The Duchess (Montgomery/Taggert 16) - Page 103

“I think I’ll write for a while,” he said, then picked up a silk robe, slipped into it, and walked out of the bedroom.

Claire was astonished. How could he tell a story like that, then just leave her? She had every intention of telling him of his rudeness as she angrily got out of bed, pulled on one of his robes, and went into his writing room. He was calmly writing away, utterly unaffected by the passion that Claire was feeling.

She opened her mouth to tell him what she thought of him, but then she saw that his hand was shaking as he held his pen. She knew then that he was as affected as she was.

She walked very close to him and whispered, “Teach me how to sit on your lap.” He dropped the pen instantly, his strong hands reaching for her, pulling her toward him. He taught her how to make love while sitting on his lap. He held her, caressed her, supported her weight as they made love.

If their nights were full of the pleasure of lovemaking, their days were full of other kinds of pleasure. Trevelyan had seen so much in his life, remembered all of it, and was willing not only to talk about it but to reproduce what he had seen. He showed her dances from Africa, games from India. He tried to sing folk songs from some of the countries he had visited, but he couldn’t carry a tune. Claire was able to piece some of the words and tunes together enough to re-create some of the songs.

They walked together and talked and laughed. He drew her into bushes and kissed her. He had a way of kissing the back of her neck that made her quiver with desire.

When they weren’t touching each other, he allowed her to read what he was writing. Once when Claire dared to make a comment, something to the effect that perhaps all his readers wouldn’t be interested in the measurements of the rocks of the walls surrounding Pesha, they had a fight. Or at least it became a fight when Claire forced Trevelyan into speaking to her again. After her comment, he merely walked away, saying nothing to her. He said nothing when she asked him a question. He said nothing when she kissed him. He said nothing when she whispered an invitation in his ear.

She told him he was being childish and he turned on her with a gaze that made her take a step backward. He told her that she was the child, that he had boots older than she was. Her first instinct was to run away and hide, but she forced herself to stand her ground. She told him that his age was one of the main things wrong with him, that he was of an old-fashioned generation and that he had no modern ideas. She also made comments about his being a backward Scot.

He told her what he thought of America; she told him what she thought of pigheaded men who wouldn’t listen to reason.

It was Nyssa and Brat who managed to stop the fight. Claire and Trevelyan had been yelling so loudly they could be heard outside. Nyssa and Brat came running up the stairs and stood against the wall, listening for a while, then Nyssa began to applaud. She told Brat to keep score and see who the winner of the argument was. The person who made the most vicious remarks won. She and Brat awarded Trevelyan four points when he made a derogatory remark about Claire’s parents. Claire countered with a statement that Trevelyan had no parents, that he probably hadn’t been wanted by his parents. Nyssa loudly declared that a death-blow when Trevelyan stomped out of the room.

Claire sat down on the yellow sofa, stunned at what had just passed between her and Trevelyan. She’d had no intention of saying the things she had. She knew nothing about his parents. How could she have said such things, and all because of his books? She’d had no right to criticize his books. What did she know anyway? It was just her opinion. For all she knew, his measurements were what his many readers liked the most.

Nyssa sat beside Claire and put her arm around her. “You had better go after him. He is like a wounded animal when he’s hurt. He will not get over this easily.”

Claire didn’t like it that Nyssa knew so much about Trevelyan, knew things that she, Claire, didn’t. But Claire didn’t have time to think about that now. “Where do you think he went?”

“To the old summerhouse,” Brat said. “He goes there often.”

Claire nodded. Here was someone else who knew what she did not.

Claire left the tower and started the long walk to the summerhouse. It was two miles at least, and she knew that Trevelyan would be walking very fast. Since he’d recovered his strength, his pace had increased until she couldn’t keep up with him.

He was sitting on a bench on the front porch of the little house, looking out toward the hills of Scotland. “What do you want?” he said to her, anger in his voice.

She sat beside him but didn’t touch him. “We said some awful things to each other.”

He didn’t bother to answer.

Claire knew that she had hurt him in some deep, deep way but she wasn’t sure how she’d done it. Was he so very sensitive about his writing? “I like your books,” she began. “I’ve always liked them. I like all of them. Every part.”

He looked at her as though he didn’t know what she was talking about.

“Your books, remember? That’s what we fought about.”

He looked back toward the hills. “Was it? Maybe I should leave out some of the measurements. Maybe I should write two books, one for people who want to know everything and one for the masses. For the masses I’ll tell all about Nyssa and the other beautiful women.”

“I think the world can do without that book,” Claire said stiffly.

“Maybe so,” Trevelyan said without much interest.

Claire sat by him in silence for a while. She’d already learned that Trevelyan could talk for hours, but he could also be silent for hours at a time. “If what I said about your books didn’t upset you, why are you angry at me?”

He looked at her in puzzlement. “I’m not angry at you. You have your opinion and I have mine.”

“But you are angry at me. You stomped out of the tower and came here. You were furious with me.”

Trevelyan looked at her as though she’d lost her mind, and Claire had her first experience of men rewriting history. “I did no such thing. I merely wanted some air.”

Claire wanted to shout at him but she knew it would do no good. The next moment she realized that he was keeping something from her. There was something that he didn’t want her to know. “What aren’t you telling me?” she asked softly.

Tags: Jude Deveraux Montgomery/Taggert Historical
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