Bianca M Schwarz
London, early October, 1819
Henry turned the key in the door to the comfortable rooms above Regents Street and let himself in. It wasn’t his residence, he had not chosen it, and it most certainly did not reflect his taste. But he had financed it for the past three months and had just signed the lease for another six. The gesture was his parting gift to his latest mistress, Millie, but Henry was not about to make her aware of that fact. This was to be their last night together, and Henry did not want it spoiled by any unnecessary emotional outbursts. Millie was the sort of woman who would consider it a point of pride to indulge in such a display but that was only partly why he planned to keep her in the dark about the significance of the occasion.
There was always a special excitement to the last encounter with a woman, almost more so than the first. The lady in question never knew it would be the last time; only he did, and that lent urgency to the encounter. Of course, they all knew he would move on eventually. That, after all, was the nature of his game and most of London knew how he played it. But still, he liked being in control of when and how things ended.
Henry stepped into the tiny foyer, aware of how routine his visits had become. He always arrived at the same time, giving Millie an hour to get home from the theatre unless he had attended the performance that evening. He would spend an hour or two, avail himself of her considerable charms a time or two, and then he would walk back to his house on Cavendish Square. In three months he had never felt inspired to spend the night, and she had never asked him too.
Henry left his hat and dress coat on the chair in the foyer and moved through the columned archway into the drawing room. As expected, Millie awaited him on the crimson chaise longue in the overly gilded salon, but instead of the expected inviting smile, Henry was greeted by a veritable storm cloud. Millie ordinarily did not let her emotions interfere with business, and Henry had no illusion that he might be anything other than business to the fair lady.
Millie was a curvy goddess with sky blue eyes, an abundance of blond curls, and the face of an angel, but she was cold. After several months of intimate acquaintance, Henry doubted very much that Millie was capable of having strong feelings for anybody other than herself. She was a remarkable actress and extremely skilled in the art of lovemaking, but emotions never seemed to play into it.
One of Millie’s arms was dramatically draped over the back of the chaise, displaying her unbound breasts to great effect and pulling the silky pale yellow concoction she had wrapped herself in, well above her ankles. One foot stuck out over the side of the chaise, with a dainty gold slipper dangling precariously from her toes.
Henry smiled at her in greeting and was answered with an annoyed little huff. Her eyes, however, held more emotion then he had ever seen in them before. She tossed back her hair in the tell-tale little move he knew to be an invitation to get physical, and his smile turned to a grin as he walked over to where Millie pouted at him. He removed his cufflinks and undid buttons on his waistcoat and shirt as he went, discarding them on one of the chairs along the way. When he arrived by her side, he bent down to place a lingering kiss on the soft swell of her breast, flicked the dangling slipper off her toes, and lifted her foot up with him as he stood upright again next to her. “How was the performance tonight?”
Millie’s smooth brow furrowed in annoyance and her eyes flashed spite. “That strumpet Sally got Kate. How can they give her Kate? She is barely eighteen and dull as dishwater. I have done Taming of the Shrew twice, and I’m a great Kate.”
Henry massaged her ankle with knowing hands and made the appropriate noises of commiseration. “You were the best Kate I ever saw, my dear. I know it is very distressing for you but you knew this would happen.”
Millie continued to fume but hiked up her silky negligee to the apex of her thighs to allow Henry a glimpse of the golden curls there. “Amateurs should not be allowed to make artistic decisions. That fool will ruin the whole production with his misguided obsession.”
Henry had a hard time suppressing his amusement, he was well aware that the gentleman who put up the money for Taming of the Shrew, was the same man who had produced two plays for Millie to star in the previous year. “Monty is in love, what can I say?”
Millie restlessly played with her long blond tresses and pushed out her bosom, begging for attention. Henry’s hands continued to massage the top of her foot but it was obvious that she was more than ready to move on. Sometime during their exchange that foot had migrated down to where he was now hard and aching, and he was getting rather distracted by the pink nether lips peeking out from between her curls. “Aren’t you engaged to do Wycherley’s The Country Wife anyway?”
Millie pulled her foot away from his placket and rose to her knees on the chaise in one fluid movement. Fire flashed in her eyes promising passion beyond their usual practiced encounters…