How to Tame a Dragon Ch. 03bytotallyatease©
**So now it's old-fashioned as well as corny :-) Thank you to everyone who has been leaving feedback or voting on it -- it really is appreciated. **
She only agreed to do it as a favour to her sister -- but he more than made up for the inconvenience...
The four of them sat down to their evening meal that night and Izzy sat facing Daniel and next to Richard as usual; and as they ate their first two courses, Richard and Daniel discussed the factory. They were mulling over several problems and Izzy was fascinated as she listened in to their discussions. As she listened she found herself wanting to ask questions and on a couple of occasions actually had her mouth open to speak. She would then remember where she was, and who these people were and she would clamp down on her questions, and continue eating her food.
They finished their meal on more general topics which allowed the sisters to join in; and Mrs Coats brought in the coffee after Rosie had cleared the table. She wished everyone a cheerful good night, as she was going home and left them to it.
"Izzy," Richard said suddenly, "Jessie and I, are going out for the day tomorrow, and we wondered if you would like to join us?" his voice was bright and totally insincere, but Izzy could feel Daniel tensing in his chair as he waited for her response.
'Probably doesn't want to get stuck with me!' she thought waspishly. "I'd love to join you," she said quietly.
"Excellent!" for such a positive word, Richard managed to make it sound totally negative.
She grinned across at him and a cute little dimple appeared in her cheek. "Contain you're enthusiasm please Richard, or I might think you didn't mean it!" she said dryly.
Daniel leaned back in his chair as he sipped at his coffee and allowed his long legs to stretch out.
As Izzy felt the brush of his legs between hers she looked up at him in shock. His eyes were narrowed and gleaming at her over the rim of his coffee cup; but otherwise he looked totally indifferent to the discussion of the moment.
She hurriedly pulled her legs back and tucked her feet under her chair out of the way; and looked down at her coffee cup, refusing to give him the satisfaction of seeing her blush.
Daniel continued to watch her, even though he couldn't see her face. He'd very quickly realised that she had been listening, as he and Richard talked about the factory, and he'd been sure on several occasions that she had been about to speak. But she would change her mind at the last minute, and he was sure at times, that he'd actually seen her bite down on her, lip as though to silence herself.
"I notice Izzy that you seem to enjoy reading..." Izzy jumped in surprise; this was the first time that Daniel had shown any interest in starting a genuine conversation with her.
Jessie gave an abrupt laugh. "Izzy loves to read!" she said dryly, "she's usually got two or even three books on the go at any one time; and I dread to wonder how many she's brought with her on this trip!"
"Not that many!" Izzy protested indignantly, "Only four."
"Well then you've probably finished them by now..." Daniel observed in his gravelly voice, which did disturbing things to Izzy equilibrium.
She flashed him a quick grin, which brought to life her hated dimples. "Not to worry," she told him happily. "I'll just read them again."
Daniels eyes narrowed on that brief dimple before saying slowly. "That shouldn't be necessary, there's a fairly good library in this house."
Izzy looked at him, her eyes wide with wonder. "You have a library here -- in the house?" she asked.
"Well, in a house this size it would be criminal not to have some sort of a study area," Daniel stated a little discomforted by her look.
"Yes, yes, yes..." She waved her hand dismissively. "This house is big, but," again she looked at him with a kind of childish wonder and Jessie gave a little laugh. "Has it actually... got books in it?" Izzy finished lamely trying not to get false hopes up.
Daniel frowned at her, wondering if she was mocking him. "Of course it's got books!" he nearly snapped, and feeling that he needed to add something more to that statement. "You are more than welcome to use it; while you stay here. I'll show it to you sometime..."
"Now?" Izzy asked eagerly and Jessie laughed again.
"Well that's the last we'll see of her." Her sister sighed.
Daniel drained his cup wondering what an earth he had let himself in for; he put his cup down and stood up. "Of course it's just this way."
Izzy jumped to her feet and followed him to another door in the hallway; and Daniel pushed it open and they both entered the library. The door closed behind them as Izzy walked forward and spun around looking at the rows and rows of books. She clapped her hands in childish delight, and her eyes sparkled merrily. "Wonderful!" she declared at last. "This is just wonderful!" She looked across at him as he leaned against the door a half smile playing around his lips. Izzy blushed painfully at the spectacle she was making of herself and her eyes slid away from his awkwardly. "And you're sure you don't mind me using it?" she asked uncertainly.
Daniel moved forward to place his hands on her arms as he looked down at her. "Izzy," he said quietly, "you are more than welcome in here, and please feel free to borrow any of the books you may wish to read."
Izzy looked up blankly at him for a moment. She could feel the strength in him as the little static charges shot down her arms. His hands warmed her in a way that she had not felt warm since before her illness. She licked her lips nervously, and Daniels eyes narrowed on that tiny movement.
"You're very kind Daniel... Thank you," she whispered huskily.
He stepped away from her, releasing her abruptly, and Izzy had to fight not to hug herself -- to hold on to some of his warmth and strength.
"So Izzy, what types of books do you like to read?" Daniel asked as he moved to a safe distance.
Izzy blushed and said a little wryly. "Modern romances mostly... Why?" she peeped up at him and blushed further at his obvious amusement.
"I'm afraid I don't have anything like that," he half laughed. "There are some of the classical novels, Jane Austin, Elizabeth Gaskell, the Bronte sister's... books like that." He led her down one of the aisles. "This is where all the fictional books are kept." He could see that she still felt embarrassed; and he suddenly felt guilty. "I could always order some for you? I'm sure they could be here in just a few days," he found himself offering.
Izzy turned on him in surprise. "No, oh no!" she exclaimed. "Thank you, but that won't be necessary." She smiled shyly at him and he felt a strange tingling that started in his toes and gradually crept up the length of him. "I'm sure there is plenty here for me to read, if you don't mind me haunting this place a little."
He gave a little self mocking smile. "Oh no you just spend as much time as you like here... It'll be nice that someone is using it again."
He stood looking down at her for a moment, before allowing his finger to gently run down her cheek. "Use it well Izzy, it deserves that much," he murmured huskily.
Izzy closed her eyes as a shudder ran through her, at his touch. When she opened them Daniel was looking down at her with glittering eyes.
"Izzy," he whispered hoarsely moving to take her into his arms.
"Izzy?" Jessie called. "Izzy where are you?"
She looked up at Daniel for a moment, with pure longing on her expressive features, before brushing past him.
"Here Jess... I'm just here."
"What were you doing down there?" Jessie frowned at her.
"Oh that's just where the books are; that Daniel thought I might enjoy." She took Jessie's arm and led her from the room. "Why were you looking for me?" she asked as she pulled the door too behind them.
"Oh I was just wondering if you really wanted to go with us tomorrow," Jessie asked looking a bit uncomfortable.
Izzy smirked at Jessie. "You should tell Richard that if he wants to have you to himself then he shouldn't invite other people along!" she advised her sister.
Jessie giggled and put her arm affectionately round Izzy's shoulders. "I told him to invite you. I felt sure that you would say no after all your protests, about playing gooseberry. You could have knocked me over with a feather, when you actually agreed to come."
Izzy laughed and then allowed her voice to drop so that no one could overhear them. "Actually if you don't mind I think that I would rather stay here," she said softly.
Jessie looked down at her with shrewd eyes. "You are almost well again -- aren't you?"
Izzy gave a little smile. "Yes Jess... I feel stronger now than I've felt in absolutely ages."
Jessie hugged her to her. "I'm glad little sister," she told her quietly. "I was beginning to think that I had been totally selfish in dragging you out here."
"No... the change really has been good for me."
"Excellent!" Jessie said happily.
They parted at the foot of the stairs and Izzy watched as Jessie disappeared into the living room. She looked up to the top of the stairs and then back at the library. She bit her lip hesitating for a moment, before turning and heading back to where she had left Daniel. Her heart thumping, she quietly allowed the door to close behind her, and walked back to that aisle. She peered cautiously around it to find it empty. 'Fool!' she told herself harshly, "did you really expect him to hang around waiting for you." She gave a little laugh and turned to find Daniel standing behind her leaning against the book shelves. "Oh!" she jumped and her hand moved to cover her racing heart.
He smiled at her and moved slowly towards her. "Was there something you came back for?" he asked softly, his hand reaching out to curl a lock of her hair around one of his fingers. Izzy felt his knuckles brush against her throat and another shudder ran through her. She closed her eyes and gave a little moan.
When she opened them again Daniel was staring down hard into her face. His eyes glittered and the look he gave her frightened her. She pulled away her eyes huge in her flushed face. "I just came back to pick a book!" she whispered.
"Liar!" he growled hoarsely. He pulled her against him and she could feel the hard length of him pressing against her.
"Please!" she whimpered. "Please don't"
Daniel looked down into her frightened eyes for a moment before bending to kiss her lightly on the cheek. "You really need to stay away from me, little girl," he snarled before turning and walking away.
Izzy stood watching him, her eyes like saucers and her hand to her cheek.
"Oh wow!" she finally whispered as she gave a dreamy little sigh.
She reached down and grabbed the first book she touched; and clutching it to her, she scuttled from the room.
Izzy went down to breakfast the next morning after a night filled with disturbing dreams about Daniel. She joined Jessie and Richard for breakfast; who both seemed to be in the best of spirits.
"Good morning Izzy," Richard greeted her brightly, "how are you feeling this cold morning?"
Izzy looked up at him and just couldn't resist it. She gave him a bright chirpy smile and said "I feel great this morning. If you could just give me five minutes I'll be right with you."
The smile wobbled on his face and he looked at Jessie uncertainly. "I thought that Jessie said that you'd changed your mind about coming with us..." he began hesitantly.
Jessie giggled and Izzy laughed out right. "I'm sorry Richard but I just couldn't resist... That look on your face was just priceless!"
"Oh... ha ha ha!" Richard said dryly; but the humour returned to his face and they ate their breakfast on good terms.
"So you're sure you'll be alright here?" Richard asked at one point. "I mean Daniel is going to be gone all day, as well -- so you are going to be pretty much on your own."
Izzy felt a shiver of relief, mixed with disappointment; that she wouldn't need to face Daniel alone.
"I'll be fine," she reassured the both of them. "Mrs Coats and Rosie will both be here; so it's not as if I'm going to be all by myself."
"Yes but they will be working in the kitchen and around the house, what will you do?"
Izzy gave him a dreamy look. "Your brother has very kindly loaned me the use of his library. So don't you worry about me!"
Jessie laughed and Richard frowned. "What is it with you and books?" he asked clearly not understanding the running joke between the sisters.
Izzy shot him a look of sympathy. "They are a wonderful invention;" she told him quietly. "You read them and you can learn all kinds of things."
Jessie gave a little snort, "and what do you learn from the books that you read Izz?"
Izzy looked her sister in the eye. "Why! I learn about how I want a man to treat me;" she told her seriously. "And you'd be really surprised at all the other little bits of facts and information that are in them."
"Good morning all!" Daniel said from the door way. He was clearly amused and the look he shot Izzy told her he had heard their discussion. She felt the colour rise in her cheeks and she looked away.
Jessie looped her arm through Izzy's and they left the room together to go and fetch Jessie's coat. "Are you sure that you are going to be alright?" Jessie asked again when they were in her bedroom.
Izzy sighed, and rolled her eyes impatiently. "For heaven's sake Jess, I'm not a child; I can quite happily amuse myself for a few hours."
Jessie winced at her over protectiveness. "And Daniel?" she asked quietly. "Can you handle him?"
Izzy looked at her in surprise. "I shouldn't need to handle Daniel... should I?" she asked, "he's going to be gone all day as well."
"I know but I see how you are around him. I know that he makes you nervous and I don't like the idea of you being left on your own to deal with him."
"I'm a big girl now Jess," Izzy told her quietly. "The days where you stood in front of me and fought for me are long gone."
Jessie sighed and hugged her sister regretfully. "I know little sis, but old habits die hard -- you know."
"Well I'm sure we'll be able to retrain you at some point," Izzy laughed as they made their way down the stairs.
Richard was waiting impatiently in the hall, chatting with Daniel who was also wearing a coat.
Izzy went outside to see her sister and Richard off with a final hug and a wave. She looked up at the thick clouds and held her hand out, palm upwards to the cold wind. "Drive carefully!" she called out suddenly, "it looks like it might snow!"
Richard drove away beeping his horn in farewell. So Izzy was left standing alone with Daniel.
"Right I'll be off as well," he said dryly. "I guess it's too much to hope, for the same kind of send off you gave your sister and my brother?"
"Sorry?" she looked up in puzzlement at him.
"Never mind," he sighed before pulling her to him and kissing her hard on the mouth. "I'll see you later!" he grinned down at her before turning and walking over to his car.
Izzy just stood in the driveway, with her hand to her mouth; totally stunned.
Daniel gave a lazy wave of his hand, and drove away; leaving Izzy to go back inside alone.
As she pushed the front door too in a kind of a daze, Mrs Coats came bustling through. "There you are Miss Izzy!" she said happily. "I've just put a nice tray of coffee in the living room for you, so you just go and curl up by the fire."
Izzy shot her a friendly smile. "Thank you Mrs Coats; it does look a little bit beastly outside; doesn't it?" she said wrinkling her nose slightly.
"Yes it does miss, and I am that glad that I don't need to go anywhere until later."
Izzy picked up the book she had left on the small table in the hall and went into the living room; to do exactly what Mrs Coats had advised her to do. She had no doubt that part of Mrs Coats's concern, was to keep her out of the way while they got on with the day's chores. She curled up in Daniels arm chair and opened up the book she had chosen from his library. She flicked through a few of the pages but found that she couldn't settle on it. Snapping it closed she stared into the fire lost in day dreams.
When Daniel returned a couple of hours later, he found the house silent and empty; in a way it had never felt to him before. He went into the living room to find Izzy fast asleep in his chair. He pulled another chair to the fire and sat across from her, watching her as she slept. She slowly opened her eyes and smiled dreamily at him, and his heart jumped in his chest. "Welcome home Daniel," she said softly; her eyes still slightly unfocused.
He leaned forward to talk to her. "Izzy," he began urgently.
Mrs Coats came bustling in with another tea tray. "I thought I heard you come in Mr Daniel."
Izzy sat up straight in her chair, and shook off the last remnants of sleep; and Daniel watched as her mask slipped back into place and she smiled politely at him.
They drank their tea in silence, and Daniel excused himself to disappear somewhere inside his house.
'He'd been a fool to come back,' he told himself. 'Izzy was in no state to deal with him.' He knew that if he even let his guard down a little, then he'd scare the life out of her; he'd seen that last night in the library. He still wasn't sure why she had come back to him in there, but she very nearly had gotten more than she'd bargained for.
He ran his hands through his hair and decided to go and try to sort out his personal paperwork, something he'd been putting off for a few weeks now.
Izzy sat in the living room, staring into the fire again; she felt restless but knew that the weather was not good enough for her to go out walking. Her mind which had been in a half sleep for a couple of months now, was gradually starting to kick start itself again. She was bored, she realised with a little smile. Reading was just not giving her the stimulation that her brain needed. She needed a challenge, something to get her interest going again.
She wandered around the room restlessly and decided to go and have a soak in a nice hot tub. Maybe that would relax her. She went up to her room and ran the bath pouring in liberal amounts of the fragrant oils, which had been so thoughtfully provided by her host.
Izzy smiled naughtily to herself as she pictured brother Daniel striding in to find her soaking in the bath in the middle of the day. It made her feel positively decadent! She stripped off and sank down beneath the bubbles, to close her eyes and fantasise -- a girl's fantasies.
She stepped out some time later looking something like a lightly boiled lobster. Her hair curled in soft wisps around her face, and her eyes were still soft from her erotic thoughts of Daniel. She wrapped a fluffy towel around herself and wandered into the bed room. She lay on the bed reading for a little while, but just couldn't seem to relax. With a little sigh of exasperation she got up and got dressed. Glancing at her watch she saw that it was almost lunch time. She shivered deliciously as she thought of lunch -- with just her and Daniel.
Izzy walked down stairs and went into the dining room, her heart beating excitedly. Mrs Coats was just putting her dinner on the table.
"Mr Daniel had to go out again Miss Izzy so it's just you today."
"Oh," Izzy swallowed her disappointment and smiled apologetically at the house keeper. "If it would help I could always join you and Rosie in the kitchen?"
"Oh no miss, that won't be necessary." Mrs Coats told her hurriedly.
"But, it's so lonely in here." Izzy felt her lip wobble pathetically.
Mrs Coats shot her a look of surprise before picking up her plate. "Come on then miss," she told her kindly, "let's go and eat."