Courtney and I accompanied Alexandria to her mother's chambers, all of us arm in arm. I knocked on the door and announced the Princess's entrance, holding the door open so Alexandria could enter.
'My daughter,' the Queen said, bringing Alexandria up from her curtsy and kissing her cheeks. 'I'm am glad you have come, there is something I have to speak to you about before tonight.' Her gaze turned to myself and Courtney who were still curtsying with our heads lowered. 'That will be all thank you,' she said sharply, indicating that we should leave.
The heavy door shut with a thud behind us as we left.
'That will be all thank you,' I said, imitating the Queen's voice. 'No appreciation whatsoever.'
'She might hear you,' Courtney protested, pulling my away from the door. I could tell she wasn't really mad at me because I could see a smile pulling at the corners of her mouth.
'But it's true. I'm sick of you may leave now and that will be all. It's like we don't have names.'
'It's just her way,' Courtney said, linking her arm in mine. 'She's not going to change anytime soon.'
'What a shame.'
'So what are you up to now?'
'I need to get Alex's stuff ready for the ball tonight. I need to get my stuff ready for tonight, I have no idea what I'm going to wear.'
'Good luck with that,' Courtney said, squeezing my hand before walking off in a different direction. 'I've still got chores to do.'
I continued walking along the corridor, heading in the general direction of my room. I was mentally going through every dress in my closet when a hand reached out from the darkness and pulled me into a shady doorway.
'You need to stop doing that,' I whispered.
'You know how much I like us meeting like this,' Lucas said, his arm going around my waist and pulling me against him. 'I've missed you.'
'I've been missing you too. Where have you been?'
'There's been a lot going on below stairs you know. I've had to prepare the guest suite for the Prince and sort out quarters for his servants. It's caused absolute chaos in the servant's quarters.'
'I'm sorry you've been so stressed.'
'It's worth it to be able to see you dance this evening,' Lucas said, reaching up and stroking my hair. 'Even if I can't be the man holding you.'
'You will be one day,' I promised. 'We just have to be patient, that's all.'
I could hear the laughter of people approaching and Lucas pulled me further into the shadow, pressing my firmly against his chest until the sound had died away.
'I have to go,' I said reluctantly. 'I have to get Alexandria sorted for this evening.'
'Can't she do it herself for once,' Lucas protested. 'Surely she can work out how to dress herself.'
'Don't talk about her like that,' I scolded. 'She's my friend.'
'I know, but we never get to spend time alone together. If I'm not working then you have to spend time with her, it's not fair on either of us.'
'Be patient,' I breathed, bringing Lucas's forehead to rest against mine. 'Our time will come.' He kissed me a deep, meaningful kiss that made me burst into flame.
'I love you Ai,' he whispered as he pulled away. 'I'll always love you.'
'I love you too Lucas, with all my heart. But I have to go.' I kissed him one last time, savouring the taste of his lips before hurrying along the corridor, unable to look back at him.