Heart of Stone Ch. 10bypsyche_b_mused©
10. Getting the Message
Mary was sitting alone on the drawing room sofa when Aiden entered. She set her embroidery aside and stood on her toes to kiss him.
"Where is our host this evening?" He asked. His hands stroked over her back and shoulders.
"On the phone with a client." Mary said. She bit back a little giggle when he picked her up. Her legs wrapped easily around his waist, her arms around his neck. His kisses became more passionate and Mary's body responded instantly. She pressed against him and felt his growing need. Mary knew that in a few more minutes there would be no resisting him. She broke the kiss and squirmed a little. "He won't be on the line that long." She laughed.
"He knows you are my mate, he will understand that there are times when a male requires the comfort of his mate." His mouth found hers again. As soon as they returned to the house, Mary had told him about the the horseback riding and her revelation. She also made sure he knew about Robbie's reaction. Even though everything was out in the open now, and his kisses were exciting her as they always did, the thought of disappearing for awhile and then coming back made Mary blush. She pulled away from him again.
"We can't. It would be rude." She squirmed a little. He growled softly next to her ear. "Besides, we have all night." He sighed.
"I am beginning to dislike visiting." He kissed her softly and set her on her feet again. Mary kissed the spot over his heart and sat down again. Her head was still spinning and she began searching for excuses to go to bed early. He sat next to her in his chair and she held his hand, resting her head against his muscular forearm.
"Aiden," She started. "Have you noticed anything odd about our rooms?"
"Odd?" He looked at her curiously. "In what way, child?"
"I don't know, there's something about the painting, and this morning when I was looking at it the door to my room opened and slammed shut again. It sounds silly to say it out loud." She looked away from him.
"Old houses have drafts, dear one." He said gently.
"I know that. Beeson Hall has drafty rooms too, but I haven't ever felt uncomfortable being in any of them." She sighed softly.
"You were nervous last night as you were falling asleep, were you able to rest after I took you to the other bed?"
"Not really. I guess my imagination was just overactive at that hour." Mary wasn't entirely convinced of that, but she wasn't certain how to put her feelings into words either.
"So sorry." Robbie said as he came back into the room. Mary sat up a little straighter, but held onto Aiden's hand. "I should have known better than to give him this number. You rested well, and found a satisfactory meal, Aiden?"
"Yes, thank you." He smiled.
"Good. Would you like to join us for dinner tomorrow evening? I'm certain I can make arrangements for your food preferences and I know everyone will be curious to meet you." He poured himself a drink at the sideboard. "Would anyone else like one?"
"No thanks." Mary said.
"No," Aiden answered. "And thank you for the kind invitation, but watching my kind eat can be disturbing to the squeamish. I would like to join you after the meal." Aiden answered.
"As you like." Robbie sat down with his drink in hand. "Something's been playing on my mind since we got back. Have you ever tried simply WILLING Esme back to the waking world?"
"I've tried, but it hasn't worked." Mary said, remembering her frustration of the several times she tried. "It was like pushing against the side of mountain."
"I should have known that you tried already." Robbie sighed. "We've tried too, but the rest of us need the words. We've all tried different combinations of focal words, different times of day. Just about anything you can vary we've varied it and it's just as you said, immovable resistance."
"Maybe that's what all those notes were." Mary mused.
"Notes?" Robbie looked curious.
"Yes, when I first moved in to Beeson Hall I started exploring and found all these scraps of paper with words written out in different combinations. Some of the notes mentioned the need to find the right words."
"That makes sense." Robbie said after thinking a moment. "Ambrose became a man obsessed. I always thought it was one of the reasons he withdrew from life."
"We're not going to be attempting anything like that tomorrow night, are we? I mean, I don't have anything he wrote with me." Mary didn't feel like she had enough of a grip on how her ability worked on its own, much less how to add it to others. She began to feel uncertain about the whole thing.
"No, not this time. I look at this as a meeting to introduce you and Aiden and to discuss how to go forward. Have any of the others contacted you?" He sipped some of the amber liquid in the cut glass tumbler.
"I got "looking forward to meeting you" messages from Veronica Trumbull, Ron Norman, Stuart Dinsmore and Alex Innes." Mary answered.
"Veronica is an old dear. She's ninety at least, but you won't find anyone more together. The other three are half convinced that you're some kind of fraud. That's Andy's influence I'm afraid." Robbie looked slightly embarrassed.
"But he's met Aiden." Mary was confused.
"He doesn't doubt that Aiden is who he claims to be." Robbie looked uncomfortable. "He claims to doubt your abilities. He's clearly jealous, unfortunately the others don't have the perspective on the situation that I do. I'm certain that once they meet you, he'll have less influence. The rest will probably reserve judgment until they meet you."
"This is going to be a difficult evening, isn't it?" Mary's heart was beating faster. Aiden gripped her hand softly.
"It may be thorny in places." Robbie admitted. "I think that most of them are open-minded enough to look at you for who you are. The few who aren't will bow to pressure from the others eventually."
"You sound very sure of that." Mary wasn't certain of anything anymore. It was all she could do not to go upstairs and pack to leave.
"I am very sure of that." He smiled. "If I thought this was going to be too difficult I would have brought them to you a few at a time. The last thing I want to do is scare you away."
"So how does one of these evenings usually go anyway?" She asked. He had told her it was formal attire because that was tradition. Beyond that he had been silent.
"The first part of the evening is just like any other social occasion. People arrive around six for cocktails. Dinner starts at seven-thirty. Usually that wraps up at around nine and those who are actually part of the group meet in the library, their spouses, significant others and the like spend the rest of the evening in here. Usually there are no more than two or three of those." He sipped his drink. "I had thought that if Aiden would wait in the library he could be introduced to the group as a whole. After business is finished the others could meet him too, if you want to meet them." He said to Aiden.
"They will keep silent?" Aiden asked. The way his thumb moved over her palm let Mary know that he was concerned too.
"Of course. Even though they aren't a part of the group themselves they've all been around the concept for ten years or more." He looked concerned. "This won't be so terrible, Mary."
"I don't think I can do this." Mary sat up, her feet on the floor. If it weren't for Aiden's hand over hers she would have run.
"Mary-" Robbie started.
"No!" She was starting to tremble. "Look, I don't know how to talk to a group of people like that. They're going to take one look at me and think I really am a fraud. I'm starting to believe that myself."
"Child, you have made no claim-" Aiden started.
"That doesn't seem to be the message that's being conveyed." She looked from Aiden to Robbie, then back to Aiden. "If I do this, I'll ruin it."
"There's nothing to ruin." Robbie sat next to her on the other side his arm on the back of the sofa. As upset as she was, she noticed how closely Aiden watched the other man. "The first part of the evening is light conversation. The second part will be focused around Aiden. You won't be expected to lead a formal meeting, the others elected me to that role. Your abilities will be firmly established once they see Aiden and discussion will take care of itself."
Mary looked down her her knees, her heart was still racing.
"I don't know." She said softly. "I thought I was ready for this when we came here. Now I just feel overwhelmed."
"You are tired, Child." Aiden said softly. Robbie glanced up at the clock on the mantle.
"It's nearly eleven." He grasped her other hand. "Things will look better after you've slept."
"Maybe you're both right." Mary sighed and Robbie released her hand. She put her forgotten embroidery back in the bag and stood up.
"I know we are." Robbie kissed her cheek softly. "I'll let Mrs. Bennett know you'll be taking breakfast in your room tomorrow."
"I don't want to put anyone to any trouble." Mary said.
"It's no trouble. We'll have lunch together and if you feel up to it maybe we'll have a short ride."
"Alright." She nodded and forced a little smile.
"Good. Sleep well then." He stepped aside. "Aiden, you know you can use any room in the house you like, at any hour."
"Thank you, but I think I will be most comfortable being close to Mary." Mary heard the small smile in his voice.
"Of course." Robbie smiled and sat down in his chair again.
Aiden walked up the stairs behind Mary, but when the reached the second floor he moved in front of her. He wrapped one arm around her waist and lifted her. Mary held onto him with her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist.
"Aiden, you don't have to-"
"Nonsense. I have thought of nothing except having you in my arms since I felt you resting against me this morning."
"You felt that?" Even though she knew that he could hear her when he was resting, Mary never considered that he might be able to feel her.
"It is not the same sensation as when I hold you like this, but there is a warmth, and faint sense of pressure where your body contacts mine. It may be because of the spell, but I do not recall anyone having the need to touch me or any of the others while we rested before that. It may have always been so." He kissed the side of her neck. Mary held on a little tighter with her arms and legs.
"Robbie's probably sorry he invited me." She murmured against his shoulder.
"I doubt that, dear one." She heard him struggling with the doorknob. After Maureen and Colin met Aiden he had started moving freely around the house more freely, and everyone noticed that the size of his hands and the length of his talons made manipulating the doorknobs frustrating for him. She replaced them with lever-style handles on all the doors except the guest rooms, reasoning that he wouldn't have occasion to use any of them.
"Let me." She reached down and he shifted his hold so that she felt safe and supported. The sitting room was lit only by a small light above the portrait. Mary turned the lock and put her head down on his shoulder again, closing her eyes to the image and the uncomfortable darkness. He had left the door to his room open he took her in there and closed it.
"If you were not here, who would open doors for me?" He set Mary on her feet, a little smile on his full lips. Mary was glad the bright moonlight was streaming into through the large windows. She found one of the lamps in a far corner and turned it on. She heard him lay down and she joined him on the bed, curling up against his side.
"You'd have girls lining up to do whatever you wanted." She kissed him lightly. Aiden chuckled softly.
"I believe your affection for me has clouded your vision, child." He chuckled and pulled her close. Mary looked up at him, appraisingly.
"Well, you might have to polish your horns." She smirked a little. Aiden laughed and kissed her, his lips lingering on her hers.
"You are a treasure, Mary." Mary relaxed, her fingers stroked over his defined muscles.
"I think I'd like to be a buried treasure." She sighed.
"You worry too much, dearest." He spoke softly.
"If they don't like me, or if they think I'm not really one of them, maybe they won't help you wake the others." He lifted her chin so that he could look into her eyes.
"You have a strong ally in Robert, and I have no doubt that you will find others as well. Besides, if you are utterly rejected you and I will continue to search for the answer alone." One large thumb caressed the side of her breast. Mary felt her nipple begin to react.
"I'm going to hope you're right." She kissed him softly, her fingertips tracing over is chest. "Because if I keep thinking about it," She sucked on his lower lip softly, Aiden moaned softly. "I won't get any sleep at all."
Aiden slid his hand up under her blouse to cup one breast.
"What makes you think you will sleep tonight?" He smiled slightly. Her hand drifted down over his thigh.
"Well, I figure eventually, you'll get tired." Mary smirked and took his hand out from under her blouse, she sat up, put her back to him and pulled her top off. She stretched and reached behind herself to unhook her bra, glancing over her shoulder slightly as she took the straps off of her shoulders. When she felt him shift his weight Mary stood up and pushed her jeans down over her hips as she moved towards the lamp, eventually kicking them aside. She turned off the light, crossed her arms over her breasts and turned to walk back to the bed, only to find Aiden standing only inches behind her. Mary jumped and let out a little yelp.
"How did you-?"
"You forget that I am a hunter." The moonlight behind him left his face completely dark, but Mary could imagine the twinkle in his eye. "Besides, I thought you might need some help." Before Mary could speak Aiden hooked his long thumbs into the side seams of her panties and tore through the cotton.
"Much better." She could hear the smile in his voice. She stepped away from the shredded fabric when he advanced toward her. He reached out, his knuckles brushing over her hard nipples as she turned slowly and backed toward the bed. Mary's eyes were on his and even in the low light she could see the hungry desire there.
Her heart was pounding when she felt the bed behind her legs. She sat and moved back from the edge. Aiden followed kneeling over her with his wings spread and arching over them both, making her feel tiny in comparison. Before Mary could consider her feelings Aiden's mouth was on hers. When they were both comfortably on the bed his hands started to move over her body, his talons trailing goosebumps and pleasant shivers over her skin.
Mary moaned and let her fingers trace down over his chest, to his waist and, when she didn't encounter any clothing, lower. She found his hard shaft with both hands, he gasped when she started to stroke him slowly. He closed his eyes and his wings fluttered, his hips rocking against Mary's hands for a few minutes. The low growl let her know that he was getting lost in the sensation. She smiled and applied more pressure to his throbbing length.
When Aiden moved to lie back she followed him, kneeling between his legs and placing feather-light teasing kisses along his hard length, then lower. Her tongue traced up along the underside and one taloned hand gripped her shoulder tightly, his rumbling groan seemed to send vibrations through her whole body. She licked the broad tip of his manhood firmly and quickly before taking the tip fully into her mouth. His tail stroked over her inner thighs and then started to press against her lower lips. Mary opened her legs a little more, taking a little more of him into her mouth, her hands still stroking.
She rocked on her knees, moving between the thick shaft in her mouth and the tail that was teasing her wet core. Mary knew that he was getting close. The muscles in his thighs were tensing, and she could hear him gasping for breath. The talon on his thumb dug into the front of Mary's shoulder, she whimpered sharply, took her mouth away and started to move her body over his. Aiden grasped her right wrist and wrapped his arm around her waist, turning her onto her back quickly. The moonlight highlighted the almost frightening intensity of his face. Mary opened wrapped her legs lightly around his waist, her eyes on his.
Aiden paused, his soft kiss made Mary tremble. All the nervous tension melted away as his lips lingered, toying with hers. She tightened her legs around him, pressing her opening against the hard, broad head of his manhood. He entered her carefully as always, giving her body time to adjust and accept his size. His arms tightened around her and began to take her roughly. Mary whimpered and cried out as her body was shaken by every hard thrust. The intense sensation drove her over the edge quickly, her back arched, her muscles tense around him. Her pleasure cries filling the room.
He growled, talons digging into her skin, hard shaft pushing even harder into her body. Mary held on to him tightly, the pleasure thoroughly mixed with the familiar feeling of being battered. He gripped her shoulders tightly and pressed uncomfortably deep inside her. Mary's sharp whimper was lost in Aiden's roar. He relaxed slowly and Mary stroked his back with trembling hands as he withdrew from her. She shivered and let him move her limp body as she tried to catch her breath.
For awhile, Mary felt nothing except the residual pleasure and rapid rise and fall of his chest. Slowly, she came back into herself and realized he was moving her hair, looking at her shoulders. Mary moved slightly and was surprised to find a sticky wetness between her skin and Aiden's. She assumed he felt it too because he moved her body carefully and she heard him sniff at the air. He got up and turned the bedside light on. Mary was surprised to see an oozing puncture wound on the front of her shoulder and a long deep scratch on her side. The blood from both was smeared over the skin around the wounds.
"Some day I will learn how fragile you are." Aiden sighed and opened the balcony door.
"Where are you going?" Mary pulled the blanket over herself and noticed that she was still trembling a little.
"I need herbs, child." He managed a small smile.
"To make your ointment?" She moved to the other edge of the wide bed.
"Yes. I saw everything I need when I was hunting earlier, I will only be gone a few minutes." He came back in and kissed her forehead softly. They were long past apologies for minor injuries, but she knew he still felt guilty when he hurt her in the heat of passion.
"I brought some with me." Mary stood slowly using his arm for balance. He stopped her and pushed her gently back onto the bed.
"Tell me where it is." He closed the balcony door again.
"There's a small case on the chair just outside my bathroom. The jar and brush are in there in a plastic bag." Mary pulled the blanket around her breasts.
"I will be back in a moment." He left and Mary could hear him fumbling with the door to her room. She took some tissues from the bedside table and applied pressure to her oozing shoulder wound while she waited. Mary could hear Aiden crossing the sitting room, then she heard him stop. For a few minutes there was absolute silence, then she heard him moving again. He came into the room carrying a clean blanket, her robe and the case.
"I thought we might need these." He smiled and set the blanket and robe at the end of the bed and gave Mary the case before taking the ceramic bowl off the the antique washstand and disappeared into the bathroom. She got the jar of ointment, brush and a small plastic saucer out of her bag. She took some of the salve out of the jar and put it onto the dish. He re-emerged carrying the large bowl of warm water in one hand and a towel in the other. When Aiden sat next to her on the bed she could see that his skin was wet in places as well. He took a washcloth out of the bowl and started cleaning her side gently. "Why do you never tell me when I am hurting you?"