SixMature

"Whatever do you mean?" asked Violeta.

"Do you recall our earlier conversation? I mentioned jealousy."

"Yes, I remember. You told me you would surprise me later with some information."

Robert nodded. "I will tell you now. Violeta, I was not merely invited here so that we could be friends. I was invited here so I could ask for your hand."

"Ask for my hand?" asked Violeta, startled.

"Yes," he said. "I was envious of your dancing partner earlier because I felt I was the one meant to be dancing with you. Though I confess my attraction to you was a reason."

"You want to marry me?" Violeta knew she must sound terribly foolish but she could not accept that Prince Robert was truly talking to her about marriage.

"I knew not that I wanted to before I came," answered he softly "but from the second I first saw you, I was certain. Violeta, I strongly believe you will bring me great pleasure."

Robert stood up off the bench and positioned himself opposite her, crouching on one knee.

Violeta, realising instantly what this meant, quickly interrupted, having one more question for him.

"And you say my parents know of this intended engagement?"

Said Robert, smiling, "Yes, Violeta. Be calm now."

Violeta inhaled deeply and let out her breath slowly.

Robert brought out from a pocket a small box, covered in dark green velvet. He opened it, revealing to Violeta an amazing silver ring, with a pearl pink gemstone studded into the delicate circle.

"My dear Violeta, would you do the honour of becoming my wife?"

She looked up into soft brown eyes, still unable to comprehend the event taking place and answered she "Yes."

Robert slid the ring over the fourth finger of her right hand, replaced the box in his  pocket, and rose to his feet.

She stood as well and they shared yet another kiss.

Violeta was amazed. No birthday present could be better than this. To think that she would feel Robert's lips against hers many times in the future! To think that they would grow to know each other intimately! To think that they would grow old together! She was quite the romantic, and she felt that becoming Robert's wife would be tantamount to seeing all her dreams come true.

When Robert drew back, her mind was reeling. He had tenderly caressed her sides during the kiss, evoking wondrous pleasure from her. The look in his eyes caused her to shiver with desire and she hoped he would stay in her palace awhile to satisfy the needs of that fire which raged inside her.

"Shall we announce the news?" asked Robert, glancing towards the ballroom before his gaze returned to Violeta.

She wanted to answer in the negative but her reason was not very appropriate.

"Yes," replied she. "Let us tell Father and then he shall inform my guests."

"Excellent." Robert kissed Violeta behind one ear, causing her to tremble inside. He then took her hand and led her back into the palace.

Inside, they navigated around the guests (who became intrigued if they saw their clasped hands) as they walked around the room, trying to find King Peter. Eventually, they found him near a table on which were placed cold beverages, many of them alcoholic, conversing with one of his brothers - one of Violeta's uncles.

When the prince and princess approached the king, Peter said to his brother something which caused him to walk away, although from his next position, he watched the proceedings with interest.

"Your Majesty," said Robert, bowing his head. "Your daughter and I have some news."

King Peter smiled but showed no sight that he knew what the news was.

"And what would that be?" asked he.

Said Violeta excitedly "Father, he has asked for my hand!"

King Peter beamed. "How wonderful! I shall announce the engagement to your guests."

He strode towards the glass block where he had stood earlier, looking incredibly pleased.

When he reached the transparent box, he climbed atop of it, and said he in a great voice "Your attention, guests."

Everyone turned to face him.

Proudly, said he "My daughter is engaged to be married to Prince Robert."

The crowd erupted into applause, so loud that it was almost deafening.

The band changed the piece they were playing and all moved to the sides of the room, save Robert who, with Violeta on his arm, was walking forwards to dance in the space they had created.

The prince and princess stood still for one moment, placing their hands correctly, and then began to dance.

The princess's guests were captivated. There seemed to be magic in the air, magic in the eyes of the dancers (no one could doubt there was a connection twixt the two) and magic in the music which felt to be orchestrating the scene.

Was that a sparkle in the princess's violet eyes when no light had caught them? Was her hair emanating a supernatural glow? Was it just the enamoured beholder or was the princes' divine beauty almost unearthly in its magnetism?

The bright aura exuded by Robert and Violeta infected all present with joy so that if mood were visible, the room would be cast in a soft, warm glow. It was already as though it were bathed in sunlight.

The band played and played, when it really ought to have ceased, and Robert and Violeta twirled and twirled, and it was only when a violinist drew his bow loudly over every string as his arm collapsed from fatigue that the dance ended.

The prince and princess stopped, relieved, and moved into the recesses of the room, breathing heavily.

That was a dance none could forget.

                Several hours later, Robert and Violeta were sitting in the bedchamber of the latter, regarding all of her beautiful gifts. There were books, paintings, combs and shoes; there was jewellery and stationery, and even the most marvellous embroidered cushion with intricately-detailed patterns using threads of the richest, finest hues.

Violeta smiled at Robert, who had assisted her in carrying these wonderful items and placing them around her room, and said she to him "I adore every one of these presents. But the best one was the ring I am wearing on my finger."

Robert smiled. "I am glad you like it."

Violeta's smile grew. "I prefer the sentiment behind it," whispered she.

Robert leaned forwards and kissed her.

When he drew away, he took her hands in his, kissed them, and said he, gazing intently into her eyes, "It is a sentiment I hope will never be exhausted."

"My own hope is to always return it," said Violeta.

The End

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