Isabel Allende

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Cloud of Hawthorne


Proberta was furious. She paced back and forth in front of the roaring fire Beckworth had built in the drawing room fireplace. After days, even months, of putting up a stoic front regarding her Henley, she now did nothing to hide her indignation. She had been stood up.
Wesley walked over from the bar carrying a crystal glass filled with sweet sherry.
“Here you go, my dear Proberta,” Wesley said, handing her the glass. “This will warm your spirits. Drink up.”
“You’re a fool to think a mere sherry will warm my spirits,” she said sharply. Nonetheless, she tossed back the wine in one gulp, then handed the empty glass back to a stunned Wesley. He returned to the bar, uncertain whether to refill her glass. Proberta watched him go, then quickly grabbed and drank a glass of champagne from the tray that Randolph was passing around. When Wesley returned, she seemed to have softened.
“Thank you, Wes.” She quickly took the glass from him, this time taking a small, albeit significant sip. “I’m sorry I snapped at you. I really shouldn't have done that when you’ve been so kind to me.” She took another gulp of the sherry. “I’m just fed up with that cousin of yours.” She moved closer to Wesley so that her arm brushed against his hand. “Yes, I think I am feeling a tad bit warmer after all,” she giggled. “Oh Wes, you do understand women, don’t you?”

Wesley moved slightly away from her, trying not to be obvious about it. She was beginning to toss her head about, flipping loose curls away from her eyes, her flushed cheeks now glowing in the firelight. She moved closer to him again, and this time he had nowhere to go. He liked Proberta, very much, but felt he needed to speak to his cousin before provoking any further flirtations with the young woman. That didn’t seem to stop her, however. She seemed determined to throw herself upon him.
“Wessey, you angel, go and get Proberta another sherry wherry, will you?” Her words were beginning to slur together and it was clear that another glass of sherry was the last thing she needed.
“Proberta, be a sport, will you? Come sit over by the fire with me. I’m dog tired after the ride this afternoon,” he said, trying to change the subject. “Surely you’d like to put your feet up too, wouldn't you?” Wesley began coaxing her toward the sofa. “That was some jumping you did. I was duly impressed.” Proberta beamed, and leaned heavily on Wesley’s shoulder with her free arm.
“Why thank you, Wessey. I am quite a brill rider, if I don’t say so mezelf. You know, I once jumped two at once, at a full gallop, and the only thing I lost was my virginity.” She burst out laughing, thinking her joke was hilarious. A few of the neighbors who had stayed on for a cocktail, turned to see what was going on. Wesley took Proberta’s arm, urging her on with a little more force.
“But, Wessey? I don’t want to sit down. I want another sherry right now!” She stomped her foot and stood like a stubborn child in the middle of the floor. “And if you’re not going to get me one, I’ll just have to take matters into my own two hands.” With that, she put her empty glass down on a small side table, to free up her hands, but it didn’t clear the edge. It tumbled to the floor, scattering shards of crystal everywhere. Barely acknowledging her blunder, she then reached out with her two hands, grabbed Wesley’s glass, and tossed the honey colored liquid back in one swallow. She wiped her mouth with the the back of her sleeve, quite satisfied with herself.
“What in heavens name is going on in here?” Edith’s voice cut through the room.
Hearing the commotion from the small sitting room down the hall had sparked her curiosity. Looking now at a disheveled Proberta, she began to put two and two together.
“Wesley, dear, please take our poor Proberta upstairs to her room. I’ll ring Tilly and have her meet you up there.” She gave Proberta a stern but understanding look. “Run along now, Proberta. Wesley will take good care that you get upstairs without further ado.”
“I intend to get Wessey here, upstairs to my room without further ado, ma’am. Now, if you don’t mind.” Proberta stumbled toward the main hallway, but not before snatching up and downing a gin and tonic that was sitting on the sideboard.
“Wesley, whatever you do, do not leave that young woman’s side until Tilly gets to her, do you understand?” But before he could answer, Edith was off on a tangent about commitment and marriage and how Henley was not going to hear the end of this, then she stormed out of the room. Wesley quickly followed and caught up with a very drunk Proberta as she was climbing atop the bannister as if to ride it.
“C’mon Wessey, climb on. It’ll be fun. And when I’m finished riding this wood, I’ll ride yours.” She looked at him with alluring, glassy eyes. “Oh, you are a sexy Wessey.”
She began to tip, but Wesley caught her just before a near disastrous fall. In doing so, he accidentally grabbed a voluptuous breast that spilled out of her low cut frock. She looked up at him, and as he pulled his hand away, she held it, pressing it harder onto the firmness of her bare skin. She closed her eyes and let out a soft moan. Wesley tried to pull his hand away but she hung on, rubbing it around the soft, supple skin and over her hard nipple.
“Proberta, please, I’ve been assigned to take you upstairs to bed. Tilly is waiting. We really must go.”
 “To hell with Tilly. You will put me to bed, Wessey. I want you to do it. All of it.”
Wesley felt warm, and his mouth was very dry. As much as he tried to avoid it, the inevitable was happening. He was getting aroused. The bulge in his pants rose, along with the heat in his cheeks. He knew that if she didn’t stop soon, he may find it impossible to detach himself from her, falling prey to her seductiveness. He swore he would not do this to his cousin, his best friend, but Proberta was becoming harder and harder to resist. Besides, it had been too long since he’d been with a woman. He was overdue.
Proberta pulled Wesley’s hand from her cleavage, guiding it down the front of her corset until it reached the top of her inner thighs. She placed it against her pubic bone, pressing it firmly as she pushed her hips into his now probing fingers. Even through layers of petticoats, he could feel the warm wetness that he knew was there. With no reserve to fight, he succumbed to her sensual advances and pressed his own hard yearning against hers.
“Proberta,” he whispered, barely able to get her name out. “We must go upstairs. Now.”
Proberta remained leaning against the bannister, her eyes closed, her mouth parted ever so slightly. He longed to put his tongue inside, to lick her pouty lips, but knew it was better to wait. He also knew that if he didn’t get her moving soon, they would not only lose this illicit moment, but they could easily be found out.
He slipped her arm over his shoulder and hoisted her up so he could help her up the stairs.
“Oh, Henley, where have you been?” Wesley rolled his eyes at her misjudgment, realizing it was the alcohol talking.
“It’s Wesley, Proberta. Remember, Wesley?” She looked over and was startled by the recognition.
“Ooh, Wessey. You are sooo sexy,” she said in a gravelly growl. “Do you have any idea how long I’ve wanted you? Do you?”
Wesley ignored her, as she continued to chatter all the way to the top of the stairs, where they bumped into Tilly.
“Hello sir, ma’am. The Madam asked me to help out with Miss Proberta.” Wesley heaved Proberta up higher in an attempt to keep control of the situation.
“Wessey, Wessey, Wessey,” Proberta began. “I’m perfectly capable of walking by mezelf. You’re such a gentleman, but honestly, Wessey, there’s no need. I’m ferfectly fine.”
“Suit yourself, Miss Gerber.” He let her go, and she managed to right herself and walk slow and steady toward her bedroom, with Tilly at her heels. Wesley’s heart sank. After all the struggling and fighting with himself to resist her, he had finally given in, only to lose her in an instant. He felt like a child who had just popped a sweet into his mouth, only to have someone take it away. He was so close he could taste it.
“Tilly,” Proberta said, as she shooed Tilly away from the doorway. “I’m fine. I just want to take off these horribly uncomfortable clothes and go to bed.”
“But ma’am, the Madam asked me to help you. I...”
“Oh, madam schmadam. I’m fine. Be a dear and let me be, Tilly. I’ll holler if I need you, I promise.”
Tilly was unsure, but she did as she was bade and walked across the hall to the maid’s quarters. They listened to her footsteps clip clopping down the steps to the kitchen, then all was quiet. Proberta opened the door to her bedroom and walked in, leaving the door ajar just enough. Wesley could hear her voice from inside the room.
“Wessey, be a dear, and undress me, will you?”
He stepped in, and closed the door behind him.

...stay tuned...Chapter Seven will be posted next Tuesday, February 21st...

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Thank you, GB, King of collaboration!


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