When Lady Met Macbeth
By Lindsey Porter
"Was the hope drunk when you met her?" asked Banquo, astounded.
"It was a little tipsy, perhaps..." mumbled Macbeth.
Banquo shook his head. "Mac, I'm warning you, that girl's not right. There's something...off about her."
"Off? Off? On, my friend, the word is on,as in,that woman turns me on. Although, I suppose she does get me-"
"Mac, that's not what I meant. Her mind, Friend, her mind's not completely there."
"Is that a joke? You heard her last night. She's the most intelligent woman I've ever encountered! She possesses more charm and wit then any other blasted female around here. Bloody hell if I have to listen to that Juliet character again..."
The men took a long swig from their beer. Silence followed as Banquo tried to devise another way to sway his friend.
"Alright, Macbeth, I'll give you that. She is clever, charming, certainly beautiful. But, her aura. Despite all her gracefulness there's something about her that makes me nervous."
He grinned. "Ah, yes, Banquo, I know the feeling. She's not like all the other ladies, is she? She's not so...dependent. She's not clingy or sensitive or vulnerable. She'll never be hot on a man's heels. No, never. She's her own woman and if a man strikes her fancy, she'll pursue, but she'll make him do the brunt of the chasing. Perhaps, Banquo, that's why she interests me. I'm tired of girls falling all over my arm the moment I enter a room. Do you know what she did when I walked into the party last night? She was completely silent. I got nothing more than a nod of acknowledgment from her. It wasn't until later when we were all discussing politics that she addressed me, directly. Even then, it was short-lived, but there was something in those eyes—those alluring, sapphire eyes—that was challenging me to come get her. Well, as sure as I am a man, I fully intend on taking that challenge and I fully intend on succeeding."
With that, Macbeth gulped down the last of his drink, slammed the foamy mug on the counter, and paraded off in pursuit of his love. Banquo remained seated, shaking his head in amused disbelief. His dear friend was smitten by this strange beauty. He just hoped Macbeth wouldn't lose his head over it.
It was noon. The sun bathed the garden in a warm, yellow light. There she was, sitting on a slate bench, reading. Her dark blonde locks shimmered as she tilted her head every so often. Her bright red lips were pursed as her feline eyes darted back and forth across the pages. She was wearing a velvet emerald dress, the neckline cut deep to showcase her gold necklace.
Macbeth stood outside the arched entrance to the garden, beholding her as he tried to find his breath. She was stunning, truly a woman among women. Unlike the other delicate, dainty girls, his love owned a voluptuous shape, though, her waist petite. Her overbearing feminine features only made approaching her harder. This was a woman he was talking about after all. One slip, one false word and she'd uncover his plan and send him out of her sight, head hung. Though, she wouldn't appreciate his lack of courage either.
Be strong, Macbeth. Be smooth.
He entered the garden.
"I've always liked roses," he commented, cupping a nearby bud from the rosebush, "they're beautiful, but so strong."
She shrugged, flipping the page, "I prefer daisies."
He unhanded the rose immediately, clearing his throat. "Yes, well, as do I."
She raised an eyebrow, still fixated on her book. "I actually don't like flowers much at all."
Macbeth nodded vigorously. "Oh, yes, of course, flowers! Bah! Who needs them?"
She looked up, saving the page with her hand. "You know, in fact, they distinctly remind me of men who spend their days putting on a facade to impress women, wearing their most enticing mask so they can claim their prize as quickly as possible. Well, I'm not a fan of flowers and I am certainly not a fan of men like you."
She ended with that last vehement remark and returned to reading.
Macbeth, disarmed and embarrassed, stood flushed in awe. He tried formulating an apology, a sentence, a word, anything with to no avail. She left him stunned as always.
Realizing he was still standing before her, she turned to him. "That would be your cue to leave."
"No, wait! I...we started off on the wrong foot. Hi, I'm Macbeth, remember? From the party last night?"
She studied him for a moment, answering flatly, "Yes, I remember."
"We were discussing politics. You're very intelligent, by the way. I've never had a more fruitful conversation than last night's."
She gave a quick nod. "Thank you."
Macbeth began to break out in an anxious sweat, desperately thinking of a way to take control of the situation. This meeting was not going as he'd anticipated, to say the least. In fact, she was supposed to be swooning by now, according to the fantasy he'd invented on the way here. Perhaps, he'd expected too much of himself. Maybe she was out of his league. Was that what Banquo was trying to convey earlier? He'd have to concede to him.
"Is that all?" She asked tersely.
"I...I suppose so."
"Well, then, goodbye, Macbeth."
"Before I go, may I have your name?"
"Oh, you won't be needing it," she retorted.
His spirits sunk. "Oh, well...goodbye," he choked and left the garden, head hung.
"Another!" Macbeth slurred furiously, eyes twitching as he tried to make out the bartender.
"Macbeth, that was your sixth. Go home before you get sick."
"Trust me! I'm fine. I'm sober! I swear!"
"Mac, he's right. Maybe we better go," Banquo encouraged.
"Just one more! I'll pay you double!" Macbeth cried to the bartender.
"Thanks, Jonathon, but I think we're going to head out. C'mon, Mac! Mac?"
While Banquo had been addressing the bartender, Macbeth had slid himself behind the counter and proceeded to guzzle the beer straight from the tap.
"Macbeth!" Both reprimanded.
Banquo jumped over the counter, shut the tap off, and scooped his drunken mate by the underarms, dragging him out of the pub.
"You owe me for that beer!" Jonathon shouted.
Banquo huffed. "God, Macbeth! You're killing me! What are you so upset about anyways? There's tons of other woman in Scotland. You know what? We're going down to 'The Lane' and getting ourselves a few wenches, eh? Whadda ya think about that?"
Macbeth pulled himself out of his friend's grip and staggered up to his feet. "I don't want a whore, Banquo, I want her. I want that woman."
"For all you know, shecould be a whore."
Clenching his jaw and fist, Macbeth swung at Banquo, cracking his nose. Banquo, in reluctance and disbelief, pinched his nose and touched his upper lip with the back of his hand. He examined the blood running in a rapid stream down his face.
"She's not a whore," Macbeth snarled.
Banquo scoffed, pressing his tongue to his cheek. "If that's how you feel, Macbeth, fine. Be miserable for all I care. I hope you woo that bitch and be miserable with her for the rest of your life!"
With that, he stomped off, leaving a grunting, irrational Macbeth behind.
He treaded for a mile and, finally, saw the estate come into view above the endless rolling hills. Macbeth lurched toward the door, the preparing to knock, before an idea began to brew in his intoxicated mind.
Earlier, when he'd approached his love in the garden, he noticed a lattice fence, conveniently leading to a window on the upper floor. Macbeth carefully placed his foot in one of the holes and hoisted himself onto the fence. The climb proved difficult, but he managed to reach and open the window and throw himself inside.
He'd only had a second to catch his breath before a piercing scream deafened him as something dense smacked against his skill. He clutched his throbbing head, searing in pain. He looked up to find the cause of all this chaos. There she was, sitting in the bath basin, arms tightly folded against her chest.
"Was the hope drunk when you decided to so rudely break into my home?"
He stood. "Oh, it was drunk, alright. In fact, it was plastered."
"Ugh!" she cried, "I cannot believe you, you, you arrogant, haughty, self-centered son of a-"
Her eyes widened. "Excuse me?"
He lifted his head. "I said, 'Shut up' you stunning woman of a woman."
"Well, I have, never—"
"That's your problem. You never anything. You never let a man court you because you think we're all out to get you. You think men merely want to hunt you down like some doe, tie you by the legs, and hoist you off as a treasure. You think we're all hunters and I'm here to tell you...you're wrong. You're wrong. For such a clever woman, you can't seem to figure out that I actually want to know you. I want to talk to you. I want you and not as some trophy to show off to my friends, seeing as how I just punched my only good friend anyways."
"You punched your only friend?"
"Yes, well, that's beside the point right now anyways. The point is...you do something to me that I can't quite explain. There's this presence you have when you walk into a room and I...you're the only one I notice. It's like life is a play and you come on stage and steal the entire show."
Her eyes soften as she listened, his words luring her into near compliance. "And it's not because I'm sitting here naked in a bath?"
His cheeks reddened. "Well, that's a completely different thing you do to me that needs not to be explained."
She smiled. "If you'd be so kind as to get me a towel, I'll give you a kiss."
He quickly handed her one, turning away as she wrapped herself.
She finished and pecked his lips as promised.
"You're sweet. You know that? Too sweet and that might be a bad thing, but for now...It's nice."
His love made her way to the door.
"It's Gruoch, by the way," she said as she disappeared behind the door.
It was a Sunday the day they married. The newlyweds skipped out of the church, followed by the joyous sounds of cheering, clapping, and fanfare. White daisy petals rained over the celebration. Macbeth's woman never looked more radiant as she did now, in his eyes, her smile abundant. Per usual, she stole his attention and his heart every time he caught a glimpse of her.
Banquo stepped out of the crowd, cautiously approaching his former mate.
The couple stopped, Macbeth giving him a curious look.
"Macbeth, I...I'm so sorry for the night. I'm sorry I-"
Macbeth patted his shoulder. "Let's forget about it."
The men embraced each other.
"Your Lady looks lovely Macbeth!" Banquo cried loud enough to catch the attention of the bride.
Lady Macbeth gave a slight curtsy, grinning.
"And you're looking handsome, my good sir."
Macbeth smiled. "Hey, thanks for coming."
"Wouldn't have missed it for the world, Mac."
"You should join us at the estate later. And you're welcome to stay. You're always welcomed in my home."
"I will, I just have to run a quick errand first."
"Husband!" Lady Macbeth cried.
"Coming!" he replied, already being jerked back to her side.
Macbeth graciously opened the carriage door for his new wife. Both waved and called goodbye as they hopped in and were pulled away to the reception.
The commotion of the wedding began to fade as they drew away from the church. Lady Macbeth nuzzled into her husband's chest, looking up at him, starry eyed. He smiled and met her lips, their second kiss as husband and wife.
"You know I'd do anything for you, right?"
"And I for you, my dear wife."
The murky forest was thick with fog. Banquo inhaled and coughed out the muggy air as he staggered across the damp, descending ground.
Below, in a clear ditch at the end of the hill, three snarly women were gathered around a pot. They appeared gaunt and crusty as if petrified to the logs upon which they sat. As Banquo approached, they turned, boring into him with their beady, black eyes.
"Ladies," he began, a cocked grin spreading across his face. "I have a proposition for you."