"M-Mr. Overland! To what do I owe the pleasure of your presence?" Rapunzel quickly asked as she gave a swift curtsy.
Jack gave a quick bow in return, "Um, I have a very important question to ask of you, Miss Bennett." He gave a quick glance at her younger siblings, "Alone, if you don't mind."
"Oh, um, of course. Jamie, Sophie, please go ask Mama if Mr. Overland may join us for dinner. That is, if you don't mind," she turned to Jack.
Jack smiled nervously, "N-not at all, if your mother doesn't mind."
"Oh will you quit it!" blurted Jamie, startling the two adults. They glanced at him in surprise.
"Jamie! What . . ."
"Oh come on, will you two just quit it with the "do you mind" bit? Really, you should stop trying to so hard to ask her to marry you!" Jack's mouth dropped open as Jamie continued, "So just hurry it up and ask her, will you? Though, you are now definitely coming to dinner, you still have to talk to Dad."
Jack opened and closed his mouth until he somewhat found his voice, "Wh-what, how?"
Sophie burst out giggling as she dashed for the house, "Mama! Papa! Mr. Overland is asking Rapunzel to marry him!" Both Jack and Rapunzel blushed a bright red at the announcement.
"Sophie!" berated Rapunzel, but her sister was already opening the door and rushing in. Jamie merely let out a huff before making his way to the house at a slower rate, but when he got to the door he turned and winked.
"It was pretty obvious with the way she was talking about you! Besides, she thought she'd never see you again!" he grinned before disappearing into the house. Rapunzel turned even redder when Jack glanced at her questioningly.
"Um, would you like to visit Mrs. Gothel? I'm sure she'd be thrilled to see you."
Jack seemed to relax and smiled, "I'd be happy to drop in and say hello before dinner." He glanced at the house, "It might help my nervousness with meeting your parents."
Rapunzel smiled in understanding, "Oh, I'm sure Jamie and Sophie will be able to soften them up quite a bit before dinner. Shall we?" Jack nodded and followed her over to Mrs. Gothel's house. Though it was only next door, the two walked rather slowly, and silently.
Jack cleared his throat before beginning, "Actually, I came here to apologise for my father's behavior, it was rude and senseless. But, I am glad it didn't get any worse."
"Oh, no, I shouldn't have said such things. . ."
"It had nothing to do with your conduct. It was all based on a lie that neither of us knew about. Apparently, because he thought that you were going to be his, Stabbington exaggerated the wealth you were to inherit from Mrs. Gothel. And when my father found out the exact amount, well, he turned you out. You were only guilty of not being as rich as he would have liked, and you had no chance to defend yourself, for neither you nor I knew that Stabbington told him."
"But how did you find out?"
"From my father's rant when I asked him why he didn't straight up ask you or Mrs. Gothel. Really, that man doesn't know how to think or feel unless it comes to money."
"But what I said, what I thought was horrid enough to get thrown out."
"No, your imagination may have gotten away with you, but that was no reason for you to be thrown out. However, your instincts were true. Our mother did suffer at the hands of our father, but not through any physical torture, only through his greed. He only married her for her money, she thought it was for love."
"Oh, how horrible."
"One other thing," began Jack.
"I have broken all ties to my father, I may never speak to him or see him again."
"What did he say?"
"Let me instead tell you what I told him, that no inheritance on earth, no matter how large, would persuade me from feeling bound to you by honor and affection. Will . . . Rapunzel I will no doubt lose my inheritance. I will never be as rich as I once was."
"That's alright, go on with what you were saying."
"Rapunzel, will you marry me?"
Rapunzel lit up like the sun, "Yes, oh yes, with all my heart!" She rushed into arms as they shared a loving kiss, the first of many. Soon the wedding bells rang, and not just for Jack and Rapunzel, but also for Katherine and Nicholas, Nicholas surprising them all with a sudden rise in wealth. And none of it would have happened without that chance encounter at Rapunzel's first ball in the city. Or was it chance? Though, they certainly like to think that it was fate that brought them together. After all, there really was no other explanation.