We were led out into an open field where we gathered as Prince William stood above the crowd with some of his guards and Mrs. Shirly. She was one of the elder maids and the most trusted. She's worked for the royal family for over 40 years and worked closely with Prince William himself.
Prince William was taller than everybody there, including his guards. He wore no jacket over his suit and his shirt clung to his well-built form. I understood why most women fancied him. With his blue eyes and dark tossed hair, he could make anyone's knees weak.
He looked as though he had just crawled out of bed, and I couldn't look away from him.
As good-looking as he was, I knew of the monster that lay under his skin. He wasn't anything special. His appearance meant nothing if his insides were ugly.
I could hear the crowd around me growing excited as the gossiping began. Everybody was curious as to who this maid was that Prince William marked last night. Everybody but me that is.
Looking over at Beth, she too looked excited.
"Apparently he left an actual mark on one of the girl's necks," she whispered from beside me, her eyes wide and alert, but excitement crossing over her features. "I can't wait to find out who."
I swallowed hard and turned my attention to Prince William who was still scanning the crowd with dismay written all over his face. He was watching the crowd like a born predator on the hunt. The gaze of his wolf flashed through his eyes as he tried to figure out which of the maids he marked.
Beth stared over at my face and frowned.
"What's wrong?" She asked. "Aren't you excited to find out who this maid is?"
I felt my face heating.
"Nothings wrong!" I said, a little too chipperly. "I'm just wondering why it matters so much. What does he want with her? She's just a maid."
Beth shrugged and nudged me playfully.
"He probably wants to sleep with again or something," she chuckled. "Don't you remember Lisa? Prince William wanted her until he didn't."
How could I forget Lisa?
Lisa was one of the most gorgeous maids I had ever known. She also charmed her way to Prince William, it was no mystery as to why he wanted her. She became his mistress for a little while but once he was bored of her, he sent her to live in the shabby shack. Like most of his ex-lovers, he wanted nothing to do with her once he was done with her. He didn't even want to look at her.
I shuddered at the thought of that happening to me.
The crowd waited eagerly for the checking to begin. Most of them wished it was them that William was searching for. I also wished it was them he was searching for, but it wasn't.
It was me.
"This is the last of the maids," Mr. Carson said to William.
Without looking at him, William ordered, "Do you your job then."
Mr. Carson nodded and addressed us.
"Ladies, you will line up at Mrs. Shirly. She's going to check each of your necks for a marking made by Prince William," Mr. Carson announced to us.
One by one, each maid lined up at Mrs. Shirly, still eager and excited. I stayed back with Beth, attempting to not itch the marking on my neck. As far as I knew, it was still covered with makeup. I only hoped that my repulsive sweating wasn't enough to wash the makeup away.
They can't know it was me.
I felt sick at the thought of it.
The maids looked overly excited, it was bothersome because this was anything but a good thing. William felt ashamed that he went as far as marking a maid, he wouldn't let his shame be exposed on his face though. He had an image to maintain, and he made a decision that he needed to stand by.
A stupid decision.
A drunken decision.
But still a decision.
Mrs. Shirly worked hard to check each of the maids for a marking, but she was coming up empty. His patience was beginning to wear thin as he noticed how small the line was getting.
"She's here… I can feel her," his inner wolf, Waylon, growled from deep within him.
He scanned the crowd and noticed that some maids, that were already checked, were still hanging around. He knew that everybody wanted to know who it was that was marked, it was the talk around the palace.
Apparently, someone saw a shadow of a maid and a piece of her uniform lying around the rose garden. When William emerged from the garden last night, it was obvious that he had marked someone. He faintly remembers sinking his teeth into the flesh of a woman. But he couldn't remember for the life of him who it was.
"If you can feel her, then pick her up already, you useless wolf," William hissed, angry at the amount of time they were wasting.
"I'm trying," Waylon shot back. "But I can't sense her wolf. It's like she doesn't have one."
"That's preposterous," William snapped, startling Carson that stood beside him. Lowing his tone, William spoke again to Waylon. "This must be some kind of joke from the moon gods. She must have a wolf if she's my mate."
As the line began nearing an end, William scanned the crowd one last time, feeling the fury between himself and Waylon rising deep within him. This was ridiculous and he almost felt humiliated.
Why wasn't she coming forward?
His eyes landed on a maid that seemed hesitant in the back of the line, she had stopped walking and was staring at Mrs. Shirly nervously. Her body appeared to be trembling, she was tugging at her fingers and biting onto her bottom lip hard.
He recognized the girl from that morning, she had spilled tea all over him.
Doris was her name if he remembered correctly.
He took a step towards her and pointed at her for Mr. Carson to see.
"Why isn't she stepping forward for the examination?" William asked, his voice kept low and laced with anger.
Mr. Carson followed his gaze and his frown deepened as he marched toward Doris. William followed closely behind.
She looked startled to see them approaching and her breathing was visibly shaky.
"Are you disobeying the prince's orders?" Carson shot at her, her eyes widened, and she opened her mouth to speak but Carson wouldn't allow her to get a word out. "Why have you stopped walking? You need to get examined just like everyone else."
She nodded slowly and was about to take a step back into the line until William stepped in front of her.
Her small body looked as though it was about to give out at any moment.
She tensed and stared up at him, her eyes wide and alert. She looked like she was about to burst into tears, he had that effect on women and it pleased him greatly.
"Doris…" he spoke her name as if he had spoken it a million times before. But in reality, he had just learned her name this morning. He stared at her for a long while, trying to assess her face. Waylon was quiet as he also tried analyzing her. "Was it you?" William found himself asking.
She sucked in a deep breath and looked taken aback by his question.
"No, your majesty," she said, her voice kept low, and she bowed her head as she spoke.
"Why were you hesitant moments ago?" He asked, eyeing her carefully.
She lifted her gaze to meet his, he could clearly see how terrified she was, and it was aggravating to him. She opened her mouth to speak, but no words came out.
His patience was running out.
"Are you playing games?" He asked, his voice rising as fury flashed through his features.
She winced at his words, but she shook her head quickly.
"Of course not," she said to him, she was trying hard to keep her tone even and he noticed her swallowing hard.
She was hiding something.
He was done with this back and forth. He grabbed onto Doris' arm, she flinched as his nails dug into her flesh and he dragged her through the rest of the line and towards Mrs. Shirly.
"Check her!" He ordered.