Chapter 3

Isabella didn't get to see her father for weeks, it was March before she did but only because she snuck in having heard talk in the Palace about the King wanting to get the trial over a done with. They hadn't known who they were talking about but the case they were talking about made it clear to Isabella.

'Daddy?' Isabella whispered, through the empty station - Charlie was out and so was everyone else, her father was the only person kept in the station: they didn't feel the need to guard him because he wasn't going to cause any trouble while they were gone.

Her father looked up from where he was chucking a ball against the wall - he looked seriously bored. His eyes lit up at the sight of her and his lips pulled up slightly.

'I don't think you're supposed to be here, honey,' he called across the room nonchalantly to where she hovered in the doorway and a smile crept onto her face at his voice.

'I'm not but no one's here so,' she shrugged instead of finishing her sentence and walked towards him, wrapping her fingers around the bars keeping him away from her, away from their family, away from her mother.

He placed the ball down and came forward as well, putting his hand out between the bars to rest on her cheek. He smiled broadly at her.

'I've missed you,' he told her and her smile widened.

'I miss you,' she replied because even though he was right in front of her it was right, it wasn't the same. His smile turned sad as he took a breath.

'I know,' he said heavily his eyes skirting over her. 'You've put on weight.'

Isabella jolted in surprise at the random observation he made but nodded eventually.

'Probably,' she admitted. 'My job gives me free food. The whole family's put on a bit of weight, I think, because we're all working harder and Mum doesn't have to feed me and you. Plus Charlie's doing a lot for us.'

'How is this job of yours going?' he asked and feeling as though they were going to be there for a while, Isabella sat down on the cold, stone floor in front of him - he joined her.

'It's good,' she said blandly. 'I haven't gotten fired … yet.'

Her father chuckled lightly though he was frowning, obviously her distaste she had got from her jobs over the last weeks were not as well hidden as she had hoped to the man, the person, that knew her best.

'Sweetheart, don't lie to me.'

She sighed heavily.

'It pays well, Daddy, it's good for the family,' she told him softly. 'Who cares if I hate it?'

'I do,' he told her sternly, 'and I'm pretty sure your mother would as well if you told her... Speaking off, your siblings miss you and so does your mother, with this job they haven't seen you for ages. I know you have this selflessness but Izzy, sweetheart, I know that what you think you're doing is best for them but it's not your responsibility to care for them, they'd rather actually see you, Esme tells me it's becoming a luxury. Don't get lost.'

Isabella was about to answer when she heard footsteps and, knowing she'd be in serious trouble if it was anyone but Charlie, she jumped up after squeezing her father's hand.

'I love you,' she whispered as she disappeared through the door leaving her father alone once again.

His words stuck with her as she ran to work, desperate not to be late. "Don't get lost," what on earth could he mean by that? Her father had always been a cryptic man and it irritated her mother no end but Isabella had always seemed to have a natural ability to understand him but this time she didn't. Perhaps he meant not to lose who she was but surely she hadn't changed much since she joined the palace servant force. She was still herself, family was still the most important thing to her even if she didn't see them often.

She arrived at work with a minute to spare and quickly pulled on her uniform, despite her father's cryptic words, happier than ever but that was probably just from seeing him, and well, not like he was suffering at all in the cell apart from the fact that he seemed bored out of his mind, which she honestly couldn't blame him for. She was cleaning the library for the majority of the day (it was a Saturday meaning she worked practically all day), a massive room filled with more books than she'd ever seen, it was like heaven for her had she been allowed to touch them.

The door swung open and, seeing that it was the Prince, Isabella turned and made to make a quick exit out the servants door so she wouldn't be seen - the royal family, it appeared, did not like seeing their maids either let alone hearing them.

'Wait!' the Prince's voice called out to her and she caught a change in the tone he spoke to her with, not the underlying distain that it usually was, but a soft, charming tone that immediately made her intrigued and she turned to look at him, stuck at how handsome he was when he wasn't scowling. 'Look, I'm bored out of my mind and I can't find anyone else in the castle - all the other servants are engaged in high priority tasks - would you mind just talking to me for a while.'

'His highness is lonely?' Isabella asked sweetly swinging round a pole that was holding the second floor up to see him better and keeping hold of it.

It was the first time Alec had ever heard her speak and the soft, kind tenor of her voice entranced him, not to mention her beauty. Most the maids his father hired where, not to be too harsh, on the less than pretty side because apparently pretty maids were a distraction and stood out too much and for this one girl Alec had to agree but she was still a Maid. He noticed these things but that didn't mean he was interested in her. She was below him in every way possible.

'Perhaps I am,' he replied gesturing to two chairs by the fire.

'The Stewardess will kill me,' the maid said looking abashed, 'and I really should be getting back to my chores.'

'Aren't your chores here?' he asked her raising his eyebrows.

'Well … yes,' she admitted, she hadn't expected him to know that, and he smirked wondering away to one of those chairs are flopped down in it with a confidence only a prince could possess.

'So if you really want to work,' he said as though he didn't know why she would want to, 'you can do it at the same time as keeping the poor prince company.'

Isabella sighed wondering if this was a trap or whether Prince Alec, who had been the perfect example of an arrogant, rude, selfish prince, really did want to talk to her - well "want" was to lose a term, he was simple lonely and she was the only one around apparently.

'What do you wish to talk about, your highness?' she sighed as she picked up a cloth and began to clean a nearby bookshelf.

'Tell me about yourself,' it was an order though she couldn't fathom why he would ask.

'Like what, you highness?' Isabella replied, she didn't want him to know too much about her

'What's your name?' he asked. 'I'm tired as referring to you as "the new maid" in my head all the time.'

Isabella blushed for a reason even unknown to her and answered, 'Isabella.'

'Isabella,' the prince repeated, sounding the name out on his tongue. 'Surname that goes with that?'

Isabella froze for a second and wondered if he knew about her father current predicament and if he would do something if he realised whose daughter she was, 'Cullen.'

'Cullen!' the prince shot up angrily and Isabella's eyes fluttered shut though he couldn't know that since she was facing away from him. 'The murderer's daughter?' (Isabella fought to keep her mother's temper under control) 'Well, I wasn't expecting that. He's going to be tried soon, you know. Is your family used to getting by without him yet? Royce was a good friend of mine, you know, my cousin and he loved Rosalie, your sister I assume, more than anything in the world, he would never harm her, no matter what your sister says.'

Isabella took deep breathes as he spoke, thinking of her father in a jail cell for a crime he didn't commit, her sister when she had come home late August with bruises covering her skin, her coat buttons gone, her hat pulled for her head, a split lip, telling the family that her boyfriend, Royce, had attacked her with a few of his drunk friends - a thought flickered through Isabella's head if Prince Alec had been one of those friends. She kept calm about Rosalie because she was now so happy dating Emmett McCarty but her father was a different matter. She felt tears blaze her eyes of sadness or anger she wasn't really sure but thought perhaps it was both. The Prince was still speaking.

'I'll be happy when his murderer is locked away, not as good as revenge but it'll have to do,' he seemed to have forgotten who he was talking to and Isabella felt her breathing slow down slightly as her head swam. 'My father was worried to begin with that Chief Swan would play favourites since that murderer is his daughter's father-in-law but he seems to be doing his job right. Everything comes back to bite you, I can't believe that man thought he'd get away with it.'

Isabella could feel her temper bubbling dangerous out of control and as he continued talking she finally lost it.

'Shut up!' she snapped spinning around and glaring at him with watery eyes and he simply stared at her without any emotion.

They stared at each other until the silence was broken by his sister voice.

'I am not a prize to be won!' she snapped and threw open the doors, marching toward the fireplace that her brother was sat before.

Isabella sensing a way out escaped when the prince looked his sister, fleeing into the servant's quarters to try and calm her anger and pounding heart down.

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