The Prince's Unwilling Lover(3)

By: Leslie North

“Your highness, it is with regret that I must speak to you about the pending nuptials between the Crown Prince and my oldest daughter, Liane.” The king waited for him to continue. “I am afraid that we must break the betrothal,” he added. The king's face dropped. For the life of him, he could not understand why after all these years they would want to break the agreement.

The Colonel carefully relayed the story that they had agreed upon the night before. Liane had been diagnosed with a health condition and rather than risk passing anything on to the Crown Prince, they thought it best that she receive the necessary treatment and rehabilitation while they hoped for a reasonable recovery. He felt uneasy lying to his long-time friend and king knowing that it could come out in the future. However, to preserve the reputation of the family and avoid any embarrassment for the royal family, this was the best solution at present.

“Will she be alright?” the king asked with concern.

“The doctor is hopeful. But given the circumstances, we would like to offer our daughter; Francesca.” Colonel LeBlanc answered the king’s questions, as he did his best to paint his daughter in the best possible light. His wife was so much better at these situations.

The king said that he would speak to the queen and the prince. Since the prince was going to their house in a few days anyway, he would have the opportunity to meet Francesca and make his decision. Thanking the king for understanding, the Colonel quickly took his leave. Unable to wait, he called to inform his wife about the meeting.

By the time he arrived home, Francesca and her mother were going through the new clothes Mrs LeBlanc had purchased. They had to pick out the right outfit for when she met the prince. At first Francesca was not so sure about the whole thing, but the more they talked and prepared, the more excited she became as the idea of becoming queen was starting to sink in. She had only been to the palace once but she had fallen in love with it immediately. In existence for more than seven centuries, the architecture was amazing and Francesca loved the idea of having so many servants to do her bidding. Francesca smiled to herself just thinking about it.

“Hello, father,” Francesca greeted him as he walked through the door. He smiled and kissed her on the forehead. He asked what they were up to, as he looked at all the clothes spread around the living room.

“Darling, we are finding her suitable attire. Tell us how it went at the palace. I know you said that it went well, but give us the details,” Mrs LeBlanc asked. Her husband moved some of the clothes before sitting down. He told them everything that had happened with the king. His wife smiled and said she would take care of the rest. One of her daughters was getting married to the crown prince no matter what.

* * * * *

The day had finally arrived when the Crown Prince would visit their home. After speaking at length with the queen and providing a letter from the family doctor that Liane’s condition was not yet contagious and no other members of the family had it, the queen seemed satisfied. The queen's sister, Bridgette, remained unconvinced as to the validity of what Mrs LeBlanc told her. She had never liked the woman and never understood why the queen trusted her so. Something was up with the LeBlancs, she was sure of it.

Francesca was all dressed up and nervously awaiting the prince as she paced. Macee had elected to stay away from the house when the prince arrived, as she had no desire to meet him. She did not agree with her mother’s actions and her mother was more than happy not to have her youngest around while the prince was there. She left the house early that morning to spend the day with friends. They had decided to try out a new paintball park and Macee was looking forward to burning off some of her pent up energy. Her mother could be incredibly difficult to deal with at times and it was simply easier to avoid her.

The LeBlancs stood when their maid walked into the room with the crown prince. Francesca curtsied; she had practised how to do it perfectly while her parents greeted him with a deep bow. The prince stood there with his hands behind his back and accepted their greetings.

“My apologies for being late,” the prince said after he had sat down. He had reached the house two hours later than he was meant to. When he found out that the marriage to Liane was off, he had not reacted too much to it. While he had grown used to the idea of marrying her, it was a political marriage unifying two old families and had nothing to do with love. However, he was put off that now he had to meet another young woman and start all over again. He did not even remember Francesca. He was told that he had met her once when she came to the palace more than ten years ago, but they were still children. Things were different now.

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