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At Her Majesty's Service

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Emma sighed as she slid her glasses up her forehead and relaxed back into her seat.

There were less than three weeks until Christmas and the pile of documents on her desk demanding her attention, before she travelled up to Norfolk for the holiday season, just seemed to keep growing.

“Leroy,” she called out, knowing that he would hear her in his own office, without the need for unnecessary phone calls.

He didn’t disappoint her. The slightly stout, severe-looking balding man appeared instantly in the doorway, almost as if he’d been expecting her summons. But before he could squeeze a word out, Emma asked, “What’s left on the calendar for this month?”

Leroy looked a little flustered by the question, as he’d clearly not been expecting it, but quickly pulled out his ever-present iPad and loaded the calendar on it. “There are only a handful of engagements left, Your Majesty. A few audiences with politicians and charity chairmen over the next two weeks, and then the annual children’s party for the service men and women deployed over the holiday season.”

Emma relaxed a little at Leroy’s words. The pile of work on her desk would be much easier to get through without dozens of engagements to balance along with it. And the one that she had left was always her favourite of the year.

“Can you speak with my team and make sure they have some outfits prepared for me to browse through before the party?” she asked, as she slipped her glasses back down onto her face and turned her attention to the pieces of paper in front of her.

“Of course, Your Majesty. They’ll be ready by the end of the week.”

“Excellent. Finish what you’re doing here and take off for the night,” she instructed. It was getting late, and there was no point in both of them being up half the night when only one of them was really doing anything of any substance.

“Are you sure, Your Majesty? I don’t mind staying.”

“Of course,” Emma assured him, as she flicked her glance back up to where Leroy was lingering in the doorway once more, to offer him a small smile. “I’ll see you tomorrow morning. Don’t rush in. You’ve been here late all week.”

“Thank you, Your Majesty.” Leroy turned to leave but hesitated just outside of the entrance to his own office. “Don’t work too late,” he called back.

But his Queen was already lost in the next document on her pile that she needed to read and sign. Just as she had been every night that week, and the one that had come before it.