“H-Hello, Your Highness” Erna said.

   She had been holding her breath until she finally spoke, a little whisper into the night.
She was weary, but the greeting was still polite, Bjorn laughed.

   “Are you tired?” Bjorn said.

   “What? Oh, I’m sorry, I did not mean to fall asleep.”

   Bjorn did not mean to criticise her, but Erna made the apology with tears starting to show.
Bjorn sat on the bed and placed a hand on Erna to hold her back as she moved to sit up.
His new bride blinked at him.

   Bjorn looked down at where his hand was placed on Erna’s night gown and begun to undo the buttons.
He noticed the adornment of lace and frills, they seemed out of control and had Mrs Fritz meddling written all over them.
Though the gown was to Erna’s taste, it seems the old nanny can’t help but interfere.

   “It’s a very pretty nightgown.” Bjorn said softly.

   Erna blushed at receiving the complement and at the gentle nature in which Bjorn parted the nightie.

   “Thank you.” Erna mumbled under her breath.

She looked so serious and her hoarse whisper was absurd, Bjorn couldn’t help but laugh heartily.
This made Erna shrink away a little from him and she curled up into her nightgown.
Only her dainty little feet poked out of the bottom of them and she looked like a little child’s doll, swamped in rich lace.

   “Erna,” Bjorn said after he had finished laughing.

   Erna looked up at him, dazed and flushed.
She still couldn’t believe it was her name, it felt so unfamiliar.

   “Yes, Your Highness?” Erna’s voice trembled.
She had not moved from her curled up position on the bed, but she was panting, her fingers kept curling.

   “Call me by my name.” Bjorn said.
He reached up and released a ribbon that was tied in her hair.
He brushed a large hand through it, helping it cascade down the front of her gown.

   “I think calling me Your Highness in a situation like this,…is a bit…” He held the end of the other ribbon.
“Say my name.”

   He pulled at the ribbon.
Erna reflexively shook her head and grabbed at her hair.

   “Hurry up,” Bjorn urged.

   He seemed unaware of Erna’s resistance and urged her on.
In the meantime, their fingers argued over the ribbon, but Bjorn finally came away with it.

   “Do your best, Erna.” He said firmly.

   With the ribbon intertwined in his fingers, he grabbed Erna’s wrist and opened up her legs with his free hand.
Erna gasped.
He was not forceful, but Erna did not give any resistance either, she didn’t really have the time.

   “Didn’t you promise me that you would be a good wife?”


   “That was a lie?”

   “No.” Through all the fug of confusion and mix of sensations, Erna came through firmly.
“I did not lie about that.”

   “That’s a relief, I don’t like being deceived.” Bjorn grinned and let Erna go.

   Erna felt like covering her body, but her small hands couldn’t do a good enough job.
She looked up at Bjorn, who’s smile never reached his eyes.
He was difficult to read.
She fidgeted with the sheets, twisting them and her mind raced.

   She had made a promise and she intends to keep it, but she did not think about these duties she would have to perform.
It was obvious to her what her responsibilities as a wife entailed, but now that she was here, she hesitated.

   Erna became madly aware of her shallow breathing, that would become rapid and erratic, and then silent as she fought to control herself.
Bjorn was reaching up to undo the rest of her nightgown, more relaxed this time, gentle.

   As he gently pulled off each layer, Erna realised that the ritual undressing was not so bad.
She felt pleasure warm her mind as each layer brought freedom from the stuffy clothes.  Bjorn would have said it was fun, like unwrapping a lovingly crafted gift box.
The slow process of revealing a woman’s body was tantalising.

   “Your Highness,” Erna said, as Bjorn made to undo the first button of the last layer of pyjamas.
She reached up with both hands and put them on his.

   “My name.”

   Bjorn took her hands and placed them on the bed.
Erna did not resist.

   Her lips trembled as she tried to whisper his name.
“Bjorn…” she finally said and to Bjorn, it was barely audible.
He gave a nod.

   “I’ll…I want to take it off for you,” Erna said.

   She made to get up, but Bjorn still had hold of her hands.
“No, you’re tired, you should rest, let me do all the work.”


   “I have to do my best to be a good husband too.”

   Calmly Bjorn continued undoing the front of her pyjamas.
One by one, the buttons came undone and little by little, Erna’s body was revealed, until the last button was removed and Bjorn let the pyjamas slip from the shoulder.

   Erna looked away in unbearable shame and squeezed her eyes shut.
Her cheeks blushed a bright red they practically glowed.
Bjorn smiled.

   “You are so beautiful, Erna.” He said softly.

   Erna gasped at Bjorn’s words and looked at him with such wide eyes that all her whites were showing.
She knew no response was polite enough and her will to persevere vanished.
She tried to stand up, but Bjorn was already moving on the bed and easing her back.

   Erna closed her eyes and tried to scream as she felt the weight of Bjorn on top of her.
The sound died on the end of her lips as she realised he was kissing her.
The closeness of him, she could smell his sweat and it mixed with the smell of his breath.
The feeling of his soft lips and a reaching tongue left Erna’s mind blank, as she did her best to massage his lips with hers and meet his tongue half way.

   She tried to say his name, but their kissing turned it into a soft moan, he returned her moan with his own.

   When she finally came to her senses and opened her eyes, Erna found herself sprawled out in the middle of the bed, but instead of staring up at the ceiling, she was looking up at Bjorn’s face.
It seemed a little out of focus as her heat rose.

   A cold hand reaching down the front of her snapped her back to reality sharply and she watched as Bjorn craned his head to wrap his soft lips around her breast.
It was such a sharp contrast between hot and cold, Erna gasped.
Her hands came up and covered her face.

   As he sucked at her breast and stroked her tummy, she moaned helplessly and her head rocked side to side.
The neatly brushed and tied hair that was supposed to make her look pretty, was not a tangled mess.

   The room became filled with the noise of hot breathing, thin moaning and skin gently rubbing on skin.
Bjorn sucked and slurped at Erna, trying to entice her and the stillness eroded away.

   Bjorn’s hands quested onward from stroking Erna’s belly, moving along her small waist and between her legs.
Erna’s eyes opened wide as she felt his fingers move.

   “B-Bjorn.” She said breathily.

   She did not yet have the courage to call his name out as loud as she would have liked.
She could still feel a part of herself holding back.
Bjorn came up from her aching bust and looked at her.

   Erna took the opportunity to push him away.
She was sobbing, she couldn’t help it.
Bjorn frowned worriedly and stopped the hand that hand been pushing a finger against Erna.
Driven by fear that he had hurt her, he withdrew and helped Erna sit up.

   Under his gaze, as he loomed over her, Erna let out the tears she had been holding back. 

   It was painful…

   and from that pain, 

   she was scared….

   It made her sad and she felt pitiful in Bjorn’s shadow.
She covered her face with her hands and the tears grew more intense.

   Bjorn looked at his weeping wife, like a spectator at a play.
It was a pretty emotional situation, but at the same time, he couldn’t help but admire her petite form and firm bust.
His eyes followed the lines of her curves and delicate waist, her slender limbs and puffy nipples.
Even though she was a petite woman, she never seemed immature.

   Erna had exceeded his expectations.

   The sobbing eventually subsided and Erna looked up at Bjorn, as if she was clinging to him with just a look.

   “Bjorn.” She whispered between sobs.

   Her face was blank and emotionless as she spoke his name and with each utterance, her voice became firmer, stronger, louder.
Erna didn’t know what else to say, so she said his name.

   Bjorn sighed and brushed a hand through his hair.
He could smell her and it only added to his irritation at the situation.
He was bewildered by this woman, who was wet and moaning one moment, then suddenly wailing and crying the next.

   He felt arrogant.
He thought he had trained himself well, beating all kinds of drunkards, earning numerous trophies.
It surprised him then, that Erna could deliver this much embarrassment to him and without being drunk.

   Bjorn looked at Erna with narrowed eyes.
In bed, it’s supposed to be fun and he never needed to deal with whiny, clumsy women if he didn’t want to.
If he didn’t want to have to deal with the trouble, he could leave and not feel ashamed.

   That thought had gone through his mind and he was about to, but Erna is his wife.
This is no floozy picked up at the club.
This was his wife.

   In that regard, Bjorn had to face this new challenge, whether he liked it or not.
Erna was his as much as he was hers and he needed to make an effort.
They had promised each other.

   “I’m sorry.” Erna said, finally looking up from her hands.

   Bjorn couldn’t help but laugh at the sense of Deja Vu.
Come to think of it, this was not actually the first time this had happened.
There was a predecessor…..


  Is Erna another Gladys?

   Bjorn laughed at the foul feeling of crawling through mud again.
The touch of Erna’s hand on his shoulder brought him back from dark thoughts of bad times.

   “I…I’ll keep my promise.
I’m not lying.
I’ll keep it.” Erna said, haltingly.

   Bjorn couldn’t shake the thought of how both Gladys and Erna behaved like they were being raped.
It was terrifying to think that it what he was doing.
The situation might have been the same, but the words uttered by the two women was completely different.

    “But, I’m scared.
It’s strange, it’s weird …” Erna’s eyes wandered around the room before finally stopping on Bjorn’s.
“I will keep my promise.”


  Her promise.

   The way in which Erna said it was confused and it confused Bjorn.
It sounded like he was an usher come to collect her debt.
When Earn had owed money for the lost trophy, she behaved like this.
Maybe she still feels like she owes him, maybe, if he hadn’t used the boating as an excuse to write off her debts.
If she was still working to make artificial flowers.

   At that moment, Bjorn recalled the face of the woman who had offered him a flower as a token of promise and let out a deep sigh of desperation. Erna took it as a reprimand and took her hand from his shoulder.
Half turning away, she began to wipe the tears from her cheek.

   Bjorn felt irritation rise up again, but it did not undermine the pity he also felt.
He decided to not judge the extent of Erna’s ignorance.
He took it on point that she did not know anything.

   It surprised Bjorn that Brenda Hardy,  Erna’s stepmother, would have tried to send her daughter off to be married in this state.
It also did not help that Erna lived with her Grandmother before she came to the city, the Baroness is a very conservative woman.
Erna really did not know anything about love making.

   Bjorn had assumed that Pavel might have taught her a thing or two when they ran together.
It was hard to believe that they had not even spoken about sex.
Was the painter a eunuch or something?

   Bjorn looked at his wife, the woman who was rumoured to be a concubine, was in fact as untouched as freshly fallen snow.
She was a blank slate.
Bjorn let out a deep sigh, even in the midst of this annoyance, there was only one thing he could do.

   Erna looked at Bjorn in wide eyed shock as the Prince began to laugh.

   When he subsided the laughter, Bjorn went over to collect the drink and two glasses from the table.
Erna reached down and grabbed whatever gown was to hand and covered her slender, naked body.
They both sat on the bed together.

   “How much can you drink?” Bjorn asked.

   “I, don’t know.” Erna replied as she watched Bjorn pour out two drinks.

   “How much do you usually drink?”

   “One.” Erna said quietly.

   “A single drink?” He held the glass out to her.

   “Yes, after one drink I get all hot and, ermm….
fuzzy.” Erna said quickly, as if to avoid looking like an ignorant fool.

   Bjorn nodded.
Erna’s face was still wet with the tears she hadn’t properly wiped away, but her expression was once again firm and strong, and her eyes were bright and assertive.

   “Here, drink.” Bjorn said and offered the glass again.
Erna took it.
“Drink and bear it, Erna.” His command was smooth and cooler than the touch of the glass in her hand.

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