I was in this weird phase of my life where I was kind of questioning whether or not I still wanted to act, to be honest, and it kind of felt like something that needed to happen. I kind of needed that time to focus on real life.
“Control yourself Luke! I’m trying to show my parents they don’t own me, not anger them into declaring war,” I chastise Luke as we dance. All night he’s been pulling our hips closer as we dance, kissing my neck, and grazing my earlobe with his teeth as he whispers to me.
“How can I when you look so irresistibly beautiful?” he replies, his lips ghosting over my jawline.
“People are staring,” I whine, looking over at my parents who look like they’re about to put me on the next ship back to France. Other people were starting to look as well; young maidens blushed at Luke and a few men were practically drooling at the skin my dress exposed. One woman with black hair by the cheese table was even glaring at me.
“Well then let’s give them something to stare at,” he captures my lips and I have lost the will to resist him. He’s been winding me up all night.
“About to do it on the dancefloor? Classy,” a voice says, bringing me back to reality. Luke’s friend, Calum stands beside us smirking with a raised eyebrow.
“Calum, thank God! Take Luke and give him a drink or two. Distract him before we do something really embarrassing,” I shove Luke in Calum’s direction before he can protest.
“Will do M’lady,” Calum wraps an arm around Luke’s shoulders, “C’mon loverboy, I’m going to reintroduce you to the world of alcohol.”
Calum came back an hour later as I was talking to a Dutch Ambassador.
“He’s sufficiently drunk,” Calum informs me, interrupting the man’s very boring rambling.
“Run along boy, the princess is discussing important business,” the plump male says.
“Watch it, I’m best mates with the future king of England, so it would be in your interest to stay on my good side,” Calum warns flippantly, making the ambassador scurry away.
“Anyway, as I was saying Luke’s drunk. He might have gotten a little too carried away though…” Calum states as we watch Luke laugh hysterically at a loaf of bread.
“Maybe a little,” I chuckle. I keep an eye on Luke while I talk to Calum, making sure he doesn’t fall in the fountain again. Out of the corner of my eye, I see the same woman who had been glaring at me earlier walk uncomfortably close to Luke and started rubbing his shoulders.
“Who’s that?” I ask Calum, as I’ve never seen the girl before and I had no knowledge that she was new to court. She would have been introduced.
“Oh that’s Avette. I don’t like her much, but Luke must because he’s been sleeping around with her for almost two years,” Calum explains.
“Oh,” I say, suddenly feeling uneasy about the more-than-friendly touches she’s giving him.
“Shit, I probably shouldn’t have told you that. She’s just an old fling, they haven’t done anything since you guys got married. She sort of fled the castle the night before you arrived,” Calum says quickly when he spots my hurt expression.
“I think I need a drink,” I say, heading toward the wine while Calum follows cautiously.
“She probably won’t cause any trouble, but just incase…” Calum drags me over to where Avette is literally clinging to an obliviously drunk Luke.
“Avette, you’re back” Calum greets stiffly.
“Obviously,” Avette replies, glares at me for a second, then goes back to running her fingers up and down Luke’s arm. But Luke didn’t notice that, or even the fact that we were there. He was too busy teetering side to side with his eyes closed, humming something.
“Avette, this is Princess Emmaline of France, Luke’s wife,” Calum announces my title almost smugly to her. He must really not like her.
“I know who she is,” Avette snaps back with extra venom in her voice. She flips her black hair over her shoulder and not-so-subtly pushes her chest out. Luke stumbles and almost falls before Calum steadies him.
“Luke how many drinks have you had,” I ask once his eyes are open again. He holds up six fingers.
“Calum! I said a drink or two, not six!” I scold Luke’s best mate.
“He’s fine Emma, six actually isn’t a lot compared to how much he usually drinks,” Calum chuckles.
“Yeah Em, I’m fine,” Luke slurs and stumbles from Calum’s arms into mine.
“Well you’re not the one who has to wake up to hungover Luke tomorrow morning,” I grumble to Calum and wrap my arms around Luke’s torso, trying to help him keep his balance despite the major size difference.
Four hours later, I am sitting on the floor against the wall with Luke’s head on my lap. He’s been asleep for almost an hour now and I encouraged him, hoping he’d wake up sober enough to walk on his own. I sip on my third glass of wine and I’m starting to get a little drunk as well.
“I think it’s time we have a little chat,” Avette says, sitting down next to me, “First, Luke is mine and he will always be mine. He might be going through a weird phase right now, but he always comes back to me. Second, if we’re going to coexist, I want to set up some ground rules. Like this cuddling thing you’re doing right now, it’s not going to fly with me-” Avette continues to list rules in her whiny voice.
“Wait what do you mean by ‘coexist?’ He’s my husband,” I finally interrupt her angrily.
“Oh sweetie you didn’t think he’d want to be stuck with you and only you for the rest of his life, did you? Obviously he’s going to take a mistress, if not several mistresses,” she talks to me condescendingly, it’s like she forgets that I am her future queen.
“He wouldn’t…” I try to convince myself she’s lying.
“Of course he would. I know Luke’s sex drive better than anyone, and he won’t be satisfied with you. Have you even had sex before?” she mocks. I stay silent, but she sees the blush forming on my cheeks.
“Ha! You’re a virgin!” She laughs loudly enough to wake Luke.
“What the fuck Avette? Shut up and go away,” he says groggily. Avette sulks away, and I start to imagine the future she described. One where I sleep in my private chambers again, and I am forced to listen to the sounds of Luke and another girl from his room. Where to Luke, I’m just the person on the throne next to him. How will I survive without my sunshine in this place of constant rain?
“Em? Can you hear me?” I realize Luke has been trying to get my attention while my world slowly falls apart in my head.
“Yeah, sorry I zoned out,” I say quickly. I’m afraid that if I tell him what she said, he’ll confirm it my fears.
“Are you ready to leave?” he asks. I nod rise from the floor, wobbling a little from the amount of wine I had.
“Someone’s had a little too much to drink,” Luke smirks.
“I believe that would be you Mr. 6-drinks-in-an-hour,” I retort.
“I’m starting to regret that,” he groans, “I’m already starting to get a hangover.”
Most of the people remaining in the ballroom are drunken men and a few servants beginning to clean up the mess. Luke wraps an arm around my waist, pulling me closer as the men start catcalling.
When we got back to our quarters, I quickly dressed into my bed clothes and braided my hair. Luke was slower, complaining of his worsening headache as he finishes some work he hadn’t completed earlier.
“Luuuke come to bed, I’m cold!” I whine.
“Just a minute love,” I says, putting away the documents. I reach for him as he climbs onto the large bed. I immediately plant my lips on his and crawl onto his lap.
“What are you doing?” he asks, his hands clutching my hips closer.
“Making up for earlier,” I know what I have to do to keep him to myself. I’m not sure if I’m ready or not, but this has to happen. This moment could determine our entire future. He grins and flips us over, so he’s hovering over me. The stubble on his chin tickles my chest as he leaves marks on my collarbone. He can probably hear my heart thudding.
“Luke I’m ready,” I say softly. The second the words leave my mouth, everything stops. He lifts his head to look into my eyes.
“What did you say?” he inquires, his brow furrowing.
“I’m ready to do this,” I repeat, trying to keep my voice from shaking.
“Fuck, Em you know I want to,” he groans, “but not tonight. We’re both drunk. I want your first time to be special, nothing like my first time.”
Part of me is relieved. He’s right, I don’t want to lose my virginity just because some wench told me I should. But the other part of me says he only said no because he doesn’t want me. That my inability to please him will be the reason he takes a mistress or seven. The sting of rejection brings tears to my eyes, but I blink them away and put on an indifferent mask. Somehow though, he sees right through it.
“Baby it’s not anything you’ve done wrong. I promise when the time is right, it’ll happen,” he wraps his arms around me and kisses my forehead, then the tip of my nose, and finally a small peck on my lips. I lay down facing him, trying to settle my mind.
“Tell me about your first time,” I request.
“It was a disaster, he says, tucking the hair that was hanging over my face behind my ear, “I was fourteen and I hardly knew what was supposed to happen. The woman was six years older and I was very scared. I learned later that it was completely orchestrated by some important lords and royal advisors. They wanted to make sure I knew how to produce an heir.”
“Oh God Luke that’s awful! I’m so sorry,” I scoot closer to him and wrap my arms around his middle. I had no idea that moment had created the notorious playboy I first met.
“What were you talking to Avette about earlier?” He quickly changed the topic. I couldn’t see his face, but his voice became guarded when he said her name.
“Not much, just casual conversation,” I lie.
“What did she say Em? I’ve known her for years and never has she not tried to create drama,”
“She may have tried to set up rules for me to follow when she’s your mistress,” I wince at how twisted the words sounded coming out of my mouth.
“She what?” his voice raising an octave.
“Some of the rules were actually quite practical-”
“Let me make this extremely clear: I will never, under any circumstances bring her back into my life after I finally got rid of her”
“Then who will be your mistress?” I gulp, fearing the girl he chooses will be worse than Avette.
“No one Emma! I don’t need anyone but you, I love you,” he says passionately. I realize this is the first time he’s ever said he love me. Sure he’s called me ‘love’ but this is different.
“Really?” an uncontrollable smile stretches across my face.
“How could I not love you? You’re the most amazing person in my life and it just so happens I’m married to you,” he kisses me sweetly.
“I love you too,” I say when he pulls away
“Yeah?” he grins, his eyes shining with joy.
“Yeah,” he pulls me so close that I’m practically on top of him. We fall asleep quickly due to the long day and the alcohol in our systems.