Hey y'all! New story time :) Now, this takes place in England and I'm not an expert on how the healthcare system works over there so don't bash me for that. And secondly, if you don't like the idea of a pseudo-Royal Family, don't read this because that's what this is. I'm going to try and be as politically correct as possible but remember, this is fanfiction, not real life :) If you start reading this and you like/love it, please review! If you read it and don't like/hate this story, simple: stop reading and move on :) Now, read on!


Chapter 1

"Sisters function as safety nets in a chaotic world simply by being there for each other."
~Carol Saline

Annalise

The very beginnings of fall were just starting to show their existence as a bitter wind sprung up, forcing me to hunch my shoulders to attempt to block it. I couldn't feel my ears or my nose. It didn't help I was in a skirt, but I had to look professional for this interview for it could very well change my life. See, I'm in debt by a few thousand pounds. I was the only working person in my family because my parents had passed away in the war (they were in the Royal Navy) and my sister, Mia, was extremely sick, so sick she couldn't work or else she'd risk becoming worse. Her hospital bills are what had put us in debt. Of course, she hadn't been sick when our parents had been alive. We'd lived quite comfortably in a decently-sized flat. In fact, Mia and I still owned the flat. The rent on it wasn't too bad. I was always able to pay it, plus the guy I paid, Mr. Sanders, gave me a discount every month since I cleaned his office and filed away everything every Sunday. That guy is one of messiest people on the planet.

I went down the steps to the Tube as fast as I could. I didn't want to be late. Actually, I preferred to be there early just in case. I politely shoved past people even though practically no one else was polite back. I ignored it. I had more important matters on my hand. I barely managed to get onto the train that would bring me to the stop that could get me closest to Buckingham Palace. I couldn't believe the interviewers even considered me as a candidate…

The train was crowded; I personally was pushed up against the doors. Thankfully, my stop was the second stop the train made. Once I arrived, I hurriedly got off the cramped train and back into the cold daylight. Buckingham Palace came into my view within a few minutes. I took a deep breath, trying to calm myself down. It would do no good for me to go in there nervous or else the interviewers would think my fidgeting (which I tend to do when I'm nervous) was because I was some crazy fan of the prince.

Speaking of the prince… his name is William. He's tall, black-haired, and blue-eyed. The girls tend to swoon over his eyes. I will admit, they're pretty incredible. But he did nothing for me. It's not that I didn't find him attractive, but I had better things to do than to drool over a guy I have no chance with. Besides, he's a partier; he likes to go to parties and get drunk. I'm the complete opposite. He wouldn't like me even if we did cross paths.

When I walked up to the front gates, I explained to the security guards (who looked like they could snap me in half like a twig) why I was there. They led me inside to the foyer of the palace before examining everything in my purse and having a lady security guard pat me down after they had me walk through a metal detector. The woman that had patted me down then led me down a corridor to simply decorated waiting room. I happened to be the only one in there. I sat down on a leather couch, pulling out my folder which contained my résumé and reference letters. I looked into the mirror, checking to make sure my hair still looked decent after being in the wind. I ran my hand through it.

"Annalise Stark," a man's voice said. I turned my head around to face the office door. An elderly man, appearing to be in his late sixties or early seventies, stood there with a kind face; I liked him immediately.

"Yes, sir," I replied.

"Please come in," he ordered. I stood up and walked in. A woman, about the same age as the man, sat in a plush looking office chair.

"Hello, ma'am," I greeted. She stood up, offering her hand for me to shake; I did.

"Hello, Miss Stark. My name is Mrs. Griffiths. This is my husband," she informed, nodding her head to the elderly man. "Please, have a seat." I obeyed. "Now you are applying for a job as a maid here. What are your qualifications?"

"My mother always taught me to be orderly and neat and taught me how to clean nearly every type of surface imaginable. As for one of my other jobs, I clean my landlord's office every Sunday along with filing away all his files; he reduces my rent for me in return."

"It says here you work at a pub… Donaldson's is it?"

"Yes, ma'am. Family friends own it and they gave me a job."

"Why are you applying for a second job? I imagine working at Donaldson's, you must make a decent salary. It's a well-known pub," Mrs. Griffiths remarked.

"I need the money quite badly."

"Do your parents work?"

I bit my lip. I hated discussing my parents. I still missed them terribly. You don't get over something like that easily. "They passed away ma'am… six months ago in the war. They were in the Navy."

"Oh, I'm sorry to hear that," she said, actually showing some sympathy on her stern face. "Miss Stark, you're very young, which worries me. You're… eighteen, correct?"

"Yes, ma'am."

"You're about the same age as the prince, just a few months younger. While you do not appear to be so, how do I know you're not taking this job as a way to get close to William?"

The question was a valid one, and one I expected. I had my answer ready. "I have more important matters I am focusing on."

"Such as?"

I looked down, nervous to explain my situation. "My sister is very ill. Our health insurance dropped us when the bills became too much. I've actually gone into a few thousand pounds in debt; if I get this job, with the salary you said you'd be offering, it'd help me get out of my debt within a year depending on if the cost of the hospital bills stay the same each month and my sister does not get worse. I'm desperate for the money. When I am determined to do something, and in this case pay off my bills, nothing distracts me, not even a prince."

Mrs. Griffiths studied me closely. "Miss Stark, please wait outside while I confer with my husband."

I nodded and headed out, sitting on the same couch. I strained my ears to listen to what was being said because I knew it was about me.

"She's so young! If William comes across her, he will make a move," Mrs. Griffiths pointed out.

"I believe her will is strong, and I think she is one girl William will not be able to… entice. She has her head well on her shoulders and she's desperate. She needs this job. I say we give her a go," Mr. Griffiths argued. I silently sent him a mental thank you for siding with me.

"If you're wrong…"

"I have a good feeling about her."

"Fine."

The door opened and Mrs. Griffiths walked out. "Miss Stark, you are to report here tomorrow morning at seven sharp. You will be given your uniform and your list of duties. I will have one of the other workers show you the ropes and where everything is."

"Thank you so much, Mrs. Griffiths!" I exclaimed, smiling with relief. "I won't let you down."

"I hope not. I rather like you. Now off you go. My husband will escort you out." She entered her office while her husband exited. He gave me a sincere smile as we walked back out into the corridor. The two of us stayed silent. When we entered the foyer, a guy, just a few years older than me, nearly ran into us.

"Oh I'm so sorry Mr. Griffiths!" the guy apologized. He had dark blonde hair and light blue eyes. His friendly expression told me if I worked with him, we'd get along just fine.

"You're fine, James. Oh, James, this is Annalise Stark; she'll be joining the team tomorrow," Mr. Griffiths introduced.

"Hello, Annalise. I'm James Monroe," he said kindly, holding out his hand. I shook it and answered, "It's nice to meet you James."

"James is one of the cooks. He's fantastic. You might be helping him in the kitchen once in a while," Mr. Griffiths said. "Well, Annalise must be off. She has another job to attend to."

I said bye to James and went outside. "Thank you for escorting me out, sir," I said.

"Call me Walt. I have a feeling you'll do fine working here. I think if William does meet you, you'll put him in his place. I love the boy, but he's…"

"A little lost?" I suggested.

"That description will work. It was nice meeting you dear." He shook my hand and I left the palace, nearly running to the pub I worked at to announce the good news.


So that's the first chapter :) Hope you enjoyed! Please review! Really, please, please review! (only if you liked it)