For the next three weeks, every night, Ella sat up with her husband and practiced her reading and writing.

After Eugene, Rapunzel, Philip, and Aurora had been at the castle for a month Ella could shakily read.

After Rebecca and Leah had been at the castle for two weeks, she was a strong reader. She turned to Charming and said, "I'm reading!"

He grinned and handed her the letter he had written a month earlier. "Do you want to try to read this?" he asked.

She nodded and slowly read the letter aloud. "My dearest Ella, there is so much I love about you. Your smile, your laugh, your voice, when you sing, when you dance, when you enter a room how everything brightens up, how you make the stars shine brighter for me, how you make me smile, when you entered that ballroom, and I looked up and all I saw was you—I could go on forever. I know how sweet and kind you are—to everyone—from the lowest servant to even my father my father. You shall make a wonderful queen one day and I feel honored knowing that I will be able to be the king with you at my side. I know this—you have made me the luckiest guy in the world. Any man would be lucky to have you as a wife. You're respectful—and respectable. I don't just love you, my precious Ella—I admire you. Your stepfamily, but especially your Stepmother, was too blinded by their hate and jealousy of you to see what I see—a beautiful, amazing, strong-willed, determined, admirable, respectable, sweet, kind, gentle, tender, and loving young woman. I love you so much. I have always loved and will always love you, my Ella. Your Charming."

She hugged him and said, "I can read! I can read!"

He kissed her and she smiled happily.

Unfortunately, all of the men—Philip, the king, Charming, and Eugene—had to leave for a meeting in Hubert's kingdom the next day. When they returned, King Stefan and King Leonardo would be with them as well for the Lovers' Ball. Stefan and Leonardo were hoping to come early enough to spend some time with Ella—she was a second daughter, for both of them.