"Fetch the doctor at once,"
“Gerard, forget it, really, it was my pleasure. Anyway, it has been nice being in the company of someone other than a rich snob for once,” Frank smiles at me, taking a bite out of his food.
I return the smile and glance over at Michel and our mother, he was giving me a rather nervous, worried look whilst mother was talking to the well dressed woman next to her, one I had recognised as the dirty blonde haired girl who had been talking to Frank a little while before we first approached him after arriving late. I couldn’t quite catch what was being said, but they seemed to be getting on rather well, I was glad but not surprised, mother was a very cheerful, polite person who others always felt at ease with, despite the recent deterioration of her health.
“Is the food alright, Gerard?” Frank asks me softly.
I nod once “It is lovely, you highness,” I had not seen anything like it before; I knew mother and Michel had not either.
The fine, wooden table was laid with only the most expensive, exquisite food and drink. Meat such as oxen, deer and pheasant were all cooked to perfection, fresh white bread made from wholemeal flour was present to, as opposed to the less expensive rye bread that we had to make do with at home. Every person sitting at the table had a large glass full of the finest, most delicious wine imaginable and all seemed to be enjoying themselves immensely.
Frank chuckles, “I am so very glad you are enjoying yourself, and is your family?”
“Yes sir, I do believe they are,” he chuckles quietly again, and raises his shining glass and takes a sip from it.
“I am so glad, but please, Gerard, I have told you, please address me as Frank, it is not as though we are strangers.” I frown but quickly disguise it as a smile. Up until a few days ago we had been strangers, two men from separate classes each leading entirely different lives, our two worlds rarely touched, they were not really meant to, and yet here we were.
“Excuse me, are you finished sir?” a young woman with curly ginger hair and big brown eyes, asked me, though it was clear by her clothing that she was servant, she did not seem to be very shy.
“Hmmm?” I was confused, at first I did not think that this girl could possibly be talking to me; after all, she had called me “sir”.
“Gerard, have you had enough to eat?” Frank asks, pointing lazily at the girl, who was incredibly short, much shorter than he was.
“Ooh yes, sorry,” I smile at her, feeling rather a fool for not understanding at first.
She smiles kindly, her brown eyes lighting up slightly, and she begins to clear away the food I had not eaten.
“That was Rachael, she is new here and new to serving guests of such a high status. So far she has been a little…not rebellious as such, but she has been educated much more than most of the workers here…she is quite strong mind, a trait I am not sure that I like in my servants, but she has been doing a good job so…” he trails off, and smiles at the girl who was just vanishing back into the kitchen, her perfect curls bouncing as she moved.
I watched as the last of the people finished their meals, and the other servants began to clear everything away. the sandy haired man who had been with Frank when I had first met with him the other day, was standing behind the girl that other had been conversing with earlier, he was certainly taking his time clearing up for her. She was sitting there still, talking with him, laughing every so often at what he said.
“Come Gerard, I will introduce you to some very important people, and their families,” Frank leads me away from the now empty table, and cross the grand hall to where a pale, green eyed woman was stood, with a man who I presumed was her husband.
“Frank, how lovely to see you!” The man greats him we near the two of them, he begins to talk to Frank, his body angled away from me so that his back is facing me, talking only to the king. I had expected this behaviour from most, if not all of the people here, after all, we were from completely different worlds. They came from a world of riches and I came from one of poverty.
The blonde haired girl; however seemed to be paying some attention to me.
“hello, are you one of King Frank`s advisers or something of the like?” she asks politely, a small smile on her pale face.
“No, I am just, erm…” I did not know how to answer for the best, was it too soon to say we were friends, most likely. Anyway, the idea of us being friends was preposterous. “I, I am Gerard.”
Her smile widens. “It is a pleasure to meet you, Gerard; I am Ashleigh, that is my husband talking to his majesty over there,”
She giggles, “you can speak to me you do know that do you not?” I nod, not sure what to say to this girl, who was clearly very wealthy, or her husband was anyway.
“Are you and the king very close?” she asks, curiosity evident in her quiet voice. I could almost see her thoughts, "what was such a poor man and his family doing here, talking to the king?"
“I, erm, well we met only a few days ago and well he-“
“I suppose not then, if you only met a few days ago. Where are you from, around here?”
“Yes, I live-“
“Gerard, come quick!” Michel rushes over to me; nearly tripping over his own feet in is haste. “It is mother, she has just fallen down the staircase and, and I think-“
“What is al the commotion about?” Frank hurried over to us.
“Our mother has just fallen and she-“
“Raymond, “he calls one of his many servants over, “fetch the doctor at once, Michel, Gerard, take me to her.”