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Ariella awoke the next morning wrapped in Callan's arms, the bright midday sun blaring noisily through the wall length windows of their little bedroom in the lodge.

She opened her eyes hesitantly, not wanting to break their peaceful slumber, or rather, not wanting to interrupt that blissful moment. She breathed in slowly, taking in the soft scent of his skin. Pine, sandalwood, juniper berries. She couldn't quite put her finger on it, but it was what she imagined heaven to smell like, if heaven did have a smell.

Her lips curved into a small smile as she traced her fingertips over his bare chest, watching it rise and fall. She nestled closer to him, not wanting the moment to ever end. She decided that she could quite contently stay in that exact position for the rest of her life.

It was then that Cal awoke, finding himself entangled with Ariella. He yawned quietly, making sure not to wake her up before looking to his side, where he met her lovely green eyes staring back up at him.

"Good morning," she said softly, placing her arm over his chest.

"You're looking lovely as ever," he smiled, turning onto his side to place a kiss on the tip of her nose.

Her cheeks flushed slightly as she smiled and tucked a strand of his golden hair behind his ear, "Do you think they'll leave us be for the day?"

He shrugged, "As much as I am inclined to do so, we do happen to be the reigning monarchs of the Kingdom."

"And when did you become such a bore?" She giggled.

"I suppose when you became so gullible," He said, securing her around the waist and lifting her onto his lap, "I've requested the day away from our duties to settle in."

She smirked, "And by settle in, do you mean this?" She smiled as she leaned down to kiss him, her long hair cascading down around them.

A stern knock at the wooden door of their bedroom caught their attention, Ariella quickly falling off of Callan and laying on the bed beside him, the blanket up to her neck.

Cal cleared his throat, "You may enter."

A butler opened the door with a creak, "Good morning--"

"I believe I have requested the day away from courtly duties, Sir Fowles," Cal interrupted, his voice annoyed.

"Forgive me, Majesty, the council has called an urgent meeting and your presence is required immediately."

Cal sighed audibly, "Send in my chancellor, Fowles, inform the council that I have other duties to attend to," he chuckled, reaching over to tickle Ariella's sides.

"Callan!" She screeched, giggling as she pulled away from him.

The butler bowed awkwardly and left them in peace, closing the door softly behind him.

"Now," Callan sighed, "Where were we?"

Ariella placed her hand against his lips, stopping his kiss as he leaned towards her, "Perhaps you should attend this meeting Callan, I don't want you falling behind on your duties because of me."

He chuckled darkly, "You're too good for me, my darling. You always make sure I have my wits about me."

She pecked his stubbly cheek, "Go on now, get dressed before I throw you out of this bed."

"Alright, alright," he laughed, dramatically rolling off of the bed and sighing heavily as his bare feet touched the cold floor.

She admired his muscular shoulders and back as he walked around the room, absentmindedly looking for his clothes. Her eyes trailed down to his bare bum.

"What a lovely arse you have, Sir," she commented from the bed, smirking.

He glared to her, "Stop making love to me with your eyes, darling, there's plenty of this to go around."

She giggled, turning onto her back. She studied the sheer canopy above her, "Then get dressed so I can gaze upon you without wanting to pull you back and keep you in my bed forever."

"I suppose I wouldn't mind that," he smirked, pulling on his pantaloons from the night before.

She shot him a jokingly questionable look, "Strolling into a Royal Council meeting in yesterday's attire, are we?"

"I'll wear my chemise and have my valet bring a coat on my way to the council," he said, calculatingly, "Though I would love to see Du Bois' face if I entered in my coronation ensemble."

Ariella smiled knowingly, and let out a yawn before throwing off the blankets and hopping out of the bed.

She looked quizzically around the room, to her wedding gown back to the bed and so forth, before pulling the blankets off of the bed and wrapping them around her shoulders, "This will suffice."

"Where do you think you're going?" Cal asked before lifting her off of the ground and placing her back on the bed, "I want you right here when I return."

"No," she said steadily, "I will meet you in your chambers, we have business to discuss."

He pondered this for a moment before clearing his throat, "Very well," he took her hand and pulled her from the bed, "I hope I've not found myself in any sort of trouble."

"Quite the opposite," she smiled, opening the door to their bedroom.

A short horse ride back to the Palais followed, where after, they separated. Ariella was then ushered into the warmth of the grand hall by a bustling group of frantic maids, while Callan hurried up the grand staircase to the throne room.

Back in her quarters, Ariella walked slowly to the armchair in the corner of the living chamber and let her body fall exhaustedly into its cushions.

She sighed contently, pulling her blankets closely around her naked body.

Mae walked in just then, nearly dropping the platter of luncheon she held. "My Lady, Dear Lord," she gasped, "You wear nothing but a blanket!"

Ariella rolled her eyes, "I am a married woman now, Mae, you must get used to seeing me in this nature."

Mae looked away shyly, "Forgive me, Mademoiselle—" she paused, a small smile forming on her girlish lips, "Or shall I say, Madame."

Ariella rolled her eyes once more, even though she was as happy to hear the word as Mae, "You might as well call on me as Ariella, for I believe we've come to be the best of friends—" her eyes lit up, "Speaking of which, I have something I'd like to gift you."

Mae's cheeks flushed, "Oh Madame, I could never."

Ariella giggled at her humbleness, "Come along now, follow me," she took the maid's hand and led her into her dressing chamber.

Ariella dropped Mae's hand to pluck two gowns from a rack against the wall, then she turned back to face the maid, "For you," she said happily, placing the exquisite gowns in Mae's arms, "They were a bit too small for me, and I've had them altered to the fittings of your uniform."

"Oh—" the maid stared at the gowns in disbelief, "I—"

Ariella walked over and wrapped her arms around Mae's small shoulders, "I wanted to thank you for aiding me along my journey. And because I've enjoyed you so, I've also requested that you become my head ladies maid."

Tears began to fall from the girl's eyes, "This is a blessing, Madame, this will bring my father out of debt."

Ariella hugged her tightly, "You deserve the most in life, sweet Mae, you've become one of my only friends at court and I wish to treat you so."

The maid giggled through her tears, "I think I'll be the best dressed maid in the Palais."

"As I intended," Ariella smiled, "But enough of this," she said, wiping the tears from Mae's cheeks, "I have business to attend to."

Mae sniffled happily, "Right away, Madame."

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