“What do you wear when you have tea with the queen?” I muttered to myself. I stood in the ginormous closet in the Duchess Suite, looking at the racks upon racks of clothes. They were all in my size, organized by color and occasion. Secretly, I wished that there was a labeled ‘Tea Clothes’ section, but no such luck.
“Lady Bella?” came the accented voice of Heidi. That’s going to take some getting used to. I stepped out of the closet and she bowed to me. That, too. I’m not that important. “Do you need some assistance?”
“Um, well?” I squeaked. “I’m supposed to have tea with Her Majesty.”
Heidi smiled, gliding into the closet and tugging out a lovely maroon sweater dress. “Her Majesty is traditional, but not stuffy. This would look lovely on you with your coloring with a pair of dark tights and boots.”
“I’m terrified she’s going despise me,” I said, worrying on my lip. “I mean, I’m a nobody.”
“You’re not, Lady Bella,” Heidi admonished. “You’re everything to Prince Edward. I can see how much he adores you. The love in his eyes? He would give you the world, if it were possible.”
“It’s weird to hear him called ‘Edward.’ I’m so used to calling him Masen,” I giggled anxiously, twisting my hair in my fingers.
“Edward is a family name,” Heidi explained. “When he was younger, I called him Masen, too. Her Majesty insisted that we call him Prince Edward when he announced his claim to the throne after his return from the states, shortly after he graduated from university. He’s been groomed for that moment since he was born.”
“I can’t even imagine,” I whispered. “To have your whole life dictated like that. I mean, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a ballerina, then a doctor, then fireman and went to school to be a teacher. However, I ended up the same as my dad – a baker.”
“The royal family is given the choice of what they want to do,” Heidi said, sitting me down at the dressing table and curling my hair using a curling iron. “Prince Edward wanted to go to the states for university. He attended and he got his degrees. Only after his return, did he make his decision to ascend to the throne upon Queen Esme’s decision to pass the baton to him.”
“And if he didn’t choose to become the next in line?” I asked.
“Prince Emmett would have been given the opportunity and continuing along the line of succession until someone took the responsibility. I never doubted, though, that Prince Edward would not take the next steps to become the heir-apparent. His subjects adore him. He’s truly a man of the people. He’d do anything for them,” Heidi smiled. “Plus, he’s easy on the eyes.”
“You’re telling me. He’s the crowned prince and I’m the troll under the bridge,” I snorted.
“That’s where you’re wrong, Lady Bella,” Heidi chided, her lips pursed and her green eyes flashing angrily. I frowned, sitting down on the bed. “You’re incredibly beautiful, with a warmth and tenderness inside you. You’re smart and you make Prince Edward smile in a way that I’ve never seen before. He’s truly in love. Truly happy.”
“He wasn’t before?”
“In love? No. Happy? I wouldn’t use that word to describe him. Content would be more apt,” Heidi said, twisting my hair up and away from my face. She pinned it up and looked at me in the mirror. “No one wants to be just content. Now? Prince Edward has everything he wants. Love, happiness and duty to his country.”
“I just hope that I don’t mess things up,” I shrugged.
“I doubt that, Lady Bella,” Heidi snickered. “Come on. You need to finish getting ready. Her Majesty may not be stuffy but she values punctuality. We don’t want you to be late.”
“Crap,” I squeaked.
Queen Esme of Gevalia