Milady de Winter finally blew out the last candle. Well, threw out the
last candle to be precise. The audacity of that ... that ... that
Gascon! She had waited two hours for him to arrive Ö The best wine from
the cellar was for him. A most tender calf killed and prepared for him
Ö the pillows and bed linens perfumed for him. She suffered through a
bath in the chill of winter for him. And now surely the servants were
laughing at her.|
"Marie" she screamed "Marie, come now and clean this room!" Poor Marie entered the room and put her hand to her mouth. "Mon Dieu!" she whispered.
Milady had destroyed the salon. "Better the room than me" she thought. Marie had taken her share of beatings by hand, slippers, candlesticks and whatever else milady could find to throw. She didn't know where to start but knew to keep out of Milady's way.
While Marie busied herself with the room Milady had but one thought on her mind. Revenge. Revenge and reproach. The latter for herself. How could it happen that she, the Lady de Winter, empowered by the Cardinal himself, would find herself seeking the favor of a simple country boy. The answer was utterly artless and one that she could barely face. All her skilled trickery could not release her from the fact that she was weak for the only man who had ever thrilled her to her very soul. "D'Artagnan, you bastard. " she seethed. She had laid with many men of great power, position and wealth and in return had power and wealth herself. The Gascon had nothing but gave all to her.
Then she thought of the insufferable lovemaking she'd had to endure for her place in this world. There was the Cardinal. Corrupt in all other ways, he decided that fucking could only be performed while reciting those dreadful Psalms. And there were some nights when neither cherubim nor seraphim could have raised his staff. They could only truly arouse each others passions when scheming against the Duke. And the way he ate! Zut alors! Picky, picky, picky. Tante Avrile had told her when she was still a blooming rose "Watch how a man eats, mon cher. Does he savor each morsel? Or does he stare at his plate as cold and dull as a fish in the market?" The Cardinal made love in a perfunctory manner. He had no appetite for flesh.
Then there was the Duke himself. This man had passion, yes. But it was for Anne of Austria. And being away from the woman he loved had stolen his appetite too. He ate only enough to live. There was little pleasure to be had with him and she only did it to gain secrets and favors. Commodities to trade.
The Comte de Wardes preferred bending her over a bench in the stable. Now, he was passionate, but only because he let the stable boys watch and he wanted to put on a good show. He was such a rogue, a ruffian truly. She was sore for days after being with him and the stable boys laughed at her while throwing horse dung in her path. Painful humiliation was the price she paid for the power she was granted. She never saw the Comte eat but she was sure he liked his jambon cold.
Then came the Gascon. The young man had seen her first on his way to Paris. He only caught a glimpse of her in her magnificent carriage but was taken by her beauty. Fair haired with skin like alabaster her blue eyes pierced through him. In his mind he imagined her a true lady. Delicate as china and just as fragile. The kind of woman who would need a musketeer. He knew not how those dainty hands had tightened around more than a few men's sacs.
When the proud D'Artagnan arrived from the country he was determined to be received as an equal and vowed to suffer no insults at the hands of these city dwellers. So, when he imagined himself slighted by a smartly dressed man who bumped into him, the quick tempered Gascon challenged the man to a duel.
"We shall cross swords, monsieur." The man was the Lord de Winter and when D'Artagnan defeated him a bargain was made to spare the man's life for an introduction to his sister, the pale beauty in the carriage.
Arriving in time for the noon meal the Lady had a sumptuous table set. D'Artagnan was used to more modest fare. The bounty and the beauty of the Lady were nearly overwhelming. He was determined to make a good impression but his hearty appetite betrayed him. Soon he was audibly appreciating each bite. At first Milady was offended by his lack of manners. How could her brother introduce her to this would-be Musketeer? He knew she was a Cardinalist. There were many eligible gentlemen who would give their eye teeth to so much as retrieve her fallen handkerchief. But none of them ate like this.
Tante Avril's words came back to her as she watched in amazement while the Gascon luxuriated in every mouthful. The escargot quivered as they were offered up to his mouth. The coq au vin sighed as his lips lingered on the fork. And the grillades longed for the touch of his tongue. The crËme bršlée could not wait for dessert and shook screaming "Eat me! Eat me too!" Nearly overcome, Milady said, "Shall we take our coffee in the next room?" The leftovers quietly wept and hoped he'd be back for seconds.
While D'Artagnan and her brother talked Milady fanned herself and thought "Every man I've ever been with treats food as an offense to be tolerated. And they make love the same way. But this man appreciates and delights in every taste. I must have him!" As the evening wore on, the Gascon bade them a pleasant evening and begged leave because he had a duel at 6:00AM. "Take care, my hot headed friend", said the Lord, "your appetite for confrontation will be the death of you."
"Appetite, indeed" thought Milady.
The moment she was alone she took quill to parchment and wrote the voracious D'Artagnan an invitation to dine with her the following evening. The Gascon was most pleased. He had been accepted into Paris high society and by the most beautiful and beguiling Lady de Winter. Perfumed and polished he came to her. She spent the day overseeing the meal and now it was laid out for him to perfection. D'Artagnan was torn. He didn't know where to look first. The meal looked fit for a king but his hostess was the icing on the crÍpe. He wanted to bestow upon Milady bon mots that would make her swoon. Indeed, the night before she barely spoke a word! But the bouquet of the banquet overcame him and his nose led him to the table where he once again proved himself to be a man who knew how to appreciate a meal.
He rolled his eyes as he relished the Coquille St. Jacques . He licked his lips as he approached the poached salmon. Milady nearly fainted watching him. Aware of her eyes upon him he said, "Excuse me, dear lady, but it seems I'm insatiable tonight." She barely heard his words as she watched him bring an éclair to his lips. She wanted to be that éclair.
"It tastes much better this way, monsieur." She took it from him and licked some cream from the éclair kissing him open mouthed. That was all the invitation the Gascon needed. He tasted that cream from her mouth and kissed her lips as if they brought forth the sweetest brandy. Her neck and shoulders were as hot and intoxicating as bananas flambé;. Her breasts were luscious ripe pears and her nipples cherries jubilee. He squeezed and kneaded her flesh. He nibbled and tasted her.
With one mighty sweep of his arms he cleared the table and lifted her up. He laid her down, her hair barely missing the relish tray. Kissing her deeply he whispered, "J'aurais toujours faim de toi." This ignited Milady so greatly she ripped at her own petticoat and prayed monsieur's lusty appetite included her own fragrant honey. When he parted her legs and began to kiss her creamy thighs she swore she would never love another. No frilled dandy in Paris could compare to this.
And so it had been on many nights over the last 4 months. But tonight he had stood her up and she could not let it go. She was, after all, the Lady de Winter and he but a poor Musketeer. As she fumed, plotting retribution, she felt a rush of cold winter air at her back. It was her lover on the balcony. She surveyed him wanting to look impenetrable as steel. She maintained her stare until he smiled at her and said, "Sorry I'm late, mon cher. Have you anything to warm me up? I'm famished!"
"Merde!" she thought, "How am I ever going to keep up my reputation as the Cardinal's dagger with him around?" Well, there were better things in life than plotting the downfall of the King of France, weren't there? "Oui, monsieur", she told him, "but first restitution for making me wait. Bon Appétit".
About the Author:
L'enfant Faisan LaMoore was abandoned on the steps of St. Anne's Cathedral in Quebec during February's Winter Festival many years ago. She was raised by the good Sisters of the order, Our Lady of Perpetual Motion until she was taken to New York City by her tutor and mentor, Monsignor Umbert. While touring the city alone she was drugged, kidnapped, bound and gagged as she stood waiting for a subway car. She awoke at the Chateau de Beaucoup Desiree where she remained and is now the proprietress. Visit her on Le Rue de la Mal Filles. Je me souviens!