A/N: Hey! What did I say? Two weeks exactly :) I'm rather proud of myself. I took a nice break, managed to write several one-shots, and I'm hoping to get back into the swing of things this week. Thanks for all your love with the last chapter! I hope to have the next one up in about two weeks as well, but might not be the weekend. Two weekends from now I will not have reliable internet because I'll be camping with my friends. If I have it ready early I will obviously post it but if not, it'll have to wait until I get home around Wednesday of the following week. In the meantime, I'll continue to post small little additional scenes, sneak peeks, and facts on my Tumblr to help hold you over.
I truly hope that you're all staying safe and healthy. Every one of you is in my thoughts and prayers with the intense and scary world we are currently living in.
While Friday seemed to last years, each minute taking an hour to tick by, Saturday flew by in a blink of an eye. Much too soon for Elaina's liking, it was nearly midnight and the day had faded into night. She curled up in her bed, closing her eyes once Alexander disappeared down the hallway after saying goodnight.
She had spent the morning with Alexander and Albert, both of them trying to distract her from the news she had read in the paper the evening before. Surprisingly, the nausea was manageable all day, only causing her to sit down and ask for a glass of water a few times, but not causing her to be sick.
Both she and Alexander spent nearly two hours in the early afternoon with Waverly in her office and two interns that would be with her through the end of the summer, Dominic and Blaire. They spent a majority of the meeting coming up with ideas for how to eventually tell the media about her relationship with Alexander, and what they can do in the meantime to help hint at it. They wanted to get people talking and asking questions throughout the summer, but subtly.
Despite the seriousness of the meeting topic, she had thoroughly enjoyed it. Both Dominic and Blaire were brilliant to bounce ideas off of, being members of the general public themselves. They had also been interns since the previous fall, so they had plenty of experience dealing with the media and helping Waverly. Elaina was impressed with their expertise and knowledge after less than a year in the palace, but she also knew that the program to choose interns was a rigorous one.
Waverly ended the meeting just before three o'clock, assuring Elaina that she would talk to her papa about what they had come up with to see if he had any ideas.
Elaina and Alexander spent the remainder of the evening in the gardens, both taking walks around the few paths and simply sitting in different corners to avoid all the other people within the palace. They kept the conversation topics light, feeling much better today than they had the night before.
After a few laps around one of the paths, Alexander had asked her if she had any name ideas for their future child. Elaina didn't have any off the top of her head, but they both decided that they would make a list and discuss them more thoroughly the next time they saw each other.
Dinner had been a much more cheerful affair this evening, everyone chiming into the conversation both with talks about the coming weeks and light teasing of Alexander and Elaina for the baby they had on the way. She felt her cheeks warm a few times as she ate her food, but overall, William and Elizabeth's teasing seemed to be light-hearted. They meant well.
She once again spent most of the evening with Alexander, Elizabeth, and William, finding them surprisingly interesting to spend time with. In the past she had limited her time to Alexander, simply being polite to his siblings, but she found herself wanting to spend a lot more time with Alexander's family in the coming months. She felt included when she was with them like she was part of the family.
Growing up, she had Nicolas to keep her company once he moved back to France, and she adored him. But she had always wished for more siblings, or even just more cousins her age to spend time with. She didn't like feeling alone, and with William and Elizabeth and Alexander, she didn't, not for one moment.
Once they all grew tired, they put in a movie and watched it to the end. Elizabeth passed out nearly on top of William, using his lap as a pillow. Alexander and Elaina were snuggled up on the couch across from them, and they were still awake at the end of the movie. Alexander pulled Elaina off of the couch, walking her down to her bedroom and sitting with her for a while after she climbed into bed.
She wanted nothing more than to ask him to stay with her, pull him onto her bed and throwing the covers over them both. She knew she couldn't ask though. If she asked, he would want to say yes, and the last thing they needed to do right now was invoke Arthur's wrath. He had already been kind enough, as he called it, to not be so strict on the two of them being alone together. He was not going to budge on them sleeping in the same bed, at least not now.
So, Alexander left, the longing in his eyes as he pulled the door shut enough to convince her that he wanted to stay just as much as she wanted him to.
She rolled over onto her back, her eyes closing as the back of her head sank into the pillow. She didn't understand his parents' reasoning, and she wished that they could simply ignore their instructions as they had done in the past, but she knew they couldn't. Arthur would send her home. She didn't think for a moment that he was bluffing about that. And he would punish Alexander again, and from what she had heard, meeting that paddle once sounded like it was more than enough for a lifetime. She didn't want to put Alexander in that position.
A soft yawn escaped her, eyelids fluttering as her thoughts started to feel far away. She fell asleep after only a few minutes.
Alexander rolled over in his bed, groaning as he pulled the blankets farther up onto his shoulder. He tried to open his eyes but found them practically glued shut. He collapsed onto his back, breathing out a few long sighs.
He shouldn't have stayed up so late the night before, not when he knew he had to be awake for church in the morning. But he wanted to spend every moment he could with Elaina, and she hadn't seemed to mind staying up late.
He slowly opened his eyes, immediately noticing that it was still nearly pitch black in his room, a small grin spreading across his lips as he happily closed his eyes and curled onto his side. He was sure that it was close to morning, but he didn't care. He was going to take advantage of any extra sleep he could possibly acquire. He yawned, his gaze falling over to his door as the sound of footsteps reached his ears.
Pushing himself into a sitting position, he looked toward his bedroom door, blinking a few times as he heard the footsteps pause, a door swinging open and then closed again. He blinked, reaching up to rub at his eyes. It was far too early for any of his siblings to be awake; even his parents wouldn't be awake this early, and if they were, they certainly wouldn't be in the hallway. It had to be Elaina.
His thoughts were confirmed a few seconds later when he heard a retching sound. He felt his stomach twist into a knot as he slid off of his bed, retrieving his glasses from his nightstand and resting them on his nose.
His sleepiness from moments before near-instantly forgotten, he made his way down the hallway to the restroom, knocking twice before letting himself in. "Ellie," he said softly, mostly to let her know that it was him. "Oh," he took in a sharp breath, feeling his insides twist into a knot at the sight of her.
She was curled up on the floor, her face tucked in the space between her knees and chest. She lifted her head long enough to look over at him, her cheeks colorless and her forehead beaded with sweat. "'M okay," she waved a hand, "I'm just nauseous."
He took two steps, collapsing onto the floor beside her, "this isn't okay," he countered, his voice gentle. "How are you feeling? Do you still feel sick?"
Elaina raised her chin, resting it on her knee as she swallowed hard. Her mouth was dry. "I don't think so." She blinked a few times, feeling exhaustion take her over as her eyelids grew heavy. She wanted to sleep. "I think it's done."
He found himself feeling sick himself, his hand reaching out to gently rub her back, "I'm sorry, Ellie. I didn't know it was this bad."
"'M fine," her breath was shaky as the words left her lips, "it's not really this bad. I'm just…just dramatic." Her chin traced down her leg until her forehead was pressed against her knee, her stomach starting to do flips again. Her stomach caved in and her eyes flew open as her mouth filled with saliva. Throwing herself up onto her knees she leaned back over the toilet, emptying the remaining contents of her stomach.
Alexander froze as he watched her throw herself over the toilet, at a complete loss for what to do. He knew his mum used to rub his back whenever he felt sick, but if he was being completely honest, he never really wanted to be touched. The last thing he wanted to do was upset her more.
She took in a few heavy breaths, remaining in place for as long as it took her stomach to stop pulsing as though it was going to continue to push things back out. Finally, she fell back onto the floor, "I was wrong before. I think… I think now it's done."
"How long have you been awake?" He watched as she tucked a sweat-soaked strand of hair behind her ear. Leaning forward, he rested a hand on her back.
"An hour," Elaina leaned into his embrace, tipping her head against his collarbone. "maybe a little longer."
"I'm sorry," Alexander's words were soft as he pressed a kiss to her hair, "I didn't hear you. Why didn't you come to wake me up?"
"No, no," Elaina shook her head, countering his words, "I'm sorry I did wake you up. I didn't mean to. I was trying to be quiet. I really thought I could go back to sleep after the last time but then it just came so quick and I had to run and…I'm sorry I was loud."
"You know, you could have woken me up," Alexander pointed out, running his flat palm up and down her back gently. When she didn't respond he waited a moment before leaning down and placing a kiss on her forehead, "You don't have to do this alone El. I-I want to be here for you."
She didn't respond, feeling her cheeks burn slightly at the embarrassment that she felt despite his words. She couldn't help but think that at sixteen years old she should be able to handle a little nausea by herself. She appreciated that he wanted to be there for her though, and his presence had helped her calm down significantly faster than she had earlier.
"Thank you," she breathed out, not even sure he could hear the words.
"Just…" Alexander trailed off, "please promise me you won't try to do all of this alone. You're pregnant, but I'm here too. This isn't all on you."
"I'll try," Elaina's voice was still quiet, nearly squeaking out the words.
Alexander's free hand moved down and gently wrapped around hers, "I promise I won't be bothered. Just come get me, even if you can't sleep and you want company. "
They stayed like that for several minutes, Elaina entangled in his embrace, her breathing slowly returning to normal.
"Do you still feel sick?" he asked, his fingers lightly tapping against the back of her neck, "do you want to go lie down and try to sleep?"
A small groan escaped her, not wanting to lift her head from his chest. She didn't want to move. She didn't want the world to keep spinning. She just wanted to live in this moment, in his arms, forever. "A little, but I should probably go back to bed. Sleep will help."
"Sleep will definitely help," Alexander pushed himself up into a standing position first, helping to pull her onto her feet. He retrieved a washcloth from the bottom drawer and quickly ran it under cold water. He kept the object tucked in his hand as he rested his free hand on her back, leading her back to the guest room.
He wanted to lead her down to his bedroom and tuck her into his bed, but every logical part of his conscience told him that wouldn't end well. They would be caught, and his dad would be even more cross than he already was and Elaina would have to go home a day early. That isn't what he wanted.
"I'm sorry I woke you up," Elaina apologized again, despite his earlier words. "I really didn't mean-"
"Hush," Alexander simply hushed her as she climbed up into the bed, pulling the covers up over herself. He walked around the bed, tapping the opposite side, "do you mind if I climb up too? Just for a few minutes?"
"Of course not," Elaina found herself rolling her eyes at the question. He didn't even need to ask. "Your parents didn't wake up, did they?"
"Not that I know of," he lowered himself onto his stomach, putting the weight of his upper body against his elbows as he laid beside her, but on top of the covers. "I'll go back to my room once you're asleep so that we don't get in trouble." He reached forward, resting the washcloth on her forehead.
Elaina hummed, shifting under the comforter as she turned to the side to face him, "that feels really good."
"You're so warm," Alexander's finger lightly brushed up and down her cheek, barely able to see her in the darkness of the room. He found his own eyelids growing heavy but forced himself to keep his head up. He still had to get up and go back to his own room. "Being sick like that is just so exhausting. It just takes a lot out of you."
"You're telling me?" Elaina's chuckle didn't contain much humor. She closed her eyes as she felt him remove the washcloth from her forehead and lightly brush it against both of her cheeks, cooling the skin and wiping away the sweat that had dried. "You can go," she murmured as he pulled the washcloth away, "it's okay. I'll be fine."
Alexander hummed, pressing a kiss to her forehead, "I'll stay until you're asleep and then I'll go." He moved over on the bed, knowing that his lying that close to her wouldn't help her sleep any easier. Pushing himself up into a sitting position, he asked, "can I rub your back? Or hum a song or something to help you sleep?"
"You don't have to do that," Elaina said the words, exasperated, but rolled onto her stomach all the same. "You can go to sleep too."
"In a little while," Alexander's hand rested on her back, his fingertips tracing up and down her back as they had earlier in the restroom. It didn't take long before he watched her eyelids close and not open again, her breathing evening out.
He grew tired, lowering himself first onto his elbow and then onto his side as he used his opposite hand to keep rubbing her back. Before he knew it, his head was resting gently on the pillow beside her and his own eyes were closing. He jerked a few times, trying to force himself to get out of the bed and go back to his own room. It didn't work though. Instead, he simply peeled his glasses off of his nose, resting them on the bed beside him as his opposite hand stilled on Elaina's back.
His eyes fluttered closed as sleep overtook him for the second time that night.
Alexander jumped at the sound of his name, his eyes flying open and his gaze immediately falling on Elaina, who was still asleep under his hand. He rolled over onto his back, spotting his mother standing on the side of the bed. "Mum," he spoke groggily, his hand reaching up to rub his eye as he searched the comforter for his glasses. He found them, unfolding them and placing them on his nose. A deep pit formed in his stomach as he stared at his mother's frustrated expression. "I can…I can explain. I swear we didn't-"
Waverly raised a brow, "I specifically remember telling you that this," she motioned between the two of them, "was not to happen. And I know your dad did as well."
Elaina stirred slightly as Waverly spoke the words, letting out a small whine as she turned away from both of them, her hand sliding under her pillow.
Alexander's head whipped around, watching Elaina settle back down before he turned back to his mom with an almost warning look. "Don't wake her up," he pushed himself into a sitting position, hanging his feet off the side of the bed. "She didn't sleep well."
Waverly gave him a pointed look, nodding toward the door, "I think we should take this conversation down to my bedroom."
"Shhhhhhh," Alexander's eyes widened as he pushed himself onto his feet, "please don't wake her up." As he trudged toward the door, he swore he could feel her stern gaze burning into the back of his head. He stepped out into the hallway, spinning around to face his mother, "it's not what it looks like," he insisted as she pulled the door shut. "I went to bed in my own bed and she woke up a few hours ago and I was trying to get her back to sleep. I was on top of the covers and we left the door open! Nothing happened."
"Alex," Waverly shook her head, resting a hand on his arm and nudging him down the hallway toward her room. "The rule wasn't to keep the door open and sleep on top of the covers, was it? We didn't give you a list of conditions that had to be met in order for you to be allowed to sleep in the same bed, it was a clear no on all accounts."
"Mum, this is ridiculous!" Alexander wanted nothing more than to raise his voice but he also didn't want to draw attention to this situation. Instead, he kept his voice low, practically hissing his words, "nothing happened."
Waverly hummed, "and was that what your dad told you? That as long as nothing happened you could sleep in the same bed?"
"No," Waverly held up a hand, "the answer is no. I don't think anything else needs to be said."
Alexander's eyes widened, swallowing hard as he felt his nerves rise within him, a few butterflies flying around in his stomach. "You're overreacting," he paused, turning to face her as she pushed the door open, gesturing for him to walk inside. "It's not even that big of a deal!"
"I think we'll let your dad decide whether or not it's a big deal," Waverly's eyes narrowed as she waved a hand once more, silently instructing him to follow her inside.
Alexander breathed out an annoyed huff, forcefully pulling the door closed behind him. "It was just an accident, Mum. I didn't mean to fall asleep. I was just-"
"Alex, I think that your Dad and I were clear with you," Waverly's expression grew incredulous, her tone hardening. "Were we not? Is there some confusion that I'm unaware of?"
"No. You were!" Alexander insisted, raising a hand, "I swear you were. I get it. It won't happen again. Please just don't tell dad." As soon as the words left his lips, he regretted them, immediately watching his mother's eyes widen, her eyebrows rising. "Okay, okay, bad idea. I didn't mean that," he corrected, realizing how terrible of an idea it had been to ask his mother to lie for him. "Tell Dad but…but just give me a warning or something. I swear it won't happen again!"
Waverly hummed softly, pointing to the bed, "sit down."
"It really won't happen again," his voice contained a hint of a whine as he slowly inched his way over to the bed, "Mum, I promise."
"That's enough," Waverly shook her head, speaking in a no-nonsense tone, "unless you'd like to spend the next few minutes with your nose pointed at a corner follow my instructions and sit down."
"You're in trouble for not listening and continuing to not listen is not going to benefit this situation!" Waverly's eyes widened, her voice rising in pitch as she pointed over to the bed. "Sit down."
Alexander found all of his arguments gone, his breath catching in his throat as he quickly took the few steps over to the bed, spinning around and falling back onto it. He choked back a groan in annoyance, knowing that it wouldn't help his situation. "It's not a big deal, nothing even happened," he grumbled, more to himself than to his mother.
"This isn't about whether or not anything happened, Alexander," Waverly stepped over to the end of the bed, looking down at him with an unimpressed look. "This is about the fact that your girlfriend is pregnant because you decided that you didn't have to listen to your dad and me about a rule that was made clear to you more than once."
"She's already pregnant, Mum! I can't change that." Alexander snapped, throwing himself up into a sitting position, pulling his feet up onto the bed as he turned to face her. "There's literally no point! You're just making up rules for no reason!"
"This is about the fact that you were in your father's office and you were punished for that not even a week ago and we gave you very clear, simple instructions and you still found a way to completely disregard us!" Waverly continued, not even acknowledging his words, throwing a hand up into the air in frustration. "And you haven't even apologized."
"I'm sorry, okay? I'm sorry!"
Waverly froze, taking in a deep breath as she processed his words. "Okay," she slowly counted backward from ten as took a few steps back, her head bowing. "I am far too frustrated with you to have this discussion at the moment. Your dad will be back from waking up your little brother in a minute and you can explain what has happened to him."
Before Alexander could say another word, she disappeared into the bathroom that was attached to her bedroom. His eyes rolled into the back of his head as soon as he heard the door close, resisting the urge to raise his voice and remind her that this wasn't actually a big deal.
It was almost five minutes before Arthur came into the room, wishing Alexander a good morning.
"Yeah, okay," Alexander grumbled, not moving from his spot on the bed, his gaze still fixed on the ceiling.
Arthur raised a brow as he glanced over at his son, picking up the tie that was resting on his pillow. He raised the collar on his shirt, wrapping the tie around his neck and beginning to tie it. "You should probably get dressed." He kicked out a foot to lightly nudge Alexander's, "we'll have to leave before you know it and I don't think you want to go to church in your pajamas."
Alexander grunted, still not moving.
"What's wrong with you?" Arthur questioned as he continued to maneuver the red tie, "did you wake up on the wrong side of the bed?"
The bathroom door opened as he asked the question and Waverly stepped into the room as she slipped on a blazer over her red blouse. "He woke up in the wrong bed this morning, Arthur."
Arthur raised his eyes to meet his wife's silently asking for confirmation to her words before his own voice grew stern. "Alexander," he nearly hissed the boy's name, his frustration evident.
Alexander's hands flew to his face, his fingers sliding under his glasses as he let out a groan, "it's not a big deal! It was an accident, and nothing happened."
Arthur tightened his tie and pulled his collar back down before he sat down on the bed beside his son, giving the teenager's knee a firm tap. "Sit up and uncover your face when you speak to me, please."
Reluctantly, Alexander did as he was told, his lips curling into a frown as he turned his head to his right, staring at his dad's glasses. "It's really not that big of a deal, I swear."
"Alexander," Arthur pressed, raising a brow, "was I not clear on the consequences of you deciding not to listen to me?"
"I didn't decide not to listen to you!" His voice broke as he threw the man a pleading look, "it was an accident. It really was. I can explain!"
Arthur extended a hand in front of him, waving it for a moment to give his son the opportunity to explain whatever he thought needed explaining. He glanced up to Waverly, watching as she leaned back against the dresser in the corner, her gaze focused intently on their son. She didn't appear convinced by whatever explanation Alexander had obviously given her, and Arthur couldn't help but think that if his son had failed in swaying his mother to his side, he would most likely fail to convince him as well.
Alexander took in a breath, holding it for a moment before he released it, "she woke up because she was really nauseous, and she threw up. I don't even know how many times but I heard her and I went to go make sure she was okay."
"Mhmm," Arthur hummed, giving his son all of ten seconds to continue before he spoke. "So far you're not in her bed so I know that's not the whole story."
"She wasn't feeling well," Alexander repeated, his voice weak, "and I felt really bad because this is partially my fault too and it's not really fair for her to have to be sick. I just wanted to be there for her."
"That's fine, you are more than allowed to check on her, and even walk her back to her room," Arthur reached over and tapped his son's knee, "however, your mum and I were quite clear on the fact that we didn't want you two sleeping in the same bed."
"Why?" Alexander's tone could only be considered a whine as he tipped his head back, "she's already pregnant! What does it matter? You're being irrational!"
Waverly was the one that spoke next, surprisingly, taking a few steps forward into the line of sight of both her husband and her son, "because we said so. Because we're your parents and we gave you an instruction and at this moment you're in warm enough water as it is. The last thing you need to do is continue to prove that we can't trust you to listen to us."
"See!" Alexander turned to Arthur, holding out a hand toward his mother, "you're making me follow this rule just because you can. There's no point to it! How is that fair?"
"Sometimes things aren't fair, Alexander," Arthur stared at him, careful to keep his voice calm despite his rising frustration. "I doubt the media will play fair when they hear about this situation you've found yourself in. Sometimes you just have to put up with it."
"Right," Alexander nodded stiffly, his jaw clenching in frustration, "let's just make Alex more miserable than he already is by being completely irrational and-"
Arthur held up a hand, effectively cutting his son off, "do you need to recopy the lines that you wrote less than a week ago to remind you that sharing a bed with someone you're not married to is sinful? Do you need to stay after church today and have a discussion with our pastor to nail that into your thick skull? We're not making up these rules to make you miserable, we're simply insisting that you follow the same rules you should have been following all along!"
"She's already pregnant," Alexander insisted, speaking the words through clenched teeth. "What does it matter?"
Those words caused Arthur to pause, closing his eyes as he forced himself to count backward from ten, "okay, let's have a discussion about this."
"I just don't understand why it's such a big deal if I-"
"Ah, ah," Arthur cut him off, "you've told me your point of view multiple times and I've heard your arguments. It's your turn to listen to mine." He leaned forward, resting his elbow on his knee as he stared over at his son, "if I murdered someone tomorrow, would it then be okay for me to murder someone the next day because I've already done it? Because by your logic it doesn't matter if I do it again once I've already done it."
Alexander's eyes rolled so far into the back of his head his eyelids shook, "oh my God. That's not even-"
"Language," Arthur cut off, pointing a finger at his son. "That's an extreme example, yes, but it applies to everything else too. Disrespect, defiance, selfishness. If I lie to your mother once, and she forgives me, does that simply mean that I can do it over and over again for the rest of our lives? I've already done it once, I've already broken that barrier and crossed the line, I can't go back, right?"
"That's different," Alexander protested weakly, his hands falling into his lap. "She's pregnant already, it's not like I can-"
"Her being pregnant isn't the problem, Alex," Arthur breathed out a sigh, reaching up to pinch the bridge of his nose. "Being pregnant is not a sin."
"Then why can't-"
"You defied me," Arthur raised his voice, "you decided that you were above my rules and disrespected me. I'm your father and I deserve better than that. And you slept in her bed. Three times, you slept in her bed while you weren't married to her. Those are your sins. Both of which you repeated last night."
Alexander felt his father's words like a blow to the stomach, his lips pressing together. His chin lowered, "then…then I'll marry her and then it won't be a problem." He looked up between the two of them, "we'll change the law and I'll marry her and we'll figure out where to go from there."
The room was silent as all three of them, including Alexander, took in the words that he had just said.
"And if you choose to do that, I will support you," Arthur finally nodded his head, breathing out a sigh, "but I think you should put a bit more thought into your decision. It should definitely not be solely based on your desire to sleep in her bed."
"It's not," Alexander shook his head, "I love her, and I'll marry her if it means you will both take a step back and leave us alone."
"Again, as your dad said, I think you should give this a little more thought," Waverly blinked a few times as she met the boy's gaze. "Marriage isn't…" she trailed off, breathing out a sigh, "marriage isn't the relationship you've had with her for the last four years. I think the two of you ought to adjust to the changes that this situation will bring your relationship before you bring legality and religious binding into it."
"It's a commitment," Arthur agreed, reaching up to pat his son on the back, "and it's not one that you can easily get out of, especially considering you two will have the media on your tails for the rest of your lives." His hand wrapped around Alexander's shoulder, giving it a gentle squeeze, "think on it. Talk to her about it. And if you both decide that is the best way to continue your mum and I will do our best to make that possible for you."
"I just don't understand why it's such a big deal," Alexander fell forward, burying his face in his hands. "We weren't doing anything. I was on top of the covers and…and the door was open."
"Alex," Arthur pressed, lightly shaking his head, "I'm done arguing about this with you. You won't sleep in Elaina's bed while you're under this roof out of respect for your mum and me, if nothing else. Regardless of whether or not you understand it, we have told you to sleep in your own bed. I shouldn't have to feel like I'm fighting a battle to get my seventeen-year-old son to listen to simple instructions."
Alexander felt his cheeks warm as his father's words reached his ears. He was not at all pleased with how this discussion had gone, and he wanted to continue to argue, but he could tell his dad was reaching the end of his patience.
"Sorry," he murmured, chewing on the inside of his lower lip.
"How, exactly, did you end up in her bed?" Arthur asked, returning to the question he had asked at the beginning of the conversation. "Walk me through what happened."
Alexander felt a chill run down his spine as the disappointment in the man's voice caused tears to form in his eyes. He hadn't intended to fall asleep in her bed. He hadn't meant to give his dad a reason to speak in such a tone again so soon. "She wasn't feeling well," he repeated. He didn't know why. He supposed part of him hoped that one of his parents would see his side if he emphasized that she was his girlfriend and she wasn't feeling well because of his baby. "And I heard her get up and I went down the hallway to the bathroom to check on her and she threw up a bunch and she was upset so I walked her back to her room."
"Okay," Arthur hummed, his hand still rested on the boy's shoulder, giving it a squeeze.
"And I brought a damp washcloth with me because she was sweaty and really warm and just…you know! She wasn't feeling well, Dad!"
"I understand that," Arthur nodded slowly, "and I understand that you don't like to see her like that, but it doesn't excuse you deciding to ignore the rules we have set."
Alexander groaned, "I'm seventeen years old. I'm not some little kid."
"Exactly," Arthur's voice hardened, his expression darkening, "you're seventeen years old. You're months away from becoming an adult. Why am I still fighting to get you to listen to what I say?"
"Because it's stupid! She wasn't feeling well, and I offered to rub her back, so I laid down beside her and rubbed her back and accidentally fell asleep! I'm sorry! It was four in the morning! I was tired!" Alexander's head turned between the two of them, giving them both an incredulous look. "I'm sorry. Tomorrow morning when she wakes up throwing up I'll let her deal with it all by herself, I guess."
"That's not what I said," Arthur shook his head, "could you have sat on the bed and rubbed her back to avoid falling asleep?"
"Yeah, but I didn't think about that," hot tears rose to the surface and threatened to fall as he stared down to his knees. "It was an accident. I swear."
"You accidentally crawled into her bed and laid down beside her?" Arthur raised a brow, "I don't think so. I think falling asleep was unintentional, but inevitable at four in the morning when you're lying in a comfortable bed."
"I'm sorry," Alexander insisted, his tone not sounding very sincere at all. He forced out another apology, "I'm really sorry and it won't happen again tonight. I promise."
Arthur glanced up to Waverly, frowning, "I think we ought to be sure of that. Go get dressed and prepared for church and meet me down in my office. You and I will have a discussion before we leave."
"What?! No!" Alexander's head raised, his eyes wide as the tears that had desperately clung to his lashes a moment before, fell. "No! Dad, I'm sorry. I said it wouldn't happen again. Don't I get a warning?"
"Your girlfriend is pregnant, and I was more than clear on the consequences of defying me, Alexander. Your warning was how many times I spelled out those consequences for you." Arthur shook his head, pushing himself onto his feet. "Go get ready as I asked and we'll discuss it more in my office."
"Dad, no, there has to be another option," Alexander joined the man on his feet, his voice catching in his throat as he pleaded. "I'm really sorry and I swear it won't happen again. Please."
Arthur stepped over to the closet, stepping inside for a moment before he reappeared, slipping on his suit jacket. "I can call Louis and inform him that you two were unable to follow the rules set to you and that she will be flying home this morning."
"Then go do as I asked, Alexander," Arthur's tone grew pointed. "If you don't go get dressed now, you're going to be late."
"Then you don't have time to sp-punish me anyway!" Alexander insisted, but still began to step toward the door. "Can't we just talk about it tonight? Please?"
A stern look from his father and a nudge from his mother sent him out into the hallway, answering his question with a resounding, yet silent no.
Elaina lightly knocked on Alexander's door before letting herself in, quickly closing it behind her as he saw him buttoning up his shirt. "Good morning," she grinned, stepping over to him.
"Good morning," Alexander spun around, unable to stop himself from eyeing her up and down as he returned her smile, "you look absolutely lovely." He finished buttoning his shirt, taking a few steps over to her.
She wore a lavender-colored dress with a white, double-breasted coat on top. She had yet to close up the buttons on the coat, but other than that she appeared ready. Her hair was pulled back into a ponytail, a few stray strands of hair left out to frame her face. She had put on a moderate amount of makeup, enough blush to bring color to her cheeks and eyeshadow to complement both her dress and her eyes.
"Thank you," Elaina's lips curled into a smile, "I feel awful, so I'm glad I don't look it."
"No," Alexander shook his head, "you are so very beautiful." He rested his hands on her hips, their lips interlocking for a few short moments. "I love you."
"I love you too," she pulled away, studying his face for a moment, "are you okay? You seem a little off."
Alexander sighed, as he stepped back, plucking his belt from the bed and lacing it through the loops on his pants, "I fell asleep in your bed by accident."
"Oh?" Elaina watched as he tucked in his button-down shirt before clasping his belt, returning his gaze to hers. "Why is that a bad thing?"
"My mum came in to wake me up and I wasn't here, so she checked your room," he told her, watching as her face fell. "And she told my dad, so now he's cross with me for defying him." His eyes rolled into the back of his head, trying to downplay it so that she would not grow upset with him. "Because he's purposefully making up rules that are ridiculous just to…I don't know. Encourage failure?"
"I'm sorry. I agree that he's being ridiculous. I told you that on Friday." Elaina stepped forward, cupping his cheeks in her hands, "I hope he's not too upset."
"You don't have to go home or anything," Alexander assured her, his forced smile gently pressing his cheeks against her hands. "He just wants to talk to me about it before we leave for church."
"Hmm," Elaina nodded, "talk?"
"Probably kill me a little," Alexander admitted, feeling his ears burn as he admitted it, his breath catching in his throat. "But it's okay, I'll be fine. I'll see you at church and then we'll spend the afternoon together at the polo match."
Elaina's expression grew disbelieving, but she didn't argue against his first words, knowing that he would want to avoid the topic as much as possible. Instead, she contradicted his last words, "I thought you were playing polo. Forgive me if I'm wrong because I know absolutely nothing about sports, but I thought that involved riding a horse. I don't think we'll be spending the afternoon together if you're on a horse…"
"I'm only playing for the first half of the game," Alexander chuckled softly, his smile growing a bit more genuine. "William's going to play the second half so that I can come spend time with you."
"Is that allowed?" Elaina raised a brow, "just switching off in the middle of the game? It doesn't sound like it should be allowed."
"It's a charity game, El, nobody really cares. I could play for one chukker and they would just be glad that I-" he paused watching Elaina's eyes widen, her smile fading. "What? What's wrong?"
Elaina blinked, shaking her head as she stared at him, "what is a chukker? Should I be saying that? It doesn't sound like a word I should be saying out loud."
He very visibly sighed in relief, "oh, yeah, it sounds rather vulgar but it's just one of the time periods in the game. Like…quarters? Instead of four there are seven, so they're called chukkers."
A soft snort escaped Elaina as she leaned forward, resting her forehead on his shirt, "okay."
Alexander wrapped his arms around her, pressing a kiss to her tightly pulled back hair, "I really love you, Ellie."
"I really love you too," she tucked her arms under his armpits, wrapping them around his back. "I'm sorry your dad is cross with you. I didn't even know that you fell asleep in my bed. I just assumed you had left."
"It's okay," Alexander breathed out a small sigh. He didn't know if that was true. Part of him was slightly worried about having to ride a horse in only a few short hours. There wasn't much he could do about it, though. "I'll be fine."
"I hope so," her index finger gently traced a circle on his shoulder blade. "I have to go home tomorrow. I'd really like to have a good day."
He tightened his hold on her, "me too."
Despite his want to have a good day, Alexander couldn't help but despise everything about it as he paced his dad's office, waiting for the man to join him. He wasn't sure how many times he walked from wall to wall, passing the front of his dad's desk before the door finally opened. He breathed out a small sigh, his shoulders still stiff as he turned to face the door. Despite his anxiety, he was relieved that his wait was over.
"Dad," Alexander's expression was urgent, "I'm really sorry and I swear it's not going to happen again."
Arthur blinked as he stared over at his son, "I feel like you told me the same thing less than a week ago when we had this discussion."
Alexander leaned back against the man's desk, his fingers lacing together in front of him, "it was really an accident."
A small sigh escaped the man as he walked behind his desk, sitting himself into his desk chair long enough to open his bottom drawer and retrieve the paddle. "We've discussed this on more than one occasion, and I was clear on what the consequences would be if you decided not to abide by our rules."
"Dad," Alexander's breath caught in his throat, his eyes growing wide as he took a few steps back. "N-no. It was an accident! You don't have to use a paddle!"
Arthur lowered the object onto the desk before he walked around it, "was I not clear on what the consequences would be if you didn't abide by the rules?"
"I didn't…We didn't sneak off and have sex or anything!" Alexander felt his cheeks practically steam they were so warm. "I was on top of the comforter and the door was open and…and we didn't do anything."
"What did I say, Alex?" Arthur's demeanor wasn't at all angry, but his disappointment was evident. "Did I say that you could sleep in her bed as long as you stay on top of the covers and the door is open?"
Alexander's head lightly shook, his lips curling to the side, "no."
"Okay," Arthur frowned, lightly tapping the desk, "hands on the desk, and let's deal with this quickly."
"Dad," Alexander pleaded, biting into his lower lip as he stepped forward. "I'm sorry and it really won't happen again. You've proved your point, okay? You don't have to do this."
"I made a threat, Alex. One that I was fairly sure that I wasn't going to have to follow through with." Arthur picked up the paddle and rested it against his son's bottom, watching as the boy's shoulders stiffened. "What are you going to do differently in the future?"
"Listen," Alexander breathed out the word, his stomach dropping to the floor as he felt the dreaded object against his backside. "I won't sleep in her bed. I'm sorry."
Not wanting to give his son any more time to fret over what was going to be a very short ordeal, Arthur raised the paddle and brought it down firmly against the boy's clothed backside.
Alexander hissed, "I won't do it again, Dad." His eyes flooded with tears, bracing himself for the next swat that he knew would be just as hard.
"Don't lie to me," Arthur breathed out, dropping the paddle onto the desk before resting his hand on his son's back.
"I'm not," Alexander insisted weakly, a relieved sigh leaving his lips. He thought for sure he was in for it. He couldn't believe the man had only given him one swat, but he certainly wasn't going to complain about it either. "I'm not lying."
Arthur simply shook his head, his hand moving up to ruffle the boy's curls, "whatever you say, Alex." He stood where he was, giving the teenager a few more moments to brush away the tears that had risen to the surface and recover from the swat.
"That still hurt, you know. Just because you only gave me one swat doesn't mean it doesn't hurt." Alexander threw his dad a half-hearted glare. "You didn't have to do that."
"I made a threat," Arthur pressed, giving his son's back a firm pat, "I followed through with said threat when you tested me. That's my job."
Alexander hummed, his head tipping back and forth as he mocked the man's tone. "Maybe you shouldn't make such ridiculous threats."
"Maybe, or maybe you should learn to follow instructions put to you" Arthur's tone darkened as he wrapped an arm around the teenager's shoulder, leading him toward the door of his office. "I'm sick and tired of your inability to follow the rules."
"It was an accident," Alexander insisted, his head tipping back in exasperation. "And the rule is stupid."
"You can think that all you want, but it doesn't change the fact that it's a rule," Arthur nudged him out into the hallway, plucking his keys off the hook next to the door. "I took into account that you hadn't meant to, but the fact remains that it still happened."
Alexander grumbled, "yeah, okay."
Arthur's lips twitched upward, "are you going to survive?"
"Maybe," he swallowed, taking a few deep breaths to even out his breathing. "I really thought you were going to kill me."
Arthur paused before he opened the door to the garage, opening his arms. Alexander hesitated, but leaned into the man's embrace, smiling softly as he did. "You have to ride a horse later today. I wasn't going to kill you. I may be strict, but I'm not cruel."
He nodded into his dad's shoulder, "Thanks."
Arthur pulled away, opening the door for his son before he followed a few steps behind. He waited until they reached the car, climbing into the driver's seat and waiting for Alexander to close the door before he spoke again, "there is something I need to discuss with you about this polo match, though."
Alexander groaned softly, his head tipping back against the seat as he clicked his seatbelt into place, "do I have to do an interview?"
"No," Arthur shook his head, turning to look out the back window of the car as he backed out of the spot, "although, if you'd like to, I'm sure the media would love it. They haven't heard from you in months. There will be reporters there and your mother and I will probably speak to them before returning home."
He debated his options, tipping his head from side to side, "I don't know. Can I think about it?"
"Of course," Arthur kept his focus on the road in front of him, "however, that's not what I needed to discuss with you."
"Hmm?" Alexander frowned as he looked over to his dad, "is it bad? Is something wrong?"
"Not bad, just…a reminder to be careful," despite his words, Arthur's lips curled into a smile. Watching out of the corner of his eye he noticed his eyebrows pinching together. "Miss Harlow is going to be there this afternoon for the duration of the game. While usually we would encourage you to be polite and talk with her if she were to approach, it might not be the best idea for the media to see her flaunting herself at you right now."
"Clara," the teenager's face fell forward, resting in his hands, "why does she have to show up to everything?"
"Her parents and I get along," Arthur insisted, "just try to keep your distance if you can. If we're going to somehow convince the media that you and Elaina have been together for the last four years the last thing we need is them reporting on you and Clara for the rest of the summer."
"El doesn't like her," Alexander lifted his head enough to look over at his dad, "they go to the same school in Paris. They don't get along at all." He expected the man to appear worried by his words, but instead he just saw a hint of a smile. "If I'm with Elaina and Clara comes over it's not going to end well."
"Elaina is more than professional in public," Arthur glanced at his son through the corner of his eye. "I'm sure that the two of you can convince Clara to give you some space."
Alexander wasn't so sure. In the many years that he had known Clara, she didn't seem to understand the concept that he might not be interested in her. He had been quite blunt with her several times in the last few years, insisting that he didn't want to pursue a relationship with her. She was convinced that he just meant not now, and that he would change his mind in the near future.
"We can try," Alexander threw his dad an unimpressed look, "but she's persistent, Dad. And if she doesn't back off El isn't going to be nice."
Arthur shrugged, "take them someplace private and let them hash it out."
"Dad!" Alexander's expression grew absolutely mortified, "if Clara finds out about El and me the entire world will know by tomorrow morning!"
"I don't think so," Arthur shook his head, humming softly, "I think El would easily scare her enough to keep her quiet. Besides," his expression grew serious, turning to glance over to his son, "Elaina's pregnant, it might be a good idea to nudge Clara out of the picture."
"She's not in the picture!" Alexander snapped, leaning back against the car seat as she turned to give his dad a pointed look. "She hasn't everbeen in the picture. She just thinks she is!"
Arthur frowned, breathing out a small sigh, "I know. And I'm sorry that you've had to deal with that. However, your mother and I have both told you in the past if you wanted to be more forceful to make it known that you are not interested in pursuing a relationship with her, we would support you."
Alexander quieted at his father's words. They were true. He had been given ample opportunity to shut down Clara's advances in the past. "I know, I just thought…" he trailed off, feeling horrible for his words. "I thought it was good to have the press's attention elsewhere. They've seen pictures of El and me together and talking in public and there's never been an article about the two of us."
"And that was beneficial," Arthur agreed, "it was effective for that purpose, but it might be more harmful now than it is helpful."
Arthur paused, seeming to think about how he should respond to that question. "This is a delicate situation, Alex. As you discussed yesterday with your mother, the best way to handle this, that we have managed to come up with so far, would be to slowly hint your relationship with Elaina to the public."
Alexander hummed, mentally hitting himself as he realized what his father was trying to say, "and if the media still thinks that something is going on between Clara and me, it will be harder for them to catch onto any subtle hints we try to give them."
"They tend to hyper fixate on one thing at a time," Arthur nodded, giving his son a knowing look. "Lately when it comes to you and girls, that appears to be Clara."
"I've tried, Dad," Alexander breathed out a sigh, giving the man an unsure look. "I've told her that I'm not interested but she just thinks I mean not right now."
"I know she's persistent, and I know you've been frustrated with it for a while, but there isn't much I can do about it." Arthur reminded him, "there is, however, something you could do about it. Or, as previously mentioned, you could let Elaina do it for you."
Alexander's eyes closed, releasing a frustrated groan, "that's not going to end well. She'll…I don't even know what she'll do. She hates Clara."
Arthur hummed, his focus on the road as the car pulled to a stop, "while I don't usually appreciate or condone your girlfriend's cheeky attitude, perhaps it would be helpful this afternoon in convincing Clara that there's someone else?"
Alexander resisted the urge to comment on his father's words and tell him that the only reason she was cheeky was the fact that his rules were ridiculous. Considering his position only a few minutes before, he refrained from doing so.
"You think I should tell Clara?" Alexander pressed his expression beyond incredulous. "Did you…are you okay? What are you talking about? She'll tell the media and there goes our attempt to subtly hint at it!"
Arthur's head tipped from side to side, visibly disagreeing with Alexander but not saying anything else. "Think about the context of the situation as if you were Clara. Would you go running off to the media if you found out the person you were pursuing was actually with someone else? Especially if that someone was Elaina or someone like her…"
Alexander did as his dad asked and thought about it. He supposed it would be embarrassing to say that the person he had been pursuing had been in a relationship with someone else all along. He probably wouldn't want to tell anyone about it. "What if she does, though?"
"Your mother has that covered," Arthur glanced over to his son, giving him a knowing look as they pulled into the church parking lot. "She will speak to Clara and make sure that she doesn't run off to the press with the information."
"This was her idea?"
"Yes," Arthur hummed, turning into a spot and gently pressing his foot on the brake until the car was completely stopped. "It wasn't my idea. I couldn't care less about what happens with Miss Harlow. I think she's right though, and she asked me to mention it to you, and perhaps nudge Elaina to go speak with the two of you should you find yourselves alone."
Alexander opened his car door, stepping onto the pavement, "you know, if you nudge her or encourage her to come over to us, she might just decide to do the exact opposite out of spite."
"Maybe," Arthur straightened his tie, closing his car door before clicking the button on his keys. "But maybe not."
Alexander waited for his dad to walk around the car, his step falling in line with the man's, "I'll try to make it clear that I am cutting off communication, and if I can't I will tell her about Elaina, or at least that there's someone else."
"I think that's a good plan," Arthur nodded curtly, glancing over to his son as they made their way toward the front of the building.
"Do you? Or does Mum?"
"Your Mum does, and I happen to agree with her," Arthur reached over and patted his son on the back. "Ultimately, it is up to you, though. If you think of something better you can certainly do that instead. Just warn us first if you don't mind," he threw his son a pointed look, "I'm tired of surprises."
Alexander blew out an exasperated huff of air through his nose, not even sure what to respond to his dad's words. He looked over to the man, forcing a smile as he greeted the person at the doors of the church, shaking his hand. He followed his dad into the church, his fake smile still plastered across his face.
He would have to warn Elaina that Clara would be at the match. Hopefully, the two of them could do their best to avoid Clara. If they couldn't do that, they could at least try to avoid making a scene when they tell her about the situation. He didn't know if either of those things were possible.
His day had just become much more interesting, and he could already tell that wasn't a good thing.
A/N: Thanks for reading! Feel free to let me know what you think...what side you agree with and why. Chances are I feel roughly the same way. I definitely disagree with these characters more than I agree with them at times, lol. See you in roughly two weeks :)