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The Red Vineyard

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Anne Boleyn found a lot of things entertaining; skateboarding, teasing Aragon, performing on stage, late-night Netflix binges with Kit and Cleves. One thing that certainly did not make that list though was art.

Perhaps it was because of the countless hours she spent sat still, having her portrait painted, that Anne could never bring herself to appreciate the craft. That’s why, almost a year into her new life in the 21st century, Anne still hadn’t been to any galleries. She saw no reason why she should traipse the halls of some mundane museum, gazing at paintings of people she never even knew.

Art was boring, end of story.

Still though, Jane insisted on her joining them when Parr requested that they visit an art museum for her birthday. Apparently they had some rare paintings on display for a limited time, and Parr wanted to go see them.

Rare. Anne had to scoff at that. How rare could another canvas with some pale, bored-looking woman, or another bowl of fruit, possibly be?

“I know it’s boring, love, but we have to go,” Jane said, cutting through Anne’s thoughts as if reading her mind. “We can’t let Cathy down on her birthday, Annie. We don’t have to stay for long, I promise. Besides, you and Kitty can wander about the gift shop to pass the time. Or you and I can make our way to the cafe after a little wander, how does that sound? I bet they have cake!”

That seemed to persuade the reluctant girl, prompting her to finally slip on her converse with a grumble. This day was going to be agonising but Jane was right, she couldn’t let Parr down. She was worth the agony.

As soon as they arrived at the museum, Kit, Anne, and Cleves raced off, leaving the others stood around the information desk.

“If they break anything, you’re paying for it,” Aragon warned Jane with a smirk, making the woman chuckle. On the inside, a small piece of dread lurked, knowing it was definitely a possibility. Still though, the woman opted to shake her head with a smile at the thought of the destructive girls enjoying themselves.

“Come on! Let’s go see the Monet exhibit,” Parr grinned, pulling the remaining two queens along with her.

Chasing Cleves and Kit around was fun for a while. It didn’t take Anne long to get distracted and lose track of the other two hyperactive girls, though, leaving her stranded with nothing better to do than to glance around at the art.

There was a piece by Picasso that Anne recognised. Didn’t Parr say he was some huge misogynist? His art wasn’t that cool anyway.

One piece was projected onto the ceiling of two naked guys touching fingers. She recognised the name of the artist as one of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, but the piece itself bored her. Adam was a lame name for a guy, anyway. Why couldn’t God have called him something cool? ‘The creation of Cactus Jellybean Razorblade’ was a far more exciting title, she decided.

It wasn’t until she rounded the corner into one particular exhibit that Anne felt her heart burst to life, her legs dragging her towards the canvas before her brain even computed what she was doing.

“Art is lovely, but I think I’ll stick to words over paint from now on,” Parr said with a small, sheepish smile as an extremely bored Aragon lead her to the main entrance. It had only taken an hour and a half for Aragon to decide that she was far too impatient for art exhibitions. This was most certainly not her ideal way to spend her day off. Thankfully, Parr had come to a similar conclusion and decided she was ready to leave.

Looking around though, it didn’t take Jane long to realise that only five of the six had grouped up.

“Has anyone seen Anne?” The woman asked with a concerned expression. She knew that the girl was reluctant to join them on the trip, but surely she wouldn’t have run away. Not without at least messaging her to say she was safe.

Growing impatient, Aragon insisted that they’d be leaving without her if the girl didn’t show up soon. After all, they had a table booked for Parr’s birthday dinner across town.

“Okay, you lot just stay here. I’ll go find her.”

Searching room after room, Jane saw no sign of the girl. It wasn’t until she found a room marked ‘Vincent Van Gogh’ that Jane spotted the familiar dark green hoodie and space buns facing away from her on a bench.

Unlike Jane had expected though, Anne wasn’t on her phone, bored out of her mind. Instead, she found the girl staring up at a painting she instantly recognised. The swirling blue strokes, perfectly interwove with the glowing light projecting from the golden stars. The rich colours swirled in bold, bright spirals, entrancing Anne.

“I didn’t know art could look like… like this.”

That whispered confession from Anne forced Jane to tear her eyes away from the painting, only to notice the tears filling the younger girl’s own. Anne was used to Holbein portraits, not anything so colourful and adventurous as this. It didn’t take a genius to tell that the girl was falling fast for the scene set before her.

“It’s beautiful,” Jane had to agree, pecking a kiss to the girl’s cheek as she took a seat beside her.

They sat there, silently observing the image for around five minutes before Jane finally spoke up again, wrapping an arm tightly around Anne’s shoulders.

“We need to go to dinner soon, sweetheart,” she pointed out, making Anne give a look of dismay. How could she leave something so magnificent when she’d only just discovered its beauty?

Seeing the look on the girl’s face, Jane knew exactly what she was thinking. She always did. “We can come back anytime you like, my love. After all, we never did try that cake in the cafe,” she pointed out, making the girl give a giggle.

Perhaps art wasn’t so boring, after all.

Artists like David Hockney, Salvador Dalí, and Frida Kahlo all soon made an appearance on the Boleyn girl’s bedroom wall. On the ceiling though, was a grandiose mural. A piece dedicated to the one man who truly made her appreciate the story a painting can tell.

Whenever Anne Boleyn struggled to sleep, the girl would stare up at her ceiling - at the night sky’s whirlpool of colour - and let her worries drift away.

The sight of The Starry Night truly did ignite something inside of Anne Boleyn that day. Vincent's story inspired Anne more than any other.

The sight of The Starry Night, made her dream.