Castle Of Lilies

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Chapter 3

Lillia's PoV

Sat in my room I focus on the small cracks in the wall and the feel of the thin bed sheets underneath me to try and distract myself from the fact that I slapped a Prince. A Prince. But I couldn't help it, an anger over took me when I saw him grabbing the Princess and when I saw the fear in her eyes something inside me snapped. And then I slapped him. Now sat in my room in the servant quarters I can't help but overthink today. How the Princess giggled when she heard my dramatic sigh, how beautiful she looked in the dress with her hair up. Then how she seemed to be so relieved to be in her chambers after the Queen had dismissed us, the tension in her shoulders disappearing almost instantly. We'd read a chapter or two before the Princess fell asleep and so I came down here immediately, knowing that I need to be awake early tomorrow to get back to her. Sighing at my busy mind I climb under my sheets and attempt to get some sleep.

Genevieve's PoV

Waking with a gasp, I put a hand to my head and find that it's covered in sweat, my hair plastered to my head. I'd had a nightmare. About Miles. Looking around I can't see Lillia and at the moment she's the only person I want to see. So I throw on a sweatshirt and some jogging bottoms and pad barefoot through the castle towards the staff quarters. Only when I reach them do I realise I don't know which room is hers, so I stand awkwardly in the hallway for some time before behind me I hear a small voice say "Princess? What on Earth are you doing down here?"

I turn and whisper barely loud enough for her to hear "Lillia." She smiles sweetly, not shocked that I'd spoken or jumping for joy, she points down the corridor and then speaks again "Third door down."

Smiling I nod my thanks and head to the third door down as she said.

Reaching it I knock lightly, not wanting to cause too much commotion.

It creaks open and Lillia's sleepy form peers out. She looks at me for a few seconds and then seems to realise who I am and says sleepily "Come on, my room isn't big enough for both of us and the walls aren't sound proof for what you may or may not want to talk about so let's go back to your chambers and talk, or not, there."

In her sleepy state, still not fully realising what she's doing she takes my hand in hers and pulls us through the castle with expert speed back to my chambers.

Once there she sits me down on my bed and turns on my bedside light. Then she climbs onto the other side, crosses her legs and says more alertly than before "So we can talk about it, if you want to do that stay sat, or you can try and sleep and this time I won't leave, in that case lay down."

Contemplating my options I lay down and close my eyes.

Lillia's PoV

With the Princess sleeping I gently climb off her bed and pad over to her bookcase, taking one of the books to read as she sleeps. I start reading and before I know it the sun is peeping through the Princess's curtains. Checking her clock I see that it's seven o'clock so I slip off the bed and head to her closet.

Knowing she has the whole day to do whatever she wants I pick out a pair of grey skinny jeans and a tight, white, off the shoulder top with white trainers. And then heading to the back of the closet for myself I pick a pleated, shin length, red skirt with black tights, a cropped white sweater and white converse. After dressing I braid my hair and gently shake the Princess to wake her. She stirs slightly before shifting to face the other way. Sighing I say with a smirk "You know what I'll just go and fetch that jug of water..." Within ten seconds the Princess is out of bed and getting dressed. Smirking even more I pick up the book we're reading together and start reading as she gets ready.

Within half an hour we're both ready and heading to get breakfast.

We take our places at the dining table that today is piled high with pancakes and waffles, with bowls and jugs of sauces and fruits dotted around. As we eat in silence the King and Queen arrive both dressed in jeans and t-shirts. My confusion must have shown on my face because the Queen laughs before saying "Even royals need a day off my dear."

Then addressing the Princess, "So dear, since you have a day off, what are you going to do? Horseriding?" A shake of the head. "Hmm...how about some sport? Or a walk through the gardens?" More shakes of the head.

"oh. You're going there are you?" A nod. "Are you taking Lillia?" A nod. Confused I pipe up "Where are we going?"

The Queen turns to me and says with a sad look on her face "You're going to the royal graveyard dear. Genevieve's visiting her younger sister who unfortunately died a few years ago. They were close."

Then I remember when the whole castle went into mourning, a couple of years ago, they covered all the paintings and everyone had to wear black for a week, no parties or even meetings, and there is always meetings.

Nodding I can't think of anything to say other than "Okay."

So after breakfast we climb into a black car and are driven to the royal graveyard.

Once there the Princess collects a bouquet of roses and walks down a few twisty paths and finally she stops in front of a grave that has a simple engraving of "Rose Jewel. Loving Sister and daughter."

Princess Genevieve places the roses by the grave and just sits down. I sit too, our knees touching as I start to talk "Hi Rose. My name is Lillia, I'm your sisters personal maid. I didn't know her very well when you were here but I know her now and she's wonderful. She loves you and I know she wishes you were here."

After a few more minutes of sitting there in silence I say to the Princess "Can I take a rose?" She nods looking confused but I just lead us to the back of the graveyard to where they bury the staff who die. Finding my mothers stone I gently place the rose before it saying "Hey Mum. I'm sorry it's not a chrysanthemum, but I couldn't find any. I'm sure you understand. I'm Princess Genevieve's personal maid now. Just like you said I'd be. I love you mum." Then I turn to the Princess and nod before we walk out in silence and climb back into the car.

Back at the palace we simply wander around the corridors for a few hours before it's time for dinner.

At dinner I stand against the wall behind the Princess's chair as she eats. Today at dinner there's a guest in the form of a Duke of somewhere or other who is way too pushy with the Princess to get her to talk. He keeps trying to make her talk and trying to get her to slip up and talk or trying to make her laugh. The more he does it the more I feel the same anger I felt towards Miles building up towards this Duke. But I can't slap this Duke for talking so I reign it in, pushing it down. Eventually the Princess stands and excuses herself, nodding to her parents, meaning goodnight. And we leave, finally.

Tucking the Princess into her bed I say softly "I'll stay awake again tonight." And she simply closes her eyes as a way of reply.

After finishing two books my eyes slowly start to droop but I refuse to fall asleep so I move to the window seat and start looking at all the constellations I can spot in the small patch of night sky that I can see.

I startle awake, seeming to have drifted off, to hear a muffled scream coming from the Princess. Running to her side I shake her violently to wake her up, then I say with worry lacing my voice "Princess! Wake up! It's just a bad dream! You need to wake up!" Her eyes snap open, her breathing heavy and her arms grip mine tightly as I say more calmly "I'm here your highness. I haven't gone anywhere. You're safe. You just need to breathe."

Eventually she breathes normally but stays sat up, so I take our book and start reading quietly to her. Half an hour later she's fast asleep again with her hand still gripping mine. As the morning light begins to stream through the curtains for my second night of having little to no sleepc, I get up and find us both clothes from the Princess's closet. Today I'm dressed in a fifties style jive dress that's black with red spots. I wear a pair of flat red ballet pumps and black tights too. For the Princess I choose a simple turquoise shin length dress and matching block heels. After breakfast we spend the day in her etiquette lessons which are extremely boring. We spent a whole hour and a half on how to hold a fork properly. A fork.

Then after dinner at which that slimy, pushy Duke was present, still trying to push the Princess to speak to him or make any kind of sound, we finally made it back to the Princess's chambers and after changing into pyjamas, the Princess collapses on the bed and falls asleep almost instantly. Smiling to myself I pick up my third book and carry on reading.

At around two in the morning I'm still awake and I suddenly feel the Princess's hands flailing and I look over to see her covered in sweat and shaking violently. Instantly I jump up and shake her again, desperately trying to wake her up. She snaps up into a sitting position and stares at me intensely, her eyes full of fear. Softly I say "Why don't you take a shower? Cool down a little bit."

She doesn't reply, she just gets up and walks into the bathroom. A few seconds later I hear the shower running and I get another set of pyjamas. She re-emerges and I hand her the clothes. After dressing we both sit cross legged on her bed, our knees touching and our eyes looking anywhere but at each other.

Genevieve's PoV

After the third night of having the same nightmare I sit across from Lillia, our knees touching both of us looking at anywhere but each other.

All of a sudden the silence is too much to bear and so I start talking, "I'm dreaming that Miles breaks into my room and that he comes and he scratches all down my face and my body too. Then he starts strangling me and...and pulling on my hair and stuff." Tears stream down my face and then I'm being enveloped by Lillia's arms and she's stroking my hair whilst soothingly shushing me. She pulls away before wiping my tears off my face and taking my hand in hers, gently stroking her thumb over mine. She says firmly "Miles is gone. And if he ever comes back I will punch him so hard that he won't get up again. And I'm not going anywhere. I will stay awake every damn night if it means that you feel safe enough to sleep."

Sighing I say "I'm going to have one of my spare rooms converted into a bedroom for you. I decided it at dinner today. So you can sleep but I'll still know you're nearby. How does that sound?"

She stutters "No...I...I couldn't possibly do that. I'm just a maid not a guest or a... a family member having a sleepover."

"Well I insist."

She goes quiet before picking up the book we're reading and handing it to me, "Would you mind reading some to me?"

I nod, giving in to her innocent voice as I start reading.

We end up staying up together all night, reading various books and talking about random things. Like our favourite foods or our favourite types of music. Just anything and everything.

As the sun creeps up into the sky, we both get dressed and I say to Lillia, I figure if I talked last night I might as well keep talking to her, "So at breakfast can you tell my parents about my idea? And also I've decided I'm going to talk. But only ever to you. And you can be my speaker of sorts. If that's ok of course."

She nods enthusiastically, "It'd be my honour, your highness."

"Please!" I say rolling my eyes "Unless we're in public, call me Genevieve."

"Genevieve."

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