Crazy Fantasy: Part 1-8

My bodyguards give me a nasty look as we left Gen's apartment at around twelve thirty. By the time we get back to the hotel and get settled it was after one, otherwise I'm certain I'd have gotten my current lecture then. At around eight, I was awakened by granddad, a mixture between anger and amusement on his face. He proceeded to speak to me for nearly fifteen minutes, only leaving to give me a chance to get dressed – or so he said. I think he was rather pleased to see that someone was willing to still live a normal life even with the crown looming overhead. Too bad he can't say so. Once I was dressed, I had a quick breakfast and was hustled in to sit with Gran. I'm still ‘sitting' with Gran. In other words, I'm passively absorbing her every word as she passionately insists that I think with the head on my shoulders. The conversation has largely been Gran expressing her disappointment, but is slowly winding down.

"Wills, you have to protect your reputations – both of yours. You are both very attractive young people, and the cameras will be drawn to that. It is a miracle that you weren't discovered at her apartment. In time we will have to feed them stories to keep them happy, but if you are caught this early in a compromising situation; nothing will be able to keep them at bay. You are going to have to exercise more restraint. I don't want any real or interpreted intimacy coming out in the press. Do you agree?"

Hm... Live without Gen in my arms, die to keep her... Live... Die... Live...

Die. Really, it wasn't much of a debate. "When in the public eye we will remain relatively distant, however, we will take advantage of the opportunity to remove ourselves from such a setting and enjoy each other's company. I will assure you that there will be no possibility, even in the slightest, of an illegitimate heir, however we have agreed that when we are alone, the crown will have no affect over our decisions. We will be just like any young couple. The public will be none the wiser."

Gran nods. "In any situation where there is a chance the media or public will see you, you will follow what you have been taught."

Hesitantly, knowing I will regret this, I nod.

"I have been informed that you have been invited to join Genevieve and her family on a vacation at the end of this tour."

"Gen only confirmed that things would work here last night. I would enjoy the opportunity to spend more time with her, though we both agree that it must be kept silent."

Gran nods. "Make the necessary arrangements," she dismisses. As I'm walking to the door she suddenly asks, "How long do you expect this courtship to last?"

"Until we're ready to announce our engagement," I answer bluntly. "When do you plan to abdicate?"

"I won't," Gran smiles, reassuring. "You deserve some time to just be a young couple. I'm not long for this world, Wills, but I hope to hang in long enough to let you have a life. Your father never planned on being king for long, but wanted to let you get settled with whoever you found before you were crowned. I hope you get the chance."

"Knowing Gen, one way or the other, we will. She is a magnificent optimist, finding good in everything. Thank you, but you don't need to worry about us, Gran. We are very happy together," I say as I leave.

Fifteen minutes later, we are all in the limo to the museum. We stop in front of Gen's apartment and she joins us. The bodyguards are in two additional cars leading and trailing.

"Morning, beautiful," I say quietly as she sits beside me, giving her a kiss on the cheek. Very quietly, I whisper, "Relax. She'll like the idea of me having you if you can handle yourself in a ‘difficult' situation."

"It's good to see you too," she says quietly.

"Good morning, Miss Hudson," Gran says.

"Good morning, your majesty," Gen answers quietly, lowering her head. Gran smiles at this act of humility and waves to me to raise her up to ‘our' level. I gently raise her chin to look at me and grin. Kissing her nose lightly, I quietly explain, "You are my equal. Unless propriety demands otherwise, you don't have to treat any of my family any differently than you would if we weren't royalty."

"I'll try. Though I'm afraid, I have to ask, what should I address your grandmother as? How to speak to the Queen when dating her grandson isn't normally taught, even to ‘proper society's daughters over here."

I laugh and hold Gen close to me. "You are amazing."

"A simple Ma'am will suffice," Gran answers, smiling as well. "It's a shame you had to meet while we are touring. When you are in London next you must join me for tea."

"It would be an honor, Ma'am." The humility in her voice is amazing. I'm going to spoil her, she deserves so much more than what I can give her. But I'll remember what Mum told me – it's the little things that make the difference.

"I don't know if I'd be able to part with you that long," I whisper to Gen. She blushes in silent response.

"Wills," Granddad reminds me.

I smile at him and ask, "What are we doing today?"

"We are going to this museum then there is the changing of the guards, and we are having lunch at a detachment here in town, then your grandmother and I are going to the military base in Oromocto, while you go to a celebration in the park. You then have a few hours before your plane leaves," he explains.

"I think I can find something to do during that time," I wrap my arm around Gen's waist, ‘accidentally' pinching the sensitive spot in her side, causing her to jump. As she turns to glare at me, I move to kiss her ‘cheek' lightly, getting her lips instead. This shocks Gen, and she moves to back away, but I hold her close and kiss her again briefly.

Granddad gives me another glare, and I know that if it weren't for the fact that this is our last day here, he'd make a comment right now. We talk quietly for the next several minutes, Gen slowly relaxing around my grandparents. As we pull up in front of the museum, we are greeted by a relatively large crowd cheering madly. Gran and Granddad got out first and the volume increased, and, as I've grown used to, the intensity likely doubled as I get out, but the crowd shocks me as I help Gen out. When they realize who she was, the sound was deafening.

Gen smiles at me uncertainly, and I smile confidently back at her. Looping her arm around mine, she looks at the crowd and waves. Gran moves towards the crowd lining the wall of the museum, so I lead Gen to the other side.

"Welcome to the walk-about," I say in her ear over the crowd.

We shake hands and smile courteously, try to speak with a few people, and are handed flowers and stuffed animals. Gen smiles brilliantly at a little boy who hands her a large bouquet of wild flowers. She stops her actions of greeting everyone and bends down to give the little boy a hug. I smile at her and glance over my shoulder, surprised to see Gran also smiling at us.

Gradually, we make it to the museum doors and Gen again loops her arm through mine and we wave to the crowd as we enter the air conditioned building. Inside we are met by the curator and are lead around the old building. Gen quietly whispers memories she has of the rooms as we go through.

"I can't wait to take you around England," I whisper as she smiles when we enter a room devoted to the Victorian Era.

"I don't know if I'll be able to handle all the castles, it'll be quite wonderful."

"I'd gladly stay in my apartment at St. James with you."

"I thought you weren't going to do anything suggestive," she teases.

I send a loving, mock-hurt gaze that seems to say, "Who me?" Gen tries not to laugh and turns away from me, pretending to be very interested in one of the displays. I loop her arm through mine and continue on with everyone else. Eventually the tour comes to an end and I kiss Gen goodbye for the moment and Jon leads her away.

* * *

I left Wills as his Grandmother led the inspection of the troops and arrived here, the old armories. I haven't been here for years. A courtesy guard with a distinguished look about him greets me as I walk in.

"Good day, Miss Delarier," the stern old fellow says as I walk in.

"Good day," I return with a smile. I would have said Lieutenant or something, but I find it impossible to identify ranks. I just don't know what those bars indicate.

"My apologies, Miss. I am Captain Jacob Taylor of her Majesty's Mounted Guard, here to keep watch of this barracks while the troops are on parade."

"You must be disappointed to not be meeting the Queen," I offer.

"I have met her before, and it is quite possible I'll meet her again. Will you join me for tea?" he offers.

"Thank you," I accept, sitting in an offered chair. I'm glad I have a fairly high tolerance for the damnable infusion of water and leaves, or I'll likely go mad in this English world I'm entering. Actually, as long as it isn't too strong, I kind of enjoy drinking it. It's no apple cider, or even Timmy's coffee, but it'll do.

For the next three quarters of an hour or so, I sit and talk with the officer who has served all over the globe. Eventually Jon informs us that the soldiers are moving again and that the Queen will be joining us shortly. Captain Taylor quickly cleans up our tea and prepares for the royals' arrival.

Elizabeth walks in with all the class her position lends and smiles at me as I curtsy. Once necessary protocol has been observed, Wills comes over to me and Jacob begins to speak to us. While Jacob gives us a tour around the building, Wills holds us at the back, wrapping his arms around me completely, lightly kissing me.

"Do you have any idea how much I have wanted to do that since you stepped into the limo this morning?"

Laughing lightly, I say, "I would expect you've wanted to do a lot more than simply kiss me with how you were acting around your grandparents."

"You were brilliant, you know," Wills voice is quiet and low, sounding incredibly sexy. "And Gran invited you for tea!"

Shaking my head, I admit, "I don't know how I'll do it. Tea with your grandmother! I had a hard enough time shopping with Mary the first time, and that was far from the proper occasion of tea with the Queen, whether or not I'm dating her grandson."

Wills holds me close, giving me strength. "Don't worry; tea with Gran isn't too bad. When I was at Eton we'd have tea once a week."

"I know it won't be that bad, but I know I'll be so nervous. Your crown I can handle, it's the ones the rest of your family have that give me the jitters."

Wills looks at me with confusion. "They are no different than me. One day that will be us you are so nervous about meeting."

"I know," I smile, "Or at least my mind knows, but I guess I still have to convince the rest of me. And you let me past your crown to see you – Wills. I doubt your grandmother will be letting Elizabeth out around me as easily."

Wills smiles and lightly kisses me. "You'll do fine. But let's not worry about that now. It'll be a few months at least before you're in England."

I smile and we move to catch up with the others. We have a simple lunch with Jacob and some of the men who were on parade earlier before a ceremonial signing of a guest book. I had no idea that there were so many pretenses around such a simple act. Wills rolled his eyes at me as we were standing behind his grandparents, waiting to sign ourselves. The fact that there will be such a fuss made over this entry, with Wills' and my names next to each others, is amusing. Things feel so comfortable together.

Prince Phillip hands the pen to Wills and I watch him write a quick note bellow the one signed by both his grandparents. He indicates that I should sign with him – like his grandparents did – as he hands me the pen.

"Thank you for a truly memorable experience. This will be a day to look back on with fondness," I read. I had thought of my own comment that would make the locals happy to read, but I follow Wills' intentions. I guess we can go for a little extra fuss if we're already in.

We bid farewell to Elizabeth and Phillip as they head off to the base and get into our own limo.

"There is still half an hour until you are expected at the park," Steve informs us.

"So where do you two want to go for your break?" Wills asks.

"The limo will look least out of place downtown. We'll go get some coffee," Jon offers. My eyes light up. "Yes, we'll go to Tim Horton's," he promises, then mutters, "I wonder what will make bigger headlines – your signatures or the pair of you showing up with Tim Horton's coffee in hand?"

"Just make sure you get us all double-doubles," I smile. "Then Canada will be happy."

Wills and Steve look confused and Jon laughs. "No, it's not some dirty sex joke. Two creams and two sugar in very strong coffee," he explains. My eyes glaze over with thoughts of the delightful brew.

Wills laughs at me. "So outside of Gen's obvious love of it, which is too much of an endorsement, how do we explain it?"

"Tim Horton's coffee isn't something that needs to be explained," I promise. "It is a part of Canadian culture. You get to see the best and the worst of my country. I want to show you something every day."

"Then I guess we are getting coffee," Wills agrees and the limo heads into downtown. Wills looks over at me and smiles mischievously and whispers, "Though I don't know how much we'll be drinking."

* * *

Gen laughs, but quickly takes me for my word. I must be the luckiest man in the world to have someone like her. She can certainly distract me from reality.

Mmm… if only the pleasure of her arms could be my perpetual reality.

I barely notice the limo stopping or Jon getting out. Gen is kissing along my collar bone – when was the collar loosened to give her access – when Jon returns with four very strong smelling coffees.

Gen's head whips up and her hands release the button she was working on. I guess that's how my collar was loosened.

"Here," Jon offers. "You two drink up. Hopefully it'll keep you alert enough to remember you aren't alone!"

Gen turns a beautiful shade of pink and accepts the cups gingerly. "Doubtful," she promises, setting them down. "They are still too hot."

Somewhere in my foggy brain I know what she means and begin to kiss her again. Gen is holding back this time, and while I am enjoying this, I can feel the blood start to flow upwards again, and begin to think more clearly.

"Your coffee is getting cold," my bodyguard interrupts.

Resolutely, we ignore him. I slide my hand down Gen's back to rest on her very toned ass. I feel Gen's smile as she continues to kiss me and I smile in return, giving her a little squeeze. She retaliates with a quick nip of my lips. I have to admit, it feels good.

I slowly, teasingly, move my hands up her sides, with the intention of finding out just how far she'll let me take this teasing, but before my hands even reach her ribs, she starts to squirm and giggle.

She's ticklish!

Gen can feel me grinning with the realization and stiffens up. I have to play this right, or she won't be the only one squirming. For a moment longer, I leave my hands lightly resting on her sides before moving them away in deference. Putting on my most gentlemanly face, I look into her dazzling eyes and beg forgiveness. "I'm sorry, love. I didn't know you were ticklish."

She looks at me skeptically. "You are learning too fast. I like it."

I laugh and hand her one of the coffees. "I like it, too."

Gen cuddles into my side with a wary look at my free hand.

"Do you think I'd tickle you while we are holding coffee?"

She smiles, "Well, I hope you'd have more sense than that."

The lot of us settle into conversation and drink our coffee until it is time to go to the park. We drive up a less glamorous service road to the middle of the park where the event is being held. Our bodyguards exit and one moves to secure the area while the other stands by the car. The door opens and I wait a few seconds to let my eyes adjust to the light before stepping out, then helping Gen out.

Following the plan to the letter, we follow the path lined with people, stopping to shake hands or for a brief moment's conversation periodically. It's so methodical and rehearsed for me it seems to drag on at the same time as my last day with Gen seems to be flying by.

I am here to break ground for a new seniors' space with benches, horseshoes and lawn bowling being erected, along with an open field for picnics and croquette. It would have been much more appropriate for Grandmother to be doing this, but time is what it is.

Gen dutifully follows just a half step behind me at all times. I wonder if she had learned that before or if Jon told her. At least until I am crowned it is appropriate. Too soon it will be two steps. One day I hope she can walk as my equal.

At that thought I look over at Gen with pride and love. She is strongly independent and will do well to spend time with both my grandparents to learn about their roles as royals. She is so respectful of the traditions and heritage that this family is built on. The duty we have to our people.

Duty. Yes, duty – dutifully, I pretend to listen to another speech. Dutifully, I go through the motions of the ceremony. Dutifully, I leave Gen's side to start a park I will likely never see nor think of again. Truly, I have lost count of the number of parks, buildings and other oddities I have been present for the groundbreaking or opening or anniversary of all in the name of duty.

"It is my honour and duty to be with you today for the breaking of the ground at this new facility to encourage fun, fitness, and friendship for all ages," I declare before pushing the spade into the ground and turning over a chunk of dirt that had already been loosened for me.

In a blur of activity we are finished and shaking hands again while walking back to our waiting ride. I follow Gen in and sigh once we are hidden behind the dark windows. Gen looks at me, concerned. I smile in re-assurance, knowing that I'd been caught drifting into myself during the event.

"So that is how you survive all of these things. Do you always turn off your brain?" she chides with humour in her voice.

"I only disconnect it from reality," I laugh at being caught. "My mind is still working, just not on the task at hand."

"And what were you thinking about today?"

"You," I answer simply. She cocks her brown in curiosity and I elaborate. "I was thinking about how routine today is for me, and how it will no doubt become routine for you. And I noticed how you were always staying that half step behind. I know it can't be something you enjoy, but you still show such respect for the life I live," I ramble.

Gen smiles and runs her soft hand along my face. "I may be French, but I still love my country and her heritage, which includes the monarchy. I have great respect for the traditions of state. I do wish there wasn't such a visible separation of our status, though."

"I don't know how Grandfather has dealt with it all these years. Maybe he'll let you in on the secret. I don't want you to feel belittled by the traditions. I know the aristocracy puts great value in it, though, and we still need to win them over to you – to us," I sigh, finally getting to what has probably been the cause of much of my distraction today. The first polls are due in.

Gen knows what I am alluding to. "How bad?"

"The working class is skeptical, the Scots think it's just a fling, the poor don't really have an opinion yet, and the aristocracy are aghast," Steve summarizes.

"So the overall approval and affect on the monarchy right away is?" she carefully questions. I can feel so much tension in her entire body.

"Ratings are down, but not badly. Wills has moved up substantially as a search query and general international interest is up. You are showing that a person doesn't have to be part of the local aristocracy to attract the interest of royalty. All the hopeless romantics are seeing far away dreams come true in you," he further explains.

Gen nods.

"No one is calling for your head yet, which is better than some expected," Jon adds.

"Not helping," she nearly smiles. "Okay, what do we expect to happen and what can be done to help earn the best reaction?"

That's my girl; I smile and give her a hug. "You keep living your life, and I will slip in the occasional doting reference while acting all bashful when asked directly about you.

"You and your family and friends should do your best to pretend the media doesn't exist."

Gen nods and I prepare myself for the hardest part of this set of instructions.

"You also have to avoid giving the press any reminders of Scott."

* * *

I breathe in sharply, shocked but not all together surprised at the instruction. The story has broken already, but we have to try and keep the reaction to it under control. We have to let our new relationship rule the news, not my old one.

"Wills," I whisper in a broken voice.

"Sh," he comforts, holding me close. "I know. Believe me, I know," his own pain causing his voice to crack. So much pain to be shared and heal together.

We pull up in front of my apartment and Wills explains, "I wanted to give you a chance to change before we go for dinner. I was hoping we could have a date – even if it is only a short one – before I leave."

There is a hint of shyness in his face that makes me smile. "How should I dress?"

"A nice summer dress would look lovely," he explains.

My eyes sparkle as I think of the dress I bought on a trip to New York last year that I haven't had a reason to wear. "I know just the outfit. Do you want to come up while I get ready?"

Wills smiles. "I would be delighted."

I laugh at how corny it sounds in his accent as doors are opened and we are escorted to my apartment. I serve them all water before retiring to my room to quickly prepare for our date.

Our date. I suppose it could be said that we have been on a few already, but we hadn't really branded them as dates. Wills made an effort to call this one, and is even having me dress up for it!

Letting my hair down, I give it a quick brush before grabbing the dress and changing. A quick look in the mirror confirms it still fits – possibly better than it did last year! There are a few kinks in my hair so I pull part of it under control with an antique comb I found at the market. A quick dab of eye shadow and a tinted gloss and I'm ready. My hand is on the door when I realize I forgot two major details. I grab a spritz of the perfume I recently fell in love with and my favourite pair of dancing shoes.

I have to admit – I love the look on a man's face when he likes what he sees. And wills has an adorable, refined look that says "I know I can't, but damn, I want."

I giggle nervously under the three sets of eyes. Okay, first admiring looks are good, but when they keep going…

"Is this alright?" I ask.

"Darling, you look stunning," Wills says as he approaches then wraps his arms around my waist. The height difference has been reduced thanks to my heels, and Wills takes advantage. Rather than going for my lips as I expected, he begins to kiss along my exposed collar bone then up my neck.

"You smell delicious," he whispers. I shiver and a quiet "oh" escapes my lips when he kisses the sensitive spot on my jaw next to my ear. He stands and smiles at me. "Come. We have reservations to keep." Taking my hand and looping it through his arm he leads me back to the elevator then out to the waiting limo. I try to pry details from him, but he won't give up anything. I notice that the limo is heading towards the airport, but well before we get there we turn off into a part of town I'm not familiar with. Much to my surprise, we come to a stop in front of a strip mall. Wills and the guards look slightly surprised as well, but the driver comes to open the door for us and announces that we are at "Viaduct". My eyes bug out, and the location makes sense to me. They had started small and always wanted to stay small, but it is supposed to be one of the best restaurants in the province. I don't know why I'd never eaten here before.

"I was expecting something with a bit more curb appeal," Wills confesses.

"From what I have heard, this will soon be forgotten," I say with a smile and a loving gaze. "You know, I've never eaten here before. It's supposed to be amazing."

Wills looks reassured. "I've been told that as well."

Jon goes in first and we follow a minute later, with Wills' bodyguards coming in last. Our table is in a corner with the guards not far away, separating us from the rest of the patrons.

The décor is simple and elegant. They have kept up to date with their renovations. Thankfully we aren't stuck in a seventy's threw back. Our server appears to be the owner of the restaurant. I guess the reservations weren't easy to come by. I doubt Wills would have revealed who we are if he didn't have to. After leaving us with menus he returns to the kitchen.

I giggle as a thought crosses my mind and Wills looks at me with interest. "Is something funny?"

"No," I say with a smile.

"What is it then?" he seems amused.

"I'm just enjoying the idea of our first date."

Wills smiles. "I supposed we have skipped a few steps, haven't we?"

"I don't mind, but its fun doing the ‘normal' things, too."

"How about a normal date question, then? Would you care to share a bottle of wine?"

"I'd love to."

"White or red?"

"I prefer white or a red without very strong tannins – which sort of defeats the reason behind getting a red."

Wills laughs. "You know what you like at least. Sweet or dry?"

"More sweet."

"How about a Riesling?"

"What do you prefer?" I evade. I don't want to stick him with a wine he can't stand.

"I normally prefer something a bit dryer, but I also prefer white."

"What about a Pinot Gris, then?"

Wills smiles, looks at the wine list and agrees. "I think they have just the wine." Folding the list and setting it aside he asks, "Would the Riesling have been your preference?"

I laugh, "Honestly, I like Gewurztraminer best. You?"

"A plain, boring chardonnay," he confesses. "Fortunately, that means I can normally enjoy the wine being served at the hundreds of functions I go to."

"When I was learning ‘wine appreciation' I was taught my alphabet – ABC; Anything But Chardonnay. They are usually too oaky for my tastes and leave my tongue begging for moisture. The Americans have just killed it, and that's mostly what you get here."

"I'd happily help you re-hydrate," Wills offers.

I laugh at the innuendo and change the subject to food. "Would you like to share an appetizer?"

"Well, I know you don't like caviar; what are you interested in?"

"The sampling platter looks interesting."

Wills reads the description but doesn't look too impressed. "I'm not a big fan of mushrooms."

"Really?" I'm surprised.

"Really," Wills blushes. "I'd find their taste very overpowering and when they aren't cooked enough, leave my tongue begging for moisture."

"I'd happily help you rehydrate."

While we are laughing our server returns to our table to take our drink orders. Wills orders a French wine that I've never heard of before.

"Okay, what strikes your fancy?"

"How about these tomatoes?" he suggests, pointing to the fourth item on the list.

I begin salivating as I read the description. "Those sound delicious." I must have skipped over them before.

We both begin looking at the main courses and mentioning little bits about our opinions on different food and spices. I learn that Wills is a fan of wild game, but we share a loathing for liver. I confess my lack of knowledge when it comes to curry and Wills mentions his interest in Italian cooking. When our waiter returns with the wine, Wills orders the venison tenderloin and I get the duck.

"I have an absolutely stupid question that Harry asked last night," Wills begins once we are alone again. "What is your favourite colour?"

I laugh and answer, "Blue. Yours?"

"The same."

"My turn, then. Favourite season?"

"Autumn. You can do everything then, as long as you can travel, and the colours are stunning."

"I agree. The heat from the summer is gone, too, which makes everything more comfortable."

"Favourite book?"

"That one is hard. My favourite classic is Jane Austen's Persuasion. Fantasy would be some of Terry Brooks' earlier works. My favourite genre is romance, because they are a cheap thrill and I can finish them in a weekend. I enjoy the temporary escape from reality."

"Interesting. Any particular type of romance novels, or will anything do?"

"Historicals," I blush. "If I'm leaving reality behind, I may as well do it right."

Wills laughs, sending pleasant shivers down my spine. It's so rich. "I enjoy reading history – not so much the dry, school textbook history, but more written for general consumption. I particularly enjoy reading about the renaissance. The ideas from that time are fascinating. My light escapes are Terry Pratchett novels."

"I've never been able to get into those. I've tried reading a few, but the timing has never been right for me to really get into them."

"They are good, solid British humour. I guess you need to enjoy that to get into them." Wills looks a bit leery. It could make things hard if our sense of humour doesn't match as well as it seems to so far.

"I've never really gotten into Faulty Towers, but I love Monty Python," I explain. "I think I'd enjoy the Discworld series if I picked it up at the right time. The few times I've had a copy of a book I've have others on the go or school or life has been insane," I explain. "But I've never understood the appeal of Mr. Bean."

Wills laughs. "Neither have I."

"How about music?" I ask.

"I'll listen to a lot of things, but if I'm just sitting around or in the car it tends to be techno."

I scrunch up my nose and Wills laughs. "Not to your taste, I take it?"

"Not in large doses," I confess. "It's great dance music, and alright to have on as background noise when I'm working, but it's not on my top choices of what to listen to. I'm not too much of a fan of the digital sound."

"What is your taste then?" Wills asks with a genuine curiosity that ignores me just bashing his choice in music.

"I'm a country girl by nature," I confess, "but throw in some classic rock and I'm happy, too. I've just started to explore more jazz."

* * *

"I've never really gotten into country, but I have a few artists I could recommend for jazz," I offer. Country isn't all that popular in Britain, so I haven't really given it much of a chance. Most of the stuff I've heard is the really old stuff, but I know the newer music is much different.

"I could recommend a few country artists for you," Gen offers. "Your turn."

"I think I'll take you up on that. I need something to listen to while travelling. Grandmother gets awfully boring," I joke. I really can only listen to so many speeches in a month. "My question… What are your thoughts on travelling?"

Gen smiles widely. "I love it. I grew up seeing the differences in the local cultures, and my parents would take Carly and I on driving trips when we were little. Mom had this way of pointing out the differences from home. As a graduation gift, the Hudson's sent Scott and me, along with Matt and a few others to Europe for the summer." She pauses for a moment with a wistful look before laughing. "We were given a list of specific things we had to do and a very strict itinerary, but weren't part of a tour group. The boys had fun doing their best to break from it. I was determined to take everything in, though. I think Vienna was my favourite, but I really loved it all. There was so much variety. It was quite an experience. I guess Europe is old news for you, though."

"I'm a history major, remember? Europe is right up there on my places to visit list, but, as the Isles are the only part of the Commonwealth, I don't get to travel there as much as I'd like. It is a popular vacation spot, just because it is so close. Unfortunately, I never really get to enjoy places the way you have. The security detail and fanfare get in the way." And for a history buff, I don't get to see that much of what history has left behind, I add mentally. I just get to be a living relic.

"What was your favourite place to visit?" Gen asks.

"Technically, I'm not supposed to have a favourite, but I think you can guess the spot I'm always going to be returning to."

"Besides the obvious, what would you have said last week?"

"My favourite vacations were spent with family – everything from time at Balmoral to our trip to the States with Mum and going skiing in the Alps with Dad. I guess my answer is the same as the where home is – with family."

Gen was preparing to reply when our appetizer arrives. Patiently, she waited while our server approached and left the table, leaving behind a mouth watering broiled tomato dish.

"This looks delicious," Gen raves, setting her napkin in her lap.

Picking up my cutlery, I cut a bite-sized piece off and offer it to Gen, which she happily accepts as I feed it to her. She smiles while she chews and nods, then offers me a bite.

"It doesn't just look delicious," I say.

We continue eating and trading questions and answers of varying levels of seriousness. As we are sharing the final pieces of desert Gen lays the challenge on.

"What is your biggest fear?"

My first thought is of the press and the damage they can do. While it is a constant fear, especially recently, it isn't my greatest fear; perhaps a symptom of my greatest fear. "Hurting someone I love. Whether it's my family, the public, myself, or you. I don't want to let anyone down or cause them to suffer needlessly."

"Yours is much more selfless than mine," Gen confesses. "I'm terrified of loosing another loved one. I don't know if I could survive going through that again."

I place my hand on hers, trying to give her some of my own strength. I know how raw she feels, but I can't imagine the new tear I have placed in her shield and how she now fears because of me.

"I swear to you, Gen, you won't lose me without a fight. You are too important, too special to give up," I accentuate my words with a kiss to the back of her hand. Knowing this is the perfect moment, I reach for the small gift I requested kept hidden on the seat next to me. Presenting Gen with two long stem roses, I explain, "The first one is red, a symbol of my love for you. The second is blue, a colour you can't find naturally in a rose. Its discoloration will share in our loss of perfection. The blue is how I will feel until we are together again."

Gen's eyes glow with love while tears shine on her lashes. "They are beautiful, Wills. Thank you." There is so much emotion and feeling being conveyed in those last couple words. So much trust, love, and gratitude. I think I'm finally starting to understand her gratefulness. Her world was destroyed when she lost Scott. The Hudsons have opened a lot of doors for her, but she had lost the man she was going to share that journey with. I know many doors will be closing and her path will become much narrower now, but I'm hoping that it will be close to what she wants to be doing. I know not having her with me going forward is something I don't want to imagine.

"I love you, Gen," I whisper, running my hand along her cheek.

Leaning her head into my hand Gen closes her eyes and smiles. Opening her eyes, she looks deeply into mine, all her emotions there for me to see. What an array there is. I can see the fear she spoke of before, but it is overpowered by the more positive ones.

"I love you, Wills," she whispers back, expressing the strongest emotion I see in her eyes. We share a final kiss before I help her to her feet and we leave the restaurant. The mood is very sedated as we can no longer avoid thoughts of my departure. I hold Gen close to me. Unlike I expected, and out previous times away from the public eye would suggest, we do not spend our last bit of time together wildly snogging, but simply sit together, memorizing the other's face, scent, and touch. We share a few gentle kisses as the limo pulls into the airport. Our bodyguards leave us alone while the bags are loaded and the final preparations are made.

"Gen," I whisper.

"Sh," she puts a finger to my lips. "This is an ‘until I see you again', nothing more."

"I will be back soon," I promise. "I'll call you as soon as I'm in the hotel in St John's. I will call every night I can – and I'll still do something to contact you on the days I can't."

Gen smiles, though her eyes are filled with a sadness very different from the one that I saw last time we were here. This one is far more heart-wrenching, know I am the case. "I would expect as much!" she tries to joke, before burying her face in my chest and wrapping her arms tightly around my waist. "I'm going to miss being held by you," she whispers. "Hurry back to me," comes a little louder.

I bend down and rest my chin in her hair. "As soon as I can and perhaps a bit earlier. This is not going to be easy."

"We'll make it work," Gen swears, holding me a bit tighter before lifting her chin to look at me. "I love you too much not to."

"It won't seem like long at all, and then we'll be back together. We'll see how well my restraint holds up after so long apart. I expect my love and desire for you will only grow."

I receive a wide grin at this confession before she pulls my head to hers. Just before our lips meet, she whispers, "Here's a little encouragement for your imagination."

There is no holding back in this kiss. Gen presses herself tight against my body and lets go of all restraint. I hadn't realized she was holding back this much before. Yes, this will definitely stimulate my imagination while we are apart.

"Wow," I say as Gen pulls away.

She blushes and whispers "I love you" as I see my bodyguard begin to approach over her shoulder.

"I love you," I whisper back. "I'll call you in a few hours."

Gen nods and tries to smile as a single tear rolls down her cheek. I kiss it away before leading us to the base of the stairs going to the plane. We share a final gentle kiss before I start up the stairs, leaving Gen on the tarmac.

* * *

As Wills disappears into the plane after a final wave from the door Jon leads me back to the limo where we watch the plane take off. I never imagined this would be so hard to do already. It's still so early in our relationship. I never expected there to be so much of a bond.

All too quickly the plane is moving away and taking off, flying out of sight. Jon is kind enough to give me a couple of minutes to stand watching the empty sky before leading me into the limo, reminding me that we need to avoid the paparazzi. We drive in silence back to my apartment.

After putting the roses in some water, I grab a book in an attempt to distract myself while I wait for Wills to call. This is going to be a difficult way to keep a relationship going. Long distance sucks.

While I wait, I think over some of the changes that have happened in the last week. It's hard to believe it has only been a week and already I can't imagine life without him. At the same time, I am going to be changing so much, most notable, my public relationship with Scott. I am going to go to his grave one last time. I'll go early in the morning in a couple of days, and will hopefully be able to avoid any photographers. It has all happened so fast. I glance up at Jon, my permanent reminder that the past week wasn't just in my imagination – as if the paparazzi won't be enough. He seems like a good fit, and we should be able to get along. He has already started to help me with my accent, which will be so important to have right by the end of the summer.

England. We only spend a week there when we were touring, but all my memories of the Isles are filled with memories of Scott. We had so much fun in England.

Oh, how my heart aches for both men. I am still raw from loosing Scott. My heart isn't bleeding like it was, but he wound is still healing. And now, while it is speeding the healing from Scott, my heart – and my body more than I ever recall happening before – are calling for Wills. Despite our game of questions tonight there is still so much I don't know about him or the life he leads. I know I had to learn a lot about a different life when Scott and I started dating but there is a lot more to the royal life than there is to my current one.

Jon has already told me that I will be receiving additional tutelage in the coming months. Hopefully my new instructor will understand that I'm going to be spending my days with undisciplined rug rats on horseback. Depending on the kids I may be ready for a beer by lunch, never mind the evenings. Acting refined and polished for pretend on a nightly basis is going to be challenging.

Where is life going to go from here? What is going to come of me? Will William's people ever accept this French girl from the colonies? Will his family? His friends?

I know I was never able to win over all of Scott's friends. There were some that were too stuck in their money to deal with someone not born to wealth in any role but as providing a service. What does life have in store for me? Whatever it is, I know it won't be easy.

But I'm pretty sure it will be worth it.

Time passes and I'm surprised when the phone rings. It's still too early to be Wills. I laugh as I check the Caller ID and see Laura's name.

"Hey there," I answer. "Taking a break from packing?"

"I've been done for a while now. Everything is in storage until the fall with a friend. Not that I have much besides my books," she answers. "You're sounding pretty good. Did you survive your goodbye?"

"I'm doing alright. Thanks for thinking about me. Have you been tracking my relationship in the press?"

Laura laughs. "Not just the press. Message boards have been so busy! Some of the comments have been very entertaining!"

I can only imagine. "Do you ladies like me at least?"

"Oh, we're all insanely jealous. Some hate you just because you are with him. A lot are really curious about you. There have been some really funny assumptions about you. Some pretty accurate ones too. It's been so hard to not make any comments, but I haven't posted anything since you hooked up. I really do need to find a new obsession."

I laugh. "There's always Harry. I do appreciate you keeping tabs on the rumour mill for me. Have they picked up on Jon?"

"He's old news. Cute, though. Is he single?"

"Laura!" I laugh at her. While Wills may be her long term obsession, if a guy has a good build, she's interested. "What is the speculation?"

"They can't find much about him. He's still quite an enigma, but most figure he's single. Why would they send him across the ocean if he wasn't? Have you learned much about him?"

"I'm slowly getting to know him. He keeps to himself a lot. Anything interesting I should know about?"

"I don't know if they've told you or not but the first polls are being released. The royals are keeping theirs pretty quiet, which is normal. Perez is reporting that the Americans like you, but his survey was pretty rough in its options. The British news papers seem tentatively positive. Scott is a source of concern; otherwise they are just pretty curious about you."

"That's pretty much what I've heard. I've already started to be coached to keep the public happy. I understand it, but that doesn't mean I'm happy about all of it."

Laura caught my meaning. "They want you to play down Scott, don't they?"

"Just avoid the subject entirely, actually. Which is a bit easier."

"Well that's good. Don't let them make you do anything that goes against your character, okay? We both know that they have messed up badly in the past with their idea of what the public wants."

"I know," I say, and yet my heart is screaming that I'm already doing that.

"Don't stop visiting his grave until you are ready," Laura reads my mind.

"You are too intuitive for your own good," I try to laugh it off.

"Seriously? They actually asked you to stop?"

"Not in so many words, but basically. I'm supposed to avoid reminding the public."

"Going on Sundays after church should be fine, then, if not almost expected. Don't let them change you. Don't become their puppet."

"Thank you. That does help."

"Oh, good. Maybe I will have to stay on those forums. That's where I get half this stuff," she confesses. "How have you been handling the photographers?"

"Generally they aren't as in your face as you see on TV, so they aren't interrupting me much. I haven't been doing much on my own yet, either. We'll see how things go in the next few weeks. I hope we are able to keep them off the Hudson's property at least. I don't want photos from the riding camp being published. That isn't fair to any of you or the kids."

"Can they publish those?"

"Well, if they are credited, Mary and Jim can definitely go after the photographer for trespassing. I'm not sure what other options we have yet. But if the photo exists, you know they will try and publish it. Besides, it would be nice to not have to worry too much about what I look like. Poor Jon is learning to watch out for my hair and make-up being out of place in addition to anyone out to get me. I don't think he ever intended to become a stylist." I glance at the clock and am immensely grateful that Laura called. Time has gone by much faster thanks to her. "I hate to do this, but Wills is supposed to call once he gets to his hotel."

"And that time is drawing near. I'll let you go, and I'll keep on top of the news for you. Fresh polls should be coming in tomorrow, after news of your dinner tonight has had time to break."

"What is known about it?"

"You were photographed going in and coming out two hours later. The owner would only comment saying ‘the prince has exceptional taste'. Take it as you may."

"I like that news. What are the forum reactions?"

"It really was only just posted before I called. I haven't had a chance to read replies yet. I expect they should be positive. You got to spend some ‘normal person' time together. When do you get to see him next?"

"At the end of August," I say without missing a beat. No one can know he's coming camping with us. "I'm going to England to be with him."

"I don't know how you can do that – wait three months to see him again," Laura sympathizes.

"It isn't going to be easy. At least we can talk. Speaking of which, I should get going."

"Of course! Sorry. I'll talk to you later!" We say our final goodbyes and I set the phone down.

"You know I'll tell you everything St James tells me, right?" Jon promises.

I smile. "St James' first priority is the royal family. I am a secondary concern and you and I both know it. Laura is an admin on a major fan site for Wills. She's a good source of information."

Jon laughs. "You are friends with one of those women?"

"With Laura, if you're hot and in the public eye, she's got info on you. Wills just happens to be one of the first to catch her eye. Back in the day he was competing with JTT for top spot. JTT faded off the map, but there is certain longevity of popularity when you are a royal."

Jon nods in understanding. "As long as you can trust her."

"She's trustworthy. She has been silently observing for the last week. I don't know how much longer she'll stay on the site, but for now she's a good source of information. She enjoys the silliness of it, but this has brought it pretty close to home for her. It isn't silly any more; it's personal, which won't be as much fun."

Jon nods. "I will act as your advocate with St James. I'm here to protect you from everything."

"I know, Jon," I smile. "And I am grateful for it. I just know well enough to watch out for myself, too."

"You've listened to Fergie's stories," he infers.

"And Diana's. I know I need to look after myself, because the family is their first priority. I'm disposable."

Jon looks at me with a new sense of understanding. He knows I really do understand the game. I will be the one they'll try to put the blame on if anything happens. Please, don't let anything happen.

We sit in silence for a moment when the phone rings again. This time it is Wills. Jon excuses himself and heads into his room.

"Did you have a good flight?" I ask.

"It was lonely," he answers. "I missed you. It really does feel weird, knowing I am in Canada but that I can't be with you."

I sigh in agreement. This Canadian tour is not going to be easy to sit at the sidelines for. Knowing he is in my country.

"We really should try to not dwell on that. It's hard enough not being near you. What is your room like?"

"It isn't bad. Much simpler than the one in Fredericton, but we are only staying here a few days. Honestly, hotel rooms have all started to blend together over the years and I don't know if I've stayed in the same one or not anymore. Let's talk about something completely unrelated to my travels. What are you going to be doing tomorrow?"

"I am playing catch-up. I've got some paperwork that needs to be finished for the cam, and I'm pretty sure I have two mothers who will want to hear all about our date tonight. I'm going to spend a few hours at the centre as well. You?"

"Let me find my schedule," I can hear him ruffling through some papers. "I've got a state breakfast, naming ceremony, charity lunch, ground breaking ceremony, and a formal dinner."

"Busy day," I observe.

"Yours sounds far more interesting."

"I'll trade you. I've been putting off this paperwork for quite some time."

Wills laughs. "I just made a good excuse to continue delaying?"

"A very good one, I might add. Oh! I almost forgot, Laura gets home from university tomorrow. I'm guessing there will be a good bonfire going for that."

"That sounds like way more fun than my dinner."

"Food will probably be better at yours. And you won't have to worry about what you are drinking."

"I find opaque cups work well for that. And disguising the liquor in a juice pack. Then it just looks like you are mixing a punch. What is your drink of choice?"

"Right now I'm thinking beer, which doesn't do warm or open for a long time very well. However, it wouldn't be hard to head into the kitchen to top up a dark cup. I'm glad I've got you to guide me through this."

"Just because we are in the spotlight doesn't mean we can't unwind like everyone else. Laura… was she the one with the crush on me?"

"Crush would be an understatement," I say with a smile. "More like obsession, really. But she's like that with most famous men. You're just that little bit more special being royal and all. She is coming home from McGill on a full scholarship in Business. Boys have always been a way for her to distract herself from boredom. School was just too easy for her. She's brilliant and gorgeous, if a bit flighty. The total opposite of Krissie, her best friend."

"Have I heard of Krissie before? The name seems familiar."

"She and Jess, who you met again at the Landing, were the ones that dragged me to the airport."

"Okay. So we have Laura, Jess and Krissie that are your childhood friends and Matt is a friend through Scott. How many others are there?"

I laugh. "Well, Jason, the twins, both Kelly's and Kathy from my parents' neighborhood will all be putting in some time at the riding camp. A few of Scott's friends have signed up for a week or two as well. Jess, Matt and Laura are going to be the only ones there all the time, though. They don't need to worry about getting money together for school in the fall. I'll tell you more about the others once camp starts so you'll have more context."


"What about your friends? Do you have lifelong buddies that were handpicked for you? Friends from Eton or university?"

Wills laughs. "There are a few that were handpicked, but we generally avoid each other out of principle. I've got a group of chaps from Eton that I party with, but they aren't the sort that understand why I spent a quarter of my gap year with Raleigh in Chile. But then, there aren't too many chaps from Eton in general who understand why I went. My closest friends tend to be family who understand this life better. Zara is a pretty good mate. She and Peter taught me a lot when I was in my teens. I'm pretty close with my flat mates, too, I guess."

It doesn't sound like he has too many people he is really close to. I guess that is why Jon was asking if I've gotten him to open up.

"Tell me about your days at Eton. It sounds like you had a lot of fun."

Wills laughs. "It was a lot of fun. School itself definitely wasn't and still isn't my forte, but I get through it. We had a lot of other things we'd do, and the sports were always good."

We trade stories about our high school days until the clock happens to catch my eye.

"Time flies when I'm talking with you," I sigh.

I can hear Wills looking for a clock before he sighs as well. "That it does. Will you be out late tomorrow night?"

I cringe, knowing what my answer will mean. "For the first time in eight months I actually feel like I will enjoy myself at one of these. It probably will be a late night."

"I was hoping you would say that. I want you to enjoy yourself. Have fun tomorrow. Do you have some free time in the late afternoon? I've got about an hour free to prepare for dinner. The time is more blocked off for Gran than me."

"Hm," I ponder, trying to keep my voice light and joking to hide the excitement that I'll get to talk to him tomorrow. "I think I can squeeze you in. About what time can I expect your call?"

"I should be back here by 5, local time. It's currently twelve."

"A half hour ahead. Newfoundlanders just have to be different. I'll be expecting that call. I love you."

"I love you. I'll talk to you tomorrow."

After saying our mushy goodbyes I hang up and start turning down the apartment for the night. While closing the blinds I notice someone sitting on a balcony across the street with a camera. Bloody paparazzi. Wonder what access to that balcony cost? I finish closing the curtains and sigh. They won't be opened again until the glass has been properly tinted. I wonder if that's something Jon knows much about.

Welcome to the life of the rich and famous, Genevieve.

* * *