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Dare to Dream

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The rocking of the Daydream, Percy's yacht, upon the waves of the English Channel tried to lull Armand into sleep. He was too nerve-jangled to give into the urge gracefully. Marguerite and Percy were up near the bow, facing into the wind, perhaps looking for a first early glimpse of the white cliffs of Dover. Armand fancied he heard a few notes of song from that direction. It wasn't unlikely, since his sister had such a fine, lustrous voice, and if he was hearing rightly, Percy had a better voice than he pretended. The sounds of their happiness filled Armand's breast with contentment, because the two dearest people to him in all the world had at last found their reconciliation and could now savor the love they shared.

It put him in mind of considering his own future. He couldn't hang onto his sister, his petite maman, his whole life. Maybe Percy would let him attend an English university, or he could find a clever-minded English lady to marry. Perhaps one of Marguerite's friends had a little sister, or one of Percy's friends. He'd never thought to ask before. He felt a little brave even to be considering it.

But as he lay on the canvas-wrapped pallet on the deck--the one cabin belonging to the owner, Sir Percy--Armand had to consider that his recent adventure might well have been his last. Despite his promise to Marguerite, he'd been foolish, and he still had the bruises on his body to tell the tale of his mistakes. Chauvelin's men hadn't been gentle with their fists, and even Chauvelin himself had smacked him down to show Marguerite what a swaggering villain he could be. Such a waste of a man whom he thought she might even have admired in their younger days.

The bruises would heal with time. His pride hurt more than his body, even now, but his heart already yearned to look forward instead of back. Eventually, even the memory of his physical pain would fade. That was right. And he knew better than to invite such trouble again. From now on, Armand planned not to give his sister any reason to fear for his safety. He'd behave himself and settle down and stop chasing Sir Percy and his adventures. One of them was enough to worry Marguerite. With that final decision, Armand turned his head to watch the sun finally dip below the horizon, and drifted into slumber.