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The Kings frustration grew bigger with time. He lost desire for his wife, whom he long ago loved, and seeked pleasure with any young girl who slightly resembled lady Cecily. His best friend, and Chancelor, Lord Hurton noticed his particular taste in women.
'You seem distracted Thomas,' James Hurton spoke, 'you have quite a weak arm today.'
'I thought we'd discussed not to talk during the match,' he hit the tennisball and grunted, 'Kings orders.'
'Alright,' Lord James grinned and hit the ball back hard. Hitting the ground and flying right past the King. 'I win.'
The King stretched and put down his raquet, before walking towards his friend whom raised his arms in victory and smiled proudly.
'This must have been what, the second time you've ever won tennis? Get of your high horse my dear friend.'
'Just let me enjoy this moment. And you,' he said and patted his King on his shoulder, 'keep practicing that backhand.' The King jokingly cursed under his breath before following his friend to change into his regular attire.

He was sweating like a farmhand, and he smelled like a pig. This was the one time he never really felt like a King, but like a normal man. At times it was liberating. But sometimes it brought him fear, seeing himself as any other. He brushed his curly blonde hair back and massaged the sore muscles in his neck and shoulders. He was getting older, he didn't need nobody telling him that. The hairs in his beard and one his chest started to turn slightly grey.
He was nearing fourthy, though he looked fine for his age. It was the moment he spend with his closest friend that kept him fit and healthy. And hopefully desirable.
'The day I become fat,' the King spoke to his friend and laughed, 'Make sure to cover all the mirrors.'
'You vain son of a whore. You want me to write that down on paper for you?'
'If you do, make sure to seal it!' the King said.

After the King and lord Hurton had changed into clean clothes, they made their way to the Privy Council meeting.
In one of the private corridors of the King and Queen, they came by Lady Cecily.
Startled that she would come across the King like this, Cecily dived into a curtsey. The King and lord Hurton exchanged a quick glance and a grin came across their faces.
'Lord Hurton, would you please go ahead to the Privy Council meeting and tell them that I am indisposed at the moment and that I will join them when I am able.'
Cecily's father had tought her how to improvise whilst among the Lords at court, but those men where predictable and easy. The King was not just any man. Cecily knew what he wanted from her and he'd grown impatient and unpredictable.
The King could take her here and now, if he wanted, but Father had told her not to give into him yet, though she felt like soon might be the right moment.
'What are you doing here milady?' He asked. But he did not truly care for the answer. He wanted more than simple conversation. He wanted to press her against the wall and undress her. Kiss her and deflower her..
'Running errands for the Queen your majesty,' She put on her mask again. A mask of grace and confidence. And she smiled. A great smile, one just like the one her mother used to charm her father.
'You run many arrends for my wife, yes? So she must trust you very much, maybe I could persuade her to let you run some of my errands.'
'I think the queen does not trust me very much, I think she just rather have me out of sight.'
'Luckily so, milady, for I now have the chance to lay my eyes on you. The Queen has always been blind to the beautiful things in live, I'm afraid.'
'You flatter me, Milord,' her face turned red and her cheeks grew hot.
'But now you have made me quite curious..,' the King started and moved closer, 'why is it that my dear wife wants you away so badly?'
A cheeky smile graced Cecily's face. She knew she would have the upper hand in the conversation once again. 'Well, Your Majesty, I think someone poisoned her mind against me. I suppose there is no maid left in the palace that hasn't gossiped about me and word got back to the Queen that supposedly I am after the greatest man in the kingdom; the King himself.'
'And are you lady Cecily? And if so what is it you hope to gain? Money, lands or just a passionate stolen moment with a man closer to god than any mere mortal man?'
Cecily felt the Kings hand caress the back of hers. 'I don't it would be very smart of me to open up about my heart's desire.'
'Perhaps you need not talk about it.' the King said and pushed Cecily against the wall and kissed her pasionately.
After a long and intense kiss, Cecily pulled away from him. 'I really have to go now. The Queen will expect me back soon.' With these last words Cecily left the King in this empty corridor and moved on to do her task as chief lady-in-waiting of the Queen of England.

~

When the gates of the palace stables were opened, you could see Lady Elizabeth and Prince Richard coming from a distance. In the palm of their hands layed the reins of their two favourite horses. Alongside of them were walking two guards to ensure their safety during their time out of the palace.
‘I am quite sure I outraced you today.’ Elizabeth said with a grin.
‘That was only because I let you, I was enjoying the scenery. You should have done so too, instead of being so competitive.’ Richard said teasingly. Elizabeth rolled her eyes dramaticly and let out a fake sigh, but quite quickly she started to laugh.
‘Well prove it then, prove that you can beat me.’ Elizabeth tossed the reins of her horse to one of the guards, pulled her dress up a little and took a sprint towards the courtyard. ‘Well come on then!’ she yelled when she looked back.
Richard followed quickly in Lady Elizabeth’s footsteps and even made it into the courtyard faster than her.
‘Well, I guess I proved it then.’ Richard said with a grin when a flushed Elizabeth arrived a few seconds later.

In a court full of protocols and expectations, Elizabeth and Richard both enjoyed the sweet feeling of being just themselves with each other; no Prince, no Queen-to-be, just Richard and Elizabeth. To be honest, nobody approved of their friendship anymore, but nobody would say it out loud. Sure their bond as merely children, a girl of 12 and a boy of 13, was encouraged, even admired. But they were no longer 'merely children'. Elizabeth had grown into a young woman of 18 years old and Richard a young man of 19 and not to mention that Elizabeth was betrothed to Richards older brother of 21.
Why nobody dared say it out loud you ask? Well that is quite obvious; nobody wanted to shed anymore light on their friendship than their already was, because heaven forbid people would start to think that Richard was planning on stealing his brother's betrothed.

Elizabeth and Richard were making sure that their horses were taken away by some stable boy, when someone softly tapped the young Lady's shoulder. Elizabeth turned around.
'I am sorry to disturb you, Milady, but your father asks for your presence in his chamber.' said a young man dressed in the livery of her family. Elizabeth knew better than to defy her father and tell him that she would not come, so she apologized to Richard for the abrupt ending of their outing together and followed the Messenger to her fathers rooms.

As soon as she was nearing the double doors that led into her fathers presence chamber, the guards opened them for her. Swiftly she went into the room and was greeted by her father, Edward and older brother, Phillip.
Phillip was several years older than Elizabeth and thus had been longer at court than her; he was an experienced courtier by now. To be exact; he and Elizabeth were ten years apart. They shared the same mother and so Phillip had been heartbroken when she had died after giving birth to baby Elizabeth. In secret, he resented Elizabeth for it. It had been his beloved mother's life for the life of his infant sister. He sure knew what choice he would have made if he would have had the power of God.
However horrible this all may sound to you, it isn't all awful. In his own way, Phillip did grow to love Elizabeth. Maybe not as a good brother should, but he tried his best. Of course he had made sure that Elizabeth did not know about any of his grudges towards her.

'Hello father, brother..' Elizabeth said and kissed them both on the cheek.
'Sit, daughter of mine, we have things to discuss.' Edward said coolly. Elizabeth had always hated her father's cold demeanor towards her. She was deprived of her mother's love from the get go and so she had needed her father's love even more, but throughout the years Elizabeth had come to the conclusion that her father was utterly incapable of loving his children, no matter if they were a boy or a girl.
Phillip had been more of a father to her than Edward ever was, and this said alot because Phillip was far from pefect as well.
'What is it you want to discuss?' Elizabeth asked as she settled herself in one of the great chairs.
'Well there is the pressing matter of your engagement. You are 18 now Elizabeth, it is time that you will be Henry's wife in both name and deed.' Edward said.
Elizabeth knew that her wedding day would be sometime in her 18th year of life, but she had tried to shut the idea out of her mind. She was not ready to be somebody's wife, let alone be Henry's wife.
No words came out of Elizabeth's mouth and so Phillip decided to speak: 'Elizabeth, I have talked to the King and he wants you and Henry wed sooner rather than later. It is very important to him that his son has an heir as soon as possible. This would secure Henry's future as King.'
This time Elizabeth did speak. 'Heir? Brother are you hearing yourself?! I don't merely excist for breeding purposes!'
Edward let out a sigh and a frown appeared on his face. 'Elizabeth, this is no way to talk to your brother. Phillip merely expresses the wishes of the King, but of course, to me it is also very important that you conceive a child as soon as possible. No Queen is safe in her position unless she has given the King a child and heir. And so, imagine what thriumph it would be if you give Prince Henry a healthy boy as heir before he has even ascended to the throne.'
Elizabeth knew that she had lost the argument. There was no point in arguing with men about what the purpose was of women except conceiving and giving birth to children. And so she turned the conversation around. 'And when is the wedding planned to go ahead?' she said.
'The Queen is in charge of planning the wedding and she said that you will be wed within two months.' Phillip said.
Elizabeth had two months left of her carefree youth. Two months left of being just Elizabeth; a whole person and not a possesion of her husband and she was sure she was gonna make the most of it; this she promised herself.



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