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Sophia de la Cerda

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About Sophia de la Cerda

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    Lady Toledo

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    Countess

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  1. Sophia de la Cerda

    Viewing of the Moon | 10pm-ish 6th April

    Sophia glanced furtively around her as she and her husband entered the park. For some reason, the shadows seemed ominous, perhaps because dark figures occasionally darted from one to the other. She had heard stories about what went on here at night … theft, kidnapping, murder, and all kinds of other terrifying things. Why Lord Grey had decided to hold his moon viewing here, she would never know. Maybe it was the best place to see it clearly. She squeezed Esteban's arm and moved so close to him that her abundant bosom was pressed against his arm. Any other man would be delighted, but she doubted he would even notice. All of her charms were lost on him. He never even told her she was beautiful or that he was happy that she was his wife. He had admitted that he had not been forced to marry her, but his behavior made her wonder if he had been telling the truth. He had not balked about taking her to Lord Grey's event, and she suspected that he was looking forward to it. Was he interested in science? They had been married for about nine months and she knew so little about him. Sophia felt a bit queasy but that was probably because she was afraid. This would be the perfect place for an assassination attempt on either Esteban or herself. As far as she knew, nobody was award of her pregnancy but the two of them and a few discreet friends. She doubted that the news could have made it to Juan yet. When it did, there was always a chance that his enemies would find out and try to stop his heir from being born. What better way to do that than to kill the mother? Sophia shivered, and forced her thoughts away from that frightening notion. Karl was with them, watchful as always, and he would be able to detect any threat to his master and mistress. This was the first time she could remember being thankful for his hulking presence.
  2. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    As Sophia's volume rose, the more uncomfortable it became. Though the notes were stunningly flawless, the sheer sonority of her voice was nearly painful, particularly to her own ears. It would be less so for her audience, but still intensely loud. Hopefully, they would be spared the headaches that usually plagued her following this kind of demonstration. She would most likely not be so lucky. But if it worked, the temporary annoyance would be forgotten when the vase full of roses exploded before their eyes. The last note was the highest one she was able to hit, shrill but spectacularly dazzling. As she maintained it, she was afraid that she would fail. She was quickly running out of breath and would not be able to hold it much longer. Her heart pounded fiercely in her chest. Her eyes on the vase, she noticed it shaking slightly and smiled, throwing back her head and closing her eyes to protect them. She heard a crack and then another. A moment later, the vase burst, spraying shiny fragments of glittering light onto the floor. The multicolored roses inside spilled across the stage and a red bloom landed right at Sophia's feet. She abruptly let the note go, but kept her head and arms raised as she took a great gulp of air. I did it! she congratulated herself, hardly able to believe that she had accomplished a nearly impossible feat of vocal magic. I truly did it!
  3. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    His compliment was every bit as thrilling as a sensual caress. “If I am beautiful while riding the waves of pleasure, sweetest Eros, it is only because it is you who makes me so.” Sophia smiled at him and then closed her eyes and sighed as sublime little aftershocks rippled through every fiber of her being. Charles had been well worth waiting for. There was something special about him, something that appealed to her on both a conscious and unconscious level. His face, his form, his voice … everything about him enthralled her. She smiled as he licked her nectar from his fingers and when he began to fondle one of her breasts, her own fingers trembled slightly as she unlaced his breeches. Her heart quickened in excitement when the treasure within was revealed. “Magnificent,” she breathed. “Raise your hips,” she instructed and then pulled his breeches down to his knees. Even covered by silk, her breast tingled beneath his caresses and those thrilling sensations turned into lovely little flames that permeated every inch of her body and ignited a fire between her thighs. Her nipples were already taut and felt uncomfortable crushed inside her bodice. Smiling down at Charles, her hands drifted up her own torso until she was able to pop her prodigious breasts from their silken prison, allowing him full access to her abundant glories. Very slowly, her fingers whispered up the inside of his thighs. “Does this please you?” she asked, smiling up at him. One hand gently cupped his balls and the fingers of her other one slid up the side of this shaft. “And this?” Now at the head of his cock, she caressed its smooth tip, before wrapping her hand around it ... or at least as far as it would reach ... and stroking softly up and down while rhythmically squeezing his balls. Oh, how she loved to touch him! The heat and texture of his manhood delighted her beyond all measure. “Do you enjoy this as well?” If Charles was not completely at her mercy yet, but she hoped that soon he would be.
  4. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    Sophia stepped back behind the piano each time Caroline performed a solo, wanting all attention to be on her friend instead of her. She played as beautifully as ever and she could tell how much the audience adored the other woman's extraordinary gift. She enjoyed it as well. The cello and violin were her two favorite instruments, though she'd had no success learning to play them herself. However, the mastery she had over her exceptional voice was more than enough to make up for her lack of prowess with stringed instruments. She thought it was sweet how Nicolette threw her rose at Caroline's feet. Perhaps nobody had expected the cellist to shine so brightly. Most of them probably had no idea how difficult it was for a musician to impress Master Cole sufficiently to be made part of his orchestra. Those who had performed in the opera were the most gifted musicians in London. The Welsh composer would never settle for less. The next song was in English and Sophia sang it to perfection. As the music stilled, she nodded to the servants and they began to pass out fluffy wads of cloth to everyone in the room. Two others carried a table and a vase full of multicolored roses to the center of the stage. They placed the table on the floor with the vase sitting upon it. It was time for the grand finale and the surprise she had promised Lord Buckingham. “Ladies and gentlemen, please plug your ears with the cloth that you have been given. This is to protect them.” She smiled disarmingly as she plugged her own. “You will still be able to hear me. I shall sing louder than I usually do and the last few notes might damage your ears if you do not plug them.” Master Staggins and Caroline were handed some wads of cloth too. The last aria would be sung a capella for the music would not be able to be heard over the sound of her voice. Taking a deep breath she closed her eyes. I can do this, she told herself. I have the volume, experience, and vocal strength to pull it off. The final aria was the story of Persephone (sung in Italian), that she had performed during her concert for the King. It had been composed by a Venetian composer to show off her rare soprano acuto sfogato voice, concentrating on the phenomenal higher registers. As always, Sophia did not just pretend to be the young queen of the underworld. She became her. Wonder transformed her features as she looked this way and that … as if seeing the room she stood in for the very first time, her expressing her delight at the beautiful world around her and her anticipated reunion with her beloved mother Demeter now that she had emerged from the underworld at the beginning of spring. Her voice was full of innocence and delight. Plucking a pink rose from the vase, she danced around the makeshift stage, lifting her arms toward the ceiling as she sung of the 'glorious light,' twirling around and breathing deeply of the 'fresh verdant air,' her voice trilling beautifully as she enjoyed the 'grass tickling between her toes.' Twirling before the vase, she exchanged the yellow rose for a red one as the song took a sorrowful turn. Persephone mourned her return to the underworld and her cruel husband Hades because of her own foolishness at eating a few simple pomegranate seeds. Sophia pulled petals from the rose and dropped them to the ground as she sang about the months she would be imprisoned in darkness. She stood perfectly still during these verses, finally dropping the red rose and replacing it with a yellow one as the goddess contemplated the possibility of changing her fate by her own actions as she had once condemned it, singing of hope that one day she would never have to return to the underworld again. Sophia performed the crescendo with breathtaking beauty, still standing in front of the vase. She began to add little flourishes and embellishments of her own, her voice increasing in volume with each note she sang. With another deep breath, she once more raised her arms toward the ceiling and belted out the last few notes. The last one was resoundingly emphatic and she held it for nearly an impossible length of time. If everything went as planned, the vase would shatter into a million tiny pieces, ending the concert in a truly spectacular fashion.
  5. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Why did his moan make her shiver with such delight? Sophia could feel its rumbling resonance vibrate against her lips. His cock pushed against her hand and its rigidity excited her immensely. Gentlemen couldn't hide their desires as easily as ladies, and she could tell how much he wanted her. She yearned to unlace his breeches and release it from its confinement, but before she could do so, he broke the kiss and his fingers fluttered enticingly along the inside of her thigh. Her legs trembled and she gasped in anticipation, her inner muscles convulsing wildly. The ache within her strengthened, begging to be assuaged. But he did not touch her nether lips but playfully moved around them. Sophia looked up at him with passion-glazed eyes and gave him a saucy little pout. She also removed her hand from his cock. If he could tease her, then she could tease him. His words thrilled her. No man had ever called her wicked before, either in a good way or a bad way. Charles definitely meant it as a compliment, which was evident by the flashing of his stunning blue eye. “You have no idea how wicked I can be,” she purred, hoping that she could prove that statement true. She knew she had not had nearly as many lovers as he, but what she lacked in experience, she more than made up for with enthusiasm and the willingness to learn. The petite singer wanted to please him more than anything, to hear him moan again and whisper her name in the midst of his pleasure. To her, this was more than just a simple tryst. She felt that they were intensely connected in some way that she could not understand. What she felt for him was more than girlish infatuation, but it was not the overwhelming love that she felt for Don Juan. It was different than that, but just as strong, just as precious, just as compelling. Did Charles feel similarly about her, or did he just want to satisfy the longing that had built between them last season? After today, would he even want to see her again? Those thoughts were fleeting when she felt his fingers upon that little pearl that gave her so much pleasure. With a sharp intake of breath, Sophia closed her eyes, enjoying the way it tingled blissfully beneath his touch. The golden thrills that coiled through her body were nearly painful, but it was a pleasant sort of pain, a prelude to the pleasure that would soon overtake her. As he kissed her abundant cleavage, his beard tickled her sensitive porcelain skin and soft little moans escaped her full lips. One hand again moved backward to stroke the bulge of his cock, squeezing it rhythmically while she squirmed upon his lap. “Charles, my sweet Charles,” she crooned. “If you don't stop soon, I am going to ….” Before she could say 'burst,' a breathtaking fire erupted through her entire being. The rippling flames consumed her utterly and sent her soul soaring on wings of pure pleasure. She threw back her head and arched her back, clapping her free hand over her mouth to stop herself from screaming. At length, her rapture subsided and she looked into his beautiful eye, smiling with satisfaction. This, she hoped, would be the first climax of many. Sophia was a multi-orgasmic creature and she was just getting started. “See what you do to me?” she asked. “But you still don't know how wicked I am.” Removing his hand, she shifted position so that she was sitting on his upper thighs, grinning as she began to unlace his breeches.
  6. A pedicure with friends sounded lovely. Some women were embarrassed by their feet, but Sophia's were small and dainty and she certainly didn't mind showing them off. But floating down the Thames? Her initial reaction was probably not what either Anne or Agnes expected. The blood drained from her face and her ice-blue eyes widened. Had she not told the Duchess that she was frightened of water? Her stomach churned ominously. Anne seemed so excited. How could she tell her that she couldn’t take part in her wonderful surprise? She took a deep breath to calm herself. Maybe I can do it. I've been back and forth to Spain several times by ship, I didn't throw up or faint on Lord Kingston's boat, I walked on the beach in Brighton, and I went ice-skating last winter. Water didn't scare her her as much as it once had, but she had not yet fully overcome her fear. If she was determined not to let it bother her, perhaps it wouldn't. She could focus on the conversation and the pleasant company and perhaps she would even enjoy the view. Sophia wanted to try it. She knew her fear was irrational and this would be another step to connquering it for good. Color returned to her cheeks and her stomach quieted down. “It sounds like fun,” she said with a genuine smile. “I'm a bit afraid of water, but I've been wanting to take a boat ride since last summer.” This was true and she had intended on asking her former guardian to take her out on his yacht. It had remained docked the first time she had been aboard it. The Duchess was giving her the perfect opportunity to satisfy her curiosity. “To me, it will be a new adventure.”
  7. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    That went well, Sophia thought, basking in the light sound of applause. She, Caroline, and Master Staggins made a good team. Maybe they would decide to perform together more often. Not everyone in the audience seemed delighted, such as Mistress Jennings. Either one liked opera or one loathed it. As this was the first event of the season, some courtiers were likely attending to be seen and make connections rather than enjoy her music. And that was fine. The smiles on the faces of others made it all worthwhile. She had planned to sing Amarilli, Mia Bellanext, but she didn't see Lord Grey with Mistress Jennings and Mistress Preston anymore. Nor did it appear that he had moved to sit with someone else. He was no longer in the room. As he had told her that aria was his favorite, she wanted him to be present when she sang it. If he didn't return, she would perform it close to the end of the concert. Turning to her accompanists, she whispered that she was changing the order of the arias, and that she would perform Amarilli, Mia Bella a bit later in the evening. The one after that was her first solo from Diana and Actaeon. Again, she would be portraying the Goddess of the hunt and the moon, and to symbolize her virginity and purity, Sophia plucked a white rose from the basket and stuck it in her bodice so that it nestled above her abundant cleavage. She loved this aria because Master Cole had composed it specifically for her and the contrariness of the aria allowed her to showcase the full capabilities of her exquisite voice. She was sweet and innocent one moment, uninhibited and untamed the next. Passion, playfulness, arrogance, mischief, confidence, sauciness, protectiveness, flirtatiousness, and pride were some of the emotions that colored her voice as it danced blissfully upon the air. Diana was beauty, but no man would ever look upon her. Diana was desire, but no man would ever know pleasure in her embrace. Diana was a huntress, but she would never be hunted. Esteban had told her that her original performance was too seductive, and so this one was less so, though maybe not as chaste as he would have liked it to be. It would be a disservice to Master Greyson not to show the sensuality inherent in the lyrics he had written. As she was pregnant with Juan's child (she hoped), she doubted her husband would complain. The petite singer could get away with more now, so why not take advantage of it? She made sure that none of her actions would embarrass him, though, knowing the value he placed on his honor. And so the concert continued. Interspersed with a few cello solos from Caroline, Sophia sang a couple of arias from Lully in French, some English songs, the Queen's favorite German hymn, and more arias from popular Italian German, and Spanish operas. Each one of them was performed with a different rose, the color chosen to emphasize the emotion of the piece she sang. They were stuck behind her ear or held piously in front of her. Sophia sang to one of them as if it was a person, and others she placed upon the floor in front of her or used in other ways. Eventually, she did sing Lord Grey's favorite aria, though he had still not returned. To illustrate the drops of blood Amaryllis shed for the love of Alteo, she moved slowly across the stage dropping red roses behind her while her enchanting voice trilled beautifully throughout the room. As she held the last note, she gathered up all the red roses and held them before her, a sign that Amaryllis had succeed in winning Alteo's affection. (OOC: After Caroline and Staggins post, and maybe some reactions from the audience, the grand finale will begin.)
  8. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Sophia moaned when she felt Charles' hands on her bum, the lyrical sound muffled against the demanding insistence of his lips. She poured all of the passion she felt for him into that kiss, entwining her tongue delightfully with his.This was joy, this was beauty, this was everything that was good in the world. They were free of her bodyguard now, free to express their passion for each other without the fear of discovery. Nobody would find them up here in the organ loft. there were other sounds in the chapel to drown or any noise they might make. She did not even realized that she was deprived of air until he broke the kiss and she took a great gulp of it, trembling as Charles' lips meandered up and then down her jawline. Sophia lifted her head, hoping that he might kiss her sensitive neck. However, he sank to the floor, taking her with him so that she landed on his lap. Yes, they would be hidden down here. If a priest or a worshiper glanced up, all they would see was the splendor of the organ. His whispered compliment beguiled her and finally she felt his lips upon her alabaster throat. Bright little thrills exploded within her, intensifying into a sweet and poignant ache between her thighs. “As you have tormented me and danced through my dreams,” she replied, her voice as soft and resonant as a cat's purr. “But no more. We are alone at last.” Sophia ran a finger along his cheek and down his neck and then spread her small hand upon his broad chest. “I don't want to wait either.” Her ice-blue eyes smoldered with desire and need. “I have been longing for this moment forever, my dearest Eros. Make me yours.” He kissed her again, forcefully this time, and she responded in kind, not caring if she went home with bruised and swollen lips. She would find some way to explain it somehow. Her legs fluttered in surprise when she felt Charles' hand move beneath her skirt. Instinctively, she parted them, even as she wiggled teasingly upon his lap, moving a bit to the side so that she could reach out and cup the bulge in his breeches, squeezing it softly.
  9. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Perhaps Sophia had forgotten the betrothal notice or maybe she had simply paid no attention to it. If it had been announced at Church, she had probably been daydreaming. She only went to church for the singing. Sermons bored her to tears and she tended to tune everything out until the pastor stopped speaking. She had heard no rumors either and so the presence of Lady Arundel in the chapel had surprised her. But only for a heartbeat. It was Charles who intrigued her to the point where nothing else mattered but him. It seemed like a dream to be close to him like this, squeezed delightfully to his side. In truth, she had dreamed of this moment many times. Now it appeared as if they would have the time to indulge the desire that had been building between them ever since he had first approached her at the Christmas ball and complimented her voice. “I could,” she agreed with a chuckle, “but there are other things I would rather do with my lips. And yes, I fully expect for both of us to give each other a lot more to confess today. Things so amazing that nobody would ever believe them even if we spoke of them.” The petite Countess felt bereft when Charles loosened his hold on her. “Finally,” she breathed, laughing softly as she imagined Esteban dressed in a filmy gown and rising from the sea on a huge shell. Still gripping his hand, she led him up the staircase and into the spacious organ loft, lifting her free hand to stifle a lyrical moan when she felt his hand on her bum. Being quiet was going to be the hardest part. Even in the grip of passion, Sophia liked to sing. After a quick look around to make certain they were alone, she turned to face Charles. Standing on the tips of her toes, she entwined her arms around his neck and pulled his head down to his level for a deep and passionate kiss, crushing her soft yielding curves against his masculine angles. She wanted to be as close to him as possible, so close that there was no space between them at all.
  10. Sophia was becoming accustomed to being coddled because she was with child, but she didn't understand why people were so protective of pregnant women. She felt as healthy as ever and she didn't think that anything would upset her enough to make her lose the baby. About the only thing that would do that was if Juan were to disappear … or be assassinated. Just the thought of living without him filled her with fear, and it felt as if there were fish swimming around in her stomach. Okay, maybe she did need to be pampered a bit. The menagerie at the Tower would not unnerve her, but she was glad that Anne was not taking her there for the reasons she had already vocalized. Something lovely, the Duchess claimed. Maybe they were going shopping for jewelry or to the curiosity shop? But no, the carriage turned away from the Strand. Anne knew much more about London than she did. Perhaps she was taking her to a place she had never heard of before. But what kind of place could that be? “Can you give me a hint, Your Grace?” she asked, excitement coloring her lyrical voice.
  11. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Sophia thought that Charles' wicked grin was alluring. “That should not be difficult,” she whispered. “You already make me want to sing.” She leaned her blonde head against his shoulder and they watched, their arms wrapped around each other, as the figure … a finely dressed young woman … approached the confessional. A priest appeared and greeted her. Lady Arundel? Had Henry married during recess? If so, then perhaps she should not tell him about the baby. No, then he would find out from someone else or do the math when her belly started swelling with life. Those thoughts ran through her mind in a matter of seconds and then were pushed aside to ponder later. It was difficult to think of another man when the one who held you closely, the one you had yearned for so long, was so enticing. “No, I had no idea,” she replied. “But I don't think I will ever convert to Catholicism now. I don't think I would like confessing my sins to a priest.” She smiled impishly. “I would probably be there for a week or more. “Come. Let's go to the loft. They will be occupied for quite some time and I doubt they will hear us creeping up the stairs. I want to belong to you, darling Eros. Every minute we delay seems like an eternity of torment.”
  12. Sophia de la Cerda

    Rhapsody In Rose | 5th April Evening. public event, open to all

    “So did I,” Sophia admitted. “There was somebody I wished to speak to before we began, but everyone started taking their seats.” She grinned. “And what the audience wants, the audience gets.” And there's someone I want to speak to afterward, she thought. She believed that Lord Arundel had recieved her silent message, though he had not reacted at all. That was to be expected. Had he given her the faintest of smiles, tongues would wag and they would be the latest topic of gossip until something more scandalous took their place. As soon as Caroline was ready, Sophia moved to center stage and gave the audience a disarming smile. All of her nervousness melted away in an instant. “Welcome ladies and gentleman, to Rhapsody in Rose, an evening of music designed to delight and entertain. For those of you who are new to court, I am Lady Toledo.” With a theatrical gesture toward Caroline, she continued: “This is Lady Kendishall, who will be performing on her cello.” After waving one slender hand toward the piano, she added: “Master Staggins, the Master of the King's music, has graciously agreed to accompany us tonight on the piano. We all hope that you will all be pleased by our humble offerings tonight.” Twirling in a circle with her arms held out to the sides, she stopped when she was facing the audience again. “And so … let the show begin!” That was Master Staggins' cue to play the opening notes of the first aria … Ammirabili Forme the song that played on the music box she had given the Duke of Buckingham. The sound was thin and silvery and it only played a small sample without vocal accompaniment. Though she was sure he had heard it in Venice, he had not heard her sing it. Would he think that this was the surprise she had promised him? It wasn't. She planned to end the concert in a spectacular way. Only Master Staggins and Caroline knew what she planned to do and it was the reason the chairs had not been set too close to the stage. If she could pull it off, this performance would be remembered for years. Picking up a yellow rose, she held it in one hand and began to sing. The clear, sweet tones of her soprano voice somersaulted through the air performing feats of pure magic … leaping, whirling, flipping, dancing … each note a tantalizing delight to the ears. Utilizing the amazing acoustics in the drawing room, she sang with professional and artistic precision. Those who had not heard her sing before would know that she was not just a court lady who could carry a tune. Only with many years of specialized training could one's voice soar with such beauty and magnificence. A consummate actress, Sophia became the role she sang, stepping from the confines of the known world into the fantastical and compelling dimension of music. As in last year's opera, she portrayed Diana. In this aria, the goddess gazed upon a sleeping Endymion, unable to show her love for him because of her vow of chastity. Her exquisite voice was full of unfulfilled desire and poignant longing, each verse glowing with emotion. As the last verse began, she sank to her knees beside the spot on the stage where the invisible Endymion lay, pretending to caress his sleeping form with the rose. When the last vivid note sprang perfectly from her lips, she lay the rose beside him and stood, lowering her eyes to the ground.
  13. “Stray cats are like that too. They're very clean but they will forage in trash when they're hungry. I guess when your main food source is rats, you're not very picky. You know, the pictures I've seen of raccoons remind me a bit of cats. Felines, though, rarely learn to walk on a leash. None of mine ever did.” Sophia chuckled lightly. “I tried, but I usually wound up with a lot of scratches and a very angry cat.” She nodded. “Aurora is also frequently restless. I'm lucky that my house has a backyard garden. It's not very big, but she can go outside every day, even when it rains. Golden lion tamarins don't mind rain at all. They don't like the cold, though I still let her run through the garden last winter. I took her to a few events as well. She's been trained to lie across my shoulders like a fur stole. Some people thinks that she's a fashion accessory until she raises her head and looks at them. The expressions on their faces are priceless.” Sophia had mixed feelings about fishing, but if she could do it, she would be one step closer to overcoming her fear of water. And who could turn down a picnic? She liked Mistress Preston and imagined that they would have a lot to talk about that would take her mind off her close proximity to a pond or lake. Her childhood sounded quite interesting and she probably had a lot of funny stories to share. As for the young Countess, she could talk about her adventures in Venice all day, as well as some of the fun things she had done at court. And they had their love of music in common. “I had to become accustomed to the stench when I moved to Venice. It's not that different here. Now I don't notice it anymore.” She smiled at the other woman. “I'd be happy to show you around one day if you'd like.”
  14. Sophia de la Cerda

    On A Wing And A Prayer | 6th April, morning

    Sophia had been right. The staircase that led to the organ loft was difficult to miss, considering how wide it was. But that was all well and good, for it would allow them to walk side by side, trading kisses and caresses as they ascended it. She didn't want to lose the physical contact between them, even to climb up a flight of stairs. Every moment with Charles was precious to her, and her body hummed with happiness and desire. She had just placed one small foot upon the first step when she heard the door open. Turning, she saw a person enter, so shrouded in obscurity that she couldn't tell if it was a man or a woman, a priest or a worshiper. Sophia joined Charles in the shadow of the staircase, letting his hand go and wrapping hers around his waist, wanting to keep him as close to her as possible, even if they had to wait a few moments before seeking the privacy of the organ loft. “Let's stay here until we know what he's going to do.” she whispered. “When we're certain he can't hear us, we can creep up the stairs where nobody will think to look for intruders. The organ is probably so magnificent that nobody will see anything else when they look upward.” The petite Countess pulled playfully on his cravat and favored him with a sultry smile. “But I am much more interested in playing your instrument, dear Eros."
  15. Sophia appreciated the Duchess' concern, but she didn't see how attending a meeting or discovering that the patients were being neglected could hurt the baby. She already suspected that there was something untoward going on and she wouldn't be surprised if her misgivings turned out to be true. However, if she found out the patients were being tortured … Her stomach lurched at the very idea. Maybe it was a good idea to let that investigation go for now. Anne seemed quite pleased with whatever she had arranged. Whatever could it be? The young Countess loved surprises, as long as they were pleasant. She couldn't think of anything particularly adventurous that she was still able to do, but her friend knew London and its wonders a lot better than she did. “Are we going shopping?” Even pregnant ladies could shop. “Or visiting some place I have not yet been? I do hope you're not taking me to the Tower. I met a lady who wants to come with us when we visit the menagerie as the first event of our Adventuring Society.”
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