“Papa called me in, mud and all, to meet my new aunt. I don’t know, Henry, there is something that frightens me about her. I don’t understand why your parents want to meet her?”
Henry looked at her. “I suppose we will find out tomorrow.”
He changed the subject. “What happened after that?”
“Well, he dismissed me and told me not to come back until I cleaned up everything. I had to wash my new dress myself as punishment. It didn’t take long to do, I just wasn’t used to doing it. I changed my dress and I was going to return to the study when my curiosity got the better of me. Paulette helped me; she made up some excuse of why I couldn’t visit with my aunt and uncle. So I ran out of the manor to meet you. This time I really took a risk.”
Henry looked at her. “I’ll come in with you, Danielle. We’ll just tell the truth that’s all.”
Danielle looked at him. “No, Henry, not just yet. We will have to tell him sometime, but not now. Not while my aunt and uncle are here. They should be gone within one weeks time, hopefully.”
Henry couldn’t believe it. “Do you realize what you are saying, Danielle? That house won’t be finished for another two years at least. And no one has started to build anything, not even a foundation.” He narrowed his eyes and frowned.
“Are you sure that’s where their manor will be built? And why is your mother’s journal buried in that mud hole on their property?”
Danielle looked at him and shook her head. “Don’t know, Henry, never thought about it.”
She hadn’t realized that they were in front of manor already, she was home. She didn’t want to go in, though. For the first time, she was frightened.
“Go,” Henry said, “before you get caught.” He kissed her cheek this time. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”
Henry was able to sneak back in, his parents were busy elsewhere. He climbed up the stairs to his chamber and sat down on the edge of the bed. He should have joined his parents in the audience chamber, but he just didn’t want to, simple as that.
He still had the journal tucked neatly under his arm. He pulled it out, put it on his lap and turned to the page that they had last read. He was determined to finish this even if it took the rest of the night.
“Danielle, come in here if you don’t mind. I’d like to have a word with you.”
Uh oh, Danielle thought as she turned toward the voice. Her father was still in the study, but Aunt Colette and Uncle Antoine had disappeared.
“Papa, I should explain to you. You see,”
Auguste held up both hands and shook his head.
“No need, Princess,” he said, using the nickname he made up for her years before. “Paulette told me you were having trouble washing your new dress. Have you finished it? I didn’t realize that it could have taken this long. This isn’t your first time washing clothes.”
Danielle looked at him and suddenly felt very guilty. Her mouth became dry and she suddenly felt a little sick.
“Yes,” she managed to say, “I’ve finished.” She couldn’t understand how Henry managed to sneak out every night. “Excuse me, Papa, I really don’t feel very well.”
She ran upstairs to her room and closed the door.
A few minutes later, she heard a knock.
“Danielle, may I come in?”
“Yes, Papa, you may.”
“What is troubling you, child?” Auguste said, opening the door and walking in. He closed it behind him.
“Nothing, Papa, I am fine now.”
Auguste nodded. “I just get a little worried about you every now and again, but I see I don’t have to.” He smiled. “Henry takes good care of you, I see.”
Danielle’s eyes went wide. “You do know, don’t you?”
“That you see him all the time? Yes, I do. I don’t mind, it’s good you get to know each other.”
He walked closer. “I am sorry you didn’t see him tonight, though you will be seeing him tomorrow.” He touched her cheek. “I do not like the thought of the two being out so late all the time and you shouldn’t have to sneak around to see each other. So from now on, I will give the two of you some time to do just that. No more sneaking around.” Auguste smiled. “How does that sound?”
Danielle looked at him. She didn’t know what to say. “Thank you, Papa,” was all she could manage. She ran over to hug him.