Chapter 1

"I can't wait to bring you home and show you off to everyone, Danielle. You will never be in need again. I don't think I've ever been so happy before in my entire life. I love you and soon the whole world will know it." Henry gazed at her as he spoke in a way that made Danielle's heart skip a beat. But Danielle grew up a life outside of the castle, and although she too, for the first time in her life was just happy to be in love, she had a much more sensible head on her shoulders.

"Henry, but you have to look at this rationally! I can't just run off and marry you." She said in a stressed tone.

"What do you mean? Do you not want to be married to me?! I thought that's what you wanted." Asked Henry in a state of panic. After all He literally just broke off a whole treaty with Spain for the love of a commoner. Not that he minded that she was a commoner now, but he was still risking so much.

"Of course I want to marry you!" she exclaimed. She had thought he of all people would have understood. "But Henry, I am a servant-girl. And you…. You are the Prince of France!"

"So? Do you still think I care about that?" He asked sort of relieved that this was her only reason for not wanting to be married. But still he wondered how it was still possible for her to think that he did not love her with every fiber of his being. For her to think it mattered at all to him what station she was in. Sure, at first he could not handle this information but he called off his wedding for her!

"It's not that I think you care, my love, but how would your parents take it?" she asked meekly. "It's against the law what I have done. Dressing outside of my station to share evenings with the crown prince of France should be my ticket to the Americas… or worse." Henry grimaced at her tone of voice and the notion of them sending her anywhere outside of his view. "Something tells me that Your Royal Highness will not be too thrilled, especially with all that is happening in the country now, that a peasant girl is the sole reason for the broken treaty with Spain! And now said peasant girl wants to marry his only son! We're talking about in-laws who have full authority to order my head chopped off." Henry practically growled at this statement. Danielle broke out into tiny sobs. Almost by instinct Henry wrapped his arms around her and cradled her the way he wished he'd done a long time ago for all her sorrows. But the impact of her words was still hitting him.

"I don't care what they think! Now that I know about you and have realized how much I truly do love you. I cannot live without you. It is impossible!" He exclaimed his eyes burning into her face. "We'll have to make this work. You, princess, will be my wife. I see your point though maybe this isn't the best time to announce our impending marriage… But we will eventually, I promise you that… I don't think that I can wait very long." He admitted without the least bit of shame in his facial expression. "I guess I can go back to my step-mothers home and continue to sneak out to see you. It will hopefully be easier now that you know who I a-"she started but was cut off abruptly by Henry. "What!? There is no way I am sending you back there! After the way they treated you. There must be another way. I'd sooner just tell my father the truth. Besides I think after the ball they will be keeping a much tighter eye on your and my whereabouts." He scowled at the idea but knew it was true.

"Well Henry I've got to live SOMEWHERE! It's not like I can just move into the castle with you! Wait that's the perfect plan!" She exclaimed suddenly.

"What is?"Henry asked confused at what she was getting.

"I'll move into the castle."

Henry chuckled to himself, partly amused by her with her idealism and partly frustrated by once again being out of a solution.

"Darling, although the castle is very large I do believe SOMEONE would notice if you took residence in one of the bedrooms. Besides, you do need to eat." He explained in a light tone.

"No you don't understand! I would move in as a servant." Danielle explained as if it was one of the most obvious things in the world.

"WHAT?!"

"It's so simple." She continued ignoring his outburst. "This way I can be near you, get to know the castle, and not have to deal with my charming stepmother here and her ploys to have you marry my hag of a sister!" Danielle explained becoming more excited with each syllable.

"That is sick. That is actually sick. I will not have my wife waiting on me and my family. You are supposed to be welcomed into the family not cleaning after it. No. New plan." He said with a look of horror on his face from the mere idea.

"But Henry-" She tried to continue but he would not hear it.

"No! No buts. We will have to find another way."

"Henry," She started a little more frustrated this time. "It's the best way and you know it. This way we can at least be near each other. I don't want to be far from you anymore. If this is the only way to be in the castle then so be it."She stated strongly. Henry looked into her strong face and knew he'd lost. He couldn't live without her either.

"I hate that this is the only way for you to live in your own home. But okay I'm willing to try it but if it doesn't work then we're just going to tell my father or run for the hills. Agreed? I promise you that I will marry you someday but I am willing to wait for now."He stated showing her that if she would agree he'd take her as his wife right now no matter what his father said.

"Okay, agreed." She said. "Now where were we before all this?" She asked with in a mischievous tone.

"Hmmm… I think I might be able to remind you." He reached out for her and kissed her passionately, hungrily, knowing that this might be their last chance to share with each other openly for some time.

Henry and Danielle walked and talked and basked in eachother's company their whole trip through the forest towards the palace.

"I think I see it now. Yes, there it is. The palace."Danielle said, though still hoping she could have walked with her fiancé for a little while longer.

"You know, we don't need to return just yet….." Henry looked at her pleadingly hoping that he would not have to start his new life with Danielle this torturous way just yet.

"Henry, it's late they'll be wondering where you've been. I think that now of all times we should try to draw the least amount of attention possible to ourselves. After all this plan will only work if no one recognizes me from the ball." rationalized Danielle.

"All right, the palace it is."Henry replied.

"Home." Danielle said with a slight smile appearing at her lips.

"Home."Henry repeated with emotion hidden in his eyes.