Eminence

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I've always considered myself to be enough, I've never had the worry of not being good enough and I've never been insecure about my place in the world. But when you start to care for someone so far above you, someone royal, it turns out my place in the world isn't quite enough.

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38. Thirty seven

"My parents want to meet you." James says over the phone one night and I feel like my heart just froze over. 

"No, that's an awful idea."

"No it's not, you've got to meet them some time."

"I haven't." I protest. Maybe I sound like a brat but who wouldn't be terrified to be introduced to the king and queen of England as their son's girlfriend. Especially because his mother is so over protective, surely she's going to hate me. 

"Look, they're going to instantly dislike you if you make up some excuse to not meet them so just come over for dinner, okay?" 

"God, no need to get so aggressive about it." I say but I know he can tell I'm teasing. He chuckles. 

"How about tomorrow?" he suggests.

"Fine." I reluctantly agree. "See you tomorrow then." 

I'm so nervous walking through the halls of the palace the next evening. James is showing me to one of the living rooms where his parents apparently are. This is not like when I met Charlie's parents. I feel like I'm about to be interrogated. As we're walking I think through everything that any website has posted about me, in case there's anything negative they can bring up. I can't think of anything but I'm scared either way. 

When we get into the living room, the king, Peter, stands and he looks really friendly. That's a relief.

"You must be Eve." he smiles, shaking my hand. "Peter."

"It's nice to meet you sir." I smile.

"There's no need to call me sir, don't worry." he chuckles and I can't believe I'm having such a casual encounter with King Peter. 

"Eve?" Lillian raises an eyebrow. "I thought she was called Faye."

James frowns at her. "Mum."

"No no, it's fine. Easy mistake to make, right?" I laugh a little, hoping to seem harmless and sweet and have nothing she can hold against me. 

"Right." she says with a fake looking smile. "I'm Lillian."

"It's very nice to meet you." I smile at her. Do not cry, Eve, do not cry.

"Well, I think dinner will be ready soon, shall we go and sit?" Peter suggests with an enthused smile. 

James and I trail behind his parents a little on our way to the dining room. James has this sour look on his face as we walk along and I nudge him with my elbow. 

"Hey." I smile at him. "What's up?" 

"My mother's a bitch."

"Come on, it was a simple mistake." I say even though I know it wasn't. 

"No it wasn't." he says bitterly. "She made that comment on purpose."

"It's all good." I smile at him again even though I'm kind of humiliated already and we haven't even started dinner. 

While we're eating, Lillian looks up and gives me another one of those not quite real smiles. 

"So you kept James out all night in Paris? Did you have fun?" she says, not sounding like she's genuinely interested. This entire time I've kind of felt like I'm a little kid getting told off. 

"Mum. " James says, raising his eyebrows. "I can make my own decisions, you know? I made my own decision to stay out."

"Yes, I know darling, I was just joking." she laughs but when I look at Peter he looks highly uncomfortable. 

There are more awkward moments like that for the whole dinner and then it's finally time for me to go home. That went horribly. To be fair, she has no real reason to hate me but that still doesn't make me feel any better. I'm trying to think of any way I can make her like me when James calls.

"Hey." he sighs heavily when I pick up. 

"Hey." I say, pretending to be cheery. I don't want him to feel bad about earlier. 

"I'm sorry. My dad says he's sorry too. She's so over protective, it's so annoying."

"She's just being a mum." I tell him. "I don't blame her. I'd probably hate me too."

He pauses and I imagine he's smiling. "My dad likes you anyway. He said he's glad to see me with a normal girl. He thinks you're sweet."

"That does make me feel better." I admit, smiling. "I'm sleepy. Can we do something tomorrow morning?" 

"Yeah, I'll pick you up for breakfast." he says gently. "Night."

"Night."

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