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Weirdly enough, after spending the next few days next to Prince Hajime, it didn’t feel like I got to know him at all. We were always watched.
Watched by my mother, watched by my guards or watched by his guards.
Even he seemed to feel a bit more stiff than usual on the days we were supposed to meet.
And on the other days I was too stressed even thinking about the man himself but got pressured by my mother who surprisingly seemed to agree that an early wedding would be the best choice.
“Tell me”, she had started and I felt each and every tired muscle tense up at the way she stared, “the girls you were sitting with on that event where Hajime asked me for your hand, why didn’t you tell me you knew them?”
That’s it, all in vain.
I had to disappoint Tooru at this point, the deal is off the window.
“It’s not like I really know them”, is the best lie I could tell my mother without being immediately busted.
“No need to be shy”, with a confused stare I faced my mother that I had been avoiding so much.
“I mean they were at that event and dressed nicely, not as good as the others but I mean despite not being nobles or royals they still have high status”, I almost choked on my own spit as she uttered those words.
Wait, she doesn’t know they are commoners?
“I guess they do”, I simply muttered and she crossed her arms.
“I went to your soon-to-be husband’s palace for a visit to get a clear picture of them and guess who I saw there”, it wasn’t the first time my mother would do a visit so suddenly considering me but also not including me at all.
But somehow it angered me that she meddled into this affair as well, despite that it was obvious she wanted to get rid of me as soon as possible.
“That girl, you know she was dressed up even more nicely in the palace. I don’t get why she was so ordinary in my eyes when we saw her at the event. She seemed rather quiet but had a way to speak, let’s say she was very eloquent despite her heavy dialect. Seems like she was Prince Tooru’s personal assistant and also his right hand of the palace’s social affairs, she was basically sticking to him as he instructed her”, my mother put her hands on her hips with a scoff.
“You know for someone with no royal blood to achieve such high status to be the right hand of a prince or even an assistant I must say that girl played her cards very well. You should also try to become someone with such influence despite being a Princess”, I held back to roll my eyes at that but also let the words sink in.
I might make things work out so that you can easily be friends with her and see her as much as your heart desires
Those words echoed through my head as I remembered the words of his deal.
If my mother really means what she says then by tomorrow after the wedding I might see her everyday?!
“I guess I should talk more”, she cut me off.
“No, please don’t talk anymore. If you change the way you make yourself sound then sure go ahead but the sheer amount of nonsense you are usually giving out is already enough”, with a movement she shoved me into the wellness area of our mansion where all the maids waited in order to scrub my skin into perfect condition.
I already felt dizzy from the estimated time this would take knowing my mother’s nitpicking.
Just one more day.
And then suddenly my guts twisted and I felt my knees growing weak before one of the maids caught me.
Only one more day…
Tomorrow everything will change.
It was already after the wedding, we were sitting in a luxurious white car that had not only drinks, flowers and cakes inside but it was about the time of sunset as I blankly stared at the scenery to my side.
Here I sat, my white wedding dress that was of no longer use, my eyes still hurting from all the crying when I left the hall and the realization that everything had happened so fast.
The Province of Aoba Johsai was much more different than ours, it was filled with more nature and forests, even the houses and big cities were filled with greens in-between.
What was more shocking, as we arrived at the outskirts of the palace grounds it looked like we entered another country itself, not a simple property of a royal family.
I-Is the fence made out of silver?!
I almost leaned out if it hasn’t been for Prince Hajime who reacted quickly by pulling me back on my waist, strong arm around it as if it was nothing but a piece of wood he was pulling
back not a whole human being.
“What are you doing? That’s dangerous”, he simply said and I couldn’t even look at him out of embarrassment.
“S-Sorry”, I muttered back my voice a bit higher due to the whole crying I did earlier.
As the forest of the outskirts ended and the many flower bushes started to become visible with a garden full of sculptures probably made by great artists and more silver decor that showed off how rich they must have been.
So that’s why mum seemed so eager about the marriage…
“Are you regretting… you know”, suddenly his voice sounded a bit more tender than before as I turned to face him.
“What do you mean?”, I really wanted to avoid his gaze but I couldn’t as I saw how he hid his mouth with one hand looking out of the window before his gaze wandered back to me.
“Marrying me”, he simply said and his gaze lingered on me, as the whole car was dyed in red sunlight from the last bits of the remaining sun before it was about to set.
“No”, I muttered and blinked several times from my now dry eyes, “why do you ask?”
“I… uhm you have been crying a lot and also… your make-up is…”, he made a gesture that indicated that something must have been on my face.
As I turned to one of the bottles leaning my face in to see my reflection, pure horror replaced my curious gaze.
I must have cried so much on the way back and in the car that even the waterproof make-up couldn’t hold it.
My tears went back up when I realized that I looked disgusting and moreover that I will enter the palace like that.
Without a word he handed me a tissue and averted his eyes.
“We are almost there… if you want I can call a maid so you… you don’t need to worry about that”, he pointed at my face.
“Please don’t divorce me!”, I said out of panic and he furrowed his eyebrows, perplexed by my words.
“Why should I divorce you, we just married?”
“Because I humiliated you, I know I tripped on that second stair and you looked shocked. Also I ate half of the snacks on the way back and-”, my breath couldn’t catch up with my words and I inhaled deeply before he put one palm in front of my face signalling me to stop as he placed his hands on my shoulders.
He squeezed them firmly but not too rough.
“I said it’s fine. Why do you worry about things like that? They are not a big deal and nobody realized. Now that I think about it…”, he stared at the snacks, “at least they don’t get thrown out, but you sure like to eat even at the restaurants we went to.”
I thought he wasn’t there when I ate something before our real meal…
“Ah, we are there. I will call a maid. Don’t think about useless things like that, This is just the beginning”, his warm hands left my shoulders and I saw the doors of my new home.
But his words repeated in my head.
This is just the beginning.