The Heart Is Not An instrument.
Damn her heart and damn him for deceiving her in such manner. Has she grown blind by his features and charming manners? Surely, she knew better than to judge someone by their looks alone. He played with her, taught her Chopin as no one else could, dance with her and even smile to her in the ways a man looks to a woman, that same looks she often saw His Highness share with the Queen.
She was indeed foolish. But why did he had to behave like this in France of all places? What a charming place it was and here she was, crying on her own in one of the many rooms inside the King’s lovely summer cottage. “Damn Chopin.” She whispers, a hand hitting the piano before her with conviction, which only served to inflict even more pain to her body as now it psychically hurt. But she does not wince, bringing her hand close to her body as if that would ease the pain.
“Mademoiselle, that was not kind to the piano or your hand.” A french voice speaks and the woman turns to look. The Prince Ferdinand, son of the King of the French standing before her. She does rise clumsy as she could and try to curtsy, but he is swift and stops her from doing so. “Please, sit down. I interrupted you.”
“Not at all I was just ” Crying. She sighs, deep blues looking at the prince and then to the ground, confession spilling through her words. “Lamenting my poor choice of lovers. Or one I thought would be a good one.” Oh a piano! How fortunate that everything reminds her of Ernest. Her wounded hand lays on the surface, only to be taken by the prince.
“His loss, then, cherie. I’m sure his highness would have better judgement. Clearly not.” Was it that obvious that her affections were for the German prince? She only offers a sad vision of a smile, somehow taking comfort in the prince’s actions as his thumb brushes upon her skin, soothing the pulsing skin below. “May I suggest make him jealous? You are after all in France.”
To that she laughs. It sounds good, to laughs, good to do it outside the company of the queen or Lord Alfred. He seems to notice as he does it as well. Before continuing to speak. “There is a ball tonight. Do things the French way, mademoiselle. I will even offer my service as your partner.”
Oh. Was that even allowed? She was only a lady in waiting for the queen of England, could she dance with the prince of the French? A duke was he? Suddenly she feels nervous, another gentle laugh soon through her lips. “I do not think he sees me in that way, Your Highness.”
“Then show him that his attentions are not the only one you seek. A prince for a prince.” And so it seems the matter settle.
She dances all night, light on her feet, the French prince is kind to her, though she is sure he is not doing it out of carnal desire but just of purity of heart. Then again, she does notice the way his hand grips tight on her waist as they move across the dance floor or the way he leans to her to speak.
She also notices Ernest looking back at her and she feels a glorious shock of pride on her body the moment he keeps turning to look. Wilhelmina makes a point to laugh to the Prince’s jokes and even try to flirt, eyes looking wide and attentive to the prince.
“I did told you, cherie. And how could he not? We do make a fine pair, do we not?” The prince is handsome though. Or maybe its just the French men she finds all attractive. He is forward and not confusing, which she respects.
But then of course the part to change partners comes and she finds herself in the arms of the one who owns her heart and often breaks it, too often for her own liking. “Your Highness.” Oh she feels cold as she speaks, but she is hurt and wishes that he knows that. And by the way he flinches at the formality, she had won.
“Wilhelmina.” But he breaks the spell, by using her name, calling to her, almost pleading. “Do not be angry with me. I was not myself today.” That she can agree with, and yet, she refuses to look back at him.
She hardly notices when they leave the room, the fresh air of the balcony hitting the bare skin of her shoulders, making her awfully aware of how unprepared a woman is for the cold nights. “Ernest----please lets go back inside.” She ask, finally looking back and she is a goner, as eyes find eyes and he seems almost lost at her indifference. “The prince is waiting for me.”
“Truly Wilhelmina, I do not believe his highness care for you.” A frown soon forms on her forehead.
“So am I not a woman then? I am aware his highness might not care for me but at least he does make the effort to create the illusion.” That was probably the longest sentence she had made in the presence of Ernest without blushing or looking away, and somehow regrets it wasn’t a sweet moment, a romantic confession like in her dreams.
“I am not a good man, Wilhelmina nor I would be a good lover.” Bold words that make her blush, though he does speak them with a gentle smile over his lips. “Despite your inclination or my own, I am a prince. Uncle Leopold already wished a marriage upon me.”
“I know that.” She is no fool. She knows her place, but then, she wishes for an adventure, a fairytale, for him to be Robin Hood and take her as his Marion, showing her the world. Forget about her aunt and the world. “But I wish you wouldn’t break my heart so easily. Its not an instrument.”
“I would never treat you as such.” Fingers brush against her chin, as she was looking down, and the contact makes her tremble, finally noticing the closeness between the two. “I am sorry I made you feel that way, It was never my intention.”
And with that he was gone for the night.