His wife was having tea with the King and he didn’t even know about it.
“Helen?” James called through his bedchamber, expecting his wife to answer, after all, she had nothing planned for the day and he needed her to arrange his breakfast and clothing for the day.
No answer. Why would his wife not answer him? She should be here in his chamber to make sure that he had what he needed to begin his day before she went to work with the other wives.
What was he supposed to do? He got up, opening the curtains of his bed and expecting to see his wife there. She was gone, but his clothes, washbasin, razor, and breakfast for the day were neatly laid out.
“At least she has the sense to leave me this.” There will be hell to pay for this later. Leaving me without telling me where she is going. Who does she think she is, some noblewoman, able to leave her husband and go off while leaving him with no one to help get ready for the long day of share-cropping?
He dipped his razor into the basin and began to shave, still muttering as she wondered where his wife could be today.
Helen smoothed the creases in her dress. It was the finest one she owned, having only three patches in it. Why the King had requested to have tea with her she knew not, but she still wished to make a good impression on the young leader, after all, he was the King.
She waited as the courtier called her name, announcing that she was there for morning tea with the King.
“Helen McIntery for you, Your Highness.”
“Thank you, Sean, leave us.” The courtier bowed, ushering her into the room and left.
Helen entered, expecting an opulent room and was pleasantly surprised to see a normal living area, a small table with a tea set and some scone set upon it.
“Please sit.” The King was sitting on the opposite end of the table dressed in a simple shirt, not unlike the one she’d set out for her husband just hours ago.
“Y-Yes Your Highness.”
He laughed pleasantly. “None of that, just call me Edward.”
Helen sat, watching as the King poured her a cup of tea. She was struck by the odd nature of the scene.
“I-I couldn’t possibly. I mean you’re the King and I’m just a farmer’s wife.”
“Here, have some tea.” Helen took the tea, adding just a drop of honey, something she and James had never had much extra money for.
“May I ask why I was asked to have tea with the King?”
Edward smiled, taking a bite of one of the pastries. “Yes.”
“So, your wife was headed up to the castle this morning.”
James looked up. “What?”
“Yeah, one of the King’s coaches came an took her up there.” John continued to pick carrots from the field as he spoke.
“Why would she be going up there?” James stopped, looking at his friend as he spoke.
“Dunno. Maybe the King heard about your wife’s cooking?”
“So, you mean to say that you have need of a cook and you want to hire me as you’ve heard I’m a good cook?” Helen felt her heart beating out of her chest. This was almost too good to be true. The king was offering to move her and her husband into the castle as his personal cook.
“Well, I would have to try your cooking. And of course, that is if your husband approves.”
Helen smiled. “If you would allow me to ask him, I could go now and be back to prepare you supper.”