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The Sky Is Awake, So I'm Awake. - 12/28 (Late Morning)- Xmas 1677

Diana Butler

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#38 - Residence of the Earl of Gowran

The residence is separated from the bustle of the street by a five foot tall brick wall. A carriage arch with ornate wrought-iron gates leads into the modest but elegant front garden. A gravel driveway forks towards a small stable with an attached carriage house. The facade of the two-story townhouse itself is plastered with lime, and the fashionable sash windows have been painted black for contrast. Above the massive walnut wood double door is a balcony with a wrought-iron balustrade, supported by four pillars, creating a small portico.


Some habits were hard to break. One of the hardest for Diana had been letting the sun rise and her not to instantly follow it. The world was alive and bright, so must she be... That being said, Diana had been up for hours already. Sunny mornings were a blessing, especially summer mornings in the winter. It was like a reminder that the entire world, though cold still had a bright spot were warmth could be found.


Turned out in a modish navy blue velvet riding habit that's trim, clean lines and polished silver buttons hinted towards the current military themed fashion, she looked flawless. The current trend was well suited for her trim, athletic figure. Even her rebellious honey colored blonde hair lent a hand at her impeccable appearance - giving her just enough of a disheveled appearance to soften her. At some point that morning, her hair had been tightly pinned but her morning ride had jostled it a little looser, a few wild strands had fallen down and curled around her cheeks lending a hand at her impeccable appearance - the disheveled appearance softening the angles and the harsh lines of the austere cut habit. A riding crop dangled from the arm of the wooden chair and the faint smell of leather, horse, and the light floral scent of rose clung to her.


Her mostly finished plate sat unfinished in front of her while a cup of black tea growing cold all but forgotten to the countess as she flipped through the sheets of the latest newspaper. It was a habit of hers in the mornings. If it wasn't the newspaper, it was a book or her letters. This morning though it was Gowran's newspaper.


She heard the now familiar sounds of her husband starting to move around and set the paper down for just long enough to alert Mary to tell Cook that her husband was awake and that he would like his usual breakfast to be brought in. As the young maid disappeared into the kitchens, Diana picked the paper back up and started reading again.


It was hard to say if it was mere minutes or a half of an hour later when the door opened to the dining room and he entered. Glancing from around the paper, she double checked to make sure that it was indeed him. "Your breakfast should be in shortly." Diana offered looking up at him as he walked past. Closing the newspaper, she folded it up meticulously and laid it on the table. "You do remember that it is today that Lord Maldon will be stopping by, no?" She reminded gently, giving him the option to admit that he did in fact remember. "By the way, you're darling wife has decided that we will be going to his snowball siege... I am quite looking forward to it. I look forward to vanquishing you with my mad snowball throwing skills..." Diana's grey eyes impishly twinkling as she teased him.

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Gowran was not such a morning person. He'd been out late yet again with his drinking buddies, spending coin on cards and liquor, and having a jolly high time while at it. Did Diana notice that he was missing half an eyebrow when he then visited her bedroom later? Perhaps not, it had been the wee-wee hours after all, that he worked what he thought was elevated sensual prowess to a climax upon her.


Promptly falling asleep, soundly, until some time mid morning...


John's eyes were still bleary, even if his face had been freshly shaved (courtesy of his valet) and well pressed costume would try to announce he was ready for the day. He entered the dining room carrying a half drunk mug of coffee and slouched into his head-of-the-table chair. Managing a smile towards his ever patient wife. His head pounded like a drummer boy had taken up residence in it.


"Maldon? Ahh... who is he again?" John Butler, though very much the master of his house, largely relied upon his wife to schedule their daily programme, he was barely in any state to refuse at this time of the morning. "And snow balls, what's all this about snowballs."

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Her teasing stopped and she gawked at him. It was a delayed reaction as she noticed that he was missing half of an eyebrow.


“Sweet Heavens! John!” She chided softly. They had company coming today and he was missing half of an eyebrow. The door opened and in came Mary carrying the tray with his breakfast, and extra cup of their Cook’s hangover concoction that Diana had not been brave enough yet to find out what it included. Waiting until Mary had departed before she continued. “Where in the world is the other half of your eyebrow?!” It was a challenge to keep her voice level and not to laugh at the sad state of her husband.


Slumping back into her chair she rolled her eyes, “The least they could have done was to take half of the other one as well. You are lucky it was dark when you came in… I doubt I could have taken you seriously with missing a half of an eyebrow.” She sighed. There wasn’t anything she could do to fix it… so there was no point in worrying about it. Her chiding ended with that.


“Lord Maldon was doing some research on Ireland in the Library a few days ago when I stumbled upon him. He expressed an interest in making your acquaintance. He’s got a stutter?” She caught her husband up with who it was that would be stopping in and frowned, “I also ran into him while I was out on my morning ride yesterday and I have the faintest impression he considers himself family? Wanted to know if I thought of him has family since I was the sister-in-law of his foster brother? It was all very peculiar… I think he is lonely.” The undertones were evident, that she felt sorry for him on some level. It also meant if Gowran wished for such a warm reception in his nightly visits he’d make sure he was there for the meeting.


Standing up Diana moved over to sit in the chair to his left, bringing the newspaper with her. “The snowball siege…” She murmured and sat down, “Is exactly what it sounds like. They are constructing a fort in the park and yours truly shall be the Mother of Dragons… whatever that is.” Reaching across the table she stole a pinch off his breakfast bread and ate it as she talked. Offering a cheeky smile, “I was definitely going to invite you along as well but since you’ve only got one and a half eyebrows I am afraid I will have to reevaluate whether or not I wish to be seen with you in public.” It was evident she was teasing as she winked at him. “Tell me, how good are you with a snowball? Can you win this siege or shall I have to find another hero to employ to save the day?”

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At her exclaims, the debonair Earl's hand lifted and puzzled at his brows. "Uuugh..." it was a groan of a dawning memory, "that's right, we were playing truth or dare." Yet with a shrug he picked up a slice of toast, "still, worse things have happened at war. You ought to see the other guy."


So while he managed butter and strawberry conserve, she told him who Maldon was. "He can geneology his way back to Adam and Eve is he wants, I've never seen him at my families Christmas dinner table. And how much family can he be if he's needing to go to the Library to learn about our home eh?"


He took a man sized bite, 3/4's, possible 2/3rds of the toast was gone, and he chewed, then swallowed it down with a swig of the greenish-gray hangover cure.


"So you are our lady of compassion now are you?" he amused that she felt sorry fo the lonly man, which prompted the invitation. "Hah, is our friend master William come along too?" John teased, then wincing with a head pain. Rubbing his temples he continued, " But I'm more than happy to fill my dinner table with some guests, does he play cards? Or is he into darts maybe?"


"Harumph. You can paint it on perhaps, with some of your deceitful make up." Gowran objected. Quietly. Another sip of the cure. When it tasted this bad, you knew it was going to work. "And so how is this snowball game played, what are the rules?" As a sporting man he was interested to learn if there was more to it than pelting.

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“I am afraid to ask… what does the other guy look like. No eyebrows at all?” Taking a deep breath, she let it out and rolled her eyes as he gave a nonchalant shrug.


Her lips quirked as she watched him butter and put the strawberry conserve on his toast. Gowran had by now learned Diana would agree with him on what consisted of family. Those who were there for you. Those who sat at Christmas dinner tables… They were the people who sat across from you at breakfast. Arching a questioning brow at him as he took a bite of toast that was in Diana’s opinion too large and chased it with greenish hangover liquor.


“Oh…” Diana questioned silkily. “I don’t know… I thought that I was pretty compassionate. A less compassionate lady would not have done the things I did last night for you.” Flashing him a winning smile before she took a step over behind his chair and replaced his fingers on his temple with her own.


“Oh darling, I am quite afraid that my roster for those that I can be is just full. I am afraid I’ve no room to add Master William...Pity? No?” She murmured, dropping her lips down next to his ears. “I am beginning to wonder if I have room for you on that list. Tell me again, why should I keep you on that list?” She teased right back.


Diana didn’t want to be the bearer of bad news, especially when she wasn’t entirely certain that he didn’t but she did have a hard time picturing Lord Maldon being the sort of guest for which would entertain her husband greatly. He didn’t strike her as being a man of cards or darts. She pictured him more of a scholarly sort… He was to hoping he played cards… or darts… or else this was going to be a very long and awkward meeting.


“Paint your eyebrow back on…” Her fingers slipped to his hair and gently tilted his head back to look up at her. She chuckled, “With my deceitful make up… I’ll remember to leave off my deceitful make up next tomorrow then. Give you a taste of just what to you shall find if I go au naturale.” Diana was lovely with or without anything on… she knew it. He knew it… It was evident it was all in jest.


“You know…” She said softly. “I have no idea what the rules shall be.” Moving back around to his side she leaned her backside against the dining room table, crossing her arms in front of her. “Shall we make a little wager though, Saint George? Shall the Mother of Dragon’s pelt you before you pelt her? What should the winner have? Hmmm?”



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"His hair is all in tact, it was not a shaving fest, we don't just do the same dare over an over." he scolded, his group had their standards. "The other guy got an ink moustache, it's not going to wash out for weeks. Heh."


She kept her voice soft, he appreciated that, and them moved behind him, her fingers finding his temple. Gowans shoulders eased as his eyes slid closed, greatful for the healing touch. "Mmm..." the sound of a generic agreement, the sound of a man too hung over to protest.


"Well I could have an early night instead." he considered, the thought held appeal right now. Later though, the mood to go out would come back upon him. Either way, being excused from a dinner party was an easy out. He patted her hand, "Thank you darling, I knew you'd understand."


"You look perfectly beautiful either way." he replied softly, taking a large breath and then slowly exhaling. He was starting to feel better with her ministrations. What a woman. He knew himself fortunate.


It was too early for him to raise to thoughts of peltings. "I tell you what, I'll come along a bit later with a flask of eggnog to warm you eh?"

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  • 5 weeks later...

His scold lacked enough fire to put Diana in her place, as such… she gave a small roll of her eyes.


“Ah… well… that was clever, darling.” She murmured dryly.


As she moved behind him and started rubbing his temples, his body eased under her touch and the small general moan made her smile a little to herself, and widen as he seemed to consider an early night.


Draping her arms softly over his shoulders, she leaned down, pressing herself against the back of his chair so that her face was near his. Tilting her head she placed a chaste kiss upon his cheek. “That is a marvelous idea.”


‘Thank you darling, I knew you’d understand.’ Her eyes widened and her head shot up away from. Oh that was sneaky of him!


Her eyes narrowed at his compliment and promise to warm her up with eggnog brought about a flare in her grey eyes.


“Understand? Just what do you think I am going to understand?” She said lowly. Her hands flew to her hips. “John Gowran… I expect you to be there for our guest this afternoon. So help me if you are not… it’ll not be just one eyebrow that you are missing.” Stepping around she leaned her hip against the table and frowned down at him.


“At this very moment, I think I am quite content warming myself.” Turning she started back to her end of the table with a bit of ruffled feathers.

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Her compliment might have been sarcastic, but he smiled any way, and a puff of breath exited his nose with a soundless laugh.


Her rub of shoulders, and then bending forwards, warmth pressing against his back - it was comforting indeed to his hungover state. It if was later in the day he might have held the energy to whisk her up stairs then and there.


Whoops. But then he set her off. "More than an eyebrow? Hoho! So you'd deny your future pleasure?!"


Well, it had been worth a try. "Your cheeks pink fetchingly when you are fuming my dear, but you knew that didn't you?" he smiled, as he tried make amends. "Fume a little more darling, I think it's doing the trick." he adjusted his position in the chair. Though he was not actually feeling an arousal, he did this to pacify his pretty little wife.


"He wont stay too late then" Gowran had known really that he'd not be let off the hook so easily, but now reached to catch her hand in a sort of apology, "I've some lordly rites to perform." he reached to grab at her rump to squeeze it, in what he thought was a turn on for the ladies.


Dinner ok. But he'd draw the line at snowball fights, that was so not him.

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Giving her rascal of a husband a smile that almost dared him to try her. “I’ll get more than enough pleasure out of shaving that other eyebrow off to make up for it.” He was one of the few people who could irritate her enough to act rashly. In his case she’d cut her nose off to spite her face if she had too.


Your cheeks pink fetchingly when you are fuming…


That caused her cheeks to pinken a bit more and not out of a girlish blush. “Oh!” She growled at him. “John!” Her eyes widened as he adjusted his chair and she narrowed her eyes at him. He was deliberately teasing her right now…


He caught her hand and she started to given and behave. That was the plan until he grabbed her rump and squeezed catching her off guard. An inelegant squeal squeaked out of her. Taking a deep breath she took a seductive step forward plastering a simpering look on her beautiful features.


“My darling, let me tell you something you’ve yet to hear.” She was almost standing between his chair and the table now. “Pinching a lady will get you the same results as pinching your horse.” Leaning forward and offered a toothy smile to him before she brought her foot down on his with a thud. “You’ll get kicked.” She huffed.

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"You were talking about my eyebrow? Pah, and here I thought you were raising the anti..." he waggled his eyebrows, or more correctly his single remaining eyebrow did a little dance.


Her huff, her pout, adorable, most particularly knowing of the passion of the woman. Ever simmering.


And she seemed to be coming around, seemed to be forgetting of his attempt to ditch playing host to this lonely lord she'd invited over. Diana was coming nearer, and he fancied she'd get herself a kiss.


His hand strayed and groped.


A misjudgement that angered (apparently!) and her eyes hardened through her smile as she stomped down on his foot.


"Argh..." tipping his chair back away from her, he lifted his hands in the air. "I surrender." the weight of his headache swept back in. He did not feel he deserved that, but was in no state to chastise her. He was of no mind to create a battle field in his home life. She'd made her stance plain, there would be no future groping.


"Though I'd still like to finish my coffee, darling." two cups of a morning, the bare minimum he needed to commence a day.

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OOC: I spotted that Maldon has made the next thread already - over here - I had Gowran join it, they are talking in the Office while they wait for Diana to be ready for them with the Parlour preparations.


Join it when you are finished here (I advise not being in two thread with a npc, cause that is when the knots happen!)

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