The sun never set on the Tudor mansion. Located on Beacon Street across from the Boston College football field, the never-ending stream of visitors caused as great a parking problem as did obnoxious students with Connecticut license plates and attendees of the B.C. home games. It was as much an institution in Boston as the swan boats or Newbury Street - only unlike these other two places, the Tudor mansion was an institution for only a very, very select few.
Henry Tudor was a wealthy man. As heir to the Tudor oil fortune, he had already amassed a quarter billion dollars in the past decade alone. When he was twenty-four, he married Cathy Aragon, a supermodel whose fame came from her numerous risqué Gucci™ ads.
It was not a happy marriage. Cathy wanted Henry for his money, and Henry, for all his wealth, had never found an attractive woman who would show the slightest bit of interest in him; Cathy had put on this long-winded spiel on how she found Henry to be the sexiest and most glorious man alive, and apparently he fell for it. People™ Magazine claimed that Henry had found "the love of his life, at last." For a time, it was right.
When the couple had been married six years, Cathy made an explosive comment over breakfast one morning in April.
"Henry, I don't want any children."
"What are you talking about?"
"Je n'en veux."
"How else the *expletive deleted* do you want me to say it? I don't want children! I'll have nothing to do with them; and anyway, Gucci can't have fat models. Even after I have the blasted thing, I can't get my old body back."
"Well, I can't tell you what to do - "
"Henry, you're such a pansy. I mean, come on now, you know we can't be parents. How can you bring something into the world only to not take responsibility for it? And especially you as a father! That'd be the day! If we had a girl, you'd probably count down the days till she'd hit puberty just because you like young - "
"Are you listening to yourself?"
"As a matter of fact, I am, Henry Tudor! Maybe it's about time you listened back, not just grabbing my behind whenever you decide I've earned a second of your attention!"
"You really make me sick, you know that?"
"Fine then. I want a divorce."
It rained every day since then, through May, even on Henry's birthday. Henry's 30th birthday, and he spent it chasing lawyers. Cathy already had a new apartment in Charles River Park ("Finally!") and already had a female neighbor she hated. Anne Boelyn had never been on the second page of Vogue wearing only high heels and a tote bag, and she had never been anyone's fantasy. She only wrote for The New Yorker™ and sold Mary Kay™ and drove a 1983 Cadillac Fleetwood Brougham™. Drunken, homeless bums hit on her, and the salesladies at the Victoria's Secret™ in Copley Place sneered at her. But she was younger than Cathy, and living a much better life than Cathy had been living when she was Anne's age.
Henry met Anne in the hallway on his first and only visit to Cathy's new condo. Anne's attire sparked the conversation. A tight pink shirt with kittens on it (obviously from the 4-16 section), very short gym shorts (from lower case Abercrombie™; kids clothes again), and new Air Forces™ so white they'd blind anyone who looked at them.
"Where's your mother, little girl?" Henry was half joking and half serious. Anne looked all of eight years old, maybe twelve with her height.
"Hell no! My mom living downtown? What a joke!"
Such a tone is seldom found in the junior high set.
"Nice kittens." The two kittens on Anne's shirt were, um, appropriately placed. Anne looked down and giggled.
"Well, I better scurry along, gotta see if my electric bill came yet." Anne smiled and waved and scurried she did; Henry stood a few seconds staring mesmerized at the white cursive abercrombie that moved down the hall, further and further away, situated just above two long white legs.
"What?" Henry came forward and nervously smiled.
"Can I, uh, see your electric bill?"
"I have to credit you, sir."
"That's the first pick-up line I've ever gotten, and it's a good one!"
"No, I'm not. A few tears formed in Anne's eyes, then disappeared. "Anyway, though, I'll not only let you see my electric bill, but my phone bill, too."
"Now that's a pick-up line." As the new friends headed downstairs, they suddenly heard four-inch Manolos behind them. It was Cathy. Cathy's manicured middle finger pierced the air; Henry and Cathy smiled and waved and continued to descend.
It took a year to finalize the divorce. During that time, Henry and Anne were as ubiquitous as J. Lo and Ben. Some differences between the couples were that instead of giving his girl a Bentley™, Henry gave Anne a Cadillac Sixteen™ that had been custom-made and exclusively produced for her, as absolutely everyone knows that this glorious automobile has not even been put into production yet. It was black with pink fake fur interior, a Bose™ speaker system, 16-cylinder engine (well, duh), several hundred horsepower, and Bvlgari™ crystal-framed pictures of various cute Japanese cartoon characters on the ceiling. Also, Anne didn't wear fur or jumpsuits or sing or dance or do basically anything remotely appealing to the opposite sex, but Henry was infatuated with her. She wasn't like anyone else. Anne's uniqueness, which had virtually plagued her for most of her life, had earned her the position as the second wife of Henry Tudor.
The wedding took place when Henry was thirty-two and Anne was twenty-five. It was held at the Tower of London (Henry, of course, was one of Her Majesty's favorite people). Following the excruciatingly lavish wedding was a whirlwind of paparazzi, European vacations, fancy dinners, and extravagant shopping sprees that took place everywhere from Target™ to Bloomingdale's™ to Newbury Comics™. All was smoother than the face of that girl in the Noxema™ ad who wonders if he kisses with his eyes open (you know you've all seen that one). Then, the inevitable happened.
"Henry, I'm pregnant."
"Oh, Anne, that's wonderful!"
"No, it's not! I'm too young! I don't want kids!"
Henry's small ocean-blue eyes opened wide and the almost perpetual smile on his lips was gone. Virtually no one had ever seen Henry get truly angry.
"Oh, yes you do. If you want to be my wife, you'll want kids." Henry had Anne pushed against the wall. "You're having this baby." Anne nodded, her heart beating furiously under her Michael Stars™ T-shirt.
As Anne's stomach grew, so did her dislike for the newborn child. She hated maternity clothes, horse pills, random people patting her stomach, and not being able to even enjoy an *expletive deleted* cup of coffee in the morning. She had never really liked children in the first place. Babies cry and need their diapers changed and if you don't pay attention to them, they cry more. Toddlers are loud and messy and jump on your bed at five in the morning and if you don't pay attention to them, they grow up to become immature and apathetic. Then you have to worry about where to send them to school, whether or not to sign up for piano lessons, how to dress them, what to feed them, how to talk to them, how to deal with their friends…and once they're teenagers...oh Lord. Anne could barely handle Percival, her cat.
When the baby was born, the nurse cheerfully cried,
"It's a girl!"
"She's…beautiful," Anne managed to say. She was tired and in pain and looking completely horrible what with her lack of makeup and all, but it was her duty as a proud mother to say that her new baby was beautiful, even though she was screaming and covered with blood.
"It's a girl?" Henry asked after the nurse left to give the child its first bath.
"You heard her."
"A girl? You sure?"
"If you couldn't tell the difference - "
"Well, to be honest, I had kinda wanted a boy."
"I don't know. Just forget about it. We'll have a boy some other time." Henry kissed Anne, and she in turn gave a nervous smile and nod.
Elizabeth Madeleine Tudor turned out to be the perfect child about whom you read in autobiographies written by famous people.*cough*Mommie Dearest*cough* Cute, intelligent, and not prone to making a lot of noise, Anne found motherhood to be much less of a burden than she had initially thought. Henry made no mention of wanting a son for a while, and all was generally back to normal for a while. One thing Anne had noticed was that Henry had gotten rid of the contraceptives that had been kept in the bathroom. This frightened her at first, but her fears were eased when she went to the doctor and was prescribed birth control pills on the quiet. No more babies for me! thought Anne.
By the time Elizabeth was four, she was no longer the perfect child, but the perfect mannequin. Anyone who likes children wants to interact with them, talk to them, play with them. Elizabeth, when her mother actually decided to take time out of her life to play Candyland™ or read a book, just sat there like a porcelain doll. With her curly brown hair, colorless complexion, and unrealistically long and dense eyelashes, she actually was mistaken for a mannequin once in Filene's™, when Anne took her shopping. This was no huge surprise. Raise a child in a household where everything is too expensive and too clean to be so much as looked at the wrong way, and they'll grow up shy and stationary, too. Anne certainly never went out of her way for Elizabeth, and Henry, though he tried to be a good father, was always distracted by his cell phone or something like that. The bulk of Elizabeth's childhood, therefore, was spent with a nanny. Elizabeth clung to that nanny like white on rice, even at her fairy tale of a fourth birthday party, which had a clown and merry-go-round and thirty neighborhood children (none of whom she knew). Anne watched much of the affair from the kitchen window. Henry came in looking for her and put his hands on her waist.
"I know you."
"Hey, hotness, anything you wanna do while the kids are out there?"
"I wanna make a son." Henry buried his face in the curve of Anne's neck.
"Make me a son, beautiful."
"Don't be silly; every time we try, it doesn't work - "Henry lifted his head. The anger that came so rarely to him was a-coming.
"You're on the Pill, aren't you?"
"What makes you say that?"
"Well, we successfully had a child before, and we're both healthy adults, so what other reason is there?"
"Anything's possible." The faint, cynical smile on Anne's face gave her away completely.
"Don't lie to me, you deceitful little *expletive deleted.*" Henry slapped his wife.
"*expletive deleted,* tell me where the pills are!" There was no response; Henry took off his belt and whipped her.
"God, Henry, stop!" Anne was now a puddle on the kitchen floor. She felt the belt again.
"Where are the pills?"
"Henry, please - "
"Where are the pills?" Anne was bleeding.
"Good. That's one of my favorite places anyway." Henry put his belt back on and went upstairs. When he came back down, Anne was still on the floor, quietly sobbing.
"I'm sorry, honey."
"*expletive deleted* off."
*expletive deleted* off Henry did.
A year later, John Jacob Tudor was born, to Henry's incredible joy. John died two months later, to Henry's incredible sadness. Anne had been the last one to see the baby alive, and though she actually hadn't killed him, it was no use trying to explain this to the livid father. Henry was unable to speak to Anne for weeks, until one night when he hovered over her sleeping body and woke her.
"I'm gonna kill you, Anne," Henry said in that soft, masculine voice that was usually reserved for other intimate occasions (minus the threatening undertones).
"You're *expletive deleted* head is gonna be on a stake in front of this house. Your beauty and charm aren't going to save you now."
"Henry, I thought you loved me."
"That's right. I did love you. Now it's over."
Time was, when a very wealthy man decided that he had to kill his wife for not producing a male heir, it was no big deal. Recently, it has been (and rightfully, I think) made clear that such actions, and even desires, are taboo. In spite of this, Henry's blind rage caused him to hire a hit man who smothered Anne in her sleep for $50,000. It took a while for Henry to realize that he had done something horribly wrong. Anne had hated children, but so what? She had made Henry happier than he had been in his whole life, and her love for him had been genuine and unconditional. And Henry had paid someone to kill her. The only good thing that came of this was that the hit man now had a new Escalade™. What a joy for Henry.
The third Mrs. Henry Tudor was a total sod of a woman named Jane Seymore (not to be confused with the lady from that show Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman™). She was much older than Henry and about as exciting as stale toast. She was entirely incapable of enjoying herself in any way possible. In spite of this, she did get pregnant and the result was a boy. Baby Edward may have been male, but he didn't have much else going for him - weak, sickly, ugly, and terribly pathetic in a variety of other ways which were revealed one by one as he grew older. Shallow and selfish Henry had a great deal of difficulty loving this highly-anticipated offspring.
Jane died of complications in childbirth. Henry was beside himself. Couldn't anything go right for him anymore? Barely middle-aged and he had three marriages down the drain. What was he, a movie star? Personal insecurities drove him to get married three more times. Anna Cleeves only spoke German, Catherine Howard was never able to live down her image as having been on Girls Gone Wild™, and Kate Parr was actually a lesbian. Henry did not live to discover this and unleash his rabid homophobia on her, which I suppose we can call a blessing. He died of a heart attack at the age of forty-seven while Kate innocently sung Janis Joplin songs in the shower.
Edward eventually died of an eating disorder in his sophomore year of high school. This left Elizabeth Tudor as the sole Tudor heir (rather, heiress). She had changed quite a bit since her early years. Nowadays, we don't hear much of her because she has started this underground blood-drinking cult. She wears long black wigs and vinyl corsets, and is rumored to have ingested blood from the likes of Mick Jagger and Eminem ('cause celebrities just can't resist weird vampire chicks). Elizabeth Tudor has not done anything for her family prestige. It, however, has also not done anything for her.