Story by T.Charters copyright (C) 2017. firstname.lastname@example.org
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All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, Gods or Demons, living, dead or imaginary is purely coincidental.
Jane wasn't sure what to feel.
Amanda sat beside her on the bed. "How are you?" she asked.
Jane smiled thinly. She shrugged. "Confused," she said. "I don't understand why Allegra was so calm. We're immortal. We're not supposed to die. I was terrified when I was in the hospital."
Amanda smiled fondly, remembering how'd they'd hugged each other for the first time. It had seemed strange with everyone watching. "Allegra knew it was going to happen," Amanda explained. "She'd accepted it. That can be a very calming way to think."
"You've seen it before?" Jane inquired.
Amanda nodded. "Too many times," she replied sadly. She smiled. "Do you want to do something?" she asked hopefully. "We could go out, go to Bob's," she suggested.
Jane smirked. "That's your solution to everything," she said.
"And what? Your's isn't sex?" Amanda joked.
Jane laughed and truly smiled for the first time.
"I saw a bottle of fermented-blood in the kitchen," Amanda added, "we could forget about things for a few hours."
"Yeah!" Jane quipped excitedly with a playfully evil glint in her eye. "Then I could do weird things to you while you're unconscious."
"OOW!" Amanda exclaimed while playfully sounding repulsed, "that's far more than I wanted to know!"
"Come on," Amanda said more seriously, "let's get out of here." She took hold of Jane's hand and pulled her up off the bed. At the same time she grabbed a large pillow which she tucked under her arm.
"What's that for?" Jane asked.
"It's for someone who needs it far more than us," Amanda replied.
They walked hand in hand through the palace then stepped into the library. As always Marc and Romana followed close behind.
Pop was sitting in his usual spot. He looked downcast, despondent. "I'm sorry," he said glancing up briefly. "I don't really feel much like talking today."
Amanda smiled. "You don't have to," she replied as she handed him the pillow.
Pop frowned at it. "What's this for?" he asked. He sounded confused.
"For you to hide beneath," Amanda suggested. "It always worked for me."
Pop smiled and chuckled ever so slightly.
Amanda hugged him. "Remember," she said more seriously, "when you finally come out from beneath that thing, you still have another daughter who needs a father."
"Two," Pop suggested.
"Two?" Amanda repeated. Now it was her turn to sound a little confused.
Pop nodded. "I still have two other daughters," he explained hugging her back.
Amanda smiled. "And I would be happy to call you Dad any day," she replied.
"You do realise that, that was my favourite pillow?" Jane asked as they stepped back into the hall.
"I thought I was," Amanda replied sounding a little hurt.
"You are," Jane corrected while squeezing Amanda's hand, "but I like that one as well."
"Then you'll need to go ask your Dad for it," Amanda suggested.
Jane stared. "Oh, you're devious," she said. "I like that."
"You're not talking to each other," Amanda explained. "You're never going to heal as a family if you don't talk."
Jane looked at the floor. "I don't know what to say," she replied.
"How about, hello?" Amanda suggested.
A short while later Amanda stepped into the Queen's study alone.
The Queen looked up and frowned. "Where's Jane?" she asked.
"She's gone to talk with Pop," Amanda revealed.
The Queen raised an eyebrow and quickly sat back in her chair. She looked both happy and surprised. "How did you convince her to do that?" she inquired.
"I stole her favourite pillow and gave it to her father," Amanda admitted.
The Queen smirked and cocked her head to one side. "You mean a pillow other than yourself," she suggested.
Amanda laughed. "Yeah, other than me," she agreed. She sat in a chair and looked up at the Queen. "How are you doing?" she asked.
The Queen nodded. "I'm okay," she replied. "It's been hard," she admitted truthfully, "but it's Victor I'm worried about the most. He and Allegra were so very close for such a long time. To learn that it was all a lie has been devastating to him. I'm not sure he'll ever fully recover. What about you?" she asked.
Amanda shrugged. "I barely knew Allegra," she responded, "but I'm happy that she seemed content at the end. It's strange though," she added frowning while revealing the one thing which had been worrying her the most, "I thought it would have been bigger, worse for everyone when she finally returned."
"It may yet be," the Queen confirmed rather seriously. "The Elven government has condemned their Ambassador's actions and distanced themselves from him at the same time. They admit that they were aware he'd become involved with a fringe group called The Eighth Order whose sole purpose it appears is to unseat the royal family. They will do nothing to stop them."
"They want to return the Elves to power?" Amanda asked.
The Queen shook her head. "There are too few elves left for that," she said regretfully. "It seems that they don't care who is in power as long as it is not us." She smiled thinly and paused for a long moment. "It's certainly not like they don't have any reason to hate the other races," she added.
"What do you mean?" Amanda inquired. She sounded worried.
"There were many atrocities during the war," the Queen explained, "the slaughter of countless innocent elves was just one of them. There are never any winners in war," she said, "survivors maybe, but not winners."
Amanda hugged the Queen then left her to her work. She was happy that Jane's mother of all of them seemed to be doing so well. She had Marc join her in the car then they drove in silence to Bob's.
He was as usual sitting behind the counter as Amanda stepped through the door.
They hugged briefly.
"Little one," he said.
"Old man," Amanda joked in reply.
Their usual greeting.
They sat in the back room and stared at each other across the table.
"The council isn't happy about where Allegra was buried," Amanda revealed.
"Where would they prefer her to be buried?" Bob asked.
"Probably someplace where they could punish her even after death," Amanda revealed. She sounded disgusted. "The Queen politely told them where they could stick it," she said rather bluntly.
Bob laughed. "I've always like her," he said.
Amanda abruptly frowned and glanced around. She felt like something or someone was missing. "Where is everybody?" she inquired. She'd expected to see Jessica's mother at least.
"Jessica and her Mum have gone to meet Rachel," Bob advised. "You were a little busy," he said. "So how are you doing?" he finally asked.
Amanda smiled sadly. "Too many memories," she replied.
"So are you going to run away and hide again?" Bob inquired while looking at her rather seriously.
Amanda shook her head. "Not this time," she responded. "I'm not running from anything anymore."
The Queen stepped into the library. She promptly stopped, stood and stared. Jane and her father where rolling on the floor in fits of laughter. There were feathers everywhere.
The Queen sighed and buried her face in her palm. She slowly shook her head. "Again with the feathers?" she said.
"Would you like a drink?" Bob asked.
Amanda nodded. "Venison?" she suggested a little timidly.
Bob laughed. "Well, aren't you the upperclass one," he joked, "all that royalty must be rubbing off on you."
"I got told I was common at the anniversary," Amanda revealed reluctantly. "I still think pig's blood is nicer."
"Then pig's blood it is," Bob replied. "Anyone who would make someone else feel inferior is the common one," he said angrily. He smiled. "There is nothing common about you," he suggested. "Nothing that any of us can see. You've proved that with your selflessness time and time again. The Fey should name a holiday after you for all the good you've done for them."
Amanda smirked. "Amanda day?" she lightly joked.
"The true princess day," Bob suggested before immediately cringing. "Urgh," he said.
Amanda laughed. "Perhaps not," she agreed.
The Queen carefully picked her way through the feathery carnage then, while being extremely un-queen-like, she sat on the floor beside Jane and her father. She scooped up a handful of feathers then lightly tossed them at Pop.
"Are we having fun yet?" she asked.
He nodded. "Better," he confessed.
The Queen smiled. She glanced at Jane. "I see that Amanda has been working her magic again?" she said fondly.
Jane nodded happily. "She quite good at that," she replied.
"Yes she is," Pop agreed. "We should really do something to thank her," he suggested.
The Queen nodded. "I agree," she said. "But what? You know how she dislikes all the pomp and ceremony."
Jane immediately glanced up and smiled. "That's it," she suggested excitedly. "That's what we can give her!"
Both Pop and Queen shook their heads. They looked completely confused. "I don't understand," they said together.
Jane sighed and shook her head in some frustration. "Oldies," she muttered.
Amanda walked into the council chamber with Marc and Romana following close behind. "I'm sorry," she said as she turned to face them, "but I haven't had a chance to ask how both of you are coping."
"I am fine, Your Highness," Marc replied. "Disappointed that there was not a better outcome for everyone, but fine. Thank you."
Amanda nodded. "And you Romana?" she asked.
Romana frowned. "It has been a little difficult, confusing Milady," she admitted. "I did not expect the Princess Allegra to speak to me the way she did."
Amanda smiled. "If you need to talk," she said. "I'm here."
The councillors abruptly glanced up from where they were sitting. They all turned and stared. It was clear that they'd never expected anyone from the palace to visit so unannounced.
The new council leader leapt up from her chair and scurried over. She was far younger and shorter than the previous.
"Your Highness," she said nodding politely while sounding extremely nervous, "this is an unexpected pleasure."
Amanda smiled and simply nodded. She really didn't want to be here but she felt she needed to address what she believed was a grave injustice. "May I speak with everyone?" she asked.
"Of course, Your Highness," the council leader quickly replied.
Amanda stepped into the centre of the chamber then slowly looked around. She smiled. "Why did you think this was an appropriate time to question the Queen about where her daughter was buried?" she inquired.
For a moment there was silence then everyone started speaking at once.
"SHE WAS A CRIMINAL!" someone shouted.
"It was just wrong," said another.
Amanda glanced over at Marc. She really wasn't in the mood.
"SILENCE!" he demanded as he slammed his hand down on the table.
Everyone stared and looked more than a little shocked.
"What he said," Amanda suggested. She smiled disquietly. "You're right," she admitted rather seriously, "Allegra was a criminal but she was also a daughter and a sister. The palace is grieving, some even more because of this, surely you could have waited a little longer."
"She still shouldn't have been buried in the Royal crypt," another called out.
Amanda immediately turned and glared at the man who had made the suggestion. "She wasn't," she revealed while struggling to keep her temper under control. "Allegra was laid to rest in the family's private crypt," she explained. "Do you think we weren't well aware of the negative feelings surrounding this matter." She paused for a long moment and glared angrily. "Maybe if any of you had checked the facts before making baseless assumptions we might not be having this conversation."
The Council leader swallowed nervously. She had gone quite pale. "I am sincerely sorry, Your Highness," she said. "What can we do?"
"The council will issue a formal press release today apologising for this," Amanda instructed, "and you will personally hand write, sign and deliver a letter of apology to the Queen. To say that I am greatly disappointed in all of you," Amanda added, "would be an huge understatement. I have never seen a more obvious lack of empathy from anyone, humans included." She fumed. She had never felt so angry. "And until I can learn to trust you again," she added further, "I will be visiting once a week. Please arrange a time and day with my assistant."
The Council leader simply nodded and shuffled uncomfortably.
Everyone else was silent.
Amanda turned and strode away. She didn't even say goodbye. Once outside she glanced at Marc and Romana. "Too much?" she asked sounding a little embarrassed. She hated losing her temper.
Romana quickly shook her head. She smiled wickedly. "Kicking arse Milady," she suggested excitedly. She really didn't sound disappointed.
Marc nodded appreciatively. "What she said," he said.
In the morning Amanda awoke extremely late. She glanced over at Jane who was quietly watching her from nearby. "Why did you let me sleep for so long?" she asked. She was now incredibly late and imagined that Romana would be worriedly pacing the hall outside the room and growing increasingly frantic with each passing moment. She still wasn't completely sure who was in charge.
Jane smiled. "You looked so peaceful," she said. She crawled across the bed and laid down beside Amanda. She leant over and kissed Amanda full on the lips. "Oh and Mum wanted me to," she admitted smiling.
Amanda immediately frowned. "Why?" she inquired. She sounded suspicious.
Jane shrugged. "Mum just told me to make sure you took the day off," she explained. "She said that both her and Dad will look after everything and that it was a thank you for something."
"A thank you, for what?"
Jane shrugged again. She sat up and straddled Amanda then started to slowly unbutton Amanda's top. "I stopped listening when I thought about spending the day in bed with you," she admitted sounding a little guilty. "I'm sure it must be a good thing though," she added brightly.
Amanda laughed. She smiled. She reached up and began to loosen the buttons on Jane's blouse. "I could think of worse ways to spend the day," she said. In truth she was happy to spend more time with Jane. The last few days had been trying for everyone. Even she would admit it had been exhausting.
Amanda briefly sat up and pulled her top off over her head. Jane laid down beside her and rested her head on Amanda's chest. She reached over and began to gently tickle Amanda's arm. She frowned then abruptly crawled over Amanda before staring at her upper left arm.
"Your origin marks are gone," she said surprised. "I guess they must have been rewritten when you were." She grinned wickedly then suddenly disappeared beneath the covers. "Let's check your other scars," she added excitedly.
Amanda immediately squealed and giggled. She clutched her stomach and howled breathlessly. "I'm pretty sure I don't have any scars down there," she suggested though without much conviction.
Jane popped her head out from beneath the covers. She looked a little disappointed. "Are you sure?" she asked while pouting adorably.
Amanda smiled. "Why don't you check again," she said.
Around lunchtime Amanda and Jane stepped into the Queen's study.
Pop was sitting to one side. He looked up and smiled warmly.
The Queen stepped around the desk and hugged Amanda tightly.
She frowned. "What was that for?" she inquired.
The Queen smiled and wiped a tear from her eye. "For just being you," she said proudly, "for everything, and for this," she added while pointing to a newspaper laying flat on her desk.
"Palace rebukes council. Council issues formal apology," the bold headline read.
Amanda stared and nodded embarrassingly. "It just made me so mad," she admitted.
"I even got a lovely letter of apology," the Queen confessed. "As well as a the council leader's resignation," she said. "I didn't accept it," she added with a wry smile, "I'm not going to let her off that easily."
Amanda smirked and chuckled out loud.
"It's the first time in history that the palace has rebuked the council," Pop revealed. "I'm going to have to write a whole new chapter on that."
Amanda smiled. "I glad to see you're not hiding under that pillow anymore," she said. She frowned. "Where is the pillow anyway?" she asked.
Pop and Jane immediately smirked.
The Queen just shook her head.
"It didn't make it," Jane said a little sadly.
Amanda quickly glanced back and forth between them. "Did you two fight over it?" she laughed.
"They did," the Queen revealed while smiling herself. "It was great fun," she admitted.
Amanda stared. "You too?" she said.
"Only for the aftermath," the Queen replied. She smiled once more then took both Amanda and Jane by their hands and led them from the room. "Have you fed?" she asked.
Amanda and Jane shook their heads.
"Good," the Queen said, "because I have something special planned for today."
Amanda glanced over at Jane who just shrugged again. She clearly had no idea.
The Queen led them across the throne room then through the double doors and into the grand ballroom.
Both Amanda and Jane leapt back in shock.
The room was crowded with people. Bob, Jessica, Meshia and Grent, their complete families as well as a collection of Meshia and Jessica's friends from school. Even Pop's parents had returned after the anniversary.
The room was simply furnished with just some tables and chairs and not a single vase of flowers in sight.
"No pomp and ceremony whatsoever," the Queen explained. "It was Jane's idea," she said. "I hope you like it."
"It's perfect," Amanda replied while smiling broadly.
The Queen led them to a small table at one side.
"There's a couple of documents you might wish to sign," she said.
Amanda and Jane glanced at each other. They hugged for a long moment then picked up and pen and signed together. Afterward they slowly turned and looked at the room. Everyone stood and watched silently.
"I present to you," the Queen announced rather proudly, "their Royal Highnesses, the Crown Princesses, Jane and Amanda Hamilton-Ayers, may their time together be long and peaceful."
Everyone bowed then clapped and cheered.
Amanda and Jane hugged once more.
Both Bob and Pop couldn't have looked more pleased.
"My sister is the Crown Princess," Jessica joked with her friends.
Amanda quietly spoke to the Queen. "What about the crowning ceremony?" she whispered.
The Queen waved a hand dismissively. "It's all just pomp," she replied smiling. "It doesn't really mean anything," she suggested. "It's just a bit of metal."
Amanda laughed. "Thanks Mum," she said.
In the morning they boarded a private jet together, then at dusk they stepped out of a limo in the middle of manicured cemetery.
"Well, this is a little depressing," Amanda suggested. "I'd hoped my honeymoon might have been a bit more upbeat than this."
Amanda's phone rang and Marc handed it to her.
It was David. "I hear you got hitched," he said. "Wish I could have been there."
"Yeah me too," Amanda replied. "How did you know?" she asked.
"Someone sent me a text," David explained. "I don't know who."
Amanda glanced at Marc. His expression revealed nothing, he looked just as serious as ever.
There was a small group of people standing around the base of a massive oak. They'd all watched the limo arrive.
"Amanda!" one of them exclaimed.
Amanda stared. "What are you all doing here?" she inquired. She sounded more than surprised. She suddenly wobbled unsteadily and her legs went from beneath her.
Both Marc and Jane caught her before she could fall.
"Your Highness," Marc said concerned, "are you all right?"
Jane looked worried. "I shouldn't have brought you here," she added sounding quite upset. "I just wanted you to visit them if only once. We can leave if you want."
Amanda shook her head. "I'm fine," she replied.
"Highness," another of the group remarked. "What's that about?"
"Are those?" Amanda asked while ignoring the question and pointing at the graves surrounding the tree.
The friends nodded.
"We come here once a month," one of them explained. "Just to check on them and well think about you and where you are and even if you were still alive."
Amanda smiled. "I am and I'm good," she said. "Thank you."
They stepped over to the graves.
Amanda hugged Jane and gently kissed her on the cheek. "Thank you for this," she said. "Truly! Thank you. I couldn't have done this without you. I wouldn't have done this without you."
"What are you feeling?" Jane asked.
Amanda smiled. "I'm feeling happy, content," she replied, "like I've been on an endless roller coaster and it's finally come to an end. I don't need to worry about them anymore."
Jane smiled and hugged Amanda a little tighter. "From now on we only need to worry about each other," she suggested.
Amanda nodded. "Let's get out of here," she said.
Jane frowned. "Why so quick?" she asked.
"Well," Amanda admitted while whispering in Jane's ear, "I really want to make out with you right now. I just don't want to do it in a cemetery or on top of my parents graves."
Jane blushed and smirked.
They started walking back toward the car.
"Have you ever heard of the mile high club?" Amanda asked.
Jane shook her head. "No," she said. "What's that?"
"Why don't I show you," Amanda suggested.
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