Chapter Fifty-Eight

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Harry packed up the car for the drive down to Edinburgh. It was another stay at Holyrood Palace for him, and another visit at Holyrood Palace for Meredith. It was too early in the morning for Meredith's taste as she watched as the trees of the Highlands fly by. She didn't spend enough time outside for her liking, but she knew the Highlands stayed, welcoming her back.

Falling asleep, Meredith woke up again in Edinburgh. Harry put on the brakes quickly, making her fall forward. "Sorry," he apologized, "city drivers." It wasn't the usual fanfare as they drove down the Royal Mile, coming into Holyrood Palace's back. Hidden behind all the tourist attractions, Harry pulled into the parking space. Bodyguard Bill waited outside, holding the door open so they would rush in.

Meredith knew the proper way to get in and out of palace, when the the tourist desk wasn't open. That meant before the palace opened up for the day or when it closed for the day. Thankfully, Holyrood wasn't open yet. Harry and Meredith rushed into the building while Bill grabbed the bags.

Once inside, Meredith reminded herself how white and clean it was. At least Balmoral had some color with the plaid. The inside of Holyrood was nothing like what the tourists saw of deep red and stone. It was clean and white. It made Meredith nervous that at any moment she could stain something.

When Bill came in with the bags, Meredith gave him a hug. Though he had a warm personality, he wasn't used to the hugging. He claimed it was an English thing, but Meredith knew he secretly liked the touch. He wasn't used to it because of the monarchy, but there were many things Meredith didn't agree with about the monarchy.

"Upstairs?" Bill asked when he was finally released from Meredith's embrace.

"Yes," Harry smiled, and so Bodyguard Bill did what the Prince of Wales told him to do. Meredith was unimpressed. "I think you surprised him."

"Usually I'm too busy with you to even remember he's there," she said. "And most people are. He should get his day to shine too."

"I don't know if he'd like that, Mere. He is a quiet man."

"He's also hilarious."

"Sometimes I want to slap him if he's being too sassy," Bodyguard Bill said, coming downstairs, and Meredith laughed. "What are the plans for today? Shall I pull around the car?"

"It's sunny," Meredith said.

"Were you thinking North Berwick?" Harry asked.

Meredith shook her head. "I'm really not interested in going for another drive. Perhaps we should walk around Edinburgh."

"Ma'am," Bill said, "I don't think that's a smart idea. Someone will easily notice His Royal Highness, and, ma'am, you have gotten more famous since being in the United Kingdom last, if you hadn't noticed."

Meredith rolled her eyes. "We're not the only famous people in Edinburgh, are we? The Fringe Festival is going on."

"That means more paparazzi," Bill said. "I think we should limit everything to driving and staying away from crowds. If there is somewhere that you want to eat, I can arrange a secluded dinner there."

If there was anything she missed about being with a normal person, it was people not telling her what the fuck to do. Harry stepped forward before the tired Meredith bit off Bill's head. "We'll let you know."

Bodyguard Bill bowed and left.

Meredith shook her head. "I could just leave you here. Go out by myself. He can't keep me here."

"Mere, you can come and go as you please."

Sighing, Meredith wasn't as hell about to leave her boyfriend here alone. She didn't even know how he could stand this, but it all in being trained. With only so much time to spend with him, she wasn't just going to leave him here.

Meredith stepped forward, batting her eyelashes.

Harry pursed his lips, already knowing here this was going.

"Come on," Meredith said. "Let's escape. Just you and me, like you did once."

"I got a lot of trouble for that."

"You can blame it on me. What can he do?"

Harry shook his head. "We'll just say it was my idea."

"What if he doesn't believe you?"

"It doesn't matter." Grabbing a hat and sunglasses, Harry took her hand. "I know the best way out of here. You don't mind a walk, do you?" He smiled and ducked under the door. Bill waited in the front, but Harry took the back, rushing into the bushes. "We'll wait until the tourism starts, which is," he checked his watch, "in a few minutes." Excitement filled him. It had been while since he did something like this. "What did you have in mind today?"

"We can do whatever we want," Meredith said, "but Mary's Milk Bar and Bread Meats Bread at some point."

Harry kissed her.

Two minutes later, a steady stream of tourists came through. The Fringe Festival was helpful cover. As tourists lounged around, taking in the palace, Harry and Meredith slipped in before going toward the gates and exiting. On one side stood Holyrood Palace and across the street was Scottish Parliament, to the left was Arthur's Seat. Hiking up the Royal Mile, it thinned out quickly, until they reached South Bridge. They plunged into the crowds, heading across North Bridge to Princes Street.

"Oh," Meredith stopped, "give me your phone." Handing over Harry's mobile, she turned it off, along with her own. "We can't be followed now."  Meredith's hand slid into his hand, and they walked through the crowded streets of Edinburgh. Sunshine echoed down and the high, dark buildings casted shadows. 

Taking a right on Princes Street, Meredith dragged him up to Calton Hill. The steep steps led them up, and the world above expanded. It was one of the other taller hills of Edinburgh. Just over Waverly Station was Edinburgh Castle, which smiled back. From up there, all of Edinburgh was seen. Meredith was content enough with standing on this hill, thought.

Plopping down, she let her legs dangle from the steps of the National Monument of Scotland. Harry sat down beside her, and they watched Edinburgh together.

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