It's no secret that Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette are my absolute favorite historical couple. When this idea popped into my head, I couldn't resist it! So here we are, modern-day Louis XVI and Marie-Antoinette… or should I say Louis and Antonia? ;)
Naturally, I've changed some things around, fudged with the facts a bit, to make it fit my time frame. I'm treating this like historical fiction, though obviously it's set in modern-day Paris. No one wants to read a story about 14-year-olds in love after all, right? (Don't tell Shakespeare I said that….)
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this first little chapter.
Antonia could swear her head was going to split in half with each obnoxious ring of her phone. "Mon dieu," she moaned, knowing only one person who thought it was appropriate to call her this early in the morning, and it was never pleasant when she called.
Extending a pale arm, she groped the floor for her sparkly clutch and, upon finding it, searched its interior for her phone.
Opening an eye, sticky with mascara from the night before, she groaned to see who was calling, her suspicion confirmed. Sitting up, she pressed one hand to her aching head and with her other hand, flicked her thumb across the bottom of the screen, knowing she would only continue to call if she did not answer the call.
"Guten Morgen, Mutter," Antonia said, her voice raspy with fatigue. A yawn escaped her as she shifted the gray and white polka dot blanket she had been sleeping under to better cover her legs and gazed down the hallway to ensure her phone had not woken her friends. They were already too generous to let her sleep on their couch.
"Antonia," her ever-predictable mother returned without a single arabesque, "Guess where I am?"
Antonia forced herself not to groan. It was too early for this. Flickering her eyes and lifting a hand to run it against her itchy nose, she resigned herself to play her mother's game. "Vienna?" she ventured cautiously, a dreadful feeling in the pit of her stomach that that would not be the case.
Her mother laughed as though this were an absurd guess. It was not as though she had lived in Vienna all her life or anything, Antonia thought with annoyance. "Of course not! I'm in Paris. On business, of course. You know how I frown upon travel for pleasure."
Antonia rolled her eyes, used to her mother's constant attempts to appear austere. "What a surprise," Antonia returned quietly, knowing she did not sound sincere in the slightest. It was then she lowered her pounding head into her hand.
Maria Theresia ignored her daughter's sarcasm, if she picked up on it at all, and forged on, "Now, I trust you can cancel whatever plans you have for tonight because I need you." Antonia did not even bother to protest the imposition; it would get her nowhere. "Louis Bourbon is throwing a soirée at his country home, just outside of Paris, and when I mentioned that I had a daughter who had just moved to Paris, he insisted I bring you along," her mother carried on, seemingly without ceasing. She sounded beyond pleased with herself for securing such an invitation.
Antonia, who had closed her eyes again, opened them suddenly. "Like the handbags?" she interupted, finding it difficult to hide her surprise.
"And the Champagne, yes." Her mother was unphased by her interuption, charging onward as she tended to do, "We've been in business negotiations. Very odious matters, really, but that is not the point. His grandson will be there. His very eligible grandson, Antonia. He's a bit eccentric to my understanding, but you simply must meet him and you must look your best. He's practically the Prince of Paris!" Antonia could almost hear the overwhelming hope in her mother's voice. Marrying her children off well seemed to be her principal concern. Ever since her elder sister Mimi had married the Crown Prince of Belgium, there had been no stopping her arduous meddling and no diminishing her high expectations.
"You will be ready, then, in fifteen minutes? What address do I give my driver?" her mother inquired in a voice that made Antonia realize she had no choice in these matters.
Antonia's eyes narrowed in confusion. "I'm sorry, ready for what exactly, Mother?" she asked slowly. Her head was killing her.
Her mother's exacting voice only made her headache worse, "Shopping, of course. My, you are dull sometimes, Antonia. You need something to wear for tonight, don't you?" Antonia looked down at her short sequined midi dress from the night before and then over to the exploding suitcase she had brought with her from Vienna. She was going to have her brother ship the rest of her things once she had an address.
She was tempted to protest in an attempt to not be forced into a day of shopping with her mother, but instead acquiesced and gave her address. There would be no placating her mother unless she agreed to go. Antonia was convinced she must be the only fashion student whose mother continued to pick out her clothes for her.
Hanging up the phone, she put her hand to her head once more, groaning slightly and knowing she would not have drank so much if she had known her morning would go this way. Taking out her simple diamond studs and removing the three-stone diamond necklace her father had given her the summer before he passed away, she set them on the table. Moving her silver Louboutins to the side, she rose, running a hand over her limp blond hair as she made her way down the hall for a shower.