The blackout curtains drawn tightly, Victoire lit the candles on the mantel.
“Let us hope that next year we celebrate the birth of the prince of peace in peace.”
“Yes,” Rainier agreed, as he hung a small ornament on the branch.
“There, how’s that?” he said, stepping back to get a better look at their festivities.
“Oh, it’s lovely. It’s joyful, even if it is not as grand as years gone by.”
“It is a perfect scale for two,” he said, with a smile.
“A bit quieter than usual,” she said, trying to return the smile but falling short.
She handed him a glass.
“Here, let’s drink a toast to better times.”
“To better times,” he repeated.
“And for those present in our hearts, but absent from our homes.”
“My father, your mother, and our dear friends.”
Victoire blinked hard to send the thought away. She would not tolerate sentiment interfering with her logic, even if it were just a few days before Christmas.
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