Chapter Seventy-One

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Time was slower as Meredith woke up a few mornings later in London. It was another rainy day in London. While Harry said there might be snow in the forecast for today, Meredith knew when she woke up, it was too warm for that. It wasn't as nearly as cold as he said it was.

Harry kissed her on the cheek, and Meredith groaned. Her skin tingled. "Mere, I have to go do a Heads Together event. I'll be back in a few hours," Harry said. "Please don't sneak out like you did last time. Paparazzi don't know that you're here, and I would like to keep it that way."

"No."

"You're leaving?"

"No. I won't leave bed." Meredith flopped over, putting her face in the pillow. "Bye," she mumbled.

Harry got up and walked to the door, smiling. "I love you."

She waved him away. Meredith heard him leave as the door closed from downstairs. Closing her eyes again, she managed to stay asleep for a bit longer, but only for another two hours. Her eyes fluttered opened. Meredith pushed the covers off of herself and headed to the toilet. Sitting down, Meredith peed but stopped suddenly when a rustle came from the hallway.

"Harry?" Meredith called, cleaning herself up. Pulling up her pants, she walked into the bedroom. "Harry, is that you?"

Another rustling sound came from a room over.

Meredith walked into the hallway. "Hello? Is anyone there?" She took a step toward the room and the stairs. "Harry didn't tell me anyone was coming. Do you work here? I'm Meredith, his girlfriend." Meredith paused. "Hello? Harry, this isn't funny. I'm serious, Harry."

Standing at the top of the stairs and across from the room, Meredith peered in. It was almost empty except for some boxes. Harry usually kept the door shut when it mostly used for storage. It was a personal space at most. Some of the boxes were open, which Meredith didn't know if they were supposed to be, never having come in here. It wasn't her business, and she didn't care enough to snoop.

She jumped as someone moved out of another room. Meredith flipped over, catching a paparazzo. "How the hell...?" He wasn't supposed to be in here-- how did he get in here? Kensington Palace was guarded, incredibly safe. "You're not...."

"Miss Rogue," he sneered, picking up his camera and aimed it at her. "Who's Jack Campbell, and why is her after you?"

"What?" Blinding flashes of light appeared, on and off, on and off, on and off. Meredith put a hand up, but it was too late. The paparazzo was in her face, knocking her down as he pushed past her. However, she was a bit too close to the stairs, and down went Meredith Rogue.

Her head pounded. Her vision blurred. Her body ached. Her heart bounded. Her feet tingled. Her breath caught. Her hand trembled.

A man stood above her. Flashes of bright light crossed her tearing eyes. The clicks of a camera was all she heard until he laughed. Lashing out, Meredith rolled over and pushed herself up. She collapsed back down. The paparazzo wasn't discouraged and took more photos. Her eyes came up to him, challenging him, and Meredith let out a scream at the top of her lungs, hoping someone might notice. The paparazzo liked the pain, and he took his chance for more pictures. Yet, it was time that he took, but it wasn't time he had.

Thankfully someone from the many people around heard her, because suddenly there was a male in a suit entering the flat, and then the bodyguard, which Meredith assumed on how he moved, had gripped the paparazzo and put him on the ground. The camera shattered. Meredith leaned against a wall, closing her eyes as her vision blurred again. When she opened them, a future king sat in front of her.

"Meredith?" William asked. "Are you okay?"

Meredith extended her hand. "I don't think we've met before. I'm Meredith Rogue, Harry's girlfriend."

William smiled kindly. "William. Harry's older brother."

"I know that."

"I know you too," he said. "Would you like help up?"

"No. I got it." It was a lie and hard to get up. The world turned sideways, but Meredith managed to stay upright. Glancing around, the paparazzo was gone, and the other bodyguard stood by the door on his phone. "There was ah... um...."

"Paparazzo? Yes. He's taken care of. We've called a physician, and he'll be here soon. Would you like to sit down in the telly room?"

Meredith almost laughed how he said telly-- so posh. Nodding, William helped her into the living room and Meredith sat on the sofa. Silence rang in the room, or maybe it was just her ears. William stationed himself across from her, standing by the window. Meredith watched him, and he caught her. "So..." she said quickly, "how's your day been?"

"Good. And yours?"

"It's been better," Meredith admitted. "I swear this doesn't happen a lot. I mean, you've probably heard some stories. You know some things, but this doesn't happen a lot. It's like-- well, I mean, I am known to be clumsy, but it was all the paparazzo. He, um, pushed me down the stairs, and it was weird, like how did he get in here." William watched her with an amused smile, and Meredith said, "I'm normal. I promise."

He arched an eyebrow.

"Ma'am?" William's bodyguard held a glass of water for her, which she took.

"Thank you." Meredith blushed and took a drink, staring into the water. Did anyone else feel awkward? This certainly wasn't how she wanted to meet William, or anyone for that matter. She wanted to do it classy, not whatever mess she was now.

"His Royal Highness has been notified," the bodyguard said. "As well as the physician was here."

"That was fast," Meredith said.

"We have a physician on call," William said.

Sure enough, a man came in and went to work on Meredith, checking her vital signs and things. She certainly didn't like to be poked and prodded, but she put on a nice face as Harry's older brother watched her. She didn't know what he wanted-- perhaps he was nice-- but she wanted to make a good impression. When the doctor flashes a light into her eyes, immediately Meredith backed away, and that just happened to be when Harry walked in.

"Mere?" Harry knelt down next to her. "Are you okay?"

"Yes," Meredith said.

"She has a concussion," said the doctor. "And I would like her to get an MRI."

"Nope," Meredith said. "I know you have a good NHS, but I'm really fine. There was a paparazzo here."

"What?" Harry stood up and looked to his older brother. "Wills?"

"I'm working on it," William said. "We're looking into it currently, but we have him in custody and the pictures have been taken from him. We're not sure what he was after."

"Could he have been after Meredith?" Harry asked.

"No," Meredith said. "He didn't even know I was here. He was snooping around in one of the rooms, the room at the top of the stairs, the one will all the boxes."

Harry and William looked at each other.

"What?" Meredith demanded.

"It's nothing you need to worry about, Miss Rogue."

Anger boiled in Meredith, which Harry quickly defused by giving the truth. "It's where I keep some thing from my mum, but we don't know how the paparazzo figured it out."

Meredith bit her bottom lip. "That's one mystery on top another. The paparazzo was asking about Jack Campbell."

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