Cedric sighed, staring from his spot on the balcony that overlooked the kingdom. It was a warm night, as one would expect in the middle of summer. The heat of the day was fairly intense that he had to cast a cooling spell to keep the castle staff and royal family at a comfortable temperature.

Normally, he would be in his workshop, preparing for his duties as a royal sorcerer, but tonight was different. He should be in bed right now, preparing for the biggest day of his life, but for the life of him, he just couldn't sleep. Whether it was nerves or anxiety, Cedric couldn't tell. He was ecstatic, of course! But there was this underlying fear that things might not turn out well. Not everyone was so accepting of his and Sofia's relationship, many had called out against them for various reasons. The most common was the difference in social class and the large age gap between them. And yes, he can understand why most would be upset. Honestly, if he wasn't in this position and had been an outsider looking in, then he too might have felt it was wrong.

Yet, at the same time, it wasn't like he and Sofia had intended to fall in love. They had been mentor and pupil for several years before they became great friends. Best friends even. And as the years rolled by, their relationship began to develop more and more, eventually, it came to the point where everyone in the castle knew they were in love, but Cedric and Sofia were the last ones to figure that out. It was hilarious, but also embarrassing.

At least the residents of the castle were understood and had witnessed firsthand his and Sofia's romantic feelings develop. Several people from all parts of the world had tried to accuse Cedric of "grooming" the princess. Such an accusation left the sorcerer appalled and disgusted. He would never dream of doing such a scandalous thing to someone who he cared for. He was raised better than that!

Sure, he had, at one point, desired the throne and to steal Sofia's amulet, but that was the old Cedric. The old bumbling sorcerer wanted to make a name for himself. He was a better man now, a much better man than what some of the public tried to make him out to be.

Still, their words cut deeply. And that's not to say there haven't been people who've done such a thing. There have been, more than he would like to believe.

Sometimes he wondered if he was good enough for her. Actually, no it was all the time he wondered that. Sofia was young, beautiful, and full of life. She had to potential to be queen and would rule justly and fairly. Her kingdom would love her and trust her because she had once been one of the people, someone who was very approachable and kind.

How could she fall for someone like him?

"Something on your mind, Cedric?"

The sorcerer gasped and immediately clenched his eyes shut, turning away, "S-Sofia! You're not supposed to be up this late."

His love giggled, "And neither are you?" He could hear her get closer. Sofia's dress shuffled a little as she moved to sit beside him. Cedric gasped when she touched his arm lightly with her fingertips. "Cedric, why aren't you looking at me?"

"A-Apologies, my dear. It's just that tradition demands I don't see you before our wedding day."

Sofia giggled, "Well, technically the tradition states you can't see me in my wedding dress, which I'm not wearing. So I think we're safe." She caressed his cheek before gently turning his head and planting a soft kiss on the tip of his nose, "Open your eyes, Cedric."

He was unable to deny her request. Cedric's eyes blinked open to see her lovely shade of blue staring back at him. Sofia smiled, "I guess you couldn't sleep either, huh?"

Cedric shook his head, "No, I couldn't. And you?"

His fiance shrugged, looking up at the midnight sky littered with stars, "I'm just so excited, I could hardly keep my eyes shut. I know we have a big day tomorrow, but I'm just wishing time will move faster so we can finally say our 'I do's."

Cedric smiled, silently agreeing with her. He gently grasped her hand, noting how soft and it was in his own. He rubbed her knuckles with his thumb, humming thoughtfully. "I can't help but wonder how you fell for me, my love. Sometimes I think this is all a dream."

"Then you better wake up so we can actually have this," Sofia said, snuggling against him. Cedric sighed, nosing her hair lovingly. "I could stay like this forever..." He whispered in her ear. Sofia nodded, "Me too. Just think, in a few hours, we can be like this every day. It'll just be you and me."

Cedric hummed, "That would be wonderful, my love. Waking up and you being the first thing I see. That makes me so happy." He took her hand in his gloveless one and pressed their palms together, lacing their fingers. He still couldn't believe that in a few hours he'll call Sofia hsi wife. Not his friend, not his girlfriend, but his wife.

His smile then drifted into a sad gaze, "Sofia, may I ask you something?"

His fiancee hummed, looking up at him tiredly.

Cedric bit his lower lip, contemplating his next choice of words. "I understand that our relationship isn't traditional. We are from two different classes and we're twenty-five years apart..."

"Cedric, where are you going with this?" Sofia asked, looking at him worriedly, "You know I don't care for that stuff. If we're talking about how I'm a princess and you're a sorcerer, you need to remember I was a village girl first. And Mom, the shoemaker, married my dad. I don't think class matters in that case."

"Well we're still over two decades apart," He said, shivering when a cool wind blew through. "I'm just wondering if. What if they're right on some level about... Oh never mind, I can't even bring myself to say such things!" He tore himself away to clutch his head. Hot tears burning his eyes.

"Cedric, talk to me. What's wrong?" Sofia asked, turning his head to her. She swiped a tear aside, "Please tell me what's wrong."

Cedric trembled, "I'm just worried that they're right, my love. About me. What if I had 'groomed' you and I didn't realize it."

Sofia's eyes widen in horror, "You think that-NO! Cedric, don't you dare believe what they say. You didn't do that. You would never! I love you because you're my best friend. You've always been there for me. Don't listen to them, Cedric. All they believe is what they've seen from an outsider's perspective. They don't know anything about our relationship. Yes, there is an age difference, but that's just a number. And still, I'm an adult. I can make my own decisions. If I didn't want to be with you, I would have chosen someone else. You know me, Cedric. I've never cared what other people thought of me.

"We knew from the beginning that not everyone was going to be okay with us being together, and that's fine. Everyone has the right to their own opinion. But they shouldn't have a say in how you and I live. We chose what makes us happy, not them. No one can define our happiness, and you make me happy, Cedric. You didn't 'groom' me. I chose you and only you. I love you Cedric the Sensational. I always have and I always will. Please don't listen to them."

Cedric was stunned and gasped when Sofia kissed him on the lips, to which he happily returned. "Oh Sofia, I'm so sorry, my love." He gently grabbed her face, "I just want to be the best man I can be for you. When I heard those rumors I felt sick to my stomach."

"They're just rumors, Cedric." Sofia laid her hand over the top of his, "People spread rumors all the time. It's impossible not to hear these things, but we know the truth. If people don't like us being together, it's not our problem. We love each other and as far as I'm concerned those people don't matter to us. They're not part of our family. They're not part of our friends. So their opinion shouldn't matter to us. I choose you because you're Cedric. You're a wonderful man and you're good enough for me."

He choked and kissed her, "I love you."

"I love you too," Sofia smiled, "We should head to bed though. It's getting very late and we both have to get up early for our special day."

Cedric nodded, "Yes, you're right, my love." He pressed his forehead against hers, staring into her beautiful eyes, "I can't wait to finally call you my wife."

"I can't wait either," She whispered and kissed his nose again, "My dear soon-to-be husband."