Based on the prompt: “we’ve been engaged to be married since we were three but this is the first time we’ve met and your portraits really don’t do you justice”
Fifteen years ago, when nine year old Derek was sat down by his parents and informed of his duty as a prince to his kingdom, he didn’t fully grasp what it meant to be engaged. There was brief talk of marriage that he’d let fly right past him, so far in the future it wasn’t a concern, and the vague knowledge that he was spoken for, but it had little impact on his life at the time.
He was told his betrothed had just turned three, like Cora, which brought up the memory of his little sister throwing his favorite book in a full toilet just the week before, and then he dismissed the entire issue from his mind when Laura called for him to join their game of hide and seek. He had more important things to worry about than some baby in another land, ruining other people’s prized possessions.
Ten years ago, they received word that Queen Claudia had passed, and fourteen year old Derek had dutifully signed the condolences his mother penned from the family, but it hardly affected him beyond pulling him away in the middle of his sword training. It was a distant death in a distant northeastern kingdom, affecting people Derek had never even seen before. He returned to his training alongside his best friend and future guard Boyd, and that was that.
The same happened nine years ago, upon the marriage of King Jonathon and his new wife, Queen Melissa; he signed the longwinded letter of congratulations, sat through a brief lecture on the importance of keeping up on these things and staying informed of these types of changes for political reasons, and then dashed back outside to where Boyd was waiting with their horses, forgetting it all in seconds. They were a distant family he had no personal connection to, he couldn’t say he felt strongly either way about their brand new union.
Eight years ago, the reality of his situation came crashing down on him with the arrival of a portrait.
The Portrait was the only portrait of his betrothed that was ever sent, and Derek was grateful for King Jonathon’s foresight. The first was upsetting enough on its own, as was realization that Derek was going to be joined in holy matrimony to its subject, and he didn’t need the customary annual portraits to remind him of his fate. He tried to be less shallow about it, look for the inner beauty and the whip-smart mind his mother always praised after her visits to the north, but there was no getting around it.
His fiancé was terrifying.