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"Alright, Mademoiselle," Mae breathed.

Ariella grimaced, wincing in pain as the last set of ribbons on her corset were pulled into place, "I find this insulting," Ariella cried, "No woman should have to be put through this."

She slouched down into the chair beside her, resting her head in her hands.

Mae glanced down at her mistress, a conflicted expression running across her face. She didn't exactly know how to approach emotions, though in a sisterly way, she did care for Ariella. She crouched down onto her knees and placed a hand on Ariella's back, "Perhaps this isn't about the corset, Mademoiselle?"

Ariella sniffled, lifting up her head from her hands, "I suppose I look like a fool, Mae, forgive me," she grinned slightly, "I find it troubling to be in this situation. Of course Ive had small courtings and proposals, like any debutante. But this seems as though I'm consumed by just.. by just the thought of-"

An abrupt knock echoed into the room, Mae shot Ariella a reassuring glance before tossing her a robe and heading out of the closet to fetch the door.

Ariella closed her eyes for a moment, trying to collect herself, then wiped away her tears like she had down so many times before. She had always been someone who denied her feelings, never giving in to anything she had felt for a man before. She had tried to act strong for Mae, but it was becoming harder and harder for her to deny her feelings for the person who had stolen her heart the moment they met, the person who she knew she was falling in love with, body and soul.

"Forgive me, Mademoiselle!" Exclaimed Mae, bursting through the door of the closet, "He threatened to break the door down if I didn't let him see you!"

Ariella quickly covered herself with the robe Mae had tossed her, leaning back in her chair so she could face the two people standing in the doorway, "And what could be this urgent Cal, there is no need to frighten my Maid. Can't you see that I am getting dressed, this couldn't wait just a few moments? I was about to be on my way to luncheon, you couldn't tell me this there-"

Cal stopped her mid-sentence, pressing his lips against hers and throwing his hands into her long black hair.

Mae let out a small squeak, covering her mouth and running out of the room.

Ariella felt herself melt into him, pulling him closer to her as she clawed against his suit jacket, "Is that all I had to do to get you alone? If I had known that, I would have been doing this ages ago."

Ariella giggled, tears forming in her eyes. Cal leaned in to kiss her once more, but stopped himself as he realized that she was crying, "Dear lord, I didn't know I was so terrible at this."

She sniffled, "Its not you," she smiled, "Well I guess it is you," he raised an eyebrow, "but in a good way. I have difficulties with getting to know people, although I'm finding myself to be rather enamored by you, my Prince. Have you put me under some sort of love spell?"

He chuckled, wiping away her tears, "I'm afraid it's just my good looks and charm."

"Bullocks," she muttered, smiling, and leaned in to press her lips against his once more.

Cal lifted Ariella up to her feet, their lips never parting. He wrapped his arms around her, leaving no space between their bodies. Ariella lifted her hand to his neck and pulled him closer to her, bringing her lips down to his ear, "Im falling in love-"

A loud creak startled them, Mae stood in the doorway with a frantic look in her eyes, "Dear lord," she muttered.

"Mae, this is nothing inappropriate," Ariella said calmly, stepping out from behind Cal.

"This is entirely inappropriate!" She squeaked, then quickly covered her mouth, "Please forgive me, Mademoiselle."

Ariella shot Cal a nervous look, then stepped a few paces back from him, "Now, Your Highness, what was it that you needed from me?"

Cal cleared his throat and straightened out his waistcoat, "I came to inform you that I will not be attending the luncheon this afternoon due to business," he said politely, "But I do beg you to find me afterwards, for I fear we have some unfinished business to attend to."

Mae inhaled sharply, stepping back to hold open the door.

"I think you're frightening my maid, Your Highness," Ariella smirked, turning him around so that he was facing the door, "You'd better leave now, for I believe she intends to throw you out."

Cal gave her a nervous look across his shoulder, then quickly exited the closet. Mae made sure to escort him to the main door, seeing for herself that he was safely out of the room.

"He means no harm, Mae, you act as if he intends to kidnap me," Ariella said from the closet.

"I don't trust any of them," the girl answered, pushing through the door and snatching the royal blue gown that was laid across the fainting couch.

"And why is that?"

"My father was a drunk, never had a penny in his life. Every man I have ever met had ill intentions, you can't trust them," she mumbled, lifting Ariella up from her seat and helping her into the gown.

"Not every man is like that, Mae. Not every man is like your father. You have to give people time," said Ariella softly, already beginning to pick at her intricate hairstyle.

Mae sighed, leading Ariella to the front door, "I find it hard, that's all."

Ariella gave her a reassuring look, "And that's reasonable, everyone needs time to heal. You'll see, Mae. You'll find someone who will be good for you, all it takes is time."

Mae nodded softly, even if she was still unconvinced, and opened the door for Ariella.

The luncheon was a short lived party, seeing as most of the guests retired early due to the day of traveling.

Ariella sat in the corner with her head in a book of poetry. She wasn't necessarily partial to poetry, though she found herself trying many a new thing now that she let go of her previous reserved nature.

"-I just don't believe it," muttered a soft voice from behind her.

Ariella peaked around the corner to find three of the debutantes gathered around a game of cards.

"They're probably up there right now, we haven't even seen her all night. It's no wonder they had such a relationship before, she's already lost her maidenhood."

"Indeed Charlotte, in his bed," spat another debutante, "We all know the story."

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