Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square, Chapter 370

Chapter 370

"Hold still,"  Charles laughed.  

"I don't want none o' that stuff."  Gerard pulled his head away.

"You want to smell nice for your bride, don't you?"  Charles grinned.

"I took a bath."  Gerard grimaced.

"I know.  I brought up the water."  Charles replied.  "Now, stop your complaining.  It's just a little cologne.  I wear it every day."

"I know.  But, you're foreign.  You're supposed to smell like spices."

"You're foreign, too."


"You're Australian!"  Charles laughed.  

"It's the same thing as English.  Only with more sheep.  Besides, I spent most o' me life in Bristol."

"And, I've spent most of my life in London and America.  Now, put on some cologne!"

"Very well."  Gerard grumbled.  "But, only a little."

Charles splashed a little cologne on his hand and patted the back of Gerard's neck.

"Now, that wasn't so bad.  Was it?"  

"No."  Gerard sighed.  "Thought it would sting, like medicine."

Charles laughed.  "Now, when Gamilla nuzzles your neck tonight, you won't smell of silver polish and lamp oil."

"I took a bath!"  Gerard replied.

"Doesn't matter, Gerry.  You always smell of silver polish and lamp oil."

"I don't either."

"Yes, you do."  Charles smiled.  "Look, I've been sharing a room with you for quite a time.  Nobody knows how you smell better than I."

"I guess that's true."  Gerard chuckled.  "We been through a lot together."

Charles nodded.

"Did ya ever think we'd be here?"  Gerard asled.

"Here?  In Belgravia?"  Charles replied.

"No, not exactly.  I mean, in the Duke's house, on this day, laughin' together, gettin' me ready for my weddin'."

"Well, one thing is for certain, I knew the minute I saw you and Gamilla in the kitchen of Dr. Biamenti's house in New Orleans--that first time you spoke--I knew you'd marry her.  I didn't know how, but I knew you would."

"Did ya?"  Gerard grinned.

"I did."  Charles nodded.  "As for the rest...no, I can't imagine, when we were in America, that I would have ever guessed that we'd be valets to the Duke of Fallbridge and Dr. Halifax, that we'd be living here in this fine house nor that we'd be as fond of one another as we are."

"You're my dearest friend, Charlie."

Charles blushed.  "You're mine.  Though...I don't know how it came to be.  I was pretty awful to you at first."

"I know."  Gerard answered.  "But, I knew it wasn't gonna last.  I knew you liked me."

"Did you?"  Charles laughed.

"Sure.  I'm very likable."

"That you are."  Charles nodded.  He looked around their room.  "It'll be strange to come up here tonight and not have you snorin' in the bed next to me.  I've gotten used to you."

"I'll miss you, too."  Gerard nodded.

"Not for long, you won't.  Your new wife at your side..."

"Oh..."  Gerard shook his head.  "You know what I mean."

"Well, we'll only be apart by two floors."  Charles inhaled.

"Speaking o' floors, I'd best check on His Lordship."  Gerard said quickly.

"Whatever for?"

"To make sure he's all set to go."  Gerard answered.

"I attended the Duke and Lord Colinshire myself.  They're both ready and both instructed me to stay at your side until time to go to the church."

"Afraid I'll wander off?"  Gerard teased.

"Likely."  Charles nodded.

"I wonder what Gamilla's doin'."  Gerard said softly.

"That's why you wanted to go downstairs.  Now, I see."  Charles laughed.  "Most certainly she's sitting at her new dressing table being fussed over by Her Ladyship and Violet and likely Mrs. Pepper and Maudie, and, no doubt, they're making a terrible racket and above them is floating a cloud of powder and perfume."

"My Gamilla don't need any powder and perfume."

"It's for Mrs. Pepper."  

"Oh, you are bad."  Gerard snorted.  "But, it is true."  He looked at Charles.  "I appreciate your not teasin' me too much about...gettin' married.  I promise I won't tease you when the time comes."

"The time?"

"You're next, you know."

"I?"  Charles laughed.

"You and Vi."  Gerard nodded.

"No, no.  The next wedding in this household is Her Ladyship's.  After that...well, I'd wager Georgie will be wed before I."

"We'll see about that."  Gerard smirked.

"Yes, we will."  Charles answered.

"I'm a lucky man, Charlie.  I'm real happy.  Never have I been so happy.  I just want the same for you."

"Thank you."



"You don't think that Miss Rittenhouse is gonna do anything else?  Like revenge for what happened to Orpha and that...Marduk?"

"No."  Charles shook his head.  "She may be bizarre and mad, but, she's not stupid.  She knows that if she even looks at one of us, the Duke will have her hangin' in Whitehall.  I imagine she's on her way to book her passage back to America with...with my brother at her side."

"Good."  Gerard sighed.  "Well, I mean good to think she's goin' back.  Not that your brother is with her.  I gotta think that's too awful for ya."

"Not so, not anymore.  He's my brother in much as we share the same name.  Besides, it's not as though there's a hole in my heart where Giovanni should be.  That space is filled."

"Is it?"

"You know it is, Gerry."  Charles patted his friend's shoulder.

Did you miss Chapters 1-369 of Mr. Punch of Belgrave Square?  If so, you can read them here.  Come back tomorrow for Chapter 371.  

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