Colonel Edward J. Attenborough, The Earl of Clarendon, was a man who had the confidence of an officer and the arrogance of the nobility. He held himself regally, as one would expect an Earl to do so. He sat across from the young lady, behind his desk, with a soft smile on his pale lips as he listened to her talk. He was a handsome man, perhaps in his mid thirties, who had arrived to serve in the Colonies only four weeks ago. The region of New England had made headlines in his local paper back home, but little was ever mentioned of the little Colony of New Hampshire. The colony he was sent to seemed to only act when Massachusetts, the more troublesome colony, called upon it to do so, and the little colony did so loyally.
Despite the colonies seemingly quiet disposition he had encountered fierce fighting from the rebels as soon as he disembarked from the boat and he had begun squeezing the colony hard. With the regular army fighting in Massachusetts and New York, his men rarely had the chance to go into open battle with the rebellion. Instead, they were shot at by the cowardice militia from behind logs and deep brush. To combat such an impossible fight the Earl had begun imposing strict restrictions on the colonials, placing more and more on prison ships as the weeks went on.
His reputation had grown and he was known as a ruthless, but not cruel, man. His soldiers, under direct orders from himself never stole food from the farms people, nor did they direct unwanted attention upon any lady, young or old. Despite his seemingly honorable behavior he was hated throughout the region.
Because of this Elizabeth Watson was surprised when she arrived at the British fort and was led in directly to the highest commanding officer in the region. She waited no more than ten minutes before she was brought into his study and introduced to him. She was immediately surprised by his young age and handsome appearance. His eyes were a bright brown, his face smooth and cultured and his eyebrows thin and neat. His grand red coat was decorated beautifully by blue trim and gold embroidery. His breeches were impeccably white and his black knee high boots recently polished. She could not see his true hair color, due to the white powdered wig he wore on his head. Over all, he was a romantic sight.
His polished, crisp accent met her ears gently as he spoke, "Colonel Edward James Attenborough, the Earl of Clarendon, at your Service."
He bowed his head slightly and placed a soft kiss to the back of her hand. As he did so, her lips parted slightly and she almost forgot what she had come to say. He asked her sit in the comfortable chair on the other side of his desk and waited for her to do so before taking his own seat. When he asked her how he could help her she swallowed hard, trying to wet her mouth and throat, both of which had become incredibly dry. Never in her life had she been in front of someone of such high society, nobility to top it off, and despite the fact that she had no love for the British government, the British soldier in front of her was intimidating and flustering.
"My older brother was killed at Bunker Hill," she informed him emotionlessly. The Colonel politely removed the smile from his face and nodded grimly. "My only remaining brother is ten, my sister is twelve. My father is all we have. I can't run the farm by myself and my brother and sister are too young to truly help."
He nodded, folding his hands in front of him, and let her continue her story. Normally he would have already interrupted her, but she was such an attractive young woman.
"My father has been arrested by your soldiers," she told him and fell silent. He was also silent a moment, waiting for her to continue on, but she didn't. Tears seemed to be pressing behind her eyes and she didn't trust herself to speak anymore or make the desperate plea she had set out to make.
"Your brother, God rest his soul, was a rebel I presume?" He asked and she nodded. "And your father shared this opinion?"
"Only vocally," she said and looked into her lap. "He lost an arm during the French and Indian war, he can't fight. He's harmless, truly, my Lord, he is. He took to drinking when Thomas died. He doesn't know what company he is in when he says such things."
Lord Clarendon nodded slowly and reached forward. He wrung a small bell and moments later a soldier walked inside.
"Soldier, get me the arrest warrants from the last…"
"He was arrested Monday," she explained.
"the last three days," he finished. The unnamed soldier saluted and left the room only to return with a thick folder. He handed it to the Colonel before saluting and once again leaving the room. The Earl of Clarendon opened the folder and leafed through it silently. "Your family name is Watson I was told?"
"Yes, my Lord," she answered and waited.
"George Moses Watson," he said and Elizabeth nodded her head quickly.
"That's him," she said.
"Warrant for the arrest of George Moses Watson on suspicion of high treason, sedition, and assault on a member of the King's army. And there is my signature at the bottom." He tapped the signature three times before sliding it over for her to read. "This is what I know, Miss Watson. Your brother died while fighting on the side of a treasonous rebellion. Your father vocally and proudly condemns His Majesty King George III and our Parliament -which my brother is a member of mind you- and were it not for his previous injury it is quite possible, even probable, that he would have joined the militia, or even the regulars. So, presuming all this is true, Miss Watson, please explain to me why I should rescind his punishment and let him return to his beautiful daughter and family."
His tone was not harsh or angry but matter of fact and he leaned back in his chair. Once leg was crossed over the other and his hands were folded in his lap. His thumbs circled around one another as he waited for explanation. Had her features not been so sweet and her disposition so seemingly gentle, he would have sent her away without another word.
"He won't cause any harm to your army," she said. He noticed the word choice of 'your' but let it slide. Rebel girl or not, she was quite a sympathetic character. "He has lost a son. Surely you can understand the grief a parent would feel from that, no matter what army he may have been in. If my father does not come back, we'll lose the farm. I won't be able to feed my siblings. Please, Colonel Clarendon-"
"Colonel Attenborough. Lord Clarendon," he corrected her. She licked her lips and his eyes fell to the pink muscle as it slid over her plump, red lips.
"I'm sorry Colonel," said her face flushed. "I don't know the rules."
"Many colonials do not," he said and smiled gently at her. "Where is your mother?"
"She died giving birth to my youngest brother," she told him sadly. "Papa never remarried."
As she spoke her eyes involuntarily went to his ringless left hand before going back to his face. Her throat hurt and she felt light headed. Her heart was beating frantically in her chest and she waited for the colonel to speak. He reached forward, took the warrant back and read it over silently.
"He assaulted one of my men," he said.
"He didn't!" she cried. "He was drunk and fell. His beer glass spilled on a blo- redcoat and he had him reported."
His eyes popped up at the slur that almost left her mouth and he smiled gently. Even though 'bloodyback' may have been more derogatory, he preferred it to 'lobsterback'. He gazed at her for a long moment before sighing.
"I am afraid there is nothing I can do for you," he said and watched her face crumple with devastation. "If I rescind one warrant…"
He trailed off and stood, despite this cue to leave however she remained in her chair. He could see the thought going on behind her eyes and so he didn't rush her. She looked up at him and he waited for the next plea to leave her sweet lips. When she did speak he was so utterly surprised that for a moment he was left stunned.
"Do you have a mistress?" she asked it, desperation evident in her voice and his eyebrows rose.
"Excuse me?" he asked after he recovered. She remained seated as she looked up at him. Her knees were shaking so badly she couldn't have stood if she wanted too.
"Do you need one?" she looked toward the window, her eyes wide as she tried to gather her thoughts. "I..I…"
"Are you making a proposition?" he asked and she looked back over at him. She didn't know if he was upset with the offer or tempted. He might have even been thinking about throwing her in jail for attempted prostitution and bribery of an officer.
"Yes," she said, forcing all her courage to the top and pushing through. His eyes turned hard as he looked at her and she swallowed hard.
"Say it," he said. "Say what you are offering, what you are willing to do. No one will say Edward Attenborough forced a woman into his bed."
Her heart leapt and her stomach tingled as he said it and she was forced to lick her drying lips once again.
"If you help me, I will go willingly to your bed," she said and Lord Clarendon looked her over. She was young, but marrying age, perhaps seventeen or eighteen, and beautiful. Not the beauty one would see at the British Court, but a sweet, innocent, country beauty that many of the colonial girls seemed to possess. When he didn't say anything she spoke again. "I'm a virgin."
The moment she said it she was unsure if it would persuade or dissuade him. Some men enjoyed the thought of a virgin, of being the only man to ever know her carnally. Other's though, cultured men like an Earl, would prefer woman who already knew how to please a man, a woman that they would not need to train so to speak.
"Clearly," was all he said. Despite having already known just by her demeanor, a shock of pleasure was sent to his loins as she said it. He took a few steps closer to her, his heavy boots matching the thud of her heart in her ears. He extended a smooth hand to her and she took it. He raised her up into a standing position and looked down at her body. His eyes lingered over the swell of her creamy breasts, glided over her slim waist, and ended their journey at her full hips. "If I am to free your father I require one other promise."
"Yes?" she asked and he looked down at her.
"You swear loyalty to me. No helping rebels. No supporting rebels. You will refer to me as my lord, not Lord Clarendon, and you come to me whenever I send for you."
"I promise," she said and added for good measure. "My Lord."
"Good," he said. "I accept."
Her heart sped up as he lowered his head to seal the deal with a kiss. She had been kissed one other time in her life, by Timmy Jenson behind her father's wood shed. That was two years ago when she was sixteen and he had been seventeen. Being kissed by an English nobleman she didn't know was much, much different. His lips were soft and warm and pressed against hers with firm gentleness. When it felt as if she would pull away prematurely he placed a heated hand to the small of her back and held her in place. He pulled back, keeping the kiss chaste and clean.
She sat down again as he let go of her back and her face was on fire. He admired the pinkness of her smooth skin for a moment before scribbling something on her father's arrest warrant. He rang the bell from before and the same soldier entered.
"Soldier, please escort Miss Watson to the Prison shipyard and release George Moses Watson," he said and handed the warrant to the soldier. "There appears to have been a foul up. Then, escort them both safely back to their farm house before returning here."
He nodded and his face remained blank, void of all judgment.
"Yes, my Lord Colonel," he said and looked to Elizabeth. She looked back to the Earl who had sat back down behind his desk. He looked at her, the same soft smile from before on his pale mouth.
"I will send for you," he promised. She nodded and with shaky legs, thanked the colonel, and left the room.
A/N: Tell me what you guys think please! Hope to carry on soon. Hope people like it.
Note, future chapters will be longer.