1618: iii

“And this convent where you grew up? What was it called?” Charlotte asked. Aimée shook her head.

“Again I was too young. I only considered it home and never wandered outside its walls. There was no need for me to know…it was…home,” Aimée gave a little shrug as her gaze sunk wistfully to the floor.

“And you joined your previous mistress when?” Charlotte asked. Her eyes never left Aimée as they studied every detail about her.

“When I was twelve, almost thirteen,” the young woman replied.

“And why did you leave?”

“I was unsure of my true calling, Cousin, if I may call you cousin. The Madame became intent to marry me off for her own benefit. I did not know if my interest in the convent was from my desire to return home or to serve God.” Aimée replied.

“And how do you feel about it now?” Charlotte finally tore her eyes away and walked towards the windows of the room.

“I think my desire was only nostalgia.” She went to join the woman at the window. “May I ask who apprised the Countess of my residence here?” Charlotte shot her a look.

“Are you saying you do not know?”

“I am unaware of the Countess or her interest in me. I do not have many friends,” Aimée explained. Charlotte pursed her lips and stared out the window for a moment.

“Are you acquainted with the Bishop of Luçan?” she asked suddenly. Aimée was not familiar with the name.

“No,” Aimée replied.

“Well he is certainly familiar with you and your situation. We will dine together tonight, you and I. Will you have the Abbess return?” Charlotte asked. Aimée nodded and retreated to the door. The nun turned abruptly as Aimée laid her hand on the latch. “Until later, Cousin.”

Aimée froze and gave the nun a smile, “Yes, Cousin.” She slipped out of the room and found the Abbess talking in hushed whispers with Sister Teresa.

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