For: Mutual pining + In vino veritas
It’s case after case, and nightcap after nightcap; the evenings drag longer and longer, and he finds that leaving her side gets more difficult with every visit.
Their intimate evenings together never turn into nights, never morph into lazy mornings, full of caresses and sighs - but their partings are full to the brim of lingering glances, and missed opportunities; of ‘wrong timing’s, and ‘too much ballast for lift-off’.
He laments that he’s never going to be liberal-minded enough for her - even if he’d like nothing more than to be as modern as the men she graces with her fleeting carnal attentions - and so he sits in her parlour, and drinks her whisky, and treats her as his equal in every sense of the word, and keeps away from her bed. He knows it’ll break him to leave her.
She regrets that she can never give him what she thinks he wants - even though he is the only man in the world with the smidge of a chance to sway her - and so she wears the brooch and the badge, and plays draughts, and keeps the parlour warm for his visits, but never flirts too close to the flame. She’d rather not have him at all than break his heart.
It’s thwarted love and miscommunications, misplaced nobility and gracious sacrifice; it’s mutual pining and yearning in a way that is all too well known to him and almost entirely alien to her. As is nearly always the case, both are completely oblivious and blind (’and dumb’, as a certain doctor would no doubt supply) to the depth of the other’s feelings.
Then, it’s a difficult case and a nightcap gone long, and there’s too much wine involved; the parlour is warm and the firelight dim, and her eyes are like stars, bright and otherworldly. He is slightly drunk, and she is more than tipsy, and her parted lips and the warmth of his gaze are fodder for rash decisions.
They fall into bed, entwined and gasping, moving as one in the darkness of her boudoir; there’re many double kisses, and sighs and cries, and intimacy that goes beyond her parted thighs. They do not speak of love, but they do feel it.
And the evening turns to night and morphs into a lazy morning.