Thursday, April 9, 2009

Katharine and Dane - Chapter 9 - Dinner and a Brew?

“Here we go my dear.” He said, offering Elizabeth his hand. “Let us make ourselves scarce.” She smiled sweetly at him, and his heart flipped about in his chest. She had looked so uncomfortable making small talk and nibbling at the massive amounts of food that were in front of them. He hoped a walk in the garden would help her relax. “I’ll show you the garden. Its lovely.” She took his arm, and he led her out of the dining hall.

She wasn’t sure she wanted to be alone with him, but she certainly was happy to get out of there. All the people staring at her, she felt so out of place. Could they tell that she didn’t belong? She hoped not. She did what she was told. Try a little of everything, and eat more of what she really liked, but there was so much. She wasn’t used to big dinners. She mostly went to parties where there was dancing, and only a little food. Katharine usually took her meals in the garden, or her chambers. When it was cold, they would take meals in the library, where she and Katharine would sit and knit around the fireplace. Sometimes she would bring the little bit of mending in, and work on it there too. She missed Katharine. She sighed.

“Are you alright my sweet?” He said, warmly. He looked down at her. She seemed melancholy. He wondered if she missed her intended…

“I miss…. Elizabeth.” She hoped he caught her meaning, which was two fold. He nodded. “She and I were always together, and… it’s hard to be away from her for so long.” She would miss both Katharine, and herself. She knew she had to do her best to be Katharine for now.

Duke understood. It must be hard to be away from home, away from the person you have served for so long. It must also be hard to have to be someone else… He knew it was hard for him.

“Tell me about your real life. We are alone… and I would like to know.” He wanted to know how much she had said before was really her and how much was Katharine.

“Well, its mostly the same, we go everywhere together, she is the best friend I have. I guess the only real difference is I have freedom. I can walk through town, or get an ale at the local pub if I would like.” He raised his eyebrows.

“You like ale?” She looked up at him. He seemed amused.

“I know its not proper, but I do enjoy a pint.” She giggled. “Actually I could go for one right now.” His eyes lit up. A pint? Now?

“Let’s see if we can get to the pub. I know one just a short walk from here.” He looked around, he saw Michael standing in the entryway to the Main hall. He motioned to him.

Michael walked over, unsure of what the Duke could want. “Yes, Dane?” He looked from Duke to Elizabeth. They were obviously smitten, which was dangerous, and interesting at the same time. He had never seen Duke smitten before.

“Elizabeth would like to go to the pub… and I would like permission to take her.” Duke asked, more timidly than he intended.

“Are you crazy?” Michael whispered, “This delicate woman at a Pub?” Elizabeth looked from Duke to Michael. She wasn’t used to be considered delicate.

“Please Michael?” She batted her eyelashes at him. “I would love to have a nice ale.” Michael couldn’t deny her. She was such a sweet young girl. He looked around.

“If Edward and Christine find out we are all dead. Take 2 guards. Do not be long.” He warned harshly. Michael waved over some guards.

“Thank you!” Elizabeth gushed, tempted to hug the gruff man. Instead she just touched his arm.

Duke led their little party to the Pub. It was just inside the main wall of the keep. Elizabeth knew that during the daytime the whole area would be bustling with vendors, selling animals, dried meats, mead, ale, vegetables, clothes, and household goods.

They walked into the smoky pub, and immediately were greeted with a resounding “Huzzah!” The two guards placed them at a table where everyone was visible. A wench came over and took their order. Elizabeth had an ale, and Duke got his usual. The wench looked at him funny. For a moment she thought that Dane was looking a bit odd, but decided that it was just the light.

“Are you here enough to have a usual?” Elizabeth asked. She wasn’t sure how often a Prince or a Duke should go to a pub, or how many times it took to have a “usual”. She knew that she did not have a “usual” at the pub in the Moscovia Castle keep. Duke laughed.

“Dear, I come here with… the Duke about once a week. And I am the Prince, a little more memorable than the average patron.” He winked at her. She laughed. She supposed that was true, a Duke or Prince would be a bit easier to remember than some regular citizen.

Their drinks arrived, and Elizabeth sipped her ale. It was warm, smooth, and a little tangy. Perfect. Duke had gotten a mead, he had forgotten that it was what Dane usually got. He sipped it, and watched Elizabeth enjoy her ale.

She was so beautiful. He put his hand on hers. She smiled. Maybe this week wouldn’t be so bad.