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What the King did not confide to his friend, Erik, he could barely admit to himself. He was, to put it in a nutshell, embarrassed.
As he tried to work, with Lorin in the room nose to administrative grindstone, Lawrence thought to himself, "How dost a man make his way through the day when he knowest that all about him are thinking of nothing but who is in his bed and what he is doing with her?"
The famous love between him and the Queen was different. It was all-encompassing in the sense that as the royal couple they were the kingdom. When the two drifted off to their privy chambers, the looks were sentimental, indulgent.
But now he was in a completely different situation. People noticed when he was not around. He heard the titters as he headed down the corridor where Juliana's chambers were. That she had closeted herself there was noted. That his pain seeing the Queen's chair at the Great Hall empty drove him to eat alone was noted.. and interpreted.. as well. By God, he even drew sympathetic looks that turned to amusement when he went to see the children.
Everything that had happened in the castle centered on one thing.. his lust. His lust. Juliana was almost irrelevant. What the King was doing with the royal "scepter" was the topic for every conversation, every wagging tongue. How could a man bear it?
Lawrence thought he had never felt so alone. He buried himself in his work, then went to Juliana, the only place he felt safe from derisive looks. There the twain behaved as though they lived on a little island, far from prying eyes.
The King was glad that Erik was in the city. He could handle Erik's disapproval. The others were another matter. From one courtier he divined "Well how the mighty are fallen." From, Shannon, the womanizer who never had a thought for his own wife save when she was in his presence, he felt hot anger. From silent Rory he felt condemnation for hurting the Queen. He knew Lorin and Larisa were discussing him, aghast at his behavior. Percy and Jocelyn just mooned at him, their childish hero worship suddenly dashed.
Lawrence simply tried to be blind to it all, including the self knowledge that he had reduced himself to a figure of mockery… Even the Telegraph had contained a few witticisms at his expense. If he had allowed himself to go on thinking about it, he could not have blamed anyone. They, in their many different ways, were right. He was ridiculous. He had allowed lust to take over his life.
But there was no use. He could not leave off going to her. He was no longer master of his own will. That is, if he had e'er been.
Next: Sir Elerde Finds the Queen
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