Katherine was advised to stay inside lest she catch a cold from walking around the castle. Because she knew that no harm would come upon her or her baby, she walked out of her room, telling a distressed Alice that she was well and that the day was wonderfully warm, and yet cool at the same time.
“Madame,” Alice puffed, because she was catching up to Kate, whose tummy was big enough to see but not heavy enough where she would start wobbling. “What will His Majesty say when he finds out you disobeyed the physician’s orders?”
“What will my husband say if a sad baby was born to him because his other was sad and all cooped up in her chambers?” Kate asked, making her way to the garden, sitting under the shade of the tree under a bench, resuming her knitting. She stopped as soon as the guard escorted someone into the castle, and when Kate looked at her, she could not help but smile.
“Arwen,” she said, standing up to greet the friend she had not talked to and seen in quite some time. She was surprised to see that she was with child as well, and her smile widened. “It has been long, mellon. How fare you? And how far along are you?”Arwen wanted to see her friend Katherine before her children would be born. She walked to the palace and a guard greeted the woman. She had been here only once and she was surprised many of the people still remembered her. She also had broght Alastegiel with her since Katherine was the one who gave it to her. She was escorted though the palace to the gardens. She smiled brightly as she saw her friend. “I am well, mellon. I only have a few weeks left. I am expecting twins. Oh and I’d like to thank you for Alastegiel.” Arwen smiled as she hugged her back.
“Twins! O bon Dieu zat is wonderful to ‘ear, cherie. I am only expecting one, a son is what ze kingdom is ‘oping for and I ‘ope it is one. ‘E is ze brother of my own petit chat, Francois. They may play as we talk, oui?”
She gestured to the bench nearby, cool under the shade of the tree. “Do forgive me, but I do not think I ‘ave met your ‘usband yet. What is ‘is name, if I may ask?”
He nodded at her as he began to move his hands and fingers up her calves and thighs, and then back to her ankles and heels. “Yes, I showed her just before, I just came in to see you. Are you coming home soon? Or do I have to wait a little while?”
Henry looked up at her and kissed her again.
Her arms wrapped around him and she giggled into the kiss, glad that she was done with classes and longed to go home to take a nice long nap in Henry’s arms. “I’m done with classes,” she told him, nipping at his bottom lip gently. “All the soloists have to stay because they still have to train, and to practise their roles for the upcoming show.”
She moved to sit on his lap, smiling as she looked at him, grey eyes , “Let’s go home.”
Henry looked up at the other ballerina’s and he looked at Kate’s feet in his hands.
“I’m not finished yet.” he said to her, wanting to finish massaging her legs and calves as well, from what he had seen photographing them he knew they spent a lot of time on their feet, and Henry had the urge to carry Kate everywhere now.
The three giggled and told Kate and Henry not to mind them, they went tot he barres and started stretching, for they had another hour of practise for their roles as soloists. They talked in hushed voices as they counted their stretches, and Kate looked back at Henry, kissing him.
“Have you shown the director the pictures you took yet?” she asked, stretching her other foot that wasn’t being massaged, arching it perfectly and feeling the tense muscles relax.
Henry had come from work early and he was tired, but he was eager to show the director the photographs he had taken the day previously. He asked where Kate was and he was gestured to one of the practice rooms. Poking his head inside he saw her sitting, still in her dress, and by herself in the room, slowly undoing the bandages of her feet. He snapped a photo of her, and she looked up, almost hiding her feet from him.
“What are you doing here?” she asked a bit worried.
“I came to show my pictures,” he said happily, not noticing the tone of her voice as she said that. He walked over to her and sat down in front of her, and he looked at her curiously, “What’s wrong?”
“Nothing, I should go and get changed.”
“Wait… can’t I stay here with you for a second?” he asked her, pulling at her hand, but he was a bit worried that something was terribly wrong. “Kate, you can tell me anything, what’s wrong? Are you hurt? Injured”
He looked at her feet and reached out to them but she pulled them away.
Henry looked at her, almost hurt by it, and she looked down, “You won’t like it.”
“Kate, Kate I’ve seen your feet before.” he said to her, and she nodded, agreeing that it was true, but he hadn’t seen them after practice. He slowly reached for her foot again, and when he took it in his hands he started to undo the ribbons on them.
They were cuts and she was bleeding a bit and he furrowed his brow at how much pain his fiance was probably in, and he looked up at her. “Is this normal?”
She nodded, and shrugged, “It’s fine, you don’t have to look at it.”
But he kept her foot on his lap, and he smiled at her.
“Kate.” he said, a warning word, and then he smiled and he started to massage her foot, his thumbs moving over the sole of it, digging into her heels and moving up to her toes.
“Does this help?”
She nodded and she was looking up at him, watching her future husband concentrate on massaging her ugly looking feet, she had been worried he would not like them, but he didn’t seem to care at all about how they looked, he was just worried about her.
He moved to undo her other foot, and he started to massage that one as well, Kate leaned back on her heels as she let Henry massage her feet, massaging her legs and calves as well.
There was a sudden commotion at the door, and a few of Kate’s ballerina friends came in, and stopped mid-sentence when they saw the two.
It was one step wrong and she felt the pain that coursed through her leg, and she was stubborn enough to not tell the mistress that she had a cut on her foot, opting instead to dance more. Ballet was hard, and the price of gliding on the stage and looking as if they were floating was ugly, bruised, and battered feet. It was mainly because all their weight went to their foot, unlike the dance masters of the time, when they would only stand on their toes for a moment before putting them down, or they would always be on demi-pointe.
It wasn’t like that now, where minutes were spent on pointe as in the case of Sleeping Beauty and her dance with the four princes, and more work was done en pointe, all for that magical illusion that made ballerinas seem more than human.
Kate was shy of her feet, most especially after practice which is why as soon as she came home, she always let her feet rest a little before dipping in in warm water to soothe the muscles that were used the whole day.
She did not expect Henry to see her feet now, and when he started massaging her feet, it felt painful yet wonderful at the same time. It was the kind of pain that lasted only for a moment, only to give way to her muscles relaxing.
He did give good massages, she admitted to herself, and soon she was smiling as he massaged her, not noticing her friends that came in their voices suddenly halting as they saw the two.
A giggle from Helene caught Kate’s attention, and she turned her head to look at them, blushing as she scooted over to Henry, her knees bending as she came closer to him.
“We have company,” she said to him, nodding her head toward Helene, Veronique, and Geraldine.
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