Nadine and Spencer Discuss Both the Problem of Miss Linfield and Their Marriage
((This scene is a collaboration between the players of Nadine Adams and Spencer Chichester.))
Nadine walks with confidence and head held high, though she is receiving odd looks for her damp skirts. She makes eye contact with no one, her gaze set in anger. She reaches the gate to Spencer's townhome and it is opened as she approaches by the staff who by now recognize her as permitted whether Spencer was there or not. She knocked on the door, nodding to Mr. Gillis as he opened the door. She walked in right past him and stood before a mirror to fix her hair, still seemingly unbothered by the state of her skirts. "Mr. Gillis, good day. I need to speak with Lord Donegal urgently and privately, please hold the tea but do fetch me a Brandy." She pauses. "Two brandies..." She pauses again and turns to look at him. "And...whatever he would like as well I suppose." She waves him off not in an attempt to be rude but to express the dire situation. "Thank you Mr. Gillis, I will be in the library." She made her way to the room, going directly to the fire to help warm and dry her silk skirt.
Mr. Gillis, ever stoic, has very little reaction to Nadine's sudden presence or demands. He bows and nods, closing the door behind her and moving to the kitchen to find a maid and pass along the Brandy request. While they prepare the drinks, he goes and fetches Lord Donegal, telling him Mrs. Adams seems agitated and requests his presence in the library immediately.
Spencer nearly trips over himself getting there, worrying something is wrong. Maybe with little Rose? He hurries in just as a maid sets down the tray of brandies and hurriedly leaves, closing the door behind her. "Lawks, Nadine! Mr. Gillis says you're in a state. It's not Rose, eh wot? Is she sick as a cushion?"
Nadine turns when the drinks are laid down and she looks at Spencer when he enters as she reaches for one of the drinks, downing it immediately and picking up another to sip from. "No, rosemary is quite fine." She says quickly to get it out if the way. "Spencer, we've a problem. It is our problem because I have already inserted myself into it and...what's mine is yours and whatnot, yes?"
He pauses, not following her at first, but then nods. "Of course, my dove. Our problem. Yes." He leans forward and lowers his voice. "What sort of scrape is it? Something real havey-cavey?"
"Havey-cavey indeed" she says pointedly. "It has come to my attention that we live amongst a monster." She sighs and takes another sip. "I was walking along the river's edge when I came upon a young woman who was standing knee-deep in the water looking as though she were a thousand miles away. I /know/ that look, Spencer. I've seen it in soldiers...and in children who have seen an inordinate amount of suffering. /I/ have looked that way." She frowns. "I spoke to her awhile. I knew what she was thinking. She meant to drown herself, I am sure of it and so I went in the water to stand beside her so that she would no feel so very alone. She opened up to me." She turned to look at him, pausing her pacing. "She said it was her father that made her feel so hopeless. She was covered in bruises. Spencer she made me promise I would do nothing but how could I possibly do /nothing/?" Her voice broke slightly as the desperation and helplessness she was feeling began to show through the cracks of her resolve.
He has a moment of wondering what exactly Nadine has gotten herself, and therefore him, into before he guiltily pushes the thought away. A poor girl was suffering. "Lawks! Drown herself? Bruises?" He frowns deeply. "Faith, that's not on. Devil take this hairy-arsed blackguard!! But...um...what are you going to do exactly?" His eyes go wide. "You're not going to kick his bucket or nothing, are you?"
She took another sip and tapped her foot, fidgeting in her anger and lack of control over the situation at hand. She shakes her head when he asks what she will do, but snaps her head to him, eyes narrowed. "What, /kill him/?" She let out a scoff. "As much as I would like to..." Her voice gets quiet. "I have never found murder to feel as good and justified as the situation may have called for. Besides." She smirks at him. "I'm sure there is quite a lot you can make disappear. I imagine murder isn't one of those things." She shakes her head again. "No. I'm not sure. It's more complicated than with Alice's father. he resides in London. There are so many faces there, and I live so far he would not be likely to see mine again and know it was me who blackmailed him. But Tyrehampton and Oakston are small. I cannot simply steal an identity to scare him when he could very well see me at market the next day." She shakes her head again and sighs. "I don't know what to do about /him/....but...the girl is an artist. I have offered to hire her to tutor Rosemary. Even if she is an abominable artist, Rose will have someone to create art with and the girl will have a safe haven to keep her creations and a place to go when she feels unsafe." She looks at him again and her shoulders fall. "I...have also asked that she come to my home if ever she feels in danger. And to bring her sisters."
Spencer nods with the art tutoring suggestion but freezes at the rest and stares at her. "Lawks! So, what, when this girl's father gets in a miff and wants to find his daughters he'll be showing up on /your/ doorstep? My arse in a bandbox, Nadine! I understand helping this girl out of a tight spot but I'll not risk your safety--or Rose's safety--for her. Not for anyone." He surprises himself at his declaration. It wasn't like him to forcefully disagree with Nadine, but he was doing it now. "I'll buy her a bloody house if it's a matter of needing somewhere to go. Or..." He looks over at Nadine hesitantly. "She can use your house and you and Rose come here, eh wot?" Meaning, he and Nadine marry. /Finally./
Nadine sighed. "Spencer, I am not worried about him! A man who cannot control himself and beats his defenseless daughter is not a man who /plans/." She looks at him with wide eyes as though he should have known that. "If you even knew how many weapons I had in my home at present moment you'd think I was supplying a small army." She muttered. "And who would protect her then? In a house by herself?"
He shakes his head. "Not by herself, alright, but why does it have to be /you/? Have her come here and I'll sort the deuced man out. But not your house. Not you." He shakes his head again.
She paused and her face fell, looking a bit hurt. Her voice softens but her tone was serious. "Why don't you believe in my ability to handle this, Spencer?"
He frowns again. What about this doesn't she understand? "I know you can handle your fists, Nadine. And I'm almost sorry for any chap on the receiving end once you've got your back up. It's just... Faith, I don't want you to put yourself through this again. Gods know you've had enough to deal with with your father. It's...not fair. I want to make your life easier, eh wot? Not have to worry that some angry bloke might show up at your door at all hours of the night." He sighs and flops down on the chaise, already feeling like he's lost this argument.
She opens her mouth to speak but closes it quickly. She looks down and then turns away from him, considering her words carefully. She finished her drink and set the glass down gently and slowly made her way to him. "I let him live out his days. I never asked anyone to protect us. I would not have let anyone. And because of my stubbornness I could not properly protect Atticus and I could not..." She stops and looks at her arm, quickly placing a hand over it as if to cover what cannot be covered by just a hand. "I could not protect myself. And when I realized that I ran." She drapes herself over his lap. "I cannot /run/ anymore Spencer. I am tired. You're right, I am exhausted by this situation reappearing in my life in its many forms but if I stand by and do /nothing/ then what will become of these bright young women? Who will show them that they are not powerless and delicate because they are women. Who will be an example of the strength that is possible within her after all a man she should have been able to trust has done to pull her down and make her feel powerless. This is my /calling/ Spencer. I hear their cries, I see their pain and I cannot walk away from it. To do so would be more maddening than the fear of being found would ever bring.” She looked at him, tears welling up in her eyes. "So long as I am able I will not let another girl walk this Earth looking the way that I look when I am so directly able to help her."
Spencer watches her and listens as carefully as he can. He doesn't understand fully this drive in her, but he can understand enough. Finally he lets out a long sigh and nods. He grasps each of her hands in his and kisses them. "Faith...alright. If this is your calling, then how can I help?"
She smiles and returns kisses upon his own hands before kissing his forehead. "I am not certain yet." She says quietly. "But if it will quell your mind I will send word to you as soon as I find her on my doorstep at an unexpected time. You are not far, you can be here very quickly, and you can stay as long as you would like." She tilts her head. "And if we are married by then you will permit me to bring them into our home until we can ensure that they are safe and find a new situation to them." She batted her eyelashes slightly. "Please."
He nods quickly and returns the smile, liking the phrase 'our home'. "Yes, yes, of course. And I'll come straight away if there is some trouble to be had. Not because I think you can't handle yourself," he adds quickly, lest he provoke her, "but to see this bloody fellow get what's coming to him. What is their name, by chance?"
She smirks. "No. You will be sent for for your own sanity." She teases and then looks away. "Oh, I'm not telling /you/."
"Whyever not? I can't very well have a friendly chat with the chap, eh wot? What if I come across him in the gent's club?" Spencer tries very hard to look innocent.
She arches her brow and drapes across him even more, her brow raised skeptically. "Not only would the chat not be friendly but you're liable to tell everyone you run into to run into him, and even if I swear you to secrecy you'll /still/ probably speak of it in company when given proper context." She laughs and taps his nose. "My Lord, I do so love you but you cannot control your mouth and your brain all at once when you are excitable and this requires very extreme discretion until we know better what we are working with." She smiles. "But when the time comes, If it does...I promise to allow you to use the full force of your title to destroy him. " She smiles up at him. He always had a way of turning absolutely rotten situations into something worth having a bit of humor about. One had to laugh in such times.
He leans over and gives her a kiss. "Alright," he says a little sulkily. He might have been thinking of doing something like that. At least the destroying him part. "Not that you are likely to, but best not to tell Alex about this business. Lawks! I know him. He would do something very rash." He thinks a moment. "Silas too, most likely."
She nods. "I will keep it to myself for now as promised. If it escalates, then you and I will figure out a plan and perhaps get them involved if we feel it necessary. But I'm sure she would like as little attention as possible drawn to her situation.
"Lawks! Yes. Little attention as possible. Right." He pauses. "Sooooo...do you think we might be married before all this unpleasantness comes about?"
Nadine averted her gaze and looked down as she thought. "Well..." She furrowed her brow. "Should I...not meet your family first? Would that not be custom?" There was hesitance in her tone.
"Oh... yes..." Spencer does not quite meet her eyes, looking at her forehead instead before kissing it. "I've written to mother. She says she's very happy for us, eh wot? And that she'd love to meet you. It's just...faith...she's having a time getting away from Town. Social obligations and such. She asked we wait until she can make it over." His brow furrows. "It seemed like she was doing it too brown. A bit." His brow smoothes. "Probably just worried you won't like her! Wants to make a good impression."
She laughs gently. "Not entirely understanding of why a lady with a title such as hers would care at all of my opinion for her, that seems quite backwards to me. It is I that should be worried." She laughed. "Did you tell her the truth of me? That I am a nobody?"
"Not...exactly..." Spencer is glad she is smiling and so he does as well. "Told her you were a widow. With a young girl. So she knows you're both mothers...bond a bit, eh wot? I didn't mention your brother was /the/ Atticus Foxx...mother would love that like the Devil loves holy water. I did mention how you shine everyone else down but aren't high in the instep at all. And that you were...Irish." He runs a hand anxiously through his hair.
She arched her brow. "You're keeping something from me." She poked at his ribs. "I can tell when you do that. You must be awful at cards."
Is that why he always lost when gambling? Surely not...it must just be because Nadine knows him so well. "Um...well...fine. I may have written and said you were...um...lawks! A Baron's daughter." He says this quickly and quietly, like maybe she won't catch it.
Nadine sat bolt upright and turned to look at him with wide eyes. "You did /whaaaaaat/?"
He immediately goes on the defensive. "She's a snob...I had to. I don't want her getting crusty on you from London when she hasn't even met you. So this way she can be open-minded and come meet you and then I'll just let her know that you aren't so much a Baron's daughter and it will be fine!"
She blinked and stood, looking a bit baffled by his lack for reasoning. "It will most certainly not be fine, Spencer!" Oh her darling idiot man. "So in a single day you wish me to go from a barons daughter to a near penniless inn-running widow and you expect her to be fine with that?" She sighed and pinched the bridge of her nose. "That's even worse than being forthright in the first place!"
He frowns and stands up as well. This had all sounded much better in his head back when he was writing the letter. "Lawks! Of course it sounds bad if you say it like that! I was just going to say you weren't a Baron's daughter. That doesn't sound nearly as bad!"
"Then what /am/ I? Don't you think she'd like to know!?" She was starting to panic. The weight of his position beginning to make her feel heavy and slow. She reached behind her, fumbling for a chair she knew was there but not what orientation it was in, and made her way slowly to the seat
He freezes, not having been prepared for her reaction. She didn't seem well at all. "Lawks! Are you alright? You've gone a bit green." He rushes over to steady the chair she was about to topple over and kneels before her. "My mother doesn't need every last detail. You're the widow of barrister... She doesn't need to know about Zedidiah's financial matters. Faith, it's not like any of that matters once we're married...I've money enough for the both of us."
She doesn't look at him. She can't. The shame she had been feeling that she suppressed out of stubbornness would be silenced no longer. "I have spent so long telling myself that your station did not matter. That we loved one another and that was all that was necessary but..." She looks at him with wide green eyes. "Spencer.. I was /wrong/.. it does matter. It matters quite a lot. You are a /Lord/ and I am no one to society. What if your family legacy is ruined because of your marriage to me? What will become of Rosemary? Of Alexander? Of our own children? We flight along through life as if there are no consequences but it is not realistic!" She began to tear up as she looked around frantically, trying to catch her breath. "It is not practical. Your mother thinks I am the daughter of a Baron! Already my relationship to your family is based on /lies/ and I cannot live up to them, I am only what I am and I am not a Lady!" She begins to breathe heavily.
Oh good lord she was going to die. He had finally messed things up bad enough to kill her. He squeezes her hands and shouts toward the closed door. "Help! Someone!" He looks at her, wondering what to do. She is supposed to tell him. "I will fix it. All of it. I'll away to London and talk to my mother in person. Bring her here. I'm sorry..." The door opens as Mr. Gillis, no longer looking stoic, bursts into the room. Spencer looks at him, worry all over his face. "Please..."
"Stand back." Mr. Gillis says to Spencer, who moves obediently. "Mrs. Adams, close your eyes if you please and try to take a nice deep breath." He moves to her and places a hand on her shoulder. He speaks calmly and soothingly. "I'll breathe with you." He demonstrates a nice long breath. Behind him, Spencer begins to pace.
She clasped onto his arm and shook her head. She tried to measure her breathing, but was not doing a very good job. She spoke quickly. "Look at me Mr. Gillis, I am no match for a Lord!" She let out a small sobbing noise and looked up, trying to ground herself. It was a rarity, this mood that had taken her. She could count in one hand the amount of times she had felt this way.
Mr. Gillis gives her a kind look. "No disrespect intended for his Lordship, but I believe he is no match for you, Mrs. Adams. Please try to breathe a little deeper." He gives another example breath.
Spencer stops pacing and looks at her, frightened, at the noise she makes. He has never seen her like this and doesn't know what to do. He thinks to what she taught him to do to calm Alexander down and moves over to the corner where a guitar is kept. He is not amazing at the instrument, but he has been practicing a great deal and isn't terrible either. He grabs it and sits down next to Nadine, playing softly.
Nadine blinked, taking pause at his comment. She felt she had stopped breathing entirely but then she heard a guitar being played beside her and she turned to look. He played for her just as she showed him.to play for Alexander. A small smile pulled at the corner of her mouth and she looked back at Mr. Gillis. She closed her eyes and began to take deep breaths, releasing her grip on his arm.
"There now." After a few more breaths, Mr. Gillis gives her shoulder another gentle squeeze and straightens up. "You just breathe, Mrs. Adams, and I will return with some more Brandy. And some biscuits. There are fresh almond biscuits that will do nicely I think." He nods and leaves the library.
Spencer continues to play and looks at her nervously, not wanting to set whatever it was off again. "I am sorry. I'll take care of everything." She had mentioned things between them not working. He doesn't want to ask about whether she meant it and remind her, just in case she forgot in all the excitement.
She nods to Mr. Gillis and watches him leave the room. She looks down and rubs her forehead,. Headache always followed. "I'm sorry..." She said quietly. She looked at him and took his hand, forcing him.to stop playing. "Spencer, I love you. I want to spend my life with you..." She shook her head. "But your life is so different than mine. People pay much closer attention to it and there are so many... expectations and...I'm worried. I'm nervous...I'm....." She looks away again and practically mumbles the next word. "Scared.."
Nadine was scared? This doesn't make sense in his mind--she was never scared. Of anything. His eyebrows go up as she talks. "But you're the bravest person I know. Lawks! I love you too... You're the only thing that matters to me. Well you and little Rose and Alexander... If I could give up my deuced title I would. But it doesn't work that way." He sighs. "I suppose if I committed an act of treason...I would lose the title then, eh wot? But lose you in the bargain." He kisses her hand. "What would make you less afraid? What can I do? Elopement? Run off to the continent?" He gets very quiet. "Not marry?"
Her face falls. She looks down. "I want to marry you. Desperately.....but what if I let you down?" She looks at him
This is, without a doubt, the strangest and most confusing thing she has said since entering his house today. "Did you mean to say, what if /I/ let /you/ down? That is much more likely, eh wot?"
She smirks a little. "I think we may let one another down but for entirely different reasons." She teases. "This title...I feel it comes with such responsibility. I'm street smart, Spencer. I have nothing to offer the upper echelons of society..."
"But that's where we balance each other, see? Faith, I don't think you'll be terribly surprised when I say that I am not street smart. But I know all about how to compliment the Earl of Beltinghamshire on his hunting dogs in a way that will seem sincere." He grasps her hands again. "I can give you some pointers, of course. If you want. And we can avoid society as much as possible...I've never been keen as mustard to take part."
She looks at him and smiles. "It will certainly be a change of pace to be coached by /you/ instead." she chuckles.
He laughs. "Lawks! Yes! That would be nice...I worry... um, sometimes that you must think me completely daft. I know I've made a cake of myself plenty, but..." He shrugs.
"Perhaps it is my turn to be the cake." She smiles and leans over to kiss him lovingly. She breaks apart slowly and sighs. "Do you suppose the continent is safe? For a wedding..."
He happily returns the kiss, feeling relieved to have navigated the several topics they have discussed. He tucks a loose bit of hair behind her ear. "Faith, I suppose it depends on where exactly you mean, eh wot? Do you mean..." he tries to think of places that might be important to her. "France?"
She shakes her head quickly. "No, most certainly not at all. If I am never back in France I will consider my time on Earth well spent." She laughs and shakes her head. "No.....but what of Ireland?"
He lights up at the suggestion. "Lawks! I haven't been there since I was a boy." He leans in and kisses her again. "Let the good people of Donegal welcome you properly then?"
She smiles and nods and releases a breath she didn't realize she had been holding. She was still nervous. She still felt it would be a disaster. But at least they would be thrown through it together. She accepts the kiss and leans her head against his. "I do so love you."
"And I love you. You've made me a better man--and a better father--than I ever thought possible. I know you will make these straight-laced society people better too."
She chuckles. "From the way you make it sound you are asking quite a task." She kisses his forehead. "When shall we make such a journey?"
"Whenever you wish!" He seems excited at first but then his face falls. "Unless you wish to meet my mother first. Lawks! I could try and get her to come sooner. Or we can just marry and have her meet you after." He gives her his boyish grin.
She sighs. "Well I suppose we should do this as properly as possible...perhaps we should meet with her first.”
He nods. "Alright. I'll tell her we away to marry in Ireland next month and see if that doesn't hurry her along, eh wot?" He gives her a long, slow kiss.