A Life of Duty - Return to Portsmouth
Edrington entered the breakfast room to find Archie already there.
two nodded "Good Morning" to each other, as Edrington
ordered his tea.
He straightened his already impeccable uniform jacket before he
himself. Archie, unaware Edrington knew Josephine had been with
his room the night before, affected an air of nonchalance, but
suppressed excitement over the events of his last conversation
Josephine betrayed itself.
"Where is Viscountess Silverthorne this morning, Mr. Kennedy?"
Edrington asked as he glanced towards the kitchen, and a glimpse
tea and breakfast.
"I believe she is packing, my lord." Archie replied.
Edrington pinned him with a glance, but hesitated in his response
because of the arrival of his food.
"I need to return to Portsmouth today, my lord. If I don't
Captain Pellew will wonder if I've deserted." Archie continued.
"I see." Edrington absently stirred his tea. "I
shall also return to
Portsmouth, Mr. Kennedy."
Archie nodded. Both men jumped to their feet as Josephine entered
room. With a smile, and a wave of her hand, she tried to stop
"Good morning, my lord, Mr. Kennedy." she greeted them.
Archie rose to assist her with her chair. Before he sat back down,
fingertips lightly brushed her neck. She looked up at him, and
circles under his eyes.
"Mr. Kennedy tells me you will be leaving today, Viscountess."
"Yes, my lord," she began.
"Has Edwards finished the preparations?" Archie interrupted.
Josephine looked at him suspiciously. As the pause grew longer,
Edrington silently glanced from one to the other.
"My things are being taken care of as we speak." she
"Lord Edrington is leaving today, as well."
Josephine looked up at Edrington, and he nodded stiffly. The three
in uncomfortable silence, before Edrington abruptly rose to his
"Viscountess, Mr. Kennedy, if you will excuse me, I must
see to the
preparations for departure." He bowed slightly. As he walked
glanced back over his shoulder to see Archie and Josephine join
their heads moved together in a quiet conversation. I wonder when,
IF, she left his room last night, Edrington thought as he turned.
"Archie, why didn't you tell Lord Edrington I will be going
Portsmouth with you?" Josephine asked.
Archie blushed as he looked at their entwined hands. His hair
his eyes as he looked down. Gently, she tucked it back, so she
capture his gaze.
"He will disapprove." he answered softly.
Josephine, hearing the underlying stress of all the disapproval
had suffered, merely pressed his hand in response. At the gentle
pressure, Archie looked up, his face pale.
"Did you sleep at all, my love?" Josephine asked with
"I did, but...." his voice trailed off.
Josephine waited to see if Archie would continue his thought,
a long pause, she spoke. "But last night so many things happened
made sleep difficult?"
Archie grinned as he caught the vaguely wry tone to her voice,
heard the sincerity. He looked at Josephine, and saw she too didn't
appear to have slept much or well. His expression changed to concern.
"Josephine?" he tried to catch her eye, but she reached
for her tea.
As she drank, Josephine mentally berated herself. You weren't
let him see your fatigue! In her mind's eye, she saw Archie flinching
away from her during the conversation when Simpson's name was
You weren't going to let him know that pain haunted your dreams.
she set the cup down, and, after taking as deep a breath as was
raised her eyes to meet his.
"I am fine," she answered, schooling her expression
into a smile, "Your
proposal...." her voice faded as she saw the radiance take
"I know, my love." Archie smiled. With matching expressions,
finished their breakfast, and left to attend the final preparations
With Josephine's trunks packed, and the carriages readied, Lord
Edrington, Archie, and Josephine exited the Lion's Heart. Anna
Edwards finalized the last details for the journey. Lord Edrington
looked at the couple, arm in arm, and cleared his throat. Archie
up, and saw Edrington nod towards his carriage. Josephine also
exchange, and with a slight blush extracted her arm.
"Perhaps you should ride with Lord Edrington." she said,
looking down at
Archie looked back and forth between the two before responding,
might be more proper..."
Josephine turned to enter her carriage. Gallantly, both officers
to assist her. Smiling slightly at Archie, Josephine accepted
Edrington's offer to hand her into the carriage. Edwards gently
the door after her.
"We will soon be there," her tone and words soothed
Archie followed Edrington to his carriage, but his eyes remained
Josephine. He hesitated a moment before following Edrington in.
The Carriage Ride - Josephine and Anna
Josephine sat twisting her handkerchief in her hands. Distractedly,
listened to the crack of the whip, the crunching of the carriage
and the voices of the drivers. Anna quietly watched her mistress.
"Is anything wrong, mum?" Anna asked tentatively.
Startled from her thoughts, Josephine jerked. "No, Anna,
nothing wrong." but her voice was sad.
"Why are we going down to Portsmouth?" Anna couldn't
"I am going to Portsmouth to protect my reputation."
still held the melancholy note. "I am going to marry Mr.
he sails again." her whole countenance brightened as she
Anna didn't respond, but she smiled as she looked out the window.
seeing Anna had turned away, Josephine let her mind drift. 'What
happened to Archie? He's so adamant about protecting me from these
unmentionable things in his past, but I think he's really protecting
himself from the memories.'
Restlessly, she shifted in her seat. Without thinking, she pulled
letters out again. She searched the early notes for any indication
those early days aboard the "Justinian" but Archie hadn't
anything solid for her to glean. 'He's endured so much pain.'
filled with tears as the memory of Archie's expression and demeanor
asserted itself. 'How can I make it easier if he won't let me?'
"Mum," Anna started before she turned back from the
window and saw
"Yes, Anna." Josephine pulled herself out of her thoughts.
"Your wedding..." Anna's voice trailed off as Josephine's
brightened, "Mr. Kennedy makes you happy."
Tears welled in Josephine's eyes as she answered, "Yes, Anna.
Kennedy makes me happy." Mentally she added, 'He completes
me, as I
The Carriage Ride - Archie and Edrington
For miles the two men sat without speaking, lost in their thoughts
the carriage following and the implications their time in Haselmere.
Edrington finally broke the silence.
"Mr. Kennedy," he began.
"Yes, my lord?" Archie answered, looking up with his
Edrington cleared his throat hoping for some inspiration, "Viscountess
Silverthorne is following us to Portsmouth, why?"
"She and I are to be married before the Indy leaves on our
sir." Archie couldn't keep the smile from his voice, though
manage to stop it from crossing his face.
Edrington sighed as he thought, I knew this was going to happen!
still so wounded by Horatio's death, so he's racing into this
a refuge from that pain.
"I know this seems indecently hasty..." Archie's voice
Edrington's thoughts. "But we have been promised to each
years, and after having her join us in Haselmere, we need to marry
preserve her reputation."
Edrington didn't say anything, but, when he looked up, Archie
the disapproval etched into his features. Absently, Edrington
his queue. The look began to fade as he watched the changing expressions
cross Archie's face, first genuine concern, then a brief glimpse
complete joy, followed by sorrow mixed with regret.
"I have no rank over you, Mr. Kennedy, other than birth,"
started, "so I cannot recommend, or order, you to do anything.
may I urge you to consider what you are doing? You have just lost
Archie interrupted, "My lord, I am not trying to replace
Josephine, if that is your concern. My only regret is that Horatio
here to share this joy." he stopped as his voice caught.
his throat, Archie continued, "I never even told him about
At the pain in Archie's voice, Edrington's throat closed with
tears. The carriage was silent except for the road sounds. Edrington
gazed out the window trying to collect himself.
"Why introduce her to your shipmates now?" he asked
There was a long pause before Archie spoke. "My lord, I don't
leave again without letting her be there to see me off. She has
source of constant support, or as constant as she could be considering
our distance and difficulty communicating. I want all the men
there is someone elsewhere who cares about me, and whether I am
dead." his tone grew defiant as he completed this thought.
Edrington didn't respond, but Archie's words echoed in his mind.
than Mamma, can I say that about ANYone? he thought. With an almost
painful stab of realization, he realized, no, there isn't.
Uncomfortably, Edrington shifted in his seat. He kept his eyes
on the window, hoping Archie was too caught up in his own thoughts
feelings to notice his reaction. Archie watched him from the corner
"My lord, you do understand my reasons, don't you?"
"Preservation of a lady's reputation is of great importance,
Kennedy." Edrington pompously replied. "Of course, none
of this would
have been necessary if you hadn't requested her to join you."
Archie wrinkled his nose. Just as that expression crossed his
Edrington looked directly at him, and had a sudden coughing fit.
He tries so hard to be fierce, Edrington thought, as he collected
himself. For a moment that expression had juxtaposed with their
encounters - buffered by Horatio. Even though he's physically
than Horatio, there's still the aura of delicacy about him, Edrington
thought as he studied Archie covertly. He looks so forlorn until
Josephine - she seems to bring out a part of him that no one ever
Edrington felt another stab of jealousy for the relationship -
because of Josephine, but because of the caring of another person.
Archie pulled out his copy of "Henry V" and leafed through
His throat caught as his eye found the passages Horatio had copied
for him, and his hand touched his pocket to feel the slight crunch
the paper. His eyes closed as his expression turned bleak.
"Do you still disapprove of my decision, my lord?" Archie's
Startled, Edrington looked at him before turning to the window.
Mr. Kennedy, it is not for me to approve or disapprove. Would
As soon as the question was out of his mouth, Edrington regretted
Archie looked down at the book held tightly in his hands, and
took a deep
breath before replying.
"I hope he would approve. Maybe not the timing, but I know
approve of how she makes me happy. That's all he really wanted
and himself, for that matter."
Edrington shifted as he looked back out the window. The tang of
the air had intensified, and soon the masts and spars of ships
view. Archie's demeanor of certainty seemed to disappear as the
and black hull of the Indefatigable appeared. The two carriages
to a halt.
"It would seem we have arrived, my lord."