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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Sun Aug 02, 2020 9:33 am

Pray - scripture carved in limestone.
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Tue Aug 04, 2020 2:55 am

I'm praying. Trying to figure out if I'll be able to hold my attraction and make my mind become polyamorous in my relationships by accepting the desire for the physician as part of me. Polyamory feels so wrong... So I pray. I don't know how else to do it. Basically the strategy my therapist recommends is staying in "self" mode and accepting the desire for the physician but reminding myself of the 15 years of silence and the resulting pain in order to move forward.

I watched a description of "the funny thing about delusions" lecture. It used a boating metaphor to explain delusions vs. reality. The moral of the story is that your ship will sink if you act on a delusion. In reality you get to stay afloat. I'm not going to sink my ship. But I so want to believe he wants to keep my desire afloat. The video he posted about a swimteam race using buoy's got to me, after I posted last week about therapy.

I woke up in the middle of the night last night, I'd had a hard time falling asleep when I realized maybe my videos on youtube were watched and misunderstood. I didn't think he'd actually watch them...

When I thought about him watching them, I'd removed them Sunday morning. But I think that was too late. When I discovered the new playlist had three videos. One was a Mike Tyson throwing the hardest punches ever video, then a snarky show about current events. Now I feel really bad.

I don't want to feel this way. I feel like a jerk. I try to imagine how this must make him feel... but to be honest, I'm guessing and I have no idea. At this point all I know is that I am not healed, and my story probably wounded him deeply, too. While I dream of being his, it would be very delusional to think he'd want me too. But in all honesty, my desire is beyond average - it's intense and consuming. Last night, when I imagined him... I don't understand the physiology of this issue, but I physically need a bond with him, or I need no contact. Unfortunatly, if I dont' avoid this, I'm worried it'll get me sick. We don't even live in the same part of the country so a bond or friendship would not be easy to manage in this reality. The problem with trying to suppress desire is that it tends to result in creative bursts and energy that is not grounded as it should be.

In my fantasy, he comes to my house and sits on the front porch next to me on the steps and we have a conversation. I apologize for getting sick for him the way I did, and wishing that I hadn't needed his touch so desperately that I lost my mind. Plus writing him all those years. I'd explain that all I want is his compassion... I just don't know if that would need to include touch and a bond - I'm worried I'd just lose my mind from withdrawal when he leaves. I've got to hope that if he told me how much I've hurt him, it could break the attraction... but that is perilous, because it what if it just makes it worse? I want to heal. No contact is not resulting in very much healing unless I'm able to grow into polyamory...

This is a really bad case of desire. I can't proceed like a normal person, because I like my belief in his compassion.

But this is not my move. I think it's a God / Culture moment to heal me and let me become internally polyamorous, or allow a bonded relationship of with the one man that makes me feel the gravity of my life force.

Or something else???
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Wed Aug 05, 2020 2:24 am

Can you guess what sportOmg equipment I encountered today on my walk that was unexpected and out of place in my environment? It rested atop the prayer stone marker...

When I read the symbol... an old habit, from the last time I was sick... I thought my delusional game suggested I need to love myself and be. The object also suggested to climax to God. (Fun Love Orgasm God.). I wish I wasn’t programmed to see these things, but I can’t help it.
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Wed Aug 05, 2020 4:20 pm

I had a dream about living in a beautiful beach house. There was an aquarium sea garden in my bedroom. Our old turtle Mertyle told me he’s happy living free at my aunt’s mulberry pond and came to tell me so. Then he projected into his giant future self then he morphed into his current form, strong and healthy. He said he was happy. I cared for Myrtle and was happy to see him thriving through the bedroom windows. Then a magically colorful human sized fish talked to me. It was blue and had purple, red, yellow, and green triangular designs and bands like a cornice on a pillar as scales. I don’t remember what was said just that I felt mesmerized by his beauty and strength. Then the water emptied after the creatures swam away from my bedroom windows. Then a hurricane blew in with a tsunami wave that snaked around the windows in the L shaped layout of my home. I worried my windows would break. The water covered the storm windows repeatedly. They held strong despite being cheap flimsy storm windows. There was no water damage in my bedroom and my windows and my house remained intact. However, the glass pavilion in the water garden was swept into the building next door, and shattered. That woke me up. I remembered as I lay in bed that in the dream I was in the bedroom on the main floor looking through the storm windows. I was in bed in the dream. It all happened so fast. The destruction outside was intense to watch. I opened my eyes in the comfort and safety of my warm dry bed. I read that dreams about turtles are good, the fish is a bad omen about communication, and the glass house in the water garden... it was a greenhouse.

In reality, I had the critter control out to the house to catch a rat that was living in my garage. The inspector believed it entered when the doors were open. But the rodent ruined the lawn mower starter cable. Chewed through the cord and ate through the hose that feeds my windhield washer fluid delivery system on my car. Still waiting for the parts to come in to replace the hoses.
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:57 am

I’ve been thinking about The physician and how I must have hurt him by sharing my story... writing the book, posting all over trying to ease my pain and suffering.

Would he feel shame and pain if he is empathetic, or would he hate me? How would I know the difference?

How much does he know?
How much does he remember?
Was I just sick?
Was he involved in the computer issues?

I’ve gamed this out and thought of a few options... other than marriage (my pipe dream... unrequited love... ). Other thoughts: Maybe I shouldn’t get what I want... maybe suffering is the key to growth. But 15.5 years and I’m struggling... hard.
- [ ] One involves long term pain and struggling for me, where I keep dating and struggling alone...
- [ ] Alternatively, he’d have to confront if the story is real. And, If it was an accident, should he be held accountable?
- [ ] After finding common ground. Partner by identifying the issue, then we have a conversation. Then there is a real potential for me getting sick, but if he tells me how he feels I’m very empathetic and may be able to heal better... or I experience heartache all over again when he leaves and I feel my childhood abandonment issues - I’d like to think that I’ve healed those wounds.
- [ ] Maybe if we meet in a yoga class or meditation session laying on the ground in a zoom session... so I can try to regulate. Cameras off.
- [ ] Can I honor his pain by remaining quiet? It isn’t likely... I cope through communication.
- [ ] I pray a lot. Maybe the answer is to keep loving him and asking for his acceptance. And integrate that into myself. So that I love that part of me whose stuck on loving him.
- [ ] Or, we try that for two years and re-evaluate healing.
- [ ] My issue is that I feel wrong when I try to demonize him. I wish I could see him as a drunk or a power hungry villain. My recollection of him is that he’s a kind warm-hearted character. He’s also a human being and as a fellow person, I refuse to label him a pirate. Btw... the pirate novel was written in 2004 when I was pregnant. He just didn’t know about trauma and doctor patient relationships and complex issues like this that can happen. He was learning and I think my story is a lesson for anyone in intimate space.
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Thu Aug 06, 2020 3:08 am

The golf ball was still there today...
Prayer stone marker number six
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Fri Aug 07, 2020 8:49 am

Grill’s Guide

How to Date After Difficulty – A method of dating after diagnosis by using writing to tap into imagination.


1. Shaping your story
a. Tell your truth
b. Find your strengths
c. How to tell your recovery story
i. What have you overcome?
ii. How have you grown?
iii. How would you like the person to respond when you tell your story?
iv. What makes you feel loved?
v. What gives you a sense of connection?

2. Having fun with imagining the first date.
a. After gaining consent to envision the first date, ask if they’d like you to write out what you hope will happen on the date.
b. Once you have a green light, spend an hour and a half free writing. Try to write a description of the night thinking of the location, time, people around, and of course use the impression of the person you got from reading their online profile to try to imagine how they’d respond to your imagined situation.
3. Write, edit, send.
a. Wait to hear their response. This is often the hardest part. Sometimes it can help to have beta readers who will inspect your story, friends who want to read what your writing anyway.
4. Background
a. Playing in a digital world
b. The value of a pseudonym in a digital world
c. Creating your platform and online dating profile.
i. How to describe yourself
ii. How to capture a great photograph
d. Other platforms
i. Setting up your YouTube Channel
ii. Gaining subscribers.
iii. Promoting your work
1. How you can help emails

Chapter 1

Shaping your story:

Writing your story is helpful for processing, editing, and refining your story. My key message is – find your short story. Write 1-2 sentences about what happened. Think of it as your journey and ask yourself how best to present it? Usually I disclose through a chat session.

For example:
Him: Why are you single?
Ashley: It all started 15 years ago during an orgasmic labor at the birth of my daughter, there was a trauma with a physician, and I couldn’t stop thinking about it. Eventually I lost touch, after my husband refused to love me through the experience, because it was too kinky for him.
Him: omg, I’m so sorry. Are you okay now?
Ashley: For the most part. I still struggle with the idea that the most impactful sexual experience of my life was a clinical error during orgasmic labor. Someone once suggested that I’m on a quest to find something more intense than my story.
Insert text exercise:
Write 1-2 sentences about what happened. Then imagine the reply a question you imagine your potential date messages.

Brave recommendations and reasons this exercise is important:
1. Tell your truth
Bold and brief honesty empowers you. Let go of your fear. If you share early, you don’t have to play games. You are being you. They can take it or leave it.
2. Find your strengths
Telling your story can allow you to see your strengths. For me, that includes being brave, willingness to open myself to forming new relationships.
3. As weird as your story is, it’s okay to be you. “It’s okay to be you, Everyone else is taken”
5. Freedom in sharing. Roughly 17% share most of the time.
6. Weeding out the insensitive types.
7. Better to know early than to invest extensive time and energy in sharing.

How to tell your recovery story
i. What have you overcome?
For example, I’m working on reducing the isolation from the sexual error during my most vulnerable moment in life. I’ve returned to sanity, from the relentless lack of sleep during postpartum mental health challenges that exacerbated my trauma. I live in recovery from mental illness.

ii. How have you grown?
For me, from my perspective, I’m not perfectly done growing, but I’m learning to keep my hope based in reality. Although, sometimes I like myself better when I’m living with delusional hope.

iii. How would you like the person to respond when you tell your story?
I like it best when the person thanks me for trusting them, and when they see the strengths in my sharing – bravery, trust, communication, and other assets, skills, attributes, and descriptions. For instance, the beauty of my personhood. My kindness, my dedication as a mom to my daughter and our dogs, my ability to cook, menu plan, and the fun of my writing projects.

iv. What makes you feel loved?
I feel loved when people listen, and are with me through the story. I feel loved when I’m touched, and given affection through words and actions.

1. Having fun with imagining the first date.
a. After gaining consent to envision the first date, ask if they’d like you to write out what you hope will happen on the date.
b. Once you have a green light, spend an hour and a half free writing. Try to write a description of the night thinking of the location, time, people around, and of course use the impression of the person you got from reading their online profile to try to imagine how they’d respond to your imagined situation.

I’ll give a few examples of writing as fun at the beginning of a relationship.

1. S.
2. A.
3. M.
4. L.
5. A.
6. P.
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:02 am

S. Example

It was the spring of 2012 when I started dating. I met an Indian banker online, he worked at Barclay’s and was the director of mortgage analytics at Lehmann before the crash of 2009. I was impressed with him on paper. He had a PhD in Math, had kids and liked the finer things in life.

To advance my connection, I started a romance novel to land my first dates with S. My first date was at a modern lounge, and by the end of the night he was feeding me bacon wrapped stuffed figs at the tapas place next door. S. was fun, but soon after I got to know him, I knew he was trouble. As evidence in chapter 5 and chapter 6 you can see hints of the real S. make an appearance.

A little about me, I’d recently divorced a man who hadn’t loved me for a while. It was tough separating from an unhealthy level of co-dependency. We were in the midst of a financial settlement collaborative divorce agreement, and I was preparing to accept the change and move on. I believed I’d need to move back to the Midwest in a few years due to the expense of living in the city and the income disparity in the relationship was significant. For work, I was writing research and had just created a framework along with a team, to put our results into the context for the system of diagnosis that formed the basis of system in which our results existed. I was listed as second author.

May 1886

The curtain to the act closed and the conversations began. Lady Ashley fought back the emotion. After everything she had been through, she was still reeling from her thoughts wandering to her uncertain fate. But now was not the time or the place to think about these things. Before she had a chance to recompose herself she heard “Lady Ashley, you look positively morose,” the Duchess called to her. The generously proportioned matriarch had a keen eye, and missed very little. When she came near she added softly, “I’d say the acting was bad, but not that bad,” she said mischievously getting a laugh from those within ear shot.

“Thank you Your Grace,” Lady Ashley demurred. “I’m afraid you’ve caught me in an existential moment.”

“Oh, darling,” Her Grace whispered. “Never let me catch you looking defeated again, or I promise I’ll have to rescue you like this again. There is someone I’d like you to meet. Follow me, this way,” she said as she led her through the back of the box into the hall.

She tried to feel the carpet beneath her feet and the blades of the fan between her fingers as she followed. She needed not to think of the contract her daughters’ cousin was reviewing, and she needed to focus on her freedom while it lasted, before the transfer of the title was completed to the heir to the Viscount of Ashley title.

“The Honorable Lord S., may I introduce, Lady Ashley.”

The mysterious gentleman took Lady Ashley by the hand, and raised her gloved fingers to his lips as he looked into her eyes. She felt a shiver down her spine as he gazed into her eyes and imprinted her knuckles with the pressure of his lips. She felt as if he had greeted her soul in that moment. His olive skin and chocolate hazel eyes enchanted her. “Lady Ashley, it is a pleasure to meet you,” he continued to look deep into her eyes adding “I’ve heard a great deal about you since I’ve returned from India, to take my place in the House of Lords, as a Peer.” He smiled glancing towards the Duchess. “Her Grace speaks very highly of you,” he paused watching her cheeks color prettily. It was obvious she was not comfortable as the center of attention, despite her attractiveness, and figure that rivaled only Her Grace’s. Lady Ashley was an undiscovered treasure.

“Your Grace must be delighted to have you return from abroad,” Lady Ashley began. She paused not wanting to stir what must be an uncomfortable family discussion, the reason for the delay was never made public.

“It will give me something to do with the remainder of the season,” Her Grace said. “I’ll say we are about the most popular family in town with three eligible bachelors under my domain, but you wouldn’t believe the scheming some mothers have plotted thus far. I dare say I would never stoop to the level some have,” the Duchess huffed.

Lady Ashley knew stories of the lengths young women would go to in order to ensnare a husband. The system was fraught with peril for women and men alike. Her own experience had not been an easy one, but despite years of neglected affection with the late Viscount, she had her daughter whom she cherished, and her writing sustained her.

“Lady Ashley, would you do us the honor of joining our box for the rest of the production,” Lord S. asked.

“That is a splendid idea, you must say yes, darling,” Her Grace gave her no choice but to agree. “I do say, I could use your presence to keep the matchmakers at bay, until my dear stepson gains his footing on this game,” Her Grace explained.

Lady Ashley graciously moved towards the front of the box as the orchestra began to tune their instruments. Lord S. took the seat to her left and Her Grace behind them.

The scent of his exotic sandalwood after shave was just enough to distract her. She tried to distinguish the scent of him from the soap, and had to mentally stop herself leaning close to gather the subtle fragrance. Instead she focused on the feeling of the gentle air touching her skin from the fan.

His leg pressed against hers bringing her awareness back to him. She felt alive sitting there with him in the theater. It was as if there was nobody else there but him. She continued to push at the air about her with the fan. She felt a stirring inside that was primitive. His occasional brushing of her arm with his, the touch of his leg to hers, the scent of the sandalwood, it filled her with thoughts of him.

By the end of the production she could feel herself tense with arousal. So much so that the hairs on the back of her neck were standing up, and her nipples had hardened beneath the blue satin, creating an alluring effect with the neckline. Anyone would agree, Lady Ashley had full beautiful breasts, and the style of the day, forced them on display for all to admire.

When Lord S. offered to escort her to her carriage, she accepted.

It was a crush of a crowd out of the theater. Lord S. quietly presented his arm to guide her down the grand staircase. She accepted tucking her hand at his elbow, with his other hand he covered her fingers with his own. His touch was firm leaving a lasting sensation beneath her skin.

When they stepped out of the theater the warm evening air felt refreshing and a gentle breeze teased the hem of her skirt around her ankles. It was a perfect evening.

“Would you like to stroll with me for a bit,” Lord S. asked.

“I wish I could, but I must return home immediately,” she declined.

“Alright, well, I would feel less wounded if you promised to take me up on the offer again sometime,” he stood before her smiling down into her eyes.

She smiled back “I will promise, so long as you’ll offer before dark.”

He chuckled, “May I take you on a drive sometime then,” he asked.

“If you come before noon,” she added. “If you send a request the day before.”

“Do all ladies have this many rules,” Lord S. seemed amazed at the number of rules this woman had for him.

“Unless you choose a courtesan, then yes, we do,” she wasn’t irritated as much as she was explaining her factual existence.

“I see my driver rounding the line, will you walk me to the carriage,” she asked.

“Of course,” he took her hand and placed it back on his arm holding her hand between his and his forearm.

When they reached the carriage, they began their proper farewell. “Lady Ashley,” he said, and tipped his head to her.

“Lord S.,” she said, and tipped her head at him.

The driver opened the door, but before he could hand her up into the carriage, Lord S. intervened.

“Allow me,” he said.

He held her hand firmly as she stepped up onto the small wooden box laid in front of the carriage door. Looking down at him, she said “Thank you, I had a wonderful evening.”

Still holding her hand he said “It was my pleasure.”

His voice sent a ripple of desire through her as she turned back to step into the carriage. He let go of her hand with some reluctance. She felt the pressure of his touch for some time after he let go. Leaning back in the carriage she listened to the hooves of the horses click against the stones, feeling the slight jostling of her body against the leather, her thoughts lingered on him.

Chapter 2

Regents Park, London
May 1886

Later that evening a note arrived by footman at Lady Ashley’s townhouse. The note stated simply. “I would enjoy the pleasure of your company on a morning carriage ride at 10am. Until tomorrow. –S”

The note brought a smile to her face. She pulled a quill and a page from the drawer and dipped the quill in the inkwell. “Dear Lord S., I look forward to our drive. Sincerely, Lady Ashley” She gently blew on the ink until it dried, and walked over to hand the message personally to the waiting footman. She sent him back to Devonshire house.

The carriage arrived promptly as the clock chimed on the hour. Lord S. drove the high sprung phantom with a matching pair. He was an exotic vision of masculinity and a commanding presence to be witnesses.

Lady Ashley had selected a sleek tailored riding habit for the drive. The mature shade of emerald green to contrast with her dark blond hair that fell loosely from a lightly pinned upward style beneath the wide brimmed hat. Her daughter had left for day school earlier in the morning leaving her a short time for herself.

She was in the garden writing with an oil pencil in a small leather bound book when she heard the stir of his arrival. She closed the pages tucking the short pencil and book in a small hand stitched bag. Slipping it into the pockets beneath her skirts. She smoothed the layers over the book. Just as she managed to properly return the layers to order he joined her.

"Lady Ashley, we couldn't have planned a better morning for a drive. The team is bright and ready to be spent," he said as he neared.

Her pulse quickened when he drew near, and she greeted him warmly, “Lord S., I have been looking forward to our drive about the park, and today is a splendid day for it, I couldn’t have asked for a better day to spend outdoors,” she stood to greet him. He looked into her eye and said “Shall we then,” suggesting they take their leave of the garden.

There was a silent tension between them that broke when they reached the carriage and he suggested "How would you like to drive with me to visit an old friend and who has an unusual taste for rare and precious books? His library has a remarkable collection, and I promise I will return you just in time for tea by four o’clock,” his gaze returned to her.

She felt his eyes caressing her as she prepared to be handed up into the well sprung phantom. Gathering the full green skirts in her hand she said “I have an affinity for book collections. What interests does your friend specialize in,” she asked as she prettily stepped upon the wooden box setting in front of the metal ladder. His hands were at her arm and by her side. She could feel his touch linger against the fine fabric of her matching green gloves and through her gown. Once atop the plush cushioned bench, Lady Ashley began to smooth the skirts, waiting for his reply, and trying to soothe her natural response to his touch.
He quickly rounded to the driver side and pulled himself atop the sleek black carriage, sitting so close to Lady Ashley that she sensed his warm sandalwood scent. It felt familiar, yet not familiar enough, and she could think of little other than how she desired to lean closer to pick it up more clearly for her olfactory memory. Pushing that thought from her mind, she listened to what he had started sharing about his friend, while she studied the way he moved and spoke.
His hands were gloved in a fine dark leather, holding the slim strands of leather between his fingers. He snapped the reins and the carriage rolled forward into at a steady pace. The light spring air pressed against her skin as they drove down the lane. Lady Ashley reached to check that her hat was secured with the ribbon about her neck. Relaxing into the seat she let her leg rest gently against his, he had left her little option otherwise.

“So, which do you prefer,” he asked.

Lady Ashley quickly replied “Why the ancients have always intrigued me, but I’ll go with the natural history today.”

“Why,” he questioned.

“Well the Greek mythology is spectacular, the stories are rich with detail, but today I want to know about how our world functions day in and day out. The origins of life will always be somewhat mysterious, but the more we learn about how things work in the present the closer we will get to understanding how they change, and that ability to change may explain some of where we came from,” she explained.

“I take it you have been exposed to the work of Charles Darwin,” he said with some coolness.

“His work has influenced me in my thoughts on the topic, but I do not believe he has all the answers,” she stated.

They pressed the limits of each other’s knowledge on topics and took turns sharing and reflecting from the different perspectives they had been exposed to. The horses had broken out into a light sweat as they crested the hill leading to the small estate. She took a sideways glance at Lord S.. He had a steady command of the team, and was clearly experienced in his role. His dark skin made it difficult for her to see if he was beginning to develop age lines or wrinkles.

The sun was high in the sky when they had the first glimpse of Prescott Manor. It was an old Tudor style building with a stone wall lining the property. The gardens around the ground were full of late spring bloom with lilies and iris starting to show in the country style mixed beds. What the home lacked in splendor it more than made up for in charm.

Lord S. drove the carriage around to the stables finding the tidy building open.
There was a commotion in the house. A stir of fur and the sound of barking sounded from the great hall.

“You beast, come here,” he howled at his towering Great Dane. The dog wagged his tail as if it was enjoying a great game. “If you don’t obey, I’ll have no choice but to find a home for wayward dogs to send you to, you pedigreed idiot,” exclaimed the Lieutenant.

The silver haired gentleman with the long walking stick and dark knee boots with a slim fitting jacket and matching brown pants. The hound’s ears perked up at the sound of footfalls on the stone floor.

“Lieutenant, he looks like his behavior is improving,” Lord S. teased.

“Lord S., why,” turning back to greet him he stopped when he realized a lady was present. “You have company today.” He looked her over approvingly waiting for his introduction.

Lord S. delayed a fraction of a second too long before making an introduction as if to silently hint that there may be a development of feelings that would make him less likely to introduce her to someone.

“Lieutenant, I’d like to introduce you to Lady Ashley. My newest acquaintance, whose company on the
drive was comparable only to your own, a great complement to both of you,” he said.

“Interesting, quite an introduction Lady Ashley, I’ll say I’ll look forward to getting to know you better,” adding a wink to Lady Ashley to tease Lord S..

“It is a pleasure to meet you as well Lieutenant. I’ve been debating the preference for ancients and modern science for well over an hour and our looking forward to seeing the collections to see if my arguments are relevant in this context,” she said.

“Well then, let’s get started. I have the ancients and science facing each other in the library. I thought it was a touch of symbolism that I could not give up. For me they are interlinked,” he added.

Walking through the hall they entered into a chamber like no other seen on the manor. The construction was new. Two stories of books lined the walls and the four sides. In the center was a sofa two chairs and behind the sofa was a desk. So the person at the desk could still partake in conversation or watch the fireplace glow in the late hours of the night.

There along the shelves were coveys filled with artifacts from another era. Each small collection was a coherent grouping of artifacts. The first stroll in the library was quick and silent, taking in the objects, organizing their significance. Lady Ashley was the first to share her reflections.

“The artifacts bring the books to life,” she said. “It feels as if I’ve stepped into another time when I go to the different sections of the collection. It is truly remarkable,” she said.

By the time they made it through a preliminary inspection, Lady Ashley had several ideas of books she would like to visit to read. The hour flew by, until it was time to take their leave and return to London. She left the library feeling a sense of loss when she parted from the fine stories.

The ride home was harder for Lady Ashley to handle. She felt off balance, and her physical needs would not subside. Every touch, look, and brush was driving her senses out of control. She was remembering having him in her dreams the night before, she felt passionately and irresponsible. She should have a man she fantasized about, but sitting next to that man for hours on end was enough to make her want to do something about it. And he was not her only dream. She had a dream, that she was fond of, and she didn’t want an unrealistic fantasy to get in the way.

They did not talk much on the ride home. But Lord S. had closed the distance between them so that they were in great contact. When they reached her townhome, he took her by the hand, helping her from the tall carriage bench.

“Lady Ashley, again, your company was a pleasure,” he said.

When she made it safely to the ground, she looked up into his eyes. “Lord S., thank you for the suggested destination,” she replied.

“Are you planning to attend the ball tonight at Almanac’s,” he asked.

“It is on the schedule for 8 o’clock,” she said.

“Until then, my dear,” he leaned over kissing her gloved knuckles.

The sensations sent a wave of pleasure through her body. She smiled in response, and nodded, unable to quite shift her brain into cognitive functioning after such a visceral feeling.

Once Lord S. walked her to the front door, he returned to the carriage. He set out to return to Devonshire house. There was an uncomfortable lump on the between the cushion and the seat back. Reaching back, Lord Sash picked up a small silk netted sack that he could see a small book within. Taking it in his gloved hand he lifted it up to get a closer look. The initial “A” was embroidered in the lower left corner of the bag. He felt his chest tighten at the thought of her private book slipping from pocket. He’d felt a lump in her skirt earlier and with the jostling of the carriage, it must have worked itself out of her pocket onto the carriage bench. Would she have left it there for him to intentionally find? He wondered.

He tucked the small parcel into his suit coat pocket as he approached the great house in Regents Park.
A young man was awaiting the carriage. The groom was waiting to take the reins and care for the horses.

“My Lord,” the young man said as he greeted him.

“Mr. Andrews, be sure to rub them down well, they’ve been well worked today. They took a drive to see my old friend, the Lieutenant.” Stepping down to the cobblestones lining the road, Lord S. strolled to the house.

There was a buzz of house guests awaiting his arrival. He’d made it just in time for tea. His step mother would be delighted by his return, he thought to himself. But he felt an intense desire to head straight for the privacy of the study, and read whatever it was she was reading. It was something he couldn’t remember feeling before. He was experiencing great anticipation. The thought of sitting with a room full of other women, had lost its appeal. He wanted to know what was inside Lady Ashley’s embroidered silk pouch.

Trying to mask his preoccupation with the item in his coat pocket, he entered the main parlor, where guests sat while his step mother, the Duchess, held court. Her Grace sat perched at the edge of a lovely golden threaded chair with her light pink gown complementing the look. The green and gold walls of the parlor were shades of spring colors. She was a vision to be witness, and Lord S. understood his father’s adoration of this woman. She was delightful. From what he had come to know of Her Grace, she was the ideal match for a Duke. She had helped bring his father joy for the first time since his mother had past when his father returned from India to fulfill his role in the house of the lords.

Lord S. needed his own future Duchess, and sitting in the room were a number of potential candidates. Why could he think of nothing other than his desire to open the drawstrings on the little hand stitched bag.

“Oh, there you are Lord S.,” Her Grace said.

“We were just talking of your years in India, and what a delight it is to have you returned,” Her Grace looked back to her guests saying “I’ve been told he is the most eligible catch of the season,” she said as if she was stating a rumor rather than the obvious truth. His position as a wealthy aristocrat made him a target for fortune hunters and elitists alike. It amused him and slightly annoyed him to feel like a walking bank account, that the matchmakers wished to tap for their daughters.

“I’ve also been told that he is open to the idea of marriage,” Her Grace winked at Lord S. as she continued. “Isn’t that right, Lord S.,” she smiled upon delivery.

“I understand that part of accepting my role in the family includes having the proper attachment in society,” he stated with lackluster.

“Don’t sound so excited, Lord S., you will have a harder time convincing these young ladies that you are sincere in your efforts to pursued one to marry you,” Her Grace looked as if she couldn’t be happier in that moment, and Lord S., realized this was his chance to exit.

“Her Grace,” he said. “Ladies,” he said to the other women about the room, “As always it is a pleasure to see you visiting Devonshire House, but I have business to attend to that is time sensitive, and requires my attention. If you’ll excuse me,” he said bowing slightly.

Her Grace looked after him with an inquisitive glance. She rarely missed anything in the business of the house, and this was not an exception. He ignored the look, and left the parlor walking upstairs to the private study. The windows above the garden in the back were open. He could smell the fresh spring air, and thought back to their drive. He remembered the sweet tea rose scent of her perfume, and the way the sun warmed her hair just beneath his nose. He’d taken advantage of her nearness, trying to commit the details of her to his memory. Taking the small satchel from his pocket he put it on the desk. He sat staring at it for a good few seconds, but the temptation was too great. He could not return the item without knowing. He untied the draw strings and opened the little bag, looking in he could see a small leather bound notebook and an oil pencil. His heart beat accelerated as he pulled the book from the light blue silk. The brown leather was thin and fine against his fingers. He opened the cover and found the book was new. Only a few pages had been entered into it. Curiously he began to read.

“May 1886

I feel electric tonight. Between the lingering touches, his presence, the scent of sandlewood, and the feeling of him against me, I felt things I forgot I knew how to feel.

My body was responding significantly to him. I enjoyed his nearness, while I was sitting next to him, and it made me imagine things.

When his arm brushed against my breasts I wanted more. I wanted him to touch me, and feel my pulse rise. I could imagine him with me at a garden party, like those at Hartwell house last year, only instead of staying in the ballroom, I imagined taking a walk around the gardens with him. He’d start by kissing me, his lips would feel warm against mine, gently sucking and plying my lips apart until I felt his tongue on my tongue. His arms would hold me to him as he’d suck on my lower lip as I kissed him back.

Eventually he’d guide me to the bench by the wishing well. I wanted to feel him touch me intimately, to caress me, and I wanted him to make me wanton with need for him. I wanted to feel his mouth at my nipples, while his fingers stroked my heat, taking me to great heights of ecstasy only to be released by the feeling of his hardness filling me with pleasure. I wanted to feel him climax with me. I wanted him to take me hard and fill me in ecstasy.

I want to feel him, as I write, my body still aches with need. But sadly, I know better.
Lord S. will need someone to marshal his social prospects as a personal social general to build his empire. He needs someone to impart her social wisdom and graces, someone with insight, and someone he can socialize with. He needs an ally who is his equal. I feel an allegiance to him, but with the loss of the title reverting back to the heir of the Ashley title, there will be restrictions to my property use of the residence in London, I will be relegated to the status of a guest in my own home. And I have my writing to attend to. If I don’t have the next installation of the papers to the printer, then I will not have funds for the wardrobe this extravagant lifestyle requires. Assuming my bookkeeping records are accurate, then I am able to sustain my daughter on our current funds. However, to avoid spending the small estate, and to succeed, I must keep writing. But I write for more than the added income. The truth is, my writing is everything to me. I can’t give it up, and I am too proud to accept less than equality financially, emotionally, intellectually. I know what I need, and sadly, Lord S. will be too much for me. I do not want to feel controlled again. I want someone who can appreciate my efforts, genuinely. How can a man who has everything enjoy the things I work so hard to maintain? It would be impossible.

I must stop thinking about him. But, when he wrote me the short note asking me to take a drive with him, it made me so happy, I couldn’t refuse. How can I deny myself his attention?


The morning is beautiful, I am sitting in the garden, the sun is brilliant this morning, and it is a lovely day to be outside. I hear him coming.”

Lord S. sat staring at the diary. He felt as if someone had forced the wind from him. To know her was a journey. He felt as if he’d experienced the evening from the theater again from a new perspective. He wanted to read it again, and again. He wanted to know this woman. Was she going to let him know her? He worried that she may not give him the opportunity, if what she was writing was real.

Chapter 3

Lady Ashley entered into the townhouse. It was still before 4 o’clock, high tea was nearing. Her daughter would be home from school soon and she needed to change. Walking up the stairs she reached for her pockets feeling for her precious pouch. Her heart skipped a beat when she did not immediately find it. Surely, it was somewhere on her person. She checked the alternate side. Nothing. “Oh God, no,” she whispered to herself. She tried to remember what she had said in the entry.

Reaching the top of the stairs she continued on to the master suite. Her hands were shaking as she reached the door. If he found it, what would he think? Would he use it against her? Would he think she intentionally left it for him to find?

Once in her room she rang the bell for her maid. She needed to take a bath and change before tea and her daughter coming home from school. Then she’d change again for the ball. All she really wanted to do in that moment was to hug her daughter. She felt terrible in that moment. It was the type of vulnerability that made her head ache, and tears well in her eyes. Unable to hold back the tears she reached for a light weight hanky.

The maid appeared at the side door by the closet. “Yes my Lady,” Genevieve asked.

Lady Ashley struggled to compose herself. “Please pour a bath with extra tea rose and salt, and select a gown that will do for both high tea and a ball, I don’t feel up for changing between the two,” she said evenly.

“Yes, my Lady,” Genevieve curtseyed and turned to start the bath water.

Lady Ashley walked over to the great window looking out at the back of the house overlooking the garden. This was when she realized this was the single most intense sensation she’d felt since the loss of her husband months before.

Genevieve returned gently saying “my Lady, the bath is drawn.”

Lady Ashley followed Genevieve into the changing room where the bath was drawn. The large metal tub lay in the center of the room with steam rising around it. She could smell the scent of the tea rose and the salts in the air.

“Thank you Genevieve,” she said.

“Would you like me to stay and help with your hair,” Genevieve asked curiously.

“Yes, I’d appreciate your company, please stay,” Lady Ashley requested.

“As you wish, my lady,” Genevieve answered.

Genevieve helped Lady Ashley out of the green riding outfit and underthings. Naked, Lady Ashley had the figure of a goddess, although she felt too shapely for her own taste. Lady Ashley had breasts that were magnificent. When she bent over to step in the tub, they looked like weighted cantaloupes hanging from her chest. Her hips were round as well, and her stomach showed evidence of the previous birth of her daughter. She was shapely, and healthy.

Once in the tub, Genevieve began massaging her scalp to remove the essence of the earlier drive. The human contact was almost too much for Lady Ashley. She felt overwhelmed with emotion about the loss of her journal, and her feelings for Lord S. were beyond her control. When Genevieve began rubbing the soap into the her hair Lady Ashley pushed back the tears.

“Is everything all right, my Lady,” Genevieve asked.

As her ladies maid, she knew everything about her. Lady Ashley was close with Genevieve. Since she started with the house Genevieve had shown her loyalty time and time again. Lady Ashley was thankful to have her trust.

“Oh, Genevieve, I’m afraid I’ve done something regrettable,” she paused and turned to look at her maid.
“Genevieve, I’ve lost my journal during the trip to the Lieutenant’s home, and I don’t know if Lord S. has read it, but if he has, then I don’t know how to act.”

“Oh, my Lady, but you are such a lovely writer,” she stopped not wanting to bring attention to the fact that she loved to read what her mistress wrote.

“Thank you Genevieve, but I do not remember exactly what I wrote, but I believe it has the potential to inflame him, and make things difficult for me,” she sighed. “You know about the transfer of the estate to the new heir of the Ashley title, correct,” she asked.

“Yes, my Lady,” she said.

“Well, my plan for all of us including the core staff is to retire to the cottage estate that was given to me by my father. I have a steady fixed income, and with my writing, I may even be able to afford sending Katherine off with a splash in ten years.” Lady Ashley smiled to herself, followed by a frown. “But Genevieve, this is terrible. The possibility of Lord S. to know of my attraction is a major upset. I don’t know how I should act the next time we meet,” she said.

Genevieve smiled slightly “Well, my Lady, I think you have only one option.”

“What is that,” Lady Ashley inquired.

“Well, you should act as if nothing happened. It will add to the intrigue.” Genevieve paused. “If he asks, then you know you have him in the palm of your hand.” Genevieve moved to look at Lady Ashley “Lady
Ashley, you are a better writer than you know. Just trust me, if he asks, tell him the truth. Whatever you wrote will have him on a hook, I’m sure of it.” Genevieve went back to massaging Lady Ashley’s hair. “If he as half a wit, he will realize your beauty and your talent, and if not, then let him go, and we’ll retire to the country.”

Genevieve was so comfortable with her response that Lady Ashley questioned her own tension. She asked herself, why am I upset, when my staff will be happy regardless. Lady Ashley smiled gently to herself as she dunked her head under water to rinse the tea scented shampoo from her hair.

Finishing the bath, Genevieve held out thin cloth towels for Lady Ashley to step out into. Her breasts and body were slick with water coming from the tub. Genevieve wrapped her in the cloth and tied it about her bust. Then she used a second towel to tie up Lady Ashley’s hair.

It would be an hour before Lady Ashley’s hair would dry. She would not make it down for afternoon tea. When the calling cards began to appear at 4 o’clock, Lady Ashley had to send regrets with the household servants.

Lady Ashley was grateful to Genevieve for the company and support. It was an odd relationship the bond between a servant and her master. It was such a close bond, yet they lived worlds apart. Loyalty was the tie that bonded them.

It was several hours later by the time her hair had dried and Genevieve had relaxed her with a massage and comforting discussions about how to handle the potential interactions with the Marquis. And at 5 o’clock her daughter returned home. Lady Ashley hugged Katherine close upon her return. Her daughter did not understand her need for support or love in that moment, only that her mother was being incredibly overbearing. “Mother, is everything alright,” the young lady asked.

“Yes, of course darling, I’m just feeling more emotional than usual. Never mind my loving, how was your day,” Lady Ashley asked Katherine.

Katherine explained all that she learned in school and shared her latest discoveries about her world. Lady Ashley beamed with pride as she listened to her daughter. It nearly brought tears back to her eyes thinking they’d be leaving her daughter’s school to return to a country after the season was over. Her daughter was clearly blossoming in her current environment. Lady Ashley felt so selfish thinking of her plan to move back to the cottage. But, she knew in her heart, it was the right thing to do. She told herself, it would be okay, she had her writing to sustain her, and Katherine would learn to adjust. Until she lived up to the possibility that Lord S. knew more than he should, she didn’t know how to act. The clock on the mantel struck half past 7 o’clock. It was almost time to depart for the ball.

As a new arrival on the ton, Lord S. was advised to arrive with his parents that evening at Almanac’s, and stay by their side until a young Lady caught his attention, at which point Her Grace said she wanted him away.

Lord S. smiled at her frankness in describing the pursuit of his own Duchess. When Her Grace saw the expression she asked, “Lord S., how was the drive with Lady Ashley this afternoon,” she paused adding. “One of my callers shared that she was turned away for high tea by Lady Ashley.”

Lord S. lost his breath. Was Lady Ashley too upset about the loss of her journal to keep her composure with guests? “How are you so familiar with my whereabouts, Her Grace,” he inquired first.

Clicking her tongue to the roof of her mouth, the Duchess made a tusking sound three times. “Lord S., you should know I run a smooth household, I wouldn’t be doing my job as a mother of you and my three son’s if I didn’t have the loyal staff keep me abreast of all your coming and goings, as well as, warn me of potential problems that I may face socially.” She took a small breath and continued “Lord S., why would Lady Ashley turn away guests after a long drive with you,” she watched him like a hawk waiting for his answer.

Lord S. took a deep breath, he knew it was in his best interest to confide in the Duchess, but he rather liked keeping the journal a secret. It was not the type of writing he wanted to share, with anyone. “Her Grace, what would you say if I told you her personal papers fell from her pocket and I discovered them on the drive home,” he asked.

“My Lord, my reaction will depend entirely on the contents of the papers, and from the guilty expression on your face, and the speed with which you left tea to attend important matters, I am assuming you went to read these papers in private,” she said shaking her head.

Lord S. studied the floor of the carriage that his father and step mother sat in with him.

“Excuse me for interrupting, but this story is getting better every minute,” the Duke interjected himself into the conversation. “S., do tell, what was in the journal,” His Grace requested.

Lord S. cleared his throat. “They were rather personal, and I liked what she wrote, she has quite a gift of an imagination.”

“Is this the widow to the Viscount of Ashley we are speaking of,” asked the Duke thoughtfully.

“Yes,” Her Grace and Lord S. said in unison.

“She is well respected, and I trust she would not intentionally have left her personal papers in your hands as many scheming younger women may,” the Duke said. “I must say, I’ve heard a rumor from a publisher I know. There is a Lady who writes quite well, and is earning a hefty supplement to her income writing anonymously about the industrialization and the rise of the middle class. I’ve been trying to determine who could possibly be enough of a bluestocking libertine for this.” The Duke continued “Her Grace, can you think of anyone who would fit the description better than Lady Ashley,” he asked.

A slow and steady smile began on Her Grace’s face “That is wonderful news for you Lord S., because if she is clever enough to support herself through her work, she may entertain you more than most, and in every other way she is qualified to be a Duchess.”

Lord S. visibly paled at the idea. While he knew he needed someone, the thought of really having someone was still new to him.

“Son, you still have yet to share what was in the papers,” the Duke said studying his son’s reaction.

Lord S. swallowed hard, realizing he needed to come up with a family friendly version of her writing to share with his parents. “She wrote about her experience sitting with me at the theater last night, and what she would have liked to have had happen, then she reflected on the reality of her situation, and her conclusion that I am an impossible option for her.”

“Oh my,” Her Grace said cheeks stained with heat.

His Grace chuckled softly. “I take it she is a good writer,” he said.

“The best,” replied Lord S. quietly.

“I can’t wait to find out how this plays out,” His Grace said. “But I think we’ve almost arrived at Almanac’s.

It was the height of the Season at Almanac’s and that meant the crowd was crushing. Lord S. arrived with his parents, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire. Most heads turned from the floor below to greet their announcement from the doorman. The Duchess looked stunning in her golden dress and matching golden gloves. Her husband was distinguished with his grey hair and dark finely tailored suit coat, and pants. S. was an exotic younger replica of his father in dark skin with dark hair. The resemblance was striking; it was hard to miss the similarity in facial structures between the two men.

Lord S.’s brothers had promised their mother they would be along later in the evening. Lord S. scanned the crowd looking for Lady Ashley. She had yet to arrive. He got a quick tap from Her Grace with a fan. “You are looking entirely too hard for her, try to relax a bit, or someone will notice,” she said with concern.

“May I get you some refreshment Her Grace,” he asked.

“Thank you, that would be fine, and it will give you something to do,” she turned to greet an oncoming mother with a fresh eyed daughter in toe.

Lord S. escaped to the refreshment table just before being caught in an introduction.

It was quarter past 8 o’clock when the footman announced “Lady Ashley has arrived” to the crowd below.
It surprised Lord S. that hearing her name could warm his heart so thoroughly. He was almost returned to his station by the Duchess with her champagne flute in his hand. “Her Grace,” he said handing her the bubbling drink.

“Oh, you are just in time, I was about to be feel parched from all the talking,” she took the glass in her gloved hand and took a sip carefully.

Handing the glass to her husband to hold, Her Grace, turned back to Lord S.. “Now you need to go to her, be gentle, ask her to dance, and see how she responds,” she said.

“Can I ask her about the journal,” he asked.

“Only if she pretends nothing happened,” the Duchess said. She smiled, adding “Good luck.”

Lord S. smiled back at his step mother “Thank you.”

Aunt Almeda commented for the final time “Are you sure you feel up for attending Almanacs tonight,” she asked.

“I know it is still soon after your husband’s death, you’ve only just come out of mourning,” she sighed.

“Everyone will understand if you need a little more time to get over your feelings of loss,” she said.

“I greatly appreciate the thoughtful explanation for my behavior, Auntie, but I should tell you the change in life circumstance accounts for a smaller portion of the equation than you think,” Lady Ashley said.

“Then what did I miss,” Aunt Almeda questioned.

“Today, on the carriage ride to meet the Lieutenant, the gentleman with the supreme collection of rare books and artifacts, I lost something,” Lady Ashley stated evenly.

“Oh, dear, what did that devilish Marquis do,” Almeda inquired.

“It isn’t him, he was the perfect gentleman. It was my writing, I had it in my skirt pockets, and somehow I lost it during the long carriage ride,” Lady Ashley signed. “My only realistic option is to pretend nothing happened and hope it fell from the perch,” she said.

“What was in the journal, dear,” Almeda asked.

“Oh Auntie, you know how I love to write,” she swallowed hard vaguely remembering writing more than she should in her papers the night before. “I wrote about a fantasy of him and how it contrasts to the reality of my situation,” she sighed. “It even reveals the source of my supplemental income, I think I mentioned when my next installation is due to the publisher,” she looked out the window.

“Oh dear,” Aunt Almeda said. “You must be feeling very vulnerable, a man in his position should never be given over personal details directly,” she stated. “Although, he will have his solicitors verify your income sources and other assets if he is interested in you as a prospective lover, or Marchoness.” Taking a look at Lady Ashley she went on to say “This situation isn’t necessarily a bad thing, your writing is quite good, and you are beautiful.” Reaching across the carriage aunt Almeda took Lady Ashley’s hand. “Darling, he’d be lucky to have you. And if you pretend nothing happened it will add to the intrigue.” After giving Lady Ashley’s hand a final squeeze, Almeda let go adding, “you’ll be fine. And, the worst that could happen is that he reads it and remains uninterested, but knowing you and your work, I doubt it will be that easy for him to let you go.”

The carriage arrived in front of the club. Lady Ashley held a young uniformed groom’s hand as he helped her from her carriage. With her aunt at her side, she felt fully armed against the situation.

The doorman announced “Lady Ashley has arrived.” Then the uniformed attendant waited a few seconds to announce Lady Almeda. Together the ladies descended the grand staircase to the ballroom floor below.

Lady Ashley took comfort in the fact that she was in her favorite shade of blue. The color was a mix between turquois and pastel. It brought out the blue that outlined the iris of her eyes, making the hazel tones near the pupil accent her eyes like her dark blond hair complemented the dress. She wore simple earrings that were given to her by her best friend, Sarah, from finishing school. The unique blue pearls fell from golden wire, and a simple solid small blue cut and polished rock was anchored to a fine golden chain at her neck. Sarah had crafted them with the knowledge they would be put to good use by her dear friend. They had been writing each other for years, although they saw each other very infrequently, when they did reunite, it always felt as if they maintained their bond effortlessly.

Lady Ashley felt him approaching before she could spot him. He hairs at her neck stood on end. She felt like an animal responding to a threat. She had to hold herself steady to avoid fleeing from him, and remind herself to act as if nothing happened.

She felt her pulse quicken when she saw him, and a physical clenching in her stomach at first eye contact. Her attraction to him was palpable. The intensity of his gaze brought her pleasure as he drew near. By the time he greeted her taking her hand to his lips, she was on fire for him. She could feel her body starting to need him. When he pressed his lips against her knuckles her mouth watered at the thought of him suckling her. This was going to be challenging for her to maintain normalcy when he was near her.

“Lady Ashley,” he said. “It is a pleasure to see you again so soon after our last adventure,” he smiled.

“Lord S.,” she said, feeling the heat rise to her cheeks, and a flush of arousal stain her chest. “May I introduce you to my aunt, Lady Almeda.”

“Only if you will grant me the next dance,” he said holding onto her hand for what felt like an eternity.

“As you wish,” she said in reply.

“Lady Almeda, I am honored to meet any relative of Lady Ashley. Today we had the joy of spending an entire afternoon driving together,” he said.

“Yes, it was such a beautiful day for your excursion,” Lady Almeda stated. “I do say, I hear the quadrille coming to an end.” Glancing down at her dance card she added “According to my card, the next song is a waltz, and I recommend you head for the floor so you don’t miss your first dance,” Lady Almeda smiled to herself.

“Shall we,” Lord S. asked Lady Ashley offering her his arm to guide her onto the dance floor.

Lady Ashley swallowed staring at his arm for a split second with a moment’s inhibition before taking his arm, and tucking her fingers around his forearm.

With a simple “Yes,” she followed him onto the dance floor.

His frame was the perfect scaffolding for her to rest her left hand on. He held her right hand with his left hand. She set up preparing for the dance properly looking over his shoulder, feeling the heat rise up inside her. The scent of his sandalwood mixed with her tea rose, creating a heady mix of their signature scents. The music began and he effortlessly guided her about the floor. She felt his body guide her to the beat of the music, and imagined what it would be like to make love to him. In that moment she felt connected to him physically moving together about the floor. His right hand slowly pulled her tight until she could feel his body against hers. The dance floor was full, and perhaps the nearness would be excused because of the crowd, but Lady Ashley felt tension building within. Her breathing was excited, as he took her around the floor. He did not spin her around nearly as often as the other partners, and she wondered if it was because he didn’t want to lose contact with her body. Just as she was getting used to his closeness, the music ended, and the dance was over.

“Lady Ashley, that was inspirational. Would you do me the honor of taking a stroll about the garden,” he asked.

Lady Ashley paused, unable to speak. Her journal described a similar stroll in a garden. She blushed hard thinking of her writing. How could she say “no” without seeming out of character? “Perhaps after we stop for refreshments,” she said. That would give her the opportunity to greet others and socialize, and there was always the potential that someone would ask her to dance before she found herself in the garden with him. She was entirely too attracted to him to be alone with him, she knew better than to put herself in such a situation.

Lord S. felt intoxicated with desire being so near her. The light scent of tea rose and her hair were just beneath him as he took her around the dance floor. He could feel her breath at his neck, and it made him feel aroused. He wanted to feel her skin on his. He wanted to kiss her and touch her the way she had described in her writing. He wanted to explore this woman’s imagination and physical responsiveness to him. He wanted her, and he didn’t want to wait until they were in private to make his advances. He was lucky the room was crowded and he would not be scrutinized too carefully for the way he held her close on the dance floor. He needed her next to him. The long drive in the afternoon had formed a bond between them. It was a physiological connection, he felt it at an intuitive level, and like any other need, he had to have her. He wanted her.

When the music ended he found himself asking her out to the garden, when she paused to respond, he knew what she was thinking. She was remembering what she had written in her journal. It made him harden to think of her remembering how she described the garden scene and watch her physically respond with a flush of color staining her cheeks. When she delayed the trip to the garden, it made him want her more. She was a challenge to him, like some problem that needed his attention in order to solve. He was going to have her, and he wanted her to enjoy it as much as he would. He wanted to know what she was thinking. He wanted to read what she would write tonight when she got home. He imagined, her writing would be good. If it was anything like what she wrote the night before, he would sell half of his stock in the East India Company just to get a chance to experience what it felt like to be with a woman who could describe her internal state with such vivid and enticing detail. Would he be able to feel her response to him, would it make the experience more intense for him? He wanted to know.

“Would you prefer the lemonade or the champagne,” he inquired as they approached the concession stand.

“I love the taste of lemonade,” she shared her lovely smile with him. “The flavor of lemons, ginger, and cinnamon are dear to me,” she said. “I have a secret to share, that you must promise not to tell anyone,” she looked him in the eye smiling at him.

He couldn’t believe she was going to confide about the journal to him. He waited for her to go on.

“I cook,” she said plainly.

“What,” he asked. He was surprised and not expecting to learn her domestic strengths in that instant. He wanted to hear that she knew he had read her private thoughts, and was unable to go on without gauging his reaction. Instead, she was acting as if nothing had happened. It fascinated him.

“I said that I like to cook.” She looked at him mischievously saying “I learned every aspect of managing an estate during school, and when we were trained to plan out the dinner parties and evaluate recipes, I learned that I couldn’t get enough of guessing how they made the dishes. Since that time, I correspond with most of the hostesses learning their secret recipes.”

He stood there listening, unable to wrap his head around her avoidance of the single most interesting thing he had read in a long time. “They just give their secret recipes away,” he asked.

“Well, if you give them enough flattery and intentionally guess the wrong ingredients, then they can’t help but correct you, thereby giving away their secrets,” she stopped speaking, and gazed into his eyes.

“That does sound like an effective strategy, if only other secrets were as easy to extract,” he said under his breath, as he watched her subtle flush in response to his words.

They were oblivious to those around them, and were caught off guard when the Duke and Duchess approached.

“If you two aren’t married off by the end of the week, then there are sure to be rumors after that dance,” Her Grace said smartly.

“Lady Ashley, as always it is a pleasure to see you,” the Duke said graciously.

“Your Graces,” Lady Ashley curtsied.

“You’ve caught us just as we were about to partake in a glass of lemonade,” Lord S. shared.

“Well, we wanted to stop you before you made a spectacle of yourself, Lord S., you are being shameless,” Her Grace chided.

“Lady Ashley, I do hope he is not pursuing your attention to fervently, you do seem to have left an impression on him,” Her Grace said teasing Lord S. for his apparently obvious reaction to Lady Ashley.

Lady Ashley glanced down before responding “He is quite the gentleman, and I do hope we can try the lemonade,” she said gently trying to change the topic of the conversation.

“Yes, good idea,” said the Duke, showing his compassion for his son and Lady Ashley helping move the topic along.

“Why don’t you come with me my son and we will leave the ladies to themselves for a minute,” His Grace commanded.

“Yes, father,” said Lord S.. He felt hesitant about leaving her at that moment, he was eager to pursue a stroll with her in the garden.

“Lord S., unless you want to marry her, then you must slow down,” his father said softly. “You are not used to the ways of the ton, but women like her are not made a spectacle of without consequences,” he said. “Discretion is the only way to engage with a woman of her quality,”

Lord S. felt strange being told how to behave by his father. As a grown man, his father had never given him instructions on behavior before; he wondered why this woman would inspire his father into action.

“Did you know her father,” Lord S. asked.

The Duke responded simply “Yes, he was a good man. And I’m afraid he was quite heartbroken when his daughter was compromised by the late viscount,” the Duke said. “She deserved better than the viscount, but she was too young to know better.”

The Duke took lemonade in each hand and returned to the ladies.

Lord S. followed his lead, considering what he had just heard; it made him wonder about Lady Ashley’s fate. Had she been trapped in a loveless marriage? He wanted to know more.

Lady Ashley stood with Her Grace as the gentlemen turned towards the refreshment table.

“Lady Ashley, I must say that I am glad to see you’ve finally drawn the attention of someone who I would approve of, but you must tell me what you’ve done to bring him about so quickly,” Her Grace studied everything about Lady Ashley’s response.

Struggling to maintain her composure, Lady Ashley knew that if she lied, she would lose her trusted ally in Her Grace, but to tell the story bluntly would be shameful. So she began, “We went for a carriage ride this afternoon, and upon returning home I discovered I’d lost my personal papers, and I suspect Lord S. has read the lost journal.”

“I trust, it was not intentional,” Her Grace carefully watched her response.

Lady Ashley fought back her emotion, gripping her toes to the floor as she responded with “I regret that knowledge so personal has fallen into his hands, it was not intended, and I have no choice but to act as if nothing happened and move on.”

Her Grace looked as if she was contemplating sharing something, then she decided against it.

“Why do you think you have no choice, darling, life is full of choices, and I think you should enjoy yourself.” Leaning close Her Grace said “You don’t have to marry him, just be discrete and no one will mind if you take him as a lover,” Her Grace looked like a cat who’d tasted the cream.

Lady Ashley stared speechlessly back at Her Grace, shocked at the revelation. She realized she could follow her imagination. It sent a hot flash beneath her skin, and made her feel a wave of excitement at the idea. She had always played by the rules, and to take a lover had never been an option before, but why not? What did she have to lose? Unless… A cold sensation took hold, and her stomach flipped. Her thoughts stilled focusing on one idea. Unless, she fell in love, and the feelings were not returned by her lover. The risk of unrequited love was a terrible fate.

“Tell me Lady Ashley, why are you set on maintaining your independence,” Her Grace questioned aloud.

“I cannot bear the thought of living under another’s control again,” her eyes filled with tears threatening to overflow.

Realizing she’d gone too far the Duchess immediately replied. “You are a brave woman, you will do well to take a lover, maybe two, and enjoy yourself before you start making choices about your life,” she reached over and squeezed Lady Ashley’s free hand, getting a sad smiling laugh in return. The Duchess felt great empathy, and her eyes began to tear as well. It had not been that long ago that she was in a similar predicament.

“Oh, my, look at us, they leave for less than ten minutes and we are both in need of handkerchiefs,” pulling out her fan she began beating away the emotion with fresh air and good humor.

“Lady Ashley, you will stop by for tea tomorrow just after noon, I want to talk with you again,” Her Grace gently said before she instinctively turned to the approaching gentlemen with the lemonade in hand, and not waiting for an answer from Lady Ashley.

Lady Ashley searched the room for her aunt, wishing to return home, she felt spent, and in need of more than a light refreshment to ease her tension.

Lord S. returned to her side handing her the glass of lemonade he had obtained for her. Looking at her, he asked “Is everything all right.”

“Oh, I was just talking with Her Grace about the late Viscount of Ashley,” she replied truthfully.

“I’m sorry to see you upset,” Lord S. responded.

“Your step mother gave me some good advice,” she said softly.

“What was that,” Lord S. said feeling slightly left out of the conversation.

“She thinks that I should keep an open mind about my future. It was good advice,” Lady Ashley concluded. But she wasn’t going to share the part about taking multiple lovers. That would serve to inflame him, and with the way the evening was going, she did not need to tempt him any further.

“Hmmm, was she referring to anything in particular,” Lord S. asked, unable to contain his curiosity.

“I don’t believe so,” Lady Ashley answered cautiously. “Lord S., would you assist me in locating my aunt, I believe it is time for me to go,” she said.

“Yes, I just passed her on my way back with my father,” he said. “Let’s excuse ourselves from my parents, then we will find your aunt.” He turned to his father and step mother, “If you’ll excuse us, I believe Lady Ashley is retiring for the evening, and would like me to locate her aunt with her,” he said.

“It was very nice to see you again Lady Ashley,” His Grace said.

“The pleasure was mine, Your Grace, and I’ll look forward to your invitation to tea Her Grace,” said Lady Ashley.

“Splendid, and give my suggestion some thought,” the Duchess said warmly with a glint of challenge in her eye.

With that they found her aunt and said their farewells.
"I trust that if I start to fall off the ladder of life again, others will pick me back up and put me back on."
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Fri Aug 07, 2020 3:21 pm

Grill’s Guide

How to Date After Difficulty – A method of dating after diagnosis by using writing to tap into imagination. Autobiographical fiction dating method.

Chapter 3 rev.
S. Part II
May 1886

Lord S. felt a strange sensation when was the last time he had felt anything for a woman? And to have been set down for his behavior by his father was unusual, and made him feel childish, which he did not like.

He walked across the room greeting people as he walked, and stopping for a few words here and there. By the time he reached his parents, he had relaxed and a bit of the tension about what had happened had worn off.

“I must ask, what advice you gave her,” he asked the Duchess.

“I recommended she enjoy herself and take a lover, or two,” Her Grace replied.

His stomach felt tense at the thought, “Why did you tell her to take two lovers,” he asked.

“She needs to get out and learn what she wants, what she likes, and what she needs,” the Duchess replied.

“I think she has been under the careful watch of her late husband for far too long, and it is no wonder she is afraid to let herself feel anything, that man was a too controlling,” the Duchess said frankly.

“But, how do you know that,” Lord S. asked curiously.

In return the Duchess stared back with her knowing eyes, “I have my ways,” she stated simply. Turning to her husband, they exchanged a knowing glance with one another, and started to make their way to the card room.

“But why did you invite her for tea tomorrow,” he asked.

The Dutchess glanced back at him “She needs a new perspective, and you will not get very far until she feels secure in her new views. She needs to be comfortable with a new set of rules to live by. In short, she needs me, to help her learn to indulge in her desire for you,” the Duchess said simply.

Lord S. was curious about the his step mother, why was she doing this, and why did women have different rules than men?

The next morning, Lord S. entered the polished office that had a faint lemon scent lingering about the freshly oiled furniture. He walked over to the wooden chair and ran his sleek finger along the surface of the wood to determine if it was dry enough to sit down.

“Lord S. how may I help you,” a man asked following him into the office.
Lord S. turned to greet the lawyer saying, “Sir Walters, I have business of a personal nature that I’d like to address with you.”

“Of course, that is what you pay us for,” said the short round bellied man with a balding head.
“I have a project that I would like you to investigate for me. I would like this to be very discrete,” Lord S. said.

“Yes, of course, how may we help you,” asked Sir Walters.

“I want to know more about Lady Ashley.” He paused adding “I want to know what is happening with the title of Ashley and specifically, and learn her primary income source,” he asked.

“Yes, well the specifics about the Ashley estate should be obtainable with a few simple inquiries to the right people,” he paused. “As for her income source, I’ll be able to determine her investments from the inquiries, and from there we can calculate any estimates you may need, but excuse me for asking, but is there any additional questioning you have about the Lady in question.”

“I have reason to believe she is supporting herself with her writing, I want to know who she sells to, and I want to buy the work directly from the publisher.” Lord S. tapped his fingers on the back of the oily chair.

“A woman like her not being left with adequate support without working is a shame,” the balding man huffed in disapproval.

“When do you think you will have the information for me,” asked Lord S..

“Give me one week, and I’ll have it for you,” Sir Walter said.

“Good day then,” without further pleasantries, Lord S. left the office.

He felt odd asking after Lady Ashley, but he didn’t understand her, and wanted to know what was going on with her financials before he drew conclusions about her.

It was a cool spring day, the clouds threatened rain. Lady Ashley selected a dress in a muted shade of steel blue for her visit to see the Duchess. She had always had an affinity for the woman, despite the decade of years that separated them; there was a thread of similarity that connected them like some cosmic force.

Lady Ashley trusted her visit to the Duchess would be all right.

Stepping from the carriage, she took the uniformed servant’s hand as she was helped to the wooden stepping box. She stepped gracefully down from the box and was escorted to the front hall of Devonshire House.

The grand staircase wrapped around the front foyer emphasizing the circular themed entry. The marble was inlaid with a mosaic of delicate and intricate patterns of black and white flowers. Spanning from the center of the room almost like a wheel with spokes the black and white pattern stretched across the floor.
A Venetian glass chandelier hung from the ceiling two stories above.

“Her Grace is expecting you, Lady Ashley,” the butler greeted her. “Please follow me this way.” He took her into the house up the stairs to a private library overlooking the gardens below. Her Grace was seated by the window taking her tea, and sorting through a stack of letters on a tray near her seat.
“There you are,” she said warmly motioning the seat near her. “Come take a seat, and let me offer you some tea.”

The butler backed out of the room closing the hall door behind him. Lady Ashley was amazed at the silent efficiency of the butler, and the home.

“Her Grace, thank you for the hospitality and invitation to take tea with you,” Lady Ashley said still warming up from her drive over.

“Ah, let me get you some tea, to warm you,” the Duchess said.

Taking the fine china pot, she poured a small cup of tea that set nested in a saucer. She gracefully passed it to her guest.

“Thank you,” Lady Ashley said.

“Now, I have something I need to tell you,” she pushed the pile of correspondence a few inches away.

“Lady Ashley, I want you to find happiness,” raising the teacup to her lips, she took a sip. “As a widow, you are afforded certain discrete liaisons, and they have the potential to bring you great joy, if you let them.”

“When you suggested the idea of taking a lover yesterday, I had never considered it,” Lady Ashley said.

“It is just that I’ve been so isolated and alone for so long,” Lady Ashley said.

“Lady Ashley, I know what it must have been like for you with the Viscount, as I had the misfortune of
being married to his father.”

Lady Ashley nearly dropped her tea cup. “Why has this never been spoken of before,” Lady Ashley asked.

“He died within a year of my marriage, and there was a scandal,” she put her hands in her lap holding the saucer in between her hands. “I want Lord S. happy, and I need to know if you are too wounded to love again, because if you are, then I need to devise an alternative plan,” she concluded.

“It is my greatest fear that I will fall in love, only for my emotions to be left to hang alone. I would have spent the rest of my life dying for someone to love me if the Viscount had not passed on,” Lady Ashley said. “Now at least I have hope that someone can love me back,” she said somewhat sadly.

“Oh Lady Ashley,” tears welled in the Duchess’ eyes. She said reaching over to squeeze Lady Ashley’s hand,“There is just one thing I need from you.” “I want you to seduce him with your writing.” She said. Her Grace smiled, “He has never had a challenge like the one we are about to give him,” she looked happy. “This will be good for him,” the Duchess stated.

“You want me to write him letters,” Lady Ashley asked.

“I want you to write in your papers, but be aware that it will be hard for a man like him to stay away from your work. He’ll want to read about your desire, equally if not more than experience it with you,” the Duchess observed. “I wanted to warn you in person to be very careful with this game. I don’t know your secrets, but if they are anything like mine, I would stop writing them down. Write only what is safe for him to see. For your own sake, you must find a very safe way to hide your secrets.”

Lady Ashley paled at the thought of her private writing being opened by Lord S.. The thought of him reading about her intimate thoughts and personal reflections made her uneasy. If he knew what she felt could he love her? She felt a clenching in her chest and her breathing became emotional. It was her deepest fear, that in getting to know her, a man she desired would not love her. As a thirty five year old woman she had certain physical needs, and the idea of taking him as a lover was appealing, but she was terrified that the tender emotional bond forming with him would be destroyed if he knew her better.
Watching Lady Ashley’s response carefully, the Duchess said “You will be fine. The worst that could happen is that Lord S. may lose interest, and we will find you another lover. And that, my dear, is not a bad thing.”

Lady Ashley nodded, and slowly took a sip of tea. Her composure felt off balance, and she felt ready to return home.

The Duchess sensed her guest’s readiness to leave. The Duchess said “I want to personally invite you to a private dinner party tomorrow night. Please tell me you will join us.”

“I would be honored to be your guest,” Lady Ashley said.

“Good, then you may take your leave if you wish,” the Duchess said dismissing her guest.

“Thank you, Her Grace,” said Lady Ashley.

“You’re welcome, Lady Ashley,” said the Duchess.

Lady Ashley stood and as she was leaving she heard the Duchess say “It will all work out just fine, just keep your wits about you, and enjoy yourself.”

The next morning Lady Ashley felt the carriage jolt to a halt, as the street noise filled the air. Her mocha
colored day gown was elegantly cut to fit her form, but the intention was not to stand out on her secret mission. She wore a broad hat that flopped slightly down in front covering half of her face, and acted as a shield to her identity.

Lady Ashley waited for the groom to open the door and assist her down. She stepped out of the carriage, in front of “The apothecary booksellers” to the cobblestones below. The sound of her leather boots clicked on the pavement beneath her feet.

“Thank you. I’ll be in the bookshop for some time,” she said.

She had much business in mind for the afternoon. The small storefront had broad windows, and a wooden sign above the door, that jutted out from the wooden siding.

The bell on the door jangled as she entered into the book lined space. She knew the store well enough to know that most of the crowds would be in later in the afternoon. The few customers in the store paid little attention to her entrance. Her heels clicked against the wood flooring as she walked towards the back doorway. Once she passed over the threshold, she felt like the weight of her secret was lifted.

“Sir Garrett, are you there,” she asked out loud.

The room was dark with the lack of a candle, the only light was from the doorway to the storefront. It took her eyes a minute to adjust to the dim surroundings. The room was filled with equipment, a desk and doubled as living quarters.

“Is that you my dear,” asked a familiar voice from the back of the room.

“It depends on who you are calling your dear,” she quipped.

“Lady Ashley, I’ve missed you,” Sir Garrett said. “You were scheduled to visit me yesterday, and you’ve never missed a deadline before, should I expect an explanation,” he asked.

“I blame my absence entirely on the work of Her Grace, the Duchess of Devonshire,” Lady Ashley wiped the strand of hair that fell over her eyes behind her ear and continued. “She requested a meeting yesterday, and has great ambitions for me to seduce her step son,” her voice was flat.

“Really, how interesting,” Sir Garrett said. “His Grace made a visit not two days ago to inquire about the next issue of your publication.”

Lady Ashley paled at the connection. “What did you tell him, Garrett, please tell me you haven’t given away my identity, you know how I count on this revenue,” she said.

Sir Garrett with his long legs crossed over to Lady Ashley and said, “About that,” he paused raising his hand to her cheek. “I’ve been thinking, why not make an arrangement with me and stop this charade.”
She pulled back from his touch a fraction of a second too late. “Garrett, please don’t press me.”

Sir Garrett was tall and lean with a strong frame and pleasant features. His greying hair made him appear older than his years, but he made up his aging appearance with youthful advances. Lady Ashley was almost coming to expect his advances.

“Lady Ashley, you know, I have a solution for your situation,” he said pausing, letting the power of his words sink in.

“Yes, you’ve explained before that you would keep my secret closer if I’d grant you favors and become a mistress, but I believe you would hold more power if I granted your wish. And, who would believe that a woman would write what I write,” she added.

“Oh, I think the Duke could be convinced if he hasn’t already figured it out,” Sir Garrett stated. “He was willing to pay a great sum of money to buy out all the copies of the next issue, and it infuriated him when I declined to sell either your identity or your work without first getting your consent.”

“You will not coerce me into submission. You are going to accept this issue and pay me the amount we agreed to as you initially stated, and I refuse to be bent to your will. If the Duke wants to know he will find out, but why would he care,” she asked.

“Well, he did state that he felt it his civic duty to know who was behind this rise of influential thinking,” he said. “I suspect he is simply bored, and needs something to occupy his time with searching for,” Sir Garrett added. “He is known for his desire to solve mysteries.”

Lady Ashley visibly relaxed at the thought of it being a simple diversion. After all, Her Grace, probably set him up to ‘solve’ the problem, and she had managed to determine that Lady Ashley’s writing was behind the manuscripts.

Lady Ashley began to open the leather satchel and remove the pages of the latest work.
“Here, take these,” she said handing him the pile of pages. “I expect you to deposit the agreed upon sum in my account or pay me now.”

“Ah, yes always the business woman,” he sighed. “Lady Ashley, I think you’d enjoy yourself if you would just give it a try.”

“Perhaps you are right, but I’m not going to be coerced into anything I don’t chose to do,” she stated plainly. “Now, tell me. When will you give up your advances. I’m going to have to bring a groom next time if you keep this up.”

“You know I would never force myself on you. I like my women willing. But you must understand, it is in my nature to keep trying. I find you irresistible. You’re sweet as honey, smart, and funny, and you make me speak in rhymes,” he replied with a smile.

She smiled back, “I do like the rhyme. It suits me,” she said, adding, “Have a good afternoon Sir Garrett, I’ll see you when the next installment is ready.”

“You too, my dear, just don’t take more than a week,” he said.

Her heels clicked across the flooring as she exited to the nearly empty store front.

Chapter 4
Climbing out of the tub, she dried herself off and rang for Genevieve. They selected a dress that was red velvet; it drew attention to the fullness of her reddened lips, and the hazel in her blue eyes. She selected gold jewelry and slippers to match. Her wrap was made of a golden silk. Her daughter had attended a puppet show with Aunt Almeda in the late afternoon just when school let out. Aunt Almeda was there with Katherine when Lady Ashley greeted their return.

They spent a few hours talking and playing games, as Genevieve dressed Lady Ashley’s hair in the latest fashion for the small dinner party.

By the time she was ready to depart Katherine had taken a light supper in the nursery with her maid, and was being prepared for bed, while Aunt Almeda was retiring for the evening with a book.

Lady Ashley said her good nights, departing for Devonshire House.

In the carriage ride, she had the first opportunity to reflect on the way she would respond to Lord S..
The carriage arrived shortly after 8 o’clock. “Thank you, Mr. Matthews,” she said as she was handed down by her driver.

“Would you like me to walk you to the door, Lady Ashley,” he asked.

“Yes, that would be fine,” she said.

Together they walked up the stone path to the large stone stairs leading to front doors that opened to the grand round marble entryway.

The Butler Mr. Benjamin opened the door and let her in without a word.

“Thank you, that will be all Mr. Matthews,” she said.

“Follow me this way Lady Ashley, the family is in the family parlor,” Mr. Benjamin led her to the back of the house.

The family was gathered about the room in clusters, along with several young women and chaperones. Lady Ashley scanned the room for Lord S. and the Duchess.

“There you are, darling, I’ve been thinking of you,” said the Duchess as she approached from behind.
Lady Ashley turned smiling towards the Duchess.

“Ah, I see a smile. That is good. There is hope for you, then,” the Duchess said.

Lady Ashley said, “I can’t thank you enough for the wonderful idea.” She continued, “I never would have thought of it or managed it on my own.”

“Awe, now that is what allies are for,” the Duchess said.

“Are you planning a war,” asked Lord S. as he came up from behind.

“That all depends on you my dear step-son,” smiled the Duchess.

“I won’t ask then,” he said winking back at the Duchess.

“You look positively radiant this evening Lady Ashley,” he said warmly.

“Thank you Lord S.,” Lady Ashley said. “I am taking some afternoon lessons, and I find it rather invigorating,” she added.

The Duchess smiled at the description, and excused herself from their conversation.

“I like a woman who enjoys mental exertion,” he said. He closed the distance between them picking up the faint scent of sweet tea rose from her hair. “Perhaps I can join you for a lesson one day, once you are comfortable in your lessons,” he asked.

“I’d like that, Lord S.. I can see you writing with me in one of my lessons,” she said smiling. She sensed his nearness, and it felt comforting rather than threatening in her current state. It made her feel warm and wanted, rather than concerned. She was happy to be with him.

The dinner hour was announced by Mr. Benjamin. Lord S. offered to escort Lady Ashley to the table. She was complemented to be seated between the Duke and Lord S., with the Duchess at the other end of the table.

The conversation was light with the Duke asking a surprising number of questions of her about her views on industrialization. She almost forgot she was not in her element of tight friends who knew her secret, and several times nearly gave away her reference to her writings, having to pause midsentence before sharing that the work was hers that she referenced. It was exhausting to keep the lies straight, but as long as she kept an element of truth to what she was saying she didn’t feel so guilty. She thought of her writing, and realized she had the deadline to attend to, she didn’t know how she would manage her writing deadlines.

The dinner was a fine spring split pea soup with a sour cream garnish designed with a picture of a leaf setting on the surface. There was a fresh watercress, goat cheese, and candied nuts salad with a honey Dijon dressing. The main course as a honey fig champagne glazed ham, presented on a bed of scalloped potatoes. It was a beautiful meal that paired well with the excellent selection of Bordeaux.
After the meal the guests retired to the family lounge, some of the gentlemen retired to the smoking room for their port, but Lord S., was more interested in spending time with Lady Ashley.

“Will you take a stroll through the back garden,” he asked.

Chapter 5
When she said yes, he presented his arm and they walked to the back of the parlor out onto the patio. Lord S. covered her hand with his free hand and guided her down the path. They walked towards the bench by the fountain.

“There is something I want to ask you about,” he said.

She felt his hand cover hers, and that feeling of tension at her core, made her unable to think. It made her refrain from responding fully to Lord S., instead she said nothing. But her body began to shiver from the chill of the dreaded questioning about her journal.

Feeling her tremble he moved to hold her against him warming her body with the heat of his own. “Is that better,” he asked. She nodded her head in reply. He looked towards her as he guided her to sit by the bench at the back of the garden. “What are you writing about in your writing lessons,” he asked.

Lady Ashley paled at the question. She replied, “I write about a little bit of my life, and what I envision for my future.”

His arm was warming her back and side. His hand fit into the curve at her hip, and he applied light pressure against her body with his hand. With his free arm he reached up to place a fallen strand of hair back behind her ear. When his fingers began to trace along her ear he had her full attention.

“And what would your writing say about this,” he said as his index finger moved from her ear to her chin guiding her mouth to his.

She felt the light pressure of his finger on her lower while he kissed her. She felt the smooth feeling of his mouth on hers. She felt his hand trail from her chin to her breast gently fondling her ample curves. She found herself gently arching into his hand, as the pressure against her hip increased. She needed release. He deepened his kissing, and she felt a heady mixture of pleasure and desire, but something, some sense of caution and reason, caused her to pull back breathless.

“I can’t think straight when you are near me,” she said honestly.

His breathing was labored as they broke contact from the kiss. She knew he was feeling the effects of their kissing the same way she was.

“Is that a good thing?” he asked her gently.

“Yes,” she replied.

“Good, you are a lovely creature,” he said. “I do mean what I say,” he continued. “And I would like the pleasure of your company on another drive,” he said.

“I would enjoy that,” she said genuinely.

“May I drive you tomorrow at ten o’clock,” he asked. “And about your writing lessons, I’d like to read what you are writing,” he said, adding, “It would give me pleasure to know you in that capacity.”

She smiled back at him “I think you’ve already had a taste of it,” she said.

“I want to know what goes on in that head of yours,” he said, adding “And I am accustomed to getting my way.” He smiled at her.

“You look like you need some distraction from your thoughts, let me help,” he said closing the gap that had formed between them.

His lips found hers and she was lost in the moment as he kissed her. The feeling of his hands on her body was exquisite. She lost her sense of place when he was with her. Her body was on fire for him.

“I want to feel everything about you,” he said. Pulling her near. His hand found its way through the layers of bright fabric to touch her core. He continued to kiss her as he caressed her tight hot slickness. Her hands pressed against his chest feeling the broad muscular frame. Moving her hands lower she felt his hardness through the layer of wool. She wanted to feel more.

“I want to feel you inside me,” she said.

His fingers found the depth of her core, with his thumb gently stroking across her bud of pleasure. “Oh, Lord S.,” she moaned with pleasure.

“You will let me read what you write about this,” he said commanding her between his strokes of pleasure.

“Yes, just please don’t stop,” she said. He continued to stroke her slick flesh beneath his fingers as he kissed her deeply. Her back rested against the curved scrolling arm of the bench. Lord S. was above her, her red dress was lifted to allow him greater access.

“Unbutton me,” he commanded, and she complied. She released his shaft from the constraining clothing. Lord S. lowered himself to her, running the tip of his hardness along her silky flesh.

“Oh, please, yes,” she moaned softly inviting him to take her fully.

She felt his hard hot shaft as he entered her. Electric waves of energy burst at the hardness of him in her tightness. The chemistry between them was dynamic. He repeatedly penetrated her, taking her to great heights of ecstasy.

“Oh, God,” she exclaimed as she found the release she needed so desperately.

His body tensed over her as her climax took him over the edge into another world. The land of sexual satisfaction greeted them with a warm rush of pleasure. As the pleasure subsided, he slowly took his body from her body, feeling her shiver in response to the cold. “Now let’s get you back inside where it is warmer,” he said protectively.

Taking a minute to straighten her red dress and his attire, he gave her a final kiss, then he placed her hand on his forearm he guided her back to the house.

The Duchess watched them enter from the center of the parlor where she stood. Lady Ashley felt the like she was being assessed by the length of the observation. She hoped she’d pass scrutiny.

Lord S. continued to pay great attention to Lady Ashley, as if he was oblivious to the other guests in the room.

Lady Ashley could sense the Duchess approaching as the energy in the room changed.

“Lady Ashley, it looks like you are making quite the conquest of my step son,” she smiled. “Isn’t that right Lord S.,” she questioned.

“She is delightful company, and I find it difficult not to be enchanted by her presence,” he said.

“Good, and you, Lady Ashley, how were the Hindi lessons this afternoon,” the Duchess asked.
Lady Ashley blushed deeply, knowing she’d been caught in her first lie.

“But, I thought you had taken enjoying a writing session this afternoon,” said Lord S..

The Duchess laughed with sincere delight at the situation. “Oh, darling, you don’t know do you,” she began torturing Lady Ashley with the lies. “Lady Ashley is taking Hindi lessons to better seduce you with,” the Duchess said winking at Lady Ashley. “It was at my suggestion of course,” she smiled looking between the two. “Now I must attend to my other guests,” she excused herself and moved on.
Lord S. was captivated by the idea. “But you look so physically elated today, I was sure you looked as if you’d just returned from some form of exertion,” he said. “But now I learn you are taking up Hindi to seduce me with, I must say I’m intrigued by the idea that my step mother would suggest such an elaborate ploy, only to expose it before the plan has ripened to fruition,” he pondered aloud. “This is fascinating.”

“Just don’t test my knowledge, and I promise I won’t try to use it to seduce you,” she said with some resistance.

“Why wouldn’t I want to be seduced by you,” he said.

She looked at him assessing, “You really think I’m going to answer that,” she asked.

“Yes, I would like to know,” he stated as his intrigue with the situation grew.

“I’ll share what I know so far, I believe you are looking for a challenge, and any woman who would like to seduce you will need to resist you,” she turned to look for the Duchess, wondering why she made it look as if Lady Ashley was caught in a lie, only the illusion of the wrong lie.

“But why would you say you were taking writing lessons, when you were practicing your Hindi,” he asked unable to make the connection.

His question was met by silence, and he watched as she felt herself flush under his scrutiny.
“I should go,” she said pulling the wrap tightly around her.

“I’m sorry,” he said reaching for her. “I didn’t mean to question you, it is just, I don’t understand.”
Her eyes looked from his hand on her arm and back into his eyes. “I’m sorry to lie to you,” she said uncomfortable with the lies.

“Then let me escort you to the carriage,” he said giving her arm a light squeeze.

He closed the door gently, and left her to reflect on the end to the evening. It was not ideal, but Lord S. was still planning to drive with her in the morning. Her lie must not have upset him too much. She still couldn’t believe how in the course of one day so much emotion had been stirred. She had been kissed by the Marquis, had lunch with the Duchess, and missed her writing deadline.

After checking on her daughter’s sleep, she retired for the evening to sit in her bedroom at her desk. The candlelight flickered casting long shadows about the room. She stared at the hypnotic movements about the room. Her mind focused on her task at hand. She had to submit her publication on time. Her lifestyle depended on it.

Page after page she turned creating a small pile to the left hand corner of the desk. She managed to unlace the back of the gown with her fingers to loosen the tight pressure at her bosom. When she finally finished her draft the candle was burning low. Her slippers rested beneath the desk, as she pulled her arms from the sleeves and eased her body out of the gown. Carefully she set the garment over the chest at the foot of her bed. The white lace camisole covered her chest to her thighs. The covers were turned down, and she climbed into bed, after returning to blow out the dying flame of the candle.

Bright light and cheerful chatter filled the air just a few hours later. Lady Ashley struggled to wake from her deep sleep at the sound of Genevieve’s voice with her daughter Katherine there to say good morning before she departed for the lessons.

“Look at what came for you this morning,” Genevieve said.

Genevieve handed Katherine the sealed envelope from Devonshire House to take to her mother.
Lady Ashley felt her heart skip a beat.

Asking for her wrapper, she covered her camisole with the robe, and walked over to the desk.
“Lady Ashley, you are scheduled for a drive with the Lord in less than an hour. I hope you haven’t forgotten,” said Genevieve.

“Oh, my, yes, how could I forget,” she said. “Katherine, have a wonderful lesson today. I want a full report when you return home,” she added giving her daughter a kiss on the cheek as she began to open the letter.

Lady Ashley felt a rush in her veins at the thought of seeing Lord S. again. Lady Ashley sat down to open the letter. She felt a sense of clarity as she read.

She sat looking towards the light cascading through her room. The memories of Lord S. were still fresh in her thoughts. She didn’t know what to do with the thoughts. His touch, his presence, filled her with warmth, but also a sense of caution so primitive it scared her. She looked back at the page and read the letter one more time.

A tray with three ripe strawberries, and hot tea were brought to her.

“Genevieve, I need to plan a trip to deliver the manuscript to the publisher. Will you alert the groom that

I’ll need the carriage ready as soon as possible,” she asked.

“Yes, my Lady,” Genevieve demurred, and with a curtsy she left to attend to it.

Lady Ashley watched to door close softly behind her maid. The short night’s rest was just enough to enable her to function. She lifted the pages of her manuscript and placed them in the leather pouch designed to carry her documents. The pages of clean paper were scrawled with her neat handwriting. The latest work was some of her finest.

She picked up her quill and began to print her scrolling text across the page, writing Lord S. a letter.
She needed to give him some explanation about why she wouldn’t be there for the morning ride, especially after the intimacy they shared the night before.

Putting on her dark grey gown with matching floppy hat, Lady Ashley departed for the Apothecary bookseller’s shop. She opened the door abruptly causing the bells to jangle on edge. Clattering against the door, the noise disrupted the quiet and empty storefront of the bookstore.

She walked back to the doorway at the back of the store. “Sir Garrett, are you here,” she called.
“I’m always here for you darling,” he said from the depth of the shadows behind the printing press as he set the type face on the machine.

“Sir Garrett, I have the next installation,” she efficiently opened the satchel and placed the pages on his desk.

“It is good work. I have managed to lay the framework for others to argue reasonably from,” she said proudly.

“Well then my dear, you should be pleased,” Sir Garrett crossed over towards her staring down into her eyes.

She stepped back at his rapid approach. “Sir Garrett, I should be going,” she said briskly.
“Can’t I tempt you to stay for a little while,” he asked. “I promise I don’t bite,” he said. “Plus, there is something you’ll be interested to know.”

She paused looking back at him. He went on, “Your Marquis is looking into your accounts. My friends at the courts all heard his loud solicitor asking questions after you at the courthouse yesterday.
Something about wanting to know your financial investments, and source of income. Don’t worry, they don’t know about this, but my friend knows I have a fondness for a certain Lady Ashley, so when he overheard the conversation, and he took notes for me,” Sir Garrett said with a wink.

“Thank you, but I’m not sure what it means,” said Lady Ashley.

“If a man goes to the trouble to research you, then he is on the prowl. Watch out, because you are like a lamb ready to be dinner,” he said.

“Well, if it is any consolation, Lord S. is a vegetarian,” Lady Ashley said somewhat annoyed by the insinuations being made by Sir Garrett against Lord S..

Sir Garrett chuckled, “Really, Lady Ashley you are too much. When will you face reality,” he asked.

“And what would you have me believe reality to be, Sir Garrett,” she asked. “Would you have me believe that my only option is to be your mistress and give up my writing? Is that what you believe I should do,” she questioned.

“I never said you should give up your writing, but I do think you need to find another outlet for your tension. You are writing far too much for a healthy young woman,” he said.

“How dare you tell me my passion for writing is unhealthy. It is my greatest love,” she said.

Lord S. walked to the door. Upon arriving at Ashley house, the butler opened the door and allowed him to enter. On a tray by the front entry a small white envelope laid simply addressed “S”.

He felt a his pulse quicken when the butler went towards the note. When the butler passed him the message sealed with a wax stamp, her wax stamp, he paused wishing for privacy to read her message.
As if reading the guests discomfort at being observed reading the message from his Lady, the butler left him alone in the parlor.

Lord S. slowly opened the letter.

“Dear Lord S.,
I’m sorry for the inconvenience, but something has come up which demands my attention. Please excuse my early departure. If you are agreeable, I suggest a picnic later in the week.
Lady Ashley”

He couldn’t remember a woman ever missing his call intentionally. It was a novel feeling, and he wasn’t sure if he liked it.

Lord S. contemplated what would have demanded her attention.

Back in his slick phantom carriage, he decided to navigate back to his solicitor’s office. It hadn’t been the full week yet, but he could sense something was afoot. The hooves beat against the cobblestones along the drive to the office. Pulling up in front of the wooden sided office front, Lord S. climbed down from the tall Phantom. Feet firmly on the ground he turned to look down the block. To his surprise, he saw Lady Ashley’s carriage waiting in front of a small shop at the end of the block. Lord S. walked down to the storefront. The Apothecary Bookseller’s. Entering the quiet store lined with bookshelves filled with books, Lord S., looked for signs of the shopkeeper.

He walked back to the open doorway at the back of the store. The hair on the back of Lord S.’s neck stood on end, and he listened to a conversation.

“Lady Ashley, I didn’t mean to start a fight, I just want you to watch yourself with this man,” a man’s voice said. “Lord S. is deeper in that shadows than you see him. You only see the light in people. I see both,” he paused. “I am only telling you this because you are still at your most vulnerable point in life. A young widow with a child to support, and I know for a fact you will not continue to be able to live at the rate you’ve been living at without many more manuscripts.”

Lord S. heard Lady Ashley take a deep breath and say, “You are right, it is time for an increase in my share of the profits, Sir Garrett. I am considering retiring to a small country home, and that will not put me in contact with the influential sources who feed my new material. It is in your best interest to increase my support to produce more manuscripts. Think of it as an investment.”

Sir Garrett paused before saying, “It would be sweeter to increase the support if I could at least know you would one day accept my advances.”

“You are not going to buy me Sir Garrett,” Lady Ashley said sternly.

“Well, you won’t last long on your own, Lady Ashley, mark my words,” he said.

Lord S. heard the rustling of pages slapping against the desk. Then she said, “I will be fine.” Heels clicked across the flooring and a final “Good day Sir,” was spoken. Lord S. watched Lady Ashley pass by him without even noticing his presence. Her large floppy grey hat hid her face and obscured her peripheral vision.

Lord S. waited for the chiming of the bells to settle before he made his move to enter the doorway. The publisher had returned to the printing press, and did not at first notice the presence of Lord S. in the room. S. carefully reviewed the setting. There was a desk in the corner, a lack of furnishings, the plain wooden walls and the bed in the back corner of the apartment. He did not feel a sense of affinity for the publisher, but he knew what he wanted. He wanted to own Lady Ashley’s work.

Lady Ashley had a gift of creating reflections of others cast in the light, but the secret was in the alterations of her own reality and perception as Sir Garrett had pointed out.

“Is someone there,” Sir Garrett called after noticing the creaking floorboards beneath Lord S.’s feet.
“Yes, I’m here as a buyer for Lady Ashley’s work,” Lord S. said.

“Well, it isn’t for sale,” Sir Garrett said coming out from the shadows.

“Come now, my friend, everything is for sale in this world. Name the price,” he demanded.

“You must be Lord S., then,” said Sir Garrett.

Lord S. smiled slowly showing his perfect smile. “Yes, and who are you,” he asked.

“I’m Sir Garrett,” said the slightly taller, man who lacked the poise of the aristocrat.

“Sir Garrett, you are going to name a price, and we are going to negotiate, and I am going to own the work of Lady Ashley. This is not a difficult proposition. It is simple. I want it, therefore I will own it,” he said simply.

“It is my best selling work, I’m sure to lose revenue if I sell it directly to you. I want to have access to the publishing rights, but will sell you the original documents if that is agreeable to you,” Sir Garrett said after considering the potential for profit.

“I thought you’d come around,” he said. “But here is the primary issue. I want you to split the profits with Lady Ashley, you will deposit half the revenues from the sales of her manuscript into her account, or I will see to it that she has her solicitor investigate her copyrights for this work,” Lord S. threatened.

“Ah, so you think you can come in here and bend me to your will do you,” said Sir Garrett.

“Now you are an intelligent business man,” said Lord S.. “I’ll let you answer that for yourself.”

Sir Garrett was incensed by the insinuation. Lord S. watched the man’s face turn red as he stewed in anger.

“Fine, you’ll pay for the publishing costs,” Sir Garrett said.

“How much have you been paying Lady Ashley for the work,” Lord S. asked.

“She gets regular installments,” Sir Garrett said.

Lord S. approached Sir Garrett, and said, “You will not continue to reap such great profits off the back of a woman supporting a child. You will pay her the full value of her work, and you will make your money back on your percentage of the sales. Is that understood,” Lord S. asked confronting Sir Garrett. “If she had more experience she would have had her solicitor do these negotiations. You should be ashamed of yourself for taking advantage of her then making advances on the woman to be your mistress,” Lord S. was irritated. “Thankfully, she has enough sense not to be taken by your tactics,” he said.

“I do say, you are looking like a hero at the moment, but I see through your ploy,” Sir Garrett stated boldly.

“You can expect my payment will be delivered by my solicitor before the day is out. Good day Sir,” said Lord S.. Without waiting to hear a goodbye, Lord S. turned and left the dimly lit press room.
"I trust that if I start to fall off the ladder of life again, others will pick me back up and put me back on."
-Sunny Mera
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Re: therapeutic writing

Postby Sunnyg » Fri Aug 07, 2020 9:55 pm

The chapters go on and on for over 100 pages... I'll leave it here, you get the example I was trying to share for how the story goes. There are a number of stories over the past 8 years...

I talked with my dad on the phone for a while. I shared how I wish society was different.

He believes our current litigious society makes healing from my story with the physician impossible except through my own will to heal and creativity.
• Dad believes the legal system has frozen any chance at communication or resolution with the physician due to my story being a threat to the physician. He said something about it resetting the clock. He said I’m lucky I’m alive. Dad thinks most people disappear after they expose someone in the way my story did. I explained that was why I wrote the story – for protection.
• Dad thinks I’m the only person he’s ever heard of who feels benevolently towards someone who would commit such an act.
• I explained to my dad… it was just an exam. It would have been funny, if it hadn’t impacted my relationships so intensely.
o If anything, it was a clinical error, and it was overseen by a woman physician who said it was okay for her student to use that “back and forth” action, granted she was distracted by the nurse from down the hallway asking her a question at the same time as she stood upon the threshold of the doorway.
o I also explained, as an educator, I didn’t think it would be a big deal, until it was a total disaster once it happened. I don't blame these people for not knowing better. I don't believe they trained them for this sort of a thing. And in all my support groups, I don’t know anyone who has struggled with a similar issue.

Dad said until my daughter turns 21, I won’t ever hear from the physician, due to the legal timeline. I think dad is paranoid. He thinks that my daughter and I are lucky whoever is in power let us live. That was hard to hear.
• I explained that I love my life and I’m not a threat to myself or others.
• I said the only thing that will resolve this would be God coming down to earth to resolve it.
• Dad believes it is God’s will for us each to struggle through figuring out healing, like a chicken pecking through the shell. If you try to help the chick they don’t grow strong enough to survive and they suffocate. Then he recited a verse from Corinthian’s about bringing my thoughts to God.
• I asked about who would have hacked my computer then, and why they would have hacked HBO.
• Dad thinks I can’t even be sure that was real.

I just want to heal. I don't really care about all the details. At this point it doesn't really make a difference. I know there is nothing I can do about it. The work I need to do is on what I can control and do to feel my best. So I'm off to gather milkweed with my daughter for her butterfly garden.
"I trust that if I start to fall off the ladder of life again, others will pick me back up and put me back on."
-Sunny Mera
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