The Duke's Masked Wife - 420 Love and mistakes (3)
Hazel looked at Eleanor who was dressed up like a doll tonight. Eleanor did not pay attention to the men who were eyeing her. If Eleanor had walked down to the garden there was a handful of men to follow her and make her peers jealous. Hazel didn’t think those men were right for Eleanor but she wanted to rub it in The faces of the young ladies who kept talking about Eleanor’s background that Eleanor had the ability to steal the attention.
“Did you bring an escort, Eleanor? I noticed one of Edgar’s guards was standing near you-“‘
“Certainly not! I’m sorry,” Eleanor apologized as she interrupted the Queen. Speaking with Hazel wasn’t as easy as speaking with Alessandra sometimes. There were many maids walking behind Hazel who could inform someone of her words sounding disrespectful. She didn’t have the status Alessandra did to get out of trouble.
Hazel glanced behind her at the two lines of maids that were full of spies keeping an eye on what she was doing. All they did was report what she was doing so there wasn’t a good reason to send them out of the palace. The men in the court were making a big deal out of her wanting to change up who was around her. They quickly forgot about what Julia had done to her.
“All of you are dismissed. Inform all the young ladies that we are gathering in the tea room,” Hazel said, sending them all away. There was no one she trusted at the moment to keep by her side.
“Yes, your highness,” the maids replied and slowly backed away to do as they were told.
“How annoying that after everything the people here keep shoving tea in my face when I say many times that I have come to hate it. They continue to poke at me. Tobias and I have a long way to go before we completely clean out the palace but it has been somewhat peaceful these days. How has life been for everyone? Alessandra?” Hazel inquired, needing something to take her head off of the palace. It was still draining.
Edgar refused to eat the cookies at first but after Alessandra pretended to cry, she had gotten him to try one. He could not insult her baking anymore when it came to cookies.
“Great. I keep telling Tobias about how good the cookies are and I’ve been impatient to make them again. What about you, Heather? I noticed Dominic was standing quite close. Do I hear wedding bells?” Hazel mused. Tobias let it slip when they saw Heather and Dominic standing together that Dominic once had a crush on Heather but she was too focused on Edgar.
“No. Dominic and I are just friends. He came with me so I would not be stuck with my parents. It was nice of him,” Heather replied. She knew others would get the wrong idea about them coming together which was she told Dominic to really think about this but he still wanted to escort her.
“I see,” Hazel replied, not believing they would remain friends for much longer. “What about you, Eleanor? Is there a special man in your life?”
Hazel thought she sensed something between Eleanor and Reed but it seemed she was wrong. Unless they were like every other couple who were in denial?
“Only an annoying bastard my aunt keeps inviting to her home. He made my life hell in the past. If any of you don’t hear from me one day, I have run away to get away from my aunt and him. I don’t see the reason for all the rush to get married to people you hardly know. I’ll find a husband on my own,” Eleanor answered.
“Well, if you ever need someone who can match you to a partner who suits you, I am that person. I owe you. I can even bring you into the palace so you do not need to run away. Whatever you need, come to me right away. I have already informed the guards to grant you entry into the palace. You can be in the Queen’s court if you wish but I have to warn you that it is quite boring,” Hazel said as she did not want to be a part of it.
“Your highness!” Emma called out to the Queen. She picked up her dress to catch up with the women. She ignored Alessandra and Eleanor as she no longer cared to try getting close to Alessandra. Anyone who enjoyed Elenaor’s company lacked class in her eyes. If not for Oliver, she would not have wasted her time speaking with Alessandra in the beginning.
Behind Emma were Grace, Kate, and several other young ladies who wanted to speak with Hazel.
“I’m happy to see all of you made it to the ball. Excuse me,” Hazel quickly whispered to her friends. “I need to socialize as Queen but we must continue this conversation later. Emma, how is planning your wedding going?”
“I can’t imagine having to force yourself to speak with so many young ladies at once. The Queen’s court is no place for me. On the other hand, a bathroom is,” Eleanor said, looking around for where one might be. “I need to find one soon.”
“I will come along with you,” Alessandra said as it wouldn’t be safe to let Eleanor go to the bathroom alone. “Reed?” Alessandra muttered when Reed slowly eased out of a room to their right. “I am not going to ask why you were there. You should know your way around the palace. Can you please escort Eleanor to a bathroom and bring her back to where the women have to gather?”
“Why can’t she go alone-“
“Because it is not safe and if you don’t accompany her, I will. We both know there is a certain Duke who won’t like me going away from the crowd. Which is it?” Alessandra smiled, knowing what his answer would be. “Even in the palace, it wouldn’t be safe for her to go to the bathroom alone. How about I go along with both of you-“
“No,” Reed disagreed with her suggestion. The nearest room with a bathroom would take Alessandra far away from the crowd of women. She was safer near the Queen and surrounded by all the other women as guards were stationed nearby to protect Hazel. Since personal guards were not allowed tonight, he could not follow Alessandra with the other women. “Stay with the Queen.”
Alessandra looked at the large group of women surrounding Hazel and then at the palace guards following behind. If they were not present, she would not have sent Reed away but she was safe at the moment. Well, unless someone else was foolish enough to throw something at her. “I didn’t intend to walk off into the dark alone or drift from the women. I know to be careful Reed,” she replied.
“It is not you that we worry about. Come quickly,” Reed said to Eleanor, leading her to the bathroom.
“Honestly, I would rather hold it now,” Eleanor muttered as she followed him.
“Are you sure the two of them won’t end up fighting each other?” Heather asked as there seemed to be some animosity between Eleanor and Reed.
“If neither returns in ten minutes I will have Hazel get the guards to search the palace,” Alessandra joked.
“Maybe we should make it five minutes. It was nice of you to send your guard with her. It is true the palace is not safe. There have been a few incidents at balls in the past. I am happy you stayed behind,” said Heather as she didn’t want to be left behind with the women surrounding Hazel.
“I could hear Edgar scolding me for leaving the group of women. Reed had excellent timing. Truthfully, I didn’t want to go because anyone targetting me would follow us to the bathroom and cause trouble for Reed and especially Eleanor who just wants to use the bathroom. They can’t make a move here,” Alessandra explained. At the moment, she had no enemies other than Kate and Katrina but there were people she didn’t know who would love to go after Edgar’s wife. As long as she remained with the group, nothing could happen.
Kate couldn’t help staring at Alessandra who was once again not paying attention to what was happening around her. There was not a single glance in Kate’s way to get a look at her ring. Unless Alessandra didn’t know she was engaged?
“Hey! Where are you going? We’re next to speak with the Queen,” Grace said when Kate left her side. “Is she going to her sister?” Grace whispered, finding this to be more interesting than speaking with the Queen.