Lily introduced Alex to her parents again, and they liked him. They were a little confused by his story, but Lily assured them he was a prince (or at least as good as) and they were happy to set him up in the castle. The King pulled Alex aside for a talk afterwards, and found Alex to be quite obliging and friendly.

So Alex came to live in the castle as a human and the prince and Charles soon left and no one minded in the least to see them go. Lily and Alex spent a lot of time together, but she found her feelings for him were changing, and she eventually asked him to make a deal with her.

"Will you marry me Alex?" She asked. "I'll make you a deal; you can go home whenever you want once we're married. I just don't want to marry anyone else." She assured him. She didn't want him to think she was going soft.

Alex smiled. "You can't just be honest and ask me to marry you can you Lily?" He asked, and then he bowed. "I think normally I would be the one to ask you, but yes, I accept. I would be happy to be your husband."

"Good."

So the two were engaged, and the castle was soon the happiest place in the country with the news. The King and Queen were relieved that they wouldn't have to worry about their daughter being pressured by ministers and dukes when they were gone, and that Alex was such a level headed youth. Lily didn't tell them about the deal.

They were married some months later. It took that long to prepare the wedding. The Queen and King wanted to have the biggest, fanciest wedding in history, because no one could have been as happy about a wedding as they were. The food was delicious, and the whole city was invited. They had a huge dance floor and great musicians and they even planned an open bar.

The morning of the wedding Lily snuck into Alex's room. He was awake, sitting by the window looking down into the courtyard, remembering earlier days in Lily's dollhouse.

"Awake?" She asked, disappointed. "I was going to jump on your stomach."

Alex laughed. "Should I lie down again for you?"

"If you wouldn't mind."

Alex shook his head and explained. "Sorry. I couldn't sleep."

Lily nodded. "Yeah, me neither. Big day." Alex nodded and smiled at her, and she said, "Look Alex, if you don't want to go through with this, it's fine. I'll understand."

"Why? You don't really want to marry me?" Alex asked, getting up to stand nearer to her.

Lily shook her head. "No, I want to marry you. I really want to marry you." She said quietly. "For real. And if you do marry me, then I don't think I'll be able to let you go back home, so you shouldn't marry me. After all, I'm a very selfish person."

Alex smiled and took her hand. "I know that. I'm the one who first told you so remember? You got mad at me before you even knew what the word meant." Lily laughed and nodded. That was such a long time ago now. "Besides, you've got me wrong. What makes you think I'm going back to the land of my birth to become a King, or more likely, to become a nuisance to my cousin? I've spent most of my life in this country by now; that's not my home anymore. This is my home."

There was a knock at the door and the King entered, accompanied by a chamber maid. "What are you doing here?" He asked Lily. "You can't be here on the morning of the wedding!"

"You really shouldn't be here any other morning either, until we're married." Alex said, grinning. "It's quite improper."

"Yes, that too!" The King blustered, not knowing whether to be more upset at Lily's presence in Alex's room, or by Alex's taking over his role as father in this instance.

Lily laughed and kissed her dad on the cheek. "Yes father." She said, turned back for one last secret smile with Alex, and then she went back to her own room.

They were married outside, by the pond. Alex thought Lily looked beautiful, and Lily thought he looked beautiful too. They smiled as they said their vows.

And they got on tolerably well for the rest of their lives. Which is to say, they lived happily ever after.