Chapter 3

When my father and I were finished, I walked down to say goodbye to Michael.

“Leah, why are you running?” Leah asked me.

“I have to say bye to some guests.”

“Who, exactly?”

“Alice, I’ll be back, alright? I’ll tell you later,” I said and ran past her. I felt her stare at me as I ran over to Michael.

“Hey, Leah.”

“Hey, so, you start tomorrow?” I asked him about the knight job.

“I’ve already started.”

“You have? When?”

“Never mind. I’ll see you tomorrow, alright?”

“Yeah, yeah. Wait,” I said and embraced him in a warm hug. At first, I could tell he thought it was awkward, but then he became relaxed and gave me the hug I really wanted. “So, I’ll see you tomorrow then,” I smiled and let go.

“Michael, you must come see Mother,” Elizabeth grabbed onto Michael.

“Liz, I’ll see you later. I’m sleeping elsewhere,” Michael responded while prying her hands off of him.

“But why?”

“Cause I want to.” Elizabeth gave him a pouty face and grabbed his arm again. “Get off, Liz! I’ll see you tomorrow, Leah,” he said and walked out.

“So, I see you’re getting real close with Michael,” Elizabeth smiled at me.

“Just a friendly relationship,” I responded with a shrug.

“Yeah right. I know your type.”

“…I have no type. I’ve never dated before,” I snapped.

“Well… Michael is very attractive like moi,” she smiled. “So, I doubt it’s just a friendly relationship.”

“It is. Look, I have to go.”

“No, you don’t.”

“I have to have a discussion with my parents. So, I’ll see you tomorrow,” I said and sped walked away.

“Princess, why were you talking to that knight again?” Alice asked as we walked up to my room.

“How do you know I was talking to him?”

“I saw you.”

“Well, he’s a guest. As the Princess, I have to say goodnight to my guests, correct?”

“Besides a kn-”

“Correct, Alice?”

“…correct,” she sighed and walked up the stairs. What is up with her?”

“Alice, help me with this,” I told her as I lifted my hair so she could untie my corset.

“Do you like Knight Michael?” She asked as she untied my corset.

“No.”

“Then why are you talking to him?”

“It’s a friendship, Alice.”

“You have Elizabeth.”

“They’re related and Elizabeth is annoying.”

“They are not related,” she said, untying roughly now.

“They are, Alice. From my understanding, they were separated.”

“Lies.”

“Alice, are you alright?” I asked with panic in my voice.

“Do you not like Rupert?” She asked, turning me around by my shoulders.

“I like him, but not like that. I wish to get to know him.”

“Why didn’t you try tonight? You got to know Michael.”

“I told Rupert we would hang out tomorrow.”

“You be nice to Rupert. He is very sensitive.”

“How do you know?”

“I just do. Goodnight, Princess.”

I took my hair out of the half bun it was in. What was up with that mood swing? I hope she’s okay.

I finally put on my slippers and got to my parents room, “Father, Mother,” I say as I crack the door open.

“Come on in, Leah,” I hear my mother’s sweet, soft voice say. I go in and sit at the edge of their bed. “How was the masquerade?” She asks with a weak smile. She has become paler. I hate seeing my mother in this state.

“It was great,” I tell her and place my hand on her cold hand.

“Your father tells me you don’t seem to like Rupert?” She laughed.

“I don’t. He’s just… I don’t know. Not my type. Last week, he begged for money and I told him no. Now I’m set to marry him in two months?”

“It’s okay, darling.”

“I know. I’ll get through it some how like you did with dad.”

“Oh no, Leah. Your father wasn’t the man my father chose for me.”

“Really?”

“Of course not. Your grandfather set me up with the duke.”

“The duke?”

“Yes, the duke,” she laughed. “But then your grandfather realized we weren’t meant for one another. Not because of the huge age difference either.”

“Then what was it?”

“Your father and I had a secret affair and soon… we fell in-”

“Love.” I turned around to see my father leaning on the door. “So, tell me what you found out about Rupert tonight. Isn’t he fantastic?” He smiled as he lay down beside my mom.

“Well… he puts the bad things behind him.”

“Anything else?”

“No. I promised to see him tomorrow.”

“Why tomorrow? Why didn’t you talk to him at the masquerade?”

“I’m the Princess. It’s my duty to speak with the guests.”

“You’re right.”

“But I did get to know Knight Michael very well,” I smiled.

“Oh, yes. My favorite,” my dad laughed.

“Oh, really? Why?” I asked.

“I look to him as the son I never had. He has a great sense of humor. Very polite and he seems perfect for the job. In fact, tomorrow, I’m tell him that he’s going to be you bodyguard.”

“My what?”

“Bodyguard.”

“Why?”

“You wouldn’t like that?”

“Oh, I would. But what made you make this decision?”

“Oh… I don’t know.”

“Well, to my understanding, you and Michael were dancing?” My mother asked with a smile.

I blushed, “yes.”

“Why did you dance with him and not Rupert?”

“Well, I bumped into Michale and then he asked me for a dance.”

“How sweet of him,” my mom smiled and hugged me. My dad smiled too. Then something came to my mind.

“Father?”

“Yes?” He asked.

“Is it true that royals aren’t allowed to speak with knights?”

“No, of course not. Who told you that nonsense?”

“Alice.”

“Why would she tell you that, sweetheart?” My mother asked with concern.

“I don’t know.”

“Well, as long as it’s a friendly relationship, it’s perfectly fine,” father said.

“I’m going to speak with Alice on this matter,” my mom said and got ready to get up.

“No, you stay right here, Olivia. I’ll talk to her.”

“Horatio, honey, I must speak to her.”

“Not in your condition, love.”

“I’m not that bad.”

“Olivia, you’re eight months pregnant, you’re sick, and you’re very weak. I can’t let you go. I’ll speak with her.”

“…okay,” my mother sighed and kissed him.

“Off to bed, Leah.”

“Alright. Goodnight, mother and father.”

“Goodnight,” they said as I shut the door and went to my room.

When I got to my room, I looked out the window to admire the moon and stars. As I looked below, I saw two figures. One of them looked like Alice. I’m not sure who the other person might be. “Alice, is that you?” I called. They both looked up and indeed, it was Alice and Rupert. What’s Rupert doing talking to her? They quickly ran away. “Hey Alice!” I called again just before I ran down the stairs to go outside to see what they were talking about. When I got out there, they were nowhere to be found. “Alice! Rupert!”

“Is everything alright, Leah?” I heard a deep voice ask me. I turned around to see Michael.

“Oh, it’s just you.”

“What’s wrong? Why are you out here so late?”

“Well, I saw Alice and Rupert out here, then they ran away.”

“Alice and Rupert?”

“Alice is my servant since birth.”

“I know. I didn’t see either of them. I’ve been patrolling.”

“You didn’t see them? They were right underneath my window right there,” I pointed at my window.

“Nope. I didn’t see them at all.”

“Are you sure?”

“Positive.”

“Well… alright. Goodnight, Michael.”

“Goodnight, Princess,” he said as he opened the door for me.

I walked upstairs to my room feeling like a fool. I know I saw them. I just know it.

Wait… Why was Michael still wearing his mask?

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