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Untitled ~ 38

August 22, 2015 05:55AM

Chapter Thirty-Eight

“And it’s time for an email!” said Clara. “Gertrude would like to know how long you’ve been going out. Thank you, Gertrude.”

Anna Margaret received a nudge from Frederick’s knee. She supposed that meant the question was for her. “I think about five weeks. And we never went out. We only stayed home.”

Frederick hid his face behind his hands.

“What?” she inquired.


“But it means,” she continued briskly, thinking this needed to be said. “That we were really doing serious work at our weekly meetings in the past year. Doing something else didn’t even occur to me.”

“But it did to you,” Joël said to Frederick.

His smile spread. “No, not really. I was afraid of her.”

“And then…” Joël prodded. “You weren’t.”

“Well,” said Anna Margaret when Frederick did not seem inclined to clarify. “We happened to see each other on an off-duty sort of occasion and we agreed to meet again – outside of work, obviously, since we already have to meet professionally once a week.”

“But that was all not very long ago.”

“It was long enough for me.” She remembered something that might also be useful to say. “And it was after he told me he was going to resign, so he didn’t do that because of me.”

“Did it play any role for you?” asked Clara. “Dating a king is different from dating a soon to be former king, I would imagine.”

“I can’t say. That he was going to abdicate was a given before I thought anything at all. Well, by the time I was thinking something I knew he had to resign for the sake of his own mental wellbeing. I had seen him exist and I had seen him live.”

Frederick acknowledged this with a small nod. “I had told my relatives before I was inaugurated that I wanted out and afterwards about once a month. It didn’t suddenly occur to me because an unsuitable woman appeared.”

“Unsuitable?” Anna Margaret inquired.

“According to certain people, having a demanding job of your own makes you unsuitable. Also, people would fear for their jobs. You know how many were involved in writing my speech and you know you would have written it alone if anyone had let you.”

“Yes, but – oh, all right.” She saw his point.

“Right, we have another question. This is one is from Cindy,” said Joël. “Cindy would like to know if Prince Frederick now has to get a normal job. Thank you for this question, Cindy.” He looked at Frederick.

“I don’t have to; my girlfriend has a good income.” He really looked as if he was serious, but then he smiled. “It depends on whether my remaining official tasks will count as a job, and if that will leave me time to do something else next to the unpaid activities I already have.”

“I can also imagine it wasn’t one of your priorities in the past weeks,” said Joël.

“No, indeed. It’s not going to be a priority any time soon either. Some people think I get ‘free’ money, but I don’t. I have to attend official occasions in return, I continually have to read lies about myself and I can’t go anywhere alone. If I do, there’s a lot of panic and fuss because I’m missing.”

“Have you ever gone out alone?” Clara wondered.

“Yes. Everyone involved in protecting me could lose their jobs and so forth. So it’s not easy unless you’re really selfish.”

“And you have to read lies about yourself?”

“Yes, try googling him,” Anna Margaret interrupted. “Most of it isn’t true.”

“She thinks I should correct it all, but I’ve never seen the point. As if people out there care that I do have a degree. If they liked it that I didn’t, they’re going to think I didn’t deserve one if I did. I know what is always being written.”

“That you never passed your first year,” she added.

Frederick smiled. “Well, it’s true that I never did pass the first year of whatever courses I was announced to be taking, but it’s sloppy journalism not to investigate what I did instead. I’ve just said that I do have a degree and I’ll add that I pursued it in that same time period at that same university, so anyone interested ought to be able to find out. It’s not that difficult. It doesn’t come up on Google directly, but you can use Google to find out.”

“Intriguing!” Clara remarked. “And you won’t tell us?”

Frederick shook his head. “Not right now.”

“Now it’s time for a little break and after the break we’ll hear which tips Claudia has for us today.”

“That wasn’t so bad,” Anna Margaret said hopefully as they drove away from the studios. She was due back at work, of course, and hoped that she had legitimately done something else. “You even said things.”

Frederick laughed. “I had to. I hope I wasn’t too negative and unambitious. I tried not to complain too much.”

“What will they say at the Palace about this anyway?”

“I let them know I was going, so they will have watched. Some of them think I should have asked their permission first.”

“Good luck. Send them to me if they complain.”

“And you wondered why you were unsuitable.”

The car dropped her off at her building and then continued to take Frederick home. In this quieter summer period she could leave earlier, she thought as she made her way to her office. Now she and Frederick had come out, however, going home might be a little bit more difficult and yet she needed to go there to pick up more clothes. Whatever she had taken to his apartment on Friday could stay there, but she could start taking more things there.

In her office no one had watched TV. André, however, soon picked up the news. “I’m not sure it will be much of a surprise to anyone working around here,” he said. “I’ve already had a lot of inquiries over the weeks.”

“Well, you won’t have to deny things. There is a relationship and it won’t be in the way of my functioning.”


Anna Margaret retired to her office and started work.

At four o’clock she felt it was time to leave. After checking the front door and seeing reporters there, she turned back and went to one of the emergency exits. It was all very well that people were curious and she understood, but it did not fit her plans right now and the country was not going to suffer if she did not answer. Before she had left André had let her know that quite a lot of media contacts had asked if it was really true. What did they think? That she would go on TV with a fake story, just for fun?

There was no one outside the emergency exit, for which she was glad. She hurried home. Thankfully no one had thought it necessary to wait outside her flat. They never had, so she wondered if they even knew her address. In any case they were probably not expecting her to leave work this early.

She changed into jeans and a more casual coat, packed a bag and checked her fridge. There was never much in it even if she was home, but it might be wise to eat here some time later this week. The first days she might be more comfortable behind the Palace walls, but then it might not matter much anymore.

That reminded her they would still need to talk about that house. They had not gone beyond saying it would be nice. What would it actually be like to live there? It reminded her of her parents as well and she checked the voicemails on her landline. Yes, there they were. They needed to talk to her, they said. But she had not been home and she had not seen the messages any sooner. Her hand hovered over the numbers. But no. Not here. It might take an hour and then she would get caught up in the city’s rush hour and be closer to a more logical time for her to leave work.

She shook her head and slung her bag over her shoulder. Downstairs she wheeled out her bike, because she was not sure she could walk away quickly if anyone talked to her. There was still no one out there to bother her, so she could cycle away comfortably. At least today no one would offer her a golf cart, she thought, although she had no idea where she would leave a bike.

She chose the front gates, even if there was a crowd again. Her floorplan did not take into account that the route had to bicycle-accessible and she was definitely not up to carrying it up and down stairs. They knew her, even in jeans and on a bike, and she slipped in quickly with a wave. There were sounds from the crowd, but she ignored them.

She parked her bicycle in the courtyard and locked it, even if it would be unthinkable if someone stole it. But you never knew.

Frederick was not in. She took her clothes upstairs and dumped the bag on the floor. The washing machine had stopped running, she noticed, and she put things in the dryer. Then she thought she had been domestic enough for the moment and she returned downstairs to lie on the couch. Perhaps she needed more vitamins.

Frederick woke her. “Dinner is ready.”

“What?” She felt disoriented for a second.

“Dinner is ready.”

“Did I fall asleep?” She must have. For how long? But she could not see a clock.

“Yes, I came home and I cooked dinner.”

“I didn’t hear anything.”

“I didn’t break anything.”

“I’m sorry. I should have started cooking, since I was here first.”

“Never start cooking when you’re tired. You might burn the entire place down.” He pulled her up gently. “What else are you feeling?”

She did not understand the need for that question. “Slightly guilty. Disoriented. Surprised. How long did I sleep?”

“I don’t know when you got here, but it’s now 18:05. Well, it was when I left the kitchen.”

Anna Margaret got to her feet. At least she could stand steadily. “Monday, right? Don’t tell me it’s Tuesday already.”

“I think I might have tried to carry you upstairs in that case. No, it’s Monday.” Frederick pulled her towards the kitchen.

“I was thinking that maybe I needed more vitamins and I was thinking about that house and I must have fallen asleep somehow.”

“What do you want to do about the house?” he asked as he sat down and filled her plate.

Anna Margaret tried to figure out what she was getting. “Er…oh. It’s a nice house, but wouldn’t we regret that my parents are just down the road? I saw they phoned my flat, but I didn’t ring them back yet. I thought it would take too long and I was just so nice and early that nobody was expecting me to have left work. I mean, you want a house, something that’s only yours, away from your family, and then you’d practically live next to mine?”

“Frankly, I don’t think that would matter. I have no emotional connection to your family and therefore no need to move away from them. I don’t expect them to visit all the time. And I don’t expect them to be as nosy as my relatives. Whom, by the way, you have not all met.”

That sounded ominous and she frowned. “I knew there were more, but I figured you weren’t close.”

“Oh, they will be close after this morning.”

“And exactly who will be close? I’m sure I can handle them. I have no emotional connection to them.” They might look into her bag and think she was seventeen, but she could deal with that.

“I’ll start at the top. There’s my grandmother.”

“She’s got to be ancient.”

“Yes. She’s well in her nineties. She also had a few more children besides Aunt Agnes and my father. And they have children as well.”

“Well, they can’t all have the bossy genes.”

“No, but the nosy genes can be spread over more people without causing conflicts.”

“Okay. We’ll see. But you’d want to buy the house then? What about all that space?”

“Ah. Isabelle thinks it will get filled.”

There was something in his tone that she could not place. “Isabelle,” she repeated. “She who thinks we are comparable to sixteen-year-olds getting pregnant?”

Frederick gave her a funny look. “Did she mention anything of the sort to you?”

“Yes. She must be really afraid her children will get boyfriends just because you got a girlfriend.”

“She thinks I am stupid and she’s afraid her children will be stupid too.”

“Are you stupid because you got me?” She raised her eyebrows. The impression she had got was rather different.

“No, she thinks you’re pregnant.”

Anna Margaret sat still. She stared at him. “Me?”

“Well, not me.”

“Why would she think that?”

“She says she can tell, and besides, she always knew I’d mess up?” His voice rose a little in disbelief. “She says she was waiting for it. She says she hinted at it to you, but you didn’t get it.”

“It makes no sense. We were doubly protected.”

“Not at all times. We were doubly half protected. I looked it up.”

What was doubly half protected? She had no idea. “Why?”

“Because some of it was my responsibility and yes, I did mess up. I’ve known all along that I did; I simply hoped it would be all right.”

Anna Margaret closed her eyes and tried to remember. “When?”

“Shower,” he muttered.

Her eyes shot open. “Oops. But that was more than once.” How could she not have noticed? She was a sensible, sane person who did not get carried away. “And you knew?”

“Yes. So I thought you were fine with it or maybe your pill was working again. I realised I was fine with it anyway. I did remember in time the second time but I said nothing. Sorry.”

She frowned as she tried to work it out. “It should have been working again at some point. I don’t think I missed any others, but I didn’t really pay attention because we had the other thing! And Isabelle thinks…”

“She can tell, she says.”

“Did someone tell her I was tired?”


“But you didn’t want any children.”

“I said a lot of things. But you didn’t want any, so I’m sorry. I’ll take care of it if something really did happen.”

She raised her eyebrows again. “This is ridiculous.”

Untitled ~ 38

LiseAugust 22, 2015 05:55AM

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JaniceAugust 25, 2015 06:41AM

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LiseAugust 25, 2015 07:30AM

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CarrieAnnAugust 23, 2015 10:03PM

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IasAugust 23, 2015 12:29AM

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Sarah WaldockAugust 22, 2015 08:19AM


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