among the soft covers and attempted to settle into sleep. I knew that tomorrow would bring interesting results…results that would cumulate in my selecting a wife.
Sleep did not come easily. I could hear voices murmuring well into the hours of the night, some louder than others, but they did not bother me. What did make my sleep restless though, were the haunting images of a faceless princess who teased me with her dark beauty as she swayed temptingly before me naked and glistening with droplets of water across her pale skin only to disappear in a burst of flames whenever I came close to seeing her properly.
I awoke tired, grumpy and thoroughly aroused.
I ended up having to utilize the cold basin of water to ease my problems, but it only helped slightly. After dressing hastily, I headed downstairs where I knew a large meal to break the fast would be served.
Upon arriving at the Great Hall we would be dining in, I met with my brothers-in-law who seemed even dourer than I was. They seized me by the arms and pulled me aside to warn me that the princesses were irritable and cantankerous due to their poor night's sleep. They had complained about their lumpy mattresses and poor sleep during the entire meal. The only thing that had made the meal remotely bearable was the presence of Princess Isabella. She was charming and witty, and not a word of complaint or ill intent left her lips.
Both men commented on her beauty and how. with the exception of their own wives, they had never seen such a ravishing creature. I was torn at their words…if Isabella had not complained…did that mean she slept well and was not a true princess? Was she as lovely as Emmett and Jasper claimed? My mind was going in many different directions. To calm it, I decided to speak to the princess myself to see how she had slept.
After thanking my brothers- in-law for their warnings, I made my way into the hall, where every last princess seemed to suddenly have a change in demeanor. This twofaced reaction was the reason why I had Emmett and Jasper observe the Princesses for me. I was the potential husband, and therefore none of them would want me to see their irritable and cantankerous sides.
I wished them each good morning with a smile as I passed, while my eyes scanned the room for the one Princess I had yet to properly meet. I looked around the entire room, only to realize that she was no longer here. How had I missed her? I could not just leave without appearing rude, so I stayed and attempted to enjoy the company at hand.
I remained for as long as I could bear it. For almost an entire hour I had to listen to droll conversations about various topics…feigning an interest in what was said, my mind elsewhere as I wondered if the mysterious princess would return. When I could bear no more, I retired to my rooms once more.
Where was she? This distraction was an upset that I had not planned on and I hoped it would not keep me from achieving my goals today. I stayed in my chambers till late morning, and then went out for a short ride on my favorite steed. After galloping across the fields for what felt like eternity, I made my way back to the palace and left the winded horse in the capable hands of the stable master.
I went up to my chambers and had the servants bring my supper and ready a bath so that I could prepare for the evening's events. I forced myself to eat a few morsels, knowing that there would be a feast beyond imagination in the evening. There would be sweet meats, and pies, mead and so much more, so I abandoned my meal and set about bathing and relaxing for a short time.
Even the soothing hot water did little to distract me from the thoughts on my mind as the sound of the water against the brass sides of the tub made me recall the vision I had had of the princess from the night before. Was she pure? Her body seemed that of a temptress and I wondered if she was just that…was she like so many of the other Princesses who had given their purity so freely in the hopes of gaining a royal husband?
I sighed as I thought of her…but try as might I could not envision what she might look like. I thought of the other princesses and not one of them held the allure that the Princess Isabella did. I longed to see her face…to make the visions I had of her whole…but I could not. Did she have blue eyes…green eyes…brown eyes? Even something as simple as eye color was unknown to me, and therefore left my daydreams shattered and incomplete.
I eventually gave up any pretense of resting and instead dressed in my finery for the masque. I tied each fasten, and buckled the gilded belt at my waist. I had been excited about tonight's events…yet now I was suddenly hesitant and wished that the ball was not for another fortnight. It would allow me more time to clear my head so that I could focus on the momentous task of choosing a bride.
I sighed and ran my hand through my hair before affixing my mask in place. I rolled my shoulders trying to ease a stiffness that was trying to set in, and then tried to put my mind in the right frame to focus on the importance of this evening's decisions. I finally left my room as dusk set in and with it the masque began, heralding in a new phase of my life.
I made my way down the wide, winding staircase. There was merry music coming from the ballroom where I arrived and, stopped at the door to allow myself to be announced. Even at a masque, everyone would recognize the Royalty of the hosting family. The masks could not hide the golden edged clothing, or the way that others became silent upon our approach, just as was happening now.
I clapped my hands loudly and invited everyone to please continue with the merry making. and soon the sounds of music and laughter rang through the room once more. My brothers- in-law had promised to keep the music and spirits flowing all night long while I made my rounds, testing each Princesses character.
I slowly made my way around the floor, searching as I considered selecting my first target. My eyes took in their stature and finery, watching how each one I saw interacted with those around them.
First to draw my attention was the statuesque Princess Leah. I saw her dancing a gay waltz with a dark skinned fellow. and moved to claim the next dance.
When I held her in my arms she seemed preoccupied, and when I noticed her gaze constantly departing mine, I realized that she was looking for the man she had been dancing with before me. I chose not to test the Princess, as it seemed that she was enamored with another, and I would never stand in the way of anyone else's happiness. Instead, I bowed to her and thanked her for the trip around the floor. She thanked me as well but immediately left me to go and find the tall, dark gentleman she has been dancing with.
I smiled at my first failure, but did not let it hold me back from continuing my search. Once again, I let my eyes rove until I saw Princess Jessica. I was not too keen on spending a large amount of time with her, but if I did not do it now, I would have to later in the night.
I invited her to dance and she willingly agreed with a smile. We began to dance as the next song started up. I asked her how she enjoyed the quicker dances and she responded by telling me that they weren't as fun because she found it hard to know where to go next. I found her confusion somewhat amusing, but hid my smile with a well-mannered nod. We continued to dance and Jessica spoke up next, asking me how I felt about being heir to the throne.
Her question surprised me as I found it profound and well articulated, and for such a question to come from someone I had thought to be of limited intelligence made me consider that I had misjudged this princess. But just as I was about to reply to her question, she confirmed what I had long suspected, shattering the brief illusion that I had conjured within my mind. .
"I don't know why anyone would wish to be air…it is much more fun being royalty. Why ever would you want to give up being a prince to become air? I keep hearing that you are air to the throne….but how does one air a throne…they don't even breathe!"
I had to cough to keep from laughing out loud at her simplemindedness, but decided I need not test her further, as my queen would not be such a simpleton. I cut the dance short telling her that she had given me much to think about, which caused her to smile brightly and with that. I kissed her hand and slipped away into the throng of dancers.
I needed to get a breath of air to keep going and so I stepped out onto one of many balconies that were just off the ballroom. Once I had calmed myself somewhat, I turned to discover I was not the only person there. Just off to my left, to the farthest side of the balcony was a woman. She had pale skin that shone almost white in the moonlight.
Her hair was pinned to the top of her head in a mass of dark curls. She was unfamiliar to me, but being out here, unattended, I assumed she must be a handmaiden to one of the many women.
"Good evening," I commented slowly. "I am sorry to have intruded on your solitude."
"No harm has been done. I simply needed to get some air, Your Highness. The heat had gotten to me I am afraid," she replied, curtsying slightly in respect.
"Are you a guest here at the Palace?" I asked curiously.
She nodded her head slowly.
"Though to be honest I cannot wait to return home." she said softly. Her voice was musical and very enchanting.
"Why so?" I asked, curious. Had she been mistreated?
"I do not mean any disrespect, Sire. But I am here as a favor to a family friend, and after the poor nights rest I took last evening I long for the comfort of familiarity," she answered hesitantly.
I nodded my understanding.
"Travelling is hard at the best of times, but to not have comfort makes it that much harder," I responded, causing her to smile widely at me. This allowed me a moment to study her closely. She had the deepest brown eyes I had ever seen; they were rich and warm…a dark contrast to her milky skin. As her lips spread into such a genuine smile I noticed her skin flush slightly and it made her radiant. It was such a shame that she was not a princess. She seemed sweet and genuine on top of being almost ethereal in her beauty.
"I have bruises all over," she said with a giggle.
"How so…Did you fall? Were you injured?" I asked in concern.
"No…simply from resting poorly," she responded. "I even enjoyed a lovely bath first after our horses over-turned the carriage….but I hardly slept the entire night. I am not sure why…the bed was as soft as a cloud. I just wish to return to Forks now," she said, sighing wistfully,
Forks? Bath? A turned carriage? It was then that I realized I was not talking to a handmaiden…but to Princess Isabella herself….and she had indeed slept poorly.
That registered two things to my mind at the same time: One...Princess Isabella was in fact a true Princess, delicate and alluring as a Princess should be; and Two…I now had a face to put to the voluptuous body that had haunted my dreams…and with that thought. I felt my manhood rise to full attention.
I shifted my stance suddenly, trying not to draw attention to my situation. This woman had no idea that I had seen her in a state of undress. How was she to know that I had seen her milky white skin…her firm, rounded breasts? And my problem was even more obvious now. I turned away from the Princess and walked to the edge of the terrace, trying to discreetly quell my throbbing erection with dour thoughts of war and old hags, but my abrupt move caused the Princess to follow me, asking if I was alright.
Her voice caressed my ears as softly as I imagined her hands would caress my chest…surely her skin was a soft as it was beautiful. I shook my head swiftly to try and bring my thoughts around to those of propriety.
"No, you're not alright? Should I get help?" she asked, placing a hand tentatively on my arm.
The only help I needed was hers, in our wedding bed with her beautiful body laid out to receive me! Her beauty and manner was so intriguing that I almost asked for her hand then and there…my earlier demand of purity seeming of very little importance. But it was that very thought that sobered me.
I would finish my quest quickly, and come to Bella last. She was the one I truly wanted, and I would not let it be said that I did not try my best to please my parents. I only prayed that by doing that, I would also be pleasing myself and would end up with Isabella as the prize.
I cleared my throat quickly, and turned…knowing it was safe and that I would not impale the poor woman on the erection she had induced from my loins.
"Princess, I am fine…thank you for your concern. I fear that I have merely been overwhelmed by the activities of the evening, but I am well now…would it be too forward to ask that you reserve a dance for me, before the night is through?"
Her eyes seemed to widen and then her skin flushed impossibly darker…the color flowing from her cheeks to the top of her bosom, and possibly further. I was entranced, but refused to let my gaze linger there. Instead I focused on her face, and her silent acceptance of my request with a hesitant nod.
"As you wish, Your Highness," she finally replied in a soft voice as she curtsied.
"And I do wish, Isabella," I replied hopefully not too forwardly, but I could not stay my tongue. I thought I heard her make a sound, but I was not sure. Instead, I seized her hand and brought it to my lips, pressing a gentle kiss to the back of it, my lips caressing her petal soft skin as I bowed to her.
"Until then…" I said softly, quickly departing before I was unable to tear myself away from her side.
With renewed urgency, I slipped back into the clamor and sought out Benjamin.
"I believe I have found my bride!" I told him emphatically.
"You have? Which one?" Ben replied, looking around the crowded ballroom.
"Princess Isabella…I have fallen into her web of enchantment. I am simply going to dance with the other princesses to be sure my parents can see I have tried to meet with each one…and then if Princess Isabella is pure…I shall wed her…if she will have me."
Prince Benjamin nodded his head and lifted a chalice of wine to his lips.
"I understand your enchantment. If I were not to be wedded to Angela, she would tempt even me….and that is saying a great deal. Now, off with you. Your parents are looking this way so go and do your princely duty of greeting the ladies who are here in your honor.
I looked up and saw that he was correct. My parents were indeed watching me at that moment. I smiled and waved at them, but then turned to find my next target…I wanted this charade over with as swiftly as possible.
I looked over the crowd, and my eyes landed on Princess Victoria. I discounted her from the start, and decided that I was correct in doing so. She was dancing with Prince James and the way the two of them moved together made it very clear that they were beyond familiar with one another.
II continued looking and saw Princess Tanya…or was it Princess Irina? The two were hard to tell apart but as I made my way over to her, I realized that it was indeed Princess Tanya. I saw her sister dancing with Prince Laurent, and the way they glanced at one another made me smile, and realize that I would not be bothering Princess Irina tonight.
"Good evening, Princess Tanya. May I have the pleasure of this dance?"
Princess Tanya looked and me and smiled.
"The pleasure is mine, Your Highness," she said as she curtsied deeply. Her manners were indeed impeccable. I noticed as I took her into my arms and began to swing her around the floor.
"How has your visit been so far?" I asked politely…not sure If I could actually try to bring myself to find out what sort of woman she was.
"It has been most pleasant so far, but is even better now that you are here, Your Highness," she answered…her voice sounding oddly high. I was not sure how to respond to that statement and so I continued moving us through the steps of the dance that the musicians were currently playing.
She seemed to know this dance as she let me lead her with no difficulties…at least I thought so until I went to lead the Princess into the next move and the Princess crashed into me roughly, nearly knocking me to the ground.
Her body pressed against mine as I sought to right myself from the sudden collision. I stood up swiftly and went to assist her only to feel her hands pushing against me in an area she had no right touching.
"I beg your pardon!" I said roughly as I pushed her suddenly wandering hands away from my body. I looked up expecting to find her face horrorstruck for her accidental actions, but only found her face drawn into a strange smile as she folded her arms across her chest.
"I can make you very happy, Your Highness. There are many things I can do for you to bring you pleasure. All you have to do is chose me as your bride." she said slowly. I think she thought herself to be alluring, but her actions were by far the opposite, doing nothing but revolting me instead.
"And how would you know of such things, Princess?" I sneered, all gentlemanly practices gone. "Only a harlot would make such an offer. You have already made it much easier for me to make my choice though…and you are not it!" I stated with vehemence as I stormed away from her. What nerve!
I was angered and tried to walk it off as I searched for the next Princess to dance with. Near one of the walls stood Princess Lauren, and knowing she was the last obstacle between me and my dance with Bella, I stalked over to her, wanting this charade to end as quickly as possible.
"May I have this dance, Princess?" I asked brusquely.
She turned to me and nodded without speaking. I offered her my arm and she took it with a small smile. I tried to prepare myself to make small talk…but before the first word left my lips, I spotted Princess Isabella dancing with a gentleman I was unfamiliar with. He seemed to be gazing at her with much too much interest. The sight of her dancing with another mad me quiver with jealously…I wanted to be the one holding her.
I was just about to walk over and interrupt when Princess Lauren spoke up.
"How are you enjoying the night's festivities?" She asked in a monotone voice.
I sighed quietly and turned to her to reply. When I glanced at her I saw her eyelashes fluttering away as if she were about to have a fainting spell of some sort.
"Princess…are…are you…ill?" I asked her hesitantly…not wishing to appear rude.
"I am fine, Highness…why ever do you ask?" she said as her eyelids continued to flutter in the most unsettling way. Before I responded I had a flash of what life with this woman might be like…the irritating conversations in her lackluster voice…and would our children be as odd? I shuddered to even imagine bedding this woman and it was then that I knew I could not continue with this game. I had to find Isabella at once.
"No reason, Princess. I am sorry…I just realized I need to be somewhere else at this moment…would you excuse me?" I asked quickly as I scanned the crowd for Bella and the dark haired gentleman from earlier.
"Of course, Your Highness," the Princess said flatly. I had already left her side before her words reached my ears. I just had to find Isabella. Nothing else mattered to me anymore…not her purity…not her title…just the way she made me feel when I was around her….that was the only thing of any consequence.
I raced to and fro…looking for her, seeing the masses of moving bodies, but not seeing the only one I wished to see. I sought her over the entire Ballroom, but she was nowhere to be found. It was then I wondered if perhaps she had gone out for air once more.
I made my way there a quickly as the wind. Just as I reached the edge of the terrace I heard her melodious voice.
"Please let me go…you're hurting me!"
I felt my blood boil with rage. I raced out onto the balcony to see the man from earlier forcing himself onto Isabella. His hands held hers tightly together as he roughly pawed at her. I could see the tears on her skin as she tried to flail against his sheer size, but her small frame was of no use against his brawn.
"Unhand her!" I roared, seething…, my shoulders shaking with my unadulterated anger.
The man turned from her with a cocky grin, and the smile fell from his face as he looked at me.
"Prince Edward…I didn't…I mean I wouldn't have…it was all in fun," he stated lamely I didn't wait for words, Instead. I strode to his side, raising my clenched hand as I went. I let my fist fly without another word. I would not listen to his excuses. My strike landed squarely on his jaw, sending him flying to the ground, where he laid still…knocked out cold. Isabella cried out in alarm and without another thought I pulled her into my arms and held her there.
I could feel her rapid breaths as she inhaled and exhaled. They were accompanied by the softest of whimpers, and I decided then and there that nothing else mattered but that she was mine.
"Isabella?" I asked softly. I heard her sniffle softly as she lifted her head up to look at me.
"Yes…Y-Your Highness?" she asked…still so formal.
"Are you hurt? Did that ruffian hurt you?" I prodded her gently. I could hear the approach of feet and knew that the sound of the scuffle had drawn attention. I did not even look away from her eyes as the terrace became flooded by curious onlookers.
"No…thanks to you...I am fine," she said shyly…her luminous eyes taking my face in as if she were truly seeing me for the first time.
"Do you still feel well enough to dance with me?" I asked with a smile.
"I would like that, Your Highness." she said, blushing slightly once more. I went to lead her off of the terrace, but then stopped abruptly, turning to her again.
"I am afraid I do not want a dance," I said. shaking my head. Isabella looked at me with confusion.
"I want all of your dances…" I trailed off, looking at her.
"You wish to dance with me all evening?" she inquired, her voice sounding unsure.
"Yes…and no. I wish to have all of your dances…this evening…and every night after tonight, if you will allow me?" I asked softly.
"Every night?" she echoed, and I nodded. "But only a husband can request that…" she said slowly. I watched as the realization of what I was requesting dawned upon her and her eyes widened.
"Your Highness?" she questioned.
"Edward," I replied gently.
"Edward then…" she responded, sounding slightly irritated.
"Yes, Isabella..." I quipped smartly.
"Are you asking to marry me?" she inquired.
"If you will have me," I said giving her the most brilliant smile I possessed. I knew that just because I wanted her, it did not mean that she had to accept.
"Oh…what if I am not what you desire? I am not like most Princesses. I am stubborn…I like to do things for myself…I am…hard headed…" she began, but I could not allow her to continue to berate herself. She was glorious and unequaled in our world.
I felt that there was only one way to silence all of those fears...I kissed her.
I pressed my lips to hers in a searing kiss, feeling a fire ignite between us. I laced my fingers into her hair and sighed against her lips at the feel of her silky tresses against my skin. I moved my lips against hers, gently mouthing her lower lip until she was moved to action.
I felt her arms encircle my neck as she engaged in the kiss, pressing her soft lips against my searching ones. The result was even more staggering and she left me breathless with desire. I slipped my arms protectively around her and pulled her close, holding her to me while protecting her from the rest of the world. It was only the sound of clearing throats behind us that snapped us out of our passionate embrace.
We drew apart slowly, though I refused to let my arms leave their place around the woman I wished to have as my wife. My eyes roved, stopping as they took in the prominent figure of my father, the King of Volterra, as he stood watching me and the woman I held so close. His expression gave nothing away.
"Is there something you wish to tell me, Edward?" he asked, his voice calm.
"Father…I have found the Princess I wish to marry," I said loud enough for the crowd to hear. The moment those words left my mouth my father's mask of indifference melted away and he beamed with pride.
"Let it be known that Prince Edward had chosen Princess Isabella as his bride! Let the celebrations begin at once!" His voice ordered jovially. He stepped forward and embraced us both at once, stepping back so my mother could do the same. He immediately ordered a message be sent to Forks to have Isabella's family brought to the palace for the wedding.
I turned to Isabella and pressed a chaste kiss against her brow, wanting those gathered here to know that I was already humbled by her. She was to be the Queen of my Kingdom as well as my heart, and I wished for her to be as admired by others as she was by me.
"I hope you can accept me with all of my flaws as well?" I asked her softly to which she nodded subtly.
"Then here Isabella…is to our future!" I said grasping a goblet off the tray of those being handed around, and procuring one for her as well.
"To our future!" she repeated with warm, watchful eyes as she raised her glass and I did the same. The crowd around us repeated the sentiments wishing us well as Isabella and I held our glasses to our lips and drank deeply.
The end…or is it?