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Between Me and Home

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With the sounds of battle still ringing in his ears and the blood of his cousins Warwick and Prince Edward of Westminster drying on his hands, Richard Plantagenet, Duke of Gloucester, drove his black Land Rover back to London as fast as the traffic would allow. His preferred method of transport was the Jag, but since he didn’t want that anywhere near a battlefield, the Land Rover was his only other option.

As the miles stretched in front of him, he felt his mind wander. Finally, a decisive victory for the House of York. Edward will be the unchallenged King of England, once my self-appointed task is done. God… I wish Ed had died today, then none of his heirs would get between me and the throne. I’ve dreamt of sovereignty my entire life, ever since Father decided to exercise his right to the throne, but the crown has always remained out of reach. If I were whole, nothing and no one would stand in my way, but as such…

If I can’t get the crown, what’s left for me? I know! I can charm the ladies of the court. Women love a man who’s deformed. He groaned quietly. I can’t even convince myself of that lie. Honestly, I’d have more success getting twenty crowns than one woman’s heart. An image of his cousin and childhood friend Anne came to mind but he dismissed it just as quickly. Since I just made her a widow, she’ll never want me. My body is so disproportionate that no woman could ever want me – this damn hump that rivals Everest on my back, a spine with more twists than some cheap novel, my left arm nearly useless, one leg longer than the other... No woman even looks at me twice. So, since I cannot be happy in love, I will be happy in a crown.

Even after today’s work is done, there are still too many people between me and the crown. It teases, torments me but I will have it, one way or another. I’ll be the pleasant fellow they all expect, while hiding my true feelings. I will be the consummate actor. I will be whatever I need to be and then I will have that which is rightfully mine, no matter how long it takes.

The guards of the Tower of London were happy to see him and even happier to see the bribe he’d brought. As he was led to Henry VI’s cell, Richard pulled his stiletto from its sheath.