Happily Ever After

Chateâu d'Hautefort, Summertime

Henry walked into the bedchamber and was immediately enchanted, seeing Danielle standing by the window, holding their son tenderly. He approached quietly, not wanting to disturb the moment.

Danielle was speaking animatedly to the little Prince François, who was listening raptly to his Mama. "Once upon a time," she began, "there was a Charming Prince who lived in a beautiful castle. His father, the King, had decreed that it was time for the Prince to marry. He decided to hold a ball, a masqued ball. He would invite every young lady in the kingdom, so that the Prince could choose his bride."

Henry was as fascinated as his son to hear how this most enchanting fairytale would end. He leaned against the bedpost quietly, listening.

"All of the young ladies of the kingdom were longing to go to the ball. They all dreamed of being chosen as the one to be the Prince's bride." François cooed in response.

"Well, there was one young lady in the kingdom who truly loved the Prince for who he was. She, too, dreamed of going to the ball. She had met the Prince and they had fallen in love, but he didn't know who she really was. They met right down there," she pointed to the courtyard below the window.

"She was born a lady, but her wicked step-mother treated her as a servant and allowed only her two step-sisters to go to balls. She was called 'Cinderella,' because she was often covered in cinders from the fireplace.

"The wicked step-mother locked poor Cinderella in a tower to keep her from going to the ball. You see, she wanted the Prince to choose one of her daughters to marry.

"Now, with the help of a magical fairy Godfather, Cinderella escaped the tower. Dressed in a beautiful gown and glass slippers she, too, went to the ball.

"Prince Charming was so happy to see his Cinderella at the ball, but when he found out she was a servant, he was very cross that Cinderella hadn't told him herself." Henry smiled upon hearing his new name.

"So, Cinderella ran from the ball as the clock struck midnight, losing one of her glass slippers along the way.

"Now, the Prince soon realized that he loved Cinderella and wanted to marry only her. He found the slipper and followed his love. He searched and searched for the girl who belonged to the glass slipper, for he declared he would marry only her!

"He finally found Cinderella, and rescued her from the wicked step-mother! He took her back to his castle and married her," she finished her story-telling and rocked the baby to sleep.

Henry stepped forward. Taking the sleeping baby from Danielle he said softly, "Now François, you do believe in fairytales, don't you?" he kissed the baby and put him down in his cradle. Smiling at his wife he added quietly, "The wedding is not the end."

Danielle laughed softly, taking his hands she drew him over to the window, away from the cradle, "You, sir, are supposed to be Charming," she said quietly, smiling up at him.

Looking down at her, his heart in his eyes he said, "And we, Princess are supposed to live Happily Ever After."

"Says who?" she smiled, all of her love shining in her eyes.

He thought about it for a moment. "Do you know? I don't know," Prince Charming said with a smile, as he lowered his head to kiss his Cinderella.

And while Cinderella and her Prince did live Happily Ever After. . .the point. . . dear reader. . . is that they lived.


Author's Note: I hope you enjoyed reading Henry and Danielle's story as much as I enjoyed writing it. I'd truly appreciate it if you would take a minute and leave a review and let me know what you thought. The story is now complete, except for some minor editing. Should I add an epilogue? Thanks!