“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 09 (PG-13):  Benedict Introducing Laura,  August 20, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1089)

An original contemporary romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2017; All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

Author’s Dramatic Content Note:  I write romantic love stories for adults, aged 18 and older.  So most of the chapters will be PG-13 due to mature themes (M), or dramatic moments (D). And some of the chapters have romantic and sensual, but not explicit, love scenes that I will label as (L).  So 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.

Additional Disclaimer: The Wiki and other reference links that I cite contain general information merely to allude to a place, person, concept/theory/belief, history, or artifact, etc.  This story is a work of fiction, and people and their thoughts and actions are figments of my imagination and should not be taken as real or as fact.  And though the general backgrounds of the characters and the story’s contextual setting involve mentions of the Christian religion—with an Anglican/Episcopal focus—this story is a romance, not a religious tract.

[And from time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of:  Richard Armitage as Prof. Benedict Somerset, Jennifer Ehle as Laura Leicester, Loretta Devine as Connie Velasquez, and others as noted.]

Author’s recap from the previous chapter:   Benedict and Laura’s Scrabbling playing at her place while waiting for her car to be repaired, then turned into a personal chat delving into his reasons for becoming a minister—and the constraints placed upon his conduct for the last fifteen years, since his ordination—and her own lack of dating or kissing in the last five years.  Then Benedict broached the topic of his desire to kiss Laura.  And after he and Laura had an amusingly dispassionate and rational discussion about kissing relative to each of them, they conversed without too many words through the language of kisses.  Both of them seem to desire each other.  But, the phone call about her car being ready to be picked up squelched any further explorations of their feelings.

 

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”,  Chapter  09:  Benedict Introducing Laura

After picking up Laura’s now working car at the repair shop, Benedict and Laura elect to have dinner at a local restaurant bar between their two campuses and their two apartments—near Laura’s university and Benedict’s seminary, respectively.  Their thought is that both of them will have about the same distance to travel to their respective homes after dinner.

And since Laura freshened up and changed her blouse before they left her apartment to get her car—their couch embracing had put obvious wrinkles into it—Benedict ditched his grey sweater and tie, and put on his suit coat that he had in his back seat, over his oxford shirt.

However, being near the campuses means that they inevitably run into some of their students.  Hey, it is Saturday night (April 13).  And Saturdays are date nights–though neither Benedict nor Laura make that connection in their minds initially.

Settling into a booth at the busy local micro brewery restaurant named The Ale House, Benedict and Laura place their orders and then sip their drinks–a pint of beer for Benedict and a white wine for Laura.

Benedict:   “Well Laura, this is about as close to an English pub as I get these days.”  He smiles amusingly while lifting his beer in the air.

Laura:  “Do you miss England a lot, Benedict?”  She caringly touches his hand across the table and he gently clasps her hand in his hand.

Benedict:  Benedict firms his mouth a bit cutely [(2) below] —with him realizing how attuned Laura seems to be about him.  “Oh, not so much anymore since I’ve been here in the States over twenty years.  I try to get back to England about every other year for Christmas or Summers and see family and old friends—and to recharge a bit on my English accent.”  He grins sheepishly.

Laura:  “Ah ha!  You don’t get back home to England much.   So that’s why your English accent seemed rather faint to me when I first met you.”

Benedict:   “Ha ha ha!  Well, that and I purposely tone my English accent down when I meet new people.”  He laughs.  “I learned in college years ago, that having an English accent in the States can get you picked on.”

Laura:  Laughing, she says.  “But with your height, Benedict,”  And his muscles, she thinks.  “I would imagine that you seem a bit imposing and people might not try to take you on.”

Benedict:   “Let’s hope so.”  He smiles and squeezes her hand.
Just then, Benedict’s day job intrudes as a few of his seminary students and their girlfriends drift by Benedict’s and Laura’s table.

Mark:  “Professor Somerset!  I never expected to see you here.” The young man states breezily due to his slightly inebriated condition, that is also evident by his slightly flushed face.

Bradley:  “And drinking beer and with a date!”  Another student says smiling at Laura.

Benedict:   Benedict raises his eyebrow at his students less than their usually polite demeanors.  So feeling a bit embarrassed for them, he ignores their rudeness.  “Laura, these are some of my seminary students, Mark and Bradley.”  Benedict also says somewhat shyly in a clipped voice as he unclasps Laura’s hand that he had been holding, and he returns his hand to his side of their dining table.  While focusing upon his students, Benedict fails to see the hurt in Laura’s eyes when he did that.

Laura:  “Hello.”  Laura smiles benignly and reservedly at the students and then she looks questioningly at Benedict since he hasn’t introduced her to his students yet.

Sally:  Clinging to Mark, she smiles and says.  “It’s nice to know that when Mark and I are an old married clergy couple, we can still have a date night.”

Debbie:  Clinging to Bradley, she says.  “Now Sally, I doubt you’ll want to be referred to as old, when you’re merely middle aged.

Laura winces and Benedict blanches.  Although Debbie had thought that she was improving her friend’s ageist gaffe, she merely contributed to it.

Mark:  “Uh girls, Professor Somerset isn’t married.”  Mark shakes his head looking back and forth between his professor and Laura.

And Laura thinks that no woman, lady—in this day and age—wants to be referred to as merely a girl.  So she pities the young men’s dates.

Benedict:   “That is correct.  Miss Leicester and I are just friends.”  He smiles warmly at Laura and then his students. His and Laura’s nascent relationship might be at the cusp of something more, but that is private for Benedict. “We volunteer together at the local Chicago Children’s Group Home.”

Laura:  “Hello.  It’s lovely to meet some of Benedict’s students.”  Though she smiles warmly at them, Laura can’t help but notice that Benedict has back peddled in his familiarity with her around his students–from when they were kissing and embracing each other earlier in her apartment.

Bradley:  “Well, we’ll leave you to enjoy your meal.”  He says as the server brings Benedict and Laura’s meals.  “Professor Somerset, how early do you want us to show up for services tomorrow?”

Benedict:   “Thirty minutes ahead of the start of the worship service should suffice for enrobing.  So I’ll see you around 8:30am.”

Benedict nods his head and smiles at his students as they walk away.  Benedict and Laura begin to eat their meals.

Laura:  “So Benedict, you’re not serving as a minister but you’re participating in a worship service tomorrow?”  She asks him quizzically.

Benedict:   “Yes, Laura.  The seminary has the faculty who are clergy rotate in at the chapel and lead the worship service once every few months.  That’s so we don’t get too rusty.”

Laura:  “So, will this be your first time–leading the worship service, I mean?”  Laura asks him about the service, but Benedict senses a double entendre in her meaning.

Benedict:   “Not at all.  I had barely been settled a week when I arrived 1.5 years ago and they drafted me to lead worship services the following Sunday.  And of course, I had lead worship services before–when I was a junior minister in training as part of a clergy internship years ago.”

Laura:  “Do you have to present a sermon, Benedict?”

Benedict:   “Yes, but I try to keep it short and sweet.  I like to make one theological point, with a few literary and contemporary living examples.”

Laura:  “And what’s your sermon topic tomorrow?”  She asks interestedly.   Though if Laura were to be truthful to herself, her questions are partly a ruse to distract herself from the hurt she feels for how Benedict introduced her to his students—as if she were a mere acquaintance.  And Laura does not kiss—nor embrace entanglingly her acquaintances.

Pleasantly surprised that Laura seems interested in his ministerial role, Benedict warms to her question—relationally obtuse fellow that he can be at times, such as now.

Benedict:   “My sermon is  about the vocation of the apostles.  The gospel it is the Matthew 17: 1-9 passage including “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased” phrase.”

Laura:  “And what is your sermon’s hook?”   She smiles at him warmly, if a bit forced to maintain her composure.
Benedict:    “That we are all apostles.  And we each find our own way to witness our faith in God to the world.”

Laura:  “That is deep, Benedict.”  She says looking nonplussed.

Benedict:   “Hopefully not too deep, Laura.”  He laughs.  “My goal is to add some levity to make faith interesting and accessible for our lives today.”

Laura:   “Well, good luck with that.”  Laura says not thinking that he’ll invite her to worship services tomorrow–since he hasn’t said anything about it yet.

Benedict:   “Do you attend church, Laura?”  He asks her hesitantly.

Laura:  Laughing, she asks him “Ha ha ha! Benedict, are you asking me as a minister or as a friend?”

Benedict:   “As your friend, of course, Laura.  I’m uncomfortable in the ministerial role for anything longer than a worship service.  I don’t like the implication that as a minister I’m supposed to be above things or people.”

Laura:  “Such as being above me in kissing me earlier?”  Laura whispers as she smiles at him a bit saucily.  The two of them are sitting in a back corner booth, with Laura facing a wall.  So only Benedict’s facial reaction is viewable by other restaurant patrons—that is, if other patrons were watching them.

Benedict:   “Kkkk.”  Coughing, as he sips his beer, Benedict says   “Ha ha h ha!”  Benedict laughs nervously self consciously.  “That’s one example, Laura.   I haven’t quite learned how to blend the two together–man and minister.”

Laura:  “Now that would be a deep topic for a sermon.”  She says nonplussed.  And Laura realizes that Benedict’s slight fumbling of introducing her to his students might be part of his struggle to reconcile himself as man and minister.

Benedict:   “Yes, we spend quite a lot of class time on this topic in the ministerial comportment unit I mentioned.  Though in these modern times of both women and men clergy, we are more gender neutral—person and minister.  And I certainly don’t claim to have any answers, but I facilitate the discussion about it.”

Laura:  “Benedict? … Now don’t take this the wrong way.”
Benedict:   “Oh no!”  He laughs ruefully.   “You’re not going to label me again, are you?”  Though she has not stereotyped him as a minister or being British lately, he wonders if she will label him due to their topic of discussion.

Laura:  “Label you?”  She asks quizzically.  “No, I was just going to ask how you can advise your students about being a man and being a minister, if you aren’t living as a man?”  Laura realizes that her question might be construed one way as insightful or be misconstrued as her judging him.

Benedict:   Benedict looks at Laura for a long time, squinting his eyes, and not saying anything. Then he slowly asks her.  “And yourself, Laura?  What about you, and living as a woman?”

Laura:   “Touche’, Benedict.”  She smiles.  “I guess, that I had given up on finding love and romance.”  Benedict picks up on Laura using the past tense, in her saying that she had given up.  “You see, my ex-husband and I parted because we couldn’t make our marriage work.  We couldn’t get pregnant and we had grown apart in frustration—mostly because of our different responses to our infertility and we developed different interests.”  She states cryptically.  “Then, he found someone younger than I was at the time, that he preferred to me.”   She says a bit sadly.  “So we divorced and moved on.   He actually married her—his mistress–and they have three kids now.”   Laura thinking that the fertility problem was obviously all her fault.  And she becomes quiet as she holds her emotions in check.

Benedict:   Seeing Laura’s sadness on her face as she looks wan and troubled, Benedict asks her with some trepidation.   “So, do you still love him?”

Laura:  “Oh no!”  Laura says quickly.   “I mean, I’m not in love with him anymore.  Someone who isn’t happy to be with you and doesn’t want to spend time with you–let alone someone who falls in love with someone else–doesn’t inspire love.”   She sighs sadly.

Benedict:   “I’m so sorry, Laura.  I don’t mean to pry.”  He touches her hand again and she flinches slightly.

Laura:  “Oh, so now that we’re not in front of your students, you’re willing to touch me again?”  She asks him a bit petulantly.

Benedict:   “That sounds a tad accusatory, Laura.”   He blanches and removes his hand from hers again.

Laura:   “I don’t mean it to be, Benedict.  It’s just that I’ve just been down this road before.”  Laura says, wanting to have a clear understanding as to whether Benedict likes her that way or not.   “If you like me, Benedict, then you have to be willing to admit that I’m a part of your life to your other friends.  And I will do the same for you with my friends.”

Benedict:   “That almost sounds like a challenge? Or an ultimatum. He says looking at her a bit questioningly.

Laura:  “No, just … ground rules for developing a        mutually nurturing and satisfying relationship–whether it’s romantic, or just a friendship.”  She smiles wanly at him.  Laura likes Benedict, but she’s not going to be his bit of stuff on the side as the Brits would say.   “I … I like you, Benedict.”  Laura says a big quietly as she looks at him uncertainly–wondering what Benedict’s response will be.

Benedict:   “Fair enough.  I like you, too, Laura.”  He says clasping her hand in his again.  “So, would you like to join me for the worship service tomorrow, Laura?”   He asks her hopefully.

Laura:  Laura looks up at him in surprise.  But then she smiles sweetly at Benedict.  “Yes Benedict, I would.”

Benedict:   Benedict returns Laura’s smile.  “The worship service starts at 9:00am at the seminary chapel.  Do you know where that is?”

Laura:  “I do, yes.”  She nods.

Benedict and Laura go on to have a less strained meal now that Laura doesn’t feel that Benedict is keeping her under wraps.  In the restaurant parking lot at the end of their evening at a respectful 8:00pm, Benedict and Laura embrace, give each other a sweet good night kiss full of a growing tenderness between them.  Then they get into their separate cars and head to their separate homes for the night.  There is a growing connection between them that will have its first real test on Sunday–with Benedict having invited Laura to attend the Seminary Chapel early morning worship service that he will be leading.

***

Benedict and Laura have known each other for two weeks–and they are still getting to know each other.  But, Benedict inviting Laura into his seminary world as his friend–or even his lady friend–is a big step for Benedict.  It is a big step for Laura, too.  And she takes extra care getting ready for church this morning. She wants to look pretty for Benedict, but she also wants to look clergy worthy –if that is a concept.  So, Laura wears a black linen dress with a round neckline and a matching jacket with long sleeves.  She looks pretty [(3) below], but not overtly sexy–everything is modestly covered in terms of her full round breasts, no breast crevice showing.  And Laura’s effervescent smile is her most beautiful feature.

And, it’s been getting warmer this Spring, so Laura doesn’t want to be too warm in the chapel, so she wore an outfit of cool lightweight fabric.  However, she didn’t have to worry about being overwarm because with the clergy wearing layers of robes that are hot–and being under spotlights that are also hot–they tend to keep the chapel chillier.  If Laura had known this, she would have worn a warmer outfit.   As it is, she keeps her arms crossed in front of her chest and she rubs her arms to keep them warm before the service begins.  And she notices that a several of the other worship service attendees are dressed more warmly—probably regulars, she thinks chagrinly.

Benedict peeks out of the sacristy to see how full the pews are—the Seminary Chapel is about half full with older congregants and several of the seminary students, and of course, Benedict’s faculty colleagues.  Benedict sees Laura sitting about half way back in the pews on the center aisle and he smiles at her and she smiles back at him.  The worship service goes along well–with scripture readings, responsive readings, and such.  Benedict’s ten minutes sermon about apostleship is indeed short, sweet, and to the point.

However, there is a particularly interesting part of the worship service for Laura–the passing of the peace, where parishioners hug or shake hands to those in the pews around them.  Benedict also walks down the center aisle and shakes hands with several people.  When Benedict reaches Laura, he embraces her in a warm and friendly hug–in full view of everyone there.

Laura is pleased that Benedict is willing to reveal that they are friends–and perhaps more than friends–to his colleagues, since they are still navigating that relationship terrain together.   The after worship coffee hour will be agog with even that little bit of intimacy, no doubt, thinks Laura.  Then they all share communion and such.  With no music, it’s a relatively short worship service of about 45 minutes.

***

As Laura suspected when Benedict greets Laura in the after worship coffee hour reception room, Benedict’s students and colleagues take an interest in them as a couple. That is, after everyone has some refreshments first.  Laura enters the reception room and she doesn’t see Benedict—her correctly surmising that he is disrobing and tending to after worship service duties, whatever those might be.  So Laura stands in the back of the line for coffee and coffeecake when Benedict walks up to her–now back in his street clothes of an open oxford shirt and a sport coat over dress trousers after removing his clergy vestments. By not wearing a tie, Benedict is trying to convey himself as being more easy going to Laura—from when they first met.

Benedict:   “Good morning, Laura.  Thanks for coming to today’s worship service.”  He says leaning down and kisses her cheek as he takes her hand in his.

Laura:   Laura smilingly blushes by Benedict not only holding her hand, but kissing her cheek—in public.  “Thanks for inviting me, Benedict.  Nice job on the sermon and the worship service in general.”

Benedict:   “Thank you, Laura.”  He beams.   “The worship service is kind of like live theatre.  Anything can happen, and often does–from crying babies, to snoring congregants, to ministers who set the altar runner on fire.  So the worship service doesn’t need to be perfect, just heartfelt.”  He says shrugging his shoulders and she smiles at him.

Laura:  “Have you set anything on fire, Benedict?”  She asks humorously.  But Benedict answers cryptically.

Benedict: “Not lately.   …  But I’m trying.”  Benedict raises his left eyebrow and smirks slightly, but only for Laura’s viewing.  And Laura has to stifle her urge to burst out laughing at his double meaning.

After getting their coffee cakes on plates, Laura and Benedict walk over to the coffee and beverage table.  Then, several people walk up to chat with them.

Mark:  “Professor Somerset, how did we do?”  Mark asks animatedly as one of the Lay Eucharistic Minister alternates for today’s worship service.

Benedict:   “You did a fine job of chalice bearing today, Mark.  It’s always a good day when we don’t spill the wine or drop the communion wafers.”  Benedict smiles mirthfully.

Laura:  “A little clergy humor there, Benedict?”  She smiles warmly up at Benedict, and he smiles warmly down at her.

Benedict:   “It keeps me humble.”  Benedict smiles as he puts his left arm around Laura’s shoulders and back and then he rests his left hand on her waist.  Laura blushes at Benedict’s familiarity in front of his colleagues–but she does not pull away from him, feeling quite comfortable with it.

Bradley:  “Hi Professor, Hi Miss Leicester.”  Bradley looks at Benedict expectantly and Benedict and Laura nod their hellos to him.

Benedict:   “You did just fine as a chalice bearer, too, Bradley.”

Pres. Casten:  Then the austere but warm and much respected seventy year old president of the seminary joins the discussion.  “Well done on the sermon, Benedict.”  He shakes Benedict’s hand.  “Your sermon will give our students something to strive for.”

Benedict:   “Thank you President Casten.”  Benedict smiles warmly at President Casten, while Laura beams at Benedict.  “It’s kind of you to say so.  May I introduce Laura Leicester to you?  Laura, this is our seminary president, the Rev. Dr. Maynard Casten.”

Laura:  Shaking his hand and smiling at him warmly, she says sincerely.  “It’s lovely to meet you, President Casten.”

Pres. Casten:  “It’s lovely to meet you, Miss Leicester.”  He looks knowingly back and forth between Benedict and Laura.  President Casten enjoys seeing his Seminary faculty modeling positive relationships—and being happy, as he and his own dear wife of forty years are.

Benedict:   Interjecting before Pres. Casten makes an assumption about his relationship with Laura, Benedict clarifies.  “Laura and I are … friends.”  Benedict says a bit shyly.  And Laura notices Benedict’s diminishing but still lingering reticence to reveal the two of them as being romantic partners–if that is what they are at this early stage in their relationship.  “We met volunteering at the Chicago Children’s Group Home on Saturdays.  She’s a pro and I’m new at volunteering there.”

Laura:  “True, Benedict.  But you and little Jeffrey hit it off well.  And Jeffrey is very discerning with regard to volunteers.”

Benedict:   “Jeffrey would have to be discerning, because he likes you, Laura.”  Benedict smiles complimenting Laura.  And Benedict and Laura gaze at each other sweetly.

Pres. Casten:  “Well, this is nice.”  He smiles warmly at Benedict and Laura.  “Benedict, will you be bringing Miss Leicester to the Spring Fling next Friday, April 19th?”

Benedict:   Feeling put on the spot, he says   “Oh, I’d forgotten about that.”   Benedict would like to ask Laura to go with him, but he’s not sure if she likes to dance.  And his own dancing skills are rather rusty, he thinks.

Laura:  “What’s a Spring Fling?”

Pres. Casten:  “It’s a dinner dance, my dear.  A last hurrah for our graduating students.  But, it’s also a nice evening for our faculty and their wives and girlfriends or boyfriends.”  President Casten looks pointedly at Benedict and then at Laura.

Laura:  “Oh, well, Benedict and I are … just friends.”  She says continuing the description that Benedict gave to his students at last night’s dinner–and what he just told President Casten–despite Benedict still having his arm around her shoulder and back and his hand resting on her waist.

Benedict:   “Yes.”   Benedict smiles warmly gazing down at Laura.

Pres. Casten:  “Hmmm.”  Pres. Casten murmurs with his eye brow raised amusingly.  “Well, it’s up to you, Benedict.  Lovely to meet you, my dear.”  Pres. Casten says to Laura as he drifts away and both Benedict and Laura nod to him.

Laura:  “He seems friendly, Benedict.”

Benedict:   “Yes he is.  And he’s very fatherly to us all–a real mentor.”

Laura:  “That’s nice.”  She says warmly, but really wondering if Benedict plans to invite her to the Spring Fling–given his reticence to tell his friends and colleagues that they are dating.

Laura and Benedict sit and chat for a bit, with Benedict introducing Laura to a few more of his seminary colleagues and students who walk over.  However, Benedict doesn’t ask Laura to the Spring Fling dinner dance yet–not knowing if that’s something she might like or not.  Naturally, this disappoints Laura–thinking that Benedict doesn’t want to take her to the Spring Fling.  That he doesn’t think of her as his lady friend.

Then, Laura and Benedict decide to eat lunch together again today, but they will go to Benedict’s apartment for sandwiches–since he lives just nearby in the seminary faculty apartment complex and he wants to try out his new larger coffee maker.

To be continued with Chapter 10

 

References for “Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 09,  August 20, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace

 

1)  The Somerset:  A Time for Love” story cover is a composite of two main images:
a) Background–Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user AlicePopkorn2]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47283811@N06/  ;
b) Prof. Benedict Somerset image is of Richard Armitage (2012 Promo by Roberta Ascroft, pix35) found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2012Promo/album/RobertAscroft-35.jpg
c)  a crucifix image is from MS Office Clip Art;

2)  Benedict  Somerset image is of Richard Armitage in 2012 in white-shirt-grey-coat-andRed-bkgrnd_Nov3016viaKitty_Jul1517Grati-sized-rusty-red-backdrop

3) Laura Leicester image is Jennifer Ehle at 2011 Luncheon for The Kings Speech Sep2813 at JEblogspot

 

 

Wattpad Ch. 09 story link:

 

 

Previous Ch. 08 blog link, with embedded illustrations:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2017/08/13/somerset-a-time-to-love-ch-08-pg-13-l-more-than-a-feeling-august-13-2017-gratiana-lovelace-post-1086

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Updates about the “Change for Charity” RA Fan Fundraiser to Honor Richard Armitage for his 46th Birthday,  August 18, 2017  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1088)

The talented British actor Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday will happen in 4 days on August 22nd!

 

So various other RA Fan bloggers—such Guylty–have also organized various campaigns to involve his fans in fundraising and fun activities associated with celebrating his birthday!

 

So I wanted to give you an update for RA Fans participating in my Change for Charity donations.  So far six for so RA fans have made themselves known to me—and I make the seventh or so person.  And creating a change jar with the graphic below is fairly easy (I used an empty parmesan container for my Change for Charity jar (after I washed it, of course., Ha!):

   

 

So far, my loose change collection amount—with able help from my hubby emptying his pockets—has risen to $8.25 USD!    And I would love to hear from others as to how they are doing with their loose change collections, by their commenting below.

 

If you’re shy, you don’t have to say the amount that you have collected.  And no donation amount is too small–because when combined with other people’s donations at the charity of your choice, the donations can really add up.  Just think if seven people each collected and donated $10, that would be $70 for various charities—money that they didn’t have, nor expected.  So the donations—whatever the amounts and to whatever charity you choose–are all good.

 

***

 

And I thought that it would also be fun to “round” our collection amounts calculations to feature the numbers “22” (for RA’s birthday) and/or “46” (for RA’s age).  Some examples of rounded collection amounts appears below:

 

$2.20, or $22.00, or $22.46; or $4.60, or $46.00 or $46.22, etc.

 

My personal Change for Charity collection goal is $22.46—to be donated to Childline on RA’s Just Giving site.  We had well over $8,100 in out of pocket medical expenses this year—which precluded us from making anything more than modest donations to charity this year.

 

So though my donations with Change for Charity will be modest, they come from my heart.  Anyone of you might be in a similar financial situation.  So with $8.25 collected for Change for Charity to honor Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday so far, I have four days to collect $14.21!  Pressure!  Ha!

 

Actually, I need to start stashing my Change for Charity collection jar more often.  Ha!  And Thursday night before I wrote this post, I had gotten cash back at the store earlier on Thursday—ostensibly for lunch out with my hubby, and such on the weekend.  So some of it will make it into my Change for Charity jar.

 

Oooh!  I just counted what I received as cash back today, added with the cash that I already had.  Guess what it adds up to?  $46!!!  I think fate and destiny are at work here.  LOL!

 

So I’m putting $10 more into my Change for Charity collection jar to bring my collection total so far to $18.25USD.  So with four days to go until RA’s birthday on August 22, I need to collect $4.21 USD  more in loose change to bring my collection total up to my goal of $22.46USD.  Snap!

 

***

I am also challenging more RA Fans to participate in Change for Charity—with them directing their donations as they wish.  So for every person letting me know they are participating—with 7 people so far, counting myself—that is $7 extra that I plan to donate in honor of Richard Armitage so far.  But I am happy to give a little more if others will let me know that they are also participating in my Change for Charity donations efforts.

 

And I will direct my Challenge donation monies in honor of Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday to a donation again to UNHCR for refugee relief, as I have several times the past year.  UNHCR helps families survive and thrive the unthinkable upheavals of having to leave their homes and their homelands.

 

So come on and please participate in my Change for Charity individual collections to honor Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday, and make me donate a bit more to UNHCR.  Just let me know that you’re participating in a comment below. And if you wish, please indicate the charity that you will donate to.

 

Thanks and Cheers!   Grati  ;->

 

P.S.  Please note that no fundraising monies are to be sent to me/Grati.  You will each individually make your own Change for Charity donations to the charity of your choice, in honor of Richard Armitage.

NEW YORK, NY – OCTOBER 10: Richard Armitage appears to promote “Berlin Station” during the BUILD Series at AOL HQ on October 10, 2016 in New York City. (Original Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)

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One week away from a Fantasy Richard Armitage 46th Birthday Party on August 22nd! August 15, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1087)

Birthdays are fun!  Especially a Fantasy 46th Richard Armitage Birthday Party by his fans. 

 

So let’s put our party planning hats on, and please suggest certain features of the party– location, time of day, party theme, dress code, food, party activities and games with the birthday boy, and parting gift party favors.

Pick one or more party features and make your fun fantasy party suggestions in a comment below.

 

I’ll give my suggestions as an example:

 

Location:  Spirit Ridge Vineyard Resort and Spa in British Columbia, Canada


I have never been there, but it looks cool!  Image found at https://www.pinterest.com/bellstarresorts/spirit-ridge-vineyard-resort-spa/

Time of day:  Late afternoon cocktail partying, with a cool breeze leading us into night-time banquet feast and revelry under the twinkling canopy of the night sky.

Party Theme:  Of Wine and Roses

 

Dress Code:  dressy casual, for men that means suit jackets but no tie (see below); for women that means flowy dresses or pant suits with an eye to comfortable elegance (not fussy)

Food:  Cuisine from around the world served buffet style so the guests can sample what they want.

 

Party Activities and Games:  Dancing, of course (with a special dance designated for charity where you can cut in for a one minute dance with RA for a $5 donation toward one of Richard Armitage’s Just Giving charities);   And of course, there will be a photobooth for everyone to take selfies with RA;

 

Parting Gift Party Favors:   Of Richard Armitage fan made art, such as various favorite Ann Boudreau (see below) and other fan artists made Richard Armitage wallpapers silk screened onto a nifty canvas bag:

by Ann Boudreau

           

 

by Fernanda Matais

Let the Fantasy RA 46th Birthday Party Planning Begin!  Cheers!   Grati  ;->

P.S.  This being a fantasy birthday party for RA, anyone who wants to attend can.  Ha!  And don’t forget to save your spare change for the real Change for Charity Birthday Fundraiser we’re doing.

Posted in Birthday, Donations, Fangurling, Fantasy, Gratiana Lovelace, Richard Armitage, Sexy, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 08 (PG-13-, L):  More Than a Feeling, August 13, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1086)

An original contemporary romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2017; All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

Author’s Dramatic Content Note:  I write romantic love stories for adults, aged 18 and older.  So most of the chapters will be PG-13 due to mature themes (M), or dramatic moments (D). And some of the chapters have romantic and sensual, but not explicit, love scenes that I will label as (L).  So 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.

Additional Disclaimer: The Wiki and other reference links that I cite contain general information merely to allude to a place, person, concept/theory/belief, history, or artifact, etc.  This story is a work of fiction, and people and their thoughts and actions are figments of my imagination and should not be taken as real or as fact.  And though the general backgrounds of the characters and the story’s contextual setting involve mentions of the Christian religion—with an Anglican/Episcopal focus—this story is a romance, not a religious tract.

[And from time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of:  Richard Armitage as Prof. Benedict Somerset, Jennifer Ehle as Laura Leicester, Loretta Devine as Connie Velasquez, and others as noted.]

Author’s recap from the previous chapter:   Benedict shared their third Saturday volunteering stint together by Benedict returning the favor and picking up Laura at the car repair place—with the mechanics also assuming that Laura and Benedict are a couple—only to find out later that they haven’t fixed her car yet.  So, Benedict and Laura drive away in his car for their third weekly lunch together—and with them needing to figure out what they will be doing between now and when Laura’s car will be ready to be picked up.

 

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch.  08 (PG-13, L):  More than a Feeling

Each of the last two weeks, Benedict and Laura have eaten at a different restaurant and a different variety of ethnic food.  So, this week they go to a Chinese buffet.  The beauty of a buffet style restaurant is that you get to choose what you want in the portion sizes that you want.  And for a nibbler like Laura, she enjoys the buffet immensely—her dabbing a small spoonful of unknown foods amongst the favorites on her plate. Unlike Benedict who would prefer to order his meal and eat it after the server brings it to him.  But Benedict is being agreeable about their restaurant choice this week because he likes Laura more than he dislikes the buffet format.  So after making their food selections from the myriad options, they sit down to eat and chat.

Laura still feels quite embarrassed about her car not being repaired and ready to be picked up until 5:00pm—5 hours from now—with Benedict very obligingly offering to wait around and then take her back to the car repair place when her car is fixed.

Laura:  “Benedict, I’m really sorry about the whole car repairs taking longer at the shop thing today.”  Laura says sincerely while wincing apologetically.   “After lunch, you can just drop me at my apartment and I’ll get a taxi back later to pick up my car.”

Benedict:   “Certainly not!  I will not abandon you.”  Benedict realizes that he might have seemed a bit strident there.  So he rephrases.  “Laura, I will be more than happy to take you back for your car later.”  He says chivalrously.  “It’s the least I can do after you helped me last week.”

Laura:  “Benedict, I don’t think my helping you select a coffeemaker last week—which took all of 30 minutes–equates to you needing to ferry me around all afternoon waiting to collect my repaired car.”  Laura tilts her head sheepishly as she looks at him pointedly–but with a small smile. Laura likes the idea of spending more time with Benedict—that is, if he also like the idea, of spending time with her.  Laura still can’t quite tell when Benedict is interested—in her, as a friend, etc.—or if he is merely being polite.  And politeness and gallantry is not a quality in the men that Laura has interacted with of late—except for Benedict.   “I don’t want to inconvenience you.”

Laura bites her full lower lip–rather cutely, thinks Benedict.  For the lushness of her lower
lip alone—well that coupled with her flawless skin, beautiful face, and curvy womanly figure–Benedict is enjoying his lunch with Laura. Benedict will offer penitential prayers later tonight– for him noticing her beauty.  And he thinks that soon he’ll be spouting love poems to her in his head.  And then he shakes his head with a small knowing smile [(2) below].

Benedict:   “You’re not inconveniencing me, Laura.  Don’t worry about it.”  He says cordially.  “I’m glad that I can help.”  Benedict smiles warmly at Laura.

Laura:  “Well thanks, Benedict.  You’re being very gracious.”  She smiles warmly at him.   “If you need to do something else this afternoon, you can always drop me at my apartment and then pick me up later to get my car, if you like.”  I am giving Benedict every way out of him being stuck with me this afternoon.  Though I don’t mind the notion of being stuck with him.

 

Benedict:   “Whatever you want to do is fine.”  Benedict smiles at her benignly.  Then he asks her hesitantly, shyly.  “Do you like to play “Scrabble”, Laura?  I haven’t found anyone to play it with me since I came here.”  Frankly, as an opening gambit to a pseudo date, this is lame–and Benedict realizes that.

 

Laura:  “I … do, Benedict.  But, I haven’t played it for years.”  Laura looks at Benedict a bit quizzically–half curiously and half pleased, she realizes, that he wants to spend more time with her.  Laura thinks, now where did that thought come from?

 

Benedict:   “Well, we could pass the time while we wait for your car to get fixed by playing “Scrabble”, if you like.”  He looks at her expectantly.

 

Laura:  “I suppose.”  She looks at him a bit uncertainly, nervously—skittish as a new born colt.  Then she impresses even herself with her boldness.  “Sure, why not.”  Laura thinks, she and Benedict are just two adults–just two friends–spending an afternoon together.  Right?

 

Lunch continues in a friendly way.  Then Benedict drives he and Laura to her apartment.

***

Laura feels a little on edge having Benedict come back to her apartment for the afternoon—her senses are heightened around him–but she’s not sure why.  Laura likes Benedicts overall look.  His sweater with rolled up sleeves is nice and casual—especially with his hairy muscular forearms on display.  Though she thinks that he could lose the tie.  Yet, Laura wonders if that thought means that she is mentally undressing him?  And his voice is so deep and smooth, calming, enticing—with few hints of his previous annoyance with her.  But she is not certain of what his manly scent is.  Old Spice?  Or perhaps, a musky sandalwood.  Sighhh!  Then again, are ministers allowed to wear alluring scents?  She has yet to find out.  But she definitely finds Benedict attractive.

 

And for logical reasons for them to wait at her apartment, Laura ticks them off in her head.  Her apartment is clean and tidy, check.  Her apartment is closer to the mechanic’s shop than if Benedict drove across town to his apartment on the seminary campus, check. And since Benedict is being nice about helping her retrieve her car, then Laura thinks she should be nice about playing “Scrabble” with him since he likes to play it, check.

But, Laura still has a little nagging voice in her head that tells her there is something more to her being unsettled by being alone with Benedict in her apartment.  Laura wonders if it’s that she likes Benedict more than she is willing to admit to herself?  But, Laura tries to dispel all of that and she graciously welcomes Benedict into her home.

 

Laura:  “Welcome Benedict.  This is it, my home sweet home.”  She says gesturing to her open floor plan apartment with its kitchen, dining and living areas flowing into each other with no walls between them.  “Oh, and if you need to use the bathroom later, it’s through the bedroom there.  But, let me just go in there first to tidy it up a bit, since I wasn’t expecting visitors.”  She says thinking about her size C cup bras drying on the towel rod over the bathtub, after she had washed it in her apartment’s convenient compact clothes washer and dryer unit.

 

Benedict:   “Certainly.”  Benedict nods courteously as Laura walks into her bedroom.

Benedict walks around Laura’s apartment to try to alleviate his own nerves.  The apartment’s decor is modern and traditional—in soothing earth tones—and not frilly.  He likes that.  And it has been a long time since Benedict has been alone with a woman–let alone in a woman’s apartment.  Not that being a minister has curbed his love life.  Well, actually, it has.  Women find out what he does for a living and it tends to turn them off.  Benedict wonders if that’s why Laura seems aloof to him at times.

 

Initially, Laura brushes her teeth and such when she enters her bathroom.  As Laura puts away her now dry bras and puts out a fresh hand towel in the bathroom, she also wonders at the strange turn of events that has a man alone with her in her apartment–even if that man, Benedict, is a minister.  But Laura puts the thought out of her mind, determined to be a gracious hostess since she feels she is inconveniencing Benedict–whether he says so or not.

 

Laura:  Walking back into her living area, Laura plays the hostess and asks.  “May I get you something to drink, Benedict?”

 

Benedict:   “Sure, any soda will do.  Is it alright if I visit your bathroom now?”  He asks nonchalantly.

 

Laura:  “Certainly, please make yourself at home..”  Laura says motioning toward the bedroom and bathroom.

 

Benedict walks into Laura’s bedroom–another experience he hasn’t had for a very long time, being in a single woman’s bedroom–and then he visits Laura’s bathroom to run toothpaste over his teeth and such.  He notices that everything looks clean and tidy and her bedroom decorations are also not too frilly but still feminine–just like Laura.  Of course, Benedict’s assessment of Laura’s home as to how it relates to her as a person is very much in keeping with his tendency to be reflective about the world around him and his place in it.

 

Benedict:   Walking into the living area again, he says smiling.  “You have a lovely home, Laura.”

 

Laura:  “Thank you.  I like it.  There’s just me.  So, I don’t need a lot of space.”  She says handing him a soda with ice in a glass.  “Benedict, do you want to play on the couch or at the table?”  She asks him benignly while gesturing to each location?

 

Being a little on edge himself, Benedict’s mind goes south—or at least, into wicked thoughts.

 

Benedict:   “Pardon?”  Benedict fixates on Laura’s use of the words play and couch.  Benedict thinks that if he’s going to be in Laura’s company for four hours, then he can’t be silly about it the whole time or he’ll never get through the afternoon without …  His mind stops there because he hasn’t even kissed a woman in fifteen years–again the off putting nature of his ministerial profession–and his reserved British demeanor, he thinks.

 

Laura:  “Couch or table?”  Laura smiles lifting her hands up and down like a balance scale.  “Since I don’t have a “Scrabble” board turn table and my kitchen table is square, I suggest the couch and we can pull up the coffee table close to the couch and put the “Scrabble” board on it.”

Benedict:   “Very good.”  He nods his head as he follows Laura over to the couch.

Laura:  “Okay, do you want to play regular “Scrabble” or a variation?”  Laura makes the assumption that if Benedict is an avid Scrabble player, then he might like to switch it up now and again.

Benedict:   “Regular is fine, Laura.  However, in college,” Benedict doesn’t say seminary because he’s trying to downplay his role as a minister to Laura.  “… we used to vary it a bit–picking a theme for a given game.  And the words we formed had to somehow relate to that theme.  Although, sometimes it was a stretch.”  He laughs.

Laura:  Leaning back into the couch sitting next to Benedict–well six inches apart from him–she asks.  “Like what, Benedict?  Give me an example.”

Benedict:   “Let me see.”  He says turning toward her and leaning his arm on the back of the couch and his head on his hand.  His tall self tends to peer down at her a bit.  Benedict thinks that he rather likes the fact that Laura is petite.

 

Laura:  “Gosh Benedict, you’re even tall sitting down.”  Laura [(3) below] brightly gazes up at him.  And Laura thinks while smiling at him, that Benedict is quite good looking–despite him being a minister.

 

Benedict:   “Yes, I can’t help it.”  He rolls his eyes.  “I’ve been tall since I was a teenager.”  Benedict smiles warmly at Laura and she smiles back.  Then he says while looking distractedly at her long silky auburn hair, the color of burnished copper.   “We could say that all words in this game have to do with animals or transportation, or something like that.”

 

Laura:  “Uh huh.”  Of course Laura is remembering her own college days when they played naughty “Scrabble”.  But, of course, she can’t play that with a minister.  There she goes again, Laura thinks, reminding herself that Benedict is a minister.  “Well, maybe we can just play regular “Scrabble” for now.  I don’t have to want to strain my brain just to play a board game.”

 

Benedict:   “Ha ha ha!   Brilliant!  Ladies first.”   He says gesturing to her.
So, Laura and Benedict play a spirited game of “Scrabble” with only a few good natured word challenges by Laura for British spellings that Benedict wants to introduce.  However Laura acquiesces and lets Benedict use his spellings since he’s essentially waiting around until her car is ready for them to retrieve.

***

After they finish their “Scrabble” game at about 3:00pm, Benedict and Laura each visit the bathroom again and refill their soda pop drinks in the kitchen.  Then, they look at each other a bit awkwardly as to what they should do next–since they have at least one hour and maybe two hours, until her car is ready—in case it really will take the mechanics two more hours to repair it.  So, they decide to just sit on the couch side by side and chat for a while.

Laura:  “So, Benedict.   I have to ask, what made you decide to become a minister?”  Laura smiles sweetly at him.

 

Benedict:   Benedict thinks for a moment, pursing his lips and raising his eyebrow, reflectively.  “Well, I was the second son, and I wasn’t going to inherit.  So, it was either the military or the church for me.”  Benedict replies in a deadpan voice.  But then he smiles impishly at his own jest.

 

Laura:  “Ha! That sounds right out of a regency era novel.  Are you serious or are you joking?”   Laura wonders curiously with a smile on her face.

Benedict:   “Just kidding.”  He smiles.  “Actually, I was very involved in my church and youth group growing up.  And I thought that becoming a vicar was what I wanted to do.  But in the end, I just wasn’t cut out to be a parish priest.”

Laura:  “Oh?  Why not?”  She asks him curiously.

Benedict:   “Well, the standard answer is that I couldn’t take the whole celibacy thing.”  He says honestly, but a bit sheepishly.

Laura:  Startled, Laura asks.  “But Benedict, I thought you said you were a minister?  Can’t they date and marry?”  Laura can feel the blush rising from her neck to her face—for her inadvertently exploring the topic of Benedict’s romantic life.

Benedict:   “Yes.”   He smiles at her warmly.  “But in my limited dating experience, women aren’t all that keen for men who mention that they are ministers.”  Benedict doesn’t mention his two year relationship with Gretchen because ultimately, she didn’t want to be a minister’s wife.  “Hhhhhh!”  He sighs, wondering if that’s the case with Laura.  So he dissembles a bit.  “When I was in my twenties and I would meet a woman whom I thought I might like, I used to say that I worked in the shipping business.  You know deliveries?  Like deliverance?  A little theological humor there. Ha ha ha!”  Benedict laughs and so does Laura.

 

Laura:   “Ha ha ha!  Well, and on top of your minister aura that you’ve got going for you, …”  Laura says gesturing at him in a circle.  “…  you’re British.  So, you have that whole reserved demeanor thing going for you–times two.”   Laura says honestly, but smiling sweetly at him.

Benedict:   “Precisely, Laura. It doesn’t exactly give me a level playing field with women.” Benedict sighs disappointedly.

Laura:  “No, I expect not.”  Laura replies absentmindedly as she moistens her lips with her lip balm again–puckering up a bit to spread out the balm.  And Benedict watches her do so intently–which Laura notices this time.  “Oh I’m sorry Benedict, did you need some lip balm?  She says holding it up.  I’m sorry I don’t have another tube that I could give you.  And this tube has my germs on it.”

 

Benedict:   And Benedict thinks that the tube Laura is holding has touched her lips–just what he’d like to do.  And, he thinks once more that if he and Laura kiss it would have the same effect of moistening his lips as if he were to put lip balm on his lips.  But, he refocuses and says in that nondescript British way of responding.  “Not at all.”  He pauses.  “Laura, may I ask you something?”  He asks with a bit of trepidation.

 

Laura:  “Sure, what is it Benedict?”  She asks curiously, but looking up and smiling warmly at him.

 

Benedict:   “Now, you don’t have to answer, if you don’t want to.”  Benedict puts his hands up in front of him in a gesture of protestation.

 

Laura:  “Benedict, you’re not going to ask me for my deepest darkest secrets are you?”  She smiles impishly at him.

 

Benedict:   “No. Ha!”  He laughs.  Then he almost immediately becomes more serious.  “Laura, I was just wondering …”  He stops and sets his drink down on the coffee table.

 

Laura:  “Yes, Benedict?”    She looks up and smiles benignly–not really thinking that their conversation is going to go in the direction that it ultimately will go.

 

Benedict:   “Well, if I had just said that I was a college teacher, would that have made me seem … less reserved to you?”

 

Laura:  “Possibly.”  Laura tilts her head and shrugs her shoulders–not getting what Benedict is driving at.

 

Benedict:   “Well then, Laura do you think that you could you think of me as just being a college teacher?”

 

Laura:  “Why Benedict?  I don’t like you any less just because you’re a minister.”

 

Benedict:   “Hmmm.  So do you like me, Laura?”  He asks with slight trepidation in his voice’s deeply rumbling timbre.

 

Laura:  “Of course.  You’re a nice fellow.”  Laura says graciously because she thinks Benedict is nice in a general, all around way.  And hey, the guy is kindly waiting around while her car is repaired.  And, of course, she thinks he is handsome.

 

Benedict:   “But, … would you want to kiss a minister?”   There, he said it, he thinks.  Now Benedict waits expectantly for Laura’s response.

 

Laura:  “Oh, I don’t know Benedict.” Laura shakes her head a bit because she still doesn’t get what Benedict is driving at.   “I can’t really respond to teacherly hypothetical questions about real life.  Ha!”   She smiles impishly.

 

Benedict:  “I don’t think that teacherly is a word, Laura.”  Benedict intones a tad pompously—but that is just due to his nervousness.

 

Laura: “I let you have questionable spellings in our Scrabble game, Benedict.”  I pout.

 

Benedict:  “Point taken, Laura.”  Benedict backs off with his grammar lesson, because he is more interested in her response about whether she would kiss a minister.  “You didn’t answer my question, Laura.”  He speaks softly, but deeply—unintentionally seductively.  Frankly, it’s been so long since Benedict had a romantic notion that he is surprised that his voice manages to reflect his growing loving thoughts about Laura.

 

Laura:  “Well Benedict, I haven’t ever been in a situation where a minister wanted to kiss me.  So, it hasn’t come up.”   She says obtusely shrugging her shoulders impishly while smiling cheerfully at him.  Benedict winces.  Then Laura’s eyes widen as it dawns on her what he’s driving at, she thinks.  Laura gazes at Benedict with an uncertain expression on her face.   “Oh! … um … Benedict?  Are you saying that you want to … ?”   She can’t quite complete that sentence.  Laura hasn’t been in kissing territory with a man for years.

 

Benedict:   “Yes, I do Laura.  How do you feel about that?”  He asks trying to keep his emotions–and urges, if truth be told–in check.

 

Laura:  “Well Benedict, it seems a bit unromantic to discuss the pros and cons of kissing someone with that person.  It seems dispassionate.  Don’t you think?”  The irony of Laura contributing to that unromantic discussion seems lost on her at the moment.

 

Benedict:   “Possibly.  But as a college teacher–and technically, as a minister–I have to be very careful in my interactions with others, specifically with women.  And, I have been out of the dating pool for so long, I’m rusty at reading signals.”

 

Laura:  “You’ve dated before?  Really?”   Laura wonders to what extent Benedict has dated, but that is definitely too personal a question to ask him, she feels.

 

Benedict:   “Yes, in college–before I took my holy orders.”

 

Laura:  “Gosh, Benedict!  That has to be more than twenty years ago?”   She looks at him incredulously.

 

Benedict:   “No, no, I mean before I earned my doctor of divinity degree fifteen years ago.  I delayed taking my holy orders until then.”

 

Laura:  “So, you haven’t had a date for fifteen years.”   She looks up at him a bit curiously and smiles–thinking of him as somewhat of a kindred spirit, her having also not dated for five years.

 

Benedict:   “Correct.”   Benedict’s says with his piercing blue gazing searchingly into Laura’s deep brown eyes.

 

Laura:  “Well, if I were being honest Benedict, I would have to say that not dating for years (five in my case) describes me as well. “  She pauses.   “But, in your case, you’re probably not allowed to kiss.”  Laura tilts her head looking at him curiously, wistfully–wondering what it might be like to kiss Benedict.  And she unconsciously smiles rather sweetly at him–that he notices.

 

Benedict:   “Oh?”  He smiles a bit mischievously.  “I haven’t heard of that rule being a part of the decalogue.”

 

Laura:  “The what?”  She asks him quizzically.

 

Benedict:  The ten commandments.” He smirks wryly.

 

Laura:  “Oh!   Right! That!  Okay then.  And why haven’t you kissed someone in fifteen years?  If that’s not too personal a question for you to answer.”

 

Benedict:   “Yes, that is a personal question.  But, I will answer it.”  Benedict smiles warmly at Laura.   “I believe that I hadn’t found anyone whom I wanted to kiss–that is, up until now.”  Benedict unconsciously leans in toward Laura a bit.

 

Laura:   “Now?  And you want to kiss me, Benedict?”  Laura still doesn’t really think that Benedict wants to kiss her.  Does he?  And yet, she is really thinking more favorably about her possibly kissing him.

 

Benedict:   “Yes, Laura.  I do.”  Benedict stares at Laura a bit longingly.  He’s been honest with her–to a fault.  Now the ball is in her court.  If she’s not interested in him, Benedict thinks that Laura should just say so.

 

Laura:  “Oh!”  Laura sighs pondering what he is saying and not certain how she feels about it.  “Gosh!  Talk about pressure.”

 

Benedict:   “Now, I’m not pressuring you, Laura.”  Benedict quickly interjects a bit worriedly.  And he leans back from Laura–because he had unconsciously leaned toward her.  “We can end this discussion right now, and I won’t bring it up again if it makes you uncomfortable.”  He says a bit disappointedly as he lowers his head.

 

Laura:  “No Benedict,” She touches his arm and shakes her head smiling at him.  “I didn’t mean pressure, in the sense that you are pressuring me.  But, in the sense that I would feel pressure from myself–if I’m the first woman you kiss in fifteen years and you don’t like it.”

 

Benedict:   “Uh oh.”   He smiles impishly.  “That means that I’m under pressure, too–if I’m the first man you kiss in five years and you don’t like it.”  He smiles mischievously.

 

Laura:  “Uh huh.”  Laura says distractedly looking at Benedict’s lips.  Of course, Benedict is also looking at Laura’s lips.

 

There is a long pause of silence between Benedict and Laura as they each ponder what it would be like to kiss the other.

 

Benedict:   “Well Laura, have we talked ourselves out of kissing each other yet?”  Benedict’s eyes twinkle in amusement and he smiles a small smile.

 

Laura:  “Not yet, Benedict.   But we’re getting close.”   She smiles wryly at him.

 

Benedict:   “Well then?”   He asks hopefully.

 

Laura:  “Alright, Benedict.”  Laura looks up at Benedict expectantly and smiles sweetly at him.

 

Benedict:   “Alright what, Laura?”   Benedict wants a clear signal before he kisses her.

 

Laura:  “Benedict?  That’s your cue to kiss me.”  Laura looks up and smiles warmly at him as she tilts her head to the right, in preparation for his kiss.

 

Benedict:   “Excellent!”  Benedict eagerly leans over Laura sitting next to him on the couch, his face hovering a few inches in front of hers.  He hesitates since he hasn’t kissed someone in a very long time.  And Benedict is still a little reticent to kiss Laura–because he is a minister–thinking it might be best if she kissed him first.

 

Laura:  “Oh for crying out loud!”  Laura voices amusingly mock exasperatedly.

 

And Laura gently places her small hands on both sides of Benedict’s face and she gently pulls him down to her as she leans her face up toward him and their lips touch in a feather light but lingering kiss.  Benedict’s hands are not touching Laura, but he wants to pull her into his arms and embrace her.  Benedict and Laura continue to kiss each other, now pressing their lips against each other more firmly, tenderly and their mouths open a little as they kiss–again, and again, and again, and again.

 

Laura marvels at how well their mouths seem to fit together just right.  And Benedict ponders the satiny softness of Laura’s lips as they kiss again, and again, and again, and again.

 

Benedict:   “Hmmm.”  Benedict growls deeply.  But his lips are eagerly kissing Laura, so he doesn’t say anything else.  And his arms and hands are still not touching Laura–he’s waiting for her invitation to do so.  He’s a gentleman, a minister, and British, afterall.  Although, if he and Laura keep kissing, Benedict thinks that he might just end up embracing her anyway–without waiting for her to say it’s alright.

 

Laura:  “Very nice.”    Sensing that Benedict is holding back from embracing her, Laura suggests as Benedict’s kisses move from her lips to her cheeks, then to her neck as he leans over her.  “You know Benedict, it might be even nicer  if you were to embrace me while you’re kissing me.”

 

Benedict:   “Laura, I thought you’d never ask.”

 

Benedict tenderly enfolds Laura in his long strong arms as he tenderly kisses her on her lips.  But still kissing without tongues—not yet.  For plundering kisses would no doubt lead them into further intimacies that neither of them might be ready for at this juncture of their nascent relationship.   Laura’s arms go around Benedict’s muscular shoulders with her one hand running her fingers through his hair at the back, and her other hand caressing his cheek as they kiss each other with tender abandon—again, and again, and again, and again.  They feel so right together, molding their bodies together—despite their coverings of clothing for modesty’s and propriety’s sakes.

 

As Benedict continues to lean over Laura as he continues to embrace and kiss her, she a bit unintentionally begins to lie down on the outside of the couch–pulling Benedict toward her as he lies down on the inside of the couch.  When their bodies are lying side by side and face to face, Benedict’s and Laura’s legs begin to intertwine as they continue to kiss each other.  And, inevitably, Benedict’s body becomes aroused again–which is apparent to her through his thin dress trousers.

 

Benedict:   “Oh!  I’m sorry, Laura. Can’t help it, I’m afraid.”  He says rather sheepishly about his aroused state.

 

Laura:  “Don’t’ be sorry, Benedict.”  Laura gently caresses Benedict’s face and smiles at him.  “So much for you being a reserved Brit.”  She kisses him even more lovingly.

 

Benedict:   “I’m glad you noticed. Ha ha ha!”  He laughs lightly and kisses her back lovingly.  “But, … I’m still not someone who is allowed to do more than kiss on a first date.”  Benedict says ruefully–despite the fact that he is lying down on the couch with Laura, embracing her and their legs are intertwining.

 

Laura:  “Oh?  Well between working with Jeffrey together–both his math homework and playing around the world–three lunches, buying coffee makers, car repair, and playing “Scrabble” together, I’d say that’s eight dates.”  Laura says impishly and she kisses Benedict tenderly again.

 

Benedict:   “True.”  Benedict gently caresses Laura’s sweet face.  Then they kiss again—their mouths opening and closing with each other, tentative but desirous of more.  “It’s just that one of the classes I teach on minister professional development has a unit on ministerial comportment.”  Benedict says kissing Laura’s lips, her cheek, and her neck where her lightly scented perfume intoxicates him.

 

Laura:  “Uh huh.”  She sighs.  “Benedict, I think you’re going to have to unpack that term for me.  What is ministerial comportment?”  Laura asks as they continue to kiss each other sweetly and tenderly.

 

Benedict:   “Hhhh.”  He sighs.  “Well Laura, if as ministers we are teaching a certain set of moral values to our congregations–and we are encouraging teenagers to abstain from premarital relations …” Benedict kisses Laura’s neck again.  “… then, ministers have to model the behavior that they preach and abstain from sex, if they are unmarried.” Benedict kisses Laura’s lips.  “… And, I have to model that behavior to my clergy students whom I teach.”  He winces.

 

Laura:  “Well done, Benedict.  Clear, concise, and to the point.”  Raising her head up and laying it on her left hand as she lies next to and facing Benedict on the couch, Laura asks Benedict impishly as she caresses his face with her right hand   “So tell me Benedict, is this the point where the women you dated before would lose interest?”

 

Benedict:   “I’m afraid so, Laura.”  He sighs and laughs as he strokes her back while he is still holding her in his arms.  Because until Gretchen, Benedict had never taken a relationship to a sexual level.  And he intended to marry Gretchen.  But it turns out that she did not intend to marry him.  And Benedict doesn’t feel that he can share that yet with Laura—his relationship failure, and what in hindsight he feels was his moral failure.  Benedict always wondered that if he and Gretchen had waited to make love until they were married—or at least engaged—would they have married?  Benedict’s ruminations are not caused by any lingering love for Gretchen—he realizes now that they were not a good match.  But Benedict so wants to be a good match with Laura.  He doesn’t want to mess this up.

 

Laura:   “Well, you’re in luck, Benedict.  Despite you being quite handsome, I’m not the kind of woman to jump into making love with someone either.  So, you’re off the hook for having a conflict between your values and your behavior.”

 

Benedict:   Benedict smiles. Laura believes that I’m handsome, Benedict thinks to himself.  “Well, you’re quite lovely, yourself Laura.”  He says leaning in and kissing her again, their mouths tantalizingly opening and closing as their embraces become gentle caresses of each other’s backs and hips—while yet refraining from more intimate caresses.

 

Laura:  “Ooh Benedict!”   She sighs with her hand caressing his face as they kiss each other tenderly.  “Kissing is such a slippery slope.”  He kisses her neck.   “A gateway intimacy to … complete intimacy.”  Laura looks up at him with an innocently saucy sparkle in her eyes.

 

Benedict: Appreciating her jest to lighten the situation, he matches it.  “Well … I do ski.  So I’m accustomed to slippery slopes.”  He adds with a level of jocularity that he has heretofore not reached around Laura.

Benedict and Laura collapse into giggles at Benedict’s irreverent remark, embracing then kissing each other even more tenderly for several more minutes.

 

Laura: “Hhhh!”  Laura sighs as they kiss.  Tenderness has been missing from Laura’s life for so long, that she could weep for joy that she is experiencing tenderness again, with Benedict.  And she also wants to see where their relationship may lead them.

 

Benedict:   Coming up for air from kissing her, he says while breathing deeply due to their aroused state.  “Well Laura.  We are two adults and we can control ourselves.”  Unfortunately so, he thinks amusingly–because Benedict is quite enjoying kissing Laura.

 

Laura:  “Quite true, unfortunately.”  Laura voices what Benedict is thinking and he smiles at her–then he kisses her some more.  Of course, Laura is enjoying Benedict’s kisses.  And she does wonder how passionate Benedict would be with his wife–considering his hands aren’t straying into intimate territories—at least, not yet.  And she appreciates his restraint—as he appreciates her restraint.    And Laura abstractly wonders what it might be like to be a minister’s wife as Benedict leans in to kiss her again, their mouths opening to each other more fully.

 

Just then–just in time–Laura’s cell phone rings and she slowly reaches for her purse on the coffee table by turning around while lying on the couch–and she now has her back to Benedict, unintentionally spooning with him.  Of course, this only has the effect of exciting Benedict more and he leans forward and he kisses Laura’s shoulder through her blouse as he gazes at Laura’s shapely silhouette–her shoulders, her tapered waist, and her womanly curvy hips.  Of course, Benedict thinks to himself again that he has to get a grip so they don’t go too far in their kissing and caressing.  But, Benedict still puts his left arm around Laura’s waist and pulls her back to lay flush against him.  Benedict’s is more than a feeling of simple lust for Laura.  He wants her in his life, as his love.

 

Laura on phone:  Laura startles and sucks in a breath as her body molds itself to Benedict’s as they lie spooning together.  “Hhhh!”  She smiles over her shoulder at Benedict and whispers to him. “Stop that, you naughty man.”  And Benedict thinks at least she didn’t call him a naughty minister.  Progress.  Then Laura responds to her phone call–her also trying to not to respond to Benedict nibbling upon her shoulder and neck.  But he makes it devilishly difficult.  “Hello?”  Laura’s voice wavers as she answers her cell phone.

 

Car mechanic 1 on phone:  “Miss Lester?  We have your car ready for you.”

 

Laura on phone:  “Thanks, we’ll be in to pick it up in a little bit.”  She hangs up her cell phone.

 

Benedict:   “So, your car is ready?”  He asks a bit dejectedly–realizing their lovely afternoon of kissing is at an end.

 

Laura:  “Yes.  It’s 4:00pm now and we need to pick my car up by closing time at 5:00pm.”  Laura says laying down on her back on the couch and looking up at Benedict still laying on his right side looking down at her.

 

Benedict:   Benedict clasps Laura’s right hand in his left hand and intertwines their fingers together, then he kisses the top of her hand.  “So, I guess we should go pick up your car.”  Benedict leans down and softly kisses Laura on her lips again.

 

This has been such a lovely afternoon of awakening feelings for both of them, that neither wants to part from the other, just yet.

 

Laura:  “Yes.  …  But, we could go out to dinner after, if you would like to, Benedict.”  She suggests smiling up at him–wanting to be with him longer tonight.  And she thinks that a restaurant is relatively neutral territory–for a single minister and his lady friend.

 

Benedict:   “I would like that, Laura.”  He smiles at her warmly.  Benedict

 

So, Benedict and Laura reluctantly stand up from the couch–refraining from embracing and kissing each other again to avoid that slippery slope.  And after they each readjust their clothing and tame their slightly mussed hair in the bathroom, Benedict drives Laura to retrieve her car from the repair shop, before they head to dinner together.

 

To be continued with Chapter 09

 

References for “Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 08,
August 13, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace

1)  The Somerset:  A Time for Love” story cover is a composite of two main images:
a) Background–Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user AlicePopkorn2]  http://www.flickr.com/photos/47283811@N06/  ;
b) Prof. Benedict Somerset image is of Richard Armitage (2012 Promo by Roberta Ascroft, pix35) found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2012Promo/album/RobertAscroft-35.jpg
c)  a crucifix image is from MS Office Clip Art;

2)  Benedict  Somerset  image is of Richard Armitage at the 2012 THAUJ Toronto Premiere Press wearing Grey Sweater Smoulder  Mar2716 via Laura Day

3) Laura Leicester image is of Jennifer Ehle at the 2012 Contagion Premiere found at http://www.aceshowbiz.com/events/Jennifer%20Ehle/jennifer-ehle-premiere-contagion-01.html

 

Wattpad Ch. 08 story link:
https://www.wattpad.com/455166689-somerset-a-time-to-love-by-gratiana-lovelace-2017

 

Previous Ch. 07 blog link, with embedded illustrations:
https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2017/08/06/somerset-a-time-to-love-ch-07-pg-13-a-traction-problem-august-06-2017-gratiana-lovelace-post-1084

Posted in "Somerset: A Time to Love" by GL, Creative Writing, Drama, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Kissing, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Sexy, smoulder, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Change for Charity Challenge:  Fundraising to Honor British actor Richard Armitage’s 46th Birthday on August 22nd, 2017, August 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1085)

The exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday is coming up on Tuesday, August 22, 2017—the day after a solar eclipse.  Hmmm.  And with RA’s earlier character portrayal Sir Guy (below via RAnet, Thanks!), he is no doubt familiar with that phenomenon.

Richard Armitage portraying Sir Guy of Gisborne startled by a solar eclipse in Robin Hood, series 3, episode 1 (image courtesy of RANet, pix 197)

But with Richard Armitage, nothing solar or otherwise eclipses his talent, drive, charm, handsomeness, and his charitable giving compassion.

 

So as you know, I launched my suggestion of RA Fans who wish to participate gathering our loose/spare change and donating it to a charity in honor of Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday this coming August 22nd on July 26, 2017 with Change for Charity.  The wallpaper below may be printed out at half paper size, cut out, then wrapped around your change can/jar (see mine at right):

  

 

Apart from him being a wonderfully talented actor and storyteller, Richard Armitage is also a compassionate charitable person who set up his Just Giving site years ago as a way for his fans to make a lasting contribution to charity, rather than sending him a gift.  And that is wonderful of him!

And there are probably many of us who also support international charities like the Red Cross, UNHCR, or UNICEF and other organizations that help our neighbors around the world.  And whether our donations are modest or a bit more, every level of giving is wonderful.  Because when many people’s charitable donations are added together, they can really make a difference in individual’s lives.

And sometimes, we can actually see our donations make a difference when they are closer to home–in our communities or home countries.  And these donations are just as worthy of our support and financial contributions.   And as I mentioned to one person who indicated that she was going to try my Change for Charity idea and donate in her home country, that old saying “think globally, and act locally” is certainly a very good thought.

 

So wherever you plan to donate your Change for Charity in honor Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday, thank you in advance.  XOXOXOXOXOXOX

 

Change for Charity Challenge
And I hope that you will let me know that you are participating in my Change for Charity fundraiser, because I have a challenge for you.    In addition to my donating whatever the amount of my spare change collection ends up being (with my hubby’s spare change helping to boost my totals) to Richard Armitage’s Childline charity on his Just Giving site, I will make an additional donation of $1 each for the first 25 people who let me know they are participating in Change for Charity, by their making a comment below this post–or privately via the Contact Gratiana Lovelace link above.  And you don’t need to tell me how much you are giving, it is truly the thought that counts.   So I’m making a Change for Charity Challenge of $25 for 25 participants.

 

I already have about five people who have indicated to me that they are participating in Change for Charity—my great thanks to Guylty (also see her fundraiser here), Violet, Glady, Laurie Michaud, and MadGeorgiaPeach—with several more ladies really liking my Change for Charity idea on twitter when I announced it there, but they didn’t state directly that they were participating.  So there might be more individuals to help jump start my additional donations challenge.

 

I’m initially starting small with a $25 for 25 participants Change for Charity Challenge for a couple of reasons:

1) I’m not sure how quickly 20 additional individuals might let me know that they are participating in Change for Charity;

2)  I am willing to increase my additional donations challenge by another $25 to a total of $50 for 50 participants, if we do reach $25 for 25 participants quickly (a relative term, Ha!);

3)  and, even with great health insurance I’m still wincing from the past year’s out of pocket medical bills that we paid–we could have bought a small used car–but I will find a way to further the Change for Charity Challenge, if we hit the second target of 50 participants;

 

So for all the joy that his storytelling brings us, are you ready for the Change for Charity Challenge to honor Richard Armitage’s 46th birthday on August 22, 2017?

 

Go for it!   Hugs & Cheers!  Grati  ;->

(image above at Audible, via Valentina A.  Thanks!)

Posted in Change for Charity Challenge, Charities, Donations, Fangurling, Giving, Goodwill, Gratiana Lovelace, Just Giving, Kindness, Positivity, Red Cross, Refugees, Richard Armitage, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 07 (PG-13):  A Traction Problem,  August 06, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1084)

An original contemporary romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2017; All rights reserved)  [(1) story cover, left]

Author’s Dramatic Content Note:  I write romantic love stories for adults, aged 18 and older.  So most of the chapters will be PG-13 due to mature themes (M), or dramatic moments (D). And some of the chapters have romantic and sensual, but not explicit, love scenes that I will label as (L).  So 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.

Additional Disclaimer: The Wiki and other reference links that I cite contain general information merely to allude to a place, person, concept/theory/belief, history, or artifact, etc.  This story is a work of fiction, and people and their thoughts and actions are figments of my imagination and should not be taken as real or as fact.  And though the general backgrounds of the characters and the story’s contextual setting involve mentions of the Christian religion—with an Anglican/Episcopal focus—this story is a romance, not a religious tract.

[And from time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of:  Richard Armitage as Prof. Benedict Somerset, Jennifer Ehle as Laura Leicester, Loretta Devine as Connie Velasquez, and others as noted.]

Author’s recap from the previous chapter:   Benedict asked Laura to lunch with him again and she accepted.  Then afterward, she helped him pick out two coffeemakers for his apartment.  A petite elderly lady mistook them for being a couple, and Benedict wisely chose not to refute it when he saw Laura’s inquisitive eyebrow.  Benedict’s and Laura’s nascent relationship might not be a love at first sight kind of passionately tempestuous romantic relationship—at least, not yet.  But rather, Benedict and Laura are experiencing a slowly and carefully developing feelings and regard for each other–and they are something to build upon.

 

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch.  07 (PG-13):  A Traction Problem

Laura calls Connie the next Friday (April 12th) to let her know that she might be late on Saturday (April 13th) because she has to take her car in for an oil change and such.  And, Saturday is the only day that worked for Laura’s schedule.  So, Connie suggests that Laura see if Benedict can pick her up at the car place and bring her to volunteering.  Then Benedict can take her back to get her car after their lunch together.

Connie is making an assumption about lunch.  Laura tells her that she doesn’t know whether she and Benedict will have lunch again.  And that he just needed help last week buying coffeemakers.  But, Connie prevails upon Laura to call Benedict for a ride because Connie knows how diligent Laura is about her volunteering.  Benedict eagerly agrees to pick Laura up and he meets her at the Thornton’s Automotive car repair place before heading together to their volunteer stint at the children’s group home.

Benedict drives up to the side of the Thornton’s Automotive car repair’ solid looking brick building where he sees Laura and her car in the garage bay.

Benedict:   “Hi Laura.”  He waves in that British way of keeping his arm stationary and just swiveling his wrist twice.  Then he smiles warmly at her.   Benedict has looked forward to seeing Laura all week–and his interest in her shows in the smile on his face.

Laura:  “Hi Benedict.”   Laura smiles warmly [(2) below]and waves back at him.  Laura is pleased that Benedict is smiling more than  scowling at her these days.  And though Benedict did not try to contact her since she saw him last—which would have indicated his possible attraction to her—she thinks that his being British and a minister probably slows down his dating moves.  Afterall, she has heard that British men don’t pounce, they envelop you, in terms of their dating style.  And Laura is ready to be enveloped—to a degree.

Car mechanic1:  “Miss?  As I was saying, you might want to also rotate your tires while you’re at it.”  One reason that Laura takes her car to be repaired at Thornton’s Automotive is because her forty year old self is addressed as Miss by the seventy year old mechanic.  Whereas everywhere else, she is usually maamed.

Laura:  “I don’t know.”  She hesitates.  “How much is that?”

Car mechanic1:  “Twenty dollars.  Did you want to ask your husband about it?”  Now here is the conundrum.  Though the mechanic thinks that Laura is married, he still addresses her as Miss.  Perhaps it is the age difference, in that the mechanic is older than she is—so Laura is a Miss to him, rather than a maam.

Laura:  “My husband?”  She looks at the mechanic quizzically.  “I don’t have a husband.”

Car mechanic1:  “Well, your boyfriend then.”  He says pointing to Benedict sitting twenty yards away in his car.

Benedict can not hear Laura’s conversation with the mechanic—though Benedict can see the mechanic gesticulating in Benedict’s general direction.

Laura:  “Oh!  That’s not my boyfriend, either.”  She shakes her head.   “We’re just friends.”  She smiles.  “Oh, go ahead and do the tire rotation, too.  We’ll be back around 11:45am this morning after our volunteer shift.”

Car mechanic1:  “Very good.”  The mechanic nods his head, wipes his black car greasy hands on a white cloth that he then sticks into the pocket of his work overalls.

Laura walks over to Benedict’s car and he politely gets out of his car, he swiftly walks around to the passenger side, and he holds her car door open for her again—after first making certain that she is not leaning on the door.  Benedict does not want to cause her to tumble forward like the last time–either into or out of a car again –were he to inadvertently pull the door away from her.

Laura:  “Uh, thanks Benedict.”  She smiles thinking that his well mannered politeness is gentlemanly etiquette out of another era–but in a good way.

And Laura notices that Benedict has seemingly relaxed of his dress code from his first day volunteering suit sans tie, to him wearing a sweater with tie on his second day, to today him wearing a sexy leather jacket over an open collared shirt.  He looks very handsome and then some.  Laura is wearing a white cotton lightweight Spring blouse with three quarter inch sleeves and a modest round neck, that has a band of white eyelet lace trimming the hem of her blouse.  She is going for feminine, but not too frilly.  It seems that both Benedict and Laura are dressing themselves with an eye to pleasing the other.

Laura. looks over at the car mechanic who nods at her knowingly and waves at her as he returns to his work.

Benedict slides into the driver’s side seat on the split bench next to Laura—no uncomfortable bucket seats in Benedict’s fifteen year old 2002 Lincoln Town Car [(3)].  He bought it new back then, in part, with graduation gift money from his family.  His Grandmama on his father’s side was particularly pleased for her grandson Benedict to choose the clergy as his profession—and she wanted to make certain that he maintained  their family’s high standards with his automobile.

And seeing the car mechanic wave at Laura, Benedict buckles himself in while he turns to her and asks.

Benedict:   “Laura, was there something else that you needed to tell the mechanic?”

Laura:  “What?”  Laura looks up at Benedict distractedly–since his handsome face is so close to hers—despite this being rather a large sedan car.  “Oh no.  He just made the assumption that …”   Laura stops herself from telling Benedict that the mechanic had also thought Benedict was her husband or boyfriend.  “… uh, that I would want my tires rotated.”

Benedict:   “Oh!  Yes, it’s a good idea to do that every six thousand miles or so to even out the tread wear on your tires.”  He says practically.

Laura:  “That’s what I’ve heard.”  She says nodding her head and smiling.

Benedict:  “I’ve had this beauty so long because I make certain that she gets the car maintenance that she needs.”

Laura:  “Yes, it’s a very nice car.”  Though she distractedly wonders how he manages to parallel park such a long car.  “By the way Benedict, thanks for picking me up.  I hope this isn’t inconveniencing you.”  Laura winces apologetically as they pull up to a red light.

Benedict:   “Not at all.  I’m at your disposal.”  He smiles graciously.  There is a bit of an awkward silence as Benedict wonders if he seems too forward to Laura—or worse yet, that he is gushing.  Then Benedict looks over at Laura as she looks in her purse and he asks her a bit shyly.  “Laura, shall we do lunch again after our morning volunteering?”

Laura:  “Sure.  That will be nice, Benedict.”

Laura replies distractedly while looking for her lip gloss in her purse because her lips feel dry.  Benedict smiles warmly at her–longingly at her–but she doesn’t see him do that.   When Laura finds the lip tube, she rolls it over her lips a few times, then she puckers up her lips to spread out the moisturizing effect.   She does this looking in the car visor mirror above her.   Just then, the car behind them honks.  The light is green and Benedict hasn’t driven forward yet.

Benedict:   “Uhhh!  Excuse me.”  He says distractedly because he has been closely watching Laura put on her lip gloss and pucker her lips.

Laura:  Laura looks quizzically over at Benedict, and she realizes that he is staring at her.  “Is everything alright, Benedict?”

Benedict:   “Everything is fine.”  He says sheepishly.  Get a grip old man, he thinks to himself.  Benedict pulls the car forward into traffic again–now looking forward and focusing on the road now.

Laura:  “Benedict, did you need to moisturize your lips?”  Laura says puckering her lips again and waving the lip gloss tube at him?  “Though, I suppose you don’t want my germs.”   She laughs.

Benedict:   “Not at all.  I’m fine, thank you, Laura.”  He smiles benignly.  Although Benedict thinks that were he to kiss Laura right now–assuming that he wasn’t driving at the time and that Laura wanted to kiss him–then he would get two benefits, moistened lips and a kiss.  But, he tries not to betray his thoughts to Laura and he faces forward as he continues to drive them to the group home.

Laura notices Benedict’s serious expression as he concentrates upon his driving.  His hands are gripping the steering wheel so tightly that his skin looks almost white.  And she thinks that she might have breached his personal boundaries by offering him the use of her lip moistening tube.  Normally, she would not share her lip moisturizer—other people’s germs and all.  But Laura wasn’t worrying about Benedict’s germs.  Hmmm.

***

Benedict pulls up to the Chicago Children’s Group Home  where he and Laura volunteer as tutors and mentors.  And parks his car.  He starts to get out of his car so that he may walk around to open Laura’s car door, but Laura has a problem and she taps his back right shoulder blade.

Laura:  “Oh no!  Benedict, I can’t seem to get out of my seat belt.  I think the lacy hem of my blouse has gotten caught in the buckle.”  Laura is wearing a lightweight white cotton blouse with three quarter sleeves and its blouse hem is trimmed in a white eyelet lace band [(4) below].  It is not that the blouse is expensive–and she worries damaging it on that score–but that Laura likes her blouse, and that the lacy blouse makes her feel feminine.

Benedict:   “Oh, I am so sorry.”  Benedict says solicitously while turning toward her again.  “Let’s see if we can get the buckle undone without damaging your blouse.”

Benedict leans down between them since the buckle is on Laura’s left side, the one facing him.  Laura leans down also and they almost knock heads.

Laura:  “Oh sorry.”  She says leaning her head back.

Benedict:   “Now, I’ll try to be gentle … so your blouse doesn’t tear.”  Benedict says as he tries to open the buckle and free her blouse.  “Uhhh!”  He grunts as he tugs at her blouse.  “This is really stuck.”  He looks at the buckle with consternation.  “Laura, I don’t suppose you’re wearing two blouses and you can just take this one off? “  Benedict asks offhandedly while diligently looking at and trying to open the seatbelt buckle.

Laura:  “Benedict, does it look like I’m wearing two blouses?”  Laura looks a bit perturbed at the top of Benedict’s full head of brown hair.

Benedict:   Looking up at Laura’s face, Benedict’s face is just inches from Laura’s full round breasts–since he is leaning down to work on the seat belt buckle.  “Uh, no.”  Benedict says distractedly and he quickly looks down at the buckle again.

Laura:  Feeling that Benedict doesn’t have enough room to work–meaning Laura feels that his head is too close to her torso, her breasts–Laura tries to lean away from him.  “How’s that?  Does that give you more room to work?”  She blushes looking at him with her left arm now demurely in front of her breasts.

Benedict:   “Almost.  But don’t pull away too far or you might rip the lacy hem on your blouse.”  Benedict says working diligently to free her blouse–so he doesn’t focus on the fact that his face is only a few tantalizing inches from Laura’s lovely breasts.  Well, maybe he does, a little bit.  And he thinks, that this is the kind of carnal temptation that ministers are supposed to warn their parishioners about.  Yet, the devil is in the details.

Benedict works a few more minutes, then he opens the buckle and he pulls Laura’s blouse free.  However, Benedict pulling Laura’s blouse fabric hem free from the buckle has the effect of lifting its hem up and Benedict gets a glimpse of the bare skin of Laura’s left side.

Lips, breasts, bare skin–the triple threat causes Benedict to become stirred by Laura, to use a euphemism.  So, Benedict quickly grabs his jacket out of the back seat and lays it across his lap as if he were bringing his jacket with him on his volunteer stint.

Laura:  “Thanks Benedict.”  Laura smiles at him warmly not realizing that Benedict is having a sensual response to her.

Benedict:   “Uh, you’re welcome, Laura.”  He says sheepishly while he blushes.  “You go ahead of me.  I need to check something on my cell phone.”

Laura:  “Sure Benedict.  Thanks for the ride.”  She smiles warmly at him, then she turns toward the car door and opens it.  “I’ll see you at lunch time.”  Laura waves at Benedict as she exits his car.

Benedict [(5) below] nods and caringly watches Laura walk gracefully into the building.  Talking to himself now that Laura is out of earshot, Benedict lays his head back on the driver seat head rest, closes his eyes, and says to himself out loud.

Benedict:    “Get a grip, old man!  She’s just a woman.”

But Laura is a very nice woman whom Benedict thinks more and more about as more than just a friend–if he were to admit it.  Though Benedict doesn’t feel that Laura has given him any indication that she thinks about him in any way other than as a friend.  But then, Benedict thinks, he hasn’t really indicated to Laura that he likes her romantically either.  He’s too British for that, Benedict thinks–now labeling himself.  Benedict takes about five minutes until he feels he’s ready to exit his car–all the while pretending to check his cell phone to maintain his cover story, while evidence of his arousal diminishes.

***

After their morning volunteer stint at the Chicago Children’s Group Home facility, Benedict drives Laura back to Thornton Automotive  to pick up and pay for her car around 12noon.  But, Laura’s car isn’t ready yet.  And there is a different mechanic on duty.  Benedict sees Laura taking more time than he thinks it should take to pay for her car, so Benedict gets out of his car and walks over to Laura and this other mechanic.

Benedict:   “Is there a problem?”  Benedict asks in a respectful but firm voice to the mechanic.

Laura:  “Oh Benedict, I’m so sorry.”  Laura says looking up at Benedict.  “But they said my car won’t be ready until later this afternoon.  It seems they found a traction problem and are sending for a part that they have to pick up across town.”

2nd car mechanic:  “Yes sir.  As I was telling your wife …”

Benedict and Laura:  “We’re not married.”  They say quickly and in inadvertent unison–each a little embarrassed by the mixup about their relationship status–again.

2nd car mechanic:  “Sorry, your girlfriend?”

Laura:  “I’m not his girl friend, either.”  Laura says sheepishly.  “We’re just friends.

Benedict notices that Laura quickly disavows a romantic connection to him and he wonders if that reflects her attitude toward him in general–if she’s not interested in him romantically?  Or, is Laura just clarifying the point for the mechanic, Benedict wonders?

Benedict:   “Yes, I’m just helping out my friend this week, …” Benedict says gesturing to Laura. “… since she helped me out last week.”  Benedict says factually, though he’s not sure why he’s bothering to explain it in such detail to the mechanic.  Or, is Benedict saying this out loud for Laura’s sake, he wonders?

2nd car mechanic:  “Whatever.”  He rolls his eyes.  “But we won’t have your car ready until close to closing time around 5:00pm.”

Laura:  “Crap!  Ooh sorry, Benedict.”  She says apologetically while looking over at Benedict.  “I don’t normally use bad language.”  And certainly not around a minister, she thinks.

Benedict:   “Don’t worry about it.”  He says dismissively waving his hand at her.  “It is crap.”  He says the word to put her at her ease.  “Laura, let’s go to lunch and then figure out getting you back here later.”

Laura:  “Okay.”  She agrees with Benedict.  Then turning to the mechanic, Laura clarifies that she wants the mechanic to keep her in the loop about her car’s repairs.  “You have my cell phone number in case there are repair changes and prices that you need to tell me about.

2nd car mechanic:  “Yes miss.”

So, Benedict and Laura drive away in his car for their third weekly lunch together—and with them needing to figure out what they will be doing between now and when Laura’s car will be ready to be picked up.

To be continued with Chapter 08

 

References for “Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 07,  August 06, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace

1)  The Somerset:  A Time for Love” story cover is a composite of two main images:
a) Background–Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user AlicePopkorn2]  http://www.flickr.com/photos/47283811@N06/  ;
b) Prof. Benedict Somerset image is of Richard Armitage (2012 Promo by Roberta Ascroft, pix35) found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2012Promo/album/RobertAscroft-35.jpg
c)  a crucifix image is from MS Office Clip Art;

2)  Laura Leicester image is Jennifer Ehle at 2011 Luncheon for The Kings Speech Sep2813 at JEblogspot

3)  According to Edmunds the 2002 Lincoln Town Car had split bench seating in the front seat, not bucket seats. For more, please visit https://www.edmunds.com/lincoln/town-car/2002/features-specs/

4)  A lovely banding of white eyelet lace to represent the lacey edged hem of Laura’s blouse was found at http://www.sewbizfabrics.com/Lace-P/LP-129w.jpg

5)  Benedict Somerset is Richard Armitage as Daniel MIller closeup in Berlin Station 2016 epi sitting in car profile_Nov1616viaCyn_Grati–sized-clr2

Wattpad Ch. 07 story link:
https://www.wattpad.com/451808436-somerset-a-time-to-love-by-gratiana-lovelace-2017

 

Previous Ch. 06 blog link, with embedded illustrations:

https://gratianads90.wordpress.com/2017/07/30/somerset-a-time-to-love-ch-06-something-to-build-upon-july-30-2017-gratiana-lovelace-post-1082/

Posted in "Somerset: A Time to Love" by GL, Creative Writing, Drama, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Sexy, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Berlin Station Series 2 On Set Richard Armitage Interview Snippet about Geopolitical Themes–and Grati’s etc., August 02, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1083)

Well, when Berlin Station series 1 ended at the end of 2016, we all wondered where the plots and characters from series 1 (below) would go from there.

With Hector de Jean (portrayed by Rhys Ifans) exposed as the Thomas Shaw leaker, one would think that he would slink away in disgrace–never to be heard from again.  But happily, that doesn’t seem to be the case (right, with Richard Armitage as Daniel Miller).  Rhys Ifans is  a detailed actor–as is Richard Armitage.  And I look forward to them having more scenes together as they play off of each other.

The Director of German Intelligence Hans Richter (portrayed by Bernhard Schutz) was whacked by his own people–not for being a gay man, but because he co-opted then masterminded  the Thomas Shaw leaks about CIA incompetence as a personal vendetta, rather than as part of a carefully constructed espionage plot.

U.S. CIA Berlin Station Chief Steven Frost (portrayed by Richard Jenkins) was arrested. Though with that subplot of embezzlement engineering by Frost and Deputy Chief Robert Kirsch (portrayed by Leland Orser)–that fizzled  with only one mention–their greed motivation was never quite made clear.  And with Frost in jail, one wonders what Kirsch will do on his own–without his mentor.

And U.S. CIA Berlin Station everyman spy Daniel Miller (portrayed by Richard Armitage) was shot and oozing lots of blood (right) in the first and last episodes of series 1.  But the creators took pity on his fans and showed him alive but seething with unleashed anger in the finale.

***

But with the rift between lovers Daniel and the newly promoted German Intelligence Director Esther Krug (portrayed by Mina Tander), will Daniel recover his equilibrium over the mounting betrayals of his girlfriend, his friend Hector, and his other colleagues–who each had multiple and competing agendas?

Well?   Recovery and equilibrium do not seem to be Daniel Miller’s watch words for Berlin Station series 2.  Just a quick perusal (left)  of Daniel’s edgy cropped hair, no suits jeans and sweats wardrobe, and his I don’t give a ____ attitude begins to tell the tale of a man finding more enemies bubbling to the surface of the geopolitical scene than friends.

In the on set interview below, Richard Armitage gives us a teaser about the series 2 geopolitical  plots focusing on world events with inept and corrupt governments in Europe and elsewhere–with the big baddie Russia always looming on the horizon (thanks to RACentral and TeresaA for the video link):

“Richard Armitage teases Season 2 of ‘Berlin Station’ from city set”, via AP (Associated Press)

 

Plots sound familiar?  Stories ripped from the headlines?   I’m sure the Berlin Station series 2 creative team hopes so.  And if they remain true to season 1, in series 2 there will be very little justice to be meted out–just like in real life.

The following cliches come to mind: “The good die young.”  “Every good deed does not go unpunished.”  “The enemy of my enemy is my friend?”  “No man is an island.”  And,  “Be careful what you wish for.”

But it will be interesting to see which governments and politicians crumble–in Berlin Station series 2–and the ripple effect among the characters.

So, we can only hope for more tightly drawn political and human intrigues in Berlin Station Series 2.  I want the basics of film noir:  intrigue, literally foggy dark scenes, with unscrupulous characters, and out of frame violence and sex (letting our imaginations draw the necessary conclusions).

And I hope that the Berlin Station writers will be more creative in their dialogue in series 2 by lessening the vulgar language.  For example, the FU exchange between Daniel and Ingrid in series 1 was nonsensical to me.  If the writers were trying to convey something particular, then  they failed.   As it was, the scene seemed trite and not very imaginative to me.  The writers need to write incisive  dialogue for their characters.  Using copious amounts of vulgar language as dialogue is not edgy and lacks originality, IMHO.

P.S.  You’ll note above that the two women characters that I mentioned were Esther Krug and Ingrid Hollenbeck.  And it irks me that the other women characters were given short shrift in series 1–notably:

Valerie Edwards (portrayed by Michelle Forbes)–stop crying, whining, and grow a pair.  The writing was what lacked here.  Forbes did what she could with what she was given.  So I hope that series 2 will develop her character more.

Sandra Abe (portrayed by Tamlyn Tomita)–the other woman?  Fight back for your own identity!  Though this character is not present in series 2, so that plotline has already been jettisoned.

Kelly Frost (portrayed by Caroline Goodall)–see what looking the other way got you?  And this actress was severely underutilized.  Goodall can play machiavellian characters with gusto.  Have you seen her Cecily Neville Duchess of York character from The White Queen?  Duchess Cecily’s chilling glare (right) could  refreeze the melting polar ice caps.   If the Kelly Frost character is in series 2, I hope that they give Goodall  a character arc that she can really sink her teeth into.

They could make Kelly Frost an undercover spy mole–and her sniveling husband Steven Frost never even suspected it.  And Provence that she always brought up, is not truly a region of France that Kelly wants she and her husband to retire to–but a code word for some spy plot.  They could even add in a mention to the French Foreign Legion to help with that whole film noir angle.

Patricia Schwarz (portrayed by Claudia Michelsen)–as a part of Daniel’s past, she needs to be developed;  again, this is another actress with great range who should be used to her full potential.

And Ingrid Hollenbeck (portrayed by Victoria Mayer)–what was her motivation for revealing the Shaw leaks?  The antagonism between she and Daniel sizzled most when nothing was said (right). The German equivalent of a Pulitzer Prize for journalism?  And her friend Claudia died because of her amateur foray into espionage.

***

So to recap, Grati wants Berlin Station series 2 to have: tighter writing, better dialogue, more developed characters (especially for the women) and plots, mystery and more of a nod to classic film noir sensibilities in scene staging, writing, character, and plots.  There is a reason films are classic.  And Berlin Station has the potential to be a classic.  So I can’t wait to see what they do next with Berlin Station series 2!

Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Creativity, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, Fiction, Film Noir, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Mystery, Political, Richard Armitage, Sexy, Social Justice, Society, Something About Love, Spy thriller, Thriller, Video, Women, World events | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment