The party remained on the beach until nightfall. It finally became too dark to work much longer so the company headed to Limassol where Richard had taken over the palace as his headquarters. Anne was grateful to be assigned a room much larger than her quarters in Mategriffon. Much more open, it was decorated with colorful mosaic tiles.
With Marguerite’s help she cleaned herself, and later Marchadeus examined her. When he finished, Anne went to bed. Sleep did not come as easily as she imagined it would. She tossed and turned, and every time she closed her eyes there was the image of Richard and Berengaria on the horse together, riding off. Sometime toward daybreak, she managed a fitful sleep.
In the morning, Marguerite entered Anne’s room. “I can only guess where you spent the night,” Anne teased her. “You probably did not get much sleep either.”
Marguerite blushed. “No, not much.”
“Well, I think it is best we get going for the day. I imagine Gustave is chomping at the bit.” Anne put her legs over the side of the bed and stretched her sore back.
Marguerite laid out a light blue dress for Anne. “You were lucky. Your trunk got very little water in it, Joanna’s on the other hand thoroughly soaked.”
“That has got her in a sour mood, more than ever, I would wager.” Somehow it made Anne feel better.
Anne got to her feet. Her ankle felt better this morning, and she could bear more weight on it. “Try not to overdo it m’lady,” Marguerite warned her.
Marguerite helped her into her gown and Anne sat down at a dressing table. She began to comb her hair when a knock sounded at the door. “Come,” Anne called out.
The door opened and Berengaria entered. Marguerite curtsied and Anne got to her feet as fast as she could, giving the princess an odd sort of curtsey. “Good morning, Lady Anne.” Berengaria flashed her a smile. “Please sit.” She motioned to the chair Anne leaned on.
Anne took the seat and Berengaria stood while Marguerite pulled another one over for her. She sat in it and then looked up at Marguerite. “You may go now.”
Marguerite gave Anne a puzzled look. “Thank you, Marguerite. Please go find Master Gustave, and tell him I will see him here as soon as possible. We have much business to discuss.” Marguerite nodded and left the room.
“There now, we can talk freely.” Berengaria smoothed the silk material of her rose colored gown, and light relflected off her jeweled frontlet. “I find that ladies in waiting are necessary, but sometimes their ears are too big, as they say. I came to thank you for giving me the ginger.”
“Oh, you are most welcome. It is a little something my father taught me. He used it many times as he traveled,” Anne explained.
“Well, it was a kind gesture.” There was an odd silence for a moment then Berengaria continued. “I was glad to see that you returned safely from the beach. I inquired of the surgeon about your condition. It sounds as though your ankle is on the mend.”
“Yes, thank you for your concern, Princess.” Anne wondered why Berengaria was here in her room.
Berengaria sat up taller. “Lady Anne, I have come here this morning to seek your advice.”
“I doubt I can have anything to say which is worthy of advice for you, My Lady.” Anne raised her eyebrows.
“Yes, you can. I need to ask you about Richard,” Berengaria continued.
“Oh, I see.” Anne forced a smile.
Berengaria gave her a gracious smile back. “I do not want things to be awkward between us. In fact, I have a confession. I had hoped that we might even be friends. Until you gave me the ginger, I though you hated me, but that gesture gave me some hope. After our ordeal on the beach, I feel that life is too precious to waste being enemies with one another.” She wore her best repentant face. “Having said that, I know you love Richard and so do I. You can hardly blame me for falling in love with him. As we love him, I know that we both want only for him to be happy. If we are at odds, then it will make things harder for him. Do you not agree?”
Anne suspicioned Berengaria plotted something. “I understand what you are saying, Your Highness.”
“Good. Then I came for your advice regarding Richard. What…” Loud persistent knocking at the door interrupted Berengaria.
“I am so sorry, My Lady. That would be Gustave’s knock. He is my secretary, and as we have been apart for so long, I am sure that he is frantic. If you will give me a moment, I will send him away. If I fail to answer the door, he will just knock louder. He is an excellent secretary, but he is also a very importunate man.”
“Do not be silly. I will return and we can continue our conversation later. I know that you have your hands full with business.” Berengaria stood to leave.
Anne rose again. “I thank you. It is most generous and considerate of you, Your Highness.”
“Until later then, Lady Anne.” Berengaria left the room smiling.
Because Comnenus no longer controled Cyprus, Anne opened up negotiations for trade with Marseilles. She located an old friend of her father’s, a nobleman of the city named Petane. Petane welcomed her warmly and anxiously resumed trade with Marseilles. To have an ally in Limassol, relieved Anne, somewhat. Petane even went so far as to invite her to lodge with him, but she declined.
Just when Anne began to wonder if she had escaped a second part to the conversation with Berengaria, she found she was sorely mistaken. When she returned one afternoon from a meeting with Petane, Berengaria waited for her. “Come, I want to show you the most enchanting spot I found in the garden.” Berengaria did not wait for a reply but took Anne by the arm and steered her away.
Anne could walk better now but still had a limp. Berengaria led her to a bower in the garden where yellow flowered vines formed a little cave and a bench sat underneath the archway. “See, I told you. Is this not the perfect place to have a conversation between two friends?”
“Your Highness…” Anne still felt unsettled by Berengaria’s sudden move.
Berengaria grinned. “Let us sit here in the herber. I want to ask a question of you.”
Both women sat down on the bench. “Now Lady Anne, you must realize that this is very hard for me to ask. But there is no one else. I need to know what it is like to become a mother.”
“A mother?” Anne stammered.
“Yes. Now, I understand that this question may be a bit awkward for you, but my wedding night is fast approaching, and I am not so nervous about that as I am about bearing an heir for the king.” Berengaria gave Anne a grave look. “I know you are thinking I should ask someone else, but none of my ladies has ever borne children and Joanna never conceived either.”
“Is there some sort of special trick that could increase my chances? You know as well as I, that as women, it is our responsibility to bear sons, and I am beginning to feel the pressure of that. You have done it. You were successful. Think how happy a son would make Richard. Please, I beg you as our dear friend, advise me on this matter.”
Anne gaped at her in disbelief. “I mean no disrespect, but do you not know about how I married and conceived a son?”
“I just want to know how to bear a son. I am sorry if I hurt your feelings.” Berengaria pouted.
“Princess, there is nothing I can tell you. I have no advice to offer you.” Anne’s head felt as if she had been walloped with a blacksmith’s hammer. She was on her feet before she realized it. Her head smashed into the bushes above, knocking her wimple askew. “I… I… I have an urgent meeting to prepare for, Your Highness. I do hope you will forgive me,” Anne mumbled.
As fast as she could, she sped away, imagining Berengaria with a smug look on her face, sitting there triumphant on the bench. Once she rounded the corner and knew she was out of sight, she yanked the wimple from her head, and her hair fell about her shoulders.
Anne decided to head to the stables. All she wanted to do was ride out of there. She did not care where; she just wanted to escape. When she entered the stables, she snapped at the stable boy, “Saddle my horse, and be quick about it.”
As he scampered off to do her bidding, Anne closed her eyes and tried to inhale in deep breaths. If Berengaria gave Richard a son…it was more than she wanted to think about.
“Anne?” Richard’s voice made her jump.
“Richard?” Anne opened her eyes.
“I have been looking for you. Every time I send for you I am told ‘the lady is not here at present,’” Richard complained. “I decided I would look for you myself.”
“And now you have found me.”
“Anne, we need to talk.” Richard moved closer so he would only have to speak just above whisper.
Anne rolled her eyes. “I do not think I can survive another talk today.”
“Well, then tell me, why have you been avoiding me? Did Joanna or Berengaria say something to you?” Richard placed himself in front of her blocking her exit.
“While it is no secret that your sister would just as soon see me drawn and quartered, no, she nor anyone else said anything to cause me to avoid you,” Anne huffed.
Richard threw out his hands. “Then why?”
Anne sighed. “Do not take it so personally, Richard. I have my own interests here in Cyprus. Despite your war, I must still keep trade flowing. I do not intend to leave my son a Marseilles that has been neglected while I seek after more selfish pursuits.”
“My, my, you are full of fire today.” A stable boy walked past them. Richard ushered her to a more remote corner of the stables and continued. “Anne, you have always managed Marseilles quite well and never left me out in the cold in the process. Why will you not come when I send for you? I know you are there; you are just being stubborn.”
“You are getting married, Richard.”
“I fail to see how that changes anything. Your marital status certainly has not.” He put his hands on the elbows of her still folded arms.
Anne shook her head. “No, no! It is not the same! You are the king and she will be the queen. You have certain obligations to meet!” She ducked under his arm.
Richard spoke as she pushed past him, “I am getting married tomorrow, Anne. I thought it best I tell you myself.”
Anne stopped. Realizing she still had her wimple in her hand. She crumpled it up and tossed it to the ground.
Richard sighed. “I did not wish to fight, Anne.”
“Then do not fight.” Anne saw the stable boy with her horse.
She took the reins from him and led her horse to the courtyard. She limped more now from her jaunt to the stable. Richard followed her. “Anne, do not walk away from me. I have not finished.”
“Now is not the time,” she snapped at him.
With ease, he caught up with her and put his hand on the horses bit. “When then? You tell me, when is the time?”
Anne made an abrupt stop and curtsied. King Guy of Jerusalem stood before them. The dark haired blue-eyed Guy smiled down on them, looking at the two of them. “Guy! It has been a long time,” Richard spluttered.
Guy bowed to Richard. “It is good to see you, Your Highness, not only because you are coming to save the Holy Land, but also I am here as your humble servant.”
Richard acknowledged him with a nod. “You may be my vassal, but you are also a king, so I welcome you here.” He motioned to Anne. “This is…”
“Anne Baux de Marseilles,” Guy interrupted. “I would know her anywhere.”
“My Lord.” Anne greeted him but did not smile.
“The last time I saw you, you were just a little girl. I knew your father and was sorry to hear of his passing. You look so like your mother. I knew her as well.” Guy had a crooked smile.
“Oh, my…” Anne groaned. “I am so sorry, My Lords, but…” She could not finish her sentence. Instead, she tried to mount her horse.
“Here, allow me, Lady Anne.” Guy helped her up.
Guy’s hands lingered longer than necessary on her waist, and
Richard swallowed hard to keep himself in control.
“Thank you, Your Highness.” Anne’s expression of gratitude sounded forced.
She said nothing further but rode out of the courtyard and into the city.
Guy watched her as she left. “Come.” Richard motioned to him. “I long to hear all the news from Acre. How is the siege going? Tell me everything.” Richard led Guy into the palace.
It did not take long for Anne to make up her mind, and she accepted Petane’s invitation to lodge in his house, sending one of his servants with word for her effects to be relocated there. She did not seek Richard’s permission, nor did she inform him of her choice. She just knew that she could not go back to the palace.
Petane and his wife welcomed her generously. They gave her a large room in their manor house that overlooked the street below. Once Anne’s things were brought to her room, she sat on the bed staring at her trunk. Marguerite entered. “Do you wish for me to unpack for you?”
“No, Dear. Just leave everything as it is. We can worry about that in the morning.” Anne’s shoulders slumped.
Marguerite brought a bowl of water to a little table near the nightstand. “Marguerite.” Anne looked up at her with tear filled eyes. “How do you do it? I know you love Andrew, but he is married and you have to share him with another.”
“Have you seen his wife?” Marguerite laughed. “I know he loves me, but he has a duty to perform, and that is enough.”
“You do not have to stay with me. If you want to go back and be with him, I will understand.” Anne smiled at her.
“He still loves you.” Marguerite tried to reassure her.
“Thank you,” Anne whispered, “thank you.”
“What can I get you, m’lady?”
“Nothing. I just want to go to bed.” Anne lay down on the top of the bed above the covers.
Anne knew that it would be hard to go to sleep, but she closed her eyes and prayed for the welcome reprieve to come.