“That bitch has gone too far!” Queen Catherine fumed. She slammed her bedchamber door closed and crossed to the massive looking glass that hung on the far wall. Examining her face, she saw few lines and her hair was still dark as a raven’s wing. “How dare she tell me I’m old!” She stared at her reflection without seeing it as she replayed the previous ten minutes in her mind.
She’d been seated at the head of the dining table with her two daughters and stepdaughter flanking her. Catherine had just told the girls that she’d accepted the marriage proposal of Prince Henry. Her own lovely daughters had, of course, been thrilled. Their fortune had been dwindling since the death of their stepfather, King Liam, eighteen months earlier and Prince Henry was rich beyond comprehension.
Evelyn, on the other hand, wasn’t as happy. At 19, she was already past prime marrying age and was still living in her stepmother’s home instead of her own. She’d had the nerve to look Catherine straight in the eye, as she said, “Aren’t you a little old for the young Prince. Surely you won’t be able to bear him an heir.” True, the wench’s words had her speechless for a short time. The girl had never learned to hold her tongue. It was her father’s fault. He’d spoiled Evelyn before his death but Catherine had been trying to remedy that. The girl’s hands were no longer soft and smooth but coarse and callused from hours of scrubbing floors, washing linens, and tending the kitchen garden. Catherine smiled into the mirror as she thought of beautiful Evelyn sleeping in the stables alone but for the horses and the rats for the next week. She’d have no protection from the stable hands, but that couldn’t be helped. “She’s too old to snare a good husband anyway, so her virtue is no longer of any import. Let those randy young men take their fill of her. Mayhap that’ll teach her to keep a civil tongue in her head.”
It wasn’t often that she had such an excellent opportunity to prick her stepmother’s infamous vanity and she relished the way her face had turned red as she struggled for a retort. Her joy was short lived, however. The Queen regained her tongue and used it’s sharp edge to cut her deeply. Her two younger stepsisters joined in as well and she was soon banished to the stable for the next week as punishment for her incorrigibleness. And it wasn’t that she’d never been made to sleep out here in the stable before. But never had it been for more than a single night at once. She’d been able to keep herself hidden from the men that tended the horses, but doubted that she could for a whole week. One or more of them were sure to find her. Fear tied her stomach in knots as she huddled behind some hay bales in the corner. The night air was chill and Evelyn pulled her thin shawl closer around her. She couldn’t stay here. The men had all returned hours before and though she strained to hear any noise, there was none. Evelyn gathered her courage to do what she knew she must.
“What do you mean she’s gone? Have you searched for her?” Catherine’s ire had the servant shaking in his muddy boots.
“Everywhere, my Queen.” He ducked and barely escaped being hit buy the solid gold candlestick Catherine bursa escort threw at him.
“Where do you think she’s gone to, Mother?”
“It doesn’t matter where she is, Gweny. She’ll be punished for her disobedience and I won’t be so kind to her this time.” She turned to the still quaking servant. “Fetch me, Derek.”
“Whatever do you want with that brute?” Glenna, her eldest daughter, asked.
“That brute knows the forest well. If the wench is hiding there, he’ll find her. And when he does, he’ll make sure she never draws another breath.”
“Who do you think she is?”
“Don’t know, Marta. Pretty thing.”
“Dressed fancy, too. Anna, heat some water so I can wash the dirt from her face and get a good look at her.”
“Yes, Mama.” Anna hurried to the kitchen as her parents continued to stare at the young woman lying unconscious on her bed. They’d found her in the barn not a half hour before. They couldn’t wake her so Jack, her father, carried her to the house and put her in Anna’s bed. Even covered in dirt and with hay in her dark hair, Anna could see that she was pretty and looked to be about her own age. Her clothes were torn and filthy but they were obviously expensive. Anna looked down at her own plain dress, “Whoever she is, she’s not a farmer’s daughter.”
“Anna, is the water ready?”
“Yes, Mama.” She carried the kettle of hot water into her bedroom along with a bowl and a washcloth. “She hasn’t waked?”
“No,” her mother sighed as she began wiping the girl’s face clean. “If she doesn’t wake soon we’ll have to send for Doctor Fetcher.”
“The boys will be home soon, Marta. I’ll send Alex for the doc. He can eat his supper when he returns.”
“Everyone, she’s waking!” Anna called through the open door when she he saw the girl’s eyelids flutter. Her brothers and parents surrounded the bed, waiting for her to open her eyes. Doctor Fetcher had already examined her and left. He hadn’t found anything wrong with her but guessed that she’d been exhausted and simply needed lots of sleep. He’d left instructions to notify him if she hadn’t waked by morning. After he left, Marta had ordered Jack and the boys out of the house while she and Anna bathed the girl.
Anna was surprised at the warmth that flooded her veins at the sight of the girl’s naked body, which was just as beautiful as her face. Her skin was smooth and white all over. Marta carefully washed the dirt, leaves, and hay from her hair while Anna ran a washcloth over her body. Her breasts were firm and pink tipped; her stomach flat and unmarked.
“She’s never borne a babe from the looks of her,” Marta commented. “Seems to be about your age, Anna.”
“Yes, she does. Look at her hands, Mama.” Anna turned the girl’s palm upward, showing Martha its work-roughened surface.
“Hmmm…those aren’t the hands of a wealthy girl. Maybe she stole those fancy clothes she was wearing.”
They finished bathing her, dressed her in one of Anna’s nightgowns, and tucked her back into bed. Anna sat by the bed while her mother went outside to wash the girl’s clothing. Her father and brothers came in and sat in front of the fire wondering where the girl escort bursa came from and who she was. Now they all stood around the bed staring down at her as she stretched and opened her eyes. They were a deep, clear blue and filled with fear as she saw the clan standing over her.
“She looks scared,” Brandon, the youngest of them all, noted.
“Well of course she’s scared. Waking up to find us all here peering at her.” Marta took the girl’s hand in her own and felt her forehead. “Still no fever, that’s a good sign. Can you tell us your name, girl?” She opened her mouth and let out a croak. Anna gave her the glass of water from the bedside table. The girl emptied the cup quickly.
“Do you know your name?”
“Evelyn. Where am I?”
“You’re in my room,” Anna told her. “We found you sleeping in our barn this afternoon. I’m Anna.”
“I’m Marta, this is my husband, Jack. And these are our sons, Alex, Jacob, Simon, and Brandon. Are you hungry?” Evelyn nodded silently and Jacob left to fetch the soup his mother set aside for the girl.
“I don’t remember going into your barn,” she was saying when Jacob returned. “I’ve been…traveling for three or four days and have slept very little.” Her stomach growled when Marta handed her the bowl Jacob had brought. She ate hungrily, not spilling a single drop.
“Would you like some more?”
“I’m full, Marta, thank you. Thank you all.” None of the men had spoken to her, but she saw the lusty looks the three older brothers were sending her way.
“It wasn’t a bother. Now why don’t you try to sleep and we can talk more in the morning. I’ll put a pallet for Anna on the floor so you won’t be alone.” Marta stood up and shooed the men out the door. Having Anna in the room would prevent her boys from acting on the lust she saw in their eyes.
“She couldn’t have survived this long in the forest.”
“The search continues until I have her or proof that she’d dead. Is that understood?”
“Yes, my Queen.” The man bowed out of the room leaving Catherine alone in her bedchamber.
“I see now that I should’ve handled this myself from the start,” she said to herself as she took several bottles from the chest against the wall and arranged them on a small table. She mixed the contents from a few of them in a bowl and sprinkled it over several ripe strawberries. Catherine brought a larger bottle from the chest. Carrying both the bottle and the bowl of berries, she left the castle. After saddling one of the horses in the stable, she rode into the forest, her dark brown cape flying out behind her.
Anna watched as Evelyn rolled her stockings down her long legs. The two had decided to go swimming once they had finished their daily chores. Anna and her family had taken Evelyn under their wing and treated her like their own. She’d never been part of a real family before and was happier the past two days than she’d been for the past year and a half. Anna was already removing her dress when Evelyn stood to unbutton hers. The dress was a plain one that Anna gave to her so that the one they found her in wouldn’t get ruined.
“It’s a perfect day for a swim. I’m glad that Marta sent the bursa escort bayan boys to the village today.”
“I don’t’ think it was a coincidence. They weren’t supposed to take the pigs to sell for another three weeks. I told Mama this morning that we’d probably want to come to the river today. My brothers want you, Evelyn. Momma sent them early so they wouldn’t sneak down here to watch you.”
Evelyn laughed, “I’ve seen the way they look at me. Your mother doesn’t think I entice them purposely, does she?”
“Oh no, she just understands how young men are. She explained how sneaky they can be last summer when the Wilson’s boy started hanging around here every day.” The girls were both naked and wading into the warm river.
“You had a beau?”
“Not exactly. He did kiss me once, behind the barn.”
“How was it?” Evelyn was fascinated. Shed never been kissed. She’d warded off the liberties her suitors tried to take as well as refusing their marriage proposals. None of them had loved her, but they did love the money they would gain by marrying her. She told Anna all this.
“I don’t’ know that it’s the same for everyone but for me it wasn’t that great. Nothing that made me want to do with him the things Mama told me about. It was like kissing one of my brothers.”
“I don’t have any brothers. Maybe if I did, I wouldn’t have been so lonely after Papa died.” Perhaps having a brother would’ve meant that she wouldn’t have been at Catherine’s mercy after the King’s death. Evelyn waded back to shore. Anna followed her.
“Are you alright?” She moved close to Evelyn, lightly touching her fingertips to her bare shoulder.
“Yes. Now that I have such wonderful friends.” Evelyn hugged Anna, both forgetting their nudity until their wet bodies were pressed together. Heat coursed through them and each saw fire in the other’s eyes. Not knowing or caring who moved first, they found themselves kissing. Anna ran her tongue softly against Evelyn’s lips and felt them part, inviting her inside.
Evelyn ran her hands down Anna’s back, grasping her slim hips and pulling her closer. Their tongues slid against each other. Anna’s fingers found Evelyn’s breast and she gently cupped it, teasing the tip into a stiff peak with her thumb. Evelyn’s moan surprised and excited her.
They were breathless when they broke the kiss. “I feel hot and achy between my legs, Anna”
“I feel it too. Can I touch you?” Evelyn simply nodded and they lie down on the soft grass of the riverbank. Anna slowly moved her hand downwards over her flat stomach to between her thighs. As her fingers explored the soft, wet folds, another groan left Evelyn. She leaned forward to take Anna’s rosy nipple into her mouth. Her senses reeled when Ana pushed two of her fingers into her. She reached between Anna’s legs and did the same to her causing Anna’s hips to buck against her hand.
Within seconds, both girls were writhing towards a dizzying height. Anna could feel Evelyn’s juices flowing over her hand and she pumped her with her fingers. She plunged her tongue into her mouth, moaning at the sweetness inside.
Just as she noticed her pulsing, squeezing her fingers, Evelyn tore her mouth away, screaming her pleasure to the oaks towering above them. Her heels dug into the ground, her body shaking as she brought Anna to the same release with her own fingers.
The story continues with Chapter II…Coming soon.