BHM Cravats and Coat Tails - by Xyantha (~BHM, ~~WG, Romance)

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Qit el-Remel

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Gonna have to second Atwolfe: take all the time you need. Some things are more important than stories, and this is one.
 

geekybibabe

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I am so sorry for your loss!

The last installment was beautiful; I only just read it. Thank you, as always.
 

Xyantha

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Unfortunately, the best of intentions do not always turn out the way they should.

“I will miss you!” Kitty kissed their brother on the cheek fretfully. “Do you truly have to go off in such a violent hurry?” Her entire body radiated enough concern that you would have thought him going off to war instead of a carriage ride to London.

“I fear I do…our brother has commissioned me with a task that cannot be delayed. Besides, dear sister, you have not had a chance to truly enjoy the start of your marriage – believe me, once you realize the pleasure of having ones house to oneself again, you will miss me less!” It was amazing to Raoul how in a few short days trust seemed to have been restored in his little brother. They said that you are a different person when you grow up, and it seemed to be true of both of them.

“Rubbish!” She exclaimed, making both men smile. “Please write to me often? Also, please give my father my love?”

“Would you like to give your father your love yourself?” When Kitty turned to him, Raoul shrugged heavy shoulders. “Harry will only be gone for a week, perhaps two.”

“I think I would miss you more,” she murmured, two lines appearing in her brow, above her nose. She grinned as he kissed that spot.

Raoul held her hands, looking down at her seriously. “I think you should go and see your father and your family friend before the roads get too bad.”

“But…we have only just begun to…” She blushed, and Harry turned away politely.

Tugging his petite wife a few steps away, he nuzzled her neck. “I admit I have ulterior motives - I have old clothing and items I would like for you to bring back with you as well.” He kissed her lips softly, feeling the tender flesh part beneath his move and suck on his lower lip. He looked at her reproachfully. “Now that is unfair. And I can see you do not care.” Shaking his head he hugged her so tightly she squeaked. “It will only be a fortnight, then you will be back in my arms.”

Her indesiveness was plain, but she obviously missed the family she had never been away from. “Fine, but if Harry decides not to come back, I will come home alone.”

“Like hell you will! And don’t raise that chin at me! Gallivanting around alone is a good way to get killed. If Harry is unwilling to come home, I will come get you myself.” His stomach lurched – a seemingly more impressive feat because of its growing size – at the tender look in her eyes.

“Fine,” she said loud enough for Harry to hear.

Turning back, Harry tilted his head which caused a lock of hair to fall roguishly across his brow. “Oh good. Your bags are already packed so it would have been rather awkward if you didn’t agree.”

Kitty leveled a withering glare at both of them. Harry merely ducked his head and grinned, while Raoul raised a brow and looked back levelly. Stabbing a finger into his middle, she shook another other at him in mock ferocity. He grunted and rubbed his belly, nursing his wound, making her laugh and lean up to kiss the rough stubble of his cheek. Leaning her lips close to his ear, she bit his lobe hard enough he grunted again. “You will pay for denying me the rights of a wife with her husband,” she warned him.

“I look forward to it,” he growled back, then stiffened as her hands accidentally brushed his middle. It irritated him that her simple touch made him so self conscious, and it irritated him further that she knew. It almost made it worse that she liked it – it was a constant reminder that the times she was the most inflamed for him when he was at his fattest.

“Ugh,” Harry said, climbing into the coach. “Can we dispense with the intimacies? You are making your brother horribly jealous. Once I find myself a woman, feel free to hump in the bushes like squirrels.”

“Harry!” Kitty gasped, smacking his arm.

“What?” He demanded. “I’m glad you are happy but it truly does make us lonely gents even more lonely.” After giving her a hand into the coach he leaned down and clasped forearms with his brother. “Be safe, Raoul.”
“Be safe, Harry. And keep my wife out of trouble.”

Harry snorted as the coach pulled away. “If it was possible to keep her out of trouble she wouldn’t be involved with our family!”

*~*~*~*
His estate had never seemed so large or so lonely. Even his dogs moped about incessantly, only giving him morose looks when he snapped at them.

The day after they had left, he found himself in his father’s study again. It had never been his, and he doubted if it ever would. Standing in the doorway, he could still see his father glaring at him.

“You are looking fat again, boy.”

Sorry Father.

“You must control yourself. Life is about control, not about getting what you want.”

Yes Father.

“I have seen the way you have been looking at the maids. Some fathers do not care what byblows come about, but we have purity in our line. Now, women worth catching admire men of good form, not the bloated ticks you see around.”

No Father.

Of course, that was twenty years ago, now. His father was probably twisting in his grave, to see his son married to woman from a “lower circle”, fattened back up, and happy. The grin faded from his lips as he remembered looking down at the huge book of estate sums a few days ago. There were notations on a page beside it, written in a feminine scrawl. Using his index finger, he had turned the page more fully toward himself. Under the sums book was the sale logs. “Dear god.”

His brilliant, beautiful wife had seen through the haze of numbers which never seemed to make sense to him. It had necessitated an immediate meeting with Harry, who willingly agreed to travel to London before schedule. Once this was resolved he would buy her anything she wanted, give her anything she desired.

It had also been Harry who had suggested his wife take herself away. “Our Aunt can be unreasonable and cruel. I am not suggesting any physical harm would befall her, but the last thing you want is her to weave her webs of lies and deceit around her until she poisons your relationship, like she did with Father.”

It had seemed like a good idea – and still was a good idea – but that didn’t help his lonely nights. The day was easy enough to keep busy. Spending the days with his tenants, going over production, complaints, and repairs was exhausting. Tentative at first to offer their plain fare, once it was accepted the entire cove of wives seemed determined to feed him until he could not move.

Unlike his father, he did not rely on a stewart to administer details or keep relations going. If he met with a tenant he generally dined with them – but lately it seemed like they were feeding him more. “If I eat another bite, I will pop.” He had told a blushing young woman who offered him a fourth piece of chicken pie. And it was true – his belly was resting in his lap, taut. Despite his resolution to eat less, food was literally being forced into his hands. It seemed normal for the other men to eat twice as much as him, but then again, they were tilling the fields and doing manual labour.

The night was more difficult to fill. By then, his appetite had reawakened, causing him to prowl his own pantry like a wild thing. As was the case tonight. The fifth day of their departure, and her first letter had arrived. The paper had still smelled like her, and he had drawn it under his nose, feeling his eyes well with tears.

Turning, he jumped nearly as high as Martha, who was just entering the kitchen.

“Good Lord!” she cried, clutching at the neck of her nightgown with one hand, candle in the other. “I heard clattering in the kitchen but I didn’t think it was you!”

“Sorry, I didn’t mean to wake you,” Raoul mumbled, feeling unaccountably awkward. This was far too similar to his first gorging episode, when Martha had found him in the remains of a cake.

“If you were hungry why didn’t you ring for me?” She asked, still breathless from surprise.

“I wasn’t hungry, I was….missing Kitty.”

If she thought this odd she masked it well, only asking dryly – “And boiled eggs remind you of her?”

Sitting at the counter in the middle of the room, he nibbled on the white outside of an egg, offering her one. Martha sighed, sitting on the stool beside him. “What is troubling you?” she asked gently, accepting his offer.

“I don’t know if troubling is the right word. Do you – have you ever – damn this is hard to say.”

“Then don’t. You never were one for explaining yourself with words,” Martha told him simply. “Do you remember this game?” Getting a piece of sweet biscuit she placed it on a plate between them. “So…food is bothering you? The plate moved toward her. “Your weight is bothering you?” He jerked the plate towards him.

“And you are worried that the misses doesn’t like it? No? You are worried the misses does like it?” She hazarded, sharing a smile with him at reenacting their childhood guessing game for making him eat his veggies. When he only looked down, fiddling with the yolk, she tilted her head. He could tell from the corner of his eye her interest was piqued. “You are worried she likes it now…but will not later?” The plate moved forward and back indecisively. “Interesting. Well, I can only speak from observation, but that woman is not Edith. She loves every bit of you, and I don’t think it would matter a peep to her if you were as thin as Harry or as big as a wagon.”

“But what if I do get as big as a wagon?” his voice sounded petulant even to his own ears.

“You will not get as big as a wagon,” Martha rolled her eyes, exasperation plain.

“How do you know? You’ve seen how I bloat up!”

“First of all, you always get to a certain size then stop. Second of all, I am thinking that if you get that fat we will just stop bringing you food and you will starve down until you are back to normal.”

“You wouldn’t!” he gasped, laughing. “You would, wouldn’t you? Ah Martha.” He hugged her, kissing her chastely on the cheek. “If cruelty is the sign of a true friend, you are my best friend. Thank you.”

“We have been friends since you were a child,” She patted his cheek, blushing. “Now, go to bed.”

“Yes ma’am!” He heaved his body from the chair, not looking forward to another lonely night in bed staring at the ceiling.

“And Raoul? Don’t forget your biscuit,” she told him, holding out the plate to him.

He was going to be the size of a wagon....


*~*~*~


If Raoul was the seductive darkness, hidden power roiling within, then his brother was the warm summer sun, teasing and joyous. Not to say that Harry was all sunshine and daisies, but compared to his brother he was….just fun. She didn’t have to worry about putting her foot in her mouth and offending him, or mood swings. Also, having been an only child there was a certain delight in being chaperoned about by him.

“Dear lord, if that….thing….becomes the fashion I beg you to gouge my eyes out so that I do not have to see you in it,” Harry muttered, looking at the dress on the woman across the road. “I think two animals got into a fight in her dress, and she just left them there.”

“Harry!” she cried, without any real hope of checking his rambunctious spirits. “Rather than pointing out all the women you find repulsive, perhaps you could point out the ones who do attract you?”

“Oh well, it would be hard to capture. Most of these women here are so frail and fragile I could not tell you if I liked them, because there is not enough to determine.”

“So someone like her?”

His gaze followed her head tilt. “Mm, no, too bookish.”

“Do you have a hair preference? Help me to help you!”

“Someone….like her, actually.” All the fake frivolity had drained from his voice, and the similarity between Raoul and himself was heightened as he attached his hawk like gaze to a woman across the room. The thick woman across the room was surrounded by a flock of men, who bowed and simpered and flirted by turns. Kitty could not make out many details, but she seemed to be a handsome woman, if a little too thickly proportioned for conventional beauty.

“The fat one?”

“Fat? Perhaps. But considering Raoul you are hardly one to talk.” He seemed distracted, watching the move across the floor.

“What is that supposed to mean?” Kitty asked, glancing about.

“That you like him fat. News was all over town about how he met you and you began feeding him until he was not attractive anymore.” Looking down at her he blinked. “Not that I believe it,” he added hastily to her look. “But I have seen the way you look at him and touch him. You cannot deny it.”

Denial was futile. Instead, she raised her chin. “I don’t want to talk about it anymore.” He smirked. “This conversation is about finding you a wife. Hurry up and choose so I can go back to my husband.”

“I can’t just go up and speak to her...”

“Why not? You did with a dozen other people after introductions.”

“Are you daft? That woman is Clarice Belltaunt, the richest woman we have both ever met. There are two types of power in society – one is blood, the other is money. Miss Belltaunt may be from a merchant family, but money speaks.”

“How much?” Kitty asked, curious.

“Lets just say she will never have to worry about making an error in society. Any error, peculiarity…it will be overlooked. She has dozens of suitors on the line at a time, from rich lords to poor lords to men mooning out the windows at her. And why not, she is gorgeous.”

The woman’s turn about the room had taken her retinue closer. Seeing Harry’s eyes fastened on her, she pointed her fan at him, causing him to flush. Immediately, a man came forward, following her sashaying pace. Before the introduction could be made, she broke out with-

“So YOU are the infamous Mrs Nottingham!” The woman exclaimed, intelligence obvious in her features. “I must say, I wish I had been in town to experience it – what a thrill, no?” Turning her attention to Harry, her voice took on a throatier quality. “And you must be Mr Nottingham. Your reputation proceeds you.”

“As with most situations in life, my brother’s reputation proceeds both of us,” Harry said dryly.

“Oh – the younger brother! Better and better.” Clarice gazed at him appreciatively, making the poor man stutter. “What brings you into town so soon after your wedding?” she inquired of Kitty, who was trying not to laugh openly.

Immediately deciding this woman was likeable, Kitty jerked her eyes towards Harry. “Chaperoning my brother in his search for a wife.”

The comment elicited the response intended, causing Clairce to throw back her head and laugh. “Blunt – I like that! I think we will get along splendidly. You have no idea how many fools I have to deal with! I am planning tea tomorrow – would you like to join?”

“I – of course,” Kitty managed, taken aback by the whirlwind of energy and rapid subject changes.

“Make sure your brother can join us,” the woman winked – winked! – at him before moving off.

“I take it you like her?” Harry was staring after her as if she was a luscious puff pastry he wanted to lick and devour. “When you boys fall, you fall hard, don’t you?”

He looked at her, gaze glazed and filled with confusion and frustrated arousal. “Sorry, what?”
 

clockworklove

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Pleaaaaaase update soon, I desperately need more of this in my life! It's SUCH an amazing story!
 

DayLovely

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This is so darn good. I recently met an absolutely gorgeous boy who reminds me so much of Raoul! He was really big and he went from being incredibly confident about his weight, pinning me against the wall with his belly, then when I actually told him how fit I thought he was he just completely closed up and told me not to take the piss out of him. Re-reading this has made me think twice about how I should handle situations like that, so thank you very very much :) xxx
 

Mindless_Behavior

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This is one of my all-time favorite stories. I have every single word copied and pasted into a Word Document, so I can read it whenever and wherever. I know that there hasn't been an update in a while, but I keep checking every so often, just in case. I just want to let you know, whether or not you ever pick this up again, that you are an excellent writer, and that this story is absolutely delicious. Your descriptions are perfect, and I can easily visualize every scene. So thank you for writing this. I love it, and I'll be back again and again. :)
 

ALS

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Xyantha, I have been following this story for approximately three years, and I find your writing style and your plot development to be amazing! Now that you are back, will you soon be updating 'Cravats and Coat Tails?' :smitten:

Also: your recent works are excellent. :)
 

Xyantha Reborn

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Thank you, and yes!!!

This was my "pet" story...As soon as I finish my recent two I will be circling back to take on this one!!

As with all my stories, they tend to turn out more monolithic than short (I think I am literally incapable of writing a short story), so I am sure there will be several more chapters before long!
 

ALS

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Thank you, and yes!!!

This was my "pet" story...As soon as I finish my recent two I will be circling back to take on this one!!

As with all my stories, they tend to turn out more monolithic than short (I think I am literally incapable of writing a short story), so I am sure there will be several more chapters before long!


:shocked::shocked::shocked::shocked::shocked::

:smitten::smitten::smitten::smitten::smitten::
 

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