Marguerite had finished readying herself for bed, but found herself too restless to sleep. Instead she settled onto the chaise lounge near the window with a book. Most of the lights were already turned down, so she lit a candle to set on the end table beside her.
She had been reading for perhaps half an hour when there was a soft tap on her door. "Come in," she called quietly. The door opened and Percy slipped through. He was still dressed. "Not in bed yet, Percy?" she asked. "I'm afraid not, m'dear," he replied. He crossed the room and sat down on the edge of the chaise. Marguerite gave him a concerned look. "Are you all right, ma cherie?" She leaned forward and put a hand on his shoulder.
Percy sighed and reached up to clasp her hand. "Just tired. I got a letter from my French contacts today; it seems our friend Chauvelin might have some new tricks up his sleeves. I'll probably have to again cross the Channel within a few days. I do want to help our brethren in France, but sometimes I wish I could just stay home with my wife." He looked at Marguerite tenderly for a moment, then leaned over and gently kissed her. "I love you," he whispered. She kissed him back. "I love you more."
Percy gave her a mischievous look. "Are you sure, Margot? I really I think I love you more." Marguerite caught the look in his eyes. "You are quite mistaken, Percy. Why don't you just admit it?" She gave him a little smirk. And waited to se how he would respond. He raised his eyebrow at her. "It appears we are at odds about it. In that case, my dear, we shall have to have a contest to determine who is right." With a sudden move, he pinned Marguerite to the lounge with a kiss.
Marguerite was caught off guard and barely had time to drop her book on the floor next to her. She tried shoving Percy off of her, but to no avail. She did her best to distract him by untying his cravat. He merely chuckled and continued to shower her face and neck with kisses. Marguerite tossed the cravat onto the floor and proceeded to unbuttoning Percy's shirt. He still refused to relent. Finally, Marguerite resorted to the one sure thing she knew would work: she began to tickle
Percy pulled back in surprise. "La, m'dear, that hardly seems fair!" he laughed. Marguerite nonetheless continued. "You were asking for it, ma cherie. This is a contest remember, and I don't recall you ever saying tickling was not allowed." Still chortling, Percy nodded. "You are quite right, m'dear. However, I also don't think I said anything about this!"
He stood up, scooped Marguerite into his arms, and threw her onto the bed. Before she could get away, he pounced onto her and began tickling back. Unfortunately for her, he knew exactly where she was most ticklish. Within moments she was helpless with giggles.
"Percy!" she shrieked. "Percy, stop it!" He grinned broadly at her. "La, I think not, Margot. At least, not until you admit that I've won." She was laughing too hard to say anything. Eventually, she managed to gasp out, "You win!"
Percy stopped and lay down next to her on the bed. She was silent for a moment, catching her breath, before she spoke again. "Alright, ma cherie. You win. I concede that you are the greater lover." Percy flashed his wife one more devilish grin. "Well, m'dear, all that's left now is for me to prove my new title."
Andrew Ffoulkes and Armand St. Just had been waiting in Percy's study for a hour. Andrew glanced at the clock on the mantel for the hundredth time. "It's past noon. Shouldn't they be down here by now?" before Armand could reply, the door opened and the Blakeneys entered. "La, how long have you two been here?" asked Percy. "Quite long enough," replied Armand as he kissed his sister. "We were beginning to worry that you two were ill. What in heaven's name would keep you abed so late?"
Marguerite gave Percy a sly look before turning back to her brother. "Oh, I was just having trouble sleeping and decided to read. That's all."