- Genre: Romance
- Status: Ongoing
- Language: English
- Author: Jules liz
My mother used to tell us that we couldn’t go out partying every day when I asked her for a new dress. It was something that she didn’t approve of, and that would affect her prestigious reputation at the time. We always maintained the image of being proper young ladies, at least when we were wealthy, and our father owned a vast territory.
Now, as I walked down the aisle to be wed to a man I did not know, I could only think of the constant uncertainty that overwhelmed me. My wedding attendants had styled my hair to be as elegant and refined as possible, disguising the lack of money in my family and covering it with brooches that appeared to be gold. The dark color of my hair contrasted with the immaculate white of my wedding dress, which featured small embroidered flowers on it. I was beautiful; I knew it when I saw myself in the mirror and saw that girl full of life and dreams who was overshadowed by a family misfortune.
I had been betrothed to a king, one of the most important but also the strangest. Nobody saw him frequently; he was a solitary and silent man who barely left his castle. It was rumored that he was cruel and merciless and that his brother had died a brutal death because of his fault. Not even his face was known, as people made up all kinds of rumors about his appearance.
Just thinking about having to live my whole life with him made my skin crawl and my legs tremble. I had never really known what love was, not even in friendship, as so many betrayals had made my heart harden from being broken so many times. My mother saw in me the only salvation from the imminent ruin that would fall upon us, as my father had passed away, and this was the only alternative. But no one wanted to marry me, a woman with no wealth or large territories, just debts and problems. My sisters were too young to think about getting married, so I was the key piece to save our small family.
The king’s name was Jacob; it was practically the only thing I knew about him, and now I was about to see him for the first time.
I looked around; the guests were watching me with great attention, some making comments under their breath. My face, although beautiful, held the dark circles of insomnia and worry. People did not respect us; after my father passed away, we were considered worse than beggars.
I reached the stairs with the veil over my face and hoped for a better future. I looked first at the priest, who was starting to say his words. I did not want to face my future husband; it scared me just to think that he would be mine forever with a few words.
“Miss Dove, whose last name… Ah, I can’t remember,” the man started to say, with a somewhat mocking tone, knowing that my last name meant nothing among the royalty. “Well, do you accept His Majesty King Jacob as your husband?”
I wanted to laugh to myself; this did not resemble anything like the weddings I had attended, where the bride was treated with some respect. Here, even he was making fun of me, the unfortunate girl who had to marry a stranger out of mere interest. I looked up to find myself there, in the middle of the room, in a forced wedding, with the face of my future husband. He was not looking at me but rather looking out the window; I felt ignored again.
“Yes, I accept,” I said without further ado; anyway, I had no choice.
It was Jacob’s turn to accept.
“Yes, I accept.”
He looked at me, not smiling, and I could see that he was almost blind. The blue of his eyes revealed it, and his difficulty in focusing on me made him squint. I didn’t know if he could see me clearly. He was very attractive, so much so that I couldn’t stop looking at him, and I lost track of the words of the priest. I had never seen such an enigmatic man, let alone one so handsome. His formal attire made him look strong and impeccable, but at the same time, he held many mysteries in his essence. He was different from any man I had ever met in my life; his arrogant and erratic expression kept me on guard.
“Dove,” he said to me as he took my hands, which now barely had any softness.
I let him take them, and he kissed them with a cordiality that seemed rehearsed. The guests stood up, cheering and celebrating, as was the custom. My mother was looking at me from the front row with tears in her eyes and pride in her clenched fists.
Jacob kissed me in a quick move, sealing the marriage in the eyes of his kingdom. I had never felt such emotion in my whole short life as when that kiss came to me. It took me to the clouds in my mind, and in reality, our bodies barely touched. He was very strong; he held me in his arms without any difficulty, and that made me feel that from now on, I would be much more protected. It was an instant, something tiny, and for me, it was a dream come true. The king was not grotesque or evil as the rumors said, but quite the opposite.
The party began, and I tried to look for my husband all over the place without finding him. My mother made me talk to all the important people who had been invited to start making a reputation for myself as the queen. Because that was what I was now, a queen. I couldn’t quite believe it after going through so many hard times. The banquet was a total luxury, with abundant snacks, silverware, and an orchestra that delighted with its music.
I wanted to find my husband first, before anything else, unable to enjoy the party. Other things made me not feel very comfortable, like the disdainful looks of many important people, but I was already used to them. A voice interrupted my thoughts.
“Congratulations, dear,” greeted a young woman around my age. I noticed the hostility in her tone of voice.
“Nice performance,” she said, making me feel like the worst nausea.
Her comment destabilized me; deep down, I still thought that everything that had happened was real and genuine.
“Don’t pay attention to Esther,” another woman added from her side. “She was the other promised one, after all, the one who was rejected.” She smiled with irony.
“I didn’t know…” I started to say, trying to be friendly. My character was strong, but now I wanted to fit in.
“Bah, you’re not fooling anyone,” Esther said to me, looking me in the eye. “You don’t love each other.”
“It’s an arranged marriage, darling.” I winked at her, smiling. I was tired of being humiliated; after all, now I was the queen. “Here, no one really loves each other.”
Esther and the other woman were left open-mouthed at my response; they did not expect me to defend myself. When I was just Dove, I would have tried to keep calm to keep up appearances, but at that moment, I realized that I was no longer the poor girl who had no power or voice. I was a queen, and I had to act like one.
“Look at her. The poor thing thinks she’s a real queen,” Esther let out a laugh. “We’ll see about that.”
“We will see,” I added, interrupting her. Esther continued to look at me with angry eyes, which made me feel a bit guilty; I didn’t know her well enough to judge her. My father always told me that you should always give people a second chance.
I withdrew with my dignity very high, triumphant, to continue searching for my husband. I couldn’t get his attractive face and enigmatic expression out of my head. He was different and unique, and he was the best husband they could have engaged me with. I was grateful for having been chosen; it was a great fortune. When I said the words “I do,” I became the queen and wife of the terrible King Jacob, whom everyone feared. They put the crown on my head and gave me the corresponding blessings, closing my cycle of misery and pleading.
I found one of my husband’s personal guards at one of the tables, so I asked him. “Have you seen my husband, the king?” I asked him politely.
He looked at me in surprise. “He’s in his room, as always.” He made a pitying face. “He won’t want you to go there.”
“What are you saying? I am his wife,” I began to say, not paying attention to his pitying look. I wanted to be strong; my character did not allow me to be silent.
He didn’t say anything, not looking at me, just lowering his head. I could see that he did not believe that I was a true wife; it was a show.
“At least tell me where his bedroom is,” I ordered without losing my kindness.
The guard seemed to sympathize with my disappointed face because he looked up again. “I’ll take you there, but don’t get your hopes up…” he said, shrugging. His name was Lionel, and he was one of the king’s most important guards.
I was guided through the castle along the lonely and cold corridor, arriving at the last bedroom. There, the cold wind filtered through the windows and made me shiver. I looked ahead; that would be my new home from now and forever. My destiny would be between the walls of a giant castle.
I was still thinking about Esther’s hostility; it would be a problem in the future because I sensed that she would not be satisfied with my presence here. Even among the guests, I perceived that hostility; my presence did not please them, and I knew in my heart that they would not let me stay peacefully.
Once in front of the door, the guard warned me again and proceeded to knock.
“Your Majesty, your wife wants to see you.”