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Ariella sat, once again, staring dully into her own green eyes before a mirror as Mae stood behind her, readjusting her disheveled mess of dark hair. Mae complained as usual.

"I know what you've been up too," she muttered, her small lips pursed as she combed through Ariella's hair, "And since you are a married woman, I will say nothing of it other than I wish you the best of luck whilst you try to produce an heir."

Ariella smirked, beginning to amusedly shake her head. Mae steadied her immediately. "Thank you, dearest Mae. Your prayers will surely prove useful in the process." Said Ariella, a smirk still lifting the corners of her lips.

Mae nodded firmly in answer, then turned to scavenge the closet for Ariella's gown.


The ballroom that evening was most definitely not a sight for sore eyes. In fact, the golden atmosphere was beginning to give Callan a headache. He squinted tryingly, becoming bored as he waited for Ariella's entrance.

A light click of a woman's heels eventually woke him from his daze and he nearly jumped from his seat to greet his wife as she entered, only, it wasn't his wife who entered, but rather Mademoiselle Clarice du bois.

Cal scoffed and turned back towards the ballroom, "Mademoiselle, who has pardoned you entrance to the royal balcony."

"Cal--Your Majesty," she stopped, correcting her error before continuing, "I merely came to demand one question, I believe you owe me as much."

"You demand ." He restated, his focus unwavering from the dancers below him.

She stepped forward as if to place a hand on his shoulder but immediately stopped herself, "Callan, my heart urges towards you--"

"Urged." He interrupted, "And it urged for my title, not myself."

"If you would please just listen to me." She took a breath, "That night, you said something that I will never forget. You said that you and I were made to be as one. At the time I may not have noticed my true feelings for you, but now I've realized that they are all too clear."

Cal tapped his index finger anxiously against the wooden armrest of his chair. He swallowed. "Whatever emotions I might have once had for you are now hidden in the deepest part of my being, Clarie. We were merely children."

"We weren't children that last time, my Lord. You know this as well as I." She said in a hushed tone, "You know that I was with you merely minutes before that dark headed--"

"Oh, how lovely to see you again, Mademoiselle Clarice," said Ariella, walking swiftly past the woman to sit beside Callan.

Clarice quickly walked away in a huff before Ariella could say another word.

"She seemed upset." Commented Ariella, seemingly unaware of the conversation Cal had just previously endured.

"You look marvelous this evening," Cal responded, attempting to change the subject.

Ariella turned away from him suspiciously, he definitely was keeping something from her and she recognized it almost instantaneously.

Cal looked away from her so that his face was hidden and muttered a curse under his breath.

Ariella clasped her hands within her lap and began to twiddle her thumbs. "What aren't you telling me, Callan?"

"Nothing at all, do not fret."

She sighed, disappointed. "I will find out eventually--but I'd rather not spend our night arguing. Shall we dance?"

"It would be an honor."

They rose from their thrones, and the attendants at the staircase announced their entrance. An array of curtsies and bows fell upon the crowd almost like a wave. The crowds parted for the monarch's entrance as the couple walked, arms linked, to the dancing area.

The music to a Spanish waltz began as Callan and Ariella reached their spot, and a few other couples joined the dance floor to accompany them. Soon enough, the chattering and movement began to resurface and the lively atmosphere had returned.

Ariella laughed under her breath, "It's almost as if we were just in a funeral march."

"I'm sure they were all just nervous to see you, as lovely as you are." Said Callan, squeezing her waist lightly as they waltzed.

"More hungry than lovely, I assure you," she said with a giggle just as her stomach growled.

Callan chuckled and quickly reached over to kiss her cheek.

They moved around the area to the beat of the face paced Spanish waltz, spinning and turning along with the other couples as the golden light from the chandeliers cast shadows among them.

As the song came to a close, Ariella curtsied lightly to Callan as he bowed to her and kissed her hand.

Eventually, the nobles began to leave the ballroom to gather in the dining hall for the royal dinner. The dining room was again elaborately decorated with gold pieces and rose bouquets. Ariella and Callan walked to the head of the long dining table and took their seats, followed by the nobles. Dinner was served just moments after they were seated.

After conversation had risen among the guests, Jacques leaned over to Callan.

He smirked, glancing over to Clarice du Bois, "She's been eyeing you all night. A mistress already?"

Callan have him a dark look, "You must quiet yourself, Your Grace. My wife sits just next to me."

"She doesn't know then?" Jacques smirked, "I see you've found yourself in a tough situation, my friend."

The conversation was silenced by the beginning of an opera piece, sung by a noblewoman accompanied by a pianoforte. Callan turned to find Ariella chatting happily to the Duchess de Bourge and sighed with relief.

He looked to the soup that laid in front of him, finding that he had lost his appetite.

Callan abruptly stood up from his seat. The room fell silent, the nobles standing up from their seats to acknowledge his exit as he turned to leave the dining room.

Ariella watched him leave silently, worry furrowing in her brow. The guests looked to her to take her seat so that they could follow. She looked around in surprise, finding herself alone at the head of the table. She hesitantly took her seat and the nobles quickly followed and continued their conversations.

Ariella swallowed worriedly and glanced behind her to look for Callan's return. When she returned her focus to he table, she was met with the eyes of Jacques.

"Nothing to fret about, surely." He said calmly, noticing her worried expression.

She nodded and lifted her spoon to her lips.

Jacques leaned closer to her, "He's just had a few things to think about recently, I've heard an old friend confronted him earlier this evening," he shifted his gaze to Mademoiselle Clarice for a split second before turning back to Ariella.

She gave him a questionable look, "Whatever do you mean?"

He opened his mouth to say something but shut it, "I shouldn't."

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