Before there was the novel, there were the stories...
by Nan Hawthorne, who also writes under Christopher Hawthorne Moss, Books and Stories b ChristopherHawthorne Moss at http://authorchristophermoss.vlogspot.com
Sunday, April 11, 2010
Juliana Series: Lawrence Does Some Housecleaning, Part I (outtakes)
His arms draped around their shoulders, the King of Christenlande led Erik and Juliana to the chairs set near the fire in the Great Hall. He called for wine and sat back, his feet up on a short bench. Erik took one of the benches nearer the fire. Juliana went to the King's side and fussed over his wounds.
"Oh Lawrence," she started then looked at the King's face, expecting a rebuke for addressing him so familiarly.
Instead he reached his arm around her waste and pulled her onto his lap. Erik grinned. Juliana looked around surprised to see if anyone was watching. In fact a few courtiers were there, eyebrows raised, exchanging glances and figuratively putting a finger in their mouths and holding it up to see which way the wind was blowing.
Juliana carefully touched the cut on the side of the King's face, which was quickly swelling and turning a sickish blue and yellow. "Goth it hurt, my love?" she said in a small tender voice. One or two gasps could be heard from people scurrying out to report the latest gossip.
The King scowled after them and then turned his face up to Juliana's. He tried to smile. "Aye, it hurteth terribly."
Juliana cooed and kissed him on the forehead. "Then why dost thou smile?"
Erik joked, "Isn't it obvious? He just had a hell of a great time beating the snot out of the Irishman."
Juliana gave Lawrence and Erik the look women do that bespeaks a frustrated, "Men!" She pouted her lips and asked her lover, "Why didst thou fight him, my dearest?"
Lawrence shifted his legs a bit to make her weight on him more comfortable, moving her in a way that was far from unpleasant to either of them. He lifted his eyebrows and cleared his throat, looking a little distracted. "Never thou mind," he said in a slightly thicker voice. I did it for thee," he said, looking back into her eyes, this time a little out of focus.
Erik laughed and grabbed the cup of wine the servant gave him. "Bullshit. He did it for himself. Did you not, my lord?"
Lawrence was staring at Juliana, at her eyes, her lips. He said, "How art thou, dear? Is thy cold still with thee."
Juliana looked languorously back at him. "Thou my lord needest some care." She turned to Erik and said something in some language Lawrence did not know. He looked surprised. So did Erik. But Erik then cleared his own throat and said, "Ja." He gestured to the door with his cup and smiled.
The King said, "Thou speakest Danish? A talented lady."
Juliana stood and took his hands, pulling him up to follow her. "Thou knowest not the half of it. Let me take thee to my chamber and patch thee up." Erik laughed and saluted them both. Lawrence let Juliana lead him out by the hand, much to the delight of the gossiping courtiers. Lawrence grinned up at them, wincing a little as the grin hurt his cheek. He said to the grouping, "As thou art all witness to see, the lady is leading me by the hand, not the balls." He and Juliana both snorted a bit at the intake of breath from all about.
In her bedchamber Juliana prepared water, cloths and a tiny silver needle. She came over to the chair where she had placed the King. She said, "I do need to stitch thy cheek, lord, and this shall be very painful."
He took one of her hands and said, "Kiss me, Juliana, and I will swoon. I shall feel nothing but rapture."
She laughed and kissed him. He tried to pull her down on his lap again. She giggled and resisted. "First things first."
It was unmistakable that her gentle touch and careful suturing hurt the man very much. He tried not to show it.. but he winced more than once. When she was finished she took the bowl and the leftover cloths to a table, turned around and saw the King looking a bit haggard. He saw her looking, and changed his countenance to something less troubled.
She stood and looked at him for a few moments. Lawrence through his one good eye saw a flush start at her bosom and head up her neck. In a flash she was on him, passionately kissing him while still trying not to hurt his broken cheekbone. She made a guttural growling sound as she kissed him, then sat up to begin pulling his shirt and tabard up over his head. Her face was flushed. Her mouth was slack. Her eyes were heavy lidded.
The King looked at her astonished. "My lady! What hath come over thee?"
She kissed him hard again and said in a deep throaty voice, "I hast ne'er seen thee fight before. It was magnificent. Thou couldst vanquish any man in the kingdom."
Lawrence smiled indulgently. "Fighting a minstrel is no great challenge. I deemest that Sir Percy couldst have overcome me quite easily. He is an accomplished knight and has about eight or ten years on me."
She stopped pulling at his clothes for a moment and suddenly slugged his left shoulder. "Bastard, thou nearly scared the life out of me! When that man hit thee with his lute and thou wentest sprawling I thought my heart would stop. I thought thou were dead for sure."
She went back to pulling on his clothes. She had much of his chest uncovered and she rubbed her hands over the muscles and chest hair and made a noise like purring.
The King did not reply. He grabbed her wrists, held her standing as he stood and she slipped off his lap. He walked her backward to the bed. His look had changed from astonishment to a dark, hungry ardor. He lay her back on the bed and fell on her, unmindful of his wounds.
In the early evening, they lay in her bed, both breathing heavily and flushed in spite of the room's cold air against their naked skin. The King pulled her to him and cradled her head on his shoulder. She put her cheek against his chest and played with the hairs on his belly. He stroked her shoulder and breast.
"I have been thinking," he began. She tilted her head up to him. "I wouldst prefer to have some place to spend time with thee in the company of others. I need to make some changes. I deemest thou shalt like what is done."
"What shalt thou do, love?" she inquired, her interest piqued.
"Well, for oneI shalt exchange the bed in my chambers for a camp bed."
Juliana pouted. "Where thou wilt sleep alone, my angel?"
He bent his head to kiss her lips. "I do not plan to sleep there unless thou bans me from thy bed. "
Juliana pulled herself to a sitting position. "Thou shalt visit me ebery night?"
"Aye." He smiled into her eyes. He raised his hand to her cheek and traced it with a gentle finger. He let his finger trace down her neck and then over one full breast to the nipple. He pulled her down onto him and kissed her.
Next: Lawrence Does Some Housecleaning Part II