Perfect Gentility

There’s a weird rule at the house and it’s this: anything you get during the day you have to give to the host during dinner, and it’s a pretty broad interpretation of things you can get. When Sir Gawain gets in trouble it’s over a kiss. He doesn’t go out of his way to get the kiss – married women aren’t usually his thing – but he doesn’t normally pass up the opportunity to pitch a little woo with a beautiful lady, either. If she’s married it’s her look out.

Anyway, they fool around for a while – more or less innocently – and he feels like the cat who ate the canary until the host leans across the table during dinner and fixes him with a stare that’d do an auger proud.

“What?” says Sir Gawain, except he says it a little bit more politely than that.

The host coughs and keeps boring into him with his eyes. Sir Gawain starts to get annoyed. “Look,” he says, “if this is about my staying here this morning, I told you, I’ve got this pulled muscle, I can’t go hunting–“

The host shakes his head and laughs. “I want my kiss,” he says, and Sir Gawain tries his best to set the wife on fire with his eyes but the guards at either end of the hall have pulled out their swords and there’s not much else for it except to make out with the host for a while.

It’s not that bad, really, but when the wife slips into his room the next morning with nothing on but a smile he’s pretty firm about how badly pulled his muscles are.