A Changing Love

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Chapter 10 - Family reunion

Nathalie’s POV

I walk through the doors of the library and I immediately see my parents talking to my grandma in what looks to be a heated discussion. Selene is sitting on a couch looking at all of the books that line the walls. As soon as they hear the door open they all turn in our direction, and Selene jumps off the couch and runs towards me. She hugs me tightly while jumping up and down a bit. I chuckle at her excitement.

“Are you really a princess Nutty? Like a real-life princess, because if you are then it’s so COOL.” she beams up at me as her smile reaches practically from one ear to the other.

“I am Selene. But come on let’s go talk with mom and dad. I’m sure you all have some questions.” I tell her and then look at my parents as they look at me with eyes that hold disappointment. That look hurts me. I never wanted to disappoint my parents. I’ve always tried to do the right thing.

“Nathalie King Reed what the hell is going on and who is that man behind you?!” my father asks me with a firmness I haven’t heard in years. He only ever used that tone when I did something very bad, and I slightly cringe at the sound of his voice.

“Mom, dad, Selene I would like for you to meet his Majesty King Florestan of Monaco. My grandfather.” I tell them and I can see the shock in their eyes. My grandma already knew all of this so she simply smiles encouraging at me.

“Your Majesty, this is my little sister Selene King Reed, my mother Catherine Reed, my father Benjamin King Reed and you already know my grandma Margareth King,” I tell him.

“It’s a pleasure to meet you, and it’s good to see you again Maggie,” he says the last part directed at my grandma and I can see the vulnerability in his eyes. It’s the first time I have ever seen him express an emotion and then I remember why. My grandma had to leave her husband behind to raise their kids alone. But they never fell out of love. My grandma never remarried and neither did the King. They must still love each other and by the look, I saw in the King’s eyes he must miss her very much.

“It’s good to see you too Florestan,” my grandma smiles at him.

“Grandfather? Nathalie what is going on?” my father asks me again. I can see the confusion in his eyes and I understand it. My grandfather on my mother’s side is still alive and I’ve met him several times, which means that the King is my father’s father. I think that this is the realization that crosses my father’s mind and he turns to my grandma and looks at her in disbelief.

“Mother, what is the meaning of this? You knew about all of this?” my father asks my grandma with a bit of venom in his voice.

“Yes, I did. And do not use that voice with me. You may be an adult but I am still your mother!” my grandma tells him. I smile at her. My grandma is a force to be reckoned with.

“If you are Nutty’s grandfather does that make you my grandfather as well?” Selene interrupts and stares directly at the King when speaking. If I had talked to him like that I would have gotten a lecture about not addressing him by his title, but he doesn’t.

“Yes, I am Selene. It’s very nice to finally meet you. I have heard great things about you.” he says with a sweet voice. A voice I have never heard before and it makes me stop for a minute and simply look at the man. Although he is wearing his gala uniform with medals, the white ribbon, and his crown, he is talking like one would talk to a child. I never expected him to have a soft side.

“Cool. Nice to meet you too. What did you hear? Was it Nutty that told you, because you shouldn’t believe everything she says? I always behave like a good girl.” Selene says. It’s strange, normally she will never talk to a stranger but with the King, she can’t stop talking.

“I promise I have only heard good things about you,” the King says to her while smiling at her.

“Mother what is going on?” my father says to grandma once again. My grandma looks at me and smiles slightly.

“Would you like to tell them or should I?” she asks me and I’m grateful she does. If she had asked me yesterday I would have told her that she could explain, but now I know that I have to be the one to tell them. It is after all because of me that we are gathered today.

I take a deep breath and look at my father and my mother. And then I begin to explain.

“Two years ago on my birthday, I met a man called Sir Bisalion he told me that I had a family that I didn’t know about and that I was in fact a princess. I didn’t believe him at first, but he knew some things that only our family would know. So, after I talked with him I called grandma and asked her if it was true and she confirmed. The truth is that King Florestan is my grandfather, and he is your father.” I tell them and with the last sentence, I look my father directly in the eyes.

“Sir Bisalion told me the story about how the King’s brother died and he had to step up and become the next King as he was the only one left in the line of succession. At the time King Florestan was married to Margareth and they had two boys, Benjamin and Richard. But Margareth didn’t want her children to be royalty and so she went back to Denmark with the children. King Florestan became the King of Monaco but never saw his wife or children again. Grandma made a deal with the King that when she left, she would lose her title and so would their two children. However, the deal never mentioned their grandchildren. So, when Sir Bisalion told me this I knew what he wanted.” I tell them. The whole explanation was mostly directed towards my father since I knew he would be the one that was affected the most by what I had to tell them.

“I am the heir to the throne of Monaco. Sir Bisalion wanted me to leave Denmark right away, but I told him that I wouldn’t do it. I wanted to finish high school in Denmark and stay for as long as I could with my family, and so we made a deal. I could stay in Denmark as long as nobody knew who I was, I had to learn French and Italian I had to spend my summers at the palace in Monaco. Training, learning how to be a princess. Part of the deal was that on my 18th birthday I was to be announced as the next heir to the throne. That is what you saw today. I get to go back to Denmark for the next 8 months until I finish high school, but after that, I am leaving. I am moving to Monaco to be the Crown Princess.” I finish explaining to them. I can see the conflict in both of my parents’ eyes and I know that they are having trouble processing everything.

“You’re leaving me?” the small voice of my little sister says. I look at her and can see that the tears are threatening to burst from her eyes.

“Not right away. I have 8 months, but after that, I have to move to Monaco. But Selene, I’ll never fully leave you. You can always call me and I am sure that you’re more than welcome to visit me on vacation.” I tell her crouching down to her level.

“Of course you’re welcome to come and visit your sister. Whenever you want. As long as your parents agree,” King Florestan says to Selene, and I can see that his words help reassure her a bit and brighten the mood.

“Why didn’t you decline this Sir Bisalion, Nathalie?” my father asks me and I become fidgety. I can’t really tell them that he blackmailed me and that I really do not want to be here right now.

“And the truth would be a good answer,” my father finished before I can make up a lie.

“Selene why don’t you go over there and find a book to read. You can pick any book that you want,” I tell her and point to the couch at the other end of the 50-meter long library. I see her nod her head and then she walks towards the bookshelves.

“Look, dad, I didn’t have a choice. He told me that if I declined his request he would go to Selene next, and then Sofina if Selene declined, and then back to me and it would just continue like that. I couldn’t do that too Selene, not after everything she’s been through,” I tell him almost pleading with him to not question it further. I really don’t want to argue with him right now.

“You’re really an asshole Florestan for blackmailing our granddaughter like that,” my grandma spits with venom in her voice. She is staring directly at the King challenging him to deny it.

“Maggie I didn’t have a choice. The ministers were pressuring me, threatening to overthrow me. I couldn’t do that. I tried to hold them off for as long as I could. I don’t want this for her either. For any of them. Why do you think I agreed to let you and the boys leave me? I didn’t want this life for any of us.” he tells her and I can hear the desperation in his voice. He really did not want this life for me or for my father either. For the first time, I actually believe that he cares about me, that I am not just a pawn in his game to secure an heir.

“I really hate those self-entitled bastards!“, grandma almost yells and I couldn’t agree more with her. The ministers may be useful in leading the country but they are really good at pushing their luck when it comes to the royal family. Always thinking that they can pressure us into doing as they please, but we always fight back and protect our own. Another thing I learned during one of the state meetings I had to attend as a part of my training.

I look at my mother she hasn’t said a thing yet just observing the whole conversation and it’s making me uneasy. I have always known my mother as a woman that tells her opinion no matter what. Her being quiet is not her usual behavior.

“Mom?” I ask her.

“You’re really moving?” she asks with tears in her eyes. Seeing her with tears in her eyes makes the tears well up in my eyes as well.

“In 8 months I am. I’m sorry mom,” I tell her, and I can feel the tears are at the point where they are about to burst.

“It’s okay, sweetie. I knew it would happen at some point, I just didn’t expect it to be so soon. I guess I’ll just have to get used to it,” she tells me and embraces me in a giant hug. I’m relieved that she supports me. It’s exactly what I needed to hear.

“Nathalie?” I hear my father say, and I turn from my mother’s arms to my father’s. His hugs have always been comforting and a safe place for me. The feeling of being in his arms brings me momentary peace, a peace I really needed.

“I know I can’t stop you from doing this, especially after that ceremony today. I want you to know that I am proud of you for protecting your sister and cousin, even when it meant you had to give up on your dreams. I can’t say that I am not hurt that you didn’t tell me this sooner and that I had to find out while watching you sign your life away, but I understand your reasons. I love you my little étoile(star),” he says to me and I am relieved. Hearing him calling me by the nickname he gave me when I was a kid is reassuring and I know that we will be okay. My father releases me from the hug and turns to the King who is standing beside my grandma.

“I don’t remember you, and I am not pleased with what you have made my daughter do. But as long as you promise to make sure that she is safe and taken care of, I am willing to forget all of that and be civil,” my father says to the King and holds out his hand for the King to shake.

“Of course, Nathalie will always be safe in Monaco,” the King says while taking my father’s hand and shaking it. I guess learning that the father you thought was dead is in fact alive is a bit of a shock, and I don’t blame my father for not being completely open towards the King.

“You know Nathalie you look really pretty and that crown suits you so well. You did great at the ceremony, and I am confident that you are going to be an amazing princess,” my mother says while smiling at me. She always knows what to say to cheer me up and reassure me. She knows that I am insecure when it comes to big crowds, and she knows how difficult it was for me to be put on the spot like I was today. She is the best mom I could ever wish for.

“Thank you mom,” I tell her and hug her again.

“Well, if everyone is ready we have a coronation reception to attend. It can’t really start without the guest of honor,” the King says.

“Of course, Your Majesty,” I tell him while nodding in his direction.

With that, we all begin to walk out the doors of the library and towards the ballroom where the reception is being held.

___

The day is finally over and I can relax. I lost count of all the state leaders and other important people I had to talk to during the reception. It wasn’t until the end of the night that my parents had a chance to wish me happy birthday. I look to my bedside table and see my phone. I check my phone and see that I have 12 missed calls and 36 texts from Kat. I should probably call her to answer some of her questions. I open up my computer and videocall her.

“Nutty what the hell! You’re a princess?” she yells as soon as she sees me.

“Well hello to you too,” I smile at her.

“Is that a freaking crown on your head?” she asks. Oh sh*t I completely forgot that it was still there.

“Oh yeah. Sorry, I forgot I was wearing it,” I smile lightly at her.

“Explain. Now!” she tells me and so I go on and tell her everything I told my parents earlier. Through the whole thing she doesn’t say a word and she simply lets me explain. As I am done talking there is silence for a minute, I let her process all the information I just told her. Then finally she says something.

“Well that’s f*cked up,” is all she says and I can’t hold back my laughter. Soon we’re both laughing and for just a short amount of time, I feel normal again. Like everything that has happened in the last few days didn’t actually happen. I’m glad I have someone like Kat to cheer me up.

“Yeah, it really is. But it’s my new reality,” I tell her a bit sad.

“So you’re really moving in 8 months?” she asks me also with sadness and I don’t blame her. We’ve been together what seems like forever and without her, it’ll be a new kind of sad.

“I am and I’m afraid I don’t have a choice in the matter. You’re more than welcome to come and visit me whenever you have time, and I’ll make sure that when I am in Denmark I’ll visit you as well,” I tell her trying to cheer her up.

“You better. I’m not losing my best friend,” and I smile at her words.

“Never. Remember you’re my ′Sister from another mister’,” I tell her and I smile at what we used to call each other when we were kids.

“I love you Nutty,” she says.

“I love you too, Kat,” I tell her and after that, we talk for hours about everything I’ve missed back home and I tell her about what it’s like being a princess.

And for just a moment I feel like myself again.

Just a moment

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