Because the Patron’s Daughter had cast off all the eligible young men in her part of the country, her parents had to invite suitable families from faraway for long visits.
The patron and patroness had many houseguests that season. All of them arrived with a son who was of age to mate with their malicious minx of a daughter.
This desperate attempt to marry her off delighted we peasants working the fields.
There were rumors that the Patron’s Daughter was threatened with the convent at the end of this social season if she didn’t stop spurning suitors simply for the thrill it gave her.
The thought of the Patron’s Daughter with her hair shorn and dressed in a nun’s habit and wimple gave me great pleasure. I often laughed myself to sleep at night imagining such a fate.
Whether those rumors were true or not, she did stop the emotional slaughter of the would-be suitors who were hunted for her.
Her rides around the fields were less dreadful when houseguests came, because she was always in the company of the latest young man her parents hoped would marry her.
Perhaps her reputation had spread far, because the families who came were rather lackluster. All the invited families had impeccable breeding, but those who accepted were either on the brink of impoverishment, or their sons were dull of mind, plain of face, or both.
Of course, all the enamored gentlemen got down on one knee to declare their love and ask for her hand in marriage.
But these proposals the Patron’s Daughter respectfully declined. Her parents hardly blamed her, for none of these inadequate young men would do.
Every two weeks, her suitors changed as the houseguests changed.
In the beginning of summer, somebody came along who the Patron’s Daughter actually liked.
He was truly beautiful, this Noble Son of the patron family from the southeast.
I didn’t get a good look at him that day.
But I saw him the next on the ride he took with the Patron’s Daughter. He had fine brown hair and features that were unusually blunt in the highborn class, and the most soulful brown eyes.
The Noble Son wasn’t like the other suitors who had pursued the Patron’s Daughter. What set him apart was the way he treated us, the workers.
Every other gentleman who had come to the big house was content to ride past we who labored in the fields without a look or a greeting; but the first day the Noble Son rode with the Patron’s Daughter, he stopped his horse and dismounted.
He then took a few minutes to introduce himself to us, and even removed his glove to shake our hands.
“It’s wonderful to meet you,” he said to me. “You have the most beautiful eyes, Addie.”
My knees started to shake when the Noble Son took my hand.
He had the softest skin, but there was strength in his grip when he held my hand for that moment. His smile was warm and genuine, and the Noble son looked me right in the eyes.
Nobody had ever looked at me like that, not even my parents. He looked at me as if he truly cared to see me.
I almost collapsed.
Because he’d removed his glove, I had actually touched him, and the shock of contact sent a thrill up my arm and into my breast.
My heart stopped for an instant, then pounded as if I were working relentlessly at my fastest pace.
I grew light-headed and could scarcely breathe. Something burst inside of me, spread throughout my being, and made me giddy.
Then the Noble Son nodded and stepped aside to introduce himself to the man next to me, and his manner was every bit as sweet and gentle. He had a simple grace and a universal kindness.
But my destiny changed on the day I met the Noble Son. The effect he would have on me would change who I was and who I would become.
I had always suffered from resentment and malcontent. Everybody around me was unhappy, how could we not be?
But most of my people, including my parents, resigned themselves to their fate. Though they knew life was unfair at their expense, they accepted their paltry share of it without complaint.
Perhaps apathy was a form of self-preservation for them, while rage over the injustice of it all seethed through me every minute of every day.
I hated my life. I had always wanted more.
Then along came the Noble Son, and the desire for something better became the most excruciating craving.
The Noble Son was impossibly out of reach, but that didn’t stop me from falling madly in love with him.
Desire is powerful, and the longing I felt for him was so raw I thought about him all the time.
Suddenly, I understood why girls allowed themselves to be seduced, even if it brought them to ruin.
In my world, privacy was unheard of. Thus throughout my life, I had caught couples in the fuck many times.
Usually during urgent moments when I had to relieve myself, I rushed to the bushes for some privacy only to come across two backs and thrusting hips; or a woman held against a tree as the man ground his meat into her, her face contorted as if she were in pain; or a woman on all fours as the man poked her from behind as if she were a common bitch.
It was tedious to empty myself with the animal grunts and moans coming not even five feet away.
Until the Noble Son came, I had always found rutting rather repulsive.
Once he did, the restless consumed my body and hijacked my mind.
The fuck became appealing, and I knew exactly how to imagine him taking my maidenhead.
My fantasies were detailed and unabashed; and I dreamed about him day and night, at work and at rest. During the day, when I plowed through the fields I imagined the Noble Son plowing into me.
Every time I gave myself to the Noble Son, I was a virgin; and every time, a layer of ugliness fell away from me until all that was left was the blossom of purity.
I never had a vision of what I looked like, but I knew I had transformed from the awe in my lover’s face.
“I always knew you were beautiful,” the Noble Son would say. “But you are beyond this world, Addie.”
Then he would kiss me deeply and I would melt.
But morning would interrupt rudely, and I woke up knowing I was ugly and unwanted.
I saw the Noble Son in the afternoons, for he rode with the Patron’s Daughter. Every day, he stopped to greet those who worked the fields.
These daily kindnesses when her escort treated us with courtesy caused much vexation to the Patron’s Daughter. It was the only time she acted cordial to the peasants because she knew she’d make a terrible impression if she didn’t.
There was some satisfaction in that, but of course, we knew better.
Those two weeks were delicious.
Besides savoring the discomfort of one who had to give up some of the power she loved to abuse, I got to touch the Noble Son almost every day when he shook my hand.
He remembered me too, and always called me by my name.
“Nice to see you, Addie, with the sparkling, golden eyes.”
Most of the time, I could scarcely mumble a greeting in return. I always looked away from him when my face grew hot for blushing was horribly embarrassing.
Oh! How I adored him! I would have given my soul for a night in his arms. I would have joyfully given him my maidenhead and I wouldn’t have cared about the consequences.
This excerpt is out of my work-in-progress, “The Shepherd and the Courtesan.” If you’d like to see the previous excerpt, click here.