Mary stared, her back straight but her eyes cold. She turned away from the group of men standing in her chambers, her gaze falling to the window. The silence in the room was deafening. Her tired eyes sought the gray heavens, looking for comfort. Her hands went to the cross that hung around her neck. Her gown was old, and crismon; the hem at her feet was frayed. The window that the Princess leaned against was small and dowdy, and let barely any light in. The English morning outside was rainy and dark, as it normally was.
The three gentlemen in the room stood awkwardly, shifting from foot to foot, looking nervous at the thought of what this wronged Princess might say.
"I'm sorry you have come all this way simply to be disappointed, gentleman," she said, finally breaking the silence, her words polite but her tone cold. "I am glad to see my father remembers me, but I would that he would remember my mother the Queen as well, and what is due to her."
"Princess," your mother's marriage to your father was wrong in the sight of God. You must acknowledge this. Your mother is to be put aside as Princess Dowager--"
"My mother is Queen of England, and shall be until her death." Mary's voice was firm, but weary, as if she was tired of reminding the courtiers of that fact.
"Princess-- Queen Anne would not--"
"Queen Anne?" Mary repeated, her lovely voice dripping with sarcasm. "I believe you refer to Lady Anne Boleyn. As to Queen Anne, I know no other Queen of England besides my mother, Queen Katherine."
One man stepped forward, his face troubled, his voice lowered, comforting. "Princess..you cannot go on like this. You run a terrible risk. Your father wishes you to be a part of his family, but if you continue to cleave to your mother's foolish argument…I fear his patience may run short. As to Queen Anne, she wishes to have peace in the royal family..she wishes to be your friend, Princess. Queen Anne---"
Mary finally whirled around to face the man. "Queen Anne, Queen Anne, Queen Anne," she echoed, her voice high and mocking, her eyebrows raised. "Are you a parrot to repeat her name so frequently? Or are you simply trying to accustom yourself to the fact that this whore, this witch has bewitched my father enough to have him proclaim her Queen?!"
"Princess…" one of the men whispered in quiet horror, aghast at this display of temper, of treason,from the usually docile girl.
She again turned her back to them. "I do not recognize that woman," she said decidedly, and her voice echoed throughout the silent chamber. "My father has been bewitched by her. My mother is the true and only Queen of England and I will acknowledge no other"
The tiny slip of a woman, just seventeen years old, would say no more. She turned to the window of Beaulieu, her eyes set on the horizon and her shoulders squared.
"Princess," one of the courtiers began again and Mary shook her head, ever so slightly. Her dark hair tumbled back from her olive skin and she raised a hand. "I am tired," she cut him off and the men knew it was a command, a thinly veiled order to get out and now.
But Mary was no longer in a position to be commanding, and none of the men behind her moved. There were three of them, all dressed in the fine silks of the courtly manner, with their colorful doublets and hose. Mary, with her tired eyes and dark gown, almost paled in comparison.
"Your highness," another of the man said doggedly, finally getting to his point, anxious now to leave this sad and traitorous Princess. "King Henry wishes to inform you of his marriage to and the coronation of Queen Anne. We are sure you wish your father and his new wife much health and happiness"
Mary spun around, clearly incensed by the blatant disrespect she was being shown when the man's next words caused what little color was left in her face to flee.
"His majesty, King Henry, also wishes to inform you that Queen Anne is with child and you should be expecting the birth of a Prince and heir shortly. He will want you at court for the baptism."
She showed her horror for only an instant; but she was a Princess and she would learn to spend her life swallowing down unhappiness and surprise with a smile on her face. She already had much practice; she had been deathly ill, crying and pleading for her mother, and the Boleyn whore and her bewitched father would not her mother to come to her;she had been engaged again and again as a child, as a pawn in her father's game, only to always be told that there would be no match, there would be no husband; and now this, her mother pushed aside for a common slut, and her father prepared topull hiskingdom into hersey to satisfy his lust.Oh, yes, Mary was not new to horror. But this? A child in that witch's womb? A childwho, despite Mary's older age and connections to the true Queen, would come before Mary in the succession?
"You are sure?" she said after a moment, surprise and disgust skirting across her face.
All three courtiers nodded, glad to believe that at the news of this new child the Princess might finally come around. A draft blew through the small chamber; it was narrow and dowdy compared to those at Henry VIII's court, and for the young Princess's always frail health, it was a danger. The furnishings were old and torn, and the lack of servants evident in the dying fire in the chilly room.
"It is without a doubt, Princess. Queen Anne will be entering her confinement shortly, at the end of August."
Far from staggering at this horrific bit of news, Mary shocked her small audience by letting a small smile grace her lips. Never pretty in the conventional way, blond hair, blued eyed way, Mary took after her mother with her dark skin, hair and eyes. She was small and thin, her look sickly almost, and slow to laugh. But now, a tiny smile curled her lips and her black eyes danced.
"Oh, no you misunderstand me, sir," she said softly, then cordially, as if asking how the weather was, she said, "I ask if you are sure. If you are sure King Henry is the father -- I hear Lady Anne keeps a merry court of poets and lute players in her bed.Not if Lady Anne is with child. That I do not doubt."
The courtiers were shocked and not as apt to recovery as Mary was; she saw it written on their faces and her smirk bloomed into a smile. She gestured towards the door to her receiving chamber, taking pity on them. "You may go," she said kindly. "Tell my father I shall be in touch."
The men glanced back at her warily before bowing and kissing her hand. "God bless you and keep you, Princess Mary," one man whispered against her fingertips as he rose, heading towards the door.
The words seem to strike her and she let her eyes fluttered shut, her color rising. The bravado she had shown before was slowly fleeing, and she felt overwhelmed with despair, though she could not let it show. "Amen," she said and her voice shook with fear, and desperation. "Amen."
Hey guys. This story was posted originally under the title 'Borrowed Happiness'. However, it's since had a makeover-- I've redone this chapter, deleted the other story and renamed it. Hope you like. Reveiw, please??