For the next few weeks, Charles would come ever few days. He would first spend a few minutes with Henry, but would quickly go off in search of his sister. He would usually find her in either the library, or siting in the garden. They would spend an hour or so together, and he would then return to Henry.
Danielle soon found comfort in the regularity of things. Every few days she would have a visit from one of her two close friends. Both visits she would enjoy greatly, but they could not fill up all of her time. Her mother would take walks with her, but during the walks her mother was constantly encouraging her to try and find a husband. Finally, she grew sick of these conversations and stopped taking as many walks.
On her brother’s recommendation, she started to spend more time visiting with the courtiers. At first, she only went to please her brother, but slowly she started enjoying having chats with them. If she had known that the recommendation was really her father’s and not her brother’s, she would have probably never allowed herself to enjoy them. She quickly developed the talent of distinguishing between the good apples and the bad. Occasionally, she would misjudge, but not often.
One day, she went on a solitary walk in the hedges. She overheard people talking on the other side of the hedge. She did her best to not pay attention, but when she heard her own name being spoken she found it hard not to listen. The lady was talking to a gentleman. “Yes, it appears the Princess shall be married by the end of the year to that Marquis. He sure knew how to play his cards right by becoming friends with the Prince first.”
The gentlemen replied, “Yes, I only wish I would have planned thing out as well as he did. Then it would be me who was having private meetings with the Princess. Nevertheless, part of me is relieved that I did not end up with her. From what I hear, she is very strong minded and stubborn. She would not have made for a good wife.”
Danielle could not bear what she was hearing, and yet she would not let herself stop listening. The women spoke again, “Yes, I went to school with her. I was nothing but civil to her, and yet she would have nothing to do with me. I think her parents have spoilt her too much for her own good. Her brother, though, is quite agreeable. When he picked his sister up, we had quiet an agreeable chat. Since then, I have seen him a number of times, and we have had quite a few little chats. I would not be surprised if soon he asked me for my hand.”
Danielle recognized that voice. She listened another minute to try and realize where she recognized that voice from. The girl continued, “I have half a mind to make the Marquis fall in love with me. It would serve two purposes. One, it would bring up jealousy in the Prince, and would make him realize how much he needs me. Two, it would allow me to get some revenge on the horrible Princess.” Danielle needn’t listen any more she knew the voice was that of her worst enemy, Marguerite.
Henry had been spending a lot of time with his sister lately. He felt that he needed to make up lost time from when she was away at school, but today he had news that would disappoint her. They were siting in Henry’s sitting room. He was teaching her about some new writings that were just published. Soon, the lesson was over and a few minutes of silence followed. Finally, Henry sat down next to Danielle. “I am going to be leaving for awhile on business.”
Immediately Danielle reacted, “I thought you had had a talk with father about this. I thought that he was going to no longer make you go on so many trips.”
“And I have not been going on so many trips. I still can not go on no trips at all. It is expected that I am present for certain occasions. When I am older, I can more easily refuse, but right now it is necessary that I attend. Besides, I am sure you are getting sick of your old brother.”
A few days later, Henry left for England. One of the Princes was getting married and a representative of France was required to be there. Henry had promised his father that he would go long before Danielle had came home, and he felt that he should keep his word. While he was in England, he would have to stay a few weeks with a number of different officials. The whole trip would take him roughly three months.
Danielle was not aware of the length of the trip until later. She was a bit upset that her brother had not trusted to tell her the truth, but she would get over it. Once he was gone, things started to change for Danielle. Charles would come to see her more often and his visits were starting to increase in length.
To Danielle, this was merely a friendly gesture. He knew that her brother was gone and that she must be lonely. The gossip she had overheard in the garden she took for just that. Besides, what kind of trusty source was Marguerite?
Whenever Charles would come, she was eager to please. They would spend their time riding, and in the garden, but Danielle’s favorite place was in the library. She found that Charles was just as filled with information as Henry was. She greatly enjoyed draining all the information from him that was humanly possible.
Two months went by in this fashion. Charles was enjoying ever smile that she would cast his way while she was enjoying her new friend. Each thought of the other differently, and both assumed that the other thought the same day they did. This illusion could only be kept so long.
One gorgeous day, things changed. They were sitting peacefully drinking their tea. Danielle was in the middle of one of her speeches when Charles looked up at her with a wide smile across his face. Danielle stopped mid-sentence. “What is it?”
A slight blush came to his face, “I was just thinking. That’s all.” There was a little twinkle in his eye.
“I am almost afraid to ask what you were thinking since it did bring a blush to your face, but I am never one to keep quiet.” Charles did not answer; he just merely smiled back at her. In a questioning tone, Danielle spoke again, “What is it?”
He cleared his throat, “Danielle, there is something I must tell you. I can no longer hide it from you. You mean the world to me, and can not picture my life with out you. I know you are still young, but my heart can not wait any longer to hear the answer to a question that has been on my mind many weeks now. Danielle I would be most honored if you would become my wife.”
Danielle did not know what to say. She just simply stared at him for a moment. Her thoughts were racing at the speed of light. Charles spoke again, “I understand if you are too overcome with joy to answer me. Your silence tells me the truth that your mouth can not speak.” He tries to embrace Danielle.
She breaks away from him and backs away slowly, “No you do not understand. There has been a misunderstanding.” Charles just stared back at her. “You have been nothing but a good friend to me, but I am sorry to state that I do not share you affection. I wish I could make you happy, but you deserve better than me.”
Softly Charles speaks as he sinks into his chair, “There is nothing better than you.”
Danielle shakes her head, “You are so lost in your own feelings that you do not see what is right in front of you. I have many faults. I am horrible at being ‘proper’, I am as wild as a young boy, I do not take authority well, in fact I do not take any instruction well. I prefer to do things my own way. I would make many costly mistakes. I am not fit to be anybody’s wife, let alone yours.” Danielle was surprised by her own words, but she had no time to think about them now. “I must be going. Good day.”
She quickly fled from the garden and to her room. There she watched Charles in the garden until he left a good twenty minutes later. Once she saw him ride away, she broke down in tears. Little did she know that her father was at her door wishing to enter in to comfort her, and yet not daring to do so.