Things I own, a ticket stub for Water for Elephants. Things I don't own, Twilight, Edward, Rob. I think 당신 get the drift.
Okay, I would like to say how sorry I am that it took this long to update. The reason is that Project Team Beta is betaing this story as well. So, it took a while to get them caught up. Now that they are, 업데이트 should be a little 더 많이 normal.
As usual, much thanks goes out to state of delusion for her great work on this chapter. Also to to PTB for catching what we didn't get. Okay, enough of me talking, but stick around at the end. I have something important to say. Enjoy.
It seems this boy bathed in ridicule,
Too forward, way too physical.
My front sitting room was truly a mess. We had emptied every drawer, every container, and pocket. We pulled up the 침상, 소파 cushions and unfolded every blanket that hung on the rack in the back of the room. We pulled everything out of the hidden closet and checked under every piece of furniture. I had even pulled both of the paintings off the 벽 to make sure there were no secret compartments behind them that even I didn't know about.
Alice, Rosalie, and I now sat on the floor in the middle of our destruction. It was the first chance we had to look for Jasper's promise ring since Alice told us she 로스트 it. The three of us had torn the room apart in Jasper's absence trying to find that bloody ring. Our 검색 had been fruitless; the thin silver band with its three precious gems remained elusively out of sight. Alice now sat between Rose and me, fighting back a flood of tears.
"I can't believe I 로스트 it." Alice sniffed, her voice thick with unshed tears. "How could I have forgotten to put it back on? It wasn't that hard to remember, was it? Now it's probably 로스트 in the pipes 또는 something."
Rose harrumphed as a tear rolled down Alice's pale cheek. "Oh, come on, Alice," she groaned. "Don't be so melodramatic. I doubt it fell into the sink. It still has to be here somewhere. We'll just have to tear Bella's room apart next."
I pretended to be irritated with Rosalie's suggestion, but it at least got a laugh out of Alice. I sat down on the floor and settled my back against the 침상, 소파 with my legs stretched out in front of me. "Don't worry, Alice. We'll find it. I don't think we have time to start on my room today, though."
We hadn't looked for the ring before now because Jasper was always around when we were together. Alice didn't want Jasper to know she had 로스트 his ring, so we had to wait till today, while Jasper was out at a security briefing, to start our search. Since we had not found it this afternoon, we would have to wait till the 다음 time he was away to look in my bedroom.
I sighed, letting my eyes wander around the room, trying to find any glimmer of silver. Rosalie and Alice leaned against the 침상, 소파 다음 to me, 로스트 in their thoughts. We still needed to clean up the mess we had made before I got ready for my 공식 만찬, 저녁 식사 with Billy and Jacob. At the moment, though, I didn't really want to get up off the floor. It was oddly comfortable.
As I stared at the red, crackling flames, I started to get the feeling that I was missing something. I just couldn't put my finger on what. I let my eyes wander from the warm, red flames to the flagstone hearth, up the blue papered walls to the redwood mantle. I had placed several small, personal trinkets on the shelf. There was a picture of my dad and me when I was six and a tiny ivory box my grandfather had given me that used to be my grandmother's. I knew when I looked at the mantle that nothing had been moved. We had forgotten to look up there.
With a sudden burst of inspiration, I jumped up from the floor and bounded across the room toward the fireplace. With any kind of luck, Alice had placed it on the mantle knowing that was a fairly 안전한, 안전 place to put it. She and Rose watched me 십자가, 크로스 the room but didn't say anything.
There on the redwood, underneath the 사진 frame, rested the thin silver band with bright twin sapphires and a single gleaming, yellow topaz. I grinned and picked it up.
"Oh, Alice," I called, turning around to face her. "Look what I found."
Her midnight blue eyes widened in shock for just a moment before she squealed and jumped up to run toward me. She tore the ring from my hand and slipped it back onto her finger, just where it belonged. A radiant, grateful smile graced her lips as she studied it for a moment before throwing her arms around my neck in a tight hug.
"Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you!" She squealed in my ear and I had to pull away. Alice didn't seem to notice. She just kept talking and bouncing on her toes. "I didn't know what I was going to do if I couldn't find it. What would he think? And, of course, I put it on the mantle. Where else would I have put it?"
I started laughing as Alice kept talking without even pausing to take a breath. It was just like her to get so excited that she couldn't stop talking. Rose got up off the floor and made her way over to us two lunatics. "Good grief, Alice," she said sharply, but her smile gave her away. "Take a breath 또는 two before 당신 kill the heir to the throne, because she couldn't breathe from laughing at you. Now, let me see this ring."
Rose and I had the ability to study engagement rings, even almost engagement rings, like some would the renaissance paintings that hung in the halls. This one really was pretty. The three stones were bright and clear, two deep blue sapphires on either side of the gleaming yellow gem. It was really too simple for Alice; she usually liked big and flashy. It was from Jasper though, and that probably made a difference.
"I like it," Rosalie said, holding up Alice's fingers so the ring caught the light. "It's not what I would have thought for you, but it fits 당신 in a different way. How did Jasper manage to afford it though? These are all real."
"Jasper's been saving for several years. I told him it didn't have to be this expensive, but he wouldn't listen to me." Alice sighed dreamily.
"Foundation of a good marriage that," Rosalie snarked before turning to the rest of the room and the destruction we had wrought on it. Rose grimaced. "Shit. We really are going to have to clean this up and get 당신 ready for your date."
"It's not a date," I snapped. We had been though this many times in the past three days. I was having 공식 만찬, 저녁 식사 with Billy and Jacob. I wanted to get to know them, and it was my job, as princess, to be hospitable to visiting dignitaries. That didn't mean it was a date. "And you're not supposed to curse in front of the princess, Rosalie."
"Don't bullshit me, Isabella. In Bern, 당신 would out-curse anybody we ran into." She grinned and started cleaning up.
I stifled a growl and started to bend down to pick up one of the discarded 침상, 소파 pillows. "No, no, no, Bella." Alice took over my life yet again. "Rose and I will clean up, and 당신 go get a shower. I'll lay out your dress, too."
I started to argue, but I knew a 로스트 cause when I saw it. Shooting them both a playful glare, I marched toward my bedroom. There were perks to being a princess, one of which was my bathroom. It was huge, gleaming, and white, with gold accents everywhere. There was a whirlpool tub and a 샤워 with eight separate 샤워 heads, which combined to make a waterfall in my shower. There were even jets that came out of the sides. In my opinion, it was the best bathroom in the entire palace. It had been remodeled when I was sixteen, so it was also the newest.
I quickly slipped out of my 스웨트 셔츠, 셔츠 and pants and turned the water on as hot as I could stand. The water unknotted my muscles, which seemed to be in a constant state of tension these days.
Since I had been back at court, I had picked up on several things. First, Phil was in charge of almost everything now. Whatever happened, whether it was something simple, like a dispute between neighbors that their Lord should have been able to take care of, 또는 something major that Renee should have taken care of, he kept an eye on everything. Yesterday, he had somehow found out about my meeting tonight and told me all about Jacob. Phil explained how he had taken over his father's business and had been made a lord 의해 the Prince of Monaco. Phil seemed to think that Jacob and I should get along very well. He went so far as to tell me, "You should keep your options open, Isabella. Lord Black is a very prosperous man." I had never really liked Phil, but now I was wondering what game he was playing. At this point, I wouldn't trust him farther than I could throw him.
Second, Renee was 연기 weird. I had, of course, rushed 집 after that rather disturbing phone call. When I had gotten 집 it seemed everything was fine. She never mentioned anything strange, and she was just as ditzy and hare-brained as she always had been. At first, it had seemed like everything was normal until I started paying attention. Renee observed the people around her 더 많이 than she used to. When I was at 공식 만찬, 저녁 식사 with her and Phil, she had barely held a conversation, preferring to watch the two of us like a hawk.
I asked her the night before, when we were alone, what was bothering her. She had merely smiled and said nothing was wrong. I know how to read my mother's face, and she was worried about something. She refused to tell me though, and I was worried about her.
With my 샤워 finished, I wrapped my long, thick hair in a towel and pulled a 옷, 가운 on as I made my way back out to the bedroom. My thoughts were caught up in the 라푼젤 mess that was my royal life. Alice had laid out a deep purple, knee-length dress. Bless her. She always knew just what to dress me in.
Twenty 분 later, I walked back out to the sitting room dressed, hair dried, makeup done, and carrying two different pairs of shoes. "Which pair, Alice?" I asked, holding up the shoes. Rose and Alice had the room almost completely put back together.
Alice looked up from where she was replacing the drawer in the antique desk. Her blue eyes scrutinized the two pairs of shoes in my hands. She studied them for a moment, narrowing her eyes and scrunching up her nose as she did so. Suddenly, her face cleared and she pointed to the violet, heeled sandals in my left hand. "I think those will do best," she said. "Really, I think we need to get rid of those silver things."
I glanced down at the silver ballet 아파트 in my right hand. "But I like these. They don't have a heel. 당신 even said they were fashionable."
"Yeah." She rolled her eyes in a condescending way. "Two years ago, Bella, in Bern."
I harrumphed and put away the flats. "Good luck to Jasper, living with you."
"Living with whom?" Jasper had just walked in at the end of my comment.
"Her," I said, pointing at the black-haired demon sitting on the floor. He just grinned stupidly. Men.
I finally managed to get the strappy, extremely purple shoes on. They had straps that twisted up my calves, and I couldn't figure out how to tie them. Rose finally had to come show me how. "Really, Alice?" she asked. "Sandals? 당신 do realize it's thirty degrees outside, right?" She certainly had a point.
"Are 당신 planning to go outside, Bella?" I shook my head. "Then I don't want to hear it." She pointedly took a 좌석 that placed her back to us. Alice never did like it when we questioned her in matters of fashion. She'd get over it quick enough. She never could hold a grudge.
I sighed and looked at the clock on the mantle piece. Five-thirty, I had a half 시간 until I had to meet Billy and Jacob. I had reserved one of the small libraries to eat in. I thought it would be 더 많이 intimate and cozy than a bigger, semi-formal dining room. I probably should have headed over there already. Rosalie and Alice were having 공식 만찬, 저녁 식사 with their families tonight as well, and they should have left already too.
"Okay, how do I look?"
Rosalie turned to look. "Good."
"Should I do something with my hair?" I had left it down rather than trying to do anything with it. I was regretting it now though. It seemed like it was just hanging there limply.
Rosalie snorted. "I thought this wasn't a date. 당신 sure are 연기 like it is with all this 'do I look good' crap." Jasper smirked at her comment.
I politely flipped Rose off before turning to Jasper. "Say good-bye to Alice; we're going."
He merely smiled at Alice and opened the door for me. He escorted me down the hall toward the room I had reserved. Fortunately, I wasn't too far from my suite, otherwise I might have ended up on my rear end because I couldn't walk in these heels. Jasper again opened the door for me and entered behind me.
The small room was warm and cozy. The walls were paneled in dark redwood, and the carpet was hunter green. There was a large fireplace with an elaborate mantle that was the main 출처 of light in the room. The furniture was ornate as well and heavy-looking. The back 벽 was covered in shelves filled with old, leather-bound books. A medium-sized round 표, 테이블 and three high-back chairs were set in front of the fireplace.
This was one of my 가장 좋아하는 libraries in the Palace. It was small and cozy, and no one really liked to come here, so it meant I could almost be guaranteed personal space. The works on the shelves were classics but not priceless first editions.
The 표, 테이블 was set with fine china and crystal goblets. A little fancy for what I was thinking, but it would do. The 부엌, 주방 hadn't brought the 음식 up yet.
"The 도서관, 라이브러리 for dinner?" Jasper asked as he took his place 다음 to the door. "That's a little odd; is it not?"
I smirked as I settled into my 가장 좋아하는 chair 다음 to the bookshelf. "It's warm and comfortable. Way better than any of the state dinning rooms Renee would have picked. It's just three of us anyway."
He nodded and thought for a moment. "So, this is all to put 당신 더 많이 at ease."
I shrugged and muttered, "Yes." I hated things like this, and he knew it. I had to take every advantage I had.
Jasper smirked and remained silent 다음 to the door. I knew that after he had spoken without permission the first time, he wouldn't say anything else until I asked him. I still had a little time, and there was something I wanted to talk to Jasper about.
"Jasper, what's your opinion of Phil?" Jasper was intelligent, thoughtful, observant, and, as a member of the Royal Guard, silent, and mostly ignored. Jasper saw things that the rest of us didn't, either because of his position at Court, 또는 simply because of the way his mind worked. He noticed the little things. He could read body language like I read classic books. I trusted Jasper's observation and opinion of things. If I was having doubts about Phil's aspirations, Jasper would be able to tell me if I was just being paranoid 또는 if I was on the right track.
Jasper studied me for a moment in silence; his stormy grey eyes clouded. "You're worried about your mother." It wasn't a question, but I nodded anyway.
"So, are 당신 worried Phillip is harming her?" he asked.
I shrugged, leaning back into the plush chair, trying to make my body comfortable since my mind wasn't. "It's not that I think he's hurting her, not physically anyway. I don't think emotionally either. I just think she's in over her head. She's different since we got back. It's not obvious but …" I trailed off, my words coming to a halt. I didn't know how to explain what I saw and how I felt to Jasper. He knew already.
"Phillip likes power. He likes to know that he influences people. Marrying your mother gave him the prefect opportunity to flex his muscles. Your leaving like 당신 did allowed him room to take over completely. Your mother never stood a chance."
I sighed and closed my eyes, blocking out the dimly lit room. This was all my fault. If I hadn't left in an adolescent tantrum, I could have been here, helping Renee stand up to him. I could have made her see what a 족제비 he was. Instead, I was selfish and left her here to get run over 의해 her own husband.
I heard footsteps 옮기기 toward me and opened my eyes to find Jasper kneeling in front of me. "This is not your fault, Bella," he said. His grey eyes were warm and yet hard at the same time. Jasper and I had grown up always knowing he would be my bodyguard. Though we were kept apart from each other much of the time, we had still developed a sibling-like bond. He was the older brother I had always wanted. He was very protective of me, even if he was defending me from myself.
"Phillip is charming with Renee. She believes he really is just trying to help her. It's going to take absolute proof placed in front of her to convince her otherwise. Your staying here was not going to do any good."
"She's my mother," I whispered. "I should have done something."
He nodded. "Maybe, but like I said, it wouldn't have done 당신 any good. Now, Phillip, 당신 should be worried about. I don't think he will be happy with King Consort for long."
I nodded, running my fingers under my eyes, trying to erase any stray tear tracks that I may have let fall. Jasper took my hands and pulled me to my feet. "I will keep my ears open for any rumors about what he's planning. Nothing is completely a secret around here."
"Thanks," I said. At least I could take that off my mind for a while. "Just be careful, okay, Jasper. I don't want 당신 to get into trouble."
He nodded and turned to the door just as it opened. A man and a woman walked in pushing a trolley holding platters covered 의해 silver domes. They were wearing simple white uniforms that marked them as part of the 부엌, 주방 staff. "Oh, I'm sorry, Your Highness," the small black-haired woman said when she saw Jasper and me standing in the back of the room. "We didn't mean to interrupt."
I shook my head and smiled. "No, no, you're not interrupting. Please, come on in." Jasper went to stand 의해 the door again, giving them room to 옮기기 the trolley over to the table. I stepped over to the side, giving them 더 많이 room to work. They removed the covers on the platters to release the most succulent aromas. Despite what I said about living in the palace, the 음식 was always good. We had a French chef at the moment, and he was a genius in the kitchen. I could smell lamb, potatoes, and sugary-sweet apples. My mouth had started watering; it smelled so good. I suddenly felt sorry for Jasper, who just had to stand 의해 the door and watch.
"That smells delicious," I told the two 부엌, 주방 staffers. "What did the chef prepare?"
"A rack of lamb," the man told me in his thick Swiss accent, "roasted potatoes, green beans, and 사과, 애플 pie."
God bless Jean Claud; he knew I missed America, so he always made me an 사과, 애플 pie. I knew I probably never had 사과, 애플 pie when I was with my Dad. It just made me think about the place where I was the happiest.
"Thank 당신 very much, both of you," I told them as they left. As they were walking out the door, I saw Jacob rounding the corner, pushing Billy, who was in his wheelchair. Jacob was wearing a dark suit with a white 셔츠 under the jacket. The 상단, 맨 위로 buttons where undone, showing off a well-defined chest. My mouth dropped open for just a moment before I could catch myself. I had never been what 당신 would call "boy crazy," but there was no denying, Jacob Black was good-looking. He grinned when he saw me standing outside the door.
"Good evening, Your Highness," he said as he approached. His white teeth flashed as he grinned.
"I'm sorry, my Lord, but I don't answer to that name from you." I grinned back. I didn't want to go through the night hearing that.
"Sorry, Bella." He smiled.
"Better." I leaned down and kissed Billy's cheek. "Good evening, Billy. I'm glad 당신 could 가입하기 me for dinner."
I guided them both back into the room. Jasper was still standing 의해 the door, right where he was supposed to be. Billy and Jacob both told me how great the 음식 smelled. We sat down to eat, and, for a while, the conversation was light and untroubled. They asked me about Edelweiss, and I asked them about Monaco. We talked about family, friends, and school, nothing really important. It wasn't until dessert, after I had told them about the Valley and spending the holidays with either Alice 또는 Rosalie at their homes, that the 질문 I had been dreading came up.
"So," Jacob began, taking a bite of his pie. "If 당신 liked Edelweiss so much, why did 당신 leave a couple years ago?"
"Jacob," Billy's deep voice cautioned.
"It's okay, Billy." I sighed. "It's not a royal secret 의해 any means. Ask anyone in the palace, and you'll get at least three different answers. In truth, I just needed to get away. I was no different really than any other teenager."
"But 당신 stayed away for three whole years," Jacob said, his dark eyes stared at me, making me uncomfortable. I didn't like this line of questioning. I'd noticed through the course of the meal that Jacob was very direct and speculative. I had a suspicion about why he was a lord and his father was not, and I didn't like it. Jacob was ambitious, which wasn't necessarily a bad thing, but Phil was ambitious too.
의해 comparison, Billy was quiet and humble. He was quick to laugh and content to listen. He would 질문 me about the things I talked about. He was sweet and honest. I enjoyed talking to him. Jacob could be charming when he wanted to be, but otherwise he was sharp and obnoxious, interrupting often. I had to wonder which Jacob was the real one.
"I was being rebellious. It was nice to be away from all this, but I missed it, so I came home." Not the real story, but I would have come 집 at some point anyway.
"Fair enough." Jacob had finished his pie while I talked. He leaned back in his chair and looked over at Billy. "We're going to be staying here for a while, 당신 know. I have some business to do with your step-father. Hopefully, I will be seeing 당신 around."
I couldn't help but grin back at him. Jacob Black was a conundrum. On one hand, he could be blunt and almost rude with how he approached people. I could tell he was ambitious, much like Phil, and that revelation was a little startling. He would do whatever was necessary to get what he wanted. Yet, there was just something about his personality that I liked; he had a softer side too. He was fun-loving and could be really sweet when he tried. On 상단, 맨 위로 of that, he had a great smile and was very handsome. I couldn't help but be attracted to him. There was a part of me that was sending up red flags and another part that wanted to give him a chance. I had never been really good at 읽기 people, so I usually gave them the benefit of the doubt.
"I certainly hope so. What kind of business are 당신 and Phil doing?"
"I own a pharmaceutical company. It's still not completely off the ground, but the prince is supporting it, so it should go off without a hitch. King Phillip is helping me as well, and he offered me room here in the Palace to work. Well, when he offered, I couldn't say no."
So, vague business deals with Phil. That didn't sound so good. Jasper caught my eye from where he stood 의해 the door. He looked a little uneasy as he watched us. After the discussion we had just had about Phil, I could understand why. Again, I really wanted to like Jacob, but there was something else going on here. Something I couldn't quite put my finger on.
"Well," I said, putting my fork down. I had 로스트 my appetite for my pie. "If I may give some advice, don't spend all your time in the palace. I can recommend several smaller villages and hamlets in the valley; they are less touristy, 더 많이 quaint."
He grinned. "I'm honored, Bella. Perhaps, though, it would be better if 당신 showed me, rather than just told me. Then I'm sure I would not miss anything."
I saw Jasper scowl at his lack of social norms. Truly, as Jacob was just a foreign lord, he was not allowed to ask me out. I could start anything I wanted to, but he should have waited for me to express my interest. I really didn't mind though. It was nice to be around someone who just didn't care about what was proper and right for a change. I did wish he had just come out and asked me to 가입하기 him rather than hinting at it, but a girl couldn't ask for everything.
"I would 사랑 to 가입하기 you," I told him. "Just let me know when 당신 are free." Jacob nodded and grinned, and my past worries about him and my step-father where pushed to the back of my mind. I wouldn't worry about them again until it was far too late.
Okay, I hope 당신 enjoyed. Now two things. This story is written ahead quite a bit, but I would still like to know what 당신 think could 또는 should happen as things go along. Go ahead and drop me a line. I promise I don't bite.
Two, I am on twitter, EveryDayBella89, and I'm gonna start post teasers and the like, so 당신 like that kind of thing come on by. 당신 can drop me a line over there as well.
Okay I think thats it, 다음 Edward makes it to the Palace and I think I may put him behind a piano. Yeah. Till 다음 time.