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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2006455
Rated: 13+ · Short Story · Drama · #2006455
A "what-if" story of Marie Therese the daughter of Queen Marie Antoinette
“And I present to you, your son.” The physician handed me the small baby boy. Only slight whimpers had come from his little full mouth, for he had wasted so much energy on his loud entry into the world. I tried to hold back the emotions, but tears rushed down my cheeks. Everyone, except for Antoine, my husband, who looked close to tears himself, sighed and 'awed' over what they thought were tears of joy.

No. My tears were for this child I did not want. My tears were for my child's gender. My tears were for my boy's cursed future. His Great Uncle Xavier and future advisers would push my poor boy into treading a dangerous road; the road of reclaiming France.

“What shall we name him, my dear?” Asked Antoine.

I thought for a moment and then kissed my son's head. A small noise that sounded like a small kitten came from his little turtle mouth, a diminutive smile settled on my lips. I responded, “Charles.” That was the name of my dear, lost brother.

The years flew by like a summer breeze. Charles continued to grow even though I prayed that God would stall his growth and leave him my little chubby-cheeked baby. A cynical part of me even wished he would die young and innocent like my little sister, Sophie, who did not have to suffer the prisons like my family and I did. My heart ached as each birthday came and went. My heart ached even more as Charles grew to look more like my murdered mother, the late Queen of France, with fair hair and eyes bright like a clear summer day's sky. My heart ached as Charles grew to be a man right in front of my eyes. As much as I wanted him to be innocent and carefree, his Uncle Xavier trained him to be a king. He trained him in diplomacy and etiquette. Antoine trained Charles how to lead an army and how to kill if necessary. As much as I loathed these lessons, I was not so innocent myself in his upbringing. My hatred for the people who killed my family, bled through and infected him as well. All these things would doom my poor son on his 18th birthday. I knew the day would come that he would think he was ready to take on the French people and reclaim the throne.

“Please, don't do this!” I cried as I softly caressed my son's cheek. Oh, his cheeks had once been so soft and pinch-able, but now they were covered with the stubble of manhood.

“I must for it is my God given right! I am the heir to the throne and I want what is mine.” Charles exclaimed. His eyes were filled with such faith and dedication that it stole my breath away for just a moment.

“France is lost, son. We have been trying for years to reclaim it. The people do not want us! They want the Republic. They want that Emperor.” He pulled away from me and went to the window and stood by Uncle Xavier. My hand fell limp against my side. This man was mine and Antoine's uncle, but also my murdered father's brother. This man was nothing like my kind and loving father, who loved his people even as the blade slipped and ended his life. This man burned with anger and a passion to regain France at any cost. He did not care how many people would get hurt to get what he wanted. If Charles had not been born, I can imagine him trying to claim the throne for himself.

The silence of Uncle Xavier broke, “It is his destiny, Marie Therese.”

“What...to die like my family did? To have his head hacked off just like your brother?” I hissed. Oh how I loathed him.

“Yes. The throne MUST be reclaimed at ANY cost.” Uncle Xavier responded so heartily his jowls gave a bounce.

“Antoine. Say something.” As much as I loved my husband, I hated him at the same time. He was so awkward and stammering when nervous. I always wondered how he was able to lead an army?

“I-it's seems that Charles wants to do this, my dear. A-as much as I fear for him, w-we must allow him to try. P-perhaps he can do what we could not.” Antoine responded.

“Yes, mother. I would be willing to die for my rights.” Charles said softly, but filled with such hope and undying faith that made me want scream.

I slumped to the chair defeated. My gaze took in the red and gold room. It reminded me so much of Versailles at times. My mother would have fainted to think the place of her birth, Austria, would have such a similar room as her adopted land. Mother would have loved little Charles as much I did. He was such a kind little boy, but full of mischief and such strong pride! Oh, I remember when he learned how to walk. He would allow no one to help him and he would bare the most serious of looks as he tried and tried and tried. The moment he was able to walk a few steps, the brightest smile appeared and he cheered for joy. Nothing would stop him from a challenge even now, years later. Not a word I said would make him step away from the brink of this dangerous challenge. A little breeze from the window blew through Charles' fair hair and made the crystal chandelier twinkle. The silence hung like a threatening thunder storm. The clock ticked on.

Finally, I heaved a sigh, “Go then. Go to your doom, son.”

“Milady, a messenger is here.” The monotone voice of my steward shook me out of my memory of me chasing after Charles around the fountain below the window. It had been three years since I had last seen my poor boy. He had left that night with troops of Austrian and French soldiers eager to do his bidding. I watched him leave through this same window. Charles had seen me watching him and he threw me a salute and a grin that illuminated the night. I tried to smile back through my tears. In no time at all he was lost from my sight.

In the matter of only a couple of months, Charles and his army claimed victory over the rebels. The throne was his. I could only imagine the smile that sprung to his lips as the crown was placed onto his head. Even though such good news would reach me in Austria, I knew his victory would only last so long, for the people of France did not want a king.

A different messenger would announce that I had been right for his reign only lasted two years. The rebels struck back up and Charles did not have the money or the manpower to keep them at bay. The throne was lost again. Refusing to be in exile like me, he stayed. He stayed and continued to fight to no avail. The people soon arrested him and threw him in prison as a traitor to the French Republic. No matter how much Austria and England begged and pleaded and tried to pay them off for him, they refused to let him go. My poor, poor boy. I try to keep images of him in prison out of mind, but I cannot help but picture him alone and miserable in his defeat.

“Let him in.” I respond and straighten out my dress. The messenger walks in ragged and tired from his hurried journey here. His skin is burnt from many miles traveled under the summer sun.

With a bow, he hands me a letter that had been in his side bag, “I came as quickly as a I could, milady.”

“Thank you, my steward will pay you for your great service.” With a nod and a bow, he quickly exits the room. The letter is worn and has seen many miles of sweat and heat. My heart races and my greatest fear hangs over me for I know in my heart of hearts this letter holds ill news. Before I can open the letter, Antoine rushes in the room.

“What news?” He exclaims.

“I have not opened it yet.” I chuckle at his anxiousness.

“T-then open it!” He sits down in the chair away from me.

“Alright, alright.” Without another second, I rip open the letter and pull out the once piece of paper from the envelope. There are only a couple lines from our informant, “King Charles is dead. Long live the King.” The letter slips from my fingers and I lose myself to the pain and shock, but the tears will not come for I knew this day would come. My silly, proud boy, who only wanted one thing in his life, is gone forever. I had shed all my tears for him over the years for I knew his fate was cursed just like the rest of my family who lost their lives. My fate, I feel is worse, for I was doomed to survive without my father, my mother, my brother, and now my poor, poor little boy.

The End.
© Copyright 2014 Carole Rae (carolerae at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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Printed from https://www.Writing.Com/view/2006455