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The Nell Gwyn Chronicles - 3

Snippets about Nell Gwyn, told from the point of view of Nell and her lover, King Charles II

Charles
I laughed as her eyes widened to the size of gold coins, her plump little lips dropping into an infinitely kissable O. For a moment she was speechless as she took in the size of the room, the gold leafing of the walls and the heavy velvet curtains. Her footsteps echoed as she clicked towards the bed and ran her fingers through the luxurious fur, closing her eyes in ecstasy as she entwined her hand into its silken warmth.

God, what she did to me. Never had a man wanted a woman more.

Then her lips drew together, and she tried to pretend she was unimpressed. “Not so bad, I suppose,” she shrugged, “for a king’s bedroom.”

I covered a smile with my hand, knowing she would not like me to laugh at her mistake. “Nell, this is not my bedroom.”

She frowned. “Your bed is here,” she pointed out. “So what is a room with a bed, but a bedroom?”

“Your logic is sound,” I agreed, “But this is only the official room. I can receive people here, but in reality I sleep somewhere a little more private. Only there can the king catch a few moments of peace and thought.”

She smiled understandingly. “And of course that is private. For your eyes alone. It must be personal, somewhere no-one else may go.”

I tilted my head towards the door in the corner. “After you, of course.”

She stared. “Your Majesty would invite me into your private rooms?”

“Nell.” I drew towards her, knotting my fingers into hers and wrapping one arm around her waist. “I like you,” I whispered, so close that the wisps of hair at her temples fluttered at each exhalation. “I like you and I trust you.”

“But such an honour, sir...”

“One willingly bestowed, I promise you.”

She swallowed nervously. “I did not mean – I was not hinting –”

“I know you weren’t.” Reluctantly I tore my eyes from hers and turned the key, pushing the door lightly. “After you, Nell.”

Tentatively she stepped inside, eyes alight with curiosity. As she turned in a circle, taking in the high ceiling and eclectic mix of furniture, I clicked the door shut and leaned against it, watching her examine everything – or, to be honest, staring at the slight part of her lips as her tongue flicked out, wetting them slightly.

I groaned. In God’s name, why did she torment me so?

“This room is smaller than the last, but I prefer it,” she concluded, touching the embroidered fabric of the bedspread. “This –”

I snatched her words from her mouth as I kissed her. For a moment she froze in her surprise, but then she sighed into my embrace, lips parting as I brushed my tongue across them.

Lord, but she was sweet, tasting deliciously of the tempting oranges that filled my nostrils as I breathed in her scent. Far from being sated, my desire flared even further and I wound my fingers into her hair, tasting every part of her mouth with my tongue, pressing our bodies together. Her tongue teased mine, flirting forwards and then back again, driving me wild.

“Oh, but you’re a temptress!” I gasped for air as she pulled away, a smile playing on her lips.

“Aye, but would you have me any other way?” she teased, tugging the pins from her hair and letting it fall in toffee-coloured ringlets over her shoulders. I just stared at her, drinking in everything, feeling her beauty press on my chest until I could barely breathe.

“Beautiful,” I whispered, drawing her close again and burying my face in her hair, “You’re so beautiful.”

Nell broke from my grip and twisted away from me again, my fingers grasping at the air where her breast had been but a second ago. She smiled, just a little, and I knew then I had voiced the groan I had felt the moment she slipped from my grip. “And how would Your Majesty know? You haven’t even seen me.”

I frowned. “Of course I –”

With a tug of laces, her gown pooled at her feet, and I swept a gaze across her so lustful it was almost physical. “ Oh.”

Her shift was so thin I could see her nakedness plainly, the full hourglass sweep of her curves down to the dainty feet she kicked free of her heels. I could have choked on my desire as she swayed towards me, wrapping her arms around my neck with a mischievous grin.

I swung her off the floor, grunting as she wrapped her legs sensually around me. Her breasts were pressed firm against mine, and I yearned to touch them, to taste them, to make her mine in every way.

“Your Majesty,” Nell began, breathlessly.

“Hush now,” I insisted, as we collapsed onto the bed. “These are my private chambers. No titles or dignity to stand on now. Besides,” I continued, tearing off my shirt, “I want to hear you cry my name.”

“Oh, Charles,” she whispered provocatively, sliding up the bed, “I can assure you you’ll hear nothing else.”

*

Nell

It was the warmth that woke me, the sunlight that danced through the window and the body pressed against mine. His hand was thrown across my waist, gold rings twinkling where they caught the sun. Casually I played with his fingers, interlacing them with mine and twisting a diamond ring around his little finger.

He nuzzled into my shoulder, and I turned in surprise to see the king’s amused face. “Good morning,” he smiled.

I groaned, thumping my head into the feather pillows. “Gawd help me, I’ve just slept with the King of England.”

He laughed aloud. “Yes, you have. And he liked you very well indeed.”

I blinked, my mind blank. My mind was blank? But I was Nell, Nell Gwyn, and Nell Gwyn was never tongue-tied. My mouth was as big as the Drury Lane Theatre, and no more decent.

The king smirked. “I didn’t complain about that, either.”

Thank God I didn’t blush easily, or I would be scarlet by now. “I must apologise for my annoying habit of blurting out anything and everything that comes into my head.”

“I like that, too. You’d be surprised how little honesty I get, and I like to hear you speak your mind.”

He looked down at my fingers, which still played absently with his ring. Turning it to the sunlight, he let the diamond catch the rays, and a rainbow of light danced across the bed sheets.

Enchanted, I clapped my hands. “Oh! So many colours!”

He laughed at my delight, continuing to twirl the gem in the light, the rainbow inching its way across the sheets and throwing itself across my naked breasts.

“It must be magic,” I whispered, as the colours danced, “For something so clear to create this.”

“Not magic, Nell, just what God has given us. Diamonds change sunlight when tilted just so.”

The knock on the door was gentle, but made us both jump. A scowl scarred the king’s face as he pushed back the covers, shoving the ring back on his finger. “I need to go.”

I nodded, but as I stepped back into my dress I felt the first twinge of fear I had known since entering the palace. “There are people out there?”

“Of course.” He seemed surprised that I even had to ask, throwing a dressing gown to cover himself.

The nerves surprised me by twisting again; I never normally had so much as a flutter of stage fright. But somehow stepping into a hall of pampered lords and ladies in my old green gown shamed me.

Charles seemed to notice my hesitation. “Do not worry,” he said gently, taking my hands in his, “They will not judge you.”

“It was not that I feared, sir.” In truth it was not. Enough people knew I was a whore anyway; the poor opinions of a few snobs would do me no harm.

“But you are afeared? Of what?”

“That I will not be able to hold high my head among the ladies of the court, dressed so.” I plucked at my skirts dimly.

Charles laughed. “Sweet Nell, I will buy you a thousand dresses of gold and silver if that is your desire!”

I winced instinctively. Tight laces, acres of satin and heavy velvet robes had always been my personal idea of hell. I much preferred the liberation of breeches, where the stage allowed them, and my comfortable old gowns when they did not. The very thought of a gown heavy with jewels made my back ache in sympathy of the Caroline Ladies, who seemed barely able to stand up, carrying their worlds about them. “I’d sooner not, sir.”

His brow creased, but he did not push the point. “If you wish to avoid them, you can go out this way.”

The king lifted a corner of a tapestry of a bathing woman bathing to reveal a small carved door, too low for me to enter without stooping. “Go down this corridor to the end and turn left,” he explained. “Ignore the kitchens and just keep on walking. No-one will question you. There’s a door on the right that leads straight out into the centre of London; you won’t be seen.” He winked. “Just keep it quiet.”

I nodded, touched that he would consider my feelings to this extent. “Thank you.”

He touched my chin with a smile. “Goodbye.”

“Goodbye then.” As he took my hands in his, I fidgeted absently with the diamond ring. “This is so pretty.”

He pulled it off at once. “Keep it.”

I took a step back. “I wasn’t thinking of charging you for my services.”

“I would not insult you so,” the king replied sincerely. “It is a gift. Come. I would like you to have it.”

He pressed it into my palm, but I could not bring myself to take it. “I cannot. It is worth more than I can make in a year. It is too much.”

“I would like you to have it,” he repeated insistently, sliding it onto my middle finger. “There. A royal command. You cannot refuse it now.”

It was too big for me, so I clenched my fist to hold the ring in place. “Thank you, Your Majesty.”

He looked at me, almost reproachfully. “We said no titles,” he reminded me.

“Then thank you. Charles.”

He took my face between his hands and kissed me. “Goodbye.”

I slipped through the door before he could see that my face was reddening, lips burning with the imprint of his kiss.

To be continued...

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