It’s Wednesday! And that means Wicked Wednesdays have returned, and who better to start with than Liberty!
Paul rubbed his fingers over his face. Pulling his hands back, he stared at his fingers. They had more wrinkles than a ninety-year-old woman. It was definitely time to get out of the tub.
Standing up, he twisted his body and reached for the towel he knew was on the stool behind him. But instead of landing on a fluffy towel, his hand was met with the hard wooden surface of the stool. Fully turning his body around to better see the offending piece of furniture, Paul discovered the stool did not hold a towel at all. All he saw on top of the wooden seat were his wire rimmed spectacles.
Stepping out of the tub, he put on his spectacles and looked under and on both sides of the stool. There was not a towel in sight. He frowned. He remembered specifically asking the maid for a towel and taking it from her when she came back. Then he’d gone behind the screen and placed it on the stool before disrobing. Where had it gone?
Paul sighed. It wasn’t a problem; he’d just stand there a few minutes to let the air dry his body, then he’d put on his clean clothes.
When his skin felt dry enough to drag his clothes over it, Paul stepped out from behind the screen and walked over to where he’d laid his clothes out on the bed.
Reaching the bed, Paul groaned with deep irritation. Had the maid accidentally taken his clean clothes? He’d heard her come in during the middle of his bath and assumed she was trying to please her employer by being efficient. Not used to a lot of servants, he hadn’t questioned her activities. It did make sense if she’d taken the wrong clothes, since they were the only clothes on this side of the screen. The clothes he’d worn earlier were in a pile on the other side of the screen. Shaking his head, Paul padded over to the corner to dig out different clothes from his trunk.
Leaning over at the waist, he slowly opened his trunk. With one hand holding up the lid, he bent over and extended his fingers to snatch up whatever clothes were on top. Not being bent over far enough to reach anything, he bent farther and farther until his bare arse was straight up in the air and his fingers collided with the hard bottom of his empty trunk.
Straightening himself up and abruptly letting go of the lid, causing it to crash down on the box with an echoing thud, Paul grabbed a match off the bottom of the wall sconce that was directly above his trunk and lit the lamp. Surely his mind was playing tricks on him, or perhaps his vision—even with spectacles—was so bad he’d been reaching beside the chest. Those were the only explanations he was willing to entertain for his recent discovery.
Lamp lit and glowing, Paul yanked open the lid of his trunk with more force than necessary only to reveal what he already knew: there was nothing inside.
Slamming down the lid, Paul made a noise of irritation. This was the work of one person: Liberty. He’d been told the family was out visiting the earl and countess, but that didn’t mean she hadn’t given orders to the maid before she left. Now it made sense why the maid came in while he was bathing. And why his towel had gone missing.
Angrily, Paul stalked across the room. No matter how much John tried to convince him otherwise, he wasn’t staying. Having his clothes stolen was not his idea of an enjoyable visit. And this was only the first night. Who knew what other treats she had planned for him! He’d just have to put on the clothes he’d worn earlier, even if they were wrinkled and slightly wet from the snow. He knew these clothes were still in the room. He’d taken them off and thrown them in a heap at the far end of the tub. The maid hadn’t come behind the screen. Well, she’d had to in order to grab his towel from behind his back; but she hadn’t gone to the end of his tub and collected his dirty clothes.
Rounding the screen, Paul swiftly walked to the end of the tub and leaned down to retrieve his clothes.
“Looking for something?”