She was waiting. Sometimes it seemed as if waiting was her life, all she’d ever known. There were the long years of childhood, waiting to be a grown-up. Year after years of lessons and accomplishment, gaining all those skills and abilities a well-born young lady should possess to bring something beyond her good name to the marriage bargain.
Then there were the teenage years. When she was younger, the court-life seemed the height of sophistication and glamour to her, a time when she would be both young and grown-up. She discovered though, that the courtly feasts, dances and other entertainments were there mainly as a cover. It was a place where men of all ages became emboldened by the wine and the occasion, wanting to take her youth for themselves. The only interest they had in fashionable gowns was what she would look like without it on, or – at the very least – how easy it was for them to get their wandering hands inside it.
After that came her wedding. She was fortunate that she’d met her groom – once – before the wedding. She remembered her wedding feast as another of those interminable eating, drinking and falling over on the dance floor events. Another time where – even as the new bride – she was not safe from those wandering hands.
Later, sitting up alone in the marriage bed, she’d begun to wish she’d given in to at least one of the drunken lechers. Especially when she learnt from her maid that her new husband had passed out in the bed of his current favourite stable-boy.
Now she’d been waiting for her husband to come home from the wars. She wondered if her years of waiting would now soon be over, at least when the carriage containing her husband’s coffin, at last, returned to his family home.