Royal's Arranged Love

By: Sophia Lynn, Ana Adams

“Same.” He buried his face in her neck. “Oh, god, the same. I’ve missed you so much I was sick. Clara, I love you.”

His words exploded like fireworks inside her, a truth and passion that her body instantly recognized, twin flames greeting each other in union      . Tears pricked at her eyes. “I love you too, Adrien.”

“Um, excuse me?” The host stood awkwardly behind them, holding menus and looking worriedly at them. “I need to seat you, if you don’t mind. We have a long line.”

Adrien loosened his grip and she wiped at her eyes, clearing her throat. “Sorry. Yes, we’re ready.”

She reached for his hand and he took it, holding it tightly as they wound through the crowd and through the front door. When they crossed the threshold, Adrien’s grip on her tightened, bringing her back toward him. He pulled her into a kiss, pressing his lips hard against hers, the urgency choking her.

The host cleared his throat.

“Sorry.” Adrien nudged her forward and they continued to their table. When they were presented with their table, Clara slid into her seat, unable to fight the ear-to-ear smile. Adrien sat across from her, still looking starstruck. That was the sort of thing she liked to inspire in a man. The sort of thing she wouldn’t mind inspiring in him for a long, long time.

“I can’t believe you’re here.” He stared at her. “I was going to come straight over to your house tonight. I couldn’t stand not seeing you. The past nine days have been…”

“Hell?” She unfolded her napkin, spreading it over her lap. “Yeah, I know. Trust me.”

“I don’t ever want to be apart from you for that long again.” He reached out for her hand, which she gave. “I felt like a madman. Please don’t do that to me again.”

“Sometimes a girl needs a little clarity.” She sipped at the water glass with her free hand. “I needed time. I felt so strongly about you. I thought maybe I was just being desperate, or clouded. Or something.”

He rubbed his thumb over her knuckles as she spoke, watching her raptly. A server appeared, offering a bottle of wine. Adrien waved for two glasses but Clara stopped him.

“I won’t have any, thank you.” She smiled sweetly at the waiter. “Water is fine.”

Adrien lifted a brow as the server poured his glass. “Taking a break from wine?”

“You could say.” She lifted her water glass demurely, fighting a grin.

Once the waiter disappeared, he leaned closer. “Is everything okay?”

She studied his face; she might burst at the seams if she didn’t say it now. “I’m pregnant.”

His eyes resumed their previous saucer status. Mouth open, he didn’t say anything for a moment. Finally, he blinked, the smile a mile wide. “Are you fucking serious?”

She laughed. “I totally am. I don’t know how it happened, but I am. You’re gonna be a daddy.”

He leapt up from his seat, rushing over to her to capture her mouth in a sloppy, eager kiss. Giggling against him, she welcomed his passion, his excitement, his contagious happiness.

“We need lots of wine,” he said, signaling a waiter. “And cheesecake. And sparkling water. And everything else we can think of to celebrate. Though this is my last day of drinking alcohol.” He looked pointedly at her. “Solidarity, you know.”

“There’s one more piece of news,” she said, tracing her finger around the rim of her glass.

He squinted at her as though trying to imagine what it could be. Finally, his eyes widened. “Don’t tell me. You got the job?”

She nodded, smiling so wide she thought her face might burst. “I sure did. I start in two weeks for the school year!”

He whooped, holding his glass up in the air. “Clara, this is the best fucking day of my life.”

“And you never swear.” She tipped the rest of her water into her mouth and slammed the glass on the table. “We’re gonna be married! And be parents! And between the two of us, we’ve already covered success and royalty, so I don’t see what else there is to conquer.”

He tossed his head back and laughed, the glee shining bright from his face. “You’ve got that right. Clara, I love you. I am so excited to see where life takes us.”

She squeezed his hand, tears pricking her eyes. “Together.”


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