Ten-year-old Charlotte Christianson was curled up with Michael in one of the many unused rooms of the castle.
“I must be able to take care of you first.” Michael explained, lightly stroking her hair.
“I will take care of you!” Charlotte protested, looking up at him.
“No, Charlotte.” Michael said patiently, kissing her forehead. “A man takes care of his woman.”
“I am your ‘woman’ now?” she responded coyly, suddenly pretending to examine the threads on his shirt to hide her smile.
Looking down at her, Michael used his finger to lift her chin.
“You have always been mine and you will always be mine.” he said matter-of-factly, sounding much more serious than a twelve-year-old should.
Charlotte smiled girlishly and snuggled closer to him. Michael let go of her chin and wrapped her up once more. As Charlotte drifted off to sleep, Michael tightened his arms around her and contemplated how he would support Charlotte in the lifestyle that she had become accustomed to.
Unbeknownst to the children, Charlotte’s grandmother had been listening in on them. The Grand Duchess scowled as she made her way back to her room, plotting.