Innocent Pawn Ch. 11bywishfulthinking©
Bella lay on her side beneath the sheets, her moss green eyes slowly opening. It was dark yet, the sun just brimming over the mountains. Leonn stood before the robe with his back to her as he slipped on a tunic over his buff breeches.
"Don't go," Bella pleaded softly. "He will kill you." She rose up on one elbow, clutching the sheet to her breasts.
"Don't question me on this, Bella. My men and I will find your father and rid you of this fear."
"It is not fear, Leonn, but a certainty," she cried. "He will see you dead, and I..."
"I can not wait until he slips into the castle again and threatens to take what is mine. Do not ask that of me." The words, though quiet, held a wealth of anger and pain.
Tears glistened in her eyes as she rose from the bed, the sheet trailing behind her. At first he and his men would only be gone a day, but lately it had stretched to three or five days at a time. "Be safe."
He turned, his golden gaze meeting hers. He moved toward her, his strength and height dwarfing her tiny form. His palm rose, gliding over the swell of her belly. "I will not rest until you and the babe are safe." He leaned down and brushed his lips against cheek before striding to the door. "My best men are stationed outside the chamber. Call them if you need anything."
"Leonn, wait." Leonn turned at the catch in her voice. And watched as the sheet pooled at her feet. Her milky white soft skin gleamed in the first light of dawn, her pouting pink nipples begging to be kissed. Her long lustrous hair tumbled over her shoulders in a scarlet cloud, making his fingers itch.
"Witch," he whispered, unable to take his eyes off of her. From the moment he saw her, bedraggled and frightened, she had captured a piece of his heart.
"Do you want to bind my wrists?" she suggested breathily, holding her hands out before her. "Perhaps tie me to the bed, as you once did before?"
Bella turned and strolled to the bed, the curling ends of her hair brushing against her soft bottom. Placing one knee on the bed, she gazed back at him over her shoulder. "Or do you want me to tie you to the bed?"
"Bella..." he ground out. Bella crawled to the middle of the bed, and he swallowed hard at the sight she presented. She twisted about to kneel facing him, her breasts swaying, lashes lowered shyly.
"I want to taste you, Leonn. I want to take you in my mouth."
He briefly closed his eyes as though in pain. "My men are waiting in the courtyard."
"Then go." Bella muttered huffily. She crawled to the other side of the bed and sat down, sliding her feet to the ground. "I will find other ways to amuse myself."
Tense silence. Then "Explain."
"Aren't your men waiting?" She asked disinterestedly, her feet searching for her slippers beneath the bed.
Leonn strode around the bed to stand before her where she sat. "Who do you intend amusing yourself with? My guards have orders not to admit anyone into the castle."
She gazed up at him with an arched brow. "Are you still here?"
"Bella, you play a dangerous game. Now answer me."
"Perhaps..." she swallowed hard and gazed desperately around her for ideas. "Perhaps I intend to amuse myself."
She saw his jaw work as he gazed down intently at her. "Show me." His voice sent a shiver down her spine. She blushed when she realized what meaning he took from her words.
Could she? Bella gazed at him from beneath lowered lashes as her hands slid tentatively upwards to cup her small breasts. Their budding tips peaked from between her fingers. A quick peek from beneath lowered lashes revealed a transfixed Leonn.
With growing daring, her hands slid down over her belly and along her thighs and back again. Gently she gripped her nipples between thumb and finger as Leonn was want to do, pinching them and rolling them. Heat shimmered between her thighs. Her lips parted at the decadence of it all as she watched her hands play with her breasts, knowing he watched her.
"Touch yourself. Between your sweet thighs."
Her heart raced as she did his bidding, her hand sliding down over her belly. A blush bloomed over her cheeks as she cupped herself. Gathering her courage, she ran her fingers through the sparse thatch of curls. She couldn't lose sight of her purpose.
"Part yourself. Let me see you, little one."
A trickle of moisture escaped her at his words. With both hands she slowly opened herself, feeling the cool air on her heated flesh. Leonn knelt before her, not once taking his gaze from her hand between her thighs. Bella swallowed hard.
"Touch your bud."
A soft moan escaped her. With the tip of one finger, she gently pressed the throbbing flesh. She was damp and hot. The sensation was intense. Slowly she began to rub in small, circling motions.
Leonn caught her ankle, lifting her small foot until it rested flat against the wall of his chest. His face turned and he pressed his mouth there. "Is this what you do when I'm not here?" he husked, unable to take his eyes off the jewel with its crown of red curls.
"I-oh..." she moaned. It was wicked, sinful. She sprawled back on the sheets, touching herself where the nuns had forbidden. Her hips arched, her bottom rising off the bed. Her lashes rested against her cheeks as she struggled to draw in gulps of air. Her breasts rose and fell, her thighs quivered.
Leonn leaned forward and licked at the glistening folds, his tongue swirling teasingly. She whimpered, her bottom tensing. "So sweet," he muttered. A moan escaped her as he slid a finger up inside of her. Her quivering heat clutched at the tiny spear, silently urging him on.
His finger plugged her tiny entrance as he sucked and nibbled on the throbbing nub until she was writhing on the bed. Her fingers slid through his golden hair, dragging him to her.
Soon she was bucking against his mouth, her body melting as she came to a shuddering climax. Leonn eased her legs from his shoulders and stood. He gazed down at the alluring picture she made, flushed and dazed. Her soft pink lips and pouting nipples begged to be kissed.
Leonn groaned as he turned away, running a hand through his tousled hair. He throbbed for her, barely able to contain his cock in his straining breeches. But the thought of losing her, and the babe, demanded that he resist temptation her. He forced himself to walk away without another glance.
Bella watched him go, biting down on her knuckles to keep the tears at bay. Each new day was the one she feared he would not return.
Bella gazed down at the courtyard below, basking in the familiar site of the men and women going about their business, of creaking carts, barking dogs and children's happy cries. Her hand rested on the swell of her belly, feeling the life growing within her. She knew she would go to imaginable lengths to protect what was now hers. Leonn's and hers.
Slowly she turned from the window, loath to leave the warm rays of the sun. Crossing the chamber, Bella came to stand before the silent woman bound to a chair in the centre of the room. The guards had been speechless at her request, before almost falling over themselves to do her bidding. No doubt Leonn would hear of it on his return, but by then it would be too late.
The silence stretched as Bella considered her wary captive. Finally, patience won out and furious brown eyes rose to meet hers.
"Leonn left the question of your fate in my hands. He believes he is showing you mercy because you're his father's widow." Bella sat down on a matching chair, smoothing out her lavender skirts. Marie's eyes followed every movement. "A man's honour is a strange thing."
Marie remained stonily silent. Bella continued. "You prostituted yourself to my father, who happily left you here to die. You would have stood by as he raped me. You whipped me. For what? Leonn? His wealth, power? Tell me."
Bella drew a silver dagger from the folds of her skirt and rested it on her outspread palms. Marie stiffened, her face paling. Bella knew she finally held Marie's full attention.
"Who do you hate more, Marie? The man who used you? Leonn, for not loving you? Me? Or yourself?"
Marie laughed. "You don't have it in you to kill me."
Bella's eyebrow arched. "Who said I would kill you?"
Marie swallowed, uncertainty flickering in her brown eyes. "You're bluffing."
Bella rose and approached the older woman. "I want my father dead, Marie," Bella whispered. "I want him in a place where he can't hurt Leonn."
The silence stretched. "You're serious."
"My father will kill Leonn to take what he thinks he deserves. Leonn refuses to see the danger. He's out there scouring the countryside with his men for any signs of my father. And my father is simply biding his time until the babe is born safely before he strikes so he can use Leonn's heir to secure his wealth."
"You're asking me to kill your father?" Marie asked, arching an eyebrow. "You love Leonn that much?"
"Yes, I love him. Only I'm not asking you to kill him. I want you to take me to my father so that I can."
The silence stretched. "You think I know where he is?"
"You are a resourceful woman, Marie. It would be shameful for me to underestimate you twice."
Marie laughed mirthlessly, shaking her head. "Perhaps you aren't the gullible nun I originally assumed."
"I've had to grow up fast, Marie. You saw to that."
Bella itched at her woolen breeches, quite unsure how men suffered wearing them. Yet she wore them gladly to keep up the charade of a young boy assisting his mother visit relatives in the outskirts of the village. Then she had stood back and waited as Marie purchased horses from a farmer before setting out in a direction Marie decreed.
A tight ball sat low in her belly. She knew she couldn't trust Marie, yet she had placed her life in her hands. Marie could turn her over to her father, and Bella prayed the incentive of gold was enough. Yet Bella had gambled, and prayed that it would pay off.
Leonn had not come home last eve, and possibly would not discover her missing until the morrow or the next day. He would be furious, but she would bear that fury gladly if her plans came to fruition. If Marie did not lead her astray.
Bella pulled an apple from the saddle bag, munching on it worriedly. She gazed up at the noon day sun, its warmth on her face doing little to soothe her.
Leonn strode down the hall, pulling off his leather gloves. The memory of Bella touching herself had tormented him during the long, grueling hours on horseback. He dismissed the guards and pushed open the door, breathing in the soft familiar scent that was uniquely Bella's. And discovered the chamber was empty of his tempting wife.
He pulled the tunic over his head and sat down on the bed. His bath would soon arrive, and no doubt Bella too as soon as she heard of his arrival, and then he would show his wife what the consequences of teasing him beyond reason were.
As he tugged on his boot, he spied the parchment propped up among her brushes and delicate perfume bottles
He picked it up, his heart catching as he read the scrawled words. "Forgive me, husband mine, for I find I can not be a dutiful wife you require and wait patiently for you to return to me. I must do something."
Bella was weary and dusty and hot. She longed for nothing more than a hot, steaming bath and a soft bed. "How much further?"
"Not far. Your father and his men squatted in the old monastery on the outskirts of Coreau. It is difficult to find, remote as monastery's want to be. I will know when I see the path."
Marie passed the skin of water, and Bella took a long swallow. The uneasy silences between them had become slightly less strained. Every now and then Bella caught Marie gazing upon her, a strange look upon her face.
Bella admitted to herself that she was curious about the older woman. Marie was stunning, sensual and hard. Was it survival that had yielded this personage? Marie had been married to Leonn's father when she was fourteen, barely a year or two older than Leonn himself. Had her nature been shaped by marriage to a much older man who loved his first wife dearly, or had some other events made her the woman she was? Bella knew it would be futile to ask such questions.
As time passed, she could no longer push back the creeping doubts about her plan. Would her father be where Marie said, or was Marie leading her in circles before running off with the gold, or worse, a trap?
When they reached a rise overlooking sweeping forests with a crumbling stone tower at its heart, Bella's skin goose pimpled with foreboding.
"You may go now with the gold I have given you. Remember our bargain. I want you far from here and mine." Bella didn't take her gaze from the ruins. It was unearthly still, not a sign of life stirred. She swung her leg over her horse and walked toward the edge.
"You are a naïve, trusting fool. What makes you think he will not harm you?" Marie demanded. Bella turned as Marie strode up to her.
"I carry Leonn's heir. He will not harm the babe, for he is intent on using him or her to control Leonn's lands and wealth."
"There are other ways, Isabella. He can break your spirit without harming the babe. I have seen his unnatural lust for you."
Bella couldn't dispute the truth of her words. "Go, Marie. I will see this finished." Bella showed the woman the bottle of almond oil extract she had taken from the stores. "His reaction to nuts is little known, but the merest touch brings him out in a rash. Imbibing it should kill him swiftly."
"I'm afraid I can't let you, Isabella."
Marie's fist caught her by surprise. Pain exploded as everything went black.
Marie stood over Bella, shaking her head. "You are an innocent fool in need of protection, mostly from yourself."
"My lord, there is a man here to see you. He claims to have news of your wife."
Leonn, his foot on the stirrup, paused. "Where is he?"
"At the gates, my Lord."
Leonn lifted himself up and swung his leg over the horse, settling in the saddle with creaks of leather. "I will see him there."
He rode through the courtyard, his men falling in behind him. He pulled his horse up beneath the arches.
"What news have you?" he spoke to the man. He was a farmer of middle years, his hat in his hand.
"The Lady -- that is, the former Lady -- she said to tell you 'the ruins near Coreau'."
God damn it to hell. Leonn tossed his purse at the man and dug his heels into his horse and urged him over the moat bridge with a cry. His men swiftly followed him to what was surely a trap.
The sound of voices wakened her. Bella moaned softly, the sound muffled by the rag in her mouth. She lay on her side, her hands bound behind her, her feet tied together. The side of her face throbbed in agony. She blinked, gazing through the strands of hair at the gloom around her. In the centre of the stone chamber sat her father on a low, worn chair. Straddling his lap was Marie, her hands lifting her long, heavy dark hair.
Horror and fear welled inside Bella to be at their mercy again. How could she have been so stupid?
Bella watched as Marie slowly unbuttoned the tiny buttons trailing down over her full breasts. She tugged the material apart, revealing a silk shift and the swells of creamy flesh. Her father laughed as Marie grabbed his hands and drew them to her breasts, her back arching. "Touch me," she muttered as she rocked on his lap. He moulded them, before yanking down on her shift, tearing the fine material to reveal her full breasts.
His fingers dug into her breasts, and Marie whimpered, her head falling back to expose the line of her neck. Grinding her bottom against his lap, she offered herself up to him. Her father clutched at the edges of her gown and yanked brutally, tearing the cloth. Again he tore at it, until she sat astride him in nothing but her drawers with their ribbon ties.
Marie rose off of him and slid down her drawers, revealing a thick triangle of dark curls between tanned thighs. Bella almost cried out from the shock at she realised Marie's skin gleamed unnaturally in the firelight. What had she done?
Then she leaned over, and tugged his tunic over her father's head. Bella watched in horror as Marie's hands expertly slipped beneath his breeches and pulled him free, smoothing her hands over his hard shaft as she lifted herself above him. Slowly she slid down on him, taking him in with a soft moan.
"Ride me, Marie. Ride me like the slut that you are. God, yes!"
As her father latched onto a pouting nipple, Marie's arms come up around him, smoothing her hands over his back and leaving gleaming traces of oil.
Bella squeezed her eyes shut, yet she couldn't block out the sounds as easily. She felt ill, hating the intimate sounds of flesh hitting flesh, of grunts and sighs. She silently struggled with the rope tied about her wrists behind her. It was tight, and wouldn't give, and she could have cried with the frustration.
It went on and on. Her father's breathing became laboured and gasping, Marie's cries more horse as she moved on the barely conscious man. Bella prayed it would end soon.
When he died, it wasn't a quiet death. She blinked back tears. Marie came to stand over her, naked, her flushed skin gleaming with the almond oil. Her brown eyes glittered.
"I decided I hated him more," she said, then smiled a horrible smile.
Bella stumbled along the rock strewn path, uncaring of the low bushes that scratched at her clothes. The ruins rose behind her, casting its shadow over her.
Beneath her feet the earth trembled, and she lifted her head. Dirt kicked up about the dozens and dozens of horses that galloped into the clearing. Light glanced off the armour and weapons of the knights in the familiar black and yellow. Her heart swelled when she saw Leonn at their lead, furiously barking orders for his men to surround the ruins.
She came to a halt, swaying slightly. There was no need, she could have told him. She had learnt from Marie that her father's men had fled this place upon learning Leonn's reward of a thousand gold coin for the capture of any man who aided her father.
"Bella." He swung down from his horse and strode toward her, his face black with fury and fear. He caught her in his arms and lifted her clear off the ground and carried her protectively to the circle of his men. She clung to him, pressing her face against his neck and breathing in his familiar scent. "I don't know whether to put you over my knee or kiss you for what you have put me through."
"How did you find me?" She whispered. She didn't want to ever let him go.
"Marie left word. Where is she? Has she hurt you?"
"No. S-she's seeing to something. I thought I could do it, but now...It just seems so...real. Final."
"You're speaking in riddles, little one."
"It is over, Leonn. With Marie's help, it's finally over." She pressed her lips against the warm flesh of his throat, tasting his salty maleness.
"Do not think to sway me with kisses. It will take a lifetime to make me forgive you for the agony you have put me through."
She tipped her head back and smiled up at him, her smudged and bruised face glowing. "So be it. Take me home."
The Very End