Chapter 8- Happy Birthday Eliza

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There were many places that Alex would rather be- sleeping on a bed of ants, on a ship in a storm or perhaps in a cage with live bears.

Every single one of these things would be preferable to what he was doing right now.

He was obligated to spend time with each of the three ladies who were jockeying to be his wife. That was something he knew had to be endured, but it didn't mean he liked it. Alice was nice, Letitia could be tolerated but his current companion...

Countess Cecilia was sat as properly as could be. Anyone who looked at her knew that she was a proper lady- poised, elegant and sat straight. The outsider might think her a perfect future queen, in her splendid gown. Cecilia was beautiful, no one disputed that, in fact she was probably the most beautiful women in Lyle Hill. She was a portrait come to life.

She was also totally vapid.

Alex watched her during their conversation. Any smile and joy was faked, totally so. The only thing that made Cecilia smile was the idea of being Queen. She wasn't interested in anything outside of herself. Alex swore she rolled her eyes when he talked about the lower classes.

Eliza would never roll her eyes like that.

"More tea," she raised a teacup, "Now, please."

At least she had some manners.

The maid went over, pouring it into the cup. A slight jolt had some of the tea land straight onto the tablecloth next to Cecilia's sleeve.

"Are you blind or just stupid?" Cecilia immediately snapped, "That could have gone on my sleeve. This dress cost more than your yearly wage."

"I'm sorry miss."

"It's My Lady," Cecilia hissed.

"Sorry, My Lady."

"Do they reach any old country bumpkin to be a maid? The maids are the family manor are handpicked from the best of the peasant class. If this tablecloth is ruined, it'll be docked from your wages."

"It's just a tablecloth," Alex finally intervened, "Miss, you may leave."

The maid curtsied nervously before she scurried out of the room, nearly in tears.

"They need to learn, you know," Cecilia tossed her hair back, "You're the future king, surely your instruction would be most helpful."

"It was an accident, My Lady, there was no need to cause such a fuss."

"You are so regal, Your Highness."

Alex wanted to be sick- fake again.

Eliza would never treat a maid like that.

He found himself comparing everyone to Eliza these days. Nobody was as kind as her, as noble or as generous. The girls in the court were lovely and pretty, he did not dispute that, but none of them held a candle to Eliza. Eliza would tell him off for such comparisons, she was loyal to her fellow debutants.

She'd be a good queen, a great one even. He saw how she was with everyone from the nobility to strange children on the street. Her manners were excellent, she was hugely compassionate and willing to listen to people. Whilst the Greystones weren't as old or as rich as the other families, they were a good group. Alex was jealous of how close Eliza was to her parents and her siblings.

Alex wished that it was Eliza across from him right now.

He wondered why that if she lost her strong sense of propriety, would Eliza get closer to him? Would she call him Alex? Would she be alone with him?

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