Margaret with the Red Book pt 43

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She told John all the sorted details and even that it was the noble who had done the deed out of drunkenness.   She did not tell him about the money yet, but she would someday soon.

John interrupted. “May I ask why he sought you out and how he found you in Milton?”

“I shall tell you the why at a later time. As to how he found me, that shall be clear in a moment.”

“Yes, please continue. I should not interrupt. I have waited what has seemed an eternity to know such things that have mystified me, but not at your expense of saying them. I shall wait.

“Let me put you at ease right here. The noble’s visit was not expected but amends were made. It had him taken all that time to find me. I honestly feel he was deeply deeply sorry.”

“I am relieved to hear that. I was afraid I would have to quirt him with my riding crop, “ John said laughing, trying to keep Margaret’s spirits up. He was sure he had read that line somewhere. She had faltered in recounting the attack and he had pulled her close and was holding her in his arms, so she did not have to look at him directly. As horrendous as her story was it was a wonderful feeling to be there to comfort her with a physical embrace.

“Nearing the end of my school term, my mother had been dead about three years. The actions of the noble, Margaret found it hard to say the word rape, was almost the least of my hardships.” The tears started to flow briskly now. John handed her his handkerchief and pulled her closer.

John had not expected the rest of her story to be this devastating.

“It was two weeks after the noble’s action when I left for home only to find that I had lost both my father and my brother in two separate deaths within a week of each other,” Margaret gasped out those words through sobs and deep breaths.

John held her tighter and kissed the crown of her head. She coiled into him, letting his touch soothe the torment of lost family. She even reached, unknowingly, one arm across his chest as if to hug him or hold on, she was not aware of her actions. John was.

“Here, before you continue have a big gulp of your brandy and let me refresh our drinks.   I had no idea that your life could have been more calamitous.”

Margaret swallowed the remnants of her snifter and John collected it. Margaret sat sniffling and dabbing her eyes, while John replenished her fortification.

The words that Miss Leeds spoke came back to him: she has experienced the worst cases of misfortune that I have ever known to befall someone.

John returned, handed Margaret her drink and told her to take another sip. He set his goblet off to the side and resumed his place with his arms about her.

Margaret continued her story about the death of her family and the subsequent freakish nature of the handling of the will. She told him how she was eventually treated as a servant with her own inheritance working against her. She mentioned the attentions of her uncle that came to light and how she fled. “I do not know what I would have done without Katie. She literally saved my life.”

John holding her tightly while she cried and softly spoke the words, “And by saving your life, she has saved mine.”

Margaret heard his words and looked up into his saddened face with her red puffy eyes and she felt his mouth covering hers. She closed her eyes and let the tender warm feel of his lips wash away all of her worldly problems. In one swift moment John had pulled her from her misery into ecstasy.

John was in heaven. This was not the time to escalate his kiss. He allowed his compassion to govern his passion. His own heart was breaking for what she had been through in such a short life. His own hardships were nothing compared to hers. He swaddled her tightly wanting to force all the bad that she felt out of her. He wanted to make it right but knew those types of experiences stayed with you for life. For the first time he felt that tenderness was of the utmost importance. She needed to be comforted, understood and find self-confidence before she was restored to the woman she wanted to be. Many things were going through John’s mind but he kept silent and let Margaret continue to purge her pent up sorrows.

Many women, John had held so why did he feel he was on unfamiliar ground now? The longer she let him hold her the harder it became to breath for him. Heat was pooling in his loins and he could feel his own pulse hammering. He was seconds away from kissing her fool head off when she rose to an upright position, pulling from his embrace.

Margaret slowly looked in his direction not knowing what she was looking for. Did she want to see his feelings for her or did she want to see how he reacted to the disaster her life had been. She quickly stood and meandered over to the window sill. Her head was fuzzy. Was it the brandy or her mood or John’s charm. She was considerably out of her depth.

“John, you have heard . . . ,” she was interrupted as she felt John’s arms encircle her from behind.

“Go on, I have heard . . . what?” he asked as he rested his cheek next to hers and gazed out the window along with her. He swept his arms around her intertwined with hers.

“I cannot think when you are this close. I think my brain and heart are fighting for control right now. I need a referee. Know anyone?” She could feel John’s smile against her cheek. She chuckled herself.

“Yes, I know just the man to referee the fight that battles within you. I am afraid he’s awfully bias though.”

“What would you think he would say to them right now?” Margaret continued the charade.

“Right now? Hmm . . . I think he would have a few questions before he could decide with a modicum of prudence. You see . . . this man represents and enforces the laws set down by man, so he must find the facts.” John could not break his hold on her to return her to the couch just yet. If they saw each other smiling this wonderful pretend moment would dissolve. He kept hold of her and started to swing her back and forth a bit, never thinking of what it was doing to his own physical reaction.

“What kind of questions would this man ask?”

“Oh, let me recall some of the words I have heard him use. Aha. . . Do you find yourself walking into furniture?”

Margaret laughed, “No.”

“Well then, You are using your brain. Can you read, write and calculate?”

Still smiling, Margaret replied, “Yes.”

“I see. Still using the brain. Do you often sit next to people because you are inexplicably drawn to them?”

Wondering where he was going, she replied,” No.”

“Oh, I think I see a pattern here that he would recognize.”

“And what might that be?”

“If you shall return to the couch with me, I think I can explain how he would rule this in his court.”

Margaret turned towards the couch but John had not moved. He towered over her looking down. She felt unsteady on her feet. He next put his hands to her face to tilt it up to him. That last thing she remembered was that handsome face with the moonlight streaming across it while looking down at her so tenderly.

John caught her under her arms and swung her up into his own arms. He knew it was a very feminine swoon, which was very rare for him. His chest swelled with pride. He debated whether to sit with her on his lap or carry her to his room. He actually walked around the room deciding when he heard a small moan. He quietly walked her to his room and laid her down on his bed. It was dark with only a small sliver of moonlight streaming into that part of the house.

Sitting next to her on the bed he felt her move and heard a small anxious cry. “Where am I?”

“You have complimented me this evening.”

“That may be so, whatever that means, but were am I? I cannot see anything. I just know you are next to me and it is dark.”

“You politely fainted and I carried you in to my bedchamber. Everything is fine. You were only out for several moments. Do you remember we were talking about judging your heart and brain and who was ruling?”

“Yes.”

“Do you remember I asked if you were ever inexplicably drawn to someone you wanted to be near?”

Margaret thought for a moment knowing her answer was going to make THE decision.

John felt her start to tremble all of a sudden. “Margaret are you all right? You are trembling.”

“Yes, I know. Did you have more to ask me?”

John’s worry left him immediately and he knew Margaret was way ahead of him. Now he was trembling with anticipation because she had not made a move to get up. “Yes, I did have another question I thought the judge would ask. I think he wanted to ask that last question again.” John cleared his throat with exaggeration. “Have you ever felt drawn to someone you wanted to be near?”

“Did you mean to leave out the word inexplicably or do you mean explicable this time? I want to have this just right in my head.”

“You mean your brain, do you not?” John sighed. She was playing a game. He loved the challenge. “Let me see. How can I rephrase what the judge would have asked?” John was silent for a while. Making her wait was part of his act. In fact, he thought he would toss in his own game. He stood up and walked back and forth around the bed several times.

Margaret perched up on her elbows trying to see this figure of a man pacing the room. “I am sorry to have confused you.”

“Put your head back down while I work on this. I do not want you to use your brain more than you have to. It appears it has been working overtime most of your life. Your poor little heart has been kept in a closet. You know, yourself, that you have heard it crying to get out. I really think I heard the closet door creaking open when you fainted but give me a little time. I must be most careful if I am to rule in place of my friend. And we cannot have your little hidden heart blinded by the sunlight as it tries to escape.”

Margaret flopped back on the bed and covered her mouth to muffle the laughter. He was brilliant, she thought.

John moved into the moonlight that sliced the room so Margaret could see him. He took off his frock coat and hung it in his wardrobe. He went back to the moon slice and started to unbutton his waste coat but decided not to take it off.

Margaret watched intently starting to feel the warmth again that he had inspired that night in the London coach.

John returned to the side of the bed wanting to slip off her shoes but decided against that too. “Miss Hale, for the jury, do you feel drawn toward anyone who is becoming more special than any other in your life?”

Margaret burst out laughing.

“Could you repeat that for the record,” he said.

Margaret was in hysterics and John could not stop laughing himself.

“Would you like me to repeat the question, Miss Hale?”

“Yes. Please repeat the question slowly,” she squeaked out.

“Miss Hale, in my most basic words, do you think you could have any feelings for me?” John did not know he was going to ask that until he heard it himself.

Margaret was taken aback. Shocked but exuberant. “Why Mr. Attorney or is it Mr. Judge, I do not think so. I think I am falling in love with someone else. I am very sorry. I have never had to let a man down before and this is uncomfortable for me. Are we done with the questions?”

“I am sorry, Miss Hale but we are not quite finished. This other man, you just think that you have feelings for him, do I understand you correctly.”

“Well, it is possibly somewhere between think and know-for-sure.”

John untied his cravat, walked it over to his valet stand to hang it on. When he returned to the bed again, he sat at the foot of it. While he started with his next question he removed Margaret’s shoes very nonchalantly. “It sounds like your heart is trying to find its legs. That is a very good start. I know there have been studies proving that a woman’s brain is more in control of her body than a man’s is. I know . . . I know . . . It is a cross we bear.”

“Why cannot a man’s brain rule his body? Aren’t we all humans?” Margaret asked continuing the silly game even knowing her shoes had been removed.

“Come, come, Miss Hale. I have a witness who shall testify that you were reading a male medical book at the library. Surely, you know the answer to that.”

Margaret sucked in her breath loudly and threw her hands over her mouth again, stifling her embarrassment.

John moved up beside her and pulled her hands away from her mouth and kissed her deeply. He ran his tongue over her top lip and slid in below it finding the part that Margaret gave up to him. He wrapped his arms under her and pulled her up to a sitting position without leaving her mouth. He fed from her and she engaged. She set her hands on his broad shoulders and encircled him, feeling the hard sinew on his muscular stature always hidden under his clothes. John’s deep kisses were insistent with stroking every part of her.

Margaret smoothly floated her hands through his hair, first softly and then harder. She felt her body become demanding. This was unexpected. She had never felt so out of control. Her mind had gone numb but her body was heating and she could feel the moistness of herself she had read about.

John pulled away suddenly, never taking his eyes off of what he could see of her. He pulled off his boots and waistcoat and laid down beside her. “Margaret, the jury is out. What verdict shall they render?” He pulled her on top of him. His erection was straining against his clothes and he wanted the feeling of her body pressing on him.

Dragon Blade * US Release * September 2015

 Tiberius – Roman Emperor from 14BC – 37 AD

  • A massive success this year in its native China, “Dragon Blade” brings action spectacle on a grand scale to US audiences. Featuring an international cast led by Jackie Chan, John Cusack and Academy Award® winner Adrien Brody, the film features the fight for the Silk Road when East and West collide. When corrupt Roman leader Tiberius (Adrien Brody) arrives with a giant army to claim the Silk Road, Huo An (Jackie Chan) and his group of trained warriors teams up with an elite legion of defected Roman soldiers led by General Lucius (John Cusack) to maintain the delicate balance of power in the region. To protect his country and his new friends, Huo An gathers the warriors of thirty-six ethnic nations together to fight Tiberius in an incredible epic battle. The film is written and directed by Daniel Lee (“Black Mask”) and produced by Jackie Chan and Susanna Tsang.

    Written by Lionsgate

 

2015 Dragon Blade (c.14BC)

Between Boredom and Brilliance – Part Ten

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Emma 2009

 Chapter Ten – A Necessary Change of Plans

 

Emma woke when the warm breath of her husband caressed her cheek, ruffling the soft hair on her brow with its loving breeze.

“Mmmm ….” she purred, stretching luxuriously in his arms. “Not yet, George, I want to sleep a bit longer before I rise …”

“Well, my lady,” her beloved coaxed softly, “I’m afraid that is not what I have in mind for you, at the moment …”

His wicked hands began exploring her nude body with magical fingers, igniting fire where they roamed. Emma moaned with the yearning she always felt when her George presented her with his passion. “My dearest love, you must set me free for I have a million things to see to, this morning.”

She tried to break free of George’s hold but the circle of his arms only grew tighter.

“You will have plenty of time, my darling Emma, before you must go to visit Harriet.”

“How do you know I want to visit Harriet?” Emma asked in stunned surprise. “Have I told you that last night? I do not recall!”

“I know everything about you, dearest, I make it my task to do so. Now … be a good little wife and indulge me …”

When his mouth started roaming all the places his hands had mapped out before, Emma surrendered and let herself be swept away by George’s passion once again.

 

In the morning – a glorious, bright, warm July morning with the height of summer so near – Emma buttoned a pale yellow pelisse over her  cream-coloured sprigged muslin dress and fastened a white straw hat onto her golden curls. She was on the brink of setting off for Abbey Mills Farm to hear what stories Harriet might have gathered for the newspaper when she heard her maid Maud talking to Blaise, George’s valet. Or better, whispering. They had not noticed her, hidden behind the big closet in the hall, while they were carrying their baskets, full of laundry, to the servants’ quarter.

“Mademoiselle Mathilde, will you please do me ze ‘onour of goink on a stroll wiz me zis afternoon?” Blaise asked, his horrible French accent mangling the words.

“No, you dolt!” Maud scoffed in her pronounced Kentish accent. “ Why would I do that? Besides, I have to go to the village to see my aunt. She’s not well, not well at all!”

“Zen, let me go wiz you and see zat you arrive properly.”

“No, you brazen man! My cousin would have a stroke when you’d turn up at Mrs Bates’ house! My niece is an elderly spinster, as you very well know. Besides, they’re two ladies living on their own. They abhor male company, especially when they don’t know the men. They can barely suffer Mr Knightley’s company, let alone yours!”

A moment later, the green baize door fell shut behind them and Emma stood baffled for a while, dealing with what she had just heard. Mrs Bates, ill? Oh, my goodness, but she had completely forgotten that Maud was a relative of the Bates ladies! She must go and visit as soon as was possible! Drat, but she had agreed to meet with Harriet now so it would have to wait until after luncheon.

 

However, Harriet had other disturbing facts to offer. She was sitting under the apple tree in the farm’s courtyard, vigorously fanning herself in the late morning heat. Emma went to take a seat beside her on the bench.

“Good morning, my dear Harriet! How are you today?”

“I am fine, thank you, dear Emma.”

“You are looking somewhat … flushed, my dear. Have you gathered some upsetting facts for the newspaper, by any chance?”

“Oh, Emma, I have not! There seems to be not a thing worth writing about. Everything is proceeding its normal boring way in Highbury and nothing of interest occurs!”

“Yes, our dear Highbury is so completely lacking of incidents that I sometimes think the Lord God has forgotten we exist! Well, we will wait and …”

While she was still saying these words, Emma watched the most extraordinary thing happen. She abruptly stopped speaking and stared at Harriet’s pretty, young face, exquisite in its youthful roundness and the creamy velvet of its skin. She saw Harriet’s cornflower blue eyes shift to a point far beyond Emma’s shoulder, come to rest and blossom with the most wonderful smile, dreamy and overflowing with love.

Puzzled to the extreme, Emma glanced over her own shoulder … and understood. A few paces away stood Robert Martin, tall, broad-shouldered, in shirt sleeves and dirty leather trousers, the ones he used to do farm work. The same deep fond gaze mirrored Harriet’s and Emma found herself smile in total comprehension. That was how her own, dear George looked at her … with pure, unmitigated love.

Emma did not understand why she had not seen this from the start for Harriet and her Robert had always looked at each other like that. They had always loved each other deeply, only Emma had persuaded Harriet that it was not true and nearly managed to break these two lovers apart.

“Good morning, Mr Martin,” she said, smiling fondly at him. He was such a sweet, good man.

Robert Martin blinked at the sound of her voice but recovered himself quickly. “Good morning, Mrs Knightley,” he replied and bowed at Emma. Then, immediately, he shifted his gaze back to his wife and asked, in a voice brimming with concern, “Are you well, my love? Are you in need of something, anything? I will get it for you instantly.”

“I am very well, dearest, do not concern yourself. Go about your work and leave me here with my friend.”

Mr Martin nodded and turned away to enter the barn. Emma had no inkling of what had been exchanged between the two of them but it had been something very intense, for sure.

“Are you ailing, Harriet?” she asked, a bit concerned herself.

“No, dear Emma,” Harriet replied, joy in her voice, “I am very, very well. I could never be better in all my life. You see, my dearest Emma, I am with child. Around the turning of the year, a little Martin will be born.”

 

Emma walked back home through the countryside, her heart singing with joy and her mind filled with images of infants. What a wonderful news Harriet just gave her! She not only felt extremely happy for her friend but also envied Harriet for just a tiny bit. All of a sudden, Emma wished for a child of her and George. What joy would that bring to her dear husband and her darling Papa!

There was, however, an important step to be taken. When Harriet was to be a mother and Miss Bates was to take proper care of her ailing mother, neither of them would find time to spend on a newspaper. Maybe, it was better to cancel the whole project before it even started.