Their Royal Highnesses The Earl and Countess of Wessex just before HRH The Countess of Wessex embarks on her Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge - 445 Miles from The Palace of Holyrood in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London
“Are you certain you want to go through with this?”
Ciel’s bright blue eye leveled with your gaze as you turned to look at him.
“Of course. What makes you think that I wouldn’t be?”
“Well, we are making ourselves rather vulnerable. It’s a dangerous situation.”
“Yes, I do realize. I’m no stranger to these types of situations, Ciel.”
Turning your attention away from him, you stared out the window at the snow that was carefully falling from the sky.
“Are you concerned?”
Your tone turned curious as you turned back to study his expression.
“No. I’m simply ensuring you’re as committed to this plan as I am.”
“Well, I do believe you’re forgetting who’s plan it was.”
A smirk settled on your lips as you watched annoyance wash over Ciel’s expression.
“Very well. As long as you’re certain. You know, you’re a rather challenging countess.”
“As you are a rather difficult earl. I only trouble you, because you see so much of yourself within me.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. I don’t believe I see as much as you would like to think.”
“Oh, what’s that? Would you like to find more of yourself in me? Perhaps that could be arranged.”
Throwing a facetious wink in his direction, you ruffled your skirt gently, lifting it enough to show off the pale skin of your leg. His expression remained unchanged, stoic as ever.
“For someone who sold their soul, you have a pretty interesting sense of humor.”
“And you seem to have none at all. Your soul is still yours, you know. May as well use it while you have it. Smile while you can. I, personally, have chosen to see it that way. I used to be shy, bashful, proper; you know. I behaved the way I was expected to. But now, I see no point. We’re all going to die anyway, right? I may as well have some fun before I go. So I’ll partake in lewd humor and empty flirtations if I so choose to, because no one can stop me and it won’t matter once I’m dead, so why care now?”
His naked eye squinted in your direction, scrutinizing your face as if to try and glean a deeper understanding of your psyche, but to no avail.
“What an interesting take. You have an odd view of the morbid situation you have found yourself in.”
“What would make it morbid is how I choose to see it. I gained a greater view when I lost my eye. I see things more clearly now and I see that I can choose to be content, so I am. My situation is one of my own choosing and for that, I’m grateful. ”
Smiling politely, you turned to gaze out the window once more, admiring the fresh snow on the cobbled streets beneath the carriage. Ciel kept his eye on you for a moment, but you were too enamored with the sight outside to notice. He pondered your words carefully, mulling them over in the back of his mind as he turned to look out the opposite window, remaining silent until the carriage came to a halt.
“Master, we have arrived.”
Sebastian’s velvet voice echoed through the carriage just before the door popped open.
“Thank you, Sebastian.”
Nodding politely, you took his gloved hand as he offered it to you, helping you out of the buggy. Ciel followed behind you quietly, standing close to your side.
“That will be all, Sebastian. Do you recall your orders?”
The raven-haired butler bowed with his hand pressed over his heart.
“Yes, my lord. I shall take my leave now. Enjoy your evening. My lady.”
Nodding his polite goodbye, Sebastian climbed elegantly atop the carriage and ushered the horses off, leaving you and Ciel alone.
The streets weren’t vacant yet, a few people still wandered about, bundled up against the chill of the evening. It was late, however, and those with any sense were on their way back to their homes.
“Well, shall we?”
Ciel’s turned to face you as he offered your his arm, which you graciously took.
“I suppose we shall. Thank you.”
Carefully, you linked your arm with his, stepping close to his side as the two of you began to walk down the street.
“I’ve always enjoyed this weather. Fresh snow is just so beautiful.”
Craning your head back, you peered up at the sky, watching the light flurries of snow dance around you. Ciel made no comment, he merely watched your movements, but when you lowered your sight to look at him, you could have sworn you saw an inkling of a smile on his face.
“We should get to somewhere less crowded. You’re positive this is the area the killer prefers?”
Nodding affirmatively, you gestured to the darkness of a nearby alleyway.
“Yes. This block and the next four after it have been the locations for all of the murders.”
“Very well. I suppose this is our best bet then.”
Ciel followed your direction, strolling along with you into the chilly, damp air of the dimly-lit alley.
“Stay close to me, all right?”
A air of protectiveness crept into his expression as he peered down at you, resting his free hand over the arm you had linked with his.
Nodding in understanding and now feeling just slightly unnerved, you placed your hand over his as the light left your figures.
His Royal Highness The Earl of Wessex kisses his wife Her Royal Highness The Countess of Wessex before she sets off on her Duke of Edinburgh Diamond Challenge - 445 miles cycle ride from The Palade of Holyrood in Edinburgh to Buckingham Palace in London
Edit: I changed the photo to a higher resolution image