A/N: An update in a LONG time. Sorry about the delay. School, loss of data and drama.
Harry stayed at my room comforting me for the entire day. Assuring me that everything's going to be fine. But I have the feeling of something erroneous is approaching slowly. Charles isn't giving off any positive energy either. Though I don't understand. Him and Gia's feud has ceased momentarily because of Father's condition.
I notice those glares he has been giving Harry. I am unfamiliar with the kind of emotion that came with those glares. But can it possibly be jealousy? Harry and I are just friends! The same goes for Charles and I. Maybe I'm thinking too much on the subject. I mean, why would Charles of all people be jealous of Harry comforting me?
Looking over to my desk, I see Harry replying to a letter his family has written for him. I wonder if he feels the longing to reunite with them once again. They are all still alive and healthy. At least Harry is blissful with that bit of information. If the urge to go embrace my mother ever comes up…it would be and impossible dream now. She's gone. Lady Claire as the eye-witness.
People think I mustn't be pensive about my mother's death, for many other's have also suffered the same thing. Many were children who watched their mothers slip into eternal darkness. I can picture the little child, holding onto their father, asking "Where is Mother?" while not realizing she is gone from this world.
But the sadness of knowing something could have been done or planned to prevent such a tragic death to occur fills me with fury. Leaving me thinking I am a useless Princess. I cannot do anything right. I have been a failure to my mother and father. They both discussed my flaws before. Never leaving out one imperfection. Father gives the impression to the public that he only cares for politics.
In truth, he is a loving father and husband. Father loved Mother so much. It's devastating to him. Devastating for me, too. Anyone who knew her would wish this tragedy never happened. Anyone who knew her as a person. Not as a Monarch. Everyone, Countess Skeffington, Gia, Mickey, Harry, everyone says I should not feel like this is my fault. I should not burden myself with such a thought.
Harry puts down his quill, as a signal that he is finished. He turns around and smiles towards me. I smile back gently. He walks over and sits by me. I guess even he can tell I am still hurting. Right now everyone can read me like an open book.
"Stephanie," He begins, "Stephanie, please cheer up. Melancholy is like a disease. When one friend feels sad, another is weeps with them, sharing the sorrow."
I know he's right, but I still cannot bring myself to feel much of any genuine merriment.
"I appreciate your efforts, Harry, truly I do. But there are times when I just need to let out my sadness. We all have those times. Don't we, Harry?"
"Yes, I suppose so." He agrees.
What he said next surprised me somewhat.
"Would you like me to get Charles to talk to you?"
I gave him a startled look, "What?"
"The two of you seem like really close friends…I thought maybe since the both of you have spent a lot more time with each other than you and I, it's only fitting he talks to you."
"I don't know what to say…he seems angry at you though. Have you not noticed the glares?" That is something I've been wondering for a while. Has he? Was Harry just acting princely because of his role, or was he really that oblivious to everything?
"Oh yes, I've noticed." Harry chuckled, "I don't know what I've done to make him mad though."
"You're not the only one."
"So should I get him here?"
I went into my thoughts again. Did I? Even though Harry was good company and comforted me, I can't deny that I felt like someone's been missing from around me all day. I guess there's no harm in that.
"Yes please, Charles."
He gave me a bow like a gentlemen and left, closing the door silently behind him.
I just sat and waited.
End Stephanie's POV
"Countess Lancaster!" Harry called, jogging quickly.
The aging woman turned around sharply, replying in a harsh voice, "Yes?"
"Good evening, Countess Lancaster." Harry greeted.
"Oh! Your Highness!" Lancaster immediately soften her voice and dropped to a curtsy, "I beg your pardon, Your Highness, I had no idea it was you!"
"No worries. Have you seen the scholar Charles?"
Lancaster wrinkled her nose that the mention of his name, "That scum? He said he'd be in the courtyard…bumped into me on the way too."
Harry didn't hear the last part for he had already taken off to find Charles.
"But wait! Your Highness, why would you need him!" Lancaster called after him but he had already run too far to hear those words.
In the courtyard, Charles leaned against a tree, reading. The young man was only half concentrating on his book. His thoughts were on Stephanie. It pained him to see her so devastated but he just didn't want to see that Prince. He remembered that time when the news of Queen Pamela's death reached Stephanie's ears (Ok, eyes! Considering it's a letter). He remembers holding her in his arms. He being the one to comfort her. He who was the one to help the Princess' tears stop flowing down her cheeks.
Charles wanted to embrace Stephanie once again. Like that day. He would have just stayed in Vienna if he knew Harry was the one to embrace Stephanie this time. He cares about Stephanie that's true. But as a friend right? Just a friend. So why is he angered and feeling jealous when Harry is by Stephanie. The two are suppose to be together after all. The two rulers have arranged this marriage to help strengthen Tanner's power so the country will not suffer from invasions of other countries.
It's just political reason. Why should he be jealous? What right did he have to be jealous? If Stephanie and Harry were to marry, that's it. Just as Gia had said, there's no way he can win against the Prince. He is just as she said a "Scholar Boy". He was born into this world with no status. Just achieving slightly from working hard. But does that not prove anything? Doesn't that show the world he works for his status, not just born with it?
Charles closed his book and gazed up into the sky.
The scholar winced at that voice which was all too familiar.
"What do you want?"
Harry placed a hand on his chest, panting "Stephanie wishes to talk to you."
"Why?" Charles couldn't control the crudity in his voice, "Doesn't Princess Stephanie already have you to comfort her, Prince Harry?"
The Prince, unfazed by his rudeness, went on "I figured since you and the Princess seem to be good acquaintances, she would be better talking to you."
"I do not care. You are both royalty so why should it matter? Wouldn't you be envious if I even go near Princess Stephanie?"
Harry looked at him confused, "Why would I be envious? The two of you are only friends, like Stephanie and I?"
This time confusion marked Charles' face, "Friends? Aren't the two of you engaged?"
"Oh no! We've decided we're more like siblings or best friends and cannot possibly play a husband and wife role. This arrangement is will officially be annulled by the end of the week. Or when His Majesty, King Daniel, awakens from this terrible disease."
"So the two of you aren't engaged?"
"Do you love each other?" Charles continued.
"As I've said: only as siblings."
"Oh…" Charles realized. He stood up and brushed the dirt from his pants. "I guess I made a bit of a mistake with all those glares then…" He muttered to himself.
"What was that?"
"Nothing! I said nothing." The brunette lied. 'I really have to work on my muttering skills…or just keep my mouth shut.'
Gia and Mickey helped Stephanie get the bed ready. When Harry left they took a while to convince Stephanie to get some rest.
"Any news and we'll be the first to tell you!" Gia promised.
Stephanie nodded, "Thank you, Gia. By the way, how is your mother?" She got into bed, plopping up the pillow.
"She's fine. Thanks for your concern, Steph."
"No problem. I feel so bad your mother barely made it out alive."
"She's well and back with us so you don't have to think this is your fault. It's not."
Mickey lit a candle on the window sill. Then both her and Gia sat down on the bed with Stephanie.
"I don't know why you're blaming yourself for everything. It's not your fault you know." Mickey assured her.
"Mickey's right." Gia added, "Don't take all the blame on yourself. It makes everyone worry."
The ladies heard a soft knock on the door. Gia went to answer it. Quickly regretting her move when she opened the door to see the one person she has been feuding with.
"Scholar boy, what are you doing here?" Gia asked in an annoyed tone.
"I'm here to talk to Stephanie." Charles replied in the same tone of voice.
"Well who says she wants to speak with you?"
"Gia," Stephanie said, "It's unladylike to fight with others. Now let Charles in."
Gia reluctantly stepped aside. Charles smirked with victory in his eyes and sat down on the couch across Stephanie's bed.
"Good evening, Stephanie."
"Good evening, Charles. I am sure you're aware of why I've sent for you?"
"Yes, yes, Prince Harry told me. I understand you are still down?"
"I am sorry your father has fallen ill to such a horrible disease. But I am a scholar, there is nothing I can do when it comes to medicine and treating the sick."
"Yes, I know perfectly well. You need not feel useless. For I have the same feelings about myself also."
"Steph! I keep telling you! You're not useless!" Mickey cried out.
"And for the last time nothing is your fault!" Gia argued on.
"But I still feel like there was something I could have done!" Stephanie countered.
"Stephanie," Charles soothed, "There was nothing any of us could have done."
"Scholar boy is right!"
"Quit calling me "Scholar boy"! It's highly annoying you know! Not only am I no longer a boy, I do not need you insulting my status! How would you like it if I called you "Maid girl"!"
"Oh shut up! I'm so tired of putting up with you!"
"Why don't you shut your big mouth!"
"BOTH OF YOU SHUT UP!"
Charles and Gia instantly froze.
"You'll wake up everyone in the palace with your bickering! Now stop! I need my rest. Everyone's excused for the evening."
Mickey left pulling a resistant Gia with her. Charles closed the door behind him without a second glance.
"King Daniel is awake! The King is awake!" Lady Claire's voice echoed down the long, lonely corridors.
The Royal Family put on an outer layer of clothing, then quickly proceeded to the King's chambers.