The prompt for RFW this time is: 'Yes. No. Oh, All Right Then! '
Well, typically I had to modify this to fit existing prose, because I've again cheated with snippet from present WIP.
Brief: Lt Herne British Royal Navy (newly promoted to Commander Herne) and Countess Roscoff are highly attracted to each other. Although he knows the secret of what she is and what she has done, he has to prove it and is wary she may be one of Napoleon's spies...BTW, she lost her monkey and he's found it, or rather it found him...
“Lieutenant Herne, Lieutenant Herne,” rang out like sweet music to the ears. For there was Therese, skirts hitched up, petticoats frothing and hat held to head and of all things, she was running like a wild young girl, not her usual elegant poise. Ropo squealed, deafeningly as he leapt from his shoulder. Subsequently, his naval hat bit the dust of the quayside steps. “You found him,” she managed, semi-breathless almost toppling over the edge of the quayside in her mad rush. The damn little monkey clung to her and chattered crazily as she hugged him to her temptingly exposed cleavage, and how he envied Ropo that treat. “I am so sorry my little love, so sorry you witnessed such a terrible, terrible happening. Poor, poor Ivan.” Tears brimmed and spilled forth, and it once again became his duty to offer a kerchief. “Thank you,” she said, a half smile, as he clambered ashore. “I already owe you so much, and now this. My Ropo safe and well.”
“I had little to do with his rescue. He was more intent on robbing my pocket.”
“Oh no. He tried to rob you.”
“Only, in that I had demonstrated my pocket held nutty treats.”
“Oh, I see.” She beamed a smile. “I heard you and Lord William tried to lure him from a rooftop but he wouldn’t oblige.”
“We did, and finally gave up. I assumed he recognised the residency and would stay close if not finally venture to it in hope of finding you.”
Damn, he should have kept quite, for her look implied wariness and he rightly expected a white lie in response. “But Ropo has never been there.”
Thinking off-the-cuff and not wanting to alienate her, he said, “Yes, but primates like other animals have a greater sense of smell than you or I. Is it not more than possible his refusal to leave the rooftop implied sense of your presence, your scent keening his attention?”
She scowled. “You choose to insult me by implying I smell?”
“You know perfectly well what I meant.”
She chuckled, a soft infuriating Therese chuckle. “I so love it when your eyes turn devilishly defensive, yet your tongue rebukes whilst visage a picture of amusement.”
The waiting seaman coughed, a polite cough to attract attention. “Commander Herne,” said he. “Do you wish to stay ashore?”
“No, I’ll be with you shortly.”
He caught up Therese’ elbow and steered her out of earshot of the seaman, whilst she in excited haste exclaimed, “Commander Herne. Oh, I do apologise most sincerely. I had no knowledge of your promotion.”
“No matter, it is of no great importance. Mere formality. But, what say you to a sea voyage, a short one on HMS Penultimate?”
“Aboard your ship?”
“All prim and proper and above deck, I assure you.”
Her lip curled at the edge, provocative in extreme, her words tantalising. “Not to see your cabin, the captain’s cabin?”
“If you wish.”
Then will you grace Penultimate’s decks, tomorrow?”
“Yes. No.” There was a long, excruciatingly long pause, and, “Oh, all right then!”
In exuberance he broke with protocol, leaned forward and kissed her forehead.
“I do smell, then?”
He laughed, leaned forward again and this time placed his lips to hers. Mercy mercy, this was dangerous territory for she could be one of Napoleon’s many spies.
Over word count: who cares...
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