“Your Highness, may I have a word with you?” Aaron paused at the entryway to his parents’ bedroom early Friday morning. He seemed to stand in entryways frequently of late.
“Son? What can we do for you?” His father, Prince Marcos Sayid, once again serving as crown prince to his cousin, the recently coronated king of Madain Saleh, sat at his roll top desk in the corner of the bedroom suite he shared with the most beautiful princess in the world, Aaron’s mother, Hazel Cohen-Sayid.
His mother stepped out of her adjoining bathroom with a cosmetic compact in one hand and a make-up brush in the other. Her eyes amused, she grinned and predicted correctly. “Let me guess, you’ve come to raid my jewelry closet.”
There wasn’t even a question to her prediction, merely an acknowledgement. She stepped back into the bathroom and set her cosmetics on the counter then entered their large walk-in closet and began turning the dial on the safe.
“After that two-hour make-out session last night, this was inevitable.”
“That was less than an hour and the door was open the whole time.”
“Yes, I know, son. I’ve been around this block a few times. At least you didn’t get your girlfriend pregnant like your brother did.” She glanced up with apprehension. “Or did you?”
“Wait, what? Who’s pregnant?” Aaron felt like he’d been punched in the chest.
“Oh, oops, didn’t realize he hadn’t told you. Kinda thought you kids were closer than that.”
“I have been out of the country for three weeks,” Aaron said, his head swimming. “No one tells me anything. Is the Princess Miranda pregnant? Or Phoebe? Or… did Owen somehow get a girlfriend I don’t know about?”
“Seriously? You have to ask?” His mom raised her eyebrows. “Who’s getting married tomorrow?”
“Gus and Phoebe…” Aaron whispered.
“Why else would someone get married a month after high school when they were barely eighteen?”
“Uh… Princess?” his dad interrupted. “You and I were married less than two months after your high school graduation, and you had just turned eighteen.”
“Eh, you just married me so you could force a crown on my head and give me a title.” She waved her hand dismissively.
“Don’t forget a gleaming white palace and free reign with a paintbrush,” his dad reminded her.
“You guys aren’t making any sense. I’m extremely disappointed in my youngest brother, and can I please raid your jewelry closet? I’d like to take Felicia over to the courthouse this afternoon so tonight we will be legally allowed to close the door to the guest bedroom and hope that the rush of water from the waterfall drowns out any sound that may escape that room.”
“That was way more information than your mother wanted to hear. But I’m glad you’re doing things in the correct order for the first time since you realized you were a man, and that girls existed.” She stepped back and held open the door to her safe. “Take your pick.”
“Thank you, Mother, for that grim reminder of my not-so-distant sinful past.” Aaron stepped into the closet, kissed his mother’s cheek, and leaned closer to the gleaming selection. “Got any suggestions?”
“Well, girls love diamonds, but Felicia originates from a humble neighborhood so she’s not going to want something too ostentatious…” She perused the selection then picked out a simple but elegant diamond ring that could have been a hundred year’s old. “This belonged to your great-grandmother, Princess Lyla Sayid, and is one of only a few surviving Le Vian diamond rings crafted in Persia in the late seventeen hundreds. She found this at a jewelry bazaar and paid next to nothing for it—a few thousand dollars, I think—took it home to New York City the next time she visited her parents, and the jeweler said the value is inestimable.”
“Mom, I can’t take that!” Aaron stepped back and lifted his hands in the air lest his mother try to force the priceless piece of jewelry into his hand. “What if it got lost?”
“What if it got left in a safe for hundreds more years and no one ever relished its beauty?” she asked, holding the little ring out for Aaron’s inspection. “Someone should enjoy this ring. Your bride deserves to be treated like a princess even though we won’t be holding a coronation at the courthouse, and even though she will probably never understand its value. She’s marrying a prince, for heaven’s sake. Let her wear the jewelry of a princess.”
Aaron carefully lifted the priceless diamond ring from his mother’s hand with tears pricking the corners of his eyes. “Are you sure about this?”
“Positive.” His mom’s whisper was husky with emotion. “Now go marry that woman before you do something stupid like your brother did. Attempt to make it to the chapel in time for the rehearsal dinner tonight.”
“If I’m getting married this afternoon, I make no promises that I’ll be presentable in mixed company for the rehearsal dinner tonight.”
“Son, I expect to see you there and on time,” his dad said, never having risen from his chair at his desk where he was typing something on his laptop.
“Yes, Your Highness,” Aaron said with apologetic remorse.
“And, come here, son.” Prince Marcos rose from his seat as Aaron crossed the room and his dad pulled him into his arms. “I’m proud of you. I don’t think I tell you that enough.”
“Love you, Dad,” Aaron whispered.
“Love you too, my boy,” his dad said. They pulled away and looked each other in the eye, man-to-man. “Oh, and don’t forget to bring a couple of your brothers with you to the courthouse. You’ll need two witnesses.”
“Hadn’t thought of that. Thanks for the reminder.” Aaron crossed the room and gave his mom one more hug. “I going to get married.”
Aaron hurried from his parents’ bedroom suite more excited than he could remember ever being in his life. He was getting married.