“And why would you not marry in Aristo with your family in attendance?” Mike kept silent, unsure how much of the truth Alberta was willing to tell Clement.
To his surprise, Alberta told him the entire truth … about her brief affair, the discovery of her pregnancy and Mike’s offer to be both husband to her and father to her unborn child. What she didn’t tell Clement was the name of the man she’d had the affair with. She also told him she wanted the ceremony to remain a secret until she told her parents upon their return to Aristo.
Clement sat silently, nodding his head occasionally as Alberta spoke. “Please, Clement, you must do this for me … for us,” she finished.
“Marriage is not something you enter into lightly. It is a sacred bond, a joining of souls.” “We are both committed to getting married,” Alberta replied.
“We are not taking any of this lightly. We feel a union between the two of us would be a good thing.” Clement turned his gaze to Mike. “And you can provide for Princess Alberta and the child she will have?”
“Yes, I can,” Mike replied, although he knew he would never be able to provide Alberta with the kind of lifestyle she was accustomed to having.
“And you can love the child she carries as your own?”
Mike nodded. “I can.” Clement stared at him for a long moment, then he nodded almost imperceptibly. “Although it isn’t mandatory, I recommend not only a written marriage contract, but also a prenuptial agreement as well.” Clement returned his gaze to Alberta. “A prenuptial agreement will protect your assets in case there is a divorce.”
“That’s really not necessary,” Alberta protested. “I have no intention of getting divorced. Besides, I trust Mike completely.” “If you draw one up, I’ll sign it,” Mike said.
“Very well.” Clement stood. “I have the necessary paperwork in the other room. I’ll just go get it and we can have my wife and son be witnesses.” “You don’t have to sign a prenuptial agreement,” Alberta said to him once Clement had left them alone in the room. “If I didn’t trust you, I wouldn’t be marrying you.” “I appreciate that, Alberta, but signing a prenup is a smart thing to do.”
Both Alberta and Mike stood as Clement reentered the room, this time flanked by a tall young man who resembled him and a short, squat woman with graying hair. Clement introduced the two to Mike as Tony, his eldest son, and Diana, his wife. “I have typed up a brief prenup.” He handed a copy to Mike and a copy to Alberta.
The ceremony to make Mike and Alberta husband and wife was a short, simple one. They pronounced their desire to marry each other, then Mike was required to give Mahr. Mahr was a gift from the groom to the bride, and Mike had come prepared for such an offering.
He withdrew from his pocket a thin gold ring and handed it to Clement. “It was my mother’s ring,” he said. She had given it to him days before she’d died, telling him to find love and to use the ring to symbolize that love. Clement proclaimed them husband and wife.” And you may k-ss the bride,” Diana exclaimed with a girlish giggle.
They remained in Clement’s home long enough for his wife to serve them refreshments, then they got back in the rental car for the long drive back to the palace. They returned the car to the rental place, then walked to the Red Dragon Inn for a late dinner.
“I’m glad we decided to come here for dinner,” Alberta said to Mike, who sat across the table from her in the Glass Swan Restaurant.
“We need to be at the airport by around nine this evening. The jet will be ready to leave immediately,” he said.
His expression was one of concern. “Will you be all right to travel that late?”
“Yes.” She looked at her watch. It was just a little after four. “At least that will give us lots of time to shower and pack before we have to
I’ve already thanked Queen Deborah and King George for their hospitality when I spoke to them this afternoon and told them we were going home this evening.” “If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to go to the ladies’ room,” she said.
She tossed the towel into the trash receptacle, then left the restroom – and bumped directly into Lexis. She froze, for a moment unable to move as they stood face-to-face with one another. “Alberta!” He took her by the shoulders, his face radiating his shock.
“My dear, what a surprise! I’ve been trying for the past several weeks to get in touch with you. Why didn’t you tell me you were coming here to Calista?” “Let me go, Lexis,” she said stiffly. “Let you go? Darling, I don’t want to let you go. I’ve missed you so much.”
“Yes, I’m sure you’ve just been locked in your room, pining away for me since the last time we were together,” she said dryly. She tried to twist away from beneath his hands, but he tightened his grip. “You’re angry with me.” He shot a quick glance to a nearby table where a blond-haired woman was seated with her back to them.
Alberta suspected it was the same blonde she’d seen through
his living-room window the night she’d come to surprise him with her news. “Just let go of me,” she repeated angrily. “Not until you tell me where you’re staying. I’ll come to you later and we’ll talk.”
“I believe the lady asked you to let her go.” Mike’s deep voice boomed from behind Alberta. “Go away and mind your own business,” Lexis snapped, not taking his eyes off Alberta.
Mike pulled her from Lexis’s grip and placed an arm around her shoulder. “You don’t understand. Alberta is my business.”
To be continued
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