Chapter 4

Rosalie didn't really know to make of what Will had said about the Sheriff, yet when he told her these things, it made her question his intentions. She didn't want to offend the Sheriff since he had been nothing but kind to her since her father's death.

When she met up with the Sheriff, he was sputtering furiously, his face had a long gash bleeding; it went from his ear to just under the corner of his eye. His grand robe was torn. She knew that when he was in this mood to stay out of his way and stay invisible.

She followed him back to the castle, her head down. She had wondered what had gotten him so riled up. She poured him some wine and brought it to him, staying silent. She cautiously entered his bedroom, where she heard him and Guy of Gisbourne talking.

"Why a spoon, cousin? Why not an axe...?" he questioned.

"BECAUSE IT'S DULL, YOU TWIT!" he yelled, furiously. "IT'LL HURT MORE!"

Rosalie trembled a little, nearly spilling the wine. She watched as his scribe was preparing a needle and thread. She listened as he continued to rant over this Robin Locksley. Apparently, he was the one who caused this. But why did he do this? Soon, he said several things about taking livestock from the peasants, which horrified her. Punishing the poor for something this Robin had done! Perhaps what Will said had some truth to it.

"Now, sew!" he said to his scribe. "And keep the stitches small!"

She kept in the shadows, watching the blood from the gash in his cheek ooze. She winced when she watched the needle enter his flesh. Naturally, he was a clumsy oaf and he cursed at him.

"Clumsy oaf!" he cursed, slapping him. Then his eyes turned to Rosalie. A woman's touch is what he needed. "Rose, are you any good at sewing?"

"Very good, my lord," she confessed, humbly.

He beckoned her lazily with two fingers and she came and took the needle and thread from the scribe. Her hand trembling. Though she was afraid of what he might do to her, she sewed very carefully. The blood oozed and stained her fingers. He closed his eyes, enjoying the touch of his serving girl's hand. He barely felt a thing with the occasional light tug from the thread and the pinch of the needle.

"Be a dear, Rose, and clean off all this mess," he said.

She cleaned the blood off of his face, being as gentle as possible. She saw Guy of Gisbourne biting into his apple, eyeing her enviously and yet a hint of desire in his eyes. She shuddered again, the memory of his groping forever burned in there.

"Bring me a mirror, dear," he said. Once she did, he examined the stitching she had done. It was perfect!

"Leave us," he commanded both Guy de Gisbourne and the scribe, which they did.

Lowering the mirror from her hand, he took her wrist gently and led her in front of him, eyeing her with desire, though he tried to make it look more fatherly. She knelt in front of him, knowing her place was below his head level.

"I am terribly sorry you had to see me at my worst," he said gently. "Tell me, dear child, did I frighten you?"

She lowered her head. "Just a little. But 'tis understandable," she said. "I had heard this Robin Locksley had done this to you. He must have some gall to do that."

He smiled a little, pleased; though he was careful since he didn't want to pop any stitches in his face.

"Indeed. Tell me, do you know of him?"

She shook her head no.

"He is a traitor. A thief and a bandit. You best not to trust those kind of people."

She swallowed a little. "But why punish the peasants, sir? Why take away what they only have? What have they done to be punished?"

He raised his eyebrows that she would ask such a thing. Sensing she had thrown oil onto the flame, she panicked a little.

"I-I'm sorry!" she said. "I didn't mean to..."

"No, no," he assured her, gently. "I'll forgive your simpleness, my child. I understand you have questions." Which was true. The girl was a simpleton and yet, he could use her to his advantage. Corrupt her with his views. He would play this girl's innocence until he got what he wanted out of her.

"Did someone say something to you?" he asked, suspiciously.

"Only that you tax the poor too much," she replied, treading carefully.

He looked at her, fatherly again. "Rose, dear, dear Rose," he said, stroking her chin. "The peasants will whine about their taxes being too high, but you must know is that I am kind to them as well. If they pay, I pay them back. I give them food and livestock, safe passage through Sherwood Forest, offer what I can to them...as long as they give in return."

It sounded a little confusing to Rosalie, but nonetheless, she would not doubt the Sheriff's words. She remained quiet.

"I trust you won't question me again, will you?" he said.

"No, my lord," she replied. "Please forgive me."

"You are forgiven, my child."

He eyed her. She was so desirable, just kneeling at his feet like a dog. He imagined her...pleasuring him with those lips. Oh! How soft and warm she would be! He shivered with desire, wanting to push her head between his legs, force her to take his flesh into her virginal mouth and suck him. Yet he resisted.

"Tell me," he said. "Have you ever been with a man?"

Oh! Such a question! Rosalie blushed, feeling very embarrassed by this question.

"Why do you ask?" she said.

"I saw you speaking with a youth in church today. I am merely concerned...like any father would be..."

"He...was just some peasant," she assured him. "I only just met him."

"I see," he said, raising his eyebrows doubtfully. "Well, have you ever been with a man?"

"No, my lord," she said. "Father said that I should save myself for...my husband..." She blushed.

"A wise thought. You do know men can be lecherous, taking advantage of women?"

"Yes, my lord," she confirmed.

"I certainly wouldn't want that to happen to you. After seeing what happened to you a few days ago, I don't think I could bear to see it again. You can tell me if anyone bothers you and I'll be sure that they never do it again."

She nodded, silent.

"You can go," he said.

Once she was gone, he loosened his trousers and pleasured himself, thinking of her soft hands and lips. Her straddling him and riding him. Oh! How close he was to getting what he wanted. Yet, he didn't want to ruin such a delicate flower. How much he desired this little nymph and yet he had to restrain himself. The time would be right soon enough. And once it came, it would be good.

XXX

Rosalie didn't really like the conversation she had with the Sheriff. Sure, he was a kind and concerned man, but asking her about whether she was with a man? Yet, he seemed so sincere. It was confusing.

She shrugged it off. Perhaps he was still perturbed from the night before with his drunken friends. Soon, Paula approached her.

"A boy asked me to give you this," she said, handing her a rolled up piece of paper.

Rosalie was suspicious. Who...?

She opened the note.

Must see you tonight, my sweet! Come to confession. -W

XXX

When she wanted to go to confession, the Sheriff allowed her, asking her to return in time for supper. Once she was at church, she went into the confessional.

"Forgive me, Father," she began. "For I have sinned...it has been three days since my last confession."

"And tell me of your sins, my child," said the voice. She recognized it. It was no doubt Will, the man she met at Mass!

"I had impure thoughts about a man," she confessed, blushing.

"Oh, I see," said Will's voice. "Were they lustful?"

"Yes," she admitted.

"Was this man...handsome I take it?"

"Yes. I felt things...I have never felt before. I felt so warm and feverish..."

Will giggled a little. The two of them walked out of the church to the courtyard, sitting with the flowers. They talked all night. Rosalie, though innocent, had found herself falling in love with this boy.

"Tell me," said Will. "Do you like staying with the Sheriff?"

"I...cannot say," she said. "I will admit he has been kind and generous to me. Yet, I cannot help but miss my home."

"Why don't you come with me?" he said. "You could live in Sherwood Forest. You'll be free to go as you please."

"Really?" she said. It did sound exciting. She would like to get out of that prison of the Sheriff's fortress. She missed being free and the countryside. Plus, she'd be far away from that lecherous Guy de Gisbourne. "Oh...I couldn't...it would be difficult..." She couldn't leave the Sheriff, not after what he had done for her: giving her music lessons and pretty things. Yet, it felt like a prison to her at times. She missed her freedom.

"I could help you," he assured her. "If you'll let me."

"Oh, Will!" she said. "Could you?"

"Certainly," he said. "If you promise to give me your trust."

"I—I suppose," she said, shyly.

"Suppose is better than nothing."

"I should get back," she said. "The Sheriff..."

"Of course. Can I see you again?"

"Just send word to Paula, the cook. She'll get your letters to me for sure. I'll let you know if I am coming for confession."

"Let's hope you haven't had any lustful thoughts about men again," he laughed.

She smiled, blushing. She walked back to the church and hummed happily. She was indeed a fool in love!