Archive for September, 2022

Gray Lace, Part 44


Trevor leaves the safety of his 1908 Charleston hotel to check on his adventurous Catherine. He hopes to find her retreating on the Stafford roof for a rest from her difficult duties as their maid. He also hopes to convince her to revise her dangerous plans.

Catherine hopes to explore her childhood home next door to her undercover employment, and she hopes to retrieve her stolen trust fund. She leaves the Stafford roof and using an alley cover, she is pleased to be discovered by a sharply dressed Trevor, instead of a Pettigrew employee.

Page 82-83

Catherine trusted the Stafford family to remain asleep as she left her fourth floor closet; labeled home for a lady’s maid. She had stolen a few hours of sleep after some backbreaking work on her first day. “I’ll pay my maid five times as much, if I ever have another one. Oh God, the ironing!” As she worked her way up the attic stairs, she wished she could give up ironing for Lent, hopefully sooner.

She lamented the plight of working women everywhere, as she climbed the retractable folding ladder which led to the roof. She gratefully allowed the meager moonlight and ocean breezes guide her over and around the hidden obstacles and chimney pots. Easily gliding over the covered alley between the houses, she rediscovered the attic entrance she had used as a child. She had often retreated to the roof to talk to God when He had taken her mother. She continued their conversations when her father had remarried, and then died. She had hidden there even more often to avoid the abuses from her stepmother and her new family, the Pettigrews.

Those memories tried to block her breathing and progress, but she swallowed each ugly scene. She tested the rusty hinges on the wooden cover which led down to the attic Pettigrew attic. The creaking seemed deafening and non-productive. She tried a third time and she sweaty palms slipped. She lost her balance and would have slammed her back and head against a brick chimney standing in the darkness behind her, but welcoming arms gathered her chest and neck into a comforting male hug. Together they slid slowly and quietly to the rooftop floor. “Busy night?” Trevor kissed her cheek and gently rolled her to his side.

She did not understand why he was there, but she returned the kiss. “Thank you and yes, it’s been a very bust night indeed. Hopefully productive if you let me stand up.”

He smiled as he kissed the side of her face and helped her up. He worked on the entrance cover for a few nervous moments and managed to loosen it enough to open. “There, you should be able to use this later, if you must.” His head leaned a bit to his right. “We’ve woken someone. I hear voices below.” He turned her toward the Stafford roof. “Enough for tonight.”

Catherine started back, stopped, turned, and asked, “How did you get up here?”

“The Pettigrews have a handy fire escape.”

She led Trevor over the slippery alleyway cover and stopped at the Stafford’s attic entrance. “Thank you, but I don’t expect you to show up in my every time of need.”

“I’d like to,” he whispered as he leaned in, wrapped her closer, and tried to make a deal. “I’ll tell you all you want to know about my brothers, but please include me in your future and let me keep you safe.”

While trying to swim through her numerous feelings and possible responses, they heard a kitchen maid knocking wake-up calls on the servants’ doors below them. “I’ve got to go.” Rubbing her hands up and down his shirt front she noted his formal attire, his dragon slaying outfit.

He smiled, “Tomorow night, same time, same roof, different clothes.” He headed back to rest before he had to entertain Charleston’s elite, but he stopped when he heard her whisper, “Don’t give away those kisses too freely.”

He quickly returned to her, enveloped her, and dove in, with his hands where they shouldn’t be, but exactly where she wanted them.

Enough! Until Later.

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