Ch 16:

"You are such a foolish girl!" muttered Mrs. Bennet, darting a baleful glance at her daughter. She was reading the latest of Prince William. He had been photographed with a beautiful red-hair aristocrat. Mrs. Bennet wanted to spill her coffee on the repulsive picture.

Lizzie stood there frozen, taking in a deep breath. It wasn't worth it to respond to her mum. She didn't understand.

"He will probably bring her to Jane's engagement party!" said Mrs. Bennet, not realizing the pain she was causing Lizzie.

"Mum" pleaded Jane, realizing the inner agony Lizzie was suffering. She looked etiolated from the constant diatribes.

"You are so inexorable!" grunted Mrs. Bennet, putting down her coffee and getting up from the kitchen table. With celerity, she threw the magazine in the garbage and glared at her daughter before leaving the kitchen.

"Lizzie" murmured Jane, putting her hand on top of her for comfort.

"I'm fine Jane" said Lizzie, forcing a smile. "It's mum, she has always been this way. She is sadder about losing a connection to the Royal Family than the pain that relationship caused me. It was my choice and I'm happy with it. I stood up for myself. I may not be a princess but I deserve to be treated as such"

"You do" agreed Jane.

His wan face was grabbing the attention of his attendants.

"Is everything all right your Highness?" asked his trusted butler.

"Yes John, I thank you, I am quite well" responded William, clutching to the pictures from the ski trip he had taken with Lizzie a few months prior. It killed him to know that he had lost her. Though he had never been a bad boy, his reputation of being arrogant had not been so far off. Lizzie made him a better man, a better prince and a future better king. He needed her.

He hated reading gossip magazines but their fascination with Lizzie had pulled him towards them. It seemed that she had refused to divulge information about him—even though she was offered substantial amounts of money. That lifted his spirits, though he had read that she was now dating a business socialite. He knew him. He was good a chap, as much as it hurt him to admit it.

It was too late. He had lost her. The reality had finally sunk in. She would never forgive him…

"Why are you fidgeting?" asked Mrs. Bennet, still angry at Lizzie for breaking up with Prince William. She would constantly mourn to her friends that her Lizzie had the audacity to kick to the curb the greatest guy she would ever meet. Though she was eager to point that Lizzie had dumped him.

"I'm not mum" muttered Lizzie, fixing her hair. Her heart was racing and she wasn't sure why. Or at least, she was denying to herself the real reason.

He saw her from afar and instantly overwhelmed by her beauty. She had an inner spark that gravitated others towards her. He saw her glance towards him, her chocolate brown eyes looking down almost immediately. Without thinking, he walked towards her, ignoring the stares.

"Can I have this dance Miss Bennet?" asked Prince William, nervously awaiting her response. Though taken by surprise, Lizzie nodded and gave him her hand. He received her delicate hand in his and squeezed it tightly—reminiscing of what they used to have. Lizzie's temerity evaporated in his arms. She wrapped her hands around his neck and stared into his ethereal eyes.

After what seemed like an eternity or a few minutes, Will broke the silence.

"I've missed you" he murmured, staring into her chocolate brown eyes. They were just as keen as when he had first encountered them. Her eyes began to water as she took a deep breath.

"Me too" she answered, holding back tears. "I should go" she said, unwrapping her arms from his neck.

"No" he said firmly, bringing her back, "I lost you once, I won't lose you again" he said in a pleading, soft whisper.

"Will" she murmured, looking down uncomfortably. She realized people had been staring at them dance.

"If I pull you away somewhere private, they are going to talk" he said, reading her thoughts. He grabbed her hand and intertwined it with his. "I made a mistake. Lizzie, my beautiful princess, I don't know if I'm worthy to offer myself to you again" he began, "I was a fool. Please tell me that I'm not too late" he murmured in her ear, as they were dancing very close to one another. Lizzie suddenly felt impuissant and enervated—as if her strength was drawn out of her. She melted into his arms and squeezed him tightly against her.

Will held back tears and kissed her on the cheek softly—hoping that simple gesture conveyed all the emotions he was feeling. With bathetic eyes, Lizzie pulled out of their embrace and cupped his face, while staring into his eyes.

"I love you" she whispered. Will gave her a smile and felt his arms wrap around his waist.

"And I you…my beautiful Lizzie" he said, forgetting that there was a room full of people. He pulled her close and kissed her passionately—never wanting to let her go.

Author's Note: I didn't want to elongate the story and have therefore left the ending simple. I am not sure if I will write a chapter on the wedding, if I get enough requests perhaps I will. There are obviously more difficulties that their relationship will face. I hope you have enjoyed the story! and as always, I look forward to your thoughts!