Angela came to a stop outside one of the palace meeting rooms. Edward took a deep breath to steady himself whilst she knocked at the door.
He heard a reply and Angela pushed open the door.
Sitting at the head of the table was the queen of Albion. Edward had seen plenty of photos and videos of her over the years and had heard her voice on broadcast. None of that was good preparation for seeing her in person.
Her blue eyes were a little like Sebastian’s, but felt like they were piercing into him. Her sharp cheekbones only added to the impression. Her crown was perfectly placed on her head and her suit was perfectly ironed.
“Angela, you can leave us,” she said.
Angela bowed her head and left the room.
“You can take a seat,” she said to him.
The table in the meeting room was long and Edward hesitated on where would be the best place to sit. The queen gestured at a chair a few seats away from her. He sat down
The next week flew by and was filled with extra lessons and practise. Edward almost wanted the public announcement to come faster so he could stop having to practise for it.“Edward, I have the ring Sebastian will be giving you,” Bernadette announced a few days before the dreaded date. “Come and have a look.”Edward took a close look at the ring in its velvet box. It was definitely a valuable antique, but he preferred his secret wedding ring. It was much less pretentious.“It belonged to the former king,” she explained. “We need Sebastian to practise slipping it onto your finger.”“Do I have to get down on one knee?” Sebastian asked from the other side of the room where he was being fitted for his suit.Bernadette looked thoughtful.“I’ll film some different approaches and we will evaluate which looks best,” she said.She rushed over to the tripod and Edward
Edward stared at Camilla in bewilderment. She had to have gone completely off the rails. A royal advisor should not be threatening him using his parents.“I don’t see how you are going to do that,” he said and shook her hand away. “You’re batshit insane.”Camilla opened the folder and slid the contents across the table towards him. Most of the pages were photos of his parents taken secretly in different locations. The other pages were details of payments for the photos and a list of hitmen.“If you don’t comply, I will hire one of these people and book your parents in for their deaths,” she told him.Edward felt a pang of utter terror. The look in her eyes indicated she was completely serious and had every intent of going through with her threats.He needed to play it carefully. He couldn’t push Camilla too hard, but he needed to stand his ground.“I think you wouldn’t g
Sebastian walked into the room in the palace that was being used to televise his marriage announcement and immediately noticed that something wasn’t right. Bernadette’s face was ashen pale and she was talking frantically on the phone. The other royal advisors averted their eyes at the sight of him like they wanted to avoid him. He ignored them and approached Bernadette. She was the one leading the operation, she would have the answers. The lead royal advisor ended her call as soon as he approached. When he saw her up close, he became even more sure that something bad had happened. Bernadette was a hard woman to shock and she looked like she was panicking. “Bernadette, has something happened?” he asked. She bit her lip and he could tell that she didn’t want to tell him what was going on. “I didn’t want to tell you about it so quickly, I would normally seek to rectify a problem first. Unfortunately, I cannot see a way to rectify the prob
The two of them played board games until dinner. Sebastian was still surprised that his mother actually had something fun in her sitting room. She was also surprisingly bad at all of the board games. Sebastian put it down to lack of practise, but she was still terrible by the fifth round of the same game. “Your father was always the much better player,” she admitted eventually. “I still can’t get my head around game rules.” No one had come to the sitting room to interrupt them so he could only assume that there were no leads for any of the lines of investigation. When he was helping her tidy the games back into the cupboard he noticed a game that she hadn’t shown him yet. “If you’re looking at ‘Guess Who’, that’s hidden at the back because that’s the game I played with your father on the night he died. I beat him that night for the first time and I think he let me,” she told him. Sebastian hadn’t seen his father that close to his death
Edward yawned and stretched his arms. It had been a long three days of hiding and travelling. They were now out of France and were in Switzerland.He was no longer Edward Grey, they had changed identities in Paris.He was now Gabriel Dubois.It was fortunate that he spoke fluent French and near fluent German. Going to the top school in Albion had been useful.There had been a lot of changes since they had left Albion. They had all changed names and appearances. His mother had dyed his hair brown in the hotel bathroom in Paris and he had helped her bleach her hair blonde. Lord Grey had shaved his moustache. They were also only speaking French between them to help give the impression they really were French.He got out of bed and walked into the sitting room of their hotel room. Lady Grey was sitting at the table with a cup of tea.“Where’s Dad?” he asked.“Your father is out arranging a house for us to live in.
Sebastian wasn’t sure that the decision he had made was the right one. For the sake of tradition and his arranged marriage, he should give the order to bring Edward back, but he didn’t feel it was right to.Edward was clearly happy in Switzerland. He was studying what he wanted and would live a free life without restrictions. He was also afraid that Edward would hate him if he forced him to come back to Albion.“Is that your final decision?” Ryan questioned.“It is,” he confirmed. “Has Queen Annelise left it up to me then?”It was normally a decision his mother would make, but the fact that Ryan had asked him suggested that his mother had delegated the responsibility to him. She had started to involve him more in decision making recently.“She did. I will pass your reply back to her. Remember to go and say goodbye to her when you’re ready to leave.”Ryan left the room. Sebasti
Edward sat down at the kitchen table to eat his breakfast. He had a lecture in an hour and the university was half an hour away by bus so he was keen to eat his breakfast very quickly.“There’s some major news from Albion,” his mother said suddenly. “The palace has announced that Queen Annelise died in the early hours of this morning.”Edward dropped his toast in shock. Hewould have never imagined that Queen Annelise would die so soon. She had been very full of life when he had met her.His parents exchanged looks. Edward picked up his slice of toast and carried on eating whilst he thought about Albion. The three of them never really talked about their past in Albion. They had assimilated to their new life in Switzerland quickly.Despite that, Albion and Sebastian were always somewhere in his mind.Sebastian couldn’t be doing too well at the moment. Queen Annelise’s death meant that he would become king at
Edward knew his freedom in Switzerland had come to a drastic end. Sebastian wasn’t coming to visit him for a casual coffee meeting, he was coming to drag him back to Albion.There was no denying he was Edward Grey. Sebastian knew exactly who he was. He wouldn’t be able to claim he was someone else.“Sebastian, what are you doing here?” he asked.The prince glanced at Mark who took the hint and quickly left the coffee shop at high speed. Edward had to admire the efficient operation. Someone had mapped out his schedule and established that he frequented the coffee shop after lectures, someone had arranged for customers to be kept away and Sebastian had come to lie in wait for him.“You can’t have missed what has been happening in Albion,” his husband said.Edward took a seat next to him. There was no getting away from Sebastian so he might as well take a seat. He also wanted to talk to him.“I am