JEEVES AND THE OPEN BOOK
Intro: This is my most recent J/W morsel! I hope you all enjoy!
It had been a trifling three days since the departure of my trusted valet from the Wooster homestead.
I'd been dreading for weeks Jeeves' annual pilgrimage to the sunny shore of whatsit to do whosit with an innumerable party of shrimp. He often returned from these little sojourns with no little of the golden sun about his neck and ears, and seeming much relaxed, but aforementioned return always seemed long in coming.
I'd lately run into a bit of hard luck when it came to affairs de la cour, roughly in the shape of my Aunt Agatha. In her terrifying sweeping manner, she'd lately pronounced young Bertram as irretrievably hopeless, after Jeeves had managed to maneuver this grateful bachelor out of yet more matrimonial clutches.
His scheme (which I must say was one of the fruitiest and most intricate to spring from his astounding mind) resulted in my coming into extremely close contact with a herd of cows. This had happened in a roundabout fashion, via some sort of grease stuff (irritable to bovine types) that Jeeves rubbed into a maroon tie, which had not passed unscathed neath' Jeeves' particularities.
Turns out the young Dottie Suthefield-Smithson had a deathly fear of the beasts, and had taken their affection for me as a sign that our wedded bliss was far from being destin.
Aunt Agatha had taken one look at the last of her Wooster tribe, mired as I was in an affectionate bovine cuddle, and bellowed in that inimitable aunt-like way, that she was officially giving up. Apparently, she'd had quite enough of my bismirching the Wooster name with my inability to tie the knot with any pixie-faced heiress this side of the pond. I was out of her good books for the long run, it would seem.
Now, I tend to be a genial chap, but when the old flesh and blood pronounces you a lost cause, it tends to chafe to the bone. True, I've never been particularly well-favored among the Wooster breed, but this Agathean pronouncement had rung with an air of finality. Make no mistake, I've no desire to pounce upon the nearest Petunia or Mildred, and trot her to the alter in order to please my aunt-- She's not been terribly kind in all our years of being blood relations-- but it did jolt the bean to have been informed by an elder that it was unlikely I'd ever make that particular trot. I wasn't so inclined, but it did beg the question as to the precise location and general square-footage of my alternatives.
I'd been pondering this query for over a week, when Jeeves reminded me of his imminent departure. I'd been pretty low in the bucket to begin with, but this news certainly did nothing to buck up my already flagging joie de vivre. Dashed heard-hearted of him to abandon his master in my hour of need, but I suppose even marvels such as Jeeves need a few days of sea, sun and shrimp.
I bid Jeeves a melancholy farewell, and watched the back of his neck, now smooth and pale but soon to be gold and dapper, grow smaller as he strode from my side. I'm sure you know how it is to see your closest friend vanish when one's already heartsick to begin with, but I'll tell you it's a rummy situation!
It wasn't until the third day he'd left that I mustered the will to leave off ordering in and venture out to the Drones for a light supper and a drink or two. While tapping the zinctop for my third, I heard a familiar voice pipe up beside me, and swung round to face him.
"What ho, Bertie!" chirped a cheerful Cyril Bassington-Bassington.
"Why, Cyril!" cried I, with no little surprise, "I thought you'd still be dashing 'round the theatrical circles in New York. Don't tell me you've come to join the London board-treadders?"
"Oh no, Bertie. I've left the stage! I'm doing films now!"
"Jolly good," said I, "films at last. Congratulations, young Bassington-Bassington," and clinked my glass with his.
"I'm working with a marvelous producer, Bertie! Wonderful eye, don't you know. Spotted me in an instant as a talent. And, Bertie, I'm sure you know all about these sorts of things, what with you and Jeeves, but I don't mind telling you..." and here he lowered his voice conspiratorially, "he's become my closest and dearest friend."
I raised a brow at the significant emphasis dwelling within the blighter's adjectives, and rattled my beverage, eager to be away.
"He's letting me stay with him here in London. Has the most marvelous little flat right near the theaters, and every night we take in a show! Why, it's as if I've finally found the one person who really understands me, you know Bertie?"
Ah. Now I might be the sort of chap that takes the long road to the obvious, but I was beginning to see what Cyril was getting at, in his breathless, wistful sort of way. He and this producer fellow were obviously closer than the average chaps, and he seemed to think I knew the long and short of these things as well.
I'd heard tell of these types of gents, but I'd never really let my curiosity steer me to a deeper understanding. Something told me that there'd be trouble once I began to peer down that particular path.
Cyril was expounding on the pleasure afforded by his companion. Seemed to me that the Bassington-Bassington couldn't have had many in the way of confidants, other than this producer fellow, if he was choosing to bend my ear with tales of his odd version of domestic bliss.
I had to admit, though, it did sound rather blissful; A loving spouse sans the rummy business of being forced into sharing the evening meal with a female. Of course, I would leave off on the theater and perhaps add in one or two visits to the seaside. Jeeves and I would take the sun together, and we could share a bottle of port in the evenings, over newly caught shrimp.
But now I halted in place. Could my troubles with marriage have to do with this business with Cyril and his chappie? Could I be, as they say, so inclined? I certainly didn't take long in imagining a similar life with Jeeves. Something in my chest squeezed familiarly, and I decided it was time to leave.
I bid Cyril adieu and started home with a mind towards puzzling this whole business out. By the next morning I was sure of it. I'd awoken with thoughts of what sorts of things two chaps got up to when the lights went down, and applying these thoughts directly to the source, that is to say, Jeeves, resulted in rather a dramatic response.
After I'd calmed down a bit, I pondered the issue further. With my aunt having so recently given up hope, I'd no longer be bothered with the threat of marriage. Jeeves and I could live together happily, without having to worry about unwelcome ladies barging in to ruin things.
I was surprised to have taken it in stride, me being in love with Jeeves and all. I suppose it was something always lurking in the Wooster heart, but now it fairly burned with it, having passed over that revelatory business and moved straight on into status quo. My longing for him tripled, and suddenly three more days seemed an eternity. I wondered whether I could reside alongside him with the firm knowledge of my lovelorn hunger, without revealing it to the all-knowing source of said l. h.
The following days passed in a blur of nerves and barely checked desires. I readied myself for his return, practicing a casual "what ho, Jeeves! Catch a shrimp or two?" for hours on end in the mirror to affect a disinterested air. I admit to stealing into his room once or twice, unable to stifle my longings in the later hours. Simply being there, surrounded by his books and things, made the heart thunder and the knees weak.
When he finally did arrive, some hours after I'd taken up a post at my usual reading spot and stared sightlessly at the same paragraph at least two hundred times, I started so violently at the sound of the lock turning, that I kicked over the poker stand and bunged my toe so hard that tears sprung to the eyes. "What ho, Jeeves!" I screeched in an unnaturally high voice, staring hard at my paper, "Catch some... uh... thingummies?"
There was a silence, then the sound of Jeeves placing his suitcase gently on the floor.
"Good afternoon, Sir. I believe you are referring to shrimp, which were quite plentiful, thank you... Are you quite all right?" said the smooth and hesitant voice of my valet. I bravely stole a glance in his direction, and immediately regretted it. He'd tanned quite nicely during his holiday, and it made a distracting contrast with his crisp white shirt.
"Never better, Jeeves!" I said again in that ghastly voice, returning my eyes to the safety of what (I suppose might have been) the sporting section, "why do you ask?"
"Because, Sir," said the object of my unrequited adoration, "That paper is from over a week ago..."
I'd sensed something awry even before I left, but I hadn't been able to quite put my finger on it.
Mr. Wooster had been brooding, an unnatural state of affairs for my usually cheerful employer. I'd been worried, as I often am when his disposition falters, but had attributed his melancholy to the harsh words he'd endured from his Aunt on the Sunday previous.
I'd felt a gnawing guilt at having been the indirect source of his Aunt's ire, and found myself, while not at all sorry at having foiled Miss Suthefield-Smithson's intentions of marriage, quite shamefaced at having caused Mr. Wooster any pain.
From nearly the onset of our acquaintance (barring the first few weeks when I hadn't yet come to know him) I'd held a deep affection for Mr. Wooster. I admit that this affection ran considerably deeper than the appropriate level for one's employer, even for one's friend. I'd been aware of my own predilections for some time, but my interests had never before consumed me as they did for him. I was content, mostly, to serve and protect him to the best of my abilities, and remain at his side for as long as I lived.
Mr. Wooster is a kind and gentle soul, and many times it has provoked the ungentlemanly flutter within my patient breast to snatch him from danger or ward off some vicious heiress. I found joy and fulfillment in my work for the first time, and found it a pleasure to serve the man for whom I held a quiet and everlasting tendre.
I'd been careful to hide any evidence of my feelings from Mr. Wooster, though, and watched him with a practiced eye to assure that he never discovered my secret. I'd come to read his open countenance quite easily, even anticipate his needs by his expression and tone of voice. To one as studied in both the general psychological aspects of the individual, and, in particular, Mr Wooster's honest, genial character, it was as easy to divine his basic emotions as it was to look upon an open book and read there the printed words.
And that is why, whereupon I returned from my annual holiday aboard my cousin's shrimping vessel, I was stunned to discover a strange uneasiness in my employer's demeanor. I'd been anticipating his happy greeting for most of the week, and it was a jolt to receive, instead, this awkward welcome. Something was quite wrong.
Mr. Wooster tends to be a very open, genial sort of young gentleman. He has quite often revealed his emotion "on his sleeve," as they say. Even with my experience, and his readable outward demeanor in the past, I'd never before seen him in such a state.
The expired newspaper, his failure to meet my eyes, and the tell-tale breaking of his voice all led me to slowly begin to embrace an ember of terrified hope. His limbs were folded close to his body, his head downcast, and his hands shaking enough to rattle the paper he clutched, white-knuckled.
His face flushed under my scrutiny, and I was suddenly sure.
I had, in the past, suspected Mr. Wooster of being of a similar mind to my own, but never before had I expected him to come to understand and know the unconventional longings of his own heart. But it was unmistakable; love was writ clearly upon him from head to toe.
It was at this particular revelation that I felt a hastening bloom of desire, and I forced myself to remain impassive.
I strode to the end-table and fixed him a drink with imperceptibly trembling hands. He took it automatically, but froze when I, holding tight, failed to release the glass to him. Our hands touching, he finally raised his eyes to meet mine.
Of course he knew.
How could I not have predicted that Jeeves would read upon me this look of love and know immediately all I tried to conceal? My heart plummeted southwardly, and I swallowed a lump the size of a diminutive ocean liner. I forced my mouth shut from it's horrified gape, and painstakingly met his eyes.
And there, upon his face, which seems so often to be the very picture of still serenity, was the sweetest and most mysterious smile I had ever witnessed in the entire course of my life.
Naturally, as this is Jeeves we're discussing, it was quite small and vanished in a trice, but there it was for a moment, eloquent and expressive, stirring the Wooster heart and, I'll admit, firing the Wooster loins no small amount.
I remained frozen with my hand clutching my glass in a sort-of improvised toast, long after he had let his fingers slide past mine and depart, gliding away in a smooth and elegant pace that had him across the room before I could even take a breath.
"I say," I I-sayed to myself under my breath, and downed my drink in a solid swallow. If Jeeves was aware of the deepest secret of my heart, and I was bally well sure that he was, then I hadn't the foggiest what to expect.
I took stock while listening to the comforting sounds of Jeeves in the kitchen, fixing tea.
That slight and knowing smile while he'd lingered over the brandy transfer, implied a number of things to me, some of them not fit to be voiced aloud at present. I attempted to brush those thoughts aside and clear my mind, but the body would hear none of it. If Jeeves knew, then could his minute gesture have indicated that he did not mind?
Did it, oh heaven help me, imply that he... enjoyed my attentions? Reciprocated them, even?
I was at a loss. Being a straightforward sort of chap, I tend to imagine that when it becomes mutually understood that the most ardent and true sort of love is shared by both parties, confessions, endearments and all sorts of lovely physical things tend to take place immediately upon aforementioned revelation.
But Jeeves is a subtler creature than I. One can only suspect that he prefers to handle things delicately, and allow for the decided "un-secret" to remain unspoken until he considers it a prudent time to allow all those things to occur. Dashed if I was going to ruin things by pressing Jeeves before he was ready, but it was even more difficult to contain myself around him, now that he was so newly returned.
I rose and strode to the piano. Best to occupy oneself in these trying sorts of times. My nerves were all ajangle from the suspense, so I picked a calming tune and started in.
It wasn't long before Jeeves reemerged from the kitchen, bearing a tea tray, which he set down before coming to sit beside me at my elbow. He's done this often, in the past, reading along and aiding in the turning of the pages. I was proud of myself for remaining calm at his proximity, and was just beginning to quite enjoy myself and his warmth at my side, when I came to the bottom of the page, and he reached across me to turn it.
His hand, large and clean and capable, landed innocently on my leg as he reached. It was a seemingly casual gesture of balance, in order to reach across and grasp the page, but the warmth and intimacy of his hand against my thigh made at least a half-dozen of my more explicit imaginings race through my head, and I clumsily bashed my fingers incorrectly against the piano keys.
"Excuse me, Sir. I apologize. I was late on turning that last page. I'm afraid I was caught up in your singing, and neglected my count of the measures."
His hand was still on my leg. It was still there. The heat of it was bally well burning through my trouser leg! And if he didn't remove it soon, he was going to be a great deal more intimate with another portion of my anatomy, entirely.
"Ahh, not at all, Jeeves, not at all! I think I must be a bit tired, you know! I think I'll take a bath and then to bed, what?"
"Very good, Sir," he said, and I nearly fell off the piano-bench when he squeezed my leg very slightly, and rose to prepare the bath.
It was an extremely thoughtful and preoccupied bath-time that day. I studied my feet and thought about how to cope with this rather sticky predicament. Truth of it was, I hadn't stopped blushing since Jeeves had returned, and it was going to be downright intolerable waiting around for him to make up his mind to either kiss me or desert me. The second option was too terrifying to contemplate, so I turned my mind to the other o.
Jeeves, while affectionate in his way, has the utmost sense of propriety. It occurred to me that while he might not rebuff my adoration, he might view it as too great a breach of etiquette to take liberties with his employer.
On the other hand, I'd had a terrible case of the nerves since his return, and it was becoming increasingly difficult to string two words together around the man, let alone manage to sweep him off his feet in some grand romantic gesture. I may be a preux chevalier, but having never been nearly this in love, I was finding myself at a loss as to how to proceed.
Could I manage the herculean feat of wooing and seducing the finest and most pristine specimen of man?
Certainly not without his help in doing so...
I'll admit, I was receiving no small amount of enjoyment from Mr. Wooster's flustered responses to my advances. Having years of experience at stifling my own reactions to him, it was delightful to perceive how his open countenance clearly showed the familiar emotions at my touch.
I was biding my time, gauging his response, and allowing him to come to terms with the new situation between us.
It was a difficult wait. His face at the piano, when I had allowed myself to touch him, had read an ecstatic and bewildered panic. Had I chosen that moment to finally make my advances clear, I have no doubt that Mr. Wooster would have been quite pleased with the circumstances.
I hope you will excuse me if this seems in the slightest bit self-serving, but I wished to prolong this period of suspense for as long as I could sustain it. To know that he, too, desired me, was too heady and inflammatory a truth, as served to make me lightheaded with the knowledge. In due time I would allow myself to finally breach the divide I had so rigidly imposed, and this waiting only served to heighten the anticipation.
And besides, Bertram Wooster in a state of fluster is an exceptionally beautiful sight to behold.
Madness. This could not continue.
I may not be the sort of chap who remains calm and collected in dire circumstances, but I used to occasionally have my moments of lucid confidence. No more.
The following day, the flat had transformed into a dratted maze, full of sudden pitfalls and dead-ends. Jeeves touched me at every opportunity; smoothing my tie, re-fastening my cuffs, and even the occasional, chummier squeeze of the shoulder, or pet of the leg.
I was reduced to constant stammering and blushing. Every time I thought I'd worked up the nerve to tell Jeeves about my heart's awakening, he'd turn from his ironing or washing up, and regard me with those dark eyes, and I'd go all limp again, and stutter a question about the mail.
His eyes seemed to follow me. I maintained the air of a nervous schoolboy, and my anticipatory excitement was constant. If Jeeves didn't make his move soon, I was sure I was going to faint.
This Wooster has never been a patient sort, especially when one goes a week without his dearest friend, only to realize that the same d. f. is his very heart's desire.
I'm sure that The Drones would have offered an escape from the constant torment at the hands of my teasing valet, but there was no chance that I was going to hare off when Jeeves could be bracing for a more direct approach.
Besides, I was working up the courage to launch my own attack.
When Jeeves came to deliver the afternoon tea-tray, I bucked up the Wooster spirit, and as he bent at the waist to place the tray on the side-table, I leaned forward in my chair until my mouth was inches from his ear. I took a moment to inhale the scent of him, and then I whispered in a low voice, "Thank you Jeeves. This is lovely."
It was the normal sort of thing to say upon the arrival of one of Jeeves' immaculate tea-trays, but a decidedly new way of saying it. When Jeeves froze and inhaled a slightly shaky breath, I decided that it was a marvelous new technique, to be employed from this point on.
Jeeves seemed to compose himself, straightening, only to bend again, placing his hands on the armrests of my chair. I fell back against the chair, suddenly quite sure I'd gotten myself into a battle I had no chance of winning. He was smiling that little smile again, and I felt my mouth go dry.
"Is there anything else you require, Sir?" He said, in low, dangerous voice. I believe I may have whimpered at this point in the exchange. He was leaning in slowly, pressing me further into the chair with his presence.
"Because I'd be gratified to assist you in any capacity, should you require my services." I'd never heard Jeeves' voice all low and thrilling, and it was doing quite a number on my state of mind. My state of body was also violently effected, I don't mind telling you.
"Nothing leaping to mind, Sir?" He continued. Actually, I was busy entertaining the thought of leaping atop my valet.
"Wuh-well, Jeeves, I, uh, I do believe I'm in need of, uh..." ...anything to keep him here, hovering over me like this. "Umm... errr..." How could he expect me to form a reasonable sentence with his mouth so close to my own?
Then, Jeeves performed that sort of head-tilt he does, when I'm being particularly dense, and he's trying to subtly indicate my next course of action. Now, you see, I've always been particular to that look of his, even before my grand revelation, what with the sleepy, satisfied eyes, and the pronounced pout of his mouth. I'll admit I've done my best to slow my understanding, just to see that look. Said L is not usually very helpful, because as soon as I see it, I want to sit back and bask in his beneficent brilliance, rather than hop aboard the train of logic onto which he's gently ushering me.
Something about the proximity of that look must have snapped something in me, because the next thing I knew, I was standing up, and kissing him as if the only things holding me upright were his lips. Probably were, come to think of it, as the legs were decidedly shaky. My hands were finally given license to comb through the silky hair atop Jeeves' much-admired head, and I was dimly aware of emitting a constant stream of mewling groans into the eager lips of my valet.
Jeeves, in all his shining brilliance, was clutching at my back, grabbing fistfuls of my fine check jacket in a manner that I hadn't thought him capable of. The man was positively electrified!
I realized, as I stumbled over my feet, that he was walking me backwards, towards the piano. Some part of me recognized that it was the piano, as it made a noise like a dropped chandelier as soon as I lurched into the keys. Jeeves didn't pause for a moment, though, in laying me out across the lid of the baby grand.
I imagine that there have been a vast number of varied acts that have taken place on the lid of a piano- there is, after all, an upright model in the Drones smoking room- but I'd be willing to drop five pounds on the wager that this A., in particular, was sparklingly novel.
In moments, Jeeves had peeled apart my trousers. He held still a moment, flicking a thrillingly dark gaze towards me as I leaned back, panting, on my elbows, and then his eloquent, refined mouth dropped a kiss on the very tip of me. I fell back against the piano, emitting a cacophony of moans, and Jeeves attacked with gusto.
I was sure I had died, and Jeeves was currently laying me out in my best suit. He must be somberly pondering the mystery of the ear-to-ear grin on my stone-cold corpse.
I continued to warble wordlessly, accompanied by the occasional clank of the piano keys falling prey to my flailing limbs. It must have been quite a concert, though Jeeves didn't comment at the time.
Instead, he then applied a light suction, swirling his tongue around in a truly magnificent manner, and I think I must have nearly yelled the house down. I know for certain that I bucked my head back into the piano lid, hard enough to leave a bruise, and to make a small dent in the piano, which I will never, ever have repaired.
Jeeves stood straight again, and his look of sly satisfaction was tempered by the redness of his lips and his quick breath. I took a few moments to recover, as I was panting like a racehorse by then, before I sat up woozily, and slumped against his shoulder.
"Good lord, Jeeves!" I managed.
"I mean to say... I can't very well apologize for going at you like that without proper warning, because I'm certainly not sorry, but all the same..."
"Not at all, Sir. I was altogether thoroughly gratified for your honest approach."
"Were you, Jeeves?" I asked, becoming notedly distracted with my realization that the evidence of my valet's gratitude was pressing against my leg.
"If I may return the favor, Sir..." said Jeeves, and leaned in to kiss me again. I'm not generally the most gifted chap when it comes to doing two things at once, and let me state that to kiss Jeeves requires nearly more concentration than I was given (one is likely to faint with pleasure, mid liplock!). I did manage, though, while kissing him, to slide a curious hand down the soft lapel of his jacket, and skim my fingertips lower. A shuddering moan vibrated against my mouth in response, and I made a bit freer with my man.
Hopping down off the piano, I executed a swift coup, spinning Jeeves around and pressing him against the ivories, before dropping to my knees before him.
"Oh... Sir!..." yelped my less-than-usually-articulate valet, clutching the keys noisily as his knees threatened to give out. I took in the scent of him, better than any bouquet, and thanked all powers of heaven, for the hundredth time that half-hour, that I was blessed with the attention of this paragon, and not a daisy-laden Basset.
It was thrilling to finally be able to prostrate myself so for Jeeves' sake. I felt overcome with relief, and more delighted than I'd been since I was a boy. I smiled up at him sappily, with a momentary thought that I would become that dratted Madeline Basset, for the chance to express myself to Jeeves. Fortunately, I didn't need floral-laden prose at the moment. Perhaps later.
For now, there was the very serious business of opening my valet's trousers.
When I'd begun this seduction, I had imagined that things between Mr. Wooster and myself would have proceeded slowly, and much thanks to my own gentle coaxing. I hadn't anticipated my employer's wholehearted participation to this extent.
Certainly, I could tell he loved me in return, from the softness in the way he looked up at me and broke the last of my reserve. But I had expected that progressing to the physical aspect of our union would have taken considerably longer than our current pace.
In short, I was quite unprepared, despite having hoped for this for such an extended period, and I was shaking violently at the thought of what Mr. Wooster was about to do.
His look of focused concentration was so endearing as he unsnapped my trouser front, that I had to touch him. My quaking fingers combed through his hair, as I have often imagined, and he glanced up at me again, a triumphant gleam in his eyes, before his lips touched flesh and I ceased all rational thought.
I don't mean to trivialize my employer's fine attributes, among which are his admirable decency and sweet nature, his jovial determination, and his impressive (though eclectic) musical talents... but I shall never again let it pass that any individual should ever refer to Mr. Wooster as an aimless wastrel. I may not ever be able to verify this truth to public society, but as odd as it may sound, Bertram Wooster has been blessed with prodigious talents that are nothing short of genius.
When I had spent myself explosively in his mouth, I sank to my knees, clutching his shoulders. He seemed very pleased with his accomplishment, and burrowed his nose against the side of my neck in an endearing fashion.
"You called me Bertie, you know!" he said, grinning cheekily into my shoulder.
"Did I?" I was still attempting to regain control over my breath.
"At the end! Marvelous!"
"I apologize, Sir. It is only in moments of complete abandon, when I have referred to you in such a manner."
"Have you had those moments before, then, Jeeves?"
"Though not nearly to such a satisfying result as presently, I admit to having indulged in such thoughts in the past..." Were I not so shaken and euphoric, I should never have admitted to such improper conduct, but he didn't seem to mind in the least.
"It's quite a thing, you know, to see you in the throes of passion. Extraordinary! I shouldn't mind if I'd wake every morning to such a delight!"
I could not control the profusion of affection in my reply, "I would be happy to supply you such a morning view with frequency, Sir. Providing that you do return the favor, if I may ask it."
"By all means, ask away, Jeeves, ask away," He got to his feet and pulled me up after him. We buttoned our trousers, and his hands fell to my hips. "Everything of me is yours already, you know."
I was deeply moved by his sentiment. "And mine is yours."
"You already know I love you, Jeeves, but I'll say it nonetheless."
While I'm often a proponent for understanding the psychology of the individual from subtle and discreet expressions, this was one overt confession from my employer that, though known to me, I would never deny him.
"And I, you, Sir."
Many hours later, Jeeves was polishing the cutlery while I was plopped merrily with my head in his lap and my feet dangling over the end of the couch (I'm not one to test Jeeves' love by allowing my shoes to muddy the upholstery!). All was right in the world, and I was mooning over the dexterity of my valet's skilled hands, when a thought occurred to me.
"Did you know right away, Jeeves, when I fell in love with you?"
"Mm-I confess to having an inkling when your affection for me began to take shape, Sir, but if you are referring to your revelation during my absence, then I'll admit, it was fairly discernible upon my return."
"Not a mind-reader, are you, Jeeves?"
There was some silence while I re-crossed my legs.
"God bless your keen ability to detect the subtleties of my psychology, eh Jeeves?"
He smiled a little, placing the newly-polished serving spoon on a tray, and skimming his fingers through my hair.
"I have never been gladder for it, sir."