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Fiction Romance

Analise stared at the letters before her in dread. There were two, delicately placed on the table by the butler, and each bore a different kind of seal from two opposite lives. 

She groaned and picked up the first, rolling her eyes at the over-the-top fancy decorum of the wax seal upon it and the frillish envelope, decorated with pressed flowers and a hint of perfume. But then again, Rollan was always like this, and in the sixteen years she’d known him, he’d never once sent a letter that wasn’t pompous and ridiculous. She half expected gold coins to tumble out of the page when she opened it. 

She didn’t open the letter. 

The other was much simpler, much less overbearing, and a tiny stain touched one corner, as though the sender hadn’t any extra envelopes and made do with what he had. This was Connor’s, and the behavior did not surprise her in the least. Connor was a simple man, hell-bent on overthrowing the nearby kingdom’s dictator, and despite only being a year her senior, was in charge of an entire battalion. Any extra funds he had went to food and supplies, no need to waste precious coins on a simple message. Analise’s stomach, which had lightened at the rare correspondence from her childhood friend, dropped again at the thought of the words these letters might contain. 

It was after all, the season of blooms, the one time of year the four kingdoms united to throw the ball of blossoms, a ball to wed all and every young lady over the age of sixteen. She’d narrowly escaped it last year, but this year she had no choice. She was seventeen, the age in which she’d be her prime, a ripe petal all for the picking. Before her now, lay two letters. 

It was expected of all boys who wanted a bride to send a letter ahead of time. It was only polite, and besides, picking now would save her a struggle on the dance floor later. She’d leave the ball in someone else’s arms, and she shuddered at the thought. Whichever person she chose, the other would be left alone, as new brides were not allowed to write to other men. New brides became prisoners; the only choice they were allowed to make was the one that sat before her now. 

Once choice, and yet she struggled to make it. Maybe she should be glad she’d never get to choose again after this. 

As Rollan’s wife, she’d never have to do anything again. Waited on hand and foot, the wife of the prince of the kingdom, she’d become a doll, a puppet, just as Rollan was, left to wear crowns and silks, and alleviate her boredom by decorating envelopes with pressed flowers. Rollan would love her, she knew that much, and she did love Rollan, but she just couldn’t imagine being his wife. The young prince whom she’d rolled around in the flower fields with was in training to be a king, and she doubted he was allowed to waste even a second on frolicking. Quickly her mind flashed to a flower crown, hidden in a locked case in the back of her closet. She remembered the day he’d placed that very crown on her head. “I don’t think I deserve this,” she’d whispered, five year old voice already wise with the things to come. “Nonsense,” he’d responded. “You deserve this more than anyone else I know. I want you to be my queen.” 

She couldn’t look at the envelope anymore. It almost brought her to tears. 

She chose to glace, even briefly, at the other, from the boy with fire in his eyes and triumph in his heart, and imagined being his wife. She’d have a lot of hard choices then. Freedom, but at what price? The passionate kiss they’d once shared, drenched in the pouring rain seemed insignificant, as the rain in her memories turned to blood, and she screamed as she lost a lover, screamed as the war tore her happiness away. That would be her fate if she chose Conner, and although he held steadfast under heavy fire from enemies’ guns, she doubted she could do the same. 

Which boy? The question plagued her mind and haunted her through afternoon lessons, a beautiful day wasted on curtsying and courting, the last few precious weeks of her childhood, squandered on false love and grown-up decisions. Which one? Mother fretted as Analise paced her way through lunch. Pastries and delicacies dried in her mouth and withered in the insurmountable dread in the pit of her stomach until she couldn't take it anymore. She made up her mind. She’d pick a letter, and open it tonight, and that letter would be the one. 

Teatime seemed to last forever, but finally it ended and she tore up the stairs, ignoring the shocked look of her tutor, and hurried to her room. She couldn't stand it one second longer. Flinging the mattress off her bed, she scrambled frantically around in the wooden frame, yanking the letters from their hiding place. Checking to make sure the door was locked once more, she threw both letters on the table. 

A few pressed blossoms drifted off of Rollan’s. Connor’s had a small rip in the side. She picked a letter and, with a painstaking breath, tore it open. 

Analise stared in shock for a moment, and then began to laugh, ever so slightly under her breath, louder and louder, until she opened the other letter and couldn't contain the relief anymore. She laughed out loud in wonderous disbelief as she stared at two identical wedding invitations, invitations to the wedding of Rollan and Connor, engaged and prepared to be married at high noon on blossom day, nevermind what the kings would say. 

Of course. Those sneaky bastards. 

Rollan’s also had a very lengthy personal letter. She skimmed it, ignoring the latest details about him breaking it off with the stable boy once and for all, and dedicating himself to Connor’s heart, blah blah blah. It was very Rollan. 

She also had a sinking suspicion that it was his idea for them both to write her letters, knowing the stress she’d go through in deciding between them. Finishing his words, one last sentence caught her eye. 

Sorry not sorry my dearest Amalise, for worrying you. I’ll have you know that, as an apology, I have invited my prestigious cousin to the wedding as well. She’ll be seated next to you, fourth row, pretty, blue dress. I hope this last minute addition makes the whole affair worth your time. ;)

She rolled her eyes and tried to ignore the furious blush that spread about her face. Of course he would. 

She dipped her quill in the ink and pulled out an extra parchment to write her response. 


December 18, 2020 03:25

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3 comments

Vera City
01:38 May 30, 2021

Loved that plot twist

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Kyler Mattoon
17:50 May 28, 2021

OH MY GOD!! I DID NOT EXPECT THEM ALL TO BE GAY. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH

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A B
15:51 Sep 02, 2021

Loved it great job

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