Disclaimer - This is a story in progress. Sections will be posted as they are finalized. I have done research on this time frame and the political climate. While I tried to stay true to some of the historical trappings, I took liberties with MANY things. It is fiction first. I apologize to any history buffs and to the people of Spain and France for my lack of knowledge. When I get paid to write these things, I promise to get it exact, but until then, I have a day job and not enough time or money to hire a research assistant.

Copyright - This is an alternative uber tale. No copyright infringement is intended. This is not to be used for profit.

Subtext and Sex - Yes and yes. If the idea of two women loving each other is not your cup of tea; go get a glass of milk and skip this. If you are under the age of 18 years of age or this type of story is illegal in your state or country, please do not read it.

Violence and Language - There are scenes of fighting. The language is pretty mild.

Credits - This story line is completely my own, but the poem that is found as a journal entry in Section Three is by a very talented poet. I inquired if she would lend her beautiful words to this story and she accepted. I cannot tell you how honored and grateful I am. Thank you Renotta. Your poetry is always a source of inspiration.

Dedication - This is for my twin sister. She has been a constant source of inspiration and encouragement and like me, is a huge romantic. You’re amazing.

Thank You - Big hugs to Cindy at ForevaXena, Stacia, and Tracey for beta reading and for your words of encouragement. Kisses to The Bard’s Village for all the wonderful feedback and for giving me a home in your talented community. A big thank you to Mary D for the Xippy’s on "Written in My Days" and "My Cup of Tea". I’m a beginning writer and these awards have encouraged my to write on.

Email: dikern@aol.com


Chapter 10 (conclusion)

Rosa paced back and forth across the floor, wringing her hands and trying to bring her thoughts to rest. Everything about this situation was growing increasingly risky and for her family, there was a real possibility that they could suffer hardships brought on by an angry king.

"They’ve been in there a long time." Rosa stopped walking to address the captain.

"It just seems that way to us," Luc commented.

"Yes, it does," Fredrick said. "Do you think it’s a good or bad sign that they’re still talking?"

"I think the indication that it could be good is that there’s been no yelling or things being thrown about the room," Luc said. "I’ve seen the king’s temper get the best of him at times, especially when Catherine’s been meddling."

"Has she ever done anything this deceitful?" Rosa asked.

"Umm . . . no, this pretty much tops anything she’s ever tried before," Luc said, squinting his eyes.

"Oh, that makes me feel much better," Rosa said sarcastically.


Catherine lifted her head from her hands and stared across the room. She was trying to think of a way that Danielle could remain in Spain without causing shame or talk about their family, but so far she was at a loss. It was far too late to try and fake her daughter’s death, as many of the French soldiers had now seen her firsthand and witnessed her fainting spell.

Looking over at her husband, who was leaning against a large bookcase that housed the doctor’s medical books, Catherine suddenly had a thought. She stood up and walked to his side. Without saying a word, she scanned the books and then pulled one out, turned the pages, and began to read.

"Excuse me, my dear," Louis said, laughing. "I didn’t realize that you were also a doctor. What else haven’t you told me?"

"Remember how you said you were worried about Danielle?" Catherine asked, continuing to read and ignoring his humor. "You know, when you first walked in and she looked pale and then fainted?"


"Well, the soldiers saw that too, before you dismissed them outside, that is," Catherine continued. "They must be wondering about that."

"Go on."

"What if there was something wrong with her?" Catherine asked slyly. "What if she developed a sickness that was causing her weakness and prevented her from travelling back to France? What if she contracted . . . say smallpox, for instance?"

"Smallpox?" Louis asked, alarmed. "Catherine, that can be very deadly and very contagious."

"That’s true," Catherine said. "However, according to this journal, smallpox starts as a fever that can make you very weak and then soon after, small red bumps appear everywhere. It can cause death, that is true, but it can also leave people disfigured and disabled."

"What are you getting at?" Louis looked directly into his wife’s eyes.

"Louis," Catherine began, "If Danielle had smallpox she would naturally have to stay here to be treated. We, of course, would need to get back to the affairs of France. Because smallpox is so contagious, we would be forced to leave her here to quarantine her from contact with others. The recovery process can be very long and if, for instance, she was left crippled or incapacitated by some means, she could possibly never be strong enough to make the trip back to France."

"I see," Louis said. "And the generosity shown by the Cordobas to care for our sick and crippled daughter would also appear to others to show that our allegiance with Spain is firmly rooted and that both countries hold high esteem for each other."

"Yes," Catherine said. "The Cordobas are a wonderful and caring family and our faith in leaving Danielle with them would only prove to the people back in France that Spain is our ally. Plus, at the invitation of our friends in Spain, we could visit our poor daughter whenever we liked."

"I only see one problem with this," Louis said.

"And what’s that?"

"Danielle would eventually have to leave the Cordoba villa, don’t you think? I mean, even if she did remain in Spain permanently, she’d go crazy if she didn’t get out once in a while," Louis said sympathetically.

"I do see your point," Catherine said. "But somehow I think our daughter could conjure up a pretty convincing limp that would fool people if necessary or pretend to be tired and out of breath or weak even. She’s quite the actress, you know. I’m sure she wouldn’t mind leaning on Maria for support when they were out in public, either."

"Very funny," Louis said, grabbing his wife, lifting her off the ground and twirling her around in circles.

"Put me down," Catherine laughed.

"Now," Louis said in between spins, "I know exactly where Danielle got all her imagination and creativity from. Like mother like daughter."

"Does this mean you’ll agree to this?" Catherine asked as Louis placed her back on the floor.

"It sounds perfect to me," he said and stepped closer, kissing his wife firmly on the lips.

"I love you," Catherine sighed as she pulled slowly away. "I know Rosa and Fredrick will agree to this, I mean they were going to fake her death, for heaven’s sake. And I’m sure the doctor won’t mind verifying Danielle’s disease, so all we have to do is tell Danielle that she’ll have to lay low here for awhile and pretend to be sick."

"I think it would only be right that to have Luc stay here for a time with her," Louis contemplated as he ran his fingers along the side of his chin. "It will look better that we’ve left our best man with the princess. Eventually, after time has passed, he can return with an update on Danielle’s progress, and that should serve to convince the people of just how serious her health problem is. We will need to leave a handful of scouts also. They will be our messengers with reports from the doctor."

"I suppose you’re right about Luc," Catherine said. "He’ll probably think he’s being punished by being forced to stay behind, though."

"Remember who he is, My Queen," Louis said. "He’s a captain who was planning on lying to his king. He knows if I’d truly wanted to punish him, I’d have his head for that. Plus, it is his sworn duty to protect Danielle and I doubt he himself would have it any other way."

"You’re right," Catherine hugged the king once more. "Let’s go tell our daughter how sick she looks."

The door swung open and three sets of eyes stared at the royal couple existing the room. Luc swallowed hard and held his breath.

"Captain, where is Danielle?" Louis asked.

"She’s upstairs, Your Highness," Luc said, standing to attention.

"I’ll get her, she’s with Maria." Rosa offered.

"That’s quite all right," Louis said. "We’d like to talk to them both for just a minute. I would ask all of you to remain here and please bring the doctor to the parlor. We’d like to a have a word with you when we’re done talking to Danielle and Maria."

"Certainly, Your Highness," Rosa said, curtsying.

Louis put his hand on this wife’s waist and began to escort her up the stairs. Before the queen left the room, she turned and winked at Rosa.

Danielle stirred, blinking her eyes, as she became aware of the strong arm holding her. She was so exhausted but even in her worried state she felt safe enough in Maria’s arms to doze off.

"Hello," Maria whispered. "How are you feeling?"

"She’s feeling very ill," Catherine said, walking into the room, the king stood directly behind her.

"Mother, Father." Danielle struggled to wake up and remove herself from Maria’s grasp.

"Relax, daughter," Louis said, stepping around his wife. "I know everything, and according to your mother, there is no safer place for you than next to this brave woman."

"Your Majesty," Maria bowed her head. "It’s an honor."

"The pleasure is all mine and I must first thank you for risking your life to save my daughter," Louis said. "Catherine tells me you’ve been seriously injured. How are you feeling?"

"I’m better, Your Majesty," Maria said. "Thank you for inquiring. The doctor tells me I’ll recover from my injury. It will only be a matter of time and I’ll be as good as new."

"We’re both glad to hear that," Louis said.

"I’ve told your father everything, Danielle. I left nothing out." Catherine took a deep breath as she spoke.

"Father, I love Ma . . .," Danielle stood up and tried to speak but was abruptly stopped.

"No, you don’t have to say a word," the King said. "I believe I understand what you feel and your mother and I have agreed that you two should be together, but it must be done in a way that will not cause talk. Your mother will explain it to you both and you will have to agree to every detail. It won’t be easy, Danielle, but at least is gives us the option of seeing you again and gives you the opportunity to remain in Spain with Maria."

Danielle sat down on the bed next to Maria and held her hand. Obviously her father had by some miracle listened to her mother and found it in his heart to grant her the happiness that she knew could only be found with this Spanish woman. She was speechless for maybe the first time in her life. She sat motionless as her mother related the details of the disease smallpox and the plans that had just been laid out moments earlier with her father.

Tears began to form in her eyes as she realized how much her parents loved her. To have this chance was all she’d ever dreamt of and whatever was necessary to make it appear that she was sick was a small price to pay. She nodded her approval to her parents and unable to speak, turned toward Maria, tightening her grip on the tall women’s hand.

"Your Majesties," Maria said. "I now know that it is because of the love that you have shown Danielle throughout her life that she can so freely give of herself to others. I am but the luckiest woman alive to know how it feels to be loved by her. I dedicate my life to your daughter and I thank you for giving us this chance. She is safe here and always will be for as long as she wishes to stay."

"That was the precise answer I was hoping for," Catherine said, crying tears of joy and walking over to embrace her daughter.

Danielle’s tears also began to fall freely as she hugged her mother. Resting her head on her mother’s shoulder, her gaze fell upon her stoic father, who appeared to be struggling to fight back his own emotions. Danielle walked over to him and threw her arms around his neck, standing on her tiptoes as she kissed his cheek. They had never been ones to display signs of affection and even though she knew her father would feel awkward, she didn’t hesitate to hug him tighter.

"I love you, Father," Danielle whispered into his ear. She went to step away and felt her father’s arms embrace her.

"And I you, my daughter," Louis whispered back.

The next hour was spent hurrying to put everything into place. The doctor agreed to house Danielle in a private room on the second floor of a guest villa that was some 100 yards from the main building, which he needed to keep in operation as his main treatment area. It was agreed that Luc would remain on the first floor to watch and look after Danielle’s safety. Fredrick and Luc worked to put the quarters in order as the doctor made the announcement of the outbreak of smallpox.

Everyone was ordered away from the building upon the doctor’s declaration. Danielle was forced to say her good-bye to her parents. She could have no further contact with anyone except for the doctor to make the illusion seem real. She promised to write and her mother pledged the same. The king and queen stayed with Danielle for as long as possible and then exited the villa with Rosa.

The time had come for Maria and Cora to be moved back to the Cordoba villa and Danielle entered her room to say good-bye. She found Maria sitting on the edge of the bed. She had managed to get her pants on and was now struggling to button her shirt.

"Let me help you," Danielle walked over and knelt down. Gently, she replaced Maria’s hands with her own. "I’m going to miss you while we go through this quarantine phase, but I’ll keep remembering that it’s you that waits for me and that will make me strong."

"I don’t like the idea of you being here with me laid up so far away," Maria said as she allowed the princess to help her dress. "I’m feeling kind of helpless right now and I hate that feeling."

"Luc will be with me," Danielle said. "I’ll be fine. It’s you that I worry about. You must promise me that you won’t try to overdo it. You’re just starting to heal."

"I promise," Maria said and placed her hand over Danielle’s. With her other hand she lifted Danielle’s chin and looked into her eyes. "You can’t under any circumstances go out of that building. You know that, right?"

"Yes," Danielle said. "I won’t take any chances, especially since I know what I’d be jeopardizing. When we get through this, I’ll be able to move into the villa with you. What’s a fortnight or two when I know we’ll have the rest of our lives together?"

"I love you," Maria said, then kissed Danielle softly on the lips. She felt Danielle’s tongue slip out and without hesitation she opened her mouth to allow the young woman more access to explore. She moaned as she tasted the sweetness that was only the princess. They kissed each other with an intensity that both knew would have to carry them over until they could once again be in each other’s arms.

"Excuse me," Luc knocked on the door. "It’s time, Maria. We need to move you."

"Yes, of course, Captain," Maria leaned back and allowed Luc to wrap his arm around her waist. He supported her as she stood.

"You take care of her," Maria said softly to Luc. "Don’t let her out of your sight."

"She’s as safe with me as she would be with you," Luc replied.

Fredrick appeared and the two of them gingerly escorted Maria to the door.

Maria hesitated before she left and had the men face her back to Danielle. "I’ll see you soon."

"Not soon enough for me," Danielle smiled and winked at the Spanish woman. "Take good care of yourself, Maria."

"I’ll be back to get Cora as soon as we have Maria secured," Fredrick said.

"I’ll be right here with her," Danielle sat down on the bed next to the dog, petting her head. "I think I might miss you most of all, little one."

Cora wagged her tail and then slowly rolled over to expose her soft belly.

"You like your belly scratched, do you?" Danielle chuckled. "You’re the cutest thing in the world, Miss Cora, and I think you’re beginning to feel much better. You take extra special care of Maria for me, you hear? She’ll need lots of attention while I’m gone and if anyone so much as comes within six feet of her that you don’t like, you’ve got my permission to bite them hard."

Cora let out a little bark and Danielle laughed. "That’s right, I said bite them hard."

The king and queen and the French army went back to the Cordoba villa along with Rosa, Fredrick, and Maria. There they would talk about Danielle’s safety and the plans for her recovery. Danielle’s parents would stay a couple of days to rest and then head back to France. If everything worked as planned, Danielle would remain quarantined for at least a fortnight and the doctor would supply the Cordoba villa with fake progress reports. These reports would be forwarded to the king as the entourage made its way back to France. Of course, in the end the report would claim that the princess was hit most hard by the smallpox infection and would never fully recover. The best option would be for her to remain in Spain.

Luc returned and after much protesting from the princess, carried her over to the guest villa. Dr. Sanar reminded Danielle that they couldn’t be too careful. The doctor followed and remained inside for some time. He explained what smallpox could do and the treatments that the princess would have had. He also informed her of the recovery period and made her promise not to leave the guest villa until enough time had passed. He would be the one to make that judgement, and until that time she would need to be kept under wraps.

Three weeks into the seclusion, Danielle was fighting the boredom but losing the battle. The windows and curtains were drawn when she was up moving about the room and the only time she was allowed to see the sun was when she was lying down. Books were brought to her but she had gone through those fairly quickly. If not for Luc, she would surely have gone crazy by now. They talked about everything, and the love she felt for this man grew even stronger. He was once again her savior.

Luc taught her the game of chess and unfortunately for him, she was now regularly beating the captain in this own game. She had also convinced him that she needed to be taught how to handle a sword, and because they both needed the exercise, he agreed to teach her the basic maneuvers. To his surprise, she was quickly becoming very good. No one but the doctor was allowed to visit, and as much as Danielle wanted to see Maria, she knew they couldn’t risk it. Only one more week and she was certain that at the very least the doctor would allow a visit.

The one thing Danielle looked forward to was the daily update from the Cordoba villa that was supplied by the doctor. Maria was doing very well and had, for the first time since being shot, ridden her horse without any assistance the previous day. He said that she was basically back to normal. Danielle missed her terribly.

Early one morning, Luc and Danielle were playing chess when they heard a scratching noise. Luc drew his pistol as the princess hid behind the large desk. The captain slowly cracked the door and looked out. Cora sat before him - a rose in her mouth with a letter rolled tightly around the stem. He chuckled and let her in.

"A message for the princess, I presume," Luc laughed.

"Little one," Danielle said and sat down on the floor to greet Cora. "I’ve missed you. What do you have for me?"

The Springer Spaniel trotted to the princess and dropped the rose into her hands. She reached up and placed a wet dog kiss across Danielle’s cheek.

"Thank you," Danielle said, petting Cora vigorously, which in turn resulted in another kiss.

Danielle smelled the rose and then untied the ribbon holding the letter in place. It read:


While I continue to become stronger every day I am left weak in the heart from our separation. Remember when you asked me if I’d dreamt of you? I have for years. I dream of you every night just as I have since I was no more than ten. The difference now is that I’ve experienced your sweet kiss and laid eyes upon your beautiful face and it makes my dreams all that more real. I’m counting the days until I can hold you in my arms once more. Tell me, my love, what visions keep you going? What do you wish for when we’re together again?

Yours Always,


Danielle smiled and held the letter to her heart.

"Luc, we do have paper and pen, right?" she inquired.

Luc went into the desk and retrieved the items.

Danielle took the piece of stationary and dipped her pen in the ink well, then began to write.


So many visions keep me going. I knew the moment I saw you in the garden and you took my hand to help me up that ours was not simply a chance meeting, for it was your eyes I had memorized from my dreams as well. The night I watched you perform the Tango with that dancer in your arms, I wished for it to be me. I wanted it to be me. The way your hand rested on the small of her back, your cheeks so close to one another and the way you pulled her closer and she wrapped her leg around you . . . oh, Maria, I want to dance with you like that. Tell me we will some day.

I love you,


She blew on the paper to help dry it more quickly and then rolled the letter closed. Using the same ribbon that Maria used, she tied it together.

"Here you go, little one," Danielle said, presenting the letter to the dog. "Take this back to Maria and remember to give her a kiss from me."

Cora wagged her tail and opened her mouth, gladly accepting the parchment. She trotted back to the door and Luc opened it enough to allow her to exit. She bounded out into the yard.

"Luc," Danielle said "Go to the window and see if you see Maria out there. Please, for me."

Luc gladly obeyed the princess and watched as Cora ran directly to Maria, who stood next to her horse some 60 yards away.

"Is she there?" Danielle inquired.

"She is."

"How does she look?"

"The same as the first day she came to our aid when were attacked – striking as always."

Danielle blushed and covered her face with her hands. Luc laughed and then turned back to watch Maria.

"Did she get the letter, Luc?"

"She did and Cora did exactly as you instructed her. She’s reading it now, Princess."

"Oh, Luc. I miss her so."

The captain closed the drapes to allow Maria to read the love letter in private.

Four more days passed and each brought with it another exchange of letters from the two women. Luc could tell that Danielle was close to her breaking point and allowed her to sit next to the window so that she could see Maria from a distance. He quickly closed the curtains and made sure they were not seen.

The next morning, Luc was outside as Maria rode up. Even they could not come near each other. As the doctor instructed, Luc was to be considered as a big a threat as Danielle for potentially spreading the disease. He waved at the Spanish woman and she motioned to him to wait. Maria handed Cora a note and she ran to the captain with it. Luc took the message and petted Cora on the head. He read the writing and then quickly tucked the paper into his shirt.

Cora ran back to Maria and returned again, with a rose and a letter for Danielle as had become the regular occurrence each day now. Luc took that message inside and waited for Danielle’s reply.

That night as usual the doctor came and delivered their meal. He gave them a report about Rosa and her family, then stood to leave.

"Doctor," Danielle said. "When might I be able to have visitors? It’s been so long now, aren’t we close to the time that smallpox would no longer be contagious?"

"You’ve been remarkably patient, Princess," Dr. Sanar said. "I know this has been hard, but I think if you can wait just a couple more days, we can allow visitation. I’ve told everyone that you will recover but that it’s too early still to tell what the permanent damage will be. I’ve said that you’ve been left very weak from this disease. We’ll have to discuss that soon, before you ever leave this building."

"I understand," Danielle said. "I can be very convincing, you know."

"That’s an understatement," Luc chuckled.

"Very funny." Danielle poked him in the ribs and he yelped.

"I’ll be by in the morning," Dr. Sanar said and left for the evening.

They ate their dinner as usual but instead of their nightly game of chess, Luc said he was tired and wanted to turn in early. The princess took a book to read for the second time and headed up the stairs.

Danielle didn’t remember dozing off but as she slowly woke up, she swore she heard music. She blinked her eyes and removed the book from her lap. She could hear the guitars even though the window was closed and the curtains were drawn. The song was the one she had heard many nights ago at her welcoming dinner to Spain. The memory made her ache and think of Maria.

A knocking at her door startled her. She quickly crossed the room and opened it thinking the captain was probably wondering about the music just as she was.

"Lovely evening, isn’t it?" Maria smiled. "I was hoping we might share that dance tonight."

"Oh, Maria," Danielle threw her arms around her and hugged her tight. "I’ve missed you so much."

"I couldn’t wait any longer to see you," Maria said, stepping inside and closing the door. "The doctor will tell you tomorrow morning, but he told everyone today that you’re allowed visitors now. I told Dr. Sanar and Luc that I had arranged some music for you this evening to help with your boredom, but only Luc knew that I was sneaking in before the musicians got here. No one knows that I’m here besides the captain and you."

Danielle watched as Maria turned the wick down very low in the lamp and then walked to the window and opened it. She kept the curtains drawn but the night breeze filtered through and the music from the guitar strings filled the room.

"It sounds wonderful," Danielle sighed. "Thank you, Maria."

"I know it’s been hard for you cooped up in here. Only a little while longer and we’ll have you back at the villa," Maria said. "Until then, I plan on being here as much as possible. I hope that’s all right with you?"

"More than all right," Danielle said. "I wouldn’t have it any other way."

Maria leaned down and kissed Danielle. The princess wrapped her arms around the tall woman’s waist and held her while they lingered together, kissing each other slowly and deliberately, their mouths exploring and reacquainting themselves. Gone was the urgency from before. They both knew that they’d be together each day going forward for the rest of their lives.

"I don’t ever want to be away from you again, Danielle," Maria said.

"I missed your voice," Danielle said. "I’d be happy for the rest of my life if I could just hear you call my name every day. I remember the first time you said it. In the garden the first day I met you, and nothing has ever or will ever sound sweeter to me."

"Danielle," Maria kissed her lightly again and then whispered into her ear. "Danielle . . . I love saying your name."

The princess kissed her again and hugged her tight.

"Let’s not let this music go to waste, shall we? I believe you wanted to dance with me," Maria said.

"I don’t know how to tango," Danielle said timidly.

"This will be our first lesson," Maria said, taking Danielle’s hand.

She showed the princess where to place her hands and how to follow her steps and told her to look into her eyes and relax. The guitars continued to play and slowly Danielle loosened up, allowing Maria to lead her around the room. They started to move together more fluidly. She was finally in Maria’s arms and nothing felt more right, more perfect than this. The tall woman held her closer and she closed her eyes, lost in the sensation of Maria’s body against hers and the tones of the passionate music. Maria stepped into her with the beat of the song and pulled her against her chest. Danielle felt the Spanish women’s thigh press against her center, which left her instantly wet and weak in the knees. The music stopped and when she opened her eyes she was staring into the beautiful blue orbs of the woman she loved.

"It was exactly how I dreamt it would be," Danielle said softly.

"You feel so good, Danielle," Maria sighed. "I missed you so. I love you."

Maria searched the face of the woman in her arms. She’d never felt more loved or wanted by anyone. Neither one moved when the guitars began playing another song; they just continued to stare, as the passion between them grew stronger. They both felt it and saw it in each other’s eyes.

"Make love to me, Maria," Danielle whispered. "I’ve thought of nothing else since the first day you kissed me."

"Are you sure you’re ready for this tonight?" Maria asked, slowly.

"I’ve never been more ready for anything." Danielle drew in a long breath. "I’ve waited all my life for you. Please, Maria. I love you."

Maria’s mouth moved to the side of Danielle’s neck and she slowly kissed her way tenderly up and down. She brushed back the long golden hair to expose the earlobe that she wanted to kiss. Danielle moaned as the Spanish woman sucked on the soft flesh. She felt the hot breath in her ear and it aroused her even more, causing her legs to give out slightly. Her breathing became ragged.

Maria swept Danielle up into her arms and carried her to the bed. She gently lay her onto the sheets as she kissed her lips. Her hands moved to the laces holding Danielle’s dress in place and slowly she loosened them. She kissed her way down along her neck and then trailed her way to the hollow between her breasts, pausing as she watched Danielle’s creamy skin pulse as her heart beat faster.

"You’re so beautiful, Danielle."

Maria moved the cloth of Danielle’s dress back to expose her breast, watching as her nipple rose and hardened as the breeze from the window danced across it. Maria gently sucked and licked it and the princess arched up into her mouth. Maria heard soft moans of pleasure and continued to pay special attention to the sensitive flesh.

"That feels wonderful," Danielle sighed.

Maria gently pulled open Danielle’s dress and lifted her to free the garment from her arms. Before she could lay the princess back down, Danielle’s fingers begun to undo the white silk shirt that the Spanish woman wore.

"I want to feel your skin against mine," Danielle said as she slowly unbuttoned the fabric and pushed the shirt down over Maria’s shoulders and tossed it to the ground. She put her arms around the Spanish woman and pulled her down on top of her so that Maria’s warm soft breasts were against her own. "God, you feel so good."

Maria kissed her again more intensely and moved along the body underneath her until she had her thigh in between Danielle’s legs. She pressed down into the princess, feeling her legs widen to accept the contact. The small hips below her moved into her and it caused her breath to catch as she felt her own wetness grow. Their kiss deepened as their hips moved together, rhythmically, almost in time with the music still playing outside. Maria felt Danielle’s hand move to her back and pull her closer.

"Maria," Danielle whispered. "I want to feel all of you, can we please get rid of these clothes?"

Maria stopped worrying that Danielle might need to take things slower. She smiled at the princess and kissed her again. "Of course we can."

She gently stood up and took the French woman’s hand to help her up. They both removed their clothing and when Maria turned back around, Danielle lay completely naked before her on the bed. Her passion-filled eyes sparkled in the low light.

"You’re so beautiful, Princess. You could never be more beautiful than you are to me right now."

"Come here," Danielle sighed, reaching out her hand to welcome her lover back to the bed.

Maria wrapped her fingers into the smaller ones calling for her and Danielle pulled her down into another kiss. Their breasts melted together as their hips snuggled into one another; two bodies together in perfect harmony. They stayed that way for some time with their mouths and tongues lost in each other as their bodies slid passionately along love’s sweet dew.

"I love you, Danielle."

Maria moved just to the side of the princess so that she could run her hand along the silky, glistening skin. Her hand traveled slowly over the generous curve of Danielle’s firm breast. Looking down, she saw the princess’s stomach trembling in anticipation. She continued her exploration across the taut muscles and brushed her fingertips along golden curls. Danielle moaned and brought her hand to Maria’s breast, cupping it and kneading the dark flesh as their lips came back together momentarily.

"Touch me, Maria, please."

Maria moved her hand slowly down until she could feel moisture and then she ran her fingers along the soft wet folds, slowly and lovingly, back and forth as Danielle sighed. The moans of the princess increased and she threw her head back against the pillow, lost in the sensations that Maria was causing in her body. Maria watched the princess dig her heels into the bed as she arched up into the touches. Letting two fingers slip through the wetness again, she pushed them into the soft center. Danielle groaned and called Maria’s name.

Lost in the passion of the moment Maria kissed her way down the warm body, never removing her fingers from inside her lover. She eased her mouth down to capture the private, tender flesh and used her tongue to slowly tease the swollen, excited nub. She inhaled the sweet fragrance and pulled Danielle up into her, gently sucking while the fingers of her other hand moved slowly in and out of the silky center.

"Maria, Maria," Danielle called out her need, breathless. "Maria."

The Spanish woman quickened the pace of her fingers slightly as she felt Danielle’s pleasure building to a climax and as she swirled her tongue into the softness, Maria felt the quivering and release of her orgasm as the princess called her name again.

Maria pulled herself back up and embraced Danielle, holding her until her trembling eased and her breathing returned to a more normal rhythm. A silent bliss fell over them as they held each other tight. Danielle snuggled her face deep into Maria’s neck and sighed.

"I still can’t believe that my dreams have come true," Danielle said softly. "Your love, your touch . . . it’s all I will ever need."

"Nothing has ever felt more right than when you’re in my arms." Maria squeezed the princess tighter. "My heart feels whole."

"Does that mean we can stay like this forever?" Danielle smiled and moved out from the Spanish woman’s embrace to crawl on top of her. "I could see myself right here for a very long time."

"Is that so?" Maria whispered and wrapped her arms around the small waist. "I think we might need to get up once in a while."

"You know how the doctor said that I should appear exhausted and weak?"

"Yes," Maria smirked.

"I think I just decided exactly how I’d like to accomplish that," Danielle said. She slowly began to kiss Maria and explore the other woman’s body with her hands. It wasn’t long before Maria realized that Danielle wasn’t just a quick study with the tango. They loved each other, passionately and completely, throughout the night.

Before the light of morning, Danielle held Maria close and said a silent thank you for her answered prayers. Nothing could ever be better than being in her dreams and being wide awake.

As was intended by some force, uninvited but not unwelcome and stronger than the both of them, their souls finally became one, united forever.

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