Chapter 19

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*Euphemia's P.O.V*

Elizabeth is clearly bothered by something. Her lips were showing a small pout, only noticeable because of the way she hid her face whenever I tried to look at her. What is causing it, I don't know. However I would find out, even if she wished to keep it a secret.

"I said it's nothing," Elizabeth snaps, her eyes widening when she realizes her tone and I watch as she shrinks back in her seat.

"You may throw your fit for as long as you like, however you will be respectful to me," I retort, my tone maybe a little too harsh based on the way she averted her eyes.

"Yes ma'am," Elizabeth replies as Zelene enters the room. Despite not having said anything too harsh, I had clearly hurt her feelings. She was always so sensitive in the morning, her feelings getting easily hurt if anyone spoke to her with a less than kind tone.

I reach over, resting my hand over hers. She tries to pull her hand away but stops after a moment, turning her hand over so that I can hold it. I'm surprised at her relenting so easily but when I look at her, she has her gaze averted from me and was smiling slightly.

"Perhaps you should have the maids bring in breakfast," I suggest, expecting her to let go of my hand to ring the bell. She doesn't, rather she reaches with her far arm to grab the bell and ring it as Zelene sits down. Zelene looks rather amused as she looks between our hands but doesn't say anything.

"You look very beautiful this morning Elizabeth," I compliment Elizabeth who smiles at me as the maids come in. She doesn't say anything as the maids set down platters of food on the table, struggling with one hand to put some waffles on her plate. Zelene holds out her hand after a moment and Elizabeth gives her a confused look.

"Would you like some help?" Zelene offers after a moment, making Elizabeth nod before she hands over her plate. Zelene listens to Elizabeth tell her what she wants, adding on some fruit when Elizabeth isn't looking. I have to bite back a laugh as I smile slightly, my lips quirking up. Zelene just smiles slightly as she looks at me, clearly understanding why I was so pleased. I can't help but turn my attention back to Elizabeth.

"Did you sleep well sweetheart?" I ask, noticing the way Elizabeth's lip quirk up slightly at me calling her sweetheart. I hardly ever saw reactions like that from her, not since she was just a small girl. She used to be the tiniest little thing, one that tried to find a way to sit on my lap at every turn. She had been such a clingy little baby, one that I had hardly put down. If she wasn't with me, she was with Leon. She had been such a sweet baby, hardly made a noise.

I had nearly lost her in birth so I had been a bit of an overprotective mother. She had been born in a breech position, coming feet first instead of head first. She had been my first and is my only child, and I had nearly lost her just the same. It hadn't helped that she had also had her cord wrapped around her neck.

The midwives had assured me that she was fine after she was born, something I had hoped to be true and something that had proven itself to be true. I hadn't minded having to stay in the infirmary for longer, I enjoyed getting to bond with my baby.

Leon had been in there almost as long as I had, laying almost beside me or on the floor just to take chances to hold her. He had been such a proud father, one who had whispered about how he was so happy to be a father. He had taken every chance to tell a guard, especially his personal ones who had accompanied him everywhere.

"My Elizabeth, my angel. My darling girl," Leon had bragged as he showed our baby to the reporters that had visited. He had wanted to practically shove her in their faces, just to make sure that they saw her. I had to keep a hold of his sleeve the whole time to ensure that he didn't.

When she was 4, her father and I had been quite taken with our duties. She had been left in the care of Duchess Grey or a nanny when we were busy which was often. Fits had been thrown, tantrums as well. She was a clingy child, she only became more so when she got older. I quite missed it to be honest. I was at least getting some semblance of that with her current behavior so that soothed me.

"Don't pick at your food," I say softly when I notice that Elizabeth is just picking at her food. Her scrambled eggs have just been pushed around, the fruit hasn't been touched and neither has any of her bacon or sausage. She's only taken a small bit out of her waffle despite it being drenched in syrup.

"What if I am not hungry?" Elizabeth asks, making me frown.

"Are you ill?" I ask as I reach over to touch her forehead, shaking my head when she dares to pull away.

"Let me make sure you don't have a fever or else you won't be doing anything today," I scold, making her groan.

"Mother," Elizabeth sighs as she rolls her eyes, leaning over to let me touch her head. It's cool to my touch, not feeling hot but not feeling cold either.

"You feel fine," I say after a moment as I take my free hand away. I notice that Elizabeth has pulled her hand out of mine and it sends a small pang through my heart as I stare at her. She picks up her fork and starts to nibble on her scrambled eggs. I know the trick well, it's one that she did when she was younger and didn't want to leave the room. She would take her time to eat, taking an hour just to finish part of her meal. I couldn't believe that she was doing it now though.

I start eating my own breakfast, listening to Zelene speak with Elizabeth. It seemed as if Zelene was trying to tell her everything for the week and inform her how she had arranged it. I was used to the talks, Zelene had done the same when I had observed her working before hiring her.

"You should finish eating your majesty, your meeting with Lady Lorenahle will be starting soon," Zelene says and I notice Elizabeth starting to eat much quicker. I keep an eye on her since she used to choke when she was younger in her rush to eat. She seems to slow down when she catches my gaze but eats about half her food before pushing her plate away.

"I'll be in my study, send Lady Lorenhale in as soon as she arrives," Elizabeth says before she leaves the room, leaving me looking at her half empty plate.

"That girl," I roll my eyes after a moment, sharing a small smile with Zelene who chuckles.

"I'll make sure that she eats some more in between her meeting with Lady Lorenahle and her working on the new laws," Zelene promises as she takes one last bite of her food, finishing the rest of her food before leaving the room.

"Those two will get on like oil and water as soon as Zelene starts trying to take care of her," I mutter to myself as I go back to eating my own breakfast, wondering how quickly their relationship may sour.

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