Arriving at Rythfork that day, a grand welcome ceremony had been organized to honour the king and queen of Doxa. I wasn't surprised when the duchess told me about it. I knew their hospitality was second to none, even before I married the king. When Troy was then the crowned prince. They organized an elaborate and flamboyant ceremony also.
It was beyond belief though even for our friends who thought they knew the duke and duchess of Isalndes much already.
The welcome party was great as we alighted from the royal jet.
The moment my eyes fell on my parents, tears gushed out my eyes in large quantities. I never knew how much I had missed them.
Not waiting for the others to alight the jet, I ran towards them speedily, hugging them so tightly that the tears rushed out the more.
The duchess covered my face with kisses like I was a little baby. "I missed you my angel" she kept uttering refusing to let me out of her hands.
"I missed you too mum" I sniffled, as she kept wiping my tears with her hands whilst the duke retracted after a while to go receive the king and his entourage who I assumed were already staring at our little scene.
But it still didn't affect my little reunion with my mom. At this moment, I was a daughter who had missed her parents - even though I was their queen.
Besides my father was so perfect at hiding his emotions, especially in public just like when I was accused and dismissed from court, His expressions were unreadable.
After a very emotional reunion with my mother, she acknowledged the kings presence and we headed inside where everyone was shown their rooms.
Ofcourse Troy and I stayed in the royal suite even though I missed my former bedroom and protested briefly in staying there,Troy objected. "You are my queen and I need you by me always. Understand" he kissed my hair making me blush at his cute possessiveness.
Adrian and Echo stayed together, as well as Charles, Ian, Theon, Victor, Korina, Gaius, Dorothy and Ana were giving their rooms respectively.
After settling in, freshening and dressing up, we went out for the ceremony which had barely started.
As usual, there were lots of cultural displays and shows to watch. The highlight of the event was the presentations of gifts to the king and queen of Doxa by the citizens of Islandes.
It was so touching to see how much we were loved by my people. I received the gifts on behalf of the crown and made a speech that was heart-rending, before the king gave an address of gratitude and the ceremony ended.
Afterwhich we were led into the large banquet hall for an appetizing, mouthwatering lunch. The duke sat at one end of the table with the duchess beside him while the king sat at the other end with me beside him, followed by the others sitting across from each other on the large dining.
Before we dived into the food, the duke welcomed us again warmly with a smile and beckoned on us to eat.
We ate in silence for a while before my father spoke up. "Its good to see you, your majesty and my beloved daughter" he smiled and raised the glass to make a toast to us, which everyone participated in with a happy expression on their faces.
I couldn't wait to have that long awaited chat with my mom as she kept giving me the blushing stares from across the table where she sat.
After lunch, while everyone thought of what to do personally or collectively, I decided to go with my mum but not before my overly possessive husband pulled me into him for a tight embrace.
"Troy......." I squealed playfully as his teeth grazed the sides of my ear.
"I'll miss you princess" he whispered into my ears, the hot air from his nostrils sending cold shivers down my spine as I moaned. "Please dont keep me waiting" he added and kissed me before letting me go with a cute smile on his face.
"Well, that was romantic darling. I'm so happy for you" the duchess commented, clearing her throat, giggling and hugged me again once we were in her room.
"Thanks mum...." I blushed hard unable to look at her because she was literally screaming mentally.
"So...... I want to hear all of the juicy gist. How did it all happen?" She took a relaxing seating position, clasping her hands impatiently and crossed her ankles together whilst I sat on her bed with my legs folded in.
I narrated the whole story from Troy and Adrian's plans to the wedding day to the honeymoon though leaving out most details and at the end of it all, she had a smug look on her face.
"I can't believe it at all....."she shook her head slowly. "So you're telling me, you never had a clue in all of these? And I nodded truthfully because I had no idea.
For a while she tried processing the whole picture before she waived it off saying it was already past.
"So hows the king and marriage and being queen?" She asked me curiously but in a casual manner and I hevaed a deep breath.
"Mom, Troy is the best thing that has ever happened to me.....I love him with my entire life" I remarked,glowing with a reddened cheek as she gaped at me surprised and I nodded in confirmation to my words.
"And to think that, you never wanted him at all?" She teased me.
"That was in the past" I countered and we both laughed. "Now its different. I can't live without him - He's my air" I blushed playing with the book of my blouse, with my eyes buried down.
"As for marriage, its been......wonderful. Being queen, well I can't say for now but I love the feeling" I smiled at her and she couldn't help but aww at me, stretching her hands to give mine a small squeeze.
I knew the duchess wanted more but that's all she's getting from me. Besides I was tempted to talk to her about my burdens especially the whole heir stuff as my mind was still not prepared to get pregnant just yet.
I spent long hours catching up with my mom. We talked about alot of things including Gemma's parents request of Troy marrying their daughter.
Yea.... I know......a secret but I just had to tell her. It was one of the burdens on my mind and I needed it taken care of as soon as possible.
"That's a preposterous request...." She frowned, yelling quietly "and what did the king say?"
"Honestly, we're still brainstorming.. no solution yet" I shook my head, sadly.
"Aris....." she called me and paused, taking in deep breaths. "How are you feeling about it?"
I chuckled lightly. "How do you think i will feel? Its not funny at all, imagining that your husband might just end up with a second wife or probably a mistress" I groaned in pains and immediately saw a hint of sadness flash through her body. She closed her eyes briefly, opening them but that feeling was still there.
"What is it mum" I asked slightly agitated but she gave me a half smile, with a dismissal of her hands but I couldn't help but roam my eyes over her face, searching for an answer before she joined me on the bed, sitting sideways so she could face me.
"Look Aris, dont let your heart be troubled. Troy is a good man and he wouldn't act in a condescending manner like the former king?" My eyes widened at her remark.....
"The former king......." I raised a brow, confused. "Mom what happened?"
"Forget about what I said" she quickly switched her moods looking away from me, shuddering little. I placed my warm hands on her thighs pleading with her to say what's she holding back but it was futile.
"Just trust your husband to be different" she gave me a smile that I was forced to return even though I wasn't feeling it but that was all I got.
I couldn't believe it, the duchess had just added to my list of worries and it was hell frustrating me not to use my position to extract the information I needed out of her.
The thoughts of the former king dealings in the past got me so curious as I wanted to find out everything but my mother drew my attention back and we spent the remaining hours brainstorming on ideas to ensure Troy doesn't marry Gemma before I heard Ian's voice outside the door.
"Your majesty, the king is requesting your presence"
Shit. I mumbled remembering his last words. I'd lost track of time, forgetting Troy asked me not to keep him waiting.
Hurriedly, I stood up from the bed, kissed my mum good night before leaving with Ian trailing behind me.
The royal suite was actually different from the prince's suite - the one Troy stayed in when he was crowned prince. This was larger and though still executive but difference was still clear.
"Hey love" I whispered as I wrapped my arms around his waist from behind, planting kisses on his bare back, once I entered into the bedroom.
He was shirtless, hot and sexy, standing and peering out of the window.
He groaned as my hands moved down just below his adonis angle and he held my wrist stopping my movement. Then he turned to face me with a scowl on his face.
"You kept me waiting, princess"
"I'm - I'm so sorry...." I pouted. "Its just I've missed my mom so much. Please don't be angry......please" but he kept crunching his face into deeper frown.
"You'll have to make it up to me" he spoke in a cold, yet flirty tone.
Oh c'mon Troy, not tonight I said mentally. I was so tired and wanted to arrange my thoughts, probably file them in order of priority in my mental archive but Troy was damn serious as he kept giving me annoying attitudes.
"Seriously Troy, you're acting up because-"
"I asked you to be back early princess"
"And I just explained things to you" I glared at him confused as a wicked smile curled up on his lips.
"What?......" I asked slightly afraid and apprehensive because I knew that smile and definitely knew that look, but he ignored me.
Rather he sauntered towards me and before I realized, he swept me off my feet and into his hands, headed for the bathroom, kissing my lips angrily like a predator devouring his prey.
I knew better than not struggle with him so I remained calm and gave into his crazy make up treat - one which I always enjoyed.
"Rise and shine sleepy heads" I screamed plaufulkg as I walked into Adrian and Echo's room the next morning, wearing a simple flowery blue dress that hung just below my thighs with a comfortable foot wear.
The room was cold and chilly. Where these guys damn sea creatures? How could they survive in such temperature? I wondered.
Echo heard my voice and smiled wanting to get up, when Adrain wrapped his arms over her and tugged her further into his body. He was lying on his stomach exposing his braod and sexy back to the world.
I understood what he was doing as I rolled my eyes at his crazy attitude. Echo giggled, kissed the nape of his neck before shoving his hands gently off her to rise to her feet.
"Go away your majesty" Adrian's husky voice came out as a tease. "Go to your husband........" and that was it, I picked up a pillow from the bed and started hitting at him playfully, before I knew it, he was retaliating and we continued that way for a while as I giggled frantically running away from Adrian's grip.
It's been a while, I played this way and though I may be queen but the girly part of me was very much alive and active.
After what felt like pleasure of eternity last night, Troy and I slept like log of woods up until this morning.
I thought we were going to be staying in bed today but trust Steflos to always spoil our beautiful schedule. He fucking fixed a meeting for Troy to attend right here in Islandes.
I was so mad and furious at him and added warning him sternly to my to-do-list once we returned to the palace - infact, he should be fired or better still retire.
I was more comfortable with Gaius. He understood us, our relationship and our desperate need for each other all the time. He would prefer to do the job himself than encroach into our itinerary.
So here I was needing the company of my best friend whilst Troy was being held up in a long meeting with the duke, all the Earl's and Ofcourse Charles who also accompanied him.
He obviously didn't want to bother Adrian by disrupting his personal time but I didn't care about that. Besides I felt, he needed to rebond with Charles after their long time of seperation.
Moments later, I was sitted having breakfast with Adrian and Echo. We ate in silence for a while before my eyes chose to scan intently at Echo.
She was beautiful, the fact that her service clothes were hiding her beauty was unfair. I think I now see what Adrian saw.
She wore a mustard yellow shift dress that fell just above her knees with a brown belt fastened across her stomach. Her golden brown hair was tied in a pony tail with small hair strands gracing her forehead.
While Adrian chose to wear a black jean with a grey shirt that hugged his biceps - he was hot and sexy with his golden brown tousled hair and blue eyes.
"You know all these years, I never knew how close you and Adrian were" Echo popped the question in her head causing me to choke on the coffee in my hand while Adrian shot her a stare that attracted a half sided smirk from her.
"I'm sorry, I didnt mean to startle you two. I'm just curious" she shrugged.
"Echo, that was unexpected" Adrian voiced out still staring at her.
"No, it's okay Rian...." I smiled smugly. "She is right. Most persons do not really understand our relationship....... They even considered it romantic, intimate...."
"Aris.....stop!" Adrian held my hands and turned to her "Echo we are cousins"
"W-what" she stammered, shocked like it was a big revelation. Well it was because only few persons knew about it. "I'm so sorry. I never knew" she shook her head embarrassed and apologetic as she excused herself in a hurry.
I closed my eyes releasing the tensed breath when Adrian's grip on me became tightened. "Come here baby" he whispered and before I knew it, he pulled me up onto his laps. My face was buried in his neck whilst his hands stroked my back.
"Its okay.... I'm sorry about that" he kept saying it because he perceived I was hurt.
After a while, we were seated on his bed with me sitting in between his legs spread apart while his hands wrapped my waist and his back against the headboard.
"What was that about?" I spoke making reference to Echo's earlier attitude as I leaned backwards into him.
"I can't tell but she will be fine" he said and kissed my hair.
Apparently, Adrian ran after Echo some minutes after she left and came back later without her, telling me she needed to be alone.
I felt my actions this morning could have triggered her jealousy hormone which I saw as normal but then, where was all these springing up from?
Could it be that she's been entertaining gossips and rumours while she was still working at the palace as a handmaid. Because nothing goes past those staffs. They always knew the latest gossip and story going on in the palace.
Maybe I had one time, even been a topic for their discussion - my closeness with Adrian in course of Troy's absence then. That could have been a juicy story.
No wonder, a handful of them believed the former queen when she accused me of seducing Charles.
Probably they felt I was one loosed promiscuous lady as they painted me to be. But it wasn't going to change what I felt for Adrian.
I loved Adrian so much. He was my first friend, my best friend. The first family I knew after my parents and maybe my first boyfriend.
The fact that he was also best friends to the prince and was able to strike a balance between the both of us, made me admire him more.
Although, he never told me, he was close to the prince, nonetheless of being best friends until the selection ceremony, when I saw them all sitted together.
The night when my life changed forever. I saw Adrian but I wasn't there for him. It was Troy my heart yearned for and the force pulling us together was so strong to resist.
I couldn't look at Adrian even when he tried initiating a contact, I broke it off.
The entirety of me was focused on this greek god who was drawing the breath out of me slowly with just his eyes.
Adrain informed me that Echo's been acting somewhat wary since two days ago. She's been overly possessive and clingy and it was damn obvious, one of the reasons why Troy chose to be with Charles today.
"Enough of the Echo's talk, baby.... Can we talk about something else?" Adrian kissed my neck, making his suggestion as I wriggled playfully in his arms.
"Can you remember what you told me?" I asked him with a serious tone.
"That things were going to change between us once I got married to Troy" He threw his head backwards a little, groaning in silence.
"Rian" I called out and turned to face him still caged in between his long legs.
Actually Troy, Adrian and Charles were all the same height - tall, hot and sexy.
"I remember baby" he said studying my face whilst rubbing his chin. "Why?"
"Look at us" I darted my index finger between us with a small smile. "I told you things will be the same" and he rolled his eyes chuckling.
"That is because my best friend is not a jealous lover"
"Oh.....trust me he is..." I replied, rolling my eyes. Then he leaned towards me, his hands holding my shoulders.
"Look baby, I know I can be with you anyhow and anywhere because I love you Aris and it's not going to change but we need to be careful so as not to send the wrong signals. Okay?" he bit into his lower lips wiating for my acknowledgement.
"Okay" I nodded and he gave me a suffocating hug before we buried our springing up emotions.
Later on, we requested for a bottle of wine while I opened up and told him everything that was encumbering me.
"You know I can't watch Troy proceed with the Arygos' demand" I stated the obvious.
"I know but you see I've been thinking and also talking about it with Troy.... let Gemma come to the palace Aris" he whispered as I glared at him.
"Are you crazy Adrian?" I snapped at him in annoyance.
"It will help her healing process and the earlier she gets better, the better for all of us. Besides Troy was considering it but halted when he thought of how you'd take it" I ran my hands through my hair, gently. Adrian had a good point but I was scared.
What if we were just helping them achieve their goals or what if Gemma was pretending. Besides no one apart from her family had seen her to confirm their case.
But then it's a risk I'm willing to take to get them off our backs. I struggled with thoughts before I concluded.
"I will give Troy my word then. Once we return, she can be brought to the palace" I said and Adrian nodded as I felt the need to switch topics to lighten the mood.
Whenever we talked about Gemma, it was like we were mourning - very depressing.
"So......do you know Troy wants a heir?" I popped the big question at him.
"W-what?.... so soon" he stutterd. His shoulders stiffened and he quickly looked away from me, sipping wine from his glass in large gulps.
Quickly processing his disposition as it betrayed him, I narrowed my eyes at him suspiciously.
He fucking knew about it. I chuckled lightly not knowing if I should be mad at him or just indifferent.
How could I forget that they literally talked about everything. I facepalmed exasperated.
"I'm sorry baby" he apologized.
"You fucking knew Rian" I growled loudly, pretending to be angry but it made him laugh out the more.
"Its not a big deal...."he shrugged. "Its something you'll eventually do...... its mandatory" he emphasized.
"I know that" I relaxed back in the chair crossing my arms over my chest. "But I'm not ready. Not now" I shook my head.
He shot me a surprised stare, and leaned toward me. "Why?"
"Its too early Adrian... can't you see? I swore to lead beside Troy and I haven't even started doing that. Getting-"
"It doesnt stop you from leading beside Troy, babe" he massaged his temple, struggling to speak. Like there was something he was hiding.
"What is it?" I asked with a growing agitation.
"Its just a month, Aris. That's what the custom states" I gazed at him utterly perplexed.
"A month to do what?" He kept releasing harsh breaths, running his hands through his hair constantly like he was frustrated.
"A month to get pregnant for the king....." He proclaimed. How did I ever not read that line in the book.
I never knew I would be part of the royal family family, I guessed. Hence the avoidance of that chapter.
"Or........" My eyes widened when I felt there was more to that statement. I was beyond shocked at the revelation as my heart beat raced speedily in split seconds.
I swallowed hard as Adrian kept stalling.
"You'll be declared unfit for the king as wife"