Part 1 of chapter 2… unedited, as always.
Adelaide sneaked a peek at her bodyguard; he was still there, next to the door. Sighing, once again, she continued eating. She rolled her eyes. There was no way she could shake him off. That morning she found him next to the door of her room, sitting on a chair, reading a book. He followed her all the way to the bathroom, to which he stood outside, and into the dining room. He wouldn’t look at her but she knew that somehow, William was studying her every movement.
The door opened, a well-dressed man walking with a small bell. He rang the bell and announced his host’s arrival.
“Lady Margaret Emilia ViGrigori, twenty-second in line for the crown.” His voice was melodious and soothing.
“Your Royal Highness, may I partake in that delicious breakfast?” Emilia asked. She was short, compared to Adelaide. Her brown curly hair fell down to her shoulders, as her pink cheeks blushed at the sight of William. “Who is he?”
“My pest…” Adelaide replied.
“No, seriously, who is he?”
“I’m not sure.”
“Is he another suitor? That’s not fair. You already have Anthony!”
“He’s not my suitor. He’s my bodyguard or something.” She hastily grabbed a grape and ate it.
Emilia sat next to Adelaide, stretching her slender arms and plucking a grape from the vine. She smiled at William, as he looked away. Emilia looked back at Adelaide as she scolded her with just a quick disapproving gaze. Giving her a quick tug, Emilia looked at William and back at Adelaide. Adelaide couldn’t make out what she was trying to show her. Cupping her hands around Adelaide’s ear, she whispered: “He is handsome, though.”
Adelaide became flustered. “I wouldn’t know that.”
“Well, if he’s not yours, then am I free to court him?” Emilia looked at Adelaide straight into her eyes, “that is, if you don’t have a problem with it.”
“Oh God, take him away or whatever you want to do to him. He’s been a bother and I’ve only been with him for a few hours.”
“Then it’s settled,” Emilia placed a strawberry in her mouth.
They had made their way to the garden in the back of the building. A small path, covered in stone sheets and green, nicely trimmed, grass with a few tiny flowers growing from a few cracks on the material. Large rose bushes with beautiful red flowers dotted the place, as tiny drops of dew dripped from their petals. They sat near a small, metal table on small wooden tables and their soft, feather-stuffed pillows. The butler came in with a plate and on it, three teacups. William looked at them as they motioned for him to sit down. He was reluctant to sit so close to them but Emilia dragged him closer.
Adelaide and Emilia took a small sip from their cup and smiled at each other. William looked at them, puzzled. Emilia poured some honey on her teaspoon and mixing it with the tea, much to Adelaide’s disapproval. She looked from the corner of her eyes and smiled at William. Adelaide wouldn’t even make eye contact with him.
“So, Mr. William or would you prefer we call you Mr. Solt?” Emilia’s eyes glimmered with curiosity.
“Call me William, that is enough,” he coldly replied.
Emilia looked at Adelaide, confused at his reply. Adelaide just wagged her finger, “there is a great chasm between those who live for war and us.”
“Adelaide, that’s a bit harsh, don’t you think?” Emlia replied.
“Yes, she is right. We view things differently,” William replied, unfazed in a monotone voice.
“How so?” Emilia asked.
“A squad is composed of men, soldiers, but everyone is different. Everyone is a distinct piece from the other and hence, everyone is a valuable asset in combat,” he sipped his tea, as Emilia glared at Adelaide. She knew Adelaide would not keep quiet.
“But what are a few soldiers to the countless lives that you have sworn to protect?” Adelaide replied, “30? 40? 100 soldiers die for the millions of inhabitants within this island. I think it’s a fair trade.”
“Let’s see… What would you do if one day, you were walking down the street and some mad man came and shot Emilia right before your eyes and the reaction of everyone around you was: things like this happen all the time?”
“But that’ll never happen.”
“And yet, that’s why I’m here watching over you.”
“That’s a totally different circumstance.”
“I do recall you being at someone else’s mercy.”
Emilia quickly placed the cup on the place. The sound startled everyone. “Children, this is a no argument zone. If you want to fight, take your fight somewhere else but know this: William, rule number one – never contradict royalty.” She took a sip, “even if you’re right, even if it’s just common sense; you’ll never win. In our veins flows a blood stained with a superiority complex that can never be washed away.”
William quickly bowed and apologized. Adelaide didn’t. Emilia had known Adelaide ever since they were little; Adelaide was a very clever girl but her pride proved to be her downfall.
The sun was shining brightly over the garden. Emilia wished to break the awkward silence that had settled over them. She didn’t think they were fighting; it was all about pride and responsibility. William knew he couldn’t disrespect authority and Adelaide didn’t want to lower herself to a commoner.
Adelaide looked down at her tea, not knowing what to say. She wanted to apologize but was too embarrassed to do so. He was her bodyguard; he was the only person who even managed to keep her company. Her home was a graveyard; not a single family member ever lingered there for too long. Anthony had captivated her with his constant support and warm presence yet, now that he had returned to his land, she was alone again.
“I must apologize for my behaviour…” she was hesitant at first, unable to continue. Emilia smiled and urged her to continue with a light tap on her fingers, “I didn’t mean to sound rude, William, and I failed to realize that not everyone shares my ideals but that doesn’t mean that what I said was untrue.”
It was an apology, even if she didn’t manage to solve the whole issue.
“Well, that’s that,” Emilia clasped Adelaide’s hands, “you two are so charming to watch; like little children arguing over who gets to play next.”
Adelaide got up, pushing her chair to a side, she fixed her dress. “I must take my leave, Anthony will be here soon.”
William got up but Adelaide promptly gave him a letter.
“Father has issued a restriction since Anthony’s family isn’t too fond of military personnel,” she grabbed a beautiful white, wide-brimmed hat and her bag, “You two stay here while I take my leave.”
Sitting next to Emilia, he grabbed the letter and placed it in his pocket. Emilia looked at William and back at the pocket, “aren’t you going to read it?”
“What for? It would be too elaborate for a lie,” he replied.
“So, you’re saying that you trust her?” Emilia smiled.
“That’s cute, I like you.”