Mary just had to get out of there. There was only so much she could take. Catherine wouldn’t listen to her, and if that wasn’t bad enough, her silly little Scottish friend made it worse. Neither of them would listen to her, but at least the servants still did. She did her best not to think too much on what she had done with Sir John, but she had been right that the memory would get her through this time with her daughter and her friend. Catherine she could handle on her own, but when they both got together, there wasn’t much winning on her side. She wanted to whip all of court back into shape and teach them how their elders should be respected. But it certainly wasn’t happening here. So when she heard of a wedding that she helped originate and then another of her ‘friends’ she liked to annoy was away from court for his ‘health’ and being on ‘leave’, well Mary took that as an opportunity to have a break from the disrespecting youngsters who had taken over her castle.
She had spent just over a month at Grimsthorpe and she would have at least another or so more, so a ride seemed like a good idea. It didn’t matter that it would be a long ride, just as long as she was given some peace and quiet, and besides hearing that the King’s guard was actually indisposed well Mary had visited people for much less. When she arrived at his manor, the servants were a little surprised by arrival, but she waved them off and insisted they take her to see Henry, for she most certainly was not going to leave until she had seen him.
After her horse was seen to, she followed a servant up the stairs and into Henry’s room where she dismissed the servants and looked around. Well wasn’t this unprofessional, she had come all of this way for the man, but he wasn’t even here. She was informed that he was meant to be in here though, so she decided to well…look around. If anyone was silly enough to ask she would inform them that she was ensuring they had her friend’s welfare in order. Mary was big on hygiene, especially when one was under the weather, so she was just making sure the room had been cleaned right; she wasn’t entirely being nosy. But then that was her nature.
What she found though was not what she had expected. The first area she inspected was his bed and after checking the pillows she came to find, no not something that would make a woman shriek (well depending on who they were), she instead found the favours the man had asked for a while ago during a jousting match. A little bewildered, she picked it up and before she could stop herself, sat on his bed, staring at the ribbon of fabric in her hands. Now what exactly did that mean?
Sir Henry had been ill. He had the sweat with fevers and naturally His Majesty had decided to send him away from court in order to protect himself from illness. The King had always been scared of any kinds of infection and humbly, Sir Henry obeyed. The knight was in his sickbed for days and the boredom was steadily causing him to go mad with irritation. He needed to do something - anything to get his mind off being sick altogether. The physician told him he was well enough to do some things around the household but not to go back to the King's household until he was absolutely sure the illness had passed and he was not a danger to the King. Or anyone else, but they came after the King.
Henry didn't like baths. There was something distinctly foreign and unEnglish about taking one but today he decided to indulge. The water was soothing, it restored strength to his aching body and he sighed with pleasure. The Knight could have sworn that he had heard footsteps in the next room and thought it must have been one of the servants who were cleaning the room. Henry decided enough was enough. He didn't want to become unmanned by remaining in the water, he got out of the water and wrapped a towel around his waist. Maybe it was one of the prettier servant girls who could potentially warm his bed whilst he waited?
"Marg! I am finished with the water, you can use it or tip it out over the garden. I wouldn't mind a-" He said as he entered to see Mary Willoughby?! What in the name of God was she doing here for?! Henry was still shirtless, naked except for the towel wrapped around his waist and was dripping wet from his time in the bath. Henry blinked in confusion at the sight of her, laying on the bed and with...
The harpy had found her favour that had been placed under his pillow. Henry often denied it. Mostly to himself but he had several different feelings about the woman who drove him absolutely insane with her insufferable manner.
"Ma - I mean, My Lady, what are you doing here?" He asked her.
He felt rather disarmed at this very moment.
Mary still sat on the bed when she heard the voice of the man she had come to see. Well wasn't that just perfect, he had been in the tub. If she had been the playful self she had been with Sir John, she would have wanted to join him. But she was confused, confused by the thing that was in her hand. No man had ever really cared enough for her since her husband died. Norfolk and Sir John seemed to only in it for themselves, but even this tiny little gesture meant something to her.
When he finally walked in and found her there, she looked up and all of a sudden she wondered whether she should have joined him. It was just like seeing Sir John sweat it out with his sons, Henry though was wet...not with sweat but from the water he had just bathed in. He seemed to look well enough. And she sure did take her time in checking him out. She sat frozen on his bed, her eyes slowly eating him up from head to toe. She bit her bottom lip and slowly stood up. "You can call me Mary here, we're alone here Henry." She hadn't really meant to prove a point but it was there. "I came to call on a friend to see how he is...and you look fine to me." Again she hadn't meant to give a double meaning, but either way it was the truth.
Forgetting all propriety, Mary stepped towards him, one, two, three and four until she was close enough to touch. She looked up at him with the ribbon still in her hands and said flatly. " You kept it...all this time and kept it under your pillow."
Henry was still surprised that the woman had come all this way. His pale skin had gotten paler since he hadn't been able to ride or hunt since his confinement became red as he remembered their time together. It had been very intimate, very passionate and he wore the marks of her desire for many a week afterwards! The way the woman looked at him in that typical wanton way she did. That was not the way a noblewoman was supposed to behave! He exhaled slowly, he couldn't simply throw her out the window. Despite how much he wanted to and his attention returned back to the woman on his bed.
Henry didn't want to get too personal with the dragon lady. But at the same time, the Captain of the King's guard didn't to simply obey her. The woman needed to know her place. In order to prevent himself from becoming aroused, the man focused his attention on something that he considered to be vile. One of the crones that you happened to see by the roadside, hunched over, hooked nose and with more body hair than a wild beast. That kept a certain.... reaction at bay. For now.
"My..." He began and frowned when he finally heard the double meaning behind her words. Instead he decided to push ahead and keep going. "My condition will be improving. Soon I will be able to return to my duty and to ensure that the King is safe. And-" He continued, when he watched in horror as the foul woman herself held up the token she had given him during the jousts and why did she have to stand so God damn close to him?!
Since the woman was so close. He needed to up the thoughts in order to prevent himself from enjoying the site of her too much.
Henry said the first and perhaps, the most stupid thing to come to mind.
"It's a pretty ribbon." He answered dumbly.