Ok, I'll stop complaining because the idea behind it...a PG rated love scene...and by love scene, we mean love scene is to challenge you. Challenges are cool. This is a big challenge for me because A) I tend to write so descriptively that letting me write something completely PG isn't a good idea and B) I write upper YA, not MG which is required for the PG Love Fest. So theoretically my blog is still rated PG, but somehow this post makes me feel like it's not....at least today. I don't care what this blogfest is called, it doesn't feel PG!
Make sure you go over to Simon's blog today and harass him. Also comment on his post. He's the king of this fest and you might as well enjoy the spoils of war...or rather, spoils of twitter and hop over to read the other entries in the fest.
Also...I forgot that the fest was today, so I had to whip this up fast.
Also, it was daylight savings.
The bad kind, not the good.
I am sleep deprived.
Can anyone send me vegan chocolate?
Ok now I'm just stalling.
Here I go.
Have your eyes glazed over yet from my excessive wordiness?
Ok, here we go.
The dust had not even settled from Raoul's riding cloak and boots when my father signed the contract for our marriage. I'd never dreamed it could happen so fast. One moment the guard was welcoming him to the castle, and the next, he was kneeling in the throne room, shaking my father's hand changing the course of my life forever.
I watched the scene unfold in horror from behind a curtain, clutching the hand of Jocelyn, my first lady in waiting. The last three suitors had been turned away with ease. I was too young. He was not worth my dowry. The prince did not follow the right form of our religion. Each one I had managed to stop before it happened, throw a suggestion or idea my father's way and convince him to wait. The next suitor would be the one. We still had time.
Not this time.
My time was up.
I sat in my chambers with a painting depicting the likeness of Raoul in my lap. He was three times my age, and fat, with a weak leg that smelled of pus and other putrid things I did not wish to identify. His mustache curved down in a frown, and his eyes were unkind. I tossed the picture on the ground, only slightly satisified that I'd used enough force to shatter the glass encasing it. But a broken portrait would not repair my broken life. I thought surely I'd have a reprieve of at least a year, a chance to continue my life as Princess in my country, and make it through the rest of my studies with my tutor until my sixteenth birthday.
The wedding was set for tomorrow.
Tears brimmed in my eyes until sobs wracked through my body, and hysteria and fear of being married to a man like Raoul consumed me. I'd never even shared a kiss, and now I'd play his wife? I couldn't...couldn't even think on that. Not even Jocelyn could offer comfort. And my mother the Queen shut me from the royal chambers once she understood I meant to plead for a stop to this union. But with allies needed under the threat of war she could not be persuaded.
The sun set and Jocelyn removed my day gown, unlacing the ribbons of my corset which hung unusually loose--a result of my inability to keep down my supper. After I splashed water on my face and used the cloth on my body, she helped me pull on my night shift. Goosebumps rose on my arms and she moved to light my fireplace. The room had a chill, though I knew it was not the temperature that left me so cold.
"My lady, I must take my leave to the servant's quarters before the doors are locked. Are you well?"
I gazed out my window, through the cross of iron bars that blocked me from freedom. Even if the bars weren't there, escape from this high would end in my death.
I considered the thought. Was life worth living if I had to marry Raoul? I'd heard enough gossip from the servants to know what I should expect from my marriage bed. And enough intrigue from nobles, fresh from their travels with the French ambassador, to know that sharing a marriage bed with Raoul would be worse.
Another tear ran down my cheek and I pressed my face into the cold stone wall so she would not see. "Yes, Jocelyn. I am well. Take your leave."
"My lady..." Her hesitation to leave shined through her voice.
"You may take your leave."
I waited until the door closed before I fell to my knees.
Only a moment later, my door reopened and I sprang to my feet, ready to scold Jocelyn for her return. Though she meant well, she offered me no comfort and it was unseemly for the Princess to cry before a servant. But when I looked up, I saw Christian standing in my doorway. He dropped to his knees in a low bow, too severe for his noble station.
"My lady, I must ask that you forgive the intrusion. I know this is most unseemly, but..." he lifted his chin high enough for our eyes to meet, "I had to see you."
"My father will hang you for such disgraced behavior." It was the standard response, but what meaning did it have anymore?
"I'll be disgraced anyway," he said rising to his feet. "You're to be married." He closed the door behind him and was at my side the next instant, pulling me to my feet.
Christian's father sat on the royal council. And as the son of a nobleman, born a forte night before I was, we'd grown up as classmates, and play friends. I'd always felt rather fond toward him. But never had he come to seek me out on his own. And certainly not in a place as inappropriate as my sleep chambers.
"How did you find entry?" I asked. Even though Jocelyn had retired to the servants quarters, there were still guards to deny entry. No one but my ladies and my mother, the Queen had ever been in here. I took a step back.
"You're crying," he said, not answering my question.
I looked away, forgetting the state of my face. My complexion would not have fared any better, but I suddenly found I did not care. What did it matter? What did any of it matter?
"My lady, I saw the look on your face when they announced the engagement. You do not find the match favorable."
"Favorable!" I scoffed. "My husband is an odious creature."
My husband....the words made the tears fall freshly from my eyes and I found myself sitting in Christian's lap, sobbing like an infant.
"It's hopeless," I cried. Images of Raoul forcing himself on me invaded my mind and I sobbed even harder.
Christian brushed his fingers over my cheeks to dry the latest onset of tears.
"What if all hope is not lost?"
I looked up. "What hope can there be unless a counter offer is made before sunset? And even then, I doubt my father would dare break from his new alliance with France."
Christian sighed. "I tried, but my offer was denied."
I stared wide eyed. "You proposed a marriage to me?"
"I have always loved you, Roselyn."
I gasped. More so from his use of my name than his admission of love. The nobles always referred to me as lady. But then his words began to sink and I knew there was truth behind them.
Christian. Christian I could have lived with. He would have made me happy. Sharing his bed would have been pleasant. But that future was dead before it started. Why had he not made his intentions known sooner? His family owned enough property, it would have been easy for my father to bestow him with a dukedom.
I buried my face against his chest. "It's too late now for such pretty words."
"I know. But I had to come and tell you, and offer you whatever comfort I could."
"My only comfort now can come from a release of my betrothal, something that would only happen if Raoul decided to cancel." I stiffened and looked deep into Christian's brown eyes. "There might be a way," I said slowly. "Do you swear you love me?"
"Yes, Roselyn, of course."
"Do you swear that you wish to offer me comfort, even at the cost of your life?"
Christian hesitated, but he said, "Yes. My fealty has always lain with you. For your love, I would give my life."
It was all I needed to hear. I stood then and pulled Christian to his feet leading him to my bed. "Raoul's a prince of France. The paternity of his heir must not be questioned. If I came to him a ruined bride, he'd have cause to reject me."
Christian's mouth fell open. "My lady...what you're saying is...I'd be banished, and so would you."
"I know." I could see my banishment now. It would be horrible and poor Christian would lose everything. But a lifetime of nights with Raoul was enough to give me my resolve. "Please." My voice shook, fear mingled with desperation. "If you love me, than show me tonight how much you do. Grant my request."
Christian's eyes squeezed shut, and when he opened them I saw his jaw set. Then ever so lightly, he pressed his lips to mine, and we crawled under the covers. I drew the curtains closed to make us blind. And in total darkness, I pulled his body close. He entwined my fingers with his, never letting go of my hand. Over and over again he apologized and I cried in between reassuring him it was okay. Then we hung my sheets when it was over. My task was complete.
I kept the curtain half open, the material wide enough to let in the light from the moon. Christian wrapped his arms around me, and beneath a silvery glow, we began to drift to sleep.
Just before losing consciousness I prayed that my banishment would be quick. And I prayed that Christian's would be more than just a euphemism for the block. Either way, my time was up. At least this way I had chosen the moment and with whom it would end--more could not be asked for when you were the daughter of a king.