Valentine left the room, and I heard his feet hurrying down the hallway. I shut my eyes a little, trying not to panic about what I had just agreed to. He seemed so caring, and I was sure we were going to wed, but still, a sense of anxiety came over me about finally (after all my reading) coming into nude contact was a man’s body. It seemed so strange, so foreign. He filled the tub in almost no time at all and the water created steam which billowed up from the copper tub and filled the room with the scent of jasmine. I watched him closely as he walked over to me, towering as his muscular body leaning against the black wood of the bed.
“Stand up, Theodosia.” He whispered, taking my hand in his again. I do so, slowly. “If you turn around, I’ll undo your corset.” He touched my face. I turned around as he had said. I felt the slight, tenuous movement of busy fingers as he pulled and slackened off the thick white ribbon of my corset, just as he had done with my soaked dress in the boat.
“Valentine,” I whispered, turning to him just as my corset fell to the floor.
“Yes, Theodosia.” He smiled to me.
“I’m scared.” I looked away from him, half embarrassed.
“Because all of this is new.” I whispered.
“It is, we don’t have to do it if you don’t want to.”
“I do want to, I’m just nervous.” I looked away again.
“Okay, remember this is all quite new to me too. We can start and just tell me if you want me to stop.” He whispered, leaning slightly closer to me. I nodded and he began to tentatively kiss my neck and caress my now bare shoulder. “Undo my buttons, Theodosia.” He whispered, almost commandingly into my ear. His words made me tremble slightly as he said them and his gaze was piercing as he led my hands to fumble indelicately with his shiny silver buttons on his white loose sleeved shirt. I undid them as fast as I could, descending to my knees to reach the lowest two. As I straightened back up he dropped him petticoats to the floor and removed his trousers. He walked slowly towards the steaming baths and descended into the depths. “Come in with me.” He whispered. I slowly climbed into the bath, my heart pounding like a drum. I carefully placed myself so that my back was against his muscular chest. I couldn’t help but think that he smelt so deafeningly masculine. Lying this against his body, I felt as if my troubles he been removed. He took his hand from beneath the water’s surface and gently touched my neck which made me lean into him a little further. The water felt warm against my skin.
“Valentine,” I whispered “do you promise you’ll marry me?”
“Theodosia, now I’ve been with you like this, I know we are meant to live out our lives together.” He sighed, pulling me closer to him. I relaxed into him slightly. Then a tiny inkling struck at the corner of my mind.
“Have you been with any other girls?” I asked him.
“When I was at boarding school with Dorian, there was a maid who would give us a little comfort but never so much as I am giving you.” He continued to caress me. “But, I’ve never shared my bed with a women, if that’s what you mean.” I blushed slightly.
“Really?” I questioned. He nodded. “And Captain LeBolt.” I paused “Has he shared his bed with other women?” I asked tentatively.
“Yes, he has on many occasions.” He turned me to face him so that my breasts were pushed up against his smooth chest. “But, don’t worry about Gabriella, it just means that she’ll find good comfort in him between the sheets. I know he would never be unfaithful.” I felt somewhat reassured by his words and I lay there for what seemed like hours just gliding my wet hands up and down his perfect body. We whispered secret words of love to each other and kissed softly, it was like nothing I could have ever imagined.
“I ought to go home.” I whispered to him. I had been wishing that our time together in the loving confines of his bed chamber would have lasted forever.
“You ought to.” He smiled.
“Valentine, when we wed, will this be a bed chamber that we share?” I questioned him.
“If that is what you would like. I thought you might not want to share my bed immediately for we have known each other for such little time, I would have thought you would want a room down the hall from me so you could maintain your privacy.”
“Privacy?” I sniggered, gesturing to our naked forms.
“I take your point.” He laughed gayly.
“So, will we be sharing that bed?” I gestured to the big bed in the room.
“Yes, I suppose.” He smiled. “I have never shared the night with someone else.”
“Neither have I.” I paused. “You will allow me to still do what I want when we are wed, won’t you?”
“What do you mean?”
“You will allow me to read books and drink wine and walk the grounds of the estate, won’t you?”
“Of course.” He pulled me closer “How soon do you want us wed?” he asked.
“How soon are you willing to be mine?” I giggled.
“Well, I was thinking I could propose in a few days at the Mid-summer ball.”
“Really? Oh, really Valentine, do you mean it?” I gasped.
“Yes, if you would like me to.”
“Would you like to?” I asked.
“There is nothing I would love more than to have you as my wife by the end of July if we can.”. I noticed a tone of promise in his sharp blue eyes as he whispered this. We would be married by the end of July. Now, all I had to do was ensure Gabriella fell hopelessly in love with Captain LeBolt and he with her, that couldn’t be too difficult.