“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 85 (PG-13, S): A Good Man is Not Hard to Find, September 27, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #640)
(An original fan fiction copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace; All rights reserved; Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North & South and its 2004 BBC adaptation; No copyright infringement intended)
[I will illustrate my story using my dream cast from the 2004 BBC production of “North & South” and other actors for additional characters: Richard Armitage for John Thornton, Daniela Denby-Ashe for Margaret Hale, Lesley Manville for Mrs. Maria Hale, Tim Pigott-Smith for Mr. Richard Hale, Sinead Cusack for Mrs. Hannah Thornton Ogilvy, Jo Joyner for Fiona/Fanny Thornton Ogilvy, Brendan Coyle for Nicholas Higgins, Graham McTavish as Dr. Cameron Ogilvy, Holliday Grainger for Angharad Ogilvy MacIntosh, Simon Woods for Baird Ogilvy, Emma Ashton as Mrs. Dillard, John Light as Henry Lennox, Tim Faraday as Watson, Gillian Anderson at Carlotta Quint Watson, Jeremy Northam as Dr. Miles Houghton, Gerard Butler as Lord Jamie Ogilvy, Juliette Lewis as Lady Thistle Ogilvy, Helena Bonham Carter as Brigid Gordon, and Steven Waddington as Major Reginald Monckton, etc.] [(1) story logo]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” is a story with mature themes of love and relationships set within a period drama of the 1850’s. As such there will be heartfelt moments of love and sensuality (S)–as well as other dramatic emotions (D), including some violence (V)–and I will rate those chapters accordingly. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous chapter: With Nanny Brigid Gordon’s secret about her baby son Arthur’s birth being outside of wedlock about to come out due to his birth father soldier Major Reginald Reggie Monckton’s Northern England Militia military unit sojourning a week in Milton and him spying Brigid as she and Margaret Thornton are shopping on Tuesday, Sept. 16, 1855. Though the women escape detection by the Major due to a helpful shopkeeper spiriting them to a back office sitting room, Brigid reveals her shame to Margaret. Brigid is worried that a scandal will erupt if Reggie asks around about her–marring her planned wedding to Nicholas Higgins slated to occur this Sunday. But ever the optimist, Margaret thinks that John can talk some reason into this Major to be discreet. And she also thinks that Nicholas will still accept and want Brigid as his Bride. However, Brigid is less certain about that.
“N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons”, Ch. 85 (PG-13, S): A Good Man is Not Hard to Find
When Margaret Thornton and Brigid Gordon reach Marlborough Mills late Tuesday afternoon of September 9th after eluding a meeting with Brigid’s son’s birth father–Major Reginald Monckton, in town through Sunday with the Northern England Militia–Margaret heads to her husband John’s office and sends Brigid to Thornton Manor to be with her son and to await a visit from Nicholas. Margaret will tell John what is going on, but Margaret believes that it is best left to Brigid to break her secret about her eleven month old baby son Arthur’s birth being out of wedlock to Nicholas.
But as it happens, it is Nicholas whom Margaret is the first to see as she climbs the inner stairs toward John’s Mill Administrative Offices. Nicholas is coming down the stairs having just concluded a meeting with John Thornton about worker schedules.
Nicholas: “Miss Margaret! It is a delight to see you back! Has Brigid returned as well?” He asks hopefully. It is not Brigid’s afternoon off, but he usually tries to sneak in a moment by dashing over to Thornton Manor to see her and little Arthur around tea time.
Margaret: “Oh Nicholas! I’m glad that I found you!” He looks at her curiously for the tone of urgency in her voice. “Brigid is with the children. Um. And uh.” Margaret finds that her throat has dried up as she tries to form the words that will send Nicholas to Thornton Manor, but without conveying the reason for his needed haste.
Nicholas: “Is everything alright? Is Brigid well?” He asks nervously. Nicholas has been worried ever since he proposed that Brigid might regret her decision to marry him since he is twelve years older than she, recant her promise to marry him, and withdraw from their planned wedding.
Margaret: “Yes! I think so. Well, you should go and see her yourself. She wants to talk to you.” Margaret states in a nervously flustered manner so unlike her. But her insistent tone makes Nicholas feel uneasy.
Nicholas: “Did something happen?”
Margaret: “I cannot say. You must talk to Brigid. Please go to her now at the Manor and talk with her.” Margaret reinforces portentously and she nearly pushes him toward the open Mill building door.
Nicholas: “Alright.” He replies resignedly. He is worried that Brigid has changed her mind about marrying him. What he does not know is that the decision about whether they will marry is up to him in her mind.
Margaret continues up the Mill Office stairs, rushes down the hallway, and bursts into her husband John’s Mill Office. Unfortunately, John is not alone as his clerk Bartleby looks up from taking notes about a letter that he must write to a customer for Mr. Thornton.
John: “Margaret!” He quickly stands up and he moves around his desk toward her. “Is everything alright?” It seems that worried husbands to be and husbands have similar concerns.
Margaret: Noticing that John is not alone, she apologizes profusely. “I am so sorry! I didn’t realize that you were busy. But I would not have come, if it were not an urgent matter.”
Of course, John is always busy with work at the Mill, so she is bound to interrupt him doing something.
Surveying her flushed face and agitated manner, John concludes that his young wife Margaret’s unexpected visit is not a social call for elicit kissing and such to tide him over until tonight.
John: “Not at all, Margaret. Bartleby and I were just finishing.” Then he turns to his clerk. “Please write out that letter and I will sign it in the morning so that we can get it on the early post train.”
Bartleby: “As you wish, Mr. Thornton, Sir.” Bartleby nods at both Thorntons and leaves.
John shuts the door behind his retreating clerk.
John: “Now what is so …”
But Margaret doesn’t let her husband finish as she launches herself at him and kisses him soundly. Hmmm, thinks John–maybe this is a social call. After a few moments of passionate kissing, Margaret pulls back and adoringly gazes up at her husband.
Margaret: “Thank you for marrying me!” She blurts out. It is slightly off topic, but tangentially important.
John: “Ha ha ha! Thank you for marrying me!” He kisses the tip of her nose and her eyes flutter closed for an instant, then she opens them again and smiles brilliantly up at him.
Margaret: “It’s just that we … before we were married we …” She doesn’t need to state that they made love the week before they married, they both remember their mutual need for love and assurances after the Mill’s near riot that fateful late October 1850, nearly five years ago.
John has a twinkle in his eye for his wife bringing up their slightly naughty past, as he gently strokes her back.
John: “And what made you think of that, My Love?”
Margaret: Margaret bites her lower lip. “I learned something about Nanny Brigid today when we were shopping in town.”
John: “Oh? Do you wear the same size clothing?”
Margaret: “No silly!” She swats at his shoulder. Then she tilts her head in annoyance. “Have you never noticed that my bodices are … more full?” She pouts.
Now John is in a quandary. Is this a trick question to get him to admit that he has compared Margaret’s attributes to their Nanny’s? As a husband of long standing, he knows well enough not to be lead down that garden path [(2)].
John: “You are beyond compare, My Love. I truly do not even notice other women.” He shakes his head and shrugs his shoulders sincerely.
Margaret: She smiles. “Hmmm!” Margaret voices an indiscriminate sound of contentment. “But the point is, Brigid has never been married and the man who abandoned she and their son is a major in the militia visiting Milton this week.” Margaret covers her mouth with both hands after having revealed the shocking background of their nanny in such an unvarnished manner.
John gazes at Margaret for a long moment–again, wondering if she is testing him. He raises his eyebrows in a questioning expression. Margaret nods her head yes, while not removing her hands from her mouth.
John: “Does Nicholas know?’’
Margaret: “No. I sent him over to see her at the manor and she is telling him now.”
John: “Well, this could go one of two ways. Either Nicholas accepts her history and marries her anyway. Or…”
John: “Or he does not and Brigid will, naturally, want to quit Milton so as to avoid further scandal.”
Margaret: “Scandal may be unavoidable. Little Arthur’s father–the cad–is trying to track her down. He followed us into the children’s clothing store run by Mrs. Beaton.”
Then Margaret proceeds to tell him all that she knows. John elects to visit the general of the militia at the Milton Arms Hotel as a courtesy call–since John is a magistrate and a leading businessman in Milton. He hopes to perhaps learn more about this Major Reginald Monckton.
Meanwhile, Nanny Brigid Gordon’s return to Thornton Manor to tend to the children makes her even more frazzled and upset than she is already. After nursing baby Douglas one last time, she quickly starts packing her and Arthur’s clothes into two fabric traveling bags while the children are still taking their naps before tea time. Her plan is to take her baby son Arthur and run–catching the six o’clock train for Scotland tonight. Brigid plans to slip away when Mrs. Margaret has tea with her children. That is her plan, anyway.
Having been admitted to Thornton Manor, Nicholas Higgins as a frequent guest waves away the maid trying to usher him into the small parlor.
Nicholas: “Nay! I will see Mrs. Gordon directly. Is she about?”
Maid Sarah: “Mr. Higgins, Sir. Nanny Brigid is tending to baby Douglas.” She tilts her head to politely indicate that Nanny Brigid is nursing the baby. “The other children have not yet awoken from their naps. Tea will be served in the family sitting room up stairs when Mrs. Thornton arrives home.”
Nicholas: “It is Mrs. Thornton who stressed to me just now that I must see Mrs. Gordon. And I am here at her behest.” To the startled surprise of Maid Sarah, Nicholas moves toward the stairs leading to the family bed chamber hallway. “No need to announce me. I know my way from times that I was a guest of the Thorntons.” Nicholas waves his hand in a gesture of dismissal to Maid Sarah, who curtsies and returns to her duties.
Nicholas is uncertain what is going on, but by god he will find out. He climbs the stairs two at a time and strides down the bed chamber hallways like a lion seeking its prey. But in this case, Nicholas is seeking his hoped for mate, his intended, Brigid Gordon. Seeing baby Douglas’ door open ajar, Nicholas gives two swift knocks and pushes the door open.
Nanny Brigid jerks around and drops some of the baby clothes in her hands onto the floor. The open travel bags are on the bed in front of her.
Brigid: “Nicholas!” Brigid sighs.
Nicholas: Surveying the disheveled state of the room, he asks her pointedly. “Have I come too late? Or too early?” Brigid says nothing, staring at him with a sorrowful expression on her face. She had hoped to avoid a confrontation with him. Nicholas takes two steps toward her, his anger giving way to his hurt and disappointment as he asks in a whisper so as not to waken baby Douglas and baby Arthur. “You are leaving me?”
Brigid: “I… we must go! I am not who you think I am.”
Nicholas: “Are you my sweet Brigid?” She nods. “Are you baby Arthur’s mother?” She nods. “Then you are who I think you are, Lass.”
Brigid: Tears stream down her face. “It is na that simple.” Brigid closes her eyes. She can not bear to see his face when she tells him. “I am na a widow.” She winces.
Nicholas: Nicholas’ eyes widen. “You are still married to Arthur’s father?” His voice raises slightly in volume.
Brigid: Brigid glances at Nicholas’ stupefied expression. “Nay! We arrre not … we werrre neverrr … marrrried.”
Nicholas looks at Brigid with lessened shock. Many a child has been born on the wrong side of the blanket [(3)].
Nicholas: Lowering his head and shaking it resignedly, he sighs. “Brigid, Brigid. Why did you not tell me before? The circumstances of Arthur’s birth will make no difference to you and I.”
Brigid: “I wish I had told you. But I was afrrraid that you would na want us.” She is sobbing now, her hands covering her face.
Nicholas: “Not want you? I want you so much, my heart aches for you when I can’t be with you. My heart will break if you leave. Please stay.” Nicholas closes the distance between them and he envelops Brigid in his embrace as he gently kisses her. “My sweet Brigid. You have been ill used by a man before. But you will know only tenderness, love, and protection with me.” Nicholas kisses her temple as he rocks her in his arms.
Brigid begins to relax in Nicholas’ arms as they sit down on the bed–there being no sette in the room where they could sit. Nicholas just holds her–and Brigid allows herself to be held. Then it all comes out.
Brigid: In gasping hiccupping sobbing sentences, Brigid tells him all. “Rrreggie had prrromised me marriage and took advantage of me love for him when we eloped to Grrretna Grrreen. But he did not marry me and he abandoned Arrrthurr and I as soon as I told him I was with child. And Rrreggie is here now in Milton with the militia. He is an officerrr–but he is no gentleman. The Mrs. and I saw him when we werrre shopping. He followed us into a storrre, but we hid in the back. I do na know why he would want to contact me now.”
Nicholas: “So you do not love him any more?” Nicholas asks hesitantly.
Brigid: Resolutely, she looks into Nicholas’ eyes. “Nay, he is na the man for me. And he does na deserrrve to be Arthur’s father.”
Nicholas: Nicholas smiles. “Then might I presume that I may hope that you and I will still be married and that I will adopt little Arthur?”
Brigid: “Afterrr all that I have told ye, you still want to marrrry me and adopt Arrthurr?” She asks in astonishment.
Nicholas: “I do. You see, you and I need each other, and Arthur and I need each other.”
Brigid: “We do? We do.” She corrects herself. “How so?” She asks drying her tears.
Nicholas adjusts their sitting position to bring Brigid to sitting across his knee as he caresses her face.
Nicholas: “Well, Arthur needs a father, and I need a son. And you need a husband to give you more children. And I want to give you more children.” Nicholas smiles shyly at his last admission.
Brigid’s eyes widen and her breathing quickens. This is the first time that they have talked about having more children. And of course, that will mean that they will …. lie with each other as husband and wife. Leaning her head into the hollow of Nicholas’ neck, Brigid shyly whispers.
Brigid: “I would like a little daughterrr, too.”
Nicholas: Stroking her back soothingly, Nicholas reverently kisses her temple. “Then you shall have your wish, my Sweet Brigid.”
When John and Margaret arrive in their home in the next quarter hour, they find Nicholas helping a now calmed Brigid to repack her and Arthur’s clothes in the clothes cabinet. It is also decided that they will not wait for Sunday to wed, but to have the third banns read at Thursday morning mass and then marry in the late morning. Then Thursday afternoon, Nicholas and Brigid will then take a weekend trip by train to Scotland with Arthur, before taking up residence in their new home with Nicholas in Thornton Village on Monday. They will miss the Military Ball, but some things are worth missing. And John and Margaret will also refrain from attending–such that a perplexed and completely thwarted Major Reginald Monckton and the militia continue South with nary a ripple in the Milton gossip mill.
The train ride to Scotland after their wedding on Thursday is uneventful–baby Arthur sleeps, lulled by the hum and sway of the train, while Nicholas and Brigid shyly hold hands talking about what they will see and do in Scotland. Nicholas has never been to Scotland, Brigid’s former home. But they are avoiding the topic of this being their honeymoon and what that usually entails. John had express mailed a letter to his Mother and Cameron requesting that Nicholas and his bride be granted use of a small guest cottage on the Airlie Estate that John and Margaret had enjoyed spending time in when visiting during their early married years.
It is still light out in the late afternoon when Nicholas, Brigid, and baby Arthur arrive at the guest cottage. The ever thoughtful Cameron Lord Airlie has ordered the cottage stocked for a week’s supplies of food stuffs and such should they wish not to venture far from the cottage during their honeymoon trip. And an Airlie Estate Groundskeeper shows the Higgins family around the cottage and its amenities–including the marvel of an indoor well water pump in the kitchen– before discreetly departing to leave them to their rest.
So after seeing baby Arthur down for a nap after lunch in an adjoining bed chamber, Nicholas and Brigid finds themselves alone together with no demands upon their time. So they shyly walk hand in hand into their now shared bed chamber to unpack, and then some.
Nicholas: Pulling his wife into his arms, Nicholas asks. “Mrs. Higgins, have I told you how beautiful you are today?”
Brigid: “I am not for cerrrtain, Mr. Higgins.” She smiles back at him–as much for him complimenting her, as for him addressing her as Mrs. Higgins–a title that she now rightly bears.
Nicholas: “Well, I say we should take a nap ourselves. We will need our energy when Arthur awakens.” Nicholas smiles because he hopes that their nap will involve some lovely cuddling. He does not expect to consummate their marriage right away. Nicholas realizes that he needs to give Brigid time to adjust to the notion of being married to him. And, truth be told, Nicholas is a little nervous at the thought of being a husband to her this night. Actually, he is very nervous.
Brigid: “Just nap?” Brigid asks hesitantly, fearfully. Afterall, it is still daylight outside–not bed time in her mind.
Nicholas: “Just nap.” Nicholas nods, his face turning red. He is thrilled beyond words that she is even agreeing to nap with him. He has not lain with another person–a lady–since before his late wife Sharon became ill. So his skills of seduction are rusty, charmingly so.
Brigid: “Alrrright.” Brigid smiles wanly. She knows that she and Nicholas are married now. And that he has every right to expect to exercise his husbandly rights. She simply needs a bit more time to accustom herself to such intimacies.
Nicholas removes his suit coat and folds it over a chair, then he unties his cravat. Brigid stands rigidly to one side, not knowing what she should do. Ladies clothes are so much more complicated than men’s clothes–ladies usually requiring assistance into and out of them. And she realizes that she will need his assistance. Seeing that Brigid is not getting undressed, Nicholas asks.
Nicholas: “Do you need help with … that is, would you like me to … Hhhhh!” Nicholas stammers, not being able to express the question of does she need help undressing.
Brigid: “Aye. I do … need your help.” Brigid blanches and her face pales.
Nicholas nods encouragingly, but does not step toward her so as not to frighten her–with his closeness. They have only kissed twice–the second time today after they wed. So the intimacies that he hopes they will eventually share–if not tonight, then in a day or two–will expand their closeness with each other.
Brigid smiles shyly and turns her back to her husband to unbutton her. The potential calamity of not having a maid to help her out of her upscale and tigtly closed new traveling dress is somewhat mitigated by her helpful and restrained husband. His breathing deepens as he unbuttons her bodice at the back, and she removes her dress bodice to reveal her corset underneath. Brigidly shyly stands with her back toward him [(4) right]–trembling with the sensual moment, wondering what he will do next. The taller Nicholas glances briefly over her shoulders at her loveliness and his heart swells with desire as he struggles to treat her gently this night. Then Nicholas slowly and carefully undoes her corset’s lacings–with Brigid holding on to the corset in the front to maintain its support and its concealment of her womanly charms. And then Nicholas lowers his arms before his urge to wrap them around her waist from behind and kiss the creamy expanse of her neck and shoulders overwhelms him.
Sensing that her husband has completed his task, due to the looseness of her corset, Brigid shyly moves to stand behind a standing screen to complete changing into her night dress–though it is only now late afternoon. The somewhat skittish Brigid hopes that Nicholas will not be too eager to embark on their marital intimacies. Brigid knows that Mrs. Margaret Thornton said in her marital advice talk that husbands can be tender and considerate with regard to such intimacies. But whenever Brigid and Nicholas consummate their mamrriage, it will only be Brigid’s second time making love. And the first time was so rushed and painful that she is not certain what to expect.
To Nicholas’ way of thinking, the fact that he and Brigid have progressed to getting ready to lie cuddling together in their night clothes is a huge leap forward for them. Nicholas knows how betrayed Brigid felt when she gave her love before to the Major–and she was rejected after becoming with child. So he wants her to feel completely comfortable in his love and with their marriage when they consummate their love. His patience may seem unconventional at the very least, but given that Nicholas was also without loving tenderness for the ten years he was a widower does explain his wanting to ease them into full marital relations.
Brigid walks out from behind the standing screen in naught but her soft cotton nightdress–her cutely chubby pink toes peeking out from the lace edging, her long hair falling about her shoulders in brunette waves. Nicholas is already in bed, his bare torso visible above the covers. And unbeknownst to his wife, he has forgone his night pants as well. He is not necessarily thinking that they will finally make love, but he hopes that they will make progress toward it. Still, Nicholas is nervous as hell.
Brigid awkwardly slides into bed and lies on her back at first–mirroring Nicholas’ form of repose–with both of them looking up at the gathered fabric center of the bed canopy. They lie silently like this for several moments. Then in a rush to break the vacuum of silence between them, they both inadvertently talk over one another.
Nicholas: “This is a fine and sturdy bed.”
Brigid: “Should we check on Arthur? Oh! It is a fine bed.” She concedes. However, Brigid wonders why her husband is concerned with the bed’s sturdiness.
Nicholas: “I do not hear Arthur making any noises that he is awake yet.” He turns his head and looks at her, seeing her biting her lower lip in a pout. He smiles. “But let us go and check on him.” Then he remembers that he is missing his night pants and he looks around for something to cover himself with. He grabs his shirt, hoping that it will hang low below his thighs.
Brigid nods gratefully at Nicholas for allowing them to check on baby Arthur again. So Brigid and Nicholas each rise from their respective sides of the bed–with Nicholas letting her precede him so he can hastily don his shirt, finding his makeshift attire rather drafty. They walk toward the connecting door and quietly open it and creep into baby Arthur’s bed chamber. There they find him fast asleep–contented and resting comfortably.
Brigid: “Hhhh!” Her hands resting on the crib rails, Brigid sighs in a loving whisper at seeing her baby son so peaceful.
Brigid and Nicholas stand there for several moments, just watching baby Arthur sleep. Brigid unconsciously leans back into Nicholas’ arms and he lays his he head upon her shoulder. Nicholas grins and takes Brigid’s hand off of the crib rail and squeezes it. She turns in his arms and looks up at him.
Nicholas: Then he mouths the words. “Let us leave Arthur to his sleep.”
Brigid nods and they walk back to their bed chamber to nap–each sliding into their side of the bed. Brigid notices that Nicholas still has his shirt on–presuming that he also has undergarment pants on down below, which he does not.
Brigid: Then she asks teasingly “If ye wrrrinkle your shirrrt, will ye be expecting me to irrron it for ye?”
Nicholas: “Well, we wouldn’t want that.”
Nicholas smiles and pulls the shirt off over his head, folds the shirt lengthwise, then in half and reaches over the nightstand to place the shirt on a nearby chair. However in straining to reach the chair, Nicholas leans quite far over–enough to reveal his bare hip. And Brigid’s eyes widen with the realization that, like her, he has nothing on down below. However, her long night dress reaches to her ankles. Nicholas leans back, brings the sheet to cover under his arms, turns toward her while lying on his side and he closes his eyes to sleep [(5) right]. They are supposed to be napping, afterall.
However, Brigid is transfixed with gazing at Nicholas’ bare chest that she had not looked at earlier. His closed eyes give her leave to do so. Brigid notices Nicholas’ rather hairy chest. She had only seen the most fierce and the strongest Highland Games competitors in Scotland display such masculine distinction. Not even Reggie had much hair on his chest. And with Nicholas not forcing his attentions on her, she admits silently to herself that her previous experience with Reggie and his hurried and unpleasant lovemaking might not be how men usually are.
Brigid especially appreciates that Nicholas is making no moves to cover her body with his body. She is so much smaller than he and she would not be able to fend him off. However, Brigid realizes that her husband is giving her leave to dictate what they will do, or what they will not do. Brigid reaches out and touches Nicholas’ bare shoulder–finding it muscular as Nicholas purposely tenses his bicep muscle. Her hands lightly pass over his hairy chest and comes to rest against his stubbled cheek. He smiles, but he keeps his eyelids closed during her exploration of him.
Brigid: Smiling, she boldly asks. “Husband?”
Nicholas: “Hmmm?” Nicholas feigns nonchalance, still with his eyes closed. But his mouth can’t help but curl up ever so slightly at the corners.
Brigid: “Might I cuddle with ye?” She asks shyly.
Wordlessly, Nicholas raises his arm and Brigid lies on her side and she snuggles up to his side, his arm then going around her small form to embrace her.
Brigid: “Hmmm. Ye arrre verrry warrrm.” She sighs as she lays her hand upon his bare broad chest.
Nicholas: “Am I?” He bemusedly wonders if he has a fever. Or maybe, his fever is for his beautiful wife.
Brigid: “I like it. I am always so chilled when in bed. Ye arrre like me own perrrsonal bed warmer. Ha ha ha!” She giggles
Now that statement gives Nicholas some pause. Does Brigid merely like him for the warmth he projects? With him lying on his side, facing toward her, Nicholas opens his eyes.
Nicholas: “Well, your toes do seem quite cold.” Then his hand runs down the length of her leg and bends it toward him. She startles with the contact, but she does not resist. “Here, let me warm them for you.”
Nicholas begins to massage his wife’s dainty toes and feet underneath the bed covers–with her night dress covered knee resting on his bare upper thigh. Brigid sweetly gazes at her husband, her hand moving to his neck and thence to run her fingers through his hair of their own volition. She leans her head back and lifts up her chin and kisses him. He kisses her back with the same level of dawning awareness that the room is indeed becoming quite warm as their arms and legs and bodies entangle themselves with one another in heated embraces.
Nicholas gradually deepens their kissing as Brigid becomes comfortable with each new intimacy. Slowly pulling her open neckline nightdress down to reveal her bare shoulder, Nicholas’ lips and teeth and tongue begin an adoring descent of pleasure down his wife Brigid’s body. And Brigid closes her eyes and gives in to her husband’s loving ministrations as he kisses her neck and exposed shoulder, and her upper chest. Nicholas’s kisses and caresses are slow–to allow her time to adjust to them. She does not protest. But rather, she sighs her encouragement to him.
Nicholas: “My sweet Brigid. I love you so.” Nicholas’ voice growls in loving desire as he and Brigid begin to give themselves in love to each other this late afternoon waning into early evening.
And Brigid realizes that for all her fears and nervousness about her marriage to Nicholas, that he is a good man who loves her. And she feels blessed to have found him.
Sometime later this same day–after the sun begins to set–Nicholas awakens to find his wife Brigid softly clutching his chest as she sprawls across his torso. And he watches her steady breathing with some bemusement–especially for the way her lips puff out when she exhales. He gently adjusts her position to bring her lower body to also lie on top of him–bare skin to bare skin–enjoying the pleasing slight weight of her petite form upon him. But this movement causes her to stir as she sleepily opens her eyes and gazes at him with peaceful contentment expressed on her face. He had loved her well–and she had loved him well. They each tenderly smile at each other and they begin to kiss each other again as their passions return.
Then Nicholas and Brigid hear baby Arthur vocalizing and know that their son is awake and needing their love and attention. Nicholas and Brigid smile pleasantly at each other. Then father, mother, and son arise to share their first dinner together as a new family.
After nearly four days of wedded bliss–that does involve some out of doors hiking and picnicking–Nicholas, Brigid, and their baby son Arthur arrive back home in Milton, England the following Monday, August 15th, 1850. And their lives as a family will now truly start anew in their cottage home in Thornton Village.
To be continued with Chapter 86
“N&S: JT Love Lessons”, Ch. 85 References, September 27, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #640)
1) N&S: John Thornton, Love Lessons” story logo: Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe in the 2004 BBC period drama North & South, was found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/nands/album/episode3/ns3-110.jpg ; For more information about this wonderful 2004 BBC miniseries adaptation of Elizabeth’s Gaskell’s story North & South, visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_&_South_%28TV_serial%29
2) The phrase, “to lead someone down the garden path” is an idiom indicating to deceive them; for more information, visit http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/lead_someone_down_the_garden_path
3) The phrase, “born on the wrong side o the blanket” is an idiom that refers to a child being born out of wedlock; for more information, visit http://oxforddictionaries.com/definition/english/born-on-the-wrong-side-of-the-blanket
4) Brigid image is that of Helena Bonham Carter being honored at the 2012 Critics Circle Film Awards found at http://www.criticscircle.org.uk/pictures/hbc.jpg ; for more information, visit http://www.criticscircle.org.uk/film/?ID=307
5) Higgins image (flipped) is that of Brendan Coyle found at http://31.media.tumblr.com/fda7242b64feaea259fd85ce519d0b6b/tumblr_n23fe3qxj31qhbz7co2_1280.jpg
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