Natalie realized the guest room in her parents’ elegant home was the perfect place for a honeymoon, at least if your husband is dying of cancer. She and Ethan had their own attached bathroom suite and her mom brought them meals, which they either ate at the little table in the corner or propped in bed with a tray across each of their laps.
During the day, Natalie read aloud from Ethan’s journals and occasionally Ethan would stop her and tell her a little added side story or correct something he’d gotten wrong the first time.
Natalie kept a notebook beside her to record his stories or corrections. When he would fall asleep and start to snore softly, Natalie would read quietly to herself the fascinating stories of princes and kings and contentions and famines, fleeing from persecution and settling their families in faraway lands, travelling on fancy yachts and flying on private jets to cross the globe, meeting with dignitaries and serving with the United Nations. She got caught up in the world of her husband’s ancestors, drawing closer to him with each turning page.
Each night, after her parents went upstairs to bed, Natalie would help Ethan out of his clothes and they would sleep in each other’s arms, skin to skin, heart to heart. Some nights Ethan would feel well enough to make love but usually he fell asleep in her arms and she was okay with that.
One evening when Ethan was feeling particularly good, they had a long talk and he asked Natalie a favor she promised never to forget.
“If, by some miracle, you and I were able to conceive a child from our very brief marriage, promise me you’ll raise him or her as a regular boy or girl and not as a prince or princess.”
“Okay… why?” Natalie brushed his shaggy hair from his forehead and decided to give him a haircut one of these days.
“Royal families are snobby and selfish,” Ethan said and they both chuckled. “Seriously though, the money left after you distribute the gifts to all the charitable organizations will be substantial. You will be a very wealthy woman and our child will have every opportunity known to man. But don’t give them everything at once and don’t tell them their father was a prince… or that their mother was a princess.” Ethan leaned forward and kissed her gently and warmth travelled through her body from the top of her head to the tips of her toes.
Natalie knew that night would be a good night.
The following morning, she awoke with the sun shining in the white lace curtains, but Ethan did not.
For several long minutes, Natalie held her husband for the last time, tears staining her pillow.
They’d been married twenty-three incredible days. Twenty-three days filled with just enough passion to give Natalie the greatest gift a wife could receive: a son.
Five years had passed, and Natalie climbed up beside little Ether Miles Sayid, who she’d named by combining Ethan’s name with his father’s name, King Elmer Sayid. A perfect little melding of names for a perfect little bundle of life.
“Read me the story about the young princes again, Mommy.” Ether handed Natalie one of the many picture books her artistic mother had helped her create using Ethan’s journal entries.
“Do you want to read from the middle?” Natalie asked, wrinkling her nose at his choice. “Or would you rather start at the beginning?” Natalie picked up the first book in the series and wriggled her eyebrows.
“Umm…” Ether put his finger to his chin in deep thought. “I think we should start at the beginning.” He pointed to the first book.
“Good choice,” Natalie said. They settled in on Ether’s bed and he pulled his blanket up near his mouth, his thumb still hovering nearby even though he’d finished sucking his thumb at least a year ago. Natalie opened to the first page of the first book. “Once upon a time there was a handsome prince named Marcos who had a very best friend named Nicholas…”
“I like this story, Mommy.” Ether snuggled in closer and closed his eyes.
“Me too, baby boy.” She kissed the top of his head. “Prince Marcos and his friend Nicholas went on all kinds of adventures…”
Reminder of the beginning of Prince Marcos's story.
Here is Chapter One of the Story we'll be starting tomorrow, hopefully. We're about to get some seriously bad weather we I live and I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll have power tomorrow.
Note: I previously posted Chapter One of The Hunter but it has been revised. Tomorrow I plan to post this chapter again in its revised form along with Chapter Two. -Julie