Chapter One

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October 2016

Meredith preferred to sleep, but the alarm blasted at seven in the morning. Groaning, she got out of bed. This was the last time that she decided to have an early morning class. It was fine in high school, in college, no. The bathroom was slick, and it took Meredith twice to find a clean enough stall. And then once a clean enough stall was found, Meredith didn't want to stay in there that long.

Going back to her room into her dorm room, she stopped. Written on the whiteboard on her door was a complaint. "Not my job," she said aloud.

Meredith turned on all the lights and grabbed coffee in her room, turning up the music. With a little under two hours until the morning class started, Meredith needed these two hours to fully wake up. The sun cast into her room, but soon enough it would get dark when she woke in the morning. At that point, Meredith wasn't sure if she would be able to get up in the morning.

She was supposed to be a good Resident Assistant by doing well at academics and being a good role model. That was people told her to do anyway. Compared to other RAs, Meredith was amazing Resident Assistant. Compared to other RAs, Meredith was a shit Resident Assistant. It all depended on who.

Looking at her cell phone, Harry texted her. Without enough coffee, she didn't have the energy to respond or even read the texts. Her time was spent trying to perfect her face, hair and clothes, making herself presentable. Meredith never knew when she might see her worst enemy, and she was going to be prepared.

Meredith pulled up a chair and sat down in front of the TV. For her breakfast this morning, to mix well with the coffee in her stomach, she ate mac and cheese from a cup. The milk in her fridge was old and she certainly wasn't paying for someone else to make her breakfast. In her cramped room, there wasn't much storage room, and she sat at the same desk she did her homework. Harry continued to text Meredith, but she had a rule, no speaking until after nine.

"In other news," said the television anchor on her TV, "wedding bells in the future for a prince?" Meredith put the TV on mute, as a picture flashed up of Prince Harry. Whatever the anchor yapped on, Meredith had a hard time caring. It was just more lies. After finishing breakfast, Meredith turned the TV for good.

Staring in the mirror again, Meredith sighed. She was good as she was going to get. Grabbing her backpack, Meredith considered bringing her jacket, but she wasn't a wimp and it wasn't that cold in northern Wisconsin in late October. It was unseasonably warm, but she blamed that on climate change.

As she came down from the second floor, Meredith finally checked her cell hone. Harry had texted Meredith a good hundred times. The last time he did this, Jack had attacked and Meredith was in the hospital. It appeared both times now, she ignored him. Thankfully he hadn't taken to calling her yet, which was good, because Meredith could be sleeping, she would be sleeping.

She didn't take the time to look at the messages, but straight up called him. "Look, Harry, I don't have much time. I'm on my way to class."

In a panicked voice, Harry asked, "Have you gone outside yet?"

"Almost there. Why?" Meredith pushed outside the doors, entering the morning chill. She skidded to a stop after seeing the sight in front of her. "Oh."

"Mere...."

She stared forward. Perhaps she should read more of his texts. In front of Meredith, all staring at her, was at least twenty people, most with cameras and phones. It had been relatively silent up to this point, and Meredith didn't wish to break that silence. With eyes all staring at her, she couldn't just slip back inside. There wasn't a way to go back now. Meredith knew what they wanted, and it was her.

"Mere?" Harry asked.

"I'll call you later." Meredith hung up and shoved the phone into her pocket.

Putting on her sunglasses, Meredith measured her surroundings. Thankfully it was a small campus. The goal was the union and then Swenson. She would have to walk right past the paparazzi and people anyway. They were going to get to close to her, and they were going to follow her. Her days were long gone of doing whatever she wanted. Everyone knew she was Prince Harry's girlfriend now.

Shoulders back, head up, eyes forward, Meredith walked.

With the first step, chaos broke out. Shouts rang out, new and old, male and female, all wanting a piece of her. In the rising sun, cameras began to flash, almost blinding her. Meredith was surrounded. Every step she took, Meredith was almost knocking into someone, almost touching them. She felt something scrape against her backpack, but she kept walking, head up, making her way through the crowd.

Someone, or more like a bunch of people were yelling, nonstop. If it was one or two voices, she might be able to pick out what they were saying. But with so many voices, they all blended together. The normal words were heard: dating, Prince Harry, relationship, girlfriend. All of those might have been true, but Meredith really wished they weren't at this time.

"Good morning," Meredith said, testing the words. Suddenly everything grew quiet, so it was a good sign to her. "How are all of you on this fine morning?"

After a few feet of silence, all the screaming started up again, louder now. Meredith, thankfully tall, looked over the heads of a few paparazzi. The union was close. If Meredith sped up, maybe she would get there faster. But she knew better. Meredith had mentally prepared for this horrible moment.

"Are you dating Prince Harry?"

"Are you two planning a wedding?"

"When can we expect an engagement?"

Five feet, Meredith counted in her head.

"Does he love you? Do you love him?"

"Your head is very large for your shoulders!"

Meredith got through the door and into the union. She was sure they could come in here, but they didn't know that, yet, and Meredith wasn't going to tell them. Sighing, Meredith walked without hesitation, even when all eyes came to stare at her. It was all confidence now. Thankfully, she looked good. Meredith did meet her enemy today.

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