I am at the part in my first draft where Ethan marries Catherine and–
Duke of Rumsey (aka His Grace): Now stop it right there.
His Grace: Good news for whom?
Ruth: For the main characters, of course.
His Grace: That’s preposterous! This isn’t good news. My daughter is crying.
Ethan’s Mother (aka Matchmaking Mother or MM for short): Those are tears of joy.
His Grace: They aren’t tears of joy. And I blame this dastardly deed on you.
MM: On me?
His Grace: Yes. You’re a meddlesome creature. You made your grand display of “they’re in love” in front of everyone, knowing full well what the consequences would be.
MM: I had no idea. I had hopes, but I couldn’t tell for sure what would happen.
His Grace: You knew. You’re a wicked and deceitful lady.
Ethan: Might I remind you that you’re talking to my mother, the very lady who gave birth to me?
His Grace: I admit that error wasn’t her fault, but she should know better than behave so ruthlessly.
MM: Ethan wasn’t an error. He just needs to be steered down the right path.
His Grace: At the expense of my daughter?
MM: Your daughter will be fine. It’s you I’m worried about. You like to control everything. In modern times, the term would be “control freak.”
His Grace: I’m not the control freak. You’re the one who manipulated your son’s marriage.
MM: You’re only upset because I was smart enough to make it happen. Besides, if you’d done an adequate job, your daughter wouldn’t have had to go in for a third Season. She would have been married sooner. You should be thanking me. Now she won’t live out a lonely life as a spinster.
Catherine: Thank you so much! As if being a spinster is the worst thing that can happen to a lady.
MM: He won’t be allowed to live his debased life anymore, Your Grace. At least not to the extent we find out about it. From now on, he will be discrete.
His Grace: You plan to follow him around to make sure this happens?
Ethan: This is absurd. I’m a grown man, not a child.
His Grace: Then when will you act like it?
Ethan: I have been. Grown men go to gentleman’s clubs to gamble. They tell and listen to raunchy jokes as long as no ladies are present. They find ways to satisfy their needs, whether it be with a mistress or prostitute–
Catherine: Ewe. Stop it!
His Grace: You are harming delicate ears. Do so again, and I’ll challenge you to fencing.
MM: Ethan, that kind of talk will not be tolerated here.
Ethan: That kind of talk is why I should never have been allowed to get married.
His Grace: Finally, you said something I heartily agree with.
MM: That’s silly. There are plenty of rakes, and yet there are tons of romance novels where they find that one special lady who turns them around for the better.
His Grace: But those rakes aren’t with my daughter.
MM: If your daughter had been with one of those rakes, she wouldn’t be in this book.
Catherine: Mind if I say something?
Ethan: I don’t even want to get married. This arrangement isn’t of my own doing.
MM: Stop complaining. Marriage is good for a gentleman. It’s Biblical. God said it’s not good for man to be alone.
Ethan: I wasn’t alone. I had you bothering me all those years, Mother.
Catherine: Isn’t anyone interested in what I have to say?
MM: How have I been bothering you, Ethan?
Ethan: You’re constantly hounding me about getting married.
MM: And now I won’t have to. See? There’s the happy ending to this book, and we’re only six chapters in.
Ethan: No, it’s not a happy ending. This whole catastrophe is your doing.
Catherine: I have some opinions I’d like to share.
MM: It’s not a catastrophe. If this was a horror novel, then yes. But it’s a romance. Romances are full of fun and love and sex–
His Grace: My pure daughter in bed with… with… I can’t even say it.
MM: She has to give my son an heir. What will happen in their bed is strictly for duty to the crown.
Ethan: *rolls eyes* Can my life get any more embarrassing?
Ruth: I guess we’ll just have to find out the answer to that one. 😀
Ethan: You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?
Ruth: Maybe a little too much.
Ethan: I’ve had enough. I’m out of here. *leaves*
MM: To do what? Ethan, what are you going to do? *follows him*
His Grace: Whatever it is he plans to do, I hope I don’t find out about it from the Tittletattle. *also leaves*
Catherine: Doesn’t anyone care about what I think? *crosses her arms, huffs, and leaves*