Chapter 14- Friends?

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Alex really wasn't in the mood today.

He didn't really care for sculptures and statues. He also didn't care for having the Norcotts, Brownings and Kellers currying for his favour. They were exhausting, pushing their daughters forward and acting like buzzing bees in his ear.

It would be a great affront to the artist if he didn't attend apparently, so off he went. Sandwiched between his parents, he prepared.

Alex missed Eliza.

He'd been so stupid as to confess his feelings. It was clear that Eliza was far too proper and careful to ever accept those feelings as fact. She'd never consider herself a candidate when he had the other three to chose from. Even if she did care for him, Eliza had been taught that it was unladylike to tell him so. She wouldn't want to be selfish.

What if Eliza decided to avoid him? He'd hate that- she was his favourite person to be around. She was the only person keeping him sane around the others. It was what he wanted a marriage to be- happy, enjoying each other's company. He couldn't have that with Alice, Lavinia or Cecilia.

"Their Majesties, The King and Queen, and His Highness, The Prince."

The doors swung open and the crowds immediately bowed/curtsied as the family entered.

Alex immediately scanned the room for Eliza. He found her standing with her family, smiling at something that her brother said. It made him wonder if she was just as uncomfortable as he was or if she was perfectly fine. He kind of hoped it wasn't the latter, for that proved that she did not have romantic affection for him.

As soon as his father opened the exhibit, the Browning clan was on him like a moth to the flame. He managed to glance at Eliza one last time before they blocked his view.

Across the room, Eliza walked with her family.

"Miss. Jane is looking at you," Eliza teased.

Jane was stood with her sisters- when they saw Eddie looking, they collapsed into a puddle of giggles. All he could do was wave politely.

"She's rather giggly, isn't she?"

"I suppose so. You should offer to escort her around some of the sculptors."

Eddie made a face.

"Do not tell me that you do not intend to continue your...friendship with Miss. Jane!"

"I...I...we'll see, she's nice enough but I just find her so giggly and air headed. Anything makes her giggle, not laugh, GIGGLE. It is a terribly annoying sound. She's like the stereotype of the flighty society girls. I could not live with that for the rest of my life."

"You know who you sound like?"

"Don't say it..."

"Hannah," Eliza finished with a grin.

"I hate you- oh look, here comes the Earl. Your Grace."

"Lord Edward, Lady Elizabeth, I hope you are both well," Henry smiled, bowing to them both.

"We are, thank you," Eddie jumped in.

"My Lady, you look as wonderful as always," Henry kissed her extended hand.

"You are too kind, Your Grace. I am glad to see you again after our walk."

"You are?" Henry's eyes lit up, "I was worried that I acted a fool."

"Nonsense, you were delightful company."

"May I show you my favourite sculptor?"

"I'd be delighted," Eliza took his arm, glaring at Eddie as they walked away.

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