“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 06 (PG-13, S): Day After Christmas Playdate, December 28, 2014 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #681)
[From time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage for Richard Thorne, Sigourney Weaver for Richard’s mother Elise Thorne, Jennifer Jason Leigh for Edith Thorne Burke, Haley Atwell for Christina Gilcrist, James Slattery for Frederick Burke, Harrison Ford for Prof. Percy Gilcrist, Franco Nero for Count Victor Renaldi, and others]
Author’s Mature Content Note: “A Magnificent Love” is story with mature themes (D for drama and S for sensuality) of love and relationships. Most chapters will be PG or PG-13. However, if you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.
Author’s recap from the previous chapter: On Christmas Day, Richard went over to Christina’s home with peace offerings of a Christmas wreath and the loan of a water heater to aid in his apology to her. She also apologized to him–for hitting him, not for standing up to him. And in the course of their easy going conversation–with Richard offering to look into her trust fund situation for her–they realized that neither of them was so bad. In Christina’s elation with now having hot water again, she hugged Richard twice and kissed him on his uninjured cheek. Richard is delighted that they are no longer at war. But he is still hesitant about whether she likes him or is merely grateful for the water heater. And he is also concerned about their age difference with him being 43 years old and Christina being only 30 years old. But Richard and Christina will also be thrown together at Elise Thorne’s day after Christmas informal luncheon and then playdate for her family that she has also invited the Gilcrists to attend.
“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 6 (PG-13, S): Day After Christmas Playdate
The morning of the day after Christmas, December 26th, is a bustle of activity at Elise Thorne’s country estate Ravenwood as her other family and gentleman friend begin arriving. First Edie and Frederick Burke and their three kids–Elise’s grandchildren–arrive around 10am and get settled into their suite of rooms. Edie is tired from their hour long drive sitting in one position–due to her arthritis–in their family friendly sized minivan, there being nothing “mini” about it. So Edie elects to rest in her bedroom a bit with a heating pad while her husband Frederick marshalls their children to unpack for their weekend stay, before going to check to see how his wife is feeling after her rest.
Then, Count Victor Renaldi [(2) right]–Elise Thorne’s gentleman companion–arrives in a very long stretch limo, even though he was the vehicle’s only occupant,but for the driver. A distinguished well built man of 72 years that have been kind to him, Count Victor enjoys his luxuries. And by extension, Elise enjoys them as well. When Count Victor arrives, Elise has their butler Mr. Gant tend to his unpacking for him while she and Victor reconnect in her private sitting room of her bedroom suite as they sit on the couch, hold hands, cuddle, kiss sweetly, and fill each other in about their lives the past week–which for Elise, includes the recent Richard and Christina relationship. Victor and Elise have been apart for a week and Elise has felt his absence keenly. Victor, too, has missed his lady and he hopes that they might steal away in the new year for some romantic private time together away from her social obligations and family. He has been a patient man, and Elise is considering rewarding his patience. They sit on the couch in her bedroom suite’s sitting room and chat.
Victor: “Will I be compromising you by being in your private sitting room, Elise Darling?” Victor smiles wickedly as he lifts her hand to his lips and kisses it slowly, seductively.
Elise: “Only if you plan to ravish me without regard for my family being installed in bedrooms just down the hall.” She smiles with a mischievous twinkle in her eye.
Victor: “Ah! But that is so sweetly tempting, my beautiful Darling Elise. The danger of possible discovery can heighten our lovemaking pleasures.” He leans in and tenderly nibbles on her neck. “And I locked your door when I entered.” Elise’s eyebrow rises, then he tenderly kisses her on her mouth.
Elise: “Hhhh! You are a most persuasive man, Victor. But my grandchildren have arrived. And they are unpredictable–wanting their grandmother to tend to their needs at odd moments.” Elise gazes at him with a wry smile and an expectant gleam in her eyes [(3) right].
Victor: “Your grandchildren are adorable–as are my own. But they have their proper place and time. That is why I wish us to take a holiday together–to my villa in Italy. Italy is warm without being stifling this time of year. And the sea is blue and inviting. We could sail the Mediterranean on my yacht and visit several Greek Islands as well if you wish.”
Victor lays Elise down upon her couch and he joins her in side by side cuddling sweetly. This intimacy is further than he has gotten before and he feels emboldened by he allowing his loving attentions. His hands caressingly stroke her back and hips as his lips deepen their kisses. And with their bodies molded to each other, she can be in no doubt about his desire for her.
Elise: “I think …that would be …”
Victor: “Yes?” He asks huskily.
Elise: “Delightful!” Elise decides to give in to temptation. You only live once. For she realizes that more than sailing will be involved during their romantic getaway. And the 65 year old Elise Thorne is ready to love fully again.
Victor: “Hmmm.” Victor growls deeply as he continues to kiss and cuddle with his lovely lady for the next ten minutes.
It seems that the only adult Thorne not in a loving relationship at the moment is Elise’s son 43 year old son and head of the family medical business empire, Richard Thorne. Well, he is not in a loving relationship yet. And Richard [(4) right] spends his Friday morning poring over business papers in his father’s old study that is now his study. And in anticipation of the afternoon’s outdoor activities, Richard is half changed over to outdoor gear, with him still wearing a crisp oxford striped shirt (albeit with the sleeves informally rolled up to his elbow), that he’ll change out for a sweater, and wearing his lightweight thermal leggings, that will go under his heavier ski pants. It being only 11:30am, Richard feels that he has time to complete changing before their guests, his guests, Christina Gilcrist and her father arrives at noon for their luncheon.
And though Friday December 26th is a holiday for many, billionaire Richard Thorne still has business projects to tend to. One in particular is the merger his company is attempting with a pharmaceutical company that is under capitalized, but that has great potential with a new drug that it developed that eases the symptoms of arthritis. Richard became aware of this drug since his sister Edie started taking it and noticed some alleviation of her symptoms. Though not a cure all for chronic arthritis sufferers like his sister Edie, the drug is a god send. Richard looked into the company, found it to be a good investment, and bought up shares equaling 45 percent of the public stock holdings. That move has rather caught off guard the owners and founders of Sayers & Sayers Health, Inc. who also own roughly 45 % in share amongst their family members. And they are scrambling to try to buy up at least 6 % of shares not held by the family to prevent Thorne from having a controlling interest in their family owned company–fearing that he will oust them.
But Richard Thorne will have a surprise for the Sayers on that front. So he pores over the many papers before him. Some of them historical documents about the Sayers & Sayers Health Inc. company, some documents are blueprints for expanding the pharmaceutical operations. But he is getting a bit ahead of himself since he plans to meet with the CEO of the company on Monday about his plans for Sayers & Sayers Health, Inc. However, they will also have a plan for him–that will not wait until Monday.
Without knocking, Richard’s three nephews and niece–14 year old Daniel, 12 year old Will, and 10 year old Elisa, his sister Edie’s kids–burst into his study looking for him, and he looks up in bemused surprise [(5) right].
Richard: “What’s this!?!” Richard scowls in mock displeasure. “I am working–to put roofs over your heads I might add.” He finishes pompously and a smile curls up at the corners of his mouth.
Elisa: “Oh Uncle Richard, be serious!” Elisa bats her eyes at her favorite uncle. “My Daddy keeps a roof over our heads. We’re just here for the weekend for some fun!”
Richard: “Literalist! Ha!”
Daniel: “He’s our Dad, too, Elisa! Uncle Richard, I want to go snow mobiling after lunch!” He asks hopefully.
Will: Giving his brother a playful shove, Will counters. “No! It’s my turn to choose! I want to go sledding down Broken Neck Peak.”
Elisa: “I want a sleigh ride.” She pouts, then turns and sticks her tongue out at her brothers–who respond in kind.
Richard: “Kids! I’m happy to grant your requests. But you have to take turns. And Will, let’s not use that nickname for Ravenwood Peak around your mother. She would have my hide if she thought you would get injured sledding down the hill.” Richard blanches.
Will: “Alright.” He mopes.
Then the doorbell rings.
Elisa: “I’ll get it!”
Elisa dashes to the study door to the hallway before anyone can stop her. Richard and his nephews lopingly follow behind her with his arms around each of their shoulders. The boys are starting to come into their height with growth spurts. And Richard thinks that they might surpass his own 6 foot 3 inch height some day.
Elisa dashes in front of the Ravenwood butler Mr. Gant walking sedately to the entranceway door. He carries himself with dignity and poise as befits the Thorne’s butler for forty years–him having replaced his father who had served the young master’s father, Richard’s father’s father.
Elisa: “Sorry, Mr. Gant.” Elisa apologizes over her shoulder at the elderly butler.
Mr. Gant smiles benignly at her in a grandfatherly way, waiting to tend to the expected guests’ coats and such. Elisa opens the front door, and standing before are Christina and her father, the Gilcrists. They are all bundled up with overcoats and ski jackets and hats in Christina’s case.
Elisa: “Ooh! My cameo lady!” Elisa squeals and grabs Christina’s hand and pulls her inside her grandmother’s home.
Richard: Richard Bursts out laughing. “Ha ha ha ha ha! Careful there, Elisa, Miss Gilcrist and her father are our guests today.”
Prof. Gilcrist: Prof. Gilcrist leans over to his daughter Christina and asks her under his breath. “Cameo lady?” Percy’s eye brow raises and he follows Christina inside.
Christina: “Daddy, I helped Elisa select a cameo ring and matching pendant from her mother and grandmother for Christmas.”
Prof. Gilcrist: “Oh. That’s nice.” Percy nods and then he pats Elisa’s head cordially condescendingly. “Cameos are a good choice, young lady.”
Elisa: Elisa smiles knowingly. “That’s what my Mommy and Grandmama said. Who are you?” Elisa’s ten year status getting the better of her manners as she looks up at the elderly man with an expression of curiosity mixed with uncertainty on her face.
Delighted to see them both, Richard strides over to Christina’s father to make the introductions. Richard holds out his hand and shakes it.
Richard: “Prof. Gilcrist! We are delighted that you and Christina could join us today.” Richard says cordially as he also looks over at Christina and smiles.
Prof. Gilcrist: “Thank you. So are we, My Boy.” Prof. Gilcrist says diffidently.
These days–especially during the snowy and icy winter times–it takes a lot to get Prof. Gilcrist out of the house. But he guesses that Christina likes the Thornes, well, maybe one Thorne in particular–so he is making an effort, for her sake.
Richard: “Elisa Dear, Prof. Gilcrist is Miss Christina Gilcrist, the cameo lady’s, father.” Richard explains patiently to his niece with a chesire cat grin on his face for Christina when he refers to her as the cameo lady, as his niece did.
Elisa: “Oh! Okay! Welcome!” She parrots what she hears her Grandmama say all the time to guests, welcome!
Richard: “And Professor and Christina, these are my sister Edie and brother-in-law Frederick Burke’s children, Elisa, whom you have already met, Daniel, and Will.” Richard touches the shoulders of each of his niece and nephews as he makes introductions.
Prof. Gilcrist: “Well Richard, if there are any more people to keep track of, I’m going to need a score card–or have them wear name tags. All my students used desk nameplates.” He says acting a tad curmudgeonly. Because in Prof. Gilcrist’s waning years of teaching, his memory for students’ names was failing him.
Christina: Christina leans in to her father and whispers to him. “Daddy! They don’t need to wear name tags in their own home.”
Richard: But Richard tries to smooth things over with the Professor. ”Yes, well, nametags are not a bad idea. We’ll have to think about that.”
Then Richard looks over at Christina who smiles shyly [(6) right] at Richard after letting Mr. Gant take her knit hat and outer sweater for her since she would have been too warm with them inside.
Christina: “Hello, Richard.”
However, with the vision of a tousled hair, figure hugging thin sweater over Christina’s voluptuous curves rendering him speechless with desire, Richard’s mouth drops open. Drooling will commence.
Elise Thorne having walked down the central staircase with Count Victor to greet her guests, she walks up to her frozen looking son Richard, places her index finger under his chin, and gently pushes upward–shutting his mouth.
Elise: “Careful there Richard Dear, you could catch flies with that.” Elise smiles knowingly at her son, then she warmly greets Christina with a hug. “Christina Dear! We’re so glad you and your father can join us today! Welcome!”
Christina: “Thank you! We’re happy to join you! Thanks for inviting us, Mrs.Thorne.”
Elise: “Call me Elise, Christina Dear.” She encourages warmly.
Prof. Gilcrist: Prof. Gilcrist shakes Elise Thorne’s hand. “Yes, and thanks for the wreath and the loan of the water heater. Chrissy was so thrilled, I think that she took two showers yesterday!
Christina: “Daddy!” She chides him in embarrassment.
Percy: “Well, you did.”
Elise: “It is our pleasure.” She states, including Richard in that remark. Richard just keeps smiling
Elisa: Tugging at her grandmother’s blouse, Elisa says proudly. “I already said Welcome to them, Grandmama.”
Elise: “Thank you, Elisa Dear. But you can never say Welcome too often.” She smiles conspiratorially with her granddaughter.
Frederick and Edie also walk down the stairs. And then Elise introduces them and Count Victor to the Gilcrists.
After shoes are suitably doffed and sock covered feet revealed–except by Count Victor and Prof. Gilcrist, of course–Elise Thorne ushers everyone into the large and comfy family living room that has three soft as butter brown leather couches in a square facing the large fireplace hearth, easy to clean drapery and couch pillow and throw blanket fabrics in plaid and stripe, and dark walnut wood paneling warming up the walls. Then they go through the buffet line of yummy foods on a side table and find their seats on the couches–with the three youngest children sitting on the floor around the massive polished walnut wood coffee table in the center. There are Elise and Victor sitting on the head couch facing the fireplace, with Frederick and Edie sitting on one long couch on the side, and Christina and her father sitting on the other long couch on the side.
Richard, as of yet, has not chosen a spot to sit at as he stands holding his plate of sandwich, chips, and veggies and his mug of hot mulled cider. Everyone looks up at him, wondering where he will sit. He is the odd man out, so to speak. So he starts to sit down at the wing chair near an occasional table to the side of the fireplace. But he is stopped by Prof. Gilcrist.
Prof. Gilcrist: “Richard my boy, may I trade places with you?” Richard looks up at him hopefully. “I don’t think this couch works for my back. Nor can I balance my food plate and mug without someplace to set them down upon.” He refuses to set his drink mug at his feet.
Christina smiles at Richard and nods. Her father will be in a much better mood as the day goes on if he is accommodated.
Richard: “Of course Prof. Gilcrist. Please, be my guest.”
Richard stands and moves out of the way while Christina carries her father’s plate as he walks to the wing chair carrying his mug of cider. Then she places his plate on the occasional table near the chair as he sits down.
Christina: “Do you have everything you need, Daddy?” Christina asks her father sweetly.
Elise notices the caring solicitude that Christina shows for her father–and Elise finds that pleasing.
Prof. Gilcrist: “I think so. I will let you know if I think of something, Chrissy Dear.”
In the meantime, Richard has sat down on the couch spot that Prof. Gilcrist vacated. So Christina must cross in front of him–between the couch and the coffee table–to squeeze past Richard and his long legs.
Christina: “Sorry, Richard.”
Christina absentmindedly places her hands on Richard’s shoulders to steady herself as she steps over his sock covered feet. Then Christina winces apologetically as she crosses in front of Richard, with him getting an eyeful of her voluptuous sweater clad charms. And with Richard wearing soft thermal wear pants, he is glad to have a plate to put in his lap–to disguise his response to her beauty. Though he does wish that it were a heavier plate as he pushes it downward.
As Christina settles back into her spot on the couch to eat her sandwich–next to Richard now–she turns to him as she bends he right leg under her left leg, slightly leaning toward him.
Christina: “Richard?” She asks him quietly, so that no one else hears her.
Richard: “Yes?” Richard turns to look at her as he replies, trying to keep his voice from trembling with her so near.
Christina: “You’re not saying much. Are you sure it’s okay that Daddy and I are here today with your family?” She bites her lower lip, worrying that she and her father are imposing on the Thornes.
Richard: “Absolutely! Definitely!” Richard grins at Christina a tad sheepishly–like a lovesick puppy.
Christina: “Oh! Okay then. Thanks!” Christina smiles and pats Richard left shoulder as she rests her right arm on the couch back as she faces him.
Then Richard also turns his body slightly to face Christina, now putting his left arm on the couch back–their fingers almost touching.
Richard: “So really. You took two showers?” Richard raises his eyebrow and smirks.
Christina: Leaning closer toward Richard, Christina confesses in a hushed whisper. “Three actually! Daddy was asleep for the middle one.”
Richard: “Three?” Richard smiles bemusedly.
Christina: “Well actually, the third time was a bath, just before bed, letting the whirlpool jets shoot warm water over me.” She sighs contentedly.
And Richard is conjuring an even more alluring image of Christina in her bath–than in her shower–that is sending his libido into overdrive.
Richard: “Hmmmm.” He growls before he can stop himself.
Christina: “What was that, Richard?” Christina asks as she lifts her mug to her face as she sips her hot mulled cider, with some of it trickling down her chin. She starts to look for her napkin.
Richard: “Allow me.” And Richard gently dabs at her chin with his own clean napkin. Though he would really rather kiss the cider off of her chin. But they are in a roomful of adults and children. So he has to behave. And Richard is still not certain what if any reciprocal feelings that Christina might have for him.
Christina: Feeling Richard’s intense gaze at her chin and at her lips, Christina’s breathing quickens. “Uh. Thank you Richard.”
Richard: “My pleasure.” Richard’s deep velvety voice purrs. Christina trembles and Richard notices. “Are you …chilly? Would you like a throw blanket over your legs?” He asks cheekily. He is rather liking this slow getting to know Christina–however it turns out.
Christina: “Oh! Well! Sure! Thanks!” She figures, why not?
While Christina holds both of their plates of food, Richard unfolds their couch’s throw blanket from the back of the couch and places it over both of their legs. This also has the effect of helping Richard to hide the evidence of his heightened interest in Christina from her and the others.
Christina feels unsettled sitting so close to Richard. And he has been and is being very nice to her, she thinks. But Christina doesn’t know if he is merely being polite as her host–along with his mother–or if there is another reason for his attentiveness. But, she doesn’t want to over think anything. They are neighbors and now friends. And she can always have another friend.
When lunch is done, the young people–Richard and Christina and Edie and Frederick’s children–head outside for snowy activities while the adults nap after perusing the library in Prof. Gilcrist’s case [(7) right]. Then he naps.
The plan is to snowmobile to Ravenwood Peak–or Broken Neck Peak as Richard’s nephews call it–then sled down it on their toboggans. They take three snow mobiles–one with Richard and Elisa, since she is so very young–then the nephews pair up, and then Christina each have their own snowmobile courtesy of the Thornes. After having several fun sled runs–and a few snow ball fights, getting them all rather wet–Richard guides them to a nearby cottage on the estate where they can warm up before heading back to the manor house.
And happily, the cottage also has a bathroom and small kitchen. So while Richard and his nephews light the fireplace fires and place a pail over the fire to melt some snow to make them hot chocolate drinks–packets of which Richard had thoughtfully brought with him–Christina and Elisa take turns in the bathroom. Christina first, then Elisa. After Elisa seems to be in the bathroom a while, Christina asks.
Christina: “Are you alright in there, Elisa?”
Then Christina hears muffled sobs through the door. Knocking once and then entering the unlocked door, Christina sees a sobbing Elisa staring into the toilet bowl. Elisa looks up at Christina and sobs and points.
Elisa: “I’m dying!” Then Elisa’s crying gets louder and Christina embraces Elisa and looks into the bowl–seeing the bloody contents in it.
Christina: “No! Shhh! You’re not dying, Elisa Sweetheart. You’re just having your first period.” Christina thinks that Elisa at ten years old is a little young to be menstruating. But then, Christina wasn’t much older herself when she started.
Elisa: “My period?” Elisa sobs start her hiccupping as Christina dries her tears with a tissue.
Christina: “Yes Elisa. Has your Mommy not told you about menstruation?”
Elisa: Elisa shakes her head no. “Mens what?” Elisa asks in confusion.
Christina: “Hhhhh! Well, she would have sooner or later. Mens-tru-ation …” Christina says slowly. “…is when a woman bleeds for a few days every month. And you might have tummy aches, too.”
Elisa: “Why do women bleed?” Elisa’s sobbing lessens to weeping as her curiosity takes over.
Christina guesses that Edie would rather be the one to tell her daughter, but with a crying Elisa before her, Christina feels that she needs some comfort by providing her with some information.”
Christina: “Well, women have babies in their womb when they become pregnant. And that womb has a protective covering of blood around it. When there is no baby for the blood to nourish, that blood sheds out of your body each month–and you will have your period.”
Elisa: “But I’ll get my clothes messy. My panties already have a some blood on them.”
Christina: “We can fix that.” Christina smiles encouragingly at the little girl. “Why don’t we let Uncle Richard know that we want to go back to the house and rest. Hmmm?”
Elisa: “You won’t tell the boys that I’m bleeding, will you?” Elisa is still uncertain about all this. “They will tease me about it.”
Christina: “No, sweetheart. We won’t tell them. It will be our secret–and your Mommy and Grandmama’s secret. Now let’s flush the toilet, wash your hands, and we’ll get you home.”
Elisa: “Okay!” Elisa sniffles.
Christina: “Awww! That’s my girl.”
Christina gives Elisa a hug and kiss, then they walk out to the cottage’s sitting room where Richard and the boys are drinking their hot chocolates. There are two more hot chocolate’s sitting out for Christina and Elisa. Seeing Elisa’s tear stained face, Richard asks in concern as he comes over to them and kneels down in front of his niece Elisa.
Richard: “Is everything alright?” Richard caringly caresses Elisa’s cheek. Then he embraces her and looks up at Christina over Elisa’s shoulder. Then he pulls back to look at Elisa again.
Elisa: “Hmm!” Elisa sniffles and she pouts, looking between her uncle Richard and her cameo lady Christina. Then she leans in to Christina who caringly rubs her back. Richard stands up.
Christina: “Richard, boys, may we please go back to the main house now?” Christina looks at Richard pleadingly, hoping that telepathy existed so that she could tell him what’s wrong, without Elisa’s brother’s finding out.
Will & Daniel: “Oh man! We wanted one more sled ride!” They complain.
Christina looks pointedly at Richard without saying anything. Then Richard agrees, trusting that Christina knows what she is doing.
Richard: “Boys, Miss Gilcrist is our guest. So let’s abide by her request and go back to the house now. We’ll go sledding again tomorrow. ” Richard adds that peace offering of more sledding as an enticement and his nephews acquiesce.
So as the boys are dousing the fires, Christina pulls Richard aside and briefly tells him what is going on with Elisa. He nods knowingly. Then at Christina’s suggestion, he calls his sister on his mobile to say that they are coming back early–and why–so that Edie will know that she has some daughter pampering to do.
After heading home and returning the snow mobiles and sleds to the barn, the tired group of adults and children–with a still teary eyed Elisa–walk back to the main house around 4:00pm. However, Christina has a thought and dashes to her nearby car and gets a sack out of the glove compartment before rejoining them.
As Richard and Christina and Elisa and the boys walk into Ravenwood Manor, Elisa runs to her mother Edie waiting for her and she starts sobbing again. Richard quickly takes the boys into the large family living room where they were earlier to give Elisa her privacy. Christina lingers in the foyer with Edie, Elise, and Elisa.
Elisa: “I was so scared, Mommy! I thought I was dying!” Elisa’s tears fall unabated.
Christina: “Edie, I explained a bit to Elisa, so she wouldn’t be afraid. But it was still a shock for her. So maybe Elisa should lie down and rest a bit before dinner.”
Edie: “Thank you for your kindness, Christina.” Edie gratefully smiles at Christina.
Elise: Hugging Christina, Elise smiles warmly at her. “Yes, Thank you, Christina. We’re glad that you were with Elisa, to comfort her.” Christina smiles and nods.
Then Christina remembers what she has in her hand–the bag from her car.
Christina: “Oh! And I remembered that I had these in the glove compartment of my car, just in case.” Then she leans in to Elise and Edie. “They’re the lightweight oval pads. I wasn’t sure if you would have any supplies for Elisa. So I thought you might need these until you can go to the store.”
Edie: “Thank you! That is so thoughtful of you, Christina. These will come in handy.” Edie smiles gratefully at Christina. Because, the 51 year old Edie and the 65 year old Elise do not use such supplies anymore.
Then Edie starts to guide her daughter Elisa upstairs to calm her down some more. But first, Elisa breaks away and runs back to Christina and hugs her around her waist.
Elisa: “Thank you, Christina.” Elisa sniffles.
Christina hugs Elisa back and then kneels in front of her.
Christina: “Awww! You’re very welcome, Elisa Sweetheart. You’ll be alright. And your Mommy and Grandmama will help you feel even better.”
Elisa hugs Christina back one last time, then she runs back to her Mommy Edie and they walk upstairs. Christina stands up again.
Elise: “Christina, I hope that you and your father will also join us for dinner tonight. We’re just roasting hot dogs and marshmellows for somemores in the fireplace since it’s too cold to do it outside. But you’ll be very welcome. And then we’re taking a sleigh ride with the horses.”
Christina: “Thank you, that’s very kind of you. That sounds lovely. But let me go ask my father how he is feeling and I will let you know when you come back down.”
The two women nod and Elise walks up the stairs to be with her granddaughter.
When Christina walks into the Thorne’s large family living room again, she finds her father in an energetic discussion with Count Victor at one end of the room and Frederick and his sons and Richard playing pool at the other end of the room. Richard instantly walks over to Christina and leans in to her–absentmindedly putting his arm around her waist as he does so.
Richard: “How is Elisa doing?”
Christina: “She’s still a little weepy. It was very scary for her–as you can imagine. But she’ll be alright.”
Richard: “Thank you!” Richard sighs gratefully. “I’m so glad you were with us.”
Christina: “I’m glad that I could help.” Christina smiles warmly at him. “Your mother invited Daddy and I to stay for the hot dog roast and sleigh ride. But I need to check and see if Daddy feels up to it.”
Richard: “Sure. Go ask him, then come back and let me know.”
Christina nods, then walks over to her father chatting with Count Victor.
Christina: “Daddy, Count Renaldi.” She greets them.
Count Renaldi: “Miss Gilcrist, did you know that your father is a very famous man?”
Prof. Gilcrist smiles pridefully.
Christina: “Well, Daddy is famous to me. And he was very well respected at the university.” Christina looks at her father quizzically.
Prof. Gilcrist: “It seems that Count Renaldi is descended from the Borgias.”
Count Renaldi: “The good Borgias, not the murdering ones.” The Count interjects.
Christina: “Oh?” And she stifles herself from saying I didn’t realize that there were any good Borgias.
Prof. Gilcrist: “And it seems that the Count has read my book!” Prof. Gilcrist says in amazement. For of the initial printing of 1,000 copies–that Prof. Gilcrist paid for himself–only 200 copies were ever sold that he was aware of.
Count Renaldi: “Yes, very intriguing suppositions about the rise of commerce as it impacted shifting social strata.”
Christina smiles cordially, but she doesn’t know what he just said. Count Renaldi is speaking like her father did at university.
Prof. Gilcrist: “Chrissy dear, that means that as people prospered, their social standing became elevated and they also had greater access to education and political alliances.”
Christina: “Oh! And you have read Daddy’s book?”
Count Renaldi: “Yes! It is wonderful! I am hoping that I can convince your father to be a guest lecturer at our local university for a month. My family is a sponsor. And our students would so benefit from learning about the past and how understanding it has relevance for modern times.”
Prof. Gilcrist: “Well, I said that I would think about it. I don’t like the idea of leaving Chrissy all alone.” Prof. Gilcrist smiles in satisfaction for at least being invited to be a visiting scholar.
Christina: “Oh Daddy, don’t worry about me. You should go.”
Having waited for Christina to return to him–and she didn’t–Richard walks over to stand next to Christina and asks curiously.
Richard: “Go where?”
Count Renaldi: “Ah Richard. I have invited Prof. Gilcrist to be a guest scholar and lecturer for a month at our university in Italy. He is considering it.” Then the Count turns to Prof. Gilcrist again. “And I want to assure you that you will be taken care of. You will be afforded appropriate accommodations in the guest lodgings at the University–or at a hotel, whichever is your preference. And we will cover your transportation and other living expenses. And in addition, we will pay you a stipend of uhhh…” He mentally calculates the currency conversion in his head. “uh $2,000 per week!” He ends with a flourish.
Christina’s eyes widen in delight. Not for her father potentially earning money–though that is nice–but that someone values her father’s expertise so highly.
Percy: “A stipend is not necessary.” He demures.
Count Renaldi: “Oh, but it is! We value education and expertise such as yours. And we set the precedent for our students by appropriately compensating you for that. And if I may be so bold, it would be a special honor for us to work with you in translating your book into Italian–with the appropriate royalties and such accorded to you with that level of academic project.”
Christina bursts into tears at such praise for her father as she leans down and hugs him.
Christina: “Oh Daddy! I’m so proud of you!”
Percy: Patting her arm caringly, Prof. Gilcrist soothes. “Thank you, Chrissy Dear. I will think about it, Count Renaldi.”
Richard: “And Prof. Gilcrist, Sir, if you’re worried about Christina being alone while you’re in Italy, I’m certain that she could stay with my sister or mother in town. They always have a spare bedroom.”
Christina turns to look at Richard and smiles gratefully at him.
Percy: “Thank you, My Boy. That would ease my mind.”
Count Renaldi: “Excellent, excellent! We will discuss details more over dinner tonight and the weekend.”
Then just as everything seems to be positive and hopeful–and going Richard’s way in improving his relationship with Christina–the other shoe drops. They hear shouting in the foyer hallway and then an angry older man in his sixties bursts into the room.
Sayer: “You! Thorne! You snake!” He points at Richard, looking like he will lunge at him at any moment.
All the men and boys in the room stand up quickly and gravitate to Richard’s side. Christina and her father stand off to one side, horrified by what is unfolding in front of their eyes.
Mr. Gant: The butler apologizes profusely. “I’m sorry Mr. Thorne, Sir. But I could not keep this man from disturbing you He pushed me aside. Should I call for the police?”
Richard: “It’s alright Mr. Gant. I know who this gentleman is.” Richard assures his butler. Then he turns to their intruder. “Mr. Sayer, would you like to come to my study and we can discuss whatever is upsetting you in private?” Richard is at a loss as to why Sayer would be upset. But he would like to diffuse the situation as best as he can.
Sayer: “Upset? You think I’m upset? You plan to steal our company out from under us and you don’t think I would be upset?”
Richard and his brother-in-law Frederick quickly share confused looks. Then Frederick leaves the room and heads to his wife and daughter.
Richard: “Mr. Sayer, I am not planning to steal your company!” Richard’s hands jut out in protest.
Sayer: “Then what do call your buying 45% of the non family held shares of Sayer & Sayer Health Inc?”
Sayer accuses as he circles around Richard. And Richard moves away to prevent a physical altercation. Because frankly, Richard is in much better shape than the older man–and Richard could probably deck him with one blow. But Richard doesn’t want it to come to that.
Richard: “I am investing in your company.” Richard counters calmly.
Sayer: “Investing? Then why buy up so much stock that gives you a controlling interest?” He spits out.
Richard: “Please, Mr. Sayer, I explained all of this in the draft proposal that I had couriered over to your offices Christmas Eve day.”
Sayer: “Well, I didn’t receive anything! So you better start explaining yourself to me now!” Sayer’s face is red and blotchy and he does not look well at all.
Richard: “Of course, I will tell you. I apologize if my proposal to you has not been received. I can see how you might misinterpret my actions. And I am very sorry to have caused you any worry. But first, please sit down. You do not look well. Mr. Gant, please get Mr. Sayer some water.” The butler nods and leaves to do that.
Christina comes forward. She is accustomed to dealing with difficult people at Barnette’s Chicago.
Christina: “Mr. Sayer? I’m Christina Gilcrist. Remember? You were at my cousin Susie’s wedding three weeks ago. I was her Maid of Honor. I met you in the receiving line–the really long receiving line.” She smiles sweetly and the dimples in her cheeks show.
Sayer: “Oh! Yes.” He acknowledges her suspiciously. But her respectful manner calms him down and he follows her suggestions.
Christina: “May I take your overcoat, Sir?” Christina guides Mr. Sayer to a chair, takes his coat for him and folds it over a couch back, then he sits down in the chair. Then she loosens his tie for him. “There now, that’s better.”
Mr. Gant: “Madam.” He holds the glass with water in it on a silver tray to Christina.
Christina: “Ah, and here is Mr. Gant with your water. Thank you, Mr. Gant.” She hands the glass to Mr. Sayer, but he is still shaking too much from his outburst that he can’t reach his mouth. So Christina gently takes the glass from him and guides it to his lips. Then she soothingly rests her hand upon his shoulders. “Mr. Sayer, is there someone we should call for you?”
Sayer: Sayer shakes his head no. “No. My children and grandchildren have all left for their in-laws’ Christmases.”
Richard walks over closer to Mr. Sayer and sits down in an adjoining chair.
Richard: “Mr. Sayer, Please let me say again that I am so sorry that you have misunderstood my intentions. I wish to invest in your company and help it to expand. I don’t wish to take it over. Your new drug for arthritis sufferers is life changing for them. But you have used up all of your capital in R&D and the banks won’t loan you more for expansion of your factories and distribution so that arthritis sufferers can get the medicine they need. That’s where I and Thorne Medical Inc. come in. My draft proposal, that you haven’t read, contains a plan to invest up to 100 million dollars additionally in your company to expand your factories to increase capacity, and also to realign your distribution network to be more efficient and time sensitive.”
Sayer: “Is this real, or are you just telling me this because your family is here and you don’t want to look bad in front of them?”
Richard: “This is real, Mr. Sayer.” Richard says earnestly. Richard is an honest man, an honorable man. And he resolves to make this misunderstanding right.
Having come quietly into the room, Edith Thorne Burke [(8) right] speaks up for her brother, Richard. Her mother Elise, her daughter Elisa, and her husband Frederick are also standing behind her.
Edie: “It’s because of me, Mr. Sayer. I’m Richard’s sister, Edith Thorne Burke. We met at last year’s Arthritis Foundation Gala where you mentioned to me about your new drug that had just completed clinical trials.”
Sayer: “Oh yes. And you have arthritis, quite severely if I recall correctly.”
Edie: “Yes. Well, I tried your new drug and it changed my life! It isn’t a cure. But I have so many more good days now than I ever did before. But two months ago, my pharmacist couldn’t get a refill for me. He said that the factories were back ordered.”
Sayer: “Yes. We have a good drug. But we can’t keep up with the demand.” He shakes his head forlornly
Edie: “I know.” She nods. That’s when I told my brother Richard about your company and your wonderful new drug. He thought that maybe he and Thorne Medical Inc. could help.”
Richard: “Sir, as it happens, we have a pharmaceutical factory that TMI was going to shutter due to our newer factories meeting all of our needs at present. But I didn’t want to have to do that because people would lose their jobs. It would only take a bit of retooling–maybe 5 million dollars–to bring it on line to be a second factory producing your arthritis drug so that people like my sister Edie can get the medicine they need when they need it.”
Sayer: “You’re in earnest, Thorne?” Sayer asks Richard incredulously.
Richard: “I am, Sir. Please, come with me to my study, and you will see. I was working all morning on fine tuning my more detailed proposal to you. But of course, you and your family are the experts on your drug. So we will need to work together to make it all work in the coming weeks.”
Sayer: “Alright.” A much more calmed down Mr. Sayer stands and follows Richard to his study. Frederick joins them.
Everyone in the living room is a little shell shocked after this turn of events. Prof. Gilcrist walks over to his daughter.
Prof. Gilcrist: “Chrissy Dear, that was a good thing you did there, helping Richard calm down that man.”
Christina: “Oh Daddy! I don’t know if I helped all that much. It’s just that Mr. Sayer looked like he was going to have a heart attack.”
Edie: “Yes, thank you again, Christina. It seems we owe you much today for your interventions.” Edie smiles knowingly.
After about 30 minutes, Richard, Frederick and Mr. Sayer return to the living room–they are talking cordially with each other after going over some details and planning to have a work meeting next week before the New Years holiday.
And with the grandchildren getting hungry, Elise had allowed them to start roasting their hot dogs over the fireplace for dinner. She walks over to greet Mr. Sayer.
Elise: “Mr. Sayer. Or may I call you Rupert. I’m Elise Thorne, Richard’s mother.”
Sayer: “Rupert is, fine Mrs. Thorne.”
Elise: “Please call me Elise. Our two families are going to be working together to help arthritis sufferers like my daughter Edie. So we should be on a first name basis. Don’t you think? Will you join us for dinner? We’re just roasting hot dogs–the grandchildren like it, you know.” She leans forward conspiratorially.
Sayer: Marveling at the doyenne of the Thorne family roasting hot dogs, Mr. Sayer demures. “I think I have disturbed your family gathering enough today.” He blanches sheepishly. “I will just drive back to the city and make it an early night.”
Elise: “Nonsense!” That must be Elise Thorne’s favorite word. “You have not disturbed anything. We’re glad to have cleared the air. Aren’t we, Richard?”
Richard: “Yes Mother and Mr. Sayer, very glad.” Richard sighs relievedly while standing next to Christina, who then clasps his hand in hers in support. They turn and look at each other and smile.
Elise: “And Rupert, it’s really too late for you to drive all that way back to town. You must stay overnight as our guest, then head back to the city in the morning when you’re feeling refreshed.” Then without waiting for Mr. Sayer to agree, she turns to her daughter. “Edie, please ask Mr. Gant to see that the housekeeper makes up a guest room for Mr. Sayer.”
Edie: “Gladly, Mother.” Edie goes to do that.
Sayer: “But I …” Mr. Sayer, starts to protest.
Interrupting him, a ten year old Elisa Burke–her now feeling much better–walks over to Mr. Sayer and clasps his hand in hers. She has gotten used to seeing all of the elderly gentlemen visiting them today. So he is just one more.
Elisa: “Welcome, Mr. Sayer. I’m Elisa Burke. Thank you for making my Mommy feel better. The boys and I are making hot dogs for dinner. Come see.” And with that, Elisa gives a little tug and Mr. Sayer follows after her, since he is missing being with his own grandchildren today.
After a yummy kid and kid at heart dinner of hot dogs and marshmellows for somemores roasted over the fireplace, the Thorne’s, Burkes, Gilcrist’s, Sayer, and Renaldi troop outside for a moonlit sleigh ride in the two sleighs. Frederick and Edie are sitting up front driving one carriage with their three children and Mr. Sayer riding in the open carriage. Then Richard and Christina are sitting up front in the other sleigh with her father and Elise and Count Renaldi sitting behind. So again, they are not alone and Richard has to be on his best behavior.
But Richard and Christina sitting in the driver’s seat means that they can at least have a private conversation as they snuggle up from the cold. After driving his team of two horses for about ten minutes–with everyone enjoying the stars on the clear night and the glistening snow, Richard asks in concern after Christina shivers next to him.
Richard: “Are you warm enough, Christina?”
Christina: “I’ll do–considering we’re intentionally riding out in the Wintery cold night air. Ha ha ha!” She laughs facetiously and rubs her glove covered hands together, then she adjusts the large heavy blanket that is over her and Richard’s legs.
Richard: “You know, Mother asked me to order her some battery operated warming gloves for Christmas.”
Christina: “And?” Her eyebrows perk up.
Richard: “Ha! They’re due to arrive tomorrow. I’m sure she would loan them to you.”
Christina: “Then maybe we should have taken our sleigh ride tomorrow.” She pouts cutely, but smiles at him.
Richard: Putting his arm around Christina, Richard smiles. “Just snuggle in close. We’ll keep each other warm.”
Prof. Gilcrist: “Hey Richard, my boy! No getting fresh with my daughter young man.”
Richard: Looking over his shoulder, Richard sighs. “Yes sir. Sorry Sir. We’re just trying to keep warm.”
Prof. Gilcrist: “Then we should all go back to the house.” Christina’s father grouses.
Richard: Then Richard turns to Christina and sighs. “We haven’t had any time alone to ourselves today.”
Christina: “Oh? Well, It has been a pretty busy day.” He nods. Then it occurs to her. “Did you want time alone with me?”
Richard: “Well, I do, if you do.” Richard admits shyly. He is still not entirely certain if she might consider liking him more than as a friend. But at least their friendship is an improvement.
Christina: “Hmmm.” Christina thinks for a minute. She has been so wrong about Richard Thorne. He may be a billionaire entrepreneur, but he is a good man, too.
Thinking that Christina’s delay in responding to him implies that he put her on the spot, Richard back pedals.
Richard: “Never mind, forget what I said.” He closes his eyes briefly and mentally chastises himself for thinking that she might be developing feelings for him.
Christina: “Richard, please stop the carriage.”
Richard: He stops the carriage. “Why?” Then he worries. “You can’t get out here. We’re too far away from the house. Let me drive you back, at least.” He thinks that he’s really blown it with Christina.
Christina: Turning toward Richard and pulling on his lapels to bring a startled Richard closer to her face. “Remember now Richard, talking gets you into trouble.” Christina smiles and leans in to kiss Richard.
Percy: “Hey!” Prof. Gilcrist gesticulates toward his daughter and Richard Thorne about to kiss. While Elise Thorne simply smiles.
Christina: Without turning to look at her father, Christina says. “Daddy, just look away.”
Then Christina Gilcrist leans forward and kisses Richard Thorne on his mouth–being careful to stay away from his stitches on his lip. She puts her arms around his neck and Richard brings his arms around her waist as they deepen their kissing–but not with tongues since their parents are nearby. Although Prof. Gilcrist also has his hand over his eyes to further shield him from seeing his little girl kissing. After a few moments, the freezing occupants of their sleigh carriage revolt and break up Richard’s and Christina’s kissing.
But when they get back to the barn and after Christina helps Richard put away the horses and sleigh, he pulls her into an empty stall and he really kisses her like he wanted to earlier–still having to be careful about the painful stitches on his lip. They tumble to the ground and lie on a blanket of fresh hay and mold themselves to each other as they kiss each other with loving abandon. Or as much as two people dressed in head to toe puffy outdoor ski gear can mold themselves to each other. But even the partially heated barn stall location becomes too cold for them–despite the heat they feel for each other. So they stand up and Richard helps Christina brush off the hay from her body and they walk back toward the house, since Christina and her father still have to drive home tonight.
Richard: Squeezing Christina’s hand in his, Richard asks. “What are you doing tomorrow?”
Christina: Turning toward Richard and kissing him again, Christina then asks him. “You tell me?”
They both smile. One more sweetly tender good night kiss, then Richard and Christina part on this Friday night. But the weekend will belong to them.
To be continued with Chapter 7
“A Magnificent Love”, Ch. 6 References for Wattpad, December 28, 2014, Gratiana Lovelace (Post #681)
1) The “A Magnificent Love” story cover by Gratiana Lovelace is a composite of images I capped from the video “The Hobbit Star Richard Armitage: Exclusive Interview on The Hobbit” by Glamour UK found at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QAfBKuDo5sg :
a) the cropped background of Richard Armitage on street for Glamour UK 2013 Photo Shoot Dec1714 Bright Box Productions; and
b)the masked image of Richard Armitage on street for Glamour UK 2013 Photo Shoot Dec1714 Bright Box Productions.
2) Count Victor Renaldi image is of actor Franco Nero found at http://media.melty.fr/franco-nero-image-509039-article-ajust_930.jpg
3) Elise Thorne image is the timelessly beautiful Sigourney Weaver found at http://www.defanafan.com at http://2.bp.blogspot.com/-9KcaU5pB1V0/TnR_-AJBudI/AAAAAAAAEeY/abUx4xscbL4/s1600/Sigourney-Weaver-450×450.jpg
4) Image of Richard Thorne poring over business papers is Richard Armitage as John Porter in 2010’s StrikeBack1, epi 3, pix 9 found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/ep3_009.jpg
5) Image of Richard Thorne looking up to see who has entered his study is Richard Armitage as John Porter in 2010’s StrikeBack1, epi 3, pix 8 found at http://www.richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/StrikeBack/album/series1/Episode3/ep3_008.jpg
6) Christina Gilcrist image in a thin sweater is Hayley Atwell found at Pinterest at http://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/d4/10/7c/d4107cd5c730c705bfa1eea347c793d6.jpg
7) Prof. Percy Gilcrist napping is an image of actor Harrison Ford blinking found at http://www.nationalenquirer.com/sites/nationalenquirer.com/files/imagecache/node_page_image/article_images/ford_story.jpg; and a crop of an MS Office Clip art wing chair
8) Edith Edie Thorne Burke is actress Jennifer Jason Leigh in 2011 found at http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/DBtCca1_uJx/Book+Mormon+Broadway+Opening+Night+Arrivals/hIUOS7kJz26/Jennifer+Jason+Leigh