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Nathaniel strolled into the ladies accessories shop the next morning. The tiny shop was crammed with shelves of ribbons, laces and beads. There was even some discreetly displayed rice powder to give a lady a more porcelain complexion. He had never been in a shop such as this before and if he had anything to say, never again. The whole place gave him a claustrophobic feeling. He was hoping to make his purchase and quietly have it delivered. He groaned; in his haste to be done with his errand, he had failed to notice that there in the shop was one of his aunt's bosom beaus, Lady Fairchild. She looked up at him and discreetly took a position that would give her the ability to see and hear everything he did. Why did he not just send a footman or the housekeeper? He knew why, because everything he had done so far to make amends with the attractive Lady Shannon had gone awry. Besides he had told the butler that a package would be arriving before he left on his afternoon off. Those troublesome condoms would be sent to his uncle forthwith and he would wash his hands of them.
The haberdasher smiled at him somewhat dazed. He withdrew his quizzing glass and stared at her coldly. She flushed and asked hurriedly, "May I help you, your lordship?"
He drawled in a bored tone, "Do you have any ladies fans?" He crossed his arms and leaned against the counter, a perfect picture of worldly ennui.
"Oh my yes, your lordship," the woman reached down and pulled up a tray with an assortment of fans. She picked up one with ivory spokes and unfolded it for him.
He heard Lady Fairchild clear her throat, "Are you getting that for one of your female cousins?"
Nathaniel turned to the womanwith a raised eyebrow at her impudence. He supposed as she was a friend of his aunt's it would be best not to give her a set down. "Why no, this is for someone else." He forbore to expand on that statement, much to the lady's consternation. He looked at them all carefully then he saw the one he wanted to give her--it was a creamy ivory with jade accents. He imagined the fan being deployed by Lady Shannon as she smiled up at him. He blinked and the image went away. He brusquely indicated the little fan to the shopkeeper. "Please wrap that up."
The shopkeeper complied and as she placed the package on the counter asked, "Do you wish me to have this delivered, your lordship?"
Lady Fairchild was making no pretense of minding her own affairs at this time and waited to hear his answer. "No, I wish you to deliver it to my townhouse on Jackson square."
"Of course, your lordship," he noted that both women looked a little disappointed. He wished he could just get take the thing with him but he had an appointment shortly with a committee chairman then he had to be back at his house for a meeting with his steward. Since his country estate was in Richmond, it was just as easy to have his man wait on him here as to go to his estate. He wrote a short note to be placed in the package.
"My lady, there is a package arrived for you today," Anna her Abigail said.
Shannon was focused on the scent she was mixing, "In a minute Anna, I need to finish this. It is for Miss Warrick." Shannon added a couple of drops of violet oil to the mixture and asked her maid. "Here take a sniff, what do you think?"
Anna took a sniff of the toilet water and frowned. "It smelled just fine but it is not quite Miss Warrick." Shannon took a card and placed a drop on it and waved it in the air. Then she brought it to her nose and sniffed. She wrinkled her forehead, "You're right, it is missing something."
The maid's face brightened, as she gestured to a bottle on the shelf. "What about a little of that?"
Shannon clasped the bottle of Sandalwood essence and gingerly placed two drops into the concoction and stirred. She touched the rod to another sheet of paper. She waved the paper in the air and handed it to her maid, "What is your opinion?"
The maid inhaled the scented paper, "Interesting ... the fragrance is light and innocent, but the touch of sandalwood gives it the potential to be quite naughty." Anna and her mistress grinned at one another. "That is her exactly" she exclaimed.
Shannon looked around at the small blue package sitting on the counter in her still room. She wiped her hands on her already soiled apron. She glanced at her old worn dress she always wore when she worked in her still room. She did not know why she bothered with a cover. She said absently, "This does not look large enough to be the beakers I ordered from Miller's Glass Shop.
"My lady look ... the box has a note atop it," Anna said excitedly. "It looks like real expensive paper ... maybe it's a gift from that nice Mr. Warrick."
Shannon laughed at the idea of anyone sending her a gift, but her laughter turned to surprise when she opened the note.
I hope you utilize my gift when
the heat becomes overwhelming.
Maybe I could show you the best
Way to employ it.
Shannon gave the box a good shake and frowned at it. What could Lord Ravenleigh be possibly be sending to her?
She carefully untied the string and opened the box. She spread the tissue paper and stared dumbfounded. She blinked and then looked again. "Are those ... are those..." her voice trailed off. "I mean I have read about..." again her voice failed her.
The maid took the package from her unresisting hand and looked. "Oh my Gawd, the jack-a-napes sent you condoms!"