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...


9. Permission

I get up slowly from the red velvet couch, and take a crawling Charles with me.

I scoop him up from the floor and hold him close in my arms, nuzzling his soft, curly hair, and carry him with me to the bedroom, to find William.

As I walk along the hallway, I see the maids and servants still rushing to bring the food to the grand dining room.

As I approach the bedroom, I hear talking on the other side of the door, and press my ear up against it, while I balance Charles on my hip.

".....Planning to see her?" one servant says to William.

I immediately recognise his voice as John's, the servant who was present the night when Charles was delivered.

I frown as I hear his piece of speech.

'Planning to see her?' Who was he planning to see? Was it me? To tell me something important? Or was it someone else? I cannot help but continue eavesdropping on their conversation, even tough I know that it is extremely wrong to listen in on William's private conversations. But in this instance, I had to.

"It seems like a perfect night...everything planned out..." William's sentence fades out, but still, I only hear a small fraction of what he says.

"You should go. The Duchess will be expecting to see me soon." I hear William's speech loud and clear this time, and I back away, shocked and worried at the same time, not knowing if he heard me at the door, but I decide to remain calm.

The door opens slowly, and John's eyes meet mine. He looks at me surprised for one moment, before bowing, and says to me:

"The Duke is expecting you."

I nod, and thank him, and walk through the door, leaving John behind me, and close the door.

As I step into the room, William's eyes meet mine, and there is something I have never seen in his eyes before that I see now. Worry. and most importantly, secrets.

He stands from where he is sitting on the bed, and walks across the room towards me. He stops when he is a pace or two away from me, and smiles gently.

"I was expecting to see you. Do you have something you need to tell me?" he asks softly, not taking his eyes off mine.

"Yes..." my voice trails off into thin air, and I blush slightly, battling my own decisions in my head if I should or should not ask him for permission to leave the palace tonight.

"I was going to ask you if I could have your permission to leave the palace for a couple of hours, tonight. I shall understand if you disagree, but it is just that I would like some time to myself in fresh air, and I am getting quite bored of the back rose garden." I say, as gently, and as politely as I can, remembering my vowels. I breathe steadily, trying to calm myself down and not to make it obvious that I am so very nervous and worried.

"Of course," William says with a smile gradually stretching across his face.

"I was just going to suggest that to you." William says, and turns his attention to Charles, who is stretching his arms out towards his father, obviously wanting William to hold him.

I giggle, and hand Charles slowly over to William's open arms, and he receives Charles gracefully.

"You may take Lillian if you wish, but be sure to be back by midnight." William turns his back to me, and he starts adoring his baby boy.

It takes me a while to realize that Lillian is our horse, and that he is giving me permission to take her. I blink , dazed by his response, and smile thankfully.

"Yes. I will make sure that I am back no later than midnight, and Lillian shall be useful to me." I reply to William, and try to hide my excitement.

"If you prefer, you may leave the palace now, to arrive where you want to go before 10 o'clock, giving you more time by yourself before you have to come back." William says to me, nodding at the vintage grandfather clock that sits in the corner of our room, which shows 9:50pm.

"Indeed, that is a good idea. Thank you, William." I smile gratefully at him, but he doesn't see, and I back out of the room.

I walk across the spacious living room, and down the stairs of the cellar, to the stables of the palace, where I meet Lillian, peacefully grazing on some hay in her section of the stables.

I unlock the door of her area, and strap the heavy saddle onto her back, stroking her beautiful mane. I carefully climb onto her back, making sure my feet are locked into the stirrups, and hold the reins firmly.

My feet squeeze her belly gently, and she neighs.

"Giddy up, girl." I whisper into the darkening of the night, as I lead her out of the stables, and into the dead of the night, heading for the rose garden a few minutes away, across the stream.

I feel excited for the first time in many years as I ride into the dead of the night, just hoping that Edward still hasn't given up hope, but even to me, it seems irrational to wait for the length of time that he has been waiting.

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