Marriage Training Ch. 15byGoldeniangel©
Author's Note: This story is meant to be read as a series and should be read in order. Enjoy!
Gabriel prowled around his father's house the entire weekend. He'd gone there rather than staying in his own London home in order to distract himself from the emptiness of his house. Soon he'd be bringing home his bride, but it couldn't be soon enough for him.
Seeing Vivian again, finally being able to touch and talk with her, had only solidified his desire for her. Granted, he'd been close to the point of obsession with her for several years now, because he'd thought that she'd be exactly the type of wife he'd always wanted to have. From the moment he'd met her at the wedding, he'd sensed untapped passion and the sweet eagerness of a true submissive.
At that moment he'd decided to have her for his wife. It wasn't an uncommon occurrence for men of his stature to decide quickly on the woman they would wed, due to whatever factors they'd decided upon to choose their brides by. Marriages were brokered and bartered within the ton on a regular basis, sometimes without the parties having met at all.
With Vivian, Gabriel had seen his chance in her family's financial straits and had seized it. What he hadn't expected was this overwhelming rush of emotion now that the time was nigh. In some ways he'd wondered if perhaps his anticipation would render the reality anticlimactic; instead, she'd roused a possessive jealousy and tender awe that he'd never experienced before.
Then again, he'd never taken a wife before.
From watching the training sessions he'd been able to attend, he knew that she was everything he wanted in a wife when it came to her desires and physical responses. At the tea party he'd learned that she could ensnare his senses fully clothed and with nothing more than a few soft words. He'd hated every other man who'd received a smile from her lips, a moment of her shining eyes, or received a laugh in return for a quip.
While he knew that he couldn't sensibly keep her from interacting with other members of Society, part of him desperately wanted to. For the first time he was assailed with his own doubts, especially after seeing Marchland's interest. What if Vivian didn't find him as appealing as he found her? What if her awakened passions including a desire to test the waters with other lovers?
Throughout his entire life, Gabriel had been self-assured and confident in matters of the bedroom. He'd never had a jealous moment in his life or worried that his prowess might not be enough to satisfy a woman. After all, hadn't he been the one to end every single one of his affairs? The endings of which were often accompanied by tears and pleading.
But, he now realized, he'd never have really cared if any of those women had been the one to end their association. He would have easily shrugged and moved on. For the woman who was to be his wife, that wasn't an option. Not just because of the difference in their relationship, but because of these strange new emotions that had invaded him. Insecurity was new to him and he didn't quite know how to deal with it.
He would have to bind her to him in this next week, mind, body, heart and soul. A month ago he would have felt quite assured in his ability to do so. This weekend he was wracked with self-doubt and an unsettling emotion that felt uncomfortably like desperation.
The sensation was like a tingling in the back of her neck, one that said she was being watched. But being watched was something she had become accustomed to, because Mrs. Banks was always watching her, but this was different. It was stronger, more disturbing, and impossible to ignore, as if all of her senses were trying to tug her in one direction at once.
Smiling at the matron who was chattering away in front of her, Vivian tried to shift to the side, trying to see whether or not she was imagining things.
"Lady Cowper," a deep voice purred behind her and Vivian's neck actually did tingle as all the hairs on it lifted at once. "I see you've met my fiancé."
A warm hand engulfed hers and brought it to his lips for a kiss, dark eyes flitting over her face before turning back to the woman in front of o her. Lady Cowper was beaming with delighted approval at both of them, to her relief, not at all put out by Vivian's immediate distraction.
"Miss Stafford and I have been getting acquainted," Lady Cowper said, giving Vivian another approving nod. "I must say Cranborne, I was quite surprised. Very pleasantly so. You've chosen admirably." She smiled at Vivian and held out her hand, which Vivian immediately took, although it meant relinquishing the Earl's. "It was quite delightful to meet you, Miss Stafford. I hope to see a great deal of you after you finish school." That last comment was accompanied by a look at Lord Cranborne, who let out a resigned sigh and gave a short bow to the Lady before she moved away. Vivian couldn't help but smile, obviously her future husband had the usual male impatience with social events...
But then why had he shown up at this at-home? Since Mrs. Banks had told her that she'd see him again she'd assumed that he'd appear at some point during the week, but certainly not the first one. And he didn't seem entirely pleased at Lady Cowper's implication that she expected to see them at more events following the wedding. Or was it just that he preferred at-homes to other social gatherings?
There was so little she knew about this man she was to marry, she thought as she turned to him, looking up at his face. She didn't know it but her expression was full of curiosity and questions, and she was looking to him as if he had the answers. It was exactly the kind of look that called to the deepest, most protective and authoritative parts of him.
"My Lady," he said, making the formal words an endearment rather than an honorific. Vivian blushed as he retook possession of her hand and settled it upon his arm. "Shall we?"
She nodded and they sallied forth together as a couple, mingling with the others and being shadowed by the ever-present Mrs. Banks.
Interacting with other members of the ton had already been a stark lesson for Vivian in how the Practicum differed from reality, although she was very glad for the lessons for they gave her a confidence and grace that she would not have otherwise had. Being on Lord Cranborne's arm added an entirely new element. He was so very confident, so very masterful, and for the first time she was attached to power rather than standing back and observing it.
When he spoke, people listened. His opinions mattered. More than, they influenced others. And he was so very engaging. It was easy to talk with him, both within a group and when he would catch a private moment with her as they walked. Although she felt she learned more about him by observation than by direct interaction, in part because she felt that there was a difference in the way he behaved towards her than towards the others.
Beautiful women fawned on him, making her feel incredibly insecure, but his stance at her side never wavered. And he took their admiration, their flirtations, as his due, responding with a casual air that nonetheless cut them off at the knees. Men vied for his attention, his approval and advice, and he listened to what they had to say although he wouldn't always appear to be listening very intently.
With Vivian he was much warmer, much more attentive to what she said. It felt, occasionally, as if he was studying her in the way a child might study a butterfly. Under his gaze she felt fascinating, beautiful and alive. She didn't realize how much she was blooming under his attention, that others could see the way he affected her as well. It caused much consternation among the ladies, who had assumed at the rakish Earl's marriage would cause no real upset to his usual activities - even if he hadn't had a mistress in quite a while - and among the men who were starting to see Miss Stafford through the Earl's eyes.
Or, what they imagined were his eyes. But they only saw her beauty, her poise and grace, her wit and pretty manners. None of them saw deeper, to the abiding need within her that craved approval, the natural submissive which the school was nurturing and which he would bring into flower.
As much as he appreciated the other's admiration of his future wife, Gabriel also found it harder and harder to reign in his possessive impulses. It wasn't that he truly took the other women's attentions as his due, he honestly didn't notice them because he was too distracted by the woman on his arm. Too wrapped up in ensuring that she didn't lack his attention or admiration, because he knew that the lack of affection from their spouses was what caused most of the women among the ton to seek out other lovers. Although he would never have a mistress to war with his attention as many of their husbands did, he still wanted to ensure that, in this arena, Vivian's own head wasn't turned by other's attentions.
Not until hers were more firmly fixed upon him.
For Vivian it was a rather glorious visit, other than when she compared her beauty to that of the women who were constantly trying to converse with the Earl. However, she was somewhat reassured by his obvious preference for her company, although they were not able to speak privately once.
She would have liked to get to know him better, personally, rather than just hearing fascinating tidbits in passing reference. More than once someone would ask him after one of his siblings or his father and stepmother, but of course he didn't respond beyond affirming their general well-being. She overheard quite a bit of political discourse, as well as his opinion of the latest play, the finest stables for buying horses from at Tattersall's, and a curricle race that he'd driven in a few weeks before. Unfortunately no one shared details, as it was assumed that everyone had already heard the gossip.
So Vivian just smiled and enjoyed hearing about her future husband, fixing in her mind questions for him later when they would have the opportunity to speak privately.
Unfortunately no such private moment occurred that afternoon, but she still thrilled to being seen off to the carriage by him. The other students looked on, envious but excited, as he kissed her hand and helped her into the carriage.
"I look forward to seeing you again," he murmured, so quietly that she knew no one had overheard. It was also so quickly that she had no opportunity to respond, but he must know that she felt the same.
Dark eyes clashed with hers for a moment, through the window, before the carriage set off. Vivian knew she would dream about those eyes later.
That evening Vivian was in for the shock of her life when Mrs. Banks entered her room, at the usual time, followed by the Earl himself. She'd begun to stand up from the chair she'd been sitting in before the fire, only to find herself swaying as her stomach dropped and her head actually spun. Seeing her unsteadiness, Gabriel practically leaped forward, crossing the room in a few strides, to clasp his hand about her arm and steady her.
With her head tipped back to stare up at him, soft lips slightly parted in surprise, her pale face and huge green eyes made her look almost fragile. There was a hint of pleasure in her expression as well, as the shock faded, and anxiety and a bit of fear as well. The combination caused him to harden immediately, something that he was growing quite used to when it came to his bride. Fortunately tonight he would finally be able to soothe some of that wild need.
"I... what... what are you doing here?" Vivian's tongue felt thick and awkward in her mouth, stumbling over her words as her mind whirled.
Gabriel smiled, his dark eyes glinting in the firelight. The contrast of his white cravat and shirt against his black coat and dark good looks was dramatic, making him look like sinful temptation personified.
"This is Marriage Training, sweetheart," he said, gently but with a thread of satisfaction in her voice. Or was she imagining that second part? "Surely you realized that at some point your husband would be a part of that."
No... She hadn't. She hadn't thought about it at all, really. Rather naive of her in many ways, but she'd been so focused on her daily activities, working at avoiding too harsh of an evening punishment, that she hadn't seriously thought about what future training might be like. Things had settled into a routine and she'd assumed it would remain so, until after her wedding.
"It's okay, sweetheart," he said soothingly, cupping her chin in his hand and running his thumb over her pouting lower lip. Her trembling slowed as he touched her, touching him with how trusting she was. How wonderfully submissive. She required gentle handling when it came to change, just as Mrs. Banks' reports had indicated, but it was well worth it to see her reaction to his soothing. To know that she could be calmed by the touch of his hand, his reassurances. It was a gift, and not one that he took for granted. "I'm mostly just going to be watching, I won't interfere with your normal routine."
Vivian flushed a beet red, her gaze going beseechingly to Mrs. Banks. The older woman just looked at her blandly, making it obvious that she wasn't going to intervene, and Vivian remembered what the companion had said about the Earl's wishes superseding anyone else's.
"Good girl," the Earl murmured as her mouth opened and then closed again, obviously cutting off a protest or a plea. The heat in his voice sent a shiver right through her spine, even as warmth flooded at her at the accolade. Somehow it seemed to mean even more coming from him than anyone else.
He stepped back, releasing her arm from his hold, and Vivian felt suddenly bereft, her skin still tingling where he'd touched her.
"Come sit down, Miss Stafford," Mrs. Banks said, interjecting for the first time as she nodded at Vivian's punishment chair. Her voice was gentle but firm, indicating that she had some sympathy for Vivian's shock but that she expected the young woman to behave herself.
With much more wariness and anxiety than usual, Vivian moved to her chair, feeling as though the air had somehow thickened so that she was moving in slow motion. Behind her she sensed the Earl moving as well, and when she sat she could see that he had moved one of her chairs near the fire closer to the punishment chair, facing it. Heat suffused her entire body and she knotted her fingers tightly in her lap, willing herself not to stand and run.
Of course she'd known that one day her husband would be the one in Mrs. Banks' position, but even as the weeks passed that "one day" had seemed so far away. She certainly hadn't expected it to come now, tonight.
Feverishly she wondered if he would be the one to spank her... and then remembered he said he'd mostly just be watching. She wasn't sure whether she felt relieved or disappointed about that. Although, just knowing that he would be watching excited her somewhat as well.
"Are you paying attention Miss Stafford?"
"Yes Ma'am," Vivian said immediately, drawing herself up in her chair and forcing herself to attend to her companion's lecture. It was not the easiest task, when she could feel the Earl's eyes upon her, but she did not want to earn any extra punishment for the evening. Not with her future husband looking on, and especially not if he would be watching the punishment in question.
For Gabriel it was easy to block out Mrs. Banks' voice as he studied Vivian at close range, able to look at her and drink his fill of her features. Something that he wasn't able to indulge in quite so much during the at-homes or when he'd spied upon her previous evenings. Seeing her like this, within reaching distance, was so much more comfortable and satisfying that peering through a spyhole. And during the day he couldn't allow his gaze to linger on her bosom or the pulsing of her throat or the way her soft lips parted for her tongue to sweep across them. Now he could look at whatever part of her he wanted, so very close and personal.
He could see that she was doing her best to behave, to listen to Mrs. Banks' lecture, but that his presence made her nervous. Of course, he enjoyed knowing that he had that effect on her. That knowing he was nearby made her blush and tremble. It would have been very disappointing to him if Vivian had become completely inured to her training and he didn't have the joy of seeing her blushes and hesitations.
When Mrs. Banks finished the lecture and stepped back, waiting for Vivian to stand so that she could be stripped, his future wife's big eyes flitted to where he was seated. Although he knew she wouldn't realize it, he was already achingly hard, just from being so close to her and the anticipation of what was to come. Slowly she stood, trembling, her fingers still twined about each other in front of her, as if she was afraid to break them apart.
"Turn around," Mrs. Banks commanded, obviously realizing that Vivian was going to need some help to disrobe tonight. After all, the last time she had done so in front of a man he had been a doctor. Not the dark, engaging, intimidating man who had paid for her schooling and training, to whom she owed her family's well-being, and who wanted complete dominion over her body. The idea of being completely bare in front of him made her heart race with a heady mix of fear and excitement.
Somehow, during the day light hours, it had been all too easy to forget that he was responsible for what happened to her in the evening. He was so charming, so considerate... and now he was sitting and watching with avid eyes as she was prepared for her nightly punishment.
Vivian avoided his gaze as Mrs. Banks unbuttoned her dress and helped her step out of it. A hot blush filled her cheeks and she felt quite faint as she was stripped down to her undergarments. She'd grown so used to this part of her routine that she hadn't been particularly aware of her nakedness for days, but now she could practically feel her future husband's eyes traveling possessively over her body. It made her nipples harden and press against the soft fabric of her chemise and she could feel wet heat already blooming between her legs.
Just having him sitting there, watching, heightened every sensation that went through her, even though she wouldn't look at him.
She hesitated and whimpered a bit, earning a sharp smack on the back of her thigh from Mrs. Banks when the woman tried to put Vivian over her lap for the first time. The positioning would have her bottom and privates pointed straight at the Earl, giving him a spectacular view that, so far to Vivian's knowledge, had not been shared with anyone other than the doctor and her companion. Vivian had no way of knowing that the Earl had already seen her completely unclothed, albeit not from this close of proximity.
So when she was finally arranged over Mrs. Banks' lap, her hands bound behind her back, with her bottom pointed at the Earl, she kept her legs tightly closed as tears of humiliation sparked in her eyes. It made her feel horribly exposed even though her pussy just got wetter and wetter with each added step of the evening.
"That will be six extra with the hairbrush for misbehavior," Mrs. Banks said severely and Vivian moaned, shuddering. She hadn't wanted to misbehave, she was just so... so...
The blows came down hard on Vivian's bottom, one on the center of each cheek and she jerked, her legs parting before she remembered that the Earl was behind her and she quickly snapped them shut again.
SMACK! SMACK! SMACK! SMACK!
Although Mrs. Banks was counting out each swat to Vivian's delightfully twitching bottom, neither the young woman nor the Earl were paying her any heed. Vivian was too busy concentrating on trying to keep her legs completely shut against the Earl's prying eyes, and Gabriel was too busy watching with delight as his future bride's beautiful pink pussy peeked and winked at him. Her flesh jiggled and pinkened under Mrs. Banks' unforgiving hand, the pink folds of her pussy opening and closing as her legs began to kick.