AN: Alright, welcome back to my crazy world. I own a valentine card with Edward on it. Does this mean I own Edward? No, Meyer calms all. I'm just playing with them a bit. As always much thanks go out to state of delusion for making this readable. Okay have fun.
I am the Walrus
Sitting in an English garden waiting for the sun.
If the sun don't come, you'll get a tan
From standing in the rain.
"Alice!" I called into the sitting room. "I can't find my red and dhahabu earrings, the ones with the Spanish Roses embossed on them. Do wewe know where they are?"
"They're in the black velvet case under the porcelain, tiled decanter." Alice's voice drifted back into the bedroom.
I rolled my eyes as I crossed the room to the dresser. It seemed like we had something hidden in every corner around here. I'd already torn my dressing meza, jedwali and jewelry boxes apart trying to find this pair of earrings. Of course, they would be hidden under a decanter.
"Thanks, Alice," I called back to her.
I slipped the small, flat discs into my ears and looked at my reflection in the floor length mirror again. My body was swathed in flowing, light green chiffon. The dress was sleeveless but modest, cutting across my chest over my breasts. The chiffon fell to the floor like an upside down flower. A white ribbon tied around my waist added just a touch of color. My hair was piled artistically on juu of my head, with a few brown rivulets falling down around my face. A sliver choker completed the look. Simple, just the way I liked it.
About once every other week au so the Royal Family held a court, and today was Court. We welcomed new comers, did public business, and announced important happenings, things like that. Everyone at the court would be present, the Council and their families, foreign dignitaries, and any artists we had staying at the Palace. It was a big bother, if wewe asked me.
Anyway, it was tradition for the princess to wear green to Court, thus the dress I was currently wearing. Alice designed this dress and I loved it. It was light and flowing, not stuffy and stiff. I smoothed it one last time and walked out the bedroom and into the sitting room.
Alice was wearing a deep purple, knee length dress with white and silver trim. Her hair was smoothed from her normal spikey do. It looked much classier this way. I knew she hated it like that, but her father had made her a deal. She could wear her unconventional spikey hair if she flattened it for Court.
"Thanks for the dress, Alice," I told her.
"You're welcome." She looked up from the sketch pad she was working in and appraised me and the dress. "I thought that color would look good on you, brings out your skin tone."
"Yeah, white," I grumbled.
"Cream." Alice smirked. She was right, I guess, the dress did bring out my "cream" tone.
I sighed. "When are Rose and Jasper getting back?"
Jasper had gone to change uniforms and Rosalie had disappeared, although I didn't know where to.
"Jasper should be back any minute." Alice dropped the pad on a side meza, jedwali and flopped onto the couch. "Rose will meet us at the kiti cha enzi Room."
"What's she doing?" I sat in my inayopendelewa chair inayofuata to the fireplace. It was early October, high up in the Alps, which meant it was chilly even during the day, and this dress was many things, but insulated wasn't one of them.
"Her parents wanted to talk to her for some reason. She wasn't very happy about leaving, I can tell you." Alice grimaced. "Pissed was zaidi like it."
"Hum." I tried to remember what Rosalie had talked about recently. She didn't usually discuss her family. She got along fine with her father and two younger brothers, but her mother was another deal entirely.
The Hales were one of the oldest families in Edelweiss. They were the governors of a region of the Valley called Lac Arbre Casse. It encompassed the Broken mti Lake, the town of Belleview, and the surrounding countryside. The Hales were high standing members of the High Council, which encompassed all twelve governors, au Lords as their are called, of the Kingdom of Edelweiss. Lately though, the Hale's standing had fallen because of a series of bad business deals. The current Lord Hale, Rosalie's father, Tobias Hale, was trying to rectify his father's failures.
Lady Hale was a piece of work. The daughter of a French aristocrat, Ellen Hale was a uchungu, chungu woman. She hated being here and made no secret about it. She would spread the meanest gossip and shun anyone who didn't match up to her exalted standards. She was vain, condescending, and just a general bitch. Rosalie couldn't stand her. Lady Hale didn't approve of Rose's choice of acquaintances, namely, Alice and me.
Rosalie hadn't mentioned anything new recently, nor did she seem to be worrying about her mother. Nothing that I could remember that would require a meeting with her parents, anyway.
I sighed and shook my head. Rose could take care of herself and would tell us anything important in her own time. In the mean time, I had thirty dakika till I was due at Court and I had a few moments of uninterrupted time with Alice. There was something I'd been meaning to ask her.
"Did wewe ever find that ring wewe were looking for a couple mornings ago?" I asked innocently.
"No." Alice sighed dejectedly. "I've looked all over for it. I can't imagine where it got to."
"Who was it from again?" I asked, hoping to throw her off.
"Oh, no, wewe don't, Bella Swan." Her blue eyes narrowed. "I'm not that easily fooled."
"Come on, Alice." I narrowed my own eyes at her. "I already have it figured out."
"Try to guess then."
I laughed at her annoyed face. She slouched in her kiti, kiti cha and pouted at me. That only made me laugh harder.
"Don't fall out of that chair, Bella. I'd hate for anything to happen to that dress." She smirked.
"Come on, Alice." I gasped for breath. "It's not my fault you're just that obvious."
She finally smiled and laughed with me. "Okay, true."
"So," I began after we caught our breaths. "What's so special about this one ring?"
Alice blushed, her cheeks changing to a light pink shade. "It's a promise ring," she muttered.
I snorted. "You were keeping that a secret for what reason? Everyone that knows wewe and Jasper knows wewe two are together for the long haul. Have wewe looked at the two of wewe in the mirror recently?"
Alice harrumphed. "Jasper wanted to keep it secret because he wasn't sure it was appropriate."
We rolled our eyes at the same time. "It's because wewe both work for me, right?"
"I'll talk to him," I told her. Jasper was being ridiculous. I was actually very happy for both of them. "So, a promise ring, huh?" I grinned.
Alice squealed and started bouncing in her seat. "He alisema he didn't think either of us were really ready to get married, and of course, he's right, but still this is just as good. I really can't wait. I've already started to do some of the planning."
Her words jumbled together, she was talking so fast. "Alice, take a breath," I interrupted. "I get it, your excited. I understand. Congratulations."
Alice smiled blissfully and leaned back into the couch. She looked like the cat that caught the canary. I had to laugh at her contented expression. It was really no surprise Jasper had, in a sense, proposed. I was surprised it had taken so long. I had half expected them to elope. I thought for sure I would wake up one morning and they would tell me they had gotten married over night au something.
I'd be lying if I alisema I wasn't a little jealous of them. Alice and Jasper had a one of those story book romances. They didn't have to talk to be together. They could just look at each other and know what the other needed. They weren't overtly physical in public, their positions demanded discretion, but wewe could still tell that they were deeply in love. They were like two objects that were in orbit around each other. It was hard not to be jealous of them. They had everything I wanted so desperately.
"Wait?" I gasped and shot up right in my chair. "How could wewe have Lost that ring?"
"I didn't mean to!" Alice cringed, her satisfied air disappearing. "I took it off when I was trying to fix that stupid necklace, wewe know the one with the broken clasp. And then, I got sidetracked and didn't think about it again till the inayofuata morning when I went to put it on and couldn't find it. I've looked every where for it. Don't tell Jasper, okay. He doesn't know I Lost it and I'm sure that he spent a lot of money on it."
Alice looked truly distressed. She knew, as well as I did, that Jasper didn't get paid much for protecting me, and he wasn't a member of one of the high standing social families, so he didn't have access to any money of that kind. Whatever he bought the ring with, he had to earn himself.
"What did it look like?" I asked. It could only help to have zaidi people looking for it.
"It's a thin silver band, set with two blue sapphires on either side of a yellow topaz. Blue for my eyes and yellow for my cheery outlook." She giggled at the end.
"Okay, we will tear this room and my bedroom apart when we get back from Court," I told her. Then, putting on my best authoritative and "royal" voice, I said, "I will not rest till we find that ring, Miss Brandon."
Gales of laughter filled the room as Jasper walked in. He was wearing a different uniform than usual. This one was white, with a hunter green trim. It was clean, crisp, and sharp. It was plain to see why Alice had fallen for the sharp dressed Major. The uniform didn't look very comfortable though. It was starched to within an inch of its life, the material was thick and heavy, and the high collar, alama looked like he could barely breath though it.
Jasper bowed to me, and looked at Alice and I like we were crazy, which, depending on who wewe talked to, we were. It really only made us laugh harder.
As much fun as this was though, I really needed to talk to Jasper and Alice before we left. I took a deep breath to calm my breathing down. Placing a stern look on my face, I stood up and walked over to Jasper.
"I understand why, but if wewe ever try to keep a secret that big from me again, I will put wewe on night duty for a week." His eyes were confused and a little alarmed. Taking away his nights also took away most of his free time with Alice, not that I would ever really take that away. I continued to glare though, and his eyes grew zaidi and zaidi alarmed, his mouth opening and closing like a samaki out of water.
"I... I... I don't," he muttered. Alice's tinkling laugh came from the couch.
"Oh, give it up, Jazz. She's just playing you."
I smiled up at Jasper's confused and shocked face. "Congratulations, Jasper. I'm glad to hear you're making an honest woman out of my best friend."
"You told her?" He turned to look at Alice. It wasn't quite a glare, but it wasn't a happy look either.
"She figured it out on her own." She stood and came over to us, wrapping her arms around Jasper's waist. "Really, it was only a matter of time."
Jasper smiled then and pulled Alice into his arms. "I am sorry, Bella. I just didn't think it would be appropriate to announce."
"I understand. I really am trilled though." I stood on my tip toes to hug him, which he gingerly returned. Strictly speaking, we weren't supposed to have any physical contact, unless my life was in danger.
I pulled away and straightened my dress again. "Though, words of advice, wewe might want to tell Rose as soon as wewe can. She won't be happy that I knew before her."
I laughed as we walked out the door.
The kiti cha enzi Room was a large, circular chamber in the middle of the Palace. Its white marble walls were hung with green and white tapestries, most with edelweiss embroidered on them. Columns painted red ran along the walls, one every four feet au so, the tapestries hanging between them. The floor was tiled in green with a large edelweiss in the middle. The far end of the room was raised, like a dais, and on it sat two wooden thrones laden with plush red cushions. A smaller kiti cha enzi sat to the right and slightly back from the other two. A dark burgundy curtain hanging behind them hid the back door and the ukuta from view. A large crystal chandelier hung from the ceiling, casting a yellowish light upon the wide, bright room.
I pulled back the curtain just a tiny bit, so I could look out upon the room. About fifty au sixty people maundered about. The women were dressed in various colors, their hair done up in ornate styles. Most of the men wore dark suits with red au green capes, while a few of the men wore uniforms like Jasper's. Two guards stood kwa the large oak doors at the opposite end of the room.
"Good lord," I muttered to Alice, who stood behind me. "There are at least fifty people here. Oh, crap, the Denalis made it in."
The Denali's were the lords of Red Mountain, way out on the eastern side of the valley. It was a hard journey from their castle, to the Palace. It was set on a rock cliff, high up on a mountain ridge, and the mountain sides there where very steep there. Even with modern transport it could be risky, especially if it had been raining, au worse, snowing. Usually just Lord Denali stayed at the Palace, but it looked like Lady Denali and their three daughters had joined him this time.
The Denalis were rich, stuck up aristocrats who treated those below them as trash. Those of us who were above them weren't treated much better, and thinly veiled contempt was what most of us got. Lord Denali and Phil got along very well, too well for my tastes. The two oldest daughters, Tanya and Irina, were the worst. Their sister, Kate, wasn't so bad.
"They must have come in early for the Fall Ball. Ugh! A week of trying to dodge Slut 1 and Slut 2," Alice hissed. I groaned and nodded.
Jasper finally swept though the opening doors. He marched over to the dais, where a young man in green stood. I watched Jasper speak to the young man for several moments before the boy walked to the juu of the dais and cleared his throat.
"Lords and Ladies," he spoke in a loud, clear voice so everyone in the room would turn and listen. "May I present to you, Princess Bella swan and Miss Alice Brandon."
Alice pulled the curtain back so I could walk out to the applause. I blushed furiously. I had to be announced to the room, but I didn't have to like it. I hated being the center of attention. At least I didn't have to say anything.
Jasper offered me his hand to help me down the stairs, which I accepted. My dress was long and I was afraid of tripping on it. That would be embarrassing. After he helped me, he turned to Alice and did the same for her.
Rose broke away from the group of young woman she had been standing with to jiunge us. "Where have wewe been?" she hissed. "I've had to put up with my mother and then those simpering idiots for almost half an saa now."
"Sorry," I muttered. "Blame those two." I indicated Alice and Jasper. Everyone had turned back to their own conversations and was leaving us alone for the moment. It wouldn't be long though before we would be bombarded again, so I took the chance talk to Rosalie while I had it. "What did your parents want?"
Rosalie's violet eyes flashed and her normally pale face flushed in anger. "My mother wanted to express an interest in my upendo life. She seems to think that Sam Uley would be a good match."
Lady Hale was like Renee, only ten times worse. She didn't seem to care that her daughter had her own feelings, only about a good match and the Hale name.
"Wait," Alice spoke up, "who's Sam Uley?"
"He's one of the brutes from Monaco that came with Mr. Black. She's gotten it into her head that Monaco blood would be a good addition to the line," Rosalie growled.
"Don't let her get to you," I told Rose. "Parents can't arrange marriages anymore. She can't force wewe to do anything."
Rosalie nodded and the moto left her eyes.
We spent the inayofuata ten dakika mingling with everyone in the room. We were trying to avoid the Denalis, but after saying hello to the Brandons and sidestepping to avoid Lady Hale, we stepped right into the sisters.
Tanya, Irina, and Kate were tall, with fair complexions and dark eyes. Kate had dark brown, mid length hair that curled around her ears. Irina was blond; her hair fell to her waist in lose waves. Tanya was a strawberry blond, and acted like she was the Queen of the world.
I glued a fake smile on my face and said, "Hello, Tanya, Irina, Kate. Having a nice morning?"
"Oh, it's not bad." Tanya sneered. "It's not as nice as some, though. I have not really been here in so long, it is not as terrible as I thought it would be."
I suppressed a growl. Tanya thought she was so subtle. She hated it here and we all knew it.
"I spent the summer at a villa in France. It was so wonderful. Irina and I are going back as soon as possible. Father, though, seems to think that we need to spend some time at court and learn the 'ways of politics' as he said," Tanya simpered and faked a laugh.
"How long will wewe be staying at the Palace then?" Alice's smile looked zaidi like a grimace.
"A couple of months at least." Irina glared.
"A mwaka at the most," Tanya added. Irina turned her glare on her sister and Kate looked distantly uncomfortable.
"Enough about us, though." Tanya glanced meaningfully at Irina before turning back to us. "You're new back at court as well. wewe have been in Bern for how long now?"
"Three years," I answered. Tanya was being too polite. I didn't like it.
"Oh, yes, of course." As if she didn't already know how long I'd been gone. "Switzerland is such a beautiful country. I can understand why wewe did not want to leave. Although, desperate measures must be taken, it's completely understandable. Discretion is sometimes the better part of valor."
I gasped. She had not just alisema that. She just insinuated that I got pregnant in Bern. Oh, she had learned the art of subtlety in the last several years since I had seen her. Alice, Rosalie, and Jasper all gasped audibly as well. Jasper even moved to stand in front of me, between myself and Tanya. I held my hand up and stopped him. I was going to have to stand up to Tanya myself, otherwise she would just get worse.
"Yes, well, we can't all spend time in French Villa's owned kwa wealthy young bachelors of questionable legality." I smiled. She was staying with a high end pimp and she knew it.
Tanya blanched, her heavily made-up face going pale. Then her eyes narrowed and lips twisted up into a snarl. "Yes, well, this is not over yet, Princess."
She turned sharply on her heal and walked away, Irina following, but not after turning her glare on us for a second.
"I am so sorry, Your Highness," Kate said, after her sisters were out of earshot. "Tanya was completely out of line. She had no right to accuse wewe of anything."
I held my hand up. "It's alright, Kate. I honestly should have expected that. I've just been away too long. I'm out of practice. It's not your fault."
Kate blushed and murmured, "Again, so sorry, Your Highness." She then left to follow her sisters.
"I knew I liked Kate," Alice whispered.
"I would like her much zaidi if she would leave those sisters of hers," Jasper told her.
"They're siblings, wewe can't blame her," I told them both. "I do think we need to keep an eye on Tanya and Irina though." They readily agreed with me.
The young man in the front, who had announced my arrival, again walked up to the dais and got the halls attention. "Lords and Ladies," he said, "May I present Queen Renee Dwyer and King Philip." The hall erupted in applause as they walked out from behind the curtain. Renee, as was tradition, was wearing a white dress. Like mine, it came down to the floor and was embroidered with tiny, green flowers. Phil wore a dark suit with a deep red cape lined with gold.
Renee and Phil both acknowledged the crowd before Renee went to take a kiti, kiti cha on the kiti cha enzi on the right. That was my cue to jiunge them on the dais. I went to the smaller kiti, kiti cha behind Renee's.
Phil cleared his throat and started, "Good morning, my friends. As many of wewe already know, I'm sure, we have a delegation from Monaco staying with us for a time. It is my honor to introduce to wewe Mr. Billy Black and his son, Lord Jacob Black."
Applause erupted again as the great doors were thrown open. The first thing I noticed, from what I could see, was Billy, being pushed in a wheelchair kwa Sam. Billy's white smile was noticeable across the room. Walking inayofuata to Billy was another young man I didn't recognize. He was tall, very tall; he had to be at least 6' 9", if not more. His hair was jet black and long, falling past his shoulders. He was muscular, even in the red uniform. His dark eyes seemed to twinkle and his smile was blazingly white, like Billy's. That was when it clicked; this must be Billy's son, the Lord Jacob. That had been a surprise. I hadn't known Jacob was a lord. I had to wonder why he was a lord and Billy wasn't.
Jacob continued to grin as he made his way up to the dais to shake Phil's hand. There was no ramp, so Billy had to stay below the dais. I got up to say hello to him. "Billy." I kissed one of his cheeks. "I was hoping to see wewe zaidi often than just at breakfast."
He grinned. "I'm glad to hear I've been missed. I prefer to keep a low profaili though. I think wewe understand." He winked.
"More than wewe realize." I smiled before turning back to the dais. I was going to head back to my seat, but Phil stopped me. "Isabella." I suppressed a scowl. "This is Jacob Black. Jacob, may I introduce wewe to my step-daughter, Isabella."
I offered Lord Black my hand, which he took and bent to press a kiss to the back of it. "Your Highness, it is truly a pleasure to meet you." Jacob grinned at me, his dark eyes sparkling with life and amusement. I found myself smiling back.
"The pleasure is all mine, My Lord," I answered. I was looking mbele to getting to know this man. He seemed a lot like his father, smiling and energetic. He seemed very sweet.
Jacob left the dais to jiunge his father on the floor while I went back to my seat. Phil continued to speak, doing the business of the kingdom with help from Renee. I hadn't been happy when Renee agreed to hand over most of the siku to siku affairs of the Court to Phil three years ago. It was one of the reasons I had left. I told Renee I was zaidi than willing to start helping her with the official duties, but no, she just gave the cookie jar to Phil. I left and didn't look back, until now, anyway.
When I had gotten the call from Renee asking me to come back, I'd thought something was wrong. We'd talked a couple times a mwaka after I left, and she asked me to come back every time. This time was different though, it was almost like she was scared of something. So, I left my comfortable life in Bern, and came nyumbani to find my mother just as fine as she has always been and Phil zaidi in charge than when I'd left. Renee never sounded afraid au scared again and I was stuck for the foreseeable future.
I watched the crowd as Phil worked with Lord Brandon and the leader of one of his hamlets. Alice and Rosalie, who were still standing on the floor, looked about as bored as I was. Tanya I found because of her bright strawberry hair. She was standing in the back with Irina. They were whispering to each other and shooting glares at me. I just couldn't wait to find out what they were planning. The guards standing around the room were still and motionless. Most everyone else was doing there best to look interested and not fall asleep.
The tall, tan man in a dark red uniform caught my eye. Jacob was standing toward the front. I didn't see Billy with him, au any of the other members of the Monaco delegation with him. Jacob rolled his eyes then glanced up to the proceedings on the dais. I grinned at my new common minded friend.
With my hands in my lap, I mimed "talking mouths", I then twirled one finger around my cupped palm like I would around my ear to say "crazy". Jacob's grin grew only bigger, his white teeth flashed, and a couple dimples made an appearance.
Jacob titled his head and placed his hands under it, closing his eyes, so that he looked asleep. He then proceeded to silently fake a snore. I giggled slightly louder than I should have and Phil snapped his head around to glare at me.
"Sorry," I muttered, lowering my head to look at my lap. Through my lashes though, I looked at Jacob. His face was red as he tried not laugh. I couldn't blame him, it was pretty funny. Most everyone else in the room, however, except for a few discrete smirks, looked away with out a sekunde glance. They were used to the Princess uigizaji up in small and subtle ways.
I suppressed another grin then looked up with a zaidi serene, detached face. I was careful not to look at Jacob for the rest of the period though.
Honestly, we where almost done. Phil was finally sitting and being quiet. Renee was now standing, giving her address. She was telling us of the new artists that had been invited to Court. "And lastly, some of wewe may have heard of a hivi karibuni Julliard graduate that has already begun to make waves. I'm very proud to announce that the pianist, Mr. Edward Cullen, will be here within the week. I think wewe will be blown away with his extraordinary talent." With some applause, Renee again took her seat.
Personally, I was ecstatic, a new pianist was coming! The kinanda was soft spot of mine, though I couldn't play to save my life. This young man sounded promising. Graduated from Julliard and was already popular. I couldn't wait.
Phil dismissed the gathering and that was that. He and Renee went to mingle with the crowd like I had done earlier. Normally, I would have slipped out kwa this point but there was someone I wanted to talk to. I slid though the crowd toward the ukuta of dark red uniforms. I found Jacob with Billy, right were I wanted them. "Excuse me, sir," I said, getting their attention. "I don't mean to interrupt."
"By no means, Your Highness." Jacob smiled. "If anything I should be apologizing. I'm afraid I may have gotten wewe in trouble."
I shook my head. "I think you'll find that I would have just found another way to get in trouble without you. I had a swali to ask wewe and your father though?"
"Ask away, My Lady."
"Would wewe be willing to jiunge me for chajio, chakula cha jioni in a few nights?" I asked.
"We would be honored, Your Majesty." Jacob grinned, his face bright like the sun.
"Good. I will send wewe both further details later. Oh, and Jacob?" I asked, pretending to turn away.
"Yes, My Lady."
"Call me, Bella."
AN: Aw, yes Jacob. BLEH Anyways, I had a bad week so do wewe know what would make me feel better? REVIEWS. Yes, please, let me know what wewe think. What I'm doing right (or wrong). Just let me know if feel like it. Edward will being inaonyesha up inayofuata chapter so stay tuned for that. Till inayofuata time.