An excerpt from Tassie’s story
“Your Majesty?” A small man squeaked, as he stood behind her chair. Deep brown eyes turned to meet his. He quickly averted his gaze, but not before the golden flecks of the eyes caught his attention, sending a shiver through his body. Just the sight of those eyes caused many a man’s heart to flutter and a woman’s jealousy to rise.
“Ronald?” The voice made such a common name sound like a precious jewel which one longed to have as their very own.
Ronald cleared his throat, his knees knocking together. “Your Majesty. There is, there is a call for you.”
The sleekly trimmed eyebrows popped up. “Are you, Ronald, interrupting my luncheon because of a silly little call?”
Ronald found himself nodding his head, then quickly changing it to a shake. “No, I mean, yes. You see-”
Long elegant fingers that one could easily image flying over the keys of a piano gingerly picked up the knife that lay by the plate in front of her, gliding the sharp edge smoothly along her other hand. “What is it that you mean, Ronald?”
A large lump rose in his throat, and when he opened his mouth to speak only a squeak came out. He swallowed and tried again. His voice started out shaky with a high pitch to it. “You see, Your Majesty, it has come in… It has come in on the reserved line.”
The stroking of the knife along her hand stopped. She turned herself so that she was looking directly at him. “You’re sure?”
Roland nodded emphatically, his heart beat slowing by just a few beats. “Yes.”
The Empress rose slowly from her seat, even though questions were running through her mind and every instinct was telling her to jump up and run toward the dark room where a line that wasn’t supposed to be used was now having a signal coming through.
But she had not been brought to this position without having any training. Twenty years of intensive training had taught her to squish right in the bud any instincts that did not serve any inherent benefit. It was this training that came to the forefront of her mind, and with practised ease, that she slightly inclined her head to the occupants of the room who had been dining with her. They had all stood when she had and were looking expectantly at her.
A small smile crossed her lips as she thought on just how big of a group of suck-ups these women were. To those around her the smile seemed to be one of genuine regret at having to leave her guests. “My dear guests, I apologize that I must leave you in the middle of our meal, but one’s duties never stop. I invite you to continue on without me for, though I do not foresee this taking any longer than twenty minutes, one never knows how long matters of this can carry on.”
As she stepped away from the table and headed out of the room all the women sunk down into bows and curtsies, inclining their heads and staying in that position until they heard the click of the door closing behind Her Majesty. The click of the door sent off a cacophony of hurried speech as each woman tried to speak first. The sound of chairs being scraped out as they sat back down to their meal added to the noise.
Such a sound would never have happened had The Empress been present, but she wasn’t.
And why she wasn’t was what they all wanted to know.