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"And for you," Cal said sweetly, reaching behind him to retrieve the gift he had set there, "It's nothing grand, but I hope you'll see its beauty." He placed the delicate book in Ariella's hands.

She smiled to him softly before glancing down to untie the ribbon laced around the book. She opened the first page, which held the three words she so loved hearing from him written in his own handwriting. The next page revealed a poem.

My bounty is as boundless as the sea,
My love as deep; the more I give to thee
The more I have, for both are infinite.

To my bounty and my love. I cherish you as you are and will love you till my dying breath. For you, Love, take these poems so when I am not beside you, you will feel my heart upon you. All that I am, cherish this as I cherish you.

Ariella looked to him with glowing eyes, speechless.

He placed his hand on her soft cheek, "I've been reading poetry lately, as you might conclude," he chuckled.

"Its beautiful, thank you," She murmured, her eyes tearing up.

He smiled, dropping his hand to brush her bottom lip with his thumb, "No, thank you."

"For what?"

He shook his head bashfully, "For marrying me tomorrow."

She closed the space between them with an embrace, latching herself onto him with all of her might, "I could not live without you."

"You won't ever have to, sweet Mademoiselle."

Someone cleared their voice behind them.

Ariella and Cal quickly broke apart, glancing to the corridor leading to the parlor. The Princess stood there with her hands on her hips, "Now, perhaps if you two are finished fondling each other, we can begin?"

Ariella glanced to Cal, who shrugged.

"I'll be tutoring you in the fine art of Royal etiquette." Katerina stated firmly, her lips turning to smile, "It's wonderful to see you again, Ariella."

"And you, Princess," said Ariella happily, "Although I should warn you before we begin, there's much work to be done."

Katerina simply smiled and walked towards Ariella, "Then we better start now."

Cal stepped aside to let Katerina pass, still startled by her interruption.

"Mother wishes to speak with you immediately, Callan," Katerina muttered, on her way to the love seat, Ariella in tow.

"Lord have mercy on my soul." He groaned.

"Off you go now, brother," she muttered casually once she and Ariella were seated comfortably.

Cal gave Ariella a sorrowful expression, "Meet me for dinner tonight, Love? My chambers."

"I believe that's for me to decide, Callan. After all, she happens to be my protège," said Katerina.

"Perhaps she is your protège, but she is my fiancée," Cal said irritatedly, puffing his chest as he left the parlor.

Katerina turned to Ariella, "He always has to get the last word. Beware of this in your marriage. I honestly do not understand how any woman could stand to be his wife, but if it means anything at all, I'm very much excited that it's you he's chosen."

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