The cold, wet drive to work this Monday morning was more than you could bear. Last night’s Downton Abbey episode swept you away to a romantic world of silks and high tea and the beautiful life upstairs, but today all you’ve got is a run in your hose, a warmed-over vanilla latte, and a stack of paperwork to wrangle because a co-worker called in sick.
Suddenly, the elevator door dings open and a tall, handsome man strides toward you with the sureness of an hunter-stallion. A forelock of chestnut hair falls rakishly over his steel grey eyes as he smiles and extends a large, strong hand toward you in greeting. He’s your temp for the day…and was that a hint of a BBC accent you heard; a whiff of treacle and the scent bridle leather? Quickly, you consult the Downton Abbey Name Generator and introduce yourself.
As your new manservant – uh, temporary assistant – fires up the computer in the next cubicle, you Google “Downton Abbey Themed Vacation” and find the perfect castle for your fantasy.
When deciding what to pack, you first peruse the 1920′s Undergarments Pinterest page, but then decide that since it’s a make-believe rendezvous, you might as well dream big and treat yourself to the swanky knickers at England’ s Lucile Lingerie.
You choose a filmy negligee, ignore your ringing phone, and click into some steamy fan fiction. Reading Speak of a Life Already Wild at Downton Abbey Femslash, you find yourself undoing the top button on your GAP cardigan.
They learn to speak first with wrists and fingers, to address themselves to the backs of knees and the soft underside of the jaw. Most days they walk in the park and take tea in a crowded room where Mary’s lips on the rim of a cup are like a promise, Lavinia’s nails dimpling the white linen napkin an unmistakable message. Later they undress one another – a new joy for Mary, who has never dressed herself let alone another person. They progress in leaps and bounds from the first time, when they could find no words, only the futility in searching. There was only touch that time, how they moved together like small things shaken by the same wind.
Then, during Riding St. George, you cross your knees and turn on the desk fan.
“He seems to be unable to complete the performance,” Mary said, her cheeks burning. “His back causes him a lot of pain and it seems to be extinguishing the passion.” She sighed. A second later she smiled at Isobel. “He is so gentle and so loving towards me, that I cannot push him, in regards to this. He always makes sure that I am satisfied, even if he is not.”
“Have you tried touching him? Helping him complete that way,” Isobel asked, looking intently at Mary.
Mary shook her head. “He turns away from me in frustration and does not want me to.”
“I see. You do know that a woman can help her husband by touching his manhood with her hand or her mouth, or both?
Mary blushed and nodded. “I have touched him of course.”
“Have you tried using your mouth and perhaps engage in a Riding St. George?”
Riding St. Who?! The office world comes crashing in, and here’s your new temp asking if it’s okay to leave a half-hour early to meet his girlfriend for their Bradley birth class. Of course, you tell him. Forget work and take an extra fifteen, the traffic is hell. And you have pages of post-Edwardian smut to get through by next Sunday.