Chapter 8

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*Elizabeth's P.O.V*

"Mother, it's lovely to see you," I say as I stand up, straightening my back out of instinct. After years of hearing not to slouch, it was a habit to not slouch around her. I make my way over to her, pausing in front of her. I'm still not sure what the formal greeting process is for greeting your mother who is the former queen.

"My Elizabeth," mother says softly, stepping forward and embracing me. I return the hug, letting my head rest on her shoulder with a small smile. I did so miss being able to hug her, it was so rare we actually got to see each other. The embrace is much shorter than I would like for it to be but I don't say anything when she pulls back.

"Mother, you didn't say that you would be visiting," I say, willing to go out on a thin branch of hope that she hadn't written in a letter mentioning otherwise.

"No, I did not plan on visiting today," mother says and that sends a great feeling of relief through me. "However, your lack of replying to me when I write to you did force my hand," she states and her voice sends a small shiver down my back.

I want to say something to continue the conversation. Ask her why she felt that way or say that I was happy she had decided to visit. I can't get anything to come out though, it's like my voice is stuck in my throat.

"How have you been?" I finally manage to ask, my voice uncomfortably quiet for me as I step back after a moment. I was normally so much louder when I spoke. I just couldn't force myself to talk any louder at the moment. I wanted to do anything to change the subject though so I did manage to speak to try and distract her.

"I have been well my darling, how have you been?" mother questions as she lifts her hand up, cupping my face gently. Her thumb gently strokes down my cheek. It's so comforting that I can't help but lean into it. She used to do it all the time when I was younger, to comfort me when I was upset. That was just her way of showing affection for me.

"Great," I say, my voice a slight whisper. I pull away after a moment, trying to gather my senses. I was so used to being in charge of everything but it was hard to feel in charge when she was around. When she was around, it was like everyone reverted to listening to her. It kind of made me miss her being in charge.

"Have you really? That's not what I've heard ," mother says and I bite my bottom lip lightly.

"So my maids still keep you informed, do they? Do you at least pay them well to break my trust in them?" I ask, feeling slightly mad that my personal maids seem to be on everyone's payroll.

"Who told you about the maids?" Mother asks, glaring at me.

"Who do you think? She was telling the truth then, too!" I tell her, returning the glare

"Yes... I think I do. You better not..." Mother starts to say before I cut her off.

"I better not fire any of them or else... I'm aware. What have you heard from my maids?" I ask after a moment. Maybe I shouldn't be asking that but I just can't help it. I feel like I have a right to know what people are saying about me.

"I have heard everything that I need to," Mother says instead of answering the question. That makes me frown but it's not like I can demand to know, she wouldn't tell me even if I did. Plus that would just land me in deep trouble. I would not make it to tomorrow if I pulled rank on my mother.

"So you came to visit me because of what they said then," I say as I walk back to my seat, sitting at the head of the table. I may as well make myself comfortable because I don't think that I will be leaving this room anytime soon.

"I came to visit you because I am tired of my daughter not answering my letters even after I sent countless letters that warned you that I did not like being ignored and would not allow you to continue this childish behavior," mother states as she follows behind me.

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