Chapter 13: Part 1
It was the day of the gala. The Queen had given Elena the day off to get ready. Elena was impeccably nervous and was having a hard time coping with everything that was happening around her. What was she going to say to her fellow staff when they see her sitting down at the table beside Harry instead of in one of their outfits serving other more important guests? What if someone snapped an unwanted photo of the Prince and her? Elena couldn’t help but panic, just as she had be doing for a while.
‘You’ll be fine.’ Harriet said. ‘No one on staff is going to say anything, how about I serve your table if you’re so bloody worried?’
‘I don’t want this to be a hassle for you. Besides, they’re going to see me, it’s not like they’re blind.’ Elena stressed.
‘Well then there is nothing you can do. If you don’t want to be seen by them then I guess the only thing you can do is just not go.’
‘Maybe I won’t’ Elena said, actually strongly considering it.
‘NO.’ Harriet said harshly. ‘You are going to this gala, or remember, you’ll get fired.’ The thought of the Queen bribing her arrived in her head again.
Harriet finished doing Elena’s hair. She had curled her pin straight brown locks and pulled back small sections to showcase her face. Elena had done her own makeup; she just tried to keep it simple: mascara, foundation, blush, eyeshaddow, lipstick.
‘I’m going to have to go soon ya’ no.’ Harriet said. ‘You’re not here to do my job for me tonight so I actually have to go work.’
‘No! Don’t leave, please, I can’t do this alone!’ Elena pleaded.
‘Elena I’- Harriet was interrupted by a knock on the door to her small room. Harriet walked and opened the door.
‘Oh hello Ms. Middleton. I was just leaving.’ Harriet gave Elena a tight lip smile and closed the door behind her.
‘Hey, how are you.’ Elena asked, trying to keep the focus off of her.
‘Great thanks, how are you?’ Drat, Elena thought, she was hoping she wouldn’t ask.
‘Nervous.’ She answered truthfully.
‘Don’t be, I was nervous for my gala with William but you shouldn’t be. It’s all just great fun. So let’s get you in your dress because we have to do down in about 25 minutes!’ Shivers ran down Elena’s spine.
She grabbed the dress from inside her tiny closet and removed it from the dress protector bag. She removed her robe that she was wearing and slipped into her dress. Kate zipped her in and Elena could feel her body fight to breath. Kate removed her robe and stepped into her dress and Elena zipped her in as well. Both girls fixed their curls and put on their heels. Elena thought she was going to be sick, she was too nervous that all her thoughts were running laps in her brain.
‘Ready? I just got a text from Wills and he says he’s ready.’
‘Um-hum’ Elena muttered. ‘Kate, thanks for helping me with everything, I wouldn’t be able to have done this without you.’
‘Oh hun, I had a great time doing this with you, and I’m very excited to do it again soon!’ Kate pulled Elena in for a hug. You could tell she meant every word she said, as her hug was sincere and loving.
Kate opened Elena’s door and both girls walked out. They walked down the stairs to the main floor of Buckingham. Elena walked behind Kate, slowly as to insure that she wouldn’t fall. Half way down the stairs she saw William, who was standing at the bottom of the stairs, looking dashing in a black tuxedo. He had a large grin on his face as he looked at his girlfriend. Kate and Elena reached the bottom of the stairs, but Harry wasn’t there. Elena watched as William greeted Kate with a quick kiss and complements on how ravishing she looked. Elena suddenly herd thumping coming from down the hall. She turned her head to see a tall man running. Elena took a few steps towards him. He saw her and stopped dead in his tracks. A smile appeared on the ginger haired man’s face. He looked down, still smiling, and began walking down the hall. He reached Elena. He had walked quite close to her, almost stepping on the front of her dress.
‘You look enchanting.’ Harry said, looking into Elena’s eyes.
‘You look rather dapper yourself Mr.’ Elena said playfully. Harry pulled her in, hugging her tightly. He rested his chin on her shoulder. Elena pulled away seconds later, which was not what Harry expected. Elena looked at the ground.
‘Are you okay?’ he asked, taking her left hand. Elena continued to look at her sparkling shoes. Harry took his hand and raised her chin.
‘I’m fine.’ She said, lying.
‘No,’ he said, seeing right through her. ‘What’s troubling you?’
‘Just nerves.’ Elena said.
‘Oh Elena, you’ll be fine. I’m here to keep you safe; you have nothing to worry about.’
‘Come on, we should head out now.’ William said, gesturing down the hall. The four of them walked outside and immediately got in cars to take them to another section of the palace.
Harry and Elena sat in the car behind William and Kate which drove rather fast, as if they were in some sort of rush. Elena could see them fast approaching the gala and her heart couldn’t take it. She was overcome with emotion that she just couldn’t handle. She was feeling faint and like she couldn’t breathe.
‘Harry.’ Elena whispered. ‘Harry!’ she called loudly. ‘I CAN’T DO THIS.’
‘Wait what?’ Harry took of his seatbelt and faced Elena directly. ‘What’s wrong?’
‘I can’t go in. I don’t want my picture taken. I don’t want to sit with everyone and sip champagne and fake laugh. I don’t want to have to give out fake, undeserved complements and smile kindly when the person is being passive aggressive. I don’t want my friends to serve me the trillion course meals because I know how heavy those plates are and how long it takes to make just one. And I certainly don’t want to wake up in the morning with my picture in The Sun because I’m not ready to be here at this gala nor am I ready to be seen with you, because truthfully Harry, you know nothing about me other than that I dance, and that I’m good at it.’ Elena stopped to breath. She just unloaded her entire mind on to Harry and she felt like she was going to pass out.
‘Then you don’t have to do any of that. I’ll um- I’ll go in by myself, I’ll get the car to drop you off somewhere where you can just walk in. But the thing is, when I open this door, people will see you, sitting in the car, and not getting out. And they will see us leave, and everything will be utterly suspicious. They’ll know I’m hiding something and they’ll hound me even more. But you know what, Elena, I don’t care. I want you to feel safe and feel comfortable. So we will do whatever it takes.’ Harry smiled, but his eyes look rather sad. ‘I wish that we could just get out of the car, and I could show you off. Just for one night. Show off my super cool friend. But I can’t because I’m me and I’m trouble to people like you.’
Elena could tell that she had upset Harry. She placed her hand on his knee. ‘Harry, I like to think that I am an incredible judge of character, and if I thought that you were trouble, I would not be sitting here, let me tell you that.’ Harry truly smiled and chuckled. ‘You may have been a bit of a trouble maker in the past, but now look at you, you’re the people’s prince, you’re Harry.’
‘But I’m not the Harry that can just walk to the bookstore and pick up a good read, or do anything normal for that matter.’
‘But think of it this way, if you were normal Harry, then you never would have met me.’ Elena chuckled, as did Harry.
‘That is true. Look, Elena, I’m sorry that I’ve done this to you; I didn’t understand that you really didn’t want to do this. You don’t have to come in.’ Harry meant it.
‘Oh thank you Harry. Thank you.’ Elena hugged Harry passionately, but he hug was not returned for a couple of seconds. Harry’s arms didn’t rap around Elena’s body instantly but instead hung by his side, sad and lifeless. He then squeezed her tight and pressed his forehead into her shoulder. As Elena pull away, she stopped and looked at Harry, her face so close to his. She quickly pushed her face to his cheek, and lightly kissed him. ‘Thanks.’ Harry’s lips slightly curled up but his eyes stayed dead, saddened by Elena’s dislike to be see with him.
Harry opened the door to the car and squeezed out, trying to keep as much of the car door closed so that Elena was concealed. The sound of the people roaring outside filled Elena’s ears. Her heart pounded and she suddenly felt like crying. The slam of the door made Elena jump. It went from insanity to calm and serene in seconds. But Elena couldn’t help but think about how she had hurt Harry. She just envisioned Harry’s face as she declined getting out of the car. How truly sad he looked. She thought of how he looked at her when he saw her in her dress.
The car pulled off with Harry outside and Elena in.