(An original Regency Romance story copyrighted by Gratiana Lovelace, 2021; All rights reserved); [(1) story cover below left]
[Illustrations: I cast my stories as I write them. So from time to time, I will illustrate my story with actors and such, including: Richard Armitage as Lord Edward Carlisle, Daniela Denby-Ashe as Lady Emily Creighton Carlisle, Blake Ritson as Lord Kittredge Wells, Polly Walker as Lady Patience Creighton, Bill Nighy as Lord Nigel Creighton the Earl of Stoke, Christina Cole as Lady Cecily Englewood Wells, and others as noted.]
[Author’s Note: This original Regency romance is a work of fiction, and as such, any character names, scenes or other descriptions were written at the creative discretion of this author. And this is a gentle and tender romance (G to PG-13), but with some frank discussions about love and marriage put to humorous effect. This is my disclaimer.]
Ch. 18: Loving Tenderness
Silk. His wife’s skin feels so soft and smooth, like fine ivory silk. And her long golden curly locks smell of rosewater. Then Lord Kittredge gently, softly bestows a tender kiss upon her soft bare shoulder. His senses are heightened as he awakens upon their first morning after their wedding night. He smiles drowsily to find himself with his arms wrapped around his newlywed wife Lady Cecily, with her bare back flush against his bare chest. She is a tiny thing and fits perfectly within the tenderness of his arms’ loving caresses.
Then memories of their tenderly loving wedding night flood back into his thoughts and become a waking dream as he remembers their each tender moment together—evoking feelings of newness and wonder, in him at least. He has yet to solicit her opinions upon the matter, she is still sleeping. And he will not intrude upon her rest. Though happily, her sweet responsiveness to his kisses, caresses, and such, last night were wholly encouraging of his nascent loving ministrations.
Then Lady Cecily moves slightly—she wiggles actually, nestling further into her husband’s loving embrace of her from behind. And quite naturally, Lord Kittredge finds himself quite not so sleepy any more. And this pleasing tactile intimacy of husband and wife is all so new to him, that he is uncertain whether his wife will want to be not sleepy with him, again.
For their marriage was [finalized] last evening with their consummating their marriage. The towel with the Earl of Fielding crest embroidered upon it lies slightly folded in the wicker basket to the side of the bed, with the towel bearing the legal evidence of their union. And they had agreed to only one loving coupling. So he feels that he must respect her wishes upon the matter—unless, of course, they have altered, as have his. And he muses that they do have a second embroidered linen towel, under her bed pillow.
Lady Cecily: “Hhhh!” She sighs in her still sleeping state, her feeling warm and cared for within her loving husband’s arms. Her memories of their loving wedding night inhabited her sleeping dreams in a very pleasant way—for Lord Kittredge was a most tender and considerately loving husband—despite the painful bit in the middle.
Realizing their bed chamber has turned cold, Lord Kittredge moves to slip out of their bed to stoke up the fire. Lady Cecily instantly feels his absence—of his personal body warmth and his loving embrace. She turns [onto] her back and drowsily opens her eyes to see her husband sitting up in their bed, and she reaches out to gently touch his arm.
Lord Kittredge: He turns back toward her. “Ohhh! Good morning, Cecily Darling. I am sorry to have woken you. I am simply going to stoke up the fire to warm our room.” He pauses. “Uhh. Then I must, ah, …do a few things before returning to bed.” He strokes his stubbly chin, which needs a shave if he is to not irritate her skin with his kisses, he hopes. And he must chew on a mint leaf to freshen his breath, and such.
Lady Cecily: “Oh yes, of course. Perhaps while you are increasing the fireplace warmth, I will also … do a few things.” She dissembles cutely as she rises [with her back to him,] and dons her silk robe.
It is early yet, with the sun’s rays of dawn not penetrating their North facing room’s curtains—which are closed, anyway. So each of them attends to their personal needs in their respective bedrooms’ bathing chambers. And a mostly clean shaven Lord Kittredge lies back down in his bed in his bedchamber, wondering if his wife Lady Cecily will return to him—or if, she will finish her rest in her bed chamber. The minutes tick by, and he thinks that she must not be returning to him. Though, he had interpreted her phrasing this morn as indicating that she would rejoin him. But perhaps, she had a change of heart.
Lord Kittredge looks fixedly at his closed bed chamber door leading to the sitting room between the two bed chambers. Then he hears a faint knock at his bed chamber door—and he wonders if it is a servant come to collect the wicker basket to take to Mrs. George, for her to witness the evidence of the legality of his marriage with Lady Cecily. Though servants usually annoyingly scratch on the doors as a supposedly less jarring way of indicating their presence—except for the need to paint the doors due to the scratching wearing [away] the paint, thinks Lord Kittredge
Lady Cecily: “May I come in, Kitt?” Lady Cecily asks shyly yet eagerly, betokening her wish to return to her husband’s arms.
Lord Kittredge: “Of course, Cecily!” He replies eagerly. He would stand to greet her properly, but he forgot where he placed his robe last night—him not seeing that his robe had fallen onto the floor between the end of the bed and the settee. When he had tended to the fire in the fireplace this morning he had done so with alacrity due to his unclothed state, when she was out of the room. So he stays seated in his bed, with the bed linens covering him up to his stomach.
Lady Cecily smiles as she enters her husband’s bed chamber again. Their wedding being only yesterday—and their unplanned wedding night loving tenderness last night to legalize their union—making her uncertain if her husband wants to extend their understanding as she does of their visit to a foreign country as she metaphorically described their marital loving last night.
Lady Cecily: Not yet moving to return to her husband’s bed, she remarks with a smile. “Oh, the fireplace is emitting a pleasing warmth again. Thank you. I had found that my bed chamber and bathing chamber were quite cold.”
Lord Kittredge: Him seeing her standing still and not moving toward him, he asks solicitously. “Would you like me to stoke up those fires in your bed chamber and bathing chamber for you, or did you ring for a servant?”
Lady Cecily: “Thank you, no. It is warm in here, if I may stay?” She asks hopefully.
Lord Kittredge: “Of course, come back to bed and warm up.” Then he blushes at his bold entreaty to her, then adds. “If you want to.”
Lady Cecily: “I do.” She smiles and walks around the bed to her side, removes her robe with her bare back to him, and then she gracefully slides back into bed and lies down, covering herself up to her bare shoulders..
They are each a little shy with the other, not knowing the protocol for their post wedding night interactions—since they have yet to reaffirm or to set new terms. Then they each speak at the same time.
Lord Kittredge: “Good morning, My Darling Cecily.” He smiles brightly at her, his admiration for her shining through.
Lady Cecily: “Good morning, Kitt [Dear].” She smiles sweetly at him. He nods, encouraging her to continue as they each turn to their sides facing each other. “I just wanted to thank you for your loving tenderness toward me last night, as we … finalized our union, for the legal formalities.” She blushes.
Lord Kittredge: “Of course! It was my honor to treat you gently.” Now he smiles, also slightly blushing. “Are you feeling well this morning, My Dear?” He asks solicitously of her. Because he does not know if her wedding night pain still lingers.
Lady Cecily: “I am well, thank you.” She smiles shyly, understanding what he was referring to. “And you, are you well?”
Lord Kittredge: “I am, thank you.” He nods. Actually, Lord Kittredge feels more than well. But he does not want to intrude upon his wife’s person, if she wants to keep them to their original agreement of loving only once, for the formalities. And his face must be showing his possible disappointment.
Lady Cecily: “You frowned, Kitt. What is wrong? Did I do something wrong?” She worries because what they did together on their wedding night was something that she never would have expected—let alone, that she would like it so much.
Lord Kittredge: “Oh! Nothing to trouble you about, My Dear.” He replies stoically. Lord Kittredge is too untutored in the ways of love and romance to discern her feelings upon the matter.
Lady Cecily: “Very well. Shall we sleep in a bit longer?” She asks coaxingly.
Lord Kittredge: “Of course.” He agrees congenially, then he lies flat upon his back and closes his eyes. And he tries to relax his face, so that he does not frown in disappointment—of their not loving again this morning.
Lady Cecily: “And, Kitt, though the fireplace is emitting a pleasing warmth, may I cuddle with you again?” She asks boldly, for they are each unclothed under the bed covers. And for a recently bedded and formerly innocent wife, Lady Cecily is quite the alluring seductress of her husband.
Without opening his eyes, Lord Kittredge raises his left arm from lying over the bed linens—inviting her to cuddle with him. She scoots over to him and lifts up the bed linens and cuddles closely with her husband. Naturally, Lord Kittredge reacts to her closeness [lying] upon his person.
Lord Kittredge: “Ohhh!” He gasps in eager desire and opens his eyes to gaze into her eyes.
Lady Cecily: “Hmmm.” She purrs in answering accord, her pupils dilated with desire as she gazes into her husband’s eyes.
Then as Lord Kittredge’s other arm also embraces her, Lady Cecily leans up and tenderly kisses her husband upon his lips. Naturally, he kisses her back–as they begin their very loving morning.
So the newlyweds Lord Kittredge and Lady Cecily decide that they will
very happily continue with the rest of their two week wedding trip at Wells Castle as if they are still visiting a foreign country–as well as, them also enjoying visiting the local village shops and having idyllic countryside picnics [(2) right], now and again. Besides, they can also truly visit a foreign country at some other point in time—maybe even France as they had first settled upon.
And when the newlyweds will eventually return to London at the end of their wedding trip, their friends and family will be in for quite the surprise.
To be continued with Chapter 19
References for Ch. 18 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”, by Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1410) August 28, 2021
- My “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage” story cover illustration is comprised of: a) ivory lace background with Grati edit, found at torrid.com; and a b) Victorian roses bouquet painting by the Boston Public Library, via Atlas Obscura (with some Grati edits ), found at https://www.atlasobscura.com/articles/how-flowerobsessed-victorians-encoded-messages-in-bouquets; and with c) the text in deep pinkish coral in a Vivaldi font.
- Lord Kittredge and Lady Cecily happily and cozily picnicking during their wedding trip to Wells Castle is represented by an image of Blake Ritson as Rev. Elton and Christina Cole as Mrs. Elton in Emma (2009) and found at https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1366312/mediaviewer/rm447252224/; photo by Laurence Cendrowicz
Gratiana Lovelace Wattpad site link for Ch.18 of “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”:
Previous SAL blog Post #1406 link for Ch. 17 “Seeking the Niceties of Marriage”: