Chapter One

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In all honesty, Meredith panicked more than needed. Prince Harry stood beside her. Her hand hung out, showing off her emerald and diamond engagement ring, which had been designed by Harry. Given to her less than a month ago, in her free time, Meredith wore it, just trying to get used to the ring, which was difficult. It fit nicely, but the rest of her rings, which she had worn since she was fifteen, were taken off.

A migraine started to emerge. Meredith blinked it away. Smile yet plastered on her face, her fingers curled into Harry's navy jacket. Harry smiled nicely at the cameras, even though he didn't like this, yet he was proud of Meredith: she welcomed being paraded around, at least for now. She had put on a good face today. Meredith liked to be tested, and the day wasn't over yet but Meredith was looking to do well.

A few questions were thrown at them, out of politeness. It was different than how Meredith walked on the streets, when paparazzi stalked her every move. Over her last few weeks in London, when she had been allowed outside, paparazzi had been worse. Well, there were more paparazzi in London than there were in the middle of nowhere U.S., Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Over the last few weeks, her time was dedicated to learning how to be a princess. For now, it was just the crash course. It was all about being graceful and sweet. It was the correct smile to wear. It was how to stand. It was what to say. It was all in prep for today-- her big day, for now. Another big day was coming pretty soon.

While cameras were to remain on her tomorrow, at her first event with Harry, princess training was to begin in full. It was a never ending process, they said, like Harry had been trained his whole life. Meredith had a bit of catching up to do.

Harry turned his face to her, smiling. "You good?"

"Yep." Meredith tried not to move her lips too much. At any angle, it was a bad angle for her face, or at least that was what people told her throughout life. Now, Meredith, with all the hair and makeup done, was just trying to look pretty for five minutes. "And you?"

Harry laughed. "Good as usual." His blue eyes turned back to the cameras.

Meredith blinked again. The flashing white lights blinded her. Black dots clouded her vision. She rocked back on her heels, but never did her face give anything away. Smile. Badass. Smile. Badass. Smile, Meredith repeated to herself. I am not weak. I'm not weak. I am not weak. She continued to smile, and it hurt. Badass.

"Thank you," said a secretary, Harry's secretary. "That will be all."

The doors opened, revealing the exit. Meredith had to slow herself by dragging her feet after the exit was seen. Harry kept her calm. His hand curled around her back as they left the room filled with cameras. A few, Meredith knew how to handle, but a lot, it gave her flashbacks to being cornered in her car, not being able to escape. As Meredith walked hand in hand with Harry toward a few more cameras, she wasn't able to escape now.

Not that Meredith wanted to escape.

Meredith knew her place, and it was beside Harry. Meredith knew where she wanted to be, and she wanted to be with Harry. Meredith knew what she loved, and she loved Harry. Being paraded in front of cameras, she didn't do this because she loved it-- she did it for Harry. She loved Harry, and she did this circus for him.

Harry kissed her hand. "I love you."

She took a deep breath. "I did all right?"

"You did amazing. You were amazing." Harry pulled her into a hug. "You will be good."

"You'll have to speak." Nerves bloomed in Meredith, making her stomach squeeze.

"Just follow my lead."

The same questions had been asked to Meredith over the last few weeks. She knew the answers. She knew how to act. Harry and her even made little jokes. She knew. She was taught. Yet Meredith was scared of a mistake she was bound to make. Nerves made her scared, and fear made her forget.

Swallowing, Meredith plastered another smile on her face. Calm and collected, she stayed.

"Are you ready?" asked his secretary.

No. I need more time. Meredith bit her tongue. She didn't have anymore time. "Yes."

Harry smiled and nodded.

Another set of doors opened, and it was off to the races. The camera crew was all set up with three cameras stationed and one news anchor. Meredith was confused to the public attention on Harry, since he wasn't going to be king. While Harry was the second born child of the future king, Prince Charles, Meredith didn't know the public attention surrounding Princess Anne or Prince Andrew. All of it was chalked up to him being Princess Diana's son and the obsession over her.

Meredith smiled.

The next question came through the hour long interview: "How do you think your mother, Princess Diana, would feel about Meredith, your highness?"

Swallowing, Meredith had been pondering this question on her own time.

Harry spoke.

Meredith knew the answer, and she heard nothing. Blood rushed past her ears. Her face turned hot.

"Meredith," the question came for her from the news anchor, "are you excited to be part of the monarchy?"

"It is an once in a life time opportunity." The words rolled off her tongue easily. "Honesty, I love Harry, with every part of me, and the monarchy is his life. I will do my best to work every day at his side and help the monarchy succeed." While the words had been her own in the beginning, they had been morphed again and again.

"Is there a date set for the wedding?" the news anchor asked. "Everyone is wondering. We must mark it on the calendars now. Start queuing and all."

"Well, a date hasn't been specifically set." Meredith played coy, which almost hurt. Someone had to see through the game she played.

"We are planning for autumn of this year." Harry squeezed her hand. "With all hope, everything will be ready in time."

"It will be another fairy tale wedding," the news anchor said. "First your older brother, Prince William, marrying commoner Kate Middleton, and now the marriage of Prince Harry and commoner Meredith Rogue. It is another Cinderella story."

"It doesn't have to be perfection. Love isn't," Meredith stated nicely. "The wedding day is wonderful but scary. A lot of time and energy will be placed in it. But it doesn't have to be perfect."

"Are you beginning to plan it?"

Harry smiled sweetly. "We have been planning it for a while, so now it is going into action."

Blood drowned out the sound. For the questions that were asked toward Harry and her, Meredith knew all the answers. Rolling off her tongue, Meredith answered every question with her best ability of grace and dignity. Small little jokes were made. Meredith straightened her shoulders and flipped her hair back.

When it came time for the end, the last greetings and kindness was given, and then it was off. Harry and Meredith were escorted from the room again. Doors closed behind them.

"How are you feeling?" Harry asked.

"I need a drink," Meredith responded.

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