Prologue

571 11 1
                                    


"This is preposterous! You can't go public with this!" Edward fumed.

"What do you expect me to do, Dad? Pretend this never happened? Stay married to her?"

"Well, yes."

"Edward!" Edith gasped. "You can't expect him to –"

"Yes," Edward said calmly and nodded his head slowly. "He must. You have to work this out with Deborah and do nothing about –"

"I'm not going to –"

"You are the Defender of the Faith," Edward spoke over his son. "A faith which does not recognise divorce. You are also the King. You are held to a higher standard than everyone else. If you divorce her that will be the biggest scandal this institution has ever been through. The people will demand an answer and if you refuse until you find this child the people will hate you. If you find the child and then tell everyone it will be another scandal. A scandal that, with your cousin in jail, this institution will not recover from. First Mummy dying, then me crashing out in a riding accident, then you possibly having to step down to keep the institution barely afloat..."

"Well, I suppose it's a good job you're not the head of this institution anymore," the King said. "The divorce papers will go through in the morning and I will find Florence and bring her here and you will have to like it."

"Because I'm this child's grandfather?"

"I'd hoped that would be enough, but will order your cooperation if that's what it takes." He stood up and walked towards the door. When he had it open he turned back into the room. "After losing Cammie I thought you of all people would understand."

He left the room and hurried down the corridors to get out of the palace. The staff who were going about their jobs normally greeted him, but this time didn't. None of them could put their finger on it, but they knew there was something very, very wrong with their King. They knew it was possibly the most serious thing he'd ever been through when they saw his mother following him. But they didn't ask questions and they didn't speak of it.

Edith caught up with her son when he got to his car and got in as well. She was glad to see that it was his best friend Zander driving. He wouldn't tell anyone what he heard, she knew that with absolute certainty.

"Don't make excuses for him, Mummy."

Zander began to drive.

"Actually, I'm going to tell you to ignore him. You have to find her; you won't forgive yourself if you don't. But do it quietly, prepare for the media circus and fall out before you announce her existence. There will be a lot to prepare her for. There is no precedent for this. You're going to have to make this up as you go along and a lot of it will depend on her and her... and how well she takes the news. Some kids in care, especially those who have been there for a long time..."

"She could have been adopted again."

"And if she's very happy where she is?"

"I don't know, Mummy. I don't know. I don't even know how to go about making the enquiries without telling the whole truth and without lying."

"Zander has made inquiries before. Start local to where Zoe and Mike lived and work from there."

"It's likely she would have been in care for a few days at least if relatives took her to get the paper work sorted and a room and stuff," Zander said. "I could put an email together with some information, no names and send it to social services."

"No, no I can do that," the King said.

"What have you told the family?" Edith asked.

"I haven't told the family anything. I was going to tell George whilst there, but..."

Finding CarolineWhere stories live. Discover now