Guest Posted December 4, 2016 Share Posted December 4, 2016 Maldon and the Toledos Sophia gazed after the Queen as she left, hoping that the pyramid would be placed in a prominent area of her chambers and that whenever she looked at it, she would think of her. Ever since she had arrived in England, she had been trying to cultivate Her Majesty's friendship, and the gift was yet another step in that direction. It sometimes seemed to her that for every one step forward, she took several steps back. Marrying the Catholic Ambassador of Spain had not been conducive to that goal, but maybe the Queen could look beyond her new status and see in her a kindred spirit. John's voice brought her out of her thoughts and her eyes widened in surprise when he said he had something for her. “Another gift?” She grinned playfully. “You are spoiling me, my lord. I will start to expect something from you every day.” The young blonde didn't think her husband would mind if she teased her friend a bit. He would know that there was no romantic attraction between them. “Of course, we have time. We do not have to leave right away.” She looked over at Esteban for approval and hoped he would not protest. John let out a puff of a laugh as she said she’d come by expecting gifts every day. “Have you ever d-d-domesticated a cat?” John asked, grinning. John led her over to Anna standing in a doorway. She had one more package he’d left with her. He took it with a small thanks and held it out to Sophia. It was another nutcracker with a similar array, this one in the shape of a Spanish grandee. It too was from the Palatinate. “It’s f-f-from the capital of your home. I hope you like it” John said. After a moment John sighed. He sunk just a little. “I leaned on you tonight, and l-l-last night too really. I counted on you to not forget me when everyone else d-d-did. I know it was t-t-troublesome, very troublesome. I w-w-wanted you to know its appreciated.” John paused, “Not to apologize. I know you do it gladly. You’re a good friend. I j-j-just don’t want to be a bad one. I d-d-don’t want you to help me thanklessly.” If he was rambling a bit, he was less than sober. But he stopped himself before going further. He leaned in for a kiss. A brief, chaste thing. As fond as he was of Sophia he wasn’t attracted to her. “Thank you.” The doorway was decorated with mistletoe. John’s eyes cast down. Tonight had been a bad night. He’d told Sophia of how balls made him feel excluded, ignored, different. She’d assured him ladies would take an interest anyway and that he would have many chances. But his pessimism had been accurate. None had approached him except Caroline. And Ormonde had barely spoken to him. And the Queen forgot him outright. He’d almost ended up excluded from his own idea. That irreparably marred the victory emotionally. He artificially drew himself up and forced a smile. Link to comment Share on other sites More sharing options...
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