(“Somerset: A Time to Love” is an original contemporary romance copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2017; All rights reserved) [(1) story cover, left]
Author’s Dramatic Content Note: I write romantic love stories for adults, aged 18 and older. So most of the chapters will be PG-13 due to mature themes (M), or dramatic moments (D). And some of the chapters have romantic and sensual, but not explicit, love scenes that I will label as (L). So if you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with the ratings that I provide, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer.
Additional Disclaimer: The Wiki and other reference links that I cite contain general information merely to allude to a place, person, concept/theory/belief, history, or artifact, etc. This story is a work of fiction, and people and their thoughts and actions are figments of my imagination and should not be taken as real or as fact. And though the general backgrounds of the characters and the story’s contextual setting involve mentions of the Christian religion—with an Anglican/Episcopal focus—this story is a romance, not a religious tract.
[And from time to time, I will illustrate my story with my dream cast of: Richard Armitage as Prof. Benedict Somerset, Jennifer Ehle as Laura Leicester, Loretta Devine as Connie Velasquez, John Lithgow as Seminary President Maynard Casten, and Jane Alexander as his wife Portia Casten, and others as noted.]
Author’s recap from the previous chapter: After Benedict and Laura enjoyed attending his seminary’s Spring Fling dinner dance and graduation awards event on Friday April 19th, they became engaged at her apartment after he took her home. Their loving night is just beginning.
“Somerset: A Time to Love”, Ch. 13 (PG-13, L):
“Love me, that’s all I ask of you”
After Benedict’s seminary’s Spring Fling dinner dance and after he and Laura have shared a night cap in her apartment. And after, they lovingly became engaged to be married. Laura and Benedict are still wrapped in each other’s loving arms kissing each other tenderly–after becoming engaged in her apartment–when Laura’s fireplace mantel clock chimes the time. It is now 11 o’clock in the evening, the Friday night of April 19th. The clock chimes seem to emphasize that it is time for bed. But the question is, will Laura and Benedict sleep either separately, or together?
But Benedict is still a bit hesitant as to whether or not he and Laura will make love tonight–due to his ministerial comportment personal restraint, and due to his nervousness since it has been fifteen years since he has made love. That is, Benedict thinks, if Laura wants to make love with him tonight–afterall, they’ve only just become engaged—about ten minutes ago.
And perhaps, Bendict wonders if Laura might wish to wait until they are married. He will honor whatever his future wife wishes, despite how much he desires to make her his, in his bed. Yet to Benedict, Laura’s tender kisses do not hint at waiting.
And unbeknownst to each other, they have each purchased condoms this week and have them with them–in Laura’s en suite bathroom cabinet drawer and in Benedict’s inside and buttoned jacket pocket. One wouldn’t want a condom to fall out when reaching down to pick up one’s dinner napkin, etc. Could be awkward, that. So Benedict made sure to secure it in his inner buttoned suit vest pocket.
Actually, Benedict feels quite brazen and bold to have presumed that his and Laura’s relationship might progress to lovemaking tonight and he blushes. Laura blushes, too, because she is thinking exactly the same thing as Benedict. For two early to mid forty something adults–albeit chaste adults, at the moment–they are very sweetly innocent with each other.
Benedict: “I guess, it’s getting late.” Benedict says hesitantly while gazing at Laura longingly and lovingly as he caresses her face.
Laura: “Yes, it is.”
Laura smiles sweetly at Benedict as she takes his hand and they walk around the couch to her nearby kitchen table where Benedict’s suit coat is hanging over a chair. Laura picks up his silk tie and strokes its softness on her cheek as she tilts her head and closes her eyes. Benedict watches Laura intently, mesmerized by her sweetness. Laura picks up Benedict’s suit coat–and Benedict thinks disappointedly that she’s going to hold it open for him to put on, before he goes home for the night. Then Laura lifts Benedict’s already folded in half lengthways suit coat and lays it over her arm and she smiles up at him.
Benedict: “Hmmmm.” Benedict smiles impishly. “So Laura, I guess our evening is not quite at an end tonight?” Benedict’s sparkling eyes dance merrily in anticipation of making love with his beautiful Laura, his beautiful fiancé and future wife.
Laura: “That is entirely up to you, Benedict.” Laura smiles longingly, lovingly, and desirously at Benedict.
Taking his cue–as Laura means it to be–Benedict sweeps Laura up into his arms and he kisses her adoringly as he carries her into her bedroom and he gently sets her feet down on the floor. Then he takes his suit coat and tie from her arms and sets them on a nearby chair. Laura also removes her gown’s lacy jacket, revealing more of her bare shoulders and arms. Benedict takes Laura’s hands in his.
Benedict: “Laura, I want us to share our love with each other tonight so much.” Benedict says lovingly as he kisses Laura as they embrace tenderly. Then, his nervousness takes over. “But Laura, I have to be honest with you. I … I haven’t made love—let alone done anything remotely sexual–for more than fifteen years, since before my ordination.” He says hinting at him not even giving in to his body’s needs before now. Benedict exercised vigorously everyday by running or biking or even lifting weights–as evidenced by his muscular and toned physique. “Laura, I’m not sure what will happen with my body.” Benedict says truthfully as he gazes lovingly and uncertainly into his Laura’s eyes.
Laura: “Well Benedict, I also haven’t made love for a very long time–for over five years in my case. So, that makes two of us.” They smile sweetly at each other. Then Laura hugs Benedict lovingly, her head nestling into his chest as his arms enfold her. He strokes her back. Then, not looking up at him, she says shyly. “Benedict, you are only the second man that I’ve ever even kissed, let alone …” Laura’s words trail off, letting Benedict know intuitively that he will be only her second lover. And hopefully her last and forever lover in Laura’s mind and heart. Then Laura sweetly gazes up at Benedict and she sees the tenderness in his eyes for her. “Benedict, whether we make love tonight–or we just make out and sleep cuddling in each other’s arms–let tonight be our beginning as lovers and soul mates forever. Benedict, I love you with all of my heart.”
Benedict: “And I love you with all of my heart, Laura.”
Benedict and Laura kiss each other sweetly, tenderly, adoringly, and then passionately—opening their lips and their hearts to an abundant joy in feeling one with each other, their breaths comingling. The heady dance of their tongues, touching tentatively, then stroking and tangling further heightens their desire for each other this night.
Then, Benedict releases Laura’s lips—to a slight whimper of disappointment. But then Benedict kisses Laura’s neck and her shoulders and she sighs approvingly at his slow and tender touch. And he realizes that the spaghetti strap sleeves of her gown–now that she has removed her gown’s lacy jacket–do not cover any bra straps. Wondering if Laura isn’t wearing a bra underneath her dress excites Benedict even more and Laura can feel his arousal growing through the soft fabric of his dress trousers as their bodies mold themselves to each other. And Benedict thinks gratefully that at least something is working as his body prepares to make love with his future wife, Laura.
As Benedict’s arms go around Laura’s waist–and her arms go around his shoulders–Benedict feels the lacy fabric at the back of Laura’s gown’s bodice, but no zipper or other closure method. Hmmm, Benedict wonders where her gown’s zipper is. Her bodice expertly molds to her womanly curvy form. So he does not think that she could have merely put her dress on over her head—it would have needed to stretch a great deal. And without her lacy jacket on, Benedict appreciates even more, Laura’s womanly curvy loveliness.
Meanwhile, Laura begins to unbutton Benedict’s dress shirt–kissing his muscular and sparsely hairy chest as it is revealed to her. Benedict sighs with Laura kissing him there, where his chest is now bared to her. And he thinks that she is having a much easier time of removing his clothing, than he is having of doing the same for her.
Benedict’s mouth quirks upward in smouldering passion. Though the secret of Laura’s seemingly missing gown closure, puzzles him and he furrows his brow for a moment. And Laura smiles, sensing what Benedict might be looking for. And she leans back from him a bit to smile sweetly at him. Then she resolves his quandry in a hushed whisper, though there are none to hear their private words.
Laura: “Benedict, ladies’ gowns sometimes have hidden closures–such as a side zipper.”
Benedict: “Hmmm.” Benedict purrs in grateful understanding. Afterall, a bloke needs a little help now and then.
As Laura slightly raises her left arm, Benedict moves his right hand to her left side. Feeling the top of her gown’s arm hole and tantalizingly brushing the soft skin of her chest under her armpit, Benedict lingers there a moment. In the next few seconds, he will begin a new life with this lady by his side—and become her loving husband, as she will become his loving wife. Hallelujah!
Also feeling at the juncture of a wonderful turning point in her own life, Laura stays Benedict’s actions.
Laura: “Wait!” She smiles, he looks at her quizzically. “Let me put on some music.”
Benedict nods to her, acquiescing for Laura’s desire to create a romantic atmosphere. And Benedict grimaces for being so romantically rusty as to not think to do that. If he had given her roses on her wrist corsage, he could have strewn the petals about her bed. But the wrist corsage flowers are smaller—so as not to impede her using her hands.
Laura quickly returns to him and the strains of a familiar musical’s love song plays softly in the background. The haltingly sung strains of “All I ask” from “Phantom of the Opera” sung by Josh Groban and Kelly Clarkson in concert [(2) video] lushly romanticize the feelings and hopes of two lovers—two lovers not unlike Benedict and Laura.
“Say you love me every waking moment,
Turn my head with talk of summertime.
Promise me that all you say is true,
That’s all I ask of you. …”
Benedict: “Every waking moment, and in my sleeping dreams, you possess my soul and my heart, Laura Darling. And I will cherish you and love you to the end of my days. Benedict caresses Laura cheek and sees tears shining in her eyes. “What’s this?” He asks in concern.
Laura: “I feel so lucky that we found each other—and that you want me, that you love me. Until you, I had resigned myself to a loveless life.
Benedict: Benedict kisses her tears away as he gently holds her head in his hands. “You deserve love and tenderness all the days of your life. You shall never want for love again, My Darling Laura.”
Laura: “As you are my dream of happiness, and I will love you every waking moment.”
Then Benedict takes Laura into his arms again, and they kiss as he slowly lowers her gown’s side zipper—taking care not to get the lacy fabric stuck or torn. Both Benedict and Laura are breathing deeply. When the zipper reaches its end—creating an opening in Laura’s gown as it loosens around her bodice–Benedict’s hand slides inside Laura’s gown at the back and he feels both the soft skin of her shoulder blades and what is probably a strapless bra that she is wearing beneath them. There is more of Laura to unwrap for Benedict—and as with most gifts, the anticipation is part of the fun. Benedict is in no hurry this evening.
Benedict: “Laura Darling!” Benedict sighs and kisses her adoringly as he caresses her now bare back.
Laura: “Benedict, my love!” Laura sighs with his intimate caresses.
Then, they slowly unentangle themselves from each other and they bemusedly each take one step back from each other. As mature adults, Benedict and Laura are well aware of the subtle joy in savoring every moment of their tenderness toward each other. As well as them knowing the practical importance of not tossing expensive and delicate fabric clothing to the floor in a heap—as lusty teenagers might do.
Benedict removes his dress shirt and lays it on the nearby chair with his jacket. And Benedict notes that Laura’s eyes sparkle with appreciation for his muscular chest, arms and shoulders. Then Laura slowly slides her lined black tea length gown down her body under Benedict’s loving and appreciative gaze. After hanging up her dress on a nearby hanger and hook on her bedroom closet door, Laura blushing stands revealed to Benedict in her black satin and lace strapless bra over her full round breasts and matching hip hugging black satin and lace panties that only just cover her belly button for modesty–that she bought especially to wear tonight–and she is still wearing her black high heeled dress shoes and her engagement ring from Benedict.
Slipping off his own shoes and then unbuckling his trousers, Benedict’s breathing and voice become deeper as he lustfully and lovingly gazes at Laura.
Benedict: “Laura, I’m sure that you are the most beautiful future minister’s wife that anyone has ever seen.” Benedict slides his trousers off of his legs and lays them on the nearby chair and he is now standing before his love Laura in just his briefs and his dress knee socks. Laura smiles lovingly at Benedict—her trying hard not to giggle at him due to his knee socks. She doesn’t want to break the romantic mood they have going for them. And of course, Benedict’s appreciation for Laura’s beauty is very apparent with him wearing his stretch long legged jockey for men underpants.
Laura: “And Benedict, you are way more handsome as a future minister husband than anyone could ever imagine.” Even with him wearing his knee socks, she thinks bemusedly. Then all traces of a giggle trying to erupt have been replaced by Laura’s love and desire for Benedict.
Benedict and Laura embrace again, their bodies molding themselves so closely to each other as they kiss and caress each other passionately—finally feeling their skin against each other—such that not even a whisper could pass between them. But, they each need to visit the bathroom and Benedict needs to put on a condom.
Laura: “Benedict, I hope you have …” She starts to say, then stops. Laura again, wanting Benedict to make the first move.
Benedict: “I do.” Benedict sighs huskily, knowing that she is alluding to a condom. Though each of them are healthy and have not had sexual relations for a combined total of twenty years, they are mature responsible adults. And they know that a person can be symptom free, but still have been exposed to an illness that can also be sexually transmitted. And neither Benedict nor Laura will risk each other’s lives by being careless and not using a condom when they love each other this night.
Laura: “Let me visit my bathroom first, then you can go in there.” Benedict nods and gives Laura a quick kiss. Then Laura visits her bathroom and brushes her teeth and such. She also brushes her hair out a bit as her soft curls cascade over her bare shoulders. Then she walks back into her bedroom. “Benedict, there’s a bath towel on the bathroom counter for you.” She smiles, thinking of his comfort in a wifely way.
Benedict: Benedict kisses Laura tenderly. “I’ll be right back.” Benedict goes into Laura’s bathroom, brushes his teeth and such, removes his briefs and socks, and he puts the condom he brought with him on himself. Safety always. Then Benedict wraps the bath towel that Laura had left on the counter for him around his abdomen. Then Benedict walks back into Laura’s bedroom. Benedict is awed by Laura’s beauty as the soft glow from a flickering candle gives her face and body an ethereal quality, the relative proximity of them to of her king sized bed, and their soon to be nakedness together. He finally remembers to breathe, then he walks over to her.
Laura: Standing next to her bed in her black satin and lace bra and panties in her dress heels, Laura smiles shyly and coquettishly at Benedict’s muscular nakedness in his towel as she slips out of her heels. “I thought that you might want to remove my bra and panties for me, Benedict.” Yes, she is guiding him a little bit, but she is also conveying her permission for him to take their lovemaking this night to the next level.
Benedict: “Yes, I do.” Benedict smiles longingly at Laura as he strides over to her and he takes Laura in his arms again and they kiss each other adoringly. Then Benedict lifts Laura up into his arms again, makes a quarter turn, and then he lays her gently in the middle of her bed. Then Benedict slides into bed next to Laura and he pulls the covers around them. “Laura, I love you so much!” He sighs.
Laura: “Oh Benedict, I love you so!” She sighs.
Benedict and Laura lay on their sides facing each other and they wrap their bodies and arms and legs together in their loving embraces and passionate kisses and tender caresses. And soon, they are one body and one flesh as their loving communion reaches its hoped for joyful conclusion.
So with Benedict’s and Laura’s loving pleasures being fulfilled, they collapse into each other’s loving arms for several minutes as they lay in their lover’s embrace–their bodies, their hearts, their souls, still intertwined, joined together in the their love and tenderness for each other.
Eventually, Benedict shifts their bodies to their sides facing and embracing each other to relieve Laura’s petite body from feeling his full muscular weight upon her. Then, they speak words of love with each other.
Benedict: “Laura Darling, I’ve never known such happiness and joy as I feel with you. We are so right together my love. I love you so, Laura.” He says kissing her adoringly [(3) below].
For not only was Laura patient with him–and Benedict’s uncertainty about his readiness to love as a man loves a woman after fifteen years of celibacy–she also did not seem to mind the few awkward moments that naturally occur when two people are working out the practical logistical matters of their loving coupling.
Laura: “Oh Benedict, my heart is so filled with love for you. Our lovemaking is so wonderful and beautiful.” She says with tears in her eyes. “I love you so, Benedict.”
Benedict: Embracing Laura tenderly, Benedict kisses her tear stained cheeks and asks her. “What is it Laura my love?”
Laura: Gazing up into Benedict’s eyes, she says gratefully. “Benedict, you make me feel so loved.”
Benedict: “And Laura, make me feel so loved—for me, and not for my ….” Benedict stops himself. Now is not the time to have this discussion with Laura. There will be time enough as they prepare for their wedding to discuss their families and such—especially his family.
Benedict and Laura continue to kiss and cuddle sweetly with each other for some time. Eventually, each of them visits the bathroom in turn. Then they return to their bed to kiss and cuddle, lovingly naked with each other some more before they drift off to sleep in each other’s loving arms.
Benedict falls asleep first—his exertions and using muscles again that had been long dormant, sap his innate strength. And Laura muses that Benedict takes up quite a bit of bed real estate. And not wanting to wake the dear man, she curls her body into his body and falls asleep nestled into his side as his arms come around her.
Benedict and Laura sleep soundly and restfully in each other’s loving arms all night long–cuddled up naked next to their lover, their fiancé. Then around 6:00am on Saturday morning, they awaken, kiss each other sweetly, then each of them visits the bathroom in turn to brush their teeth and such–before returning to kiss and cuddle naked with each other in their bed.
Benedict: “Good morning, Laura Darling.” Benedict kisses Laura adoringly as he wraps his arms around her.
Laura: “Good morning, Benedict my love.” Laura moves her right leg in between Benedict’s legs as she cuddles even closer to him–wanting to make love with him again.
Benedict: “Aahhh!” Benedict’s body sensually responds to Laura’s leg between his legs–because her thigh rubs against his thigh—which excites him all over again. And though Benedict wants to make love with Laura again, he had only brought one condom with him last night.
Laura: “Hmmm.” She purrs. “Benedict, I think we need to celebrate our engagement again.” Laura kisses Benedict’s lips, his neck and his wonderfully muscular chest.
Benedict: “Laura, I would love nothing better than to make love with you again. But we have a problem.”
Laura: “Oh? I can’t imagine what that could be.” She smiles knowingly. Benedict had been a master of restraint and then unleashed coiled power last evening. Laura is still stunned by his loving ministrations.
Benedict: “Aahhh!” He moans in pleasure again. “It’s just that, I only brought one condom with me last night–not really thinking that we would be making love with each other–just hoping.” Benedict winces a bit sheepishly.
Laura: Smiling impishly, she asks. “But, if we have another condom here this morning, you would want to make love with me again, Benedict?”
Benedict: “Absolutely!” Benedict says emphatically, wanting to dispel any notions Laura might have that he doesn’t desire her right now. Because, of course, Benedict desperately wants to make love with Laura again.
Laura: “I’ll be right back.” And Laura hops off her bed–holding her arms in front of her full round breasts, out of modesty as well as to support them. Benedict lovingly watches Laura’s round backside and her womanly curvy hips gracefully walk away from him as she dashes into the bathroom. Laura grabs three condoms in the bathroom drawer from the box that she had bought this week and brings them with her to the bedroom. “Will one of these work?” Laura blushes as she asks Benedict impishly as she slides into bed next to him.
Benedict: “Oh, so you do have condoms?” He asks cheekily as she hands him the condoms with varying size labels on them.
Laura thinks, who knew that condoms were sized? But it makes sense, she ponders–for comfort and for proper fit. And to give Benedict his privacy, Laura does not peek to see which condom he selects.
Laura: She blushes again. “Well, I bought them last week, also hoping that our relationship was becoming more serious.” She says opening the nightstand drawer for him to place the two rejected condoms.
Benedict: “Hmmm.” Benedict growls huskily. “Come here my Darling Laura.” Even though Laura is only a few inches away from him, that is still too great a distance for adoring lovers.
Benedict wraps his arms around Laura as they embrace each other laying on their sides facing each other. Their arms, and legs, and bodies, and lips kiss and caress each other with loving abandon–even more so than last night, if that’s possible. It seems that Benedict’s and Laura’s initial shyness from their first lovemaking last night has given way to their loving passions this morning as they give and receive pleasures to and from each other adoringly.
Benedict starts to slowly roll Laura onto her back again, but she gently pushes his muscular chest back and he lays down and Laura rolls on top of him. Benedict is now even more sensually excited than he could ever imagine–almost to the point of bursting–as he kisses and caresses Laura’s loveliness as her body lays on top of his body, molding her soft curves to his strong muscles.
Benedict’s and Laura’s bodies move into loving harmony with each other as their pleasures deepen and intensify. Benedict is every inch the tall and muscular lover, and Laura is his petite beloved spitfire. Then when they think their bodies pleasures can not be anymore sweet, they tremble together in joyous rapture.
Laura and Benedict don’t know how long they lay kissing and cuddling with each other this early Saturday morning–because time for them as lovers stands still in these tender moments after their blissful lovemaking. Benedict and Laura don’t want to part their bodies from each other–their love creating an unbroken silver tether binding them together, heart and mind and body and soul.
But eventually, Benedict and Laura must rise from their bed to begin their day. They each briefly visit the bathroom in turn. Benedict puts his briefs and socks back on and then his dress suit so he can return home and shower before dressing in his street clothes for volunteering at the Children’s Group Home today.
aura walks with Benedict into her living room wearing a loosely tied pink silk robe, her engagement ring, and a smile as she kisses him adoringly farewell before closing her apartment door.
Then Laura goes to shower herself before joining Benedict at their regular Saturday morning volunteer stint at the Children’s Group Home.
To be continued with Chapter 14
References for “Somerset: A Time to Love”, Ch. 13, September 18, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace
1) The Somerset: A Time for Love” story cover is a composite of two main images:
a) Background–Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user AlicePopkorn2]
b) Prof. Benedict Somerset image is of Richard Armitage (2012 Promo by Roberta Ascroft, pix35) found at richardarmitagenet.com/images/gallery/Richard/Promos/2012Promo/album/RobertAscroft-35.jpg
c) a crucifix image is from MS Office Clip Art;
2) “Josh Groban Kelly Clarkson All I ask Phantom of the Opera”
via charismatic9904 found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AIWZfMWWvPU ; Lyrics found at http://www.metrolyrics.com/all-i-ask-of-you-lyrics-andrew-lloyd-webber.html
3) Benedict Somerset kissing Laura Leicester image is Richard Armitage as John-and Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret in the 2004 BBC mini series North & South epi4 pix34-Jan0114via RAnet_Grati-sized-brt-crop2-mskchin-brt-crp3
Wattpad Ch. 13 story link: tba
Previous Ch. 12 blog link, with embedded illustrations:
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