The Perfect Girl Outtake. Rosalie was born to be the future Queen of Volterra and her younger brother, Edward, was the spare. It all changed when two of their closest friends fell in love right before their eyes. RPOV/EPOV.
Ms. Meyer owns Twilight and all of its characters. The plot is inspired on the manga 100% Perfect Girl by Wann. The remainder is my original work. No copying or reproduction of this work is permitted without express written authorization.
Thanks to my betas, Becky, Olena and Billi, for their help with this outtake.
You girls are amazing and I'll be forever thankful for your support.
This outtake is dedicated to all my readers and their words of encouragement.
They are the reason why I sit down and type away this story with a smile on my face.
Thank you for everything from the bottom of my heart.
The Ball of the Queen Rose
"How shall we learn to know ourselves? By reflection? Never; but only through action. Strive to do thy duty; then you shall know what is in thee." -Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
~ H.R.H Edward Anthony Masen Cullen ~
I looked around at the whirlwind of workers that were setting everything up for this weekend's grand event, and I couldn't help but feel nervous. So much had happened over the past ten years, and on Saturday night everything was going to change for Rosalie and our family.
Rosalie was my older sister and the heiress to the throne of Volterra. She was headstrong, loyal, dedicated, fearless, and though it pains me to say, a little self-centred and spoiled. Who was I kidding? We were both spoiled, but Rosalie was the kind of woman who demanded attention, yes, demanded, not asked for it.
I was content with my role as the second in line to the throne, or as people call it, the spare. I didn't have as many demands as Rosalie and I enjoyed a certain freedom in my day-to-day activities, but I still carried a deep sense of duty to my family and my country. It was ingrained in me since I was a toddler, and I felt proud of it. So, even though it wasn't expected of me, I still attended all of the parliament meetings when I wasn't in school. Politics had always been a passion for me, and I was lucky to know some of the most brilliant minds in Europe that were serving our country.
My thoughts were interrupted when I saw Jasper run up the stairs with haste.
Probably Rosalie demanding his presence, I snickered silently.
Rosalie met Jasper soon after he entered the Royal Guard Academy and was gaining a lot of recognition from his superiors. Rosalie saw the potential in him; she always had an eye for talent. Even my father consulted with her regarding personnel decisions upon occasion. She helped Jasper build his career by linking him with all those from court that were worth knowing and gaining the favour of several high ranking nobles.
Jasper was very focused on his career, after graduating from the academy with honours and serving the Guard for four years, he became the youngest Captain in over two centuries. He had been fresh out of a very troubled relationship with his former girlfriend, Maria, when he'd met my sister and was not looking to fall in love.
He saw a true friend in Rosalie, but never more.
Unfortunately, what Rosalie felt was deeper than friendship, she even thought that Jasper could gain the support of the parliament through his accomplishments, so she could be able to marry and rule Volterra together with him
They were both playing with fire, if you asked me.
"Everything is ready, Your Highness. Your belongings are in your room and tomorrow's lunch will be served at the solarium as requested by Lady Rosalie," piped in my assistant.
"Alice, how many times have I asked you to please call me Edward?"
"So far? One hundred and thirty seven, well actually, make that thirty eight times, Your Highness," she answered cheekily.
I sighed and rolled my eyes.
A few months ago, my father came to me with an idea. He thought it would be wise for me to take an assistant so I could build a routine, organize a schedule for all my duties in court, and prepare myself to the possibility of becoming king, especially since I'd be graduating early from secondary school in less than a year. Having an assistant would also help me manage my duties while letting me focus on my education once I started attending university.
After interviewing dozens of candidates, Alice came into the room and explained what she could do to help me out with my schedule and duties. I hired her on the spot. She was only nineteen years old, but she had more credentials than anyone else.
Alice was a genius, literally! She had graduated from high school at fourteen and at eighteen; she already had a double major in business and political science and was working on her MBA. She was also close to my age, and I thought that it would be nice to have someone who understood me and all the pressure I was under at my young age of sixteen.
I was happy with my decision.
We quickly developed a routine together. Thanks to Alice, in only a few weeks I was completely prepared for all my duties, and I was also able to have my own life away from the nobility. With Alice at my side, I became a respected member of the court. I had a clean image and the respect of all of my peers.
Good thing for a spare.
"Well, I would like to wash off the airplane smell and maybe take a nap." I commented absent-mindedly.
"Don't forget this afternoon you have an appointment with Captain Whitlock."
"Oh right… our male bonding," I grunted the last two words.
Jasper had taken a leave in order to enjoy all the festivities with Rose. Fortunately, I also was able to capitalize on the opportunity to spend some time with him and get to know him better.
"We are going riding this afternoon, can you make sure…"
"That Antoine has your horses ready?"
I winked, "Oh Alice, what would I do without you?"
"I don't even want to imagine," she snorted.
"Very well, see you in an hour."
Alice nodded and left to continue helping with the preparations for the ball.
I looked around one last time, making a promise to myself to come back during the summer. It had been too long since we had come to the Roinne palace.
In memory of our mother, Rosalie had insisted on having the ball here, at the summer palace, since it had always been our mother's favourite.
The palace was now in a whirlwind of activities preparing for the Birthday Ball held in honour of Princess Rosalie Lillian Masen Cullen, Duchess of Roinne and future Queen of Volterra.
I tasked Alice with coordinating some of the finer details for the celebration. Since the ball had a black and white theme, Alice thought it would be a great idea for Rosalie to show up wearing a ruby red dress. Never one to pass up an opportunity to stand out, Rosalie readily agreed.
I could see a friendship forming between them.
Alice also found the time to help me pick out a special gift for Rosalie. I wanted to give her something symbolic and more sentimental than the new red BMW M3 convertible I had already purchased for her. Alice took me to Cartier, where I bought her a beautiful pendant, a rosebud heart with 14 carats in diamonds surrounded by a two-tone gold and platinum necklace. It was beautiful and simple. It fit Rosalie to a tee, and I knew she would be able to wear it in her day-to-day activities.
After my shower and nap, I met up with Jasper by the stables. We rode around the lake and since it was a nice day, many students from the art institute were out and about. I took my time to graciously greet whoever called out. About two hours later, our male bonding left us famished, so we joined Alice for lunch upon our return.
When we arrived to the dining hall, Alice was talking on her cell phone and scribbling furiously in her appointment book.
She heard us taking our seats at the table and quickly ended her call in order to scold me, "You certainly have kept me waiting, Sir."
The smug smile on her face disappeared as she took in my companion. Her eyes grew wide and a blush spread across her face. She had her eyes locked on Jasper, and when I turned to look at him, he had the same wonder in his eyes as Alice.
I kept my mouth shut, not knowing what was going on.
Jasper smirked, walked straight to Alice and said, "Well, my apologies, milady. I assure you, it will never happen again." He bowed at the waist and took her right hand, kissing it gently. He chuckled when he saw Alice's subtle blush turn flaming red.
Alice took a deep breath to compose herself and with a playful smile she said, "Well, sir, I wasn't speaking directly to you, but I sure hope you keep that promise." She giggled, noticing the surprise on Jasper's face. "Now, if I only knew your name, kind sir."
Jasper stood straight, holding his shoulders back, while he introduced himself. "Sir Jasper Thomas Parker Whitlock, Captain of the Royal Guard. And you are, milady?"
As if Jasper had said something offensive, Alice's smile fell and the glint in her eyes disappeared.
She cleared her throat, "My name is Mary Alice Hale Brandon, and I'm Prince Edward's Personal Assistant," she answered Jasper's question in a rather cold tone before retracting her hand from Jasper's grasp.
Jasper and I frowned at her sudden cold behaviour and Jasper even looked a little hurt.
Alice then turned to speak to me. "Edward, if you don't mind, I need to postpone our meeting until this afternoon. There is… a problem with the… um… the caterer. I need to talk to the chef right now! Yes! So, I'll see you around five o'clock this afternoon. Good day, gentlemen."
She quickly gathered her things and was out of the room before I could say a word.
Did she just call me Edward?
I looked back at Jasper who was frowning and his nostrils flaring in anger.
"My sincere apologies, Jasper," I said quickly, trying to prevent a conflict. "I assure you that Alice has never been like this before," I put my hand on his shoulder; he was still glaring at the door Alice had just exited.
Jasper's face reflected hurt and anger, but suddenly his expression shifted to one of pure determination.
"No, it's alright, but I need to take care of something right away. I'll meet with you later this afternoon. If you excuse me, Your Highness," and with that he left the room without waiting for my response.
I didn't see either of them for the rest of the day.
The next day was filled with last minute preparations for the ball and everyone was running from one place to another to get everything done.
During lunch, Jasper and Rosalie were acting strangely, and they barely spoke a word. I noticed Rosalie's eyes were puffy and red, like she had been crying for a long time.
My father, at the head of the table, noticed the tense atmosphere and apparently the silence was too much, even for him, for he started a conversation with me about my university choices. I informed him that I had narrowed it down to ten: a couple in America and England, but most of them were close by.
As he listened to the names of possible universities, he praised my choices and asked me to reconsider my American universities for Princeton and Harvard. I told him it might be better if I consulted with him when it was time to choose so we could compare his choices against my own; working together to choose what might be best for me in the long run.
He was pleased.
He praised my diplomatic ways to negotiate and that it was wise to let him know that eventually the choice would be mine and mine alone, without making him feel left out.
From across the table, Rosalie was staring at me with an expression that I wasn't quite able to describe. I gave her a smile and went back to my meal; she would let me know eventually what was bothering her.
The day went by in a blur, until it was time to get ready for the ball.
I didn't see Rosalie or Jasper again for the rest of the afternoon.
I did see Alice eventually, but our conversations were always rushed since she was in a planning mode. I noticed her expression was solemn and that she wasn't her normal perky self.
I tried to get her to talk to me by asking her if she was all right.
She answered me with a simple, 'I'm fine, Edward. Just stressed out! This party has to be perfect for Lady Rosalie.'
I let it go after that.
If or when she was ready to talk to me, I'd be there for her as she had been for me.
Later that evening I went to my room and started getting ready for the ball. Alice coordinated the entire Cullen family to have something in red with our outfits, making us stand out in the sea of blacks and whites. I was wearing a black tailored tuxedo with a red ascot, ruby red vest and my red Cullen Crest ring. The tux was elegant and had a classic cut. It was a very bold look, but I was confident I would be able to pull it off.
I heard a knock on my door before Rosalie walked in.
When she came in, I thought that my sister had never looked more beautiful. She was definitely going to be one of the most beautiful Queens in Europe.
Rosalie was wearing a classic off-the-shoulder ruby-red dress and a pair of red pumps with silver heels. She was also wearing her Cullen Crest locket, a pair of ruby and diamond earrings, and a diamond bracelet.
"Rosalie, you look absolutely breathtaking," I smiled and she blushed.
I walked to her and kissed her cheek. She giggled and mock slapped me on the chest. I had her twirl around to see the whole look, but it didn't escape my notice that her smile didn't reach her eyes, and due to Jasper's behaviour throughout the day and Alice's lack of conversation this afternoon, I was beginning to suspect why.
"Thank you, Edward. You look quite dashing yourself."
"Well, thank you," I winked. "I have something for you."
She narrowed her eyes, "Edward…"
I took out the jewellery box I had in my suit pocket and placed it in her hands. "It's actually a very simple little thing that reminded me of you. Please accept it."
"Of course, my dear brother," she gave me a kiss on the cheek and then opened the box. She gasped when she saw the rose pendant and necklace. "Oh! Edward, it's so beautiful. Thank you!" She hugged me and unclasped the Cullen Crest necklace she was wearing. "Can you help me put it on?"
"But the Crest?" It was customary to wear the family crest at formal events.
"I'll wear mother's pin instead."
I nodded and took the necklace from the box and helped her put it on. It looked perfect on her. She touched the necklace and turned to look in the mirror, smiling. I smiled at her reflection and said, "I knew it would look perfect on you, Rose. You are the epitome of beauty. A royal rose. A Queen Rose."
Suddenly, her face fell and she turned around, her shoulders shaking, and I noticed she was crying.
"Rose, please don't cry. I didn't mean to make you cry!"
"I'm so sorry, Edward. There are so many things going on right now, that it kind of overwhelmed me," she chuckled, but I could tell it was forced. "I really need to talk-"
Alice walked into the room, but stopped short when she noticed that Rosalie was also there.
She cleared her throat, something she only did when she was nervous, "Forgive my intrusion, but His Majesty is ready and waiting for you to join him in his study for the press photo-shoot."
"We'll be right there, Alice. Thank you," I said giving her a nod and a kind smile while Rosalie huffed and sneered at her.
I was surprised with Rosalie's behaviour and I observed how Alice was almost too scared to look at Rosalie.
That's when I knew, for certain, that something had happened during the day to put a wedge between them, and I bet it involved Jasper as well.
Once Alice left the room, Rosalie spun around and faced me. She was livid!
"I want you to fire that little excuse of a woman that you have for an assistant."
I was shocked. "I beg your pardon?"
"You heard me loud and clear, Edward," she scoffed.
"I cannot fire her, Rosalie, unless you give me an excellent reason that would merit her immediate dismissal!" I hissed back.
Rosalie started pacing in front of my balcony doors. "She has disrespected me, and she is untrustworthy!"
"She is not untrustworthy! She earned the Cullen Crest; Father gave it to her two weeks ago!"
Only close and trustworthy employees for the Royal Family were awarded with the Cullen Crest. It was an honour to earn it and only a few where bestowed with it.
"She still disrespected me!"
"How, Rosalie?" I demanded, needing to know exactly what was really going on.
"She… She…" She was trying to hold it in. Rosalie never let her feelings show easily, but I needed to know where this sudden rage was coming from.
"What is it, Rosalie?" I pushed her.
She stopped in her tracks and with tears in her eyes she screamed at me, "SHE STOLE JASPER FROM ME!"
I stared at Rose, completely speechless after her outburst. I couldn't believe what she had just said to me. "What do you mean? Alice and Jasper?"
She angrily wiped the tears from her face and let out an exasperated sigh. "Just exactly what I said, Edward. She stole Jasper from me."
"How… What?" I couldn't process that thought.
Could Alice really do such a thing?
No, I saw her reaction yesterday morning. Alice respected, hell, even worshiped Rosalie with all her heart, and she was pushing Jasper away, I saw that. There was no way Alice would do that to Rose; there must be some kind of misunderstanding.
I shook my head, "Please, explain. What happened?"
Rosalie took a deep breath, "Yesterday afternoon I was in a meeting with the Prime Minister, discussing the coronation. I wanted it to be held next month, but he kept telling me it wasn't soon enough, he wanted to have it in Brume by next week! But I couldn't do that. Not since Father… Well, you know."
Rosalie's coronation was supposed to be a very joyous occasion, in which the people of Volterra gained a new ruler. But, it also meant that it would be the last time our Father would be seen in public for the rest of his days. He was already retreating himself from social events and matters of the court, leaving those duties to Rosalie and me. He also seemed to have no energy for anything but matters of state and business. To us, the coronation ceremony meant that our Father would finally be able to let go and join our mother to rest in peace.
I pinched the bridge of my nose and took a deep breath to calm myself, shaking off from the pain that always accompanied the memory of my mother.
I focused on Rosalie instead.
"What happened next?" I asked, looking straight into Rosalie's blue eyes.
With her arms crossed over her chest she said, "I saw Alice running towards the kitchen. I thought there was something wrong with the preparations or the menu, since Chef Claude is very picky about everything. So I excused myself from Lord Aro and went to see what the problem was," she sighed dejectedly and sat down at the foot of my bed. "That's when I saw him: Jasper. He rushed behind Alice."
"Jasper was looking for Alice?" I asked out loud, fearing the answer.
Rosalie was quick to reply. "Let me finish, Edward. Before Alice got to the kitchen, Jasper grabbed her by the elbow and took her outside through the back patio doors. I thought they were having an argument, that she had offended him, or perhaps the other way around and Jasper was trying to apologize."
"They barely know each other, Rosalie. I introduce them just yesterday." I was slowly pacing in front of her trying to understand this mess and calm Rose a little bit at the same time.
"Are you sure?" She asked with a raised eyebrow.
I stopped my pacing. "What?"
"Are you sure they have never met before?" She asked huffing in frustration.
I stood at my full height and squared my shoulders. I knew Rosalie enough to know what she was suggesting. "Yes, Rosalie. Alice has been busy and constantly by my side for the past weeks. Jasper had been in Budapest working with Interpol on a case for months before coming straight to Roinne. We have barely exchanged emails and a few text messages. I hadn't seen him until yesterday late morning."
Rose sneered. "They seem to know each other pretty well, since I caught them kissing in the gardens, and not just some peck chaste kiss, no… I mean a passionate lover's kiss."
I gaped at her.
Jasper kissed Alice?
That was not possible… Jasper was always so level-headed, but then… I remembered the look in Jasper's eyes when he saw Alice, and also Alice's expression when she found out who Jasper was.
I was never a believer in love at first sight, but I knew what kind of man Jasper was. When he wanted something, he would do anything to have it. He was determined, patient and courageous. If he thought he had found in Alice his soul mate, or the love of his life, or whatever, after only a few seconds of seeing her, then there would be nothing anyone could do to stop him from pursuing her.
I looked at Rosalie and saw the pain in her eyes. She tried to cover it with a mask of anger and disgust. She would be taking out her anger on Alice if I didn't fire her immediately, of that I was certain. But I couldn't do it.
Jasper and Alice deserved to be happy.
Rosalie had no claim on Jasper, he was a free man to do as he pleased and he had never encouraged Rosalie's advances, in spite of all her efforts.
"Rosalie…," I was about to explain this to Rosalie when a second knock came to my door.
This time it was William, my father's personal assistant.
He came in, noticing the tense atmosphere and addressed me hesitantly. "My apologies, Your Highness, but His Majesty asked for me to fetch you and Lady Rosalie to the press photo shoot."
"Yes, thank you, William. We will be there in a minute. Tell my Father there was a little problem with my suit and that it's been taking care of as we speak. I'll apologize to the press for the delay once we arrive," I lied smoothly.
William bowed, "Of course, Your Highness." He closed the door and left us alone again.
I turned around and saw Rosalie standing and looking at me like she had done this morning during lunch. It was kind of unsettling, but I let it slide for now, there were duties that we needed to get back to.
I looked at the clock on my nightstand and noticed that we were in fact ten minutes late for the photo-shoot.
I sighed, "We are so late. Go back to your room, Rosalie."
I grabbed my mobile and texted Alice asking her to send Jasmine, the stylist, to Rosalie's room.
"Jasmine would be there to help you fix your make up and your hair," I added. "Also, if you are going to wear that necklace, you need to change your earrings and put on Mother's Cullen Crest pin. You cannot go to the ball without wearing the Family Crest."
I send a text to William to get the pin out of the vault and a pair of pink diamond earrings for Rosalie to wear. He texted me back telling me that he would have the jewellery ready by the time Rosalie and Jasmine were done.
"Edward, but what about…"
"Don't!" I looked at my sister sternly. "We have duties, and Father cannot hold the press more than ten more minutes. We're already late, we need to do this. This is your day, Rosalie. You're the crowned Princess of Volterra and the future Queen. You need to put your duties first. We'll talk about Jasper later. Go to your room, get ready and I'll meet you at the study," I said as I opened the door for her.
Rosalie eyes were wide from shock. In all my years, I had never reprimanded my sister like I just did, but we needed to put our priorities straight. This situation with Jasper could be dealt with later. The ball was going to start in less than an hour and we needed to get back on schedule.
After collecting herself, Rosalie simply nodded and left my room without another word.
Two hours later, we were all at the Palace's ballroom amongst a sea of people wearing their best clothes in black, white or both. Rosalie stood out in her red dress next to my Father, who was also wearing a black tuxedo with a red vest and a red ascot. They were talking to Lord Brandon, Alice's father, and Lord Aro Volturi.
I walked to them carrying a glass of pink champagne for Rosalie and a glass of white wine for myself. I gave the champagne to Rosalie and walked away to try to mingle amongst the guests, when I heard Lord Brandon exclaimed, "That's preposterous!"
I turned around and saw Lord Brandon stalking away from a sneering Rosalie.
I looked at Father and he was livid. He grabbed Rosalie by the elbow and with a stern look her way he addressed Lord Volturi, who was left gaping at Lord Brandon's retreating form. "Excuse us, Aro. I need a minute to consult something with my children." He took Rosalie out of the ballroom as gestured me to follow with his head.
I gave an apologetic look to Lord Volturi, who simply smiled and whispered, "Edward, go talk to your family, I'll make sure Lord Brandon finds you later so you can have a word with him." I nodded my thanks to this great man, who was like family to us, and headed towards the small parlour Father had taken Rosalie into.
When I arrived, I saw Rosalie sitting in one of the armchairs, still sneering, and Father pacing in front of her, clearly frustrated by his daughter's actions.
"What were you thinking, Rosalie Lillian?" asked Father.
"I was just telling him the truth," answered Rosalie.
"Rosalie, telling Lord Brandon that his daughter is a woman of low category, who disobeys your orders and disrespects the crown, is practically an accusation of treason!" Father said as his voice was rising with every word.
"You said what?" I asked in shock.
"Exactly what you heard, son," Father said, holding his sight on Rosalie.
"Well, it's the truth!" exclaimed Rosalie while crossing her arms and looking like a petulant child.
I was furious!
"Rosalie…" Father started to say, but I cut him off.
I walked straight to her, my hands fisted at my sides and said, "Whether it's true or not, is completely inconsequential, Rosalie!" I turned to my Father who was reclining against the fireplace mantel. "Forgive me, Father, for speaking above you, but I need to say this."
Father nodded. "It's alright, son, but we need to calm down," he said in a collected and calm voice, but before I could respond, Rosalie stood up and glared at me.
"Of course, you would defend her! She has you wrapped around her little fingers!"
I saw red.
"ENOUGH!" I yelled, but then lowered my voice after Father gave me a pointed look. I looked at my sister straight in the eyes, "This is not about Alice or Jasper, Rosalie. This is all about you!" I said, pointing at her. I took a deep breath to reign on my emotions, but I was too far gone and too tired with Rosalie's attitude. "You cannot just accuse people out of the blue, Rosalie, and in the middle of a ball! There is a time and a place for everything. You not only disrespected Lord Brandon, but also Father, by spouting this nonsense in front of him."
I took a step back and shook my head. "These matters should be taken care of discreetly. All you accomplished tonight was show to both Lord Brandon and Lord Volturi that you are a spoiled little girl who didn't get the toy she wanted for her birthday!" I was fuming and looking at Rosalie like I didn't know her at all.
Rosalie walked towards me with a murderous look, "How dare you…"
Father stopped her before she could continue her rant by placing his hand on her shoulder. "Silence, Rosalie. Your brother is right!" He grabbed Rosalie softly by both of her shoulders, and looking straight into her eyes, said. "We will deal with this now, Rosalie, since you are incapable of thinking of something besides yourself. But let me tell you that, what you did tonight will not go unpunished, my child."
Rosalie went back to sit down on the armchair as her eyes started to tear up. I walked toward the couch and sat down feeling drained all of the sudden. I put my elbows on my knees and ran my hand through my hair in frustration.
I felt a hand on my shoulder and looked up to see Father standing next to me, "Go get Alice and Jasper, while I have a word with your sister. I want to clear this matter immediately."
"But the ball and the guests…"
"They can wait," he said sharply, but then continued in a reassured tone. "Make a round, get Jasper and Alice, and come back in ten minutes, it will be enough time for your sister to regain some of her composure." He squeezed my shoulder in encouragement, and I nodded.
I stood up, fixed my jacket and walked out of the room to do as I was told.
Once I was back in the ballroom, I managed to find Lord Brandon and swiftly apologized for my sister's attitude, explaining to him that she and Alice had had a disagreement, and because of stress, Rosalie was feeling a little off tonight. He accepted my apologies and said that it was alright. That he understood the pressure that Rosalie was feeling, since the parliament wanted to finally have an active ruler and was pressing the coronation to a sooner date than it was programmed.
Thank God for small favours.
I found Jasper talking to a few members of the security team, and asked him to please follow me. I send a text to Alice to meet me at the entrance of the ballroom while I walked in that direction with Jasper behind me.
At the entrance, I saw Alice there wearing a beautiful but simple black dress with black pumps; her usual spiky hair was loose and curled. She looked lovely. When she saw me walking towards her, she gave me a tentative smile, but when she saw that Jasper was behind me, her smile faded and a mask of worry covered her face.
"Don't worry. Everything will be fine," I said to her while looking straight into her eyes. Alice nodded and smiled at Jasper, who smiled back.
When we entered the parlour, the tension in the air was palpable. Rose was still sitting in the same armchair as before and Father was sitting in the one next to her.
From the look on their faces, I knew this wouldn't be an easy conversation.
"Your position never gives you the right to command. It only imposes on you the duty of so living your life that others can receive your orders without being humiliated." -Dag Hammarskjold
~ H.R.H Rosalie Lillian Masen Cullen ~
Edward walked out of the room and I broke down.
This isn't how it's supposed to be!
This isn't how it was supposed to happen!
I was supposed to be engaged by now, but no! That stupid little woman got in the way and now she was ruining everything!
I cried out of anger and frustration.
I was so mad and infuriated with everyone, it seemed like no one was on my side and everyone was all for that stupid girl.
Father gave me his handkerchief and I took it gratefully, I didn't want anyone else to see me like this. If they thought that I was going down without a fight, they were dead wrong. He didn't say anything, just stared at me, waiting for me to calm down or say something, but I ignored his stare and simply remained quiet.
My thoughts drifted and memories of better times came to mind. Days spend in the gardens with laughter and without a care in the world. Mother laughing at her children's antics and Father looking on with a smile on his face.
How I missed those days…
"Rosalie, you will fight for your happiness above all else. Promise me."
I stood and walked to the window, shaking off the last memory I had of my mother. Her whispered words in a dark room, not knowing what was beyond those walls, memories of a hushed promise and an unknown goodbye, of waking up to find her 'sleeping' still. Those hours inside that cold concrete room, wondering why my mother wasn't waking up, the loud noises and screams that followed, people in black everywhere, my father's arms around me and finally, seeing my shattered expression when he realized mother wasn't going to wake up anymore.
Through the glass window I saw Father standing behind me, "Rosalie…"
Okay… such a mechanic answer.
"What is troubling you, my daughter? It can' be just this situation with Jasper and Alice."
I sighed and tried to hold back a sob, "I promised Mommy to fight for my happiness."
Father flinched at the mention of my mother, his pain still so palpable even after a decade.
"I understand, my Rose, but do you really think you would be happy with a man that could never love you?"
I turned around, "He loves me! He said so himself," I gritted out, incensed by my own father's words.
"As a friend, Rosalie."
"No!" I refused to believe that.
I knew Jasper was hesitant about a romantic relationship with me in the beginning, but I knew it was because he thought I was too good for him. He told me repeatedly how he felt so underneath me and friendship was all he could give me. He had been wounded before by that dreadful, wicked woman Maria, and I knew it would take time for him to warm up to the idea of us being together.
I saw in him a great potential to become the king that all of Volterra could be proud of.
So I helped him.
I didn't really do much, just introduced him to some people he was worth to have a connection with and he did the rest. He charmed them all, his intelligence and personality won even the most sceptical of nobles. His talent was what earned him the title of Captain after only serving four years in the Royal Guard. I had been so proud of him when my father knighted him and he had become one step closer to be on the same standing as the rest of the suitable nobles that had been plaguing me with marriage proposals.
Everything was going according to plan.
He had even bought a ring.
I knew, because Jane told me two nights ago.
There was a knock on the door and Jasmine, my make-up artist, came in the room.
Edward probably sent her a text telling her I needed her.
He always thinks of everything.
Edward was a leader by nature; I had seen this during my last year in secondary school. He was two years younger than me, but he was only one grade behind me. He was brilliant and his charisma could enchant a room of the toughest of politicians in the country. While I was head in most committees at school, it was a known fact I won those positions based on popularity and looks, but Edward was different. He didn't let anyone choose him based on his name or looks; he wanted to be chosen based on his ideas and plans.
I admired him.
I wasn't surprised when he took charge of the situation before the press photo-shoot. He was so calm and knew exactly what he had to do. He was focused on his duties while I was focused on my personal drama.
He is a better leader than me.
That's not the first time I had that thought in my head. In fact, it had been running through my mind all evening as I watched him talk to the guests and reporters. He carried himself with such confidence, far greater than any sixteen year old should have.
He is only sixteen and already knows that duties come first.
Yes, and here I was, eighteen years old, an adult, soon to be crowned Queen, and I still refused to let my personal life come second.
Jasmine quickly finished fixing my hair and make-up, and left the room quietly.
I sat on the armchair closer to the fireplace as Father sat in the armchair at my left, both of us facing the door and waiting for my brother to return with Jasper and that little woman.
We remained quiet for a couple of minutes until my Father, with a stern voice and looking straight ahead, said, "Leadership is practiced not so much in words as in attitude and in actions." He then turned to face me, "Being a leader is about sacrifice, Rosalie. I doubt your selfishness will ever let you understand that and perhaps it's a good thing this has come to happen. At least now not even you can deny your true colours, my child."
I was speechless.
Father smiled sadly at my perplexed expression, "The challenge of leadership is to be strong, but not rude; be kind, but not weak; be bold, but not a bully; be thoughtful, but not lazy; be humble, but not timid; be proud, but not arrogant; have humour, but without folly. Jim Rohn said that in one of his many speeches, but do you know who I heard it from?"
I shook my head.
A knock on the door prevented me from commenting on what Father just told me. I turned to see Edward, Jasper and her walking inside. The door closed with a click, and they stood there, just inside the room, without saying anything or even making eye contact.
I can feel the guilt rolling off of them.
Edward walked further inside and motioned for Jasper and Alice to take a seat on the sofa in front of us, while he sat down on a chair in between, by Father's left.
Always the diplomat.
We all turned to look to whoever said that, at first I thought it was that little woman there, for it was barely a whisper, but it was actually Jasper.
"Why are you sorry, Jasper?" Father asked.
Jasper sighed, stood up and kneeled in front of me, "I am so sorry, Rosalie." I smiled. I knew he would come back to his senses. "I'm sorry for hurting you and for putting a rift in our friendship." Jasper stood up, and looking straight into my father's eyes, he continued, "But I am a free man, Your Majesty. I have no ties to Lady Rosalie," I cringed when he said my name so coldly, "and I wish to court Miss Alice Brandon."
"No!" I cried out. "You can't be serious!"
Father restrained me by holding my hand when I made a move to stand up, "Rosalie… control yourself."
Jasper stood there, looking at the floor. I turned to see that woman and there she was… Smiling like a bloody fool!
I wanted to strangle her.
I stood up too quickly for Father to do anything to stop me and marched straight at her, glaring her with all the hatred I felt inside me, "You…"
Edward grabbed my arm, I didn't even notice him standing up, "Rosalie…"
I didn't listen, that woman was looking at me with fear now, "You will pay for this betrayal, and to think I considered you my friend. You disgust me and you better prepare to tell your family that it was your fault they lost everything, lands and titles, and all because of you!" I screeched in her face.
She whimpered, like the pathetic little girl that she was, "Lady Rosalie, I-I… please, d-don't-"
"That's enough Rosalie!"
I looked back to see Father standing with a thunderous expression.
"Rosalie, calm down," Edward warned me.
Without taking his eyes from me, Father addressed Jasper, "Sir Whitlock, your friendship with my daughter has always been well received and even encouraged, and from the many conversations we've had through all these years, I understand the feelings you have towards her."
Father took a step closer towards Jasper, grabbed his shoulder gently, and looking straight into his eyes, he continued. "You have been a good friend to this family and a great support to my children. I made you a Captain despite of your youth, because I saw in you the future of this country. I cannot thank you enough for what you have done for my children, and for what, I am sure, you will do for them in the future. Therefore, Sir Whitlock, you have the permission of the crown to court Miss Brandon."
I gasped and sat back down in defeat.
Jasper bowed down, "Thank you, Your Majesty."
Alice stood up and kissed Father's hand, "Th-Thank you, Your Majesty."
Father smiled at them and I felt my heart breaking.
"Leave now, I need to speak with my children."
They both left holding hands.
I was devastated, "How could you do this?" I asked my own father. "Do you have any idea what you just did to me?"
"Rosalie, my dear daughter, I did what was right, the only thing I regret, is that you got hurt through all of this."
I shook my head in disbelief.
Father smiled sadly, "Rosalie, don't you understand that nothing truly valuable arises from egoistic ambitions or from a mere sense of power; it stems rather from love and the duty towards our people."
"Duty? You talk about duty now, like it is our job to make everyone else happy, but ourselves. What kind of life is that?"
"It's our life."
I looked back at Edward.
My young brother stood with his arms crossed over his chest with a sad look in his eyes.
"What do you mean?"
Edward sighed and kneeled in front of me, "I learned this a long time ago, Rosalie. When Mother and you were taken…," he cleared his throat uneasily, "Father told me I had to be strong, not only for my family, but for the whole country as well. It was hard, yes, I was only six years old, for goodness sake, but I couldn't break down and cry like I wanted to, because I was needed. The love I felt for my family was what kept me strong, but did not rule my sense of duty to our people. It is the sacrifices that we make that separate a true leader from a selfish one."
Someone knocked on the door suddenly.
William walked in, apologizing for the interruption, but letting us know that dinner would be served in fifteen minutes.
Father nodded, "Thank you, William. Let our guests know that we will be right back."
William bowed and left.
Father took a deep breath, "We better get back." Father took my hand and helped me stand up. "Rosalie," I looked up at him, "we will talk more about this tomorrow, but for now let us enjoy the rest of the evening. This is your night after all, my dear daughter."
I smiled, but it was forced.
Father and Edward could tell, but decided to not comment on it.
So, in silence and with a heavy heart, I went back to the party and to my duty.
It had been two days since that night and I was walking around the gardens, thinking about what Edward and Father said to me that night of the ball.
Could I live a happy life with my needs always coming second?
I walked around the place where Mother and I used to have our tea parties. I was so happy back then. I wished, not for the first time, I could talk to her. She would know what to say to help me understand.
A glint caught my eye and I look up.
Edward was looking down at me through his bedroom window.
He looked so regal there, not like any other sixteen year old I had ever met. His expression was thoughtful and serene, almost commanding respect.
And that's when I knew what I had to do.
I quickly made my way inside and knocked on his door.
I walked into his bedroom; he was putting a book back into one of the shelves near the fireplace.
Edward turned around and gave me a tight smile, he was still mad at me for what I had threatened to do to Alice and her family that night, and yesterday we had a terrible fight.
My stubbornness and jealousy ruled over me and I said some very hateful things about Alice and him. I had apologized in the evening, but things were still strained between us.
I just hoped he could forgive me for what I was about to do.
I walked in and sat on the window seat that faced the garden, pulling courage from the memory of my mother and happier times.
I looked straight into his eyes, took a deep breath and with confidence said, "I'm abdicating and renouncing the crown."
He was speechless.
I guess I would be too if someone had told me that I would be becoming King of an entire country so suddenly.
As I sat on the window seat waiting for my brother to say something about my abdication, I thought back to the words Father had told me that night of the ball, and I knew.
I knew this was the right choice.
I was not meant to be a leader.
"Why are you doing this, Rosalie?"
I sighed and looked out the window, "This situation with Jasper made me realize what kind of person I have become. I tried to use the power the crown given to me to punish an innocent person." I shook my head; I had been so quick to judge Alice, my jealousy getting the best of me.
I looked at my dear brother, I felt bad leaving all the duties of the crown to him, but I knew he was the right person to sit on the throne.
Edward stood frozen in front of me with disbelieve in his eyes, "Are you saying that all is forgotten, Rosalie?"
I gave him a sad smile, "Don't get me wrong, Edward. The wound that Jasper and Alice left in me is too deep to call for reconciliations, but I know that they are meant to be." As much as it pained me to admit it, the truth was written all over their faces, I can see that now. "I'm too selfish to be Queen, Edward, but you…" I stood up and grabbed his hands. "You were born to be King," I told him with conviction, hoping he could see it too. "I saw it the day of the ball. You made the right choice and put your duties and responsibilities first. I could never do that. It's not in me to be selfless, Edward. I admit it."
He enveloped in a strong hug, "I'll make you proud, my dear sister," he whispered in my ear.
"I know you will."
I believed it with all my heart, he was the right man to seat on the throne, and I would make sure that he had the right Queen at his side.
I would not let him get hurt the way I was.
~ Fin ~
Hope you all enjoyed this not so little outtake.
Until next time.