tagBDSMAfflictions of Unruly Passion Ch. 09

Afflictions of Unruly Passion Ch. 09

byPhilippaMaQuente©

-IX-



Once they reached the hall, Valentine loosed her body and her mind from the doctor's grip and ran off to join her comrades at a table. She was ravenous by then and wasted no time in requesting a traditional tea service to be served to herself, Annie, and Rosamund. The girls grew very excited about the idea and started chattering gaily.

Away at his table, not too far this time from his charge, August ordered a meat pie and mash for his lunch, along with a large glass of water and a cup of coffee. He was drained, far worse than he could recall. He'd never made love so long and much in his life, and he'd never gotten to unearth himself as a sadist so thoroughly without even lifting a finger. There was no way he could ever turn from Valentine's charms and all she offered.

Three days. Only three days. Was it really so short? So much had happened in that space, so little hesitation or doubt involved. August couldn't even believe his own boldness. Instinct was largely to blame for how he'd claimed her in his office; somewhere inside him was a predator, albeit a protective and tamed one, which clamoured right then and there to have what he'd most craved his entire adult life. And she, willing! Reckless almost in her drive to devote herself. Could he rebuke her for it? Could he scold? He didn't want to, despite the staunch rules they were expected to live under. Oh, if anyone knew how he'd deflowered Valentine on his desk, without a single scrap of guilt or regret for what he'd done, his head would undoubtedly be demanded by her parents and his colleagues. The only one who would never hound him was Valentine herself. She would likely jump to his defence, ready to redden her teeth and nails over the matter.

Only three days in, with the entire year to follow to make sure that they were each getting what they most dearly coveted.

August received his meal and began to eat, pondering on the nature of love and lust, the connections or disconnections they were privy to. It was fairly clear to him that Valentine was acting out of lust from the moment they met, her every word and action dedicated to quelling her raging inferno. He laughed on a piece of his pie, careful not to inhale and choke. In the game of sex she truly conducted herself like a man would, according to the principles of the age. He wondered vaguely if she had ever considered becoming a mistress or a well-to-do "daughter of joy" to deal with her libidinous energies. What price would she pay for relief? Charles' price was steep enough. The doctor swallowed, and exhaled. Considering the circumstances, he himself was the lesser of the evils she could have pursued. In any case, it was too late to change his mind. The contract between them was all but sealed in blood. If he ever let her go... God, all that pent-up rage inside her would turn back upon him. He allowed a slight shudder to take his shoulders. There was an outcome he would not stomach. One did not often find such a woman, willing to enslave herself to pleasure; he wouldn't forget the years alone and longing.

August ate without diverting his attention from his plate at all, and when finished, snagged one of the serving staff for a second pie. He drained both his beverages as well, and sat digesting when Whyte approached from behind.

"I say Blackmore, what you are doing certainly shows its effectiveness quickly." Whyte sat down with his colleague, sipping from a steaming mug. The second man cast his gaze over the head doctor and started. Blackmore looked weary, but somehow enjoyably so.

"Thank you, Whyte. I too am surprised how fast she's taken to treatment. She could be simply at her own supper table or with school-friends right now the way she's behaving." Blackmore allowed himself to watch, enjoying her liveliness and happiness. His charges were all grinning over their tea cups, nibbling finger sandwiches, fresh fruit, and scones with clotted cream and jam. He did hope she was eating enough to restore her energy after the morning's exercise.

"In your work so far, what would you say is the root of Miss Godwin's affliction?" The man asked, deeply interested.

"Oh, simple. Miss Godwin harbors a number of powerful, overwhelming emotions that she has difficulty expressing. Hence all of her tantrums. My treatments force her to calm and clear her head, and voila! Look at how reasonable and content she is to simply be." Whyte had to admit, Blackmore seemed to have it on the nose. August's second pie was delivered, and he picked up his utensils to tuck in.

"Strenuous morning, eh? Are you giving her all the paroxysms by hand?" It was so casual the way he asked, August was affronted and had to resist snapping back "No, I also use my mouth!"

"So far, yes." he replied coolly, slicing into his food. Then, as if to brag without bragging: "I gave her four this morning alone." Whyte, then sipping his tea, sputtered back into the mug and had to withdraw a handkerchief to dab his moustache.

"Four? Well no wonder you look worn out! We have the damn newfangled electric massagers for a reason!" August sighed heavily and rubbed his temples with the hand not holding his fork.

"Come now Whyte, the girl's never undergone treatment for hysteria before. Do you really think it wise to start her out on one of those infernal contraptions? She's been my patient a scant three days, I doubt she's even used to our schedule yet!" August wanted to eat his food in peace but it seemed his colleague's flippant attitude was going to inhibit that wish. He set down his fork and turned to face the other. "Do you even think about what you are doing to a woman when you induce paroxysm by hand or one of these damn devices?" Blackmore's tone was deadly serious. Whyte seemed... taken aback.

"Well... Realigning the body's humours and energy, providing relief from the stresses of hysteria..." August cocked an eyebrow, crossing his arms upon his chest.

"Mm-hmm, all well and good doctor-talk from our collective history, but tell me, what is it you're fondling during all these 'treatments'?" The good doctor's expression was hard-set in scrutiny. The second man grew red-faced.

"Ah... well... It is pelvic massage, genital stimulation, that."

"And how would you take it if your physician told you your illness could only be treated by having their hands all over your wedding tackle?" August fired back with vitriol. "Would you drop your trousers?" Sullen and crimson, Whyte did not jump to respond. "In order for treatment to be effective, Whyte, Miss Godwin needs to grant me her permission and trust in my methods. I am accomplishing my medicine by degrees. If she acclimates naturally at a pace she is comfortable with, I will be much more successful." Whyte blustered a bit, but eventually acquiesced to August's words.

"I- I see." The man said, trying to compose himself. Years as a psychologist and physician had seen many a woman treated with 'pelvic massage' ... But he'd never thought about it in such personal terms before. Not doing so made the job easier, to be sure. Otherwise, he'd have to think about all the ladies whose intimate parts he'd been paid to... manipulate.

"In light of this conversation, I think I am going to suspend inducement of paroxysm as a treatment until I can reeducate all of you on the seriousness of the procedure." August's voice was frosty. He returned his attention to his food, hoping to eat it before he lost the rest of his appetite.

"Eh- that may be a wise course of action." Said Whyte. "I must say, Miss Godwin's involvement with my patient has proven very positive," he continued, changing topics. August sensed a small monologue coming, and gratefully he began once more to eat. "After breakfast, I visited Miss Mariner as per our usual arrangement, and she was quite upbeat." Whyte was entrusted with Rosamund's care due to his experience. He was also more difficult to rattle, unlike some of the younger doctors. The difficult time she'd had with the other patients had made her treatment somewhat tricky. "She greeted me very cordially and answered my questions without hesitation. It's a small miracle... The girl's always been standoffish and sullen, and she has never trusted easily." Chewing, August nodded along with the talk, until Whyte (well-meaning as he was) blurted his thought. Blackmore swallowed.

"Wouldn't you be, in her situation?" Her presence there had always chafed him, knowing her story. Blackmore found it quite easy to see parallels between her and Valentine, thus the friendship was natural to his eyes. Rosamund Mariner was also her own woman, most distinctly not insane and merely a victim of the misguided law. At the time of her admittance, the doctor had needed Whyte's resolve and professionalism to rise above such unjust inequalities in handling her case. Blackmore sighed. He wished there were more he could do for her, but at least she was not languishing in prison. "I'll tell you the same thing I told Connelly, and I trust you to be less flighty and reluctant about it. Miss Godwin is providing something some of the girls here are not getting but desperately need. True intimate friendship, and acceptance. She does not see broken, withered little delicate flowers. She is not going to treat them as such, nor let them resign their illnesses and troubles to a prison sentence. Look at the three of them!" Throwing his hand out to partially frame the trio, August knew Whyte could see the girls laughing and talking together, with many grand gestures thrown into a series of rapid movements of Valentine's hands. She appeared to be pointing at the girls' plain dresses, miming measurements and details. The knot of them were attracting all sorts of attention from around the room, and it was little wonder why. Valentine's midnight gown was such a dark, rich spot of colour in a room of white dotted by pale greys and blues. Her vivacious personality drew ears as well as eyes. "You will never see her extend anything but a hand of friendship to a single woman or girl in the place. Trust me on that."

The tableau before them did not lie. The further truth that none of the girl's tantrums had ever been focused on or at the expense of a female person added greater weight to Blackmore's words.

"Ladies, let us celebrate a new era together," Valentine prompted, when their lunch had been served. She had her cup of tea, perfectly sweetened, lifted in a toast, and the other girls followed suit. "Doctor Blackmore is already planning on getting me the books and foils I asked him for, and maybe even a harp, Annie." The seamstress' eyes sparkled. They clacked their cups together and drank. Valentine relished the amber liquid in hers and swallowed with utter enjoyment. When their tea found again the bottom of their saucers, she smiled. "I will have a little surprise for the girls this afternoon as well."

"Oh do tell! What is it, Valentine, what?" Annie queried, clapping her hands.

"You'll hear it at the same time as the others, but, it's the sonnet I promised," the colourful one teased.

"Capital!"

"Ooh, lovely," Rosamund answered. Without a moment's hesitation, she recited:

"How do I love thee? Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach, when feeling out of sight
For the ends of being and ideal grace."

Pleased and eager to press the contest, Valentine answered her with the next stanza.

"I love thee to the level of every day's
Most quiet need, by sun and candle-light.
I love thee freely, as men strive for right.
I love thee purely, as they turn from praise."

Rosamund chimed in, and the girls finished the selection together.

"I love thee with the passion put to use
In my old griefs, and with my childhood's faith.
I love thee with a love I seemed to lose
With my lost saints. I love thee with the breath,

Smiles, tears, of all my life; and, if God choose,
I shall but love thee better after death."

Annie clapped with joy.

"Was that Shakespeare?" the young one asked. Valentine and Rosamund connected their gazes, and Valentine nodded to defer.

"Elizabeth Barrett Browning," the ebon one answered. "Of course, her lines break from the traditional Shakespearian sonnet as they do not use the same rhyming pattern, but the ten beats per line are intact."

"So pretty," Annie sighed. "I've never heard a bit of poetry in me life."

"Well we will certainly rectify that," Valentine answered once again. "And more. I have another surprise, but just for the two of you right now. Blackmore still must get it approved before I can do it, but-" she leaned in, drawing them closer over their victuals. "I know he'll allow me. We are going to put on a performance, girls. Shakespeare!" Rosamund gasped, quite delighted.

"Which play? Comedy? Tragedy? Oh do tell us, do!"

"We'll start on the lighter side of the folio, and get as many involved as possible. A Midsummer Night's Dream is to be our first attempt!"

"How perfect!" The Mariner daughter exclaimed. "Laughs, romance, and fairies! Anyone can take part."

"Exactly," Valentine responded. "Even the girls who don't want or can't take a speaking role can still enjoy a place onstage as one of the faery monarchs' retinue, or help with sets and costumes, or even staging!" The two veteran scholars of the Bard shared a train of thought. Annie looked back and forth between the two of them, unaware of exactly what this Midsummer Night's Dream was about, but fairies were mentioned, and Annie's mind was filled with something she knew well. Clothing. Costume! Rolls of fabric in rainbow hues unfurled behind her eyes; glitter and gossamer wings sprouted from the backs of her friends even as she looked at them. Valentine could only bear the myriad of colours inherent in her personality as her wings, and Rosamund, well- Annie could see her arrayed in lovely green, enhanced by cherubic pink- with roses and ivy to adorn. Clearly Valentine had chosen this project for a reason.

"Does that mean I'll get to create fairy dresses?" The little blonde squealed. The others laughed, and Valentine nodded.

"You can certainly be our wardrobe-mistress, if you are so inclined," Valentine said. "But only if you wish."

"Da never let me do the designs," Annie gushed. "All them pretty fabrics and sparkling stones and gossamer puffs and nothing. Wouldn't even look at my sketches, just told me I was a dear gel and to let 'im worry about what ladies wanted." She sniffed.

"You can draw?" Valentine said excitedly. "Oh, you'll have to show us, really! This will be bloody wonderful!" Annie blushed, and dipped her head.

"Oh, it's not much, really... I jus' always wanted to show me da what I could really do." The matriarch of the trio clapped her hands giddily.

"I shall obtain you some good pencils and high-quality paper! I cannot wait to see your ideas unfolding upon the page, dear Annie."

"Nor I," Rosamund added. "If I dictate a few ideas, would you be able to sketch them out, Annie?" The young one looked up again.

"Oh, probably. What did you have in mind?" Rosamund's lush, dark-cherry mouth parted in a grin.

"Fairies fly, do they not?" Annie nodded, her eyes widening in child-like delight. "I believe I can imagine a number of ways to make our performance memorable." Valentine grinned, lifting a bite-sized sandwich to her mouth.

"Any thoughts on who you would like to play, Rosamund?" The girl took a bite.

"Oh, I don't know..." she said, her cheeks getting warm. "One of the lovers, perhaps, or even one of the Mechanicals. I do so enjoy their antics." Valentine chewed while she spoke, nodding along. When she was done, she answered:

"We'll read you for a few different parts, and you can pick whomever you like best. As for Annie..." Valentine's gaze drifted over to the shy little seamstress. "I think she'd make a good Puck. Don't you?" Rosamund laughed.

"Oh, indeed!"

"Who's Puck?" Annie asked, frowning.

"He's the fairy king's right hand, and gets up to a lot of mischief during the play. His speaking part isn't too difficult at all, and you get to give a man an ass' head," Rosamund explained. Annie laughed in response to the image, and her friends joined in. In turns, the two girls outlined the plot for Annie and described each of the characters briefly. Annie followed along perfectly easily and grew more excited as she imagined all the distinct aspects of the characters' costumes she would oversee.

"Who are you going to play, Valentine?" Annie asked afterward, innocent of the burning memory in the back of the wench's mind.

"Hippolyta and Titania," she answered with a secret smile in her heart. "Traditionally the same actor plays both parts, with the same for Theseus and Oberon. The two sets are never seen onstage together, and it saves on performers."

"Excellent choice for you, Valentine." Rosamund answered. "But whoever will we get to play your Oberon?" Valentine heaved a dramatic sigh to stifle her own feelings. There was only one who could ever be her Oberon.

"Oh, I have no idea. We will have to wait until we actually begin to read parts. After all, I have not yet met everyone here." She waved her hand around the entire dining room. "But that will soon change," she added, grinning all Cheshire. The girls returned to their luncheon and ate and drank well in silence for a little while. Valentine was indeed ravenous, which her companions noted curiously as she put away a goodly amount of tea, sandwiches and pastries, including a scone the size of her two fists and lavish amounts of clotted cream and jam. The lusty goddess sighed in blissful contentment when she was finished drinking the last of her cup. The food was so much better than she would have expected.

"Damn, Valentine, but you had quite an appetite," Rosamund teased good-naturedly. She and Annie were eating well, but with considerably less gusto.

"I was half-starved," the girl returned, blushing.

"Whatever do you and Doctor Blackmore get up to every morning?" curious Annie queried, in awe of her elder's substantial appetite.

"Ah, well..." Valentine scrambled frantically to give an answer without betraying the amourous play the two of them shared. "He understands that my... energetic nature requires an outlet, and helps to push me to the very edge of my physical endurance. It is the only way I can, well, calm down. He keeps me from raising all Hell, the clever man." Rosamund was surprised to hear Valentine's voice drop to such a dulcet volume. But of course, she had not heard the declaration of war upon the rotten males of the asylum given to Annie just two days before.

"All I get is a few questions on how I feel, and when I say frustrated and angry, I'm told I simply need to relax more, and am made to sit by the water for hours on end." Rosamund huffed, nearly upsetting her teacup.

"I can't even answer my doctor's questions," Annie said, looking downcast. "He talks to me as if I'm a little moppet and cannot be taken seriously. All I think of is my da saying 'be seen and not heard', and I can't say a word." The indomitable Miss Godwin shook her head.

"All the more reason to get you both up and working on something worthwhile. Sitting around all day will only be a detriment to your health." Damned be the male idea that women were only fit for quiet, unintellectual and unstrenuous activities. What good would sitting do for the mind, body or spirit? What good were hushed voices and strangled minds? Had not a single doctor understood Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper"? "What a conspiracy! Their treatments seem to be the very cause of madness!" Rosamund gave a snort.

"Sitting at the seaside isn't even the worst of it. After I was sent here I was given a dose of laudanum daily! It was a wonder I ever found my way out of the fog... Come to think of it, I believe it was Blackmore that put a stop to it, when I couldn't even respond to him one afternoon. Ugh, it was hell." Rosamund shuddered, remembering the ghastly hazes and the difficult weaning from the drug she'd endured. All because terror had erased her humanity in the eyes of all who looked upon her. But not Valentine... Not Valentine.

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