Disclaimer: Reign isn't mine
AN: In honour of Henry and Catherine's 482nd anniversary I am posting this. I plan to continue providing there is interest.
He came to a standstill just outside of the carved oak door. The guards stationed at either side stared straight ahead pretending not to notice the nervousness, the anticipation that hung in his features.
How he wanted to impress her, to delight her, to earn the sound of his name rolling off her tongue.
She was no longer a maiden, but what took place last night was little more than an awkward business transaction. The crowded room had hardly been an ideal setting for the young couple to share intimacy in any form. Robed in a gown as pale as her face, his little wife had lain beneath him, her eyes wide and fixed on the ceiling without a trace of passion or pleasure in her features. Nerves, it had most certainly been nerves. Henry admitted to himself that he too had been anxious. Several times he got distracted by the clearing of a throat or a sigh from one of the many witnesses gathered around their marriage bed. He had finished quickly and they laid there in a stunned silence until the sun crested the horizon and her uncle, His Holiness, arrived to check in on the newlyweds. It was a humiliating experience, one he was most grateful would never need to be repeated.
That was all in the past. Tonight would be different. Tonight would be special. Tonight they would be lovers.
In the weeks leading up to his wedding it seemed that everyone had insights to offer the groom-to-be, mainly pertaining to bedroom activities between man and wife. His father's words were as poetic and cryptic to the fourteen year old boy as the man himself was. 'It's best to till before one sows.' The constable was a bit more informative, if blunt. He had said that if Henry were to 'meet with her vigourously and often' her belly would soon grow. Guise, as Henry's most experienced friend, had felt it his responsibility to provide full details of carnal relations, giving special attention, per Henry's request, to what women enjoyed and expected in the bedroom, namely 'dominance and stamina'.
Armed with this myriad of advice, Henry put on his most confident smile as the doors swung open and his bride was revealed to him.
Her head snapped around at his entry and he dismissed her ladies with a wave of his hand. Catherine averted her gaze as he removed his clothing, startling at the sound of his belt colliding with the stone floor. Her tiny form tensed when he climbed into bed next to her, but Henry was encouraged by the way her face lit up at the tender peck he placed on her cheek. With some effort he kept his hand steady as it ghosted down her side to land against her thigh. No perceivable emotions registered in her expression, but he had heard it said that women often feigned indifference at first.
He guided her to lie back and she went willingly down to the mattress. Moving to straddle her, he was careful not to place too much of his weight on her. Henry slowly gathered the lace hem of her nightclothes, trying to catch her attention, but her stare was once again boring into the ceiling.
He chided himself for grinning at her like a fool. It was strange. Most of Court knew him as the sullen, withdrawn second son who never cracked a smile, but now things were different. He had someone who vowed to love him, to belong to him, and he would offer her the same. The notion elated him, but Henry schooled his features into what he hoped was a relaxed expression.
The gown was bunched against her hips when he encountered resistance.
"If you could just-" Before he could finish forming the words she silently moved to comply.
Completely bare to his eyes for the first time was all he could have wanted in a wife. The sight before him was more enticing than he'd ever imagined. His gaze was transfixed on the smooth curves of her porcelain skin, her two soft mounds peaked in pink, her amber locks that seemed to twinkle in the candlelight. Henry felt he might be content to just stare at her forever, until he felt her shivering beneath him. Gently he lowered his body down against her and tugged the covers up around them, hoping the heat that coursed through him would drive away her chill.
His head rocked back as he entered her faster than he had intended. He felt her jump. Was that supposed to happen?
Henry took a moment to regain his self-control before thrusting again, this time with a bit more finesse. He continued with increasing speed and force, waiting for her to speak, to moan, to do whatever it was ladies did when overcome with passion. But Catherine seemed a league away. Hazel eyes that shone from within when he met her were vacant. Her sweet, kissable lips had gone white as she clamped them shut. Not to mention, she was still shivering.
Is she silencing her pleasure? Or is it pain?
Her response, or lack of response, was terrifying the inexperienced prince. Am I doing something wrong? Should I continue? Isn't this what she wants? All of the advice he'd been given teemed through his mind in a blur. It was useless. No one had prepared him for this.
"Catherine?" He kissed the prickled flesh of her chest and felt a flood of humiliation when she grimaced.
She actually grimaced. My own wife is repulsed by me. I've known her for less than a fortnight and she already can't stand me.
Henry was off the end of their, no, her bed and hurriedly shoving his foot through the trouser leg before he heard a small voice, thick with the accent he had come to adore, call to him.
Acutely aware of the red flush burning in his cheeks, his fingers fumbled and dropped the damn boot that he couldn't seem to get on fast enough.
"It's Henry!" He snapped without looking in her direction.
The door slammed behind him. He couldn't bear to stand there and hear whatever excuse she could manage to come up with for her revulsion. Hot tears prickled in his eyes, but he refused to waste them on some common Italian girl.
I don't need her! Ladies enjoy my company! Women of station! Pretty courtiers are always giving me their favours, asking for a dance.
Consoling himself with these thoughts, the prince slipped into his cold bed with only the familiar sting of rejection for company.
AN: Alright, darlings. There you have it. Thoughts? Many thanks to Lina for betaing and encouraging me to publish this. Xo