Lady Peasant Ch. 01byGoldeniangel©
Lady Gwendolyn sighed as she looked out her window. The fair girl was a lovely brunette 18 years old and still unwed, with hair that hung past her waist in silky ripples when she wore it down. Every morning her maid Brandy would put braid it into 2 long braids and wrap it around her head, braided loops making it even wavier in the evenings when she brushed it out. Ample bosom heaving as she sighed wistfully, pretty amber colored eyes looked out over the fields and acres of her father's land… all those beautiful fields and forests and she was never able to leave the grounds of the keep where she lived. Noble ladies weren't allowed to do anything interesting, she thought. Making a face, she retreated back inside and called for her maid. At the very least she could go out into the keep's garden and pretend that she was outside for real.
Twenty minutes later there was a frown on her pretty brow… Brandy was no where to be found. Thinking that her maid might be in the laundry getting new clothes for the next day, she headed into the bowels of the keep to where the clothes were cleaned. There was no one there. About to leave, a pile of clothing that the female servants wore caught her eyes and she froze with a sudden thought… did she dare? Looking around to be absolutely sure she was unobserved, Lady Gwendolyn of Pennybrooke Keep picked up a complete maid's outfit and hugged it as she snuck back up to her rooms. Stuffing the clothes into one of her personal boxes that she kept stationary, pens, and other things in, she marveled at her own naughtiness. Well, she didn't have the courage to try the plan that was turning over in her head yet… but she might later. At any rate, now she had what she needed if she did decide to do it.
Giggling at her deliciously naughty secret the pretty brunette Lady tucked the box under her bed and went off into the keep as the chapel bells chimed the dinner hour.
A few days later she was sufficiently bored that her courage was gathering… and there seemed to be the perfect opportunity as Brandy was feeling rather ill. Pretending that she felt ill herself, she assured her maid that she would be perfectly fine as the sickly blonde tucked her into bed. Her heart was pounding, and she was sweating a little, enough to convince her ill maid that she was genuinely feeling unwell. With her best "Lady of the House" voice she told her father's manservant that she would be in bed that afternoon and did not want to be disturbed at all so that she may rest. Ever since the death of her mother when she was 10 her father had spoiled her outrageously. There would be no question of anyone disturbing Lady Gwendolyn's rest, his head would be on a platter and served to her by her own father if anyone were to do anything against his dear daughter's will. Especially when she was feeling unwell.
Heart pounding madly in her chest, she waited until there was total silence in her rooms, her wing of the keep emptied out of everyone but her and her sick maid. She knew that Brandy would be sleeping soundly because of the sleeping potion she'd drunk before putting her Lady to bed. Creeping out from beneath the coverlets she pulled the box with her secret in it from the bed. Laying the simple white cotton blouse with the tan skirt on the bed, she smoothed some of the wrinkles from the pieces of clothing. Dressing quickly, she pulled the pins from her braids so that they hung down her back, two simple peasant girl braids. She wrapped her head in a blue scarf that she'd found in Brandy's room and snuck out by the back stair.
No one even really glanced at her as she moved quickly along the walls, heading for the closest gate into the meadow. Filled with triumph and happiness at her newfound freedom. Laughing gaily she skipped through the meadow and began to wander along the edge of the forest, picking flowers as she went. Finally free… finally able to do whatever she wanted… her heart felt really light for the first time in her life.
Dashing madly, she laughed and skipped, singing high "La!'s" at the top of her voice as she twirled and pirouetted… and then came to a sudden stop as she felt someone's eyes watching her. Looking curiously around, she was quite startled when a tall handsome man in dark peasant's garb seemed to materialize out of the woods. Heart pounding, mouth dry with the sudden fright, she realized that his clothing had allowed him to blend in with the woods.
"Hello," he said, smiling gently, hands held out so that she could see he held nothing.
"Hello," she replied softly, her hands clutching at the bouquet of flowers she had picked, pressed tightly against her stomach where butterflies were still fluttering.
"I'm sorry," he said, still smiling, his deep brown eyes looking into her amber ones, running one hand though his longish dark brown hair, "I didn't mean to startle you, you just looked so pretty and happy running around… I couldn't help but watch you."
A delicate flush infused Gwendolyn's cheeks as he complimented her, she was used to the courtly compliments paid by visiting knights and Lords, but this was different. He really meant it otherwise he wouldn't have said it, "It's just such a beautiful day," she said shyly, "And I was enjoying it greatly."
Laughing gently he teased her, "I hope you're still enjoying it."
"Oh yes!" she exclaimed, as she realized her words could have been taken as an insult, the pink in her cheeks getting a little brighter, "I didn't mean that I wasn't anymore."
"Don't worry I don't take insult," he put his hands in his pockets as he smiled at her, "My name is Al."
"Hello," said Gwendolyn, thinking fast - obviously she couldn't give her real name, "I'm Gwen."
"Gwen," he repeated, "pretty name for a pretty girl."
The pink in her cheeks deepened to a color closer to red. "Do you come here often?" she asked hastily, trying to ignore the heat in her face.
"No, but I may start to if you do," brown eyes traveled over her face as she shyly looked away. Trying to ease some of her discomfort, "Here, let me help you pick some more flowers."
Startled, she looked up at him and their eyes locked again, "You pick flowers?" the surprise was obvious in her voice.
"Well, I will be now." He had a very charming and handsome smile, and she felt her heart melt a little.
Shy at first, he slowly opened her up as they chatted about harmless things. When he asked about her family she said that they worked in the keep, the lie tripping easily off her tongue. Questioning him she found that his family was in the next town, and that he'd just wanted to get away for some time to himself and had walked along the woods until he'd come to this field. Commenting that it was a very long walk, she got nothing more from him than a nod, but she didn't press it. Perhaps he was really from one of the very poor families in the village and didn't want to admit it. And she didn't really want too many questions about her own person anyway, so she kept the talk to the weather and what was happening in each of their respective keeps.
As they talked she became convinced that he really was from the village outside the King's castle, he knew much of the comings and goings of the royal court. Although her father's keep was very close to the castle, only an hour ride by carriage and less by horse, she didn't always get to hear that much of the court. It made for interesting gossip as he told her about all the visitors that came and went from the castle there, and described to her the way the castle looked from the outside. She'd never actually seen it, or been to court… her father kept his beloved daughter well-sheltered.
Smiling as they talked she began to really relax and enjoy his company. He was just as interesting - if not more so - than the men who came to her father's keep, and was genuinely interested in her rather than just talking to her for show. It was a wholly different experience and the afternoon hours wiled by pleasantly, as she laughed at his jokes and even made a few of her own.
Hands reached for the same pretty red flower and their fingertips touched, startled she straightened at the same time as he did and suddenly found that they were standing very very close together. In fact their faces were only inches apart, and her head was tilted up towards him, his brown eyes piercing her amber ones and it felt like the world had frozen around them. Her breath caught in her throat as they gazed into each other's eyes, and she could feel his fingers entangled with hers. His hand began to slowly pull her closely towards him as her heart pounded…
And in the village the chapel bells began to ring.
Gasping, she pulled away from him, "I have to go! The bells, I must go, I'm sorry…"
"It's ok," he pressed the flowers that he had gathered towards her, and brought the soft hand that had been intertwined with his up towards his mouth. Kissing the back of her hand gently, he gazed at her, "I'll be here the day after tomorrow in the afternoon again if you think you can get away."
Numbly, unable to speak, she nodded, and then reluctantly pulled away to run across the meadow. As she looked back he was still watching her while she went through the gate into the keep's walls, handsome and relaxed.
Rushing to her room, she looked down at the meadow where they had spent the afternoon… but there was no sign of him at all. Quickly, she changed into her nightdress, shoving her maid outfit back into the box and pushing it under the bed. Sliding beneath her violet coverlet she nestled down into the bed and waited. Soon the bells struck again, ringing out the dinner hour and Brandy came bustling into the room.
"My Lady? Are you feeling well enough to go to dinner?"
Gwendolyn yawned as if she had just woken up, "Yes Brandy, I'm feeling much better." And she was… her whole body felt energized and awake.
As her maid dressed her and pressed her out the door for dinner she couldn't help but give one last wistful glance back out her window at the empty meadow.