3 years later
There comes a point in grieving where one must let go. My Sleeping Queen made the greatest sacrifice, to restore my crown, my noblemen and my Kingdom of Alma. I had no clue when she would awaken, if at all, but my mortality was beckoning and I was getting older every year.
I walk through a well maintained garden at the Gadow Farmstead, where many injured animals were tended to by a young maiden; Elena.
What caught my attention was the fact she was beyond marriageable age and she had declined many offers despite her rare beauty, and of course, she had a thing for tending to broken animals.
What surprised me was the way she successfully reared a large and fearsome wolf, what was more impressive, was it was now her pet.
I can hear her speaking to the horses in the stable, as I approach, and I reach into the back of my cloak to pull out a velvet box.
I had waited 3 years and I could wait no longer.
It was time to embrace the present – and allow the past to fade.
I brush through Stalwart’s mane, while he nibbles at my own long brown hair, “You’re a real pest, you lumpy old sweetheart,” he loved being groomed, and I loved tending to all my animals.
It was my only real love.
“Elena,” I hear my voice called, by a familiar royal tone. I pause and look over my shoulder.
“Your highness?” I ask, completely confused, for three reasons. Why was he here and why was my heart beating so fast in anticipation, also, what was he holding?
Snow pulls off a hood, revealing jet black hair cut well, framing a very handsome face of our generous well-mannered King. A kind man, “Have you brought more money? We received your contribution to our farm many months ago, and we still have far too much gold,” I whisper as I blush, because Snow is approaching, creating a rather informal distance.
I gulp and turn into Stalwart, pretending to be focused on his hide instead.
“Don’t be shy,” Snow’s voice always surprises me, it’s so rough compared to his very sweet nature, “Elena – I only have one question for you tonight.”
“Hopefully that is the answer to my question,” Snow chuckles as he shows me a velvet box, which clicks open to reveal a ring.
“We’ve only spoken twice!” I speak my real answer with force, my heart dropping into my stomach as I look from the ring, up to Snow’s face. He couldn’t be serious.
“I have seen enough to know what I want,” Snow murmurs, his handsome mouth curling into a knowing smile.
“Uh – but the Sleeping Queen –” I mention her name, not realising I would provoke Snow into an expression of extreme pain.
“Ellie sleeps eternally,” Snow looks down at the ring, then coughs to clear his throat as he looks back up at me, “Elena, I made the decision today, to never wait another day. Even if she were to awaken in the next minute… I am done with that girl.”
Girl? I guess they married young when he met her before.
“I want my animals,” I whisper up at him, “I don’t know if I –”
“I don’t want a Queen to rule, you can do whatever you like, you can move all the animals into the castle if you wish it – I just want a woman in my bed,” Snow is so bold about it, he just looks at me when he says it without blinking once, “You’re also the most beautiful woman I’ve ever laid eyes upon.”
“You’re the most handsome man I’ve ever seen –” Snow has edged in closer, and swoops into kiss me after I admit that.
As our mouths meet, it feels right and he is the only one I could imagine falling for. I smile into the first kiss that I return, and he pulls back only to ask me again.
“Do you want to be my living Queen?” Snow raises a very confident brow.
“Hell. Why not? Yes. But expect your castle to be overrun with rodents,” I joke as I pull back, and a fairy tale excitement floods my head and gut.
Was this really happening?
Snow smirks, and he scratches Stalwart’s neck. So, he was kind to animals too – that is something I can also fall for.
“Good. I’m looking forward to a bit more drama, things have been far too quiet – yet far from perfect,” Snow’s blue eyes rest back on my smile, as if all his secret desires for paradise await in more kisses between us, “I am ready to settle down.”
“You know what? So am I,” I reply with a warm grin, as Snow steps back and gives me a dramatic bow.
“You will be escorted privately to my royal quarters, tomorrow. Don’t worry, my lady,” Snow’s dark humour slices through, causing more flutters to kick into my gut, “I don’t bite very hard,” he winks and turns, stalking off into the night, the most giant and beautiful man I’ve ever laid eyes on. A King. He just proposed to me and I said yes.
“I can’t believe this,” I whisper into Stalwart’s ear, “Perhaps my waiting for the perfect man finally paid off?”
I could barely comprehend it, but I could not wait for the adventure to begin.