Anne smiled to herself as her maidservant Nicolette helped her into a beautiful navy gown.
"You seem quite delighted this morning." Nicolette said, observing Anne's dreamy smile. "Might I ask what has you so happy?"
Anne hesitated a minute before replying. "Nicolette, you are closest to me out of everyone here and you know how I felt about Louis when we were first married. I did not like him much, but I grew fond of him and found myself in love with him although I was too shy to tell him how I felt. Yesterday after that horrid tea party, Louis and I confessed our love for each other and I have never felt happier."
Nicolette finished with Anne's dress and spun her around to face her.
"Oh my Queen, this is wonderful! I had prayed that you two would find love in each other. A loveless marriage is no marriage at all." Tears formed in the older woman's eyes as she drew the Queen to her in an embrace.
Anne was silent for a while as people bustled in and out to fix up her hair and powder her face. Today she had chosen a chestnut brown wig that was curled in ringlets with peacock feathers placed on the left side.
When once again she and Nicolette were alone she sighed and said "His eyes are so lovely. I can't help but lose myself in them. They are a dark blue with hints of green and they remind me ever so much of the sea."
Nicolette laughed lightly. "You really are in love with him, aren't you?"
Anne nodded her head. "Nicolette? I must ask you something. You are married to Louis' favorite manservant Pierre and I am sure you know these things." Anne swallowed hard. "Since our marriage has... Has Louis ever taken a mistress?"
Nicolette blinked rapidly. "On no dear, not that I know of. He always told Pierre that he wanted to 'win the heart of his beautiful queen of Austria.' A rather funny way of doing it, I say. Getting married and then falling in love."
Anne sighed with relief. She had worried that Louis had other women in his life and she was so relieved to find that he had been focusing on winning her over.
Her skin began to tingle and she felt extreme anticipation for the next time she would see her husband. He was hunting or hawking- she couldn't quite remember, and wouldn't be back until supper time that night. She smiled at the thought of seeing him again.
Louis and his brother Gaston rode their horses, racing each other and playing various games as they headed back to the palace.
Gaston trotted up next to Louis and said, "So Brother, how are things going with your wife?"
Louis blushed and Gaston smiled
And waggled his eyebrows comically.
"I have a feeling that you will have a son or daughter soon, am I correct?"
Louis shook his head. "Far from it, my brother." He said, but when Gaston pressed him for details he stayed silent.
When they returned to the palace Anne met them at the door. She kissed Louis cheek and smiled politely at Gaston.
"Why don't you dine with us tonight?" She asked, placing a hand on Gaston's shoulder and ushering him in.
He replied that he would and they sat together and talked as they waited for their supper to be ready.
When it was they sat at the long dark table, Louis sitting at the head, as was the custom, with Gaston and Anne seated on either side of him, which was not exactly how they were supposed to sit, but it was a rather informal dinner, so they sat where they pleased.
They talked amongst each other, making up jokes and telling stories. Anne watched the brothers try to outdo each other at everything, it was quite hilarious.
"Once someone asked me how I would describe a fool," Louis began a joke "now I know the answer. He is short with dark hair, dressed in brown pantaloons and a white blouse!" He laughed at his joke referring to his brother appearance.
"Even though he is of royal blood he looks like a stable boy!" Louis laughed again and Gaston prepared a joke of his own.
"Well, if someone asked me to describe a fool I would tell him this: his hair is lighter than mine and he is a bit taller but even if we looked exactly a like you would be able to pick him out of a crowd because he is dressed in many different colors, shades, and textures with neck scarves, rings, hats and feather. He looks like a jester!"
The men laughed at their own jokes and Gaston placed a hand on Louis' shoulder.
"I've missed you brother!" He said with a smile.
"I missed you too."
Later that night Anne and Louis were preparing for bed in separate rooms. He finished dressing and walked down the corridors to Anne's room and knocked on her door softly. "Are you decent?" He asked. In reply she opened the door and let him in.
She was wearing only her ivory nightgown, all her makeup had been removed along with her wig. She removed a pin from her hair allowing her strawberry blond hair tumble over her shoulders. Louis took in a sharp breath when he saw her. She looked more beautiful then he had ever seen her before. She looked radiant. So naturally beautiful that it took his breath away.
"Anne." He breathed.
She squirmed, for his staring made her uncomfortable, but she smiled shyly at him.
"I didn't want you to see me looking so horrid," she said. "But Nicolette insisted. She said you were my husband and you were going to see me without my hair done and powder on at some point."
"Oh Anne." Was all Louis could say.
She laughed "All you can say is my name?"
He held out a hand and drew her to him in an embrace. He kissed the top of her head, her cheek and then her lips. His blue eyes captivated her as much as hers did him. He brushed a strand of hair from her forehead.
"Is it. Well, I guess I." She sighed.
"I want to start sharing a room with you, but I feel we should take it slow. Do you think I should sleep on the floor?"
Louis laughed and caressed her cheek. "Anne my dear, I will not allow my wife to sleep on the floor. I will make arrangements to fit your modest wishes."
"I hope I haven't offended your highness." She said humbly.
"Love, you may call me Louis. We are in the privacy of our home. And do not worry about offending me for I want to be cautious about this as well."
She nodded and rested her head on his chest.
"I wish we could just stay like this forever." She whispered.
"As do I." He replied.