There was no time to lose. The King was an impatient man and he had waited a long time to complete this contract. The gossip amongst the Palace employees was that the Princess would meet her betrothed in just two days. A banquet was being prepared. Geese were being plucked. Rooms were being cleaned. Dresses were being sewn. And in the Princess's chamber, tears were being spilled.
The maid in waiting had tried everything to console her. She could not fathom why the Princess was reacting this way. For the past few years she had listened to constant complaints about life in the Palace; it was too restricted, too dull, too narrow. She could not wait to leave. She could not wait to marry and have a husband to pay her attention. She could not wait to be a great lady, maybe even a Queen!
Something had clearly changed, because now she was finally marrying she spent her days curled in bed weeping hot tears into the sheets.
What the maid in waiting did not know was that the Princess's tears were partly caused by the dark presence that stood to attention in the corridor outside her room. He was always there, fulfilling his duty, a constant reminder to the Princess that she had been rejected when she most needed him.
The night of her father's order, he had come to her and refused to touch her. She had been ready for his hot embrace, to feel his rough hands over her skin, his firm mouth on hers. She had thought of nothing else as she lay in her feather bed, thoughts of her future husband banished so she could think of her present lover, picture the rippling muscles of his back, conjure his dark eyes, hear his steady voice.
But he had stood stiffly on the other side of the room clenching his fists.
'This is a good thing,' she heard him saying from across a chasm, her head spinning with this unexpected reaction. 'You must marry and please your father.'
'But what about you?' she said and added quietly, 'What about us?'
'That's done,' he said firmly. 'It should never have happened. We will pretend it didn't.'
She choked back tears and he closed his eyes and clenched his fists tighter. He took a deep breath, 'You must be careful on your wedding night.'
She gasped out loud, she couldn't help herself. How could he talk about her wedding night? How could he be so cruel?
'You must act as if you don't know what he will do. Let him lead. Just lie and wait for him to touch you..'
'No!' she shouted jumping out of the bed. 'How can you say these things?' she spat at him crossing the room and pushing his chest with her little palms so that he was backed against the wall, passively letting her pummel him, waiting for her anger to subside. As the rage ebbed away from her, she slumped against him and his hand came up and tenderly stroked her hair. She looked up at him, blue eyes no longer flashing. There were dark shadows under her eyes. Something in him broke and he pulled her up to his mouth, kissing her achingly slowly. She sighed and stroked his face.
'Don't do this,' she murmered. 'Don't let me go.'
'I have to,' he said steadily.
But he made love to her one more time. He laid her on her white sheets and kissed her in all the places that he would miss, trying to memorise every part of her. When he entered her, he felt every inch of her around him, every lovely cell of her body. When she wrapped her soft hands around his cock, he watched her intently not even breaking eye contact when she brought him to a trembling release.
Then he left her and did not return. He guarded her, stood outside her door but there was no contact. She shut herself in the room beyond the door and cried.