There once was a man, tall as they come. He had a build that matched a wall. He was Strong, rich, handsome, but suspicious too. His name was blue beard, his real name was only known to his wives. He hired servants for his palace; And married seven different wives. But one by one they began to die, followed by the disappearance of his servants. Blue beard became angry, and untrust worthy of all. He finally met a young lady, pure as they come. She hadn’t even so much as kissed a man. He fell in love. ‘Loyalty’ is what he hoped to find in such a beautiful woman. Her name was Marie; her brothers were personal Knights to the king. It all began on a sunny evening.
Marie had stopped to get a fresh baked muffin from Miller’s bakery. It was her normal routine every morning. She would then head to her brothers great palace, given by the king himself. Perhaps even take a walk by the park on her way. This day was off. Everyone was whispering in hushed tones about Blue Beard. He had come from another adventure. He was a land scout for anyone who hired him. He sailed the seven seas in search for land. And he was paid highly for it.
Today every one gossiped of how he was actually in town today. He seldom came out of his palace. Who’s to blame him? His wives died, and then his servants ran away. In Marie’s mind the man had every right to grieve. Even if that meant to lock himself in his room and never see the light of day. If he was in town, couldn’t people just let him be? To live a life he deserves?
Miller, the town baker came out with a warm fresh chocolate chip muffin, as always. He set the plate and a cup of coffee down in front of her. “Sure is busy today.” He said looking around as he stretched his back. And it certainly was! She even had to sit outside, the bakery was so crowded. But she enjoyed the breeze. “It certainly is Miller, thank you for my muffin.” She dug in her purse and pulled a gold coin. She no longer had to tell him to keep the change, after 3 years of it, he got the message. He needed the money, she didn’t. Well she could always get more from her brothers.
She took a lady like bite of her muffin, brushing the crums from her dress. She began to think what Blue Beard was like. She, after all had never seen the man. She closed her eyes imagining his look, his touch. Was he big? Did he have a massive gut and an ugly beard? Sadly it seemed to her, the longer she went unmarried, the even more desperate she became. She still tried to piece a none captured picture together in her head. She took a deep breath. It smelt of sea water, and cologne. It smelt wonderful, yes that’s how he would smell.
Suddenly she realized she was actually smelling the aroma. She opened her eyes and turned her head. There was a tall man, maybe in his late twenties. He must have been passing through; she had never seen him before. He was clean cut, and deadly handsome. He stood on his tip toes to look in the bakery. It was packed to the brim…no were to sit….except at her table. But it was not lady like to ask a man to sit with you. People around town thought it sluty. But how else would she make him see the open chair?
She cleared her throat and coughed a little. The guy turned, his eyes were concerned when he saw her drink some of her coffee. “You ok ma’ma?” He asked politely. She nodded and smiled. He was beyond deadly attractive, he was drop dead beautiful. Right there and then she felt like melting into nothing. His eyes lit up as he noticed the available chair. “May I sit with you ma’ma?” he asked politely, with a motion of his hand towards the chair. Well he spoke French, that was for certain; she could understand every word he said. But where was he from? Certainly nothing so beautiful could come from this town.
The man sat down, and seemed to stare just at her. She wiggled in her seat and straightened her dress. Trying to look as beautiful as he did, but she need not even try. Though her self-confidence was low, she was probably the most beautiful woman for 500 miles in any direction. She heard harsh whispers all around. Suddenly she felt the weight of multiple eyes on her….or to be more frank, on him. “Murder is what he is. Nothing but a cold blooded man.” She heard one woman hiss, “I heard one of his wives was his sister!” Another spat. “What’s he doing with that young one over there? Isn’t that the sister of the Kings knights?” Another said. The harsh whispers wouldn’t stop. Finally the man stood to leave, “I suppose I am unwelcomed here. I should go.” She gently placed her hand on his arm, “Please do stay. Who cares what they are saying?” Why she wanted him to stay…..she wasn’t sure.
The man glanced around at mostly, the old women glaring at him. “No one likes me here……” he left the end open. Was he hoping for her to reject that? No matter, even if not, she would make him feel welcome. “Don’t mind them. Most of them are angry because they weren’t pretty enough to keep their men. Who cares what they say?” Harsh? Sure, but they were being just as harsh about this new fellow. She heard some of the women mumble and grumble over that. Marie stood facing the at least 6’5 attractive man. Her eye’s burned with hope, ‘ask me to walk with you!” they screamed to him. She desperately tried not to let her grin out. For some reason she just wanted to be with him.
He took a deep breath and looked back at Marie. She was certainly a beautiful girl, which made it all the worse. But, he couldn’t help being attracted to her. “Well, then how would you care to join me on a trip to my home? I’ll treat you to lunch.” He said with a smile. She bit her plump, colorful bottom lip, softly. Had he miss read her eyes? Perhaps she didn’t take an interest in him, just trying to be nice? Perhaps she was just like all the others. Hateful, judgmental, and certainly not understanding. No one knew him, nor the pain he felt. He regretted his offer. At least until she spoke.
Her words like music to his ears, “Ok, but I must say hello to my brothers. They are….overly protective of me. So they must assure I am safe each and every day.” He smiled leaning ever so slightly, as to not bring attention, and breathed deeply. She smelt a mix of lavender, roses, honey, and sugar. God, everything sweet. He wanted to taste her. But he opened his eyes, trying to calm his emotions. “Very well, we shall go then.” Marie hooked her arm into his, and grabbed her muffin with the other hand. She still needed breakfast after all.
Marie said hello to her brothers quite quickly, a quick wave and she was off. Just enough to show she was alive. Her older brother rolled his eyes and went about his duties mumbling “that girl, always up to something.” Marie couldn’t wait to be next to the man again. And yet she had no idea why. It was a new feeling for her.
She came running around the bend knocking right into him. She fell to the ground, the dirt puffed around her at the impact. She blushed; she had stuffed her face with a muffin as she was running back. She wanted to give this guy her full attention, but why? WHY? What drew her to him?
“My, you’re in a rush, just to see little old me?” He helped her to her feet. “I am after all hungry, I can’t wait for lunch.” It suddenly dawned on her, if he had a palace, he must be from here! “You just had breakfast…..” he said steeping close to her, enough she could feel his warm breath. “I can see, it’s guilty written; crums all over….” He wiped the crums she had failed to notice, from the corner of her lip. She turned brightly red. A man has never been so close….so very close. She leaned up on her tippy toes, ready to meets his lips. His firm hand pushed her gently back.
She looked at his face, it read disappointment, anger, devastation. “So your one of those girls?” he asked sadly. Her lust became anger, “What do you mean ONE of those girls!” His flame was fed, but why, she didn’t know, “One of the sluts! Just willing to go and give yourself to any guy that has a cock!” Her laced-glove hand slapped across his cheek. “How dare you! I wouldn’t dare bring such shame to my family! I haven’t even had a kiss by a man! Let alone been close………” Her eyes started to get glossy. Why was it, that no man took interest in her? She should be married by now, sure she was only 16 but most girls were married off my 15.
He felt bad for getting angry. She didn’t deserve that. Especially now that he knew, she was pure. He felt awful as he saw a tear roll down her cheek. He bent down on his knees, his hand on her arms. He looked at her down casted gaze. “Hey now. I’m sorry I shouldn’t have erupted on you. You’re not a bad girl. I can tell. Please don’t cry.” She urged him gently up. Wiping a tear from her face she avoided eye contact. “It’s not you, it’s me. Why hasn’t any man taken me to be his wife? Am I not good enough?” Her tears flowed like a broken dam. He pulled her in, close to his chest. “No, no. Men are fools. You’re beautiful; I just think they feel they would never get you. You’re just too perfect.” She just ever so slightly looked at him, careful not to break the embrace, “You mean that?” she asked.
He had a decision here, take her to be his, or wait. He wanted her more than anything, but above all else, he wanted her loyalty. “Yes……When I saw you, well I thought you were choking to death. But after I noticed you were ok, I fell in love. You’re the most beautiful woman I have ever laid eyes on……..” He paused a long intense pause, “if you want, and if you are willing, I will take you as my wife.”
It wasn’t at all uncommon to get married the vary day a man meant a woman. They even had pre-arranged marriage grounds. You could go in that day, a messenger was sent out, invited the whole town (depending on your wealth) and just like that you had a wedding. She blinked, he had just proposed. She thought for a moment and said “But I know not even your name. Tell me your name, please?” He broke the embrace and held her out by the shoulders. His smile was full of desire and hope, hope for a better life. For her faithfulness. “I’m Henry, Henry Bluebeard the third. Most people call me blue beard though.”
She almost pushed him over in delight. Was he joking? Was he really Blue beard? He didn’t even have a beard! “No kidding? You’re the guy? Your Blue beard?” He smiled in response. Why was she so happy to be talking to the town out cast? “Your nothing like they made you sound!” She said suddenly in delight wrapping her arms around his neck. “You’re so handsome, and you smell sooo…..” she took a deep breath; suddenly she became aware of their contact. If she was seen this close to a man, without being declared a whore, she would be stoned.
She backed off, and instead took his hand in hers. She wasn’t sure why she wanted him so bad. But something drew her to him. “I will marry you. Today! We can have our wedding today!” Quick to make important decisions, was she?…..perhaps he was wrong about her……perhaps….. His thoughts were interrupted being pushed back into the forest. Her lips pushed against his, trying to figure out how exactly to ‘kiss’.
It had been so long sense he had this. He wanted her, no, needed her! He kissed back firmly, laying her on her back. He reached up to hitch her skirt, but her hand fell on his, “No….” she breathed out breathlessly, “If you want me that way, you’ll take me as your wife.” He sat up looking at her. She was different. Most woman would sleep around quietly, not showing they were sluty. But she was a virgin woman. More importantly; his virgin woman.
He was ready to stand, but she wrapped her arms around his neck. By natural strength she wouldn’t be able to pull him to her, but he let her think so. He followed the pressure until she stopped pulling and the two were nose to nose. “One condition….” She whispered. He would give almost anything for or to her. “I want to be your only wife. Do not marry any other woman than me…Henry.” Deal.
Henry called to a man driving a wagon. He stopped and listened to Henry as he spoke, “Take us to the Chapple, and these five coins are yours.” The man considered this, He shouldn’t be driving this lunatic around town. But the gold coins could buy him a new cow! Plus he didn’t want the pretty lady stranded with the maniac, Blue beard. So he drove them. As Henry jumped off and handed the man the coins the man asked, “Why the Chapple?” Marie hooked her arms into Henry’s and smiled brightly, “Were getting married!” Without another word she left the wagon driver alone and dumb founded. She dragged Henry to the church doors.
Henry opened them and turned left, heading to the pastor’s headquarters. He opened the door. The pastor’s head rose and his eyes narrowed. “Holy grounds are no place for a person like you.” The words stung, but somehow, just the presence of Marie gave him strength. “Who needs a doctor more, The sick or the healthy?” The pastor cringed. Henry had got him there. No matter what Henry said, he didn’t believe a word of it, he was sick indeed, and church was no place for him.
“What do you want?” The pastor hissed. Then came in Marie, full of life and joy, and purity, “Where getting married!” She said with joy. Certainly not! “Marie! You can-“ She waved her index finger “eh, eh, eh! No, no pastor! You know as well as I, that any woman over 15 has the right to ANY unmarried man, without the conflict of others. So dear pastor I say I want no conflict, so I expect none. But I do expect a weeding.” He couldn’t say anything without being taxed. It was her right, with no argument of any person. Not even the king himself.
With a sad sigh the pastor signed a marriage document. The two signed their name and they were off. Henry paid for a horse and carriage. They rode to the already set up marriage area. It was decorated with flowers, and ribbons, and chairs for the town’s folk.
In a matter of two hours, the town was gathered. The whole town. Henry and Marie’s wealth together, was enough to get the king himself to attend. But he was off on a trip to another foreign land. Marie dressed in one of the finest wedding gowns, she starred at herself in the mirror, a delighted smile on her face. She would be married.
“NO!” Shouted a familiar voice, “Move!” shouted another, with a thud followed after. Marie rolled her eyes and spun on her heels to face the door. The door flung open and in came her brothers. Francis grabbed her by the shoulders and gave her a good shaking, “WHAT IN GOD’S NAME IS WRONG WITH YOU?” He shouted. She regressed to four years old. She ignored her brothers and started to sing. “My life was dull and boring, until along came a man. Tall as a tree and strong as a rock, this man was made for me!” Yes she was pushing their buttons, but they were siblings. She was allowed to do so.
William snatched his sister from his brothers hold and shook her himself, “That man is a lunatic! He killed his wives! He’ll kill you too! Don’t let your lust think for you!” Marie wiggled free from her brother’s hold and turned to the mirror and straightened her dress. With a few moments of silence she finally said “Love is two insane people, coming together to make sane……” She turned and went to her beauty desk, powdering her face and putting lip gloss on, “In some odd way, I already love him. I don’t feel he killed his wives, but if he did….perhaps he had a reason?” Both the brothers rushed at her, William got their first, spinning Marie to face him, “SISTER! You are making excuses for a killer! What right does any man have to kill?!” She smiled, that smile she produced so well that said ‘gottcha!’ She stood to her feet and carefully drew Williams sword. He did not stop her, he trusted her.
“You tell me, William, what right does any man have?” She traced her fingers on the scrapes of the sword and continued saying “How many men have your swords taken? How much blood cries from this very blade?” He snatched back the sword and sheathed it. “Sister! I had reason too, they were a threat to the king, each and every one!” She walked past her brothers to the door, she would marry rather they liked it or not. “Dear brother! But in your own words you have cursed yourself. What right does ANY man have, to take another life? We are all guilty of sin brother. Even me, but I have never shed blood. Perhaps that’s why I must marry him. My innocents will wash his impurity.” With that she headed to the aisle.
In a short few minutes the music played. She walked down the aisle, her smile beaming. Somehow, for some reason, she loved him. If he killed his wives, then it was in the past. Doesn’t everyone have a reason for anything and everything they do? ‘We shall forgive 70 times 7.’ Does not every person deserve a second chance…..or an 8th in Henry’s case? Or was she young and foolish? Perhaps….
The wedding went quickly, and just like that, they were married. Henry Happily took Marie to his home. She was his, all his.
The palace was large, like any other palace in the country. Vines of red roses crawled up the brick walls. Inside the gates was a large fountain. One of the most beautiful she had seen. The garden was surprisingly well kept. It made sense though; he had nothing else to do, so he tended to his garden. But now he was married he had Marie.
“What a beautiful garden!” Marie declared, unhooking her arm from Henry’s. She ran over to a bundle of Lilies. She carefully snapped one, and walked back over to Henry, smelling the sweet flower. “Do you tend to this all yourself?” She asked, inspecting his other flowers. “Yes, I do every single flower.” He said with the slightest hint of pride. He watched her dance from flower to flower like a butterfly. She was truly impressed by something so simple. Suddenly she stopped and spun on her heels, only an arm distance away. “Henry?” she asked softly.
“Yes my love?” He questioned stepping forward and wrapping his arms gently around her waist. She blushed and shook her head. There was no point in bringing up the past. “Tell me, please?” He said softly in her ear, her body responded just as he knew it would. She pushed into him, unconsciously begging for more. He smiled, “Would you like to see my room love?” Her breathing sped, she knew what he meant, she wanted it, but was also afraid.
“I-I….” She couldn’t speak. Henry softly picked her off her feet and carried her inside. The inside was clean and well kept. She imagined it with spider webs and dust. He ascended up the stars, straight to the top door. He opened it with Marie still in his arms. He gently laid her on his bed. “My Love…..” he whispered, running his finger down her cheek. She watched him, like a curious, but frightened rabbit. He unbuttoned her dress without a word, and took off his own garments. He studied her body. It was perfect, except for the birth mark above her hip. But she was perfect to him. He unfastened her bra and kissed her gently on her chest. A small gasp escaped her lips.
“Do not, ever betray our love.” He whispered, almost dangerously in her ear. Marie’s stomach felt like it was being rung out like a wet rag. She would not betray him, not in a million years. But the way he said it, it sounded like a plea, a hope, a threat, a demand. Like the words of a mad man. A mad man she loved.
Before he could begin she gently touched his face, “love?” He smiled and kissed her lips, “yes?” She scooted closer down to him, “just be gentle.” With that he went inside her, her back arched and a moan, cry and groan escaped her. They lay in a night, entangled in passion and flesh. Of hope, fulfillment, and love . And yet, she could feel the danger radiate off of him. She could feel the threat he posed her, how deadly serious he was. And she still loved him, every bit of him.
Honestly the two years went by perfectly for each other. Henry had never loved a woman more than Marie, nor had he ever met a woman so faithful. So full of love….so….so perfect. And Marie had never been happier. Henry knew just how to make her day, every day. The two, you could say, almost had a perfect marriage. People even slowly began to treat Henry like a human when he went with Marie to town. And soon they would have a family.
“My love?” Marie asked, pulling from his hands the book Henry was reading. She set it down and put her arms around his neck, gently sitting on his lap. “Yes Marie?” He said as she snuggled close to him. “How does a family sound?” He laughed, he knew she was trying to tell him she was pregnant, he had already began to noticed the slight bulge in her perfectly flat tummy. “Well I’m not sure. Kids? Eh who needs them, running around, wrecking things?” He was simply giving her a hard time; mostly to see her reaction. “Oh.” She whispered playing with the top button of his shirt. “Are you going to un button the shirt Marie, or just pretend too?” He asked, he had also noticed she stopped having sex. This worried him until he began to see her weight gain, and tummy. “I…..Just pretend.” She whispered.
He gave a good hearted laugh and lifted her in his arms. “Come now love, let us go to our room.” Almost in a panic she wiggled from his knight in shinny armor hold. “No!” He smiled, pulling her down to the ground. “Very well, here in front of the fire place.” The animal skin rug was soft, perfect for a moment like this. But he knew she would avoid it again. “No, no. Henry, not now.” She tried to slide from him, but he pressed down on her. “Why not Marie? You don’t love our passion anymore?” She wanted to, he could tell that much. She let a sigh out and wrapped her arms around his neck, drawing him nose to nose. “I want our passions, but……” she trailed off, he kissed her forehead and whispered, “but what?” She bit her bottom lip and said quietly, “I’m pregnant.”
She turned her head, almost in shame. “Why so glum love?” He questioned, gently urging her head back with his finger to her chin. “Because! You just said you didn’t want kids! I want you to be happy.” He threw his head back in laughter, and gently lay on his back, lifting her on top of his stomach. “Love I knew you were pregnant, I was pulling your feathers.” Her eyes lit up, He Was Happy To Have A Family! But she quickly scowled, “Is it that noticeable? Am I that fat Henry?” Before he could assure her that she was fine, she was up and walking to the nearest mirror.
She turned to the side and looked at her slightly bulging tummy. “Henry! Am I fat?” Henry spun her around and wrapped his arms around her waist, “No, Your pregnant, once you have the baby, you’ll lose most of the weight.” She bit softly on her bottom lip. Did he mean what he said? “I can’t wear my corset.” Henry smiled and kissed her gently on the lips, “You don’t need it love, you never have. Your waist and breasts are perfect without it.” She blushed and stood on her tippy toes, “I don’t want to hurt the baby….but I want you, our passion.” He studied her, she was perfect; So very perfect. “I’ll ask the doctor tomorrow before I leave on a land scout.” He wished he could have snuck that past her. But her eyes went wide, “You’re leaving!”
“Just until I can find another island of sorts. I have a high buyer. It is how I support us, this palace…..” He again pulled her close, “The baby.” He was of course right, but he had never left her. Not for longer than a few hours. “But, I need you. Let me come with you.” She asked, her voice slightly muffled because she was burring her face to his chest. “Love, it’s too dangerous. It won’t take long, I studied my maps and have a good idea where one is already, I just have to make sure it is there.” He waited, but no answer.
He gently pulled her back and lifted her head, her cheeks stained with tears, her eyes red with sadness. “Love…..please. It is only for a little. I will be back before you ever notice I am gone.” She turned from him, walking back into his reading room; she stood in front of the fire. He lovingly held her from behind. “Love?” He asked, kissing her neck. “Henry, what if someone breaks in? I am helpless without you.” Without thinking he replied “I will hire guards.” He clenched his jaw. Could he trust her? Why had he been so quick to offer bringing a man around?
“I don’t want a guard, I want you!” She turned in his arms and cried silently. No matter how much she cried, he did have to go. “Come Marie, we can rest and then you can come with me tomorrow to kiss me goodbye.” She nodded softly and followed him to their room. She undressed and put on her night gown. She curled up next to him; she didn’t want him to go.
The next morning Marie woke up and got ready without a word to Henry. Henry sighed, was she going to stay angry at him? He was only trying to continue to support her. They rode to town, and down to the dock. Henry had given the word to hire some guards to protect his wife. But he was uneasy about it.
He began to walk up the plank onto the boat. Marie refused to say good bye. Just as he was half way up, she ran up the plank calling for him. “Henry! Henry!” He hugged her tightly in his arms. “My dear be careful on the sea! Don’t get hurt, come back as soon as you can!” He whispered softly in her ear in reply “yes my love. I will be back.” He let her go and pulled from his pocket a ring of keys. He handed them to her. She wiped a tear away and began to turn, but he caught her arm. “Marie?” “Yes?” he pulled her close, but it wasn’t romantic. His eyes were deadly, “Those are the keys to the palace, and you may go in any room, except the one in the basement. Do you understand?” She nodded, but his deathly stare didn’t waver, “I understand.” She whispered out.
He didn’t let her go, he stared at her. Finally he said “Do not go in that room.” She nodded in fright; she had never seen him like this. Sure he had always kept the basement off limits, but this, this was so different. So deadly. She turned to walk away; he spoke “Do not betray our love…..Marie….” She turned to him, his eyes pleading her, threatening, and commanding her at the same time. She walked up to him and kissed him, his face cupped in her hands. “I would never even such as hold hands with another man Henry.” His eyes softened. She bit on her bottom lip softly, “except for my brothers Henry.” It always helped to be honest. He laughed lightly and kissed her forehead, “Only your brothers love.” He boarded the boat and she stepped back on the dock, waving good bye to Henry.