A face to remember
She’s so vain it is almost amusing. Almost, mind you. At every reflecting surface she smiles, studying her mirrored image with such apparent pleasure it makes me roll my eyes.
“Breeding,” she comments at one point, giving me an oblique look that very clearly conveys I am at best a mongrel but more probably a street cur, not a refined breed such as her.
“Inbreeding,” I reply, nodding.
“Inbreeding?” She laughs. Everything the bloody woman does is beautiful, so it comes as no surprise that her laughter is low and musical, bouncing off her lips to travel the sound waves with grace. “The royal line must be kept pure,” she says, “but we’re not sister and brother.” She raises her hand in a discreet wave to her husband, seated several yards away. Echnaton inclines his head, no more.
Strange couple; where she’s so gorgeous one could suspect a full team of plastic surgeons spent months creating her, the pharaoh is a fleshy fellow, with a sizeable stomach and manbreasts. He has a very full mouth, lips curving into a smile as he watches the gaggle of children that are playing in the sun drenched courtyard. All of them are girls, and one of them is beckoned over to stand by the pharaoh who fondles her as casually as he would fondle a dog. Nefertiti frowns at this.
“She’s his daughter?” I ask, watching with horrified fascination as the large male hand caresses the girl’s smooth buttocks.
“And mine.” Nefertiti lifts her beautiful shoulders. “She is fortunate, to be thus singled out.” Her generous mouth tightens, her brows come down in a scowl, and to my surprise I realise she is jealous – of her own daughter.
“She’s still a child,” I say, sounding as censorious as possible. It sickens me, to watch the father and the daughter interact as if they were lovers.
“Meketaten is old enough,” Nefertiti says.
What? I look closely at the girl who is now sitting at her royal father’s feet. Dark eyes flash my way – no, her mother’s way – and the rosebud mouth sets in a satisfied little smile. The girl leans against her father’s legs, small budding breasts rubbing against him. He dips his horse’s face towards her and smiles. They stand and vanish through one of the gigantic doorways, making no doubt for somewhere more secluded.
Nefertiti has watched all this with the intent gaze of a bird of prey, but now she relaxes and goes back to studying her perfect face in the polished copper mirror.
“It doesn’t disturb you?” I say.
“A pharaoh has many consorts,” she shrugs. “But only one Great Wife.” She stretches with pride. “Echnaton cherishes me, values me not only for my beauty but also for my counsel.”
“Well, bully for you,” I say. “But I wasn’t referring to that, I was more thinking of the fact that she’s your daughter – his daughter. It’s sick!”
“Sick?” She shakes her head.”That’s the way it is. Royal princesses become the consorts of their fathers or brothers, uncles or cousins. Who else to wed them? Who else is good enough?” She yawns and crooks an elegant finger. Immediately a slave appears before her. She says something and the man nods so many times he must be getting sea sick before scuttling backwards like a human beetle.
“But what if she becomes pregnant?” I ask.
“I hope she does,” Nefertiti says. ” A fertile daughter reflects well on the mother.” Something dark flashes over her face, eyes resting on her brood of female children. “As does a son,” she mutters.
“She’s too young for mother hood,” I say.
“If she dies, she dies. It is Aten’s will that rules, not ours.” With that Nefertiti stands. “My bath awaits me, care to come along?” I study her limbs, her high breasts, her flat stomach. I look down at my jeans and my shirt. No way do I intend to bare myself before her. I give her a rueful smile. “Sorry, other things to do.”
Nefertiti laughs and walks off. The last thing I see of her is her perfect posterior.