The Hole in the Floor

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The Hole in the Floor

Prologue

I dismissed my maids for the evening,. The nights were dry and dusky, the scents of summer flowers and grasses mingling with the sour scent of sweat of man and beast around the court.

In those hazy evenings, bereft of the company of my husband, I would spend time playing at cards with my women; gathered around me were all the beauties of the greatest houses of France, gathered around their princess, thronging together like the beautiful flowers that graced the gardens of the palace... showing how little I resembled any of them. Although my clothes and my jewels shone from my body and fingers like fire, all the splendor in the world could not disguise the fact that I was small, dumpy, that I was not beautiful.

Not like the mistress of my husband.

In black and white, she shone like a diamond. Even clothed simply, she would have outshone all others at our court, for she glistened in the love of the most handsome and gifted prince this country had ever known.

My husband.

I was dull, dull and shadowed, always looking as though I should have been in the background.

I was the one married to the prince, I was not the one he loved.

I spent a moment by the window, looking out onto the great gardens that my father in law, the king had created. My night-clothes gathered around me, rich satins and silks that hung from my awkward body trying their best to disguise my ugly form. I gluped down the wine in my hand, sweetened with honey and herbs. 

 These beautiful, sculptured gardens…they seemed so effortless and yet I could see the servants starting out to water the lawns and the flowers, the hedges and the paths. Plucking the dying flowers so that all we should see was the never-ending beauty. Keeping every action quiet as they did so. None must see the effort that went into the creation of such astounding beauty. None must see that this perpetual beauty was created, not natural. 

Then, I went to the hole.

When I had first learnt of the passion of my prince for his mistress, I had it bored in the floor. Under a rich carpet it was kept hidden. But every night I watched their love, watched theirs in absence of my own. And every night I felt my heart break apart as I watched his satisfaction and passion explode in her body.

My eye to the peephole, I looked down onto her beautiful body. stetched out on the rich bed coverings, she was like a Venus, like her namesake Diana. Her long black hair was draped over her figure, her white flesh, her round, full breasts that did not hang like mine did, even though she was older than I. Her thighs, white as marble, spread aside for him, as he walked naked into the embrace of her body. My hands clawed at the floor, splinters entering my nails as I watched him push into her, watched her arch her body back to let him fill her, feeling him drive deeper into her opening. Heard him moan as one hand reached out to stroke from her breasts to her perfect throat, and the other grabbed hungrily at her round buttocks as he strove to gain deeper and deeper into her…as though he could become as one with her.

My breathing quickened as theirs did and I felt a rush of passion as I longed to be her, as I longed to feel his impatience to fill me as he did her.

On and on he pushed into her, driving himself to a pinnacle of passion, and then there was a cry from her lips as she reached her satisfaction and then from him as he spilled his seed into her body. Inside me, that seed would make a prince or a princess. But I was rarely visited, and only for that purpose, never for passion.

They lay, covered in sweat, he on top of her. He made no motion to move from her body, as he always did from mine, rolled off and left as soon as he could after he had done his duty.

And I, Catherine de Medici, princess of France, rolled to one side and felt at the same time the wrench of my heart and felt the fire of my passions frustrated in my loins as I knew I should never have that satisfaction as they did. For although I loved him with all my heart and soul, he should never love anyone but her.

I covered the hole in the floor and crawled to my gigantic, richly decorated bed.

Alone.

I curled into a ball and cried until I slept. Like every night.

The Hole in the Floor (Book One of the Valois series)Where stories live. Discover now