(8 day break in story due to my being on a backpacking trip in mammoth, rawr)
Isadora was uncomfortable as the carriage neared the large estate. It was not the estate itself that bothered her, in fact it was embarrassingly comforting for her to be once again in luxury. No, it was Julien who caused the discomfort. He would not stop looking at her.
Isadora tried to keep her eyes on the gravel road to the house, but every so often she glanced his way, hoping in vain that he had turned his own eyes to the trees passing outside. But every time he was looking at her just the same.
Isadora panicked a bit after glancing his way a couple times. She fretted that he thought she was interested in him, since she looked over so often. For she was caught on the realization that she only knew he was looking at her because she herself was looking at him.
From what Isadora had gathered, Julien was nice-looking. For a man. She didn't know his age, but assumed it to be around twenty. She herself being sixteen, was vaguely repulsed by the age difference. Four years happened to be the difference in age she shared with her cousin Breta, a tall blonde Duchess with a personality like horse manure.
Isadora's thoughts traveled to Quin, then. The handsome boy of seventeen for whom her heart fluttered. And then thoughts of Rudolph, thoughts of confusion overlapped with guilt and worry. Had he ever escaped the dragon?
She jumped when Julien leaned close and tapped her shoulder.
"We are here, princess." His voice was elegant. Again, Isadora looked him over, taking in the short wavy brown hair, strong shoulders, alabaster tunic and dark eyes. He was extraordinarily handsome and she did not know why she had not noticed before.
Stepping out of the carriage, assisted by an elderly footman, she gasped at the grandeur of the estate. It was almost the size of the palace, with cream trim frosted over low hanging balconies painted light shades of rose, and a large marble fountain with an even stream of water pouring from the wing-tips of a masterfully carved swan.
Everything was beautiful, mesmerizing. And with a sharp intake of breath, Isadora understood why all this beauty had invaded her mind so suddenly.
She was homesick and only now, with the cleanliness and perfection of man and house around her could she grasp the idea.