Scarlet yawns and rolls over on her side. As the morning light seeps through her chamber’s window, she instinctively opens her eyes to find Carson lying next to her facing her direction. He is sound asleep snoring loudly.
“AAAAGGHHH!!” Her scream abruptly awakes Carson from his pleasant sleep causing him to stumble out of bed and fall flat on his back on the floor. He clumsily gets up and waddles as fast as he can to grab his trousers lying on the chair across the bed. Scarlet places a hand over her eyes at the sight of Carson stretched, sweaty undergarment clutching to his waist.
After overcoming the shock, she drops her hand and suddenly feels light-headed and nauseated and weakly says, “I remember the evening up till I passed out. Did… did we have coitus?”
At ease, Carson approaches the bed. “No. No. You were out cold by the copious amount of wine you drank last night, my dear.”
Her voice wavered as she spoke. “Then why were you sleeping with me?”
He calmly replies, “It was really late but I was concerned for your health so I stayed to keep a watch over you. I was exhausted, so I took a nap beside you. You have my word nothing happened, my lady.”
Feeling a little chilly, Scarlet looks under her covers and cries in outrage, “Why am I naked!!!” She instantly yanks the blanket up to her neck.
Shaken by the tone of her voice, he stammers, “yyouyour dddress wwawas ddidirty, mmmy llaaaady.”
Scarlet was uncertain if it was the excessive wine she drank last night or the revolting thought of having coitus with Carson that made her want to purge…or …both. Feeling so humiliated and violated, she wanted nothing more but to hide under a rock and die.
“So you took off my clothes while I was incapacitated without my permission?” She asks adopting a tone of moral indignation.
Carson hesitates and turns red. His skin now glistened with sweat but he nervously responds,” How… how could I obtain your consent when you were unconscious.” He immediately bites his tongue after the words spat out and quickly adds, “You you dddon’t recall but um…you said yes to my proposal last night so um… I assumed it was implied consent.”
Enraged, Scarlet turns to her night stand to find something to hurl at him. She notices a glass with remnants of wine from two days ago and instinctively drinks the wine to calm her nerves while reminiscing about the heavenly wines she drank last night and how this one tastes pale by comparison.
Scarlet shakes her head in denial dismissing Carson’s argument and comments, “The wines last night… something about them made them so tempting…I can not quite describe it.”
Carson freezes dropping his trousers on the floor.
Scarlet picks up on his guilt-striken expression and asks, ”Carson is there something troubling you… regarding the wines?”
“NNNo, Not at all your grace. Well, I should be off now.” He responds nervously and marches at full speed to the door but comes to a complete halt at the sound of his name.
He turns to look at the duchess.
“You forgot your pants.”
“Oh yes. Thank you, your grace.”
As he picks up his trousers, she adds, “I sense you are hiding something from me. Whatever it is, tell me now and be honest. And I will try my hardest to overlook your wrong doings up till now. However if I discover that you withheld information from me, particularly, that could potentially hurt me or put me at risk, I will see to it that not only will you be relieved of your duty but you will face a severe punishment. Do I make myself clear?”
“Yyyyes your grace and I would never do such a thing to hurt you. I…I… merely poured a…several vials of Elixir of Love in your wine.” He confesses lowering his head in shame and murmurs “and bribed the guards to leave us alone.”
Scarlet gasps and yells in fury, “You did what! What is wrong with YOU? Why would you do such a thing especially after I declined your affections!!”
“I beg for your forgiveness. I was following the advice to be more persistence. I assume that is what you wan… ”
Scarlet cuts him off. “Whose advice to be exact?”
Carson replies with a confused look, ”Why Deidre the acolyte of Faisal Salaam ibn Abd Al-Wasi ibn Ka…”
Cutting Carson off once again, Scarlet glowers and says with disdain, “Deidre…Of course.”
“Please do not be upset with Deidre. She is a friend with good intentions who only wanted to help me.” He pleas.
“Trust me, she has no desire to help you and her intentions are never good. She despises me and is using you to humiliate me. She cares nothing for you or your friendship. So, if I were you I would stop taking her advice and consorting with her entirely.”
He nods taking in Scarlet’s advice. Feeling relieved that her anger has now shifted to Deidre, he asks, “So now we are on good terms, about my proposal…”
She gives him the evil eye and tells him, “Mark my words. If you utter a word about this conversation with anyone especially Deidre or pull a stunt like this again, help me Goddess I will turn you into a mute and eunuch.
Now GET OUT!”
Carson gulps. He fumbles to put on his trousers and dashes out the door.
A second later he barges in and asks, “Sorry to intrude your grace. But wanted to confirm … so it’s a no, right?”
She rolls her eyes and throws the wine glass at him but he quickly closes the door behind him causing the glass to shatter upon impact with the door.
Scarlet shakes her head and ponders, “Hmm… That is it! Deidre has gone too far. I have no choice but to call upon my goddess for assistance… Also there is a matter of speaking with the guards… perhaps I am paying them too little. But first I will have to remove these sheets… or burn them from…”
She thinks about sleeping in the same bed with Carson and immediately regrets it. Feeling suddenly queasy, she reaches for a bucket.