Chapter 1: A Unique Arrangement
Disclaimer: This work is purely fanfiction and for entertainment value only. No copyright infringement is intended. Everything is property of the wonderful mind of Ms. Richelle Mead. Thank you to her for letting her biggest fans play with her characters.
So here is my new story. It is all human and DimitriXRose. It is set in my hometown of Chicago. Shout outs to all my fellow Chicagoans. I figured I was tired of researching places I've never been and decided to write about what I know. I also know that royalty no longer exists in Turkey, Russia and a lot of other places, but let's pretend for one minute that this is make believe and go with it shall we? Thanks so much in advance for giving my story a shot. I hope you enjoy it!
"Are you sure it has to be done this way?" I was sitting in the throne room of the Turkish King, Ibrahim Mazur. I myself Prince Dimitri Alexandr Belikov of Russia was not quite sure what he was asking me to do.
"If I know my daughter, she's going to run at the first sign of an arranged marriage," he replied sagely stroking his graying beard.
"Let her meet me. I'm sure I can win her heart over without the trickery you're suggesting," I reasoned. The thought of what he was asking me to do was extremely unorthodox and slightly insane in my opinion. Plus, I was a pretty good catch. Most girls would jump at the chance to be by blushing bride to be. I wasn't being arrogant. These were just the facts. I had graduated top of my class from the best university in Russia. I was an accomplished equestrian, huntsman and excelled at many sports. I was a black belt in martial arts and was one of the most elligible royals in this part of the world. I'd never met a girl who hadn't fallen head over heels in love with me or at least with my title and wealth.
He shook his head. "You don't know my Rosemarie the way I do. She enjoys her free will and to have it taken from her is her greatest fear. I already tried having her choose a suitor from a list of eligible nobleman thinking that by giving her a choice she'd concede, but even that proved to agitate her."
"How so?" I asked wondering how on earth he was unable to handle one seemingly unruly teenage girl. It seemed a simple task. Force her to submit to his will. He was the King and her father wasn't he? After all that is the way things were done in royal families. It was harsh and sometimes cruel, but it was the sacrifice one paid for being born into such circumstances. It seemed boorish and outdated to those outside the royal circle, but to us it was the way things were done. It had been for centuries past and would be for many to come. Arranged marriages were fairly common especially for women. My mother had been pushing me to find a bride and had threatened to arrange something for me if I didn't take an interest in someone soon. That is one of the main reasons I was even entertaining the thought of taking on this crazy mission.
"Let's just say that she played nice until they arrived and at the end of the day not one of them was willing to take on the challenge of becoming her husband," he admitted.
I pinched the bridge of my nose. "Even with monetary incentive?" I questioned skeptically. Most noblemen would jump at the chance to climb the ladder by marrying a princess, the Mazur princess no less. She was highly coveted amongst all royalty as an alignment with King Ibrahim Mazur would be the most lucrative of all arrangements. The only reason I hadn't considered her for my Queen was the fact that she had not been of age until recently and I enjoyed having my freedom.
He shook his head. "My daughter can be very persuasive when she wants something or rather when she doesn't want something. She is very headstrong for a young woman as well and I'm afraid that she intimidates some people." I stifled a laugh as it was entirely rude to laugh in the presence of a king when he was not laughing with you. What could possibly be intimidating about a teenage girl? I hadn't actually seen a photograph of her, but I heard she was quite a beauty.
"Anyways, it would do you no good to meet her. Even with your plethora of accomplishments, your high place in the monarchy, all the wealth and prestige that would come with being your wife and your handsome good looks to boot, she would not accept you."
"Why is that?" I asked slightly bored with the direction of this conversation.
"She refuses to be "sold to the highest bidder" I believe that is how she put it. She wishes to marry for love lest she end up old and alone like myself," he said chuckling.
I raised my eyebrow. It was highly uncommon for royals to marry for love. There was almost always an underlying agreement, monitary gain or business appropriation. I myself had once wished to marry for love, but I was young and naïve and realized that it wasn't an option for me.
"My wife was somewhat of a rebel and did not care for anyone telling her what to do. She did as her father requested and agreed to be my bride, but she was never happy. She was treated for depression and anxiety for most of her life and tragically ended up taking her own life when Rosemarie was five," he said his voice taking on a melancholic tone.
"I am telling you this in confidence. Her death was officially considered an adverse reaction to medication as not to cause an uproar in the press. Perhaps I am doing all of this to prevent my daughter from suffering a similar fate."
I nodded in understanding knowing full well how dirty little secrets were covered up on a daily basis in our world. A suicide was hardly the worst thing I'd heard, but it would have been a scandal no less.
"Why should I go for this deal? If she's such a headstrong stubborn woman, what sort of asset will she be to my kingdom? I am looking for a compliant bride who will stand by me and my decisons and know her place in the palace." Truth was she sounded like just the challenge I was looking for, but I didn't want to show my hand too quickly. I was one year away from twenty-five, the year in which I was to take the crown and I needed to find a suitable bride and marry her before then.
Although there were many suitable choices including Princess Natasha Ozera who would jump at the chance to be my Queen, I was not quite ready to settle on any of them just yet. They were all nice in their own ways and some of them were even quite beautiful, but they all shared the same stuck up haughty royal attitude that I just couldn't stand.
"I assure you that despite what you may have heard and or will hear, my daughter has many qualities a young man like yourself will want in a partner. She is intelligent, fluent in Turkish, Russian and English. She's fiercly loyal to those she considers worthy. She loves with all her heart and she is quite lovely to look at. That combined with the generous dowry I will provide you with and the prosperity our alliance will bring your Kindgom should be enough to entice you to at least try to win her over."
He handed me documents that did indeed intrigue me. The most intriguing part though was not the dowry. It was a photograph of his daughter.
She was absolutely breathtaking having just reached her eighteenth birthday. Her long dark hair tumbled down her back in soft waves while her brilliant chocolate brown eyes sparkled michiviously back at me from the photo. The thing that captivated me the most though, was her beautiful, genuine smile.
"I accept your challenge," I told him. The more I thought about the impossible task of taming the supposed shrew, the more I desperately wanted to be the one to win her heart. Besides, if I only had a year before the weight of my duties as King were going to begin crushing me then I might as well have one last adventure even if it didn't work out.
"Good, you should leave at once in preparation. I will break the news to her tonight and as I have already assured you, she will run. Here is the location I told you of," he said scrawling something on a piece of paper.
"How do you know this is where she'll go?" I asked. He hadn't even told her of his plans yet. How could he anticipate what her reaction would be let alone pinpoint an exact location.
He smiled. "She's had this plan in place since she was fifteen. I already put in favors with her contacts who have given me all the information I need to intercept her should I need to. I have also taken the liberty of putting a low jack on several items I am quite sure she will not leave the palace without."
"So why not just foil her plan?"
"She has to fall in love with you by chance. It has to be completely random or so she must think," he said winking.
"Suppose she googles my name and finds a photo of me," I said wondering how he planned to keep that from her.
"Yes, well I had thought of that so she is going to be told she is to wed the Duke of Ambrosia instead. He is an old friend of the family and has agreed to aid me in my devious plot.
"How are you so sure she'll fall in love with me?" I asked.
"That's simple. I've been researching a suitable match for my daughter since she was born and according to her diary, you are exactly the sort of man she wishes to fall in love with," he stated matter of factly.
"You read her diary?" I inquired wondering just how far he was willing to take this scheme.
"I did and have been for years. She is precious to me and I need to ensure she has a bountiful future and is taken care of when I am no longer around to do so. I also want her to be happy and that is why I've chosen you carefully out of all the other suitable men your age."
"What if she had chosen from the list you gave her?" I asked.
He laughed. "I knew she would not. Believe me,the men on that list were perfectly suitable, just not for my daughter. You will see once you meet her."
"This young man is Mason Ashford," he said motioning for a young, but rather well built man with striking red hair to step out of the shadows and join us. "He has done much secret service detail for me in the past several years. Rosemarie does not know him and he will accompany you and be her round the clock bodyguard. She is not to know of his true identity. He will assimilate himself into her life much the same way you will."
"And how is that? Once I get to the location how will I know where she'll be?"
"Guardian Ashford will take care of that for you. He shall keep an eye on her every move and keep you informed of her whereabouts."
"One more thing," he said as I was about to leave his chambers.
"Yes your majesty," I said turning back to face him.
"Here is a list of her likes and dislikes. Try not to screw it up," he said handing me a small notepad.
"Well if this isn't the most idiotic plan I've ever heard," Christian said laughing heartily as I explained what would come to pass over the next several days. As my royal advisor and closest friend, he would accompany me on this endeavor.
"You're telling me," I said rolling my eyes as he looked over the contract Mazur had given me.
"Wow!" he said his eyes wide as saucers probably surprised at the amount of the dowry.
"It is quite a bit of money," I said not in the least impressed as I knew just how filthy rich King Mazur was.
"Not that, the girl," he said licking his lips.
"Damn she's a fine piece of…"
"Don't you dare finish that sentence," I growled snatching the photo from his hands suddenly feeling quite protective over a girl I had never even met and would most likely hate my guts.
"Dude, I was just saying," he said shaking his head.
"Well don't! If everything goes as planned, this girl is to be my future wife. That means eyes and hands to yourself. Got it?" I gave him a menacing look.
"Duly noted," he said getting back to looking over the contract.
I sat on the commercial airplane two days later having gone home to pack some things and make travel arrangements. I wore a trench coat, dark sunglasses and a fedora to disguise my identity. I decided it was too conspicuous to use the private jet as I didn't want people figuring out who I was. Walking down the street most people wouldn't have a clue who I was and I could blend in rather nicely or as well as a six foot seven Russian could blend. If I arrived in style there would be photographers and paparazzi waiting to harass me and my cover would be blown before I even made her acquaintance.
Laying low was important so flying coach on a bargain airline it was. I settled back into my most uncomfortable seat and began to read the list of things the princess disliked.
Apparently she hated being called Princess or Rosemarie or Princess Rosemarie, which was okay with me since I couldn't address her by her true name anyhow. She hated fancy dresses, food that contained animal intestines and the color pink. She also disliked when people used Roses to make a play with her name. So far so good or so I thought until I got to the last line. It read; Rosemarie hates royals and men who think they deserve to marry a princess.
"Great, she already hates me," I groaned rubbing my hand over the almost two days worth of stubble that had formed. I hadn't had time to shave properly as I had to come up with an explanation of where I was going that would please my mother and sisters. My grandmother who was somewhat of a clairvoyant winked at me as I made a hasty exit knowing full well I had fed them a line of bullshit.
I glanced at the list of likes and was not pleased to find that the list was half as long. It said she liked animals, peonies, chocolate, Italian food and sailing.
"Well that sure helps."
"Relax dude, all the woman want you," Christian tried assuring me. He and my bodyguards Edwin Castile and Ivan Zeklos were aboard the plane with me as well as Mason Ashford, the Guardian assigned to the princess.
"Well let's just hope it's that easy," I said causing Mason to snort.
"What?" I asked.
"Nothing," he said clearing his throat.
"That was not nothing. What is it I don't know?" I asked.
"Look, I'm just here to be Rose's bodyguard. I don't think I should get any more involved than that."
"Well then change your mind because I want answers," I growled grabbing his shirt with my fist.
"Okay okay," he acquiesced. "But don't say I didn't warn you."
"When Mazur says Rose is feisty, what he really meant to say is she's a firecracker. An M80 ready to explode on anyone who tries to get into her heart or her pants."
"What does that mean?" I asked needing to know what I was getting myself into.
"What exactly did she do to those other men to make them leave?" I narrowed my eyes at him.
He reluctantly began to spill her secrets and by the time he was done I had a strong urge to cover my manhood.
"She really lit the one guy on fire?" Christian asked whistling.
"Oh yea, she sprayed gasoline on his pants and lit a match," Mason said.
"Where the hell did she get gasoline?" Christian wondered out loud.
"She keeps it in a perfume spritzer so watch out!" he warned. I made a mental note to remember that.
"Well he must have done something to her. I can't see anyone doing something as brazen as that without a good reason," I said defending her. She couldn't really be that crazy or could she? Perhaps that is why she'd been kept out of a lot of royal social circuits and why Mazur was desperate to make a match between the two of us.
"I dunno, but like I said, she's no damsel in distress. She won't hesitate to kick your ass if you piss her off. The girl has the mouth of a sailor and the right hook of a heavy weight champion."
"Looks like you've got your work cut out for you buddy," Christian teased with a laugh.
"Shut up," I said leaning my head back against the seat.
"What did I get myself into?" I groaned as we began our descent into Chicago.
"You what?" I screeched as my father informed me of my upcoming nuptials to some royal twit he considered worthy of my hand. The Duke of Ambrosia was hardly fit to be my servant let alone share my bed.
"Do not argue with me Rosemarie. You refused to choose an acceptable suitor so I have taken the liberty of choosing for you. You are to wed the Duke of Ambrosia. The ceremony will take place three weeks from today."
I couldn't believe the words that were coming out of his mouth.
"You sold me behind my back to some royal pig without my consent?" I roared.
"How dare you! I won't do it!"
"Listen to me little girl," he said coming towards me.
"You will do it. It is your duty as my daughter to make a profitable alliance for our kingdom." His voice was wavering as he struggled to control it. I knew he was angry at my defiance, but hell I was angrier.
"Baba please don't do this. If you care anything for my happiness you won't force this treachery upon me," I begged hoping to appeal to his compassionate side. I knew he had one. He'd been so patient and kind with me even after I refused all of the suitors he'd sent before now.
"I'm sorry Rosemarie. I truly am, but you were given the opportunity to make a choice and you gave it up."
"That isn't fair. They weren't good enough and you know it!" I argued
"They were perfectly suitable," he countered.
"Sure if I was a prized cow at the fair," I shot back.
"Enough! My decision is final. You leave in two days to begin preparations," he bellowed.
Tears leaked from my eyes and his face softened.
"I love you Kizim," he said placing his hand on the side of my rouged cheek. "Please don't make this harder than it is." With that he swept out of the room leaving me to fall to pieces alone.
"Abi!" I cried rushing down the hall.
"What is it?" my brother asked coming out of his room. His face showed only concern for my well being in my current state of distress.
"He's done it. He's sold me to the Duke of Ambrosia!" I cried.
"Did you know?" If he was in on it, I would surely lay down and die. My brother was my closest friend and ali. He knew how much I didn't want this.
"Of course I didn't," he replied taking me into his arms.
"I have to go," I whispered.
"You're really going to do it?" he asked.
I nodded. I'd known since a young age that this day would come and had been preparing for it over the past several years. Being the fantastic older brother he was, Adrian had helped me with things that were beyond my realm of knowledge.
"Be careful and for God's sake find a way to let me know you are okay," he said knowing there wasn't anything he could say to change my mind. He'd had the good fortune of marrying the Countess of Espinay whom he had gone to school with and fallen in love with. Oh how I envied my brother and his charmed life. No one had forced him into a loveless marriage. He understood that it was wrong to push me into the arms of a man that would treat me as his property.
"Goodbye Abi. I love you," I said kissing his cheek softly before turning and fleeing back to my chambers. I was saddened at the thought that this could possibly be the last time I saw him, but I couldn't stay and be trapped like a bird in a cage for the rest of my life. I needed to be free and he knew it. He would make a far better King than our father ever was. Maybe someday when he was in power I would be able to return.
I locked the door behind me and began pulling things out from my secret cabinets.
Over the years I had accumulated all the things necessary to get me out of the country including a fake passport under the name Mary Rose Hathaway, a matching driver's license, birth certificate and several other documents I would need for my new life. I had enough cash stashed in my already packed bag to last me nearly a year if I played my cards right. I'd been sneaking small amounts out of my accounts for years, right under my father's nose. I did not want to steal his money, but I knew I needed to have something to fall back on in case I was unable to procure a means to support myself right away. I had lived my entire life in captivity and had no idea what the real world would be like and had no experience being a commoner. I hoped to fit in, but who knew what it was like out there especially as far as I was going.
I threw a few last precious items into my bag with me. One was a locket Baba had given me when I was thirteen. There was a photo of the four of us, Baba, Anne, Abi and myself. It was taken shortly before my mother died. Even though I hated my father for selling me, I loved him at the same time. He had allowed me to live quite freely during my childhood and adolescence permitting me to decline invitations to social gatherings and other royal commitments that I should have been at. I was hoping that his leniency with me in my younger years meant that he wouldn't try to force an arranged marriage on me, but six months ago when he'd paraded me in front of a list of suitors longer than the Nile, I knew my grace period was over and it was only a matter of time before my luck would run out.
Another item was a stuffed yellow duck that had once belonged to my brother and then to myself as a child. I took care in placing the next item into the bag. It was my mother's engagement ring. I had always admired it sitting on her finger and had begged her to try it on almost every day. She had given it to me the day before she died. That is how I figured out that she hadn't perished by accident, but by choice. She knew it was her last day and before she took those pills she spoiled Abi and I with one last day of fun. We'd gone outside the palace walls to the park, fed the ducks, and gotten ice cream. I was too young to understand it at the time, but that was her way of saying goodbye to us. She may have hated my father, but the last words she spoke to Abi and I were that she loved us no matter what.
The last item was my diary which kept under lock and key in a very safe location.
I picked up my cell phone dialing the familiar number of my loyal and precious nanny. She came at once as I knew she would.
"What is going on Rose?" she asked. "Why are you dressed like that?"
I was wearing the clothing of a commoner. A simple concoction of blue jeans, tennis shoes, a red t-shirt and a grey hooded sweatshirt. It was a far cry from the usual uncomfortable lacy, silky dresses I was forced into. I added a baseball cap to the ensemble tucking away my beautiful long locks. I was nearly unrecognizable. Dark sunglasses were the final touch and I was ready to go.
"Alberta, the time has come. Remember I told you I would need your help one day?" I asked.
She nodded knowing exactly what was going to happen.
"I just need tomorrow. Tell them I'm not feeling well and don't let them inside."
"Be safe my darling Rose," she said weeping as she handed me a small pack that I knew contained sandwiches and a thermos of coffee and some snacks for the road.
I hugged her goodbye and waited until everyone was asleep before creeping out my bedroom window. I had been studying the guard's routines for years and I knew that they changed shifts between twelve-thirty and twelve forty leaving me little more than minutes to make it nearly a mile to the front gates and slip out being careful to avoid the camera's to which I knew all of their positions and angles. It could be done, but I had to move quickly and with the utmost stealth. I took one last look at the palace that had over the years become my prison, sucked in a breath of air and took off towards a new life.
So I only have this and one other chapter ready to go. Let me know if it is worth continuing and if you want to read more. I will promise an update around once a week for now and more frequently if I can manage. These next few weeks are the end of the school year and being the responsible adult I am, that means I have to work hard and my writing comes second. Pesky Job! So like I said review if you want me to continue and thanks for reading=)