"In our forest, on our land." She said breathlessly. It was beyond impetuous and unwise. But with his eager hands and cherished lips, she could not consider saying "no." There was no possibility of being able to mount her horse and riding onwards. Her limbs were shaking, but not from cold. Her skin heated and feverish, but not from illness.
"I cannot catch cold while you heat my blood so," she moaned, her teeth dragging against the crook of his neck. Her actions instinct now, primal desire carrying through.
"If you wish to continue, you mustbthen release me from your arms."
He wrapped long arms around her body and pulled her closer into the embrace “I could never let you go from my arms, even if I wanted to…” he murmured, their lips disconnecting “but… I do not want to.” Henry’s fingers tightened his grip as he deepened the kiss, exploring her mouth in such primal needs, his tongue rubbing against hers as they both gasped for air. Henry couldn’t care less about the world, the cold, the ambassadors or the fox, his hold around his Elizabeth that proved to be the love of his life.
Suddenly he moved away, their bodies now separated by cold and air and he walked towards his horse, two darkened eyes by lust always on Elizabeth. In an instant, Henry took off the saddle to grab the saddle-blanket just beneath it and placed it on the ground. He removed as well his thick and wide cloak, joining the blanket against the snow and did the same with Elizabeth’s one -even if positionning it more carefully above his to not ruin it. Now with a simple doublet, Henry stepped toward his ‘wife’ and kissed her intensely, a promise for more.
Saying that Henry was surprised by the invitation was an euphemism. Edward, a York, asking for the presence of the Last Lancastrian heir at his court? An ambush? A trap? No, it couldn’t be. Not during the festivities to celebrate the birthday of the Lord -at least he hoped, “I will be there, your Grace. Though I can not speak for my Mother” he said in a cold tone.
"Very well. I am pleased that you recognize your duty to your king." Noticing the boy’s icy demenour he adds. "I will send a formal invitation to your Lady Mother’s husband, Sir Henry Stafford. You might want to attempt to pursuade her that it is in her best interests to attend."
His dark eyes narrowed at his words -it is in her best interests to attend. Was he threating his mother? Henry was an educated young man: he knew that he carried on his shoulders the Lancastarian’s legacy, that he had to show respect to the crown and the title of Edward despite disliking the man wearing them. “Sir Stanford will be pleased by such attention, your Grace” he simply replied.
She nodded, sharing his views. Seeing him, but not having him to herself was difficult, especially with this separation. Now, she felt able to breathe again, able to feel the sun in his presence. He was an all encompassing light in the dark and she had been shielded from his sight for too long.
His hands tugged at her skirts, but stopped suddenly. Was he fearing her reputation? Of being caught? It was maddening. Surely he would not deny her again?
"Henry, please." She whimpered, bringing her lips to his neck. "I want you."
His mouth moved slowly, softly at first on her skin, but as her hands grew more urgent in his hair, Henry’s lips became greedier. Then he heard her request and groaned slightly, already aroused by the simple idea of their two bodies joined as one. The King could taste the intoxicating perfume that he recognized as all Elizabeth as her warmth fanned across his face and he found himself unable to form words. Only his body crushing against hers, holding her, never letting her fall or go.
"Me too" he murmured before kissing her again, his hands everywhere on this body he cherished more than a holy relic "I want you Elizabeth but" -his reason tried to convince but the excitement in his voice couldn’t be hide "now? In the woods? On the snow? With ambassadors around us? I … fear it is not wise, my love. And I do not want you to get a cold."
It had been tortuous to be so close to him but unable to kiss him. Now, her lips seized his again and again, her heart beating wildly now, spurred on further by the activity and the primal need to conqueror, to catch her prey. The hunt never ending, not while he was here with her and still so far.
"You would devour me so quickly? You would not keep me as a trophy at your side?" She teased, her smile brightening as they pulled merely a fraction apart.
"I should not destroy you so precipitously."
He stopped kissing her lips to give her jawline the same attention. A ight of satisfaction came ouot of his throat as Henry took her earlobe in his teeth, gently nipping it. He had missed her so much, his entire body had missed her -just one single month without intimacy between and he felt the distress taking over his physique and mind.
"I have to confess that I am selfish when it’s about you my Elizabeth" he whispered in her ear, tightening his arms around her, "I want to be the only one enjoying you" and he smiled, Henry’s lips curling against her neck "How awful I sound, my Lady. Forgive me." Slowly his lean fingers always on her waist started lifting up her dress but he stopped. The air was still cold and he didn’t want to be responsible of a crack in her health.
She grinned, tilting her head up to gaze into his eyes. Her fingers caressed his cheek, skin against skin. It was the first time in several weeks that she could be close to him, to feel him next to her. “Her lips found his, kissing him eagerly with the burning passion that had been suppressed for so long in her heart. “You may catch something better,” she murmured to him.
Her arms circled around his neck, the heat from his flesh palpable. Without her cloak, he was her source of warmth.
Her lips were as soft and warm as he remembered, and Henry cold hands lifted to touch the velvet of her hair, fisting in the golden curls to make sur her face couldn’t move while he deepened the kiss. No more cold aorund them, just the heat of their bodies and the need for more.
"Indeed my Queen" he panted as their mouth separated "but I won’t be able to share you with the rest of my court during a banquet" he whispered in a grin against her lips, pulling her even closer to him, clenching at her gown "and… I will be the only one to eat you."
She slowed her horse, seeing the hound stopping in place. “It would seem that he has lost the scent.” She said, dismounting as she pulled her gloves from her hands. They had what they had desired from the beginning. While the need to hunt was still in her blood, she was glad for a moment alone with Henry. Her adrenaline was raised and her breath coming rapidly, her heart racing. Never before had she felt so free and primal. What she wanted now more than the fox, was to be with him alone.
Lizzie watched as he dismounted, tossing her cloak over her mare’s saddle. “The hound has a better idea.” She grinned, enjoying the cold air on her skin, the sound of snow under her feet. “I should like a moment to rest.”
He sighed, deception on his features at the sight of the hound completely lost. Placinf back his bow on his saddle, Henry dismounted quickly as he ran fingers in his dark hair to put it back some order, and helped Elizabeth to join him on the ground. The dog was still sniffing around, trying to find again the scent of its prey.
"I would have loved to bring back a fow or a doe from my first hunt as King" he smiled, disapointement in his voice as he looked at her, "but you are right: we can rest for a while" and lifted up her two hands to his lips to kiss them.
She turned her horse, seeing him following after the single hound. It was a brilliant strategy and would help them manage to out fox the hind. She nodded to Charles, urging him to ride on ahead, leading the pack, while she and the King followed at the rear.
It was the two of them alone now, just as she had desired, and pleased to have him to herself as they sought out the prize. Her eyes met his as they raced together, Lizzie jumping another log as she managed to move ahead of him.
"Do you think we will be the ones to catch the doe?"
The one hound led the chase to where the fox had most recently been spotted and Henry looked over his shoulder to see Elizabeth joining him. “We?” he grinned at her, dark hair lashing his cheeks when he turned his face to meet her eyes “The fox is mine my love!”
The hound disappeared behind a bush and they had to judge the direction of it, hoping their path did not turn astray. But the King spotted the orange game jumping and running from them, the dog a few metres behind, and Henry’s jaw tensed just like his fingers around his reins in anticipation. His bow was resting against his saddle, on the left side of his horse. Carefully, he decided to handle the reins with his only right hand, the left one grasping the bow. Such a prey had to be his!
He quickly gave a look to observe ELizabeth… a real amazon! Clearly, she loved hunting as much as he did and Henry was glad to share such a passion with her. Suddenly, the hound stopped, at a standstill, forcing the two hunters to slow down their ride.