Hi, and welcome to my new story! As you can see, it's nothing to do with Child Swap, which feels kind of weird. This is a little different to anything I've written on here before, so to quote the crazy cat lady 'I'm nervous but excited at the same time'
This story was inspired by the film directed by Madonna, W.E, and is the inspiration of the current title, R.A, the discovery of Richard III's bones in a carpark in Leicester, and also the work of RichardIII1955, who has been an immense help in telling me a bit about Richard III and giving me some good sources to work from. Feel free to check out Richard's work, it's great and it inspired me!
This story is dedicated to all Richardians, and anyone who has ever made friends with anyone online.
Anne's thin fingers were frozen to the bone. She sat in large chamber with her mother-in-law, Margaret of Anjou. Her needlework rested in her lap, unfinished.
The two women turned. A messenger wearing their livery stood in the doorway of the room.
"Yes?" said Margaret, rising from her seat "Is there news of my son?"
"Will he be returning home?" added Anne.
The messenger's eyes darted between the two women. Eventually they settled on Anne "Your husband will not be returning home tonight, my lady. I am sorry to be the bearer of such sad news, but he has been killed in the battle"
Margaret choked out a sob, but Anne was composed. Despair only came later. But it was not because her husband was deceased. Indeed, she was indifferent to him. Their marriage was simply an alliance, that could be broken an anytime with an annulment. Her despair was for her fate. What would become of her? All she was, was a pawn in this contest for the throne. Her father had died about a month ago. And now she had no man, husband or father, to oversee her welfare.
"I see" said Anne bravely "Then what will become of me?"
"You can't stay here" said Margaret "I'll send you to your sister and her husband and you will be their ward"
Her sister. That wouldn't be so bad. They had been close as children, and Isabel's daughter who had lived but a day had been named in her honour.
Margaret had turned back to the messenger "And who was it who killed my son?"
The messenger regarded her "I have been told that it was Yorkist soldiers, but there are rumours that it was Richard of Gloucester"
"Richard?" repeated Anne "But I grew up with him! He would never...he is a good man!"
"Get out" said Margaret, and Anne did.
"Yeah, it's me. Are you ok?"
"I'm fine. Are you going to be long?"
Annika heard her fiancé sigh on the other end of the phone.
"Look, um, the meeting is going on quite a while. Ofsted really battered us this time. The LEA is on our back and the governors are going mad. I don't think I'll be home any time soon"
"That's ok" Annika sighed herself.
"Are you all right with this?"
"I'm fine" said Annika defeatedly.
"I'll see you tonight"
"Don't work too hard"
"That's not possible"
The phone line went dead. Annika listened to the click miserably.
'Teaching' she thought, tucking away her mobile 'is not a job, it is a lifestyle. I should know. My father was a teacher, and so is my fiancé. And people say I ought to become one too!'
There was no point waiting for Oliver now. Annika shoved his dinner back in the oven, and carried her solitary plate over to her solitary place at the table. Her empty stomach growled as she brooded over the meal. These nights spent waiting to eat with Oliver were simply fruitless. He always came home late, leaving her hungry after a day spent alone.
When dinner was finished, Annika rose and paced through the halls of their apartment to her study. She slipped off her shoes as she walked along the hallways, and deposited her earrings in her jewellery box when she passed by her room. After making herself comfortable, she sat down at the desk top, and opened her laptop. Without Oliver, she had the whole evening to work. She knew he disapproved. She knew he thought her fascination with a dead king was stupid, but if he wasn't here, then a dead king was better than nothing.
She studied throughout the night, as usual. One day, she was going to write a book. She was going to be part of a big project. She just...needed to get there. And she didn't know the means of getting there.
After browsing the internet for half an hour, she found herself on one of her favourite sites. Although she had read all of the same information over and over again, she headed over to the discussion boards. There were always people contributing new things, new pieces of information, which always fascinated her. The latest discussion sat at the top of the page, with the headline 'Can Anyone Help?' Annika, being the long-serving member, clicked on it.
'Hi, I don't know if any of you can help me? I'm a freelance journalist and I've accepted a job from a history magazine to write a piece on Richard III. I know next to nothing about him, except my birthday's the 22nd of August, the same day as the Battle of Bosworth. I'd really appreciate it if someone could give me a history lesson and perhaps an 'inside view' that no one has ever heard before, or even some recommendations for books or other websites, since no one wants to read something I copied from Wikipedia! Many thanks, Rick'
Oliver wasn't here. This was a good distraction. Annika could immerse herself in writing about her favourite topic. She had all the knowledge. She'd do anything for his task right now.
'Hi, Rick. I'd be pleased to help you. I am a 'Richardian' as I believe they call us, and I used to be a history museum curator until I lost my job because of the government cuts. I'd be really happy to help you. I'll give you a brief overview of Richard's life, and then I'll send along some links to websites, and a list of a couple of my favourite books. Is there anything else you'd like to know? Did the magazine ask you to research any particular aspects, such as his relationship with his wife, Anne Neville? I know a lot about her as well'
After finishing the overview of his life, Annika sent the reply, and glanced around her study. Compared to Oliver's neat and tidy show-case worthy study, hers was organized chaos. Her research books were not stacked away in the bookcase, but piled beside her on the desk. She had various pictures of her friends and family either dotted around the room in frames, or pinned to the notice board. It might be a mess, but it was cosy, and she liked it.
"Annika? Annika? I'm home!" called Oliver. Annika looked at the clock on the wall. It was eleven 'o' clock. She'd been working for three hours.
"Where are you?" he called again.
"I'm in my study" Annika called back, tucking away some of her books.
Oliver stumbled into the room. He had that kind of face that seemed open and caring, the look of a primary school teacher. His hair was light brown, and slightly messy, and his eyes were hazel. He looked very approachable, which was what had drawn Annika to him in the first place.
"Hi" said Annika.
Oliver frowned "What are you doing?"
Oliver wrinkled his nose "Oh, not all this Richard III business again. When is it ever going to sink in? He's dead!"
"Yes, I know that. But you weren't here, and I had nothing to do. Besides, someone on the internet is writing an article for a history magazine, and needed my help"
"Your help? Since when have you started chatting to strangers?"
"Since my fiancé stopped keeping me company"
"Just because I'm not around doesn't mean you need to obsess over a dead king. It's not going to solve any of today's problems"
"Actually I think the past can be a fascinating, and insightful, way of ensuring that we learn from our mistakes and make a better society. And I think that the present can help to resolve many issues in the past"
Oliver rolled his eyes "Well, why him? He was an evil child-killer. He killed his nephews!"
"No one knows that" said Annika firmly "It could have been Henry Tudor"
"What did he do? Sit on them?"
"I think you've mistaken Henry VII with his son Henry VIII"
"Whatever" replied Oliver "I'm going to bed"
"Goodnight" said Annika, turning back to the computer. Rick had replied.