Title: A Journey to Paris
Which fairytale inspired you: Anastasia (Movie Version)
Rating & Any Needed Warning: Rated T, Slash
Word Count: 8,262
Summary: Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovna didn't die like the rest of his family did when the palace was attacked, instead he and his Grandmother made it out, though they were also separated soon after. Now 10 years later Jasper is attempting the dangerous journey to claim his rightful name. Edward and Alice have the perfect plan; these two will "find" the Grand Duke and claim the reward money.
Disclaimer: We own nothing.
10 years I have been in this place and tomorrow, when I turn 18, I will finally be free. I can't complain too much since it was a place to eat and sleep, but living in an orphanage is no life at all when you come from the life I did. Not that anyone here knows who I really am. To them I am Dimitri Turov, and I came here because my mother, my only living relative, died when I was 8. I have been in hiding because if anyone found out who I was, people would try to find me and kill me.
In reality, I am Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovna, the sole heir to my family's fortune. My only living blood relative is my grandmother, Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna, who lives in Paris and has been looking for me since that horrible night so long ago.
People are running all around me. I can hear shooting coming from the main hall where my birthday celebration was being held. My grandmother and I had just stepped out so she could say goodbye to me before she left for her trip to Paris. We heard a load crash and screaming. Then the shooting started and now people are running from all the doors that lead out of the hall.
"Jasper, come on. We need to get out of here." My grandmother pulls me behind her as she runs for my bedroom. She's frantically searching the walls of my room and whispering "Where is it? Where is it?"
Suddenly I see one of the servant boys, coming out of a hole in the wall across from my bed that wasn't there before.
There is banging on my door now and all three of us snap our eyes to it. I feel him grab my hand and I look back at him. Pulling me towards the hole in the wall he says, "This way, hurry." He leads me and my grandmother through the hidden passageway that leads out of the palace. He turns to me to make sure we all made it out and I notice how green his eyes are.
"Thank you." I tell him. He doesn't say anything, and after a few seconds of looking at me he takes off in another direction. I hope he makes it out alright and finds someplace safe. I follow my Grandmother and we run to the train station not far from the palace. She jumps on a train, calling out to me to get on too. Before I can get to her, I get lost in the crowd. I break through just as the train is pulling away.
I didn't make it onto the train, I couldn't run fast enough. After I watched the train with my Grandmother pull away, I made my way back into the crowds hoping to stay hidden. I hate thinking about that day. It's difficult not to though, when I am reminded just by being here and hiding who I am. I haven't made any friends and I never let anyone close to me for fear they would find out who I am. I guess that makes leaving tomorrow that much easier.
I wake up before the sun does. The few things I own are already packed so I grab my backpack, and some food I snuck out of the cafeteria, and leave the orphanage. I stop at the end of the driveway, not knowing where to go. I need to find a way to my grandmother in Paris. There is a sign across the street. On one end it points west to Pskov, 233 kilometers. The other end pointed east to St. Petersburg, 8 kilometers. Well that's an easy decision.
I head east, walking along the side of the road. It is still dark out, but I can see the sun peaking out over the horizon. It has been a while since I have heard that my grandmother is still looking for me. Every once in a while, the teachers in the orphanage would talk about it and I would over hear it. But it has been at least a year since I've heard anything. I hope she hasn't given up, I don't even know if she is still in Paris.
I make it to St. Petersburg in about two hours. I am exhausted and need nourishment. On the outskirts of the city I notice an abandoned building next to a stream. Walking over to it I stop at the stream and cup some of the water in my hands. It's cool and makes me feel a little better. I walk to the building and search around it to see if there is a way in.
Just my luck, one of the back windows is broken. I use my bag to bust out the rest of it, and toss it in. Using the window sill, I pull myself in and land on my feet. It is just the one large empty room. There is no furniture, only a large pile of fabric on one side of the room. I walk over to it and see that they are thick curtains, probably could use them to sleep on and cover up with.
I go to my backpack and take out a piece of bread to eat. Since I have no money, the food I have will need to last me for as long as possible. When I finish it, I pick up my backpack and walk over to the pile of curtains. I spread them out a little more and pull the top one back. Lying down, I use my backpack as a pillow and pull the curtain down over me. It is still quite hard, but there is a roof over my head so this will do for now. I think about my grandmother as I go to sleep.
I wake up later in the day. My back hurts from sleeping on the ground but I just roll my shoulders and stand up. Grabbing my backpack, I go to the door of the building, unlock it and go outside. I drink from the stream again, and use it to wash my face and hands. Feeling much better now, I head into town.
Walking down a street, I can tell it is market day. There are stands set up all along the street with different kinds of foods and home made items. I pass by an apple stand, and when no one is looking I put a couple in my pockets. I feel bad for stealing, but growing up in the orphanage you learn to fend for yourself, and how to use people to get what you need.
I turn the corner and continue down another street before anyone can notice I took anything. There are a few people talking outside of a bar that I pass. I over hear them talking about me. I stop and sit down next to the building they are in front of, pretending to be resting while I listen in to their conversation.
"Yea man, they are having some sort of auditions for his look-a-like. They think if they can find someone who looks enough like the Grand Duke Jasper, that the grandmother won't be able to tell if it is really him. Too bad I'm not blonde, that would be an easy job. Alice even told me they saved up enough money to get all the way to Paris, and if the scam works then the person will inherit the whole family's fortune. And then she and Edward will split the reward for finding him."
I learned from more people whispering around town that these people, Alice and Edward were indeed holding auditions at the old palace.
Well, who better to play the part than me?
Screams filled the halls as we all run for our lives.
There had been rumors about an attack on the palace for weeks now, but no one thought that it would happen on the Grand Duke Jaspers 8th birthday celebration. But it had and now everywhere people were screaming, dying, running. I grabbed my sister's hand knowing that we needed to run too.
"Edward, you have to help them get out." Alice says as we pass Jaspers chambers where he and his grandmother the Dowager Empress attempted to take refuge in.
"Alice run, I'll find you later, now just get out." I yell as I open a secret door that would lead me to Jaspers rooms.
There was banging on the doors as I snuck in. "This way, hurry." I say as I pull Jasper and they follow me though the hidden door and out of the palace.
"Thank you." Jaspers kind voice says as his blue eyes meet mine.
I say nothing as the three of us separate. Knowing I needed to find Alice. We needed to get away.
"Edward!" Alice's voice yells, bringing me out of my dream.
"Yes Ali?" I say as I rub the sleep from my eyes.
"You were thinking about that night again weren't you?" I roll my eyes, I didn't need to confirm it she knew the answer already. "Well let's get going, we have a lot to get through today."
We weren't really bad people. I had tried my hardest to provide for the two of us, but I found it was easier to fib a little to get what we needed. I was 9 when the attack took place, and Alice, well she was only 6 at the time. We have done only what we've needed to do.
And that's what leads us to today. Alice and I are holding auditions for a Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovna. Now I know its wrong to trick someone like the Dowager Empress, but she was old and had all those riches. If we could claim the award money we would be free of this disgraceful life we currently lived in.
"Next." Alice yells as she dismisses someone who looks nothing like the Grand Duke. This goes on for three hours as we hold auditions in the old palace, each as bad as the one before.
"Alice this isn't working lets just call it a day." I say just as we dismiss another "Grand Duke".
"Hmm… Ok Edward." Alice says and we pick up all of our stuff, ready to head off.
"Hello?" We hear a voice yell as we start to walk away. "I'm looking for Edward and Alice."
We both pause just as a gorgeous blonde comes into view. "I'm Dimitri Turov, but you can call me Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovna." He says when he sees us.
He takes my breath away as I look and walk closer towards him.
"Well you are the physical type and your eyes, they match the Empresses." As I circle him I continue to critique him, the more I look the more I believe we could pull this off. "Alice, get our papers, I do believe the three of us will be making the trip to Paris."
"So that's it, you're not even going to test me?" Dimitri asks almost surprised.
"No, look, we'll instruct you as we travel. You obviously know what we are doing, the deal is Alice and I get all of the reward money, you will get whatever inheritance is left to you as Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovan, deal?" I hold out my hand to the man, knowing he would take the deal, who would turn it down?
"Deal." Dimitri smiles as our hands meet and I feel as if electricity ignites through us.
"Now why don't we get you out of those dreadful clothes, where did you get them?" Alice says as she pulls Dimitri towards our room. "Luckily you'll fit some of Edwards's things." Alice then starts to babble on about clothes and how Paris will be the perfect place to make a home and shop.
Alice and I quickly pack and soon the three of us are on a train, on our way to Paris. Dimitri and I kept our distance from each other, sitting on opposite sides of the car we occupied.
"How long will it take us to get there?" He asks breaking the silence that had fallen between us.
"It will take a few days on train to reach Germany then we'll take a boat to Paris." I say quickly before opening up my book and ignoring him. There was something about this Dimitri I didn't want to trust, I was attracted to the beautiful man, and that wasn't a good thing. Once we collected our money Alice and I would leave and Dimitri would take up his place and continue to be the Grand Duke.
"Check the cars; look for anyone who could be Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovan. Everyone's so convinced that he's alive; if we find anyone who even resembles Jasper; kill him, and any with him." The three of us freeze as we hear voices from down the hall.
"We need to leave, now." Alice says as we all start grabbing our things.
"But we're on a moving train how are we going to leave?" I roll my eyes at "Jaspers" words.
"We really need to work on your manners; we'll have to jump, obviously." I say as we practically run along the train until we get to a door.
"Here goes nothing." Alice yells before jumping.
I couldn't help sneaking glances at Edward as we sat on the train. Even with the ragged clothes and dirty skin, he was beautiful.
I noticed he had green eyes while I was being critiqued back at the palace. And looking at him now I can see how bright they are. How he knew what I should look like, I don't know. But I am getting safe and free passage to Paris, so I'm not going to ask too many questions.
I could still feel tingling in my hand from where we shook on our agreement.
We don't talk much over the next two days. I ask a few questions about the plan, but the rest of the time is spent in silence. Occasionally, I find myself looking at him and notice how my body wants to reach out and touch him, run my fingers through his unruly auburn hair. Usually I brush it off, but now I wonder if he feels the same pull. I've seen him looking at me some times, too, but that doesn't mean anything.
Suddenly there are voices coming from further down the train, "Check the cars. Look for anyone who could be Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovan. Everyone's so convinced that he's alive. If we find anyone who even resembles Jasper; kill him, and any with him." Fear consumes my body.
"We'll have to jump, obviously." Edward says.
Alice and Edward must be crazy. They want to jump from a train! They drag me out of the car along with our things. We run away from the voices towards the nearest train door. Alice opens it and I can see the world flying by. Oh God, we are going to die!
"Here goes nothing!" And then Alice is gone. She jumped… she really jumped! I turn to Edward, panic written all over my face. He places a hand on my shoulder, his eyes pleading with mine.
"Please jump, Dimitri. You will be fine. Just tuck and roll." He grabs my bag and tosses it out. What other choice do I have? If I don't, I will die anyways. I turn back around and leap from the train, Edward right behind me. I hit the ground hard and it feels like I tumble forever.
At some point, Edward rolls into me and when we stop he is hovering over me, pinning me to the ground. He lifts up enough to look at me, "Are you okay?" I do a mental check over my body. Toes wiggling… check. Fingers wiggling… check. Dull buzzing everywhere Edward is touching… check. Breathing… kind of difficult.
I look back at him and smile so he knows I'm alright. "Yea, just you know, it's kind of hard to breathe with you on top of me." I see a blush tint his cheeks and he rolls off of me. "Are you okay, Edward?"
He looks at me, cheeks still pink, and nods. Spinning around, he spots Alice walking towards us carrying the bags. "Jeez, you guys. Took you long enough to jump." He smiles at her and my breath catches in my throat.
"Sorry, Ali. Dimitri, er… um… I mean Jasper here just needed a little extra encouragement." She chuckles a little, gives him their bag and grabs his hand. Walking towards me, she hands me my bag. She grabs my other hand and starts to drag us along the tracks.
"Well boys, looks like it's going to take us a while longer to get to Paris. If we follow these tracks it will take us to the next station, but I'm pretty sure we haven't made it to Germany yet.
We walk for what seems like hours by the time we come across the next town. The sun is already setting and we are all exhausted but glad to be alive. I feel gross, covered in dirt and my blonde hair tangled from rolling after I jumped off the train.
We find an inn close to the tracks and get a cheap room. It's small but there is a bed that they can sleep on and a couch for me. We don't say anything, and I crash on the couch, sleep taking me over before they can even get into the bed.
I am woken up by a smooth voice caressing my ears. I open my eyes and see Edward staring at me expectantly. "Come on, we need to get going." And then he is gone, following Alice out the door. Well, I guess it's time to get up.
Dimitri didn't seem too happy about having to walk, but I'm glad that he at least doesn't complain. We used up roughly half of our money for the train, now we are three walking days from Germany. Luckily we have four days before our boat takes off for Paris.
"When are the two of you going to begin "teaching" me how to be the Grand Duke?" Dimitri asks, though I guess I should start thinking of him as Jasper the Grand Duke. I don't want to slip up when the time comes to present him to the Dowager Empress.
"Now." I say as I open my notebook and start instructing him on how he should walk, talk, and the family history he should know. I briefly tell him about the attack, though I leave out how he escaped, opting to go with what everyone else says. "It's a mystery on how they got out." But I know better, I was there.
We spend our next night hidden in the woods, listening to the soldiers riding in the distance, determined to find anyone who would dare claim to be the Grand Duke.
"Are there always so many soldiers out looking for Jasper?" He asks in a low whisper.
"For about ten years now, soldiers patrol around. Though they don't truly believe that he's alive, they are determined to make sure no one can claim to be him. They would definitely take you as someone who looks like him." I whisper back before going to sleep.
By the time we reached our boat the three of us were dirty from travel and exhausted from walking. Alice and I leave "Jasper" in our room on the boat as we go to find food and hopefully fresh clothes in the market.
The boat will be leaving shortly and Alice claimed that we couldn't reach Paris in our ragged clothes. We hoped that since so many soldiers were looking for "him", that being on the boat will protect him.
I breath a sigh of relief when the boat finally leaves port, knowing we are safely on our way to Paris.
That night I lay in bed staring out the small porthole. Alice was in a room across the hall from us, Dimitri and I were alone for the first time since meeting.
"Edward, are you awake?" I hear him whisper as he turns in his bed to look at me.
"Yeah." I say, knowing it's obvious that I'm not sleeping. Before I could say anything else, he reaches his hand across the small space between our two beds and touches my face.
"Am I the only one that feels this?" His touch sends a slight tingle through me, his voice soft as if he's afraid to talk too loud.
"No, I feel it too." I whisper back to him.
He's out of bed and kneeling before mine in a matter of seconds.
"Can I try something?" He asks as he leans towards me, our lips only centimeters from each other. I nod my head, not trusting my voice at the moment.
His lips are soft against mine, almost hesitant, but soon the kiss deepens and I am pulling him to join me on my bed.
By the time we break our kiss, we are both breathing heavily.
"Wow." I say pushing a stray hair out of his face from when I pulled him to lie down next to me.
"Was, was that ok?" I couldn't help my chuckle as he asks such a stupid question.
"That was perfect." I say just as he drifts off to sleep. I stay awake for a few more minutes just looking at him. The moonlight shining on his face makes him look almost like an angel.
"Screaming…" I hear him mumble in his sleep. "Death, running... Grandmother!.. Trapped, we're trapped…" I sit up rapidly as I listen to him dream. "Passage... Safe… HIS eyes!" Suddenly without warning Dimitri shoots up fully awake, his blue eyes find mine quickly. We sit in silence for a few minutes as his breathing calms down.
I couldn't help but wonder what he was thinking, it sounded almost as if he was dreaming about that night. But that's impossible, right?
"Your eyes." He says and I quickly look away from him, getting up and walking towards the door to leave our room.
"I don't know what you're talking about." I say as I make my exit and head towards the deck.
I walk over to a bench, lying down. I look up to the night sky and notice how many stars are out. I don't notice I was followed until Dimitri is looming over me.
"You, you lied to me." He says. I stand up and look out over the dark river.
"That makes two of us." Is my reply as I refuse to look at him.
"You told me you didn't know how Jasper and his Grandmother escaped the palace, but you do, don't you!" His words are not a question but a statement. He knew, and that meant one thing, Dimitri was truly Jasper.
Quickly I turn to face him, the Grand Duke Jasper.
"Well excuse me your Imperial Highness, for I was unaware of whom you truly were." I say sarcastically giving him a bow, before turning to walk away.
"Edward, wait." I hear him say just as his hand wraps around my arm. I knew I could have yanked my arm away from him and run off. But we're on a boat; there was nowhere I could hide from him. "You were the boy, it was you who opened the secret passageway and helped us out."
There was no use denying it, it seems as though the con-artists had been conned.
"What of it?" I ask, putting on a brave face, though on the inside I am terrified. He knows of our plan to con his Grandmother out of money, which would give us a hardy sentence in jail.
"You saved our lives, Edward. I could never thank you enough for that. But why did you lie about the escape?" He looks away as I ask that question.
"I've never told anyone, except Alice. I didn't want people to find out that I knew what you looked like in case they thought I could help find you." Well, now I know why he thought I would be able to act as Grand Duke.
"But now that you know our con, I'm sure you will tell your grandmother. Alice and I will spend years in jail for attempting to con royalty. We won't even get to collect the reward for your return." I'm taken aback by the last statement.
Even after the kiss, and the connection we have, all he wants is the money. He doesn't want me. I'm just a means to an end for him.
Stepping away from him, and releasing his arm, I turn to go back to the room. I look back at him, pain written all over my face, "Don't worry, Edward. You will get your reward, and I'll make sure neither of you go to jail. It's the least I can do."
I get back in my own bed and try to fall asleep. He must stay out on deck for a while, because I drift off before he returns.
When I wake up he is sitting on his bed, looking at me. The Edward I saw last night is gone, and he seems to be back to playing the con.
"I'm not going to tell Alice." He looks away from me and I sigh in defeat. He must have been playing me the whole time.
"That is probably best. There is no need to worry her." I get up and leave the room, spending the rest of the boat ride alone. I don't really talk to Alice or Edward for the next two days, instead choosing to look out over the river and the land passing by.
I use the time to think about everything that has happened since leaving the orphanage, especially the connection I thought I had with Edward. How could I have been so wrongI feel like a fool for putting myself out there for him, and he still played right along. And I believed him! Well I'm not letting that happen again.
We will be arriving in Paris soon and in just a few more hours hopefully I will be reunited with my grandmother. Then he will take the reward money and move on, forgetting about me.
Just as the ship's crew is getting the boat ready to dock, Edward walks over to me. He stands next to me in silence for a few minutes, looking at the city in front of us. It's beautiful and would be romantic if the circumstances were different. He turns to me and says, "Jasper, I…"
"You don't need to say anything, Edward. It doesn't matter. We will be there soon and you won't be burdened with me anymore." I cut him off and turn to walk away from him He moves in front of me to block my path.
"Please, Jasper. I wanted to say…." I throw my hand up to stop him from saying anything further and I see the emotions playing in his green eyes. Pain… regret… No, that can't be right. I won't fall for his scheme again.
Why is he even trying? I told him he would get what he wants. What is his game?
"Don't, Edward. I'm over it. It meant nothing, right? Let it be nothing." I leave him standing there and walk over to the gate leading off the boat.
We dock a few minutes later, and I follow Edward and Alice off. She suddenly stops when we step on land, squealing and jumping up and down. "Look, look. It's the Eiffel Tower. It's so much bigger than I could have imagined. Isn't it magical?"
I look over at her; she's so happy and carefree. I wish that would be what I was feeling right now. I should be excited to see my grandmother for the first time in ten years. I will be claiming my place as the Grand Duke and my life will be easy from now on.
So then why am I still so sad? I let a boy break my heart and now I can't even look forward to my new life. A life I wish Edward would be a part of. But, I'm done with wishful thinking.
I walk past Alice, ignoring the look Edward is giving me. "Come on, guys. We've got a family fortune and reward money waiting for us. What are we waiting for?"
Edward remains silent, and Alice looks at him expectantly. "Do you know how to get there, Ed?" He looks back at her and shakes his head. Of course not. She looks back at me and says, "Well I don't know about you guys, but I am starving. Let's go find some amazing French food, and then we can ask around to see if anyone knows how to find the Dowager Empress."
Just then my stomach rumble and Alice giggles, "I'll assume that means you like my plan."
To say our last few days on the boat were awkward would be an understatement. The days were full of Jasper ignoring us and Alice bugging me, trying to get me to tell her what happened. My sister was too smart for her own good sometimes. She kept telling me that she knew something had happened and then when I attempted to tell her to leave it alone, she just squealed.
"You two kissed!" I cover her mouth before she can yell anymore.
"Ali, stop it. Nothing happened, let's just get to Paris, collect our money and get out." That was the last Alice and I spoke of the subject and for that I was thankful.
I've never been to Paris; I don't know why Alice thought I would know how to find the Dowager Empress, because I didn't. That's how we found ourselves seated at a small food joint as Alice rambles on and on about shopping.
"You'll visit, won't you Dimitri, as Jasper of course?" Alice asks when shes finished talking about buying a house. "It would be so wonderful to have an actual house of our own. We've never had our own place and…"
"Alice stop talking, he'll be too busy to visit." I say rudely cutting her off. A tinge of guilt ran through me as I look at my sister, it wasn't her fault. She was just excited about having a home, but I knew the Grand Duke Jasper wouldn't ever want anything to do with us. That and the fact that I knew there was a big possibility of Jasper playing us again. Once he was safe with his grandmother he would tell her of our plan to con her, and then it will be all over. We'll be sent to rot in jail, while he lives in riches.
"Alice, I would love to visit the two of you." Jasper says, ignoring what I had said. It doesn't escape my notice that he said the two of us.
"Well you two stay here; I must run to the powder room." Alice says as she skips off, leaving Jasper and I alone.
"There's no need for you to raise Alice's hopes like that." I sneer once she's out of ear shot, though I also hated that my own hopes were being raised at a chance to see him again after all this was over.
"I'm not; I would like to visit the two of you." Jasper replies, softly to my sneer. "At least I would like to see Alice, seeing as I'm sure you'll want nothing to do with me."
"Yeah when you say visit I'm sure you mean while we sit in jail, there's no way you'll be letting us go after being reunited with your grandmother." I know my words come out harsh, but I don't much care.
"How can you think such a thing about me?" He's getting angry now, though he remains seated. "If anything I shouldn't trust you, how do I know I'll reach my grandmother safely now that you know the truth?" His words make my heart ache and I have to fight the urge to reach out to him, to calm his fears.
"You shouldn't trust me?" I laugh with a shake of my head. "If I wanted to harm you I could have just given you over to the soldiers who were searching for you. They are also offering up a reward to any who will hand you over to them. I would do many things to get what I want but I would not set out to have someone killed, ever."
"I'm not the one playing games with someone's heart. I trusted you," He practically yells before continuing quieter. "I kissed you, gosh I'm such an idiot for thinking I meant anything to you." I go to speak only to be silenced by Jasper as he continues. "Save it." He practically demands. "I don't wish to hear it, anyways Alice is returning now."
"Ok, I've found out where a cousin of the Duchess lives, her name is Sophia. Let's go and meet with her." Alice's happy voice sounds almost strange as she rejoins us. "Oh and by the way, I heard you two yelling at each other. You both better get over whatever happened. We could all be great friends."
I don't have the heart to tell my sister that there was no way to "get over it". I knew Alice had taken a liking to Jasper, and I couldn't help the sadness I felt about her loosing his "friendship". My own stupidity caused me to loose any chance with him, and now it's even lost Alice a chance to befriend him.
We walk three blocks to the house of Sophia, the cousin.
"Hello, how may I help you?" A kind woman asks as we are showed into her sitting room by a servant.
"I'm told you are a cousin of the Dowager Empress." Alice says as she sits on the couch next to Sophia.
"That is true." The woman says eyeing Jasper. "Who are you, my dear boy?"
"I am the Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovna." His voice sounds regal as he speaks. "And I would like to see my Grandmother."
Sophia nods and explains that she would need to ask him questions for proof of his identity before taking us to her cousin.
I pull out my notebook and begin to write as I ignore their conversation.
Sophia hammers me with question after question. It's a good thing I am the real Grand Duke because Edward and Alice's con would have fallen apart at this point. Alice is looking at me in shock, probably wondering how I am able to answer all these questions.
It's not until Sophia asks me how I escaped the massacre does she finally believe me. I guess grandmother never made the escape public.
"Well your imperial highness, I'm afraid before you can see your grandmother we need to get you and your friends some more appropriate clothes." After these words leave her mouth, Alice starts jumping up and down in her seat.
"Oh my gosh Sophia, we get to go shopping? In Paris?" She lets out a high-pitched squeal that I am sure has all the dogs near here barking. Sophia laughs at her, patting Alice's knee.
"Yes, my dear, and only the best for his Imperial Highness. There is a boutique just a short walk from here that has all the top Parisian designers." I tune out about here. I could care less about clothes or designers.
I am more concerned with the beautiful boy sitting on the other end of the couch. He is hunched over, writing in his notebook, and ignoring everything around him. I wish things could have been different. I wish he would want to be with me.
Before I can get too lost in thought, I am being pulled off the couch by a tiny force of nature. She drags me and Edward out of the house, following Sophia down the street. She must have a specific place in mind, because she leads us to a smaller store near the end.
They must know her because when we enter, we are assaulted by a few people who work there, offering to help Sophia find whatever she would like. She tells them that the three of us each need a new outfit and to make sure they are added to her tab. None of us are to spend a dime of our own money.
We are all dragged in different directions by the store employees. I don't really care what I wear so I just let them pick out my clothes and I try them on to make sure they fit. I hear Sophia yell across the store, "Just go ahead and throw the clothes they were wearing out, they can wear their new clothes back to the house."
After enduring that torture, I go outside to wait for the others. It is a nice day today and I try to enjoy the weather. About ten minutes later Edward walks outside. He sees me sitting on a bench next to the entrance to the store and goes to the other side and sits on the ground, ignoring me to write in his notebook some more.
At least thirty minutes later Alice and Sophia come outside, laughing and holding hands. It looks like they are getting along well. I swear I will never understand how women can enjoy shopping so much.
We head back to Sophia's house. Alice and Sophia walking in front, still holding hands. Edward's behind them, hands in his pockets and head down. I follow them, wondering if this is really the life I want to live. I don't want to be this shallow. Having people serve me all day, required to wear certain clothes and act a certain way to fit in.
I just want to be happy, and be me. I've spent the last ten years pretending to be someone else. I don't even know who "me" is anymore.
When we enter the grand house, a servant shows us into the sitting room before running upstairs to tell my grandmother about our arrival. I hear talking and then someone shouts, "No, I do not want to see anyone else pretending to be my Jasper. They are all imposters!"
I look to Sophia and there is sadness in her eyes. "She has been looking for you for ten years; she was close to giving up hope. Let me talk to her. I'm sure I can get her to come down." She walks up the stairs and out of sight.
I turn around and notice that Edward and Alice are standing behind me. I look at Edward but he keeps his eyes cast down, refusing to look back at me. Alice is looking at him too, confused by his actions. She looks back at me and I know she can see the hurt in my eyes. Before she can say anything, we hear footsteps coming down the stairs.
I turn around and see my grandmother. I haven't laid eyes on her in so long, but I would recognize her anywhere. Finally, I feel something other than sadness. I feel the tears falling down my face when she whispers, "Jazzy?"
"Gammy!" I run to her before I can be sure she knows it is me. But when I reach her, her arms are already open and tears running down her face too. "Oh, Jazzy. It's really you."
We hug and cry for a few minutes, and I pull away from her, to look at the others. Sophia and Alice are crying now too, happy about our reunion. But it's not them my eyes seek as I look towards Edward who continues to look down. When we all calm down and are not grinning like fools anymore, Sophia gets our attention.
"I've decided to adopt little Alice here. She is the girl I was never able to have, a soul after my own heart.
Sophia and Alice cornered me earlier at the shop, so their announcement to the group was not a surprise to me.
"Edward I would love it if you would allow for me to adopt Alice, and yourself of course, I wouldn't dream about separating the two of you." The smile on Alice's face tells me that this is what she wants.
"Sophia you are very kind, and if that is what Alice wants then I am perfectly fine with it. But as for me, I do not wish to stay here in Paris, thank you for your kind consideration." Alice and Sophia were shocked at my words, but didn't press me.
Sophia, Alice, and I sit in the sitting room as Jasper and his grandmother talk within her study. It feels as if they are talking for hours, days, weeks, before finally Jasper comes out of the room and walks straight over to me. This was it, the moment of truth, I can't help but think.
"My grandmother would like to speak with you, Edward." His voice is soft as he speaks. I say nothing to him while I go towards Alice.
"I love you Ali, never doubt that."
Without another word I walk into the study. Jasper closes the door behind me, leaving me alone with the Dowager Empress Marie Feodorovna.
"Edward, please come, sit." The Dowager Empress says as I enter. "MY grandson has told me how kind you've been to him, and how he wouldn't have made it safely here without the help of you and your sister. Now what I can't help but wonder is if he knew who you are? I have heard of your con to audition someone to play my grandson."
A lump grows in my throat as she speaks about the con.
"I am truly sorry your grace." I say before she silences me, holding up her hand and reminding me of Jasper just earlier today.
"It's been 10 years, but seeing you here before me, I know who you are Edward; you are the servant boy that helped us escape, and while I don't appreciate the fact that you were attempting to con me, you have saved my Jaspers life, twice. Here's your reward money, as promised." She holds out a bag towards me, I take it with a heavy heart. I would need that money for where I was going.
"Thank you, will you please give this to the Grand Duke?" I say, standing and bowing. After exiting the study, I leave right away heading straight towards the front door of the house. Soon I am out of the house and out of Jaspers life forever.
I watch Edward leave, and it breaks my heart. I knew he was going to leave, but I didn't imagine it would hurt this bad. It feels like my heart was ripped out and he's taking it with him.
I turn back to Alice, and she looks almost as sad as I am. She is loosing her brother and it's my fault. I run over and pull her into me. "I'm sorry, Ali." I want to tell her what for, but I know she knows now. We hold each other and cry for our loss. She is all I have left of him.
Our hug is interrupted when my grandmother emerges from her study. "Jazzy, sweetie, come here. I need to talk to you some more."
I kiss Alice on the cheek and follow my grandmother back into her study, closing the door before I sit down next to her on the couch. She pulls me into a hug and I can't help but start to cry again. "I love him, Gammy."
"Shh, baby. I know. Everything will be okay." She holds me and strokes my hair until I gain control of myself again. When I pull back she is smiling at me and I'm confused as to why.
"Jasper, what do you want?" Even more confused now I shake my head. She must be able to tell because she continues. "Do you want to live here with me sweetie? Do you want this life?" She asks me the questions just earlier I was asking myself.
"I… I don't know Gammy. I don't think so. But I just got you back; I don't want to lose you again." I start to cry again, this day has just been so emotionally draining.
She wipes away my tears and smiles. "Oh, you silly boy. You aren't going to lose me. No matter where you go, you are still my grandson. And you will still be the Grand Duke. But you don't have to choose this life. You only get one, baby. Live it how you want to, and with whomever you want to. Just think about it, Jasper. Now that I know you are safe, I am happy. You should be able to be happy too."
Where would I even go? Edward left me. Can I really leave the only person who wants me in their life? "Oh, I almost forgot. Edward left this note and asked me to give it to you." She leaves me in her study so I can read it alone.
My Dearest Jasper,
I am sorry for seeming so cold towards you lately.
The truth is that I've grown to feel as if I love you, but I know we cannot be. You are a Grand Duke, it's your birthright, and you should take your rightful place. There is no room for me in that world. I'm sorry that I was unable to say goodbye to you in person, but I wasn't sure if I would have the courage to leave if I saw your face one last time.
Look after my heart, for I'm leaving it with you.
Farewell My Jasper.
Did I read that wrong? He loves me? Well, what am I still sitting here for?
I run to the sitting room, scooping Alice up in my arms again. "Everything's going to be alright, Ali. Just read this note, you'll understand." I give it to her and run to Sophia, giving her a hug and thanking her for her help.
I stop in front of my grandmother and she is smiling sweetly at me. "Go get your boy, Jazzy. You know where to find me, make sure you visit often. I love you, sweetie."
"I love you too, gammy. Thank you."
I leave the house, noticing a familiar squeal as I stop at the street just outside. Where would he have gone? I don't think he would stay in Paris; he would want to start fresh in a new place. The docks!
I take off full speed towards the river, praying that I make it to him before he gets on a boat. It was a pretty good walk from the docks to Sophia's house, but now running to the docks I make it in about 15 minutes.
I make it past the last building and see the docks in front of me. I don't see any boats anywhere. I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing yet. I stop to catch my breath, and then walk across the street.
I see him leaning into a railing, looking out over the river. I sigh in relief that I am not too late. He is so beautiful standing there, the wind blowing his hair every which way.
I start to walk towards him, every inch making me feel more complete. This was the right decision. This is where I belong.
The breeze off of the river chills me as I wait for the boat that will take me away from here. Knowing I can't stay in Paris, I have decided to go to Germany. Germany is where I can start my life over, no one will know me there, and they won't know that I was once a servant in Russia.
"Edward?" I hear his voice say just as he comes to stand beside me, making my heartbeat quicken. "I read your note, Edward, and I... I just couldn't let you go. I feel the same way about you and I had to tell you before I loose you forever."
My blurry eyes look at him for the first time since he joined me there on the dock; I hadn't even realized I was crying until he wipes a tear from my face.
"I don't want this life; I don't want to be Grand Duke Jasper Feodorovna. I haven't been him for a really long time. This isn't my world anymore and it isn't my home. I want to be with you Edward. Where ever you are, that's where I belong, that is my home." His words make my heart skip a beat.
"What about your grandmother?" I ask, knowing how important she is to him.
"She'll be my grandmother wherever I go." Is his only reply, as I cup his face in one of my hands.
"I love you Jasper." I say before I kiss him.
"It's Dimitri now." He laughs out, before adding "And I love you too, Edward."
And they lived happily ever after!