Chapter 10 : The Friendship
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"I opened the letter from my father, and frankly, I wasn't surprised by it. He made it clear that 'I cannot be bothered every time Beatrice says something that upsets you'," Dezzy said, in a perfect imitation of her father's tone.
"What did she say to you? That made you write your father in the first place, I mean," Godric asked gently.
"She said that he didn't love my sisters and I. And that he wouldn't look at me because I look like my mother. I wrote to him just to see if we could talk. Is a simple conversation with my own father too much to ask, Godric?" Dezzy said, bitterly.
"Of course not. You did nothing wrong, Dezzy."
"And then he wrote to tell us that our Aunt Rowena, who I'd never even heard of, was coming to stay with us. She arrived a few days ago, and says that she is going to teach us to be proper princesses."
"How do you like her so far?" Godric asked, stoking the fire and causing the golden flames to dance in the grate.
"She's..." Dezzy trailed off, unsure of how to describe her aunt without being disrespectful. "She doesn't seem very interested in us. She's not trying to reach out to us and get to know us. But she's not used to children, so that could be part of it."
"How is she going to teach you to be a proper princess? You seem like a fine princess to me," Godric smiled.
"We have to learn proper etiquette, and how to walk, sit, stand, curtsy, and have a proper conversation. And all in pursuit of finding a husband."
"Being a princess seems like hard work! I think I prefer the horses."
"Don't forget our daily lessons. History, geography, art, French, and literature. But Mistress Helga is still going to teach us those."
"So you have to have lessons to find someone to marry?"
"Not just anyone," Dezzy said. "He has to be rich and come from a good family, with a good title. And from what my sisters tell me, most of the time he ends up being boring, stuffy, and about a hundred years old."
"You can't just marry someone you like?"
"I have to marry someone my father approves of. Aunt Rowena seemed shocked that I haven't had any suitors yet, even though I just came of age! It's like she expects them to be fighting to get through the door and propose. Personally, I'd like to actually know my fiancé before I marry him."
"I'd say that's perfectly acceptable. Did you know that my grandfather didn't want my mother to marry my father?"
"You never told me. Why not?"
"He didn't think a carpenter was good enough for his daughter, who had grown up living in the village. They were pretty well off, but my mum gave it all up to marry my dad."
"That's so sweet. She must really love him."
"She does," Godric said, pouring Dezzy some more tea.
"I wish I knew how my parents fell in love. Father never talks about my mother anymore."
"It must be difficult. I know you miss her."
"More than anything. I just wish I could see her again. I want to know what she thinks of how we're all growing up."
"I'm sure she's proud of you, wherever she is."
"For what?" he asked, raising an eyebrow.
"Letting me talk to you about all of this. There aren't many people who would listen like this."
"That's what friends are for, isn't it?" he said, grinning.
Dezzy liked his smile. His warm brown eyes crinkled, and she saw as a piece of the golden mane of his hair fell into his eyes. Slowly, she reached up and brushed it back from his face. Out of the corner of her eye, she saw that the sun was now at it's highest point in the sky.
"I didn't realize it was so late!" she cried. "Godric, I have to go."
"Alright, if you must. We'll talk again soon, alright?"
"Yes, of course! Goodbye!" she said, running back up to the castle.
Dezzy tried to hide a smirk as Ettie gave her sister her best pout, going so far as to produce glistening tears in her dark eyes.
"Please, Dezzy, please! Just tell me what you did this morning!"
"Ettie, you're going to have to learn to mind your own business sooner or later," Bea said, laughing.
"Beatrice, you are the last person on earth who can give the advice of minding your own business," Addie said.
Bea seemed to consider this for a moment before deciding that Addie was right, and dramatically throwing herself at her younger sister's feet.
"Just tell us, Dez!" she cried with a grin.
"Why are you so interested?" Dezzy asked.
"Because we have nothing going on in our own boring, miserable lives, and we have to live vicariously through our darling sister!" Ettie said.
"Boring, miserable lives? Really, Ettie? Just go on and tell her something, Dezzy, or she's only going to get worse," Addie said.
"And if I refuse?" Dezzy teased, sticking up her chin defiantly.
"You won't refuse. We have methods of getting you to spill your secrets, little one!" Bea cried villainously, before reaching over and tickling her sister. Soon Ettie joined in, and Dezzy's laughter filled the girls bedroom.
"S-s-stop! I'll t-tell you!" she giggled after a few moments of being tickled furiously.
Dezzy gathered up her skirts and sat on her bed, her sisters clambering around her. She caught her breath for a moment, with eager faces meeting her gaze everywhere she looked, and smiled before starting her story.
"I went out to the stables to talk with Godric, and just get everything that's been happening lately off my chest. It was cold standing there, so he invited me inside."
"Inside? You mean inside his home? You were inside a man's home unchaperoned?" Addie interrupted sharply.
"Addie, nothing happened! Besides, you agreed to let them be friends, so just leave her be! Dez, please continue," Bea said.
"Thank you, Bea. He got a fire going, and made me some tea. You should see his house! It's the most lovely little cottage, and it was covered in snow," Dezzy sighed. "He told me that I could just talk, and so I told him everything that I had kept bottled up. I told him what Father's letter said, and about how Aunt Rowena is going to give us lessons."
"And what did he say?" Ettie asked, totally enraptured in her older sister's story.
"He said he that he thought being a princess sounded like a lot of work, and that he preferred the horses."
"I like him already!" Bea said, as the little girls giggled.
"And then what happened?" Ettie said, pulling on Dezzy's skirt.
"He was confused why I had to marry someone Father approves of. He said that we should be able to marry for love."
Ettie let out an enormous sigh, and flopped back on the bed.
"That is so utterly romantic! I bet he's in love with you, Dezzy! Oh you have to get married! Please, oh please! And you can't say he's too old, especially compared to some of the bores we've had around to court Addie! Oh Dezzy! You'll be married and have beautiful golden haired children!"
"Ettie, relax! Godric and I are friends. That's all. Don't go blowing this out of proportion!"
"And what do you mean some of the bores we've had around?" Addie said, raising her dark eyebrows.
"Oh, Addie, you know they weren't even remotely interesting! Otherwise you would have ended up with one of them. Even you have better taste than that!" Ettie said, as if it was the most obvious thing in the world.
"Well thank you for the generous compliment," Addie said drily. "I think it's time we all settled down for the evening. Lena, Holly, Isabella, and Kitty you need to get changed for bed. We've given Lucetta an evening to catch her breath, so I'll have to do instead. Come on."
The four youngest Ravenclaw girls dutifully followed Addie and were helped into nightgowns by their three eldest sisters. Dezzy smiled to herself as Bea tucked them in, and Clara told them a bedtime story, with Ettie adding necessary dramatics to make things interesting. Tying her long hair in a braid, and slipping under the blankets on her own bed, Dezzy closed her eyes and sank into her pillows.
She thought about how much she had enjoyed her time with Godric, and how her sisters were so taken with him, even though they hardly knew him. And as she started to drift off to sleep, the thoughts of a dark haired man with peculiar, yellow-green eyes danced behind her eyelids.
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