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Again she looked at her husband. “I know I promised you, Mike. But now the promise has become too painful to keep. It’s time to tell the truth. The whole truth.” “Alberta, what’s going on?” Franca asked,. “What truth?”
King Enoch stood once again, as if preparing himself for another blow from his daughter. “Speak what’s on your mind, Alberta.” “It began almost four months ago at Lafoo’s wedding,” she began.
“What began four months ago?” King Enoch’s eyes were dark,
My affair with the man who is the father of my child. My affair with Lexis.”
“What?” King Enoch stared at her as if she’d just announced that she was pregnant with twin camels. He sank back into his chair, his gaze not leaving Alberta. “You’d better explain yourself, Alberta, and you’d better do it quickly. This morning is already wearing on me.”
“You may remember Lexis stayed as a guest here for a week after the wedding. He was so smooth … so charming.” She looked down, unable to gaze at her parents while she told them of her affair. “He told me he loved me and I believed him. He told me we would be married, and I believed every one of his lies.”
“Three weeks ago I took a pregnancy test and it came back positive. I didn’t go to Calista to visit with Princess Ange. I went to tell Lexis the news and to plan our future together.” “Lexis was not pleased?” Franca guessed, Alberta sighed. “I never got an opportunity to tell him. I went to his guest house and saw him through the window with another woman.”
“If the man wasn’t dead already, I would make him wish for death,” King Enoch said harshly. “Enoch,” Franca said softly, as if cautioning her husband of speaking ill of the dead. “Go on, Alberta.” “I was upset. I was frightened of what you both would think of me, scared to return here pregnant and alone.
It was then that Mike offered to marry me – to give my baby his
name, and to shield me from your anger. He made it so I wouldn’t have to confess to my stupidity where Lexis was concerned. The peace between our kingdoms would not be threatened.”
“Mike did not abuse his position as my bodyguard. Nor did he
dishonor you or me. He has done nothing but protect me. He did what he believed was his duty in marrying me.” King Enoch raked a hand across his lower jaw, obviously assessing everything that
Alberta had just told him. “You should have told me all these things this morning.”
“I know,” she agreed. “I am ashamed to admit that I was afraid to tell the truth.” “And I had made her promise not to tell you all this until we both agreed the time was right,” Mike said.
“Enoch, you have something to say to Mike,” Franca said pointedly.
“Yes, yes.” He stood. “I owe you an apology, Mike.” “No apology is necessary,” Mike replied. “You reacted to what you knew and you didn’t know the whole truth. I would do whatever it takes to protect your family. It’s in my blood to do so.”
King Enoch gazed at him for a long moment. “It is in your blood to do so,” he repeated. “An interesting choice of words. A dear, trusted friend of mine many times used that same phrase. His name was David. Did you know him?”
Alberta looked at Mike curiously. David had been a good friend of her father’s. Surely Mike didn’t know the nobleman? Mike hesitated, then nodded. “David was my father.” “Why did I not know of this?” King Enoch asked as Alberta looked at Mike in surprise. “I only learned that he was my father a year ago, just before my mother passed away,”
Mike explained. “Then why did David not tell me about you? He knew you worked for the palace.” “He didn’t know of my existence until a year ago, and then I specifically asked him not to tell you. I wanted my merits to be based on performance, not on my blood ties to a man
who was your friend,” Mike said.
Pride swept through Alberta. How she loved this strong, proud man who was her husband. It didn’t surprise her that he’d wanted no special treatment due to her father’s friendship with his father.
King Enoch sat once again. “And he was a dear friend. His passing has left a hole in my life.” “And in mine,” Mike replied. “He told me how you saved his life when you were both young soldiers, and that he had vowed to you his loyalty and service for the rest of his
He asked me to continue to carry out that vow and so I have pledged my life to you as my father did before me.” “It is enough that you have bound yourself to my wayward daughter,” King Enoch exclaimed, but his gaze was filled with abiding affection as it lingered on Alberta. “I will assign a new bodyguard, for it is not right for your husband to fulfill that position.”
Happiness swelled inside her as she realized her father had just accepted the man she loved as her husband. There would be no more talk of banishment or dishonor. He looked at Mike once again.
“We will talk later about a new position for you besides the one you now serve as my son-in-law. I welcome you into the family, Mike. My daughter has made a good choice for a husband. We will talk more soon, once I have finished the business I have to attend to.”
Alberta and Mike left the grand chamber happily.
* * * THE END * * * Please comment…
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