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Eyes upon Chelsea | 11ish 25th Christmas- Xmas 1677

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Nicolette had not intended to visit the Physic. But when she'd reached His driveway, her nerves had given out. Ah! How she hated her cowardice that popped up when something felt truly important. It was easy to be brave when she had no care to success or failure, but this was different. Curses upon Lord Ranalagh, whose person had grown to godlike proportions in his absence.


And so she'd found herself at the gardens that bordered his property, gardens that had been the sole location on her 'things to do in England' list when she'd arrived last spring. Now here, her eyes looked yonder to the smoking chimney stacks. It was a dream (talking with Caroline had made it even more apparent to Nicci), she knew really it was an impossible dream that she might ever become the Lady of that house. Lord Ranelagh would be the husband that was no husband, and she'd awake each day with fragrances wafting through the windows, a vault at her disposal, new dresses, parties and shows whenever she wanted. It would be a fantastique life. A living dream. An impossible dream. But still, she nursed the imagining...


"Mademoiselle Vauquelin?"


Oh what a lovely dream it was.


"Mademoiselle Vauquelin?"


Nicolette's misty thoughts were broken as she realised someone was talking to her, and turning she smiled, then discovering it a familiar gent. "Ah, for give me. I was, how you say, away with the fairies." she gave a smile and then walked with him towards the heated dry room. "The apprentice was saying there is a problem with the licorice root powder..." she spoke shop. The Chelsea gardens being the Golden Pestles key supplier. Not that she needed to deal with such things really, for the apprentice was a most capable fellow. The shop was safe in his hands.


It was some twenty minutes later that a rosy cheeked Nicolette exited into the wintry air, pulling her wool cloak tight around herself as the cold nipped again at her skin. Again her eyes drifted towards Ranelagh's house, impressing the vision into her memory, as though it might sustain her. Pipe dream perhaps, but powerful none the less.


Gathering her skirts about her, she pressed down the path, it was a short walk back to the Chelsea wharf where she'd catch a barge back to London itself.

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  • 3 weeks later...

John was coming down as Nicolette was leaving. He stopped when he saw her and blinked, surprised. For a moment there was an instinct to flee. Not because he liked her less but because he still felt that unbearable awkwardness of not knowing where the two of them stood. But no, this had to be resolved. He enjoyed his times with her and didn’t want to lose them over fear.


“Ah,” John hesitated as he often did when speaking to a lady he fancied, “Mademoiselle. How… uh… how are we?” He said, with a small, probing smile. He was hoping desperately to receive a welcoming one in return.


His mind turned. If he was able to do his bit her presence might actually be of great benefit. And besides, surely she wouldn’t turn him down for a stroll. “M-m-might I beg the favor of your… cuh-company?” John offered his arm. For John, who was still frightened by the idea of intimacy and possessed of the idea his body was hideous, this was a gesture of intimacy. "I'm g-g-going up to the library a bit. You might be of... huh-help."


What started as polite excuse to be with her turned more solid as his mind turned, Yes, either way she'll be of great help.

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It was a day for resolving relationships - Nicolette had just visited Lucas that day hoping to put certain things to bed, so to speak.


A familiar voice. Nicolette's head turned and she smiled spontaneously. "Lord Maldon!" and she gave a little giggle at his applying the royal We. It was a funny thing that he did, was it subtle reference to her designs upon the King? She just chuckled of it though her mind might easily make more of it if it had time. "I am well. And you... you looked well at the Opera last night, I saw you, with a beautiful lady?"


She gave a small nod and a gloved hand appeared from beneath cloak as she took his offered arm. It had been far too long since they had last been together, a goodly level of awkwardness now resided between them, where before there had been kisses.


She curled her fingers into his cuff. "I had not thought to visit their library." Nicolette confessed with a surprised tone of herself. How remiss. "I would like to see it myself. What is your task there today?" He looked well, though, there was something different about him she thought. Her eyes bored into his with an intentness, though it was not questions of Chelsea Physic that burned.

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Nicolette greeted him with that charming ease she was known for and John seemed to relax. He smiled widely and easily, “Ah, yes P-p-princess Juliana. Lord C-c-cavendish’s wife is her… cousin.” So she was a distant connection of John’s. John was beginning to adopt her title of princess with more and more ease.


“She w-w-wishes to meet you, I think.” There was… something there. John’s mind had trouble tending towards lesbianism but he did know she had looked at Nicolette appreciatively. At any rate, to the innocent young lord Nicolette seemed a bastion of experience and he trusted she could take care of herself. Besides, as… lusty as Juliana seemed she didn’t seem threatening. “I’ve… invited her to Lady Kendishall’s party, will you… be there?”


John was happy as she curled her hand into his cuff. He was glad she took hold of him. It made him feel… well, that way Nicolette was so adept at making him feel. “Oh, I nuh-need some books on foreign p-p-plants. And I was hoping to spuh-speak to the keeper to gain the apothecary’s support for the b-b-bills… we spoke of. And possibly to g-g-get you some lab space so you might… work further on your cures. Ideally luh-lab space with a window towards Ranelagh’s house.” He trusted Nicolette would be his ally, as he was hers, so he was frank.


Nicolette looked at him. John felt it was the same question that he had feared her answer to. He felt then a strong desire to lean in and kiss her but, unfortunately, he lacked such boldness. Instead he just smiled a warm, accepting, even loving smile, and his free hand came to gently take her other hand and he faced her, looking her right in those intent eyes. “It is g-g-good to see you again.” His tone carried more sentiment than there normally was in such banal words.

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"Juliana... Lady Newcastle-upon-Tyne's cousin. She is English then?" Nicci inquired. "Ah but I want to meet her too." which was true to a degree, in as much as any woman wants to meet a potential rival. Does Juliana have designs on the King? Meeting had to be done, but the outcome was anyones guess.


"Mmm... yes I am to go to the party." a pause. "Lady Kendishall and I are good friends." another pause as she skirted around a subject. Lashes lowered, "Mm... she told me you were on the guest list." Caroline had also told her how she fancied John, her eyes lifted to look at the shy Earl again. "She has dibs on you, for the party anyhow."


He told her about his plans at the Physic, Nicolette drew a breath to interject she did not need lab space (for she had the shoppe), but her breath was lost as he mentioned Ranelagh. Ranelagh!? Oh how to tumble this missies mind.


It was precisely this sort of thing that made everything so confusing. "Ah." her steps halted, and everything muddled. John chose that moment to express his pleasure of seeing her. Perhaps it was different for men, perhaps their relationship did not seem such a shredded mess to him?


"I like to see you too, Lord Maldon." she spoke quietly, looking down at his hand.


"I don't want you to find me a view to Lord Ranelagh, John, I don't want to think about anyone else when I'm with you." the sentence developed as she spoke, and upon it's completion it felt right. She lifted her eyes and smiled to him, "Come, lets get inside then, before I have to think of other ways I can warm you!"

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“No, Luh-Lady Cavendish’s. Through the duh-dowager Lady Ormonde, I buh-believe.” It was a distant connection to say the least. But John nodded. He would introduce them. John still, naively, did not think of such things as rivals in love. And he was so inexperienced in romantic matters as to appear dense. “She is German but g-g-grew up Swedish.”


John’s brow knitted in confusion at dibs. He imagined Lady Kendishall liked him only as a friend. She had kissed him, true, but he’d thought that was a libertine jibe. Even now, he imagined it was social dibs rather than the ladies having divided up the men into their personal suitors. But he smiled a bit awkwardly and nodded. Who was he to interfere in the plans of his hostess and Nicci?


It seemed a mess but, now, when she affirmed she still felt as tenderly as she had, it was not shredded. That mutual affection had been the bedrock of their relationship for John. They still liked each other, they still wished well for each other, and John still held these strange feelings of desire for her. He did not understand relationships enough to know more than that.


John was surprised by her declaration but, after a moment, he nodded, “Alright.” John said. “When you… are w-w-with me, you are muh-mine alone.” He hardly knew what those words meant but they too felt right. He looked at her for approval.


He looked forward to being alone with her again. He hoped they might sport like they had before. She smiled and John smiled back and she made a saucy remark. It set John to blushing but his smile just grew, “P-p-pray do not forget them, the… winter is cold!” But he went with her up through the gardens and towards the building.


A moment later, Nicci still on his arm, they were inside and John was looking around for signs of life... and subtly spying how the books of the library were laid out.

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It had been an easy enough mistake to make, for the Lord Cavendish he cited was dead (so she'd imagine he meant the Living Lord Cavandish's wife was the relative). "Ah." she nodded. Was it her imagination or was he being deliberately vague. "A german then." which did not reveal much more of the woman's origins. "Her surname?" Nicolette decided to ask specifically!


He looked perplexed of the 'dibs' Caroline had of him. "It is her party, it is only fair that she took first choice." Nicolette explained, "I would be no friend to compete with her at her own party. Mmm... so, you understand how it is, yes?"


She felt an inner peace with the declarations then exchanged, putting the blinkers on as it were. "Let us enjoy the moment." she affirmed, squeezing fingers and smiling, and looking about at the wintery wonderfulness. The trunks of deciduous trees with snow clinging to windward side, the resistant evergreens, so much the greener for being surrounded with piles of white, birdsong above, pink cheeks and noses. She gave a laugh for quite no reason but to be alive!


"La, I shall not forget them, really, it's a difficult thing not to think of all the things I have learnt..." Nicolette replied teasingly to John, her breath quick puffs as they hastened inside. "Have you met lady O'Roarke yet?" she was considering telling John about The Book.


Into the building they made a direct line to the Library. Again Nicolette was struck by her obtuseness to not have come here before! Looking around it seemed rather quiet, but then this was Christmas morn.

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  • 4 weeks later...
The Chelsea Physic Garden was founded by the Worshipful Society of Apothecaries, in 1673, as a training garden for apprentices to learn proper plant identification. Plants were essential in practice of medicine, although many people treated mild ailments on their own, often with the helpful advice of an almanac. The gardens quickly became a place of study for Botanists, as well as Apothecaries. The Royal Society occasionally holds lectures here about botanical matters in the large greenery where the more exotic plants are kept.


Situated in Chelsea, on the Thames, the location was chosen to allow the maximum number of plants to grow successfully and survive the English winters. The collection included many non-native plants, including olive trees, Asters, and Yuccas.


It is the second oldest botanic garden in England.


The garden is surrounded by a red brick wall, and is situated near the river. Above the spacious greenhouse is a library, furnished with a large collection of botanical works, and with numerous specimens of dried plants. It is open to the public during the day but closed at night.


It was indeed quiet, a sole librarian tending to his books in the back where a desk stood, bent over his work with a quill in hand.


OOC: is this thread still alive? I apologize it was not tended to before but we are a bit short handed. Let's continue

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There was a rather complex dynastic tangle there. The truth was Juliana was so distant her connections only mattered if she managed to ingratiate herself with them. John was erring, as he often did, on the side of being helpful. “von Hesse-Eschwege.” John replied easily. “When you meet, I’d like to g-g-get your impression of her. I’m not… quite sure what to make of her.” And Nicolette seemed worldly to the young lord.


John smiled easily at Nicci’s explanation, “I don’t understand it.” Nevertheless his tone was cheery. “But I t-t-trust you.” He didn’t seem to mind at all.


John smiled at her squeeze and looks. While she looked around, he looked squarely at her, and it would be easy to see affection on his face. She laughed and John smiled, thinking it a pleasant, lovely, beautiful sound. When she looked at him, though, John looked away quickly and blushed.


He smiled shyly at her comment. He’d found his head filling with strange new thoughts as well. Thoughts of her, often enough. John shook his head about Lady O’Roarke. He’d heard a lot about her, most of it bad. Yet John was self-aware enough to know that anything he heard about York’s mistress was going to be tainted.


There was a single librarian. John walked over, “I need some b-b-books on Spanish plants and their health. I’d also… like to t-t-talk to the Master or someone with like authority.” In other words, the head of the society or someone similarly highly placed.


OOC: If Nicci's still game, I am!

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OOC: I'd been quietly hoping we could carry on



"Von-Hess?" Nicolette blinked, "is she a relation to Princess Elizabeth Charlotte of Hesse-Cassel?" eyes widened with interest to the possible link to the Duke of Orleans wife. This was interesting! "Mmm, yes I must meet her, and make an impression of her." there was a little self service in the frenchwoman's compliance. However kind her nature, she was still a courtier, and had ambitions!


Still, in John's company she did not remain in that mode for long, he was too charmingly childlike with quick blushes at surprising times, that she soon forgot talking about the lady at the Opera, as the desire to flirt with the Earl took presidence. Nicolette simply enjoyed provoking him to embarrassment! "Well I have become her cherished friend, and she... has promised to teach me all there is to know of the arts of love." she leaned closer to John to murmur. For a little time the library seemed quite abandoned, and so the girl dared.


"You know, even the best lovers need to practice." could he feel her warm breath near his neck? Any closer and she might...


Nicolette's eyes fell upon his earlobe, and she wondered of kissing the soft little flap of skin, perhaps to suck it, or would that be too weird? She needed to hunt through Heather's book to see if there was any mention of such a thing? Her own lips parted then in contemplation.


La! But there was someone attending to the library. Lucky for Nicci, John noticed them, and in a no nonsense manner made a stout approach. Nicolette meanwhile gave herself a mental shake and readjustment, then standing behind him gave a pleasant smile to the librarian, whom she hoped had not seen anything.

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  • 1 month later...

OOC: John was coming here to meet with the Apothecaries to do some politicking, so I sort of glossed that. Let's continue!


“Yes,” John said of Juliana, though he wasn’t quite sure how. At any rate, it didn’t matter unless she was able to make a positive impression on people here, relative of the Duke of Orleans or not. Though perhaps Nicci might use the pretensions of royalty of the ‘princess’.


“The arts of love?” John repeated back, both enticed and dumbfounded. She leaned in, warm breath pricking his neck, and said that even the best lover’s needed practice… It stirred something within him that had long been deeply buried. For the first time, perhaps ever, John was aware he was a man and had a manly aching urge.


But then he noticed the librarian and went there instead. The man was quite helpful in providing directions and said he would be back or in touch to follow up on the rest. John and Nicci moved off to the appropriate bookshelves, John somewhat dissatisfied at not having completed his business.


Yet there was something satisfying just in being with Nicolette. He had left partly to avoid panic but now that they were out of view of the desk, behind some shelves in an obscure section of the library, he focused on her again. There was a terrible awareness of her body and he felt something like lust, not lust sublimated but plain desire. He didn’t know what he wanted to do but he felt a powerful urge to do it. There was an awkward moment or two.


He began to reach for a book… “P-p-practice.” He said, breaking the silence, his attention turning squarely to her. “I need practice too.” John seemed even more nervous than usual, “In such arts.” He’d been worried earlier about hurting her, but she seemed determined… and frankly his new urges were fogging things a bit.


“I’d be… I mean, could we… would you?” John had trouble speaking normally but it wasn’t his condition tripping him up at the moment. He was turning deep crimson. “I’d like that. Especially with someone like you. Someone who likes me, I mean, who would be kind.” And who knew of his inexperience and nervousness already.

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Maldon had certainly piqued Nicci's interest in The Princess. Juliana's rank alone was ample recommendation to diligent interest, but there was plainly something more about the woman for John to have specifically pointed her out to Nicolette. Why was that, did he divine some opportunity? Nicci blinked, her dark eyes observant, though restraining further comment at that moment.


But for now Nicolette was practicing her arts on her gentle friend, her bosom trilled as she saw her effect upon him - his voice unconsciously shifted to a deeper tone, and his look intensified.


His earlobe, so soft and sweet, so innocent... her tongue darted licking lips as she tipped forwards.


But then he moved away (embarassed perhaps?) and Nicolette was left to quickly recover herself. Men! A pout was given, and she made a show of rolling her eyes to the librarian (who surely understood that a woman's occupation when attending a library with a gent was not to advance her own literary education).


Did the librarian empathise? She could hardly tell. He provided John with his directions, and Nicolette tagged along after him, acting out a sulk, while privately coming to wonder if her dear friend had a darker agenda? Deep at the back of the library, no one would know or hear what they got up to.


No, not John, he's as innocent as the driven snow.


The pout reformed on rosebud lips


She chose a book at random, and flicked through the pages looking for the illuminations. "Well this one is no use." Nicolette sighed, and looked at John. He was behaving a bit oddly. Practicing? Was he talking of what she'd said before, probably not. He was probably talking about gardening.


But then why was he so abashed?


A smile grew, at last! "Well in that case, Lord Maldon, you know first I shall have to induct you." gone was her sulk, gone was her pout, and returned was the mischievous imp that was her true nature.

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John was indeed a difficult quarry, though less of a conscious effort and more because there was a tangled web of insecurities to navigate. Nicolette had done so admirably and forgiven his mistakes. He hoped her prize would be rewarding. If nothing else, he had already decided to help her fortunes rise as best he could.


John’s blush deepened. He wasn’t sure why he was blushing. Normally it was because he was scared or embarrassed but he knew that Nicolette would welcome him. But such things could be silly. It was… momentous in a way, a way that perhaps Nicolette could understand. He’d never chosen to be intimate with anyone.


John smiled as she did. There was something pleasing in seeing her grow so happy, especially after her sulk, “Induct me?” John said. He didn’t understand but that was to be expected. Is that some innuendo?


“Alright.” He smiled awkwardly. He had no idea what to expect but he trusted Nicolette. His arms wrapped around her and he pulled her close, though not against him. “Induct me.” He looked at her, eyes full of trust. His tone was deeper, calmer, more assured. His blush began to fade.


His nervousness, which had been a constant companion, seemed to evaporate with his decision. Now there was just certainty and desire. And love too. He would not have been comfortable without that. If he didn’t care for her, and didn’t believe she cared for him, he couldn’t have been comfortable.

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And he agreed. But of course she had known he would, it meshed neatly with her theory that seduction for a female was comprised of variants of saying yes - and nothing so very difficult at all.


The Duke, and Francis too, even Cousin Louis for that matter, seemed to think differently though. As though there was far more to it than biddableness. Nicolette was not so sure about that, and suspected that they merely recommended against passiveness. Fortunately for her, waiting for the world to come to her was not her nature, rather, she found a certain sort of delight in the chasing, in the games between the sexes, and in feminine command over the stronger sex.


It was freedom to command that sweet John here allowed her. Her smile broadened further still, though she had no idea to what her induction would prove to be, she was already enjoying it!


"Mmmm..." while his arms were about her waist, she maintained a distance between their faces with arched back, and now placed a fingertip against his cravat, "it is not really so different to your induction to the House of Lords..." her eyes sparkled of the game she made, "how does that go again?"

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Perhaps Nicolette had discovered some truth of the nature of things. John knew very little of such things. It seemed to the inexperienced young lord his attraction for her had sprung quite mysteriously from an unknown seed and then been nurtured by her.


Regardless, John was quite willing to put himself in Nicolette’s hands.


The House of Lords? John didn’t understand and his brows knit in confusion. Well, I get really nervous and then a plague sweeps through and kills Devonshire’s uncle. He couldn’t imagine his first time would be like that. He didn’t think Devonshire had any uncles left. At the disturbing thought he unconsciously pulled Nicci a bit closer.


But then she toyed with his cravat and John realized it was a game. He looked down for a moment then smiled, “I’m very nervous, you know. And I’m worried about how I’ll be… judged. But I find someone to go with me, someone I t-t-trust.” John smiled at Nicolette, and gently brushed a loose strand of hair behind her ear.


“But there’s no particular ceremony. I am invited. I attend. And just like that I’ve p-p-passed to adulthood.” There was a ceremony for the inheritance or creation of title and for a lord who was newly invested with a title. For people like John, who had simply inherited, there was no ceremony. “It’s b-b-brief, but the first of many.”


John looked down briefly, “I know for those who’ve had m-m-many sessions it’s hardly anything worth remembering. But I hope they do, a little, even if it’s n-n-not especially notable.” Perhaps she could feel his grip tightening, just slightly, on the fabric of her clothes.

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"Well that's not very..." she sought the right word, and failing finding it settled upon "french." Not that France had a House of Lords, but if it did, there would be ceremonies upon ceremonies.


"La, I thought that there was a man with a staff. Mm... and something about green? Ah, and the sack of wool?" She'd hoped there was some ceremony she might take cue from, that she might delight in basing her own 'induction ceremony' from.


"Brief, but the first of many..." she repeated his words, when related to sex, it was about a drab as an English sky.


"Then it is not like the House of Lords ceremony at all." she settled, "Mmm... to begin, come sit, you might need to take notes. Or draw diagrams." the girl grinned, "but lets commence with a glossary, for induction you need be familiar with the language, the terms and phrases." Heather's instructional was graphic, "ah, and for safety also."


And to begin, Nicolette thought to slip to sit upon the gentleman knee (a self indulgence, she having experienced most pleasant sensations when in that position with a gentleman previously.) In a sultry murmur she then said, "Did you know, there are many words for a gentleman's pokey bit?" her eyebrow rose as she grinned of the ridiculously childish term, all while very aware of the proximity of his own in relation to her thigh.

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John fell a little as she declared it not very French, thinking she meant it was not for her. A skillful man might have found rich imagery to exploit… John’s inexperience barred him from such innuendo.


Yet she rebounded and John smiled in return to her grin. She bid him sit and there was a small chair and table tucked away in their little corner. John sat quite easily, and wrapped his arms around her when she found his lap, “I will take d-d-down every particular.” John wasn’t sure what to make of the safety. “I… want to know how to make your heart race.” John was aware of his failures, but very much wanted to learn.


“Pokey bit?” John didn’t make the connection at first, but then blushed deeply. “I know a f-f-few.” He admitted. If she ventured to his pokey bit she would find it not yet hard but having swelled in anticipation, “Perhaps you should whisper them in my ear?” They were in a public place, after all. And something about her leaning in to whisper had an appeal…


His hand came to the small of her back and gently urged her to lean in.

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She paused then, and looked at him.


He wanted her to whisper to him, and moved his hand in an encouraging way. She got a sense that talk was not all he wanted (he was behaving differently than he had last season, last season when they had kissed that time). This time, it was like he knew what he wanted.


But she'd made other plans for her first time. Her eyes grew more serious, and she got to her feet again. "I think best we continue our conversation some other time."

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John looked down for a moment as she got off him, "Yes, of c-c-course." John cursed his inexperience, which he blamed for her withdrawal. This was a game he simply did not know how to play. "I'm sorry if I gave offense." He smiled apologetically. "I hope you d-d-don't think ill of me."


John remained seated for a moment. He was having a bit of trouble making eye contact and his hand was fidgeting. Always nervous about such things the rejection had hurt. Though Nicolette was mistaken if she thought John would have done such a deed in public. "Back to m-m-more plant-y books then? Or d-d-do you wish to leave?"


Whatever confidence John had just shown was gone. He seemed more nervous than he'd been before.

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She felt a bit bad, she knew she'd led him along -- but she'd not thought much would come of it. Then, when he'd acted interested, she'd thought too much might come of it.


But she'd planned who her first time would be with, had told her cousin, had arranged it with the gentleman. She felt, in her own ridiculous way, 'spoken for'. As spoken for as she would ever be. There had never been hope of a marriage on her horizon, this, was her version of being true to a promise. Even if she was not truly sure if Francis really wanted to, or was just agreeing to because he had to, perhaps Buckingham had insisted he perform the task.


"I am sorry." she mumbled, feeling suddenly emotional of the moment, eyes glazing, she looked away.

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She wasn’t entirely wrong. But John was a long way away from being comfortable anywhere than a very private bed. She’d not misjudged his intentions, just how immediately he wanted them carried out.


Regardless, he didn’t know her reasons for refusing. Only that he’d said something not terribly clever and then she’d moved away. So he blamed himself and his inexperience. When she mumbled her apologies, he forced a smile, “It’s alright.” There was still pain in his voice. This had been the first time he’d tried something like this, gotten so close to physical intimacy. Rejection hurt, though he knew Nicolette was not being cruel purposefully.


John stood. “We’ll muddle through it somehow.” He embraced her and pulled her against his chest, cradling her head. “There is still ‘we’, isn’t there?” There was trepidation in the question, but regardless it was better to know.

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"Yes." relief was in her tone as she squeezed him tightly in return.


Theirs had ever been a tumbly sort of relationship, yet though the ups and downs they still managed to keep 'holding hands'. Tipping her head into his hand, she kept squeezing till her arms begun to ache. She wished she could somehow explain, but she hardly understood it herself.


Yet finally she had to ease her limpet-like clasp of him, and as she did so she whispered, "What did you want to find in these books, I shall help you look. Remember I love these things quite as much as yourself." her smile soft, wishing to make amends.

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John smiled as she squeezed him very tightly, hoping it gave her some comfort. It hurt a bit but he was so very glad to know she didn’t dislike him now that he’d admitted he wanted their flirtations to go further. Their relationship had never been entirely easy, but they cared for and helped each other. That was enough for the inexperienced lord.


John smiled in returns and briefly cupped her cheek. His hand dropped after a moment, “I’m looking for some b-b-books on Spanish plants and their diseases. Lady Toledo’s b-b-brought me some and one of them has some… root issues.” John said. “But if there’s anything her that c-c-can help your treatments, you’d do better for me with that.” John’s greatest hope still lay with Nicolette’s medicines, and it was a library of apothecaries.

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Unaware her hug hurt him physically, Nicolette spent energy in an embrace, more focused upon the damage to his heart that she might wreak. He was a gentle fellow, not so robust and blustery as others, perhaps wouldn't bounce back as easily. She did not want to wound with thoughtlessness.


"Oh, Lady Toledo." she digested that, and then gave a smile and turned back to the bookshelves, with thought to the trouble to be addressed.


"It is a fungus in the roots do you think? If it were a person I'd recommend a tea. Perhaps pour cold tea into the soil at it's base..." she speculated, wondering if the tannins in tea could help a plant as well as it did a person. "Hmm, it might be less to do with Spain where the plant came from, and more to do with how it was transported." her interest grew with discussion of the topic. Oh yes, she did love such things.

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It was not so much intense pain as it was discomfort at the tightness. He was very happy at her embrace and it did indeed fortify him, and his feelings about her.


“I think so.” John said in reply, “The issue is that it’s already killed p-p-parts of the roots and it seems to g-g-grow on the dead parts. The plants are relatively… shallow since they’re still potted so I’m thinking I m-m-might need to shear them off. But fuh-first I need to identify the plant and hopefully the… d-d-disease.” And see whether there were any treatments already available.


"The p-p-plant is discolored slightly. It's a b-b-bright colored flower with small petals and a large center. And the roots are d-d-discolored worse." John said.


He left the matter of his medicine aside for the moment. He would still encourage her, but he was happy to let her help. Truthfully she probably knew more about this sort of thing than he did.


OOC: And since the thread where it’s been treated has already happened, it’s Spanish Rot, which is a mild form of root rot. If you want Nicci to discover that, feel free.

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"Well you are the gardener... but I would think it might be best to cut off the disease back till you get to good wood, burn the sick parts, being careful not to breath in the smoke, and perhaps graft healthy cuttings onto healthy rootstock." She supposed.


"But lets hunt through the books yes?" The librarian had directed them to this portion of the library after all, so there must be the information needed to fix the problem here somewhere.





OOC: OIC, It's all sorted then! Well I suppose we can wrap up the thread then and progress forwards. Thanks for joining it to kill two birds with one stone.

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John nodded. They were thinking similarly. And they went through the library picking out books, though John gently tried to encourage Nicci to pick up some about medicine and treating his condition. There was just a hint of the desperateness with which he clung to that hope. But soon they'd discovered what he'd came for and, against his inclination, it was time to depart.


Unfortunately, it seemed the librarian didn't return. John was unfortunately uncertain whether his light assurance would actually mean anything.


OOC: Alright, thank you for a lovely thread!

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OOC: Not so fast you two! Apologies for the delay but we had some problems with the settings on this account, so that I wasn't able to post to the boards. Thankfully that's now all sorted/


The pair had headed off amongst the shelves, ostensibly following his directions towards the books they were looking for, and the librarian had ducked out to collar the nearest apprentice and send him on to find the Master.


Armed with an answer, he’d been about to approach the two when… certain sounds and certain overheard words suggested that books and the Master of the Society were not uppermost in their minds at that moment in time.


Had it been some wayward apprentice, the librarian would have taken a certain satisfaction in rousting them out and sending them fleeing down the hall, in fear of him and their future in the Guild. But whilst this was his library, they were nobility. Still, he would never have been so… forthright in public, his wife would never approve. But the dual standards of society permitted such. Gentility was an odd concept, something one caught from one’s peers, like a venereal disease. The librarian and his wife had respectability, which was home-made and iron-clad.


Balancing the possible outcomes, he decided that discretion was the better part of valour, and opted to return to his desk. When the pair showed themselves again he gave them a long, measured look.


“You asked about the Master, milord.” He said at length, from the safety of the other side of his desk. “John Battersby’s in the Gardens with the Head Gardener; down by the Island Endemic Flora at last sighting.” He said, endeavouring to be helpful in the vague hope that the libertine pair would not disturb the serenity of his library further.

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John did not need worry, as long as he continued on the course of treatments she'd already prescribed him with. She'd accrued much knowledge over her decade and more of study, and had taken care to check her facts further before making her recommendations to him. But it would not be instant. As she'd told him initially, the treatment would not be a quick fix, but over the course of months, perhaps even years he ought see a gradual improvement. He'd reported to her already that he'd seen some progress, and it had only been three months! To Nicolette's view point that was assurance that she'd set him on the right path.


And so, today she searched for the information he was looking for, bringing him this book and then that, for his review. Till finally the search had them weary... and amicably they decided to call it a day.


Yet as they were departing, the librarian spoke to them, he having located the person John had been looking for initially.


Blinking, Nicolette turned to Lord Maldon. "Ahh... I suppose I shall leave you to find him?" she did not need to see the gardener herself, so did not need remain unless John favored the company.

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