Chapter Thirty-one

The residence at Fontainebleau came into view when we were still a good distance away. It was a magnificent splendor. I sat up and strained to see more of the beautiful palace. Luscious green grass, tall trees, and the most amazing flowers surrounded the front entrance.

"Wow. I can see why this if Francis favorite home," I gushed.

"Yes, it is impressive," Aldrich said, sitting back in his seat.

As we got closer a rush of people seemed to appear from nowhere. Butlers, guards, and maids lied the drive in front of the king's home.

"Welcome, King Aldrich. It is our pleasure to have you with us." A tall, handsome man bowed low after opening the door for us. "Ah, Lady Kathryn, the country seems a bit happier and the sun shines brighter now that you're back."

I hugged the man and smiled broadly. "It is good to be back, Richard. Is the queen here as well?"

"Oui. She awaits all of you in the great hall with the king."

He stood and motioned for us to follow. The hall leading to where the king and queen received visitors was lined with shining armor, large paintings of French kings and queens of the past, and beautiful tapestries.

"Your majesties, I present to you King Aldrich of England."

Aldrich breezed through the door in magnificent grandeur. The feather in his gold cap bounced with each step he took. Francis stood and extended his arms to Aldrich. Embracing each other, the kissed lightly on each cheek.

"Welcome, mon frère!"

"Thank you for the kind welcome and use of your beautiful carriage."

"I trust you had no problems on your travels?"

"A slight bump in the road but nothing we could not manage."

"Presenting the Ladies Kathryn and Angeline!" the herald announced thumping his great staff on the ground.

Queen Marie stood and strode toward me. Completely out of the ordinary for royalty to do, she embraced me with warmth and love. I closed my eyes and breathed heavily. Tears welled in my eyes and threatened to spill over. I didn't think I would miss them as much as I did.

"I have missed you, dear girl."

"I have missed you as well, your majesty."

She held me out at arm's length and looked me up and down. "The English countryside hasn't done you terrible."

"It's nice being back, but it's not home. This will forever be home," I said, hugging her once again.

Whispers erupted from those around us. The queen was not known as an overly affectionate woman with other. She was kind and just but still a queen.

"And we will forever welcome you with open arms. This will always be your home should you choose it."

"Thank you."

"Lady Kathryn! Welcome back," Francis bellowed, a grin on his face.

I dipped into a low curtsy and smiled back. "Thank you so much, your majesty. I appreciate the warm welcome."

"There is someone here you may want to see," the queen whispered in my ear.

"Oh? Who?"

She motioned behind me. I turned to see Jonathan walk through the doorway. His stone face staring straight ahead, not even paying me much attention. My mouth hung open as I admired his beautiful face. It had been so long since I'd seen him. His hair was much shorter, his waist even smaller while his chest seemed to be larger.

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