Apparently, he was not thrilled with his marriage aspects either. And I had unknowingly just given him an option out. It was an easy enough lie. After all, we had known each other since he was in the cradle. All those years we spent, a childhood love could have developed. It didn’t, but it was an easy enough lie. My father wasn’t likely to deny the proposal of a prince, and the King and Queen found a away to pretend this marriage was a good strategic move. I moved into Prince Martin’s court to prepare myself for my wedding, where I was safe from the temper of my ex-fiancé. Martin and I were friendly. You know better than I do how sweet he is when he puts his mind to it, and I had a good time when I spent time with him. I think we both hoped that maybe the friendship and comradery we had for each other could develop into love—it’s been heard to happen—but we weren’t so luck. But, we were—are—friends, and I was happy talking to him and sharing with him, so we settled happily into the idea of a marriage for friendship–because we most certainly could have done worse. Of course, when we were married, we did as was expected of us. After all, he was a prince, sooner than we could know to be King. He needed sons. He was good to me, and I was good to him—but it still wasn’t love. Well, not for each other anyways. You’ve seen our two boys, our precious little girl. Who couldn’t help but love those three? We love our children and we loved them together. We thought that was good enough, that we were happy with our lives. We thought that this was the best we could get.
That was until two years ago. I watched Martin fight it. For two solid weeks, he was quiet, sweet to our children in away he had never been before, and kind to me in a way I almost didn’t recognized. It took me a while to realize it was guilt. He still loved our children, and he still cared for me for the years of companionship, but he was starting to feel something else. It didn’t take me too long to put all the pieces together.
That’s when I asked about you. Martin was hesitant at first—he didn’t want to hurt me and I understood that, but the truth was more important. And I wanted him to be happy. I didn’t want him to spend all his time beating himself up for something he couldn’t help.
Martin couldn’t—can’t—divorce me. My parents, who understood it wasn’t for love, would have understood the formal divorce, were dead. My brothers, who were sold the story of my love, would not understand, and would make a bitter enemy. We are a kingdom in peace, and love was not enough to begin a rebellion within a court. I told him to go to you, to court you carefully, to warn you of the gossip. I sent my sister and my cousin to feel you out and to make sure that you loved Martin as a man, and not just for a power play and his position. I told him to tell you that we loved each other as kin now, just for our children, that he was free by me to love you.
Oh, and he does love you, Amy, with all his heart. I’ve known him most his life and I’ve never seen him like this. The nights he must come to our shared bed, to keep up the pretense of our marriage, his talk is all of you, giddy like a school boy as he tells me how much he enjoys your time together. At my urging, he tells me his ideas for you—gifts and dates he’s planned, so you can thank me later when I tell you of two rather atrocious dresses that were almost cut for you. But, he loves you—so fully that I almost wish I could take back our marriage, but—and you’ll forgive me when you cradle your own child in your arms—not completely because of those three kids. I’d like to believe that he loves our children enough to not wish our marriage had never existed either. And I know he loves you, and he already loves that lie in your, and he’s excited to have a new child with you.
And you love him, and I can see you feel guilty for doing so, but I’m asking you to not. Enjoy the fact that you are a few days away from a beautiful, hopefully healthy child, a half-sibling to the royal heir, loved by his father and cared for by the highest of orders. No one will speak badly of the king because this is expected of him. People will whisper of a hatred between us because they will expect us to be catty. But, I feel no ill-will to you at all, and I hope that you can find a way to honestly believe that.