Chapter One Thousand Seven Hundred Ninety-Five
13th May 1967
Kiki dragging herself out of bed late in the morning on a Saturday wasn’t anything out of the ordinary. It was her displaying that Vicky’s guest, King Albrecht of Bavaria, was just one more thing on the already lengthy list of things she didn’t care about that was most annoying. Ever since Kiki had moved in with Vicky a couple years earlier, she had gotten her fill of her older sister’s obnoxious behavior. Today was no different as Kiki padded barefoot down the stairs in one of the old faded Football jerseys and grey trackpants that she slept in with Rauchbier at her heels. Her hair was a bird’s nest of loose curls and the only nod towards even being out of bed was that she had found her glasses before leaving her room. Possibly the only redeemable aspect of the situation was that Benjamin had stayed in Berlin over the weekend, otherwise this would have been beyond awkward. As it was, Kiki’s presence distracted from several questions that Vicky had. Just why Albrecht had come to see her this morning?
“Set anyone else up for failure this morning Albrecht?” Kiki asked as she helped herself to the coffee that Vicky had not intended to prepare for her.
“Your suitor seems to have been intelligent enough to have worked out the situation for himself” Albrecht replied, “And it was hardly my intention to set him up to fail.”
“Keep telling yourself that” Kiki muttered as she took the mug of coffee and headed for the back door to let Rauchbier out. The two bodyguards who had accompanied Albrecht this morning wilted under a withering glare from Kiki as she walked out into the back garden.
“I am terribly sorry about Kristina” Vicky said, “She has never liked mornings and has gotten worse lately since she started commuting to Halle.”
Albrecht sat there across the kitchen table with an odd look on his face. Vicky had to wonder what he was thinking after Kiki had been so unpleasant.
“Regardless” Albrecht said, “I came here to see you because I have a highly unusual request that I understand is probably asking too much of you.”
“Yes…” Vicky replied with some trepidation.
“I am in searching for a woman from the right sort of family to be a bride for my son who has… some unfortunate predilections. I’m sure you’ve heard the rumors” Albrecht said, “Among your sisters, I have met Kristina and Marie Cecilie and any fool could see why they would be wildly unacceptable.”
“You mean you are looking for a beard because Franz is said to be a dear friend of Old Fritz” Vicky said, and Albrecht winced. “Don’t you have more than one son?”
“If I went the old route and had Franz committed to a Monastic Order, I would have Max to contend with” Albrecht replied, “He is far more ambitious and driven than his brother. While those are laudable traits, he lacks the head for the administrative portion of being King and is too impulsive. He would have the treasury empty and revolutionaries at the palace gates inside a year.”
“Wouldn’t the Landtag have something to say about that?” Vicky asked, only to see Albrecht wince again.
“That is just it, Victoria” Albrecht said, “You are asking the right questions and have the qualities which would make you a fine Queen, who would also be acceptable to the people of Bavaria.”
“I see” Vicky replied, astonished at the sheer irony of this situation. If some hack writer threw it into a sitcom no one would take it seriously because the entire scene was beyond absurd.
“As I said, this is highly unusual and probably asking too much” Albrecht said, “I am prepared to be extremely generous if the union between you and my son were to produce an acceptable heir or two. An expert who I consulted with told me that is very easily done these days in a laboratory with absolutely no question of paternity and that you would free to live your life however you please except for the occasional public function.”
Vicky saw Kiki out in the back garden throwing a ball for Rauchbier. It was shocking how a dog that seemed content to lazily go about his days could be so quick off the mark once he started running. Kiki actually looked a bit happy out there like she was typically when she thought that no one was looking. She had said that Albrecht’s son Franz had actually proposed to her years earlier before she had left for Laupheim to join the FSR. Kiki had done that knowing full well the consequences of that action towards her reputation, something that Vicky had again and again discovered she lacked the courage to do.
“That would be a life altering decision” Vicky said, “Can you give me time to think about it?”
Albrecht gave her a sly, tight smile. That was about as much as could be expected from a man as stern as he was, his thinking was clearly that she hadn’t told him no.
“Take as much time as you need” Albrecht said before he got up from the chair to leave. As Vicky watched him leave, the only thought that came to mind was that Anna was going to laugh herself silly when she found out about this. On one hand Vicky had spoken to Anna about how she still wanted a family someday. This would be a way to go about doing that with no questions being asked. On the other, the irony of the whole thing would not be lost on her.