Jeremiah rubbed his face, trying to chase the exhaustion away. What had he been thinking? Had he been thinking at all? That must be it; he hadn’t. And by doing so, he feared he might have vitiated the tacit contract he established with Lady Thea. If it were the case, it would… he wasn’t sure what it would do. But it would be a terrible loss. One he didn’t want to contemplate.
He was going to lose Jonathan; his brother had few months left to live if that. He was the military man, he was supposed to die before his brother. Jonathan was the heir; he was meant to get married, continue the family. Not Jeremiah. But he would have to now. He was about to lose his brother; he couldn’t lose the woman he loved. He couldn’t lose Theodora. The realization hit him like a bullet in the gut. In his mind, he had tried to separate Thea from Theodora. While they physically were one and the same, he wasn’t certain about their psyche.
Theodora had lived her entire life under the restrictive rules society imposed upon women. The one occurrence of her refusal to conform was her work with Dashford… And that phenomenal dress she wore the night Philip introduced them. Otherwise, she acted quite demure, even though the Set judged her to be anything but. If only they knew!
That was the thing though; she had created Thea to remain anonymous, to explore the desire not to conform. During her nightlife she was taking control. Something she never could do as Theodora.
Yet, during their time together, she had moved from the dominant Lady to the young woman, who suffered from the constant disparagement from her peers. She trusted him enough to let him see the two facets of her personality. During their play she was Lady Thea, mistress of the room, a woman who embraced her desires and appetites. But once they were done, she reverted to the woman whose life was limited but whose mind and spirit reached for freedom. Thea enthralled him; but he was in love with Theodora. He had learned to know both. He had received a gift, since she hadn’t even trusted her twin with this secret. And he squandered it when he tried to persuade her to marry him.
She had allowed him to massage her after he surrendered; to reward him or maybe because she felt his pain at Jonathan’s rapid decline and offered some measure of peace. He learned the technique from one of the healers in Grenada; it wasn’t medicine per se, but it seemed to calm those in pain. He had practiced with Jonathan, but when he did it for Theodora after their play, it centred him to. Caressing her skin soothed him too. She’d melted under his touch. She’d felt like clay he could mold according to his movements. And he’d proposed. What an idiot!
Theodora would jump off of Buckingham’s rooftop before she agreed to marrying. He was fairly certain she loved him; he knew her limits even within the Club. But she allowed him into her intimacy to a certain point. But she would always fear that marriage might be another prison she wouldn’t be able to break out of. If only he could show her that it didn’t have to be so. He would offer her roses, red… like her fire, pink like her vulnerability, and something that could mean cleverness. He would have to ask his sister; she might know. Yes, he would do that. Next time he saw her.
In response to Mindlovemisery’s Menagerie Wordle prompt #208.
1. Rub, 2. Psyche, 3. Vitiate – spoil or impair the quality or efficiency of: development programmes have been vitiated by the rise in population. • destroy or impair the legal validity of: the insurance is vitiated because of foolish acts on the part of the tenant. 4. Rose, 5. Receive, 6. Occurrence, 7. Persuade, 8. Rooftop, 9. Nightlife, 10. Monstrosity, 11. Clay, 12. Pigeon.