hawk1701 (hawk1701) wrote in by_jeeves,

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Title: No One the Wooster (Part 4-?)
Authors: hawk1701
Pairing: Jeeves/Wooster
Rating: PG-13
Disclaimer: I don't even own a decent pair of shoes. . .  how could I own Jeeves and Wooster? In fact, when was the last time I had a decent meal . . .?
Author's note: I’m unsure when this takes place exactly. It’s from Jeeves' POV. As well as the quick note that I could never write like Wodehouse did, and perhaps this being from Jeeves' POV I don't have to, but I would like to express my respect for the jeeves/bertie writers out there who write in the true Wodehouse style, you are extraordinary and have my permanent awe. And thank you to everyone who's been good enough to comment and give support and wait for such a dashed long time for a no-good writer such as me to post the next part.
Summary: Jeeves had to deal with a drunk Bertie, things happened, he's been paid a visit by Aunt Agatha, confronted Bertie (or was it the other way around?) and now they have both been ordered to Woolam Chersey after hearing that Aunt Agatha has arranged for Bertie to be married, and there seems no way out of it . . .

Comments are love. My head is spinning right now, there's sort of a few important plot twists in this chapter, I'm a bit nervous about it, but then I'm a nervous sort of person, so let me know what you think.

Suffice to say matters did not recommence between Mr. Wooster and myself as soon as his ardent, though still thoroughly distressed relative, left. I packed his things for the upcoming journey and apart from reiterating his desired “quiet night” we spoke not another word and left the following morning with the tawny light of dawn at our backs.

Woollam Chersey was built in a way that was meant to give the illusion of naturalism, nestled, or forcibly interjected more like, within the confines of what had been a charmingly secluded meadow, now a scattering of peacefully blowing trees on its outer edges halfheartedly giving the excuse that it’s nothing more than a summer cottage. It was not a convincing ruse, to anyone I should think, that appropriately sculpted stone was stacked and placed here as part of some ecological process. No, indeed, the gaudy structure blocked out the sun, casting a very large imposing shadow, cheating the charming meadow of its rightful rays of light, in fact cheating it of the meadow itself, the gravel set down for cars and carriages seemed a futile attempt at taming it, able to squelch any other resistance to civilization by the all encompassing shadow that with the rotation of the planet swept over the entire grounds.

As we drove up to the front door the sun was actually on us at the moment, the shadow elsewhere to the side, and though it wasn’t the hottest of days the gravel had heated under the sun’s rays and seemed to add to the trepidation with its rising heat. The car came to a stop, the motor was cut, and our two weary eyes were cast upward to the tip-most top of Woolam Chersey. The quality of silence, in stark contrast to the bustling streets and high population of London was fine indeed and it wasn’t without a degree of caution that I opened the door of the car and stepped out, disturbing this silence with the scrape of my shoes on the gravel and the shutting of the door behind me, immediately casting my long shadow over the ground.

            “Jeeves,” Mr. Wooster said, removing himself from the car as well, “I’m forced to assume a dismal mentality about all of this—I’m afraid the whole thing leaves a chap feeling utterly helpless against this thing called chance.”

            “Chance, sir?”

            “Chance that I wouldn’t be halfway around the world or in hospital or kidnapped by bandits when the time came for Aunt Agatha’s patience to finally run out.”

            “It was never my impression, sir, that patience was one of her key attributes.”

            “It bally well isn’t, Jeeves—I was just hoping beyond hope that she’d never reach the end of that blasted rope,” he heaved a sigh then glanced over at me, blue eyes squinting against the bright morning sun, “I don’t suppose you’ve thought of any way out of this, have you?”

            “I’m afraid not, sir,” I answered, eyes lowering, my fingers curling on the inside of my sleeves.

            “And . . . and this other thing—” he said carefully, “What about that?” When I didn’t reply right away, opening my mouth but not immediately finding a response he continued, almost hesitantly, “You led with the ignore suit, Jeeves, I’ll keep up with that, seems to be working,” he thumbed the pockets of his waistcoat, rocking back on his heels slightly, looking away over the grounds, “I’m trying to be smart about this, trying to use the ol’bean, and the only smart way to do this is . . .” his eyes flickered over to mine, briefly, “Is . . . to meet the girl.”

            The edges of his words, like they were accompanied by a cloudy day that promised only rain and gloominess, was a painful hopelessness, a sadness only amplified because he was trying so hard not to show it. He wanted to be the smart one now. Out of all the myriad of times I so ardently fought to intellectually rise over everyone else because I had to, because he had asked me to—they were suddenly caught topspin, roles reversed—I would have done anything to be able to not use my brains just this once.

            Without further delay we walked together to the door.

            The girl, and her name turned out to be Aurelia Moniz, was first glimpsed from within the parlor room holding a cup of tea across from Mr. Wooster’s aunt and a large painting of a Victorian gentleman which was leaning against the arm of the couch. When our presence was announced the relative and the painting remained sitting, Aunt Agatha’s expression as wound as a Swiss watch at half past six in the morning, while the girl stood in preparation of introductions.

My first impression, standing behind and somewhat to the right of my master, though if chivalry were more in practice I would have aimed to be in more of a frontal position so as to protect him, was that the smile spreading across her pleasant face, appearing both natural and practiced to perfection at the same time, was both a wonderful and terrible thing. She stood across from her painted gentleman and rather than appearing as if she’d just stepped out of the glamorous, finely painted picture, just having lifted her palm from the upturned hand of the fellow, she made it seem like the space around her was as near perfect as a painting, the golden curls of her hair like the gold leaf of the medals adorning the figure’s chest, her rosy checks the most perfect shade of cadmium red. And though I knew her to be of Portuguese decent she was fair and blue eyed, no doubt her father or grandfather held the true darkness of her past, but for her it only added to her mystique.

“Bertie, dear boy,” Aunt Agatha said in an almost nauseatingly sweet voice, “You’ve arrived—I’d like you to meet Aurelia Moniz.”

Mr. Wooster took the required amount of steps to carry him within arms length of the girl, holding out his hand, “How do you do?”

“How do you do?” she returned, taking his hand lightly in hers. Though it was hard to see from my vantage point, I believe she was looking him in the eye and there was little of any meekness to the gaze. Mr. Wooster smiled awkwardly, dropping his hand and his eyes. He glanced over at the painting, “Charming fellow—painter are you?”

“Not me,” she admitted humbly, “My father—he’s extraordinary. He painted this almost twenty years ago, I brought it as a gift for your aunt.”

“Nice of him,” Mr. Wooster said, “Dashed impressive talent too, nothing but respect for chaps of the Monet-what’s-it persuasion, born with it,” he shrugged, smacking his lips together and taking a deep breath, “Comes naturally, suppose—not to me, oh no, I’ve never painted so much as a teacup—hopeless with a paintbrush.”

“Bertie is wonderful on the piano!” Aunt Agatha quickly interrupted, standing up, “Very musical.”

Miss. Moniz’s dark blue eyes shifted over to Mr. Wooster’s Aunt, then back to him, and it was my impression that perhaps for the last half hour prior to our arrival she had had to endure an increased degree of hand-wringing on the elder’s part, nervousness of the initial introduction coupled with the shaky, if at all, faith she had in her nephews ability to make a good impression, causing a trepidation that would not have gone unnoticed by the young lady.

“Well perhaps we could take a walk in the gardens and get to know each other better,” she said, placing her arms behind her back and fluttering her eyelashes in a perfectly ordinary, innocent way.

            “Oh yes, quite, that would do rather nicely, sort of a long drive up here, our legs could do with a bit of un-cramping,” Mr. Wooster answered, smiling.


            Mr. Wooster frowned, “Well yes, the two of us,” he gestured once at himself then at me, inhaling sharply, “Well, I should say, Jeeves and I—”

            “Surely your valet won’t be joining us,” she said lightly, a note of disbelief evident in her voice. Her large blue eyes regarded Mr. Wooster from a cocked head, inducing a bout of indistinguishable mumbling that might have consisted of several wells, uhs, and whats before he darted his eyes from the assault and said, “No, I suppose not, uh—shall we go?”

            “Delighted,” she smiled, taking his arm.

In the briefest of moments, in the time it took to rearrange his direction toward the door, Mr. Wooster’s frightened eyes sought mine, if only for a moment, whereupon they proceeded toward the exit. And for one second, as I stared in quiet agony after him and his soon-to-be fiancé, the girls eyes flickered toward mine from over Mr. Wooster’s shoulder, making a brief but chilling contact, an intelligence and strange, indescribable knowing marked somewhere in their dark blue depths, and then they were gone.

I think I should make clear to the reader that the one of the things that higher society does not do on a very consistent basis, is make eye contact with servants or staff. In fact, we are meant to not even be seen, let alone acknowledged in such a way. I was shocked. It felt like someone had slapped me, so much was the distressed quality of that gaze, one that shouldn’t have been there to begin with, and for a few seconds I felt frozen by it. Why would she look at me?

But once Mr. Wooster and the young lady had taken their leave I was left to resume my own duties. And glad to as well. I wouldn’t get a chance to walk through the gardens with them, not that I’d want to unless it was to understand who she was, so I would have to gather my information on her elsewhere. All that for later though, I suppose. I have to go put the car away and get Mr. Wooster settled in. I quietly made my way outside to do just that.

            Though it us hardly my place to say, it appeared that the morning was offering the afternoon a tentative, if not reluctant wave from the horizon, checking its watch once more before allowing the harsher, noon-day light residence in the strikingly blue sky. The car skidded slightly upon the loose gravel as I turned into the garage, shuttering momentarily before I shut it off for good, the action giving me an unshakable feeling of finality upon getting out and shutting the door. I moved around back to extract the bags and upon turning on my heel was suddenly halted by the unexpected form of a large dark man standing not three feet from me. Since I hadn’t heard so much as the rustle of an unbuttoned jacket in the wind or loose pebble kicked across the ground I was startled near to the point of dropping all three bags I was carrying.

            “I beg pardon,” I said somewhat breathlessly, stepping backwards once not only for space but also to gather a better and more extensive observation of the fellow. He was large, as I said, a word I will use twice simply because it is his one, if not only, most prominent characteristic. He wore the clothes attributable to some sort of stable-hand, the addition of dirt and hay adding validation to this presumption, but otherwise his features were startling ordinary and I imagine if one were asked to recall him to a policeman there would be no distinguishable features in which to draw a description, other than large.

            “Are you Mr. Wooster’s man?” he asked and I noticed a faint accent, and in knowing Mr. Wooster’s future wife’s nationality I was able to deduce it was an infliction of Portuguese origin.

            “Yes, I am,” I answered, standing up straighter and though I am on the rather tall side myself, managing only to be almost his height, “And can I assume that you are under the employment of the Moniz family?”

            “Yes,” he said simply and I was forced to suppress an urge to fidget uncomfortably as his eyes looked me over from head to foot, though if he was impressed or disappointed there was no way to tell, like the ambiguous Greek faces upon a million sculptures of their time he offered no expression from which I could draw any conclusions.

            It was with hesitancy that I drew my brows together in a slight frown and asked, “Is there some sort of matter you’d like to discuss with me?”

            “Is your master familiar with horses?” he asked.

            I shifted the bags in my arms, licking my lips, “No, I don’t believe he’s so much as ridden a horse,” I answered, “Miss Moniz has how many animals does she?”

            “My lady has four, and I shouldn’t doubt that she’d like to take them out during your stay.”

            “That shouldn’t be a problem,” I said, his dominating presence and fierce eyes starting to wear on what had already been a nervous resolve, “Mr. Wooster can be very adaptive when needed to be.”

            “He’ll have time to get used to the beasts,” the man nodded, “He’ll have to—my lady is a very demanding woman.”

            “Is she?” I ventured, attempting to ascertain if I couldn’t extract some inside information on the woman.

            “Almost impossible to get everything done,” he said and maybe for the first time I noticed a change of tone in his voice, this time adopting an almost desperate tone, “But can’t do otherwise, you know what I mean?”

            “Yes, I do,” I admitted and there was a small pause as I endeavored to steady my heart rate and ignore the sweat I could feel coming  to my upper lip.

            The fellow nodded and then his eyes shifted to either side of him, over his shoulder, and he leaned in even closer and I hadn’t thought it possible he could seem more menacing, “That’s why she gives us a little help, you see.”


            He reached into his coat pocket and extracted something wrapped in crinkled foil, “I don’t know what we’d do without this—it’s the only way we get things done, which means the only way we avoid her,” he said, holding his large hand out and revealing that inside the foil was a piece of chocolate which he broke in half, holding it out to me, “You should eat some, do you a world of good.”

            I lowered the bags to the ground and let my eyes drop for a moment to the piece of chocolate, then back up to his face, “Your employer gives you chocolate to help you work?” I asked questioningly, frowning.

            “Take it,” he said, forcing it into my hand, “I promise you won’t regret it—she’s a powerful woman, believe me,” he said, watching me intently, waiting for me to obey.

“I really don’t think—”

“You’d do well to just eat it, friend,” he said and I nearly shuddered at the way he said friend.

 And simply because it seemed the only way to assure his retreat and because I was feeling increasingly ill at ease I lifted the piece of chocolate to my mouth and took a bite though I can’t say it tasted sweet at all. It had the ashy, unappealing taste of something eaten while upset and I swallowed it without even attempting to enjoy it.

I lifted the bags again and tried working my tongue around my mouth, ridding it of the taste as discreetly as possible, “Thank you,” I said, “But, I really have to get back to work. I’ll no doubt be working with you and her lady’s other staff quite a lot in the near future.”

“That’s right,” he said, finally taking a step back, “Once the wedding’s done it’ll be like you’re working for her, really.”

“Almost,” I said and nodded once more, turning to go.

Hefting the bags more comfortably in my arms I set out across the yard to the side door, stopping only once to look over my shoulder and saw that the man had disappeared and was no where in sight. I let it abscond from my mind for the time being, planning to ruminate on it later, but not now. I had work now.

That wasn’t mentioning all the other things I had to think about. In fact, right now my mind is occupied with several other areas, areas vastly different than Miss Moniz’s rather odd employees or why she might be feeding them chocolate on a regular basis or if Mr. Wooster will or will not be able to stay in the saddle if forced to engage in some kind of horse related activity over the course of our stay.

             It was as I was working that I attempted to sort out, to the best of my abilities, what I was going to do about the whole situation. It was a difficult situation, I must say, and it is with a gathering sense of dread that I admit it is one to which the answer was not initially obvious or even attainable as far as I could see, and all I was successfully doing up to this point was panicking. I usually try and avoid panic, fear, whenever I can. I don’t claim to be master of all my fears, I do have them, but it is possible to out think fear. When I was young, fear was crippling and it became clear, one night or other spent locked on the balcony, that fear robs one of reason, intelligence, it makes us no better than animals.

In an automatic, habitual way I set to work, unpacking clothes, hanging them up and so forth, and it seemed important, at least during the preliminary stages of analysis to ascertain what my feelings for Mr. Wooster, exactly, are.

However, upon barely a second thought, half a thought later, it seemed obvious that such a revelation, indeed it would be a revelation, was impossible to the point that it might as well not even be a factor. Out of many, many factors I should have felt relieved at the chance to eliminate one but I most certainly wasn’t. Mr. Wooster was important to me. Much more than all these other things are.

I care about him. There, I said it. Well, thought it. But I did think it, it’s a step, a step in the right direction, or rather in the wrong direction, but at least it was an action, at least I wasn’t running around the same circle of thoughts over and over. No, I’d thought it. I care about him. I love him. God, I said love. I love him. Do I love him? Yes, yes, like the clouds love the rain I love him. Without rain there would be no clouds without clouds there would be no rain, I love him, I love everything he does, I love everything he says, I love him, love him, love him. I want to be with him. Want to be part of him, want to know him and own him. I don’t want to be his valet I want to spend mornings in bed with him, I want to rouse him not by pulling curtains or saying good morning, I want to reach my hand under the covers and stroke him, want to kiss him behind his ear, want to nibble across his collar bone, want to—I can’t think that though. I can’t. Can not. Terrible I even let myself get that far.

Alright, alright, I thought to myself, get a hold of yourself.

But god, I love him—I do. Doesn’t matter how many times I tell myself not to think it, I’ll just think it ten time more until it wears itself into the lining of my brain and its impossible not to. He’s just so perfect and lovely and no one else sees it! Oh, the things I could do for him, the things I would do for him, I would love him, I would make him scream.

Mr. Wooster. Suddenly it seemed odd, in the middle of my thought process, something of a problem, when not even in my mind I called Mr. Wooster by his first name. In fact, it could be that if the time would ever come, if the opportunity, not in this reality certainly, would arise that we were together, parallel, skin on skin, breath and breath, perfectly perfect, and I was giving him all he wanted and deserved and heat and love and heat and everything, that when I let words mix their way in with my gasps I would be saying Mr. Wooster instead of, of . . . Bertie. I imagined it screamed out, cried out in ecstasy, Bertie, Bertie, Bertie.

But really, none of that is very likely though is it? But then many things are unlikely and only a handful of things are positively likely. Things like that men like Newton found out with apples falling, knowing they will always fall, knowing, and really knowing that this is it, this is the truth, those are all likely and true. Why do people bother with the unlikely? People claim that the universe is full of endless possibilities but it’s not, it’s really only the likely. In fact everything is so simple it’s humanity’s greatest flaw to try and muck everything up—it’s utter madness, utter, complete and wholly without a pause of any kind, to gather one’s breath or switch on a light before entering a room or waiting for the listener to take a sip of tea before continuing—madness! We know, we have known, ever since Newton told us—this is it, this is simple—and then we can’t accept it! Why can’t we have listened to the fellow!? He was telling us something we can know, something real, and we listened, we agreed, and why wouldn’t we believe it?

 Because even more than our desire to complicate everything is our desire to write huge books and scribbled chalk on boards and gather in circles that nod and say thing like ‘ah, yes, I see’ even if we don’t see, we just want to be part of something, of humanity. Just like the apple, we at least know we’re all human.

I’m human, you are, and so is Mr. Wooster. We’re wonderful and lovely in a two arms, two legs, and a minimum of ten toes kind of way, and that, that simplicity, thank you, Newton, is comfort enough, solace to anyone who might need it. Does it make me feel better? Do I feel perhaps relived to know that since I am human and he is human that we’re perfectly matched? Newton might say we are. The numbers five and seven make the number fifty-six, why can’t Mr. Wooster and I make an equally compelling and gorgeous number? I could be with him! I don’t care about this job! It’s just a job! It’s nothing to me! I don’t care about cleaning or clothes or shoes or cuff links, I honestly don’t buggering care! I only want him!

            Part of me, a large part, insists that it’s not possible. But the want, childish though it seems—don’t we tell our children that what they want and what they need are two totally different things—is so strong I must insist, silently—I want to be with him. So simple is the statement, and there is no hint of the word ‘employment’ or anything that says I can’t walk barefoot through the flat, it’s just it.

Blinked, suddenly, like maybe I hadn’t been. Stepped back a bit.

Well, I thought, suddenly looking at my work, I got everything done. Rather quickly. For a moment I stood, in the middle of the room, like I’d just gotten there, and looked around me, seeing everything I’d done and didn’t immediately remember doing them. Odd, everything looked perfect but it seemed unusual because I don’t remember doing them. Although once you’ve done something enough times I suppose there’s no need to pay attention to details or speed or anything, you just do it. 

I stood for anther moment, hoping this one, this moment, would offer the answer to the question of why, why I was suddenly standing her, completely unaware of, totally unable to recall, but then why would I recall, its not as if it’s important, its not, I just do my job, and can usually remember doing it.

I suddenly felt like I was swaying and I looked at the carpet and saw it blur and bend and swirl and I ran a hand through my hair, finding my skin cold and clammy. And I couldn’t just stand there, one moment was too many, I needed to move. But where, what could I do? The room looked perfect, what could I do? I focused on the bed, and suddenly all the layers of sheets and blankets seemed completely and utterly askew and I shrugged and tore them from the bed. They simply can’t be such a mess, it’s a disgrace. They must be lined up. Perfectly.

 Not to mention, not to think of, not to offer even the most pleading notion or the smallest morsel of a thought involving sheets and Mr. Wooster and naked flesh, naked, twisting, perfect in the sheets, the creaminess of his skin on the white cotton, the blue of his eyes reduced to slits as his fists grip and tear and pull at the sheets, his hair almost golden and lovely. Saying my name, he would be saying my name, and I could do more, oh so much more than darn his socks, so so much more.

            But the sheets aren’t acting right, They aren’t lining up. They aren’t lined up. I hoped on the bed and stared at the top two corners. Lord, this was impossible, no way, no way in hell would they match up, they’ll never match up.


            “Sir?” Sat back on my heels, suddenly aware, deeply, insuperably aware, he was in the room, “I’m sorry, I didn’t see you there, I was trying to make the bed, it’s been giving me difficulty, I can’t seem to make it line up for some reason.”

            “Yes . . .” he said and my eyes wouldn’t focus on him as he closed the door after him and strode into the room, “Well, I’m back now, as you can rightly see—I’ve been sunned, charmed and put right on center stage and I think maybe—I say, Jeeves, are you alright, you seem a bit jittery.”

            “Am I alright, sir? Yes, yes, quite alright, thank you, sir. It’s just these sheets are terrible, completely incorporative, I can’t imagine what the problem is, really, I’ve been working all the time you were gone, got everything done of course, but these sheets are—you were gone, did it go well, I mean, how is she, how does she seem?”

            “Jeeves,” he said much too slowly, “Is there something the matter?”

            “What?” I sat back on my heels and then back on my arse so I was sitting on the bed, one leg over the side, and my mind sorted and  brought up a million answers and I didn’t know which one to say, “Well, actually, I admit I’m a little—I’m sorry sir, I seem to be a bit distracted,” I brought a hand to my head and was tremendously aware that he’d stepped forward and had lifted one knee to the bed so he could lean in and place a hand on my forehead, a look of concern heavy on his face.

            “Jeeves, you’re all sweaty and shaky—you’re not alright, what’s happened?”

            “I don’t know, I don’t know,” I said and closed my eyes which felt hot and feverish, his hand still on my forehead.

            “Well just calm down, you’re alright, just take it easy,” he said.

            I caught his hand in mine, the one on my forehead, and brought his knuckles to my lips, kissing them warmly.

            “Jeeves,” he said, but didn’t pull away.

            I kissed every one, each perfect knuckle, moving to the fingers, not even bothering to look at his face, able to feel his pulse through his wrist. Kissed the beating there, licking my tongue out at the faint throbbing.

            “Jeeves,” he said, and I felt a small resistance, “Hold on a moment,”

            I looked up at him and saw his lips, his perfect lips, so brilliant, with a lower lip that begged to be sucked, an upper lip which pleaded to be licked, a mouth, eyes that seemed to be calling to me, I couldn’t resist.

So I didn’t—I rocked forward on the bed and caught his lips in mine, hungry, so hungry, needing, wanting—the sensations so extraordinary, so intense, that lips weren’t enough and I brought my hands to his shoulders and oh—what shoulders, I could hold them forever! Every one of my nerves had been maximized tenfold, I could sense every fiber of cloth in his shirt, I could feel every inhalation he took into his lungs through my fingertips. I sucked once at his lower lip, his breath tickling over my mouth, eyes fluttering shut, sliding one of my hands from his shoulder down over his chest. His tongue slid from between his lips and I felt it meet mine, mouth opening, letting me in, and I groaned in pleasure, he tasted so good, so wonderful, so deeply him I wanted it all. He kissed back, he was kissing me back, his hand at my neck, tickling my hair line before it went to my shoulder and I felt him push. Pushing away?

            “Jeeves!” he gasped and I was suddenly aware we weren’t kissing, “What are you doing? Stop, you mustn’t do this, I mean it.”

            “Don’t say stop,” I said, “Please, sir,” I said and put a hand on his thigh, sliding up toward his crotch.

            “Jeeves!” he exclaimed, jumping up, “I say, I thought we talked about this—have you gone mad?” he asked, voice cracking.

            “Sorry, sir,” I breathed, “Sorry, sorry, sorry—I don’t feel well, I don’t—I really don’t, and I don’t know why! Suddenly I can’t sit still, I can’t slow down, I’m thinking a mile a minute, I can’t slow it down!” I stood up and started to pace, breathing hard. What was the matter with me? I shouldn’t be acting this way.

            “Are you ill?” he asked in near panic, eyes wide, shrugging helplessly, one hand running over his mouth quickly as he tried to seek out answers, eyes following me as I paced, “You haven’t been drinking—maybe you ate something, or—”

            “That’s it!” I interrupted, stopping for a moment in the middle of the room then starting again, “Christ, the chocolate.”

            “Chocolate? What chocolate?”

            “He gave it to me—one of Miss Moniz’s men—lord, I should have known, he practically—but what? What was in it?”

            “Hold on,” Mr. Wooster said, “Are you saying someone’s poisoned you?! We have to call the police!” he sidestepped in front of me, right in my path, stopping me with a hand on my arm.

            “No!” I shouted.

            “Someone tried to kill you!”

            “They drugged me, they didn’t try and kill me,” I corrected, and I could feel my shoulders shaking as I stood, one of his hands on my arm, the room blurring around me, all except his face which was clear.

            “Drugged you?” he let out a startled breath, “What?”

            “No, I’ll be alright, I think,” I pushed him lightly out of the way and kept moving, holding a hand over my mouth, “I don’t know, I can’t sit still, I feel—I feel terrible, and wonderful, I feel so alive, I’m thinking a million things at once and I can’t even tell you what one of them is,” when I rounded again on him, his face frightened and appalled I stopped, “I’m sorry, sir, so sorry,” I tried catching my breath, “I’m sorry, I can’t control this, I’m trying—”

            “Stop saying sorry!” he nearly shouted, “I’m not mad at you,” he gave a bitter, rasping sigh, eyes glancing toward the door, then back to me, for a moment silent, pensive, tongue playing along the inside of his cheek, “This is an extremely unusual situation, Jeeves, and what I’m going to ask now will seem even stranger—I’m afraid our roles will have to be reversed for the time being, at least until whatever this is wears off, so just tell me, what can I do to help you?”

            “I just need something to do,” I said, “I think, not sure, but I heard about something like this being used with the Germans during the war, I never thought I’d experience it, and its beyond me why they’re being given it, besides the obvious of course, overall its not unpleasant, though I don’t think I could feel this way all the time.”

            “Right,” he said, hands together in front of him, “So you need something to do, um,” he bit at his lower lip, eyes to the ceiling, “Give me a moment, one minute, all right? Do not leave this room, alright? I’ll be back in the smallest of moments.”

            “Yes, sir,” I acknowledge and he darted out of the room in haste.

            When he got back he was carrying a large wooden chest, closing the door behind him and carrying the chest to a table by the window where he set it down with a huff, “Well, you’ll like this, found it in sort of a dodgy back room, over in the eastern corner of the manor,” he gestured in what I assumed was the direction in question, “And I told my insipid relative that I was sick, could barely stand, simply must take a nap before doing myself serious injury and she seemed to buy it, so,” he shrugged, “We should be safe.”

            The chest was full of very old, very tarnished silverware. We set to work polishing it right away, sitting at the table with the drapes drawn. No words were spoken and besides a nervousness and worry I could feel resonating off of Mr. Wooster in waves he seem intent to sit there and polish with me, if that’s what it took. I simply needed to do something, something to focus on, and I admit, this was helping. But after a time the silence was getting to me and I had to say something to him and for once my inhibitions were not in the way.

“I should never have kissed you back,” I said, paused, “My thoughts, my feelings about you, or all of this, don’t ultimately matter . . .”

            “You have them, so they matter,” he said simply. He reached for another fork and turned it around in his long fingers, brow knitted, mouth screwed to the side, “What do you say, are these two hundred years old? Dread the day I’ll ever have to nibble a turnip off of a piece of silverware that looks like this, let me tell you,” he picked up a rag and I felt his eyes flicker to mine, watching me carefully, worry straining his next words, clashing with his forced casual tones, “There’s nothing wrong with feeling something for someone,” he stopped polishing to hold the silver out in front of him, turning it in a way toward the light that made it glint and shine, then he looked back at me, “Feeling better?”

“Yes, sir,” I answer, hands at work, focusing, almost, on polishing in the most repetitive, comforting, thorough way I knew, lining each one up back in their case so they looked perfect. I took a break long enough to look up, if only for a moment, eyes darting from his long fingered hands which really were terrible at polishing silverware, then up to his face and saw relief when I finally met his eyes.

“Don’t worry about any of this now,” he told me, “I haven’t the faintest idea of what’s going on at the moment, but remember I’m playing you and you’re playing me, which means I’ll have it all figured out in no time,” he raised his chin, nodding with pride, then his blue eyes lowered and a sad smirk slid over his lips, “You’ve had to deal with me enough times . . .”

“I didn’t mind,” I said.

“You’re a terrible liar,” he responded, getting back to polishing and supposedly back to trying to figure all of this out.


Look! Links! Parts 1, 2, and 3 (in that order)




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