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Week 49: Elizabeth & Palmer


“We have a sixteen-year-old daughter,” Palmer said. “She’s sixteen, babe.”

Elizabeth rolled over and placed her head on her wife’s chest. She smiled and ran her hand under Palmer’s sleep shirt, resting her hand between her breasts.

“I know. She’s almost all grown up.”

“She basically is. I’ve heard her talking about boys with her friends and the universities they all want to go to the other day.”

“Worried she’ll no longer need us soon?” Elizabeth asked.

“No, but she’s not a little girl anymore, either. We still have Leif, who will be perpetually twelve years old for the next decade or so, at least.”

Elizabeth laughed and said, “He’s growing up, too.”

“I only meant that boys mature slower than girls, so while our sixteen-year-old is wearing makeup and talking about the boy she has a crush on at school and what she wants to be when she grows up, he’s still playing video games.”

Elizabeth shifted until she could look down at Palmer.

“What?” Palmer asked.

“What do you mean, what?”

“Your face says you’re worried about something.” Palmer moved the hair out of Elizabeth’s face.

“She doesn’t exactly get to choose what she’ll be when she grows up.”


“We’re getting to that point, you know? When she was younger, she could imagine, and it was all possible. Now that she’s getting older, the pressure starts building, but she also starts to realize that she can’t just run off and do whatever job she wants because she has one already. She’s a Princess, and she’ll be Queen one day.”

“One day very far off in the future,” Palmer stated. “And there’s nothing that says she can’t have fun and do what you did before you became Queen. You went to school and had a plan.”

“I was near the bottom of a very long line of people. No one cared about what I did. You weren’t around then and didn’t see what it was like for my brothers, first and second in line. All eyes were on them in St. Rais from the moment they were born. By the time I came along, everyone already had their heir and the spare, so they didn’t care, but my brothers had to grow up quickly, and neither of them really got to think about what they’d do if they could be anything. Once Martin met Lyla and they had Edwina and Anthony, things changed for Alex, who no longer needed to worry about being next in line as Edwina and Anthony took the next spots, but even he didn’t get to do everything he wanted. He had to marry Teagan because he didn’t think he could be who he was, while I got to go to school and had the possibility of following the career that I wanted. Still, I couldn’t be who I was, either, back then because our father wouldn’t have allowed it, so I–”

“Didn’t get to marry Teagan?” Palmer asked.

“Right,” Elizabeth said. “But where I am now – where I am with you, with our children, and in our life together – I have never been happier. And I get to say that every day when I wake up next to you, even after all these years, my love.”

Palmer smiled up at her and said, “I feel the same way.”

“I want her to have everything that she wants. I don’t want her to have to think she’s missed out on anything because of her duty to her country.”

“You know, we’ve never really talked to her about it all,” Palmer noted.

“All what?”

“We’ve kept most of it away from her, asked them not to talk about details of what happened in her history classes, and tried to keep her off the websites where she could see the bad stuff.”

“You want to talk to her about it?”

“She’s sixteen.” Palmer shrugged a shoulder. “I’m surprised we’ve been able to keep some of it away for this long. I think she’s just a really good kid and knows it would possibly hurt us if she didn’t listen when we ask her to talk to us and not look stuff up.”

“She hasn’t asked in a while.”

“Two years ago. I remember. It was at dinner when my parents and Cami were in town. We told her some of it, but the rest, we said we’d talk about later, and she didn’t bring it up again.”

“We have the ceremony this weekend. Don’t you think it might be a little too much to talk about now, with that going on and her birthday party tonight?”

“We can ask her. She’s growing up, Lizzy. Plus, she’s smart. She’s, like, crazy smart. If she wasn’t already dealing with being a royal in school, I would’ve done what the teacher suggested and bumped her up a grade.”

“That would have just made her grow up faster, and I want to keep her this age forever.”

Palmer chuckled and said, “Remember when she was three and picked up that crystal candle holder that was a gift from one British royal or another and started running around the room with it?”

Elizabeth laughed and said, “Yes. And that giggle – she still had her baby giggle then.”

“I miss that baby giggle,” Palmer admitted and kissed Elizabeth’s forehead. “That’s the age I wish she would have stayed. She was still a baby, but her personality was starting to shine through. She loved it when we read to her, and she still did that toddler waddle thing instead of really walking.” 

“Oh, I miss that little waddle of hers; when she’d run to us and laugh.”

“And yell, ‘Mama!’” Palmer imitated their daughter. “Because she was so excited to see us.”

“When was the last time she did that?” Elizabeth asked, moving to straddle her wife’s hips.

“About thirteen years ago,” Palmer replied.

Elizabeth smiled down at her and said, “You know, we woke up early. We don’t have to be down for her special birthday breakfast until nine.” She ran her hands under Palmer’s shirt.

“How much longer is she going to even want to have a special birthday breakfast with her moms?”

They’d started this tradition when their son, Leif, was about two. They could tell Sophia needed more alone time with them, so, on their birthdays, each of them got their special birthday breakfast with just their mothers. No one there was serving them food. Elizabeth or Palmer cooked, and they all ate together before they did the dishes as a family and went about the rest of the birthday celebrations.



Elizabeth’s hands moved over Palmer’s breasts.

“Oh,” Palmer uttered, realizing what Elizabeth had been suggesting. “Yes. Yes, definitely.”

Elizabeth chuckled before she leaned down and more properly kissed her wife good morning. 




“Mom?” Sophia asked.

“Yeah, honey?” Palmer asked back.

“What changes now?”

“What do you mean?”

“I’m a Princess.”

“Yes, you are.” Palmer ran her hand over her daughter’s back.

“But I’ll be a Duchess soon. Mom is going to go through the ceremony, and I’m a Duchess. That means I’m in charge of some land and the people on it, right?”

“Not exactly. Sort of. It’s complicated. You’re not in charge of them. You’re there to support them; listen to them and talk to them about how you and the monarchy can help them.”

“I don’t do that as a Princess?”

“You do. But as a Princess, you’re learning how to be Queen one day and take care of the whole country. You’re watching your mom be the best Queen in the world, in my opinion, and she’s teaching you how to be prepared when it’s your turn to be Queen. As a Duchess, you’ll be responsible for supporting a specific county. It’s rural there; lots of farms. Do you remember what you’ve learned in school and from your mom about farming?”

“Yes,” Sophia replied. “The weather is really important, and so is water. They need help with planting and harvesting. It’s a really hard job.”

“Yes, it is. And the farmers keep us all fed. So, it’s an important job, but you won’t be alone. Your mom and I are here to support you, and so are a lot of other people.”

“So, do I need to go there a lot?”

“Not a lot, but you’ll go there in a few weeks to say hello to people and talk to them. They all know you’re only sixteen, Soph. They know you’re learning and that you’ll grow more into your role.”

“Will Leif be a Duke when he’s sixteen?”

“Yes, it’s the tradition of St. Rais. It’s to set you up to learn as much as possible about the needs of your country and people.”

“But I’m still in school,” Sophia said.

“Yes, baby.” Palmer kissed her daughter’s forehead. “And school is for what, exactly?”

“Learning.” Sophia let out an exasperated sigh.

“Exactly.” Palmer laughed a little. “Now, are you ready? This party is for you.”

“It’s not a party, Mom. It’s a ceremony.”

“There’s a party after. And your mom made sure they have cake, so you should be very happy.”

“It’s not a fun party. It’s a royal party.”

“Did you not just have a fun party, Sophia?”

“No, I did… But I just want to go to my room after, if that’s okay, and do some homework.”

“On the weekend?”

“I have a science test on Monday, Mom.”

“Okay. How about you stay at the party for one hour so that your mom and I can brag all about how amazing our daughter is, and after we do that, you can go. We’ll do something fun, just the four of us tomorrow, okay? Whatever you want.”

“Four? Does that mean Leif is going to be there?” Sophia said in that annoying tone that was reserved only for her little brother.

Palmer laughed and said, “Yes. Now, let’s go. You don’t want to be late.”

The ceremony itself was a short one. Sophia, dressed up in a beautiful silver dress with a purple sash that Elizabeth had worn as a young royal herself, walked into the room where Elizabeth was already standing, awaiting her. Palmer stood off to the side with Leif at her side, who looked like the perfect little Prince. Victoria, David, and their children stood on the other side. Elizabeth said the ceremonial words, requested that Sophia deliver a brief oath, which she’d memorized previously, and she was made the Duchess of County Hamilton. 

When Sophia stood, Palmer had to do her best to keep her proud Mom tears at bay because her little girl really wasn’t a little girl anymore. She was a young woman, and she’d just taken on her first major responsibility of being a royal, dedicating herself to the service of her people and country. Palmer could not have been prouder of her. 

“Do I have to do this when I’m sixteen?” Leif asked the instant the ceremony was over.

“No, you get to do this when you’re sixteen,” Palmer replied.

She knelt down in front of her son and took both of his hands in her own.

“I know this life can be hard at times, but you’re going to be a great Duke and Prince, Leif. It comes with some sacrifices, but you also get the blessings, too. If it ever gets to be too much for you, though, you talk to Mom and me, okay? Just like Soph does sometimes. The most important thing in the world to your Mom and me, beyond your safety, is your happiness.”

“Okay, Mom,” he said. “Can we go now?”

She laughed softly to herself.

“Yeah, you can go. Will you take your cousins with you and play video games or something upstairs?”

“Really?” he asked, sounding excited.

“Yes. But do not throw your clothes all over the floor when you change. Put them back where they go, Leif.”

“Yes, Mom.” Leif hugged her, which wasn’t something that happened all that often these days since he was now fourteen.

Palmer held on to him tightly before finally letting him go hang out with his cousins.

“Well, we have a Duchess in the house now,” Elizabeth said as she took Palmer’s hand, and they walked around the party.

“A very hungry one, apparently. Did we not feed her today?” Palmer nodded to the table where Sophia was practically inhaling a piece of cake.

“It’s her favorite.”

“I know. And she just had it for her birthday. She could at least slow down.”

Elizabeth laughed and said, “You talked to her before the ceremony. Is she okay?”

“I think so. She used to be just like a little me, you know? Now, she’s more like a little you, which I love. She was worried about the responsibility of it all. I think she just wants to do a good job. I told her that we’ll teach her. Well, you primarily, because I have no idea what being a Duchess at sixteen is like.”

“You’ve learned so much, my love. You’ve basically been a Queen Consort for two decades. You have so much to teach her.” Elizabeth kissed Palmer’s cheek. “How long did she agree to stay before she wants to run off?”

“I got her to commit to an hour.”

“Better than the thirty minutes last time.”

Palmer laughed.




“What did I do?”

“Why do you think you did something?” Palmer glared at her daughter.

“I don’t. I’m just asking,” Sophia replied and glared right back at her mom.

They were in a standoff. The parent was trying to figure out why their kid might think they were in trouble, and the kid was trying not to admit to something.

“Hello,” Elizabeth said as she walked into their suite of rooms. “Oh. What have I missed here?” she dropped her padfolio, which probably contained important paperwork in it, on the small desk in the corner and walked over to the sofa, where she sat down next to Palmer and across from Sophia.

“Mom, I didn’t do anything,” Sophia said.

Elizabeth turned to Palmer, who still stared at their daughter.

“Okay. Fine. I turned in an assignment late yesterday. It was an accident. I had it in my bag, but when the teacher asked for it, I just couldn’t find it. I did later, and I dropped it off. He said I’d have to go down a grade because it was late, but I didn’t think he’d call you about it.” 

Palmer smiled and said, “That’s what you did?”

“Well, yes. But I swear, I did the assignment before. I just couldn’t find it in my bag.”

“That’s because your bag is a mess.”

“And he could let us turn things in online, like the other teachers. He’s just old and doesn’t want to use the computer.”

“Sophia!” Elizabeth chastised.

“Sorry,” she said. “But if it’s not that, what did I do?”

“Nothing, honey,” Palmer said and leaned back on the sofa. “Your mom and I wanted to talk to you about something.”

“Is it about my trip?”

“No, Soph. You did great on your trip. Everyone there was very happy to meet you. And don’t worry, you’re off-duty for a while, okay? You can focus on time with your friends and choosing your university,” Elizabeth said of Sophia’s first trip to County Hamilton.

“I’ve already made my choice.”

“Huh?” Palmer asked.

“I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I spoke to my counselor at school, too.”

“You did?” Elizabeth asked, looking over at Palmer as if Palmer had known about any of this.

Palmer shook her head.

“I’d like to go to school here,” Sophia added.

“Here? St. Rais?”

“Yes,” Sophia confirmed.

“Honey, you know you don’t have to go to school here, right? You’re free to go wherever you’d like. We want you to go where you’ll get the best education and have fun, making new friends and even getting away from royal life a bit,” Elizabeth revealed.

“I know. I want to go here. And I have a year of school left, so I might still change my mind, but I don’t need to get away. I love St. Rais. Most of my friends will go here, too, and I don’t know that I want to be that far away from home yet. I know Aunt Alex and Aunt Bexley said I could go to school there, where Alex went, and they’d take care of me, and Aunt Elin and Aunt Ingrid said the same thing about Norway, but I want to be here.”

Palmer smiled and placed her hand on Elizabeth’s thigh.

“Well, we’re happy to hear that. But if you change your mind, that’s okay, too,” Palmer shared.

“Okay. What did you want to talk to me about if it’s not about this stuff?”

“Well…” Elizabeth cleared her throat. “We think you’re old enough to hear about the whole story now. But we wanted to ask you first.”

“The whole story? What happened to Grandma and Grandpa?”

“And your aunts, your uncles, and your cousins,” Elizabeth replied regretfully.

“You’ve never wanted to talk about that.” Sophia leaned forward in her chair.

“It’s… a lot to talk about, honey. And you were younger then. We know you’ve heard some, if not most, of it out there, but we wanted to keep you safe from it as much as we could until you were ready.”

“And if you’re not ready now, that’s okay,” Palmer added. “You’ve got a lot on your plate right now. We just wanted you to know that we’re ready to talk to you about what happened back then and how it changed, well, both of our lives, whenever you’re ready. We want you to hear it from us.”

“Oh,” Sophia said, seemingly considering. “Okay. I’m ready.”

“Are you sure?” Palmer asked.

“I’m sure. It comes up in school sometimes, and I know my teachers skip over stuff because I’m in the room.”

“Yes, they do. We’ve asked them to do that for you and your brother until we can discuss it with you.”

“Are you talking to Leif, too?”

“Not yet, honey. Maybe when he’s your age, or he tells us that he’s ready.”

Sophia nodded.

“Well, I was on a plane with your aunt Victoria. We’d just spent time with your uncle David. She was over the moon for him and wanted your grandfather’s permission to get married.” Elizabeth took Palmer’s hand and squeezed it. “Rebecca was on the plane with us. She’d just walked away to take a call while Victoria and I were talking, and she returned to tell us the news.”

“What happened, Mom?”

“Someone who didn’t like the monarchy for their own reasons had decided to put a bomb at a hospital opening that most of our family was hosting and supporting as part of our charity work. I know you know about the bomb. It’s impossible for you not to have been told about that. But what you don’t know about is my part in all of this.”

“What do you mean?”

“I heard, ‘Long live the Queen’ from Rebecca, and my entire life changed, sweetheart. I was never meant to be the Queen of a country. I was in school, working on my career in science, and I…” Elizabeth glanced over at Palmer. “Well, it’s complicated, but your mother wasn’t exactly my very first love.”

“She wasn’t?”

“No. I was in love with your aunt Teagan for a long time before I met your mom. Your aunt married your uncle Alex so that she and I could be together with no one knowing. That’s a much longer story for another time, but I lost everyone that day; with the exception of Victoria, thank God. It was the worst time in my entire life. Not only had I lost them all; I was now the Queen of a country that didn’t seem to want a monarchy at all.”

“But we’re still here. Are you talking about the referendum thing I heard about in school?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth replied. “But before we get there, I want you to know the whole story of how I met your mom.” She smiled over at Palmer before giving Palmer a nod.

“I got a great deal on a vacation,” Palmer shared.

“Huh?” Sophia asked.

“I was a reporter for a newspaper back then, and I’d found a good deal to take a vacation on this small island called St. Rais that I’d barely heard anything about. I was here when it happened. My boss at the time told me that since I was here, he wanted me to try to get the story. He knew someone who also knew someone who put me in touch with Rebecca, who was a bit of a gatekeeper to your mom, if I’m being honest.”

“Part of her job, my love,” Elizabeth reminded.

“Anyway, I snagged an interview with your mom, and I had no idea what I was doing.” Palmer chuckled. “I was so nervous meeting her for the first time; so worried I’d say something wrong, do something wrong, or that I wouldn’t show enough respect for what she’d just lost. I didn’t want to come across as just another reporter trying to sell a story.”

“And she didn’t. I could tell your mom was different from the moment I first met her, so I let her in, Soph. I trusted her, and I let her in, and it was the smartest decision I’ve ever made in my life.”

“So, you wrote a story on Mom?” 

“No, I wrote a story on what happened. I kept all the stuff about your mom to myself. I didn’t want to be a reporter when it came to her.” Palmer smiled over at her wife. “I knew she was the one right away, Soph. But I was an American reporter, and your mom was the Queen of a country, who had just been through the worst experience in the world. I didn’t want to press or make her think that I wanted something she couldn’t give.”

“Your mom was patient and kind. She was amazing with me back then, and still is. She’s also never lost sight of who she is as a person, never tried to be something that she’s not, and never asked me to be, either. I hope that when you find someone special one day, that you find someone like your mother, Sophia. She was exactly what I always needed and never knew it until she walked into my life. I’m so proud that you are so much like her,” Elizabeth said with a proud motherly smile aimed at her daughter. “You and your brother are the best things that have ever happened to me, and your mom is the reason I get to have both of you. I know meeting Palmer only came about through tragedy, and that can be a hard thing to think about at times because I wish our family were still here, but I also wouldn’t trade the life I have now for anything, so I like to think about it differently.”

“What do you mean?” Sophia asked.

“I like to picture everyone still here sometimes. Your grandma and grandpa still here, watching you grow up. Your aunts and uncles and your cousins still being around. And I like to think about meeting Palmer that week she was here on vacation. Maybe at the springs or somewhere else because back then, I could pretty much go anywhere I wanted, and no one noticed. Maybe we’d meet at a café or a restaurant or just bump into each other at a museum she was touring. I like to think that we would have met then and still ended up here. We’d still be married and have two amazing children. Things would be different, of course. I wouldn’t be Queen. You and I would both technically be Princesses, Soph, but I’d be okay with that if I got to have everyone back in our lives and still have my wife and our beautiful, smart, talented, kind, and caring children.”

“I wish we could have that, too,” Palmer echoed.

“I wish I would have known all of them,” Sophia shared.

“Me too, baby,” Elizabeth said.


They turned to see their son walking into the room, holding on to a book.

“Yes, honey?”

“I need help with my homework.” He flopped down next to Palmer. 

“We were talking, Leif,” Sophia remarked and rolled her eyes at her brother.

“Not all that grown up, huh?” Elizabeth said with a wink aimed at Palmer.

“We’ve got some time yet, I guess.” Palmer looked at her son before she asked, “What class?”

“Science,” he said.

“Oh, you’re sitting next to the wrong mom on that one, buddy.” She nodded toward Elizabeth. “I’m the English-and-creative-writing Mom.”

“Mom?” he asked Elizabeth.

“Come over here.” She motioned for him to sit between them.

Palmer looked up at Sophia, who seemed to be taking in the moment of all four of them being there in the same way Palmer often did. She smiled softly at her daughter, who looked more and more like her wife every day. Sophia was going to make a great Queen one day; very, very far off into the future.

Wrap-Up: Ascending
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