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Test Subject
Original Poster
#1 Old 19th Apr 2012 at 7:29 AM Last edited by panacea : 29th Apr 2012 at 10:19 PM.
Default Aristocracy
This is the first story I've written using the sims aside from legacies, so I apologize in advance for my inexperience. Also, I think I should put in a PG 13 warning for a bit of sexual content, and possibly violence late on. Enjoy!
ps. It's also available on my blog, still under construction. If you're interested, feel free to read it here.

Chapter One
Lady Lavinia Whitfield glanced sideways at her maid's reflection in the mirror.
"Do I look suitable?"
The girl smiled slightly and nodded.
"Lovely, m'lady."
Lavinia scowled and swung around to face her.
"Don't call me that, Ethel, it feels unnatural."
Ethel's smile widened. She felt something close to worship for Lavinia, who had helped her with her bastard daughter. Even before that, the pair had been close since birth; growing up on the streets together. It was only luck, thought Lavinia ruefully, that their positions were not reversed.
"Yes ma'am. And, if I may ask, suitable for what?"
Lavinia turned back to her reflection and smoothed a wrinkle in her skirt.
"Henry is coming today, and I must be appropriate for whatever business partner he's bringing with him."
Ethel reached for the clothes brush.
"I'm sure you will be m'la- I mean, Lavinia."
The sitting room was small, cozy. As she stood and looked around at the paneled walls and crackling fire, she felt a sudden rush of appreciation for their summer home. Henry hated it, it was too small and understated for his tastes, but Lavinia felt at home here. She paused in the doorway and waited for a moment, surveying the room. Henry occupied a place on the sofa directly across the fire, and another man sat in an armchair. Lavinia met his gaze and felt a small shock run from the base of her skull down her spine. Hastily, she looked away, the silence in the room suddenly pressing on her eardrums. Recognition was not always a pleasant thing. Carefully avoiding his gaze, which was just as intense as she remembered, she turned to her husband.
"Welcome, my Lord. I'm afraid the other servants haven't arrived yet, but the maids have done their best."
Henry gave her a tight smile and followed her gaze to where Beth stood, tending the fire. It was cheerful, leaping and crackling in the grate, and lent a warm light to the otherwise oppressive room. Lavinia glanced again at the man occupying the armchair, and this time spoke, her voice as stiff as her tensed spine.
"I don't believe we've met, sir."
He rose and made a brief bow.
"That we have not, my lady. I am Sir Elliot Carlisle"
She extended her hand, directing her gaze out of the arched bay window in order to avoid meeting his eyes. Sensing Henry's scrutiny, she let go rather quickly and sat beside him on the couch. He placed one arm casually around her shoulders, where it hung like a lead weight. He only ever touched her in the presence of his business partners, his way of staking his territory. Lavinia met his gaze sardonically, raising an eyebrow as he made to touch her breast. Elliot looked amused at their silent exchange. Lavinia shot him a dirty look and tried to relax her shoulders. Henry reached for his decanter of scotch.
"Sir Elliot here is one of the most promising business partners I've seen."
Lavinia smiled demurely.
"Oh? I must confess, I know very little about business."
Here, Elliot let out a real laugh that was poorly disguised by a cough.
"Pardon me. It's the allergies. Spring, you know."
He sipped his own drink, eyes still twinkling with mirth. Lavinia clenched her jaw and was silent as he and Henry lapsed back into conversation about horses.
The bed gave slightly under Lavinia's weight as she sat down. Henry was already lying propped up on the pillows. She glanced at him as she smoothed the coverlet.
"Well? What are you planning to do with him?"
Henry never brought business partners home unless he was planning to ruin them in one way or another. He grinned.
"You don't miss much then, do you?"
Lavinia smiled teasingly as he rolled over and clasped her in his muscular arms. They suited eachother well sometimes, being almost equally devious.
Henry kissed her roughly, bruising her lips against his teeth.
"I don't think that is any of your concern."
She allowed him to push her backward against the pillows, though she dreaded what would follow. He was never gentle, though that was more due to inexperience than cruelty.
"Henry, I'm tired tonight, and still slightly ill..."
He ignored her half-articulated protests and leaned over her, eyes cold as they ran over her face.
"No excuses. I've waited a long time."
Lavinia laughed.
"Oh please! You really expect me to believe you were faithful?"
Henry scowled and placed a hand roughly over her mouth.
"Maybe not, but you know better than to speak about it."
Lavinia, feeling the bite of cold on her shoulders as he removed her shirt, frowned.
"What if I did? Tell people?"
But it was no good trying to blackmail him, and she knew it. His smile was dangerous.
"Then I will tell a solicitor about the circumstances of our marriage and request a divorce."
She sighed and succumbed to his rough handling, wishing she still possessed the power to manipulate him as she had before they were married.
Henry left the following evening. She said goodbye to him on the porch. The air was warm and sultry in the precursor to what would be a lovely summer evening. Robert placed his hands lightly on her waist and kissed her forehead.
"Be good. And please, don't manipulate that poor man. I fear I've taught you too much about deceit."
Lavinia smiled coolly.
"Likewise, my husband. We suit each other."
He laughed slightly and squeezed her elbow before running down the steps to where the carriage was waiting. She watched him go, sighing with both relief and genuine regret. He was good company when they weren't confined to their bedroom. He understood her better than most, and often condescended to teach her things many women weren't able to know. In the event of his death, Lavinia knew she possessed the tools to do at least as well as he had in business. With a small smile, she disappeared back into the house.

Her footsteps echoed on the hardwood stairs as she mounted them, in search of Ethel. She had thought long and hard about what to do now, teetering between practicality and adventure. Eventually, as she always did, she settled on adventure. After all, Henry had his fun while she was gone, why couldn't she do the same? At the same time, what she wanted was riskier for her than anyone else and if they were caught, it would be her ruined reputation, not his, that would matter most. She caught Ethel just as the made was about to enter her bedroom.
She turned slowly to face Lavinia, eyes wary. Her Ladyship was unpredictable at best. Ethel had true loyalty for the woman, but she was always slightly nervous about what she would do next. Beauty such that she possessed was dangerous in the wrong hands. Ethel was sometimes grateful for her own plainness watching how Lavinia used the people around her. One day, it would all turn out very badly.
Lavinia's eyes sparkled mysteriously as she responded.
"I think it would be best if you and Beth go into town tonight. I don't want your job to be at risk should something happen."
Ethel frowned.
"Do you intend to try your hand at archery again? Because I don't fancy making excuses for you to his Lordship."
Lavinia shook her head.
"Well that's why I want you to go into town!"
She pressed a handful of coins into Ethel's palm.
With a sigh, Ethel acquiesced and disappeared to find her daughter. Lavinia let out a sigh. She still hadn't made up her mind entirely, but part of her was excited for what might happen.
She spritzed perfume on her wrists and rubbed them together, still half convinced she was being idiotic. Still, everything was done now. She looked as beautiful as she could possibly manage, and now it was in his hands. She knew he still wanted her, she had seen the flash of anger in his eyes when Henry had touched her. Still, he may have grown more prudent over the years. She hadn't seen him for nearly three years, maybe he was different. Lavinia wouldn't approach him, she was too proud for that. If he wanted some excitement as much as she did, he would approach her. If. And if he didn't, she would be much safer anyway.
Ten minutes passed before she heard a knock on her door. Her heartbeat sped up, but she remained standing where she was. He would have to come to her. The scent of perfume hovering in the air was eventually disappated by a wafting breeze coming from the hallway. He had opened the door. She smiled at the sound of creaking hinges and reached up to tuck a stray strand of hair behind her ear. Elliot strode over, she could hear his footsteps on the thick carpet, and thought vaguely that he must still be wearing shoes. She felt his hand on her elbow, more gentle than Robert had ever been, and felt a pleasant chill run over her.
"You're bold."
His eyes were intense on her averted profile, though his mouth relaxed into a smile.
"Ha! As if I'm the only one."
The side of her lip turned up slightly as he started to kiss her.
"How is your wife?"
He paused, grinning now.
"The same as your husband. Conniving, rich, and spoiled. Now do you want to or not?"
Lavinia met his eyes cautiously. She did want to, she definitely wanted to. Last time they had met, she had turned him down. Now that she was safely married, and rich to boot, she had more to protect her. Besides, she was bored. Nothing exciting had happened in a long time aside from a miscarriage which she had been almost grateful for. Dull, settled, married life simply didn't suit her. She was twenty now, and should have had a dozen children by now, but every part of her protested settling into the role of a houswife and mother.
"Yes. But only if there is no attachment. You must understand, I'm comfortable where I am and would like to stay there."
He smiled slightly and lifted a hand to touch her cheek.
"Likewise, Lady Whitfield."
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Test Subject
#2 Old 20th Apr 2012 at 10:19 PM
Very good start, i very much enjoyed it. Lavina i think may get herself into a bit of trouble with her adventuring, will be watching for the next chapter.....edenz~
Test Subject
Original Poster
#3 Old 21st Apr 2012 at 1:35 AM
^thank you! I really enjoyed your story as well, I meant to comment.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#4 Old 28th Apr 2012 at 1:33 AM Last edited by panacea : 28th Apr 2012 at 10:14 PM.
Default Chapter Two

Here is chapter two, hopefully the last bit before things get interesting. Enjoy!
Henry returned home the following morning at an hour that Lavinia considered ungodly. Sleepily, she pushed herself up in bed and watched him cross the room.
"Good morning."
He glanced sideways at her, then returned his gaze to the mirror and began to unbutton his jacket.
"We really need more servants for the summer home."
Lavinia yawned and stretched.
"I don't mind dressing myself."
He gave her a scathing look before picking up a lint brush.
"Of course you don't, you grew up on the street."
She winced slightly, but managed to keep her voice level as she replied.
"Not everyone needs servants to do everything for them, Henry."
He finished brushing off his coat before responding dryly.
"That's exactly what the liberal candidate is saying. Please don't become political dear, it doesn't suit you."
He gave her a quick peck on the cheek, then strode out of the room.
"I'll be expecting you for breakfast."
Lavinia sighed and flopped back down against the pillows. Normally, Henry's treatment of her sparked anger and futile rebellion. Now, she felt triumphant, albeit slightly deflated. Elliot was a nice little secret to have, especially in circumstances like these.
Later that day, Lavinia retreated to the garden. She was feeling particularly restless, and a little trapped. These feelings were not unfamiliar to her; she'd been having them since she married. The garden was bursting with color; the sun bounced off the flowers and sent prismatic light onto the ground. Lavinia knelt among the fragrant blossoms and relaxed into a smile as she saw what she had been looking for. The Comfrey root was wonderful for making poultices, and the leaves could be steeped into a tea that was almost certain to help with joint pain. Of course, she never used any of the herbs she grew, but it was always nice to have a store. She had just begun to dig up the root when a voice startled her out of her thoughts.
"Still grubbing in the dirt, I see."
Lavinia jumped and winced as the leaf she was holding tore slightly.
"Herbalism is not the same thing as 'grubbing in the dirt'."
She turned to face him, brushing off her skirt with one hand.
"And yes. I am still doing it. I'm allowed to garden, if nothing else."
Her voice was more bitter than she had intended. He smiled slightly.
"The natives have always had superior knowledge of medicines."
She sighed, flashes of broken memory flooding her mind.
Elliot looked chagrined at the expression on her face.
"I'm sorry. I should not have mentioned it."
Lavinia, struggling to regain her composure, shrugged.
"That's quite all right."
He shook his head.
"No, it's not, and I knew better."
She looked at the ground, unsure of what to say. He looked around the garden, pausing for a moment.
"I just came to say goodbye. Your husband's business proposition turned out to be sour, and I didn't want to stay long after turning him down."
Lavinia looked back at his face and smirked. She derived a certain satisfaction from the fact that her paramour had outwitted her husband.
"That's probably wise."
He hesitated.
"Lavinia...will I see you again? I enjoy your company outside the bedroom as well as in."
She looked at him sadly, wondering, not for the first time, what her life would have been like if she had taken him instead of Henry.
"I don't know."
Elliot smiled, suddenly mischievous.
"Well then, I'll just have to find a way."
She rolled her eyes skyward and was about to reply when the sound of hurried footsteps on the garden path interrupted their discourse. Turning, she saw Ethel hurrying towards them, looking panicked.
"Ethel! What is it?"
The maid glanced from her to Elliot, looking flustered.
"I don't want to interrupt, m'lady..."
Lavinia looked from the flushed face to the trembling hands to the rumpled skirt and frowned.
"You're not interrupting anything, Ethel, dear. Now take deep breaths and try to tell me what's wrong."
Ethel took a moment to collect her thoughts, then spoke slowly.
"Beth is ill. I don't know what's wrong, she won't...or can't...tell me. And I know you have some knowledge of healing, m'lady, and I woudn't ask, but she doesn't like doctors..."
Lavinia looked worriedly from Ethel to Elliot, who met her gaze inquisitively.
"Who is Beth?"
Lavinia looked at Ethel, who shook her head imploringly. No one but Lavinia knew about her daughter, and she needed it to stay that way if she was to keep her position. Lavinia didn't remove her eyes from Ethel's brown ones as she answered.
"She's the housemaid. I had better go see what's wrong."
Briefly, she looked at Elliot.
"Goodbye, Sir. It was a pleasure having you."
Lifting her skirts, she followed her maid into the house.
Beth was lying in her room gazing at the ceiling in a blank sort of way that made Lavinia's brow crease with worry. She followed Ethel to the girl's bedside and laid a hand on her forehead.
"No fever...strange. What have her symptoms been?"
Ethel looked at her anxiously.
"She's been nauseous, and she says her vision's gone all blurry."
Lavinia pressed her lips together and reached under the girl's head to feel a point below the base of her skull. Her fingers were gentle as she probed the lyymph nodes, which weren't swollen.
Suddenly, Beth's spine stiffened and she sat up.
"I'm going to be...sick again..."
Lavinia did not flinch as the girl vomited violently over the side of the bed, but Ethel apologized over and over again. Lavinia shook her head impatiently.
"Come Ethel, I've seen much worse, you know that. Now...Beth, dear, have you been bitten by anything recently?"
But Beth was staring blankly at the ceiling, shaking with either pain or cold. Lavinia whisked away her skirts with a brisk gentleness and examined the pale flesh beneath. There was a red welt just above the ankle on her right leg. Lavinia's lips paled as she turned to Ethel.
"When is the last time she was outside?"
Ethel's brow creased.
"This afternoon? Maybe around eleven o clock today."
Lavinia almost ran out the door.
"Then there's still time."
She heard footsteps behind her and decreased her speed long enough to speak with Ethel.
"She's been bitten, probably by a Pit Viper. They're relatively common around here. I know where to get an antidote, but it'll take time, and we don't have much."
Ethel paled, but did not faint, as Lavinia had half expected her to. Instead, she asked quietly,
"What can I do?"
Lavinia squeezed her hand briefly.
"Be with your daughter."
Then she ran.
Lavinia had changed into plain riding clothes as fast as she could, but even so, dusk was settling over the countryside by the time she had saddled her horse and was making ready to leave. Her fingers seemed exceedingly clumsy as she brushed and saddled the creature, and her hands trembled slightly. It wasn't that she cared for the girl, really, but Ethel did. And Lavinia cared for Ethel. She heard Henry before she saw him. Recognizing the heavy footsteps, she swore under her breath and turned around. The darkness hid his face, but she could tell he wasn't in good humor tonight.
"Where are you going?"
Lavinia rested one hand on the horse's flank and straightened her shoulders so that she stood almost as tall as her husband.
"To the village. I have need of a medicine woman."
Henry stepped closer to her.
"You have need of what?"
She didn't move.
"The housemaid has been bitten by a snake. She needs help, and quickly."
She could tell he was making an effort, because his lips turned up in a strained smile as he tried to be indulgent.
"You always have sprung to the aid of the injured. It's admirable. I'll send for a doctor."
Lavinia's hand tightened into a fist, but she managed to stay calm.
"A doctor won't help, Henry. He'll take too long to get here, and he won't know what to give her when he does. The best he would be able to do would be leeching. I know where to get an antidote if you'll just let me..."
He was no longer making an effort to smile.
"You are not to contact the natives. You know that. They are nothing but dirty, flea-bitten creatures. Any contact we have with them must be to keep them as slaves."
The blood drained from Lavinia's face and her eyes glittered dangerously against the paper-white skin.
"And what am I then, Henry? Am I too a dirty, flea-bitten creature? Should I be kept as a slave?"
He looked for a moment as if he would strike her.
"You are little better, dear wife. A half-native bastard child is surely almost as bad as a pure-bred. It was a mistake to marry you, and I have long thought you enchanted me with your witchcraft."
Lavinia pointed a trembling hand at him.
"Your choices led to this union, husband. Not mine. I knew no better. I was naive, I thought a marriage would help me. You knew better. I did not. And I am not a dog that you can force to stay by your side. I am going to get that antidote, and I am going to save that girl's life."
Henry bared his teeth, reminding her quite forcibly of a wolf. His grip was strong on her wrist as he spoke in a low growl.
"Not if I can prevent it."
"You would kill an innocent girl simply to prevent me from associating with my people?"
Lavinia was convinced for a moment that he would drag her back into the house, but the sound of hoofbeats behind him interrupted their argument.
"My lord, I came to wish you the best in your future endeavors and...Is there a problem?"
Coming from anyone but Elliot, the question would sound intrusive and threatening, but he managed to make it casual and easygoing. Henry took a deep breath and turned to face the white horse.
"No, no, not at all. My wife is insisting on riding into town. I would hate her to go without an escort, and I myself must be in a meeting this evening."
Lavinia, still pale with rage, swung herself up into the saddle before Henry could move to stop her. Her horse nickered softly, sensing her anger, and she stroked its neck with one shaking hand. Elliot glanced from her set jaw to Henry's and spoke in a soothingly quiet voice.
"Why, m'lord, I would be glad to escort the lady to the village if you wish it."
Henry's spine stiffened as he spoke, trying to preserve his reputation and prevent her from going at the same time.
"I'm afraid I would not trust a stranger with my wife, but thank you for the offer."
Elliot laughed.
"Suit yourself, my lord, but I have a feeling she will go, escort or no."
Henry's jaw tightened and Lavinia could make out a muscle going in his forehead as he looked up at her.
"Very well, Sir Elliot. If it is not too much to ask, will you ensure that she does not make contact with the natives that live in this country?"
Elliot nodded tightly, as though he could sense Lavinia's contained rage, and turned his horse to follow her out the front gate.
As soon as they were clear of the house, Lavinia looked at Elliot.
"I'm sorry, but I can't let you come any further."
Elliot looked at her and sighed.
"I knew you'd say that. Are you all right?"
Her hands tightened on the reigns as she responded.
"Compared to Beth, I'm immortal."
She dug her heels into the horse's flank and took off at a gallop down the quiet road. The hoof beats were the only sound, sharp in a night that was blanketed by silence. Eventually, she slowed to a trot, then turned abruptly off the road, following a path into the forest that she hadn't taken in three years.
Test Subject
#5 Old 28th Apr 2012 at 8:50 AM
Amazing writing. The pictures cd be better, though the quality iss good, sometihng about the features of your characters don't seem to match with their personalities. Other than that the wwriting is truly very good. Good job, keep it going
Test Subject
Original Poster
#6 Old 18th Jun 2012 at 7:49 PM
Default Chapter Three
Chapter Three

Sadness welled up in her chest as she walked among the trees, looking at the cluster of teepees that were all but abandoned. She had left with the rest of them, had experienced the same horrors, but she had been lucky. With a sigh, Lavinia leaned against a tree, fighting the memories that flooded her mind, memories of a childhood quite different from the life she now led. She been five when the raiders had come, when they had killed those who had become her family. It was only her appearance that had spared her, her pale skin and light gray eyes. She had looked like them and so they had let her go, killing the other children her age. Bitterness filled her eyes as she surveyed the blood spattered teepees and abandoned cooking pots. She had sworn revenge when she had been too young to understand what it meant, but she couldn’t avenge her people without knowing who she was seeking revenge on. She only remembered one face, and that man was long dead; she had stabbed him herself.
There was a faint sound of footfalls behind her, and she turned to face the woman she had been looking for. They stared at one another for a moment, trying to read eachother’s faces through the shadows that had gathered in preparation for evening. The older woman spoke first, her voice harsh and throaty.
She nodded and folded her arms across her chest.
“What favor do you seek this time?”
Lavinia winced, feeling the judgement in the older woman’s scorching gaze.
“That is not fair.”
As always, she felt inferior and worthless when she was speaking with the herbalist. They were the only two left of their tribe, but Lavinia was always the least important. She was, after all, a half white bastard and had only survived because of that.
“Isn’t it? You appear before me wearing the clothes of the aristocracy that killed your brothers and sisters expecting a favor. Your guilt is written in the lines of your forehead.”
Lavinia bowed her head to hide the sting of shame that flushed her cheeks.
“Will you or will you not save the life I need you to save?”
Ethel was waiting on the porch, her hands wringing the folds of her apron, forehead beaded with sweat. Lavinia hurried up the steps as fast as she could and pressed a small bottle into her maid’s hand.
“Give this to Beth right away. Her fever should break by morning.”
Ethel thanked her briefly and was gone in a moment, leaving Lavinia to compose herself and face Henry’s anger, which she knew would be nearly uncontrollable.
He was waiting for her in their bedroom, anger written on his face and carved into the tight lines of his jaw. He didn’t speak, merely looked at her as she shut the door quietly behind her and approached him warily.
“She’ll be all right now.”
A muscle twitched in his forehead, the only warning she had before he had slammed her against the wall, holding her forearm with one calloused hand.
“You need to be taught your place. No wife has the right to be as willful as you are, but you…”
He struck her across the cheekbone, wrenching a hiss from her lips. Her eyes watered from the blow.
“You are a bastard. You don’t deserve your position. You need to be taught your place.”
Lavinia had seen this coming, had predicted it. She had, however, overestimated his boiling point. She allowed him to beat her, refusing to succumb to what he was trying to wrench out of her. With a discipline she had ingrained in herself long ago, she resisted the urge to stab him with the knife she kept concealed in her bosom. Instead, she pressed her lips together and endured his violence for close to a quarter of an hour. At last, he had finished. The room was silent save for their mingled and ragged breathing, then Henry turned and walked out of the room, slamming the door behind him.
She left the next morning without stopping to assess her injuries. She had long ago taught herself to ignore pain of all sorts. On the streets, she had been forced to ignore cold, to pretend away hunger, and to rid herself of the shame that came with pride. Now, she would ignore this too, at least until she was in a place that allowed her to recover. She mounted the horse gingerly, feeling the protest from her cracked ribs before shoving it to the darker corners of her mind. There was no point in staying. She had known this life would be temporary when she had begun, and now it was drawing to a close. She, unlike other aristocratic housewives, knew better than to allow her husband to control her life. She had long ago secured Ethel another position in case of this scenario and made provisions for all the servants she wished to protect. With a sigh, Lavinia tugged on the reigns slightly and turned to the west, burning her bridges once again.
The house was as large as it was intimidating, spanning at least four acres and standing three storeys high. Lavinia took a deep breath, wrenching a pang from her ribs, and mounted the marble steps. He had extended this offer to her when she had gotten married, offering her sanctuary if she should need it. Now, she needed it, if only temporarily. It took every scant ounce of humility she possessed to knock on the enormous wood paneled doors.
A maid showed her into a minimalist entrance hall, telling her that Sir Elliot would be with her in a moment. Lavinia declined a seat and stood, examining the lavish wood paneling and carpeted staircase, both of which were at complete odds with the unfinished floors. Elliot’s footsteps echoed down the staircase before he became visible, his voice preceding him into the hall.
“Lady Lavinia! To what do I owe this unexpected pleasure?”
He placed a slight emphasis on the word ‘unexpected’, eyes drifting over her face to rest inquisitively on the bruises that adorned her countenance.
He bent to kiss her hand, observing the formality, then lowered his voice, eyes piercing as they scanned her face.
“Have you come to pick up our relationship where it left off?”
There was humor in his voice, but not in his face as he awaited her response. She responded with an easy smile, a smile that stretched the cut on the side of her nose.
“You would like that, wouldn’t you?”
With a sigh, she acknowledged his real question and allowed the teasing light to fade from her eyes.
“Two years ago, you offered shelter here should I ever need it.”
He nodded.
“I did.”
She glared; he was going to make her spell it out, make her ask.
“I have need of a doctor and a place to rest for a week or two. Henry has become…problematic.”
Elliot’s jaw tightened imperceptibly, the only outward sign of his anger.
“I see. How bad is it?”
She glanced down at the floor, allowing herself to feel her injuries briefly.
“Some fractured ribs, perhaps a broken nose, and lots of bruising.”
His gaze was stony.
“First time?”
She sighed.
“Elliot, this isn’t an uncommon occurrence among married women, you know that.”
With an effort, he smiled tightly.
“Yes. Of course. I must say, I’m impressed at what you managed with your injuries. You should not even be standing.”
She smiled wryly.
“I have a high pain tolerance and a great deal of discipline.”
His face darkened as he noted how unsteady she looked.
“I will call the doctor. Come.”
He extended his arm, guiding her up the stairs glancing at her out of the corner of his eye every so often in case she fell.
The room where he left her was lavish to the point of frivolity. Everything was pale wood and silk. After thanking Elliot, Lavinia’s gaze shifted to the bed, which was the most impossible structure she had ever seen. Eventually, she gave up on turning down the bed covers and sank down on the pile of cushions, wincing as pain lanced through her side. With a scowl, she resolved not to stay in this house longer than was absolutely necessary. Her relationship with Elliot was still far too romantic for her liking. He was being protective, and she was feeling the attraction that had never really faded when she had been married. Any feelings between them would inhibit both of their lives moving forward. Once again, Lavinia cursed the events that had driven her to call upon a favor offered when she had still been his mistress.
Test Subject
Original Poster
#7 Old 21st Jun 2012 at 7:43 PM
Default Chapter Four
She was waiting for him in the sitting room, beautiful lips pouting as she surveyed him.
“The maid told me a beautiful woman showed up with bruises all over her face today.”
Elliot sighed, pouring himself a drink before sitting down across from his wife. Looking at her, he felt a familiar surge of desire, of attraction. Her beauty was undeniable; she had been using it to gain power since before he had met her.
“The maid said she was beautiful?”
The lightest of French accents augmented Katarina’s response.
“No, but when I asked, she would not answer. That means she is either unspeakably disfigured or…someone that you would offer sanctuary to.”
Elliot smiled, eyes narrowed over the rim of his whiskey glass.
“You know me well, my dear.”
She leaned back and crossed her legs, exuding the easy, sensual, appeal that made her relatively ordinary face into one that could seduce anything with legs.
“And you me. Which is why I wonder why you would bring one of your old playthings back into a house where I live.”
His face grew thoughtful, only a slight twinkle in his eyes revealing the same mockery that laced his tone.
“Oh and your plaything…the garden boy? He is acceptable, but Lavinia is not?”
Katarina laughed, a throaty chuckle.
“Touche. But that is not what I was asking. I do not mind if you want to…explore. I was wondering why you chose here? And why you choose her? You do not normally bring your old sex kittens home with you.”
Elliot looked at the ice melting at the bottom of his glass.
“She is not…a plaything. I do not intend to touch her.”
Katarina’s eyes narrowed, and Elliot sensed unease in her countenance.
“So…you care about her. She is more than exploration, she is-”
He cut her off firmly.
“A friend. A very old friend, who I intend to help and to honor. I had hoped you would extend her the same courtesy. She will not be here long.”
Katarina folded her hands in her lap, her skin startlingly white against the black of her dress.
“I see. Well then I will of course help the poor girl. Men can be so…”
She paused to give him a piercing glance that reminded him of her intelligence.
The doctor was gentle, but thorough as he probed the bruises that covered Lavinia’s side. After a moment, however, he glanced at her out of the corner of his eye.
“M’lady, I must ask you to give me an indication of any…discomfort you may feel.”
Lavinia pushed herself up in bed.
“Oh, I’m sorry. Carry on.”
His fingers resumed their probing, resting lightly on one of her broken ribs.
“That hurts.”
He moved slightly lower. She rolled her eyes.
“And that hurts. And that doesn’t.”
The doctor looked at her nervously, puzzled at her complete lack of emotion as he put pressure on her plethora of injuries.
“All right. You have some fractured ribs, but your nose isn’t broken. All you really need is bed rest. I will wrap your midsection for you, but it won’t do much if you don’t get plenty of sleep and allow healing time.”
She stood up, ignoring his half articulated protests as she removed her overdress.
“Thank you very much doctor, I can wrap myself.”
She had done it before. He hesitated, teetering between desire to do his job and to give her privacy.
“All right…then…here. Be sure not to wrap too tightly.”
He handed her a white bandage and bowed out of the room. Lavinia winced as she looked down at the purplish splotches that covered most of her stomach. It took her a moment to get up the nerve, but eventually, she took a deep breath and began to wind the bandages around her midsection, sending a myriad of screeching protests up her side.
Elliot showed the doctor to the door, thanking him profusely for coming on such short notice.
“I really appreciate it, doctor.”
The man nodded, looking preoccupied.
“She’s an odd patient, if I may say so, sir.”
Elliot tucked his hands into his pockets.
Doctor Saurenson nodded, bouncing slightly on the balls of his feet. It was a pompous habit, one that Elliot had always associated with doctors.
“No sign of pain, not even a wince. One has to wonder…”
Elliot raised his eyebrows, but couldn’t help a slight smile. Of course Lavinia had puzzled the poor man. She puzzled everyone.
“That is indeed strange, Doctor.”
Saurenson nodded emphatically, still looking concerned.
“Sir, I would ask you to watch her recovery as closely as possible, or ask a maid to do so. I worry she may not understand the extent of her injuries. Just…try to make sure she doesn’t push too much too soon.”
Elliot smiled, shaking the doctor’s hand heartily.
“I will. Thanks very much.”
As soon as the door had shut behind the man, he began to laugh. As if he, or anyone else could prevent Lavinia from doing to much too fast! But he conceded the doctor’s point. Despite the comedy of the situation, he resolved to keep an eye on his guest.
The next day, Lavinia awoke to the presence of a lady’s maid who stood, holding a towel and a bar of soap.
“I have orders to draw a bath for your ladyship. The doctor said you could get the linens wet, they’d dry on their own.”
Lavinia closed her eyes for a moment, feeling slightly giddy. A bath sounded heavenly at the moment, a chance to relax her discipline for a moment.
“Thank you.”
She pushed herself out of bed, ignoring the pain that would come with movement for a couple of weeks, and settled into the familiar routine of dressing and bathing. Once she was presentable, the maid pulled out the stool for the dressing table.
“Sir Elliot asked that you be given everything you needed, M’Lady. He sent up perfumes and jewelry, and Lady Katarina asked that you be lent clothing from her own wardrobe, if you wished it.”
Lavinia, remembering that Katarina was Elliot’s wife, blinked in surprise. It was uncommon for women to appreciate housing their husband’s mistress and even less common for them to extend courtesies.
“Please convey my warmest thanks.”
Dusk had fallen by the time Lavinia was released from the mountains of paperwork that awaited her. She sat at the small desk in her room for hours; writing letters, calling in favors, and drafting a perfunctory written statement for Henry. With a sigh, she at least tossed down her quill, pressed the last seal into place, and stood, surveying the pile of stationary. Slowly, she made her way down the stairs and out the door, looking around for her horse, who was in dire need of grooming. Star was waiting, tied to the fence. She nickered softly at the sight of her owner. Lavinia smiled, stroking her nose.
“Hello there.”
Star butted her gently, making her laugh softly.
“Yes, I’m terribly sorry I had to leave you, but setting one’s affairs in order can be extraordinarily tiresome.”
A soft voice behind her interrupted the one-sided dialogue.
“You must be Lavinia.”
Lavinia turned slightly and gave the woman a cool glance. She was indeed beautiful; the rumors seemed to be true. Katarina smiled and extended a hand, which Lavinia shook stiffly.
“It was very kind of you to be so accommodating. Thank you.”
Katarina smiled, revealing a dimple in one cheek.
“It was my pleasure to welcome a friend of my husband.”
Lavinia looked away, suddenly ashamed.
“I…um…well your hospitality is appreciated.”
Katarina laughed, an unexpected sound for Lavinia, who raised an eyebrow. Katarina, still smiling placed a hand on her arm.
“I am not naive, ma petite fleur. Je sais vous etait….pardon. I know you were more than a friend. I have many playthings myself. I give you clothing because us women have to stick together. Men are not kind, are they?”
Lavinia glanced sideways at the woman, who was openly examining her bruises. Katarina was far more frank than anyone Lavinia had ever met, especially the rich ones. She found herself appreciating the blunt honesty in her blue eyes.
“Yes, I suppose we must.”
Katarina nodded.
“And now I must take care of you. The doctor says no walking, yes? I will call Inga.”
Lavinia sighed, but couldn’t bring herself to be quite as forthright as her new acquaintance. In truth, she had walked around with far worse injuries than these without the blink of an eye. Instead of protesting however, she followed the graceful footsteps of her host.
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