Summary: He took her hand to his lips and kissed it gently, sealing their fate. She was about to turn when he held steadfast. "And my lady?" She turned reluctantly. "The devil always comes to collect."
Disclaimer: Nothing is mine. Characters belong to Gossip Girl and inspiration comes wildly from The Tudors.
The Duke glowered at the messenger's retreating form. He didn't want to open the package, fearing what it contained. But the letter on top of it in her stylized handwriting proved exactly what he knew was true. He flicked open the carrier and sat back with a grimace.
He broke the seal on the letter. He could practically hear her breathy voice in his ear. If only he wasn't plagued by her alluring voice. He didn't want this. He didn't want to be sending ladies of the Queen gifts just to have them rejected.
He bedded women. That was what he did. He didn't try to woo and court them. And even if he did, they surely would not refuse him. Every lady at court desired him. But the one that he was realizing he couldn't live without was the one who wouldn't have him.
He would get her for this.
White Palace, England
The Reign of King Henry VIII
The Duke wanted to hate her. He truly did. But when she returned to court, the first toss of her dark glossy curls and flirtatious smile, he was gone. He drank his wine, leering at her from across the room. Though she showed no sign of even knowing he was there, he knew different. He knew the sweep of her skirts and that the courtier's hands on her was for his benefit. It would have been so much easier if she wasn't his match. If it didn't seem like she was made for him specifically. Then again, if she wasn't, she wouldn't be worth the trouble either. If she wasn't, he wouldn't need her so much.
"I assume you received my gifts," he whispered huskily to her. He watched her cinched waist stall for a moment in satisfaction as her breathing slowed. Then she twirled to him, her skirts fanning across the dance floor and met his eyes with her electric dark ones.
"I receive so many," she said nonchalantly. She danced properly around him as he followed her with interested eyes. "Maybe I would recollect if there was something to remember."
He grasped her wrist in realization, pulling her around.
"Your Grace," she said reproachfully. He released her but held her gaze powerfully.
"If there is one thing you must learn," he cautioned, "it is that you do not play with me."
"But, whatever do you mean?" she asked innocently. He wanted to kiss that innocent look right off her face. He knew what really lay beneath. He grasped her waist in front of everyone, against all sense of propriety. He liked how her breath rushed from her lungs. He liked catching her by surprise.
"You can't win," he said smugly.
"Oh, Your Grace," she said sweetly, extricating herself subtly, craftily making sure that she wasn't catching attention to them. "I always win."
With a simple smile tossed over her shoulder she glided across the room. He couldn't keep his eyes off of her. He never could.
The first time he saw her, she could have just been another lady of the court. She was new and she was beautiful. There was no doubt about that. Men's eyes followed her as she danced and she had suitors if she wanted them. Strangely, she turned them all down. She would dance with them and tease them, but that was it.
That was the first thing he had to be cautious about this. His King Henry may let himself be seduced by a pair of legs, but the Duke knew better. As he watched her dance, he knew this was the sign of an ambitious woman. And ambitious women was a dangerous woman. They thought with their heads and never let themselves be seduced unless there was power and position in it for them.
This was the age of Anne Boleyn. It was a dangerous time. Already she sat on the queen's throne and wore her jewels like she was coronated already. The Duke knew what he was doing. He had to. It was his duty. He was manipulative and vain. The problem was, so was she. She had that air of purity, but he knew better. That was what attracted his soul to hers. He never felt a pull like this. He knew attraction and he knew want for women. But he never knew the complete desire of losing himself in someone as perfect as she.
She could have been like the rest of them. But she just wasn't. She followed the queen and avoided persecution. No lady was trusted these days. Anne Boleyn made sure of that. But she curtsied in front of the king's table, paying her respects. Her eyes then slid carefully to the Duke's and he saw the darkest beauty he could have ever imagined. And it was intoxicating.
He was pulled towards her, but he hadn't realized what was happening until he saw it with his own eyes. She was sitting primly with another golden lady when something inconceivable happened. A lady in waiting had burst into tears across the room. This was strange, but wouldn't have been a rare occurrence. The next day, that same lady had been persecuted and left court. That very same day, the hierarchy shifted. Taking the lady's place was the dark eyed vixen that he realized was among the ranks.
That was the day he would never be able to look away. He was enamored and he had to meet her. He had to speak with her. He had to know her.
"My lady," he said suavely, brushing his lips across her hand in his deep vow. "Allow me to introduce myself."
"I know who you are, Your Grace."
He was taken aback. No one, a lady no less, had ever interrupted him. She didn't seem intimidated. She didn't seem willing to fall at his feet. She was just looking at him expectantly like it was he who she was expecting to fall at her feet.
He wasn't too sure of this game, but he knew he could figure it out. Instead, he just gave her the most genuine smirk he could muster.
"May I have this dance?"
"If you must," she sighed. His eyes narrowed in confusion again, but he lead her onto the dance floor nonetheless. They danced familiarly around each other like they had been doing all there lives. They were choreographed dances but it seemed as though they could measure each other beat for beat. They knew each other's movements like they knew their own. She just lifted her chin defiantly, waiting for his next move.
"You are very talented."
He was going to try his way with flattery. Women were easy.
Again, he faltered and gazed on her face at the flicker of smug satisfaction across it. Women were supposed to be coy and blushing. It was then he realized how very bored he was with the noblewomen. He wanted someone different. Someone like him, if that made any sense. Someone... intoxicating.
"Thank you for the dance, Your Grace," she said, curtsying politely. She knew the game very well. He liked that. "I'll try to not let it flee too quickly from my mind."
He didn't like that. He could feel her magnetism, but he couldn't stop himself. He never let any woman speak to him this way. Its what he did. But he couldn't help it.
"At least tell me your name," he commanded. It wasn't a question. And when he told to do something, women did it.
She just gave him a curious look and a wicked smile flashed across her lips. "No."
And she was gone.
That was when he realized he would get her if it was the last thing he did.
He was still trying. He knew her name now, through weeks of strenuous effort, but he was barely closer to his goal. He was pleased that they were at least acquaintances at this point. He could at least speak to her. She didn't like how greatly it pleased him to do so. It was the verbal barbs and badinage that were unlike anything he experienced before.
He usually didn't put in this effort. Women were women and they were just playthings. If he didn't get a women immediately, he just moved on to the next one. But something told him this one was different. She wasn't like the others. And he would regret it if he didn't pursue her wholeheartedly.
And then she had turned to him.
"I need you to do something for me."
He turned with smugness, watching her carefully. "And what, pray tell, would that be?"
"I have a bit of a problem."
"That much is certain," he replied to the empty corridor. "Do go on."
"There is a situation with one of the knew ladies," she replied. "I need you to rid of her for me."
"And what do you suggest, my lady?" he asked coolly. She glared at him.
"Your Grace," she snapped in annoyance.
"Have I ever mentioned how alluring my title is when it comes from your lips?"
"Will you do it or not?" she asked.
"How about a wager instead?" he suggested.
"A wager?" she echoed.
"I do not accomplish it is what you want me to do, then I leave you alone forever."
Her eyes never shifted.
"If I succeed, you spend the night with me."
"I will not," she retorted.
The Duke smirked at her sudden defense. This was good. This was very good.
"Then I am afraid I cannot accommodate you."
He watched her take a deep breath, carefully weighing her options. It was fascinating.
"How about something else?"
"Which would be?" he prodded.
"I would be indebted to you," she said without assurance.
"And what would that entail?" he asked.
He watched as her eyes wavered. It felt refreshing to have her in this end of the spectrum. He had her and she knew it.
"I would be in your debt," she reworded. He understood. She could never admit that what he wanted from her he could take when the time was right. Ladies didn't do that. But she was his lady and his lady definitely did that.
"That sounds... intriguing," he replied. "I will take you up on this offer from the sole fact I'm bored. And this is something to entertain me for the time being."
"Do you accept?" she asked.
"Wholeheartedly," he replied. He took her hand to his lips and kissed it gently, sealing their fate. She was about to turn when he held steadfast. "And my lady?" She turned reluctantly. "The devil always comes to collect."
She raised her face, but he knew that she was aware of this weight. He liked it that way.
He didn't know how long it had been, but time did nothing to make him less uncomfortable. Rejecting his gifts was one thing, but she left him at the ball and that would not stand. He would corner her. He would trap her. He would devour her. That bet was looking better and better.
He had done what she said. He helped her destroy whatever matron was necessary and her social status increased. She was ambitious but then again, so was she. Destroying a woman's repuatation was so easy. They were warming your bed for one moment and then they were cast out for all the world to see. He liked how her eyes appraised him and shone with appreciation. He would make her look like that again.
She continued to tease him. He hated how he loved it. She would flounce around with suitors as though she knew it drove him insane. He didn't know why he did the things he did. He didn't know why he vouched for her affection or loved the temper that flared solely because of him.
The ladies looked at him quizzically as he entered their quarters. Soon, those expressions fell away and became ones of reverence. Only three words needed to be uttered.
"Where is she?"
It had become sport of the court to watch the two fiery souls dance around each other for some time. No one understood it, but there could be only one person The Duke could be referring to.
"In her quarters, Your Grace."
He walked down the hallway, pausing outside of her door. He didn't bother knocking. She was beneath him and she would value the attention he was giving her. He threw the door open. She was at her vanity, lightly brushing her dark glossy locks. She spun in her chair, immediate anger flaring from her eyes. At the sight of him, her expression changed to more rage. This pleased him.
"My lady," he bowed gracefully.
"I don't recall sending for you," she replied, slowly getting to her feet.
"You don't call for me," he told her shortly. "I call for you."
"Apparently not," she said smugly. "If you don't mind, I would rather you not be here without a chaperon."
"I rather think not," he replied. "I think you would enjoy me very much without a chaperon here."
"And why would that be?"
He smirked. It was the perfect opening. But that wasn't why he was here. He had to win her first. He had to prove himself first.
"I have come to give you something."
Her eyes sparked interest, but she tried to wipe it away.
"If you must," she sighed. He liked her when she was pretending to be disinterested. He advanced with his predatory grace and she watched him warily. They both stood in front of her floor length mirror.
"Turn around," he whispered in her ear. He placed his hands on her shoulders, and pivoted her slightly so she was facing the mirror with him behind her.
"Now, close your eyes."
"Why?" she demanded.
"Just do as I tell you," he said, almost in annoyance. He wasn't used to anyone refusing him. It was a strange occurrence but when she looked upon him with defiance, he couldn't help but want more.
"Why?" she asked again.
"Because you are in my debt," he reminded her. Realization crossed her face but she held steadfast.
"This is what you want?" she asked simply. "You could have everything and the one thing you ask for is to give me something?"
"What if this is everything?" he couldn't help but asking. He didn't know where it came from, but he knew it was right. He knew this was what he wanted. He could take her now if he wanted and maybe she wouldn't protest. She could probably talk herself out of it, but she wouldn't upset the terms of the wager.
She frowned at him through the reflection so he brought his hands and placed them over her eyes. She allowed this, to his surprise, and he suddenly wondered how far she was willing to let this continue. He couldn't help but bring his hands to her bare shoulders. He felt her shiver beneath his touch.
He slid open the box that held the necklace. He placed it over her chest, clasping it at the nape of her neck. He gazed at it for a second too long. He didn't have weakness. Even if her neck would have looked better with his lips upon it.
With her eyes still closed, she brought her hand to the glittering jewels, feeling them with a slight smile playing across her beautiful features.
"You can open your eyes now," he suggested. Her dark eyes fluttered open and they gazed at each other. Her eyes finally dipped and she fingered the necklace with adoration.
"So you can't send it back," he explained. "Do you like it?"
"I think its beautiful," she admitted.
"It is," he said, looking back at her pointedly, not the necklace. "Its for you."
She looked over her shoulder, casting the necklace in the glowing light. He saw her real eyes and couldn't help but lean in. She could scream and be done with it. But for the first time, she didn't protest.
His right hand clenched at her narrow waist while his left grasped at the delicate skin of her pale shoulder. She forced herself to turn around to face him fully. Her hand grasped his face and she was suddenly gasping for breath. He pulled her flush against his body and she gasped again. She gasped a word he couldn't understand.
He forced himself to break from the addiction of her lips.
"What?" he asked, desperate to be touching her again.
He shook his head in confusion.
"You could have anyone you wanted," she clarified. "Is this just some game? Because it was to me."
He had to stop the angry flash that coursed through him for a moment. He refused to be a game.
"I tried to stay away from you because I knew all too well that if I tried to gain you, I would fall for you instead."
His shoulders relaxed but something still bothered him.
"And I know you, Your Grace," she said breathily. "Women aren't anything to you. I know this. I couldn't let myself be one of them."
"You're not," he said. It was true. He had finally said it. She was different. She belonged to him now.
"What makes me different?" she prodded.
"Everything," he said. "You're vain and manipulative and perfect. Don't compare yourself to those girls because you're nothing like them."
That seemed to be enough because she finally let him in. For now.
Agony was him. Pain was this. And hurt was her. He couldn't believe what he had just heard. The messenger had to be wrong. But then again, he heard the words and there would be no doubting it.
You are to escort the lady and her dowry to her new husband.
It couldn't be. She couldn't be getting married. She was his. She belonged to him, this he was sure of. There was no other alternative.
His feet beat to their own accord as he found himself at her door again. There would be no knocking. There would be no conceding. The door banged on its hinges and her handmaidens jumped. This time, she didn't whirl to greet him. She didn't have to. He could see it.
Her breathing was shaky and her hands were trembling. She was taking in shuddering gasps of breath, her face blotchy. With a tremor of her hand, the handmaidens were dismissed. He knelt by her bed where she sat. He took her cold hands in his, trying to sooth her. She refused to look him in the face. He brought tender hands to her face, wiping away her tears.
"You're crying," he whispered.
"Of course I'm crying," she shouted, shaking him off as she got to her feet. "How could you do this to me?"
"Me?" he demanded angrily, getting to his feet. "You're going off with a dowry and a husband."
"And you have ruined me," she snapped. "How can I go off and get married with a husband and I title when I will forever want something I can never have? I'm not supposed to fall in love but you made me do it anyway."
The Duke stood there stunned. She recoiled, realizing her mistake. He could tell she was about to flee. He took domineering steps towards her and grasped her by the wrists. She cried out and he pressed her against her dresser, muffling her cries with his hand.
"Don't," he warned. Her eyes glowed with defiance but didn't protest. He removed his hand, his body hard against hers. She was breathing heavily, catching the attention of his eyes to the necklace that he didn't know how he could have missed. He brought his hand to her fragile throat, feeling her blood pulse. She swallowed, her eyes never leaving his.
"What would you have me do?" she asked breathlessly.
He didn't even know that was in the recession of his mind. He didn't even know it was what he wanted. He wanted heirs of course, but he never knew that love would be involved. He never knew he would actually love a woman. Love wasn't involved in this life of theirs. Those who were fortunate enough, or cursed enough to fall in love had to be in the good graces of the king to marry the one they wanted. Only the king granted permission for marriage. And now she was promised to someone else.
"Marry me instead."
He was so surprised, she found the way to slide from his grip. He turned as she stood in front of the bed.
"No?" he demanded. No one said no to him. Especially now.
"Don't you dare do this to me," she seethed. "Don't you dare toy with me. I could be content with power and position."
"I can give you all of that," he said. "All of that and more. I will always give you more."
"I could be content with bearing sons to some stranger," she continued. "But not anymore. Not when I've had a taste of something that was not supposed to happen. Now I can't be content with anything else."
"Then marry me," he demanded of her.
"You expect me to risk everything and I don't even know if your feelings are pure."
"I told you," he snapped. "I told you that you are everything. There is no one like you."
"You love me?" she asked, in astonishment.
"Forever," he promised.
Their bodies were suddenly hard against each other's. She was purring wildly in his ear and he could feel the heat through the layers of her dress.
He wanted it off.
Her nails dug into his shoulders as their teeth and lips gnashed together. She broke away, gasping wildly for air as he descended powerfully down her neck. She yelped as she felt his teeth sink into her flesh.
They both pulled away and for a second, they just stared eons into each other's eyes.
But only for a second.
The Duke through her down on her bed, her hair sprawled out across it. He pinned her arms above her head, holding her in place.
"Marry me instead," he commanded.
His heart thudded through his chest and he crushed her beneath him. He tore apart her corset, riding her skirts up her pale thighs. His groans were audible and thick from the back of his throat. He pulled his shirt over his head and returned his attention to her willing body.
They moved together passionately and her nails raked down his naked back. He called out in the sweet pain laced pleasure as her lips soothed his neck.
"Satiate me," he told her huskily to her neck.
"I don't know how," she answered honestly. He pulled away to look at her desire filled eyes, his lips pulling back in a smirk.
"You do," he answered throwing himself against her again. "You always do."
She was the only one.
Even when he broke her barrier, she called out his name and he had never heard it sound any better. Even when he broke her barrier, she called out, driving him to the edge and beyond.
Anne Boleyn thought only with her heart and she got her head chopped off. So her daughter Elizabeth made a vow never to marry a man. She married a country.
-- The Goodbye Gossip Girl
A/N: So this is way inspired by The Tudors. I was watching clips (since I don't have HBO) while I was writing this. I don't know if anyone watches it, but the first part was inspired by Anne sending gifts back to Henry. The dance was meant to be like the one Anne and Henry do in the second season, 7th episode; or it could just be like the one Margaret and Charles Brandon (court's version of Chuck and Blair) do when she's coronated as the Queen of Portugal after her wedding. The whole marriage thing was also Charles and Margaret. And the end scene (sex!) was inspired by the intensity and hotness of Ann and Henry after that dance. Especially the nails raking down the back as well as when Chuck said he still had the scars to prove that Blair was a bitch. I hope this isn't too confusing. Its sort out of continuity by The Duke's (obviously Chuck) memories. I was thining of making this a two-parter. I know the SL already and how it would end. This is my favorite chapter so far, along with the Debutante one. I said I was only going to do another chapter but I was inspired. There could just be one more, but I never know when my muse will hit me. So I'll probably do another chapter with this and I'm also considering making this concept into an entire multi-foc by itself.