RAndom Richard Armitage *THUD* worthy moments!  October 01, 2017  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1102)

Some of my favorite British actor Richard Armitage *THUD* worthy moments for your consideration:

  1. His sexy smouldering gazes:
  2. His sexy smiles and laughter:

    3.  And his passionate kisses:


Speaking of passionate kisses …




P.S.  Thanks to the individuals who initially shared the images above–Fernanda, TeresaA, Kitty, RAnet, Simonne,  MelindaH, Woodstock and Snoopy, RAFrance, & Ravna, etc.–their names are embedded in each of the file names.  Cheers!










Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, Fangurling, Gaze, Gifs, Kissing, North & South, Richard Armitage, Smiles, smoulder, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Richard Armitage Ushers in a Daniel Miller Evolution in Berlin Station series 2, September 28, 2017  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1101)

Series 2—Trailer 1


Series 2—Trailer 2


Series 2—Teaser


As I was watching more of the Berlin Station series 2 t(in 2017) trailers and teaser video (see above), it occurred to me that not only did Richard Armitage’s character Daniel Miller seem more mature (greying hair and beard) and edgy (scowling with short hair)  in series 2, but that  the character of Daniel Miller has suddenly taken charge of his life and his spy work.


Daniel is going deep undercover and in disguise–his short grey hair, his nonstop scowling 24/7/365, his greying beard, and no suits or even dressy casual—in order to monitor and thwart an ultra right wing fascist plot in Germany.  Daniel Miller’s mission is to infiltrate a fascist group, to monitor their activities from within, and to neutralize and thwart any large scale terrorist violence.  Daniel Miller’s mission and attitude in Series 2 of Berlin Station betokens a proactive approach to spy work—and as they say, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.


Whereas when we first met Daniel Miller (below) as a supposed green Langley desk analyst sent into the field in Berlin Station series 1 in 2016, he and his colleagues were forced to react to the Thomas Shaw intelligence leaks.  They were always one step behind their adversary.  And as it turned out, their adversary in Thomas Shaw was their own colleague Hector de Jean.  They didn’t see that one coming—betrayal by one of their own.  And even though shot in the back and in incredible pain, Daniel could still turn on a sarcastic smile.



So there are some exciting possibilities in Series 2 of Berlin Station in 2017 for Richard Armitage’s Daniel Miller character to really shine and save the day.  And along the way, we will get some timely geopolitical analogies made, no doubt, with able help from his spy colleague cast mates.


P.S.  Special thanks to TeresaA for pointing me to the Series 2 trailer 2, and the cast teaser videos.  The source for the images above are embedded in their file name.

Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Daniel Miller/Meyer in Berlin Station, Drama, EPIX Berlin Station, Gratiana Lovelace, intrigue, Richard Armitage, smoulder, Social Justice, Society, Something About Love, Spy thriller, Video | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 14 (PG-13):  Revealing their Engagement, etc.,  September 26, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1100)

(“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 spending a passion filled night in each other’s arms, the newly engaged Benedict and Laura reluctantly part so they may fulfill their weekly Saturday morning volunteer commitment.  But they will see each other very soon.

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”,  Chapter  14 (PG-13): Revealing their Engagement, etc.

Parting from each other this Saturday morning April 20th as new lovers and new fiancés is a wrench for Benedict and Laura.  They want nothing more than to spend the weekend making love with each other–every hour of every day, until their bodies can no longer move and they must lie still in each other’s loving arms.  Their intense passion for each other as new lovers is all consuming.  But, the kids that they volunteer with–especially Jeffrey–look forward to seeing them, just as Benedict and Laura look forward to seeing the kids.


And they have a special treat planned with the student they volunteer for today, Jeffrey.  So after showering and taking extra care with her hair and makeup this morning, Laura picks up donuts as she drives to the Chicago Children’s Group Home–anticipating seeing Benedict, her Benedict, meeting her there when she arrives.

Meanwhile, Benedict leaves Laura’s apartment complex and drives purposefully to his apartment at the Chicago Seminary College faculty housing building.  Once inside his apartment, Benedict quickly takes a shower, dresses in casual jeans and his usual blue oxford shirt, then he drives eagerly to the Chicago Children’s Group Home for his weekly volunteer stint—and to see Laura.


Benedict arrives at the Chicago Children’s Group Home first and he chats with Connie as he checks in as a volunteer.  Neither he nor Laura has mentioned to the other how they wish to reveal their newly engaged status. So Benedict will keep mum about it—unless a perfect moment presents itself.  At heart, Benedict is still quite a reflective and reserved fellow as a Brit, as a minister, and as a professor—despite his newly engaged state.


The Chicago Children’s Group Home Volunteer Coordinator Connie Velasquez waves to Benedict when he arrives.


Connie:  “Benedict!  It’s good to see you again.  Laura isn’t with you?”


Benedict:   “Hi Connie!  No, she didn’t ride over with me this week.”   He says sheepishly and blushes a little.  “Laura has her car this week.  So Laura isn’t here yet?”  Benedict looks around the front reception area, eager to see Laura again–even though they only parted one and a half hours ago.

Connie:  “I haven’t seen her yet this morning.  But, it’s not quite 9:00am.  So, she’ll be here soon.”   Connie smiles.  Then she decides to find out what Benedict’s feelings toward Laura are.  Though she knows that Benedict is reserved, Connie has never met a man yet whom she couldn’t pry information out of.   “Laura is very nice.  Don’t you think, Benedict?”

Benedict:   “Of course.”  Benedict replies noncommittally while still blushing.  Benedict and Laura haven’t discussed when to announce their engagement to their friends and colleagues.  So, Benedict feels a little shy about it at the moment.

Connie:  “And you know Benedict, I think Laura likes you.”

Benedict:   Benedict smiles knowingly at Connie.  “Are you trying to play matchmaker, Connie?”  Benedict asks her bemusedly with a raised eyebrow, because she is too late–since he and Laura are already matched up.

Connie:  “Oh, maybe just a little.  Laura is so sweet, she deserves some happiness.”  Connie pauses while looking earnestly at Benedict.


Benedict:   After a moment’s pause, but not a true hesitation, Benedict replies sotto voce. “I agree.”  Benedict smiles cordially at Connie—but not out of the common way, lest he reveal his feelings about beloved Laura before he ascertains Laura’s wishes upon the matter.




Jeffrey:  Bounding up to the volunteer registration check-in desk, Jeffrey says excitedly while falling into Benedict’s tall legs and hugging him around his knees. “Hi Mr. Benedict!”


Benedict:   “Hi Jeffrey!”   Benedict smiles warmly at Jeffrey and leans down and pats his back.


Jeffrey:  “My homework’s done.  So, we can just play today.”

Benedict:   “That sounds like fun.”  And Benedict thinks that his little nephew in England would be glad that Benedict is having fun.

Walking briskly into the reception area from the parking lot Laura sees Benedict, Jeffrey and Connie chatting.  “Hi everyone!”  She smiles warmly at everyone, but her gaze lingers longingly and lovingly on her Benedict.  Benedict returns her gaze, and soft pink blush warms her cheeks.


Laura:  “I brought donuts in case anyone is hungry.”


Benedict:   “You read my mind, Laura.”  He raises his eyebrows as he smiles at her lovingly.


Jeffrey:  “Me, too!”


Connie:  “Me, three!”


Laura:  Walking up to the counter and standing next to Benedict, she puts her donut box on the counter.  Then Laura turns to Benedict and greets him this morning, again.  “Good morning, Benedict.”  Laura also doesn’t know how and when Benedict wants to reveal their engagement.  But it will have to come out to their friends eventually.


Benedict:   “Good morning, Laura.”  Benedict embraces Laura and then he leans down and he kisses Laura’s cheek and she blushes anew.


Connie’s eyes widen as she looks back and forth between Benedict and Laura, wondering what’s going on between them.


Jeffrey:  Since most six year olds, like Jeffrey, aren’t shy about asking questions he plows ahead.   “Miss Laura, are you and Mr. Benedict dating now?”


Both Benedict and Laura look a bit startled to have a kid zero in on the change in the status of their relationship.  Then Benedict and Laura smile warmly at each other.
Connie:  Connie raises her eyebrows inquisitively as she looks at Benedict and Laura, and asks  “Well?”

Laura:  At first, Laura says impishly.  “No Jeffrey, we’re not dating.”    Benedict raises his eyebrow quizzically.

Jeffrey:  “But you seem so nice and friendly with each other.   And he kissed you.”  Jeffrey says grabbing Laura’s left hand and swinging it back and forth.  “Ouch!  What’s that?”  He asks feeling Laura’s engagement ring turned under, in the palm of his hand.


Benedict:   Finally speaking up, and taking Laura’s left hand in his and kissing it, then bringing her hand again down to Jeffrey’s eye level, Benedict explains.  “Jeffrey you’re feeling Miss Laura’s new ring.”


Jeffrey:  “But it looks old?”  He asks questioningly.


Connie:  Ogling Laura’s ring, Connie squeals animatedly.  “That’s an engagement ring!”


Laura:  “Yes, it is.”  She smiles broadly at Connie and then she looks up at Benedict lovingly.


Benedict:   Benedict gazes down at Laura lovingly as he puts his arms around her again.  “The ring had belonged to my late Grandmother, and I gave it to Laura last night–when I asked her to marry me.”  Benedict kisses Laura sweetly on her lips.


Laura:  “And I said, yes.”  Laura beams.  Then Benedict and Laura look over at Connie and they smile at her.


Connie:  “Oh my Goodness!”  She screams.  “I don’t believe it!  This is incredible!” She moves around the counter and gives Laura a big hug.


Then Connie hugs Benedict for good measure.  But Benedict stiffens in discomfort—him unused to being hugged spontaneously by an acquaintance.


Benedict: “Yes, well.  Thank you, Connie.”  Is all Benedict can come up with to say to Connie.  Laura stifles a giggle at Benedict’s reserved nature still being quite present—despite his smouldering passions last night.


Jeffrey:  “What’s incredible?”  Jeffrey asks not quite understanding what all the excitement is about–since he doesn’t know what an engagement is.


Laura:  “Jeffrey, Prof. Somerset asked me to marry him and I said yes.”  She puts her arm around Benedict’s waist and she looks up at Benedict adoringly.


Benedict:   “Yes Jeffrey, so Miss Laura and I have moved from dating to being engaged to be married.


Jeffrey:  “That’s nice!”  He smiles.  “When will you be getting married!”  He asks interestedly and the adults all laugh.


Laura:  “We haven’t talked about that yet.”


Connie:  “All I can say is Benedict, for a guy who seems shy and reticent, you certainly move fast.”  The adults laugh.


Benedict:   “Well, we’re not getting any younger, you know.”  Benedict replies cheekily.


Laura:  Gently elbowing Benedict in his ribs and he winces cutely.  “Speak for yourself, reverend.”


Jeffrey:  “What’s a reverend?”


Benedict:   “Oh uh, that’s me, Jeffrey. Though I teach theology at the seminary, I am also a minister, Jeffrey.”


Jeffrey:  “What’s a minister?”  Six year olds are full of questions.


Laura:  “You’re up, Benedict.  This is your territory.”


Benedict:   “Well Jeffrey, a minister is someone who guides people in their worship of God.”


Jeffrey:  “Who’s God?”


Connie:  “Now Jeffrey, we go to church on Sundays.  Mr. Benedict is like the pastors up front at church.”


Jeffrey:  “But Mr. Benedict wears pants, not dresses.”


Again, the adults have a good laugh.


Benedict:   “Jeffrey, the pastors are wearing robes called vestments over their pants.”


Jeffrey:  “Oh.”  Jeffrey replies, seeming to understand.)


Laura:  “Benedict and Jeffrey, I don’t know about you, but I’m getting hungry.”  Laura changes the subject  by opening her box of a dozen donuts and offering them to Benedict, Jeffrey and Connie who each take one donut.


Jeffrey:  “Thanks Miss Laura.”  He smiles.


The way Laura figures it, if Jeffrey is eating then he won’t be asking as many questions.   Of course, that doesn’t stop Connie from asking questions.


Connie:  Connie asks Laura a bit breathlessly.  “So, tell me.  When did you know you were in love with each other?   How did Benedict propose?  Did he get down on one knee?”


Laura:  “Benedict, do you want to answer her, or shall I?”


Benedict:   “Be my guest.”  Benedict  gestures to Laura, wondering what she’ll say.  Then he takes a final bite of his glazed chocolate donut—licking his fingers before wiping them on his napkin.


Laura:  “Well Connie, the answers are:  last weekend after we attended church together; we had attended the seminary Spring Fling dinner and dancing event last night and Benedict proposed after he took me home; and yes, he got down on one knee when he gave me my ring.”


Connie:  “But I want details!”  Connie says earnestly looking at Laura.  Benedict blushes.


Laura:  “Connie, we’ll talk later.  Okay?”  Laura smiles at Connie.  “But right now, we’ve promised Jeffrey a trip to the zoo.”


Jeffrey:  “Yes, yes, yes!”   He says hopping up and down.


Benedict:   “Let’s take my car.”


Laura:  “I know, because your tall legs fit in it.”  She smiles at him warmly.


Benedict:   “Exactly.”  He smiles at her sheepishly.


Laura:  “I’ll just leave the rest of the donuts here.”  Laura says setting the box on the counter.


Benedict:   “Uh, Laura Darling, I’ll take one more donut if that’s alright?”  He looks at her sheepishly.


Laura:  “You’re rather hungry this morning.”  She smiles at him coquettishly.


Benedict:   “Ravenous!”  Benedict leans forward and whispers huskily into Laura’s ear.


Jeffrey:  “Me, too!”   And he lunges for a donut.


Connie:  “Have fun you three.  Will you be back before lunch?”


Laura:  “Probably.  If not, we’ll feed Jeffrey out.  It depends how long we spend at the zoo.”


Benedict:   “Shall we?”  He gestures toward the exit to the parking lot.


Laura:  “Let’s.”  She smiles.


As Benedict and Laura and Jeffrey walk out to Benedict’s car and drive to the zoo, Connie eats a second donut with a perplexed but happy look on her face.




It had actually been Benedict’s idea to take Jeffrey to the zoo and he checked ahead of time to make sure that it was okay with the group home to take Jeffrey out of the facility.  And, since Benedict and Laura are engaged now, Benedict also wants to spend as much time with Laura as he can.  As they park at the zoo and pay their admission fee, Jeffrey is agog with all of the animal choices on the zoo map.


Laura:  “So Jeffrey, do you know what animals you want to see first?”  She smiles warmly at him.


Jeffrey:  “All of them!”


Benedict:   “That’s a tall order!  Well, we can always come back another weekend if we don’t see everything today.”


Jeffrey:  “You promise?”


Benedict:   “I promise.”


Laura:  “Me, too.”


Laura and Benedict and Jeffrey see the wallaby’s first.  The small kangaroo like animals are just the right size for Jeffrey.  And the fact that the small kid sized wallaby’s are allowed to roam free in their enclosure–in and around the people walking on the sidewalks–thrills Jeffrey to no end.  Then they see the big cats that are lounging in their cages outside.  Jeffrey’s eyes widen in wonder with every animal he sees–all new to him since he’s never been to the zoo before.


The reptile house is also a big hit with Jeffrey since the handlers allowed them to pet some of the non-poisonous and non vicious animals.  And seeing the seals and otters dive in and out of their water pools in their enclosures that have a wall of glass so you can see them when they dive underwater mesmerizes Jeffrey.  Benedict and Laura also enjoy their zoo visit with Jeffrey, seeing the wonderful animals and learning about the importance of wildlife conservation anew with Jeffrey.


Their final visit is to the Zoo Gift Shop for some all important mementos for them to take back with them.  Of course, Jeffrey wants to have a stuffed animal for every animal he’s seen today.  But Benedict and Laura don’t want to create any jealousies of Jeffrey from the other kids, so they suggest that he choose one stuffed animal, a t-shirt, and something else he wants to pick out for himself.  And Jeffrey makes his choices.
Benedict:   “We’ll take these items for Jeffrey.”  Benedict says to the Zoo Gift Shop Clerk and smiles down at Jeffrey.


Jeffrey:  “Thank you so much!”  Jeffrey smiles hard at Mr. Benedict and Miss Laura.  Jeffrey thinks that they are the best grownups he has met.


ZooGiftShopClerk:  “These are all good choices.  You’re a lucky little boy that your mommy and daddy will get you three zoo gifts to take home.”  Benedict and Laura wince because they don’t want Jeffrey to feel sad about not having parents.


Jeffrey:  “I don’t have a mommy and daddy.”  Jeffrey says sadly shaking his head at the clerk.  Then, he brightens a bit and tells the Zoo Gift Shop Clerk. “Miss Laura and Mr. Benedict are my volunteers.”  Benedict and Laura smile at each other and then at Jeffrey.


Laura:  Smiling warmly at Jeffrey as she puts her hand on his shoulder, Laura smoothes over the awkward moment by explaining to  the clerk.  “Yes, Jeffrey is a wonderful little boy whom we get to spend time with.”


ZooGiftShopClerk:  “Oh, sorry.”  The clerk blanches, feeling embarrassed for assuming they were a family.


Benedict:   “Not at all.”  Benedict says smiling receiving Jeffrey’s gifts in a bag from the clerk and then leave the zoo gift shop.  “Shall we head back to the group home, Jeffrey?”


Jeffrey:  “Yes.”  He sighs sleepily.  “I’m getting tired from all the walking we did this morning.”


Benedict:   “Laura, why don’t you hold onto Jeffrey’s gifts and I’ll carry him to the car.”


Laura:  “Sure.”  She smiles warmly at Benedict.


Then Benedict lifts the tired little Jeffrey into his arms and Jeffrey lays his head on Benedict’s shoulder as they walk to their car.  They buckle Jeffrey into the back seat and he does, indeed, fall asleep on the drive back to the Children’s Group Home.  But Jeffrey wakes up when they arrive and he puts on his zoo t-shirt over his other shirt.  Jeffrey gives Benedict and Laura hugs and then he carries his bag of gifts to his room before lunch as he waves goodbye to Benedict and Laura.


As Benedict and Laura walk back out to the parking lot to their waiting cars, they clasp hands [(2) below].  Benedict’s larger and very strong left hand gently but firmly holds Laura’s smaller right hand in his.  It is a public display of affection that is as much shyly tentative as it is boldly representative of their newly engaged state.  And for Laura, even this small gesture of Benedict’s intimacy and familiarity with her as his betrothed is sweetly romantic.


For Benedict and Laura, today’s revelation about their recent engagement receives mostly positive responses.  And the assumption made by the Zoo Gift Shop Clerk about Benedict and Laura already being married with Jeffrey as their son, will give both Laura and Benedict something to think about for their now shared future.

To be continued with Chapter 15


References for “Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 14,  September 26, 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]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47283811@N06/  ;
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)  Benedict and Laura holding hands in the parking lot image was found via google images, at Shutterstock at https://ak7.picdn.net/shutterstock/videos/4728737/thumb/2.jpg?i10c=img.resize(height:160)



Wattpad Ch. 14 story link:




Previous Ch. 13  blog link, with embedded illustrations:


Posted in "Somerset: A Time to Love" by GL, Drama, Fiction, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, smoulder, Society, Something About Love | Tagged , , , , , | 4 Comments

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 13 (PG-13, L):  “Love me, that’s all I ask of you”,  September 19, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1099)

(“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]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47283811@N06/  ;
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:

Posted in "Somerset: A Time to Love" by GL, Creative Writing, Drama, Fiction, Gratiana Lovelace, Love and Relationships, Richard Armitage, Romance, Social Justice, Society, Something About Love, Storytelling, Voice | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Fun Day Sunday—Richard Armitage and Berlin Station 2 Cast Images shared from Paley Fest!  September 17, 2017  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1098)

Love the following  British Actor Richard Armitage  (below) and his Berlin Station 2 cast colleague images shared Saturday night by RA and the Paley Center during Paley Fest!  *THUD!*


RCA tweet with Richard’s suggestion:  “Spylish?”

My /Grati’s reply to @RCArmitage @BerlinStation and 2 others was:

“You are always Spy-licious!  Ha!   Thanks for sharing, #RichardArmitage!  Hope you had a great time!”

9:17 PM – 16 Sep 2017



Via a Paley Center tweet below, “the gang’s all here”!  Well, several of the principles of the ensemble cast:

The ladies Ashley and Keke were beautiful!  And the guys—Bradford, Richard, and Leland—were well turned out and handsome.  Of course, Richard Armitage’s Brilliant smile dazzles!  And I especially loved the subtle plaid—with aubergine tones—in Leland Orser’s suit!

Pasted below is the Paley Center tweet for Paley Fest–that had retweeted Richard’s tweet Spylish–which is how I found it–in case you want to follow the Paley Center and see all the images, too.

https://twitter.com/paleycenter/status/909236972794691584Bottom of Form


And pasted below, is the Paley Center sharing  a straight on shot of these Berlin Station season 2 creatives (from left):  showrunner (Bradford Winters) and cast mates Ashley Judd, Richard Armitage, Keke Palmer, & Leland Orser.

And an interview shot of Richard Armitage while at Paley Fest (via Rita M., Thanks!):


Enjoy!  And no doubt, more images will be shared in the coming days as resourceful fans ferret them out.


Hope you have a gReAt day! Cheers! Grati ;->:


P.S.  I know.  My/Grati sharing new blog posts two days in a row?  Shocker!  This occurrence is so rare, the cow is still mooing. Ha!

Well!  Just wait until tomorrow, Monday.  Ha!

Posted in Berlin Station mini series, Drama, EPIX Berlin Station, Fun Day Sunday, Gratiana Lovelace, Richard Armitage, Social Justice, Society, Something About Love, Sparkhouse, Spy thriller | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Global Team Armitage!  The Crucible Starring Richard Armitage Awaits me–Again!   September 16, 2017  Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1097)

Wow! I checked my Digital Theatre account again this evening (Friday night Sept, 15, 2017), and my “purchase history” tab is active!  Yes!

And my personal DT account shows that I can see the listing of “The Crucible” (the 2014 production directed by Yale Farber at The Old Vic) starring British actor Richard Armitage–and what I presume is the “Richard Armitage in Conversation” interview–for ten years starting Saturday!


That is a huge leap forward from blocked access!


Applause [below via Simonne]  to the power of the little guys and gals–or a lot of them in concert–who take a stand for their access rights!


We are Global Team Armitage!


And my thanks especially go to social media maven friends VioletDutchblogger and TeresaA on Facebook, Esther at her Book of Esther blog, Perry at her Armitage Agonistes blog, and others for keeping me and other fans of the exquisitely talented British actor Richard Armitage  (yeah, that amazing guy, immortalized in a wallpaper collage of just a few of his key characters, by Thorin of Erebor below, enjoy!)  updated developments about regaining access to previously purchased Digital Theatre shows.


Posted in Digital Theatre, Fangurling, Global Team Armitage, Goodwill, Graphic, Gratiana Lovelace, John Proctor, Multi-Character RA, Period Drama, play, Richard Armitage, Sexy, Social Justice, social media, Society, Something About Love, The Crucible, Theatre, Yael Farber | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 12 (PG-13):  Spring Fling Dinner Dance and More  Friday Night,  September 12, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace (Post #1096)

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:   Wanting some connection with each other during the week until they will see each other again at Friday’s Spring Fling dinner dance, Benedict and Laura share good night phone calls with each other Monday through Thursday—becoming more and more familiar with each other.  And each night, they end their goodnight wishes to each other with their sweetly tender virtual hugs via their bed pillows, before separately falling asleep and then dreaming of each other.


“Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch.  12 (PG-13):  Spring Fling Dinner Dance and More Friday Night


As arranged and confirmed again the night before by phone, Benedict is to pick up Laura promptly at 6:00pm this Friday night, April 19th.  No longer must either of them wait to see each other, since their respective teaching schedules and committee meetings precluded them from seeing each other for lunch or dinner, and such.


And it is the and such that Benedict has been ruminating over all week.  Though it was he who suggested their virtual embraces as they ended their phone chats each evening before heading to sleep, Benedict still found them wholly unsatisfying.  Having tasted Laura’s luscious lips and really embraced her last weekend, Benedict realizes that he looks forward to the Spring Fling dinner dance–with Laura as his date–more than anyone might have guessed, even more than he might have guessed two months ago.  But now Benedict’s feelings toward Laura are more than as just friends.  And he is nervous, eager, and hopeful to find out if Laura’s feelings correspond in any way to his own feelings.

Laura is already waiting for Benedict in her apartment building lobby with her rain coat on when Benedict arrives to collect her for the Spring Fling dinner dance.  Benedict sweetly gives Laura a wrist corsage–since they are kind of going to the prom together–which she delightedly puts upon her left wrist. Then Benedict drives them to the Spring Fling event in a large conference hotel down town.


After Benedict and Laura walk into the conference hotel hosting the Spring Fling dinner dance, Benedict helps Laura remove her rain coat at the coat check area and then he finally sees the dress that Laura is wearing tonight and his eyes widen in appreciation for her elegance and beauty.

Though Benedict has mostly seen Laura at their volunteer events in everyday casual clothes–and she was in a dressy but demure dress for church last Sunday–Laura’s tea length cocktail dress this evening is elegant and slightly sexy.  Her dress has a flattering yet modest midnight blue lace bodice and lace shrug jacket with a satin empire height waist band over crepe flounce skirting hemmed below the knee [(2) below, manip].

Benedict cannot help but notice that Laura’s dress elegantly and modestly flatter her womanly charms–her full round breasts, her tapered waist, and her curvy womanly hips.  And Laura has styled her long reddish brunette hair  with soft curls flowing over her shoulders–showcasing the creamy skin of her neck and shoulders.


Benedict:   Almost speechless in gazing at Laura’s stunning beauty and sophisticated look, Benedict compliments her appreciatively.  “Laura, you look beautiful!  You take my breath away!”  Benedict takes her hand and lifts it to his lips for a gentle kiss upon the top of her fingers.


Laura:  “Thank you, Benedict.”  Laura blushes with Benedict’s compliments.  Then minxishly raising her eyebrow, she returns the compliment in kind.  “You look very handsome yourself tonight, Benedict.”  She pats his silver gray silk tie that displays a touch of sophistication with his black suit [(3) below].

Had they coordinated their outfits tonight, Laura and Benedict could not have done better.  For formal evenings such as tonight, no couple wants to match their colors too much.  So with Benedict wearing black and Laura wearing a midnight blue, they look perfect together.  And that is what each of them thinks privately as they smile at each other.  And Benedict cannot help but sweep his eyes appreciatively over Laura’s elegantly attired frame, which causes her to give him a small smile as she blushes once more.


Benedict:   Leaning down and lingering near her ear, Benedict whispers to her saucily in his deep baritone voice. “I’m afraid my confessional prayers will take twice as long tonight.”  Then he kisses her cheek.


Laura:  “Let’s hope so.”   Laura whispers, smiling coquettishly at him.


Benedict rocks his head back in laughter, then offers Laura his left arm.  Laura takes Benedict’s offered arm with a sweet smile for him, and they walk into the hotel banquet ballroom where the Spring Fling dinner dance is taking place.  Benedict and Laura make an attractive couple as they walk into the banquet ballroom with Benedict being tall and handsomely distinguished looking and Laura being petite and elegantly lovely.  And with both Benedict and Laura being in their early (her) to mid (him) forties, they fit with each other.


Benedict and Laura are immediately greeted by Seminary President Rev. Maynard Casten and his wife Portia Casten in a mini receiving line as they enter the banquet room.  The Castens are a long married couple in their sixties with several children and grandchildren.


Pres. Casten:  “Ah Benedict!  I don’t believe you’ve met my wife Portia Casten yet.”  President Casten begins the formal introductions.


Benedict:   “No, I haven’t had that pleasure, Maynard.  It’s lovely to meet you, Mrs. Casten.”  Benedict nods at Mrs. Casten with a little bow, he smiles, and gently clasps her hand in his hand.

Pres. Casten:  “Portia Dear, this is Professor Benedict Somerset who joined our clergy faculty last year, but had to miss the Spring Fling last April.”


Portia Casten:  “Ah!  I have heard many good things about you.  It’s lovely to meet you, Benedict.  Please call me Portia.”  She smiles at him warmly.


Benedict:   Benedict nods at Portia again.  “And Maynard and Portia, may I present my lady friend, Laura Leicester, who teaches at the university.”  Benedict smiles tenderly looking at Laura.


Laura:  Noticing her elevation to lady friend–from being just friends–Laura smiles and says warmly.  “It’s lovely to meet you Mrs. Casten.”  The two ladies gently shake hands. “And it’s good to see you again, President Casten.”


Pres Casten:  “Yes, My Dear.  It’s lovely to see you again, too.”  He says looking warmly back and forth between Benedict and Laura.  President Casten always likes to see his clergy faculty happily paired up.  President Caster believes that it is important for clergy to set the example of happy marriages to their parishioners–or in this case, to their students.  And happy colleagues are productive colleagues in his mind.  Then he explains to his quizzically bemused wife.  “Portia Dear, Laura joined us for worship services last Sunday—in which Benedict served as the Officiant.


Portia Casten: Portia’s eyes gleam with a decided twinkle to see a developing love match in Benedict and Laura. “How nice!  Have a lovely evening, My Dears.”  He waves at Benedict and Laura as they exit the receiving line.


As Benedict and Laura walk further into the elegantly decorated upscale hotel banquet room—with its hanging twinkling lights, satin sashed table chairs, lovely flower and candelabra centerpieces on each round dining table seating eight, with a string quartet playing where later an orchestra will sit for the dancing portion of the evening.


Then Benedict and Laura spy some of Benedict’s ministry students from last week–Mark and Bradley and their girlfriends.


Debbie and Bradley, and Sally and Mark–whom they walk over to.


Benedict:   “Well Bradley and Mark, are you looking forward to graduation next month?”


Mark:  “Boy, am I!”  He says excitedly.


Bradley:  “Me, too!  No offense Professor Somerset, but it’s been a long haul.”


Debbie:  “Yes, but you’re almost done and then we can get married.”


Laura:  “Oh?  Are you engaged?”  She asks warmly.


Sally:  “We both are.”  Then Sally and Debbie show Laura their dainty engagement rings.  Afterall, soon to be ministers are usually poor.


Though in Benedict’s case, he has widely invested the bulk of his professorial salary over the years–and combined with a private family trust he is the beneficiary of—his funds allows him to splurge now and again on the elegancies of life, such as annual trips home to England to see his family, winter skiing trips over the holidays, and such.  And Benedict still has enough put aside in liquid assets to make a sizeable down payment on a family home for he and his future wife.  Benedict does not like to borrow money, if he can help it.  So Benedict lives quite frugally in the seminary’s clergy professor campus housing and he eats at the campus cafeteria. A habit that he has honed over the years.


Laura:  “Oh girls, your rings are lovely.”  Laura smiles genuinely and Benedict smiles, too.  Benedict is glad that Laura likes their modest engagement rings.


Mark:  “By the looks of things,”  Mark says looking at his professor and his date Laura Leicester standing together–with Benedict’s right arm around Laura’s back and his right hand resting on her waist, and Laura’s left hand being held by Benedict’s left hand.   “I’d say that you two are next, Professor.”  Benedict blanches a bit and blushes as he smiles embarrassedly, him feeling put on the spot.  Laura also blushes and smiles.


Bradley:   “Sorry Miss Leicester,”  He says both apologizing to her and chiding his friend.  “But you and Professor Somerset look really good together.  And if I may say, you’re a stunner tonight, Miss Leicester!”   He says quite animatedly and Laura smiles.


Debbie:  “Hey!”  She pouts.  “What about me?”   Debbie asks petulant—her calculating that she is probably twenty years younger than Miss Leicester.


Bradley:  “Now, now.  You’re my beautiful girl, Debbie.”  She smiles.  “It’s just nice to see Professor Somerset all hooked up, too.”   It seems that clergy students also like to see their clergy faculty happily coupled up.


Mark:  “Now Bradley, Professor Somerset hasn’t indicated anything of the sort.”  He says trying not to make one of his favorite professors feel put on the spot.


Benedict:   Finding his voice, Benedict says bemusedly.  “Yes, well, I have to agree with you.  Miss Leicester does look stunning tonight!”   Then Benedict leans down and kisses Laura on her cheek and she smiles and blushes.


The evening follows a predictable pattern—cocktails with hot and cold hors d’oeuvres, followed by a plated meal of chicken cordon bleu over a rice pilaf with mixed squash and zucchini vegetables on the side, then cheesecake and coffee for dessert while the student awards program is presented, and then finally the dancing.


Actually Benedict isn’t half bad at the dancing part, thinks Laura, as he twirls her around the dance floor—her flouncy gown skirting giving them a bit of a flair.  Of course, the slow dances are particularly nice think both Benedict and Laura, as she lays her head upon Benedict’s chest—with Benedict having to refrain from kissing her temple since they are in public.  And even though Laura is petite compared to Benedict’s tall six foot three inch frame, they don’t seem to have a problem dancing together.


The Spring Fling dinner dance evening ends around 10:00pm and Benedict drives Laura home—him hoping to continue their evening in private together.  Though he has no expectations with regard to how intimate their evening might become, he does come prepared should he have need of such preparation.


Benedict has admired Laura in her stunning dress all evening—and he knows that were she wearing sack cloth, he would still think that Laura is exquisite.  Love heightens a person’s senses and awareness.  And Benedict is very much aware of Laura as a woman, and as a lady whom he hopes to cherish all the rest of his days.

Benedict hasn’t felt this way about a woman–being in love–in a very long time, if ever.  Benedict feels almost giddy with joy that he and Laura found each other—that is, were his British sensibilities to permit an expression of effusiveness.  Well, as giddy as Benedict’s usually solemn and sober nature allows—with him smiling more than cordially at Laura all evening.

And apart from their obvious physical attraction for each other, Benedict and Laura truly enjoy each other’s company, have shared values of family and making the world better for disadvantaged youngsters like Jeffrey and Cindy, and they get along nicely with each other–well, he thinks wryly, despite their initial miscommunications.

Laura also finds that she has fallen in love with Benedict even more than she had previously admitted to herself.  He likes working with kids–always a plus in her mind–and he has similar values to hers.  Laura also feels that Benedict looks oh so handsome and dashing in his dress suit tonight–men usually do look good in suits.  But Benedict is a particularly handsome guy, Laura thinks–especially when he forgets to be solemn, and he smiles.


As Benedict courteously walks Laura up to her apartment building entrance, she turns into him—looking up into his eyes.


Laura:  “Benedict, would you like to come up for a nite cap?”  Of course, Laura is asking Benedict up to her apartment for much more–that is, if he is ready to go there with her.  And if, Laura thinks, that she is truly ready to go there with Benedict, they will.


Benedict:   “Yes, I would, Laura, very much.”  Benedict feels that he has fallen in love with Laura.  Benedict also thinks that tonight might involve them taking their relationship to the next level—both formally and informally.  Benedict knows what he wants, but he wants to take Laura’s feelings into consideration as well.  Benedict is, at his core, a true gentleman.

Holding each other’s hands sweetly, Benedict and Laura take the elevator up to her floor, walk down the hallway to her apartment’s front door.  Benedict gently squeezes Laura’s hand clasped in his hand.  She smiles at him, and then they enter her apartment—closing and locking her door behind them with a decided click.


Laura places her purse and keys on an end table in her sitting area, her realizing that she is now feeling a little nervous.  What happens between them tonight will determine the course of their relationship. And she has such hopes for she and Benedict’s relationship—more hope to love and to be loved, than she has allowed herself to feel in a very long time.


Laura:  “Benedict?    Would you like some wine or more coffee?”


Benedict thinks for a minute.  Wine might relax him a bit more–to the point of getting over his reticence and nervousness to make love with Laura—since it has been fifteen years since he has made love, since before his final ordination vows when he earned his doctorate of theology.  And, he’s not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing–getting over the reticence and nervousness that is.  Benedict knows that making love with Laura will be a very good thing.  So, he blushes and replies to her.


Benedict:  “Let’s have the wine.”  Benedict takes off his suit coat and tie and drapes them over a chair–making himself more comfortable.  Benedict also unbuttons two of his shirt buttons and his sleeve cuffs, and rolls up his sleeves a bit–which unintentionally highlights Benedict’s strong muscular forearms.


Laura:  “Yes lets.”  Laura smiles at him and nods her head.  “I’ll get the wine goblets if you’ll open the wine bottle.” Laura hands Benedict the wine bottle and wine screw opener.


Benedict:   “Certainly.”  He smiles at her.  Benedict and Laura sharing domestic tasks so equitably is just one way that Benedict measures the deepening level of their relationship.  And though Laura has not asked him to clean dishes after meals or anything, yet, he is quite proud of his dishwasher loading skills—with dishes getting all clean these days, after him being persuaded to the benefits of pre-scrubbing and soaking by his brother’s wife when he and his elder brother were the clean up crew one year’s Somerset family Christmas dinner held at his brother’s home.


So, Benedict pours their wines and he and Laura walk over and sit on the couch, side by side, gazing at the flickering flames in Laura’s gas fireplace–with Benedict sitting to Laura’s left.  They sit comfortably nestled into each other’s arms and sipping their wines for several minutes without speaking–just enjoying their quiet moment of togetherness.


Laura:   Then Laura breaks their silence.  “Hmmm.”  She says sipping her wine and feeling its warmth.  “Thank you for taking me to the Spring Fling dinner dance this evening, Benedict.”  She smiles tenderly at him.  “It was a lovely event.”


Benedict:   “I’m glad that you enjoyed yourself.”  He smiles warmly at her.  “Laura, you looked … you look stunning in your dress.   I haven’t been able to take my eyes off you all evening.”  Benedict gazes into Laura’s deep brown eyes flecked with green, her sweet lips, and her creamy neck with her softly curled hair falling about her shoulders.


Laura:  “Thank you, Benedict.”  She smiles broadly at him.  “You look very handsome yourself tonight.”  She sips her wine in her right hand and lays her left hand demurely across her lap as she continues to lean into his right side.   If she and Benedict are to make love tonight—as a joyful expression of their deepening relationship–Laura wants Benedict  to make the first move.  But she will understand if he wants to take their deepening relationship slowly.  Laura even admires Benedict for his innate British reserve.


And Benedict does want to make love with Laura tonight.  But he will not rush her—or himself.  Setting down his wine goblet on the coffee table, Benedict clasps Laura’s left hand in his left hand, he squeezes her hand tenderly, then he holds on to it as they continue to talk.


Benedict:   “I hope you didn’t feel overwhelmed meeting everyone tonight.  I suppose we should have had worn nametags.”  He laughs lightly and gently kisses her forehead.


Laura:  Laura smiles tenderly at Benedict, then says softly.    “Yes, there were a lot of people at the banquet tonight.  But, it was nice to meet so many happy and affectionate clergy faculty and their wives or husbands.  I’m afraid that when I was growing up, our minister and his wife didn’t show their affection for one another in public.  Unless, I suppose, you count the fact that they had five kids.”  She wrinkles up her nose and smiles impishly at him.


Benedict:  Rocking his head back in laughter, “Ha ha ha ha ha!”  he says.    “So true!  Children are a good indication of affection.”  Then he slowly broaches talking about family issues in more detail with Laura.  “I’ve always thought that I would like to have children.  But, with me not being married yet, that hasn’t happened.”


Laura:  “I know, me too.  As I had mentioned before, my ex husband and I had hoped to get pregnant, but we couldn’t.”  Laura’s face clouds over in sadness about that and Benedict notices.  Laura worries that if Benedict wants his own biological children, that she wouldn’t be able to give them to him.


Benedict:   Bringing her hand to his lips and kissing it, Benedict soothes Laura.  “As you know Laura, we volunteer with children who haven’t found families yet.  We could always adopt.”  He tilts his head questioningly.


Laura:  Laura realizes that Benedict isn’t proposing to her–well, not formally anyway.  But, he is presuming that they will get there and she says smiling warmly at him.  “Yes, adoption would be nice.  Kids like little Jeffrey and Cindy need to find a family.”


Benedict:   “Jeffrey is a great kid!”  He agrees with her as he nods his head.  Benedict turns his torso more toward Laura as they sit on her couch.  Then Benedict takes Laura’s wine goblet out of her right hand and sets it down on the coffee table, and speaks without preamble—his deep baritone voice washing over her like velvet.  “Laura, I’ve fallen in love with you.  I am in love with you.”   He gazes soulfully into her eyes–waiting and hoping for her to say the same about him.


Laura:  Looking down demurely at first with a small smile, Laura then returns Benedict’s hopeful gaze.  “And, I’ve fallen in love with you, Benedict.”  Benedict tenderly squeezes Laura’s left hand again.  They gaze lovingly at each other for a few moments.  Then with her right hand, Laura caresses Benedict’s face and suggests minxishly.  “Benedict, I think that our mutual declaration of love for each other just now could be sealed with a kiss without flouting the proprieties.”  She amusingly bats her eyes flirtatiously at him like an ingénue.


Benedict:   Rocking his head back in laughter again, he says “Ha ha ha ha ha!  Brilliant!”


And with that, Benedict caresses Laura’s face as he leans in and they kiss each other–sweetly, tenderly, lovingly, and adoringly.




Benedict pulls Laura closer to him on the couch and they embrace each other fully as they continue to tenderly kiss each other.  However, Benedict feels that their kissing and embracing should not go any further without him asking Laura to be his wife.  The more time that they’ve spent together in the last few weeks, Benedict feels that he and Laura truly are soul mates–who also happily have a strong romantic physical attraction for each other.  So, Benedict decides to ask Laura the question.


Benedict:   “Laura, may I ask you something?”  He says tenderly kissing her cheek, then her neck, and then her creamy almost bare shoulders.


Laura:  “Uh huh.”  She sighs with Benedict’s tenderness toward her.  She has never felt so cherished.  But, Laura is not expecting what Benedict says next.


Benedict:   Gazing lovingly into Laura’s deep brown eyes, Benedict speaks from his heart.  “I love you very much, Laura.  You’re an amazing, strong, and beautiful woman.  We share the same values and we’re soul mates in so many ways.  I want to spend the rest of my life with you, cherishing you.  Laura, will you marry me?”


Laura:  “Oh Benedict!”  Laura exclaims in complete astonishment.  For she and Benedict to go from strangers to fiancés in three short weeks feels like going from zero to sixty miles an hour in your car on the highway to Laura–but in a very good way.


Benedict:   Smiling broadly, he asks her teasingly “Does your smile mean that you’re leaning in my favor?”


Laura:  “Yes!  I love you very much, Benedict.  And I want to spend the rest of my life with you.  Yes, I will marry you!”


Benedict and Laura now kiss each other with loving abandon as they commit themselves to each other–heart and mind and body and soul.  Their kissing goes on for some time, becoming more passionate as their embraces also become more passionate.


Benedict:   Pulling back from their kisses and embraces, Benedict snaps his fingers excitedly.  “Oh, I have something for you Laura.”   Then he quickly stands up from the couch and picks up his suit coat hanging on the chair.  Reaching inside his jacket’s vest pocket, he retrieves a small square worn black velvet jewelry box.  Then he returns to Laura at the couch.  But instead of sitting next to Laura again, Benedict goes the traditional proposal route and he kneels in front of her.  Opening the jewelry box and taking out the dainty half carat diamond solitaire engagement ring in a raised filigree platinum setting, Benedict says as he slides it onto Laura’s bare ring finger  “Laura, my love, this was my late Grandmum’s engagement ring.   I want you to have this ring to mark our engagement, as a token of my love for you.  Then later if you like, we can select a ring that you prefer for your engagement ring.”  He kisses her adoringly.


Laura:  Almost speechless, a rare thing for Laura–as Benedict well knows–she says with tears in her eyes.  “Oh Benedict, thank you.  This ring is so lovely–and a wonderful family heirloom.  I will be honored to have this ring as my engagement ring, if that is what you wish also.”  Laura holds Benedict’s face in her small hands and she leans in and kisses him sweetly adoringly, their lips feeling soft and warm.


Benedict:   “It is, My Darling Laura.”  Benedict and Laura kiss lovingly for several minutes as they celebrate their love and their engagement.


Eventually, Benedict’s knees start to give out with him kneeling on her hard wood floor.  So he stands up while he still can—a concession to him getting older.  Then Laura stands up from the couch also.  Benedict and Laura embrace and kiss even more as newly engaged fiancés.

Their loving night is just beginning.

To be continued with Chapter 13



References for “Somerset:  A Time to Love”, Ch. 12,  September 12, 2017 Gratiana Lovelace


1)  The “Somerset:  A Time for Love” story cover is a composite that I made of two main images:
a) Background–Creative Commons-licensed photo by Flickr user AlicePopkorn2]

http://www.flickr.com/photos/47283811@N06/  ;
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)  Laura Leicester’s original Spring Fling tea length dress (with manip of Jennifer Ehle’s face onto model in pretty dress by me) in midnight blue with lace  shrug jacket, lace overlay bodice, satin empire waist band, over a flouncy crepe skirt hemmed below the knees was found at http://www.dhresource.com/0x0s/f2-albu-g1-M00-53-A7-rBVaGFaDiNiAPqv7AADrzmDigV0577.jpg/custom-made-tea-length-mother-of-the-bride.jpg

3)  Benedict Somerset in a formal suit for the Spring Fling dinner dance is Richard Armitage in a 2014 DaMan magazine portrait, wearing a black suit Jul2217viaSueli



Wattpad Ch. 12 story link:



Something About Love Blog Previous Ch. 11  blog link, with embedded illustrations:


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