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Winter, 1876
Setting: Period Specific Cities
October - December
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 Vacation Holiday, ISO Lottie
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Earl of Cornwall
Laele25
Washington State
PST
She, her
41
Laele75
Lord Cornwall
- European -
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

35
- Age -
Engaged
- relationship status -
Rakehell
- occupation -

Joseph Stratton is Offline




Joseph Stratton❧

Joseph had felt the pressure on him slowly releasing as London disappeared behind them as they headed westward. It was a bit of a trip since the rail line he was planning wasn't started yet. Away from the coast, Cornwall was rugged country. But the weather was far more pleasant than London or Kent, especially in November. The coast was free of the incessant smog-choked drizzle that the city was known for. The sea air wasn't the only reason Joseph was breathing easier and feeling lighter.

Cornwall had always been his haven when life got too demanding or difficult. He'd spent nearly two years there recovering from the loss of Matthew. Not something he wanted to think about, especially in the company of his fiancee and son. Things with Noah were still touch-and-go and Charlie was likely right he'd be better off in the country where he could have fresh air and run and catch up his education and manners away from the prying, judgmental eyes of London and Kent. With a female governess, until he got past his nerves about men. Even after a week, his son was still nervous around Joseph and Meadows. It would take time, he knew. Luckily, the boy was only eight, so he had plenty of time.

While Ottilie technically had rooms near Eleanor's, Joseph had her things taken to the master bedchambers. Regardless of his mother's ridiculous requirements, Cornwall was his domain and if he wanted to cohabit with the woman he loved, he would. Until his family arrived in late December for the Christmas party he'd suggested to his sisters before he'd left, he planned on enjoying Lottie's company in every way possible. Besides, the small gathering would allow his fiancee to plan her first party, likely with Eleanor's help, on a more manageable affair. Especially since his father's health would prevent his parents from making the journey.

Once Noah was settled into the nursery and Eleanor had gone for a lay down after their long trip, Joseph headed to the master suite. Bude Castle was rather new, the old Stratton family estate was nowhere as grand nor as near to the ocean. Generally, he considered that his parents' summer home, choosing to use the newer estate for himself. The view from the towers that overlooked the pools and beaches was breathtaking.

It seemed his fiancee was getting settled. He hoped she wasn't too tired. One look at Ottilie's maid and the woman quickly excused herself. Joseph managed to contain himself until they were alone. He wrapped his arms around Lottie's waist from behind, pressing a kiss to the side of her neck. The carriage ride with a nervous and curious eight year old hadn't lent to much conversation, let alone anything more intimate.

"So is it everything I told you, my love?" he teased, trailing his lips up her jawline to her ear. It was very tempting to make immediate use of the large bed in the next room, but Joseph was behaving himself until they had more time to themselves. Well, as much as he ever behaved himself. "I hope you're not too tired to take a walk on the beach with me before supper?" It was still lovely and sunny and they could walk between the tide pools or down to the beach.


Quote
Ms. Ottilie Grayson
Raver
GA/US
She/Her/hers
26
BlueRaver2
Lottie
- European -

18
- Age -
Single
- relationship status -
None
- occupation -

Ottilie Grayson is Offline


Ottilie Grayson

London disappeared behind them and Ottilie felt relieved and more at ease. The eyes of the town an all their standards couldn't reach her anymore. She was free to be herself and to speak without others judging her every word. It was a long trip to Cornwall and much longer than any she had taken before. How her life had changed, going from walking fields from one village to the next, to taking carriages through london. Going to Cornwall was the most adventurous thing she had ever done and the furthest from home she'd ever been.

Eleanor was pleased at how it all had turned out, even if the two had given her a shock that eventful night. She wasn't angry at the two, but she had been a little hurt that neither of them saw fit to tell her what they had planned. She suspected that it had been Joseph's idea and not Ottilie. For some time now she had sensed a growing distance between herself and the charming duke. The baroness could only assume that her presence was an inconvenience that Joseph didn't approve of. Even so, it was a necessary evil and even if he had deflowered her ward half a year ago, they still needed to act their parts in the public eye. Oh, but she knew him to be a rascal.

She played her part as best as she could and said nothing about Joseph taking Ottilie's things to his chamber rather than placing them in a room for her to take. He never did like going by the rules and at this point she was holding her tongue. He was being too reckless in his excitement with Ottilie and it worried Eleanor that if they continued behaving like common people she would get pregnant and ruin their plans. There were ways to take care the situation if it arrived, but it was also dangerous.

Alas the young duke did so enjoy living on the edge, and the proof of that rode in the carriage with them. Eleanor wasn't surprised really, it was in his nature, she was just relieved that they had kept it quiet. But their plans weren't ruined yet and as long as Ottilie stayed marriage to Joseph they would both be taken care of. The more Ottilie learned about Joseph the more she was able to understand his reasons and why he felt the way he did. She wasn't upset, but she was surprised that he had a son. In time she knew that she hoped to give him children but she didn't hate his son.

Ottilie wanted more than anything for them all to be happy. They were her family now, Eleanor, Joseph, and his son. She hadn't gotten to speak to the child, but she was hopeful that he would like her. The trip had been long and Ottilie had dozed off a few times before they reached the mansion. She and Eleanor stretched their legs and got a little air while their things were taken up to their rooms. They went up to get settled into their rooms where maids were already putting things away.

Ottilie went over to the window and gazed out onto the lawn only catching Joseph's barely visible reflection at the last moment. She smiled when he hugged her and she wrapped her arms over his lovingly. "It's perfect. Everything is wonderful just as you said." She leaned against him, and she giggle lightly at the touch of his lips along her jaw and ear. "Well that depends Joseph.Can we make it to the beach?"

words - tag - notes
Quote
Earl of Cornwall
Laele25
Washington State
PST
She, her
41
Laele75
Lord Cornwall
- European -
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

35
- Age -
Engaged
- relationship status -
Rakehell
- occupation -

Joseph Stratton is Offline




Joseph Stratton❧

The only person who could change Joseph's plans now was the queen herself. Luckily, Kent was one of the few non-royal dukedoms, and therefore he only needed his father's official permission to marry. Or wait until he himself became duke. Hopefully, his mother would honor their agreement and not try to drag out their engagement any longer than the agreed upon year. While he was concerned about Lottie falling pregnant, it was for an entirely different reason than Eleanor's. He'd known far too many women who died in childbirth, Noah's mother now included in that number. The idea of losing Ottilie now petrified him. He wasn't certain he could endure such heartache twice in one lifetime without completely losing his sanity.

While he had been distancing himself and Lottie from Eleanor a bit, Joseph was intent she'd never be the wiser to his knowledge of her little charade unless he chose to reveal it to her. Right now, she was a necessary evil and the only reason he hadn't exposed her was that she would blame everything on Ottilie to protect herself. Once they were married, he'd pay Eleanor handsomely and hopefully, he'd never have to see the vile, manipulative creature for the rest of her days.

Joseph hadn't been concerned about how Ottilie would react to Noah's existence. No one should be surprised he had bastards. His reputation as a skirt chaser was well-earned. Perhaps surprised by the fact he only had one, but not that he'd fathered a by-blow. He was keeping Noah quiet, for now, to avoid dealing with his mother's ridiculous tantrum about something no one could change. Charlie had learned that nonsense from her, he swore. But Lottie was kindness incarnate and would likely win the boy over as easily as she had Joseph. He certainly wasn't a threat to any children they might have in the future. Noah couldn't inherit his titles. He didn't give a whit what Eleanor thought of the situation at all.

Everything else disappeared when he was finally alone with Lottie. Her playful giggle sent a shiver through him. She made Joseph feel young again. Less jaded and worn down by the world. Her question brought reality back. While he could do whatever he wanted in his own manor, outside of it they had to pay lip service to propriety. Once again, he found himself irritated by his mother's bloody stupid condition they be engaged for a year before they married. Eleanor was resting, so she was unavailable to chaperone them. "We can get your maid to walk with us," he suggested. "Unless there's something else you'd like to do instead?" While he hadn't intended to take Lottie to bed until after dinner so they had more time together, Joseph certainly didn't object to taking advantage of the privacy they had now. He'd barely seen her in the last week and he was starved for some proper affection.


Quote
Ms. Ottilie Grayson
Raver
GA/US
She/Her/hers
26
BlueRaver2
Lottie
- European -

18
- Age -
Single
- relationship status -
None
- occupation -

Ottilie Grayson is Offline


Ottilie Grayson

So much time had passed and Ottilie still wasn't used to this life. It had been over a year by now, the same routine each day. The wake up calls, the dressings, the attendance, the parties, the rehearsals of her knew life. Still she wasn't used to it and it felt like something she was doing that wasn't meant to last. As if any day now she would return back to the smokey veil where the village she knew up in laid, and she would return to life as she had always known it. But it was all very real and happening before her eyes. So far from home, she knew of no one besides Eleanor and Joseph, and she had to rely on their world experience for she had none to call upon.

Ottilie had never been to a beach before, she had never done any of the things she did nowadays before she met Eleanor and Joseph. There truly was a whole new world out there to explore and she was lucky enough to get to do that. A walk on the beach sounded grand, but the way that Joseph held her gave Ottilie the impression that he wasn't as excited as she was to go to the beach. Of course he wouldn't be, he had been to that beach many times in his life, and seen it all time and time again. She liked the way he held her, possessive perhaps, but she saw it as loving and caring. "Would that be alright?" Eleanor was normally around them to supervise, or otherwise make sure they lived up to the level they were expected.

She was used to that, but she didn't know that a simple maid could do the same job. Eleanor being a baroness and her kin seemed a more respectful role then a maid who they could simply send away themselves. Then again Joseph being a duke could send anyone away could he not? Ottilie turned into his arms so that she could face him and she gently touched his face with both hands. It was easily to see that he had missed her and she had missed him just as much. She took one of his hands and placed it over her heart and placed both of her hands on top of his. "Do you feel it? It only beats like this whenever I'm around you." she admitted staring at him lovingly. "No matter where we are and what we're doing, it's always been like this."

The maid still lingered outside the door. She had more arrangements to finish and there were others things she had to do before Ottilie was all moved in and her clothing unpacked, and her toiletries ready for the night. The woman heard Joseph mention her, and assuming she would be needed soon she lingered there longer. Ottilie stared at Joseph, and she smiled happily. One of the things she adored about him was that they were both the same height. She combed her fingers through his hair and gently nuzzled her nose against his. "I will tell her to come with us. Oh Joseph this is all so wonderful!" She released him and stepped round him to reach the door so that she could invite the maid back in.

words - tag - notes
Quote
Earl of Cornwall
Laele25
Washington State
PST
She, her
41
Laele75
Lord Cornwall
- European -
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

35
- Age -
Engaged
- relationship status -
Rakehell
- occupation -

Joseph Stratton is Offline




Joseph Stratton❧

It was possessive, loving, and caring. Such concepts were not mutually exclusive. Joseph considered Lottie his in all ways, regardless of their current legal status. She would be his wife. Not only because making a Northern peasant girl a duchess under the ton's snooty noses was delicious because he loved her like he had loved no other woman. He'd been told all his life to marry for love. For a long time, he didn't think that it was possible for him to love again. Especially someone he could actually marry. He wasn't wasting his second chance at love. Most people weren't fortunate enough to find it once, let alone twice.

At this point, any servant would do. They couldn't go out without a chaperone, they had to appear proper. Eleanor was the most ideal, but as little as he currently liked the woman, it had been a long journey and she was hardly a young woman. She deserved her rest. Someday, Lottie would understand the illusion of propriety was all that was called for, not actual propriety.

Of course, as soon as she asked him if her maid would suffice as a chaperone, she went and distracted him being charming and innocently alluring at the same time. He smiled at her hands on his cheeks, of the mind to steal a proper kiss when she placed his hand over her heart and claimed he always made it race. God's breath, what in the world had he done to deserve her again? Joseph groaned, now sorely tempted to take her to bed just so he could remind her why they sent each other's hearts to pounding. But there wasn't time before dinner for more than a quick romp and Joseph was hungry for much, much more. He placed her hands over his own heart and smiled at Ottilie. "As you have always set mine to racing, my love," he replied sweetly.

Of course, then her maid appeared in the doorway and the moment was lost. Oh well, there'd be others. Many others over the months they'd be in Cornwall. The playful way she stroked his hair and rubbed her nose against his made him laugh softly. One of the things he loved about Lottie most. She was fun. Fun was so underappreciated in his world.

"Miss Grayson and I would like to take a walk along the beach before supper," he informed the woman. "Lady Eleanor is resting, so we'll need you to accompany us." He didn't need to explain why to the woman. He'd hired her because she was competent and loyal.

He turned his attention back to Ottilie. Catching one of her hands, he pressed a kiss to the back of it. "I'll get changed in the other dressing room, darling," he told her as he released her hand. "Dress warmly. This time of year, the wind off the water can be quite chilly." He smiled at her, then reluctantly stepped back. "I'll be waiting."

Twenty minutes later, Joseph was waiting in the antechamber of his rooms, dressed in his warmest wool lounge suit. His beaver topper, scarf, and gloves sat on the table next to him. While usually, a stroll on the beach required much less formal attire and no shoes, it was November and far too chilly for such activities. After the season, they'd come back in August when the water was warmest and do some proper swimming. And now he was imagining Lottie in one of those charming bathing suits that showed off a woman's calves and arms. Right, if he kept thinking along those lines, they'd never make it to the beach.


Quote
Ms. Ottilie Grayson
Raver
GA/US
She/Her/hers
26
BlueRaver2
Lottie
- European -

18
- Age -
Single
- relationship status -
None
- occupation -

Ottilie Grayson is Offline


Ottilie Grayson

The beating of his heart was to her the music of life. The pulsing beat was her north star, and it showed her exactly where she needed to be. The louder the beat, the more frantic, and she knew that she was home and in his arms. Ottilie could feel it beating beneath her palm, the beating of a heart so precious she would never see it broken. She was reminded of the times that she had rested on his chest, and the rhythmic beating of his heart almost lulled her into slumber. They were so different and yet they were a great match for each other. Some days Ottilie stared out the window at Eleanor's neglected garden, or inside her home and Joseph's with all their lavish arrangement, and she had to remind herself that it wasn't a dream.

"It's because I love you, and I know it's real. My mother would say it could be nerves, and I am nervous. But I don't feel it there, it's lower in my belly." She was nervous and unsure about things. Getting married, being a duchess, how she would get along with his family, all of it. There was also the fear that the further she went into his world, the further she was going away from her own and her family.

The maid walked back in when Ottilie opened the door and she nodded her head to the orders given by Joseph. She stood by the door silently waiting while she thought over things she would need to gather so that Ottilie would be as comfortable as possible on her trip.

Ottilie smiled sweetly as Joseph took her hand and kissed it, such a simple gesture it was, but it gave her joy. "I won't be long." As time passed she was starting to think more like Joseph on certain things. They were at his manner, and inside with his people. She didn't think he'd need to dress in another room, not after their adventure in London. The maid walked round him and started to prepare for the trip.

Ottilie freshened up, but she didn't change dresses since the one she wore was warm. She dressed in a wool coat with furred sleeves, a shawl, and a winter hat decorated with fur. The maid also dressed in a coat and wore muffs over her ears and she carried a pair of gloves for Ottilie along with a few other things. They met with Joseph in the antechamber ready to depart for the trip on the beach. "I hope it's not too chilly out, I want to walk a bit."

words - tag - notes
Quote
Earl of Cornwall
Laele25
Washington State
PST
She, her
41
Laele75
Lord Cornwall
- European -
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

35
- Age -
Engaged
- relationship status -
Rakehell
- occupation -

Joseph Stratton is Offline




Joseph Stratton❧

Very few people would consider the awkward, trying situation they were in a dream, but Ottilie made it all worth it. Especially when she said such sweet, sincere things. It never failed to amuse Joseph how she was so much more honest pretending to be someone she wasn't while the ton's women were phony being themselves. The irony was not lost on him.

He'd gone to a different room more for Lottie's comfort than anything. Joseph wasn't exactly joking when he said he couldn't dress himself. For a complete wardrobe change, he'd need Meadows' assistance. While he was sure Ottilie was becoming accustomed to the man's quiet, near constant presence, she likely didn't fancy being in any state of undress in front of him.

Besides, both of them being undressed in the same room would be far too much temptation and he really did want to take her for a walk along the beach.

He rose as Lottie and her maid came into the sitting area. She looked most charming in her wool and fur ensemble. Pulling on his own gloves, he nodded. "It should be all right until sunset," he told her. Wrapping his scarf around his neck, he put on his fur topper and offered Ottilie his arm. "Shall we?"

It didn't take more than ten minutes to get to the beach from the castle. This time of year, the beachfront was littered with tide pools. The wind was a little chilly, but they'd come dressed for it. He smiled at Lottie, who looked even more fetching than usual with the rosy blush her cheeks had taken in the cool air. "Beautiful, isn't it?" he said. "There's been times I've been tempted to never leave. It's so much more peaceful here than in London." Of course, he'd be bored rather quickly, but if Lottie enjoyed it in Cornwall, he was more than willing to spend more time away from the city. Especially after they were married and could take a blood walk on the beach without an escort. Stupid bloody rules of proper society.


Quote
Ms. Ottilie Grayson
Raver
GA/US
She/Her/hers
26
BlueRaver2
Lottie
- European -

18
- Age -
Single
- relationship status -
None
- occupation -

Ottilie Grayson is Offline


Ottilie Grayson

The setting sun was just as beautiful as the rising sun to her. Both were special in that it was the only time of day where the sky created such a beautiful moment that artist had to capture it on canvas. The hour could have been later than she realized, meaning their walk would not be as long as she assumed. It mattered not, her first walk on the beach with her husband-to-be would be a good memory either way. "You're going to walk with me until sun set?" she asked hopefully.

The beach was a lovely sight even in the cooler season, but to eyes that had never seen a beach before it couldn't be any less. Ottilie walked along side Joseph, and she clung to his arm firmly. Her ears had turned red, and her cheeks and nose had also colored. It was chilly out and with the sweeping winds, it felt even cooler. But she wouldn't complain even a little, this was a happy moment in a string of what she hoped to be many more happy moments to come. "It is beautiful. It's so different than anything I know of." Ottilie was used to green pastures and roaming hills as far as the eye could see. Beyond that lied more villages and towns, but no bodies of water.

Ottilie agreed with him about the city. "London is so noisey, and it's crowed. It's so much nicer here, and it's so quiet. Reminds me of home." The village she was born in had quite a few people living there, but it was not close in numbers compared to a city like London. There were times during the day when working farmers and the children playing could get loud, but during the early hours and late at night the village was as quiet as the stars. "We don't have to leave you know? At least for a while. We could stay here, away from all the troubles of London."

The maid walked along behind them to give them a little room, but stayed close enough should Ottilie need her for anything. When she first met the Grayson girl, she didn't know what to think of her. Her sweet and innocently optimistic attitude was surprising for a woman of her station and the maid didn't know if she was genuine or not. However, after spending more time with her, she saw that Ms.Grayson was as kind and sweet as she ever did appear to be.

During their trip, and even now Joseph had said little about the young boy who had accompanied them. The son that he had by another woman, a son that he hadn't known about. In her world, that sort of thing happened a lot more than people realized, and it wasn't all that below the common morality. Still, in his world it was frowned upon and shameful. "How is Noah?"

words - tag - notes
Quote
Earl of Cornwall
Laele25
Washington State
PST
She, her
41
Laele75
Lord Cornwall
- European -
“It is absurd to divide people into good and bad. People are either charming or tedious.”

35
- Age -
Engaged
- relationship status -
Rakehell
- occupation -

Joseph Stratton is Offline




Joseph Stratton❧

Joseph chuckled at her question. "Of course," he assured Ottilie. "How else shall we watch it together?" They could watch it from the castle, but this way was somehow more intimate. Possibly because they were on the beach among the tide pools and it was very much like its own little fantasy world. So far removed from London and all of their troubles.

She looked fetching with her rosy cheeks and nose. Joseph pulled Lottie closer, moving to wrap his arm around her waist to help her walk easier in the sand and be warmer and closer together. Given the wind off the sea and uneven sand beneath their feet, it was acceptable. Especially as there wouldn't be anyone about to see them anyway. "It really is the most beautiful place I've ever been," he admitted. "I'll admit I might be a bit biased because it's mine. But every time I come back, I wonder why I ever leave." There were many reasons. Just none of them seemed important so far away and masked by the beauty of the beaches and the refreshing sea air.

Joseph chuckled at her suggestion they didn't have to go back. "No, not until after Christmas," he assured her. "But after the Season is over, we can come back. Then we can stay as long as you like. I rather fancy a summer wedding on the beach. But I can hear Mother's palpitations at the idea of the wedding anywhere but Kent." Not that the entire idea of Joseph marrying a half American nobody wasn't giving Lady Kent palpitations, the real reason has less to do with her objections than his father's health. "And Father would never manage the trip. So we'll just have to settle for a honeymoon on the beach."

It was a pity her family couldn't come to the wedding. But there was no way he could justify inviting farmers from Wessex. Nor would there be any way to pass them off as her American mother and exiled marquess father. They'd just have to visit, perhaps he'd go through with his idea to buy the house across from theirs and visit under the guise of being nothing more than a wealthy merchant of some sort. Lottie had to miss them terribly, it'd been over a year since she'd left home.

While his thoughts had been with her family, hers were of his newly discovered son Joseph sighed and shook his head, leaning into her a little for comfort. "Better," he told her. "You of all people can understand how intimidating and overwhelming our world is coming from so little. He's been so poorly treated, especially by men. He still nearly jumps out of his skin when Meadows or I speak to him or stand up or make any sudden movements around him. I know it'll take time, but it'll never sit right with me, that children are treated so poorly and thrown away so callously. Small wonder Charlie took it upon herself to try and make the poor things' lives a little less miserable."

It'd only been a week, but Noah was still shy and skittish as a spring fawn. Joseph knew it would take time, but having any child, let alone his own son, jump at his presence and fear some sort of harsh reaction from any of his sudden movements was heartbreaking. "I know there's no use in kicking myself over what can't be changed, but I'll always feel badly he went through nearly nine years of hell before I even knew he existed."

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