“Very funny, Lola.” Xavier stared at me for a few seconds and then he slowly brushed something off of my cheek. “Get ready, you’re about to meet my parents. My mother is very astute and can be difficult. Don’t let her overwhelm you.”
“I won’t dear fiancé.” I smiled at him sweetly.
“I do believe you’re enjoying this.” He shook his head and stared at me with surprised eyes. “I thought you’d feel out of your element.”
“You don’t know me very well then.” I grinned at him and winked. “You don’t know me at all.”
“Why do I think that’s the truth?” The car stopped then and he jumped out of the door and reached a hand in to guide me out. “Welcome to my home, Lola. Welcome to the Royal Palace of Romerius.”
“Don’t you mean our home, Xavier?” My eyes laughed at him as I made my way out of the car. “Isn’t this to become my home as well?” I slid out of the back seat and gasped as I stared at the palace in front of me. It was even grander than I’d thought when I’d been looking at it through the window. There were trees and ponds framing the front of the building and every inch of grass was perfectly manicured. There were statues at the entrance to the palace and I wanted to run over and study them in more detail. Then I noticed two figures coming out of the tall black doors that made up the entrance to the palace. I knew right away that it was Xavier’s parents and it was in that moment that it suddenly hit me. I was going to be lying to a King and Queen. A King and Queen of an entire country. Oh my god, what had I got myself into this time?
“Ready, darling?” Xavier grabbed my hand and led me towards his parents. My throat dried up and I didn’t respond. I had no smart response this time. Who could ever be ready for this?
Lola’s hands felt clammy as we walked towards my parents. I knew that it had finally hit her. There were no more jokes coming fast and furious from her mouth. She realized the magnanimity of the situation. I would have laughed, if I wasn’t feeling so hot under the collar myself. I stared at my parents in front of me and I saw Tarquin running towards them excitedly. I’d underestimated how serious the family would take news of my engagement. I was angry at myself. I hadn’t thought this through properly. There would have been better ways to whisk Lola off to have some alone time with her. This seemed like a very complicated way to get some hot sex out of her. I wasn’t even sure why I cared so much. I’d already had her. And I was pretty sure I could have her again. There wasn’t a woman alive that would turn me down.
“Xavier.” My mother’s face lit up as we came face-to-face.
“Mother.” I let go of Lola’s hand and stepped forward to kiss my mother. “You’re looking well, as per usual.”
“This is Lola?” She turned towards Lola and looked surprised. I knew that she hadn’t expected to see a young girl, with unfashionable clothes and slightly frizzy hair. I’d thought about taking Lola shopping to get some new outfits before we came, but I wasn’t sure how she would have taken it.
“Oh.” She looked back at me with a disappointed expression. “Why did we have to learn about Lola from the newspapers.”
“Mama, I was going to tell you.” I started and I could see Lola frowning at me. I knew that she wasn’t happy with the lies. I was starting to feel uncomfortable with them as well. “Anyway, let us not argue. This is Lola Franklin.”
“It’s nice to meet you, Lola.” My mother’s voice was stiff as she shook Lola’s hand.
“It’s nice to meet you as well, Mrs., I mean Queen Romerius.” Lola sounded awkward and I wanted to laugh.
“You may call me Henrietta.” Mother’s voice was monotone and I couldn’t tell what she was thinking.
“Oh, thanks.” Lola’s voice drifted off and then my father stepped forward.
“I’m James.” He grabbed Lola and pulled her into a bear hug. “I’m glad to finally have a daughter.”
“Papa.” I shook my head at my father’s exuberant hug. “That’s too much.”
“Can I not say what I feel?” My father looked at me with a smile. “Does being a King mean nothing these days?”
“James.” My mother scolded him. “Let go of the poor girl.”
“I’m just welcoming her to the family.” He shook his head. “I’m not doing—”
“Where’s Grandma?” I cut him off. “I thought she’d want to come down and meet Lola.”
“She’s watching TV.” My mother shook her head. “She’s very disappointed in you, Xavier. She does not understand how you would not tell your family of this very important decision. We are all very disappointed, but I wanted to come down and meet Lola.” She gave Lola a quick tight smile and then turned to me and spoke in our native tongue. “Who is this girl, Xavier? She doesn’t even look like she is out of school? You expect her to become a princess and the queen of Romerius? Is this a joke?” She shot at me quickly, all the while keeping a smile on her face, so that Lola wouldn’t understand what we were talking about.
“Mother, Lola is my choice for a wife and you’ll just have to accept that.” I retorted back at her, all the while smiling.
“I never expected to see the day you married and now, you say you’re getting married to, to someone that looks like a poor orphan.”