Open Sick o'shovelin'
#16
He'd been in his share of the rooms, most recently Felix's, but he'd not been in this one before. Unless he had, when the three of them had the romp, and forgotten after blacking out dead drunk. But he distinctly remembered awakening in the wine cellar...

Kel set his cup on Rob's night stand and took the jumper. "Ta." He said, coolly, and pulled the sweater over on top of his scarf and jacket. Then he turned to close and lock the door. "I been 'earin' things about thee." Leaning against the door and folding his arms. The sleeves of the sweater too long and nearly swallowed up his hands inside them.
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#17
It was with swiftly bouncing emotions that Rob watched Kel drag the sweater on over his head, without first taking any other articles of clothing off  (not encouraging) to only then close the door and lock it (encouraging). The grin was still on his face, and he took a step forward, only to be brought up short by the statement. And it was a statement, not a question, so his response was neither an admission nor a denial of anything. Yet.

”Oh, aye?”

He kept it short, though already his own thoughts were tumbling. He kept his expression clear, not giving anything away.

Being possessed of a bold nature, he moved closer to Kel, close enough to be within kissing distance, easily, keeping his eyes locked on Kel’s, if he’d look at him.
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#18
He looked up at him sternly, unfazed by the closeness. "'Bout some maid tha'd put in the family way? Or were it a nurse?" Somebody who was most likely already in the house with them, somewhere. Kel had looked askance at every young woman he'd seen today. Even in town. Who knows which one. Or ones!
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#19
It would have been a lie if Rob had claimed to be shocked and flabbergasted by the question. Questions, as Kel was apparently hearing variations of the story. He’d just been through the same type of confrontation a few days prior, and frankly, he was sick of it. For once in his life, he really had done nothing wrong. Well…nothing much. He certainly hadn’t gotten that wet drab of a scullery maid up the bloody spout! And he’d had nothing to do with what had happened to her subsequently. But what did that matter, if everyone assumed he did?

His eyes hardened and his face colored with frustration. His arms came up to cross over his chest, the two of them nearly facing off one against the other. ”Nay! I di’ nowt wi’tha’girl! Nowt as they be sayin’, down t’village. I walked she ‘ome one evenin’, and ‘twas all, Kel. ‘Twas all.”

His tone of voice too held all the frustrated irritation of his situation. Maybe that’s why he somehow forgot to say anything about the nursemaid.
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#20
[warning: sexual abuse mention]

Kel didn't miss a beat. "Which one were that? The scullery maid or the nursemaid? Eh?" Getting a little coloured himself. Admittedly, he had heard several versions of rumours; Rob got the girl pregnant by force, by choice, by accident. Then took up with the nursemaid, the barmaid, the kitchen maid...
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#21
”’Twas Hazel. Hazel Gedge,” he shot back, with a defiant look. ”I walked she ‘ome one ‘evenin’, after ‘avin’ a drink wi’t’lads. At t’pub. ‘N I kissed’er. ‘N tha’ were all, Kel. God’s blood, tha’ were bloody all!” His frustration was segueing to growing desperation, that his name was being so maligned.

”’N ‘ere she come up t’manor, a few weeks back, ‘n moanin’ ‘n a’cryin’ ‘ow I di’put she up the spout! But I niver, Kel! I didnna’ touch’er! Some other bloke di’, maybe. I dinna’ know! But wha’ev’r ‘appened, ‘twas none o’my doin’.”

He was gesticulating with his hands, his face worked up into a fury – not at Kel, but at the ridiculousness of the twist he found himself in. Far be it for him to look at this through the lens of natural justice or karma – that his many, many, many dalliances, and his reputation for the same, were finally coming home to roost.

He could protest ‘til the cows came home. That didn’t change the fact that people loved a good, juicy bit of gossip.

And…he still hadn’t mentioned Molly…
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#22
Kel lowered his shoulders and softened his expression somewhat, ducking out of the way of Rob's agitated arms and went to sit on his bed.

"Hmm. Right then." And he did believe him. But the kissing. He still kissed her. "Just... I d'n understand." Now becoming more forlorn than angry. Déjà vu; his old love, Cecil, had left Kel for a woman. Married her and left to live in Leeds, with nary a goodbye.
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#23
CW: Ablism/archaic slurs

At least it seemed he had made a dent in Kel’s belief in the rumors – if he had believed them. Robbie was having such a hard time understanding how the people who he thought would have known him best could credit such tattle tongues. In his wounded pride he was totally overlooking the fact that he did in fact have a reputation around the village and the farms beyond. But at least Kel looked less skeptical, as he moved to sit on Rob’s bed.

Rob, his ire still bubbling in his veins, moved to sit beside Kel, and the utterances brought forth a puzzled sound. ”What don’t’ee understand, Kel? ‘Tis just as I said. The girl lied. I think she be simple in t’ead, if’ee do know wha’ I mean.” He tapped his temple. ”Slow footed. Slow witted, too, like.”
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#24
He'd been prepared to chew him out proper, but now all he could do was draw his knees up to his chest and feel like a child. Macho posturing fell apart when it came to this sort of thing. And truth be told, he was more afraid than angry. He didn't want to lose someone this way.

"Kissed 'er though, din'ee? You like kissing girls?" Kel tried to keep his tone sharp to disguise his growing insecurity.
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