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“Princess, really.” She rolled her eyes and turned away from me. “I have painting to do. I suggest you go to your room and compose yourself. A Princess must never be seen crying.”

I left her alone to finish her painting. The one consolation I had was that Elora said a Princess must never be seen crying, not that I must never cry. I wondered if that was why she had me leave. Not so I could cry, but so she could.



If Loki had already known about my arranged marriage, it was only a matter of time before everybody else found out. I thought it would be better if my friends learned about it from me, so I gathered them all together.

Willa and Duncan would probably be excited, but I didn’t know how Matt or Rhys would take it. Probably not quite as well.

We met in the upstairs living room, which had been Rhys’s old playroom. The ceiling had a cloud mural on it, and there were still old toys stacked up on shelves in the corner. Matt sat between Rhys and Willa on the sofa, and Duncan sat on the floor with his back against the couch.

“I have something to tell you all.” I stood in front of them, twirling my thumb ring, and swallowed back my nerves.

The suspicious look Matt gave me wasn’t helping matters. On top of that, Rhys grinned like an excited fool. He’d been so happy when I invited him here, since we’d hardly seen each other lately. He’d been busy doing stuff with Matt, and I’d heard that he’d started dating Rhiannon.

“What is it?” Matt asked, his voice already hard.

“It’s good news,” I insisted.

“Spit it out, then,” Willa said with a confused smile. “You’ve been killing me with suspense.” She’d tried getting it out of me before everybody had arrived, but I wanted to tell them all at once.

“I wanted you all to know that I, um…” I cleared my throat. “I’m getting married.”

“What?” Matt growled.

“Oh, my gosh!” Willa gasped, her eyes glittering. “To who?”

“So it’s true?” Duncan gaped at me. Apparently he’d heard the rumor too.

“To Tove Kroner,” I said.

Willa squealed and clapped her hands over her mouth. I didn’t think she could’ve been more excited if she was the one getting married to Tove.

“Tove?” Matt asked, looking unsure. “That guy’s a spaz, and I didn’t even think you really liked him.”

“No, I like him,” I said. “He’s a good guy.”

“Oh, my gosh, Wendy!” Willa yelled and jumped off the couch, nearly kicking Duncan in the head. She ran over and hugged me enthusiastically. “This is so exciting! I am so happy for you!”

“Yeah, congratulations.” Rhys nodded. “He’s a lucky guy.”

“I can’t believe you guys didn’t tell me,” Duncan said. “I was with you both this morning.”

“Well, we hadn’t really told people yet.” I untangled myself from Willa’s embrace. “I’m not sure if we’re supposed to tell people, but I thought you should know.”

“But I don’t understand.” Matt stood up, clearly disturbed by the news. “I thought you were all hung up on that Finn guy.”

“Nope.” I shook my head and lowered my eyes. “I’m not hung up on anybody.” I let out a deep breath. “That’s all behind me.”

I was surprised to find that that might be true. I wasn’t over Finn exactly, but I had begun to realize that we would never be together. And it wasn’t because of our social standings anymore. That I could fight with, argue against, try to legislate.

But Finn’s unwillingness to ever try or give me credit or make any effort at all to be with me had left me exhausted. I couldn’t be in love by myself.

“Your wedding is going to be so fabulous!” Willa held her hands together in front of her chest to keep from hugging me again. “When is the big day?”

“I don’t know exactly,” I admitted. “After I turn eighteen.”

“That’s less than three months away!” Matt shouted.

“We hardly have any time to plan!” Willa paled. “We have so much to do!” Then she grimaced. “Oh, Aurora’s gonna have her hand in all of it, isn’t she?”

“Oh. Yeah.” I scowled too when I realized that I was going to have the mother-in-law from hell. “I guess she is.”

“I’m so glad I’m a guy and I don’t have to plan any of these things,” Rhys said with a lopsided grin.

“The planning is the best part,” Willa insisted and looped an arm around my shoulder. “Picking out the colors and dresses and flowers and invitations! That’s the funnest!”

“Wendy, are you really okay with this?” Matt asked, looking at me directly.

“Of course she is, Matt,” Willa said with an exaggerated eye roll. “This is every little girl’s dream. To be a Princess and marry a Prince in a big grand wedding.”

“Technically, Tove’s a Markis and not a Prince,” I pointed out.

“You know what I meant,” Willa said. “It’s a fairy tale come true.”

“Willa, stop for a second.” Matt’s icy stare rested on her, and she shrank back, retracting her arm from my shoulders. He turned to me. “Wendy, is this really what you want? To marry this guy?”