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Assignation at Somerset Palace 12/25 before eleven- Xmas 1677

Davina Wellsley

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Located off the Strand yet still with River frontage is Somerset Palace. Once a Royal Residence it had changed ownership several times and was curently being used to house a regiment of Lifeguards belonging to Major Whitehurst (aka Lord Langdon) who had been appointed as Steward.


It had all been arranged.


She had merely to show up and would be guided up some backstairs to where her Lover would be waiting and then some sweet joinging between them afore she was sent on her way.


Davina did not much like that analogy for it placed her within the same catagory as those that plied their trades - yet she had to smile for was it not the same thing?


It had been an easy thing to slip away from Baintree's residence without any servant by simply saying she was going to Church. It was Christmas Morn after all and as a Catholic she had taken Mass with the families Priest safe within her brother's house but she had the need of an 'excuse' so was intent upon gong to a small Chapel tucked away from too many prying eyes. And the small bag of coins gave her tale further credit.


He had told her to come veiled so as to not stand out. Impossible with all the snow for a figure in black upon that whitness was like to draw too much attention so she had borrowed a servants heavy woolen cloak with its large hood that obscured her face well enough.


Her gown was a plain serviceable dark gray woolen with its neat row of white ruffle about the bodice top and the full skirt held out by petticoats. Dark boots and no ornimations finished off the picture she hoped to have made believable as a girl of middle class orgin come to meet a Lover.


She took a boat and and paid the boatman extra for the trip up river from Whitehall and only smiled as it was assumed that she was going to see one of the soliders that resided there. Why that made a far better Tale than her own and so it was adopted. It was cold out on the River and she felt it thru to her bones shivering despite her layers.


Upon arrival she was helped out nicely at the boat steps then walked a slight way on only to stop and wait as she had been told. The scarf she wore was pulled up to cover the lower half of her face from the cold so it served as her 'disguise' and she guessed no one there would know her anyway.


Just how long must she stand about? Already she knew she was drawing glances .....

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It was not the Lifeguard that were stationed at Somerset Palace, but the Langdon Regiment. It was a regiment that the young Earl had raised as a bulwark against crime and riot in London, if not to protect the King. This was not their official garrison as the Parliament had required that they be quartered outside the city. Rather, it just so happened to be a place where perhaps a few dozen troopers might congregate between patrols and assignments. Lord Langdon was Steward of the Palace and had transformed several rooms into a headquarters as such. There were no barracks. The men gathered in the open courtyards typically. Some seemed to patrol entrances to the palace, as if by coincidence.


The backstairs entrance had a trooper assigned. It was conveniently placed to access the river so that guests could come and go quietly. A servant inside acted as sentry for the lady's arrival. The Earl had been insistent that she be whisked quietly into the assigned suite. A middle-aged servant came forth to greet Davina. "Milady, you are here to see the Steward?" There had been no code arranged yet. He was prepared to lead her inside unless she was not the one whom he expected.

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While she was kept waiting out in the cold Davina did a bit of looking about. She knew of course that Charles was Steward here and had thought that he must be in some sort of Command over other Lifeguards and she had thought it to be more heavily occupied. Not being Military Minded at all she had no real clue as to what actually went on here!


A voice calling out with a question had her turn round and she held a gloved hand up to keep her scarf in place and gave a simply nod as response her eyes taking note of the man as well as his age - silently applauding Charles for his employing him rather than a younger man prone to gossip.


She would follow the man if he were to lead the way ......

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With no further delay, the servant led Davina inside. Up the backstairs, she would observe an occasional maid or valet. Down a long corridor she was led silently. The hallway ended with a door, that was opened easily, revealing a further corridor beyond. This was the entry into the private quarters.


Davina was shown into a room that was well-appointed. The walls were adorned with muted yellow silk. There was a painting of a young girl hanging above a chest of drawers. A queen-sized canopied bed was well made. A bedside table had a porcelain pitcher and basin filled with water. Several neatly folded towels rested beside it, as did soap and a sponge. There was also a small slim package wrapped in red ribbon.


The servant announced that the Steward would be notified that she was there before withdrawing. It would be but three minutes before Charles entered, in uniform as expected. He gave Davina the warmest smile he could muster in greeting, shutting the door behind him.


Rather than rush into her arms as he preferred, he expected that she might still be vexed with him, so he adopted a more premeditated approach. "This is the bedroom of Henrietta Stuart, the King's youngest sister," Charles began, as if giving a tour. "That is her portrait as a child." Somerset Palace's last royal tenant had been Queen Henrietta, the King's mother. Her regal suite had been left for use of the King. Charles, instead, chose one of those used by princesses for their assignations. Sadly, the younger Henrietta had died seven years earlier amid rumors that she had been poisoned by her husband, the Duc d'Orleans. "They say she was the Queen's favorite and the sister most dear to His Majesty." He hoped that Davina might understand that he was trying to convey to her that she was most dear to him as well. "I have chosen this room for you, and us."


It was only then that he advanced on her, looking to take her hands into his own and gaze upon her face. He could only hope that she was pleased to be with him. "These are far better furnishings than we have experienced together," he offered with a chuckle. To date, their trysts had been in coaches and cottages.

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At last being taken inside Davina quietly followed the servant as he led her thru a passagway to some stairs that she took to be those famous 'back stairs' Charles had told her about and as she ascended could not help wondering just how many pairs of shoes had made the same journey.


At last entering what she assued to be the destination she stood still allowing her eyes to adjust and taking note of the furnishings - such as they were. The servant made his speech then left her alone. Going first to a braizer she held our her still gloved hands for even here the air was chilled and so it was how Charles found her when he arrived.


He spoke of the room and its history and how it had been specifically selected for them using the closeness of the late King's sister she guesses as some form of reference to be taken about the two of them which, in her present state of uncertainness, struck a favorable note.


He moved towards her then as she at last removed her gloves looking for a place to set them but seeing nothing close enough let them slip to the floor. Her white hands went then to untie her cloak which then rested over one arm expecting him to take it from her.


She had said nothing up till now but smiled back at his words.


"Indeed this is far better than any of the others' and so thank you for it. I am near frozen Charles .... Can we not have more heat?"


Innocently phrased yet her eyes had seen the bed and its coverings and so a large part of her wanted to gain its access and be held in his arms there to create it yet she held back some for her mind was now filled with doubts - both real and imagined - aganist him.


She would have the lead to begin but she knew it would not be a long battle for her desire was too great.

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Fortunately, Davina did not seem to be upset with him, yet. She was correct that it was chilly in the room, despite the brazier. He had hoped the room would have warmed better, but there was a draft through the windows.


Negligently, Davina let her gloves dropped to the floor. Charles moved immediately to retrieve them. His sweetheart's gloves were too fine to be soiled by the floor. He held them reverently and accepted her cloak as well, draping it over his arm. There were two nearby upholstered wingback chairs by the fireplace. He lay her garments carefully on the armrest of the closest one before returning to her side.


Taking her hands in his, he resisted the urge to tell her how cold her hands were. Rather, he hoped his own would warm hers. He looked into her eyes wanting to say all sorts of things but was convinced that words were not likely to be his friend in this moment.


"I could summon a maid to build the fire," he offered quietly "or ... I could warm you in that comfortable bed." His eyes moved mischievously to the bed. It had been so long since he had been in her company in an intimate fashion, and never had they enjoyed such plush surroundings. His mind was thinking how lovely her naked flesh would feel next to his. His attention was back upon her face. Her hands were lifted to his lips for an inviting kiss. "I have missed you so."

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She did not say anything nor did she shift her stance as he retreived her gloves then took her cloak just continued to watch him and when he took her hands in his was grateful for the warmth they provided. She gave a small shake of her head to his suggestion about the maid.


"There is no need and I'd rather not involve another - yet I suppose that hadly matters as most here already know your habits - and I agree the bed looks most inviting."


Why was she acting this way? They were not strangers and in all truth her body had hungered for his touch so they booth should be half undressed by now eager to join thier bodies and to experience that all consuming Fire.


"And I have missed you as well."


She smiled as he kissed her hands tightening her own grip just a fraction for a response. Her emotions were running hot and cold which was new to her. She had expected to simply melt at his touch yet here she was still fully clothed. Perhaps the two mysterious missives were to blame?


He needed to know and what better time then now.


"Charles may I sit there by the fire and will you give me mulled wine? There is something that I must tell you."

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Although she seemed friendly enough, there was a sort of aloofness to her. Charles could not put his finger on it. He had hoped that she would be as excited to be alone with him again as he was with her. It had to be his now notorious affair with Catherine Sedley. or so he concluded. Bloody Hell. Naively he had expected a different reaction.


She asked for mulled wine and he was only too happy to serve her, dreading what she might wish to say to him. Pouring a glass, he was quick to place it in her hand. More deliberately he lowered himself into the padded chair opposite her. "You have my full attention. Tell me what it is that troubles you." There was probably a better way to set the mood. Already he was chastising himself for not finding a way to lighten the mood rather than make it even more serious. He feared the worst.

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It was clear that he had not expected this direction.


Taking the chair opposite she held her hands out towards the warmth not saying anything and then accepted the tankard of the hot liquid taking a sip then three before she at last faced him.


"How well hid have we been?" She asked him softly. "Apart from buying off silences I mean."


"I did not think that we would remain undetected yet I hoped it would be so. Now I fear something has happened and you must hear it. I have received two missives, both unsigned, warning me about you and how you are unfaithful with another woman."


She gave a small laugh.


"How popular You are!"


Yet her eyes held no amusement and her attempt at being flip would not be at all successful.

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"We have been hid better than the Holy Grail," Charles assured his sweetheart. "No one in my family or household knows a thing about us except my manservant, who knows most of my secrets and has yet to reveal one. "The servants in this palace now know that I have a mistress, but they assume it is Sedley, for I have brought her to the palace openly. Any visit by you will be assumed to be a visit from her. It is why I asked you to veil yourself or otherwise hide your lovely face." He thought a moment before continuing. "None of my soldiers know a thing about you and me. None of my friends would even suspect that I might be seeing you secretly." Of this he was certain.


"I have guarded the King's secrets less well," he explained with a smile. "Your reputation is as dear to me as are you."


The fact that there were two letters disturbed him. "Do you have the letters? Are they in a feminine hand or a male hand?" He could tell the difference. "It cannot be your brother or he would confront you. It must be a servant, most likely your maid," he speculated. "Can she write? She has never liked me and she might use such a ruse to keep us apart."

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She did not return his smile


"This is serious Charles. Truly. Gossip amongst servants is hardly a worry for everyone knows it for what it is but there is always a chance that it serves another. This, I think, is not like that."


"I did not bring them naturally. And I could not tell if a man or woman penned it. Hardly Baintrees method but there is the posaibility that its hers yet for her to attempt it would risk her standing if discovered and she knows full well my own disapproval of her."


She made reference to her brothers' lover Eleanor Needham and knew he would pick that up without explanation.


"It could also be a cast off your own for its tone of not trusting you and your betraying me with another woman is how one of my own sex would act - no MAN reacts thusly Charles - so I think tis a woman."


"Poppy? Look elsewhere and not in that direction. And how you are viewed has just cause after all for she would see me wed and firmly in my Lord's bed! I too have earned her dispeasure I assure you yet for all of that I would have suffered worse if she had not aided me."


She sighed and leaned back into her chair closing her eyes and in his view might seem over-burdened and unsure even afraid if he read between the lines and her manner.


"I cannot think anymore of who the author may be so now you must. Think on who you have 'favored' and then set aside or even upon those that still frequent this place you have created and mayhap the answer will come."


She wanted to say


take me to bed! let me feel your arms holding me and your hands touching my body! You mouth hot upon my flesh and eager to join


But her being unsure of how he would respond made her keep silent and so she would wait for him to make the first moves.

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"Of course it is serious," Charles was quick to agree; but, he felt certain that he had not betrayed their secret. He nodded with Davina's assessment that only a woman would write something like that. "Needham must know nothing of us or she would use it against us to win favor with your brother," Charles speculated. He knew Needham well enough, having slept with her so that Monmouth would cast her aside. It had been a favor to Anne Scott, who was ever attempting to chasing off her husband's mistresses. "The vocabulary used might indicate whether it is from a gentlewoman or a servant." He expected servants to write more coarsely.


Quick to change the subject, Davina looked exhausted. Fear of discovery had likely worn her nerves to a fray. "I will identity this slanderer," he pledged, though he had no idea who might know something relationship.


"You need rest," he deduced as he stood and extended his hand to escort her to bed as if he were some physician. However, his thoughts were anything but pure. As he attempted to guide her to bed, the only ministrations on his mind involved sweet kisses to her soft flesh.


Pulling back the comforter and heavy blanket, white linen sheets were exposed. "Come, let me undress you." Had he known that she was ready for action, he would not have needed to lure her under the covers with an illusion of concern. Instead, he would have thrown her on the bed and had his way with her; but, given her seemingly fragile condition, he assumed that something slow and soft was more acceptable.


He stood behind her and sought to remove her clothing until she was down to her shift. Once she was under the covers, Charles estimated that it would take him less than 60 seconds to disrobe and join her.

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His words flowed over her meant to sound strong and determined and to assure her that he would deal with everything. There was no point in saying anything and when his hand reached out for hers she accepted his help as well as his direction.


LIke a child she stood silent as one by one he removed her items of clothing until all that renained were stockings garters and her shift. Her eyes strayed to the uncovered bed then across to the fire as a log hissed then popped, some muffled sound came next then the touch of chilled air as her chemise slipped from her shoulders to lie at her feet.


There was no talk yet she knew his mind - as he knew hers - and when he came to stand before her half undressed her gaze traveled his length to rest at last on his face as her hand reached out to cup his cheek softly then drew him towards her where her mouth found his opening for his pleasure.

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The removal of her clothing had been methodical; but, when it came to his own clothing Charles acted with alacrity. His jacket was tossed negligently upon the nearby chair. His boots were pulled off with haste and cast near the fire to keep warm. His cravat pin fought his hands which moved to quickly. Though tempted to tear off his cravat, rather than wait another 30 seconds, Charles decided to be prudent and remove the pin with calm motions. It worked better that way. The pin was placed on the bedside table, closely followed by his cravat.


Davina seemed spellbound as he opened his shirt and then loosened his breeches. They slid to the floor and he stepped out from their constraints, leaving only his stockings and opened shirt.


Once more in front of her, Davina reached out for a gentle kiss and Charles was only too happy to oblige. It was a slow lingering kiss in stark contrast to the urgency of his desire. Without much conscious thought, Charles stooped to lift Davina into his arms so that he could carry her to bed and lay her gently upon the sheets as if she were some fragile statue. He was then quick to join her beneath the covers, pulling them up over their shoulders for warmth as he descended upon her with kisses to her lips and then began the trail to her earlobes, neck, shoulders, and breast. There he lingered, knowing it would bring her pleasure. It was after a long dalliance that he moved downward still. He had not pleasured her often in this way, but this day was special. It was Christmas and they were alone in a palace suite. Why not indulge her? He hoped to ease her concerns thereby and inflame her into more robust demands.

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His mouth on hers made her moan softly and when the kiss was broken and she was swept up in his arms to be laid gently upon the sheets she let go of all the tensions that had built up inside of her and which she had found no release for.


His mouth sought and found those places where she desired it most and her hands entangled in his hair holding him to her even more and when he sought to move lower she willingly released her grasp her legs accommodating on their own accord to part.


His first touch made her cry out and the the sheet captured between her fingers knew her strength as she tired to hold back wanting to savor the sensations of her body. The feel of his hands on the bare skin of her legs as they gripped holding her in place was something not done before yet added to her excitement. Her breathing increased as he changed his own tempo but she did not want her release to be alone.


Her voice begged him to seek his own pleasure within her. To be one together as the scale was tipped and they fell.

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Charles would have preferred, under ordinary circumstances, to allow her an independent pleasure; but, when one has been separated from one's sweetheart for months, one's patience is not limitless, especially for a man of action like the Earl of Langdon.


At her urging, the conjunction was made, though gently at first. It was not long thereafter that the tempo increased exponentially. With a pounding in his ears and upon his loins, Charles could barely wait until after Davina went over the edge, joining her in an explosive fury. In that moment, consciously or not, Charles did not withdraw. It allowed them to be joined more completely he thought, and the nearby water basin and towels would protect them from any small risk they took thereby. The question would be how Davina might react. Would she find the intimacy and lack of boundaries wonderful, or would she be frightened by it?

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She at first was not aware that he had shifted the balance and was ready to do as she had begged. HIs hands knew the places to hold and her body needed little time to adjust before she found his rthym matching it with her own. Their cries mingled and when it was done she knew his next move and so half rose but was taken by surprise.


He had not, as was his custom, removed himself from her but lay entwined still within as her body's release had not finished and so he would be privy to something new from her as well as her muscles held him still.


His weight was not unplesant and when she opened her eyes it was to find his face very close so it was quite easy for her to kiss him teasingly on the lips, then to smile softly as she brushed at his hair not really making much of an improvement but it was all in the gesture.


"The feel of you still pleases me and I wish you had done so before. I want to keep you there Charles until you are ready again - already firmly in place!"


The last part full of amused double meaning.


"But that I suppse is wanting too much yet tis Christmas Day and so my wishes must be granted!"


She expected he would soon have to move for his arms must be growing strained with having to hold his own weight and so gave a sigh and gently placed her arms about him pulling him closer as she instigated the movement that would see them roll to his side.


"Can you stay within .... yet even in not the chance will soon arise again. Will you teach me something new?"


Who would be more surprised - She for the sudden asking or He for her saying it?

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Charles could tell that Davina had not enjoyed a release simultaneously with him. As all caring lovers should, he assumed that they would explode together. The fact she failed to do so served as a catalyst for him to continue forthwith.


Rather than unbraid him for his carelessness in not withdrawing, Davina displayed a desire to be reckless together. That was all he needed to maintain his rigor. The fact that she begged to hold him fast until he was ready again were such unexpected exciting words that his manhood swelled with more than pride.


"My dearest," he whispered with a soft kiss, "your soft pleadings are like fire inside my body. There is no place that I would rather be that locked within you. You have breathed new life into me as you can so easily do with but a soft touch or an urgent whisper." Already, his motion began anew and she would feel that familiar rigidity. He was not going to stop until she had multiple eruptions, or so he told himself.


In the frenzy of the moment, he attempted to recapture the final minutes of their last bout so that he could swiftly bring Davina to the edge again. She had asked to have him teach her something new. They had tried several positions in the cottage at Windsor; but, he supposed that they would need to sample every possible position together in the coming days.


Not pausing to give her any respite, Charles began a feast of movement speeds and positions. There had been their favorite, but he turned her this way and that, rolled her onto her stomach, knees, atop, and side by side. Since she no longer seemed to fear pregnancy, he sought to finish her with the position affording the new joy of seed most deeply planted.


He remained locked within her even after they finished, hoping to recapture the spirit that had led to such a hasty renewal of energies. He reached for a small towel to dab her brow and then his own, offering a contented smile.


Her yearning for new experiences caused his to whisper "I am told that holding a hand mirror during lovemaking is especially exciting." He imagined that it would be doubly so for a newcomer to the world of intimacy. There were other ideas as well, but he preferred to bask upon the moist skin of her breast in devoted silence instead, refusing to release his embrace.

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It amazed her still that a man had this ability to be ready so quickly and she chuckled softly before pulling his mouth to hers stealing his breath in a deep kiss as his body once again made her burn.


He then made good on her question and she soon found herself turned and twisted, lifted and placed into positions she could never have imagined all the while begging him to not cease and her cries of pleasure filled the space about them. Her body seemed to know what he wanted and so her willingness to comply must be giving him pleasure as well.


The last position had him deep within and she felt his release as she had hers and once again he did not withdraw but remained as her legs released their hold about his waist and she felt her heart beating like a drum and breath in shallow gasps.


She felt him move and then the touch of a cloth to her forehead and her eyes opened in time to see him wiping his own brow then he smiled down at her quietly suggesting yet another thing to be tried. She gave a shake of her dark head adding


"I fear I shall disappoint you then Charles as I have no strength left - to manage to try something else right at the moment. I am as weak as a kitten yet completely satiated."


Her words were breathy and he would hear real regret yet she hoped he would also know she was speaking truth! Did he really wish for more?


Her heart swelled in the fact that he held her close still and she vowed to always end their joining thusly. Rational thoughts played no part in this and she spared not a thought for any consequence that may result in all that they had done here.


Lifting one shoulder slightly brought the object of his gaze even closer and if he so wished to taste. Lying like this in quiet contentment made that gesture a loving one rather than an invitation to begin anew.


He too must be as spent as she.

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It had been a grand bout as far as Charles was concerned. The fact that she had asked to be taught and they had tried many different positions had added to his pleasure. Her declaration that she was spent drew an amused smile. He too was spent for the moment; but, he expected to be ready again within the hour. He had been separated too long from Davina and, as such, there was an extra spice to their meeting. He would have been content to spend the whole day with her and make love half a dozen times. Unfortunately, they did not have so many hours to meet.


As he lay upon her chest, he stared at the nipple, pondering a kiss or a lick. Yet, being a young man full of pranks, he thought to blow on it to see if it caused a reaction.


With a laugh he sat upright and reached for the small, slender package at the bedside table. "Are you too weak to open your present?" he taunted as he held it out to her.

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His breath teased but he did not touch which she did not mind and was actually grateful for as it allowed her to calm.


He laughed then sat up reaching to grasp a package teasing her with it. Leveling herself on both arms she looked first at it then him her eyes narrowed a bit.


"A Gift? For me?" Some suspecion in her inflection.


"Tis some eleven days till New Years yet I am to have something now .... Well I can not refuse it can I?"


That she was pleased was reflected in her smile as she reached out to take it from him.


Sitting up she turned it over then gave it a gently shake aganist her ear but could not decifer the contents.


"Shall I open it then?"


Asked even as she tugged at the ties .....

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"I did tell you I was to give you a gift," Charles reminded Davina. He placed the parcel in her hand. There would be little doubt that there was a jewelry box beneath the wrapping.


"I wanted to see you wearing this tonight at the ball," the young lord whispered. Inside the box, Davina would find a sapphire necklace to match the earrings he gave her last season. The blue was intended to match her eyes. "Might you say you received it from a secret admirer?" he asked aloud as if he was anticipating a question from her about how to explain the necklace to her brother and fellow ladies to the Queen. Her brother would let her keep it I hope.

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Having already deduced that it was some jewel or other she was trying to gauge what the content might be by weight but as he seemed eager she made to open it instead.


The box revealed its secret - sapphires so lovely that she gave a small gasp a finger reaching out to gently trace the pattern - before she looked back at him.


"Are they the mate to the bracelet Charles? Truly! Oh how lovely ...."


Holding it aloft her eyes sparkled and at his words of her wearing it a Ball that may or may not happen she gave a small laugh as she sat up and tossed back her dark mane of hair to place the necklace around her neck adding


"And why wait for that I ask you when tis far better displayed thusly! How light it feels and look how it lays aganist my skin and the center is placed so well .... And the light from the candles .... Oh Charles! Tis a generous gift and I wonder how I shall properly thank you - might you have a suggestion?"


"An Admirer you say? If I said that it would draw to much notice yet I am sore tempted to do just that simply to set tongues to wag with envy! It is a possibility indeed for there are several Gentlemen that pay me Court at present and even the Queen herself plays with my Future"


"And as these 'Gentlemen' are well-placed t'would be well enough yet I think me tis too grand of a gift for such. Mayhap it will be easier to say nothing and if asked I shall simply say they are some Family Jewels being aired out! Even Bantree has no count of the pieces I have and Grandmother was generous with me."


It would not have occured to her that to mention other men while she was in bed with her current Lover might not be the best thing.

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The necklace was the mate to the earrings he had given her. Charles had yet to give her a bracelet, which was on the list for a New Years gift, along with a sapphire ring. She is probably right that a necklace is too grand for a secret admirer. "Maybe I shall give you a smaller gift that you can claim to come from a secret admirer," he laughed as he assisted Davina in clasping the necklace.


Pulling his head back a distance, he regarded the jewels against her pale skin and then against her eyes. "They shimmer like your eyes," he complimented. "It is like starlight frozen in ice," he continued, trying to be poetic. Given the season, ice was an apt comparison.


She asked how she might repay him. This caused Charles to think of some point to make. He had intended it as a sign of admiration and devotion, expecting nothing in return. Now, she provided an opening for him to request something.


"Nothing but your understanding dear Davina," he replied softly as he sought to continue. "Though you are so dear to me, I may say something or do something that might cause you to be unhappy with me. I hope it would be unknowingly done, for I should not wish to disappoint you willingly. If I should do something to ever make you cross, I shall pray for your patience and understanding." He reached for her hand to kiss as he critiqued his request in his mind. It could have been far more artfully delivered.


"These gems are enduring. Let them be like our devotion to one another. Though it must be kept in secret, it is no less real." That sounded better.


Her talk of suitors provided an opening he sought. "When you are surrounded by gentlemen suitors, or I accompanied by other ladies, our devotion shall be reaffirmed with but a shared secretive glance."

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HIs hands feelt warm againist her naked flesh as he fastened the necklace then sat back to look at both her and it.


She had to smile at his reference to her own eye color with the added poetic verbiage yet it was a truth after all. She knew they woud look good on her!


"Well I think I quite like being compared to 'Starlight' and tis most generous of you. In all Truth."


She leaned closer and kissed him softly without any motive other than following her words with this gesture.


His next words made her draw back for they were not what she had been thinking by way of repayment at all. Instead he began to explain why his behaviours might change, how he would not hurt her intentionally, and lastly asking for her to be patient. All this followed up by a kiss to her hand.


Next came how it all must remain secret, which she already knew naturally, yet his devotion was none the less real. Was he, in his private thoughts, spinning a Tale?


Something was afoot.


Could those two warnings be true?


She had had some silly notions that they would be more than Lovers at some point and that he would even think to marry her - he was in need of a wife after all - but then came rational thoughts and so she had let go of that. Now he spoke of Public meeting and his Company as well as hers and of secretive looks shared betwixt them.


"That you care so much for my person touches me deeply Charles and while I would change things I understand full well your meaning. It will be an easy thing for me to pass you a glance when I am surrounded by other men for I am well-liked and none will think it but some harmless bantering and flirtations."


He was not the only one that was Popular!


The need to prick him a bit with her own words took hold for she had thought he would express some unhappiness at the idea of others wanting what he now had.


The fact that he had not made her temper quicken.


"You must not trouble yourself in thinking that I shall take some offense Charles. For we are nothing to each other save for what we share with our bodies. I am not so foolish as to think beyond this. And I wager you are the same."


She had drawn the sheet up to cover herself as the chilled air circulated about the room and now her knees were drawn up too so that she rested her arms atop them her eyes watching him intently. It was not her point to cause a cease to their meeting. Far from it!


She fully intended to have another repeat of their last joining with as many eruptions of her body as possible for her pleasure. The next meeting might not be so easy to arrange.

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As usual, his words were not well received. A blind man could judge it in her reply. Charles would need to work on refining his skill.


"No, we are not just about sharing bodies," retorted quickly, worrying that she misunderstood him. Rather than attempt to gild his words, the Earl thought that perhaps a more simple sentiment might work better. "What I was trying to say is that I will be seen in the company of Miss Sedley. She is my avowed mistress. I have taken her as a public mistress for a variety of reasons that we need not discuss. The thing that benefits us the most is that while I walk about with a mistress notoriously, none shall think I have a secret lover. It gives us greater comfort as to secrecy." There was a pause as he considered trying to explain more.


"I thought ... I thought you might feel hurt to see me with another woman when we could not be together publicly. I wanted to assure you that you mean more to me. Miss Sedley is fine company but she is not you. I would not give her a gift like I just gave you. I spoke of our devotion in a poor way, I suppose. I meant to say that I believe we are more devoted though we are not in each other's company. I thought to reassure you in some small way that you mean more to me than some simple lover. If I merely wanted the company of a lovely woman in a bed, I could hire one. Davina, my tongue does not work as well when I am in your company." He paused to struggle for words.


"I know not the contours of love, but what we share together certainly transcends what I have felt before. I wished to find the right words but they elude me. Instead, I suppose I fear that you do not view me the same. If you think me as little more than your bed partner, then I shall accept it." Embedded in that statement was a question, and he ceased speaking in hopes of an answer.

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Her words provoked a response from him that struck in two ways - declaring his intent and feelings for her and making it very clear that he would have other Lovers. That he would not explain himself or give reason why.


What had she expected?


Her own conclusions had been much the same and the truth was that she held no claim upon him in any fashion and even if there had been any intent to marry her he would not have changed - as was his right after all.


But hearing them was a far different thing than in her own thoughts. He would use her out of affection and enjoy the fact that theirs was a secret relationship and so she must in future think that way as well. To use Him as he did Her. Pleasure outweighed any emotional attachments.


He offered balm to her hurts next stating that Catherine Sedley was nothing save for a swive and a way to release his tensions. A Common Woman whilst she was of a higher sort?


She could see his difficulty and then his unsureness and so knew she had to address both.


"Charles." She edged closer taking both his hands in hers. "Let me please say what I must and do not interrupt - I am, admitidly, not very well versed in this type of pillow talk and so what I said was not intended to cause you hurts."


"You are my first Lover. The one who took me to places I never imagined and made my body hum. And tis natural, I suppose, for those of my sex to think that allows for a selfish way of thought."


"And when you caused me a hurt so I caused one for you - yet I know full well that I hold no claim over you. But yes the idea of you with other women causes my temper to rise and all sorts of imaginings occur! I thought by being cool and stand-offish as a man would it would make it better to accept. I thought to make use of you only for mine own pleasures as I thought you did."


"Is what I feel 'Love'? I do not know. I have never felt such a thing before."


'a lie! what about George you fool'


"I only know that I wish to be with you. I like you - you must know this already - for have we not sparred enough to bring us finally together? I want only Peace between us Charles. I want you tis a simple truth. Let us be friends as well as Lovers. I will curb my nature and yet I would ask that you speak of no one while we are together."


She hoped that her gentle speech would make it clear that she did care for him.

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Each had thought tto make the other feel better with honest words and feelings. Yet, each seemed to leave the other wanting. Each was relatively new to the notion of sharing deeper feelings.


Charles was courteous, listening carefully to the gentle words spoken by his lover. Though she attempted to reassure him of her affection, Charles was left with the view that he had been foolish to think there was something more than friendship between them. That was how Charles had felt with all of his other lovers, an affection limited to friendship. With Davina he had felt something more, though he could not describe whether it was love or not. He had never known true love. His warm smile barely faltered as he heard a desire to distance herself from what he had been confessing in his own way.


How many lovers over the course of time had begun to confess their feelings only to learn that their partner did not feel the same? How many maintained a brave smile pretending that it did not matter? Charles was one. I am a fool. Yet, it was not the end of the world. He was not so deeply infatuated that the slightest rejection would cause the world to seem a darker place. No, he was left to conclude that it was best to limit one's feelings to friendship with one's lovers. It had been what he had done to date and this was an affirmation of that strategy.


"I understand," he replied quietly. "I have already spoken as a lover, so let us speak as friends for a moment before I revert to being your lover again." The last was a promise that he was not through with her for the day. He had plenty of powder left in his keg for her. "Is there something I can do for you as a friend?" Maybe she needed his help in some scheme or matter.

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The change was so subtile that for a moment she thought it was an imagary thing


She had thought that he would take her meanings and that he would understand the reasons behind it. That she was telling him how she felt not just about him but herself as well.


What had gone wrong?


"I think I have made a poor job and my speech somehow has managed to fall short - for that can be the only thing that would make you think otherwise. What is it that you would hear me say then? Have I not said that you have disrupted my Life, turned it topsy turvy, made me into this creature that I must have always been but was hidden?"


"That my body craves your touch and no other. And when at night, in the dark of my bed, I lay alone and sleep does not come and I find no comforts and so I pretend that you are there by my side and that it is your hand that touches, excites ...."


She drew a shaky breath but did not look away from him


"If that be 'Love' that I feel then so be it! I have nothing to compare it with you see and I am like a new born babe without direction and you are the one that has guided me. I will cerish your friendship in all truth but I will hold this man in my heart."


Letting go of his hand she reached across and put the palm of her hand flat aganist his chest where his own heart beat beneath. Her eyes had wellled up and she sniffed trying to stop the tears from falling.


She gave a chuckled and then wiped at her face with a corner of the sheet before she gave a watery smile.


"Please do not make me say more! Can you not kiss me as only you know how and then hold me close and do what ere you wish ...."


He must understand what she had said! She had professed her feelings. Laid it all out before him. Yet there was apprehension in her eyes and a little fear as well.

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Perhaps women were more intuitive to men; or, perhaps it was Davina was was especially perceptive. Charles had thought he had hidden his disappointment better. Had not his words made it seem as though he was content with her prior declaration?


Regardless of the reason, Davina went on to whisper sweet words to him. Were her feelings the same as his? It was hard to know. He was not skilled in being especially perceptive with women. He took the hand that she placed upon his heart and lifted it to his mouth for a gentle kiss. "I will not make you say more about it this day," he pledged before taking her into his arms for a gentle embrace. It had been invited, as was another bout.


Laying her back upon the bed he signaled the transformation of his desire to hold her into a desire to possess her. A series of well-placed kisses was the foreplay of what was to come. This time was to be slow and gentle, full of caresses and sweet kisses.


fade to black


There had been no desire to withdraw from her and so he continued to lay atop her in a warm embrace. A kiss to her forehead was the transition to the sober question that followed. "When shall you be able to get away again?" He assumed they would meet next time in the same manner they had this day; but, Charles was open to any opportunity, even if it was at the palace.

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