A/N : Another slightly strange Tudor idea, and I'm totally starting this against my better judgement, as I can barely keep up with the fanfictions I'm doing at the moment, without adding on another one, but oh well. This came to me a little while ago, and is partly because of my slight obsession with George Boleyn, and partly because I think it could be quite good if I pull it off. Elizabeth, who is telling the story, is my own creation and not a real person, as is Aurora! Hope you like it, please review! Xxx
It may seem strange to my family and to my dearest friend and Cousin Aurora Rose, but I have always been fascinated by the Boleyns. Aurora and I studied with them as children, with Mistress Johnson, our Governess. Later on my brother, Henry, joined us. We always got along well together. Aurora and I found both Mary and Anne Boleyn to be great friends to us, and although they were very different, they both were very interesting people to be around. George Boleyn was much the same, yet the opposite too. He was much too loud and unreserved for someone who would one day be accepted at court, laughing and joking and running and playing, like children should – but not children like us.
Although I had formed a close bond with Mary and Anne, George was always my favourite. We teased each other relentlessly day in, day out, but beneath the taunting we truly did like each other very much. We used to sneak away from the others and play Kings and Queens, with our own imaginary court to 'hunt' with us, and music that we pretended in our heads to dance to, and important people to meet, and Royal masses to attend. George was creative, flamboyant and an extremely good dancer - I was imaginative , a fair dancer and a good lute player. But I hadn't seen George, Anne, or Mary, in many years.
Aurora and I were summoned to court on my thirteenth birthday, when Aurora was still only twelve. We were to attend the wedding of Mary Boleyn and William Carey.
"I had always assumed that Anne would marry first" Aurora admitted to me as we rode through farmland on our small palfrey horses on the way to the manor house where the court was currently in progress.
"Yes" I agreed, "But Anne has always thought too far above her station, has she not? She will settle for no less that a Duke, or a Count"
Aurora laughed, "She cannot wait forever. She will have to marry soon – she is older than we are, and you are already betrothed!"
"Don't remind me" I groaned irritably, sweeping a strand of hair out of my eyes in a vexed manner, "I haven't even met him, and the wedding is so soon! I hear he is almost thirty – seventeen years older than me! I do not want to be married to an old man!"
"Thirty is not old" Aurora said, averting her eyes from mine and trying not to laugh. I blushed and kicked at her with my riding boot.
"It is old enough. I would rather be married to someone my own age or at least before their twenties"
"Someone like George?" Aurora offered with a little smile. My cheeks blushed an even darker shade.
"I am looking forward to meeting George again, but not for any reason other than that he was my dear friend as a child. I do not look for love"
"You always look for love" Aurora disagreed, smiling; "You are a romantic. You could write a sonnet of love better than any man"
"As could you" I smiled in return, "But we must not speak of being better than men. Father said that it may get us into a lot of trouble"
"There are lots of ways to get into trouble, Liz, but speaking your opinion should not be one of them"
"I am sorry to interrupt, my ladies, but we have arrived at court" our escort, one of Father's men, announced. He went to help Aurora from her horse, and as soon as his hand touched hers to lead her to the ground her skin turned a rosy shade of pink and she almost stumbled into him in her excitement. He smiled at her.
"Careful, my lady Aurora"
Aurora smiled at him, "Of course, Thomas. Thank you"
I took Thomas' hand and stepped down from my own horse with a smug expression on my face. Aurora looked away from my knowing eyes.
"Will you take our horses to the stable and get someone to cater for them during our stay here, Thomas?" I asked politely, "We must find whoever is welcoming us here"
Aurora and I both stared in shock at the pale, alluring young woman who was heading towards us, with her familiar dark eyes and a daring French Hood covering only a little of her glossy dark brown hair, the initial of a 'B' hanging from a rope of pearls around her neck. She smiled, a graceful curve of her full lips, when she recognised us.
"Why, if it isn't Elizabeth and Aurora come to court at last! Aurora, your riding habit is simply exquisite, and Bessie, darling, you must tell me how you wash your hair, it glows so brightly" Anne said in the same cool, courtly way that she had done all her life. She looped her arm around my waist, and the other around Aurora. It felt natural and comfortable, as if it hadn't been so many years since our parting.
"How is Mary?" asked Aurora "Is she nervous?"
"A little" Anne answered with a knowing look, "But I think that is more to do with the wedding night than the wedding itself! Because, of course, she is only your age, Aurora"
"My age is a fine age to be married" Aurora replied a little indignantly. I laughed and turned to Anne to ask her the question that was burning in the very front of my mind.
"And George? How is he? Will we be seeing him today?" I asked, maybe a little too eagerly, as Anne and Aurora shared a smirk.
"Oh yes. In fact, he should be waiting for us outside Mary's chamber. He is greatly looking forward to seeing you again, especially you, Bess, to see if you are how he remembers you"
My heart gave a peculiar little flutter in my chest. George and I have been secretly writing letters to each other since we left our governess, sharing news of our lives, our families - he would tell me about court life, while I would complain about the dull life I led in the quiet manor that belonged to my parents far out in the countryside. We never spoke about our feelings towards each other, however, but at the end of each letter our signings grew more and more affectionate, from the usual 'Yours Sincerely' to 'With Love' and 'Yours always'. The combination of all these things was making me more than a little anxious about seeing him for the first time in all these years.
Anne paused now and again to introduce us to various people, including the musician Mark Smeaton and the poet Thomas Wyatt, before leading us in the direction of Queen Katherine's rooms, where Anne and Mary shared a chamber. We would be sharing with Anne after Mary's marriage this afternoon, as she would have a new home with her husband.
"George! I've bought the Lady Aurora and the Lady Elizabeth to see you – you must come with me once you have caught up to introduce them to the Queen" she said the Queen's name with disgust, as if it were a truly vile word.
I was not prepared to see the face of George Boleyn again, no matter how much I had thought I was, and I had certainly not expected him to be so handsome. His dark hair, curly but otherwise much like Anne's, flopped over his brown, twinkling eyes in a way that made him seem still like that young boy I had enjoyed playing games with as a girl. His smile was inviting, welcoming and warm. I smiled back. We stood like that for what felt like a long time, staring at each other and smiling away, not speaking, just looking. He was taller, stronger looking, his featured sharper and more noticeable. I wondered if I would be able to sketch his face like this from memory. His eyes scanned the length of my body as if he were appraising me too, checking to see how I was different.
"Lady Elizabeth" he said at last, "You are looking very...lovely. You are much changed from when I saw you last. That dress becomes your eyes"
"Thank you, my lord. You are different, too. Still, it is only to be expected after all this time"
We stood silently for another few moments, then, in the courtly fashion, he kissed my hand lightly with his warm lips. I could feel heat flooding from my chest to my face without a break, and my blood rushing in a dizzying sort of way up to my brain. I gave a tiny little gasp. Thankfully, Anne and Aurora did not notice – but George did. He smiled, his hand lingering on mine for a little longer than necessary afterwards.
He turned to greet Aurora, but kissed her hand only briefly, stopping to talk to her in the politest way possible about her journey and such, before turning back to me and holding out his arm for me to grasp.
"Come" he said, "We must introduce you to the Queen"
"Yes" agreed Anne, "And then we must attend my dear sister's wedding! I can barely believe it...little Marianne Boleyn!"
As we walked towards the Queen's parlour, George leaned closer to me to whisper in my ear, "I think you will like it here at court"
There was more meaning behind it than anyone else would know. I smiled, leaning even closer to whisper back to him.
"Yes. I agree with you completely"
A/N: Hehe, budding romance or what?? Hope you liked it, it will get better!