The Mistress Queen! (Romantic Short Story)
Updated: Jun 27, 2022
Eleanor’s mother secured the leather pack around her small shoulders, pulling the deep green cloak across to cover it. The cloak was made of the finest fabric; its brilliant color showed even in the fading light of the sun and must have cost more than all of their possessions combined.
Her mother completed one more cursory inspection as they stood outside the door to their small hut at the edge of the woods.
“Remember, Eleanor,” her mother pulled her chin up to look her in the eye, “they may not respect you now. But they will. You are destined for greatness. Never forget that. Your life was pre-ordained. Never forget.”
The lumbering sound of the approaching horse and carriage couldn’t drown out the severity in her voice. A severity Eleanor would hold in the back of her mind for the rest of her life.
Eleanor sat elegantly on the fine overstuffed chair of a palace sitting room. The corners of her lips tipped up ever so slightly in triumph and anticipation. Though she quickly stifled the feeling. You haven’t landed him yet, she reminded herself as she glanced at her reflection in the wall mirror opposite her. As she situated a stray lock of radiant red hair in its proper place, the door to the room opened.
Eleanor rose, turning towards her host… or hostess rather, to her surprise. She curtseyed deeply as the Queen approached her.
“Have a seat,” the Queen instructed, her tone flat but direct.
Eleanor obliged, making a point to do so with all the grace she possessed, even though her pulse had doubled within the last few moments. She watched as the monarch took a seat across from her. The Queen didn’t speak again until the servants following her finished presenting tea on the short table between them. But her eyes were fixed on Eleanor, running the length of her body and back up. The Queen dismissed the help with a flick of her hand, leaving the two in perfect silence.
“I imagine you were surprised to see me walk through that door, Lady Eleanor,” the Queen said, breaking the silence.
Eleanor feigned innocence.
“Why would I be surprised, Your Majesty?”
“Hmm,” the Queen replied. “I won’t disguise this meeting with false pleasantries. You are here because within an hour’s time my husband is going to try to seduce you. Don’t play coy,” she said in response to Eleanor’s astonished look. “You know he has taken a liking to you.”
Though her cool exterior would have never betrayed her, Eleanor’s heart raced in her chest. Had she failed before even starting? Was she here to be cast out or worse? Her Majesty was not known to be the jealous type, though one could never tell.