A Common Kind of Love Ch. 08byliljean©
Saturday morning, Naomi was sitting in her cottage dressed in a gold strapless gown, the dressers and makeup artist had come down that morning to get her ready for the final ceremony. They had worked in complete silence and only spoke in hushed tones to request that she do things for them, raise her arm or lift a leg. Naomi wasn't angry anymore just sad and her whole body ached from the crying she had been doing this week. She'd finally eaten a bowl of Chef Bernard's seafood soup last night, one of her favorites.
She looked up as Zoe entered, her little sister looked like a ray of sunshine Zoe was absolutely beautiful in a halter gown that flowed all around her in fuchsia. She smiled and Zoe smiled back.
"You okay, sweetheart?" Zoe said to her softly. She was still standing by the door tentatively waiting for Naomi to say something. She hadn't been out to the cottage in a couple of days, but she had occasionally walked past to peek in the windows and make sure her big sister was doing fine.
Naomi smiled again but it didn't reach her eyes, in those she only held pain, "I'm fine, Zoe. Don't worry I won't be biting off anyone's head. I'm just a little tired."
Zoe came in and sat down by her and put her arm around her it was surprising but after a few days of not eating, her sister was feeling and looking a little skinny. Her skin didn't have that beautiful chocolate glow and her eyes were still puffy and red. She figured the make-up artist Gigi had tried to cover up those signs of an upset princess but it looked impossible. Zoe just hugged her tighter, she knew Naomi's heartbreak was fresh so she wasn't going to speak of it or of the conversation she'd had with Al who expressed that Doug was totally heartbroken and functioning on almost automatic to get through the days. He'd told her he wasn't this upset when he and his ex-fiancé had broken up. Love was a tricky business.
She looked over at Naomi and said in the brightest voice possible, "come on gorgeous it's time to go and be seen by our subjects." She chuckled a little at her matter of fact delivery. Zoe sometimes found all this pomp and circumstance a little silly.
"You go ahead Zoe and I'll be out in a moment."
"Alright, don't take too long. I don't want to send a search party in for you," she smiled down at Naomi as she rose to leave.
Naomi just wanted a moment alone before she had to take part of this farce engagement. She got up from her divan and walked into the bedroom to get her clutch and take a last look at her image in the full length mirror. She stood there in front of the mirror and looked at her sad, tired, heartbroken image. Now, she had to put herself into the princess zone, she smiled at herself but she knew that faded fake smile wasn't the woman she knew. 'It will have to do,' she thought 'what a disaster this is going to be and why do I have to participate in it.' She picked up her clutch and left, it was on now.
On the wide balcony of the House of Commons where Naomi stood it was sweltering. Her head was hurting at a level she hadn't felt ever. The Prime Minister was droning on about something about the country's goals and history, she'd tuned him out a while back. She was waiting for her Father to speak and announce this farce engagement and she could go back to the coolness of her cottage hopefully. She was hot and now becoming irritated. Her Father was dressed in a beautiful navy blue suit with a red sash across his chest. Her Mother was in white dress with capped sleeves and a full hoop skirt and the glittering gold crown was perched on her head. Zoe stood next to her mother and she stood next to her father as Randolph stood next to her in a gray suit. Her eyes would cut to him every once in awhile, he looked bored and stupid she thought. His mother and father stood behind him, smiling as if they had just discovered the lost treasure of Little Bird Bay. It was all she could do not to roll her eyes.
Her Father started to speak and Naomi stood taller and paid attention. Randolph chose that moment to take Naomi's hand, she felt his hand grasp hers and she felt as if she wanted to wrench it away. His palm was so sweaty and it crept her out. She kept wiggling her fingers to relieve some of the wetness of his sweaty hands. Her head was hurting so bad and her eyes were starting to hurt. She was having a hard time focusing and was starting to feel weak. Freddie noticed that Naomi looked a little piqued, she was a little worried. Naomi was feeling queasy and her head was starting to pound. Her Father's voice was fading in and out and the audience of happy, cheery faces of Bocarans and visitors were becoming fuzzy. She felt herself fading out and the next thing she knew everything went black.
Naomi woke up with concerned faces standing over her. Freddie was fanning her as she lay there. Her mother sat next her holding her head with a look of total fear on her face. Her father looked at her very concerned, rubbing her arm. The royal family's physician Dr. Oswald looked her over and took her temperature and vital signs.
"Oh darling, are you okay?" her mother said with fear in her voice.
"I'm fine, momma. What happened?" Naomi asked.
"You fainted, Naomi." Dr. Oswald answered her.
Zoe stood at the end of the couch being held by Freddie as she silently cried. Naomi felt so guilty for worrying her family.
"Fainted, oh my goodness. How'd that happen?" she asked.
"Probably from not eating this week. I've gotten a little background on your week, so I think you were just tired and not eating and the heat were dangerous combination for you," Dr. Oswald told her.
"I'm so sorry," Naomi said as she looked at her concerned family.
Her mother rubbed her hand and kissed it, "that's okay, sugar plum. We're all just happy you are feeling better just rest for a moment."
Naomi noticed Randolph and his parents in the corner looking annoyed. His mother was speaking in low tones to his father and looking at Naomi periodically with her lips pursed, she wasn't that attractive of a woman and that sour look on her face wasn't helping.
Naomi looked over at her father, he looked so forlorn. Naomi had never seen him look so scared, it made her scared and he started to regret being so selfish over this last week, tears came to her eyes.
"Darling daughter, don't cry. I am just relieved that you are awake again," her father told her as he wiped away her tears, he turned to Zoe and said, "Zoe, I don't want you crying either. I will have to put my foot down."
Zoe giggled through her tears.
"What's going on Naomi? I am the king of this country but first and foremost, I am your father."
Naomi looked over at the Duke and Duchess of Endlemen with Randolph, the Duke and Duchess were looking at her intently waiting for her answer. Randolph just looked bored and stupid as usual.
"Father, can we have some privacy? I'd rather everyone not hear this." She looked over at the Duke and Duchess.
Her father stood up and his voice of authority told everyone "Leave," he turned and looked at the Duke, Duchess and Prime Minister and Dr. Oswald. They gathered themselves together and exited the room.
Her mother stayed next to her as she rose up to sit upright on the couch. Naomi took a deep breath. She was very nervous about saying this but now was her pivotal moment.
Her father turned towards her and stood back, "Naomi, I want to know what's going on right now. Over the last few weeks, you've just changed and it's starting to be very upsetting to me and your mother."
"It's starting to be upsetting to you, Milo. I know what's going on."
He turned to look at her mother with a frown and her mother rolled her eyes at him. Naomi smiled a little bit. The dynamic between her parents was so cute. That's what she wanted for her life and her marriage, that's what she wanted between herself and Douglas in their marriage. Yes, she had to say something.
"Father, I love you very much," her father shook his head in a gesture for her to hurry up and get to it, "and I would never defy you but I cannot marry Randolph. I don't love him. I love someone else."
He put his head down in frustration, "Douglas."
Naomi furrowed her brow and looked over at her mother, "Naomi, sugar plum I've spoken to your father about this on several occasions. He may not be good at talking to you but I don't let him not know what's going on with my girls ," she smiled that beautiful sweet smile at Naomi.
"Oh momma! Thank you so much," she said as she hugged her mother tightly.
"You're welcome darling, you know I love my babies," she said as she looked at Zoe.
"We love you too, Mom," Zoe said, "well, now what?"
Naomi looked over at her father, he was pacing the floor, "Naomi, has all been arranged. I just cannot go back on my word. I know you aren't exactly in love with Randolph but those kinds of things can grow over time."
Her mother rose from the couch, "oh, Milo please give me a break," her father looked at her mother with wide eyes, "those kinds of feelings cannot grow with a man that is a womanizing bore, don't look shocked Milo you know it's true. That boy is unworthy of ever becoming a part of the royal family. You know you don't like him either."
Her father looked down in shame with a small smile on his face.
"No, he's not my favorite person. I'm so disappointed with him when I made this agreement with the Duke and Duchess, I thought they would do a better job of parenting him," he shook his head as spoke.
"Milo, I know you did the betrothal agreement but you are the king and that means something. You have the authority to make an agreement but you also have the power to end an agreement if parts are not being met. You can do this Milo. You love your daughter and she deserves the best, give her a chance to find that. How is being in a loveless miserable marriage good for the leader of this country?"
He stopped and turned to look at Naomi and her mother and sighed, "you're right, Evie. It's not good and I certainly don't want my sweetheart to me unhappy. So, if I don't do this your mother will make my life loveless and miserable for the remainder of it. Naomi, you don't have to go through with the engagement or marriage to Randolph," Naomi leapt off the couch and hugged her father. He hugged her back and smiled at her mother over her shoulder.
"Thank you so much father. Thank you, I'm so relieved." She was relieved that she didn't have to marry Randolph but what did this mean for her and Douglas. Could he ever forgive her?
Sorry everybody, it's been a long-time coming but I've been a little busy living my own real life romance. Thanks for hanging in there with me and the story. Thank you to my editor, K, you rock. Make sure to leave comments. EMD