To Have and To Hold Chapter 51

Chapter 51

“When I proposed to Nicole, I never thought she would accept. I don’t know what made me think that way, perhaps it was because I felt nothing could ever tie her down, but she said yes. I had never felt so happy. I had to marry her right then and there.”

“We lived in the small manor house for that is what Nicole wanted. She loved this house, Danielle, and she refused to move from it. This was her home and she stayed here until the time came for her to move on.â€Â? Auguste couldn’t keep his voice steady. After all this time, he thought, and brushed a tear from his eye.

“What about me?� Colette piped up from the back of the room. She was angry now. “This was mine,� she cried, as she stepped up to face him, “including you, Auguste. I loved you. I was so looking forward to our life together, to raising our children and growing old. I thought that you were looking forward to it as well. I was wrong, Auguste. I was wrong about a lot of things.�

Tears started down her cheeks. At first she brushed them away, but then there were too many of them.

“You asked how much I owe? I don’t know how much, Auguste. What I do know is that I needed those coins that I put in the portrait.�

She turned to Antoine. “I am sorry I led you on. I needed the money to pay my debtors off and then out of the France entirely. I have to start a new life somewhere, Antoine, I cannot stay here, living with you under false pretenses.�

Antoine looked at her. “How did it start, Colette? Was this something that happened before we were married? Tell me Colette.�

Colette looked back to Auguste. “He knows, Antoine, your brother knows. It’s all in that journal Nicole kept. Everything about me.� She shook her head, the tears coming down faster now.

“It started out small, just a little bet on a tennis game and I couldn’t stop. Now it’s out of control. “

She sniffed and held her head up, but the tears just kept flowing. “At first, I thought that’s why you didn’t want me, but now I think I understand. I haven’t made a wager in a long time, but I still owe plenty.�

“I used up everything I had. I took money from my aunt and uncle and I took money from Nicole. I even took from you, Auguste, but you knew that. Nicole explained that to you. It’s written in the book, I know that.�

“Colette, listen,� Auguste said, walking toward her. “We can talk about this later.�

“Is that what you really wanted to do or did you just want to embarrass me in front of everyone?� Colette cried out as she ran from the room.

EA A father’s Choice part 23

Part 23

Sunday came much too quickly for Danielle. Before she knew it, Antoine was at her door with a carriage to take her to his estate. “Hello Danielle.”

She quietly responded, “Hello.”

He helped her into the carriage. “I have a letter that came for you, but before you read it we need to talk.” Danielle placed the letter beside her on the seat. “I have been thinking a lot about what you said to me the last time I saw you. I think that maybe you might be right.”

Danielle looked up at him. “I am just trying to look out for you. I do not want you to make decision that you may one-day regret. Many times decisions that seem right at the beginning end up being wrong in the end.”

“I know Danielle. There is no need for you lecture me any longer. I have decided that I am going to leave this small town. Perhaps I will go to the palace. I understand that there are many eligible women there. I might just get swept off my feet again.”

The two of them embrace. Danielle only hoped that he when he went to court that he did not get to know Henry. If he did, he would find out who Danielle truly was, and than Henry would be after her. Danielle whispers in his ear, “Thank you. I am sorry but I can not do what you want me to do, but you know as well as I do that it is for the best.”

They hold each other for a little longer until finally Antoine pulls back. “Well, aren’t you going to read your letter. I know how anxious were to get news from home.”

Danielle grabs the letter from the seat next to her. It reads as follows:

Danielle,

I hate to disturb your new life, but your presence is requested at home. We understand if you do not come, but father would like you to. He has had a stroke, and the doctors are not very optimistic.

Henry

Danielle drops the letter. “Turn the carriage around.”

Antoine looks at her, “Why?”

Danielle adds more urgency to her voice. “Turn the carriage around now! I need to go home immediately.”

Antoine picks up the letter, and then joins her in yelling to turn the carriage around. “Danielle I am so sorry. You are welcome to use our carriage.”

“That is kind of you, but it will be quicker if I go horseback. The palace is at least a two and half day ride. It might already be too late. Give your family my apologize for not saying goodbye, but I need to leave immediately.”

“Your home is the palace?”

“Yes. I use to be known as Princess Danielle. I am surprised that you have not figured that out by now. Anyway, would you please inform all of my customers that I will give them back their money for any jobs left unfinished. I assume that you can tie up all of my loose ends for me. Who knows if I will ever be back here again.”

Antoine stared at her. He had no idea how she could be so strong when her world was falling apart around her. Everything made so much sense now. He now understood why she was so educated, and why she was so strong. Her whole life had been a trial. “I’ll help you pack.”

They silently went through her belongings, and found what she would need for the trip back. Antoine promised her that he would bring the rest of her belongings when he left for the palace. All she took with her was food, money, and her sword. She did not want to stop for food, but when she did stop for food she would trade her horse for a well-rested one. She was determined not to sleep. She was gone a half an hour later, and Antoine was left with the task of telling his family of the bad news.

***********************

Danielle did not sleep at all. When she had first left, it took her two and a half days to get to the town. If she did not sleep, she could make it home in a day and a half. Her journey was a tiring one, but it was worth it.

To her surprise, she did not meet with any obstacle on her way. She had draped herself in a dark cloak so that no one would recognize or bother her. It was not that she was afraid of a little adventure because she knew that she could beat anyone that came her way. It was more that beating them would take time. Time that she did not have.

She was able to meet her goal and was there in a day and half, which since she left Sunday morning she made it Monday evening. When she approached the gate, the guard stopped her. “Where do you think that you are going?”

“Into the castle.”

“I do not think so little missy.”

Danielle threw back her clock, “Well, I do.”

The guard immediately started to apologize. “I am sorry Your Highness…eer…or whatever it is I am suppose to call you.”

“I’ll let it pass this time.” Danielle quickly dismounted her horse and headed into the courtyard, which she found to be surprisingly empty. Nevertheless, she found who she was looking for. “Henry!” she shouted.

“Danielle?” he said with disbelieve. Quickly, he ran across the courtyard. “Danielle, I almost did not expect you to come,” he said as he gathered her up in a hug.

“You should of known better.” She tightens her grip on him. “It has been much too long.” Both of them just stood there for a moment. For once, both of them seemed to feel a strange level of comfort. Danielle then starts to pull back. “I really do hate to end this moment, but how is the King, I mean father, doing?”

They hooked arms as Henry says, “Let me take you to him. When I told father that I had written a letter to you asking you to come, he did not believe that you would, but I know that he will be glad that you do. Sometimes he is a stubborn old foul, but it all works out in the end. He will be glad to see you.”

“You did not answer my question.”

“Indeed I didn’t. The doctors say he has stabilized and that the next twenty four hours will decided his fate.” They walked in silence the rest of the way to Francis’s sick chambers. “Let me warn you. He has changed a lot since you last saw him. He has aged considerably.”

Danielle took in a deep breath before she entered the room. Marie was sitting at his bedside with a few nurses spread around the room. On the bed, Danielle saw a lump that she knew must be her father. Her whole body filled with trepidation as she stepped closer to him. Marie had silently got up and taken the nurses with her. In a weak whisper, Danielle said, “Father?”

Francis rolled over to face her. “Danielle you came home.”

Danielle rushed to his bedside. “How could I possibly stay away when my father needed me?” Silently Danielle took in her father in his new state. He had thinned dramatically and looked to be one step away from death. Danielle cried, “This is all my fault. If I had never left the palace, you would have been fine. I shall never forgive myself, and I do not blame you if you hate me.”

In his weak voice, Francis spoke, “Danielle this is not your fault. If it is anyone’s fault, it is my own. I have worried and worked much harder than I should have. It is my short temper that has put me here not you.”

Danielle gave her father a big hug. “No matter who my birth parents are you shall always be my father first and forever.”

“You know, my dear child, I never did right by you. I was always trying to make you do things that you did not want to do, but now I see that in spite of my many mistakes you turned out all right. Far better then I could ever hope.”

Danielle could tell that she was wearing her father out. “Get some sleep. I will not be leaving anytime soon.” She watched until her father had fell asleep; then, she continued to watch him. Eventually the nurses had returned, and she snuck quietly out.

any World Cup nuts?

Just wondering if anyone was following the amazing route the American futbolers were having down in the Pacific. really sad that seemingly so few people are interested in an American team doing things that absolutely no one thought they could do. USA! 😀

To Have and To Hold Chapter 50

Chapter 50

He looked at Colette and waited for a reaction. When he hadn’t gotten one, he continued.

“Nicole and I had always known that we would marry. And so, when the time was right, we did. We rode off to the monastery and were married by Father Thomas. We didn’t want to upset anyone, Colette, especially you.�

“I do love you, Colette, in my own way. I can only believe that you are behaving this way just to get back at me for leaving you and running off with Nicole. I wish you would let me know, Colette. If you don’t want to tell me in front of your friends and relations, then tell me in private.�

“But I am straying from the topic for which I gathered all of you together. And I made a promise to myself to tell Danielle about her mother. And I must keep that promise.�

“Your mother, Danielle, was a wonderful woman. She died very young and she made me promise that I would tell you all about her. This is why she kept this journal, to let you know all about her. She wanted me to give this to you and so I will.“

Auguste handed the book to her and continued his story.

“Nicole was the daughter of the Count and Countess Henri de Lancret. We grew up together and loved each other secretly. We tried to hide from everyone by meeting one another at the ruins of Amboise. It was quiet and secluded and out of the way. We stopped seeing each other for a while. Nicole moved to Paris to study and did not return until she was seventeen years of age.�

“Papa,� Danielle asked, “were you ever betrothed?�

Auguste shook his head. “Yes, Danielle, I was to the Lady Rodmilla le Pieu, cousin to Pierre le Pieu, the royal armorer, but she ran off a Baron Jean de Ghent. They have two daughters now according to the King, Marguerite and Jacqueline. They are about your age, Danielle. Marguerite would be eleven and Jacqueline about nine.

“Anyway, I did tell her about Nicole and I and Rodmilla is a vain and proud woman. It wouldn’t have worked out between us at all.�

Colette entered my life in the middle of all this, when I was sixteen. She was also Lady, but had been living with Nicole’s parents for as long as she could remember. We did start off as friends, and I enjoyed her company quite a lot, but not enough to fall in love.

“She introduced me to her cousin, Nicole, and not realizing until later that we had known each other as children. I fell under her spell and now, two years later, at age eighteen. She captivated me, I could think of no one else but her. She remembered that we had known each other and I was fascinated that I did not remember and she had. She had changed that much.â€Â?

“We saw each other when we could, meeting secretly down by ruins, for six months before deciding to marry one another. I had to tell Colette, but on a return trip from the ruins, she was at the stables with another boy, my brother Antoine. I did not say anything, but I concentrated all my time and energy into Nicole.â€Â?

Auguste was looking at Colette, waiting for some kind of rebuttal, but again, all was silent. It was as if it was the calm before the storm.

EA A father’s choice part 21 and 22

I did not get as much time as I thought I would to write on my trip. I was too busy having fun with all of my new friends. I did get a little progress though. I might be a little slow getting back into my story, so bare with me. The previous part is in the Fanfiction section if you need a reminder or two

Enjoy…

Part 22

Henry stared at Auguste a moment. He could not believe his ears. “You mean to tell me that you are Danielle’s father?” Auguste shook his head. “Then why have you not come forward. Danielle would be thrilled that you were her real father. She would probably love to get to know you better.”

“I do not believe that that is how Danielle would act. I think that she would be angry with me for not coming forward sooner. I could have saved her a lot of pain that she has been made to go through. She would hate me.”

Henry shook his head. “I believe that you are wrong. I know Danielle better than anyone and I know that she would be extremely happy to know you are her father. She has always been jealous of Jacqueline for having such a terrific father. Especially compared to what she has. Could you imagine her excitement over know that Jacqueline was her stepsister? I could just see them squealing with delight.”

“Henry it is much more complicated than that. I would have to explain to the world why I left her, and I do not know if she could bear to be thrown in the spotlight again. I do not want to disturb her new life. I am sure that she would respect that. I want her to live the life that she has always wanted to live; not for her to have to change her life once again just because I decided to confess the truth to the world.”

Henry was starting to get irritated. His voice showed it as he said, “Think about it Auguste. Wouldn’t you love to hear her call you papa?”

“I know that this must be hard for you to believe, but I can live watching her from afar. I have done it for the last ten years I can carry on like this. If Danielle ever asks me if I am her father, I will not lie to her; it is not in my nature. You better not tell her anything about this though. I do not want you to even hint at it. Understood?”

Henry threw his arms up, “Fine, but I think that you are making a huge mistake.”

The two men stared at each other for awhile. Neither of them knew quiet what to say and both of them were extremely irritated with the other. Finally, Auguste made an excuse that he had some business to take care of, which both men knew was not true.

After Auguste was gone, Henry went to his room to contemplate a few things. A lot had happened to him today, and he was not exactly sure what to do about everything. However, he did know the solution to his problem with Charles. He was not going to do anything differently. All he really could do was hope that some girl would come a long and sweep him off of his feet.

The problem with Auguste was more difficult to solve. He knew he had promised Auguste that he would not say anything, but that was a promise that if need be he would break. Now all that was left for him to do was to decided whether he was right or if Auguste was.

*********************************

Danielle had grown a little depressed lately. She had been gone from home for nine months, and she had not heard from anyone at home for about a month. She was sure that they had not forgotten about her, but sometimes her mind tried to convince her that they had. More than anything she wanted to return home. Maybe not forever, but at least pay them a little visit. It seemed like a lifetime since she had seen them.

Antoine came in while she was in contemplation, “I can see that you are getting so much work done. Considering how many pressing deadlines you have to meet.”

Danielle’s eyes fell on the dress that was lying on the floor. “I have been a little distracted lately. I have not heard from home in awhile, and I am beginning to think that something is wrong.”

Antoine put his hand on her shoulders. “If something was wrong, they would have notified you. I think that since they have not notified you should be a sign that everything is fine on the home front.”

Danielle said doubtingly, “I guess you are right.”

“Of course I am right.” He paused for a moment. “I never understood why you still keep in contact with them. They do not seem to care enough to actually come and visit you. I do not see why you should care enough to keep on writing them.”

Danielle’s eyes fell to the ground. “They could not visit me if they wanted to. Only Jacqueline knows where I am. She is the one that sends and receives all of my letters.”

Antoine could tell by the tone in her voice that a change in conversation was in order for. “I never understood why you never hired an assistant. You would be able to get so much more work done, and maybe save your hands from all of this hard labor.” Antoine picked up her hand and started to trace the lines on her hand.

“I guess I just can not trust anyone else to do it right. I have started this business on my own, and I plan to run in on my own.”

“Danielle don’t you think you have proved that you can make it on your own by now. I mean, I hate to see someone with so many different talents spend all her time sewing. There is so much more you could be doing.”

Danielle’s voice got a little irritated as she spoke, “What you want me to do is sit around and do nothing all day. If you knew me, you would know that I can not do nothing. I have to have a purpose. I am not going to sit back and watch the world speed by me.”

Antoine was a little insulted, and he dropped her hand. “You do not give me enough credit. I know you a lot better than you will admit. I know that you could not sit around and do nothing, but there are so many more things that you could be doing. Do you ever think about the future? Do you ever think about getting married, and having children?”

“Of course, I think about it, but I am not going to get married just to fill my duty as a woman. I believe that marriage is something that should not be taken lightly. I need to be in love with the man and he needs to be in love with me.”

“I thought you loved me.”

“It is not that I do not love you Antoine, it is just that we could never marry. You are to one day be a count, and I have no idea who I truly am. Besides, my ‘brother’s’ family could not get me to get married what makes you think that you will have better luck?”

“I shall never understand you. You say that you love me, but you refuse to marry me. Can’t you see that we would be perfect together? I could fill your need for knowledge, and you could teach me to improve my swordsmen ship. We would be perfect together! I would even give up that silly title for you.”

“Antoine do not make things harder then they are. You deserve so much better than me. You deserve someone who is more like you. What I suggest to you is that you get over me. Go find another girl and live happily ever after. I have chosen this path, so let me walk it.”

“But Danielle…”

“No buts. Now, I know that this was not the reason you came here today, so do what you came here to do. We shall discuss this more on Sunday.”

“Here is a message from my sister. She said that it did not require a response. So I will stop bothering you. Goodbye.” He kisses her hand and walks out the door before she has a chance to say another word.

Danielle watches him walk out the door, and has to wonder if he shall ever come back. She did care for him, but not on the same level that he cared for her. She knew that he deserved a wife so much better than she was. Perhaps that is why she allowed him to walk out the door.

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