Love and Marriage

Prince Jarvis stared at the masked face of his betrothed.

The parents, as usual, setting up my life, he thought. He remembered when he was sitting in his tutor’s class – for he couldn’t go to a public school, being a prince – and his parents would pop in, make sure the tutor was teaching what they wanted the tutor to teach. And he remembered his partaking in a high school prom for royalty throughout the continent, and the date he was told he would be attending with.

He wondered, now, if this was that same date. If she had met with his family’s approval, or they had thought someone else was necessary.

She had been nice enough, those five years ago. Pretty, if you were into that. But why must it be a princess? he thought. Why this anachronistic view of royalty? We could adopt. Or even get some princess to carry a child, be a surrogate. It could be made to work.

University – a quiet, proper one, of course – had been enjoyable for the young monarch, having a modicum of freedom. Still security agents everywhere, but they could be duped. It was good training, really, he told himself. If I can dupe my security detail, I can dupe anyone wanting to actually do me harm.

So he and Hans had enjoyed themselves, two princes reining over the campus like queens. Their fellow students always smiled, and their security details were discrete.

Now, though, he stood at an altar, some greying pedophile on the steps above him, watching as a veiled woman walked down the aisle with whom he would be required to procreate before he could slip off somewhere else. Unless he wanted to abdicate, and that would just be madness. Who would give up this easy life? Sure there were public appearances, pressure to be someone specific in every circumstance, a requirement to never step outside of what you’re supposed to do…

Jarvis sighed. I suppose this is it then, he thought.

His bride arrived, and they turned to the priest, who began the ceremony. From the audience, Hans could be heard sniffling.


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