The Hot Virgin Prince and His Princess

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Chapter Three: Lonely Hearts And Public Intimacies

It was a blessing, after all the public attention, to have dinner with just her parents.

The King and Queen of Estica were lovers of good cuisine—and tonight there was a feast fit for the royalty that they were.

The wine flowed, and they all wore smiles on their faces.

Kensington felt tired, trying to keep up appearances. She really wanted to admit that the thought of this wedding—no, this marriage—terrified her.

But she could not. That would devastate her parents. And she did want to be the wife of the Prince of Marovia.

It was just troubling to her that Prince Douglas was so cold, and stiff, and seemingly disinterested in her.

Everyone had always loved Princess Kensington Lance—right from when she was a little girl.

And yet, the man she was to marry seemed to barely notice her existence.

“How wonderful that you are getting married in a couple of days,” her mother, Queen Eliza said, a serene smile on her face.

“I wasn’t sure this was going to happen, after all those troubles last summer!” her father, King Anthony said.

“All’s well that ends well,” her mother said.

Her father nodded wisely and drank some more of the wine.

“You looked beautiful, today, my darling,” her mother said, reaching over to pat her daughter’s hand. “Every inch the bride.”

“Thank you, Mama,” she said.

“And Douglas looked very handsome.”

Kensington chewed on the steak she’d been served and used it as a reason not to comment.

She would have disagreed—but that was before she saw him without his shirt on.

“And once you are wed, it will open up many opportunities for new treaties between our countries,” Papa said. “This is going to be a wonderful new beginning, for so many reasons.”

Kensington smiled.

It did her good to remember the reason why she was marrying a man she did not really know—a man she did not really even get along with.

They had barely spoken since their harsh words earlier in the day, and now she would not see him until they both stood at the altar.

She did not really believe in bad luck. What she did believe in—as all royals seemed to—was tradition. Even when those traditions were exceedingly hard to follow.

The waiters topped up their wine glasses, and they toasted the coming wedding.

“I can’t wait to walk my little girl down the aisle,” Papa said.

“It feels strange that I won’t be coming home with you!”

“But you’ll be starting a new life, here,” Mama said.

She nodded. She always knew her marriage would be for her country—it just felt harder to go through with than she had imagined before.

At least there was no seafood being served tonight.

***

Kensington did not know how long she’d been asleep when she was roughly shaken awake, but she sat up quickly, panicked that she’d overslept for her wedding day.

When she realized it was still dark outside, she calmed, blinking furiously, before trying to find out why her maid had woken her in the middle of the night.

“Maddie? What is it?” she asked.

“Your parents, Your Highness. They wish to see you. They have to leave.”

“Leave?” Kensington said, her eyes wide. “I am getting married in-” She glanced down at the illuminated face of her watch. “Six hours!”

Hurriedly, she pulled a silk robe over her nightgown and left the bedroom, to find her parents standing, fully dressed, outside her bedroom door.

Her mother’s eyes were ringed red, as though she had been crying. Her father’s brow was furrowed so deeply she wondered if it would ever be smooth again.

“Mama? Papa?”

“I am so sorry, dear,” Papa said, his back stiff as he assumed the mantle of a leader.

“But we have been informed there has been a coup of the government, back in Estica. Anti-royalists have taken over. The prime minister needs us to return immediately to help him deal with matters.”

“But my wedding!” Kensington picked at a loose thread on the sleeve of her silk robe. She fought the urge to cry as her parents spoke.

“I know, and believe me, if we could stay, we would. But you know how it is. Our country must come first. You will be wonderful, my darling.”

She nodded, feeling tears filling her eyes.

Although being brought up as the only child of a king and queen had sometimes felt a bit lonely, she never doubted that she was of great importance to her parents.

But she supposed she never had a major life event coincide with a crisis of state before.

“All our best wishes for the wedding,” Mama said, giving her a kiss on the cheek.

“Let me know that everything is okay,” Kensington said, never doubting that her parents would solve the issue.

And then they were gone. She managed to make her way back to her room before the tears fell.

She was in a foreign country, marrying a man she struggled to like, and her own parents would not be there on her wedding day.

Her father would not walk her down the aisle.

Her mother would not help her get ready.

Her heart felt like it was shattering.

***

When she was awoken again—this time with light streaming in the windows, and a team of people ready to transform her into the perfect bride for the day—she felt a little numb.

As the team got her ready, she felt like she was going through the motions.

Somehow losing this dream—the one of her parents being there when she was married—hit harder than losing so many others.

The hairstylist handed her a glass of champagne, and the dressmaker chatted away, but she was not sure she was successful in keeping a smile pasted on her face.

She hoped they just assumed she was nervous—and not that she was trying to persuade herself to go through with this wedding.

The people were all so lovely, but she could not focus on their chatter with her stomach churning and her mind whirring.

At home, when her makeup and hair team would tend to her, they would joke together. No one stood on ceremony; it was like a group of friends.

Today, every time the professionals touched her, she felt like cringing away.

A knock on the door—when her hair and makeup were done, but her dress was not yet on—sent everyone into a flurry.

When the manager of royal affairs asked for some time alone with the princess, they all dutifully filed out.

“Such an exciting day,” he said, fiddling with a folder he was carrying.

“Yes, it is,” Kensington said, on autopilot.

“There is something I must speak with you about,” he said. “It is a little delicate, which is why I’ve asked for privacy. May I sit?”

She gestured to the chair opposite her, which the hairdresser had pushed out of the way.

“Thank you. Now, as you come from a royal family yourself, I imagine this will not be a surprise to you. A marriage—in order to be legal, with no grounds for annulment—must be consummated.”

She glanced up in shock at the fact he was raising this—a man who barely knew her, discussing the consummation of her marriage—and saw he was red himself.

“For the Nielsen family, as with other royal families, consummation and, um, procreation, are key.” He avoided meeting her eye, but his face was far calmer than hers.

“Now, the wedding night ritual used to be watched by unmarried adult members of the royal house, in order to ensure everything was as it should be…”

Kensington felt her heart stop.

Surely he wasn’t suggesting what she thought he was... This was barbaric. Like something from the middle ages.

“Of course, the royal family has moved with the times, and due to… privacy concerns, they have evolved and changed this rule.”

“Thank goodness!” Kensington said, with a sigh of relief.

“However…”

Her blood ran cold.

“It was felt that there was still some benefit to having some… input on this matter. Therefore…” He was looking at the floor, and Kensington did not feel that was a good sign.

“The protocol now is that, when royal couples consummate the marriage on their wedding night, experts use hidden cameras to assess the performance and give advice for conception of a future heir.”

Kensington felt her jaw drop, but she had no power to control it. “Excuse me?”

“It’s a nod to traditions of the past…” he said. Kensington considered arguing—but what could she say?

As he pointed out, she was royal; she knew that traditions were the backbone of any monarchy. Without them, they were just like the common folk.

And her family needed this marriage—more than ever, with an anti-monarchy coup to deal with at home.

If Marovia became their enemy too… Well, it could be the end of the monarchy in Estica.

“Have a wonderful day, Your Highness,” the official said, bowing and backing out of the room, leaving Kensington frozen in shock.

Thankfully, the team did not re-enter immediately, and hot tears began to spring from her eyes.

Listing everything that had gone wrong would take far too long, but this was the final straw.

Her consummation of the marriage would be observed? Commented on? She was no ingenue, but that felt like a step too far.

She liked attention—but not that sort of attention.

A knock on the door, and the hairdresser, dressmaker, and makeup artist re-entered. Kensington quickly wiped away her tears and tried to get her emotions under control.

They did not ask what was wrong, and she was pleased. She did not think she could have discussed it with them even if she wanted to. What did they know, anyway?

“I’ll fix your makeup, Your Highness, if that’s all right?”

Kensington nodded; she had not looked in the mirror, but she knew the tears must have destroyed all the poor girl’s hard work.

She closed her eyes as she gathered her makeup wipes and eyeliner, and took a few deep breaths.

Yes, they had traditions in the South.

But nothing like this.

These Northerners were barbarians. And she was about to marry one of them.

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