A Lady Knows Her Family
Eleanor threw the letter of in her hands down in disgust, “I cannot believe that will of that man!”
Jacque, who had been peacefully taking a nap in the chair next to her, jumped awake, “W-What’s happened?”
“I’ll read it to you! Look, it says ‘His Majesty, Lord Thomas Drake, has requested the presence of Lady Mary in the royal court of England. The necessary arrangements have been made to ensure her safe arrival as the future bride of Prince Edward. I beseech you to send only her ladyship to the royal court.’ The nerve of the man—”
“King.” Jacque interjected, rubbing his temple.
“He dares to take my child and send her alone to another country. Sailors are vicious. Armies are cruel. I will not send her there.” Eleanor slammed her fist down on the back of the chair.
Jacque looked up at her, “You have no choice, Eleanor. If the King orders, then it is required.”
“We are in France, now!” Eleanor said as she pointed at the window, “Drake is not our King, for goodness sake. If we refuse, he must take it up with our King!”
“Who is a coward.” Jacque sighed, pushing himself out of the chair. He took her by the arms and continued, “We will go to England, as a family, and then we will send her on a small carriage ride. We can watch her from afar.”
Eleanor nodded, slowly.
She wasn’t ready to let her child, whom she had raised for the past five years, leave her arms. Aurora has become attached to Mary. Mary was attached to Aurora. Even her son, Marcus, clung to Mary.
She wasn’t ready to let go.
“Okay. Then at least... at least I can be near.” Eleanor sighed, feeling a little relieved.
“Elle, can I go outside now?” A small-voiced asked, as her skirt was tugged.
Eleanor spun on her heel and smiled down the little girl, “Now, Mary, we have talked about this. A lady never spends too much time outside, yes?”
Mary groaned, “Elle, you let Marcus go, why can I not?”
Eleanor brushed Mary’s curls out of her eyes and said, “Because one day, my darling, you will be a great lady. You will have servants before you and all the money in the world. Not to mention, a husband that loves you almost as much as Papa and I do. Now, why don’t you run along and find Aurora? I think it is time for a few hours outside.”
Mary giggled and raced out of the room to find her sister.
Eleanor turned to her husband and sniffed, “It hurts almost as much as losing her mother.”
Her voice cracked under the stress of holding in her tears. From the sitting room window, Eleanor watched her two daughters play in the yard, trying to enjoy the few moments she had left with her precious children.
Eleanor stood in front of the carriage with her arms crossed over her chest, “Now, sir, I expect you to take very good care of your future Queen. Mary does not like bugs so be careful not to expose her to those or she may stress herself out. Oh, and make sure she eats a good lunch otherwise she will faint.”
“Eleanor, I believe the man has it under control. The palace is only a mile away. Mary has gone through much worse, yes.” Jacque said, taking her hand and leading her away.
“I just want to make sure she is safe.” Eleanor declared, looking back at the footman.
The footman lowered his gaze and kept himself busy with the horses.
“Elle, do I have to go?” Mary complained as she followed her nursemaid outside.
Eleanor nodded vigorously, “A lady knows her place! You, my love, are the future Queen if England. Remember,” a together Eleanor and Mary said, “A lady is always kind, calm and responsible and most importantly, a lady is not born but made.”
Eleanor crouched down and nodded, “Very good.” She straightened out the little floral crown in Mary’s hair and sniffed, “Now, make sure you are very nice to Prince Edward. He is your future husband, yes?”
“And make sure you obey Queen Annalisa. She is a very good friend of mine and she will make sure you will be okay.”
Mary nodded again.
Eleanor took Mary’s face in her hands and said, “Mary, the most important thing I have to teach— you must remember this always— a lady knows who her family is, yes? Papa and I will always love you, no matter what. Whatever the other people say, I will be with you always and you may always come home.”
Mary raised her chin, her eyes starting to brim with tears as Eleanor stood.
Jacque swooped in to grab Mary, “Well now, your majesty, it is time for you to go. You are a brave soldier.”
Mary saluted him, “Yes sir!”
Eleanor closed the door to the carriage and nodded, “Goodbye, darling.”
“Goodbye!” Mary called, her voice getting farther and farther away as the carriage sped off.
And with that, Eleanor fell to the ground crying.
Ten Years Later
Eleanor had just sat in her favorite loveseat, reading a book when the footman burst into the sitting room.
Eleanor should have kept her temper. Eleanor should have just kept her mouth shut, but she couldn’t.
“How dare you just burst in here, unannounced! Have you no sense of decency? Have you not been trained properly?” Eleanor stood and slammed her book shut, “Why, I should dismiss you right in the spot!”
The young footman, who had frankly done nothing wrong, held out a letter, “I am sorry miss, but this just arrived from the palace. It was urgent.”
Eleanor snatched the letter up and carefully examined the practice handwriting of the future Queen of England.
She waved the boy off and fell into her chair, reading the seal off.
I know it has been quite some time since I have written you. I miss you dearly. I was sorry to hear about Papa’s death. I hope you received my flowers. The King has limited what I can do and even this— sending my dear mother a letter— was an act of defiance, but I ask you, please send help. As you know, I was supposed to marry the prince, who was then to become the King. But now, as my wedding fast approaches, I fear that my marriage with Edward may bring an end of to my life or even ruin me. I remember you said that no matter what happens, that you will always love me and that your home is always open to me. So, today, I pray that you come to me. I need you most urgently, Elle.
With much love,
Your dearest Mary”
Eleanor closed the letter and stared out at her garden. It had been quite some time since Eleanor left her house.
After Jacque had died, Eleanor had kept to herself. She had seen her grandchildren occasionally, but Mary had not been allowed to have visitors for a long time.
But all of that would change today.
“Boy, fetch me my horse. I will be riding to the palace today. I will also need my luggage sent after me. A lady knows her duty. And so do you so move!”
Eleanor smiled to herself as the servant began bustling about, gathering all the necessary supplies.
It was high time Eleanor showed Drake what was right. He had done so much to cut her off and now, she was going to show him the same.
After all, a Lady always knows her place.
If you want to read more about Mary and Edward or get more of Eleanor or Drake, read His Bride!!
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