Ok... this was supposed to come before "Juliana Throwns a Fit". It is why she did.
The man looked down at something that shone in the sunlight, looped between the fingers of one hand. His reverie took him far away and long ago to a Valentine's Day the treasure brought back to him.
It was a chill February in the Castle at Ratherwood, the Queen's own estate. After a long separation and much travail the King and Queen were together again. As Lawrence dandled baby Peter on his lap, he smiled at Josephine.
"I have a gift for you."
Jo's eyes shone with delight. "What, where? Oh my lord, it is Valentine's Day! What hast thou for me?"
The man's own eyes twinkled with mischief. "Good my lady, I beg thy leave. Thou must find it thyself."
Jo leveled a measuring look at the King. "Oh I must, must I?" What a scoundrel thou art!" She laughed and stood, leaning over to plant a kiss on Peter's head and then on the King's lips. "Where shouldst I look?"
Lawrence looked up comically into the air and whistled a little tune. "Why asketh me? I canst not know." Jo punched him playfully in the shoulder and laughed.
As she stood and started to look about her bedchamber, Lawrence also stood and handed the prince to a nursemaid. "Daddy and Mommy need to go on a treasure hunt, wee one." Peter looked at his father and gurgled playfully. The King performed the ages old "got thy nose" and Peter laughed.
Josephine was searching the room. She looked in drawers, behind tapestries, under the bed and in the bed. She threw open a chest and started throwing her clothes out. The nursemaid hid a look of alarm. Exasperated, the Queen came over and shoved Lawrence in the chest. "Where is it? I demandeth thou tell me!" Lawrence just smiled.
Jo put her finger to her chin and thought. A triumphant look crossed her face. "Ah, I know the very place! Thy chamber!" She did not see Lawrence's smirk as she flew out the door.
In his rooms she tore the bedclothes off the bed, tossed all the King's clothes on the floor, nearly pulled a heavy tapestry down on herself. She looked at the King and then flew to where he had hung his sword on the bed post. She carelessly pulled the sword out of the scabbard. Lawrence flew to her and took the sword.
"Nay, my lady. Thou shalt hurt thyself." He pulled the weapon from her hands gingerly She ignored him, turning the scabbard upside down and shaking it.
"Not here!" she whined.
Again she leveled a considering and now rather irritated look at her husband. She wheeled on the spot and headed resolutely out the door, The King with a wicked smile on his face followed her.
He watched with amusement as she flew out of the keep into the courtyard and hurried to the little garden near the south wall. When she got to it she spun around not knowing where to look. To avoid a landscaping disaster Lawrence said, "My dear, it be not where thou must dig or disturb the flowers. In fact, to be safe, I will tell thee, it is in the garden and not in the garden."
Now she did hit him,, hard on the chest. "In the garden and not in the garden. What in God's name is THAT supposed to mean."
He laughed and feigned an injury to his chest. "Lady, lay off! Thou shalt not find the bauble that way. Think. In the garden and not in the garden."
She glared up at her tall husband. The glint in his blue eyes was infuriating. She thought. A thought came to her that Lawrence sometimes referred to Peter's nursery as a "garden for raising kings". She puzzled him by exclaiming "I have it!" and running back into the keep. He sighed and followed.
In the nursery she had no more luck than she had had elsewhere. She finally turned in exasperation and said, "My lord, I give up the quest. I am defeated. Canst thou at least tell me if I am warm?"
Lawrence smiled and drew her close. "Aye, lady, God knoweth thou art very warm." He nuzzled her ear.
Jo shoved him back. "That be not my meaning. I meaneth, am I near the gift?"
Lawrence smiled and kissed her lightly. Thou art as close and closer than thou hast been to this point."
She stared into his eyes. Slowly a look came over her face, a wicked grin of her own. She started to grope through his clothes. He laughed and squirmed, "Stop! Thou art tickling me!"
Just then as she groped far enough down his jerkin to make him start to smile she located her quarry. It was a little leather pouch with something hard inside. She pulled it out, squealed, and dashed to a bench to open the gift. Lawrence sat beside her, one arm around her waist. She pulled open the drawstrings and reached in. She gasped as she pulled forth a delicate gold chain with a small gold medallion shaped like a heart. In the middle of the heart was engraved "L & J".
She beamed up at Lawrence who took the chain and slipped it around her long lovely neck. He placed the medallion gently on her breast. She pushed back her long golden hair so she could look down at it. She looked back at the King with a misty smile.
He kissed her again on the lips. "This gift is my troth that thou and I shall e'er be in each others' hearts. I love thee so dearly, my Sunshine. May this token of that love e'er remind thee of my faith."
"Oh Lawrence, my love, " she breathed. They kissed deep and long.
Now Lawrence sat on her bed in the castle at Lawrencium, the trinket clasped in his palm. His heart was heavy and his gorge rose with stifled tears. "She didst not take it with her," he lamented. Distractedly he slipped the medallion into his shirt. He sat for a while his face buried in his hands.
In the rooms they now shared, the King and Juliana sat at supper. The dark eyed lady watched her lord with some concern. He seemed tired, dispirited. He played with his food, sipped sparingly at the wine, and sighed more than once.
Juliana finally rose and came over to him. She leaned down, put her arms around his neck and kissed his head. "My dearest, why art thou so silent?" Just as she was about to use one of her practiced touches the King started to shift in his chair to face her. Something clattered to the floor. Both looked, the lady puzzled and the man gone quite pale. Juliana reached to the floor at the King's feet and lifted the chain with its little heart-shaped medallion.
"Juliana," Lawrence began.
Juliana stared at the medallion, running the pad of her thumb over the initials. "L&J". Suddenly she laughed with delight . "Lawrence! Oh Lawrence! It is wonderful! And our initials, how sweet of you."
She ran to her mirror to put the chain around her own neck and gaze at her reflection. Lawrence sat rooted. A hundred thoughts raced through his mind, everything from those memories he'd had during his visit to the Queen's chamber to what Lorin and Larisa would think when they saw the medallion on Juliana's breast.
Juliana threw her arms around his neck and kissed him. She purred and nipped but he could not respond. Not at first. Juliana mistook a small sob as a sign that Lawrence was becoming aroused. She persisted and finally his body took over for his heart.
The next morning Lawrence was ashen as he went through his day. Juliana had donned the medallion and wore it with joy, triumphing at the shocked looks some of the courtiers gave the pendant. As she strutted down the cooridor near the nursery, young Peter was standing with Lorin and his father. He looked at the woman and then at the King. He started to say, "Father?" Then a realization came to him and he frowned. He turned and left his father and uncle alone.
Lorin looked at Lawrence but at the man's stricken and despairing look he said nothing.
Next: Juliana Throws a Fit
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