9 If I were Heartless

Édouard looked at the servants, cooks, gardeners, and guards whom he had asked to gather in a hall in the palace. 


"As from today, Beromont is no longer a separate territory but is a part of Wexnon," Édouard announced. 


"You all must be aware of the situation outside the palace of Beromont. New rules will be applied to it to improve it. The Duchess' condition wasn't good after she lost her husband, despite the fact that many of the servants didn't care for her. They are already fired. You are lucky to stay in your respective jobs. So, I expect you all to remain dutiful. I am not an ignorant person, so if any wrong activity comes into my notice, I'll punish that worker." Édouard addressed them while telling them about their duties.


"Your Royal Highness, may I ask a question?" One of the old servants asked. 


"Yes, please," Édouard allowed her.


"Will the Duke of Wexnon stay here with the Duchess after marriage?" The old lady queried. 


"No. We will live in the palace of Wexnon," Édouard clarified. "This will be an administration office soon. However, you all will keep working here. If I find the need to appoint servants in the Palace of Wexnon, I will call on some of you," he added further details. 


"Any more questions?" Édouard asked. 


"Your Royal Highness, if the palace becomes an administrative office of Beromont, then what about our quarters in the palace? Will we have to stay outside and come here daily?" This time, a male servant asked. 


"No. You all will live the way you used to live. Also, Charlotte and I will keep visiting this place. So, only a part of it will be used for office work. The rest of it will be closed," Édouard answered. 


"If there are no more questions, then I will take my leave. Charlotte and I are leaving for Wexnon. If you want to meet her, then you can." He allowed them to meet Charlotte, who was still in her room. He left the hall while the servants bowed. 


He looked at the chief guard outside the room and asked him why he was not around Charlotte. 


"Her Highness asked me to stand outside the room, Your Royal Highness." The chief guard's worries were clearly visible on his face. He was stuck between the orders of Édouard and Charlotte. If he followed Édouard's orders, then Charlotte might get angry or vice versa. 


"Hmm. Open the doors," Édouard didn't say anything to him and walked in. 


He didn't find Charlotte in the living room, so he checked the bedroom. He panicked for a brief moment when he found her in the dressing room. Charlotte saw him through the mirror as she was applying the face powder. 


"I want to see my father before leaving for Wexnon," Charlotte said as she tried to conceal her dark circles with the face powder. Yesterday, she didn't get the urge to do that. Since her father was already sick because of her, she thought if he saw her today, he would not be worried about her anymore. 


Édouard found that she had tucked her hair up into a hair bun. It looked good on her, but she looked prettier with open hair. 


"Will the Prince keep standing here? Did he forget mannerism?" Charlotte remarked after she was done applying the facial powder. She put on the white hand gloves and stood up. 


"I want to make sure that you won't do anything wrong," Édouard replied. 


Charlotte didn't answer him and opened the cupboard, which had hats inside. She took out a white hat with a veil. She wore it, and the veil covered half of her face. Édouard walked up to her and stood behind her. She turned and was startled to find him so close. 


"This doesn't look good," Édouard said. 


"I didn't ask the opinion of Prince Édouard," Charlotte replied. She asked him to get away when Édouard leaned forward. She gaped at him, and she leaned backward until she hit the edges of the shelves inside the cupboard. 


Édouard picked a white hat that had a white floral adornment on its left and was without any veil. He took off that veiled hat from her head and put on the one that he selected. With her white outfit, this hat matched perfectly. 


"You look elegant this way," Édouard told her. Charlotte asked him to get away. When he took a step back, she quickly pushed him and walked out of the dressing room. 


Édouard closed the cupboard and went after her. 


As soon as Édouard entered the living room, he heard Charlotte say, "I told His Royal Highness to maintain an appropriate distance between us." She had crossed her arms across her chest. She was angry at him. 


"I am doing that," Édouard claimed.


"No. You are not. You are not respecting my boundaries at all," Charlotte replied in an informal tone. 


"I apologize. I will keep this in mind until the marriage happens," Édouard stated. 


"What?" Her brows furrowed together. 


"After the marriage, there will be no set boundaries between us," Édouard said, smiling. Charlotte opened her mouth to speak when Édouard stopped her. 


"I won't accept any conditions as I said earlier," he asserted. "It's the time when we shall leave. Your belongings will reach the Palace of Wexnon by tomorrow," he informed her.


"I want to carry the photos of Mathieu and me," Charlotte said. 


"You can," Édouard replied. 


Charlotte didn't expect this answer from him, but she was happy. 


"I must tell you that soon I will replace those memories," Édouard stated. Charlotte didn't like his confidence, but she didn't argue with him. She went to the bedroom and packed a tiny suitcase.


Before stepping out of the bedroom, she looked at her marriage portrait, and her eyes filled with tears. "I won't forget you. It is for my father and my family," she promised him. 


When she stepped out, Édouard took the suitcase from her. "I will carry it," he said. Charlotte allowed him to go, and they both went to the main gates of the palace, where a carriage was waiting for them. 


Charlotte was overwhelmed to see servants along the pavement. Everyone was emotional, and so was she. She talked with each of them before she reached the carriage. For the last time, she waved at them and then 

stepped inside the carriage. 


"We will take our leave from here," Édouard said, and gave a slight bow before getting into the carriage. He sat in front of Charlotte, and the chauffeur pulled the reins on the horses. The carriage moved forward, and the palace people walked after it. After a certain distance, Charlotte lost their sights and turned to the front. 


She wiped the tears from the silk handkerchief and sniffled. 


"You can come here anytime with me. So, there is no need to cry," Édouard said. 


"A heartless person cannot understand this," Charlotte said and looked out of the window. 


"If I were heartless, then I would not have let you carry this suitcase to Wexnon," Édouard remarked. She glared at him and slightly raised her body to take away the suitcase when the carriage wobbled. 


The next second, she landed on Édouard's lap while her lips brushed his cheek. 

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