“Sir Guy’s Dilemma”, Ch. 18–Courting Disaster, Part I: Romance Goes Awry, 2/15/13 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #363)
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[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Sir Guy, Clive Standen as Lord Archer, Emma Watson as Lady Rose, etc.]
[Story Logo 1ab]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “Sir Guy’s Dilemma” is a story of romance and intrigue set amidst Medieval times. As such there will be some passages in this story involving heartfelt love scenes (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 some 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 the chapters with those labels. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s Recap from the previous installment: While still in Nottingham with his brother Lord Archer, Sir Guy submitted himself to more aggrieved Nottingham Villagers–with mixed results–but he yet lives, barely. Sir Guy is solemn and reflective about his past misdeeds. But a day away, Lord George at his estates in Leicester unsuccessfully tries to put distance between himself and the fair Lady Mary–Lord Archer’s betrothed, rather than his own betrothed in the Lady Saline. Even Lord George’s sister Lady Roseanna’s wise counsel cannot sway his heart from its true path forever.
Finding himself quite entranced with the lovely and sweet Lady Mary [(2) right] as they linger in his parents’ bedchamber suite on their tour of his home Middleton Hall, Lord George feels that they should probably quit his late mother’s bed chamber before anything happens between them. So he releases his kiss of her hand, but still clasps her hand in his. She looks at him with a sweet trusting smile.
Lord George: “Lady Mary, I fear that I have delayed your morning meal long enough. Shall we rejoin the others?”
Lady Mary: Looking around the room one last time, she nods her head resignedly. “Yes.” She sighs. They walk toward the door to the sitting room. “Lady Saline will be a lucky wife to have you as her husband, George.”
Lord George: “That is kind of you to say, My Lady.” Then he gets a twinkle in his eye. “I hope that my appeal is not merely due to this comfortable apartment my wife will enjoy?” He asks her rather vaguely–with regard to specifying whom will be his wife.
Lady Mary: “Oh no! You are most agreeable, George. Lady Saline must surely appreciate her good fortune.”
Lord George: “And your intended, Lord Archer?” He risks the impertinent question.
Lady Mary: “Well, he seems to be agreeable, too. He said that I may redecorate Locksley Manor in whatever way I would like.”
Lord George: “That is agreeable.” He purses his lips. Lord George knows that he has no right to feel jealous of Lord Archer as Lady Mary’s betrothed–but he does.
Lady Mary: “Of course, Locksley Manor is very small and intimate compared to this estate. But when one is making a home and family, the size of a house is immaterial. What counts is the love they share.” She smiles thinking about her own happy family and their modest manor home.
Lord George: But Lord George takes Lady Mary to mean that she loves Lord Archer. But can it be so? Lord George feels that his burden is lightened when his is around Lady Mary. He wonders if she might feel the same. And his resolve to remain a gentleman with her snaps. He quickly pulls her into his embrace, startling her. “Tell me now, once and for all, do you love Lord Archer–or do you love me?”
Lady Mary: Lady Mary’s eyes grow wide as she contemplates Lord George’s question with her arms resting on his arms around her. This closeness with him confuses her with the warmth of his body, the strong yet gentle way he holds her, and the earnestness in his voice. Lord Archer has never shown her any hint of emotion toward her–merely politeness. She falters, then parrots what she has been taught. “George, I … I am betrothed to Lord Archer. It is to him that I owe my love and fealty–as you must with Lady Saline.” She says this with no joy.
Lord George: But her reminder of their betrothals to others incites him to profess his feelings. “Damn it! If I could choose for myself, I choose you to be my wife! I love you, Lady Mary!”
Lady Mary is stunned by Lord George’s revelation, and is at a loss as to how to respond–either in her words or her actions as she looks away from him demurely. Lord George caresses Lady Mary’s sweet face and guides her to look up at him. She is his angel, and his heart will love no other.
He lowers his face to hers and brushes his lips to her lips in a petal soft kiss. Their eyes close. She quivers within his arms and with his kiss–her first kiss. She had not expected his attentions and familiarities. But she does not cry out nor does she try to wrest herself from his embrace. Lord George presses his kisses to her lips more firmly as his seeking lips join with hers again, and again, and again, and again–but still with aching tenderness does he gently implore her to respond to him as he holds her within his arms firmly yet lightly so as not to scare her. And she does respond to him, by first moving her arms about his shoulders, then kissing him back with small movements of her lips against his lips. She is shy and tentative, not knowing if she is kissing him as he wants to be kissed–for she is not schooled in kissing and being kissed. Lord Archer has never attempted to kiss her–and she wonders why?
But for Lord George, Lady Mary’s willing response ignites in him his passions that have long lain dormant as a soldier for Christ these past few years in service to King Richard on the crusade. Lord George had denied himself all earthly pleasures–having previously tasted some sensual delights as an awkward teen with a willing milkmaid. Yet, Lady Mary is a maiden of the nobility and Lord Georg realizes that he must temper his loving entreaties if he is not to scare her. So he does not deepen his kisses, but moves to kiss her neck as he slowly strokes her back. She whimpers as the loss of his lips from her lips, but then sighs anew as his lips graze her neck and shoulders–leaving a tingling path of sinful delights that she knows she should stop him from doing. But she does not feel that she can stop him–or that she even wants to stop him.
Lord George lowers Lady Mary onto the sette as he continues to kiss her adoringly as they sit side by side embracing one another. He is perilously close to abandoning all of his gentlemanly restraint with her willing response. But reason invades their lovers’ sanctuary as they hear others approaching them.
Seth: Calling from down the hallway, trying to find his uncle. “Uncle George, where are you?”
Lord George: “Ahhhh!” Lord George sighs and breaks away from Lady Mary. “Blast!”
Lady Mary: “Ohhh!” She sighs and opens her eyes–also hearing little Seth calling.
Lord George: Lord George stands up quickly, realizing that he has compromised Lady Mary. “I am abjectly sorry, My Lady. I forget myself.” He looks away from her and does not see the hurt in her eyes–but he can hear the hurt in her voice.
Lady Mary: She stands and asks in a trembling voice. “Then did you speak false when you said you loved me?”
Lord George: “My love for you is not false. But I do not have the right.”
Seth: Calling again in the hallway. “Uncle George! Aunt Mary!”
Lady Saline: From the hallway nearing Lord George’s late parents’ apartments. “Perhaps they are in here, Seth.”
Lady Mary: Lady Mary gazes at Lord George pleadingly. “George, you have every right. I love you, too.”
Lord George: “Hhhh!” He sighs in wonder that so fair a lady would love him.
Just then, the sitting room door to the hallway bursts open.
Seth: “There you are!” He runs over to his uncle’s waiting arms. “Uncle George, this house is bigger than I remembered it. Were you lost?”
Lord George: “Seth! No lad. Lady Mary and I were just exploring the house as I gave her a tour of it.”
Lady Saline regards Lord George and Lady Mary silently–noticing that they are not looking at one another with a rather forced manner of disinterest. Lady Mary gives her a wan smile–that Lady Saline returns to her.
Lady Saline: “It is a large house, Seth. With so many rooms, it promises solitude should one want to be alone.”
Lady Mary: Finding her voice through her blushing face, she suggests rather innocently based on her own experiences of her family. “But what makes a house a home is the love and companionship a husband and wife feel that extends to their children. This home only needs people to cherish it and each other to give it life again.” She looks around at the beautifully appointed master suite sitting room–a room that does not need changing in the least, in her mind.
Lady Saline: “Lady Mary, I fear that you are more romantic than I am. My days of viewing Middleton Hall as interesting and welcoming ended several years ago.” She says without malice, but also without regret.
Lord George: Wincing, he says perfunctorially. “I am sorry to hear that, My Lady. Your happiness is ever my goal.” Lord George [(3) right] nods Lady Saline, but steals a glance at Lady Mary–who winces at his remark that reminds her that he belongs to another.
Seth: “But Aunt Saline, when you marry Uncle George, you will have to live here–so you are nearby and we can play together.” Five year olds have such simple and straightforward wants.
Lady Mary: Finding the discussion of Lady Saline being Lord George’s wife too much for her, she excuses herself as she rushes out of the room before her tears fall. “I will go to the kitchen to check on our meal. Pray excuse me.” Then she dashes into the hallway and heads to the stairs.
Lady Saline: Watching Lady Mary leave so abruptly, it dawns on her that she and Seth might have fortuitously interrupted something. “Seth, why don’t you follow Lady Mary and show her to the kitchen?”
Seth: “Alright. I’m hungry!” Then he skips after Lady Mary.
Lady Saline now turns her full attention to Lord George–who also regards her with an equally measured gaze. But he endeavors to give nothing away of what just transpired between he and Lady Mary–nor the feelings within him that caused him to act so rashly. However, their long acquaintance gives Lady Saline an edge in understanding him.
Lady Saline: “For once George, let us speak plainly.” She says rather tersely.
Lord George: “I welcome that, My Lady.” He replies in a clipped voice.
Lady Saline: “Did Seth and I interrupt you and Lady Mary?” Her question implies more than conversation being interrupted.
Lord George: Not wanting to besmirch Lady Mary’s character because his own conduct was out of line, he dissembles. “You found us as we were–discussing the house.”
Lady Saline: “Then why were Lady Mary’s cheeks blushing and she ran out of the room?” She asks accusatorially?
Lord George: “What is it you want to know? Or more accurately, what do you want to tell me?”
Lady Saline: “I am not in love with you.”
Lord George: “This I knew already.” He sighs wryly.
Lady Saline: “And I suspect that you are not in love with me.” Lord George is silent–which gives her his answer. “When I wed, I want it to be for love–like Rose and Guy have.” She thinks of Lord Archer’s kiss to her in the maze garden and she blushes.
Lord George: “Now you are blushing, Saline. Have you found such a love?” He looks at her with widening eyes. Is there a mutually agreeable way out of their marriage contract predicament?
Lady Saline: “Possibly.” She looks at him defiantly.
Lord George: “Am I to know who my rival is for your affections?” He barks at her uncharacteristically indignantly. Given what transpired between he and Lady Mary, Lord George has no right to object to Lady Saline having another love.
Lady Saline: “My acquaintanceship is so limited, can you not guess?” She narrows her eyes at him as if her mind could convey her thoughts to him without her speaking them.
Lord George: “God’s Teeth!” He thunders in realization. “Archer!?!”
Now Lady Saline is silent–and he has her answer. Lord George knows that it is hypocritical of him to be offended by her loving another when his own romantic wishes have veered away from Lady Saline. But in truth, theirs was never a love match–they were pledged into their betrothal by their parents when they were too young to consider their future happiness. There are a million questions swirling in both of their minds–not the least of which is, might happiness yet be possible for each of them?
Lady Saline: Steeling herself for his inevitable tongue lashing at her indiscretion in finding love elsewhere, she changes the subject. “George, let us leave it for now and join the others for the meal.”
Lady Saline: “I am given to understand that he does.” Lady Saline[(4) right] raises her chin a bit defiantly.
Lord George: “I see.” He purses his lips. “Hmm!” He grunts somewhat nonplussed.
Seth Rushing back into the sitting room says. “Aunt Mary sent me to fetch you for our meal.”
Seth takes them each by the hand and drags them into the hallway and down to the smaller family dining room on the first floor. Lord George sits at the head of the table with Lady Saline to his left–or his bad arm side. And Lady Mary to his right. Seth sits next to Lady Saline. The awkwardness between the adults is palpable. Lord George and Lady Saline have reached somewhat of a clarification of their relationship–or lack thereof. But Lady Mary is yet to be let in on their understanding.
To be continued with Chapter 19
Ch. 18 References, (Featured image in Wattpad is 2, 3, 4 ) 2/15/13 — post #363
(1) “Guy’s Dilemma” logo is a composite of three images:
a) Sir Guy (portrayed by Richard Armitage) in the BBC’s Robin Hood, Series 3, episode 13 (pix 64).and is found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/Episodethirteen/slides/13_064.html;
b) Image of Lord Archer (portrayed by Clive Standen) http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/RobinHood/album/seasonthree/episodetwelve/slides/12_093.html;
c) a sword hilt from MS Office Clip Art was found at http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/images/results.aspx?qu=sword&ex=1#ai:MP900432917|
2) Image (cropped) of Lady Mary is that of Arthur Hughes’ “Ophelia” circa mid 1800’s found at http://preraphaelitesisterhood.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/06/hughes-again.jpg
3) Image (cropped) of Lord George is that f James McAvoy porgraying Tom LeFroy in “Becoming Jane” and was found at http://mi9.com/wallpaper/james-mcavoy-is-tom-lefroy-in-becoming-jane_20810/
4) Lady Saline Image (cropped) is a John Williams Waterhouse painting called Windflowers found at animekida.com at http://4.bp.blogspot.com/-fnQvuaDvJlM/T5MIiOVRi5I/AAAAAAAAEfo/-ARHkNHxwvc/s640/john+william+waterhouse+phi+stars+painting++windflowers.jpg
Previous chapter installments, Ch 17: