English Rose Ch. 07byGojenngo©
Joan woke slowly, her body heavy and languid. Normally an early riser, she fought consciousness by burying her nose in her pillow and pulling the sheet up over her head. Breathing deeply, she prepared to settle in for a late morning when the distinctly masculine scent of her husband lingering on her pillow brought her to a state of awareness like nothing else could.
Bolting upright, Joan clasped the sheets to her chest covering her nakedness as she frantically looked around the room. She needn't have worried. The room was empty - save for herself - and the bed beside her cold. Obviously, Marcus had been gone for some time.
Disappointed at finding herself alone, Joan tossed back the sheets, slipped into her robe and hurried across the room. Eager to see Marcus, she gave the door a cursory knock before letting herself in.
"Humph!" Joan let out a grunt of surprise when the door failed to move. Taking half a step back, she gave the knob a vigorous twist and pushed harder. Nothing. Joan stood motionless, her palms resting flat against the cool surface of the door. For a moment it was all she could do to breathe as the reality of the situation became clear. Marcus had barred her from his rooms.
She knew from her discussion with Shelly yesterday that this was the door that separated the master suites from those of the mistress of the house. While separate rooms were considered the norm within the ton she never expected to be denied access to her husband. Was she to go through his man and ask for an audience like some stranger come to call?
Quietly, Joan took a step back from the door, then another and another until she bumped up against the bed. Embarrassed at having tried to gain access where she was obviously not wanted, Joan could only hope that Marcus was either sound asleep or already gone from his rooms and had missed her attempted entry.
Not wanting to call for a maid, Joan dressed quickly in a simple day dress and hurried from her rooms. Retracing her steps from the night before, she descended the main staircase and turned towards the back of the house in search of breakfast.
Slowing her pace, Joan considered each closed door as she passed. An unnatural stillness blanketed the house and suggested that each room lay empty and unoccupied. She kept expecting to see a footman or a maid yet passed deeper into the house uninterrupted. It was as if the house had been abandoned, left to fend for itself. It feels sad, Joan thought.
After a number of false starts she found a passage way to the lower floor and into the kitchen. Following the soft murmmer of conversation, Joan found a table full of servants eating quietly and laughing in easy companionship. She hesitated to step forward not wanting to interrupt what was clearly a comfortable time.
"My lady!" Shelly jumped to her feet. "You shouldn't be down here."
"I'm sorry," Joan said, embarrassed for having trespassed into the servants' domain. "I was looking to break my fast."
"My apologies, my lady." Mary stood and started around the table. "Lord Edington never takes a morning meal and left instruction that you were not to be disturbed. If you'll return above stairs I'll have a tray brought up to your room."
Joan allowed herself to be gently but firmly led out of the room. Following a footman back to her rooms, she asked, "Is Lord Edington about?"
"His lordship left some time ago, my lady," the footman said stepping back and indicating the open door to her rooms.
"I see," Joan said right before the door closed quietly behind her. Standing back among her things, Joan couldn't help but feel as if the door to a very pretty cage had just been closed.
Sabrina knelt beside the duke's bed watching the slow, shallow rise and fall of his chest. Across the bed, Douglas and his aunt Mae kept up a similar vigil. It had been three days since the duke last woke, much longer since he'd last left his bed. Just that morning the doctor had confirmed what they already knew, the end was near.
The three of them refused to leave his side. No longer working in shifts, they took their meals together in the duke's rooms and slept on pallets on the floor.
Pressing her forehead to the duke's frail hand, Sabrina took comfort in the warmth that still radiated from her father-in-law, even if the skin felt thin and brittle. She had long since stopped crying knowing that there would be time for tears later. For now she tried to offer both Douglas and Mae what comfort she could.
The unnatural silence reached Sabrina just as Mae let out a sob.
"Father?" Douglas whispered, already knowing he was gone.
Sabrina lifted her head. Watching, she waited to see if the duke's chest would rise again. "Please," she whispered.
"He's gone," Douglas said. Carefully, he lowered his father's hand to the bed but refused to let go. "George, call for the doctor."
"Of course, my lord." George slipped from the side of the man he'd served for over forty years and went to find a footman. No one else moved. Douglas, Sabrina and Mae waited beside the duke, each one silently saying goodbye.
Marcus let himself into his townhouse. Closing the door behind him, he leaned heavily against the wood thankfully for the solid support. The world tipped, the night's libations making balance a precarious thing, and the floor threatened to rush up and meet him. The servants knew better then to wait up so there was no one to witness as Marcus struggled to right himself, succeeding only with years of practice.
Marcus had spent the better part of the day trying to forget that he was married. Then he'd spent the better part of the evening trying to forget his wedding night. The last thing he wanted to remember was the warm, inviting curves of his delicate bride and how she'd looked when he'd left her sleeping in her bed.
Tossing his hat and gloves aside, Marcus watched as they missed the sidetable and tumbled to the floor. Not bothering to pick them up, Marcus put his hand on the banister and carefully pulled himself up the stairs. Lady Edington, he thought, head down watching his feet. No one had been Lady Edington since his mother's time and look how that had ended. Not well. Marcus shook his head, muttering to himself, "Not well at all."
After leaving Joan, Marcus had returned to his rooms with thoughts of sleep. Only sleep wouldn't come. The realization that his wife slept peacefully next door had kept Marcus awake well into the night. The temptation to go to her, to once again awaken her passion and burying himself in her purity had driven him from his room and eventually from the house.
She was too good for him, the light that shown from her beautiful blue eyes would never be enough to lead him from the darkness. Instead he risked extinguishing that light forever, risked dragging her down with him.
Yet that knowledge wasn't enough to keep him away. Despite knowing just how dangerous he was to his wife, Marcus found himself standing at the door joining their rooms, his gaze intent on the dark wood that separated him from a comfort he didn't deserve. With hands that shook - from the booze, he told himself - Marcus reached and turned the knob.
Joan snuggled deeper into the bed and tried to roll over only to find herself immobilized.
"Good evening, wife," Marcus purred and went back to nuzzling his wife's neck. He'd found her pleasantly warm and plump beneath the covers and had been working her towards waking for the past few minutes with tender touches.
"Marcus," Joan whispered. Surprised at the sudden and unexpected appearance of her husband, Joan didn't realize that she'd tilted her head back, giving him easier access to her neck until he started nibbling his way up towards her chin.
She'd spent the day alone, taking tea as well as her evening meal in her room. Thankfully, she'd been able to locate her needlepoint as well as several books she'd brought from home. They'd helped her to stave off boredom as well as helped her to forget that she'd been abandoned the day after her wedding. "What are you doing?" she asked.
Marcus slid down his wife's body and settled himself between her thighs. "I'm making love to my wife," he admitted and tugged on the ties holding the front of her nightgown together.
Joan gasped as her breasts spilled free and into Marcus' waiting hands.
Marcus gently squeezed the plump orbs before brushing the pads of his thumbs across her twin nipples, pleased when they grew hard and tight. Lowering his head, he repeated the process but this time using his tongue.
Joan moaned in surprise as wet heat enveloped first one and then the other nipple. She lost track of time as Marcus moved from one breast to the other, alternating between licks and flicks of his tongue before suckling each nipple deep into his mouth.
"I didn't spend nearly enough time on these last night," Marcus said, pausing to blow a gentle breath across one ripe nipple. Immediately, Joan's nipple grew tigher and she arched off the bed on a gasp. "I plan to make up for that oversight tonight."
"Marcus, please," Joan whimpered. Already her breasts felt hot and heavy, her nipples hard, aching points. Unbidden, her hips rolled as she tried to press herself against where Marcus rested between her thighs. The movement brought new awareness to the pressure building between her legs - some central point beating in time to the ache of her nipples. Whatever it was she didn't want it to stop but wanted it stroked until she spiraled out of control.
"Not yet," Marcus said and pressed a last kiss to the underside of her breast.
Joan whimpered in protest as Marcus slid further down her body. Thinking he meant to leave, she rose up and reached for him.
"No," Marcus growled, surprised at the gravelly sound of his own voice. "Stay there," he ordered. To ensure that she obeyed, Marcus pressed his palm to the flat plane of her belly and pressed her into the bed. With his other hand he slowly gathered her nightgown and drew it up her legs, baring her most tender bits to his greedy gaze.
Beneath him Joan shivered as cool air met heated flesh. "Marcus?" She wasn't sure what to make of this. Marcus still rested between her thighs but further down on the bed so that her lower half lay spread open and exposed. She expected him to move back up her body, to once again cover her with his flesh and enter her as before. Instead he continued to stare at the juncture between her thighs. "Marcus?"
"So beautiful," he whispered. Marcus couldn't help but marvel at the sight of his wife spread out before him. It wasn't the first time he'd rested face first between a woman's thighs. But it was the first time seeing his wife, a woman that belonged to him as no other ever had. She was his, for better or worse - and the worse was most certainly to come.
Already he could feel the edges growing dark, knew it was only a matter of time before his vision slowly shrank until there was nothing left but darkness and desolation. He'd ordered a bottle brought to his room, the knowledge that it waited for him offering a small measure of comfort and allowing him to focus on his beautiful bride.
Leaning forward, Marcus brushed his nose across the light, golden curls that covered her most treasured secrets. The hair was normally lighter here but for the moisture of desire darkening the curls. The scent of her desire rose up to tickle at his nose - a light, citrus scent the suited her perfectly.
"I'm going to taste you here," Marcus explained and lightly ran the tip of his finger up the length of her slit. Immediately, juices gathered on the tip of his finger and it was all he could do not to lick it off. He wanted his first taste of her to be when his tongue met her flesh. "Will you allow me to taste you here?"
Joan stared down the length of her body to where Marcus lay between her thighs. She'd never seen anything as delightfully wicked as her husband's pale head lowering to brush against her nether curls. Still, he didn't touch her but waited for her answer. "I've never...I didn't know..."
"I should certainly hope not," Marcus said with a touch of humor. "I find myself strangely pleased to be the first one to introduce you to such things. Now, wife, what say you?"
"Yes," Joan barely managed to whisper. Never had anything relating to marital relations been discussed with her. Even on her wedding day her mother and stopped at saying that her husband was sure to teach her all there was to know. Still, on some instinctual level, Joan knew that what they were about to do was considered inexcusably wicked.
Marcus didn't know why he hesitated. He didn't know why he'd bother to ask his wife's permission. Maybe to draw the moment out, to tease them both a bit before surrendering to the ultimate intimacy between man and woman, husband and wife. Whatever the reason he let it go and buried his face between his wife's thighs.
He had thought to go slow, had planned to initiate her with light licks of his tongue before sinking deep into her passage. Unfortunately, all of his carefully laid plans disintergrated with his first taste of her. Sweet and tart, the taste of her rolled over his tongue, down the back of his throat and flooded his senses. Wanting more, needing to saturate himself, Marcus wrapped his arms around Joan's hips and pulled her hard against his mouth.
Joan moaned and bucked as pleasure exploded across her body. She was barely aware of Marcus anchoring her to the bed and more firmly against his mouth. Unable to do anything else, Joan surrendered to the sensation, allowed the passion to flow up and over her. Arching her back, she gripped the sheets beneath her and rolled her hips in time with Marcus' mouth as he worked her into a frenzy.
She'd never felt anything like it, not even their lovemaking the night before could compare with the intense sensation rippling up from between her legs. She'd never known that her own body could be so sensative, could swell to such heights.
Marcus shifted his weight and shouldered Joan's thighs further apart. Lifting his head, he licked at his lips and stared up at his wife. "Honey and pears, you taste like honey and pears."
Joan shivered as gray eyes pinned her to the bed. Marcus had never looked like the proper sedate gentry but tonight, with his lips shinny from her desire, he looked positively voracious.
"I want to taste you while you cum, I want you to ride my tongue to completion," Marcus growled. Lowering his head, he used the tip of his tongue to circle the plump, little pearl of desire that thrust out from its protective hood. Beneath him Joan bucked and moaned until he once again pinned her hips to the bed. Holding her still, he retraced his steps, where before he'd devoured now he savored with long licks of his tongue. He left no part of her untouched, no part unexplored. When he was done he would know every inch of his wife intimately, would know which places were more sensitive, where she preferred a hard flick over a gentle sweep of his tongue.
Joan whithered on the bed, her body so tight she nearly sobbed with need. "Marcus. Marcus, please," she begged. "I can't...I need..."
"I know, darling," Marcus cooed. Reverently, he used the tips of his fingers to gently part his wife's swollen folds revealing more of her pearl as well as her passage. Her netherlips were deep red and swollen, her passage weeping desire while her pearl throbbed. He would swear that his heart beat in time with that tender bit of flesh. "So beautiful," he whispered.
Once again he lowered his head only this time he drew her pearl into his mouth and suckled deeply. At the same time, he slid two fingers deep into her body humming in pleasure as her passage clamped down around him. Beneath him Joan moaned deep in her chest and rolled her hips. Again and again Marcus thrust his fingers up against the downward roll of her hips until together they picked out a rhythm that was hard and fast.
It didn't take long, a few thrusts of Marcus' fingers as he suckled hard between her thighs and Joan shattered, her body flying apart in a way from which she might never recover. "Yes, Marcus!"
Marcus felt Joan's body clamp down an instant before she flooded his mouth with the taste of her release. Still he didn't let up but instead rode the hard contractions of her body until she shuddered and collapsed, her body utterly spent.
As she lay panting, Marcus gently slid his fingers from her passage before getting to his knees and crawling up the length of her body. He didn't stop to place a kiss upon her flat belly, didn't reacquaint himself with her breasts. Marcus didn't stop for anything as he impaled his wife on his cock.
Joan gasped in surprise as Marcus thrust between her legs an instant before she came again. Groaning and shuddering her way through another orgasm, Joan grasped at Marcus' forearms and held on as he plunged in and out of her body.
Marcus clamped down on his jaw certain he might break a few teeth as he tried to hold back a groan of pure male satisfaction. Wet, tight and swollen, his wife's netherlips gripped at him as he pushed his way into her tender flesh. A part of him warned him to go slow, reminded him that her body would be overly sensative from her orgasm. But just as he was about to pull back, to slow his trust he felt her passage clamp down and her nails digging into his arms as another orgasm rippled through her body.
"Thank god," he muttered at the unmistakeable evidence of her arousal and thrust back home. Pushing up from her body Marcus stared down into the flushed face of his wife. Her blue eyes had gone bright and perhaps a little bit glazed as her body continued to ripple with pleasure. "You're mine," he growled as an unfamiliar need to claim his bride came over him.
Joan nodded and felt a new wave of pleasure wash over her at Marcus' words.
"You're mine," Marcus repeated, something close to anger tinting his words as he pounded into her flesh. "You're mine."
Joan didn't say anything, just lifted her legs and wrapped them around her husband's waist.
Marcus groaned at the new angle and plunged into his wife, the crown of his cock brushing up against the entrance to her womb. "Right there," he said. "I want to release my seed right there."
He had no idea what possessed him, why he felt such a need to claim his wife, but Marcus couldn't stop the words from tumbling out as he pounded into her flesh.
"You're mine!" Marcus shouted and with a final thrust emptied his seed at the entrance to his wife's womb.
Joan surrendered to Marcus, accepting him into her body in a way she never thought possible. When it was over, when he lay in her arms with his head resting on her breasts, she tried to reconcile the fierce lover with the man that had left her alone for the day. In the end it didn't matter, she just wrapped her arms around him and let herself slip into sleep.
Sabrina walked quickly but quietly through the house and out the front door. Once outside she took a deep breath and felt guilty. Although Arlington Park had come to mean so much to her it was a relief to be leaving.
Everywhere in the house lay reminders of her father-in-law. His belonging still occupied the master suite and there were hints of him throughout the house. A pair of specticles found laying forgotten on a sidetable, a favorite book left open - the pages marked - all of it acting as constant, unexpected reminders of the man they had all loved and lost.
It was hardest on Mae. There wasn't a place in the house that didn't reminder her of her brother, that didn't hold a memory of the two of them together over the years. Mae had taken to staying in her rooms, unable or unwilling to face the loss of her constant companion.