September 6. I had put off returning to the court of King Henry’s Court for a week and a half. Still, I knew what had to be done. What I needed to do to secure my place, not only in my history, but in the history of the rest of the world.
Together, Eric and I apparated into the room that we had left just eleven days previously. The door was locked, just as we had left it and there, above the hearth, was my crest. Yet now it was not just my initials carved into it. The delicate swirls of EE and ED were beautifully merged into a vision of perfection.
“Come on,” I said, tugging at the hand of Eric, leading him towards the exit and unlocking it as we reached the door at the end of the hallway. I tucked my wand into my sleeve and Eric slid his into the breast pocket within his jacket. When we stepped into the hallway, with sunlight pouring in through the arrow slots, the emergence of old friends and acquaintances was heartily welcomed.
“Oh! Elizabeth! When did you get here? Who is the beau? I heard you were sick! Are you okay?” were only some of the questions that I was pummeled with when we passed amongst familiar faces and voices. Nodding and smiling to all of them, I hastily followed my instinct and made my way to George’s room. A swift knock on the door and a shout of, “Just a moment!” later, the door was opened and a slightly disheveled George stood before me, shirt untucked, breeches hastily tied.
“Elizabeth!” George exclaimed, wrapping me in a tight brotherly hug before kissing me chastely on the lips.
“Oh, George. It’s been so strange not seeing you every day!” I cried in response, hugging him just as tightly as he hugged me. “How have you been?!”
“Oh, pretty good. Anne in confinement is the most freedom that any of us have had in the past six years.”
“I see you’ve been keeping busy,” I whispered when I saw Sir Francis coming around the corner from George’s privy chamber. “George, you are being careful, yes?”
“Elizabeth, I couldn’t be more careful if I tried,” George attempted a lighthearted chuckle.
“I just don’t want you to get caught. If you’re arrested, I don’t know how the Boleyns would survive without you.” A cough behind me reawakened my senses. I extended my hand behind me and I felt the large hand grasp mine, reminding myself of why I was back in this despicable court.
“Eric, Sir Francis Weston. Sir Francis, this is Lord Eric Donnan.”
“Lord Donnan?” Sir Francis questioned.
“Umm, yes. He’s from the Scottish territories. He also happens to be my advisor of sorts.”
“Pardon me for asking, but a miss needing an advisor? Surely you’re not in some sort of cult...” Sir Francis pondered.
“No Sir Francis. I am not a part of anything illegal. Worry not for me. I can perfectly defend myself.
“Lord Donnan also happens to be my betrothed.”
“Oh Elizabeth! You’re betrothed!”
“Yes, George!” I squealed, kissing George on the cheek. I smiled sheepishly as I did so and turned to capture the lips of my beloved. “Don’t worry, Honey, I love you too.”
“An honorable love,” I heard George mumble sadly. “If only we were so lucky,” he continued, gazing deeply into Sir Francis’ eyes.
“We’re all going to hell anyways. We might as well enjoy the time that we have left,” I responded, averting my eyes from the intimate scene that lay before me. “Come on, Eric. Let’s leave them to their privacy. It’s hard enough to get a private moment in this castle as is.” With a last glance over my shoulder, I saw a glimpse of the two royal knights locked in a battle other than that against a foreign enemy.
Together, we stepped out of George’s privy chamber and returned to the halls of the castle, turning down this hallway and that. My knowledge of the castle was comforting, and I found myself eagerly hating the lazy life of a courtier. Slow walks through the hallways, anonymity always kept by the unfaithful friends that followed and the flagrant show of wealth was all too familiar. My mind was bored by card games and talks of marriage now. It was all I could do to stop myself from turning to Eric and begin bringing up the War. But I knew I had to keep up appearances and instead turned my attention to the couples kissing in hidden alcoves, shamelessly rubbing themselves on each other in broad daylight. I was sickened by their blatant actions and averted my eyes when we rounded the corner to the Dining Hall.
I frowned upon the fiery sconces and heavy tapestries that adorned the once heartwarming room. Their once peaceful glow and art was forgotten after the splendor and magnificence of the Great Hall at Gaelen. A surprising visitor greeted me at the door when I walked in.
“Elizabeth, my dear. How are you doing?!” a jovial voice rumbled from above me. I nearly bit my tongue to the point of bleeding when I looked up at the plump face that belonged to King Henry VIII. I quickly swept into a forced curtsy, inwardly fuming with the fact that I was as royal as he, and yet, I was required to act as though he still had complete and utter power over me. When Eric rose from his bow, our eyes met only for a brief moment, communicating the need for us to once again, keep up appearances and hide our royal status. I used the moment to remind him to keep his hand off of his wand. Henry would likely make some advance upon me I couldn’t let Eric hex him to oblivion.
In this court, I was still known as Elizabeth, Marquess of Hamilton, oh and gentlemen, she’s S-I-N-G-L-E. The rude remarks were nothing from the ordinary for me, but Eric was not used to the brusqueness of this court. At Gaelen, I kept the men in line. But here, I had no power.
Henry swept me into a deep hug and attempted to bury his face along the low neckline of my dress. My bosom, although small, had pleased Henry at one time, and he rarely forgot a woman that he loved. But I had forgotten him, for I had never loved him. I had forgotten about the torment and turmoil of the court, and I had forgotten the status quo.
A low growl sounded from behind me and I knew from the sound of it that the noisemaker was no dog. Eric’s feral growl only was heard when he was in protective mode. He was my bodyguard and to him, King Henry was a visitor upon his territory. And an unwelcome visitor at that. I motioned subtlety for him that King Henry was indeed welcome in my bosom and the growl turned possessive. The voice resonated throughout that hall and while I knew that Eric was waiting for me to push King Henry away, the jealousy that was building inside him would eventually spur him to attack Henry and I couldn’t let that happen. Still, I had to give Henry as much time as possible for us to avoid suspicion.
Not long after the dialogue screaming in my head to stop Henry quieted, Henry attempted to slide a hand down my stomacher and he knew he crossed the line when I pushed myself backwards towards the wall and the safety of Eric.
“Milord, I’m sorry, but I cannot.”
“And may I ask why?” Henry questioned in a huff.
“Milord, I am betrothed. I’m afraid I’m off the market.”
“But your future husband isn’t here,” Henry said, eyeing the crowds and stepping towards me again.
“Ah, but Your Majesty, he is here. Eric!” I called, trembling with the effort to remain upright when the heady fumes wafting off of Henry were pushing me towards unconsciousness. Immediately, Eric stepped forward and placed a defensive hand around my waist.
“Eric, His Majesty King Henry Tudor VIII. Milord, this is my Betrothed, Dr. Eric Donnan, of Scarborough.”
“A doctor? What is your field of study?”
Eric was quick with thinking on his feet. “Philosophy.”
“A most fascinating subject.”
“Truly.” The tension in the air was reaching a point of unbearable levels and Eric’s wand hand was twitching, as if he was debating whether or not to use it.
“He’s not worth it,” I whispered softly and Eric nodded in response.
A long silence ensued while the two men held a stare-off as if competing for my heart. The quiet was broken by Henry who, as he turned off to leave, cried over his shoulder, “You take care of her! She’s a real pleasure.”
“Mmmmm, don’t I know,” Eric murmured back, throwing the unorthodox status of our relationship in the face of the man who broke it daily, yet never had it broken against him.
“Eric!” I gasped, knowing that our relationship here was fresh news and that I would be swarmed with questions about the pain, the pleasure, and the ecstasy that follows as soon as any of the ladies found out. I found myself to be violently yanked out of the cold hall and into the breezy hallways that lay outside.
“So now I’m a doctor, am I?”
“You’re the only doctor that could ever heal me of heartbreak. The only doctor who could ever heal my everlasting needs to be cherished and loved.”
A low chuckle emanated from behind me. “You enjoy tormenting me. You just love to watch me squirm.” Eric murmured huskily in my ear.
“Eric, that’s not true. I don’t enjoy this any more than you do. I don’t like to have to hide who I am.”
“Perhaps not. But you love attention. And you’ll take it from any man who will give it to you. But that’s not going to happen anymore,” Eric threatened.
“You can’t stop my own brother from loving me, Eric.”
“But I can stop him from releasing his affections upon you,” Eric said, trailing a loose finger over my shoulder and along the top of my dress, his mouth following after. When he reached my lips, the kisses were wracked with desire, and marred with jealousy. Everything that was within reach, Eric wanted, and everything that wasn’t, he didn’t want to wait for. Our mouths were locked together in a battle that would last until we grew short of oxygen and in the process, the skin on my lower lip broke as Eric bit me with such force as to physically show the pain that he felt within. The salty taste of my blood mixed with the sweetness of his saliva conjured a reaction within each of us, desiring more, and unable to hold ourselves back.
Pushing me backwards until I was pressed against a wall, Eric continued to further the kiss, licking gently at my lower lip and then forcing his tongue betwixt mine. Unable to move and unable to fight, I succumbed to the passion that raged within my body and toyed gently with the malleable muscle that fought with my own. Eric’s body was pressed tight against mine, forcing out any air particles that stood in our way and while his hands kept busy in my hair, my arms were wrapped around his neck, holding onto him as if he were my lone rock in a deadly, thrashing sea. Every inch, every centimeter of our bodies were in near contact, only clothing blocking the way.
And onward jealousy spurred the kiss. The rough hands of my lover were slowly making their way along my sides, unable to reach my back and unable to untie the laces of my stomacher. My senses returned when his palms settled on my hips and he attempted to move his hands beneath my skirt.
“Eric,” I breathed heavily. “We must stop. This is not why we’re here. We’re here for no other reason than to see Anne. Please, we must stop.”
Eric grumbled with dissatisfaction. “You just wait, Elizabeth. When our marriage is consummated, there shall never be another man’s lips on yours, nor another man’s hand upon your breast. We will never have anyone but each other.”
“I shall never need another man but you, Eric.”
“Come then. We must find Anne before her maids tell her it is time for her to rest once more,” I laughed, stepping out of the dim, shadowed corridor and into the airier hallway. I had forgotten the tiny size of Greenwich Castle in comparison to the immense, unknown hallways of Gaelen and found myself in front of the gateway to Anne’s chambers in mere minutes rather than the half hour it took me to go from the Great Hall to my chambers back home. Ignoring the ladies that loitered in the central room, I sat Eric next to the nicer of my two ‘sisters,’ Mary Boleyn, now known as Mary Stafford, recently married to William Stafford. I shoved my way through the throngs of women pursuing me with questions and threw open the door to Anne’s birthing chamber where I was greeted by a very surly pregnant woman, lying alone in the silent chamber, awaiting her fate.
“Oh, so it’s you. What are you doing here? I thought you were too busy in that play castle of yours,” Anne snapped.
“What a predicament your ambition has gotten yourself into. There you lie, silenced with the torment that is childbirth while all around you, we live in grace and glory. Your entire family is better off with you in this dark hovel of a chamber. No windows. No light. Not even a breath of fresh air. And here I am. Your ‘ungrateful, despicable freak of a sister.’ Freshly betrothed and in love no less! You married for ambition, Anne. And now you’re stuck with a man who can never make up his mind. Without me, you’re nothing. Without that potion, you’re nothing. Have you been administering the potion while you’re in this...place? I’m guessing not since his attentions have been turned towards Madge Shelton of late. Oh, not so eager to hear that, eh? Yes, the newest Boleyn pawn is Madge Shelton. How eager she must be to keep the King’s eyes away from you so that she can claim your position on the throne,” I growled.
“I told your future then Anne. Perhaps you remember cursing me for being a heretic at the time. Or perhaps your memory doesn’t stretch that far. You can call me a heretic all you wish now Anne. But I’m only a heretic when I’m here, at this infernal court. Back at my home castle, I am leader above all. I have surpassed even your ambitions and I have an infinitely higher level of power than you. Your ambition has gotten you nowhere. Here you lie, a false Queen of England. Bound to follow her husband’s every whim. All for the good of your son,” I spat. “Well, what if you don’t have a son. What if the child you carry is in fact, a daughter?”
“Don’t say that.”
“I can say whatever I like. I am a true queen. Not an imposter like yourself. I can tell you if the baby that you’re carrying, that you’ve tried so hard for by eating asparagus stems, praying to G-d, doing everything that is within your meager powers, is not a son?” I watched Anne shudder in horror and bare her teeth. “You do know that I have the power to determine the sex of the baby, even with it being this close to the time when the baby is to be born.
“Believe it or not Elizabeth, we are still related. My family took you in as a small helpless child and you have not repaid your debt.”
I chuckled with malice embedded in my throat. “Anne, I have more than overpaid my debt. If it weren’t for me, you would never have worn those dresses that caught the king’s eye when you first came here. If it weren’t for me, you would simply be an insignificant lady-in-waiting and Katherine would still be queen. If it weren’t for me, you would never be lying in this birthing chamber with a child of King Henry VIII in your belly. I got you to where you are. If not for me, this family wouldn’t be where it is. In fact, I think your family owes me now.”
“And what do you want me to do? Scrub your feet? Kneel at the edge of your bed and pray for you? Henry would never stand for it.”
“Something as insignificant as that would not be worth the blood and sweat that I have put into this family’s ambition. I want something more. I want to be forever remembered in the Boleyn family. In the history of the world. I want to be commemorated yearly.”
“You want me to suggest making you a saint in the church? I wouldn’t mind watching you be crucified or killed on a Catherine Wheel...” Anne snarled.
I removed my wand from the inner folds of my sleeve. “No Anne. I want something more than that,” I paused, holding the tip of it to her swollen abdomen. “A simple incantation is all I need to ensure that this baby’s sex is a female and down would fall the Boleyns. Do you want me to do that?”
“Never!” Anne yelped protectively, holding her hands over her bulging stomach.
“Then promise me this and I shall never lay a wand upon the child that you carry.”
“What do you want Elizabeth!”
“If you should happen to have a daughter,” I replied while Anne hissed at the insinuation that her child would be a girl. “If you carry a daughter in your womb, I want you to name her Elizabeth. Should you have a daughter and you name her after me, she shall be the most remembered Queen in England.”
“NEVER! Why would I name my child after you!”
“Because Anne, I could even kill your child in your womb. I could leave you barren for eternity. And Henry will have to look elsewhere for a son. He would forget you and the Boleyns and move onto a more fruitful family. Perhaps even marry Bessie Blount. She got a son off him, didn’t she?”
“Henry wouldn’t let that happen,” Anne stated steadfastly. “Besides, you’ve left me enough of that potion to last me until I can find a new apprentice witch to make it for me.”
“Even the potion cannot help you if you are barren.”
“And how would you know?”
“Who is the witch here? Me. Who knows the most about this potion? Me. Who concocted the smelly thing for you whenever your supplies ran low? Me. You can’t expect a young medi-witch to know as much about this as I do. This potion is of my creation. The directions and ingredients are written in my mind. And I will never write them down for the likes of you.
“And so, will you take me up on my generous offer? Or shall I leave you childless for eternity, thereby bringing the Boleyns down with you.”
“Do your worst,” Anne said shakily, her voice uneven with nerves.
Instantly, I raised my wand and as I muttered the first half of the incantation, Anne threw up her arms and shrieked, “STOP!”
“I’ll do it. I’ll do it. I’ll name any female child that I have Elizabeth.”
“I don’t trust you Anne.”
“No, you see, I will not leave here without trusting you. I did not come alone,” I said, striding over to the door and opening it to allow Eric access into the dark chamber. “Eric, Queen Anne Boleyn. Anne, Lord Eric Donnan. My betrothed fiancée.”
“You trust him more than your own sister!?” Anne roared.
“Anne, we are not sisters. I am of purer blood than you in every sense of the word. My lineage is not a history of royal whores and sailors. My lineage is a history of noble conquerors. And yes. I trust him much more than you. He has given me reason after reason to trust him.
“Lord Eric Donnan, will you be our Bonder?” I asked formally.
“I will,” he responded.
“B-b-b-bonder?” Anne spluttered furiously. “What is this about a bonder?”
“There is to be an unbreakable vow between us, Anne. There needs to be at least one witch or wizard doing the bonding, known as the bonder, and at least one witch or wizard who is in the vow. I told you Anne, I don’t trust you. You cannot break this vow. No matter how hard you try,” I returned, stepping forward and sitting beside her on the luxurious bed. I took her small, delicate hands in mine and looked into Eric’s eyes, nodding for him to begin the spell. He placed his wand upon my fingertips and my eyelids fluttered as I spoke the words that would tie Anne to this agreement, forever.
“Will you, Anne Boleyn, promise to name your daughter, should you have one, in memory of me, Elizabeth Everard? Will you tell all who inquire as to the origin of her name that you named her in honor of you honorable sister that you respect and endear so that England can have a part of her in their legacy as well?” I asked as three cords of white-hot rope shot out from the tip of Eric’s wand, waiting for Anne to agree and bind our hands together.
“This is idiotic,” Anne grumbled.
“Do not forget that I have the power to drag this family down to where it once was so many years ago. This isn’t just your ambition you’re playing for. This is your life. You know as well as I do that if Henry doesn’t get a son off of you that he will lose interest and execute you.”
“You would be surprised to know what I can read about others. Agree now, or forever hold your peace and die a most painful death.”
“I will,” Anne whispered with bitterness in her voice as the three coils found their way around our hands and formed an indestructible cable. After thirty seconds or so, the lines disappeared into the darkness and our hands were freed.
“I know the look in your eye, Anne. I know you’re thinking of ways to name your child after yourself. To try to escape this clause. To embody your own glory rather than allow your child to gain their own immortality. ‘Queen Elizabeth.’ It has a lovely ring to it. Don’t you think? It’s the proper name of a ruler. One who is merciful, but strong. A lover, and a fighter. Don’t you agree, Eric?”
“A lover and a fighter indeed. One who will touch the heart of millions and will be loved by her country. Just as you are, my love,” he prophesized.
“Oh, I’ve heard enough of your sickening love talk. I’m going to find a way out of this Elizabeth. You just wait and see.”
“No Anne. I don’t think so,” I laughed menacingly. “At least not by the time that you have that daughter.”
Night gave way to morning and Anne’s contractions had started in the wee hours. Soundly asleep, I was, lying peacefully in my oaken bed with the heavy velvet curtains drawn, held in a warm embrace by Eric who was sleeping alongside me.
“Lady Elizabeth!” A femine voice called outside the door. “Lady Elizabeth! Queen Anne is calling for you!”
Grumbling, I rolled out of bed and tied a fur robe around my shoulders to guard me against the icy morning wind. Eric’s hands grasped for me when I stood but with a swift kiss and a quiet murmur of my destination, Eric begrudgingly let me go.
Completely exhausted, I lead the young servant to the door to Anne’s room. A bloodcurdling scream echoed from within and I rolled my eyes. ’So lives Anne Boleyn, Queen of England,’ I thought to myself and stepped inside the torture chamber.
The fire in the hearth kept the intense heat in the room overbearing while Anne writhed in pain on the birthing stool, the midwife kneeling by her feet. Sweat poured off of Anne’s brow and the grimaces of childbirth were permanently etched across her face. The contractions were coming quicker and quicker and the baby was due to be born any moment. The poor midwife was subject to all of Anne’s curses and anger and had a slight cut on her arm from when Anne threw one of the glass vases across the room. Henry sat calmly beside Anne, his pudgy hand firmly gripped by Anne’s pallid delicate one.
“Your Highness, push! Just a few more!” the midwife encouraged as Anne threw her head back with a spine tingling screech.
“HERE. IS. YOUR. SONNNNNNNNN!” She shrieked as she gave her final push and the waiting hands of the midwife caught the child falling towards the ground beneath the birthing stool. A quick snip of the scissors cut the umbilical cord and the midwife dried the baby with a clean blanket.
“Let me see it. Let me see my beautiful son!” Anne yelled, her hands reaching out for the small child. The midwife held the babe out for Anne to take, nearly cowering in horror of what Anne’s response would be. But no verbal response emanated from Anne. Her hands shook when she looked at the sex of the baby and she immediately shrank away from the newborn child, almost dropping it on the hard stone floor in the process.
“I-i-i-it‘s a girl.” Anne shuddered and stared directly at me. “You knew. YOU KNEW I WAS GOING TO HAVE A GIRL!”
“Not now Anne,” I hushed.
“Yes now! I want everyone to know that you’re a freak! A witch! A heretic! Henry! Look at her! Look at the glint in her eye! There was a boy in my stomach yesterday! I could feel it! She turned our baby into a daughter! A useless daughter!”
“A daughter is wonderful, Anne. Any child from you is wonderful,” Henry soothed.
“She’s a witch! I promise you! She’s a witch! She has a wand in her sleeve! I’ve seen it!”
“Anne, you’re delirious. Please, come back to your bed and rest. The midwife will clean up. The servants will clean up. You need to sleep.”
“I don’t need to sleep! I need her to be killed! Murdered!”
“Anne, she’s your sister. She’s never been anything but good to you.”
“You’ve never seen her dark side, Henry. You’ve never seen the true Elizabeth. She’s a cheater and a foul temptress. She’s a witch! I swear!”
“Anne, please, lay back. Sleep. We’ll name our beautiful daughter tomorrow.”
“That’s just it. She’s cursed me to name our daughter after her! She made me promise with some form of witchcraft!”
“Anne, I don’t believe your accusations of witchcraft. It’s such an unrealistic field for your beautiful sister to be in. And I don’t see any reason not to name our daughter after her. She’s been such a faithful sister to you. Although I was hoping to name our daughter after my mother, Margaret, but the name Elizabeth is so beautiful, I love it. A strong name for a strong woman. Just like you Anne.”
I smiled in triumph when Henry agreed unknowingly to my demands. Anne’s outbursts of my witchcraft were of no worry to me, for Henry had cast them off as post childbirth delirium. I stepped over to Anne and curtsied at the edge of her bed, which now held both her and the King.
“My sister, I am so grateful that you have decided to name your beautiful daughter after me,” I answered graciously. “You are too good to me.”
“Elizabeth, you cursed me into this. I had no choice.”
“Anne, I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Elizabeth, you’re going to hell. I swear it.”
“Anne, you can curse me to Hell and back. But there’s no way to escape this. I’ve been far too good to you for all these years. I’m glad that you’re finally recognizing all that I’ve done for you. Thank you for the honor. And you too, Henry. Thank you for this honor,” I said as I backed out of the room and left the presence of Anne for what I hoped to be the last time.
I slipped back into my inner sanctum and although the sun was already high in the sky, Eric lay peacefully asleep under the blankets, just as I had left him a hours earlier. I silently changed into my chocolate brown gown and struggled slightly with tying the laces across the back to their proper state, smooth and taut across my back. I left my hair down for the moment and fastened around my neck the emerald encrusted sword necklace that Eric had given me back in my fifth year at Hogwarts. I wore the trinket daily now as a reminder that I would always have someone at my side.
“Eric, Eric, come on, wake up. We’re heading back to Gaelen today,” I whispered loudly, gently shaking him.
“Must we leave so soon?” he grumbled.
“Eric, it’s already past noon. Anne’s had the baby, and it’s a girl. She’s blaming me for the birth of the daughter and Henry, well, he must have had some of that potion this morning because he was truly in love with her this morning. I’m guessing Anne had George slip it in this morning in hopes that he would take her side if the baby were coming.”
“Take her side on what?” Eric asked groggily.
“On the naming of their child. Stop being a dunderhead and hurry out of bed. We’ve got places to go and people to see.”
“The only place we have to go is home. But why wait until we’re home,” Eric said, grabbing my wrist and sitting me next to him on the bed. “Why wait at all? Now that the muggles have their heir, lets make ours.”
I pulled my hand backwards, preparing to slap him but as I released my hand, he caught it with the reflexes of a trained warrior and pinned me beneath him, kissing my jaw slowly, leaving tantalizing trails behind. With my hands pinned on either side of me, Eric positioned himself so he was straddling my waist and continued his feverish absorption of the heat that was rising off of my body.
“Eric, Eric, no. No,” I commanded firmly.
“Why not?” he continued kissing lower and lower on my collarbone.
“Because Eric, I said so. When I say no, I mean, NO. I am not your property. If anything, you are mine. If we are to make love, I will say when and where. And it will not be in this filthy castle filled with hopeless muggles and mudbloods. It will be in our own castle after our marriage. I’m committing myself to celibacy until our wedding. We cannot have a child born out of wedlock. I’m sorry Eric, but you must wait until after the wedding to bed me once more.”
“Elizabeth, we don’t know when the wedding will be. Just one more time before we stop. Just once more.”
“No, Eric. Not even with a contraceptive charm or potion will we make love. I’m sorry. You must understand that I’m doing this only for the good of our people. I’m doing this only for our kingdom. The wedding will be when the war is over. I don’t want to be married in fear.”
“Elizabeth, you heard Lord Lestrange. The final battle won’t even be until December of 1534 or January of 1535! I don’t think I can go that long without you.”
“Eric, you’ll have to learn. I am the Queen and what I say, goes. I can trust you Eric. That’s why I’m telling you this. Because I love you and I trust you.” Eric turned away from me in a huff and stood from the bed, obviously frustrated.
“I just don’t understand.”
“If a child is born to us before we are married, you know as well as I do that the Lords will claim the child illegitimate and our future marriage invalid. I cannot have them take you down. I don’t want to rule without you.”
“Elizabeth, if I die on the front lines, you will have to rule without me. You will have to stay strong.”
“You won’t die on the front lines.”
“You can’t be so sure about that. The mudblood rebels are quite strong. The longer we wait to attack, the longer they have to prepare. I’m just warning you about what can possibly happen.”
“Eric, you won’t die. You can’t die. Without you, I can’t stand up to the Lords. There will be nobody on my side if you die.”
“Nobody on your side? Everyone will be on your side. Every man will want to be your husband. Every man will want to be the one to marry you.”
“They’ll all lie. They always do. They tell me what I want to hear. You’re my only advisor that I can trust. I won’t rule alone.”
“I’m simply saying that if I die in the line of fire, you will have to find someone else to take the position of King. Someone else to marry and someone else to father your child.”
“Are you suggesting I look elsewhere?” I asked.
“Never.” Eric snapped. “I don’t want anyone else to have the pleasures of life that you have given me. I don’t want anyone else to take you to their bed. I don’t want anyone else to be the love of your life. That’s my task.
“If you’re so determined not to rule alone, then the sooner we marry the better. We can have our heir before the final battle and in case I fall and you refuse to rule, there will be a child to pass the crown to.”
“Eric, I am not allowing my child to be born into a world of fear.”
“There’s no other way, Elizabeth.”
“There must be. And we will find the other way.”
Eric sighed deeply and stood to dress himself while I finished packing my bags. I watched the toned muscles ripple under the silky-soft skin and found myself wanting his touch, wanting his body to be claimed as mine. My breathing grew shallow and I whimpered slightly.
“It’s not so easy, is it?” he asked. “Watching the one you love and knowing you cannot have them for a great deal of time. Now you know the torment I felt those first four years of school. Now you know the torment I felt during those six long years I waited for you to move to Gaelen. I would look in upon you and observe your graceful, cat-like movements and fight to keep all desire down within myself. And now we must wait another year before we can be one with each other. Another year, Elizabeth.”
My mind raced with possibilities and my heart beat with rapid yearning. Still, I knew what I had to do for the good of my people. Conflicted with personal interest and good intentions, I made my decision. I stepped across the room and took his hands in my face, kissing the lips gently. “I love you, Eric,” I whispered as my hands reached around for the lacings of my stomacher. “We must keep all a secret, and ensure that no baby will be born into my womb until the war is complete.” I slipped the stomacher to the floor and pressed my half-naked self against him. “But until then, just know that I love you.”
A/N: Ah Ha! Now the true reason emerges that I named my lovely main character Elizabeth! (Besides the fact that I love the name. XD). And to think that this began as a half page clip in MS Word. Now, it’s 14 full pages. Le Gasp! R/R please! Pretty please? With a cherry on top? Please forgive the kissing scene/other scenes...I did my best! I hope it’s believable! Sorry about the amount of romance-ness in this chapter...I was in a romance-y mood this week!
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