How to Impress a Gentleman (11 page)

BOOK: How to Impress a Gentleman
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“I cannot promise that. You frightened me half to death by taking off last night. I can promise that I will endeavor to be civil with you and be happy tomorrow, on our wedding day.”

“Civil! I loathe civil. Either be mad or do not be. I cannot stand the apathetic, the reserved. Fine, let us both be mad tonight and forgive one another on the morn. Will that suit?”

“You are positively loopy Linnie, but I like that you are more yourself. I feel uneasy when you are not chatting my ear off. Here, take in your blanket and wrap up in that. I will hang your clothes to air out. We will have plenty of time in the morning to pack up. I am exhausted and will be in in a few hours. Thomas and I are taking shifts to sit up and watch the camp. I will take first watch. Good night, Lindsay.”

“Good night, Charles. Oh, and Charles?”

“Yes, Linnie?”

“Do warn me before you crawl into this prehistoric contraption. I might think you a wolf and attack you!”

“I have a feeling the wolf would come out with the raw end of that deal...Yes, I will forewarn you. Sweet dreams.”

Lindsay took approximately four minutes to adjust herself, wrap up in the blanket and quilt and fall fast asleep. She did not awaken when Charles entered the tent several hours later, or when the sun rose, for that matter. Lindsay slept like the dead until the heat of the sun woke her at nine the next morning. She stretched languidly and then sat bolt upright when she remembered where she was. Upon the heels of that revelation, came the realization that today was to be her wedding day!

Lindsay groaned when she felt her hair and realized she had fallen asleep with it wet and with not so much as a braid in it.

“Is everything okay in there?” Charles asked leaning over and attempting to peek in to the tent’s dark recess.

“Charles! I simply cannot get married today!” she stated miserably, rolling back over on her side and hiding her face in the covers.

“Why ever not? Are you ill?”

“No. Worse. My hair is a fright and I have nothing suitable to wear.”

“Leah sent me with your ivory carriage dress and I hung it to get most of the wrinkles out. We can roll it in a blanket for the ride to town, so it should not be too rumpled. I plan to get us a room at the hotel so that you can dress and prepare for the wedding while I hunt down the Reverend Daugherty. Come on out and eat something. You ate nothing all day yesterday, you must be famished.”

“Can you just hand it in? I am in no mood to be seen like this.”

“Stop being juvenile, Lindsay,” Charles chided, grabbing the top of the tent and pulling it fully away.

“AAAH!” Lindsay yelped and attempted to hide beneath the large quilt.

“Oh-Ho!” laughed Charles, seeing the state of her coiffure. “You look like a drunken bar maid in a much abused wig!” Laughing hysterically, Charles fell to the ground, holding his side. “I thought you had rid yourself of those uncontrollable curls, Linnie. Oh, what a mess!”

“Hold your tongue, Charles Marvin Donovan. Just imagine what a child of ours would look like, with my frizzy waves, and your curls, the poor waif will have to shave his head and wear a wig. I am able to control my hair only with the help of adequate time, patience, and maid service.

“Have you a maid on hand, Sir Charles, or am I to attend my own wedding looking like a gutter snipe?”

“I shall endeavor to find you a temporary lady’s maid in town, but I am not promising anything fancy, Linnie. Especially considering what the poor miss will have to work with!”

“Ooooh! I promised to not be short with you today Charles, so I will be the better person and ignore that comment. Have you any tea? I am parched.” Uncovering her head, Lindsay walked stately to the stream and knelt to wet her wild hair. Plaiting it strait down her back and then coiling it at the nape into a tight knot, Lindsay then rewet the sides, in an attempt to smooth her hair. With her riding hat repositioned, she again looked like a lady, if not one in the first stare of fashion.

“Lindsay, you are beautiful with or without a lady’s maid. I am sorry that I teased you about your hair. I was pleased to see you in a state of disarray, is all.”

“As this is to be our wedding day, I forgive you. Have you anything palatable to eat?”

“I have some bacon and toast for you. Will that do?”

“Oh, yes, that sounds heavenly.”

Lindsay ate as Thomas and Charles finished breaking down their camp. Charles’ light brown hair was wet and slicked back into a tight cue with a blue ribbon. His muscles bunched and pulled against the fine lawn of his best shirt and she thrilled with the knowledge that she would become his today. Yet, the very idea caused an equal surge of melancholy. Her mother should have been here today, to see her married. Her mother was not here, in part, because of the actions of this man. How could she enjoy herself and be happy without being disloyal to the memory of her mother, without acknowledging the ease at which Charles had been willing to abandoned those who depended upon him?

It was really useless to rail against fate, however. Charles had procured her father’s blessing and that of the church, she was little more than property to be transferred, at this point. Her mother, of all people, would understand that.

Upon departing, Lindsay suggested that they locate a willing lady’s maid before they attempted to reserve a room at the local inn. “In that way, you can more easily explain that we will be wed in the afternoon and can leave me with the maid until that time.”

“And where shall I know to look for a maid, if not at the local inn?”

“Why, at the seamstress’s shop, I would imagine.”

“Very well, we shall look at the seamstress’s shop first,” Charles agreed.

~ ~ ~

Luckily, they trotted into town at an hour past noon, late enough to avoid the traffic of the morning crowd but early enough to run their errands before the wedding. The seamstress’s shop was empty and Charles was able to hire the seamstress’s assistant, Dorothy, for the afternoon. She herself had a lovely coiffure. Lindsay was well pleased.

At the inn, the inn keeper’s sprightly wife was all too happy to have a newly wed couple to spend the night. She settled Lindsay and Dorothy in the best room and then proceeded to rethink the menu for their supper.

“Roast duck sounds lovely,” smiled Lindsay as she looked about the bed chamber. The room was pristine. The down comforter was stark white, as were the sheets beneath. The room boasted a wash room off to the right side of the bed, with a chamber pot and hip bath. There was also a sitting area opposite the bed, with a love seat, desk and chair. This would do nicely. Lindsay was grateful that her wedding night would not be spent in an unseemly place.

Dorothy got right to work. Ordering steaming buckets of water for the tub, she hung Lindsay’s ivory gown on a peg in the washroom and shut the door. “The steam will help to straighten out those wrinkles,” she explained. “Now, let us look at what we have to work with.” Laying out all of her undergarments and accessories, Dorothy sighed.

“Well, we shall have to make do. The water should have cooled enough for you to get in. I would like to wet your hair just a bit and you can rinse off some of the dirt from the road. Within an hour, Lindsay was washed and dressed. Her hair, being a right mess, took a bit longer. By five in the afternoon, Dorothy was putting the finishing touches upon a coiffure that would make a duchess proud.

Standing back from the looking glass, Linnie admired her reflection. Her thick ivory dress fit tightly beneath her breasts. Making her waist look small against the soft swell of her hips. Tiny ivory ribbons fell from the piled mass of curls at the top of her head, contrasting nicely with her dark hair. She was two inches taller, thanks to her high heeled ivory shoes. Lindsay loved their cute silk bows that peeked beneath the hem of her skirt as she walked.

“Oh, Dorothy, however can I thank you? I truly feel like a bride. Will you be my witness for the wedding?”

“I would love to. You make a lovely bride.”

At that moment, Thomas tapped on the door. “Are you right and ready, Miss? Master Donovan has made the arrangements and is awaiting your pleasure at the church, Miss Lindsay.”

Lindsay’s heart skipped a beat but she stood readily enough and followed Tommy. The church was small and white. It boasted lovely stained glass windows and beautifully carved wood doors. Lindsay was secretly thrilled to be having a small, uneventful wedding. She was not one for drawing attention to herself and this scene suited her perfectly. Meeting the grey wigged Reverend Daugherty and turning to face her betrothed, Lindsay felt a glimmer of hope spark to life within her.

Perhaps this marriage could work, after all. Perhaps she and Charles could find a way to love one another that would suit them both. She smiled cautiously as she plighted her troth and was surprised that Charles looked at her longingly, not with resignation or regret.

Upon exchanging their vows, Charles and Lindsay kissed chastely. Charles swept her up into a fierce hug and she sank into his embrace, laughing and crying. Whatever their fortune, it was now one they would share. Lindsay took Charles’ hand as he thanked the minister and promised to send him a hefty donation. They left the church, Dorothy and Thomas on their heels. After paying Dorothy and bidding her farewell, they walked slowly back to the inn.

“Thomas, you may eat with the inn staff tonight. I reserved you a room, so that you might rest easily. I would like to keep you on and have you accompany us to Braxton Hall, but I am afraid that Sir Richard has need of your assistance for the departure of his guests in the morning. It is also for you to carry back word of our elopement to the general population. In the interest of safety, Miss Beaumont, I mean, Lady Donovan and myself will be hiring a coach to take us to our new home. Please relay this information, as well as the news that we are honeymooning and will return when the month is through.”

“Aye, Sir Donovan. Will do, thank you Sir,” Thomas responded, being well and truly happy for the good meal, the soft bed, and the extra sovereign in his pocket. The last two days had left him heart sick over Whitney. It was time to move on. All of this marriage talk had got him thinking and he intended to ask Tory, the upstairs maid for her hand as soon as she got the time to come to the stable for a visit. Harry was getting on in years and would soon retire to the village cottage that Sir Richard had set aside for him. Thomas would be able to have Tory and a babe or two in the small flat built into the stable.

Walking with an extra bounce to his step, he went around to the back of the Brownstone Inn to have his supper. Upon entering the inn, Lindsay and Charles were greeted by the inn keeper and his wife. They were shown into a private salon, where Mrs. Haversham had thoughtfully filled the room with tapered candles. The side board boasted almonds, roast duck, orange sauce, red potatoes, and blackberry cordial for desert. Mrs. Haversham served each course herself, staying long enough to fill their wine glasses, remove plates and add more food.

Lindsay felt so comfortable and cared for that she finally relaxed. She, for once, was not thinking of the past or the future, but of the right now. Charles looked so handsome, lit by flickering candlelight and a dimpled smile. They discussed the wedding, and the plans for the honeymoon.

“As you know, Lindsay, I have never been a wealthy man. I have always had enough money to provide for what I need. Inheriting Braxton Hall is a boon in that the land is fertile and the home is sound. On the other hand, there are many repairs and improvements to make on the property so that it can turn a profit and support us. To that end, I would like to use your dowry to get started right away. Perhaps later, when this rebellion with the Colonies and France is settled, we can go on a wedding trip abroad.”

Lindsay merely nodded, unwilling to discuss events so far into their future. “I would much rather us make our home now and travel when we are well enough established to do so without a concern for what we will meet upon our return.”

“Besides, it is my family’s wish that I try for a child this year. They believe that producing a healthy heir, with no ill effects to my mental state, will prove to the ton that my sister will also make good breeding stock. I don’t believe that traveling would be conducive to conceiving, do you?”

“Well, I do not believe I know much about such things, but, no, I would not think it would. It would be sensible to stay home for such pursuits,” Charles returned, grinning.

By now, they both had consumed substantial amounts of wine and were feeling quite warm and uninhibited. “Oh, then, do you think that we should wait until we arrive at Braxton Hall before we...?”

“No!” Charles interjected quickly, “I mean, no, that should not be necessary. I am told that it is important to have a good wedding night; that it foretells the type of marriage one will have. If we are chaste upon our wedding night, the old wives say, our marriage will prove barren.”

“Really? I had not heard that, but I suppose it would be odd to snub tradition. I must admit that I am feeling a bit nervous about the whole thing. I feel as if we have gone from friends to foes to fugitives in three short days. I do not know how well I will be able to adjust to being a wife.”

“Oh, I think that you shall manage just fine,” chuckled Charles deeply, “and here comes our desert.”

 

 

Chapter Eight- Marriage Beds

 

 

 

“Don’t halloo till you are out of the wood.”

~Ben Franklin, 18th Century Colonial Columnist

 

 

Lindsay picked at her desert. She had eaten far too much already and her stomach was tied up in knots. Sipping on some coffee, in the vain hope of clearing her head a bit, Linnie glanced nervously at Charles.

“Why don’t you go on up and make yourself comfortable and I will be up after I finish this glass of wine.”

“Yes, I think I will, thank you,” Lindsay agreed, placing her starched napkin on the table and rising to leave. Charles rose as well and walked her to the foot of the stairs, watching as she ascended and entered their room at the end of the open balcony.

Quickly, Lindsay bent her arm behind her head and struggled to undo the rows of little buttons that ran up the back of her ivory gown. Once the first few were loosed, she was able to wriggle herself out of the weighty material. She removed her outer garments and lay them on the bed. She then rushed into the wash room and shut the door. Giggling nervously, Lindsay removed her stays and tights before taking her night rail from the hook on the wall and slipping it over her head. Her sister, it seems, must have packed her bag. It had contained the thinnest, prettiest night rail that Lindsay owned. A pale pink, the gauzy material showed a silhouette of Lindsay’s legs, hips and breasts.

She blushed to think of standing in front of Charles in such a thing. It somehow seemed more revealing, though it covered her from shoulder to feet, than when she had stood nude before him the previous day. Rushing back into the bedroom, Lindsay scooped up her wedding dress and hung it on the peg in the washroom. Quickly, she surveyed the room.

Pulling back the down comforter a bit, she wrapped her gray woolen shawl around her shoulders as a type of security blanket. Pacing the floor, she realized that she had drunk enough wine and water to float a ship. Rushing back into the wash room, Lindsay pulled out the chamber pot and made good use of it.

Oh, how she did not want Charles to see her water waste! Opening up the window, Lindsay peered about to see if anyone was in the alley. No one seemed to be about, so she poured the contents of the chamber pot over the ledge, into the hedges below. Replacing the chamber pot in the corner of the wash room, Lindsay hurriedly washed her hands in the basin.

She then went to the dresser and examined her image in the small looking glass. She seemed pretty enough, she supposed. Should she take her hair down? Yes, how would one, complete the marriage act with one’s hair piled atop of her head? Hurriedly, she undid the pins in her hair and finger combed it until it looked artfully curled and mussed. Satisfied with her appearance, Lindsay resumed pacing. Half and hour passed and Linnie was still without a partner in her room.

Where is he?
she wondered.
How long must it take to finish a glass of wine? Does he not wish to be with me?
Lindsay bit the inside of her cheek nervously. She was almost at the point of redressing and going back downstairs when Charles strolled in, turning the key in the lock as he entered. Looking up, his breath caught. Lighted by one small candle, and the moonlight from the window, Lindsay was a vision in pink.

The ivory of her skin and the pink of the night gown blended. Her soft grey shawl had fallen off one creamy shoulder, revealing the swell of one pert breast. It was hard to tell where the pink gauze ended and Lindsay’s erect nipple began. He could hardly wait to find out. Crossing the room, Charles immediately removed the woolen shawl. Grabbing her upper arms, Charles looked down the length of her.

Lindsay flushed from his gaze and tried to turn but he held her still.

“God’s teeth, Linnie. You are stunning. I have never seen anything so beautiful in my life. Thank you for agreeing to become my wife.”

Smiling, the tears welled in Lindsay’s eyes as she felt the familiar warmth rising in her. It was the same way she had felt nine years ago, when Charles had first touched her heart.

Sighing, Charles wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her up against him. Earlier in the evening, Charles had removed his royal blue waist coat and now stood in soft, buff breeches and cotton shirt open at the collar. Thus clad, little impeded the sensation of Lindsay’s lush curves against him. Charles could feel her nipples rub against his chest and her thighs press into his.

Placing each hand on her round bottom he pulled her up and onto her toes. From this position, he could plunder her mouth with his tongue and feel the warmth between her thighs. Linnie pressed softly against his hard form and gasped as she felt what she had been ogling yesterday.
I was right
, she thought.
It is the same as a horses, oh, Saints preserve me!

Sensing Lindsay tense, Charles relaxed his vice-like grip and looked down at her. “Is something wrong?”

Blushing, but pale, Lindsay looked at her long time companion and nodded. “I do not think I can do this, Charles. I have figured out what you have in your breeches and I know that this will not work.”

She looked so sweet and innocent with her eyebrows drawn together and her mouth turned down in a cherub’s pink pout. She had no idea what she did to him! Laughing softly, he put his forefinger under her chin and lifted her gaze to his.

“What is it you think I have in my breeches, sweet Linnie?”

“W-well, w-what a horse, a stud horse has between his legs, when he mates.”

“Oh, I see. Well, seeing as I am not near the size of a stud horse, although I am quite flattered, you might be relieved to know that my male member is not near as large either.”

“Oh,” Lindsay replied, unconvinced.

“What do you say we just take things a little slower? You can undress and I can undress and then we can decide if everything will work the way nature intended. Will that be acceptable?”

“Yes, I think that will be alright. But, Charlie?”

“Yes, Linnie?”

“If it does not work, then what?”

“It will work Linnie, trust me.”

“Very well.”

His ardor substantially cooled, Charles led Lindsay to the four post bed. Charles lifted her into the bed and then leapt up beside her. Lying on his side, propped upon his elbow, Charles surveyed his new wife. “Well, Lady Donovan, I do believe you are over dressed for the occasion. Might I help you off with your outer wear?”

“But, Sir, I haven’t any under wear!”

“Yes, well the night is warm and the fire is large, I do believe you will do quite nicely in your natural state.”

“Giggling and rolling out of his grasp, Lindsay voluntarily rose to her knees and pulled up the pink confection. Flinging it over her head with abandon, Lindsay suddenly felt exposed and vulnerable. She had always been a bit too short and curvy for current fashion. Although it had never stopped the men from appreciating her form before; she now worried that she would not please Charles.

She had no reason for concern. Charles was in shock. From her tiny, winged collar bones, to her perfectly curved hips, Charles could not imagine a more pleasing spouse. She smelled of sunshine and lemons. She tasted sweet and was as soft as velvet. Reaching out to touch an errant curl that had cascaded down to encircle her right areola, Charles glanced up at her face and was overcome with emotion.

He loved this woman so much; he was afraid to move for fear of disappointing her on this, her first night with a man. Move, he did, however, for he would not allow her to think that he was displeased with her display. Rising to his knees as well, Charles pulled his shirt from his breeches and threw it to the floor.

“Look what you have done to the comforter!” Lindsay chided as she gaped at the streak of mud his boots had left. Leaping down from the bed, her self-consciousness forgotten, she leaned over his left boot and began tugging it off.

“What are you doing?!” laughed Charles, as he repositioned himself on the bed to allow her a better hold on his foot. “Pull at the heel, that is good.”

Lindsay pulled so hard that she went flying backwards and fell awkwardly, on her rump. Legs spread and her waist length hair curled all around her, she looked like a displaced mermaid. Lindsay shrugged as Charles laughed uproariously and began tugging on his right boot. Once his riding boots were placed against the wall, Lindsay pulled down Charles’ stockings.

They both quieted as the moment of truth came to hand.

“Why do you not just show me and we can get it over with,” Lindsay suggested, biting her lower lip as she stood before him at the bedside.

“Why do you not use your mouth for something other than ordering me about, wench,” Charles retorted, playfully, and pulled her to him for a thoroughly rousing kiss. Again, Lindsay felt Charles’ manhood stiffen and press against her softer parts. Again, she pulled away from him, in concern.

Slipping his breeches down his legs and off, Charles sat back on the bed, so that Lindsay could look her fill at the topic of conversation.

“Oh,” said Lindsay, her eyes growing wide. I suppose it is not nearly as big as all that.”

“Thank you. I am pleased to hear it,” Charles responded wryly.

“But, I still do not think this will work. Perhaps I should have married a small boned man?”

Laughing heartily at her unintended pun, Charles wrapped his arm around her middle and deposited her onto her side, in the middle of the bed. “I will not lie to you Linnie, the first time will be a snug fit, but it should not be all too painful. And after that...” he stated, drawing the knuckle of his finger around her tightening pink nipple, “....after the first time, it gets better every time.”

“Then why do my grandparents have separate bedrooms?” Lindsay asked suspiciously, pushing his hand away distractedly.

“Why, because your grandmother can not stand to be in the same room as your grandfather without ripping his breeches off. They could not afford the tailor’s bills, so now he comes to her room in the buff.”

“Charles!” Lindsay tried to rebuke him but dissolved instead into giggles.

Taking advantage of her supine form, Charles bent his head to her chest and capturing her left breast in his mouth.

Gasping Lindsay was at full attention. She wished to push him away and pull him closer, all at once. The torture was exquisite. Trailing kisses from one breast to the next, Charles began to suckle at her right breast. Giving in to the sensation, Lindsay pressed his head to her and sighed, blissfully.

“Charles’ hands were cold as they touched her stomach and Linnie jumped. They soon grew warm as he ran them down her sides and over her thighs. Lindsay could not help but hold her legs more tightly shut as Charles attempted to gain access to her most private place. Rather than force the issue, Charles stroked her sides, running his strong fingers up her arms to softly knead the back and sides of her neck. Sighing and relaxing, Lindsay gave Charles access to her nape. Kissing her and nipping at her neck, Charles was able to move one knee between Lindsay’s thighs. Returning again to plunder her breasts she called out his name and relaxed more deeply into the down bed.

Charles ran the palm of his hand down her stomach and across her curls, to the moist opening at the base of her thighs. His finger explored the folds of her flesh, tracing them over and over until Lindsay panted for more. Slowly, very slowly, he entered her with one finger. She was very tight. He would have to ready her for him.

Throbbing with the effort of restraint, Charles dipped his head again to suckle her left breast and eased a second finger into her depths. She moaned softly and tightened up around him. “Oh, Linnie,” he sighed, as he realized he could wait no longer.

Spreading her thighs with his knee once more, Charles turned smoothly atop her and placed the head of his shaft at her opening. Working his finger about her once more, he began to ease inside her.

Lindsay was beyond conscious thought as she moaned in ecstasy. He hated to rouse her from this state but it was unfair to frighten her when the pain jabbed through her reverie. “Linnie, Love, take heed,” he whispered into her ear.

She shivered at the sensation but he insisted. “Linnie, look at me, Love.” She turned her glazed eyes towards him and smiled, beguilingly. “I am going to take you now.”

“Yes,” she murmured.

“Oh, Linnie, it will hurt a bit at first, you must trust me and not buck or it will truly hurt, are you listening?”

“Yes, I will not buck.”

“Thank you.” He delayed no longer. With his hand holding her open so as to avoid any unnecessary tearing; Charles forced his way past her maiden head in one swift, deep thrust.

“Ow!” she cried out, pulled from her stupor and unhappy about it.

“Relax, Love, relax.”

“You hurt me,” she hiccuped, her voice wavering.

“I am sorry, Love. It is the way it is done. Just hold still now and it will start to feel good again, I promise.”

Already, Linnie could feel the throbbing in her middle transitioning from one of pain to one of longing and anticipation. She was aware of the way his thickly muscled arms and thighs tensed about her in restraint. Lindsay could not help but wriggle a bit beneath Charles, feeling out the new sensation. The motion helped to ease the pain, so she lifted her hips a bit more.

“Ohhhh, that feels good, Linnie, I will not be able to be gentle if you do not stop.”

She stopped immediately. Adventurous she might wish to be but she was a coward at heart. Charles chuckled as he slowly pulled out and back into to her. She felt herself relax and soften up for him again. She felt herself grow wet at the tender way he moved within and around her. Tightening up and relaxing around his shaft, she could not help but begin to rock her hips to the rhythm he created. Wrapping his hands around her bottom, Charles guided her movements until they moved as one, faster and faster to a desperately needed climax. She rocked into him, panting and sobbing his name. Beyond all restraint, Charles pounded into her untried flesh, spilling his seed deep within her.

BOOK: How to Impress a Gentleman
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