Monday, June 15, 2009

Katharine and Dane - Chapter 10– Katharine meets Dane

“Lady Anne!” Dane enthused, “You look lovelier than ever!” Anne hugged the young Prince. She had always adored the boy. She was sad to hear that he did not want to marry Katharine.

He looked around. Not much had changed since the last time that he had visited. The only thing that was really different this time was that there was not as much pomp and circumstance at his arrival. Not being the prince for a week or so could be fun.

“Duke! It is so nice to see you.” Lady Anne winked at him. “Please let me show you to your rooms!” She led him and his few servants to the rooms that had been prepared for them.

“Now,” She said, “Elizabeth will be here soon, and I really want you to meet her. She would be a good catch for a man like you. She’s sweet, kind, a little sheltered, though. Rarely gets out of the castle, but that’s to be expected y’know.” She smiled, “I think you will really like her.”

He wondered if this sweet, sheltered handmaiden was pretty…not that he was all that interested. After all this week he was Duke! Duke didn’t hang around just one woman, he wasn’t tied down. He was free! He could have any woman he wanted, and some that he didn’t want too… Yes, he would really enjoy this week.

He looked around and saw that the servants had already finished unpacking his things. He wondered if there was time to clean up before he met this Elizabeth.

He heard the announcement that someone had arrived, and ventured toward the main entryway. It was some old noble man from Moscovia, no one of great interest. He wandered out the back and into the garden, toward the stable, he loved to ride horses.

“I wonder if Elizabeth likes horses…” He asked aloud to no one in particular. “Well, I guess I’ll find out.” He decided. Then he wandered back inside, past the library, and the small reception area. He was surprised at the lack of young women about. He had remembered Anne’s retreat always having a number of young ladies, usually the daughters of nobility.

“Duke!” He heard one of his servants bellow. “Lady Anne has requested your presence at the Main Entrance.” He quickened his pace.

“Thank you George” Dane patted the man on the back. Good old George, he was a loyal servant, always willing to do a little extra.

“Duke, there you are. You just wandered off…” Anne shook her head at him. He smiled. “Elizabeth is arriving… Straighten your shirt.” He did as he was told. He looked down at his pants to make sure that there was no visible dirt, and as he looked up, she entered.

She was not at all what he had expected. This was a handmaiden? She was slim, pale, with long brown hair. She wore a blue riding gown, that brought out her sparkling blue eyes. Her skin was so milky, and looked quite soft, belying pampering – not hard work. She smiled at Anne, and he melted a little. Her voice was like a songbird…her voice…Oh! She was talking! Had she said something to him? No, he blinked, almost back to reality, she was embracing Anne, and the two women were chatting.

“Duke of Cardborough,” Anne said, holding Katharine’s hand, “This is Elizabeth, handmaiden to the Princess of Moscovia.” Katharine curtsied, and Dane bowed.

“I am quite pleased to meet you.” Dane said taking her hand. He gently kissed the back of her hand, and Katharine felt electricity run up her spine.

“And I you, m’Lord” She said, almost breathless. This Duke was young, and very handsome. His build was muscular, but not bulky. His hair was dark, and thick. He was dressed well. His eyes were so dark they were almost black. She felt she would get lost in them if he held her gaze much longer.

“Come Elizabeth.” Lady Anne interjected. “We need to get you to your rooms. You will need to get ready for dinner.” Yes, rooms, dinner, of course. Katharine collected herself.

“Thank you.” She desperately wanted to get away from this man before she forgot everything she had been taught about propriety. His very presence unnerved her so, that she just wanted to run and hide. His smell was still with her as they reached her rooms. Anne hugged her niece again, and left her with the servants. She had a few words for Dane.

“Young man!” She hissed at him. “How could you look at that young woman that way? Can I trust you with her this week?” She was not as sure as her sister was that this man should be left alone with Katharine. Prince or no, Anne had seen the look in his eyes, and she knew what men could be capable of.

“I am no monster madam!” Dane was hurt, and a little shocked that he was so transparent. He had been thinking of terribly inappropriate things. “She will be perfectly safe with me.” Anne looked at him. If it had been the real Duke standing there, she would have put an end to the nonsense then and there, but Dane was not the rogue his best friend was, no matter what the rumors said. She sighed.

“She is completely innocent, and I expect that she will leave the same way!” Anne stated. “See to it.” She said, leaving in a huff.

Perhaps being Duke was not so great…Especially when he was not in his own kingdom. He really wanted to see Elizabeth again. He wondered what she had thought of him.

Apologies. Life is getting in the way!!

So my real life is getting in the way of getting the story out to you. I have been trying to get too many things going at once. I should know better by now, but obviously I don't. Expect to see a chapter up tonight or tomorrow morning, and then an updated schedule for when the updates will come.

Thank you for reading!