Once there was a Princess who from birth had been raised with all the necessary graces with which to attract an exceptional match. She had been born with beauty, with flaxen hair and eyes as blue as the sea, but her ability to dance, speak three languages and play the harp had been taught by the best tutors in the land. Her parents spared no expense to prepare their daughter. Not only did she have the best tutors, but she also wore exquisite gowns and bathed in the most luxurious essential oils. She was precious and she would save the kingdom from conflict and strife.
Princess Elena reached her 18th birthday still unbetrothed. She had been kept in the Palace's private quarters, away from the public gaze, awaiting the opportunity for the perfect political match. A pampered Princess such as this was surrounded by servants, the tutors being the most respected and best paid. Then there was the lady in waiting (a distant cousin), the seamstresses, the handmaidens who dressed and undressed her and the lowly chamber maids who kept her quarters.
The body guards were outside this hierarchy; they followed the orders of the King and swore loyalty and obedience to him alone. One body guard in particular was highly regarded and had been protecting the Princess for five long years now. He had watched her turn from spoiled child to elegant woman. At least he had seen her change physically, emotionally she had far to go. Emotionally she was still a child in many ways; moody, often petulant, always an open book. Physically, she had already reached mature perfection. She had become a dangerous distraction.
The body guard was a proud professional. He had come from a long line of soldiers and secret agents. He had fought in battle himself and had been wounded seriously enough to require a less strenuous posting. But even though he was a professional he could not help watching her for reasons other than protection. He would watch her sitting in her chair sewing, and his eyes would be fixed on the outline of her luscious breasts under the silky bodice of her gown. Occasionally he would catch a glimpse of a slender ankle as she changed position. He would watch her glide down a corridor and be transfixed by the gentle sway of her bottom beneath the silvery folds of her skirts. He would gaze on her tiny waist and the milky nape of her neck when her hair was up. He would hear her lilting voice in another room and long to have her in his view. Before long his dreams were invaded with disloyal visions of naked royal flesh spread out for his guilty pleasure. He was in a constant agony of longing that he could never hope to satisfy, and did not want to satisfy because that would mean committing close to treason.
What he did not know was the Princess had recently noticed him too. For years, he had been a constant background presence that she took for granted. He had arrived when she was thirteen and too young to regard the servants as anything other than instruments for her comfort and safety. She had spent her time with her tutors, most humourless middle aged men, the only young one being short and sickly with a weak chin. The bodyguards had been a constant but unobtrusive presence, no more interesting than the wallpaper or the curtains. But over the years her perspective had changed. She had always been thoroughly bored with the tutors and now refused to see them, insisting to her doting parents that she no longer needed their services. Instead she drew company from the gossiping handmaidens, all of whom found the bodyguards far more interesting than the curtains. They would sneak surreptitious looks at these silent untouchable young men and when away from the royal chambers would indulge in giggling and sighing over their handsome objects of affection. It was no atmosphere for a virginal Princess to be raised but her naive father had faith in his guards sworn loyalty.
The Princess had particularly noticed this one body guard who had been watching over her for five years now. He was tall, as they all were, and filled his black uniform with what she imagined to be rippling muscles such as she had seen on white marble statues. His head was closely shaved as was the custom, but what made him stand out was his face. His eyes were dark brown and rimmed with long black lashes. A scar cut through one eyebrow. His nose was slightly large but elegantly shaped. His chin wore a permanent shadow as if he found it impossible to hold back his stubble. His lips were full and she imagined his teeth to be white although she never saw him smile. When she was busily occupied with something such as embroidery she would try to secretly watch him at his post by the door, and sometimes she would think there was a certain look in his eyes, a heaviness, a heat. Lately she had begun to sit in a certain way, move her hips more rhythmically, let her gown cling to her curves, in the hope that he was watching. It excited her to think that he might be aware of her. It made her insides feel hot and molten. She lay in bed at night wanting to touch herself but not daring to. She imagined what his strong hands would feel like if he touched her.
She became more daring. Sometimes she would brush past him, letting her skirts skim his leather boots. Sometimes she would deliberately drop something so he would have to bend down and retrieve it for her and then she would let her fingers just touch his as she took it from him. Sometimes she would run her tongue along her top lip or suck the tip of her finger when she suspected he was watching.
Of course this Princess had led a sheltered, chaste life and these actions did not arise from knowledge. She knew nothing of what men and women did in the bed chamber. She was completely ignorant of matters carnal even though she had been raised to be a perfect mate. All she knew were the physical reactions she experienced when looking at this particular guard, or indeed when thinking of him. That, however, changed one day when she would make a shocking discovery in her father's library.