I do love castles. Loving them does not mean living in them, necessarily. For the most part, castles are cold, clammy places where shadows move about at will. Lately I had seen more than my share. However, loving Peeter, the owner and lord of Haapsalu Castle and marrying Peeter required my residency within its walls.
Castle princess—me and Grace Kelly—I accepted the role eagerly, if not literally. Who wouldn’t? One look at my gorgeous man—black curly hair, strong Roman nose, those high cheek bones, sunken cheeks, and grey-blue eyes dancing with mischief—what more would it take to convince me I had married a royal?
Shared convictions of faith and love of art didn’t hurt our relationship, either.
“You have laughing eyes,” I told him before we married.
He confessed he thought I flirted with him.
“Moi?” I pretended innocence.
I will not bore anyone regaling our wedding. Every girl thinks hers the best, and a wedding in a castle? Well, that was a show stopper. My dress was custom-designed St. Petersburg “Svetlana” lace—exquisite, a white wedding dress dipping to the floor, edged at my neck by a ribbon of fuchsia and contrary to Southern customs, given by the groom. Peeter dressed in a shiny black tux. His appearance took another direction from his usual slack elegance, fitted for lords and professors. Yes, the castle wedding was picturesque; I have an album to show for it, but today I must travel to the Tallinn Art Museum where I work. Peeter still teaches art at the University of Tallinn, where I first met him. He leaves later in the morning for his classes.
Peeter also works with the Estonian government on matters concerning aqueducts.
This morning I donned a linen skirt and layered a shall, a square knitted shawl, an Estonian craft of distinction, over it. Draping beautifully, the corners fell like a cloth diamond over the blouse. I lifted my curls, added earrings, and checked the mirror to make sure the front showed instead of the backside, like I sometimes managed.
Peeter stirred. “You look beautiful, Michaela.” His voice was early morning raspy.
“Why, I’m thrilled you say so,” I said, dipping to peck him on the forehead.
He pulled me down to him.
“Peeter, stop.” But my voice was playful as I straightened up and hand-ironed my skirt. “Linen wrinkles easily. They’ll ask what I did to cause such wrinkles.”
“And you will tell them.” He gave a satisfied smirk, lifting bushy brows repeatedly. He jumped out of bed, grabbed his robe from the chair and threw it around his shoulders without closing it. “I’ll eat with you before you leave or, maybe I’ll eat you before you leave.” He grabbed me.