“Here we go, sit up just a bit,” Natalie braced Amy’s shoulder gently while the maid readjusted the pillows. Natalie lowered her back into the half reclined position, and pulled the blankets carefully around Amy’s eight and a half month pregnant belly. “There we are. Does that make your back feel better?”
“Yes, Lady. Thank you.” Amy replied weakly.
“Don’t worry about it. You’ll learn your own little tricks after you’ve had a couple of these kids yourself. I’ll get Daisy to bring you some warm water skins later. Keeping them under your calves will help you sleep.”
“Why don’t you hate me?” The question burst out of Amy before she could stop it. Natalie continued to smile as she arranged the blankets around Amy, but something changed in her eyes. “I mean, we’ve never talked about it and I know you’re not an idiot and I know I’m the bad guy here so why don’t you hate me.”
Natalie finished tucking in the edge of the quilt, and then sat down gently on the edge of Amy’s bed. She asked for a moment of privacy with the Lady of the Rose, and then waited quietly until all of the servants left and shut the doors to Amy’s room. Amy’s heart was racing. Surely the Queen wouldn’t kill her here, in her own bed while she was still with child, right? She was a better woman than that.
Only when the room was empty, did Natalie turn to her and her smile changed. Less the regal smile, and more one of sympathy and sadness. “Oh, Amy, I really hope you haven’t been beating yourself up over this. Martin told me he told you the truth of it.”
“He told me something,” Amy answered softly, her bravery gone with the initial outburst.
“But you weren’t sure if it was the truth or if it was just a lie he tells his mistresses,” Natalie finished for her, nodding slightly, “Oh, I should have thought of that. Kings lying to their mistresses are in all those children’s gossip stories.”
Natalie turned, pulling her legs up to sit cross-legged on Amy’s bed. For a moment, they could have looked like two girls gossiping together and nothing more. “All right, Amy, I’m going to tell you the truth of this myself, and this way when my story matches Martin’s will you believe me?”
Amy hesitated and then nodded. “I’m sorry, Lady, I don’t mean to be a pain.”
“No, sweetheart no. I know you don’t believe me at the moment, but I feel nothing but love and care for you. I want you to know the truth, and I don’t want you to think that I’m out to get you or that you have to be watching your back. I want us to be friends. Amy, I really do.” Natalie reached out and gave Amy’s hand a little squeeze.
“Okay,” Amy said softly, “Tell me your truth.”