Over the next couple of days Juliana waited impatiently to see what Lawrence had planned. He still supped with her in his chamber, but as Erik was planning to leave again on the first propitious tide he brought him along. Erik was so easy-going and accepting.. a practical man.. that the evening was light, full of good humor and companionship. Lawrence was sorry to see Erik go, since no one else other than Lorin and Larisa would relax in the dark-eyed beauty's company.
Then Lawrence came to Juliana and asked her to come with him to see the changes he had had made. She looked about her in intense curiosity as they went through the winding corridors. As they approached the King's chambers her heart beat quickly. She hoped he had changed his mind about removing the bed and was planning to ensconce her therein.
When the two entered the room Juliana deftly hid a brief look of disappointment. There was no great bed. She looked about her, seeing the great hearth, the benches and chairs, the chest, the armoire and the camp bed. She composed her face as she turned to meet the King's expectant gaze. "My lord, I hast ne'er seen the room with all its furnishings, but this room has a companionable feel. It shall be a lonely bed for a King. So mayst I spend time with thee here?"
The King took her in his arms, smiling a little comically. "Aye, e'en so. That is just the point of the transformation. But thou shalt have to make room in thy chamber for another person's things."
Juliana looked more closely into his face. There was a slightly worried look in her eyes. "Oh, my dear, who is that I must share my rooms with? "
The King's reply made her squeal with delight. "Dost thou have room in thy chambers for the King of Christenlande? "
She threw her arms around his neck.
Lawrence kissed Juliana and then pulled himself away to go to the door. He leaned out and told his page Clancy he did not want to be disturbed. He shut and latched the door and came back to her. He took her into his arms again and asked her, "I wanted a place where thou and I could be in company of others.. though we need not be so all the time. Dost thou like this?" He buried his face in her dark tresses.
With his vision obscured Juliana could look about surreptitiously and note the changes more closely. Although she had never been here, she could tell that some things were missing. A tapestry here or there. And where was the door to the stairs to the Queen's chamber? If Lawrence had forgotten the lady why would he need to obscure the door. But Juliana used long practiced skills to hide her doubt. She pressed her own face into his neck and took a little nip with her teeth. The act had its usual effect on the man.. his body shuddered and he turned his ardent gaze into hers. That familiar look of reason abandoned came over his face. She let him lower her to the bearskin on the floor.
Earlier that afternoon Duke Lorin happened to pass one of the tall narrow unglazed windows in his study. He saw the two Irish minstrels leaving the castle with great bundles. He called over to a servant, "Come hence, man, and tell me. Dost thou know where McGuinness and the O'Neill are bound?"
The small dark man went over to the window and looked out. "Good my lord, I know not of the McGuinness. Shannon hath been talking of taking rooms in the city. To well… uh.. be closer to drink and wenches." The man half raised a worried look at the Duke.
Lorin chuckled, "And farther from the King. Most assuredly a wise decision. The McGuinness is the purse to the man's whims so I expect he hath agreed to share these rooms. Also no doubt wise."
Lorin smiled. He kept his thoughts to himself. "Rory is a double reminder to my lord, of the O'Neill and to my sister's predilection to fall in love with every man who falleth in love with her. Rory is discreet, but that mattereth not to the King." He turned his attention away from the shrinking figures to go back to work.
Next: Josephine and Elerde
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