The skirts of your blue ball gown brushed against the marble floor as you descended the steps. At the bottom your father was talking to a young man you had never met. He had blond hair that was slightly slicked back, a few strands escaping.
Below his hair line he had the largest eyebrows you had ever seen, but they seemed to fit his face quite nicely. His eyes were the same green as the grass growing outside and when they met yours you smiled politely.
All in all the man was quite handsome. Your father's voice brought you out of your inspection of the man, "Awww _____. This is Duke Arthur Kirkland." The blond man bowed and you curtsied in response.
"It is a pleasure to meet you my Lady."
"And mine to meet you good sir." You had to keep everything formal as society dictated. You would have liked to greet him in a more personal manner but that would have been frowned upon.
"Arthur and myself were talking, and you have come of age to be Wed. Arthur's family is quite high up in society, he himself works for the Queen, and he has asked for your hand in marriage." Your heart sank inside your chest.
You had just turned sixteen and didn't want to get married so early. You knew marriage meant bearing children for the husband that was forced upon you. The only reason your father was so eager to marry you off was because your family needed money.
Your step mother spent money like there was no tomorrow and had dragged the family into debt. You were still higher up in society and hid the fact that the family was nearly out of money.
Arthur must have offered a great some of money for your hand and must have denied taking your dowry. He must have offered so much because he had enough money that it wouldn't change his way of living.
He, being a duke, needed a wife by the age of 18 which he seemed to be approaching. He must have wanted you because you weren't sickly and thin like the other girls in this village, though why he can to this village you couldn't guess.
He seemed nice enough and you knew you had no choice in the matter anyway. If your father had already accepted his offer, which it seemed he had, then you had to comply or face the consequences.
You bowed again, giving your consent in that single movement, and your father's smile grew.
"Excellent, the wedding will be held at the end of this month," your father clapped his big hands and shook Arthur's. Arthur then walked over to you and took your hand laying a soft kiss on the top.
"Until our wedding my dear," then he turned and walked out the door. You bowed your head in defeat and walked back up to your quarters to think of this new man who was to become your husband.
***Time Skip to next week***
The air wouldn't come. Your mouth was open and gasping but your lung couldn't expand. Again your mother pulled the strings tighter. The corset was a monster, making your waist tiny as well as crushing all your internal organs.
"Mother...please..it's...tight enough!" After gasping out the sentence she mercifully stopped pulling and tied the strings. When the dress was finally on you, you gave a relived sigh.
Tool and lace were everywhere but the dress was a nice one considering the amount of money your family had left. The lace sleeves traveled to the tips of your fingers and the cut of the dress showed off your breasts.
If it hadn't been your wedding day you would have blushed at the revealed skin but this was only common for such an occasion. Your step mother handed your a bouquet of (f/c) flowers and adjusted your veil.
"Oh ____ you look lovely," she squeaked while holding your hands.
"Thank you mother." She led you to where your father was waiting and you took his arm, more for support than looks. The doors opened and the music started.
You were on your way to marry a man you didn't know.
***Time Skip to after the wedding***
You held the hand of your new husband as he helped you into the carriage. When you were in your seat he sat across from you and smiled. The nervousness started once the door to the carriage closed, you knew what was supposed to happen next.
Your real mother had taught you about how to love a man and at the time the prospect disgusted you. But as time wore on you grew accustom to the idea, though now that it was to become a reality you were nervous again.
Your jaw was sore from all the fake smiling it had been doing throughout the day and you rubbed it gently. The ride back to Arthur's, now your, home was in awkward silence. Neither Arthur or you made any move to talk.
You both stared out your respective windows until a small cottage came into sight. You looked to Arthur in surprise, "I thought you lived in a mansion? Not that I'm complaining or anything! This cottage is quite adorable. I just thought tha-"
Your babbling was cut off by one of Arthur's fingers against your lips.
"Hush Love. I did live in a mansion but i do not like my parents or my brothers. One reason i wanted to get married was because it meant i could move out of that house. And i agree, i thought this one was rather cute and would do nicely for two people."
"Two people? And i thought you got married because you had to?" He smiled dryly.
"Yes i did have to get married, something i was not happy about, but i also had reasons to want too. And yes two people you and i."
You looked at him quizzically, "But aren't we supposed to have children?" His smile turned more gentle as he answered, "Yes, but you are only sixteen. I talked with my parents and they said that you need not bare an heir until you are eighteen. That gives you two years of freedom. And when we do have kids we can move into a larger house."
You let out a breath and the stress about the night dissipated. You would not have to sleep with this man for two years! And by then you could get to know him and possibly fall in love with him, just like a real fairytale.
"We will have to share a room and a bed though. My parents insisted. I think they are still trying to get a grandchild sooner than two years. But i will not force you to do anything." The carriage stopped and Arthur hopped out.
He turned back to give you his hand which you took gratefully. The carriage rode away leaving you and Arthur alone. Without warning he picked you up in his strong arms and started carrying you to the door. You gave a little squeak of surprise and looked at him.
"It's tradition Love." Once inside the cottage he set you down again and you began to look around. The cottage had four rooms; a kitchen/dining area, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a parlor for guests. In the parlor were shelves of books that you knew you were going to make use of.
By the time you were done settling in you were exhausted and ready for bed. You took one of your night gowns and went into the bathroom to take a bath and change for bed. You began undoing your huge wedding dress when you realized you would need help.
The dress had too many buttons and ties that were behind your back. Blushing you stepped out of the bathroom and into the bedroom where Arthur was getting changed. Your blush deepened when you say him shirtless. You were going to turn away when you remembered he was your husband.
You were allowed to she him shirtless, so you looked. He was well built and tan. He looked nothing like what you thought a spoiled rich boy would. His body said that he worked outside all day in the fields that he knew what hardship was.
He smiled when he noticed you starring, "Like what you see Love?" You nodded before you realized how you must look, standing there drooling over his body. You must look like a pervert!
You straightened up trying to regain some composure, "I need help with this dress. I can't get it off by myself." He seemed to like this and walked over to you without putting a shirt on. You were grateful that you could turn your back to him as he slowly undid the buttons on your dress.
Shivers ran up and down your spine when his hand would brush the bare skin on your back and you were beginning to forget what you had been doing in the first place. Arthur brushed some of your (h/c) hair back over your shoulder and kissed the back or your neck.
"All done Love," he whispered into your ear creating more shivers as his hot breath tickled your skin. You ran off into the bathroom before your did anything improper. Even though he was your husband he still felt like a strange to you.
You peeled the rest of the dress off and sank into the warm water of the bathtub.
With your nightgown on and your hair brushed out your headed back into your room. Arthur was already in bed the covers up to his chin. You blew out the lamp and crawled in next to him. You wanted to sleep but you had some questions first.
"Arthur, where do you work?" He rolled over to face you and you saw that he was still shirtless. He smiled and stroked your cheek.
"officially i work for the Queen, as one of her personal guards, but i enjoy working out in the fields with the other men. It makes me feel closer to the common people. That's where i heard about you.
In the field one day the men were talking about the women of the village, not a rare occurrence, and one of them mentioned your families situation. They said that soon you would be forced to marry some man for the sake of your family. They said that all the men that were going to ask for your hand were men who had abused their previous wives. They knew your father would still accept their offers because of his financial need.
I thought this was outrageous and since i was in need of a wife and not fond of any of the higher ups i knew, i decided to ask for your hand. Some of the men had said you were beautiful and they weren't wrong. Your father seemed very surprised when i arrived and stated my intentions. He immediately agreed and offered my your dowry. I new your family needed it and i refused.
One of the conditions i placed your father under was that he must get out of debt and stay out. He needs to manage his money better and i offered to help. He agreed and so i will also be working for your family to help them get out and stay out of financial trouble."
You were stunned. You couldn't believe a stranger would do so much for your family and yourself.
"You are a very kind man Arthur. I'm glad it was you i married." And you meant it. You pulled him into a hug and he returned it.
"And I'm glad i married you my dear. You are a strong beautiful woman who deserves to live her life if peace. That i can promise to give you, that and my love."
"And i will give you mine in return. I can also promise you a family, i a couple years."
He smiled and nuzzled his nose into the top of your head, "I will accept that offer."
"Deal. I have one more question." He let out a humming noise urging you to continue.
"You said you had reasons to want to get married. You told me one what are the others?"
"There is only one other that i thought of before marrying you, now there are many more reasons i am happy- your kindness, your innocence, the list goes on- and it was that i was lonely. I wanted someone to love me and for me to love in return.
My family didn't give me that and i was hoping a wife would."
"I will, i just need to know you better fists. I can already feel myself falling for you. Maybe your parents will get those grandchildren sooner."
He chuckled and closed his green eyes.
"Good night ____. See you in the morning Love."
"Good night Arthur."
That night you fell asleep in the arms of your new husband and soon to be love.
You were happy.