Ella begs her father to come back, explaining how awful her stepmother and sisters are.
Meanwhile, she tries to avoid her new family. Luckily, they don't seem too fond of her either, especially as she gets dirtier and dirtier.
The best hiding place is the library. You know, since no one goes there.
Ella spends a lot of time thinking about Char, wanting to bounce ideas off him and make jokes to him.
Char writes back to Ella before her father does, and they keep up a regular correspondence. (To explain all these letters, Mandy pretends she has an admirer. Mum Olga and Hattie think this is hilarious.)
Char writes a lot about the Ayorthaian court: how formal everyone is there, how quiet and thoughtful the people are, and how many imaginary conversations he holds in his head with Ella. He winds down his letter saying he misses being surprised by her, and since he can't anticipate her response, she ought to write back quickly.
She responds to Char's letter with a bunch of small talk, and then describes a ball she attended recently (and by "attended" she means cleaned up after).
Char writes back that Ayorthaians have "sings" instead of balls, where large groups of people gather to sing all night. He ends his letter by asking whether she's still too young to marry.
Actually, he repeats this question in every letter, and Ella answers each time with something silly or funny.
Ella begins to fall in love with Char, but doesn't want to admit it. What if he was joking all along? What if it ruins their friendship?
Char's letters also have stuff about his own life, like his problem with holding grudges.
By now, Char's been gone for six months. After a long day of scrubbing and cooking, Ella finally gets hold of his next letter.
He's totally in love with Ella, and totally confused about her feelings for him. Obviously she likes him or she wouldn't waste paper on him, but does she like-like him?