15-year old Hannah was orphaned at the age of ten she now lives with a group of fifteen other young people stealing for a woman in exchange for their room and board. But Hannah's life will change drastically when the prince himself takes notice of her and vows to love her even through her obvious disdain for him and later betrayal. In the end Hannah will discover the ultimate meaning of love and the ultimate sacrifice must be made.
Hannah slipped through the streets clutching the parcel close to her chest. The parcel contained the bread and cheese that she had stolen from one of the stalls at the market. The bread and cheese would be enough for all those that ate around Madame Gauthier’s table. She dove into the shadows when she heard the sounds of marching feet, the kings guard passed by on their evening patrol, as soon as they had passed she came out of hiding and continued on her way. She slipped down an alley and stopped in front of a small, rotting door with blue, peeling paint and leaning off its hinges. Hannah stepped around the garbage pile outside the door and kicked a banana peel back into the heap with a barefoot. She glanced around to be sure no one was about then turned to knock on the door.
“Who goes there?” A gruff voice asked from the other side of the door.
“It’s me, Kye, just open the door” The door opened a crack and a scraggly-headed boy of about sixteen peeked out glancing back and forth to be sure their was no one else before opening the door the rest of the way to allow Hannah to enter.
She scrambled in and Kye closed the door behind her latching it tightly and turning towards her, “So what did you bring today?” He inched closer trying to get a peek inside the parcel she held.
She twisted and held the parcel out of his reach, “A loaf of bread and three types of cheeses.” She turned her face toward the older boy and smiled coyly. “Will you get off of me, Hezekiah James, so I can bring this food to Madame Gauthier so we can have our supper.”
Kye took a step back letting her regain her balance she crossed to the door that led to the rest of the house and turned back just long enough to wink at him before opening the door and stepping out of sight.
The heat bombarded her as she stepped into the warm house. She pulled off her coat and hung it on the peg beside the coats of Madame Gauthier’s fifteen other tenants. She moved to the kitchen were Jacqueline slaved over a hot stove. The girl was probably the oldest of the young tenants and had over the years become the self-appointed cook. Hannah placed her parcel down on the table unwrapping the bread and cheese and stepping back for Jacqueline to examine it. She nodded her approval and handed Hannah a knife with the intention that she cut it into slices and place it on a plate.
As Hannah finished the slicing Madame Gauthier entered the hot kitchen and examined the collection of food that the children had gathered throughout the day. She nodded her approval and summoned a couple of the younger boys to help with setting the food out on the table. Soon the entire troop of young thieves was sitting around the table feasting on the spoils of a day at market. Tales of the days close calls and humorous encounters filled the air.
As the meal ended Madame Gauthier instructed the younger children to clean the dishes and reminded the older to lead those younger in their evening prayers. With those final words she slipped out of the room and into her private chambers. Soon the dinner dishes were cleaned and Hannah took the young girls that she was charged with and led them to the sitting room where a rather large idol sat over the fireplace.
She knelt down in front of the fireplace with the two young ones kneeling down beside her and she repeated the prayers she had been taught since she had come here two years before as a thirteen year old orphan homeless, cold and wet. The two young children repeated the words after her then she stood and kissed the idol, she pursed her lips and took a deep breath then turned to the two girls and encouraged them to do the same, then she led them away to the chambers that she and the two girls shared. She tucked the two girls into their bunks whispering prayers over them as she did she blew out the light by their bed and headed to the door, “May the goddess Atria protect you this night.”
She slipped out of the room and glanced up and down the hall to see that none of the other older children had finished yet. She headed for the door grabbing her coat and slipping out to the front hall where she had entered earlier that evening. She wouldn’t go out into the dangers of the alley she knew better than to do that but she enjoyed the crisp evening air.
It wasn’t long before Kye came out to join her. She waited until the door closed behind her before running up to meet him firmly planting a kiss on his lips. He held her back at arms length and looked at her in the semi-darkness. He wrapped his arms tightly around her waist and pulled her closely to him leaning down to kiss her. She wrapped her hands around his neck and pulled his head as close as she could. She could feel his hands on her back moving down to her waist and then back up her back. She pulled her head back to take a breath and he moved down to kiss her neck.
She heard a sound at the door and they pulled away as the door opened. Pauline a girl of thirteen stepped outside and smiled when she saw them standing there looking guilty. “Don’t mind me” she said crossing to the other side of the room and grabbing a bag which she had left there earlier. “I’ll just be getting out of your way.” With that she hurried back into the warmth of the house.
“We should probably be getting back inside too.” Kye said, pulling Hannah back into his arms. Hannah sighed and nodded. She pushed herself onto her toes to plant a kiss on Kye’s cheek before pulling away and heading for the door.
“Goodnight!” she whispered as she slipped back into the house.
“Goodnight!” he returned. She slipped back into the house hanging up her coat as she hurried toward her room. As she slipped under the covers she smiled as she thought of Kye’s arms around her and wished that she could just stay there for the rest of her life.