Ever After is one of the best movies ever made. I've seen this story posted at least twice before, but I feel like I've added something more to the story. New things happen to the characters. Tell me what you think, please!
Disclaimer: I don't own any of the characters or the general plot.
Chapter One: hic manebimus optime
Daniel De Barbarac was eleven years old when his father remarried. The news had traveled fast. Baron Auguste De Barbarac was going to marry Rodmilla de Ghent. She was a widow, previously married to a merchant, and mother of two children. Marc was Daniel's age with blonde hair and blue eyes. Jacqueline was tranquil, younger than the boys, and possessed black hair and blue eyes. The news had traveled fast. Daniel just wished that he had heard it from his father instead of the servants.
The Baron was expected back in two days. Daniel waited in anticipation. He did not know what having a mother was like. He had never known his birth mother. She had died while bringing Daniel into the world. However, Daniel's life was not full of remorse. His father wanted him to be the best. He made sure his son was skilled at everything. Fencing, horseback riding, falconry, Spanish and Latin tutoring, nothing was too extravagant for Auguste's only son.
Although Daniel was a precocious young man, he never enjoyed studying. Daniel's true passion was for nature. The Baron's grounds covered 60 acres. Apple trees, lakes, rock faces, Daniel loved exploring the estate. He knew that one day, it would all be his, and he intended to take care of it. His father was a good man, but he knew nothing about his own land. When he was Baron, Daniel intended to use the land to create a profit. There was no harm in having more money.
The night before his father arrived, Daniel couldn't sleep. Sudden doubts clogged his mind. His heart was palpitating wildly, and he could feel sweat caking his brow. What if his new step-brother did not like him? What if his new step-mother was mean? What if she took advantage of his father? Although Daniel was only eleven, he knew the efficacy of a woman's curves. And his father, who was often perceived as generous and kind, was really pusillanimous. If Rhodmilla desired something, Daniel was sure Auguste would give it to her. His father was too benevolent to say no.
Daniel fell into a fitful sleep, dreaming of carriages arriving and unwelcomed guests.
"Paulette, isn't it wonderful? I get a mother, a brother, and a sister all in one day!"
Paulette, Daniel's primary servant, was trying to dress the young master in something presentable to introduce himself in. The maid was sure that Rhodmilla De Ghent was not interested in second chances.
"Yes. It's going to be very exciting here now that the master has taken a wife." Quietly, Paulette remarked to Daniel's other servant, Louise. "The master deserves some happiness after all this time, bringing up a child on his own."
Louise agreed. "She must be lovely."
Daniel joined the conversation. "I hope they like me."
Louis kneeled down to Daniel's height. "I am sure they will love you."
Daniel heard a quick tap on the glass of the window. He rushed to push the window open, exposing a little girl about nine-years-old.
"But sir, your father arrives any moment!"
Daniel could not be stopped. Genevieve, Daniel's best friend, was waiting for him outside.
"Genevieve, I told you. I can't today. My father is returning."
Genevieve blushed, entwining her fingers and curling her whole body in. "You look very handsome today Daniel."
He smiled at the compliment, trying to hide his embarrassment. Daniel liked Genevieve –she was his friend-, but he did not like the obvious comments she made about her attraction to him. They made him uncomfortable.
"I can't play today. I have to be presentable. I'm meeting my new family today!"
Genevieve bowed her head, disappointed. Turning away from the window, she mumbled her response.
"Alright, some other time."
"Of course!" Daniel yelled after his oldest friend. There was no reason for her to be discouraged. No matter what happened today, Daniel would always make time for Genevieve in his life. She was his oldest confidant, and nothing could change that. Out of the window, Daniel could see his father's carriage approaching. He jumped over the bed and rushed down the stairs, calling after to his maids.
"Paulette, Louise, he is here!" Daniel ran down the stairs, and slid through the doorway. His father's carriage was coming to a stop in the courtyard. All of the servants had been lined up to greet the master. Waiting patiently, they all stood and waited for him to present the new members of the house.
Auguste was riding a horse beside the carriage, and Daniel ran up to greet his father.
"Papa!" Auguste bent down to pick up the eleven-year-old jumping into his arms. Auguste exclaimed with the sudden addition of weight. He spun his son around in a circle, enveloping the young man into a hug.
"Are you ready to meet your new mother Daniel?" Daniel nodded enthusiastically. "Then may I present the baroness Rhodmilla De Ghent, and her son Marc along with her daughter Jacqueline."
With his breath stationary in his lungs, Daniel turned toward the carriage door, waiting anxiously for the first glance of his new mother and siblings. A foot adorned in a jeweled slipper exited the carriage first. Then a hand, graced by a giant ring, extended out to grasp onto the footman's offered help. Daniel straightened his shoulders. Rhodmilla stepped out of the carriage and down onto the ground. She had black hair, and a round face. Daniel could not see anything special about her, but she wasn't a troll. Already she was dressed in the finest garment. She had become used to his life of luxury.
"Oh, Auguste, it is absolutely charming." The entire staff bowed at her statement. She looked around, puzzled. Her eyes landing on Daniel, she stepped forward. "You must be Daniel."
"Yes my lady." Daniel took her hand, and placed a kiss on it.
"Auguste has told me stories. You are his most prized possession."
Auguste stepped forward to engulf Daniel in his arms again. Laughing, he said. "Yes. Daniel is my pride and joy. There isn't anything I wouldn't give to him."
"Of course." Rhodmilla looked as if she had just smelt a rotten egg.
"But where are the children?" Auguste asked. "They cannot be shy after traveling all this way. I'm sure Daniel is anxious to meet them." Rhodmilla smiled.
"Marc! Come along."
Marc was Daniel's age. There weren't any boys Daniel's age that lived close by. He couldn't wait to play ball, or race, or build a fort. However, Marc was not an outdoor child, and Daniel could see that from the moment he stepped out of the carriage. His skin was pale, and soft as the day he was born. Daniel doubted if the boy had even seen a squirrel. It even seemed that Marc was frightened when his shoe met the dirt from the courtyard.
"Daniel de Barbarac, may I present my son, Marc de Ghent. You two should have no trouble finding something in common."
Daniel extended his hand. "Hello."
Marc looked at Daniel's calloused, tanned hand. He took it, begrudgingly. "Hello." He stepped towards his mother, and opened up a space for his sister to exit the carriage.
Daniel did not see her face. Her head was looking at the ground, and Daniel wasn't sure whether that was because she was afraid of skipping a step and falling or because she was afraid of meeting him. She was young. He had no idea how she was feeling.
Rhodmilla spoke up again. "And Jacqueline." Daniel reached for Jacqueline's hand, and kissed it.
"Welcome." Jacqueline didn't vocally respond. She simply bent her knees, and curtseyed for him.
Auguste smiled and took control of the situation again. Clapping his hands together, and turning towards his estate Auguste said "This is the place! Your new home. What do you think of it? Rhodmilla? Children?"
The children responded politely. "It is lovely."
"Shall we have dinner?" Auguste gestured to the new family, and stepped inside.
Rhodmilla followed Auguste, and Marc followed his mother. Daniel and Jacqueline paused outside. Jacqueline glanced at Daniel, so quickly he wasn't sure it happened. He smiled back at her, and slowly she raised her head and smiled back at him.
Yes. I changed their names. Daniel De Barbarac just sounded better than Henry De Barbarac. I don't like the name Henrietta, so I looked up the REAL prince Henry, and named Danielle after his wife, Catherine. Marc is a French name which means warlike and Genevieve was the first thing that came to mind.
Please review! Tell me what you thought of it! I wanted to keep it as close to the movie as possible, but I also wanted to add some different aspects.