Six Months Later
Leon walked through the west side hall at the Capital Palace heading to the auxiliary residence used by Gia and her mother, Erika. The last six months felt like he had gone through a crash course in leadership. His royal family had looked to him for guidance on where to go next, especially when Constantin and Isaak’s trial took over the kingdom’s news.
The trial took too long, with the final verdict coming in a week ago. Constantin and Isaak were now incarcerated at Yongi Maximum Prison serving lifetime sentences for murder.
Meanwhile, the Capital Palace was undergoing massive renovation, spearheaded by his grandmother. She wanted to entice him into moving in. Leon smiled at his grandmother’s constant campaign to move him into the seat of power.
In truth, he was aware that Amethea wanted complete change in the Capital Palace, to chase away the bad memories that had left her friend, Grace, and Gia shot. To support the project, Leon donated money from his mother’s estate to the cause, hoping the revamped palace would bring a smile to Amethea.
Dax hurried ahead and talked to Gia’s secretary who met them at the entrance into the private residence.
“Welcome, Your Royal Highness,” the Secretary said, with a short respectful nod. “You are expected. Please follow me.”
She led them to a study room where she knocked on the door and then opened it, stepping aside to let Leon in.
Leon was not surprised to find Gia and Erika waiting for him. They both gave him formal curtsies and it made him pause. Gia’s expression was somber but her mother looked shell-shocked, still processing the events of the last six months.
“Please, have a seat,” Leon said, moving to an armchair.
He unbuttoned his suit jacket and sat. Gia made sure Erika was comfortable on the opposite couch. She then sat next to her mother so that they both faced him.
“How are you doing?” Leon asked, his question directed to Gia.
“I’m recovered,” Gia said, rubbing her stomach. “The pain is gone now. Thank you for making sure I had the best care.”
“It’s the least I could do,” Leon said.
“I—,” Gia started then broke off, folding her hands on her lap. She looked to Erika and shook her head.
“We haven’t had a chance to talk since the verdict,” Erika said, speaking up for the first time, her voice raw with emotion. “My husband and Step-son have both wronged the Royal Family and the Kingdom of Aeras. I wish I could take back the wrongs they have done you, Your Royal Highness, but that is impossible now. I can only hope you’ll forgive us for not knowing and being complacent.”
Leon had no words to give back. His anger with Constantin and Isaak still simmered. His grief never quite dissipated. Gia and Erika were innocent, but they had lived with Isaak and Constantin.
It would take him some time, he decided.
“I’m here because The Royal Diet has made its final decision,” Leon said, thinking it better to get straight to the point.
“We are ready to listen to the decision,” Gia said, taking her mother’s hand and lacing their fingers together.
Leon sat still watching the two women. He took no pride in delivering the verdict given by the Royal Diet. Still…it was his duty now to protect the Kingdom and his family.
“Your Royal Highness,” Dax said, handing him a black folder with the royal seal.
Leon opened it to find the orders created after careful negotiations with The Royal Diet and Parliament. The duty to execute these orders had fallen to him.
Leon read out the first order.
“Lady Erika Maximillian, the royal title granted through marriage to Isaak Maximillian is formally revoked. In compensation for your efforts for the Royal House Maximillian, The Crown grants you a modest estate in Fighurt County where you may retire and live without interference.”
Erika closed her eyes and nodded, a tear trailing down her cheek.
Her husband had wronged her, Leon decided, as he closed the folder and took the next one from Dax.
“Princess Gia,” Leon said, looking at his cousin.
She was innocent in this, a victim of a mad man, just like his parents.
Leon focused on the order that had come from his grandmother for Gia.
“Her Majesty will always think of you as her beloved granddaughter. Her Majesty thanks you for your unfaltering service to the Crown. Her Majesty now grants you freedom to pursue your dreams outside the Capital Palace and independent of the core Royal Family. You are as of this day styled Duchess of Fighurt. Your home shall be Fighurt Estate, where you’ll assist your mother, Lady Erika.”
Gia squeezed her mother’s hand and nodded, smiling at Leon.
“It is my turn to live it up,” Gia said.
Leon winked at her.
“It will be my turn to visit you occasionally. I hope you’ll see me.”
“Always,” Gia said, letting go of her mother’s hand. She walked to Leon’s chair and leaned over to press a kiss on his right cheek. “Thank you for being kind to my mother. I know you’re the reason why we’ve retained an estate to call our own.”
Leon returned her smile as she stepped back. She straightened the suit jacket she wore, and then executed the most elegant curtsey he had ever seen.
“We thank you, Your Royal Highness,” Gia said, as she straightened to her full height.
Leon nodded and got up from the armchair.
“I hope you find happiness and adventure in your life, Duchess Fighurt,” Leon said.
Gia nodded and Erika got up, thanking Leon with a short nod, as he left the study.
Outside the residence, Leon stopped and stared at the closed door.
“Do you think it was the right thing to send them out of the palace?” Leon asked.
“It’s the kind thing to do,” Dax said. “It would be difficult for Gia to keep working with everyone in this palace. Her father and brother have both committed heinous crimes against the family. Do you think it will be easy for her to act as a diplomat? Or hold important talks with government officials without ridicule?”
Leon sighed, and rubbed his temple at the stress of the situation.
“You’re right,” he said and started heading back to the main palace and the Crown Prince office. “Well, that’s one part completed. Make sure they have all the documents needed to take ownership of their new home.”
“I have already made the arrangements with Her Grace’s secretary,” Dax said, already using Gia’s new title.
Leon checked his watch and frowned when he saw it was already ten o’clock. He had four hours before he had to make it to his mother’s vineyard. The staff at the vineyard was having a party to celebrate a good harvest.
It would be the first full afternoon he would get to spend with Logan in two months and he didn’t want to miss it.
“Do you think we’ll make it to the vineyard in time?” Leon asked.
Usually they stole a few hours together between Logan going through an intensive education course with tutors from the Royal Diet. The guardians of the Royal Family wanted to make sure Logan could face any diplomatic situation without fault. Leon’s time was taken up by the trial and dealing with the aftermath of Isaak and Constantin’s betrayal. It meant smoothing relations with government, foreign government officials and humanitarian organizations.
“We’ll try to make it happen. You schedule has three consecutive appointments with members of the Royal Diet, and the Diplomatic Corps…”
Logan signed the last document to make John Roberts and Tom Rogers co-CEOs of Monarch Securities. Closing the folder, he pushed it to John and smiled when John let out a shaky breath.
“This is a lot of responsibility,” John said, patting the folder. “Are you sure you don’t want to stay? You might be bored just being part of the board.”
“I barely have time to see Leon,” Logan said, sitting back in his chair. They were in the boardroom at Monarch Securities headquarters. “I’m so busy getting prepared to be Prince Consort, I feel like it might take years.”
“You always wanted to end up working for Her Majesty,” Tom said, with a playful grin. “Nothing is higher than Prince Consort.”
Logan nodded, smiling at the thought of helping Leon. The last six months had put them both to work, trying to reestablish confidence in the royal family. Leon never missed a trial date, while Logan supported Amethea with her massive social calendar and doing the best to keep up a strong front.
Some days went well, others were difficult especially when Isaak decided to take the stand and complain about the injustice of his trial. He had done his best to justify the reasons why he murdered Kleopas and Anastasia. Logan remembered Leon had not slept that night.
Logan thanked fate again that he was able to hold Leon and be there for him.
“It will quiet down now that the trial is over,” John said, meeting Logan’s gaze. “Soon, the people will be celebrating a royal wedding. That’s more interesting and positive than a trial of two mad men.”
Logan chuckled, when John gave him a knowing look.
John must have caught him looking at the box in his pocket.
“I’m not sure it’s time yet,” Logan said, pushing his chair back. He got up and buttoned his suit jacket.
“It’s past time, Boss,” Tom teased. “You’ve been pining for him too long.”
Logan grinned and looked up when a knock came on the door.
“Sir,” his royal secretary said, smiling at him as she opened the door. “Your next appointment is waiting. We still have to stop by the flower shop, as you requested.”
“Hi, Kresley,” John said, waving at the young woman tasked to keep Logan’s life planned. “Why don’t you come work for Monarch Securities? We’ll pay you more.”
“You can’t afford me,” Kresley said, with a wink, then opened the door wider for Logan.
“Ouch,” Tom said, while John pressed his right hand to his chest in mock shock. “Kresley, you’re so tough, just like Dax.”
Kresley nodded in approval and Logan sighed as he waved at his friends.
“Gotta go,” Logan said. “Tell Shirley to call me. I heard she wants to join Leon’s security detail.”
“Yeah, keeping to family tradition,” John said, following Logan as they walked out of the boardroom. “In time, she’ll be part of the King’s Royal Guard.”
“Give her the support she needs to get through the vetting,” Logan said.
“Yes, Sir,” John and Tom said, giving him a salute as he entered the elevator.
I’ll miss working with them, Logan mused, as the elevator doors closed. Monarch Securities was now under their care, and he knew that he had made the right decision.
“His Royal Highness is still at the Capital Palace,” Kresley said, interrupting his thoughts. “Your next appointment is with Lord Corentin. He will give you guidance on entrepreneurship. You get one hour with him, and then we can head to the flower shop. May I ask what flowers you want?”
“White carnations,” Logan said. “We’re taking them to Thelem Abbey.”
“Understood,” Kresley said, already making the arrangements on her pad.
Logan smiled at the thought that he was now taking French and Japanese classes. Special classes like entrepreneurship and the art of negotiation, tailored to help him promote trade with the Kingdom of Aeras. All these classes were prepared by Queen Amethea to help him prepare for his future role as Prince Consort. He smiled at the fact that Leon’s Granny was making all effort to get her grandson married.
An hour and a half later, Logan placed two large bouquets of white carnations on Prince Kleopas and Princess Anastasia’s graves.He took a step back and said a prayer for them.He had wanted to come into the Thelem Abbey cemetery without Leon.
In the corner of his eye, he could see the security detail Leon had insisted for him, two men who followed him with dedication. Kresley stood with them.
Reaching into his pocket, Logan got the box he had been carrying for the last three weeks.Snapping it open, he stared at the ring he had gotten with Riku’s help from a discrete jeweler.
Discrete was his newest prized commodity.There were too many eyes interested in what he did and with whom. If it weren’t for David, he might have given in with frustration at the pressures of constant press.
David helped him cope, teaching how to rely on Kresley for press communications and when to ignore gossip. It was also David who encouraged him to give his all to the classes designed by Queen Amethea. David had even convinced his father to meet with Logan often. Lord Corentin was an infinite source of information and ideas.
Petr helped with reworking Monarch Security’s leadership model, refining the company until Logan was known as an equity shareholder, with John and Tom as co-C.E.Os.
Logan’s time would now be spent studying and helping Queen Amethea with official social duties and assisting Leon with the vineyard and farms owned under Castle Arguro. It was a different future than he imagined, but it was a future with Leon. He wanted nothing more.
Reaching into the box, Logan got the ring and studied the gold ring with rubies engraved all around it.
“Do you think he’ll like it?” he asked Leon’s parents, wondering what they would have said.
Logan had read all he could about them and watched the videos Leon saved.Each video he watched made him sad that he had not met Leon’s parents as a son in-law too.He would have loved to ask them for permission to marry their son.
“I think he’ll like it,” he answered for them with a small smile.He returned the ring into the box and put it away.“I’m going to ask Leon to marry me.I promise to walk along with him on this journey, being with him, supporting him, loving him, as he’s done for me.”
Logan remembered the first and last time he met Prince Kleopas and Princess Anastasia.
They looked to him to take care of their son, keep him safe.Who would have thought that they would end up here like this?
Logan stepped forward and touched Kleopas’ gravestone.
“Thank you for Leon.I’ll take care of him.”
Logan made sure the flowers he brought were arranged neatly, and was finishing with his task when his secretary came over.
“His Royal Highness has finished his meetings at the Capital Palace and is headed to the vineyard.You asked me to let you know.”
“Thank you, we should head there too.”Logan headed out of the cemetery with Kresley following close.“I’ve asked you to call me Logan numerous times, Kresley.Why don’t you?”
“Because I don’t want to break the rules,” Kresley said, keeping up with him.
“I won’t let anyone know if you do,” Logan teased her.
“It can’t be helped,” Kresley said, with a shy smile.“I’m the type to get used to breaking the rules and going all the way.”
Logan laughed thinking of Dax who also stuck to the rules because he was afraid of getting too close and breaking them.However, Logan had caught Dax breaking his own rules more than once, especially when he wanted to scold Leon.He hoped to get there with Kresley.
“I hope we work together for a long time, Kresley,” Logan said as he slid into the backseat of his car.
Kresley closed the door for him and slid into the front passenger seat.When they were on the way to Leon’s vineyard, she shifted in her seat to ask.
“Is there anything special you would like prepared today?”
“Like what?” Logan asked.
“I don’t know, maybe fireworks or roses?” Kresley asked, with a quick grin.“I noticed the ring box.You keep looking at it.”
Logan got it from his pocket and stared at the black box for a second before he put it away, nerves racing up his spine.
“I just need him,” Logan said.
Leon washed his legs in clean water, and was busy rinsing when he looked up and saw Dax hurrying to his side.
They were at his family vineyard and the vineyard’s staff had prepared a celebration of good harvest.Most of them had brought their families along.There was food and wine, and the most exciting part was the kickoff of the Grape Stomping Fair.The vineyard’s staff had prepared buckets of grapes to celebrate old tradition.
Of course, they would not use these stomped grapes for wine.The vineyard had long been equipped with state-of-the-art winemaking machinery.Instead, the feet-crushed grapes would be used for composting.
Leon was to start the stomping-the-grapes activity, which was why he was rinsing his feet.
“Prince Leon,” Dax said, almost breathless as he reached Leon.
Leon removed his feet from the water and placed them on a clean towel.
“Why are you in a rush?” Leon asked, looking up to find Dax holding a tablet.
“The interview from a few days ago is running again.I thought you might want to watch it, as you didn’t see how it turned out.”
Leon took the tablet even though he already knew what he had said.He watched it because Dax had ran to make sure he saw it.
Leon hit play on the screen, looking at the popular talk show host on the ANN network.Her name was Eliza, and she’d been excited to interview him at the palace.Her gaze had seemed too eager, ready to ask him hard questions about politics and the Kingdom’s economy.He answered her with full knowledge, having studied the most important facts.The part that worried him most was her last question and how her network might have packaged it.
“There has been a lot of scrutiny on your life since Her Majesty, Queen Amethea, named you Crown Prince.The people have a lot of interest in your ideas for the kingdom, but also about your personal life, and your partner, Lieutenant Commander Mason.”
Leon noted he had smiled when she said Logan’s name.He wanted to sigh at the relentless interest in Logan.The press had gone to town on them.The most interesting fact was that the people did not disapprove of Leon loving a man.However, they were very concerned that he was an ordinary soldier with no noble family backing him.The naysayers weren’t sure Logan could do the job of Prince Consort.His Logan had gained fans and anti-fans overnight.The balance changed depending on the weather.
Leon couldn’t wait until they were considered an old couple, instead of shiny and new.
“There has been a lot said,” Eliza continued, her tone neutral as she referred to the millions of social media posts, blogs, videos, and God knows what else that had been generated.“Will Your Royal Highness tell us your thoughts on this matter?”
Leon was proud that he had remained stoic in the interview.He had a lot to say on the matter, mostly that he didn’t give a damn what anyone thought.All he knew was that he loved Logan and they could all just deal with it.None of that showed though and he was thankful for that.
Leon remembered squeezing the coin gave David gave him years ago as he fought to stay neutral.He answered with calm coolness.
“My thoughts are simple,” Leon said to Eliza.“I believe it’s important to be happy.Choosing your life partner is not about background or pedigree.It is about two people who choose to live together. Walking the journey of life together.If they’re not happy and comfortable with each other, it becomes impossible.Logan is my choice.I’m confident I’ll do a good job with him beside me.”
Leon stopped the video after that, not needing to hear the rest.He was glad they kept every bit of that statement in the interview.Handing the tablet to Dax, he wiped his legs and wore the clean sandals the vineyard’s main vintner had prepared for him.
“Where is Logan?” Leon asked, having given his phone to Dax for safekeeping.
“On his way,” Dax said.“Are you up for this?”
“I love stomping on grapes,” Leon grinned, as the main vintner walked up to him.
The vintner greeted him all smiles and they headed to the buckets of grapes lining a white wooden fence.In minutes, he was inside a wooden bucket stomping on red grapes, while his audience clapped and the MC of the occasion encouraged him. Shouts of encouragement came from the vineyard’s staff, full of teasing and camaraderie. Leon filled a jug of grape juice and gained a round of applause. It was great fun, enough to put him in the best of moods.When his bucket was all but full of squished grapes, he looked up and grinned when he saw Logan standing a few feet away.
“Thirsty?” Leon asked.“I’ve made serious grape juice.”
“I see that,” Logan grinned.“You’ve worked hard.”
Leon moved to get out of his wooden bucket and Logan stepped forward, taking his hand and wrapping a strong arm around his waist. Leon loved the little lift Logan gave him from the sturdy stand to the grass-covered ground.Dax brought him a hose with running water to wash his feet.
Leon held on to Logan’s left arm, washing grape juice off his feet.When he was clean, he wore gray comfortable flat shoes.He accepted the glass of wine from the vintner, and toasted the festivities after Logan got his glass, opening the afternoon of fun.
More people started to crush grapes in the various wooden buckets lined in the open field.Leon held on to Logan’s hand and they slipped away from the party, taking a path between lines of grape vines.
“I loved running through these paths when I was a kid.I’d get as dirty as I could,” Leon chuckled at the memory.“Dad called me an unruly urchin.”
“I can imagine it,” Logan said, taking in the neatly tended vines.“We had similar childhoods, you and I, except I ran around on the beach at the island to my heart’s content, or the streets in our old neighborhood.I think this would be a good place for kids to play.”
Leon squeezed Logan’s hand, smiling at the idea of a little boy with Logan’s smile racing down the path they walked.
“Our kids?” Leon asked.
Logan stopped in the middle of the path to look at him.
“Yes,” Logan said.“I would love nothing more than to start a family with you, Leon.”
Leon reached up, caressing Logan’s jaw.
“Then, move in to Castle Arguro with me, and let’s worry about what everyone says about it after.I hate that we have to live apart.Don’t you?”
Logan kissed Leon’s pouting lips.
“There’s only one sure way to make that happen, my love,” Logan said.
Logan reached into his pocket and got a black ring box.Taking a step away from Leon, he looked down both sides of the path they walked, making sure they were alone.Logan then dropped to his right knee and opened the box to reveal a gold ring with red stones, resting on burgundy silk.
“Will you marry me, Leon Nicholas Raphael Maximillian?”
Tears filled Leon’s eyes and he threw himself into Logan’s arms, kneeling on the ground, he wrapped tight arms around Logan and held on.
“Is this a yes?” Logan asked, his arms going around Leon too.
Leon nodded, unable to make words. He was so happy he could barely think, awed by Logan choosing him. He closed his eyes feeling tears track down his cheeks.
Taking in a deep breath, he pressed a kiss on Logan’s shoulder.
“Yes, forever, yes.Will you come home with me now?” Leon asked.“We’re getting married after all; you should stay at Castle Arguro with me.”
“Yes, from now on, I’ll always stay wherever you are, Leon,” Logan promised.
Leon sighed in relief as his heart filled with the assuring warmth of having someone to call home.He let go of Logan.Leon smiled at Logan as he removed his family ring from his right ring finger. The same ring his father had worn before him.He took Logan’s left hand and brought it up to brush a kiss on Logan’s knuckles.He slipped the Maximillian ring on Logan’s small finger, claiming him for his own.
Logan got the gold ring from his box and took Leon’s left hand.He slipped the exquisite ring on Leon’s ring finger, and then pulled him into a kiss to seal their future.
On a Sunday, a week after their engagement, Amethea arrived at Castle Arguro. She was hoping for a day spent visiting with Leon and Logan, and maybe getting in a ride.
“Granny, I have a gift for you,” Leon said, smiling at Amethea as they walked hand in hand to the back of the castle. “I know we have both had a hard time this year. Now that we’re seeing a bit of sunshine, I thought it would be the right time to give my gift.”
“Leon, you know what gift I want from you,” Amethea said, looking around the open space of the castle, looking for Logan.
“Logan is upstairs,” Leon said, his cheeks filling with color. “He’ll be down shortly.”
Amethea grinned at the sight of Leon blushing. Logan was good for him. He looked happier, and his smiles came easier now. She loved what Logan did for Leon. Their love was strong and pure. It made her feel they would manage amazing things together.
“Granny?” Leon called, a frown on his face indicating this was not the first time he had tried to get her attention.
“Yes, Leon,” Amethea said, clutching Leon’s left elbow.
“I was saying if you want to ride, the stable is open to you at any time,” Leon said, pointing in the direction of the horses. “Before that, let’s go to the garage.”
“You’re so energetic when you’re here,” Amethea teased, breathing in the fresh clean air found at Castle Arguro.
Leon had done well maintaining his father’s beloved home. The gardens Anastasia loved were vibrant with color. Amethea found herself wishing she lived here, instead of at the Capital Palace.
As they neared the garage, Leon said, “When I was ten, you would visit us here at Castle Arguro, driving yourself, to the shock of all your security team. You’d haul out a picnic basket out of your car, filled with sandwiches, cheese and grape juice.”
Amethea burst out laughing at the old memory. She had loved how much that picnic basket excited Leon. Such a simple thing and he would dance in excitement at the sight of it. The memory made her miss those days.
“You always made me help you carry the picnic basket around the castle to the stables,” Leon continued, bringing her to a stop outside the garage doors.
“I was helping build your muscles,” Amethea said in answer, making Leon laugh.
“You’d take me on a horse ride in the middle of the forest, and we would picnic in this magical clearing. It felt like an adventure because you let me run around, playing with make shift swords. You dubbed me Sir Forest Knight.”
“You made a very handsome Sir Forest Knight,” Amethea said, smiling as the memory filled her. Leon had always managed to make her happy. “You’re still Sir Forest Knight.”
“Well, I discovered this gift on a trip to one of the farms,” Leon said, hitting a button on the side of the garage door.
The garage doors slid opened and Amethea gasped at the sight of the restored bright yellow 1970 Volkswagen Beetle.
“It’s not the same car you drove then,” Leon said, hurrying to the service desk where one of the garage managers stood. He got the keys and returned to open the door. “But it is similar to that old Beetle you drove. So, I’m giving you this one for your next picnic adventure.”
Amethea laughed, her heart filling with joy at the thoughtful gift. She approached Leon, took the keys he offered, and then pulled him into a hug. It filled her with hope to have Leon. He healed her and made up for the mess that her family had become.
“Did I miss it?” Logan asked, hurrying into the garage, his hair damp from a recent shower. He vibrated with excitement, dressed down in a gray t-shirt and jean, his feet in sandals. It was the most informal Amethea had ever seen Logan Mason. It was the first glimpse she had had of Leon’s private life in ages.
“No, you didn’t miss it. Look at this gift,” Amethea said, letting go of Leon so that she could accept a kiss from Logan. “Why didn’t you give me a hint? Did you know he was doing this?”
“No,” Logan said, winking at Leon.
They smiled at each other, communicating in the way lovers do, and Amethea shook her head at how they backed each other.
Amethea got into the driver’s seat and put the key into the ignition. She glanced at Leon, and then turned the key and the engine purred to life. She couldn’t help her wide grin. The Beetle she owned got too old and it was now in a museum near the palace.
It was sweet of Leon to remember her love affair with her Volkswagen Beetle. She had loved the freedom it gave her those days. Loved driving it through town, zipping up Sheep Hill Road on a Sunday eager to see Leon and his parents. Now, she might speed up Sheep Hill Road to see him and his Logan, though she hoped they would move in with her at the palace.
“It’s perfect,” Amethea said, patting the steering wheel. “Let’s go for a ride. Leon get in the back, you’re skinnier than Logan.”
Logan started to protest, no doubt calculating the security risks involved. Leon stopped his protests by taking his hand and dragging him around to the passenger side. Leon opened the door, got in the back and urged Logan into the car.
Amethea revved the engine and closed her door when Logan was settled in the passenger seat. She took off out of the garage and Leon gave a happy shout. Not wanting too much of a fuss for her security, Amethea drove around the many roads around the castle, only stopping when she found one that led them to a wide clearing near the Arguro Forest.
“I’d forgotten how beautiful Castle Arguro is,” Amethea said, parking the car. She got out and turned around, giving an appreciative sigh at the sight of the Castle in the distance. It was beautiful. “No wonder Kleopas and Anastasia loved it here.”
Leon and Logan joined her, standing on each side of her.
They stood in silence for a moment, and then Leon cleared his throat and brought his left hand up.
“Granny, Logan asked me to marry him,” Leon said.
Amethea grabbed on to Leon’s left hand to stare at the gorgeous engagement ring on Leon’s ring finger. The rubies looked beautiful on the gold surface in the afternoon sunlight. It was a handsome ring for a handsome prince. The promise she had waited for this year, and hoped for with every thought.
Elated, Amethea turned to Logan who showed her the Maximillian family ring on his left hand. He would need one forged for his ring finger she thought. She would commission one the moment she got back to the palace. Heart soaring she turned to Leon.
“Permission granted,” she said, filled with happiness.
“We’ll move into the palace after the wedding,” Logan said, making her dreams come true.
“Oh,” Amethea said, clutching both their hands tight. “Really?”
“In time,” Leon said, his tone quiet, his gaze on the castle. “Maybe you can become Castle Arguro’s Mistress.”
“You’ll agree to be King?” Amethea asked, eager to crown Leon in the morning.
She was tired and knew that it was time for a younger vision to take root at the Capital Palace.
“Give us five years with you in the palace,” Leon negotiated.
“Only if I get grand children in two years,” Amethea said.
“Make it three years and we agree to have two children,” Logan countered.
“Why three?” Amethea asked.
“I want it to be just us two for a while,” Logan said, smiling at Leon. “I’ve not had that long with him. I’m already sharing him with a Kingdom. I need at least three years before we add in someone else.”
Amethea chuckled remembering she had the same thought with her own husband once.
“Alright, three years from now, I get grandchildren. Two years later, you let me abdicate and make Leon the monarch. Logan, you take your place beside a King.”
“Deal,” Leon said, with a quick nod.
“Deal,” Logan said.
Amethea gave an excited shout that startled birds into the sky, and had Leon laughing. It was the best afternoon she could remember in a very long while.
On a sunny July morning half a year later, the bells at Thelem Abbey jingled in celebration, on this most joyous day.Leon was dressed in his white suit, tailored to perfection and decorated in golds and reds to match his royal status.Logan dressed in a tailored tuxedo looked more handsome than ever today.Leon slipped his hand into the crook of Logan’s left elbow, and breathed out nerves.
The aisle to the altar was long and majestic.Rows and rows of guests filled each side, his family, Logan’s Royal Navy family, their friends and officials of government.His grandmother sat at the front, where Riku, David, Petr, Paul and Anselm stood waiting with her.Beside them were Gia and her mother.
“Are you ready?” Logan asked him, sounding strong and sure.
“I’m ready,” Leon said, finding confidence in Logan’s strength.
Logan started the long walk down the aisle, and Leon joined him, his heart beat matching their steps. He paid no attention to the watching gazes on either side of them, nor did it matter that the occasion was broadcasted on every available platform across nations.
All that mattered was that Logan was walking down this aisle with him, they were starting a lifetime adventure together, and it was exhilarating.He sailed through the procedures of marriage in a daze, his gaze on Logan, and only him.
All that registered was when they were declared officially married, and Logan kissing him like that they didn’t have an audience.Music filled the great halls of Thelem Abbey, and the next minute, they stood outside the church doors facing a line of Royal Navy officers holding swords.Their friends stood on the sidelines clapping with joy, and then Riku sent silver and gold pieces of paper sailing over their heads.
Leon held Logan’s hand tight as they passed under the honorary arch of sabers made by the Royal Navy officers.He would never let go, he thought, meeting a happy blue gaze as they emerged from saber arch.