Chapter Eighty-Two

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Coming to halt, Meredith stared. When Philip said the family had gone for a hike, she thought he meant the whole family. With her own two eyes, she saw that wasn't true. Her stomach twisted, vomit threatening to come up. Meredith had vomited on one member of the royal family, and she didn't need to make it a second member. Before her own two eyes was the Queen, and then Harry's niece and nephew.

"Um..." Meredith tried to protest. It was no help; Philip had already gone to his wife.

After greeting his wife, Philip turned back to Meredith. "She doesn't bite."

Meredith wasn't so sure.

The Queen-- Harry's granny-- smiled nicely at her.

Meredith almost pissed herself. Trying to curtsy, she almost fell to the ground. Meredith's legs trembled, and the ground waved, like she floated in the sea. Her breath caught in her throat, and she suppressed a cough.

"Are you all right?" the Queen's soprano voice came.

"Yes." Eyes on the ground, Meredith swallowed and waited, deep in curtsy. "Your majesty. Thank you, your majesty."

"You're going to ruin your knees," Philip said. "Get up."

Meredith rose, but her eyes rested on the ground.

"She's very good with orders," Philip commented, and the Queen tsked him. "She is."

"Ms Rogue, welcome to Balmoral. I know you have been here before, but are you enjoying this morning?" she asked. "It is fine weather."

"Yes, beautiful, terrific, wonderful, great, amazing," Meredith agreed, "your majesty." The Queen walked, and Meredith followed a few steps behind, eyes on her own feet. Don't make it awkward, she internally monologued, but it was hopeless. They know I'm weird. Abort. Abort. Abort! Meredith's eyes glanced around, and it was a flat field where they walked, meaning there was nowhere to hide. Philip kept glancing back, which only made things worse.

"Granny!" Harry's nephew, George, ran over, holding out rocks for his great-grandmother. It made Meredith wonder what he called Camilla. George turned his attention to the new woman. "Hello."

Meredith didn't know if she was supposed to curtsy to a child. The answer was yes, because he was royal; yet he was also a child. He wasn't going to remember this anyway. Thankfully the time passed quickly because George's little sister, Charlotte, appeared, having shiny rocks in her small hands too. Confusion rocked Meredith, now unsure if she meant to curtsy to both children; none one cared either way.

Feeling creepy just standing there, Meredith's eyes traveled around her surroundings. While it was a flat field with a small creek running through, the hills of the Highlands climbed around her, creating a cradle for her to be cast in. Harry talked about this field many times, how he laid under the sky and watched the clouds float by, liking all the airplanes for their quickness. Meredith understood.

"Miss?" George asked, and Meredith snapped to attention.

"Yes, your highness." Was that correct for a toddler? "Sir? Prince George?" Meredith didn't dare look up, knowing she wasn't impressing anyone. Swallowing, the only other words she thought of were sire and grace; neither of those fit him.

George didn't seem to notice anything odd. "Are you Uncle Harry's girlfriend?"

"Yes." What name was she supposed to use? Meredith glanced to Philip, but he didn't give any indications. "Does he speak about me?"

"He told Dad you snore."

If that was the worst George knew about her, then it was totally fine. Meredith smiled weakly.

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