The Prince and the Pregnant Princess(Desert Rogues, Book 6)(44) by Susan Mallery
“All right,” he conceded. “I phrased my thoughts badly. I don’t want to start gossip that would ultimately hurt you. In addition I would enjoy going away with you. But your concern about the health of our son does you credit. Perhaps after he is born we will take a belated honeymoon.”
She made a noncommittal noise in the back of her throat. She didn’t want Sadik thinking he was getting off that easy.
“Speaking of doctors,” she said, disentangling herself before she did something stupid like start melting, “I have an appointment with one tomorrow. And I’ve arranged to have all my medical records transferred.”
He released her immediately and walked to the phone. “What time is your appointment?”
“Good.” He dialed four numbers, then waited. When the phone was answered, he identified himself, then ordered his secretary to clear his appointments from ten-thirty until one.
“You don’t have to do this,” Cleo said when he’d hung up. “I’m perfectly capable of going by myself.”
“I do not doubt that, however I wish to speak with the doctor. I am interested in everything about your pregnancy, your health and the health of our son.”
“Again I point out that we could be having a girl.”
He didn’t even acknowledge her statement. Instead he returned to the sofa.
“There is something else we must discuss,” he said, sitting next to her.
“Initially I simply made arrangements myself. However, I reconsidered. Your temperament is not as yielding as I would desire.”
“If you’re trying to say I’m stubborn, that’s hardly news. Otherwise, what are we talking about?”
“You are Princess Cleo, now,” he said. “And my wife.” Surprisingly, his expression softened. “I find everything about you beautiful and desirable.”
“I know,” she murmured. “I have to admit, it’s your best quality.”
He smiled. “It is time you dressed the part.”
Cleo was neither shocked nor hurt by his words. She’d known she was going to have to change her dressing ways, and soon. Being pregnant might complicate the transformation from mere mortal to actual princess, but it didn’t change it.
“So you’re saying there are stores that specialize in dressing today’s modern, pregnant princess?”
“Who would have known?”
“I will have my secretary give you the name and number if you would prefer to set up your own appointment. The boutique owner will, of course, come to the palace.”
Cleo rose and crossed to the window. The rain had stopped for the afternoon but had returned with the sunset.
“It’s really exciting,” she said without turning around. “I mean the thought of getting all new clothes and being well dressed in designer stuff.”
Sadik watched her closely. “You do not appear happy.”
She shrugged. “I remember the first time I was here with Zara. We were given fabulous dresses to wear to a state dinner. I thought it was a great game, but Zara didn’t agree with me. I guess the difference was that I was going home and she wasn’t. For her the situation was very real.”
“As it is real for you now?”
She nodded slowly. “I’m really grateful and everything, it’s just I never planned to be a princess.”
“You survived your first day. Speaking of which, you never told me what you did to occupy your time. I believe your actual words were that you had ‘the best time.’ Tell me what made it so.”
Cleo hesitated. She wasn’t sure she wanted to share her new find with Sadik.
What if he didn’t think she could do it? Not that his opinion mattered, she reminded herself. She might not be as prepared as she would like, but she was willing to work hard. So much of life’s successes were about showing up and being willing to do the work.
“I went to the university,” she said, gazing at the floor rather than at Sadik.
“The king suggested a tour of the city, and part of that was through the grounds of the university.”
Her enthusiasm grew as she remembered the tall, old buildings blending with modern structures. There had been treasures everywhere she looked. Small gardens tucked into courtyards, fountains, benches for reading and studying.
“I walked around and then I went inside. The library is amazing. This very nice man took me on a tour and showed me ancient manuscripts dating back over a thousand years. Sabrina’s really into that stuff, so I guess she would already know about it, but I thought it was amazing. I also—”
Sadik stood and glared at her. “You drove through the city on your own, then went to the university and spoke with a man who is not a member of this family?”
There was no mistaking his outrage. Cleo bristled as she put her hands on her hips—what she could feel of them, what with being five months pregnant—and glared right back.
“First of all, I was not alone on my tour. I was taken around by a driver.
Someone the king approves of, so don’t even go there. Second, I spoke with the senior librarian at the university library. I didn’t dance naked through the halls of a prison.”
“You are my wife,” he announced, as if that explained anything.
She couldn’t believe it. She’d thought that Sadik might make fun of her for thinking she could get her degree in something, but they couldn’t even get that far in the conversation. He was hung up on the fact that she’d spoken with a strange man.
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