“Why did you tell him?” whispered the beautiful woman in the long lilac colored gown, who was crouched down next to her in the library. “You don’t know what you’ve done.”
“Queen Guinevere, to you.”
“I know who you are,” she hissed. “You’re the one who broke my husbands heart.”
“I’M the one? Don’t you think you have to take some responsibility for that?”
“He knew nothing until you told him.”
“But you were still doing your thing with Lance. I just wanted him to change the ending of your story.”
“You shouldn’t intrude in the lives of others,” she said. “Come out of this place of books. I’m tired of crouching and whispering. It’s not fitting for a Queen.”
“Sure, why not,” sighed Gwen, gathering her books, shoving them into her bag.
“Shall we sit beneath this lovely tree.”
“You’re the Queen,” said Gwen, nodding.
“You have broken Arthur’s heart. Nothing I say makes him smile any longer. He sits in his chair and looks dour. He no longer eats.”
“Having your best friend and your wife cheat on you can do that to a person.”
“We didn’t mean for it to happen.”
“I think that should be on a t-shirt. It’s fitting for so many different occasions.”
“Arthur said that your words didn’t always make sense.”
“Maybe, but he seemed to understand enough of them to know that you and Lance couldn’t be trusted.”
“I love Arthur,” she said, looking away.
“Lance,” she sighed. “I couldn’t have imagined. He just came into our lives and….”
“Look. All I wanted to do was have Arthur win the war and be happy. I thought if he sent Lance away before you went into the forest….”
“Just knowing was enough. I couldn’t lie to him when he asked about my feelings for Lance. My eyes told him the truth. I have done nothing more than the touch of a hand but just knowing was enough.”
“I should have thought of that,” said Gwen. “I’m sorry.”
“The fault is not yours,” said the Queen, wiping at her eyes. “Lance and I have not consummated our love but we can think only of each other. We both love Arthur. Lance would do anything for him.”
“You mean anything except stay away from you, right? Do anything for him but not go into the forest with his wife?”
“You make is sound ugly.”
“It is ugly. It’s like this. People cheat all the time. There was a wonderful artist named Frida. Her husband cheated on her constantly. She slept with many people as well, to get back at him, and because she enjoyed it, at least I hope she did. They stayed married and were able to survive each other until he slept with her sister…or should I say that her sister slept with him? Either way, that changed everything. When two people you love think more about themselves than either of them do about you, well you can’t come back from that. Not really. It’s unforgivable, although at the end, her sister did take care of her and Frida did forgive her but the pain of that despicable act could never be expunged. Lance was Arthur’s brother in arms. A man he trusted above all others. Yet he did the worst thing he could have possibly done, he took his wife. There’s no going back after that. He trusted him with his life but he shouldn’t have trusted him with you. And you, well, he never thought he had to curtail your freedom because he trusted you. His mistake again. Arthur isn’t a good judge of character. He’s too trusting, loving and kind. He would never think of doing what you and Lance did, so it never occurred to him that you and Lance would betray him.”
“I shall kill myself.”
“Always an option. Probably a better idea than the nunnery, that’s for sure. But perhaps you can work among the people instead. You know help them in anyway you can. Hiding isn’t the answer to anything and it’s actually a selfish thing to do.”
“Are you saying I’m selfish.”
“You dare speak to me that way?”
“I do. We don’t believe in authority figures in this country, so you’re just like everyone else. We don’t really do Kings and Queens, so….”
“I don’t think I like it here.”
“A lot of us feel that way,” said Gwen.
“Do you have a sandwich?”
“Would you like half?”
“Yes, I would, thank you. Arthur said it was delicious.”
“What will you do?” asked Gwen, passing half the sandwich to the Queen and opening a bag of chips.”
The Queen shrugged. “You said the story has me going into a convent?”
“Yes, it does. You die there after spending your life repenting for what you had done.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” she said, taking a bite out of the bread. “This is very good,” she muttered. “I’ll teach the staff how to make them when I return home.”
“So? No nunnery?”
“Seems silly, since I don’t believe in their god, don’t you think? Besides I haven’t done anything physical with Lance, so nothing to repent for, not really. Thoughts of him in my arms, yes, but…”
“You can stay with Arthur.”
“If he’ll have me.”
“I think he’s a forgiving man.”
“He is that,” she said smiling. “What is this?” she asked running her finger through the mayo leaking out of the side of the sandwich.
“I’ll tell you how to make it,” said Gwen, writing the recipe on a scrap of paper.
“I would appreciate that.”
“What will you do?”
“I have to think about my choices. I’ll talk to Arthur. Having discussed the matter you has made Lance a little less attractive to me.”
“I happy about that.”
“I am happy as well. Arthur needs to win the war and I need to fight by his side.”
“The ending of your story will be a better one, if you do.”
“I suppose it’s up to him. I don’t know if he will be able to love me any longer.”
“Yours in one of the great love stories of all times. Well, that and the whole betrayal thing. Your life is like a warning to the rest of us but he will always love you.”
“Thank you,” said the Queen. “I must go.”
“It was nice meeting you. Good luck.”
“May I take the chips?”
And she was gone.