A month and a half had passed since Mary had been living with Rose and Abraham. Mary had grown to trust them like she had never trusted anyone before. As a princess and a former heir to the throne, Mary was never shown kindness without a definite purpose. And as she transformed into a servant by night, everybody had turned on her.
To repay their kindness, Mary was going to go shop for the groceries to cook Rose and Abraham a special meal since their two year anniversary was shortly arriving.
"Mary where are you going?" asked Abraham.
"I was just going to go buy a few things for myself. I haven't been out for so long."
"Mary, I'll come with you."
"No there's no need for that, Abraham. I know you have to work."
"Alright, but Mary."
"Be careful okay, I don't want you getting yourself in trouble or anything."
"Don't worry, Abraham. I'll take care of myself."
With that said, Mary strolled out of the door.
My father may never have gotten the son that he so craved, but I know that I have gotten the brother that I always desired. Mary smiled as she paced out the door.
Over a span of one month had passed since the Princess Mary had stayed with Abraham and Rose and Abraham had to admit that she was completely different from both of her parents. She was neither arrogant as her father nor was she proud like her mother. She was humble and sweet with high morals. Abraham had grown to be protective over Mary and if there was any other woman that he was fond of other than Rose, it was Mary. Mary had become like a little sister to him.
Abraham knew what it was like to lose his parents and he knew that Mary was way too young to be deprived of the love of both of her parents. Although fully grown, Mary was still a child of sixteen years and it could be seen through her eyes that she missed her mother miserably. That was why; Abraham did whatever he could to be close to an older brother to her.
It had been a week ago since Anne had lost his son. It was her fault that their son was dead. Just because he had kissed the Lady Jane, Anne had behaved savagely and for that reason, he had lost his only male heir to the throne. Henry couldn't believe that Anne had dared to point a finger at Jane. Jane was god's sweetest creature and it was Henry's right to see other woman.
Henry had heard from the doctors that their son would have been born deformed and thus, he could not help but wonder if Anne really was involved in witchcraft as his advisors had claimed.
"Your Majesty, it is a letter from the Roman Emperor."
"Read it to me, out loud."
"As you say your Majesty."
I have heard that the Princess Mary had runaway claiming that she wants nothing to do with you or your court. I urge you to go look for her since she is after all your daughter. It had been well past a month now and I have heard nothing from her or about her. Since she is my Aunt's daughter, I worry for her and her whereabouts.
I know that as a king, you have important duties to take care like your recent family and kingdom. You think that you do not have time for your illegitimate daughter but let me remind you that, Mary is your blood and she is the same exact little girl that you used to hold and pamper calling her the pearl of England.
Just think for a second for your daughter, she could be anywhere; she may or may not be safe. But please do find her and once you do, keep her happy and safe. If you do not do this, I am afraid that I will invade England and send my guards to search the whole of England for Mary and once I find her, I will forever take her away from you. You are her father and thus you have the most rights upon her but if you abandon her, I will come and take her away where she will reside in my kingdom and get a status of no less than the princess of England; and get respect that as the daughter of Katherine of Aragon, she rightfully deserves.
"You may leave."
Henry knew that Charles was right. He should be looking for Mary. He had sent many guards throughout the month but all had failed him. But Henry never gave up, he would find her. He wouldn't let Charles take Mary away from him. She was his daughter, not Charles.' If anyone had rights over her, it was Henry. Henry had already lost a son due to Anne but what he had failed to realize earlier was that he had also lost his daughter all because of the same woman.
Mary strolled along the streets with grocery bags. She was quite content as a warm breeze pushed the strands of Mary's hair back. Her hair was up in a bun, her gown was in wrinkles and she wore no jewels. Although a princess, she looked like every bit a commoner as everyone else. But it was her beauty that differentiated her from the rest. Her porcelain clear skin blazed at the sun. Her sapphire blue eyes looked stunning as they no longer contained the dark circles that she had received from weeping about her mother every night. Her smile radiated a sense of her inner peace. She had finally come to terms with everything that had happened to her and she was happy.
Mary would not trade life with Rose and Abraham for anything. She finally felt that she had free will and independence. She had gained friends on her own without the help of her title or her parents and after everything she had gone through, she felt pride upon herself.
Yet, she felt that something or someone was missing. Mary was content with her life but she couldn't help but be reminded of John by simply seeing the littlest of things. It was clear, Mary was enamoured by John. But John had already fallen in Mary's eyes and she had no other choice but to slowly heal from the scars that he had left her.
The sound of horses could be heard from afar. Everyone bowed down as the horses came near. Mary realized the noise and she went as far as she could from it, hiding behind a large group of people.
"The King is arriving, bow down to the King" echoed loudly through Mary's ear drums. She did a weak curtsey as she trembled a little afraid that the king would recognize her. But she hoped that her father could not see her.
Her father stood tall for everyone to see him. "You may all stand now for I have an announcement to make."
Mary stood up and stood frozen in her spot as she observed her father from a far. She hadn't seen him in over four months. He was still her handsome papa but she could notice the light beard that he had grown. He still stood tall, proud and composed. With a deep, loud voice, he spoke eyeing his people intently.
"Two days from now, I will be holding a ball where the whole of London is obligated to participate in. As many of you have heard, King Francis of France is in England. On his behalf, I want to hold this ball. It is the largest ball that England has ever had. Everyone has to come."
His people cheered him on. "All hail the King" was what they said.
"I would like to make another announcement. I think many of you have heard that my daughter, Lady Mary is missing. Please, if you do find out about her whereabouts, please do tell me. And Mary, if there is a chance that you are listening, please come back to court. You're father worries about you. And that will be all."
Watching the king, a tear fell down Mary's face. Mary could see the look of despair in her father's eyes. Compared to how he started off his small announcement, he looked guilty and hopeless after he finished it.
The king got on his horse and along with the Duke of Suffolk, he rode of the distance as his guards followed. The noise of thudding horses rushed through Mary's eardrums as it marked his departure.
Another tear fell down her flustered face. She didn't know what to feel. Should she be happy that at last her father was searching for her or should she be angry with him for all that he had done?
Henry arrived at court. His eyes searched for a particular little girl. One who contained flowing chestnut hair and twinkling, deep blue eyes like her father's. The one who was the merriest amongst all; the one that ran away from the ladies-in waiting, laughing merrily. Alas, he saw no little girl, and unfortunately not even a shadow of the remainder.
Spotting Katherine Howard, he approached her.
"I hope you ladies are well."
Katherine and Caroline curtsied at his behalf.
"Your Majesty, we are well."
Henry took a look at Caroline. She was still beautiful but her face rotted of despair.
"Caroline, you look upset. Are you alright sweetheart?"
"Your majesty, I think she's grieving over John," answered Katherine.
"Is that so? In this case, I promise you that I will get you betrothed to John as soon as possible."
"What if he doesn't take me back?"
"He has to obey his king. Besides, I know that he still loves you. He just feels betrayed, that's all. But I assure you that he loves you. I had seen it on the day that we first met. I would like to apologize. I should have never come between you and John."
"Your majesty, you have no reason to apologize. It was me who had come to you."
It was the day of the ball. Mary just gazed at herself through the mirror. Questions blazed her mind. Should she go? Would she be in trouble if she didn't go? Would John be there? Would her father recognize her? Should she go back to court? Did her father really care? Was it right for her to long for the love of her father, the love of a tyrant that seemed to care for nobody but himself? After all, he was her father and nothing in the world could change that.
"Are you going to the ball, Rose?"
"I have to, we all do?"
"What if the king notices you and Abraham?"
"I know the king has long forgotten about us or else he would've sent guards looking for us three years ago. It's been three years since he had last seen us. What's done is done. Besides I don't think he would want to start a scene at one of the biggest balls England has ever seen. And we will try to be very careful."
"What about me?"
"Mary, we would love for you to come and we would do the best to protect you but it's up to you, do you want to come?"
"I don't know Rose."
"Think about it. But Mary, you have to promise me something."
"If the king finds you and you do go back to court, promise me that you'll never expose that you have been living with me and Abraham. We could get into serious trouble with the king."
"I promise, Rose. You've done so much for me. That's the least I could do."
"You know that if you are going to go, I have the perfect gown for you."
Rose walked to the other room only to return with a beautiful yellow gown made out of satin with the finest golden embroidery all around the bodice. The dress was off-shouldered with the neckline being right above a woman's bosoms.
But the question remained, should she go or should she not? A part of her thought of John and how much she craved to see him again. Another part of her even hoped that her father would reach out to her and she would regain the favour of her father but after everything that both of them had done, was it really rational for her to even think such a think, let alone crave it? Her father was as good as dead to her but ever since she had seen him as she was coming back from the market, she saw the despair in his eyes. He was her Papa again with shimmering eyes only bearing love for his little pearl.
But did she want to go back to court or did she want to stay here with Rose and Abraham? Rose and Abraham had treated her better than her own father ever would and the past month that she had spent with them was amazing. But would she get caught if she did attend the ball? Her father did not recognize her and even if he found out, her father made it clear to her that she is no use to him anymore so it wouldn't make a difference whether she stayed at court or with Rose and Abraham. Mary had nothing to be afraid of. She was Katherine of Aragon's daughter. She would stand tall and not hide away like a coward. But was that just another excuse for the mare chance of seeing John again.
"I am going to go."
"What if the king recognizes you?"
"So be it, I am no longer the heir of the throne and my father has made it clear that I am no longer of any use to him so I will tell him that I do not want to return back to court. I am afraid of no one. If he can abandon me, so can I."
"I honestly love how strong you are. You are just like your mother." Rose embraced Mary making Mary feel more confident about her venture. Rose left the room and Mary was alone left to change into her new gown.
Mary took her gown off leaving her completely bare. She looked into the mirror. Was she beautiful?
"Don't hide your face when you're blushing. The rosy red just enhances your beauty"
Nobody ever had commented on her beauty other than John. The thought of him made her cheeks burn; made them enhanced by the colour of rosy red. Her long chestnut curls covered her beautifully blossomed bosoms. Her eyes shimmered at the light of her reflection. Her porcelain white skin bared no flaws, no bruises, nor scars. She was a form to behold; a form that would make any man insanely in lust. Mary observed her body. She had grown up. She was a grown woman now.
Mary observed the part of her neck slightly above the collar bone. His mark on her was gone; it had faded away.
Mary put on the beautifully embroidered, yellow gown. She glanced at her reflection. She did look stunning. Mary did a spin as she chuckled lightly. She felt like a princess again. She looked at her reflection. Should she let her hair down or should she put it in a bun? If she put it in a bun, she'd look older, much wiser beyond her age. But if she let it out, she would look younger, yet much prettier.
"Be good Layla."
"I want to go to with you. I want to see Mary."
"You've got to stay, Layla."
"Okay I promise, Papa but when you come back, could you tell Mary that I want to see her? Could you bring her?"
"I will see."
As the housekeeper closed the door, John turned around as he headed off to the ball. He was in deep thought. For the past month, he was not himself. He had gone through two heart breaks in a year but it was different with Mary. He couldn't get her out of his head. He dreamt of her often. John even consumed alcohol to help ease the pain. But it was to no avail. There he was, participating in an event he had not the slightest interest in all for a girl who had consumed his thoughts. There he was, enamoured by a princess that was out of his reach. Before, John would tell himself that Mary deserved a Prince but now it was close to impossible for John to see any other man touch her let alone marry her. He had never felt like this before. A burning desire was within him; a burning desire to possess Mary entirely. He promised himself that if he did find her, there was no way that he would let her go.
John finally arrived at the ball. There were beautiful women everywhere in gowns all with a ghostly white complexion as their face was adorned with grinded lead. Along with their husbands/fathers, they all entered the ball as they stood tall and proud. They seemed as if they all were of nobility.
John entered the ball. The light emanating from the large chandeliers brightened up the large room. There was a large table on the side with different types of exquisite dishes. Couples were dancing along to gay music. And beyond everyone were the two tyrants of Europe as they sat on their grand chairs, drinking glasses of wine, and lustfully watching the beautiful women. He spotted King Francis. He knew how he looked at Mary and he wanted to beat him to his grave for it.
Then there she was; Caroline. Her long hair flowed down, covering her back as a curtain of silk. A rose was inserted at one side of her ear. Her gown was sky blue, her favourite colour. She looked breathtaking.
When Caroline noticed his glance upon her, she slightly glanced back at him.
But then she approached him. "Hello John."
"How are you?"
When the king noticed that John had arrived, he began the mending of his mistakes.
John and Caroline bowed down to the king.
"John, ask Caroline to dance."
He knew better to disobey the king so he weakly said "Will you dance?"
As they started to dance to the tunes of violins playing, Caroline pulled John in for an embrace.
"I missed you, John. I missed you so much."
As John was about to reply, a beautiful girl entered, taking the breath of every single man. Wearing a satin, shoulder-off, yellow gown, her beautiful chestnut curls descended to her waist and covered parts of her bare, succulent shoulders. Her sapphire blue eyes were lined with dark lead. She walked in gracefully, just how people descending from her bloodline would. Beside her was another beautiful girl with beautiful olive skin and dark brown hair that flowed down to her waist, also. Behind her was a man, a man with a moderately built physique with shaggy blonde hair.
John glanced at Mary and as he realized that he was embracing another woman,
he quickly took his hands off of Caroline. Mary glanced back. But her consequent reaction consisted of hesitation. She was shocked to find John here, embracing another woman. Her heart beat fast and before even completely entering, Mary walked out.
"Be strong. Mary, come on. I know that you're afraid but there is nothing to be afraid of."
All of a sudden a familiar face appeared. "She's right."
Unable to handle the presence of John, Mary started pacing inside.
John blocked her way and grabbed her arm, firmly. "Mary, wait."
"Let go of her," said Abraham angrily.
John released Mary's arm as she paced as quick as she could inside the ball as John followed.
Mary went through the crowds of people and attempted to get away from John as soon as possible. She wanted nothing to do with him. Mary was upset at seeing John with another woman. He was nothing but a cowardly man who wasn't there for her when she needed him the most. But what she failed to notice was that he was just like every other man at court. He was just like her father. She knew that he only embraced another woman but there was no proof that he wasn't the type to take mistresses if he were to marry, just like her father.
"Mary, wait." His voice sounded brooding and it sent chills down her spine. But just as John was about to catch up, another figure appeared in front of her. It was Queen Anne. She definitely looked lovely with her dark curls cascading down to her waist but there was a slight change in her dark, beautiful eyes; the same eyes that once captured her father's soul. She was twenty-eight, yet wrinkles were starting to form underneath her eyes.
"Mary, you came. You're father will be so happy."
Without even realizing what she was saying, Mary replied, "You're Majesty, it's so great to see you."
John stood right behind Mary as he watched the scene in shock. Anne noticed his dark stare on her step daughter; how he watched Mary just a few centimetres from her personal space.
"Have you finally accepted me as your queen, Mary? I am so glad to hear you call me 'your majesty.' I am sorry, Mary. I know that you cannot let anyone else take your mother's place."
"I am not letting anyone take my mother's place. I'm just putting my mother's place higher than anyone else's will ever be. Now if you'll excuse me, your majesty, I will take my leave."
John stood amused at the entire scene.
"Wait, don't you want to meet your father? It's been so long. Mary, are you going to return to court?"
"Of course not, my father has no use of me and I do not desire to keep any relations with him whatsoever and I do not want to meet him."
"Your father had been grieving for you for the past month, Mary. I think you owe him a visit."
"I think he owes me way more than that, yet I'm not complaining."
"Mary", Anne yelled.
"I will take my leave now, your majesty."
Mary gave her a weak curtsey as she started pacing away.
But right before, John could go after her, Anne blocked his way. "Who are you?"
John chuckled. "You're majesty, why I am your future step son-in-law."
Before, Anne could even have a chance to react, John scurried after Mary.
Anne couldn't believe it. This commoner had the courage to pursue someone from such royalty. He was handsome of course but surely he was way below Mary's station and the king would have been furious if he hears of what he told her. Mary did, however look like she was trying to avoid the handsome man. But it was in his eyes, the way that he had looked at her spoke for itself.
It was the same way Henry had looked at her when he first met her. Henry couldn't take his eyes off of her at that time. She had consumed his thoughts and was the reason for all his actions. She was the reason why Henry abandoned both Katherine and Mary. Anne was astonished by how things had changed. Henry no longer loved her. He had been staying with her in her chambers less and less nowadays. And it seems that his affections were only stored for his mistresses; Katherine Howard, Caroline Hubert and the new girl; Jane Seymour who did not seem to allow the king access to her virginity. She was playing the same game that she had played when she had first met Henry.
Mary also changed dramatically. She was much different from the little princess that used to run around in the gardens outside of court. She grew up into an astonishingly beautiful woman. In fact, she was the most beautiful girl in the whole ball. Also, the way Mary acted amazed her. Anne thought that she was ambitious, always after the crown that now belonged to Elizabeth but she was wrong. Mary roamed around like neither royalty nor her father mattered anymore. She had honestly never witnessed such strength, such wisdom in her life.
Mary's actions were all right. Being both Henry's wife and daughter, you will suffer. Escaping a life of freedom, she would not have to deal with him anymore or the cons that come with coming from royalty.
But Anne questioned who the man was that looked at Mary as if he would not rest until he possessed her entirely. She knew how a passionate man acted. She herself used to be a man's greatest passion. But should she tell the king about this encounter and would her step daughter really be safe if men like him keep on lusting over her?
Mary spotted faces that looked so familiar. There was a boy. He was a twelve year old boy with pale, pink-complexioned skin along with pale hair. Beside him was his mother. She was once the most beautiful lady-in-waiting that her mother had and the most trusted. She was still pretty but fine lines started to mark her skin. Nonetheless, she looked lovely. Her golden hair cascaded elegantly to her waist in beautiful curls and her gown was a bright purple.
So many things have changed. My brother had grown up so much over these years.
Mary approached them. "Henry Fitzroy?"
"Yes may I help you?"
Mary smiled at his reply.
"Oh my, are you Mary, Mary Tudor?" asked Elizabeth Blount.
"I am Mary Tudor."
"You have grown so much. Henry this is your sister, Mary Tudor."
"Hello brother," Mary replied smiling at the little boy that resembled his mother.
"He often asks about you."
"I told him that he has a sister and from then on he never stops asking about you."
"You are such a sweet boy," said Mary.
"Thank you, sister."
Mary spotted John coming closer and she felt her heart skip a beat.
"It was nice to meet you, Henry and you Lady Blount but now if you will excuse me, I will take my leave."
She didn't know why she was running away from John. She didn't want all of the feelings/emotions that she had stored inside to come rushing back and she certainly was not ready to express them.
Mary bumped into another familiar face; Mary Boleyn. Out of the three women that she had witnessed, Mary Boleyn remained the most beautiful of them all. Her pale golden hair had specks of amber in them and her eyes were a sapphire blue. She was a very pale woman and the paleness of her eyebrows gave her a type of innocence; also making her younger than she really was.
Mary was awfully tired at encountering her father's mistresses, but she always seemed to enter in conversation with them to avoid John; so that he would tire of her and leave her alone.
"It is a pleasure to meet you, your highness."
"I hope that you are having a wonderful time at the ball."
"Yes, indeed. I am," Mary lied.
"Mary, can I say something if you do not mind."
"Sure, you may."
"I apologize for all of the pain and sufferings that my family and I had brought you. I apologize for being your father's mistress. I just hope that we have no tension between us."
"You needn't apologize, all is forgiven."
Immediately, Mary Boleyn embraced Mary Tudor. "Thank you so much, Mary."
"You have realized your wrongs and that is all that matters."
"You are right. Mary I wish you all the best."
John heard the whole encounter between Mary Boleyn and Mary from a short distance.
As Mary turned around, she came face to face with John. But this time, instead of running, something compelled her to stay. Perhaps it was the sadness in his eyes or simply her feelings towards him. He still looked just as handsome as he was before; so handsome that it made Mary's heart skip a beat.
However, trying to avoid eye contact, Mary turned right back around although she did not run.
John approached Mary.
"Funny, isn't it? It seems as if you would do anything to avoid me; even talk to your father's mistresses. It looks like all the hatred you had of them had accelerated towards me."
Mary's back stood coldly against John.
"John why are you here? What exactly is it that you want from me?"
"You truly do not know? I want you, Mary. This past month, all I could ever think about was you."
"Well that you can never have."
John grabbed Mary's arms and forced her to face him.
"Look at me Mary, I can't sleep at night because all I can think about is you. For the past month, I've been looking restlessly for you. Now you avoid me. You may be a princess but you and I both know that we're meant to be together."
"Stop this nonsense. You had your chance to have me, John. Now please leave me alone."
Mary's face was flustered and her heart raced at John's firm touch. It was if he would never let her go and a part of her was excited because deep inside that was exactly what she wanted.
"Mary, I am so sorry that I couldn't be there for you for all that you have been through. I have so much to tell you. I want to explain myself to you if you would just let me. Please Mary. I will do anything for you."
No , I cannot set myself for heartbreak again. This guy is nothing but trouble. He has left me when I needed him, he is the biggest coward and he has lured me to sin. I should stay away from him. But then again, I cannot deny that nobody has ever made me feel this way and whatever he is saying seems so sincere.
"I don't know what to say, John."
"You don't need to say anything. Mary, may I have the honour to dance with the most beautiful girl in the entire ball. Please."
"Brother, do you see that beautiful girl over there."
"Yes, she looks so familiar."."
"She was the girl that you first met when you came to England?"
"Yes that's her"
"Then what are you waiting for, go ask her for a dance."
Henry spotted Caroline. He felt so bad that she was all alone by herself. John did not seem to be anywhere near her. Henry noticed how beautiful she looked in her gown, how her skin glowed and how her beautiful green eyes shimmered in the light. She looked so stunning that Henry wished to spend one more night with her.
Katherine was dancing with one of his courtiers, Thomas Culpepper. She also looked breathtaking in her golden gown that matched the colour of her hair. Henry had not been to her chamber since a month and in that month, it seemed as if Katherine was falling in love with Thomas Culpepper. King Henry smiled at the scene. He wanted them to be betrothed. Two months ago, Henry would've wanted Katherine all to himself but he knew he already had the best of her. Besides, Anne was right, Katherine deserved someone her own age.
"Brother, ask the girl that you seem to have an infatuation for to dance while I dance with Caroline."
Anne Boleyn held her Elizabeth in her arms. Her little girl had grown so beautifully. Her amber hair was slightly longer and her features seemed more mature.
She had already said her first word. It was "Mama." But no matter how much Anne had tried to make her say "Papa," she would never seem to catch the word. Anne then spotted the handsome man gripping on to her step daughter's arms tightly. Anne knew he was too dangerous to be anywhere around Katherine of Aragon's innocent daughter. Anne thought that if she approached them, that would be the best option because she also knew that Elizabeth would distract away Mary from this mysterious man.
As Anne approached them, the handsome man automatically released Mary.
"Your Majesty," said Mary as she was still attempting to catch her breath.
"Elizabeth," Mary said as she took the girl from Anne into her arms.
Elizabeth smiled at Mary.
"She missed you, Mary. I've heard that ever since you left Hatfield, she would not sleep because she no longer listened to your lullabies. I had to keep her for a few days just so that she could sleep."
"Ma-ry," Elizabeth uttered.
"Oh my god, did she just say my name?"
"That's her second word."
Mary held Elizabeth close to her.
"I missed her so much."
Elizabeth pointed to John and said "m-an."
"She is adorable," said John.
The two women just stood there stunned at Elizabeth.
"Can I hold her?" asked John.
"No you may not hold the princess, and you certainly should not come anywhere near the king's older daughter either."
King Francis approached them. He looked straight at Mary, looking at her as if she was the most beautiful girl that he had ever seen. Mary gulped in fear. She knew the way he looked at woman and remembered the encounter with him clearly. She did not feel comfortable anywhere near him.
John was burning with rage. He always knew what King Francis was like and how he was staring at Mary during the encounter with him near the ocean. It came to no surprise that he would approach her. But John couldn't watch any man look at Mary that way.
King Francis took Mary's hand and kissed it. He kissed her hand for a second longer than he usually would for any other woman enjoying the delicacy of her skin.
"Will you accompany me for a dance, milady?"
Mary stood there stunned. She did not know what to think for a second. She looked at John whose face seemed to turn red in anger. She didn't know whether John loved her but a deeper part of her instantly knew that if she said yes, it would kill John.
Anne was watching the scene amused. She pictured Mary being the queen of France leaving Elizabeth and her future children room to inherit England's throne.
"Mary, you should never deny a king."
Mary couldn't believe this. The last time this king was here, he was determined at betrothing her with his son. Now he wanted her to himself.
"I think I'm going to be sick. I am going to go out for some air."
With that remark, Mary paced quickly away from the awkward encounter as John went after her.
Anne did not understand how anyone could deny a king. She knew that the handsome man had too much of an effect on Mary; much more than she assumed. Anne knew that something had to be done about it.
"So I see that you have taken an interest in the Lady Mary, the king's daughter."
"That is Mary Tudor, the king's daughter?"
"Yes that is Henry's daughter."
Francis's face flustered in embarrassment. He should have known by Mary's colouring that she was Henry's daughter. Mary had the exact same eyes as Henry Tudor and it didn't come to a surprise that she had inherited the temper and arrogance from him as well. Francis was afraid. If Henry found out that he had lusted over his daughter, he would certainly have to endure his dangerous temper. Henry didn't recognize his daughter from far away and he hoped that he never finds out that it was his daughter that he wanted. Francis planned to pack his bags and leave for France as quickly as he could.
"I can see the sadness in your eyes, Caroline. You look stunning, yet you're not happy and I can not stand to see beautiful women sad."
"Your Majesty, any woman would be sad to see their love chasing another woman."
"Impossible. I know he loves you. He is just trying to make you jealous. But, Caroline, do you love him."
"Of course I do, your Majesty. I cannot live without him."
"Very well, I will have the two of you betrothed this very night. Just wait, sweetheart."
Henry walked to the stage where everyone can see him.
Everyone stopped and stared at the king.
"A few days ago, I went horseback riding with my dear friend, the duke of Suffolk. During my hunting, I saw one of the most beautiful women that I had ever seen in my life. I am pretty sure that many of the men had noticed her here in court. But what I had failed to notice that day was the love that she had for another man and the love that another man had for her. I had never seen the truest love in all of my life. I had never witnessed a man that was ready to fight a king for the woman that he loved. Now I would like to betroth them to each other. I would love for them to marry at court. Caroline Hubert and John Anderson come up here."
Caroline immediately walked to the King.
John was stunned. He was not expecting that at all. Mary stood there as her heart shattered into pieces once again.
"You should obey the king," said Mary coldly.
"Mary," said John. Her words tasted cold as it reached his ears and it killed him inside that things had come to this. But there was something he promised himself before he walked to join the king and Caroline. He would not stop at anything to have Mary.
Mary watched the man that she loved standing next to another woman. She watched as everyone clapped in honour of their union. She watched her father on stage; at how happily he was snatching away the man that she loved without even knowing it. She looked at the woman beside John. She was breathtakingly beautiful; she dressed like she came from a good family. Mary knew that she would be able to give John everything that he desired. She wasn't like Mary who had become the object of humiliation and pity. But Mary couldn't help escape a tear.
"As you know, that it is tradition to let the gentleman dance with one last woman before he gets married. So John, I urge you to choose a woman and dance with her."
The cursing in John's head towards the king had faded. At least, he could have a dance with Mary and he could assure her that he was in love with only her.
John stepped forward. He walked to the end of the ball. Mary was facing the other way as she was about to leave.
Mary immediately turned around.
"Will you give me the honour in accompanying you in a dance," said John as he kissed her hand.
Mary was speechless. She nodded.
John led her to the front of the room where all eyes remained on them. Many admired Mary's beauty and wondered what her beauty can do for her. Quite a few thought about proposing to her. Women stood there in jealousy. And very a few recognized who she really was and King Henry was not one of them.
Violins were playing and the soothing sounds reached every corner of the room. They danced slowly. John held her waist firmly. They looked into each other's eyes. John noticed Mary's watery eyes. He knew that no matter how much of a strong front Mary put, she was upset. She couldn't bear the pain of seeing him with another woman as he couldn't bear the pain of seeing her with another man.
John held her close and whispered into her ears. "Mary, I am in love with you. In a few days, I promise you this engagement will break."
Mary's heart pounded at the fear and excitement that she felt. It was true that John always made her feel like this but she also did not know what to expect.
John spin Mary around four times in a row at an intense speed. Then John caught Mary again as she grasped on to his neck and he onto her waist. They intensely looked into each other's eyes once again. Mary stared into dark brown eyes that seemed to see nobody but her. He looked into big sapphire blue eyes; the same eyes that seemed to be the reason for his restlessness.
Mary forced her way out of John leaving him stunned. She paced around John swaying her hips. Mary began pacing back at John as he picked her up. He released her once again. Mary grabbed onto both of his hands onto hers as they stepped back and forth in sequence. And once again, John spin Mary around.
"Where'd you learn to dance like that?"
"I am of Spanish descent, remember."
The whole ball was left stunned. They had never in their lives seen a more beautiful couple dancing in the most exquisite form. Even the dances that Anne had presented the court with could not compete with this.
The most stunned was Henry Tudor. The beautiful girl in front of her seemed so familiar. He could swear he had seen her before. But she definitely reminded her of someone. It was same spirit; the same moves; the same grace. She resembled the Katherine of Aragon; not only in spirit but also the way that she looked except for her coloring While, she had brown hair with blue eyes, Katherine had black hair with bright brown hazel eyes. He thought to himself whether there was any chance that the girl in front of him be Mary.
As their dance ended, Mary and John curtsied in front of the king. For the first time in many years, Mary was face to face with her father. She stared straight into his eyes; in some hope that he would recognize her.
"Isabella and John, that was a magnificent dance; the best I had seen yet. A round of an applause for them, everyone."
The crowd clapped and cheered them on. But those who knew who the girl standing next to John really was were stunned at the king's ignorance. Others seemed to see the humor of the king's stupidity and how easy it was to fool him.
"Everyone resume what you were doing. This new betrothal calls for a celebration."
Mary's eyes got watery. She was about to cry. She could not take it anymore. Her own father hadn't recognized her and she was about to lose a man that she, although would never admit to herself, was in love with.
"Isabella, resume whatever you were doing. I would like John to dance with his fiancé."
Henry found it a little strange that the mysterious girl instantly ran attempting to hold back tears as she paced out of the ball.
John looked at Mary, craving to go after her.
"John, dance with Caroline."
Anne was stunned at whatever had happened. But most of all she was angry. She was angry that Henry hadn't recognized and that the poor girl who had gone through so much because of her father was in tears once again. Anne feared that Elizabeth's condition would be the same when she reached Mary's age. Anne was afraid of her karma. But, if by being good to Mary, god could forgive her for her sins and stop her upcoming fate; then that was what she would do.
Anne approached Henry as he watched John and Caroline dance. Henry was proud that for once in his life, he had done something right. He had united lovers.
"Henry, how could you not recognize her?"
"Your own daughter."
"Yes, go get her, husband. Bring her back to court."
Henry ran outside as fast as he could only to find his shattered daughter. She was seated on the ground with her back against another building, crying helplessly. She was his daughter. She had his eyes, his hair and like him, she had the power to leave the whole England stunned. She was beautiful. She had grown up so fast. But now his daughter was weeping and it was all his fault. He couldn't believe that he had failed to realize that she was Mary; his pearl.
Henry was about to approach her when all of a sudden he saw two figures run to her. But before they could fully approach her, Mary wiped her tears away and stood up.
Acting like everything is alright. She is just like Katherine.
Although he didn't recognize the man, Henry recognized the girl right away. She was the girl that had eloped with the commoner.
Rose and Abraham could spot the sadness in Mary's eyes.
"That was John wasn't it?" asked Abraham in rage.
"Yes that was."
"I am going to kill him. How dare he…"
Mary grabbed Abraham's arm.
"Please, he does not matter anymore."
Abraham turned around to face Mary. It was evident that she was crying although she would never show it.
Whether she was trying to convince herself or Rose and Abraham, she did not know. But she smiled.
"Big brother, let's go home."
Abraham could not deny her. She had called him brother. That meant so much to him, yet his heart sunk at seeing Mary's efforts of covering up her pain.
"Let's go home, Mary," said Rose as she held her hand hoping to take her pain away.
But right before Mary entered the carriage, she took one last look at the ball hoping to see John. But instead of seeing John, she realized that she was looking straight into her father's watery eyes. She looked at him intently but she did not acknowledge him. But then she simply looked ahead and entered the carriage that would transport her to her home.
Hey everyone, I really hope you have enjoyed this chapter. Now we have finally reached the climax and this story is half way done. Anyways, this was a long chapter and longer the chapter, longer the wait for the next one unless I'm feeling nice. Anyways, review and tell me what you think. And thanks everyone for committing to my story so far. :)