“Expectations” (Book 2)–Ch. 22: A loving reconciliation, May 27, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1238)
[As is my custom, from time to time I will illustrate my story with my ideal cast consisting of (in order of appearance/mention in this chapter): Vicar Frederick Whitby (aka Lord Alfred Lindsay the Marquess of Malten) portrayed by David Oakes; Lady Constance Knightsbridge Lindsay the Marchioness of Malten (portrayed by Margaret Clunie); Lady Tamsin Knightsbridge Lindsay, daughter of Lady Constance and Lord Alfred (portrayed by Francesca Capaldi); Lord Robert Knightsbridge the Marquess of Wyre (portrayed by Hugh Grant) and Lady Gwendolyn Lindsay of York (portrayed by Emma Thompson)]
Author’s story content and serializing scheduling notes: For the most part, my ratings for the chapters will be PG-13—for romantic interludes and dramatic moments. If you are unable or unwilling to attend a movie with these ratings, then please do not read that chapter. This is my disclaimer. And I always put the previous chapter’s brief recap at the top of the next chapter. Also, I hope to post new chapters weekly on Sundays. I hope that you enjoy this chapter.
Ch. 22: A loving reconciliation
Though Lady Constance and Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby had parted amiably the previous night—after tucking their daughter into bed—the pull of having her husband so close draws Lady Constance awake in the middle of the night. Assuring herself that their daughter Lady Tamsin sleeps comfortably and deeply–and therefore, she is not likely to awaken in the night–Lady Constance slips on her robe, slips out of her room, then she slips into her husband Lord Alfred’s bedchamber across the hallway from her bedchamber.
With the drapes only half open in Lord Alfred’s/Vicar Whitby’s bed chamber, the room’s darkened interior adds a layer of a forbidden nature to her trespass into her newly returned husband’s bed chamber. She understands logically why her husband wishes to court her, and have a wedding vow renewal, before they resume their lives as husband and wife. Yet, her heart feels the pull of touching her husband, cuddling with him at his side, and sleeping next to him.
So Lady Constance removes her night robe, and slides under the covers next to her sleeping husband, curling on her side next to him—her right hand lying upon his bare chest, while his bare left hand missing his pinkie finger subconsciously clasps her hand to his heart. And then out of perhaps a long ago memory, he reaches his other arm around her back in his sleep, cuddling her close. Then she also falls asleep in her love’s arms.
Some hours later, Lady Tamsin awakens to use the chamber pot behind the screen in the corner of her bed chamber. Then after, she walks into her Mama’s adjacent bed chamber in search of her mother to cuddle with for the rest of the night. However, Lady Tamsin finds her Mama’s bed empty. And Lady Tamsin rightly assumes that her Mama Lady Constance is with her Papa Lord Alfred. So now Lady Tamsin slips into the hallway, and then into her Papa’s bed chamber. There she finds her parents sleeping cuddled up together in their night clothes. And the sleepy Lady Tamsin slides into bed cuddling next to her Mama’s back and she falls asleep again.
And there several hours later the newly reunited Marquess and Marchioness of Malten family begins to awaken. Though Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby cannot recall, he thinks that surely this bed is the most comfortable one that he has ever slept in in his life. The vicarage furniture for his spartan bed chamber there consists of a lumpy straw mattress over a slatted cot, and scratchy sheets and blankets. In truth, he has given over the vicarage housing to help poor London families displaced from their homes find shelter. But here at the Sussex Hall manor house in the country, the cushioned down filled mattress with its soft linen and satin bedding is comfortable and cozy.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby will return to his cozy bed, just as soon as he has arisen to tend to his morning needs. However, when he opens his eyes and truly intends to move from his bed, he finds that he cannot. For his wife Lady Constance lies abed with him—with she just in her thin silk nightgown and he with his torso bare and clasping her hand to his heart. He blinks a few times to assure himself that this vision of her loveliness is actually here, in his bed, with him. And she is.
Wanting this moment of tender awe to last a bit longer, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby realizes, with chagrin, that he must still arise and use the chamber pot in the corner. So he lifts Lady Constance’s hand lying upon his chest and clasped by his maimed left hand, to his lips. And he realizes that she must have come to him in the night, and she did not pull away from his disfigured hand when he clasped her in sleep.
He thinks that only his Love Constance would not flinch at his infirmity—and he loves her all the more for it. He loves her. That thought feels so right, and he hopes that it harkens a new path for them to find their way back together as husband and wife.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “My Lady Constance. My Dear.” His whispered vocal timbre is deep and soothing.
Lady Constance: “Hmmm?” She sighs, not truly awake. So he tries again.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Constance?” He kisses the top of her head. Yet still she sleeps quite soundly. And then he cannot help himself and he leans down and kisses Lady Constance upon her lips. “Oh Constance, My Love! You are so beautiful.” He smoulders.
Lady Constance: “Alfred? My Alfred?” She sighs in waking up. Then she looks up at him and smiles. “So my dream came true. You have come back to me.”
And before he can reply to her, a third more smallish person joins the conversation—as she rises up on her elbow as she lies cuddled behind her Mama, Lady Constance.
Lady Tamsin: “To us, Papa. You have returned to us. Hhhh!” She yawns sleepily.
Now Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby feels slightly embarrassed to be in bed with his wife Lady Constance—and to have their daughter present as well. This is awkward.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Yes, I am real Constance. And I have returned to you and our daughter Lady Tamsin. But now, I must excuse myself for a moment.” He can not bring himself to say that he needs to use the chamber pot. A gentleman does not speak on such private matters.
Lady Tamsin: “Oh very well, Papa. Then I will go back to my bed chamber and use the chamber pot there.” His daughter smiles cutely before she dashes out of her father’s bedchamber, leaving her parents blushing. At nine years old, Lady Tamsin is still just a child who sometimes reveals more than she should.
Lady Constance: “I should also leave you to your privacy, Alfred Dearest.” She sits up.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Then will you rejoin me, Constance? I have never slept so well as I did last night—in this fine bed, and in your arms. And it is early yet.” He adds hopefully as he gazes at her with a loving smile. Though Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby was the one who asked his wife Lady Constance for patience in their resuming their marital relations, he now finds himself wanting to set that negotiation aside—as he feels himself to be a man and her husband first, and a vicar second.
Lady Constance: Smiling shyly, she nods. “I will.”
After Lady Constance leaves his bed chamber, Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby quickly uses the chamber pot and nearby wash basin. Then he brushes his teeth with a conveniently supplied twig and some mint leaves. Though his beard does not seem too scratchy yet, he will have to shave this morning. But he does not have time for that now, as Lady Constance returns to his bed chamber and lingers at his closed door. Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby instantly walks to her side and pulls her into his arms.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “I feel such a connection to and with you. Even though I have only just found you again barely a day ago, I feel that we are husband and wife.”
Lady Constance: “You do?” He nods slowly, watching her reaction—as her face becomes flushed and she trembles in his arms.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “May I … May I kiss you?” He asks tentatively, yet desirously.
Lady Constance: “Yes, oh yes!”
Lady Constance sighs and stands on her tip toes, even has Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby swoops down to claim her lips [(2) below]. At first, his kisses are hesitant as he explores her plump lips—her also having mint leaf fresh breath. Then his arms fully wrap around her and he pulls her body to mold against his body—such that not a whisper could pass between them.
After a few moments of blissful kissing, Lord Alfred lifts Lady Constance up into his arms and carries her back to bed. And before he joins her there, he begins to pull away from her.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Let me just lock …”
Lady Constance: “I already locked the door after I shut it.” She blushes again for her wanting to be alone with her husband in this way.
He smiles, then the language of their lips becomes their only conversation as they become one as husband and wife after ten long years of separation. Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby feels an instinctive urge to kiss and caress his wife with loving abandon. And she rejoices in his loving ministrations. And his concerns about making love with her when he did not remember her as his wife, fall away. For his body remembers her body in every loving and tender way as he brings her rapturous joy, that he also feels.
Then spent from their lovemaking, they lie tenderly in each other’s arms—whispering words of love, sharing small kisses, and gazing at each other with sweet affection—knowing the rightness of their being together as lovers.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “That was … beautiful. You are beautiful, Constance.”
Lady Constance: “Yes, it was!” She sighs. “And you are even more handsome as a man now, than you were as a much younger man when we wed ten years ago.”
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Oh?” He smiles in mirth. “Have I changed so greatly?”
Lady Constance: “A little.” She blushes and lowers her eyes, before his finger under her chin gently guides her to look up into his eyes. He raises a quizzical eyebrow—as if to ask to what she refers. “Well, your shoulders seem broader and you have bigger muscles.” She squeezes his upper arm in wonder for his masculine perfection.
He smiles with male satisfaction. He has loved her very well this early morning.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “And you are the most beautiful woman I have ever seen.”
Lady Constance: “Even though I am ten years older and have born a child?” She asks feeling slightly self-conscious about her fuller womanly curves.
Placing his hand upon her bare nearly flat belly under the bed covers, he reassures her.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby: “Your bearing our child Tamsin has only made you seem more womanly to me. And God willing, we will have more children, whom I will be here to help you raise them.” He had missed out on their daughter Lady Tamsin’s early childhood years, and he looks forward to watching their future children grow up and helping to parent them.
Then not surprisingly, they hear a knock upon Lord Alfred’s bed chamber door.
Lady Tamsin: “Mama? Papa? Are you still abed? Or have you gone down to breakfast?”
Her parents smile in chagrin. Then just as they are to answer her, another voice intervenes—on their behalf.
Lord Robert: “Tammy Dear. Now let us leave your Mama and Papa to their rest this morning. And I do believe that Lady Gwendolyn was hoping you could join us for breakfast, before we go into the village for the market faire.”
Lady Tamsin: “A faire? Really Uncle Lord Robert?” She claps her hands together in childish glee.
Lord Robert: “Yes. So ring for your maid to help you get dressed, and then we will join Lady Gwendolyn downstairs in the breakfast parlor. Then after breakfast, we will take a carriage to the faire.”
Lady Tamsin: “But what about Mama and Papa? Would they not also like to go to the faire?”
Lord Robert: “Well.” He delays his response, while he thinks how to respond to her. “Perhaps today, we will let them sleep in. Then tomorrow we might see if we can entice them to go to the village faire. Hmmm?”
Lady Tamsin: “That will be fine.” She nods, conveying her agreement with her Uncle Lord Robert. Though still a child of only nine years, Lady Tamsin sometimes displays a worldliness about her. And she will be a force to be reckoned with in a few years time as a young lady of fourteen. “In that way, we can tell them about all of the good shoppes and booths to visit.”
Lord Robert: “Precisely! Now run along and I will see you in a quarter hour for breakfast.” He rubs his stubbled chin as he watches his niece run back into her bed chamber before heading back into his own bed chamber for a shave before dressing for the day. And he smirks for being a good brother in steering his sister’s daughter away from her parents’ bed chamber, where he is sure that Lady Tamsin’s parents are on a path toward a loving reconciliation as husband and wife. And he is happy for them.
Lord Alfred/Vicar Whitby and Lady Constance smile secretly at their reprieve from having to start their day. And they return to their bed for more cuddling, and such, this morning.
To be continued with Chapter 23
Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement): Chapter 22 images for May 27, 2019 by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1238)
1) “Expectations” (Book 2, sequel to “Encouragement”) story cover art is an image representing Lady Elizabeth Blount, sister to the Earl of Sussex in black evening gown–is that of actress Jessica Brown Findlay as Lady Sybil in Downton Abby found at http://www.internet-d.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2012/02/JESSICA-BROWN-FINDLAY-as-Lady-Sybil-Crawley.jpg ; the text font is Vivaldi.
2) Lady Constance and Lord Alfred kissing are Margaret Clunie and David Oakes from Victoria, cap by Grati–from a video by irydionlover found at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=y_AW9V-R6LM
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