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Lemon-Lime Sorbet 4 [Divide and Rule]

Title: Carried Away
Author: lost_spook
Story: Heroes of the Revolution (Divide & Rule)
Flavor(s): Lemon-Lime Sorbet 4 (under the stars)
Toppings/Extras: Chopped Nuts + Brownie + Gummy Bunnies (also for Trope Bingo square “au: historical” and origfic_bingo square "first time").
Rating: Teen
Word Count: 5082
Notes: 1740s AU: Julia Graves/Edward Iveson, Christy Graves. (Mainly fluff, written ages ago because I needed some fluff, what can I say?)
Summary: Edward Iveson is not well versed in the art of abducting young ladies.

***

Julia turned away from her companions in Green Park, wanting peace to think, even though there was not truly much left to consider. She had promised to marry Sir Roderick Howe and no matter how the reasons against such a course had mounted since her agreement, she held stubbornly to her word. She had promised; she did not like to back away in fear from anything, and there was no denying that it would solve her family’s problems. Her father’s fortune would be restored, and Sir Roderick’s three motherless daughters would have a stepmother they already liked and knew, so it was indeed convenient to all.

Nevertheless, Julia was beginning to wonder how it would be to be a sacrifice not only once at the altar, but to be martyred every day afresh as long as her husband lived. Sir Roderick was not kind, nor flexible in his ways, nor did he pretend to have any real affection for her and she did not think he was the sort of man who would change or whom she could love unless he did. The nearer the time came, the less she liked the prospect.

Others had tried to say as much to her: her father had assured her that he would find some other way to right his affairs (though what she did not know), her mother warned her against it, and her brother Christy was quite obnoxious on the subject. And Julia had now heard that Edward Iveson was not to marry Caroline Aldridge despite their lengthy engagement, since Caroline had jilted him at the church door. There was no reason for this to make a difference to her own intentions, since Mr Iveson had never paid her any marked attention, but it was another of the things that now made her question her choice, if choice it still was.

Julia clenched her hand into a fist and held her head high, presenting the picture of a lady with not a care in the world to anyone who cared to look. She would do this, and she would win in the end, not Sir Roderick. But even as she told herself that, she gave a slight shiver, afflicted again by doubt. Yet how could she do such a disgraceful thing as to renege on her promise?

She sighed, but before she could turn around to rejoin her companions, someone unexpectedly pulled her back into the bushes, clapping a hand over her mouth. Julia was too startled to fight for a moment, her heart thudding impossibly loudly in her shock and fear, but then a reassuringly familiar voice said in her ear, “Julia, shh! Hold still.”

Julia craned her head to look at her captor as he loosened his hold on her. It was Ned Iveson – Mr Iveson, she reminded herself, if to little avail – and since it was unthinkable that he should intend her harm or do something as odd as this without excellent reason, she meekly obeyed when he added, “This way – follow me!”

He pulled her along through the small copse and then across the grass to where a carriage was waiting. Edward helped her into it, and climbed in after, giving her a small, slightly sheepish smile as the carriage jolted and began to move.

Julia realised that she should have asked what he was about before she had done as he asked, but she could not believe he would do anything so odd without the best of motives. And, she thought, heat in her cheeks as she looks down hastily, she was not of a mind to attempt to escape from him.

“Forgive me,” he said, finally letting go of her, to her disappointment. “I had not meant to startle you, but I spied your friend heading towards us and there was no time to be lost.”

Julia was still bewildered by the turn of events. “I don’t understand. What has happened – and where are we going?”

“Don’t be afraid,” said Edward. Julia studied his face, but in this poor light it gave nothing away. “I know it is outrageous, and I am sorry for that. Christy was adamant you should not marry Sir Roderick and concocted this plan, and while I agreed, I do think it could have been done with a deal less of these theatrics.”

Julia had to put her gloved hand to her mouth to hide her smile, because she did not doubt that, either about her older brother, or Edward Iveson.

“He tells me that you don’t want to marry Sir Roderick.” Edward gave a smile. “Indeed, he says you are only persisting because you are in a most perverse and provoking mood concerning the matter. Christy says,” he added in his defence, before she could scold.

She pressed herself back against the seat of the carriage. Christy could be entirely provoking himself, but he was her brother, and there were times when he was uncomfortably discerning, even if always much too tiresome and insulting.

“And before you say, I know it is none of it my affair,” said Edward, “but you know what Christy is when he is set on a course – and I know I could not imagine anyone I would advise to marry Sir Roderick, leastways you. Julia, surely, you know that yourself – why, his behaviour to you the other night alone –! What would he do once you were wed to him if he is so uncaring before even the ring is on your finger?”

Julia felt cold at the memory. She had been unwell on that occasion, but Sir Roderick had escorted her to the Harris’s party and he would have her stay until he was willing to leave. It was a small thing, but it did not bode well; most suitors would at least keep up the pretence of love, or at least good manners, until they had secured their bride. Still, it was no help for Edward to sit there and tell her what she already knew. “I was only a little under the weather. And I have made up my mind, you know, that I shall do it and I shan’t be scared by him – and I shall win!”

“You couldn’t,” said Edward and took her hands in his. “No, don’t be cross with me. I know you would try, but how could you win, with the whole deck of cards stacked against you? He has the advantage of you in money, power, his sex – all the force of the law would be his. He is one who must control all he owns – I fear the outcome would only be that he should kill you a little more each day.”

Julia let her hands rest where they were, in his. “Perhaps. But he has also said that if I do not marry him, he would punish all of us – my family. I felt sure it was better to agree and battle from within his household.”

“I don’t believe he can harm your family,” said Edward. “Not if we all take care to avoid that. He is influential, but there are others on our side who are more so. And hasn’t your father told you that he has other ideas now of how to right his fortunes?”

Julia shook her head, trying not to cry. “He has. But he only says that to comfort me.”

“You underestimate him,” Edward said, causing her to look up at him again. “Your father is a sensible man – I believe he plans to call on your uncle. It goes against the grain for him, but it is better than this. I may be able to help also, if your father permitted me. I know Mr Harding and Mr Morley, who are even more influential than Sir Roderick. We will come about without you throwing yourself away on such a man. Miss Graves, I think this once Christy is right. Please don’t do this.”

Julia gave an uncertain smile, almost beyond asking any more questions. She felt as if she had fallen from a nightmare into a pleasant but intensely baffling dream. However, she must. She glanced at him briefly, nervously. “And what, pray, is this?”

“Oh, Julia – Miss Graves, I should say! I am sorry, but you must not worry. We go only a little way into Kent, to my aunt’s – there will be no damage done, I assure you. Christy and I feel sure that running away so publicly from Sir Roderick will be enough to make him refuse to marry you. He has his pride and a wish to maintain his reputation, after all.”

It was not a dream of any sort; that was all too much like Edward. She should be relieved; it would hardly be convenient to fall out of one unwanted engagement into another she had no say in, but nevertheless she could not help feeling that the whole thing was now very dull and flat and this carriage thoroughly uncomfortable. She swallowed, and tried to say it as lightly as possible, “So you have not abducted me?”

“Julia!” he said in shock, as if he had not dragged her away by force and deceived her into taking her to see his aunt. Then he had to grin. “I suppose in point of fact, I have, but no – what sort of rescue would it be, to steal you from one forced marriage and into another?”

She felt suddenly that the world was dreadfully unfair. “Then why you? Why did not Christy do this himself – or did you both mean to torment and tease me?”

“Yes,” said Edward and looked away from her, evidently contemplating how to answer that. “Yes, I suppose I should apologise for that, but Christy would have it that if we were caught, you and I could claim already to be married, which he could not. I think that was unnecessary, but Christy thought –” Edward gave a shrug. “And I said that I should offer to marry you at need, if it went wrong or your reputation was badly damaged, but I trust we shall come about without need for that.”

Julia fought to contain her anger. “Oh, you would do that at need, would you? A fearful fate, but you have grown used to being engaged to females you do not care for, so why should it make any odds to you?”

She regretted the low thrust as soon as the words were out of her mouth, but he barely seemed to notice. He looked at her closely as he removed his hat, and reached for her hands again. “You sound as if you wished this was an abduction.”

Julia stared out of the window, her heart beating harder again.

“Julia?” he said softly, and slipped an arm around her waist.

She hung her head down, but did not try and move away. “I can hardly answer that.”

“Naught easier,” said Edward. “Tell me I’m a rogue to even suggest such an untrue thing. Unless I am right?”

Julia shut her eyes now, willing him to move away and wondering if she would make a fool of herself and cry when he did.

“If it’s true,” Edward said, his voice still low, “then I have so much to say – I never imagined –”

The carriage gave a violent jolt, interrupting him, as it then rattled them over an uneven stretch of road. Edward tightened his hold on Julia, who didn’t see any need for modesty to lead her to be thrown onto the floor, and gladly held onto him in return.

“That coachman,” said Edward in a different tone. “I cannot say I liked the look of him – I should have known what would come of it if I left Christy to hire someone. I suppose he’s not to be blamed for the road, but –”

Julia turned in his hold. “Wait! Do you say that Christy hired the coach and driver? That Christy asked you to do this and said he could not?”

“So I said,” Edward reminded her. “And, I know, you think this is not a romantic abduction, but –”

She put her hand on his arm. She was half tempted not to tell him of the unavoidable suspicion that had now entered her mind, but she knew she must. “No, it is not that. Only that I rather fear that I know what must happen next – the driver will have an accident and you and I will be stranded. Very possibly outside an inn that may be expecting us.”

“Oh, come,” said Edward. “I know Christy can be irresponsible, but he would hardly do that, not to you, my dear.”

Julia shook her head. “I fear he’s trying to make amends and set matters right. And you told me – he asked you if you would offer for me at need and, Ned, you said you yes! So, that will have made it quite allowable to him.”

“But he didn’t ask you,” said Edward. “Julia! Don’t be foolish. Unless –” He looked at her and let his hand fall away. “But no – you would not –”

She put her hand on his sleeve, understanding his concern; he thought he might have been caught in a plot hatched between Julia and Christy. “No, I would never try to trick you into feeling obliged to propose, not for any reason. You know you took me by surprise – I had no notion what you were about! But Christy – he had no need to ask me, you see.” She was glad of the semi-darkness now as evening fell, feeling the warmth in her cheeks.

“Julia,” Edward said, kissing her forehead. “Julia! But I was honour bound to Caroline – and by the time that was at an end, you were betrothed and I had no notion you ever entertained any feelings for me.”

She shook her head. “Only belatedly; you were to marry Caroline and what would have been the use in my speaking, even if I dared? But should we ask the driver to stop?”

“I think not,” said Edward, keeping his arm around her. “We cannot be certain you are right – and how would we ask him? And if you are, then we should at least be set down by an inn. If nothing more, we should be able to arrange a more reliable means of conveyance from there.”

“True,” she agreed, “although if I am right, we must hope that Christy stopped to think of the practicalities and I don’t know how much faith I have in a miracle such as that.”

Edward laughed. “If he means to fatally compromise us, for that we must surely be expected to share a room at the inn.” He put a hand to her face. “Julia, if it comes to that –”

The carriage gave another violent lurch and then creaked and protested worryingly as the driver set the horses off at a faster pace.

Edward pulled her in against him. “What is he about?”

Julia was wondering the same thing – what sort of questionable person had Christy hired? Was he now going to crash the vehicle? Common sense would say surely not, but perhaps he had been drinking and had gone beyond reason. She clung tightly to Edward as the carriage turned sharply, the end of it striking something and then something snapped audibly and it fell to a halt, the horses evidently moving on without it. It took some minutes before either Edward or Julia dared stir.

“It seems you were right,” said Edward eventually, and then moved cautiously, testing the stability of the carriage. It was now resting at a decidedly drunken angle, one of the wheels having fallen off, but it seemed that it was leaning against whatever it had crashed into. He opened the door and climbed out, before turning back to lift Julia down. Standing there together, his arm still about her, they looked back at the carriage as another wheel made its escape and watched by the light of the inn’s oil lamps as it rolled towards the yard of a nearby inn.

Julia felt abruptly sick and a little faint and put a hand to the side of the carriage, even as Edward ran towards the driver, now returning with at least one of the horses. She stayed where she was and concentrated on breathing, although she registered distantly that Edward seemed now to be haranguing the man in a quite uncharacteristic fashion.

It was the driver who said, “You had best look to your lady friend.” And then, mercifully, Edward was next to her again only an instant later, putting his arm around her and leading her away from the wrecked carriage.

“Are you hurt?” he asked, straightening her cloak about her. “Julia?”

She began to recover herself, and shook her head. “N-no. But p-perhaps I was wrong and Christy was t-trying to k-kill us!”

“Ssh,” he said, and pulled her in nearer. She realised slowly that she must sound rather distrait. “I suppose it must be hard to find a reliable coachman who’s prepared to strand his passengers on request.”

Julia tried to smile, but she felt horridly shaken by the incident. She was distracted, however, by looking up to realise that the man in question had inevitably vanished with the horse. “Oh, dear – he’s gone!”

“Good riddance,” said Edward. “We’ve no further need of him, after all, and I must ask you a question. Do you think you are well enough to answer me?”

Julia swallowed and nodded. She straightened herself and stepped back from him, though unwillingly. To stand here, in public, under these stars, embracing was something that might even have them locked up by the parish constable if they were seen. “I think so.”

She glanced about her, wondering where they were. Somewhere on the road east from London to Kent, she supposed. The battered carriage was resting drunkenly near to the stone wall of somebody’s orchard and beyond it was the inn, although she could not yet make out the sign to determine its name.

“Very well,” said Edward, leading her further away from both carriage and inn, to sit on a low wall opposite. “You see, from here, I can go into the inn and see what I can do about hiring a vehicle to take us back to London, to your father, or onwards to Kent to my aunt as we planned. Or we could see if we can obtain rooms here – separate rooms – with no need for any further melodrama. Or,” he said, catching his breath and taking hold of her hands, “we could fall in with Christy’s plans, see this abduction through to its proper end. And in the morning, we may see about being married as swiftly as possible.”

Julia raised her head, startled by such a proposition from Edward, although she thought then that perhaps once a person started abducting people, it naturally led them to contemplate even more improper acts, even if that person was Edward Iveson.

“Never mind Christy’s ideas, or your Father’s position, or even Sir Roderick, and certainly do not mind me,” added Edward. “What we shall do now is what you wish. Although one thing I will say is that whatever you choose to do tonight, after this I shall certainly call on your father and ask for his permission to pay court to you.”

Julia smiled up at him. “Will you be shocked if I tell you that I like this adventure far too well to give it up now?” She curled her hands around his. “I’d like to stay here and I’d like very much to marry you – safely out of the way of Sir Roderick!”

“You understand,” said Edward, carefully serious again, despite the moment his face had lit from within at her answer, “that when I say I mean to see this through to its proper end – well, I have begun this abduction ill, but I mean to finish it in the proper fashion. So, abduction, seduction – and then I have you in my clutches for good!”

She laughed. “I’m not an heiress – ‘tis you in my clutches. My family are all to pieces and my brother has entrapped you with this stratagem, so –” She gave a shrug.

“Yes, true,” said Edward, “remind me to curse at Christy when he finds us and refuse to marry you until he threatens to horsewhip me.” He let go of her hands, to put one hand to her waist, the other to her face and kissed her properly now that they were not in an unsteady carriage. Julia caught at his arms. She was still feeling a little odd and light-headed from the accident and her escape from Sir Roderick and had no defences left against his touch, and her treacherous heart that quickened again, leaving her breathless.

“We had best go inside,” said Edward, “and hope your brother thought to bespeak us a room and not merely trusted to luck.”

Julia glanced back over her shoulder. “What about the carriage?”

“It isn’t my carriage,” said Edward. “I trust that our villainous driver will return for it, and if not, assuming Christy comes to find it, he may deal with the matter if no one else will. Now, come. You’re still too pale and it’s growing cold.”


Julia was still feeling shaken by the whole affair, but Edward seemed far more cheerful about it now that he’d decided to abandon his principles. The accident seemed to have robbed her of her nerve and given Edward back his in full.

He led her into the inn, his arm through hers and keeping himself between her and the regulars in the taproom. Some of them looked up, but it seemed to be a respectable sort of place, which Julia was relieved at, not having been sure what else Christy might have thought unimportant.

“I believe someone came by earlier to arrange a room for my wife and myself?” said Edward to the landlord’s wife. “We are a little later than we intended, I fear. We had an accident along the way.”

The woman nodded. “Oh, yes. Mr Graves, isn’t it? We’ve been expecting you.”

“Mr Iveson,” he corrected her. “Mr Graves was the gentleman who came in to make arrangements for us. I don’t want to put you to too much trouble, but we would be very grateful for any sort of supper you can scrape together for us.”

She gave a nod, her eye travelling to Julia in motherly concern. “Oh, I have a few things put to one side. And Mrs Iveson is as white as a ghost, poor thing. I’ll have Robert take you upstairs and make sure you have everything you need.”


“It isn’t bad, is it?” said Edward, after shedding his greatcoat and exploring the inn’s best room for a few moments. The place was clean, the bed aired and not seeming obviously louse-ridden, while the fire had been lit. The furniture was elderly, but solid – a table and chairs in the sitting room and a dresser and four poster bed in the inner chamber, but little else.

Julia took the nearest seat, removing first her hat, which was already somewhat battered and a little askew by this time; her hair was also falling out of its pins. She sighed and began to unbutton and peel off her gloves, still feeling cold and not herself.

Edward gave her a long look and then crossed back to the table, pouring out a glass of wine for her and giving it to her. “You’d better drink this. The good lady is right – you are a little whey-faced yet.”

Julia took it, knowing he was probably right, but she was yet shivering, despite the warming fire. Their brush with death seemed to have affected her quite differently. Perhaps it wasn’t only that, she thought; perhaps it was that she’d had two shockingly narrow escapes today, not one – the other being from her marriage to Sir Roderick.

“You seem much too happy about all this,” she said, and took a sip of the port.

Edward sat down opposite her. “I may merely be light-headed after our adventures,” he said, and poured out a glass for himself. “Or possibly it’s the company.” He gave her a teasing smile.

She felt the heat fire in her cheeks, and she looked down at the glass in her hands. “D-don’t. Such stuff and nonsense when you were going to deliver me to your aunt only an hour or two before – and telling me you’d suffer marrying me if you it came to it.”

“Well, that was nonsense,” said Edward. “Having finally escaped engagement to Miss Aldridge, I should hardly have leapt straight into any other unwanted arrangement. You’ll have to forgive me my lies. I thought it would have alarmed you if I’d followed up abducting you by making love to you in the carriage.”

Julia couldn’t answer because at that point, the landlord’s wife reappeared, only this time with some cold meat, bread and fruit. She stopped to take a good look at Julia and declare that Mrs Iveson seemed much better already before bustling out again.

“Julia?” said Edward softly, once the woman had left them. He broke off a piece of the bread and passed it over, before adding a slice of the cold mutton. “You had best eat something.”

She stared at the food dully, and swallowed, suddenly sure she was too tired and miserable to eat a thing. “You don’t mean it. You would have said something before. I’m grateful enough – you needn’t pay me ridiculous compliments.”

“I may not be practised at these matters,” said Edward, after a pause, “but I meant every word of that. Do you truly believe that I couldn’t?”

Julia forced down a mouthful and shook her head. She’d spent months being ignored and sneered at by her fiancée, and the time before that being deserted by her admirers once that her father had lost his money. She had an all too accurate view of her value and how little of it rested in her person.

“I shouldn’t have merely taken you away,” said Edward, after watching her slowly eat for a few minutes. “God help me, I should have at least attempted to knock him down!”

Julia choked on her bread, and went into a fit of coughing, unwisely drinking more of her wine to try and stop, before she could look up at him again. “Do you mean Sir Roderick? You wouldn’t! You couldn’t!”

“I can’t help feeling you could show a trifle more faith in your future husband,” said Edward, but he smiled. “Perhaps not, given his age and our relative standing in the world, but I assure you, I don’t run to false compliments – or bad verse.”

Julia laughed suddenly, warmed by something, whether it was the fire or the wine, or Edward’s anger on her behalf, or all three. Whatever it was, she immediately felt much more herself than she had done all evening – perhaps even for weeks. “Oh, Ned, have you been trying to write me poetry?”

“No,” said Edward, leaning over and putting his hand to her chin. He grinned at her. “I told you, I know my limitations, but if I want to state the truth and tell you that I think you beautiful, I don’t see that I should be called ridiculous for it.”

Julia blinked away tears. “But it is ridiculous. And why have you not attempted any verses? I understood it was quite obligatory. You can’t possibly have pined for me even a little if you didn’t waste whole sheets of paper on the subject. I am quite cast into a decline by such callousness.”

“Won’t an abduction suffice?” Then he threw her a teasing look. “Does that mean you have written me verses?”

Julia shook her head. “Don’t you know that a lady never feels anything until after the gentleman has declared himself? And if the gentleman in question is engaged for years and years to some other lady, there’s nothing to be done.” She met his gaze. “I couldn’t commit my feelings to paper in any case – they were wicked and selfish, wishing you would never be happy together. But I knew you would, in the end if you did marry Miss Aldridge. You see, there is the truth: I should prefer you to be unhappy than to be with someone else! At least – partly – perhaps.”

“Julia,” said Edward, and helped her to rise.

She found herself unexpectedly unsteady from a combination of drinking her wine too hastily, the accident – and the position she had now put herself in, with Edward. She caught her breath, not entirely sure of the details and felt the heat rise in her cheeks, as Edward continued to keep hold of her, one hand around hers, the other going to her waist to steady her.

“I – I think I may have drunk just a little too much,” she confessed.

“Good,” said Edward, with a sudden smile. “Quite right.” He shifted his hold on her and then, surprising her, swung her up into his arms.

Julia froze and gave a squeak. “Ned! Ned, no! Don’t! You’ll hurt yourself!”

Edward carried her on the few steps into the bedchamber, dropping her onto the bed. “It wasn’t far,” he said, sitting down next to her, still grinning at her. “I told you I meant to finish the abduction more in the proper style.” Then he looked down at her and put out a hand to her face, his expression in shadow. “Unless you would rather not – if you are tired –”

“No!” said Julia, and sat up straight again, putting her arms around him tightly, hugging him to her. Then she laughed at her own erratic emotions, her head still resting on his shoulder as she held onto him. “I’m sorry, I should at least protest at your wicked wiles, even if half-heartedly, I know, but the truth is I’m too happy. Shocking, but there it is.”

He kissed her head. “Since I’m not overly familiar with the best methods of abduction and the like, it’s as well, I feel. And this is only our beginning, Julia. I hope we’ll deal together better than this inauspicious start would suggest.”

“I don’t think it inauspicious,” said Julia, kissing him. “It seems perfectly splendid to me.”

***

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