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Monday Puzzler > July 11, Working out those marriage details

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message 1: by Dls (last edited Jul 11, 2011 08:09AM) (new)

Dls | 2093 comments Mod
The adjustment to marriage is always a challenge. I love how in this scene—almost the first time they are alone together after they are married—they work out how to handle his career, their home, trust… It all takes place in a courtyard in a house full of people, at night. Remember, you can give clues but dont' give the book or author--I'll post those tomorrow night.
I did edit out a couple of lines that would have given the game away.

He unbuttoned his trousers.
“You cannot become naked here” she said.
“There’s a screen over there. Blow that lantern out and come over here and we’ll both go be naked behind it. Nobody can see.”
Perhaps he was right. The light of the lantern barely touched him and the night was all around. He’d stripped his trousers down and stood in his calecons, barefoot in the courtyard. Then he removed the last of his clothing. It seemed he could indeed wear nothing at all. He was matter-of-fact about his nakedness, as men are who spend their lives on board ship, or traveling, or in armies, where no privacy is possible.
He said, “I was hoping for a chance at you before the day starts. If you’re keeping your clothes on, I won’t get one, will I?” He hefted the bucket into the bottom of the deep stone basin and pumped water.
“I do not shed my clothing in the middle of a courtyard with everyone stirring and coming to breakfast. I am more modest than you. Frogs in a duck pond are more modest than you.”
“Now you see, that philosopher fellow Zeno would disagree with you. He’d say being naked is more modest than going around all dressed up. He had a whole set of reasons.”
“That is a pernicious doctrine. One can tell you have been to university. Only the very educated believe such nonsense.”
“I’m just saying that to get you out of your skirts. Too bad it’s not working.”
It was certain hero had been to…not Oxford. He had been at Cambridge, where they were liberal and mathematical. If she went to Cambridge and asked after a giant who was brilliant and curious about everything, who laughed largely and had a huge sly sense of humor, they would remember him.
“You are all spies here, are you not? Everyone I will meet in this house is a spy.”
He didn’t hesitate at all. “Yes.”
With that one word, he said “We are married.” He said “Husband and wife trust each other.” He said “There are no secrets between us.” One word, and he said all that to her.
“I had not expected to marry a spy.”
“Does it bother you?” He studied her while he filled the bucket again.
“I am unsettled by it.” She felt shy of him. Not because he was English, and in the habit of lying to her, and a spy. Because he was her husband. She did not know how to deal with a husband. Probably Beauty dealt very well with the Beast, but could not imagine what to say to the handsome prince he turned into. The problem was compounded in that her Beast did not turn into a handsome prince. He turned into a tricky fox. As always, when dealing with hero, matters were complex.
“You do not seem very English, in any case. You make a convincing Frenchman.”
“I’m about half French, if you add it up. Does that help any, or are you still feeling strange?”
“I will feel strange for a time. Being in love with you is shedding the skin of my soul, as a snake sheds its skin. I feel tender and naked. I would rather not love you, in fact, but I have no choice in the matter.”
“I don’t have any problems at all, loving you. It’s pure pleasure.” He filled another bucket and poured it over himself. This time she got wet, too, she was so close to him. She cupped her hand to take some of the water that spilled off his body. It was chillingly cold, but she splashed it on her face.
She was disconcerted when he leaned down to nip at her ear and kiss her there, quick and playful.
His teeth, closing on her ear, tightened her skin up, sent a hot pulse of lightning within her, down to her toes.
A little breathless, she said “Will we live in this house? I can deal with your Madame Cachard, if I must.”
“We’ll live in England, at least at first, since they’re holding a war in France and half the people in Paris know you’re running La Fleche. I’ll buy a place near London. Hampstead, maybe. They’re always after me to work in London. Training. Analysis. I’ll be Head of Section eventually, if I stay—“
She felt the sigh he did not allow himself. “Then I won’t” he said. “There’s enough work in this world for a man that he doesn’t have to go spying. There’s a paper on Celtic languages I’ve been meaning to write, if I ever got the time. I can—“
"I mean, no, you will work as you always have. You will travel about, poking and prying into the affairs of the world, and bring balance to the fate of nations and spin peace out of your own strength. You will do the work you were born to do. I will not make you less than you are.”
His lips and his breath were warm on the top of her head. His hair hung down, just touching her forehead, chilly from being washed. He was entirely motionless. It was like being held by one of the tall stones in Brittany, the menhirs, that mark the hilltops. “You’ll send me off? Let me work?”
“Do you think I want a great lummox like you about and underfoot all day long, every day? I shall breathe a sigh of relief, very secretly, when you go away. Then in a short time I will forget how annoying you are and welcome you back with great enthusiasm when you come home.”
“I like the welcoming home part. And the enthusiasm.”
She stood on tiptoe to kiss his face where his scar would have been. Where it would be, when he went on his travels again. He tasted like harsh soap. It was a masculine flavor but not romantic. She liked it on him. “Think of my enthusiasm at night, when you are in dangerous places. You will know that I am waiting for you. I shall, of course, take lovers, but I will shove them swiftly out of the house when you arrive. You must pretend not to notice their coattails disappearing around the corner.”
“Right.” His hands were confident and amused, drawing her in. “Good thing I’m not a jealous man.”
“I will make a home for you, hero, not a cage. You will go away always, to your work and your wandering. If you will leave your heart with me, I will care for it like diamonds."

message 2: by Kasey (new)

Kasey | 560 comments Mod
I don't know what it is, but it sounds interesting. I can't wait to find out.

message 3: by Susan (new)

Susan (susaninaz) | 1018 comments She, disconcertingly, finds that she has married a manipulative half-French spy. What fun! So she threatens to take lovers if he leaves her alone too long... smart girl. I'd love to find out the title to this one.

message 4: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2093 comments Mod
She has a pretty good idea before, actually, but this is where he confirms it.

message 5: by Okie (new)

Okie (okieb) | 2089 comments Mod
I don't know this one. Can't wait to find out!

message 6: by Manda (new)

Manda Collins (manda_collins) | 1917 comments Mod
I have a pretty good guess. I haven't read it yet, but I need to in anticipation for the next one.

message 7: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 896 comments I have no idea. I know I haven't read this one.

message 8: by Janga (new)

Janga | 1070 comments Mod
Wonderful!She's such a great writer. I only wish she wrote faster. :)

message 9: by Dls (new)

Dls | 2093 comments Mod
Its The Forbidden Rose, by Joanna Bourne. And I wish she wrote faster too!

message 10: by Irisheyes (new)

Irisheyes | 896 comments OMG!!! LOL I've definitely read this and loved it! It is one of my favorites. I can't believe this. In fact, I just recommended this series to my SIL. Proof positive that I'm definitely losing what is left of my mind. LOL

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