Royal Estrangement: The Royals Book II

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XVII

Annie
It's been nearly two days since I've told Queen Clarita about Vanessa's threat and I've heard nothing from her on the subject. As the minutes tick by I grow more and more anxious than the minute before. Of course Daniel senses my anxiety and he asks me what is wrong. I have no choice but to lie--kind of--and tell him it's because I'm nervous for the ultrasound. It isn't a complete lie, I am, but it isn't the truth. I've been lying to him a lot since Vanessa visited me and I feel bad every time I do, but I have no choice. What makes me feel even worse is that he's come to accept my lies as the truth.
"I'm just a little worried about the ultrasound. I want to make sure everything's okay." I explain.
Daniel's eyes soften. He might not show much emotion on his face, but his dark eyes give himself away. I love when they show this much emotion. He looks at me with such... love.
"It's going be alright, Little American." He wraps his arm around my shoulder and pulls me close to his body as we sit on the sofa and wait for the doctor to call us in. Daniel arranged the best obstrician to perform this ultrasound. I know this because he called around, looking for not only the best one in Verilia, but the best one in the world. He flew her in from Rome where she had her own practice with promise of a high payout if she agrees to see us and be on call for the rest of my pregnancy. I love him, but Daniel's a little obsessed.
I smile into his chest. "I know, but I can't help but think of worst case scenarios here." That, and the fact that someone could be trying to kill me and my budding family, but I don't tell him that.
Daniel nods and I feel him stroking my hair. For a small moment I feel at peace.
"Trust me, I know exactly how you feel. We'll both feel better when we find out how our little guy is doing."
I sit up. "Little guy? No way. We are 100% having a girl. I can feel it."
Daniel smiles small and shakes his head but his eyes dance with amusement. "Nope. I have an intuition we'll be having a little prince."
I open my mouth in rebuttal when the door opens and the doctor steps outside. "Your Royal Highnesses? I'm all set to see you now."
Daniel grabs my hand and squeezes it before we both stand.
I smile nervously at the doctor. She's very pretty, with a slender frame and tan skin with dark hair. "Please, call us Annie and Daniel." I insist on dropping the royal titles. Last night Daniel and I had a small spat about it, but I demanded it. Unsurprisingly, I won. I've been winning more and more things since I fell pregnant. I'll have to thank this little baby when she's older for saving her mama's ass too many times for me to count.
Dr. Russo looks to Daniel with cautious eyes. He sighs and reluctantly nods. She smiles. "Well then, Annie, shall we get you set up in the chair?"
I smile in triumph back at Daniel as I walk through the door, prompting him to roll his eyes playfully. "Sure." I take a seat in the chair and Daniel sits in the beside me that's clearly for partners. He immediately grabs my hand and gives me an encouraging nod and half smile.
"Before we begin I would like to ask if you have any concerns you'd like to bring up?"
"I've been worried," Daniel stars. "She's been very tired, it seems more than usual, and she hasn't gotten over the morning sickness yet."
Dr. Russo nods. "I see. Based on the reports from the other medical professionals, I have my suspicions about that, but first, let's have a look, shall we?"
We both nod.
"Don't worry. I have a suspicion that I'll be able to assuage your worries once I confirm what I believe to be true. There is nothing wrong, this is all completely normal."
She lifts up my t-shirt and pulls down my grey sweatpants. "This is going to be a bit cold so I apologize for that." Her accent is very thick but nonetheless her voice still sounds like honey.
I nod. "That's okay." She starts to spread the jelly on my bump and I can't help but wince. I laugh nervously to cover up my reaction and Daniel squeezes my hand in solidarity.
Dr. Russo smiles and I'm not surprised that her teeth are just as perfect as she is. "Don't worry... That's the general reaction."
She takes a seat on the opposite side of me so she's looking at the monitor. Dr. Russo puts on a pair of gloves and then grabs the wand. She turns on the monitor and runs it over my belly. I stare at the screen in fascination. I have no idea what I'm looking at but I can't help it. My eyes fill up with tears so I can barely see the screen. Somewhere in that mess of grey and blue blobs is my baby. My little blob.
Dr. Russo hums. "Yes. My suspicions were correct. There is nothing wrong with you, Annie. Your symptoms are quite normal for someone with your circumstance."
I blink my tears away and try to wipe them away with the fabric of the t-shirt on my shoulder to see her better. "My circumstance?"
"Holy shit." Daniel breathes.
I stare at the screen and now I can see it. Two distinct circles. "Wait... That doesn't mean..."
Dr. Russo nods. "Indeed it does. Congratulations Princess! It looks like you're going to be having twins!" She writes down something on a piece of paper and folds it a few times before handing it to Daniel. "I know you both were unsure if you wanted to be surprised about the genders of your babies so I wrote them down for you to open whenever you wish. The choice is yours."
She hits a few buttons and prints out a few pictures before handing them to Daniel as well. "Here are some pictures." She then turns to me with a friendly smile. "As for you, Annie. Persistent morning sickness and fatigue is highly common for a twin pregnancy, but you must take it easy. Limited amounts of stress and be sure to get plenty of sleep. Take it easy, okay?"
Take it easy, she says... limited amounts of stress, she says...
I nearly scoff.
Sure... Tell that to the people who want me gone... or worse.
The rest of the afternoon passes in a blur. I'm glad to have an explanation for why I've been so exhausted, and knowing it's normal for me to be puking up my guts is as reassuring as it can be, but I still can't shake the feeling that something bad is going to happen.
I was a fool to think that Daniel was clingy and overprotective before. Now he's on a whole new level. Every time I even take a step on my own, he seems to think he has to spot me. I'm not going to fall and I'm sure that all five of my doctors would agree that I'm not at serious risk walking or even doing any of the normal things I used to do. Now, I understand I shouldn't be overexerting myself because now I'm not only carrying a baby, but a whole other one. I still can't believe it. Twins! I'm going to be having two babies. I don't think that has really sunk in yet. Twins... Damn.
I couldn't believe that-- still can't. There are no twins on my side of the family, and Daniel said the same so we both can't figure out how that happened.
The Queen beams at me and wraps her arms around me in the biggest hug ever. The King--surprisingly-- does the same. All our family are gathered around us in the main parlor where I fainted earlier. They all look at Daniel and I with expectant eyes. I can tell that they're all excited for what we're about to say next. Daniel grabs my hand with his own, and it's a little shaky so I'm unsure if the show of support is to reassure him or me. Either way, it's appreciated.
"Thank you all for coming." He begins. "Annie and I are both so excited to see all your smiling faces."
I look up to him with a look I'm sure can be compared to a puppy looking at its owner. Daniel looks happy. The worry lines around his eyes are still present, but it's almost as if some dark cloud has lifted. Where he would once start this speech with no emotion, simply playing a role he is obligated to play, Daniel's now smiling lightly and shifting his weight from his right foot to his left. I can't tell, but he's either nervous or excited since I've never seen this type of behavior. Daniel typically doesn't get nervous or excited about anything so I can tell this is genuine.
"Tell us already! I'm dying of old age over here!" My dad calls out, causing everyone to laugh--including The King who gives him a wink. I can tell they're going to become good friends. It makes me so happy to see our families meshing so perfectly together. I have to blink tears away from my eyes. Damn hormones.
Daniel chuckles. "Alright. Well I'm sure you're all aware that earlier today, Annie and I went to the first ultrasound and we found out something very... shocking to say the least."
They're all nearly on the ends of their seats and it's very funny to watch.
"Well...." He places his other hand on my belly and if I wasn't already, I'd surely fall in love with this man.
He takes a deep breath. "We are expecting... Twins."
The entire room gasps and then erupts into cheers. My mother starts crying, my father claps and tries to fend off tears, Max and Aline jump for joy and cheer, The King and Queen both clap, Michael and Cassandra cheer and smile. Everyone's eyes are wide.
"Oh my gosh! Seriously?" Aline exclaims. "That is so crazy!"
Michael comes up and claps Daniel on the back, congratulating him. Cassandra gives me a hug. Everyone bombards us with affection and excited words of congratulations. It's a wonderful moment, but there is still that element of confusion.
"I know. We have no idea where they genes came from." I explain.
Queen Clarita laughs slowly and shakes her head. "Ah... Sister. This must be your doing, huh? You always were a trickster."
"Mother?" Daniel turns to her and so does everyone else. We're all super eager to hear what she has to say.
She sighs and smiles sadly. "I was a twin. My sister... Clara... she passed away when we were kids. She got sick and they couldn't save her."
I grab her hands. "I am so sorry."
She smiles. "It's alright. I believe this is her way of telling me she's watching out for us."
I nod. "I think so too."
"Well, come on! You know you've got more to tell us! What are the genders of my grandchildren? You aren't going to leave us hanging are you?"
I look to Daniel. "Actually... we've decided we want it to be a surprise. Even we don't know."
My mother nods. "That's amazing. A wonderful decision and such a special surprise. I'm so happy for you both."
Daniel and I look at each other and share a small smile. He squeezes my hand in his own and I can't help but beam up at him. This man is the love of my life, and now I'm carrying his children. I couldn't be happier. As I stand before my family, my now extended family, I feel so much joy that I can't help but smile. In this room, surrounded by the ones I love and care for, I feel nothing but love and protection. Then, Queen Clarita and I share a quick glance and I know that while this might be a small victory, we're in the middle of a secret war and this is only a single battle. There's someone vying to destroy Daniel and I's happiness, and I'll stop at nothing to make sure they're taken down and exposed.
No one is going to hurt the ones I love, they aren't going to ruin this happy day either.
I socialize and share smiles and laughs and stories of Daniel and I as children as we plan for our own family. I won't let them ruin today so I smile and laugh with them, determined to remember the day I found out I was going to be the mother to twins nothing but happy and full of hope.
That being said, I can't forget the dark cloud that looms over us. The final battle is coming, and I can't wait until the traitor reveals themselves to me.



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