Queen of My Country, Queen of My Heart

by Alex Tryst

copyright November 2002

Disclaimers: First and foremost in order to enjoy this piece to its fullest, you must employ what is referred to in literature as "the suspension of disbelief". Secondly I must note here that I neither condemn nor condone certain medical technologies such as cloning. Additionally you need to throw everything you know about the American government and monarchies in general out the window. Lastly but just as important, this book isn't like my others. You must know ahead of time that there is anguish like I've never written, so tissues are a must. My beta reader even recommends a whole box.

Dedication: As always, to my wife, you are my fondest wish. To the specific inspiration for this particular piece though, I must credit my father-in-law in as much as it stems from one of his casual history lectures over a leisurely dinner where he so proudly informed me that back after America had won its independence from England, there was debate over whether or not George Washington should become king of our new nation. You will see American historical icons as you have never seen them before as I have grossly manipulated U.S. history, but all in fun of course.

Now on with the show..................................................................................................................

Part 2

Chapter Four: The Decision

That Friday evening Lara made her way back to Nashville for the weekend since the conference was in hiatus until Monday. Even though it was a distance to travel for such a short period, she desperately needed to see her family to find some solace. Instead of staying at her own place for those few days though, she opted to stay with her parents. When her mother picked her up from the airport, the teacher hugged her tightly, relaying emotions that she was having difficulty in expressing. Her mother just gave her a supportive smile and helped her daughter to the car.

When they were in the privacy of their vehicle on their way back to the house, her mother reached over to take her daughter's hand. "Lara, what is it? Why is your heart so heavy, my child?"

"Mom, do you remember when we had dinner with Princess Alexa and Lady Jefferson here in Nashville, and you commented on the way home that you thought the princess had an interest in me?"

"Of course. I still think that. Why do you ask?"

"I don't even know if you'll believe this. I still don't know if I can." she admitted. "Lex asked me to marry her."

"What? Why? How?" Katherine asked in surprise.

"Well, apparently she found out about our connection with John Hancock. She had our family investigated for the purpose of asking her father for an exception in proposing to me. However now she knows that isn't necessary. The way she asked wasn't how I thought it would be. I had actually lost my temper with her, and she took it, Mother. Princess Alexa allowed me to berate her, and then when I demanded to know why she had invaded my private life, she told me it was because she wanted to marry me. She knelt on her knees right there in her bedroom and proposed."

"What did she say when you refused?" her mother asked curiously.

Lara paused for a moment before saying, "I haven't refused her."

"You accepted?"

"No, I haven't done either. We are discussing it." Lara informed her.

"Lara, are you serious? You are actually considering this? I thought you were opposed to this kind of thing. When I mentioned it the first time, you sounded as if you wouldn't do something like this. What changed your mind?"

"I haven't changed my mind. I just don't know what to do. She offers something so tempting in some respects. However I don't love her, and I'm not sure I can marry someone I don't love. If I don't marry her though, she will marry Gwen at the end of this year, because the king has requested this of her. What do I do, Mom?"

"Honey, I have no idea. I would not even begin to know how to answer such a question."

"Do you think it would be wrong to accept, because I don't love her?"

Katherine shrugged. "Does she love you, Lara?"

"She says she does, and I believe it. Ever since she asked, I can see the way she feels. She made it obvious at that gala."

"Lara, I don't know what to tell you. Your father and I would only be able to support you on whatever you chose. We could never make that decision for you. The princess has asked you to marry her. That is something that doesn't happen every day. There is a lot she is offering you."

"Yes and there is a lot of responsibility that goes with it. It's not the responsibility that concerns me though, Mom."

"What does? Is it Ryan?"

"No. I care about him, but I know I will never marry him."

"Then what is the issue?"

Lara shifted uncomfortably in her seat at the thought of what Alexa desired from her. It was difficult for her to even think about much less vocalize, but she wanted desperately to lay her burden on someone else. "Princess Alexa has made it very clear that she has sexual interest in me." the teacher stated quietly.

"Of course she does. A woman like her would. You have a lot to offer her as well, Lara."

"But it's the reality of being physical with her that bothers me, Mother. I don't know if I can do it."

"Is that the only thing keeping you from saying yes?"

Lara shrugged. "It's the biggest thing. She's made her demands quiet clear. She wants access to me sexually in order to consummate our marriage, but she swears she will not ask for more."

"Do you not believe her? Is that the problem?"

"Strangely I do believe her. It's the thought of doing what she wants though. The thought of her touching me that way, her hands on me or worse her mouth. It kind of turns my stomach."

"But the only thing she has asked for is the consummation? That's only one night, Lara. Do you think you can get through that to what lies on the other side?"

"I guess, but I'm not sure. I mean she kissed me earlier this week, and it wasn't terrible. I just can't get to the thought of us in bed together doing you know."

"One night, Lara. How long is that really? Think about it. How long do you actually think she could last? Surely she would tire herself out after a couple of hours."

"I don't know, Mom. When she says all night, I honestly think she means that. I think she means being active the entire night. She strikes me as being able to do that."

"All right. Suppose she does. How long could that really be? Ten hours, probably less. That's all it would be for a crown of your own and unfathomable access to anything you want."

"Mom, listen to yourself. That would be like torture for me. I'm not a prostitute, and right now I feel like I will become one if I say yes."

"Then say no, Lara. Tell the future queen of our country that you will not marry her. The fact that you haven't done that yet, tells me that there is something you're still unsure about. What is it?" her mother asked.

"I know this is going to sound so selfish, especially since Gwen has become my friend, but I don't want Gwen to be queen. Lex told me that if I didn't marry her, she would marry Gwen, and I don't want that. God, I just have no idea what to do." she confessed running her hands through her hair in frustration.

Patting her daughter on the leg, Katherine said, "Lara, regardless of what you decide, know that your father and I will support you. You should do whatever you feel is best. There are opportunities by marrying her, but there are responsibilities as well. You should weigh them carefully."

"Would you think I was a fool for saying no?" the teacher asked.

"Not at all."

"Would you think I was selling out if I said yes, because I don't love her?"

Her mother shook her head. "Lara, you have a challenge no one else ever has had. There's no way anyone could judge you for what you do. Your marriage to the future queen would be a privilege and a burden. There would be no way around that, but at this point either way you decide will have similar consequences."

Curious as to what her mother would do in her position, she inquired, "If it was you with the offer, what would you do, Mom?"

"You mean if your father wasn't in the picture?" she clarified. Lara nodded. The older woman smiled. "That's easy. I'd marry her." she teased.

"You would? Why?"

"Lara, look at her. She's got a crown, money, access to everything I'd ever want, and let's face it. She's not unattractive by any means."

"But what about the sex?" Lara questioned immensely inquisitive with her mother's admission.

Katherine smiled. "I don't foresee the sex being a problem for me. When you think about the realm of possibilities of what might happen, it's not really different than with a man. The only thing that would be truly different is that she wouldn't orgasm the way a man would, and that's not necessarily a bad thing, because we know what a mess that can be. Close your eyes, and she's whoever you want her to be." she explained. Lara shifted uncomfortably. She had never told her mother about any of her own sexual encounters or lack thereof, so she couldn't truly identify. Seeing her daughter's sudden uneasiness, Katherine hurriedly inquired, "You do know what I'm describing, don't you? I mean you have... with Ryan, haven't you?" Lara shook her head slowly. "With anyone?" she asked.

"No." softly the teacher confessed.

"Oh. Well, is that where some of your hesitancy is maybe coming from? Are you scared of what it might be like?" her mother inquired as assuringly as possible. "I mean there is nothing wrong with feeling that way. You're still young, only twenty-three. There would be no way that you could possibly know the entire gamete that love entailed. I'm not even sure I know at fifty."

"You really think it wouldn't be that bad?"

"Not at all. I mean you just said she kissed you, and it wasn't terrible. I think you would be surprised how easily you could lose yourself in a fantasy to get you through if you needed to. However she strikes me as the type of person that knows how to elicit the right emotions in an encounter such as that. I don't think she would hurt you by any means. I think the whole catch is that you want to be madly in love with the person you are with the first time, isn't it?"

"I always thought it would be nice."

"Well, think about it this way. You'll be with someone who is madly in love with you. That counts for something, doesn't it?"

Lara looked at her as she asked, "You want me to do this, don't you?"

"I want you to be happy, Lara. I want you to be taken care of. I wouldn't worry about your financial well being. However there will be other concerns. This choice is yours and yours alone, but I will stand by you regardless."

On Saturday morning Lara was over at Ryan's place early since they were meeting for breakfast. When he opened the door, he gave her a bright smile. "Hey, Lara. So good to see you finally." he greeted wrapping her in his arms and kissing her deeply.

As his mouth connected with hers, Lara tensed a moment before allowing herself to relax. She was surprised by the fact that her first thought was of Alexa instead of the feeling of her longtime boyfriend's affection. Pulling back slightly she smiled demurely. She patted his chest as she said, "It's good to see you, Ryan."

"I have something to show you before we leave. Come look at this." excitedly he stated pulling her into his apartment. She followed him over to his dining table. Her heart stopped for a moment when her eyes saw what was lying there, a nationally published magazine with a picture of Alexa and her from the gala gracing the cover. It was a full length shot of the tall woman's entrance that night, and the brunette had her head turned slightly in the blonde's direction giving her an obviously affectionate gaze. The headline across it alluded to Alexa's feelings for the teacher. "Isn't this funny?" he asked. "They suggest that the princess is in love with you and you her. You look good though." he commented idly flipping the pages.

"Thanks." she mumbled.

Seeing her unenthusiastic response, he questioned, "What's wrong? You don't think this is amusing? How did you manage to get escorted in on Princess Alexa's arm anyway?"

"She asked." Lara replied. "Ryan, we need to talk about this article. I didn't want to do this now. I was hoping we'd at least have some time before I had to bring this up."

"What is it?"

"We should sit." she said gesturing to the couch. He gave her a questioning look but did as she suggested, tossing the magazine on his coffee table to give her his full attention. She took a seat next to him. "Ryan, there is no easy way to say this. That article is partially true."

"Which part?" he inquired.

"Lex has made her interest known to me." she stated.

"Is that interest returned?"

Breaking their gaze Lara sighed. "Ryan, not in the way you might think. She has made it clear that she would like to pursue me, and that was quite a shock to say the least. At first I was completely taken back and refused her."


The blonde shook her head. "I'm going about this all wrong. What I want to say to you really has nothing to do with Lex. There is something I need to ask you."

"What is it?"

Looking into his eyes, she took one of his large hands in her own. "Ryan, do you see us together forever? Do you think we have that kind of future?"

"Lara, I love you." he said plainly.

"I know, but do you want to marry me? Can you see that ever happening?"

He was silent for a moment before answering, "Lara, we're only twenty three. Marriage isn't something I really think about. Can't we just see how it goes? I mean I do love you. Maybe at some point a long time from now I could see that happening. Why are you asking me this?"

"Because, Ryan, I've come to realize what I want out of life. I want to get married, and I want to have children."

"Do you have to have those things right now?"

"No but it makes me realize that I should only be with someone who has the same goals as I do, and I know that I want those things in the near future if possible."

He scowled at her. "Are you breaking up with me?" he questioned. "Is this about her?"

"This isn't about Alexa. I swear it's not, but she has made me think about my priorities. Ryan I can't be with you if you don't want the same things. It's just not fair to either of us. You're not ready for a commitment like that with me, and furthermore I know that I am ready for that commitment but not with you. It doesn't make sense for us to carry on like this."

He dropped his head forward slightly and sighed. "If I proposed would you stay?" he asked.

Lara shook her head. "No, sweetie, I wouldn't, because I know it wouldn't be genuine. I care about you and your happiness, Ryan. You know as well as I do this is not going to work in the long run."

"I suppose you're right." he conceded. "I didn't want to admit it, but we've really been more friends than anything over the past few months. I could feel it slipping away. I guess I just didn't want to see you go. You're the only woman I've ever felt this way about, but I suppose that if I'm not ready to commit after a year I probably won't. My past relationships clearly show that much." He leaned back against the couch and closed his eyes.

Lara knew he was trying to control his emotions as he always did. "This is for the best, Ryan." she assured.

"And the princess?" he quietly asked.

Lara shrugged. "We'll see. I don't know yet." A few minutes passed in silence before she inquired, "Do you still want to go for that breakfast, or should I just go?"

"I think I just want to be alone for awhile." he mumbled.

Nodding her head in understanding, Lara stood. "All right. I guess this is it then."

"Here. Take this with you." he asked handing her the magazine.

"I'm sorry about hurting you, Ryan. I just think this is best." He gave a nod but said nothing further. "Well, good bye."

Going straight back to her parents' house, she ran into them in their own kitchen. "Back so soon?" her mother inquired as she took a sip of her coffee.

"I broke up with Ryan." the young woman stated flopping into a chair near them.

"What? Why?" Katherine asked.

Looking at them seriously she replied, "Because I think I'm going to marry Alexa."

There was an extended pause before her mother questioned, "Really? You've made up your mind already?"

"Assuming we can work some things out, I think so. I broke up with Ryan though, because I know regardless of Alexa, I never want to marry him. What was the point of being together?"

"Wow. Our daughter is going to be the future queen." her father mentioned. "I can hardly believe it."

"Well, I think you were right, Mom. Alex can give me opportunities that I can't get anywhere else. This is an arrangement. We'll only be married in name really. She's using me as much as I will be her. It's temporary, and we'll both benefit from it. It really accomplishes all my goals without too much responsibility. I mean the benefits will far outweigh them I believe. She and I just have to get some things straight first."

Her mother nodded. "Well, when are you going to tell Alexa?"

"I guess when I get back tomorrow. I know there is a time issue involved with her father. I'm sure she'll want to know right away."

Raising her glass of juice, Katherine stated, "Well, here's to you, Lara, the future queen. I think you'll be happy you did this."

On Sunday afternoon the teacher returned to the palace. As soon as the helicopter landed, she looked out the window to see the princess standing there waiting on her. She thought about the fact that in a few short months she would become the brunette's wife and how happy that would make so many people. As soon as the helicopter was on the ground, Alexa made her way over to open the door. Smiling brightly at the blonde, she extended her hand to assist her in getting down. "Hi. Welcome back." she greeted leaning in to hug the short woman.

Lara responded in kind, figuring she might as well try to get used to the idea of the tall woman's physical affection. "It's good to be back." she answered. Looking toward the palace, she saw the hustle of people rushing around. "What's going on?"

"My father's birthday party. I was hoping you would get back in time to be my date. It starts at seven and is just family and close friends. Of course if you're too tired, I would understand."

"No. I'm all right. I would love to go if you want me to be there."

"I want you to be there. I have to get back to some business, but I just wanted to welcome you back. I'll see you in the library around seven with everyone else. Okay?"

"Sure. I'll see you then. That gives me a little time to relax."

Lara walked toward her room with palace servants close behind carrying her bags. Going into her room, she noticed that someone had been in there cleaning as all her belongings had been put away neatly. The bed had been made better than she had left it, and on the nightstand there was a huge bouquet of red roses with a card. Even before she got to them, she knew they had to be from Alexa. Once she was alone, she moved over to the flowers and opened the card. It was written in Alexa's hand saying, "Welcome home. I missed you. Lex." Lara smiled as she put it on the table. If nothing else the princess went out of her way to express her emotions to the little woman, which pleased her. The teacher looked around her room as she thought of the fact that the palace would indeed become her home when she married the brunette.

Just a few minutes after seven Alexa was standing in the back of the library watching her parents and their friends chatting. Her father's health seemed on the steady decline, and it appeared that he was having problems keeping up with the conversations around him forcing him to be a bystander for most of it. As the princess looked upon the man she adored, her heart felt a profound sadness. She knew this was the last time he would celebrate this event, and it grieved her that her time with him was near its end. Suddenly a small hand on her back broke her musings. Turning she looked down to questioning blue eyes.

"You all right?" Lara asked softly.

"I'm fine." the princess lied.

Lara looked at the king and then back at the brunette. "It's okay if you're sad, Lex. He is your father. You have every right to be upset."

Alexa nodded. "I just don't want this to be happening. I'm not ready to take over for him. I want my father not some crown."

"I understand. You should enjoy what time you have left though."

"I know. I guess the fact that I've agreed to get married this year pleases him as well. That's a small concession to make, to make his final days more bearable. If only I could announce to him that I am officially engaged this evening, that would be special to him. That would be a perfect gift." she commented looking at her father. Lara chose not to respond. Instead she took the princess by the hand and pulled over to her family.

The evening passed with quiet talk and laughs about times when Princess Alexa and King George were both younger. When the group moved to the dining area for their meal, Lara watched as Alexa carried her father to his seat and made sure he was comfortable before taking her own. The blonde couldn't help herself. As the princess took her seat next to her, she slipped her hand onto the brunette's thigh, patting it lightly in support. Once the meal had passed and they were all sitting around talking, Victoria announced that it was time to give the king his gifts. Lara was curious as to what someone would give a king much less a man that didn't have much time left. However she quickly realized that each person bestowed kind words onto the king instead of materialistic items. When it came to Alexa, the princess stood with her wine glass.

"Well, Father, I have to say that you are my hero and role model. Everything that I have learned about respecting people, I've learned from you. You have taught me compassion and sincerity, and I strive to be just like you. My gift to you this year, which most of you don't know about yet, is that I am getting married. I hope that I have a marriage half as wonderful as the one you and Mother share and that I raise my children with the same values you have instilled in me."

When she took her seat, Victoria looked at Lara. "Lara, do you have anything you would like to add?" she politely asked.

Casting a glance at Alexa, she answered, "Actually I do, but I what I have to say is for the king's ears alone first."

"Then please come tell me, my dear." he said gesturing her to his chair. Coming to him Lara leaned to his ear and quietly whispered what she had to share.

Seeing the light come into her father's eyes and the large grin that graced his face, Alexa wondered exactly what the blonde had just said. Not able to resist, she asked, "Lara, what did you just tell him?"

However the teacher ignored her for the moment as the king cupped her face in his frail hands. "You are an angel." he whispered. "You have made me happier than I've ever been."

"Come on. What did you just say?" the princess pressed in curiosity.

Taking the king's hand in her own, Lara smiled at Alexa. "I just told him that I accepted your marriage proposal."

Alexa's heart stopped and then started again double time at what Lara just said. "You did?" she asked in clarification.

"Lex, why didn't you tell us?" her mother inquired in excitement jumping from her seat to hug her daughter.

Lex returned the embrace but kept her eyes on the fair-headed woman, whose blue eyes sparkled in joy. Victoria gave the teacher the same response before Alexa moved to her bride. Kissing the back of the blonde's left hand, she confessed, "I love you so much, Lara."

"We have to make an announcement right away. Oh, there is so much to plan." Victoria stated.

"Lara and I will give a press conference tomorrow morning before the conference resumes." Alexa said. "For now though let's just enjoy the rest of the night."

That evening once the gathering had ended, Alexa escorted Lara back to her room. She hovered at the door for a moment smiling at the woman she was to marry. Seeing how happy she had made the royal family, Lara felt better about her decision. "I think we have some things to talk about." she mentioned to the tall woman.

"Yeah. Would you like to do that now?"

"That's all right. I'm not concerned about us being able to come to amiable terms for our prenup."

The princess nodded. "Lara, if I may ask, why did you say yes? It's not because of the way I feel, is it?"

The blonde shrugged. "It's perceived as an honor to serve one's country, and this is how I will serve mine. You're kind, Lex, and I know that we will get along well. I should get some rest now. We have the press conference early, and I want to look my best."

"You always do. Nevertheless I will leave you to your dreams." Brushing Lara's cheek with her hand lightly, she leaned to kiss her forehead. "Good night, my soon to be wife. Sleep well. Tomorrow your life will change forever."

The next day the family met for breakfast before Alfred moved to start the press conference. As Alexa stood looking out the window at the gathering media, she felt a hand on her shoulder. She looked down to see the blonde curiously looking out as well. "There are a lot of people out there." she mentioned.

"Yeah and they're all here for you. Strange, isn't it? This is our first test, Lara. Are you ready to do this?"

"Ready as I'll ever be."

"All right. Come on then." Alexa extended her hand to the small woman. Lara took a deep breath before clasping it and letting the princess lead her outside to the waiting crowd. They stood together behind Alfred as he concluded his short speech before moving to the podium themselves. "I'll make this brief as we are already running behind for the education conference. This morning I have asked you here to formally announce my engagement to Miss Lara Elise Monroe. As all of you should know by following the education conference, she was the winner of this years' 'Teacher of the Year' award and is serving as an interim assistant director for the elementary level. It is a great pleasure for me that she has agreed to become my queen and serve our country. As of now we have not set a date for the wedding, but it will be before year end. At this time Alfred will field any questions you may have, because we have to get to our meeting. Thank you for your time." Moving out from behind the podium, Alexa made them pause next to it while pictures were taken for a few moments before leading the blonde back into the palace.

That evening once returning from their meetings, Alexa held a traditional barbeque for all the guests of the conference. However being that news of the engagement had swept the country during the day, press had swarmed the palace getting the opinions of those coming and going. As Alexa sat in a chair under one of the large tents temporarily placed on the grounds for the party, people kept bombarding her with their well wishes for her marriage to the little blonde. She obliged them with conversation, but her eyes were across the way on the woman she was to marry.

Alfred had arranged for Lara's family to be at the party that evening, having sent the royal jet to retrieve them earlier in the day, so Alexa watched the petite woman as she giggled with some of her younger relatives over the ring now adorning her hand. Feeling eyes on her, Lara turned to see the princess observing with a look of pure adoration gracing her face. The teacher smiled and blushed modestly under the gaze. When Alexa had first made her interest known a few months previous, the blonde had been uncomfortable with the idea of another woman having such feelings for her. However now that she had accepted and the brunette made her emotions obvious to everyone, Lara felt a certain security and receptivity to the tall woman's affections. The teacher had always wanted the kind of love the heir was showing her, and even though she couldn't reciprocate, she was flattered by the attention.

"Well, congratulations, Lara. You did something no one else was capable of." Gwen stated as she approached. "You lured the future queen into marriage. I never thought it would happen."

"Neither did I, Gwen."

"Guess she made you quite a deal." the tall blonde said looking over at her best friend. Glancing back at the teacher, she quietly mentioned, "She's my best friend, Lara, and I want her to be happy. Don't hurt her. She loves you."

"I know she does."

Just then Alexa made her way over to them, sliding her arms around Lara from behind and pulling the little woman to her. The teacher tensed for a second before relaxing, realizing that she was going to have to get used to the brunette's touch. Snuggling into the toned body behind her, she placed her hands over her betrothed's. "What are my two favorite ladies talking about over here?" she asked with a gentle smile.

"Oh, I was just congratulating Lara on a job well done. It's about time someone tame you. Congratulations, Lex. I'm so happy for you." she said leaning to kiss the brunette's cheek.

"Thanks, Gwennie. I'm happy for me too." the princess jested. "Excuse me though. I really must go speak with my future in-laws. Don't run too far. We have to have a conference with the press in a bit." she informed her fiancée before kissing her cheek and wandering away.

A few minutes later Alfred did come retrieve them for an interview with the media. Lara was surprised that most of the questions were directed at her. She tried to take it in stride however as she held tightly to Alexa's hand and laid on her southern charm. The princess just stood next to her smiling proudly at how easily the blonde handled the crowd, and she saw that the little woman was having the same affect on the press that she had on her. Overlooking the group she noted that they seemed as smitten with the young woman as she had been in the beginning.

When the interview came to a close, one overly zealous report yelled in suggestion that they kiss for the camera. Alexa cast a bashful glance at her fiancée at the proposal, but seeing the permission in the blue eyes she loved, she pulled the little woman into her arms. She leaned down with every intention of giving the blonde a simple kiss, but as soon as her mouth met the soft lips of her beloved, all rational thought dissolved as the feeling of the teacher overtook her. Moaning lightly she pressed deeper, diving past Lara's lips in a sensuous exchange. Faintly she was aware of the fact the little woman responded in kind, her arms locking around the brunette's neck and pulling her in even closer. It lasted several long moments before Alexa had to pull away for air.

Seeing the dazed glow of Alexa's eyes, Lara knew she had made the right decision to make things seem as real as possible. As an additional touch, she moved her fingers to her sovereign's lips, gently wiping off her smeared pink lipstick from her majesty's slightly quivering mouth in a seemingly doting gesture. Alexa lightly kissed the delicate fingertips that brushed her lips as she conveyed with her eyes emotions she couldn't say in front of the assembly of people.

For the rest of the night Alexa was constantly by the teacher's side. Lara played along by cuddling with the tall woman in front of the guests. However as the evening came to a close, the princess accompanied the blonde back to her room, holding tightly to the petite woman's hand. Arriving at the door, Alexa lingered for a moment. Seeing dark eyes peering into her own, Lara asked, "What is it, Lex?"

"You are just so beautiful, Lara." she replied brushing back the blonde's hair with one of her hands. "I was amazed with the way you handled yourself today. It was incredible."

The blonde simply nodded. Forgetting herself for a moment, Alexa leaned into the teacher's body, hugging her tightly. Her lips grazed over the small ear before closing over the lobe. Lara didn't respond for a minute, merely standing there until Alexa's lips trailed down her neck. The teacher gasped lightly in surprise. "Lex." she whispered. There was no response from her sovereign. "Alexa." she tried again, but still the princess was involved with her neck. Uncomfortable with the idea of allowing the action to continue and yet scared to really rebuff the woman she was to marry, Lara waited another second. However Alexa continued. Hearing the tiniest of groans escape her majesty, the teacher knew she had to stop things before they escalated further. Pulling away she said, "Sire." Meeting Alexa's eyes, she saw them brightened with fervor. The princess was slightly breathless as she looked at her expectantly.

"Please." the brunette begged shamelessly. "God, Lara. Please let me touch you. I need to feel you."

Staring deeply into those dark eyes, Lara saw their desperation. Alexa was arrantly pleading with her, and for the first time Lara felt bad for the situation she had created. It was so visible the torture she was putting the princess through by spurning her. Nevertheless the little woman was not ready to move further with her fiancée. In fact Alexa's touch left her unstirred in the ways of passion. Knowing she could not give what the tall woman wanted, Lara stepped back toward her door. "Good night, Lex."

However Alexa was not going to be dissuaded so easily as she reached to embrace the blonde again and beseeched, "Lara, please."

The teacher removed Alexa's hands from her waist and held them in her own. "Lex, please don't make this harder than it has to be."

The princess dropped her head forward, sighing with resignation. She wasn't going to get what she wanted from the younger woman. Being refused was hard for her to accept, because Lara's sentiments had seemed so real that evening. "I'm sorry." she muttered. "I forgot for a moment. Wishful thinking I suppose." she admitted. "I'll just go. Good night, my princess."

Lara watched as Alexa shuffled down the corridor defeat evident in her posture. The princess didn't look back as she wandered out of sight. Lara gave her own sigh of relief and yet remorse. She hated hurting the tall woman, because she did care about her at least as a friend. Going into her room, the teacher tried to just put the day out of her mind.

The princess couldn't sleep after all that happened, so she stayed up reading long into the night. Around two though there was a soft knock on her door. Wondering whom it could be, she rose from bed and went to answer it. Her mother was standing there in her robe with a try of milk and cookies. "Mom, can't sleep?"

"No. You can't either?"


"Want to share my snack?" Victoria inquired.

"Sure. Come on in."

They moved to the couch and sat close together. Her mother poured two glasses of milk before handing one to her daughter. "So, what's keeping you up?" she asked conversationally.

"Stuff." Alexa replied vaguely. "What about you?"

"Sometimes I have a hard time sleeping next to your father these days. I just want to watch over him instead and absorb every moment that I can." she confessed.

Alexa wrapped her arms around her mother in comfort. "I know the feeling. He's only seventy. That's too young, but we should just enjoy what time we have left."

Her mother nodded. "I just never thought that I'd be a widow at sixty-five. We've been married for forty-seven years, and somehow that just doesn't seem like enough time together."

"Mom, could I ask you something about your marriage?"

"Of course. You know you can ask me anything."

"Were you and dad in love with each other when you got married, or were you just kind of pushed on each other?"

Victoria paused for a moment to take a sip of her milk. "Lex, we did care about each other. I mean we were friends, but we weren't in love when we married. Our families wanted the marriage, and we obliged. Both of us thought that if we had to do it, at least we knew that we would get along as friends."

"But you love him now."

"Yes, I do. I love your father in a way I never knew existed, and looking back I couldn't imagine being with anyone else. He's my soulmate."

"How did that change come about?"

"It was very slowly, Lex. When we got married, we both knew that we needed to have children as soon as possible. It was just considered protocol, and we felt obligated to do so. We tried for twenty-two years to have a child before you were finally born. Over the course of that time our relationship slowly began to change. For the first five years or so when we couldn't get pregnant, he just kind of brushed it off, saying that it was no big deal, that we had plenty of time. We were friends and only had sexual interaction for the sole purpose of conceiving. I mean we didn't even share a bed or a room for those five years. In fact I slept in this room for the first years of our marriage." she said taking a look around. "After time had passed and we were still trying, the relationship seemed different. He started to stay over sometimes after we had done our national duty, and he would hold me, telling me everything would be fine, that it would work this time. He was so supportive of me. I truly felt that I let him down and even more my country down, because I couldn't get pregnant. For twelve years it seemed like all we did was try to have a child. Finally when I was thirty, the doctors basically told us that there was a very high likelihood that we would never be able to have a baby. I was crushed. You see during all those trials I had somehow fallen in love with my prince, but I knew he had obligations to the country. I wanted him to be happy and to have children to carry on the line, so I asked him if he wanted a divorce. I remember that so clearly, because it forever changed the way we were. I merely was thinking of the country when I suggested it, but by the look on his face, I could tell I had just destroyed him. For the first time ever I saw your father cry. He begged me to reconsider, and he told me for the very first time that he loved me. He said he would rather have me than his crown, and he didn't care if we ever had kids, that he just wanted to love me for the rest of his life." Victoria paused as tears came to her eyes. Alexa pulled her mother tighter into her consoling embrace. "It took twelve years, Alexa, before we found love, and that was thirty-five years ago. We had given up on kids all together, and then ten years later when I was forty, there you were. You were a surprise and a blessing, and your father adored you from the moment I told him that I was in fact pregnant. You'd never see a father as proud and excited as he was. From the day you were born, he coddled you and loved you with an intensity I never knew a father could have for their child. That's why it's so important to him that he sees you marry. He wants you to be as happy as we are."

Alexa nodded. "Lara doesn't love me, Mom." she stated softly.

"I know, sweetheart. You're friends. You love her though. That's more than what we started with."

"Yeah but I want so much for her to return my feelings. It hurts when she refuses me." she admitted.

"I know, Lex. Love can be painful sometimes, but there is a good chance that she will come to love you over time. You two are going to get married and hopefully start having children soon. Kids do wonders for relationships. It wouldn't surprise me at all if she fell for the mother of her children. It would be hard not to, especially knowing how much you adore her."

"But I want her to love me now." she grumbled.

"Lex, love isn't on a schedule. It comes when it does. Give it time. You'll see. She wouldn't have said yes if she didn't at least care about you as a friend. You have something to work with. You just have to let nature take its course."


Chapter Five: Princess and Princess

Lara looked out the window of her lavish hotel room at the view of the National Cathedral as her bridesmaids scurried around her. It had been raining most of the November morning as she prepared for the ceremony that day, but she noted that the weather seemed to have past, leaving a chill in the air. Colorful leaves were plastered to the wet cement and a wind whipped lightly through the barren trees. Her thoughts were at the palace, wondering what Alexa was doing at the moment. A hand on her lower back made her turn from the window.

"Penny for your thoughts?" her father asked.

"Daddy." she whispered leaning into his shoulder.

"Lara, you look so beautiful, just like your mother on our wedding day. Who ever would have guessed that my little girl would come to sit next to the most powerful woman in the world as her wife? You were always a princess in my heart, but now you will be my queen." he mentioned as his eyes grew misty. "I just can't believe it."

"It'll be okay, Dad."

He gave a nod. "It's time. Are you ready, Princess Lara?" he asked extending his arm to her.

The blonde let her father lead her down to her awaiting entourage. He settled her in her limousine before getting into a different one with his wife. Lara took a deep breath trying to settle her nerves. She had to ride alone to the National Cathedral that day, because she was supposed to arrive by herself at the end of a long procession of her bridal party. The closer she came to the cathedral, she began to see people crowding the streets anxiously awaiting her. It overwhelmed her the amount of support of the people who were there, hovering around simply waiting on a chance to catch a glimpse of the royal family on this special day.

Finally she pulled up to the cathedral, and her eyes strayed to how majestic the building was, the gray towers reaching to heaven against the dark clouds. As soon as her door was opened for her, she could hear the deafening screams of the horde of people. Camera flashes began even before she was assisted from the car. Carefully Lara made her way up the granite stairs into the building. In the foyer she met up with her father again. The king and queen had already processed, and her own parents were about to go in.

They both gave their daughter one last smile and kiss on the cheek before taking each other's arm. The wedding planner hovered around her doing last minute preparations and making sure she was completely ready while Lara focused simply on her breathing. Her nerves had started to run wild, and her stomach churned in uneasiness. She was about to link her life with the future heir to the throne, and she knew she would never be the same.

When the music began to play for her and the heavy doors to the sanctuary opened, a quick breath escaped her. The whole cathedral was full of people, all of them standing and staring at her. However there was only one set of eyes that burned into her as she found them at the end of the long aisle. Alexa was standing there looking so regal in her military attire. Being that she was second in command of the armed forces, her uniform was heavily decorated with medals designating her position, and on her dark head she wore her golden jeweled crown. The princess was smiling more brightly than Lara had ever seen, and she couldn't help but follow suit even though her hands, hidden under her large bouquet, trembled. As she made her way down the aisle, her eyes found her parents, who were giving her smiles of support. She also saw Alfred on the aisle a few rows back from the king and queen looking at her in adoration. The king and queen were both giving smiles as well. Finally though her gaze settled on the tall princess who was beaming in happiness.

Alexa felt light headed at the sight of the blonde as she floated elegantly down the aisle. She had not been allowed to see what the small woman was planning on wearing to the service, so she was surprised and overwhelmed at the teacher's dress. It was a traditional white and conservative. Being that it was fall, it had full length sleeves, and it dipped only slightly, low enough to expose the modest diamond necklace Alexa had given her. The satin dress was fitted throughout the body, accentuating the little woman's slight yet proportional frame and then fuller through the skirt with an extended train that followed for several rows. Her long blonde hair had been curled around her face with most of it pinned up with a long vale completing the look. Overall it was a classic and traditional look that perfectly personified the blonde's personality, and it took Alexa's breath from her.

When Lara arrived next to the princess, she handed off her bouquet to her maid of honor and reached for Alexa's extended hand. The princess stepped closer to her beloved and whispered, "You're an angel, Lara. You're so beautiful. I love you so much." Unable to help herself, she leaned down brushing her lips against the blonde's, but she wasn't satisfied with the simple kiss. Pressing deeper her arm came around Lara's back as the other held fast to her bride's hand.

Lara gulped as the princess broke protocol, but she knew it was her role to go along with whatever Alexa deemed appropriate for the moment. Falling into her place, the blonde responded in kind, bringing her arms around her sovereign's neck and pulling her more intently into the interchange. Her fingers found their way into her soon to be wife's thick dark hair, the tips of her fingers playing with the edge of the crown that was soon to be hers. Lara could feel in that moment more than ever how the princess truly felt for her.

"Your majesty." the minister whispered trying to break them apart in order to begin. However he was ignored. "Your highness." he stated again. Alexa broke away and spared him a glance. He smiled. "Perhaps we could quickly do the vows, so you can get back to what you're doing." he jested lightly causing snickering from the congregation.

"Of course." Alexa replied blushing lightly as she looked down at the blonde. She attempted the best she could to wipe away the smeared lipstick as Lara did the same to her. Turning the little woman toward the minister, she said, "We're ready now."

"Very good, sire." The ceremony ran smoothly for the couple, and it seemed only fleeting minutes until the minister turned them toward the assembly and announced, "May I now present, her royal highness, Princess Alexa Washington and Princess Lara Washington."

Alexa then guided them back down the aisle smiling at people that they passed until they made it outside. A roaring mob greeted them with a chorus of hollering and cheering. Alex smiled and waved to everyone with Lara following suit before making their way to their awaiting limousine.

The reception that day was back at the palace. It seemed like a whirlwind to Lara though, as she conversed with people who she didn't even know wishing her well. She desperately need to see a friendly face, but as soon as she felt she couldn't handle it any longer, Alfred made his way to her. He bowed slightly before addressing her, "Princess Lara, may I have the honor of dancing with you?"

She smiled. "Thank you, yes, Alfred." she answered putting her hand in his. Once they were on the floor, she quietly said, "Thank you for saving me."

"You're welcome. It's my job to know when my sovereign is in distress. We really must come up with a signal though now. We should think that over."

"A signal? What kind of signal?"

"To get out of something if you're bored or unhappy. You give me the signal, and I will come to your rescue. It has to be something subtle."

"Does Alexa have a signal?"

"She sure does."

"What is it?"

"Meeting my eyes and playing with the collar of her shirt."

"Really? That's funny."

"Well, Queen Victoria's is playing with her necklace."

"And King George?"

"He doesn't have one. If he's bored or unhappy, he just leaves. He is the king after all. So, we should come up with a signal. Maybe playing with your earring or hair or something. I don't know. Whatever makes you comfortable."

"I'll think about it."

"You really look beautiful today, Lara. I know you have made Lex so incredibly happy, not to mention everyone in this country. You are the darling of the media now, which is quite helpful. You'll bring some much needed good press to the family, especially with King George being so ill."

"Well, I hope to be a help."

That night Alexa and Lara left early for their honeymoon. Alexa didn't want to travel too far given her father's condition, but she still wanted some privacy with the little woman, so they decided to take the family jet down to their palace in the Virgin Islands. Even though it was fall, the weather was still fairly warm when they landed on the private island. Servants came to take their bags while the two of them stood just overlooking the ocean for a few minutes.

After awhile Alexa looked down at her wife. She still thought it strange that she was indeed married and to the teacher that had charmed her thoroughly only six months before. "Well, do you want to get settled in?" she asked nervously.

Lara looked up at Alexa. Her nerves were going again, because she knew what was supposed to happen now that they were alone. It was clearly written in their agreement that this was the night Alexa would finally be able to have what she wanted from the blonde, but Lara was dreading the encounter. "Whatever you want." she answered softly.

Nodding the brunette gestured toward the palace. Lara fell in beside the tall woman as they walked together. Being that it was already late, there was really only one thing left to do as they moved to their sleeping quarters. The servants had already started putting away their belongings for their stay, which was different for the teacher, given that she wasn't used to other people going through her personal and intimate belongings. Nevertheless Alexa seemed used to it by the way she just waited on them to finish before bidding them a good night. Lara just stood at the foot of the bed, arms crossed over her chest and eyes to the floor until Alexa's voice broke the stillness that encompassed them.

"Perhaps we should just go to bed. It's late." she proposed. Lara just nodded. Seeing the tension coming from the blonde, Alexa wondered how to reassure her. "You can use the bathroom first if you want." she offered.


Ten minutes later it was Alexa's turn for the bathroom. As she stood at the sink rinsing soap from her face, she wondered what the rest of the night would hold. This was her time to be with the woman she loved, but she could clearly see the blonde's angst over the situation. Hoping for the best, the princess merely pulled a robe over her bare body and made her way back to the bedroom.

She found Lara sitting in bed in a pair of modest white pajamas, uneasiness apparent on her face as distinct lines of distress graced her usually pretty complexion. The blonde princess wrung the sheet tightly in her hands as she looked at her sovereign. Alexa came to the bed and took a tentative seat next to the little woman facing her. Her fingers moved over the teacher's brow and forehead trying to massage the lines of worry from her face. Cupping her fair cheek, she promised, "I'm not going to hurt you, Lara. I'll be gentle." Lara said nothing as her majesty leaned to kiss her and so the night she had dreaded began.

True to her word, Alexa did move slowly and tenderly with the blonde. She took her time adoring the mouth of her beloved while her hands took in the landscape she had dreamed about so many times. Sliding her hand up to the little woman's top, Alexa began to undo each button with exquisite care as her mouth lovingly explored the soft skin of her wife's supple neck. Lara's breath began to hitch in trepidation at the feeling of her majesty's adoring hands on the bare skin of her stomach and then breasts. She knew it was her commitment to comply with the Alexa's desires, but the blonde couldn't relax under the ministration even though her body seemed capable of responding to the caresses. Powerful hands pulled her top off her shoulders and dropped it to the floor, leaving her only in her little silk shorts. Things were suddenly moving faster as she saw Alexa shrug out of her robe, revealing the sinewy body of authority. Before she even realized it, Lara found herself on her back, Alexa's weight on top of her small form as the princess came back to her mouth. Reflexively Lara's hands found the brunette's shoulders, and she merely held on, wondering how long this would last.

The tall woman kissed down her lover's body, stopping at the breasts she always wanted. She circled the crest of the right one with her tongue before closing over it. Lara cried out softly, her back arching instinctively, but her heart hammered wildly in despondency. She really didn't want to go any farther, nor had she even wanted to venture to this level of intimacy, but she knew it was her duty. Lara felt out of control as her body did things it never had before, and it scared the young woman that it could react one way when her heart another. The princess moved to the blonde's other breast after several long minutes. Alexa was in heaven. As she investigated every inch of the blonde's frame, she knew the teacher had been worth the wait. Letting her need drive her, the princess kissed lower, drawn to the place she fantasized about since they had met. Lara's essence was magnetic, pulling her ever closer until the crowned heir found herself with her head bowed worshiping her blonde goddess intimately with her mouth. Unable to control her own body any longer, Lara moaned loudly as Alexa's tongue lavished her with attention she had never even thought of with anyone before. Her hips rocked in time with the strokes. Even though Alexa had never pleasured another woman this way, she knew the moment she tasted her wife, she would never tire of the flavor of her lover. Groaning with fervor, Alexa followed her own instincts to give the tiny woman delight. Lara could feel tension building within her body, in the pit of her stomach and in her quivering thighs as heat began to run rampant through her. She was finding it difficult to breathe as her breaths came in short pants.

"Alexa." she whispered in uncertainty.

"It's okay, Lara. I love you. Let it go. I've got you. You're safe." the brunette coaxed.

Suddenly spasms ripped through the blonde, and her body shook uncontrollably for a few seconds. She was so incapacitated with the tide crashing over her that she didn't even notice as the princess moved to hold her. However a sharp pang brought her back, and her blue eyes met the dark ones above her. Feeling Alexa's presence within her, the blonde knew her innocence was gone, and she began to cry.

Seeing the tears the brunette began to panic. "Oh, God. Lara, did I hurt you?" she questioned in concern. The teacher shook her head as the crying turned to sobs. "Then what is it, beautiful? Did I do something wrong?" Alexa inquired withdrawing from her lover and pulling back slightly. The little woman was now trembling and weeping uncontrollably and inconsolably. "Lara? What can I do?" the princess asked wanting to soothe the blonde.

"Nothing." Lara whispered turning on her side and curling tightly into herself.

Alarm overtook the tall woman as she saw the blonde's unreceptivness. "Let me hold you." Alexa stated comfortingly, settling her body next to the teacher's and reaching for her, but Lara shrugged her off. "Lara, please." she pleaded. Lara didn't say anything. Instead she just cried, realizing just how awful it was that her own body had betrayed her heart. She felt dirty, like a common whore, and she regretted that she had agreed to such an arrangement. A delicate hand brushed her blonde hair. "Lara, please tell me what I can do. Do you want me to leave you alone?"

She nodded slowly. "I'm sorry." she mumbled. "I just can't do this. Oh, God. Why did I do this?" she questioned aloud pulling the sheet around her quaking form.

Alexa lay there stunned. She couldn't believe the most wonderful thing she had ever experienced had been such a terror for her lover. It made her feel terrible for inflicting such torment on the woman she loved. As tears formed in her own eyes at the realization that she had robbed her beloved of what should have been a magical night, she made the decision to do as the blonde had requested of her. Withdrawing from their marital bed, Alexa silently pulled on her robe again, tying it securely around her waist. "I'm sorry, Lara." she murmured with a shaky voice. "I'll leave you alone. Good night." Without another word between them, Alexa left the little woman alone with her thoughts.

The following morning when Lara awoke, she sat up and looked around the room. It appeared that Alexa had not returned at all the night, making the blonde wonder where she had slept. Slowly she moved to the bathroom where she was surprised to find all of brunette's belongings had been removed. Lara leisurely dressed for the day, because she was not in a hurry to face her wife after what had happened the previous night. She had broken her end of the deal, so she wasn't sure what Alexa would do. After showering and putting on casual clothes, Lara knew she had to face the repercussions of her actions. They might be married, but she knew Alexa was still her sovereign and ultimately could do with the blonde what she saw fit for her obstinate insubordination.

As she wandered the halls, she wondered exactly where the dining room was, because Alexa hadn't bothered to give her a tour the previous night. However after a few minutes she found it. One of the staff of the palace was cleaning what was obviously Alexa's breakfast. The woman bowed to Lara and greeted her, asking if she was ready for her own meal. Lara responded that she was and was quickly left alone in the large dining area. She stood at the window overlooking the ocean in the distance. It wasn't too long before her food was brought to her. As she sat she inquired as to Alexa's whereabouts, finding out that the princess was down on the beach.

Quickly Lara had her meal before heading outside to find her wife. Even though the island was small, it took almost an entire lap before she saw the brunette in the distance, sitting on a large boulder at the edge of the sand. Her gaze was on the water, and she sat in stillness as the breeze ruffled her clothes. The blonde made a slow approach, but either the princess didn't see her or was ignoring her, because the petite woman came within a few feet before stopping. "Lex." she gently called.

The princess turned at the sound of her name. Her wife was standing there looking so beautiful and yet so vulnerable as she shifted uneasily on her feet. Alexa sighed and turned her look back to the ocean. "What do you want, Lara?" she asked shortly, going with the anger she felt instead of the pain.

"Nothing." the blonde answered meekly.

"Then why are you here disturbing my tranquility?" the princess inquired curtly.

Lara didn't answer at first. She knew Alexa had every right to be angry with her, but it still hurt the little woman's feelings. "Do you want me to leave you alone?" she timidly queried.

"What I want is something that no longer exists." she commented. "I want my night back."

"I'll give it to you. I know I messed up, but I'll make it right." she stated stepping closer.

"No! It's over, gone forever, Lara! I can't be near you now knowing you feel the way you do. You defied me, Lara, but more importantly you broke our agreement! We had a written contract, and you just cast it aside!"

"I know, and I'm sorry, Lex. I swear I'll make it up to you." the blonde pleaded. "Just give me a chance."

Alexa scowled at the little woman. "Well, I'm sorry too! Marrying you was the biggest mistake I ever made! I should've married Gwen! At least I know I can trust her! At least I know with her my heart wouldn't be trampled by some selfish..." She cut her sentence off before she said something she regretted. Taking a deep breath, she firmly stated, "Lara, I don't even want to look at you right now! You have done enough damage to last a lifetime, so just get out of my sight!"

The blonde quavered at the oral assault. "Lex, please don't be like this."

"Lara, I'm warning you! If you don't turn around and leave right now, I'm bound to say or do something I shouldn't!" she screamed as tears began to flow over her face.

Knowing it was best to do as she was told, Lara gave a weak nod. "All right. I'll go. When you're ready to talk, I'll be waiting."

Lara spent the rest of the day alone on the terrace of the palace. Alexa never made an appearance, forcing the blonde to take all her meals alone. The blonde princess wondered what was going to happen to her. Alexa was so furious with her for what had happened, but at the time it was truly more than Lara could handle. She wasn't as prepared as she thought for their intimate encounter, and she questioned whether or not it was worth what she had gained. She already knew it wasn't worth the pain she had put her dear friend through, and her heart was heavy with penitence that she had asked Alexa to leave their bed when the brunette was showing her such concern. Somehow she knew if Alexa had stayed, the princess would not have pressed for more, only held her the rest of the night. However the thought of them together was more than she could bear. She was still shocked at how her body had reacted to Alexa's touch, because her heart truly wasn't involved with the tall woman as a lover, only a friend. It was too late though. The crowned princess made it plain in her strong language that she was not interested in another opportunity to correct the injury that had occurred.

The next morning after a sleepless night, a knock disturbed Lara while she was dressing. When she opened the door, Alexa was standing there. "May I come in?" she requested.

"Of course."

The brunette closed the door behind her. "Sit down, Lara." she demanded. The teacher complied, taking a seat on the couch. Alexa stood on the other side of the coffee table and stared at her for a minute in silence before saying, "I'm sorry I said the things I did yesterday on the beach. I was very upset and hurt, and I lashed out at you. I've been doing some thinking about what has happened since I met you. You changed my life, Lara. You've made me believe in love, because I think I fell in love with you from the moment you walked up to that podium to receive your award. That night I had expectations of things going a certain way, and they didn't. Truth be told I had this idea that I could make you love me by bedding you. I guess I thought if I could show you what kind of a lover I could be you would want me. Now I know that isn't the case. In fact I hurt you emotionally which I never wanted to do, and I'm truly sorry for that. However you hurt me more deeply than anyone else ever has. You refused my comfort, instead pushing me away. You'll never know how much that destroyed me, Lara. Then I said some horrible things in my state that I never should have." The princess paused a second to look out the window and gathered her composure for what she was going to say next. "Lara, we have a problem. This just isn't going to work. I know under our agreement I asked you for five years or three children, whichever came last, but I don't think I can handle us having a relationship for that long. I'd like to alter our deal."

"What do you propose?" the blonde hesitantly asked.

"As soon as we get back from this trip, we need to get you pregnant. I need you to have an heir for me, and then I need you to remain my wife until I become queen, whichever comes later. You will become queen as well by default, and our child will become heir to my throne. After that point we can divorce. I'll still let you retain your title and give you the life of a queen. You'll have any palace of mine you want as your permanent home, and you'll have protection at all times. Additionally you'll keep your seat on the board of education. However the child will remain in my custody to be raised by me alone. You can have privileges, take them on visits and vacations, but they are to remain under the roof at my palace for their formative years. Finally and most importantly, you and I do not have to have any sort of physical interaction except in public."

"Is this what you really want?" Lara quietly inquired.

"I'm simply trying to give us both an out, Lara. I have already had Alfred draw up the papers. Here they are. I've already signed them, so the decision is now yours." she stated placing them on the table.

"Do you want me to sign these, Lex? I mean I will work under our old agreement if you would prefer."

"I do not prefer it. I favor this. This is for the best, Lara." she explained putting a pen down as well.

"Very well. If this is what you want, I'll do it." the blonde said signing the documents.

"Wonderful. I'll be going now. Enjoy your stay on the island. I'll be back in a few days to collect you. We'll go home then and pass it off as me being concerned with my father's illness to stay away any longer."

"Where are you going?" Lara asked in confusion.

"I'll be on my yacht. I've arranged for it to be moved out into the bay here. If you need me, you will be able to call. I just want to be to alone now. If you want anything, the staff will see to you. Good bye, Princess Lara. See you in a few days." Without any further comment, Alexa picked up the papers and left.

Lara spent the next two days by herself at the tropical paradise, but instead of enjoying what should have been a wonderful vacation, she felt miserable. She could see the royal yacht only about a half mile off the coast of the island. Boats came and went with such a frequency that the blonde knew Alexa wasn't alone. In fact music and voices floated over from the ship on the breeze confirming Lara's suspicions that the princess was actually having parties. Annoyed at the fact that the brunette had left her in her distress, Lara finally decided to take matters into her own hands. Seeking out the butler of the palace, she demanded that she be taken out to the boat.

Her wishes were readily complied with, and it was mere moments before a boat was ready for her to travel to the yacht. However as the boat neared its destination, security flagged it down, and the royal guards boarded to investigate. Seeing the blonde though they were deeply apologetic for the delay and let it proceed. When Lara stepped aboard the yacht, she climbed the steep stairs to the back deck.

Music was softly playing, but otherwise there was silence as she stepped onto the deck. Immediately her eyes were drawn to the scene before her. The crowned princess was lying on her stomach with her eyes closed. She was only dressed in a pair of small shorts, and the muscles of her strong back were on display. Hovered over her was a petite dark haired woman younger than she was in a skimpy blue bikini top and see-through sarong around her waist. Her skin was a dark golden hue from obvious time in the sun, and her hands were ardently kneading Alexa's muscles. Neither woman noticed Lara.

Alexa was drifting close to unconsciousness as she received her massage. She hadn't slept well in days, and the hands of the masseuse were working wonders on her tense body. Faintly she heard the request that she turn over and complied. Groggily she barely opened her eyes to look upon the woman that was giving her such tenderness. The young woman was focused intently on her task as her hands worked over shoulders and down Alexa's arms. However the princess noticed the little brunette's eyes shyly stray to her bare chest a few times. Deciding to play with her companion a little, Alexa ran one of her hands along the soft contours of the masseuse's side until it came to the knot holding her sarong in place. Their eyes met and spoke for them. Consent was requested and granted without so much as a word. The princess untied the material and let it slither down to the deck, revealing slim toned legs and a blue g-string. The small woman continued her work as Alexa's hand caressed her hip before sliding behind her. She maneuvered the masseuse across her hips and sat up slightly. The small woman exhaled quickly.

Lara stood there frozen at the display in front of her. It was obvious that Alexa was whispering something into the woman's ear as nimble fingers made quick work of the ties to the blue bikini top. The blonde princess only watched as her wife's mouth closed over the brunette's neck. Her stomach flipped in jealousy and irritation. She was mad that Alexa was having a good time while she was battering herself mentally for hurting the princess. However it didn't appear as if Alexa held any resentment at the moment. She was far too preoccupied with laying her latest conquest. Lara felt herself getting angry, because Alexa had sworn that she loved the teacher and yet was casually sharing intimacy with someone else after taking the innocence of the blonde. She then wanted Alexa to be hurting as much as she was.

"Excuse me!" she called loudly to break Alexa from her intended bedmate.

Alexa's eyes opened at the sound of Lara's voice, and she saw the little woman marching toward her with a less than happy countenance. However the princess would not be intimated by her wife. Gently pushing the masseuse off her, she handed the woman her top. "If you wouldn't mind, wait for me in the parlor." she instructed.

"Certainly, you majesty." the masseuse answered bowing slightly at both of them before rushing away.

Alexa didn't bother to dress, instead only crossed her arms across her bare chest. "Lara, this is an unexpected visit. What are you doing here? I thought I made it clear I wanted to be left alone."

"Alone? Lex, you haven't been alone since you got on this boat! I've seen all the people coming and going! You just don't want to be with me!"

"You're right, Lara. I don't want to be with you. I don't want to look at you. I don't want to listen to you, and I don't want to think about you. If I could I'd go home, but I can't. The press would have a hay day with the speculation of why I arrived home early and without you. Being that I'm stuck here, I'm trying to make the most of it by having a little fun."

"By breaking your vows?" she questioned.

Alexa sneered. "Since when do you care about vows? You broke them first, Lara. I had every right to do as I pleased that night, and I also had the right to take whatever I wanted from you without regard of your feelings, but I didn't. I couldn't, because I love you, and it hurts like hell to know that's not returned. I have the right by our agreement to seek pleasure wherever I so choose just as you do. I never thought I would do it but come to find out that I need it. I need to feel wanted by a woman, Lara. You have demolished me. I have never been treated the way you did, and I don't know how to handle that. Finding comfort in the arms of other women at least relieves the pain of that gapping hole in my soul temporarily. It's not a permanent answer though I know. The only thing to do is to try to get over you."

Lara dropped her head forward. "You'll never give me a chance to make this right, will you? I'll give you that night you wanted."

Alexa shook her head. "You don't get it, Lara. The pain you caused me is not from refusing my sexual favor as much as it is from refusing my comfort. I just wanted to love you. That's all. Had you let me stay, I wouldn't have forced you. I just would have held you. I needed to hold you. That's not something you can give back to me." she said softly brushing away the tear that rolled down her face.

The little woman nodded. "I guess you're right, but if that's really all you want, I can try to give you that. Come to my bed, and I'll give you anything." she proposed hoping the offer would be enough for Alexa.

The tall woman shook her head. "It wouldn't be the same, because I know you don't want it. I never wanted to force my feelings on you. I just wrongly thought that by expressing them you would be swayed. I'm not going to try again to court you. It's pointless. I care enough about you still to let you go as much as that hurts me. That's why I asked for the amended agreement."

"What about our friendship at least? Are you turning your back on that as well?" the blonde asked seeing that the princess had made up her mind as to what she wanted to do.

"Lara, I've never been your friend. I've always wanted more from the second I laid eyes on you. Friendship is an impossibility for me. I'm sorry if I deceived you into thinking we had that much."

Hearing the brutal truth from the brunette, Lara felt a small tear in her heart. Her eyes watered as she realized there truly was nothing for her to try to salvage. Alexa was set in her mind as to what their relationship now entailed. Giving a tiny nod, she moved away from the princess. "I guess I should let you get back to your company now. When will you be coming by to get me?"

"Tomorrow. I've decided that we'll ride back up the coast on the yacht. We'll leave early. Be on board by nine."

"Okay." she whispered. Turning away Lara made her way toward the stairs. She could feel Alexa's eyes on her, but she refused to look back. She didn't want the princess to see her crying as her life came crashing down around her.

The following morning Lara arrived at the ship on time. The crew was already busy prepping for the return voyage up the coast while Alexa ate a leisurely breakfast on the back deck. Seeing the blonde woman come aboard, the princess invited her to sit for something to eat. Lara accepted the offer slipping into a chair next to her wife, but they were both awkwardly silent. Finally though when Lara couldn't take it any longer, she reached over to her wife's arm, touching it softly. Being that there was staff about, Alexa didn't pull away, but she did glare at the blonde. "Lex, please. This is driving me crazy. Let me make things up to you."

"There is nothing to make up, Lara. It's over." the brunette grumbled.

The little woman glanced around. All the crew was pretending to ignore them. However Lara knew this would be what Alexa considered public by their contract. Knowing that the blonde wondered if she could manipulate things to her advantage. Moving from her chair, she came to Alexa's. Without so much as a word, her hands began to massage the tall woman's shoulders. The princess didn't say anything but cast her eyes around. She saw her servants pretending not to notice, but she saw their eyes on them anyway. Suddenly she felt her wife's breath against her ear. "Alexa, please." the teacher begged in her most sensuous voice.

The princess growled softly as her libido jump started. It was her desire to hear Lara in such a way. As the blonde's hands moved more possessively over her arms, she felt the small woman's breasts against her back. Turning her head her eyes met the blue ones. Lara leaned down to catch her wife's mouth before anything could be said, hoping that her majesty couldn't resist, and indeed she didn't. With fervor guiding her, Alexa pulled the petite woman down into her lap. Even in her hurt, she knew she still desired the woman she married. Lara was everything she wanted. For several minutes they exchanged lustful kisses as Alexa took in the body of the blonde, and prying eyes were forgotten. Finally when Lara felt enough time had passed for her wife to reach a passion that couldn't be ignored, she pulled away slightly. Meeting dark eyes, she softly demanded, "Take me to bed, Lex."

The princess stared at the woman in her embrace. Her body was racing out of control, but when she met the blue eyes of her wife, Alexa saw something that quickly impeded her amorousness. There was no ardor or fire in that cool blue gaze. In fact Lara was looking upon her like she looked upon anyone else. However being that there were so many people around them, Alexa didn't want to rebuff the small woman. "To bed, huh? All right. I'll take you, my princess." she replied firmly scooping the blonde up in her arms. Just in the tall woman's response, Lara knew she had crossed the line. She didn't know where Lex was taking her however as she held her hostage in her arms. The heir walked up the narrow stairs and down a long corridor. Arriving at one of the many doors, she flung it open and carried the blonde through it. Once it was closed, Alexa tossed Lara onto the bed. She then stood at the foot of the bed and stared harshly at the little woman. "Did you think that was funny?" she snarled. "What was the meaning of that, Lara? How dare you try to manipulate me that way?"

"Lex, please. I'm trying everything I know to get back in your good graces. I mean who ever thought I would actually be begging you to take me."

"That irony is not lost on me, Lara. I never thought this would happen either. There is just one thing I want to know. Do you or do you not want me to make love to you? This isn't about making up for what has been lost. This is about you wanting me. I'm going to ask you seriously, Lara Washington, not as your sovereign but as your wife. Do you want me to make love to you? Yes or no?"

Lara looked up at the woman hovering near her waiting for her answer. She knew this was her chance to make things right with Alexa, but she knew if she said yes the brunette would know she wasn't telling the truth. Dropping her head forward, she answered, "I'd do it for you, Lex."

"But you don't want to." Alexa stated definitively. "Let me tell you something, Princess Lara. Never ever ask me to take you again unless you mean it. Next time I might not give you a chance to change your mind. Are we clear on that?"

"Yes, your majesty." the blonde said with a meek nod.

The tall princess looked down at her wife sitting on the bed. Sadness filled the blonde's countenance, and Alexa felt bad for upsetting the petite woman. "Lara, I just want you to know that I'm sorry for the pain I've caused you as much as you are sorry for what you've done to me. Let's just leave it alone and try to move on. We made a mistake by getting married. That much is clear, but it doesn't have to be permanent. I really did just want a chance to experience real love, and now I know that it can hurt like hell, but I'll never regret loving you. My regret will be that I couldn't make you love me by being all you needed. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to retire to my room for awhile." she softly said, defeat evident in her voice.


Chapter Six: For Better or Worse

A few days later they had arrived back at the palace, and then Lara left to Nashville to visit her family. As Alexa stood in the library looking out over the winter landscape, she felt a hand on her shoulder. "It's going to be all right, Lex. You'll see." Alfred's voice stated in comfort.

"Alfred, my father's dying."

"I know."

"And Lara doesn't love me." she whispered her mouth quivering slightly as she tried to hold back tears. However as soon as the arms of her secretary embraced her, they came cascading down her face, and she cried in the arms of one of her closest friends. "I'm not ready to lose either of them."

"Lex, it's your father's time. There is nothing that can be done about it. The only thing is to cherish what time you have left."

"It's not fair." she whined. "People need him. I need him."

"That's where you're wrong, Lex. You don't need him any longer. You are just fine on your own. You're a strong capable leader. The country will be in good hands."

"Why doesn't Lara love me, Alfred?"

"She loves you as much as she is able. Love takes many forms, Lex, and what you feel for her is not what she feels for you. However that doesn't mean that she is without love for you. She does love you. The fact is that unrequited love is still love. Enjoy those feelings you have for her. They're special, and there is no other woman in the world that has ever come close to making you feel the things you do when she's near. Appreciate that. Since you've been back and I've seen you two together, you've only fought. Don't fight this battle with words, Lex. You'll never win. You have to fight with something else, your emotions. Show her the way you feel even if she can't reciprocate now. In time she might be able to. You never know what the future might hold. A few months or a year from now could be different. How can a woman resist your charm when you give it to them?" he asked with a smile.

Alexa did the same through her tears. Casting a glance back outside, she took a deep breath. "Alfred, why didn't you ever marry?"

"Because that was not the life I was meant to live."

"Have you ever been in love?"

"Once about forty seven years ago. I was in my early twenties and had just started working here at the palace after graduating law school. Your grandfather hired me on to be your father's secretary. Your father and I certainly did have some fun times when we were younger being the same age and all. I would say we were best friends."

"What about the girl? How old was she?" curiously Alexa inquired. "What was she like?"

"She was eighteen. She was like a breath of fresh air, the greenest eyes and fair hair. She had a laugh that could light a room. I remember the day I first saw her. Your father and I were standing on the front lawn of the palace when a limo pulled up the drive. It stopped where we were, and the back window rolled down to reveal the brightest smile I had ever seen." he mentioned obviously reliving the moment in his mind.

"What happened?"

Alfred shrugged. "It wasn't meant to be." quietly he stated. "She was meant for someone else."

Looking at her friend, Alexa ventured a guess by asking, "Does my mother know you felt that way about her?"

Her secretary gave a demure smile. "We're not talking about Victoria, Lex. We're talking about Lara. My feelings for the queen are of friendship only." he said trying to redirect the conversation.

The brunette shook her head. "Oh, come on. Did she know? Did she feel the same?"

Alfred's face took on a seriousness. "Alexa, you are asking me very intimate questions about your mother that I do not care to divulge. If you are so curious, ask her. My lips are sealed on this subject. Besides that doesn't matter. She is my queen, my friend, and she's married to one of my best friends, one that is at the end of his life. What we can discuss is how to salvage the relationship you have created with Lara. You can't give up, Lex. Just because you married the woman doesn't mean the courtship is over. It's only just begun. You have to woo her still. Show her how much you care. Treat her as if you were still trying to win her hand."

"It just hurts." Alexa confessed.

"I know, but the pain will become less over time. You two have to come to a place of peace with what happened. You two have a family to consider. From what I understand, you two are going to try to get her pregnant right away. You have to be unified in the press and public, and the only way to truly do that is to stop being so angry and hurt. Put it to rest, Alexa. Whatever happened must be put behind you."

The first night when Lara arrived back at her parents' house, the press hovered around outside for most of the evening, trying to get any glimpse of the princess that they could. However the blonde stayed away from the windows, feeling safe that security was posted strategically around the perimeter of the grounds to keep people from intruding.

Sitting at the kitchen table after dinner, the little woman sighed in obvious discontent. "Do you want to talk about whatever is bothering you?" her mother asked.

Lara shrugged. "It's Lex."

"I gathered that much. What's wrong?"

Looking at her mother, she answered, "I think us getting married wasn't such a good idea."

"Why do you say that? Was the honeymoon that awful?"

"It was pretty bad. She actually left me alone for most of it."

"What? Why? You mean you two didn't spend time together?"

"We got in a fight the first night we were there, and she hasn't forgiven me yet, nor do I think she ever will even though I've tried to apologize for my part. She spent most of her time on the royal yacht, and I stayed at the castle. It was terrible, Mom. I never imagined anything being that bad."

"Well, what was the fight about? How could it have been that bad?"

Lara paused before replying, "I don't know if I should tell you what it was about. I don't think Lex would appreciate that. However I will say that she made it very clear that she thought marrying me had been a mistake. She regrets her decision, but now we're both stuck. She can't ask for a divorce until we have kids, and I can't ask for one either until then. We have to produce heirs, but right now we can hardly even be in the same room together. I don't really know what's going to happen. I know she'll stand by her duty, but it pains me to think I caused so much hurt in my friend and sovereign."

"So you're saying what happened was your fault?" Katherine inquired.

The blonde princess nodded. "I failed her as a wife, and I have failed my country as a princess. That is a title I have in name only, and I don't even want it anymore. It wasn't worth what I have done to Alexa."

"What do you mean it's your title in name only? Are you saying you two didn't..."

Lara shook her head. "No, Mother. She performed her obligation." the little blonde whispered as tears appeared in her blue eyes.

Instantly her mother came to hold her. "Oh, Lara. It's going to be all right, sweetie. Was it that horrendous? She didn't try to force you, did she?"

"No." Lara sobbed. "It's was just awful though, Mom. I felt so scared and out of control. I didn't really know what to expect from her. She was kind and gentle. She even did something I never expected, but I just couldn't..." she stated before her voice trailed off.

"Couldn't do what, honey? She couldn't get you to fulfillment?" she guessed.

Vigorously the young blonde shook her head. "No. She made me orgasm." she muttered. "I just couldn't stand that fact that I whored myself for a stupid crown. I felt so cheap and dirty. I'm no better than some streetwalker. I just got more out of the deal. When it was over, I couldn't even look at her."

"And then you fought." Katherine stated the obvious.

Lara nodded in confirmation. "I wouldn't let her stay in bed with me. I just felt like such a victim of my own scheme. I can't believe I actually did this."

"So what now?"

"She asked I sign an amended agreement, limiting the time frame of our relationship from five years and three kids to one year and one child. Now I get pregnant with her baby and complete the utter disaster I started." she mumbled snuggling closer into her mother's shoulder for comfort.

Several minutes passed in silence as mother and daughter sat embraced. Katherine stroked her daughter's long blonde hair in consolation. "Well, sweetheart, I wish there was something that I could do, but for once I truly can't. This is your marriage, and this is the future queen we're talking about here. I guess you just have to carry on the best you can and do the things required of you. However I feel like I should point something out to you."

"What's that?"

"For whatever reasons you had, you gave up everything you thought you ever wanted for this opportunity, things that you can never have back, Lara. The fact of the matter is you are married to the future ruler of this country and the most powerful woman in the world, which makes you one of the most powerful women by default. Don't let Alexa Washington ruin your life, because she's not happy. She might be our sovereign, but don't let her dictate your life, Lara. Take control again. You have the right and the power to do so. You do what you must for the royal family, but you do what you want for yourself. You've done your best to make amends with Alexa, but if she won't accept your apology, then that's her problem, not yours. You did what you could to make it right. It's up to her now. Don't torture yourself on her behalf. She's not worth it. No one is. You are a princess, Lara. It's time you learn to act like one, which includes being strong in the face of adversity even when that adversity is your wife. The country expects that of you, and I know you can do it."

"You're right, Mom. She doesn't have the right to make me miserable just because she is." Lara conceded.

"In time I hope that this will pass, Lara. Neither of you deserve such tribulation. Maybe it's for the best that this be over sooner if you truly don't love her anyway. It gives you your freedom, and it gives her the child she needs to carry on the line."

"I guess." Lara mentioned.

"What do you mean? Do you think this is not for the best that the agreement has been shortened?" curiously Katherine asked her daughter.

The blonde shrugged. "I don't know. I sort of had this idea of how this would go, and it just hasn't worked out that way. I guess I kind of thought she and I would be married forever." she admitted.

"What? But you don't even love her. Why would you want to remain married?" The princess didn't respond at first. "Lara, do you have feelings for Alexa?"

"I don't know what I feel for Lex any more, Mom. If I tell you something, you have to swear to me that you'll never tell any one."

"Lara, I'm your mother. I would never divulge your secrets."

Lara nodded. Slowly she began saying, "That night after Alexa left I just cried myself to sleep. I felt so bad for what had happened, not only for how I felt but for how I hurt her as well. I could tell that I had crushed her, and that weighed on me just as much as everything else. The following day I went to try to apologize, and that is when she said she regretted marrying me, saying she should have chosen Gwen instead. I can't even begin to describe how much that hurt my feelings. She shattered me when she said that. I had come to her prepared for whatever my consequences might be, but I never expected her to kill me emotionally. I just retreated into myself. I didn't want anyone to know how I was feeling, especially her. However when she left for the boat, I couldn't take any more. I just wept for days. To make it even worse, I could hear sounds from the yacht in the harbor, and I knew she wasn't over there lamenting. I was angry with her for acting so callously, like she didn't care any longer. In my anger I went out there to that yacht. What I saw was enough to drive anyone to the depths of depression."

"What did you see, Lara?" Katherine inquired gently.

"I found my wife, the very person who had taken everything from me a few days before, in a most compromising position."

"Another woman?" The little blonde could only nod in confirmation. "Oh, honey. I'm so sorry."

"Mom, I've never been so upset in my entire life. I just started to scream at her, but Alexa didn't allow me to continue. Instead she knocked the wind right out of my sails and put me right back in that hell hole by making it absolutely clear she wanted nothing to do with my any more, that she was finished with me. I pleaded with her to reconsider and tried to appeal to her sense of friendship at the very least, and then she demolished me. She said she never was my friend, that her only interest was in marrying me. She basically made me feel like if I couldn't love her, then we couldn't be friends either. I left the yacht knowing my life as I knew it and ever hoped it could be was over. Alexa has been cold and distant with me ever since, and there is nothing I can do to resolve the issue even though I would do anything. She knows I would do anything, but she won't budge."

"Sounds to me like your feelings for her might be changing. I know you are a kind tender spirit, Lara, but it sounds to me as if you were jealous in that moment. Jealousy is usually a sign of deeper feelings of attraction. Do you think you could be having new feelings?"

"All I know is that we are married, and that means she's mine, good, bad, or otherwise, and I couldn't handle seeing her with someone else having the kind of experience we should have had together."

"Have you tried to persuade her into another chance?"

"Many times, Mother. I've never tried to seduce anyone in my life, but I even did that. She ended up giving me a reproaching like none I've ever had. It's hopeless. She says she wants to love me, but I give her a chance, and she refuses. I just don't know what to do. I've put myself out of my comfort zone many times in order to try to get her back, but she's made up her mind."

"Do you think maybe she refuses you, because she sees that you aren't truly desirous of her affections? Maybe she isn't satisfied with what you're offering. Maybe she wants it all this time, and that's why she will not give in."

"That's exactly what she told me when she admonished me. There's truly nothing I can do now."

"Except show her your growing feelings. Maybe if she sees that you are beginning to feel for her more in the way of a wife, she might move back toward you."

"But I don't want to be hurt any more, Mom. I don't want her to know anything about the way I feel, because she will just use it to make me feel bad. No, this is over. There is only the formality of the child, and then we will both be able to move on from this mistake." Lara stated in finality as tears streamed over her pale cheeks.

A week later the teacher arrived back at the palace to find her room full of flowers and a simple card welcoming her home, not in Alexa's writing, but the blonde assumed it was from her anyway as there was no one else who would have done such a thing. Confused by the development, she wondered what they could possibly mean. As she waited for the staff to unload her suitcases, she idly just studied each arrangement. She smelled the red roses on the nightstand until she was alone, and then she went in search of her wife.

Finding Alexa in her office, she knocked lightly to get her attention. Both the princess and Alfred looked up at the sound. "Well, look who's back. Welcome home, Lara." Alfred greeted with a smile.

"Thanks, Alfred." she replied standing there just looking at Alexa.

The dark-haired women wondered why the blonde was loitering and inquired, "Was there something else?"

Lara looked at her shyly as she stated, "I just wanted to thank you for the flowers. They are beautiful."

"You're welcome." Alexa answered casting a subtly glance at her secretary.

However when nothing else was said, the blonde said, "Well, I guess I'll leave you to your work. See you for dinner."

As soon as the princess was alone with Alfred, she gave him a questioning brow. "Flowers?" she asked.

"I confess. I sent her flowers with your name on them."

"Why did you do that?" Alexa inquired shortly.

However Alfred held his ground with her. "Because, Lex, someone has to keep the peace here. You have to be the bigger person, not some sniveling brat. You're the princess. You're invincible in the eyes of your constituents. You need to act like it. You might be married to her, and she might be the princess, but she is still one of them. I will not let you act so high and mighty with her. It's not in your nature."

"You won't let me?" she bellowed. "Who do you think you're talking to, Alfred?"

"You, Alexa Washington! The child I took to the park, patched your knees when you fell, dried your tears when you were sad, told your parents that they needed to pass a new resolution to allow same-sex marriage, because you were in fact gay! I'm also the one who, with your parents blessing and support, took you over my knee and disciplined you for your intolerable behavior when the British royal family was here when you were six! I've done everything for you, Alexa! Now it's my time to fix your marriage, so this country doesn't fall apart when you take the throne!" he yelled. The two held an intense stare for a moment, but as Alexa took in the words he said, she couldn't help but giggle a little. "What's so amusing?" he asked.

With a smile she responded, "I remember you spanking me when I was six. I was being such a spoiled brat."

"Yes, you were." Alfred added with a smile of his own. "Don't make me take you over my knee again, Lex." he jested. "You might be married and only a limited time away from becoming queen, but I will correct you if I have to, and I can assure you it would be with your mother's approval." he stated.

Alexa knew Alfred would really do no such thing, as she was obviously the stronger of the two, his body having finally succumbed to older age. However she knew he was trying to make a point, one to which she conceded. "All right. You win, Alfred. I appreciate you trying to hold the family together right now. Everyone is under a great deal of stress."

"I know, so don't add to it. Be the woman I know you are, Lex, strong, dignified. Try to make amends. Do it for your father if nothing else. He wouldn't want to see you like this. Let him see happiness at the end of his life."

The next morning Lara woke to a knock on her door. Wondering who would be calling so early, she cautiously went to answer it. Alexa was standing there nervously shifting back and forth on her feet. "Good morning." she greeted.

"Morning, Lex. What are you doing up so early?"

"Couldn't sleep. I just came back from a run around the grounds." she said wiping at the sweat on her brow with the back of her forearm. "Could I impose on you for a few minutes?"

"Sure. Come on in." Lara opened the door and watched as the drenched princess swept into the room. Alexa's wet t-shirt and sweat pants clung to her. "To what do I owe this visit?"

Anxiously the brunette moved about the room, never really looking at the little woman. "I just wanted to come by and talk about today."

"What about it?"

"Well, this is the day that we go to the doctor and you know."

"I know." the blonde stated.

"Are you nervous?" Alexa asked finally meeting the blue eyes.

"A little." Lara confessed. "I never thought I'd be trying to get pregnant so early in life, and later today I might be. It seemed surreal when we were last there before we were married, and they were extracting our eggs to work with the DNA. I still couldn't quite picture how this would work, and now here we are. The moment is upon us."

"Yeah. That's kind of how I feel too." the tall woman admitted. "I really think it would be great if this could work today. I would love to give my father the gift of knowing his grandchild if we could do that."

"I know, and I feel the same way. However that's really up to nature. There isn't anything we can necessarily do."

"I know. It would just be nice."

When there was a pause, Lara wondered why Alexa was really there. "Was there something else you wanted to say, Lex?" she questioned.

"Yeah. I just wanted to thank you for doing this." the brunette said looking into blue eyes. "After all that's happened, I know this can't be easy for you. I just wanted you to know that it is appreciated."

Lara felt her heart jump at the kind words. Alexa hadn't been so gentle with her since their honeymoon, so the tenderness took her by surprise. "You're welcome, Lex. Thank you for saying that."

Alexa nodded. "Well, that's all I wanted to say. I'll see you a little later. Sorry to have gotten you out of bed."

Watching the princess leave, Lara wondered what had prompted such behavior, first the flowers and now the soft words. Hoping the signs pointed toward the fact that Alexa had forgiven her, Lara headed to her bathroom to dress for the day. As she leisurely showered, she thought about what was to happen in just a few short hours. As part of her agreement with Alexa, she had begun to track her cycle with several doctors, so they would be able to conceive as easily as possible. Now it was the day to try, and Lara was a little anxious about it. She hadn't pictured herself a mother quite so soon, but she hoped having a child might bring Alexa around at least to friendship with her.

Two hours later the blonde met up with the rest of the royal family for breakfast. Victoria was talkative as usual, asking many questions about the procedure they were about to go through while George just sat attentively listening to the conversation. As Lara answered the questions, she noticed the small smile on her wife's face. Encouraged by it Lara took a chance and lightly placed her right hand on top of Alexa's left one as she spoke. The princess didn't pull away, instead turned her hand slightly, so she could actually hold the blonde's. Through the rest of the meal the two of them held hands and when it was time to leave, Alexa only broke the hold to assist Lara into her coat before escorting her to the royal limousine. Neither of them spoke on the ride there, but their slightly trembling intertwined hands spoke of their uncertainty and nervousness.

Upon reaching the clinic, they were immediately taken to the doctor's office where several of them were standing there waiting. All of them bowed slightly and allowed the two princesses to be seated before taking their own. "Well, do I need to reiterate what is going to be happening today, your majesties?" the head doctor inquired.

Alexa looked at Lara for a reply. "No, Dr. Livingston. I'm all right. What about you, honey?"

"I'm fine. Let's just get straight to it, doctor." Alexa said.

The woman doctor nodded and then asked, "Have you two come to a decision regarding the fertilized eggs you would like to use? Are we doing the cloning or the combined DNA?"

"Actually I wanted to ask you something about that." Lara stated. "Being that you're going to implant more than one, could we do some of each?"

"I don't foresee a problem with that. Is that what you would like to do?"

The blonde looked at the brunette for confirmation. "Yes, if we could." Alexa answered for them.

"Very well. I was thinking we would implant three this time and see how it goes. I know that would be your ideal number, and best case scenario all three would take. However I do not feel that is highly likely. I would feel lucky if we could get one. You do understand this?" Both of them nodded. "Okay then. Then how many of each would you like?"

Alexa merely looked at Lara to reply. Seeing that the princess was giving her the choice, the blonde took her opportunity to speak her mind. "I think one clone and two others would be nice." she said looking back at her wife. The smile she received affirmed the decision.

"Your majesty, is this fine by you?"

Not taking her eyes from Lara, Alexa answered, "What my wife wants is what she gets."

"All right then. We will get those prepared while you get ready for the procedure. I assume you want to be in the room, your highness?"

"Of course."

"Very well. If you two will follow me, I will show you where to go."

As they stood Alexa curved an arm around Lara's shoulders and walked with her a few paces behind the doctor. Lara felt more relaxed by Alexa's actions, even though she was unsure as to why the princess was acting so affectionate with her. When they were left alone in the room, Lara moved behind the partition to undress while Alexa took a seat near the table.

The little woman stood out of sight of her wife for a moment after she had changed into the gown she was supposed to wear. She took a deep breath and then shyly moved out into the room. They hadn't been together when either of them was in so little since the night they had consummated their marriage, so Lara was uneasy about Alexa seeing her this way. However as she came to the table and took a seat, the princess merely gave her a supportive smile.

Soon the doctors had returned, and the procedure began. As Lara lay on the table, Alexa stood near the head, her hand planted on the blonde's shoulder the entire time. Lara felt calmer with the tall woman there with her. The visit didn't last very long that day, and soon they were on their way back to the palace. Quietness filled the limo for most of the ride.

However just as they got to the gate of the palace, Alexa asked, "How are you feeling?"

"All right."

"Guess you can't tell a change at all, can you?" the brunette inquired.

"No. The doctors said to give it time, Lex."

"I know. I'm just anxious about it. I know that wasn't pleasant for you, so I would hate to have to do it more than necessary."

"Me too." Lara replied looking out the window at the palace coming nearer as the car drove up the long drive.

When the limo came to a stop and the door was opened for them, Alexa extended her hand to Lara to assist her out. "You should rest. I'll have your lunch sent up to your quarters if you'd like." she mentioned.

"Would you care to join me if you're not too busy?" the blonde hopefully inquired.

The brunette gave a nod. "Sure. I've got a little time. I'll have it prepared. Why don't you make yourself comfortable? I'll come by in a bit."


Continued in Part 3.
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