The Two Sides Of Royalty

It is the year 1910, and Jane May has been arranged to be married to the Duke of Dorset on her 16th birthday. She understands that this experience will change her life forever, changing her status from a normal teenager in the 19th century to the Duchess of Dorset, but she wants the best of both worlds: to keep her 2 year relationship with her lover, Edward, but at the same time, to marry William. She has wanted royalty from a young age, but knows that by marrying the Duke, she will not be able to see Edward.
Unfortunately, she does not have the choice to decide the path of her life, and so life of a Duchess begins. She adores the privacy, William, and the expensive dresses she receives, but she also has to keep her secret: sneaking out to see Edward. As her life as the Duchess of Dorset goes on, she finds that William is not the perfect Duke, or the prince of her dreams. He has some dark secrets too...

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10. Not what I'd planned...

As I near the rose garden, my eyes starts to catch the beautiful fairy lights dancing around where the gazebo sits in the grass.

I ride closer and closer and at first, my heart sinks, and I feel more disappointed than I ever have been. I am about to turn Lillian back, when I see a shadowy figure shuffling around in the bushes, and my heart soars higher than the stars. I smile hugely at myself, and lead Lillian up to the rose bushes.

I climb off her back, and gently stroke her mane, before slowly walking up the steps of the gazebo.

Edward is standing, with his back to me, looking up at the shining stars, wearing what looks like a suit.

I smile and wonder if I've ever been so happy in my life. 

Wait. Yes. When Charles was born.

I sigh and try to forget that event, and I am about to say something, when Edward speaks first.

"I have been waiting every night here for 5 years. Finally, you have come." her murmurs, turning around to meet me. He looks different now.

Older, mature, taller. 

But he is still my Edward.

"I know, and I am more sorry than you can ever imagine. I am so happy that you are here tonight." I say, taking his outstretched hand.

He leads to a bench, and we sit down. He looks at me, inspecting my changes closely.

"Taller. Mature. More beautiful." he whispers, and slowly, kisses me softly. 

"Edward. How have you been?" I ask him, when he ends the kiss.

 "The same. I have never married. And you?" he asks, gazing at me beautifully through his long hooded lashes.

I open my mouth to speak of the wonderful palace, William. And Charles. But I snap my mouth closed again, silencing myself, realising that Edward wouldn't want to know. It would most definitely break his feelings. But in the end, I decide to, after all, I should not keep things like this away from him...should I?

"I...I..." I stutter through the words. I just can't find a way to explain.

He looks at me with a puzzled expression and smiles at me, urging me to continue.   I take a deep breath, swallow, and seeing his smile, I'm a little more brave.

"I had a baby." I whisper, barely even hearing my own voice.

I am about to continue, when I see the expression on Edward's face.   Disbelief. He is probably wondering why. How.   When he doesn't say anything and remains in the same posture from shock, I continue timidly.

"I know. I...I was shocked too. But I had to. I'm the Duchess. This is my role. My purpose." I say, watching Edward say nothing.

I wait. Seconds, minutes, hours. It seems like centuries because Edward says something. Something I did not expect at all.

"Did he force you into it?" he asks. His expression is completely blank when he looks me in the eye.

I am shocked. 

 "No! Of course not!" I protest back.

The moment I realise that I really did say what I just said, I regret it. This means that I wanted it. 

"So you agreed then. To have a baby with him." he says firmly.

I know that this is not a question. That he has realised. 

"So we will never be together. Is this it? The way we shall be? Sneaking off from the palace to visit a COMMON boy in the middle of the night?" he acidly pronounces 'common', like it's a disease. 

He does not give me a chance to talk when he continues.

"So you do not love me anymore now you have...a rich man, do you? DO YOU?" Edward starts shouting.

Tears well up slowly in my eyes as I look down at my hands resting on my lap while Edward stands up from the bench, and looks into the distance.

I bite my lip so hard that I can faintly taste the metallic taste of blood in my mouth. The tears slowly roll down my face. 

"That's not true. I do still love you. Why else do you think I came here tonight?" I ask him, getting up, smoothing out the creases on my dress and reaching out to touch his shoulder.   I

 hear him laugh half-heartedly.

"So you think you can take turns on two men, one a commoner and one the Duke of Dorset?" he asks me.

"No matter. I can still love you." I hear my own voice as it pleads.

"You cannot have the best of both worlds, Jane!" Edward's voice sounds frantic, yet frustrated at the same time.

He turns around, and sighs, dragging a hand through his hair exasperatedly.

I realise that he is right.

William is bound to find out sooner or later.

So now only one question remains, William or Edward?

I have only started to wonder, and already, it is tearing me apart.

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