Moments Later (TRR)

Here’s my “continuation” of the final chapter of TRR! I know it’s not as focused on thoughts and emotions as it could be, but I didn’t want to yak on too much- it’s already long as it is!

The Royal Romance
Pairing: Liam/MC
Rating: PG
Warnings: Mentions of the Tariq incident, spoilers for the last chapter.
Characters: MC, Maxwell, Bertrand, Olivia, Bastian, Liam.
Summary: Everything becomes a blur, but unexpected help arrives.

(Several moments after the Final Chapter…)

As you gather in the entrance hall, Maxwell peaks out of the nearby window. Immediately bright flashes of light fill the dimly lit room, and you can make out several people outside before the young Lord drops the curtain shut.

“Explain this, MC.” Bertrand demands, grabbing your attention as he steps in front of you. His voice seems strained, and you struggle to look him in the eye. His eyebrows are creased, his lips thinned as his piercing gaze seems to go right through you.

“Bertrand, it’s not…I would never…” You pause, taking a breath. “Someone set me up. Tariq came in while I was undressing. He tried…But Drake came in and stopped…”

“Why didn’t you tell us? We could have done something!” He snaps, and you suddenly realise his anger isn’t aimed at you. You open your mouth to respond, when someone else speaks.

“I don’t mean to interrupt, but I believe it would be best to save this conversation for a…More appropriate location.” Bastien advises, glancing around. Bertrand hums in agreement, his eyes also sweeping the room..

“MC, you will remain here- Maxwell, come with me.” He orders. “MC, be ready to move quickly when we return- it seems we are not currently welcome here.” He marches away, Maxwell following without question.

You sitheavily on the staircase, head leaning against the bannister as the others move around. Everything feels like a blur, and you find yourself fading out.

After several minutes, Maxwell returns, pulling you to your feet. He places a gentle hand on your arm.

“Alright- We’ve got a plan. Bertrand and myself will go to our car and distract the paparazzi- Bastien will take you to a back exit, where a car will be waiting.”

You look over at the quiet body guard, only just realising he’s still with you.

“Shouldn’t you be with…With…” You suddenly feel your mouth dry, and you gulp.

“Prince Liam has requested that I keep an eye on you tonight. I promised him you would be kept safe.” He answers your unfinished question.

Bertrand pauses, before awkwardly placing his hands on your shoulders.

“We will not let this slide- when we discover who is behind this, we will fight them.” He promises.

You smile weakly at him for a second, before he drops his hands.

“We’ll follow when we can- just keep a low profile for now.” 

You nod, unable to find words. 

“Come, Lady MC- we should move.” 

Bastien leads you through the twists and turns, until you finally reach a door.

“I will tell the Prince where to find you.” He promises. “MC- I hope this is not goodbye.”

“…Thank you, Bastien.” You respond, surprised at the sentiment. He almost smiles, before opening the door.

There’s a car waiting, and before you know it you find yourself inside. The driver puts his foot down, tires skidding on the loose gravel. You barely take any notice “I thought I told you to watch your back.” A familiar voice quips. You blink, turning to spot the scarlet haired woman in the seat across from you.

Her face is puffy and her hair is slightly messy, but her eyes are clear and sharp as her gaze sweeps over your ruffled appearance.

“Why are you here?” You finally ask, earning an eye roll.

“Like the other Suitors, I received a copy of…that photo.” There’s a distinct distaste as she says the words. “We may not be friends, but I couldn’t leave you to the vultures.”

Your eyes meet hers, and you know what she’s leaving unspoken.

We’re in this together.

“Did he hurt you?” She asks suddenly, startling you.

“Who, Bastien? No, he was-“

“I meant Tariq.”

She’s blunt, no nonsense. You find your heartbeat has quickened.

“…No. He came in and…He thought I wanted to…” You stumble for words. “Drake heard a noise and came in to investigate.”

“Tell me everything.” She demands.

You look at her for a moment….and for some reason, you do. You tell her about the odd conversation at the party before it happened, the lack of a lock. Every detail you can remember. At the end, she’s looking at you differently. There’s a softness to her expression as she thinks for a moment, taking in what you’d told her.

“Are you sure you’re alright?” She asks quietly. You bite your lip, considering your answer.

“Honestly? I’m not sure.” You admit finally. She doesn’t respond, but she sighs. She glances out of the window, and suddenly her frosty exterior returns.

“We shall discuss this further in the morning. It’s late.”

You realise suddenly that the car has stopped, and you look out to see a grand courtyard.

As Olivia steps out of the car, you follow her out, looking around.

“Where are we?”

“A friend of mine owns this estate- she’s currently touring Europe and won’t be back for months. We’ll be staying here until the Beaumont’s decide on their next move.” She explains, marching up the stairs without another word.

As soon as you’re inside, she spins around to face you. Her expression is guarded.

“Amanda will show you to a room. You can sleep, cry- do whatever you wish. Just keep the noise down.” Olivia waves a hand and a young woman steps forward, curtseying to you as Olivia exits the room. You shake your head before you follow Amanda up the stairs and into a modest bedroom where a fire is roaring and waiting

“There are clothes for you to use in the closet, Ma’am. If you need anything else, just ring for me.” She tells you, moving to lay a towel and bathrobe on the bed.

You make your way into the bathroom, allowing the hot steam of the shower to relax you slightly while the hot water mingles with your tears.

“MC?” A vice yells from the next room.

“Maxwell? Is that you?” You yell back. The door creaks open an inch.

“Yes! I thought maybe we could take- and I brought you a snack! I’ll just wait out here for you, if you want me stay?” You hear him call, a hint of hope in his voice. You know he’s worried about you, and it makes you feel a little bit better.

“You can- but I might be a while!”

“It’s Okay! I’ll just…Take a nap, or something!” He replied. The door creaks shut once more, and you can’t help but let out a small laugh.

When you finally emerge from the bathroom almost half an hour later, you find a tray of food waiting alongside a pot of tea.

You read the neat hand writing and a small smile crosses your face.

Apparently it’s called a Hot Toddy- tea, whiskey and cinnamon. Think Drake might have invented it. If I’m asleep, you should drink it all.

You glance over at the bed, biting your lip as a small snore escapes Maxwell, who’s sprawled on his stomach fast asleep.

You quickly pour yourself a cup and take a sip, and the strong flavours flood your senses.

You curl up on the window seat, resting your head against the glass as you look out over the gardens. Your mind flashes over everything that’s happened- Liam’s almost proposal, Olivia forfeiting, the message….Liam’s look of shock. Madeline’s name being announced.

You feel your breath catch in your throat as you let out a small sob, followed by another.

You cry for almost an hour, before your eyes finally fall closed.

You wake up some time later. The room is dark, the dying fire only just enough light for you to see the room. For a moment you wonder what’s woken you up- but then there’s a sudden flash of lightning outside, followed by a roll of thunder.

You sit up to stretch and realise there’s a blanket wrapped around you. You look over at the bed and realise that Maxwell is gone. You consider moving to the bed- but realise that you won’t be going back to sleep. Instead you yawn, reaching out to turn on a lamp beside you.

You sit there for almost an hour, tears rolling down your face as you watch the storm roll in. The wind tears at the trees, the rain beating down the grass. Every few minutes lightning blankets the sky, illuminating the surrounding gardens.

A sudden movement in the distance catches your attention. You rub your eyes, thinking at first you’re imagining it. But as lighting floods everything with light once more, you can see that whatever it is, is moving fast. You squint, before suddenly realising what it is.

There’s a horse and rider, galloping down the long drive. Even as you watch, the rider reaches the courtyard and dismounts smoothly as two servants rush to meet him. Your mind notes how it looks like something out of Pride and Prejudice.

As the Rider turns suddenly, they lift their head to look towards the only room with a light still on. Your room.

You look down, and you suddenly feel your heart stop. A flash of lightning illuminated everything once more, and you can easily recognise the face- the eyes that meet yours, even in the darkness.