As you probably have read in the invitation I sent you, I want you to take part in my second child's baptism. Little William, or Billy as my husband fondly calls him, is such a bundle of joy.
Do not worry about my health, dear friend. I am taking a leave to recover from giving birth and I have transferred the administration of New York to my trusted advisor, Lord Podesta.
I wish my Father is still with us to witness this. He was especially looking forward to having a grandson. It was just unfortunate that he left us too soon. I miss him so much and still think of him often. Mother is coping with his loss a lot better now, and I am glad that she has found her calling in our Chappaqua castle, where she spends time feeding the poor and finding work for them.
I shall take no for an answer, my dear friend. I expect to see you at the baptism. And your godchild Chelsea is excited to show you what she learned in her dancing lessons.
Your best friend always,
The affairs in Arkansas were much more problematic than I thought, so the three weeks that I told my wife would be the duration of my stay rolled into four. And now, I had to race back to New York to catch my son's baptism. Oh how excited I am to present my little baby boy to the world! He is the most amazing little baby in the world, apart from Chelsea of course. He rarely cries and he never gives his Mother a headache. And he loves being around with people! He doesn't object when my Mother or Queen Dorothy cradles him. He lets out the cutest little burp when I pat his back after he finished feeding. Oh, there is no more precious child than him!
For Little Billy's baptism, all the monarchs of our allied kingdoms and realms will be in attendance. I look forward to seeing Al and his daughters who are all my godchildren. Hillary's friends, King Timothy and Queen Anne will be there too, and so are our new allies King Barack and Queen Michelle of Illinois, who are both fond of my wife. Oh, and of course, the Kings George I and George II of Texas, whom I loved as a father and a brother respectively. All of them are excited to meet my little boy.
My son's baptism will be one for the ages.
The entire congregation applauded as I entered, carrying my sleeping son in my arms. Bill was beside me, beaming proudly and holding Chelsea in his hand. Every eye was on us as we walked along the aisle of St. Patrick's Cathedral. My wife looked beautiful, as always, and my daughter was beaming at everyone. My girls were really flourishing. And now that the youngest member of our family had finally arrived, our happiness will surely multiply.
The Archbishop of New York, Cardinal Dolan, called upon the godparents, my dear friend Al and Hillary's friend Lady Diane Blair, to the altar. They held the candle and said the prayers as the Cardinal poured the Holy Water over Little Billy's head. What a precious little angel he is.
Once the ceremony was over, Hillary and I led the procession from the Cathedral to our castle, where the formal introduction of our son will take place. And then, a sumptuous feast will follow.
The baptism of our son left me exhausted, and so it was no surprise that my eyes were heavy once my head hit my pillow.
Bill, however, was still bursting with energy, he was enthusiastically telling me every conversation he had with every single person in attendance. While my ears wanted to absorb every detail, I was simply too tired.
My husband noticed that I was slowly drifting into sleep so he kissed me awake.
"What?" I yawned.
"You're not listening, Darlin'," he said.
"I am, but I am too tired to take note of everything," I replied sleepily. "But I will be happy to listen to you in the morning. Maybe I can hear this at breakfast?"
Bill chuckled and kissed my hair. "Alright, my love. But there is something that might pique your interest."
"What is it?"
"Lady Marjorie Margolies' son is the same age as Chelsea."
I shifted closer to Bill. "So?"
"It means that he and Chelsea will be a perfect match."
Even in sleep, I could not help but chuckle. I didn't know if my husband was serious, or he was playing tricks on me. Our daughter is still too young for that. What is he thinking?
I kissed him for the last time that night and settled in his warm chest.
As promised, Hillary heard my proposal about Chelsea being paired to Lady Marjorie Margolies' son. Unlike last night, she listened and considered my argument with a great degree of seriousness. However, it didn't sit so well with her.
Hillary was skeptical of betrothing Chelsea at this time for several reasons. First, our daughter is too young and Hillary wanted her to grow up normally and without the pressures of being an heir to her mother's throne. Second, Hillary wanted our daughter to experience what it is like to fall in love, just as we have fortunately experienced. Hillary pointed out to me that while she did not mind me having Claire, it was unfair that she wasn't allowed to have an affair on her own. I told him that I would have allowed her, but she digressed. Even though it could happen, she argued, the risk of being caught was too high, and any sign of infidelity would surely anger our families and call of a divorce pronto.
While I could not argue with her position, I offered reasons why Chelsea and Lady Marjorie's son would fare well. First of all, we would enroll them under the same tutor so that they could spend time with each other and develop a friendship. Second, Lady Marjorie is an influencial figure in Pennsylvania. Despite being divorced from Lord Edward Mezvinsky, she had made a name for herself in Pennsylvanian peerage. New York and Arkansas will benefit from an alliance with Pennsylvania.
My wife acknowledged that Pennsylvania is a suitable partner, however, as a mother, she was still skeptic about giving her only daughter away to a complete stranger. I soothed her fears by noting that our daughter inherited her strength and tenacity. I am confident that she can handle that Mezvinsky boy.
Hillary hoped that would be the case. I told her that she didn't have to consider the proposal soon, as Lady Marjorie hadn't formally declared her intentions yet. She needed to focus on Little Billy and her health.
For the meantime, she is on leave from her royal duties, and we have all the time to ourselves.
Thank you for the great responses! Hearing what you guys think warms my heart <3
And without further ado...the second chapter!
Thank you for inviting me to your estate in Chicago. I grew up in Chicago, and being in your home brought back a lot of good childhood memories.
As a mother of two, I can certainly relate to your concerns. Little Malia has a bright future ahead of her, and as a mother, you do not want to imperil that future. Let me say this: You can only do so much as her mother. You can give her the best education, the sagest of wisdom, and the best upbringing. But in the end, there is only one person who can decide her fate: herself. You have to trust her judgment, my friend. One day, she will become Queen. She needs to learn the consequences of her decisions. That is a mark of a true leader.
I shall pray for you and your budding family. I can assure you that having a child is the best feeling in the world. Always be with your daughter. Remember that she will only be a child once. Before you know it, she has already grown up into a fine young woman.
Write to me if you need my counsel. I am always happy to guide young mothers like yourself.
I hope you are all doing well. I hope to visit my grandchildren soon, but my work in the orphanage and the charity kept me from making a trip to your estate. But I can promise that I will be there with you on Christmas, and I will spoil the two children with lots of presents!
My dear child, I am writing to you because two weeks ago, two nobles from Florida had come to assist in my charity work. They donated a substantial amount of money for the local farmer women. There was nothing out of the ordinary about them, except I heard them discussing Emperor Ronald's failing health. They said that the Emperor was having lapses in his mental capacity, even forgetting whether he had already eaten breakfast or what day it is. But all of this is being hidden from the public by his wife, Empress Nancy because they do not want to trigger a sudden expulsion of the Emperor. His wife and his supporters would rather let him die on his own accord, which, according to the Floridian noblemen, could happen soon.
There is something that you should know, my dear child. Your Father and Uncle Howard are not blood brothers. Your Father is born of your grandmother, Queen Hannah, and the father of Emperor Ronald, the emperor before him, while your Uncle Howard is a pure-blooded Rodham. Your grandmother told me this before I married your father, and she made me vow never to tell your father. She told me this because she did not want a war to break out because of your father's legitimate claim to the throne.
However, circumstances have changed. Emperor Ronald and his wife are childless, and he has no other siblings. I am sure you are aware of what I am implying here. I want you and Bill to discuss your options. This is an opportunity beyond your wildest dreams, and it is within your reach.
Think about this, my dearest daughter. I believe that you are destined for this. I once correctly predicted that you would reclaim what is ours, and I was proven right. This time, I know I am right. I can feel it in my heart.
Bill and I could not believe what Mother just told me. My Father, a half-brother of Emperor Ronald? I must be dreaming! There is no way that can happen! My grandfather has always been fond of Father. Surely, he would have known if my father is his real son. There is just no way that my father is not a Rodham. Otherwise, I am not the legitimate queen of New York.
I was suddenly panicking. If this comes out, surely, I will be deposed. Mother might have seen this as an opportunity, but this is actually a liability for me. I would be happy to claim the title of Empress of the Americas, but it means that I will lose the crown of New York!
I suddenly felt lightheaded, and my husband immediately fetched some ale. He is such a sweetheart. He told me that the wise thing to do is to investigate these claims first before I make any decisions. Oh, Bill. What did I do to deserve you?
So immediately, we called upon my spymaster, the young David Brock. He used to be Uncle Howard's spymaster but he turned his allegiance to me and his betrayal contributed to my Uncle's downfall. Now, he is one of my closest counselors and allies.
In the meantime, I burned Mother's letter so that no one could read it. Bill and I made sure that it turned to ashes completely. Once we got rid of it, he made love to me. That momentarily took my mind off my mother's claims, but at the end of the day, there is still this question of legitimacy hanging over my crown, and I could not shake it off no matter how hard I tried.
I pray to God that my Mother is mistaken. I'd rather pass the opportunity to be Empress than to lose New York.
My poor wife. She had gone back to her queenly duties but she is distracted by Queen Dorothy's revelation. I didn't know what to make her feel better until David had the results of his investigation, except to comfort her at night whenever I am in New York. But even then, she is still distracted when we make love.
One night, I decided to confront her about it.
I asked about how she was coping. She said that she was very much concerned that she is sitting on a throne that is not rightfully hers. I told her that her concerns are understandable, but if she didn't have the right to sit on the throne of New York, it means that is the rightful crown of California since Emperor Ronald is the monarch of the said kingdom as well. But my words backfired. It only made her more anxious because she didn't want to leave New York, as it was her home all her life.
But I spied a ray of hope.
I told her that we will prove that she is the legitimate crown of New York. I assured her that. And once we do, we will forge an alliance with the other monarchs so they will elect her as the Empress in the event of Emperor Ronald's death. My wife looked at me as if I was insane. But there was no insanity in my words. I was confident that she could do it.
And with that, she was completely convinced that I was ill.
But I am not ill. I completely believe that she can be Empress. I swear on my Father's honor, she will be.
Ruling a kingdom while raising two children is no easy feat. But I love it! I love it despite the insurmountable challenges that go along with it. I love that I am able to lead my people to prosperity and rule them with fairness and at the same time, I adore being with my children after a long day, or after an exhausting trip to the countryside. The contrast between my two duties could not be starker, and that makes me feel accomplished, that I can do two different things at the same time.
One time, after a long trip from Long Island to settle the disputes between the owner of a large plantation and his farmers, I was met by a galloping Chelsea, who was supposed to be tutored at that moment but clearly wasn't. Behind her was Nicole, the nurse who was taking care of Little Billy in my absence. Nicole was carrying my six-month-old son in her hands, and she handed him to me. Once Little Billy was in my arms, I felt him bounce.
"My little one," I kissed Billy's forehead. "And my little Princess. Why are you not studying?"
"Miss Wendy is sick, Mama," said Chelsea politely.
"Is it true?" I asked Nicole.
Nicole confirmed what Chelsea said. Wendy wasn't able to come to the castle because she was struck with flu. It would be weeks before she could be with us again. But I didn't mind at all. It meant that I would be teaching her myself, and I look forward to doing just that.
I let Chelsea go back to the garden to play. I felt my breast swell in pain. Just in time, Billy started crying. I dismissed Nicole and went to my bedchamber to feed my son.
Once I was finished, I let out the air out of Billy's stomach and I put him to sleep. His crib was in his room, where Nicole was also sleeping. And not long after, I too felt that sleep was taking over me, so I went back to my bedchamber and took a short slumber.
When I woke up, I realized that I was not alone. I turned to the side and I found my husband snoring lightly. He must have finished meeting with Prince Terence of Virginia. He looks adorable when he snores.
I left him in our bed. Meanwhile, I picked up Little Billy from his crib from his room and joined Chelsea in the courtyard, where my feisty little daughter told me everything about the squirrel she and our dog, Buddy, had chased in the woods. She said that she and Buddy weren't able to capture the squirrel because it climbed up the tree so quickly. I laughed a little, but I told Chelsea that the squirrel was afraid of them that's why it ran away. My poor little girl complained that they weren't going to hurt the animal, but just show it the river.
I was surprised by a gentle tap on my shoulder. My husband was suddenly behind me and sat right next to me in the fountain, sitting Chelsea on his lap. He kissed me on the cheek. To be honest, even though we have been married for at least seven years, I always feel a flutter in my stomach whenever he kisses me.
Bill told me everything about his meeting with Prince Terence. Our friend had told Bill the same rumor heard from the Floridians, which I first thought was silly but not anymore. Prince Terence had informed me through Bill that King Timothy will support me if I decided to. America will elect Emperor Ronald's successors from the monarchs, and the monarchs themselves will be the electors. In other words, we monarchs will elect one of our peers to become Emperor. And as of this moment, I have three votes for me: King Timothy, Bill, and I.
My husband also thinks King Barack will vote for me too. Even though I may have the votes to become Empress, I am still not sure that I want to be. I love being a Mother and Queen. Elevating myself to the Imperial Crown might mean I may not be able to spend time with my children as much as I need to. And Bill wants us to have more children. I am not sure how this will work out, quite frankly.
But there is one thing that might move me to mount that bid. Prince Terence heard that King Donald of Florida, the most tyrannical among America's monarchs, might express his intention to become Emperor at the urging of Tsar Vladimir of Russia. I was outraged by the motivation of Donald to become Emperor. Clearly, if Tsar Vladimir, one of America's biggest adversaries, wants Donald to become Emperor, then he should not be emperor at all costs. However, while my feelings against Donald are strong, I am not sure I am the best man to defeat him.
Bill told me to keep the option open, as Emperor Ronald is still alive, and Donald may eventually end up not running. But the mere suggestion of him becoming Emperor at the behest of Tsar Vladimir is very alarming. If anything, we patriotic monarchs should organize against him very soon.