Thursday, 30 May 2013

Thursday, May 30, 2013 -

Charlotte's Story

by Geraldine Hillis
Published: May 23, 2013
Words: 23,821
Category: romance
Orientation: M/F
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Charlotte's Story

I had been married a month. Well-trained as I was in household affairs and the management of servants, I had not found my duties onerous. Nor, despite Mamma's gloomy predictions, had I found the marriage-bed too unpleasant. Edward was gentle and kind, and had been patient with my initial shyness and inexperience. As I said, it was not unpleasant, but neither was it particularly thrilling, merely a duty I fulfilled whenever Edward wished it.

So, life was tolerable enough, if not exciting.

One morning as we sat at breakfast, I made a request. "Edward, I should like to go into town for some errands, if I may?"

He smiled at me indulgently. "And what errands have you in town, Charlotte? More ribbons and furbelows?"

I blushed. "Well yes. And some lace and embroidery silks."

"I see no reason why not," he replied. "You must take the carriage, of course, and your personal maid."

"Oh, but Edward," I said. "I should so like to go alone, to take my time, and ..."

"No, Charlotte." He frowned warningly. "A lady does not go shopping unaccompanied. End of discussion."

So it was with some trepidation that I left the house - alone and on foot - some hours later, after Edward had gone to attend to business matters.

I took much pleasure in my own company as I visited the shops, buying little feminine luxuries which took my fancy. The time passed quickly, and great was my surprise when I left the haberdasher's and came face to face with Edward!

There was a hardness in his expression I had never seen before, but he merely bowed and bade me take his arm. No words were spoken as he handed me into the carriage and took me home.

He led me straight to our bed-chamber and I sat on the dressing stool, waiting - with no great feeling of concern - for what he might say.

"I am disappointed in you, Charlotte." His voice was calm, though anger sparked in his eyes. "You have disobeyed me, and more - you have put yourself at risk. A lady alone is an easy target for thieves and ruffians and worse. What have you to say to me?"

With as contrite a look as I could muster, I glanced up at him. "I'm sorry, Edward. It won't happen again."

He studied me for a moment. "I don't believe you, Charlotte. I see no genuine repentance. Perhaps after you have been punished I shall receive a sincere apology."

I sighed and resigned myself to a tedious day or two confined to my room, which was how Papa had always dealt with my misdemeanours.

Imagine my shock, then, when Edward lifted me from the stool, seated himself and took my wrist, with the clear intention of turning me over his knee! Angrily I jerked myself free of him and retreated across the room. "How dare you, Sir! I will not be treated in such a manner!"