The carriage rocked as Germaine de Miremont idly sketched a scene from the countryside around his home. The axles squeaking no longer bothered him. The coachman had said Paris would be visible soon, but his thoughts were on his sketchbook. "You'll have a classical education" his father had told him many times as he grew up, and it has come to pass. Military history, philosophy, art... In another life he might have actually been an artist, but not in this one. The de Miremonts were not artists. They were soldiers. A long line of them had been cavalrymen, and Germaine did not intend to be an exception.
He would try to find time to sketch when he could, but as his carriage entered the outskirts of Paris, he knew his first duty would be to the honor of his family.
Emmelina looked over at Germaine in surprise as his words died away to an awkward silence. The pensive look on her face told him what he had feared.
“Mon chéri... isn’t Executioner of Paris a little... gruesome?”
Germaine sighed. “At least it is a position. Four rejections last month from the cavalry will have my farther mortified if he hears. I have to do something....”
“Your luck is turning, I can feel it.”
“You might be right, Emmelina. I feel I’ve been noticed in society and improved myself a bit. I’m going to try for the Dragoon Guards this month. I was waking by their barracks just this morning and I think the dragoon on guard duty sneered slightly less at me this time, so I may have a chance....”
The newest member of the Cardinal's Guard snuck quietly into Emmelina's sitting room. She stood in front of a window, looking off into the distance. With a quick dash, he closed the distance and put his arms around her. She turned with a laugh.
"There you are, mon chéri!" She stepped back to arms length and looked over his crimson uniform. "You look so dashing! A Cardinal's Guardsman! I knew your luck was turning, I just knew it!"
Germaine smiled at her enthusiasm. "I'm just a Private, for now." Emmelina tilted her head and frowned in mock reproach. Germaine continued hastily, "But I do have great plans for the future! I know I'll rise in the ranks in no time."
Emmelina nodded and smiled. "I know you will, too."
A quiet moment descended as they stared at each other. Germaine broke the silence. "Emmelina, I... I'm going to volunteer for the summer campaign. The Cardinal's Guard isn't going, and if we're to have a future together, I need to be able to provide. It's dangerous, but it is the only way.... You understand, don't you?"
She nodded, sadly. "Yes, I do. Be safe, Germaine. I couldn't stand to lose you."