Tell me more about where I am. And please tell me about this!
“Where is, ‘here’? What is this place? It looks to be very old.”
“It is old. I should tear the place down and build it again. The floors are uneven. The doors need constant adjustment to allow them to close, or open, the windows have a tendency to lose their glass, in a strong wind. Everywhere is drafty, but there is a good library in the middle of the house (on the other side of the walk-in, and walk-through, fireplace).
“The attic is a refuge for bats. This is the only warm room in the house, which is why we spend summers here, and never remain here over winter, when it is taken over by the mice again.
She looked at the armaments on the walls, and the old portraits. It had once been someone’s home. His ancestors.
“The hunting and fishing are both good, so I expect I shall not bother to change it.”
“What am I to do, Sir, when I am recovered from this?”
‘Sir’? It sounded so formal.
“It is most inconvenient not knowing who I am, but it is also somehow comforting, not being burdened by bothersome memories of another life that could not possibly be as good as this one is turning out to be, with you.” She liked the way he looked at her.
“Could I have been so weighted down with cares?”
“You are more than welcome to stay here with me, until you recover your memory. Or for longer. I would like you to stay.”
She wanted to stay too, and let life drift slowly by them both as they made love.
“I am making discreet enquiries in the local area about your horse. I am sure someone will be looking for you both, but better if I do not mention that you are missing too. Someone must know you, and especially must know that horse.”
“Yes. I suspect she has much more pedigree than I do.”
He smiled at her. “I am not so sure that I believe that. I think I shall disagree with you. You did chatter on a lot while you got warm and began to recover, but you were slow about it. I learned a lot about you in that time, but nothing to do with who you are.”
She had been toying with a ring on her finger as they had spoken. She had not arrived here with it.
“I seem to remember….” She paused.
“Yes. What do you remember, my love?” It seemed fitting that he address her that way after what they had done.
“I need to be out and about, once I am able. I am used to exercise.”
“So am I. We shall ride together. You shall be on your horse and I, on mine. We shall ride naked into the sunset. The weather is warm enough for it, and no one ever comes here that I do not expect.”
“We should always be together in everything we do. I am afraid to be alone. Afraid that I will find that I am in a dream. You will not leave me, ever, will you?”
He kissed her hand again.
“No, I will not leave you. I haven’t left you alone for more than a few minutes myself, afraid you would disappear. Is anything coming back to you at all about that other life? What, do you remember?”
“Nothing. I think I must have been brought up well, but not as a proper lady should be.” She looked at her hands. I am used to hard work, when I feel how rough my hands are.
“I think I dress reasonably well. I am not shy to converse with anyone, or to argue upon some tender subjects, and I still remember some of the thorny issues that I have read about. I follow the news in the gazette--I remember that--but my own existence... and who I am... is a blank. I can still do mental arithmetic. I can still read music, and I know that I have read many of these books, and that this is a quality of wine that one rarely finds anywhere.” She sipped at it, rolling it around her mouth before she swallowed it, feeling the warmth travel down into her body.
“Good wine, yes, and difficult to obtain.” He looked at her.
“But what of me? What can you read of me?
She tells him, as they kissed and caressed, with the words slowly tapering off as the kissing became more focused.
They were alone, but it could not last. Others would be searching for her.
He was in a predicament that a man might only dream of, trapped far from anywhere with the most beautiful woman he had ever met. She was artless, and had made no attempt to mislead him or hide anything from him, or to resist him.
She noticed that ring on her finger once again.
“Why am I wearing this ring?”
He chuckled. “I was afraid you would ask about that.” He had been afraid of nothing of the kind. He wanted to tell her. Wanted her to know.
“Why would you be afraid of my asking about this?”
He sighed. “I told you I have not left your side for more than a few minutes all of the time you have been here, and I haven’t. There was… there were….”
She encouraged him. “Yes? Please go on.”
“There were things… happened between us, very romantic things, intimate, personal things, as I tried to get us both dry and warm…. We laid together, holding each other very close, and we kissed, and both of us became excited... and the excitement of the moment… took over.” At least he blushed.
She knew exactly what he meant. He always seemed to be excited like that when he was close to her.
“It was all my fault. I can assure you of that.” As a gentleman he would always take the blame, even if she had been the instigator, as she probably was, and knew she had been, or was at least was to blame for half of it.
“We made love?”
Of course they had made love!
She waited for him to explain, though she already knew. And it hadn’t been all his fault.
She had behaved like a common baggage with him. And she felt good about it!
“Yes. We made love.”
“Good.” She was adamant about that. “It is what two people who are in love do, I believe.”
“We made love, and then we married, after that.”
“I remember some of it. Tell me more about that.”
Her eyes fell from his and a flush spread across her face, remembering that and what had happened, after they’d signed their names in that family bible.
They had not signed in ink and blood, as one lurid romance novel had suggested, but in ink and another fluid that had leaked from them both, but which had dried on the page, leaving little indication of its presence, even as they’d laughed about it.
“Where did we marry? Who married us?” She knew, but wanted to hear it from him.
“We married here, just the two of us. Unofficially. Not churched. We married each other. There is an old Chapel at the back of the house, and I gave you that ring after we married.” He had done a lot more to her after that too, as well as in the lead-up to that.
“We are married.” She didn’t need to ask and it hadn’t been a question. Of course they were married, and needed to be after what they had done together.
“We certainly are. As far as I am concerned, we are properly married, though we got a few things out of order, if you recall.”
She recalled. “We needed each other’s warmth that first night, and it… got out of hand between us.”
Before they’d married! Oh, what a tale to tell their children.
The blood pounded in his head as he recalled that time.
“Oh. I think I remember that.” Of course she did! How could she not remember that first time? She continued. “But I don’t think it matters, does it? Not being properly churched until after...the fact. When one falls in love, such little things do not count.”
She was far too understanding and forgiving.
“I carried you to the old chapel at the end of the house…”
She had the grace to blush. “I remember. We were both naked.”
And, how! He had been so excited he could hardly walk without bumping into walls. She didn’t help either, with what she had been doing with him; touching, holding him firmly there, keeping the life in him.
“… And I wrote my name in the bible there, and invented a name for you, dated it, and we said our vows to each other.”
He nodded. “And then we made love. Again.”
“What names did you give me?”
“Beatrice Angelica. A beautiful Beatrice, and you seemed like an angel to me, so Angelica.”
“Only Beatrice Angelica? A lady... which I fear I cannot be after we jumped the gun like that... should have at least four names.”
“You are a lady in my eyes, and that is all that matters. No. You are Beatrice Angelica of…something, somewhere or other. We'll think of something suitable.”
“And then we made love again.”
“And then that following morning you bathed me and… that was when we made love again after so many time that previous night, and you… removed that hair, so painstakingly and delicately, kissing me the entire time as I sat there for you, and kissing in different places, setting me laughing; so many different places, and then we made love again.”
“We have made love many times, I think.”
“We have. You kept track of them with a pebble placed on the window ledge for each time.”
There was a line-up of them; a little too far away for her to be able to count, but there were many of them; more than ten, but maybe not, twenty. Not yet, but soon, twenty. Then she saw that one other window ledge was also beginning to fill.
She felt a warm glow. So many times?
She needed to sleep, but she did not want him to go, and in truth he did not want to go either. She had relaxed too much and had drunk more than she should, of a good wine after their dinner together.
She had fallen in love already, just as he had. She could see that about him in his attentiveness to her, and he was getting excited again, she could feel that. He could go to sleep in her, snuggled behind her, every part of them, touching. He usually did go to sleep with her like that when they were both exhausted. That way he could also hold her breasts. He was never long coming to life again before sleep could claim either of them and he made love to her again.
And then her memory of it had gone, totally, until now, even though she still could not recall his name and she can’t have told him hers, as she didn’t remember even who she was.
What a conundrum, but what did it matter?
She was in two lives, and while she was in one, she could remember nothing of the other, but was conscious of it changing.
“And we are married?” She neededto ask, to hear that magical pronouncement even as he rose above her to make love to her again.
“We are married.”
“So now you can stay with me at all times, and make love to me whenever I ask, and whenever you would like to?”
“Yes, my love. Now I can stay with you and make love to you whenever you would like me to.”
“…and whenever you want to make love to me,” she prompted him.
“That too. Do you realise that we have not been separated since we met, other than for my brief forays into the garden to plunder it.”
“Before you returned to plunder me. I know.” With all that that implied.
He smiled and leaned in to kiss her. “That too.”
She did not care. She never wanted to be separated from him again.
She began to undo his shirt.
He helped her, falling into the mood again of what she wanted. He was excited again.
“You will stay with me tonight as you did last night, and the night before.”
I will stay with you, my love.”
“I promise that I will stay with you, Beatrice Angelica.”
“You will make love to me now, please, again.”
She helped him off with the last of his clothes.
He was more than willing to oblige her in every way, and slowly began to move above her yet again, feeling her welcoming him into her as they kissed.
That other window ledge would be full of pebbles by morning, but the dream began to slip away from her again, damn(!) even as he began to do that to her once more.