Gwendolynn Strobel
by on December 2, 2015

Three weeks later, the New Years party at the house had drawn to a close and Sébastien found himself on a plane, headed to one of his least favorite places.

The United States...

At least it was the South East, a place with some history. He had already planned out which museums to visit if his fiancee proved too much for him and he needed to escape her. the private plan was comfortable. The security team had their own corner of the plane. Most were engrossed in books or board games. Then there were the assistants, trapped in another corner with paperwork. Michel sat down across from Sébastien with a phone attached to the side of his head as usual. The blond man was having a fair amount of difficulty trying to rearrange a conference with Japan. Sébastien wasn't looking forward to that... This trip was stressing him out... understandably he thought. He had to meet his future wife, figure out how to get along with her, pack up her life and move her into his, and marry her before her birthday which was just two short months away.

Sébastien set his head in his hand, leaning into the arm of the chair. He was trying to think about anything other than this long-ass flight and the girl. The folder containing all that doom was sitting on the little table next to him. He had already spent far too long looking at those files. School photographs and two newspaper clippings were all he really had to go by. He hardly remembered her from his past visit to the US. He remembered a girl that treated him kindly and was eager to play games with him while their parents talked.... probably about the arrangement. Could she have changed much over the last few years?

His father claimed that she was a polite, intelligent young woman, but what did that really mean? Could she handle the life she would live with him? If something happened to his father could she handle being queen?

Michel sighed loudly, setting down the phone finally. He checked on his interns before enjoying a moment of silence. The three interns sat close by, working on a mountain of paperwork. Sébastien was nearly certain the papers were just to keep them quiet and busy. Michel was always so busy with the public image of the family and sorting out Sébastien's schedule, it was hard to even imagine that Michel could have the free time to create busy work.

"Alright," the young blond man started with a cleansing breath, "so let's talk about this arrangement." Sébastien did not want to discuss it...

"Oh, hang on, I haven't heard much of this yet," Charles said from the other corner of the plane. He pulled himself away from the security team and took a seat next to Michel. While Charles was also a blonde man, it was impossible to confuse him with Michel. He was broader that Michel. He let his facial hair grow in, but kept his hair well trimmed while Michel was always clean shaven. Sébastien huffed quietly, looking between his head security guard and his old school friend now employee. They were not just men that worked for him, they were his friends. He could talk to them. He sat up a little... barely.

"So you know Dad met Faustine Bellini at Croquis College. After Dad paid all of the court fees and paid for her lawyer so she could keep her custody of her daughter. She demanded she pay him back somehow. Dad saw... something in the girl and suggest marrying her to me... Obviously Faustine Bellini agreed."

"And by making it after her eighteenth birthday he avoids any bad press. he isn't forcing you two to marry that way. It looks like your choice," Michel said.

"He certainly made it terribly difficult to refuse..." Charles added.

"If she refuses... I think we are all better off," Sébastien mumbled. Yes Caroline was terrible... but she wouldn't ruin all of France for her selfishness.

"So your father tricked here? Like Rumpelstiltskin? You can have your daughter for eighteen years, but then she'll belong to me!" The voice did not come from the three men, but rather, from one of the interns. She was a mousy sort of girl with glasses and barely conservative work attire. Sébastien just stared at her. Michel glared over his shoulder.

"One- How disrespectful of you to talk about the King in such a way. Two- how on Earth is that anything like Rumpelstiltskin? Don't tell me, I am not actually interested," Michel said. Charles smiled a little.

"I think that is the first time I have ever heard anyone compare your father to a magical imp," he said. Sébastien could not resist picturing the grand king that was Alphonse as a dancing, angry imp... and smiled a little..

"I do not think he tricked her," Sébastien said with a sigh. "I think she was thinking of her daughter's future..." He shook his head.

"Bit of a gamble, don't you think? She might be one of those psycho fan club girls," Michel teased. Charles looked unamused at that thought. He did not want to live with a fan girl. "Or you might be a playboy and a male chauvinist." Sébastien smiled just a little.

"You mean I'm not a playboy or a chauvinist?" He asked in false offense.

"I think Charles gets laid more often than you do, Sir," Michel continued to tease.

"I do," Charles agreed, he would know. Michel burst into a fit of laughter. Sébastien couldn't laugh, but his friends were helping him relax. Given his lot in life, this wasn't that bad...