*sobs* Well, here it is. I felt so heart-broken over killing Thomas and Elaine's parents off so early, that I decided to go back and write the story behind their getting together. Now please excuse me while I go cry my eyes out some more. (Oh, and Barnacle, if this is too mushy for you, tough. You'll have to get past Sugarberry and I, and we're not yielding.)
Characters in this story:
Cecil Monk, Caprice's father (pink
unicorn with purple hair; sea serpent symbol)
Cecilia Monk, Caprice's mother
(blue pegasus with cream hair; ring symbol)
Caprice Monk, one of the two main
characters (beige unicorn with purple hair; frilly heart symbol)
Delia Monk, Caprice's sister, about
fifteen (blue unicorn with purple hair)
Leander Monk, Caprice's brother,
about twelve (cream pegasus with blue hair)
Velvet, Caprice's cat
Jade Star, Tanzy's mother
Tanzy, Caprice's friend (bright
green earth pony with bright magenta hair [blue streak in mane]; perfume bottle symbol)
Reginald Fairfax, Dietrich's father
(white unicorn with gold hair; an outrageous thing symbol)
Helga Fairfax, Dietrich's mother
(pale yellow earth pony with sky blue hair; another outrageous thing symbol)
Dietrich Fairfax, the other key
character in this story (aqua unicorn with yellow mane [black streak in mane]; Siamese cat
A flower deliverer, not to be
confused with a Mysterious Cloaked Flower Deliverer
Excalibur, some stallion around
Storen, his name means "bother" in
Caprice entered the kitchen, looking slightly flustered in the face as she deposited the
bag of groceries on the counter. "Mother! I'm
"Hello, dear," Cecilia nodded at her daughter. "You were out longer than you usually
"I took a shortcut through the woods on the way back and... oh, I met a nice stallion on
the way," Caprice put forward, smiling a bit
"Oh?" Cecilia looked up. "Who was he, dear?"
"He said his name was Dietrich. We had a very fascinating conversation on cats. He
has a fancy for them, too, it seems."
"Dietrich," Cecilia said emphatically. "He's only the Fairfaxes' son."
"He is? I wonder why I've never seen him around before?" Caprice mused.
"Our social calender is not meant to overlap that of the Fairfax family," Cecilia said
sharply. "I wouldn't suggest meeting him any
"Are you still worried over that silly feud, Mother? He really was very nice," Caprice
argued. "I don't think there's a problem with
"The Fairfaxes and the Monks don't associate with one another," Cecilia said coolly.
"Listen to me when I say stay away from
Caprice lowered her head meekly in submission. "Yes, Mother."
"Why don't you attend to setting the table now?" Cecilia added in a gentler tone, moving
toward the bag of food items. "Thank you
for picking these things up from the grocery. I can't believe I forgot to keep tomatoes on
"Of course," Caprice murmured. "I'll get right to it, Mother."
* * *
Caprice was restless that night. Sleep was impossible as she tossed and turned in her
bed. Too many thoughts were bombarding her
mind. How could she get any rest?
A dreamy smile crossed her face as she once again remembered the kind look Dietrich
had given her and the gentle yet firm sound
of his voice. Caprice had to giggle slightly realizing that "gentle yet firm"was somewhat of an
oxymoron, but it was the only way she could think of to
The image in her mind of Dietrich slowly moved to the iced-over expression of her
mother telling her "Stay away from him."
Caprice had to sigh at that unpleasant memory. Dietrich had seemed so kind! Couldn't her
mother see that? She couldn't understand the basis for her
family's feud with the Fairfaxes, let alone this cold forbiddance of any friendship with them.
It had been a long-ago incident that had started the terrible war. Back in colonial times,
when the town was first being founded, two
affluent families had relocated their publishing businesses there-- two families who were none
other than the Fairfaxes and the Monks. Neither side
wanted to give any of their ground away in their successful business, and they both worked
tirelessly to scout out new talent to publish. Undiscovered
authors were scooped-up as quickly as they were found and sabotage between the two separate
publishing houses abounded. This had been the start of
the feud, and so it unrelentlessly continued on into the present day.
Caprice could remember well all of her family's warnings against the Fairfaxes and a
detailed account of the story behind it, leaving
nothing out of the treacherous tricks employed by the opposing family. She had always thought it
sounded silly and hadn't considered it any further
than that. Of course, it had always been exciting to hear her father talk about signing-on a new
author that he had managed to keep away from the
"villainous Fairfaxes", but she had never seen a serious problem with the two successful rival
companies. Of course, as her mother had said, the
Monks didn't plan their social calender to overlap that of the Fairfaxes. So, even though they
were both affluent families in town, Caprice had grown
up not knowing any Fairfaxes. Still, she had not known her parents were this adamant
against them until her chance encounter with Dietrich
Dietrich... Dietrich... he had left an uneraseable mark on the young mare's mind. Not
even her family's disapproval could wipe it
out. Finally, her eyelids grew heavy, and she gave into the urge to sleep.
* * *
"Caprice, I was accepted into the dance academy's course for next year!" Tanzy bubbled
over exuberantly. "I can't believe it! I
can finally begin to pursue my dream!"
Caprice nearly dropped the tray of lemonade she was carrying into the parlor upon
hearing the news. "Tanzy!" she squealed
happily. "Are you serious?! Oh, that's exactly what you always wanted to happen!"
"It's going to be grand," Tanzy said excitedly. "I really did want to get accepted into
this one, since it's right in town. I'd hate to
have to move elsewhere."
"I'm so happy for you!" Caprice said sincerely. "And I'm so happy that you'll get to stay
here. I don't know what I'd do without
"It's a perfect set-up," Tanzy assured her. "I'll be a premiere world-famous dancer yet;
just wait and see."
"I know you will!" Caprice said supportivly, handing a glass of lemonade over to her
"What about you, Caprice?" Tanzy slowly sipped at the glass. "Are you going to go
further with your education?"
"I don't know," Caprice said self-consciously. "Mother and Father would just like to see
me settle down and raise a family. I
wouldn't mind that, really."
"Haven't you found any handsome stallions around town yet?" Tanzy teased. "I
personally think that Excalibur is kinda
"Well..." Caprice blushed as she stared down into her glass. "I did meet someone
"Oh? Who was he?" Tanzy pounced on the opportunity.
"His name's Dietrich Fairfax," Caprice said in a rush. "I met him on the way back from
the grocery on an errand for Mother. He
was quite nice."
"Dietrich Fairfax!" Tanzy breathed. "Now, he's really handsome."
Caprice fumbled her glass around nervously in her hooves. "Well, yes, I
"Did you set up a date with him?" Tanzy prodded. "Are you going to see him again?
Do you think he likes you?"
"Oh..." Caprice was more flustered than ever. "No, we didn't set anything like that up.
We just had a nice conversation about cats,
"You were meant to be," Tanzy intoned dramatically. "Go for it, Caprice! You've got
to call him later."
"Mother doesn't want me to associate with him," Caprice said quietly.
Tanzy calmed herself. "Oh. Is it still that old business over your family's silly feud with
"Yes. The feud." Caprice stared listlessly down into her half-empty cup.
"It's just not right!" Tanzy steamed. "The Monks and the Fairfaxes are the two most
affluent families in town. They should be
happy over this budding romance!"
"Oh, it's hardly that," Caprice murmured.
Before Tanzy could make an appropriate comeback, the doorbell rang. Caprice was
grateful for the interruption, and jumped up to
answer the door.
She was surprised to see the cart of the local flower deliverer parked outside, and the
deliverer himself waiting on the porch. "I have
a delivery for you today, Miss Caprice," he announced himself.
"Really?" Caprice's eyes lit up at the prospect. "For me?"
"There you are," he stated, handing a fragrant bouquet over to her. "Have a nice day."
With that, he made his way back to his
Caprice securely closed the door behind her before she stopped to fully comprehend the
bouquet of roses she held in her hooves. It
was a glorious bunch of flowers, and the fragrance of it alone was splendorous. She still hadn't
gotten enough of the bouquet when Tanzy came
running to see what was up. She stopped dead in her tracks when she saw the flowers.
"For you?" she breathed in awe.
"I guess so," Caprice said, her face flushing. "They're so beautiful. I've never seen
flowers this magnificent before in my
"Who sent them? Who sent them?" Tanzy was quick to ask.
Caprice groped to open the small envelope attached to the bunch. " ‘To the fair
Caprice,' " she read aloud, still slightly stunned. "
‘Please accept these flowers as a token of my respect for your resplendent beauty and your sweet
smile. Love, Dietrich'..." Caprice blinked rapidly as
she leaned up against the wall, her face a brilliant flaming crimson.
"Caprice!" Tanzy shrieked, running up to her. "Is that really what he wrote?! It's the
most romantic thing I've ever heard! You
must have made quite an impression on him yesterday."
"I... I don't know why he sent them," Caprice fumbled for the words.
"Because he's madly in love with you, silly!" Tanzy retorted. "Now, don't you dare say
you're going to let your parents get in the
way of this. You are going over to that phone and you are going to call him right
"But I wouldn't know what to say," Caprice squeaked.
"You'll say that you adore the flowers and that you would love to see him again over a
quiet dinner some evening," Tanzy
instructed. "Go on, go on!"
Caprice still resisted the urging of her friend. "I don't know," she stuttered. "I couldn't
"Why not?" Tanzy said impatiently. "You're going to miss out on a great opportunity if
you don't, Caprice!"
"Just think of how hurt he'll be if he doesn't receive word from you about his lovely
gift," Tanzy said threateningly.
"I guess... some sort of thank-you would be appropriate."
"And that's why you're going to call him." Tanzy trotted over to the phone and, picking
up the receiver, instructed Caprice, "Here.
Come and find his number in the phone book."
"But what if he's not home?" Caprice protested. "I don't know what times he would be
"Time..." Tanzy murmured, searching for a clock on the wall. "Time..." Her eyes
suddenly opened wide. "Oh my gosh! It's three
fifteen, Caprice! I told Rosetint I would have those papers to her by three! I completely lost
track of time! I've gotta run!" Frenzied, Tanzy ran for
the door. "Goodbye, Caprice! And don't you dare forget to make that call, even if I'm not here!"
With that, the door was abruptly opened and closed
again as Tanzy left, leaving Caprice alone in the house.
Caprice glanced from the phone to the flowers, and clutched the stems all the tighter in
her sweaty hooves. It wasn't necessary to
reply immediately, she finally assured herself. She would at least tell her parents about the
delivery that evening over supper, and she would go from
there on what to do. With butterflies in her stomach, Caprice quickly deposited the empty
lemonade glasses in the kitchen and then fled up to her room
with the bouquet.
* * *
"I received these this afternoon while Mother was out shopping." Nervously, Caprice
presented herself at supper that evening,
displaying Dietrich's bouquet before her.
"They're pretty," Delia, Caprice's younger sister, said enviously. "Where'd they come
"Oh, Caprice!" her mother breathed. "What a beautiful arrangement!"
"I knew the stallions would come around courting her eventually," Cecil, her father,
nodded in satisfaction.
"Who did send them, dear?" Cecilia questioned.
Caprice hesitated. "They're... they're from that stallion I met yesterday. Dietrich." She
deemed it wise to refrain from mentioning
his last name.
This announcement caused a great commotion around the table. Her two siblings that
were present knew of Dietrich, and had let
their parents imprint a great fear in their minds of the Fairfaxes. Their eyes opened wide as they
looked in shock at Caprice. Her parents were the first
to speak, however.
"Dietrich? Dietrich?" Cecil stormed. "Do you mean that the young Fairfax has grown
so bold as to send flowers to my
"Caprice, I told you yesterday to stay away from that stallion," Cecilia said sternly. "I
don't like to see you encouraging him like
"I... I didn't," Caprice defended herself. "But can't you see--"
"Those flowers aren't fit to be held in your hooves, Caprice, let alone be delivered to this
house," Cecil said stiffly. "They should
have been thrown-out immediately."
"But that's unreasonable!" Caprice cried out. "He really is nice! Can't you learn to let
go of this feud with the Fairfaxes?"
"Caprice, we're not going to hear any more talk of this Dietrich in this household," Cecil
declared. "Give those flowers to
"But--" Caprice was reluctant to hand them over.
"You must forget about him, dear," Cecilia said in a softer tone. "We only want the best
for you. This is for your own good. Give
us the flowers."
"They're mine." Caprice was seized with a sudden streak of boldness.
"Caprice..." her father said warningly, pushing back his chair and standing up. "You
can't keep them."
"Why not?" Caprice took a step back.
"They'll only remind you of that villain Dietrich. You'll be better off without
Caprice's lower lip began to tremble. "Fine, then! Take the stupid flowers!" she
sobbed, throwing them to the floor. "But if you
think I'll ever forget Dietrich, you're still wrong!" With tears flowing openly down her face,
Caprice turned and ran from the room.
* * *
Caprice cried that evening for all she was worth as she lay there on her bed. Her pretty
Abyssinian cat, Velvet, tried to comfort her,
but to no avail. Caprice finally had to smile, though, as she felt the rough sandpaper tongue cross
"Oh, Velvet," she said softly, pushing herself into an upright position and snuggling the
warm feline. "I've never had a fight with
them like that before. I don't want them to be disappointed in me. But Dietrich at least deserves
a thanks for those flowers, doesn't he?"
Velvet seemed to approve as she set to washing her fluffy tail, and her gentle purr filled
the room. Seized with sudden inspiration,
Caprice set the cat down gently and tip-toed to her closed door. Softly opening it and peering
down the hallway, it didn't look like anyone was around.
She could hear her parents talking downstairs, and Delia and Leander must have disappeared into
their rooms after supper as well.
Taking the chance, Caprice walked quietly down the hall where a small stand held the
upstairs telephone. With shaking hooves, she
flipped through the phone book and found the F section. It didn't take her long to find the page
with the Fairfax numbers on it. Unfortunately, she had
forgotten that the Fairfaxes were an affluent family. There were a lot of them listed.
Beginning to panic, Caprice tried to calm herself down and think. If she didn't try to get
in touch with Dietrich now, she never
would. It was vital that she keep cool and try to think rationally of which Fairfax Dietrich
would be listed under.
He was still at home with his parents, she knew. But who were they? Caprice thought
frantically as she skimmed over the page of
Fairfaxes, hoping something would jump out at her. She paused as she saw the name of Reginald.
It sounded like a name her father had mentioned
before. Dietrich was the son of the chief owner and operator of the Fairfax publishing company...
so he had to be at this number listed under Reginald
Fairfax! Her hooves shaking, Caprice set to dialing the number.
Her stomach was tied in knots and her skin was clammy as she listened to the phone
ring. She halfway didn't want anyone to be
there so she could just forget about it, but the other half of her wanted desperately to get in touch
"Hello, this is the Fairfax residence."
Caprice jumped as she heard these words spoken over the line, and hurried to compose
herself. "Is... is Dietrich there?" she said in a
tone hardly louder than a whisper as she inched her way back to her room.
"This is he."
"Oh!" Caprice breathed a sigh of relief. She had found the right number! "Dietrich,
"Caprice? Is that really you?" Dietrich's spirits rose visibly upon hearing this
"Yes, and I received your flowers today. They're very beautiful. Thank you." Caprice
quietly clicked her door shut and sat down
in the desk of her chair with the receiver held up intently to her ear.
"That's wonderful! I sent the blossoms most closely matching your beauty."
"Oh... that's really sweet," Caprice giggled nervously.
"You've been the only thought on my mind, Caprice, since I first laid eyes on you
yesterday," Dietrich continued in a softer
"I know." Caprice twisted the cord around her hooves. "I haven't been able to stop
thinking about you, either."
"Will you have any free time in the near future, Caprice?" Dietrich persisted.
"I... I don't know." Caprice lowered her gaze. "My parents don't want me to have
anything to do with you."
"I was afraid of that. It's the confounded Monk and Fairfax feud, isn't it?" Dietrich said
with a bitter edge to his voice.
"Yes, it is," Caprice said quietly. "What of yours? Are your parents any more accepting
"No, they feel the same way yours do," Dietrich scowled. "They were furious when I
told them I'd sent you flowers."
"I'm sorry, Dietrich."
"There's nothing for you to be sorry for, Caprice. That right is reserved for our parents,
"I suppose, then..." Caprice trailed off.
"No, Caprice!" Dietrich said quickly. "You mustn't give up hoping yet."
"But what can we do?"
"We can meet in secret."
"I hate to sneak around behind their backs, and I'm sure you do, too, Caprice; but unless
we do, there may never be an end to this
silly feud that's keeping us apart in the first place."
"I don't know what to do, Dietrich."
"Say you'll meet me at seven o' clock on Wednesday evening. Do you remember the
place in the woods we met yesterday?"
"I remember it well."
"Then we'll meet there again."
"I'll be there, Dietrich."
"I'll be looking forward to it, Caprice. Goodnight, then. I'll see you on
"Goodnight, Dietrich. I'll be looking forward to it as well."
Caprice hung up the phone that night with her conscience hanging a little heavy on her
mind, but her heart was more than light
enough to make up for it.
* * *
Caprice hardly dared wonder over the fate of her precious bouquet, but when she came
down to breakfast the next morning, not a
word of the incident was mentioned. She smiled and acted as though nothing had happened, but
she almost wished her parents would say something
about it. Was it possible that perhaps, maybe, they could have softened their opinion of Dietrich
after having sufficient time to think about it?
She was brave enough to broach the subject with her mother while washing the
breakfast dishes. "About last night..."
Cecilia looked over at her sharply. "Yes, your father and I talked about it
"You still don't want me to see any more of him?"
"We only want to protect your interests, Caprice. There are many more stallions around
much more fitting to you than this
"None of them can compare to Dietrich," Caprice lamented.
"There are those who are better than he is," Cecilia sniffed. "No, dear, it would be best
to forget him."
"Won't you ever change your mind?"
Cecilia thought it best to change the subject instead. "We're done here, Caprice. Why
don't you go outside and watch Delia and
"Alright, Mother," Caprice sighed, hanging up the wet towel. "I'll see what they're up
The Monks' backyard was spacious and filled with lush grass and tree groves-- the
perfect playground for young ponies on summer
vacation, like Caprice's two siblings. She found Leander hunting for toads near the garden, while
Delia was more interested in the flowers that grew
profusely in well-tended beds.
"Oh, what is his obsession with toads?" Delia complained as her sister drew near. "I've
grown so weary of them."
"You used to enjoy finding them for him when you were younger," Caprice reminded.
"You two had lots of fun together doing
"Well... yes, I suppose I did," Delia recalled, affixing a brilliant purple violet behind one
ear. "But one can enjoy looking at only so
many toads in a lifetime."
"Delia..." Caprice said, hesitating. "What did Mother and Father do after I left the room
"They weren't too happy," Delia said, cocking her head. "The bouquet got thrown out--
that was a pity, really. It was very nice.
Father read the card on it before that, but just scowled at it. He didn't tell us what it said. What
did he write to you, Caprice?"
Caprice shook her head, easing herself down into one of the seats on the swingset. ‘It
was nothing, really."
"He and Mother were quite riled, and talked for a bit after that," Delia went on, taking a
seat next to Caprice. "Leander and I didn't
say much. They seemed to have plenty to say themselves."
Caprice sat in silence, slowly rocking back and forth on the swing. Delia finally broke
into the quiet, though. "Oh, I can't wait
until I'm as old as you and get nice flower bouquets from handsome stallions," she sighed
"It's not as easy as you might think," Caprice said wistfully.
"Do you really like him, Caprice?" Delia looked intently at her sister. "Dietrich, I
"I don't know. I might," Caprice blushed.
"I've never met any of the Fairfaxes. I wonder what they're really like," Delia
"They're not as bad as our parents have made them out to be, I think."
"You're not going to see him again, are you?"
"I'd like to."
"But you can't go against Mother and Father."
"Someone needs to put an end to this silly feud."
"Caprice! But we've always been told to stay away from the Fairfaxes," Leander
protested, abandoning the search and joining the
other two. "What would they do if you violated that?"
"I don't know that, either," Caprice said quietly. "But maybe the feud wouldn't have
lasted this long if someone had stood up about
Leander stared in awe at his sister. "But they're sure to punish you if you do
"I'm not going to do anything," Caprice spoke-up, perhaps a little too quickly. "I only
think that this fight between our family and
the Fairfaxes is unjustified."
"Maybe it is," Delia said softly, moved by the look in her sister's eyes.
"Maybe," Leander chimed in.
* * *
Throughout the following days, Caprice refrained from speaking any more of Dietrich
around home. In fact, the only one who
knew of her secret meeting appointment with him was Tanzy. Caprice looked forward to the day
with a hopeful heart, and prayed that Dietrich would
not have forgotten her.
The night of Wednesday finally came, and luckily no one suspected when Caprice
announced her intention to go on a short walk in
the dusk. She stopped for a short spell by Tanzy's house to gain some needed support.
"Oh, what if he's not there?" Caprice fretted as her friend met her by the gate.
"He's going to be there, Caprice. Trust me," Tanzy said reassuringly. "Don't even think
of backing out now."
Caprice smiled nervously. "What will I do if word of this gets out to Mother and
"It won't," Tanzy said persistently, pushing the reluctant unicorn on. "Now, get going.
You don't want to keep him waiting. And
you must stop by here again and give me a full account!"
"I won't forget you, Tanzy," Caprice winked as she slowly went on her way. "Tah-tah!
Wish me luck!" With that, she trotted
furtively along the fence line of Tanzy's family's property (they were next-door neighbors as well
as close friends) towards the woods that bordered her
backyard. The place was familiar to her and she had spent much of her time there as a foal, but it
took on a much more mysterious appearance as she
ran along its paths in the filtered twilight.
Caprice was out of breath when she finally reached the designated meeting spot. She
clutched her lacy hat to her head as she began
slowing her pace. It was with a glad heart that she noticed Dietrich's presence there
"Ah, Caprice, you've come!" he smiled warmly, turning to her. "I'm glad you could
"Oh, so am I!" Caprice laughed merrily. "I've been looking forward to it since the last
time we spoke."
"And here, this is for you." Saying this, Dietrich uncupped his hoof to reveal a brilliant
peach blossom and fixed it to the brim of
Caprice's hat. "Do you like it?"
"Oh, it's lovely," Caprice breathed, her eyes sparkling. "Thank you, Dietrich!"
"Anything to please you," Dietrich said, kissing her softly on one cheek. "Why not have
a seat?" He turned her in the direction of
an old tree stump on the edge of the path, making the perfect place to sit.
"Of course," Caprice murmured as she sat down, her face flushed. "It certainly is nice in
the forest at this time of day."
"Yes," Dietrich agreed, seating himself on the ground with his back against the stump.
"It's so peaceful and calm."
"Do you come through here often?"
"Sometimes, when I need to get away and think. It is public property, isn't it? I'd hate
to think I had been trespassing on your
parents land all this time."
Caprice giggled. "Not that I know. I came here a lot as a foal to play. I must have
memorized all its paths."
"I wonder why we never met here before," Dietrich pondered.
"It must have been fate," Caprice smiled. "We could have so easily missed each
"Sometimes fate works to one's advantage," Dietrich nodded. "If only our families
could see that."
"Oh, let's not talk about that now," Caprice pleaded. "It's too pleasant a night for topics
"You're right. We mustn't spoil it." Dietrich accepted Caprice's hoof as it was slipped
down to him, and he held it tightly. "What
are your plans for the future, Caprice? Are you going to continue your schooling?"
"My friend Tanzy just asked me that same thing the other day," Caprice confessed. "I
don't have any plans, really."
"A beautiful mare like you ought to have some idea of what she's going to do with her
"Oh, I might get a job eventually," Caprice stared off into space. "And settle down
sometime. What about you?"
"We'll have to see how things work "I'm applying to some colleges," Dietrich said. "I'd
like to get into journalism."
"I suppose that ambition was born into you, your family being publishers and all."
"It could be. Of course, I don't know where I picked up my love of cats from."
"They're wonderful creatures," Caprice said happily. "Tell me again about yours."
Dietrich launched into telling the complete histories of all the members of his feline
brood, and Caprice leaned forward, listening
intentfully. Even at Dietrich's urgings, she didn't add any of her insight to the conversation;
listening to him speak was enough pleasure for her.
However, the sky overhead grew gradually darker, and Dietrich made note of the time.
"The hour grows late," he noted, standing up and helped Caprice up on her hooves.
"You should be getting back home. Will you
be okay alone?"
"I'll be fine," Caprice assured him. "But I hate to leave. I enjoyed getting to know you
"How about another meeting soon, then?" Dietrich suggested. "Are you free two nights
"Oh, I would!"
"Then I'll be waiting for you here, at the same time."
"I suppose my parents still wouldn't like it."
"I won't do anything that would make them distrust me, Caprice. We'll make them see
Caprice's spirits were lifted by Dietrich's confidence. "Alright, Dietrich. Two days from
now. I'll be here."
"Goodnight then, Caprice. Be safe!"
"I will! Goodnight, Dietrich!" Blowing a final kiss in his direction, Caprice was soon
out of sight on the path.
* * *
Tanzy thought the whole situation was very romantic, but Caprice still doubted that her
parents would see it that way. The night
after her secret meeting, she spoke up casually at the dinner table-- as casual as she could sound,
"Why is it we don't associate with the Fairfaxes?"
"I thought we had covered this before, Caprice," Cecil looked up sharply.
"You're not still thinking of that Dietrich, are you?" Cecilia spoke-up in concern.
"No, of course not," Caprice said carefully. "It just doesn't seem rational to think of
them the way we do."
"They're enemies to our business," Cecil said. "Your forefathers worked hard, Caprice,
to start the Monk publishing company, and
I intend to keep the company going strong... without the Fairfaxes gaining any ground away from
"But isn't a little competition okay?" Caprice argued. "It doesn't make them bad
"Let's just not talk about it any more," Cecilia said gently. "Take heed of our warnings,
Caprice. And you, too, Delia and
"Yes, Mother," the younger two chorused automatically. Caprice frowned as she leaned
back in her seat. Apparently, her parents
weren't ready to budge.
* * *
Across town, a young member of the Fairfax family was having a similar conversation
with his parents.
"That Caprice Monk is a nice girl. Why don't you approve of her?" Dietrich stared at
his parents piercingly.
"You only met her once, Dietrich," Helga sighed. "It's hardly enough time to get to
know her. I don't see why you're so hung up
on her." Dietrich, of course, hadn't told them of the phone call and second secret meeting.
"Your mother is right," Reginald agreed. "That Caprice is only from the lowly Monk
family. You would be better off to just forget
"Why can't you just forget this feud?" Dietrich said heatedly.
"Our ancestors had a good reason for staying away from the Monks, Dietrich, and I
trust their judgement," Reginald said
"Well, someone has got to put an end to it someday," Dietrich snapped, pushing his
chair back and standing up. "And so far I seem
to be the only one willing to try." Giving them each a silencing glance, he stormed out of the
"He'll soon be over it," Helga said calmly. Her husband nodded in agreement.
* * *
Despite the negative vibes from their parents, the two didn't forget their next scheduled
meeting. Caprice found Dietrich waiting for
her at the designated spot in the forest the next evening, and a brilliant smile broke out on her
"Oh, I was so afraid you would have forgotten me by now!" she burst out in a rush. "I
know that I haven't."
Dietrich caught her in a warm embrace. "I couldn't possibly forget you, Caprice. Never
"I won't," Caprice murmured, resting her head comfortable on his shoulder. "I only
hope that our parents..." She trailed off.
"They're stubborn, Caprice, and rooted to the past. We must work to stop this war
between our families."
"I just wish it didn't have to be this way to begin with," Caprice said quietly, breaking
away and seating herself on the tree
"I don't like deceiving them any more than you do, Caprice, but if we want to continue
seeing each other..." Dietrich said softly.
"Don't feel guilty. Just hang on longer, and we'll make them see eventually. And then you'll be
glad we went through all this."
"I know, Dietrich." Caprice squinted her eyes shut. "Eventually..."
"Now, you're the one who the other night didn't want to be talking about this," Dietrich
said, trying to lighten the mood. "Let's talk
about something else."
"I can stand for that," Caprice giggled. "You're right, of course. When do you think
you'll have to leave for college,
"Probably not before next spring," Dietrich said. "I'm not sure if any of my applications
will get approved until then."
"I won't like seeing you go."
"We'll still have plenty of time together, Caprice," Dietrich said softly. "Don't think
about it yet."
"I've just never met anyone like you before," Caprice said shyly. "I don't want you to go
away too soon."
"And I won't, Caprice. Never fear," Dietrich assured her. "Now, what was that you
were saying last night about your friend's
plans... Tansy, was it?"
As every hope and dream passed between the two, they both felt the warmth in their
hearts grow. Caprice had never felt happier
than now when she sat with Dietrich holding her hoof, and their precious minutes together passed
quickly. As they procrastinated over saying
goodnight, Caprice turned slightly to look behind her, and was greeted with an unpleasant
Her reflexes took over as she scrambled backwards from the tree and let out a petrified
shriek. Dietrich was immediately on the
defensive. "Caprice! What happened?"
Caprice only cowered behind him and, while holding one hoof over her face,
outstretched the other to point to a certain tree. "It's a
terrible, terrible ugly spider," she managed to get out in a trembling voice.
"A spider?" Dietrich's face noticeably lightened. "Don't worry! I'll save you." Arming
himself with a handy twig, the dreadful
monster was soon banished from its perch and was sent searching for a new haven from which to
"Is it... gone?" Caprice hazarded a look.
Dietrich had to laugh at her fright. "The danger is gone, I assure you."
Caprice smiled somewhat sheepishly. "Spiders are one inhabitant of the woods I don't
get along with very well," she
"Typical," Dietrich teased. "Just be glad it wasn't a tarantula."
"You don't mean to say..." Caprice's eyes flew open wide. "... that those things are
native to these parts?"