"D'Artagnan? D'Artagnan, where are you?"

D'Artagnan, captain of the King's musketeers, looked up. He stood. "In here, Celeste," he called.

A young woman appeared in the doorway. She smiled brightly at him. "You sent for me?"

D'Artagnan smiled and held out his hand. "I did."

She swept into the room with all the grace of a queen and took his hand and sat down.

D'Artagnan perched on the edge of his desk, still holding her small hand. He was a handsome man, with long brown hair and brown eyes. He studied her hand for a moment and then looked at her. "Louis spoke to me."

Celeste's face didn't change and she tugged her hand from his quickly. "Yes, I can imagine he did." She rose to her feet. "But since he has nothing I wish to hear, I must…"



"Celeste, sit."

Celeste glared at him. "What do I have to say to him for him to understand!"

D'Artagnan sighed and looked toward his window. "Celeste…"

"He only wants to get me in his bed. And you know it!" Celeste was a beautiful young woman of twenty-one. She had black hair and blue eyes. "I love one man." Her eyes filled with a strange sadness. It was a resigned sadness. "And he can never love me," she said softly.

"Damn it!" exclaimed D'Artagnan. He let go of her hand and stood and strode angrily over to the window.

Celeste looked at her hands. "I serve the King, D'Artagnan. Is that not enough for you? I am probably the only female musketeer in the histry of the musketeers!"

"He's mad for you, Celeste," said D'Artagnan.

"For my body. Which I do not give to him. I give him nothing, as a matter a fact," said Celeste.

"Can you not at least give him a chance?"

"No. Not even that."

D'Artagnan turned from the window. "You are making this very hard for me!"

"It is not my job to make things easy for you, D'Artagnan!" snapped Celeste.

"Why do you have to be so stubborn?"

Celeste smiled winningly and came over to him. "Because I love you, D'Artagnan."

D'Artagnan sighed. "And I love you, Celeste and you know it. But Louis…"

"Is almost as lustful as Porthos," said Celeste lightly. "But even Porthos knows better to try for me. But come, let us speak of better things." She reached into her sleeve and pulled out a folded note and held it up.

D'Artagnan looked at it. "What's that?"

"From Anne."

At those two words, D'Artagnan snatched the note and went to his desk and sat down.

Celeste took his place at the window and looked out. She looked at the Paris sky. It was a beautiful blue. The same color as Aramis's eyes. Celeste sighed and turned away.

D'Artagnan had already read the letter. He reread it and then sat quiet for a moment. Then he put the note in his pocket and reached for his pen. For the next few moments all that could be heard was his pen scribbling on a piece of paper. He finished and blew on it to dry it. He stood as he folded it and then held it out to Celeste.

Celeste took it and stuck it up her long sleeve of her light yellow dress. "I'll take this to her. Then I am going into the city."

"It's dangerous," said D'Artagnan instantly.

"Only because your King does not feed the people."


Celeste raised her eyebrows. "You can only ignore the facts for so long, D'Artagnan. Someone could get hurt. Someone you love."

"Louis wants to know if you're going to come to his garden party."

"I will come. With Aramis."


Celeste nodded. "Yes. He has agreed to bring me."

"You should tell him you love him, Celeste."

"I cannot," said Celeste instantly. "He has given his life to God."

"He has given his life to God many times and always ends up back in his uniform," said D'Artagnan. "Perhapes if you where to tell him, it would not be his country that drew him from the preisthood this time."

"I cannot tell him, D'Artagnan," said Celeste. "Perhaps…Perhaps one day I will. But today is not that day." She smiled at him. She stood on tip toe and kissed his cheek. "I'll see you later."

D'Artagnan watched as she went quickly down the hall and disappeared around the corner. Slowly he went back to his seat and sat down. Celeste was the only child of his sister, who had died giving birth to Celeste. D'Artagnan had taken Celeste and raised her in the palace, where he was a rising musketeer. By the time she was ten, he was the Captain of the musketeers and Celeste was almost always in the courtyard, sword fighting with various musketeers. At fifteen, Porthos, Athos and Aramis where her constant companions. But it was when she was nineteen that Louis began seriously pursuing her. She had grown up with him as one of her playmates but had never found him appealing. One year later, she had fallen madly in love with Aramis, who was twenty years older than her.

D'Artagnan sighed. It was a rare thing for love to be easy. And both he and Celeste knew it.