“…and then she allowed me to hold and comfort her for some time while she cried”, concludes Carson, offering more tea to the young woman.
Deirdre nods her head in response, setting her cup on the table.
“Thank you, Captain. I’m sorry your grand gesture didn’t go as planned. Although, I’m perhaps more hopeful than you are at the moment.”
The little man gives her a confused look. “The duchess was quite clear that she did not return my feelings…”, he says hesitantly.
“Of course she did”, begins the young woman. She is about to continue when she pauses and looks at Carson more seriously. “Oh… oh dear… You expected her to agree on the first try, didn’t you? Oh my friend, you have much to learn about women, and how the game is played. She isn’t supposed to give in on the first approach. You have to prove your determination and devotion by trying again. That’s why she was so vulnerable and allowed you to comfort her. You must not abandon the chase.”
Carson looks uncertain. “I don’t know. She seemed pretty firm about her lack of feelings…”
“The palace servants have long gossiped about the number of times Scarlet refused Duke Talreth, and how many, many visits he still made to her chambers to plead his love. And they are very clear that he eventually won her affections despite the protestations that she had no feelings for him. Before she found out about her parentage, of course.”
“I suppose…”, Carson stands to refill the tea pot with hot water, shaking his head. “But I am no Duke Talreth, and she seemed very clear…”
As his back is turned, the young woman’s body suddenly becomes more rigid in the chair.
“Do not act like a sniveling child. It is strength and determination that she respects, not hesitancy and cowardice. You must win passion with passion itself.”
Carson turns quickly in surprise, slopping hot water out of the pot and splashing it across the acolyte’s robes. The young woman cries out in surprise and confusion, toppling from the chair as the officer drops the teapot and scrambles to help.
“Are you all right?! I’m so sorry, acolyte!”, he helps Deirdre back into her chair, failing to notice the woman’s confusion and disorientation. As she waves off his help, mumbling about being fine, he turns back to the mess on the floor. “Well, so much for another pot of tea…”
Collecting herself, Deirdre rises, shrugging off the matter. “Do not trouble yourself, Captain. I should attend to my duties at any rate.”
As the acolyte reaches the door, she turns back. “Oh! I’d forgotten the original purpose of my visit, Captain. I need to take an extended trip in service of The Lady of Light and Justice, and I was hoping that you would be able to spare a few of your men to escort me. I might be gone for some time, and travel is far too dangerous for a woman by herself.”
Carson smiles and gives an exaggerated bow. “Say no more, my friend! I have just the man for you. He shall be at your service immediately.”
Deirdre gives a small curtsy, “Thank you, Captain. And remember what I have said about determination…”
Carson gives her another bow.
“Your words have inspired me, Lady Deirdre. I shall not give up until I win the fair Duchess’ heart.”