“Love & Friendship”, Ch. 3-4: Lydia plays Poker; Lydia’s Meals Charm Robert, 12/03/12 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #317)
British actor Richard Armitage and American actress Diane Lane and others.]
[(1ab) Story Logo]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Love & Friendship” is a romantic love story set amidst contemporary times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes or other sauciness (R rated) and some passages involving highly dramatic moments. I will label the maturity rating of those chapters accordingly. Otherwise, the general rating for this story is PG or PG-13 due to mature situations and topics. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read those chapters. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap: Lydia and Robert have met, become colleagues and platonic roommates. Now Lydia will be introduced to more of Robert’s inner life as she lives with him.
“Love & Friendship”, Ch. 3: Lydia meets Robert’s mates for poker Saturday night, November 6th
With Lydia rooming and carpooling with her heartthrob Robert, she is somewhat at his schedule’s beck and call. And it seems that although Friday night might be considered a date night–but neither Lydia nor Robert had dates, they stayed home and had a pizza together–Saturday nights are poker nights for Robert and his mates. The rotating location for Poker Night is at Robert’s house tonight–and Lydia is invited along as one of the gang. So, Lydia helps Robert buy and make the munchies—with a few suggestions thrown in by Lydia to spice things up a bit. She gathers that the guys usually just have food that can be poured out of a bag—chips, nuts, pretzels, baby carrots and dip, etc. So, Lydia also makes some hot dishes consisting of cheesy pigs-in-a-blanket, cheesy artichoke dip with toasted garlic bread rounds, and bbq meatballs.
As she and Robert arrange the food buffet on a three section electric warming tray—which they also purchased today—the door bell rings with Robert’s guests. Robert walks over to the front door and he lets his four friends in—they’re all about Robert’s age, but with wives they left at home.
Robert: “Come on in blokes. I have a surprise for you. My new creative colleague, Lydia Baker–a screen writer–is staying with me until we can find her a suitable apartment.” The guys wave as does Lydia. “Lydia, this is Adam, Buster, Conroy, and Dickie.”
Lydia notices that they are all well dressed, but in casual attire. So she thinks that they might be actors, too–except for the fact that not a one of them is wearing black, as Robert is, standard issue togs for actors these days. Or maybe, some guys are just colorblind.
Lydia: “Hello fellas. Nice to meet you.” She smiles and them warmly and shakes their hands, noticing that their handshakes are firm, gripping, gentle, and firm again. She hasn’t quite figured out Brit men yet–especially since she only has Robert to go by, except for tonight. “Robert and I have the food set up. And he says you’re bringing the beverages?”
Adam: “Hmmm. The food smells good. What do we have here?” All the mates troop over to the food buffet on the kitchen counter.
Robert: “Well Lydia. These are your appetizers. So, take a bow.” He says putting his arm around her shoulders as they both stand behind the kitchen counter where the food buffet is displayed on the raised counter in front of them. Robert feels like he has–well, Lydia has–created some special refreshments for tonight’s poker game.
Lydia: “Oh, this is nothing fellas. I just thought that since it is Winter time, that you might like some hot foods as well as the veggies, dip and crackers fare that you usually have.” Then she points to each item in turn as she describes it. “This one has little hot dogs and cheese in a bun—we call it pigs-in-a-blanket in the States. This section has a hot artichoke and cheese dip for you to eat on these small toasted garlic bread rounds. Then, finally, we have some basic bbq meatballs. Nothing fancy, but we hope that you’ll find it tasty.”
Adam: “Nice spread!”
Buster: “This looks good! Well Robert, now the rest of us will have to ratchet up our appetizers after this.”
Conroy: “Absolutely! This is brilliant!” He says eagerly looking at the food choices.
Dickie: “May we start loading up our plates?” He asks politely.
Robert: “Sure, dig in. I’ll put the rest of the beer on ice. Lydia and I have the game table all set up.”
As the men start loading up their plates, Lydia feels clearly de trop. She doesn’t want to intrude on their regular gathering, so she plans to absent herself from their poker proceedings forthwith.
Lydia: “Well, enjoy everyone. I’ll see you later.” She smiles and turns toward the stairs to head up to her bedroom.
Robert: “You’re not leaving, Lydia?” He looks at her incredulously.
Lydia turns back to Robert and looks at him sheepishly–feeling like a fish out of water. Or at least, a woman without–a piece of the male anatomy. So she tries to demure–however much she finds that she does enjoy spending time with Robert
Lydia: “Robert, I realize that this is your night with your mates … and I don’t want to intrude.”
Robert: But Robert’s gracious host mode has kicked in where Lydia is concerned. “Lydia, it’s your first weekend in London. We can’t very well banish you to your room. What kind of a host would I be if I did that?” Then he turns to his mates and asks. “Lydia isn’t intruding, is she blokes?” He wasn’t really asking them. But they shake their heads no–for form’s sake.
Conroy: “Not at all. You’re welcome to play poker with us, Lydia.” He says politely.
Buster: “Absolutely! Do you play?” He asks eagerly.
Lydia: “Well, I’ve only played basic poker. So you might have to explain different kinds of poker formats to me if you use those. Oh and, I might need a cheat sheet on which hands are better than others since it’s been a while since I played poker.” She looks at them sheepishly.
Though the blokes don’t usually have women at their games—their wives all happily making themselves scarce—the prospect of a pigeon in Lydia is too good to be true.
Robert: “Lydia, though we use poker chips, we do each put a stake in that backs it up. So, since you’re my guest, I’ll also put your stake in.”
Lydia: “Well, how much money are we talking about?” She asks him curiously.
Dickie: “Oh, it’s only 100 pounds a piece.”
Lydia: “You’re kidding me!” She says incredulously. “What do you guys do for a living? Print money?”
They all laugh, then they proceed to fill her in on their professions—in alphabetical order by their names.
Adam: “I’m a family doctor.”
Buster: “I’m a Mercedes dealer.”
Conroy: “I’m a barrister.”
Dickie: “And I’m a banker.” He laughs. “Ha ha ha! So your printing money comment, actually hits close to home for me.” They all laugh.
Robert: “And, I’m an actor, of course. So, we’re all set up financially such that the 100 pounds a week doesn’t faze us. In fact, it usually ends up evening itself out by the end of the month. Although, Conroy here has been having quite a winning streak.”
Conroy: “It’s me being in the legal profession, we all have poker faces.”
Lydia: “Indeed.” Lydia smiles and looks over at Robert. She would think that an actor would have a good poker face, too. Maybe not. Their being roommates is so new that Lydia hasn’t had a chance to get to know Robert very well yet. And, if a suitable apartment can be found for her, then they might not be roommates for long–with heartthrobs no doubt needing their privacy to conduct their lives.
They all fill their plates and get their beers—with Lydia opting for a soda. Then they sit down at the gaming table—with Lydia sitting next to Robert and then Adam, Buster, Conroy, and Dickie helpfully sitting in alphabetical order.
After settling into their spots around the poker table and munching a bit before they start to play poker, Lydia keeps the conversation going by asking a few questions after compliments are heaped upon her.
Conroy: “This food is fabulous! Robert, you can bring Lydia to one of our games any time.” The rest of the mates nod their heads approvingly and grunt agreeing with him as they eagerly munch their food.
Lydia: “Thanks fellas.” She smiles warmly at them. “So, how do you all know each other?” She asks interestedly.
Robert: “Well, I could say that we were school mates. But the truth is, I met each of them when I was researching various roles I was playing. And we gradually formed a poker group over the years.”
Lydia: Laughing she says. “Well Robert, I guess I’m keeping that colleague trend going since you and I met because I’m your new screenwriter on several upcoming film projects for your production company.”
Dickie: “Oh?” Dickie asks curiously. “You know Robert, as a banker, I’m always interested in investing in projects that might make money for us.”
Robert: “Yes Dickie. However, I don’t want to impose on friends. But thanks for offering.” Robert doesn’t want to say that he has sunk a sizable chunk of his own savings into his new production company, but that he does have a few silent partners as well.
Buster: “So Lydia. What kinds of stories do you write?”
Adam: Interjecting before Lydia can speak, he offers. “Hey, if they’re for Robert, they’re either thrillers, action adventure, or romance.”
Lydia: “Ha ha ha! Well, yes, there is romance, but some stories have comedic or dramatic elements in them as well.”
Robert: “Okay enough shop talk, let’s play. We’ll start out easy Lydia—just regular poker. I’ll help you with the chip values since we’re using British currency.” She nods.
Dickie deals. Everyone replaces two cards. Adam folds, Then Buster folds. Conroy raises the pot and Robert and Lydia follow suit–after Dickie folds. Then Robert raises the pot, Conroy folds, and it is just Lydia and Robert. Lydia hugs her cards close to her breasts—only peeking at them as she and Robert each raise the pot over two more rounds. Finally, Robert calls and they have to reveal their cards. Robert lays down two kings and two tens, his fifth card is a two. Then Lydia lays down two queens—already lower than Robert’s hand—then two sevens.
Robert: “Sorry blokes! And Lady!” Robert smiles gleefully at them and he is just about to pull his winnings toward him–the first hand in a long time that he has won this much money at.
Lydia: “Not so fast, Robert.”
Lydia: “I haven’t laid down my last card.” She wrinkles her nose up at Robert cutely. Lydia pulls it out at the end, by laying down a third queen. She has a Full House. Lydia wins the pot to all of the men’s amazement—not the least of which is Robert’s astonishment.
Robert: “Lydia, are you sure you’re not a good poker player?” He mock pouts while eyeing her suspiciously as he gives her a congratulatory hug.
Lydia: Replying coquettishly. “Robert, I said that I didn’t play poker often—I didn’t say that I was bad at it.”
She grins impishly thinking about a music video using the Lady Gaga song “Poker Face” [(2)] that a fan made about one of Robert’s errant knight characters who was thwarted in love. Lydia misses seeing Robert in that leather clad role–because he was so sexy in it. But she has to regroup before the blokes catch on to her musings and she returns to smiling sweetly up at Robert’s chagrined face.
Robert’s mates howl with laughter. Not only has Robert found a woman easy to look at who has good cooking skills, but she is also a talented colleague, and a decent poker player. What more in life could Robert want, they think?
Dickie: “Robert, old man. I think you’ve met your match in Lydia here.” He smiles knowingly at both of them. Of course, Dickie and the others are thinking of more than just poker while noticing the ease and friendliness between Robert and Lydia. And, they haven’t seen Robert so comfortable around—and seemingly romantically interested in–a woman in his real life for a while.
Lydia: “Well fellows, …” She says standing up from the poker table with her hand now resting comfortably around Robert’s shoulder as he stays seated. “I better quit while I’m ahead and say good night. Since it’s 9:00pm now, I’m going to curl up with a good movie dvd on my laptop and then go to sleep. You all enjoy yourselves.” Robert smiles up at her.
Robert: “Thanks for the wonderful foods, Lydia.” He stands and gives her a warm hug and she hugs him back. Then he says smiling warmly down at her, still in his arms as she looks up at him shyly. “I’ll be sure to put away what we don’t finish.”
Lydia: Lydia looks at Robert’s hungry poker buddies. “Now fellas, my feelings will be hurt if there is any leftover food.” She pouts cutely. “So have a good evening.” Lydia and Robert drop their arms to their sides and release each other from their embrace. She waves to the fellows and then she heads to the stairs and goes to bed–to watch Robert in one of his films, of course.
Of course, the blokes all catch on that though Robert is in denial, that there is definitely a spark the might ignite between he and Lydia.
Adam: After Lydia has left, Adam says. “You know Robert, I think Lydia is a keeper. If I weren’t already married, I’d be hitting on her like crazy.”
Conroy: “Absolutely! Lydia is fabulous!” Unfortunately, Conroy has limited adjectives at his disposal.
Dickie: “Robert, we’re all in complete agreement. We say you go for it! Lydia is attractive, cooks, talented, and she knows when to let us blokes be blokes.”
Robert: “Now blokes, Lydia and I just met. We’re creative colleagues. She is simply staying here until we can find her a suitable apartment of her own.” Though Robert’s blushing belies his statement of indifference to Lydia’s charm and her charms.
Dickie: “For now.” He says looking at Robert askance. “We’ll just see what develops.” Dickie says raising his eyebrows at Robert. “Hmmmm?”
And the other blokes also look at Robert pointedly. Then the blokes go on to play poker and kid each other for the next three hours—well, kidding Robert mostly about him being shy about seeing Lydia as a potential date. However, Robert ends up doing well tonight–poker wise that is. The food is mostly eaten by the time the mates are done playing poker—with a couple of the guys going home with meatballs in baggies. So Robert unplugs the warming trays and pours a little water in each serving compartment to make them easier to clean for he and Lydia in the morning.
Meanwhile earlier that evening after she left the fellas to continue playing their poker game, Lydia had gone up to her bedroom, changed into her jammies, and curled up with her dvd. It was one of those crinoline and corset bursting films where the men are British aristocracy or wealthy and the women aren’t emancipated so they have to seek a husband to secure their futures. Lydia thinks how different women’s lives are in contemporary times–owning property and controlling their own futures. Having a man to love and share their lives with is a choice, not a necessity for survival.
Yet, Lydia feels an emptiness in her life by not being in a romantic relationship at the moment–and not for several years. The men her age–48–all seem to want to date women half her age. And she’s not interested in 96 year old men. She shakes her head bemusedly. Yes, Lydia would like to have love in her life, someone to share her joys and sorrows with, a life partner who cares for her as much has she cares for them. And frankly, she misses the intimacy of sharing lives together, of having someone love you more than you thought they could love anyone, of the frission of desire the ignites when lovers kiss and caress each other, heart to heart, bare skin to bare skin. She wants that again, somehow. She wants it all. She just doesn’t know when she will meet the perfect guy for her who thinks that she is the perfect gal for him. Maybe romance writers also need a matchmaker to help them see what is right at the end of their noses.
So for now, Lydia’s lot in life is to write about love and passion–even if it is only a fleeting memory and a heartfelt wish for herself. And Lydia’s crush on her muse Robert? It is growing as she gets to know him on a personal basis–not merely admiring him from afar as a fan anymore. Robert is a really nice guy–but perhaps a bit young for her, he is 40 years old. Their eight year age difference weighs heavily on Lydia’s mind. If she could turn back the clock and be even 44 years old, she might entertain the notion of she and Robert as more than just friends, as a romantic couple–that is, if she were delusional and thought that Robert would ever wish to view her as anything other than his writing colleague.
Besides, Lydia is no temptress. She is ladylike and demure–with an undercurrent of sensuality that she would let no one but her lover see. That is, if she had a lover. No, Lydia is realistic, practical, resigned, and content with being Robert’s friend–if that is the only thing that she can ever hope for. In some respects, one might think that Lydia is very much like her favorite Jane Austen heroine, Elinor Dashwood in “Sense and Sensibility”. But then, Elinor eventually does find love and happiness with the man of her dreams. So as Lydia drifts off to sleep, she dreams of love and happiness with the object of her heart’s affection, Robert Kensington, remembering the very nice hug he gave her tonight.
To be continued with Chapter 4
“Love & Friendship”, Chapter 4 (PG-13): Lydia’s homemade meals butter up Robert
Though Lydia isn’t really trying to get to Robert’s heart through his stomach, his own lack of bachelor culinary skills make Lydia’s meals that she cooks for the two of them seem like gourmet spreads. Of course, Robert helps with chopping, stirring, and such. So, they work together on making their meals. Over the next few days in the first week of Lydia living with Robert they do settle into a regularly domestic pattern with each other. Their relationship is comfortable and friendly. This Friday November 12th dinner is chicken surprise night—or coq au surprise as Lydia euphemistically dubbed it in college. So, Robert is eager to taste it.
Robert: “Lydia, do you need me to chop anything tonight?” He asks hopefully as he pours himself a cup of coffee. [(3) right] Robert finds that he quite likes having a hand in making what he eats. It gives him a sense of satisfaction that his previous reliance on take out food ordering did not. And he has become quite a good chef’s helper–with Lydia being the chef.
Lydia: “Sure Robert. Here’s the large portabello mushrooms we bought today. Just give them a couple of rinsings and then slice them into eighth of an inch thick flat cross sections and sauté them in butter. I’m adapting my coq au surprise recipe a bit tonight just for fun.”
While Robert chops and sautés, Lydia busies herself with flouring the boneless chicken breasts—in a mixture of flour, salt, pepper, and garlic salt—then sautéing each side of the chicken breasts lightly in butter. She saves the leftover flour mixture to make the cream sauce with later. Robert notices that Lydia isn’t wearing an apron like she usually does–though her white shirt [(4) right] gives her the appearance of being chef like, despite her tumble of touseled curls in her eyes. And the curve of her jeans clad womanly curvy hips. Robert thinks that Lydia will be dating some lucky English bloke in no time. And he is a little perturbed about that, but the moment passes quickly enough–since his hungry stomach is more strident than his lonely heart at the moment.
Lydia blows an errant bang curl up and out of her eyes as she sautees the chicken breasts–though the strand lays back down in the way of her seeing again. Robert [(5) right] smiles at how charmingly focused, yet enchantingly disarrayed Lydia looks when they are cooking together. It is almost more fun for him than the food they eat–almost. Then he gently nudges her curl back into place and tucks it behind her ear. An intimate move to be sure–that is if Robert recognized that he is being intimate with Lydia, and if she weren’t so focused on the delicate timing of her meal preparation tonight.
Lydia [(6) right] and Robert smile warmly at each other–a warmth born of a growing friendship, a special bond with each other. And Lydia is glad for Robert’s friendship. Robert is a gentleman and a gentle man in Lydia’s eyes–he respects her, is considerate of her, and they seem to get on well with each other. Because if two people not in love can live together without killing each other–developing their friendship first–then maybe love can bloom between the two of them.
Robert: “Okay, what now?” He hands her the sautéed mushrooms in a bowl that she sets aside.
Lydia: “Well, you can wash up these potatoes and then slice them into quarter inch thick flat medallions.”
Robert: “So is flat your food theme tonight?” He asks her impishly.
Lydia: She rolls her eyes in amusement at Robert’s little attempts at humor. “Now don’t bother to peel them, but do cut out any eyes or nasty bits before you slice them. Then we’ll lay the potato medallions flat in the bottom of this other dish with butter to bake alongside the chicken breasts baking in butter in their dish in the oven at 350 degrees for one hour.”
They do that. Then once the chicken and potatoes are baking, Lydia makes the cream sauce with the left over flour mixture in the frying pan. She also adds some mozzarella cheese to the creamy mixture for heightened taste and texture in the sauce.
Robert: “Lydia, dinner is smelling really good.” He says with his mouth watering. “What are we doing with the mushrooms I sliced and sautéed?”
Lydia: “Okay, it’s the thirty minute mark. So, the chicken has cooked half way. We’ll take the chicken dish out of the oven, flip the chickens, drain off any excess fat, add the mushrooms on top, and then drizzle the creamy sauce all over it, sprinkling some grated mozzarella over the whole thing to bake the rest of the way for 20 more minutes.” And she does this. “Now we just need some green beans microwaved and we’ll be ready to eat.”
Robert: “Lydia, you’re a whiz in the kitchen!” He says appreciatively, marveling at her finesse. “How do you come up with these meals?”
Lydia: “Mostly trial and error.” She shrugs sheepishly. “Well, this meal, coq au surprise–so named because it was such a surprise that it turned out well—is a recipe that I came up with in college and I’ve tweaked it a little since then. And don’t forget Robert. You helped with the slicing.”
Robert: “That’s right, I’m ready for the big time restaurants now.” He says with his eyes wide. They both laugh.
Lydia and Robert have developed an ease and friendliness with each other as roommates that they both enjoy. And this evening, they go on to have a very yummy dinner indeed.
After dinner, Robert and Lydia take their coffee and store bought cheesecakes over to the couch and enjoy them as they chat in front of a roaring gas fireplace.
Robert: “Lydia, dinner was especially tasty tonight. Thank you.” He smiles at his still new colleague and growing friend warmly.
Lydia: “Well Robert, I really can’t thank you enough for giving me a place to stay in your home. It would have been so much more difficult coming over here and starting a new life if I didn’t have you as a friend.” And Lydia means that sincerely as she gazes at him fondly. “But don’t get me wrong. I’m excited and thrilled at the opportunity to work with you artistically as well.”
Robert: “I know what you mean. When we have to shoot on location for extended periods, seeing new places and making new friends is great! But having to uproot myself and make a home away from my longtime friends and family can be a bit isolating.” And Robert has a little boy lost look on his face.
Lydia: “So, you’re not a willing acting gypsy?” She asks impishly.
Robert: “Ha ha ha! Let’s just say that being on location is a necessary evil sometimes–but really worth it for certain projects. It’s just hard to keep relationships going when I’m gone all the time. Hhhh!” He sighs, also feeling lonely.
Lydia: “Ah, you’re back to being my lonely heartthrob again, Robert. Don’t you meet people on the set? I mean even with me joining you on the set of your current film, I notice that there are several nice people. Well, they’ve even been nice to me as an outsider.”
Robert: “Oh?” His ears perk up. “And are these nice men or nice women to you?”
Lydia: “Ha ha ha! Both! Though, I haven’t made any gal pals yet–nor have the men asked me out on a date.” She rolls her eyes and shrugs her shoulders. “Maybe I should get out of your dressing room more when I stretch my legs during a writing break.” She smiles at him warmly. “And you? Is there anyone you’re interested in on the set?”
Robert: “I haven’t really thought about it.” He answers honestly. “I’m so focused on my character and the stunts and such that I haven’t really had time to chat up anyone.” He smiles shyly.
Lydia: And I guess that confirms to me that Robert doesn’t think of me as dating material either, Lydia muses. “Not even your make up person, Robert? You see her all day, every day. One would think that a spark might happen. I mean, Barbie is cute.” In that late twenties, no wrinkles on her face yet kind of way Lydia thinks to herself–holding her breath for Robert’s response.
Robert: “That’s the thing though, Lydia. Barbie is nice and friendly. But there is the age difference–she is eight years younger than I am. I don’t know if we would have the same interests. Besides, we each have a job to do. And usually, I’m so focused on getting into character and memorizing the new page of dialogue–that they just handed me five minutes ago–that she and I don’t really chat. You and my poker mates are my only non work relationships.” Then realizing that he might be hinting to Lydia more feelings for her than he really acknowledges to himself at the moment, he back peddles. “I mean. You and I are friendly colleagues. And, well, it’s nice to have a roommate to come home to for a change–rather than coming home to an empty house.”
Lydia: “Of course, Robert.” Lydia nods her head with a benign smile–now convinced more than ever that she and Robert are now and can only ever be, friends–especially about their age difference with Lydia being eight years older than he is.
Robert: “So I need some advice, Lydia.”
Lydia: “About what??
Robert: “Women. You seem to have the inside track–you being a woman and all.” Robert smiles are her expectantly.
Lydia: And Lydia shrugs her shoulders and rolls her eyes gamely. “Thanks for that. But, don’t let my romantic writing fool you, Robert. I’m not as sophisticated as you might think when it comes to love.” She lowers her eyes demurely and studies her fingernails.
Robert: “Lydia, I don’t want sophisticated, just the basics. Women are a complete enigma to me–and I want the code breaker information on how to read women.”
Lydia: Giggling. “Ha ha ha ha ha! You mean, all of your on screen lovemaking to the contrary?”
Robert: “That doesn’t really count. The Casting Department lines up my on-screen love interests. Whether the ladies like me or not, they’re stuck with me.” He mugs [(7) right] at her and they both laugh. “Ha ha ha ha ha!”
Lydia: “Ha ha ha ha ha! Robert? This is a whole new side of you that I had no idea existed–self-deprecating heartthrob.” Then she looks bemusedly askance and asks mock delicately. “Robert, have you tried showing this side of you to the ladies? Funny is endearing.” At least, it is for her.
Robert: “Right, but it’s the throb that counts.” Robert raises his eyebrows up and down to emphasize his double entendre–while his lips curl into an impish self deprecating grin, then his eyes gleam with smouldering heartthrob sensuality as he leans into her.
Lydia: Lydia’s heart catches in her throat to be up close and personal with Robert’s smouldering gaze directly at her. “Wow! you do that really well, Robert–go from goofy to gorgeous in two seconds flat.” She blanches as she regains her equilibrium.
Robert: “Flat seems to be our theme tonight–my food, my facial expressions, and now my love life. Hhhh! My difficulty is finding and meeting a woman whom I might like and who might like me–and not mind all of this media crap that goes on around me.”
Lydia: “Uh huh.” Yup, he’s not interested in me whatsoever. So do I help him find love? And further separate myself from him? Buck up Lyddie, he’s not mine to begin with. “Okay, you want to know about women?
Robert: “I do. You know how methodical an actor I am. Just think of my request for knowledge as another research project. And, you did say that as a woman of a certain age, you know what you want and you communicate that with your lovers.” He cheekily raises his eyebrows up and down.
Lydia: “Well, I say again. I might not be the best one for you to gain knowledge from. That was a bit of bravado on my part. My experience is probably more limited than my writing might lead you to believe.” Now Robert looks at her askance. “Hhhh! What I mean is that the sexual revolution passed me by.”
Robert: “Oh come on. Now you’re not telling me that you’re a virgin, are you?” He teases, smiling wryly.
Lydia: I shake my head no and smile. “No. But, lovers–plural–might be stretching it a bit.” I wince cutely as the conundrum of being the sensually descriptive writer that I am.
Robert: “Lydia! You’ve only slept with one man?” He is agog with this revelation.
Lydia: “Hhhh! Robert, I’m not the kind of girl or woman who sleeps around. Though the men in my life might have tried. I might have had several male companions over the years, but only one developed into a romantic relationship. And we were together for ten years–before he moved on to a younger woman.” I am blushing so profusely right now, I’m sure that I must look like I have a sunburn.
Robert: “Really!” He sits back into the plush leather cushion of his couch with an astonished look on his face. “You’re practically a nun.”
Lydia: “Okay, heartthrob boy. Enough about me. I was honest with you. So, now it’s your turn to be honest with me. How many women have you slept with–in real life?” She asks in a bland voice and with a deadpan expression on her face–belying her rapidly beating heart..
Robert: He smiles. “A gentleman never tells.” Lydia looks at me pointedly. “But, … my lovers–plural–have also tended to be with women I was in a relationship with for several years.”
Lydia: “Tended to be?” I ask narrowing my eyes skeptically.
Robert: “Look. I learned my lesson early on. Discretion is the key for anyone in the public eye, such as myself. And there are some women out there who just want to jump my bones to say that they were naked with me.”
Lydia: “Uh huh.” I respond noncommittally–because I used to be one of them. Not really used to be, I have always wanted a relationship with Robert. He is so darn handsome and virile, who can blame me for fantasizing about him?
Robert: “That’s why I need help. To sift through the women who only want a shag versus women who want … well, who want me.” I look at her pleadingly–because I have felt lonely the last year. And I must be rather horny because Lydia is looking better and better to me. I mean, not that she wouldn’t look beautiful if I weren’t on edge. But she just affects me somehow right now–I can’t explain it.
Lydia: I could cry right now because Robert is so sweet. But I maintain my composure. “Robert, maybe you need to take the time to get to know someone first–before you think about shagging them. Or, making love with them as I prefer that my characters to do.” And I remember that Robert doesn’t seem to be interested in me–again, I am obviously not psychic there. “So, how about Barbie? Hmmm? She may be younger than you want, but she might be good dating practice for you.”
Robert: “I don’t know. Wouldn’t I be using her under false pretences–since I’m not interested in her sexually?”
Lydia: “Again, Robert, I can’t understand that you’re not interested in her sexually.”
Robert: “Oh she’s cute … and sexy. But, just not my type.”
Lydia: “Okay Mister, you’re going to have to tell me what your type is if you want me to point out potential women for you to date.”
Robert: “Um. Well. This is so embarrassing.”
Lydia: “Why? You’re just articulating what you want in a woman. You have to know what you want before you can seek it.”
Robert: “Alright. But don’t take this the wrong way. Um. Um. I like a woman with real womanly curves. The skinny gals all look like they will break if you touch them. And don’t get me started on silicone. Ehhhh!” He shudders sheepishly.
Lydia: “Okay, Robert. That’s progress. Do you have height requirements? I mean, you’re a tall guy so every woman is going to be shorter than you are. But then, everyone is the same height lying down.” I smile coquettishly, then I sip my coffee slowly–blushing at my brazenness..
Robert: I rock my head back in laughter at Lydia’s insight. “Ha ha ha ha ha ha ah! So true. But there are some … body coupling … logistics that work better than others.” I say saucily. “So, I don’t think I would want a lady shorter than you.” I tilt my head and really look at Lydia. Yes, she and I would be the same height lying down. I smile getting distracted in how it might be cuddling with Lydia–for research purposes, of course.
Lydia: Okay, that remark got my attention. “Uh huh.” I look at him quizzically over my coffee mug, then roll my eyes amusingly at him. I’m just a height benchmark to him, nothing more. I think I need to redirect our conversation as I set down my coffee mug. “Okay Robert, care for a warm up.”
Robert: “Pardon?” Is Lydia asking me what I think she is asking me? To shag? Or at least, to canoodle?
Lydia: “Your coffee. We’ve been chatting so much, our coffees need a warmup.”
Robert: Am I disappointed, or relieved? Don’t know. “Oh! Sure! Lets!” Get a grip old man, Lydia is my colleague and friend–not a potential lover. But then again, if she were my friend first?
Lydia: “Robert, Robert!” I try to get his attention since he drifted off there for a moment. “Coffee? Are you coming?”
Robert: “Right! Coffee! Then to bed. We have an early call. Though I really don’t know how I’m going to get to sleep tonight with us talking about lovers. Ha ha ha!” I smile at her warmly. “Thanks for the tips.”
Lydia: “My pleasure.” I smile warmly at him. Well, if our conversation tonight has taught me anything, it’s that I need to somehow move on from my crush on Robert. But he is just so darn charming and sweet–and he has becoming a really good friend. He just doesn’t want anything more with me. And if I’m not going to be lonely the rest of my life, I need to find someone who does want more with me. We warm our coffees, finish our cheesecakes, and then head to bed–separately.
To be continued with Chapter 5
1)The Love & Friendship” story logo is a composite of two images:
a) British Actor Richard Armitage in a December 2010 Promo portrait found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2010Promo/album/20Dec2010-Perou-03.jpg; and
b) American Actress Diane Lane at the Berlin Film Festival in 2011 found at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Diane_Lane_%28Berlin_Film_Festival_2011%29_2.jpg
3) Image representing Robert Kensington is that of British actor Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks 8, promo pix 15 and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/series8-15.jpg
4) Lydia Image (masked from background) is that of actress Diane Lane in her charming film “Under the Tuscan Sun”, cd cover from Amazon and was found at http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VTXVEM36L._SL500_AA300_.jpg
composited with a crop of the Spooks kitchen found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spookspromo/album/series8-15.jp
5) Image of Robert Kensington is that of British Actor Richard Armitage portraying Lucas North in Spooks 8, episode 2, pix 211 and was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Spooks/spooks8/album/Episode2/slides/ep2_211.JPG
6) Lydia Image (cropped) is that of actress Diane Lane in her charming film “Under the Tuscan Sun”, cd cover from Amazon was found at http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51VTXVEM36L._SL500_AA300_.jpg
7) Robert image is that of British actor Richard Armitage portraying Lee Preston in Cold Feet, pix 39 was found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/ColdFeet/ColdFeet5/album/slides/coldfeet_039.jpg
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