At the door of the mansion, William Thatcher conversed with his butler. As his eyes tripped over her, he broke off the conversation, and wobbled forward. “Lizzie, is that you?” He ambled over and embraced her. “Look at you, you’re as cute as a button.”
“Thank you, father.” She leaned forward, and kissed him.
“I trust your journey went smoothly.”
“Not a bump, nor a bad intention,” she exhaled. “It’s hard to believe a year has already passed. The time away from Essex did me well, father, and deepened my appreciation of our creator.”
A servant whispered in William’s ear.
“Very well.” He nodded. “Forgive me, Lizzie. I would love to stay the morning, but I’m afraid I must run. Are you sure you’re comfortable staying in Southminster until I return?”
“He’s my brother. Why would I not be?” Elizabeth replied. “After all these years, there is little Terrance can do to surprise me.”
“Are you sure about that?”
“As a button,” she smirked.
William glanced at the men loading his bags onto the carriage. “I do apologize for taking you away from your studies.”
“I’ll just consider it a field trip…some local outreach.”
The father chuckled. “I guess you go to the convent to become a nun, and you come here to become a saint.” He embraced her one last time. “I appreciate you risking your sanity.”
“Everything will be fine, father.” She gazed up with her dark, brown eyes. “I’ll have him memorize parts of the bible while you are away.”
“That’ll be the day.” William handed his last bag to a servant. “I admire your courage, Lizzie. Keep him out of trouble, as we discussed.”
“I’ll have him eating out of my palm,” she replied.
“As long as it’s just your palm.”
The nun blushed.
“Forgive me, Lizzie. I’ve been hanging around Terrance too much. I’m sure you will do fine, just don’t let him get inside your head.” He kissed Elizabeth on the forehead. “Oh, and do wake him up--it’s already past eight.”
“Done. Goodbye, father.” She reluctantly let go of his hand.
“Goodbye, Lizzie.” William got in the carriage and left.
The nun cracked open the door, and peered at Terrance’s pale buttocks poking out the sheets. He squirmed around, and broke the wind. “Stop that, Tess,” he mumbled.
Elizabeth gasped, and took a step back. “Dear lord, give me strength.” She made the sign of the cross, and entered the room.
His naked body sprawled over the bed, Terrance held an empty wine bottle dear. He snored loudly, his mouth agape. The sister picked up a pot nearby, and tossed its contents over the unsuspecting rogue.
“Oh Tess, you nasty girl, stop peeing on me.” Terrance wiped his face. “Lizzie, is that you?” He sat up.
“Hello, brother,” she smiled.
“Bloody hell…why did you douse me with my chamberpot?” he squawked.
“Pardon?” She batted her eyes.
“I filled it up the night before.”
“Is this one of your tricks?” Lizzie sniffed the pot. “Good heavens.” She dropped it to the floor, and covered her mouth. “I am sorry, Terrance. I thought you intended to clean yourself this morning.”
“It’s quite all right. Not the first time it’s happened.” He waved it off. Terrance rummaged through the empty bottles on the bed, searching for a drop of vintage. “So what is that funny thing on your head?”
“I’m studying to be a nun.” Elizabeth collected the bottles as he tossed them aside.
“Oh, great. In that case, I’ll become a priest.” He grabbed a half-empty bottle on the table next to him. “My sweet little peach, what would I do without you?”
Lizzie snatched the bottle from his hand, and gave him a towel instead. “Come, Terrance. It’s half past eight.” She helped him to his feet.
“Well how about that?” He looked down. “At least one of us is up already.”
Lizzie covered her eyes, and said a quick prayer. “Please, could you tie that thing down or something?”
“Indeed.” Terrance threw on a robe. “Come now, Lizzie. Stop these shenanigans. You’re no more a nun than I am.” He reached forward, and pulled the cloth from her head. Long, gold tangles fell to her shoulders.
Elizabeth snatched the cloth back, and glared at Terrance. “Never do that again!” She pulled it back over her head.
“Sorry, it must have been an accident. Like that accidental shower this morning,” said Terrance.
“Accidents happen,” she grinned.
Terrance wagged his finger. “You naughty little girl.”
Suddenly someone tapped on the window.
“What is that?” Lizzie asked.
“Oh, that must be my nine o’clock,” Terrance replied.
“I see little has changed since I’ve been away.” She crossed her arms.
“Just the color of their underwear.”
He walked over to the French doors, and tried the handle. “Blast!” said Terrance. “Father must have locked me out again.” He peered out the window, and pointed erratically, before raising his thumb.
“Well, it was a pleasure chatting, but I’ve got business to attend to.” Terrance walked towards the door.
Lizzie stopped him dead in his tracks. “Father specifically told me not to let you answer the door. Go wash up, I’ll get it.”
“Now.” Daggers filled her eyes.
Elizabeth gently opened the door. A young lady in a yellow dress scowled at her. “Good morning,” said Lizzie.
“Is Terrance there?” Maybelline Wilks primped her brown mane.
“I am sorry, miss, but this house is blessed by the blood of Christ. If you are looking for the brothel, follow the road east several miles, and then turn left. Good day.” Lizzie closed the door.
Maybelline pounded on the door as Lizzie locked it shut.
“What was that all about?” Terrance pressed a wineglass to his lips.
“Father also said no wine.” She swiped the glass from his hand.
“Did he?” said Terrance. “And what else did he say?”
“That you are to accompany me wherever I go, especially church,” Lizzie replied.
Terrance snorted loudly. “There won’t be Sunday mass for quite some time; I’m afraid I did in the old goat myself.”
“Then we shall visit a church father away; all day long, if necessary,” said Elizabeth.
“No sex, no wine…why don’t you just cut off my balls right now?” Terrance exclaimed.
“I’m sure they will fall off on their own accord,” said the nun. “Now go freshen up, Terrance. I’d like you to read to me as we travel.”
“And where are we off to now, oh enlightened one?”
“Are you always so scatterbrained?” said Lizzie. “Today is Sunday.”
Terrance cringed. “In that case, why don’t you douse me with the chamberpot again?”