The first time Regan saw Cornwall, she was with her sisters. She was holding a young Cordelia’s tiny hand and Goneril was walking beside them, her heels clicking on the path. The sun was just setting on the horizon, and the sky was gray with the sensation of twilight. Cordelia was humming a poppy song she heard on the radio, and Regan’s head was cocked up to the sky, deep in thought. She couldn’t remember exactly what she was thinking about, but she knew the exact moment where her thoughts were cut off.
Regan peeked over Goneril’s shoulder and saw a boy in a tree. He was hanging upside down from his legs, arms behind his head, and he was rocking back and forth. Goneril shoved her sisters behind her and crossed her arms, raising an eyebrow at the boy. Cordelia pulled on Regan’s skirt, annoyed, and Regan shushed her, placing a hand on her head as she peered over Goneril’s shoulder, curious.
“Forsyth Cornwall, I presume? Your reputation precedes you,” Goneril muttered, taking a step forward and staring up at the boy in the tree, her expression explaining it all. “Get out of my father’s tree.”
“Of course, miss, I’m horribly sorry,” he swung up, straddled the branch, then dropped to the ground, as relaxed and cool as could be. He held out his hand to Goneril, a playful sparkle in his eye as he did. “Seems you already know who I am. Forsyth Cornwall, at your service. And you are?”
Goneril had a look on her face like she wanted to smack him, but she reached out a hesitant hand and did a hasty shake before yanking it away. “Goneril. Princess Goneril. These are my sisters, Regan and Cordelia.”
Cornwall glanced at the two girls and Regan already felt the feeling in her stomach that Goneril had always talked to her about. The feeling of butterflies in her stomach. She glanced away, placing a firm hand on Cordelia’s head and trying to hide her rosy cheeks. Cornwall flashed a smile at Goneril and opened his mouth to respond, but Goneril had already grabbed Regan’s arm and started ushering her and Cordelia away. “Sorry, I would love to talk but we really have to go.”
“See you later!”
Goneril dragged Regan across the stone path as Regan turned back to look at him one more time, lovestruck. Cornwall caught her eye, and his mouth curled up into a friendly smile. She smiled back before Goneril placed a hand on her cheek. “Don’t look at that boy.”
“Why not?” Regan pulled away, letting Cordelia grab her hand again. “I like him, he seems rather nice.”
“He may look like a sheep but he’s really a wolf. I wouldn’t trust him if I were you, Regan. You know the Duke of Cornwall?”
“Dad’s friend? The sick guy?”
“Forsyth’s his son. He’s going to inherit that title when his father dies, and, well, that man is on his last legs. You saw it, I saw it. He’s seeking out a marriage. He’s going to suit to one of us. Wouldn’t be a proper, strong, duke, without a good duchess,” Goneril muttered, rolling her eyes.
“But Goneril, you’re married.”
“And Cordelia’s only twelve.”
“Wait, so…” Regan stopped for a moment, deep in thought, when she finally had her epiphany. “Shit, is he here for me?” Goneril sighed, pushing her blonde hair out of her face and placing her hand on Regan’s shoulder with a solemn nod. “He’s here for you.”
“Well… I don’t really mind, he seems nice.”
“Last night, I heard him trying to wrap Albany around his finger. It would have been carnage if I hadn’t stepped in. He already thinks he has a place here. I don’t want you marrying a man who only cares about his status, dear.”
“Can’t I get to know him first? I don’t really want to make assumptions.”
“Well, I got to know Albany first, and after we married he immediately reverted back to the person he was when he wasn’t trying to win my approval. I don’t want that happening to you, Regan. You deserve more than that.”
Regan frowned, patting Cordelia on the head. “Whatever you say, then.”
“Good girl. Here, let me take her.” Goneril grabbed Cordelia’s hand and pulled her into a hug, and Cordelia locked hands with both of her sisters.
As the girls walked back, Regan couldn’t help but look off back into the distance.
It took a while, but Regan finally found Albany.
“Mr. Albany! Mr. Albany!”
The short man glanced down the hallway and saw Regan approaching him, notebook in hand. His eyes filled with panic, and he started a mad dash down the hallway. “Albany…” Regan grumbled, breaking into a run and catching up to him easily. She grabbed the back of his shirt and yanked him back, spinning him around so she could face him. She crouched down, opened her notebook, and stared him down.
“Goneril told me you were talking to Forsyth. Where’s he staying?”
Albany blinked, out of breath and a bit nonplussed. “What?”
“Forsyth Cornwall. Where’s he staying?”
“That’s it? That’s all you wanted to ask? Nothing, er, important, you wanted to talk about? You don’t want to beat me up?”
“This is important, idiot,” Regan growled, pinning Albany against the wall. He covered his face and wheezed and she rolled her eyes, letting out a groan. “I’m not going to beat you up, for christ’s sake. Can you please just tell me where he’s staying?”
“Yes, yes, yes, of course. Sorry. So sorry! He’s staying, um, in the Western Wing of the castle, I think. Near the map room, I believe? I’m sorry, I don’t know exactly, uhh…” Albany trailed off, staring at his feet and forcing a nervous grin at her.
“Ugh, you’re useless. It’s fine. Just don’t tell Goneril, pretty please?”
“Of course not! My lips are sealed. Aha,” he wheezed and stuck his thumb up at her with a smile. “Um… why do you want to know?”
“None of your business.”
“Right, of course. Erm, bye, Regan…”
“You’re so annoying sometimes,” Regan shook her head and released him, storming back down the hall in a quest to find the elusive Cornwall.
Forsyth Cornwall was standing on the roof of the castle tower, looking out at the city with his face resting on his hand, looking forlorn and tired. He yawned, kicking his legs and preparing to go back inside when he whipped around and found himself face to face with princess Regan.
Her long brown curls bounced in the wind and she stared at him, slack-jawed and looking as if she just saw something absolutely astonishing. He smiled and leaned back on the wall, hands buried in his pockets. “Uh, Regan, right?”
She grinned and put her hands behind her back. “Yes, that’s me. And you’re Cornwall’s son.”
“That’s me. Call me Forsyth. It’s nice to finally meet you, formally,” he stretched out his hand. With no hesitation, Regan took his hand and gave a firm shake. She felt the butterflies rising up in her stomach again.
“It’s nice to meet you too.” He pulled his hand away and winked. Regan placed her hands on her lap, her face an event of pink. “So, you probably know already, but I’m here as your suitor.”
“Yeah, I know. I’m actually not too sad about that, you know? I know we only met briefly, but you seem to be very kind. And you’re handsome, too.”
“Oh, thanks. You too. You’re very beautiful,” he took a step closer and glanced her up and down. Her cheeks were hurting from how far her smile stretched. “Thanks. Uh, so… do you like it here?” Cornwall folded his hands behind his back and looked out at the distant city.
“Yeah, it’s quite nice. Where I live, it’s mostly all fields and beaches. I’ve never really been to the city before, but I like it so far. It’s so full of life. And this home is pristine. You’re very lucky.”
“Well, my sisters and I don’t really go to the beach all that often. I’d like to see the beach one time.”
“Oh, yeah, for sure. When we get married…” he grinned and Regan chuckled, looking at her feet. “... We can go to the beach together.”
“We just met.”
“Yeah, I know, but I’m planning ahead,” he shrugged his arms and grinned at her. The wind tossed Regan’s curls everywhere and she smiled softly at Cornwall, whose face was touched by the gentle golden lights around the castle. The wind tossed his hair as well and for a moment the pair just stood there, letting the wind sway them back and forth. The butterflies swirled in her stomach.
“Um… well… hopefully, I’ll see you tomorrow, Forsyth,” Regan murmured, touching her neck and trying to avoid staring at his lips.
“Yeah, I hope so too,” he winked again, and Regan grinned. “See ya.”
She disappeared back down the staircase, and she felt like she was floating on air as she descended down the stairs. Elated and buzzing, like a basket full of giggles, she headed down to her room for the night, feeling soft and warm with young love.