A/N: Ah this writing mojo is a funny business! Nothing for days and days, and then suddenly a chapter pops up. I don’t understand it at all, but it means there is an update! Be a love and let me know what you all think of it? It’s adored as always! X
I could not sleep, not after that. It was as if my brain went into overdrive and could not shut itself off no matter what I did. All I could think of was her. How she smelled, how she tasted, how it felt to get that close to her. I had wanted to get close to her since I first saw her, but it soon turned into something more than simple attraction, and it became complicated for both of us. She had her rules that she was set on following, and I knew I wasn’t going to violate them, or her, by going against her wishes. But then we got closer anyway – in the emotional sense rather than the physical that I had first expected. I found I liked the idea of that better than what would have been a rushed release of hormones for both of us.
But now, I was hard, painfully so when engaged in that kiss – a kiss unlike any other I could remember giving or receiving in my life – and I had kissed my share of women. I couldn’t get how she tasted off my mind, how warm she felt to touch, and how soft and inviting her embrace was. I regretted nothing, not even the shame I felt when I allowed myself to take care of the painful erection I’d been sporting most of that night. Nor did I regret the thoughts of her that passed through my head as I did what I had to do. Sweet relief came, no pun intended, with thoughts of her, her gloriously plump lips, and what I imagined were her just as sweet and ample breasts, all there for the taking, my taking. The release helped, but only momentarily, because where my physical needs were sated for the time being, my emotional ones continued to run amok. As I tossed and turned for most of the night, giving up and getting up just before sunrise, I decided to take myself and my muddled thoughts out for some fresh air in the hopes it would clear some of the cobwebs.
What happened next was the real question. I had pushed my luck and somehow she gave in, but the look on her face as she backed away from me that night said otherwise. She regretted it, I could tell, and I wished that she didn’t because I didn’t know what to say or do to make her think otherwise. I knew, common sense told me that we could never work out, not really, and not out in the open, proud and shame free as I so wanted. I knew it, and Sookie knew it too. I hated that fact more than anything, but as Pam had reiterated, society was not changing as fast as we wanted it to, sadly.
I walked by the various markets, the hustle of the city starting up at just after six am, and I decided to pick up the morning newspaper for myself and head back to the house. I was sure she would avoid me, as was her nature when she panicked, but I had hoped that she would face me and we could at the very least discuss what had transpired between us the night before. A flash of how she kissed me came back to me as I took the steps to the main door two at a time, and God how I wanted it to be more than just a memory…
“Sir?” I was interrupted from my thought by Bobby holding up my new cufflinks to put in place before I went back down for breakfast. I found it a tad absurd that I was capable of dressing myself to leave the house but needed a man to assist when it was just inside? And for breakfast at that? I just didn’t understand the need.
“Yes … those. Thank you.”
“Sir if I may, Lady Annabel was inquiring after you today. She suggested a day in the park, if you are free of course.”
Why couldn’t she just ask me herself?
“I … um… I’ll have to see what Niall has planned first.” I had hoped he had many things on his agenda that he would need my help with, if only to keep our ‘alone time’ to a minimum where Annabel was concerned.
Sadly Niall left even before breakfast to go see a horse breeder in the country, leaving me to dine with the Lady and her awkward chaperone, Miss Holdston. The woman never spoke a word when I was present, and I was beginning to think she was a mute.
“I was thinking since it is such a nice day, we could perhaps take a walk together? You and I that is,” she suggested, as I knew she would. I put down the newspaper and took my teacup in hand, nodding.
“Perhaps it would … yes.”
She beamed, and it made me sad that I did not hold the same enthusiasm for her plan as she did. Overall I think I drowned out most of her chattering, that was until Sookie appeared in the doorway, tray in hand, and a rather nervous look on her face. I perked up instantly, and by the look on Annabel’s face it wasn’t a reaction she missed.
“Good Morning Sir … Lady Annabel … Miss Holdson.”
Holdson nodded, and went back to being fascinated by what was in her tea cup. Annabel merely nodded, and I spoke.
“Good morning Sookie,” I said as she came over to my side of the breakfast table to serve the food on her large tray.
“Sleep well?” I asked, causing Annabel to raise her head and look directly at Sookie, who now looked like a deer in headlights.
“I … I …” she looked from me, to the Lady, and back again. “I slept as usual, Sir. Peacefully.”
“Good, I’m glad to hear it. I’ll take the boiled.”
“I’m sorry?” she asked, clearly flustered as her cheeks were turning a nice shade of red, much like the red she turned when I kissed her. That colour suited her, very much.
“OH!” she said, serving it up quickly, and moving on to the others, placing out the eggs, and the toast in the middle of the small table.
“If there is nothing else?” she asked, and I answered.
“No, this is wonderful, thank you.”
She nodded, biting her lip as she stepped back and out of the room, as silently as she entered it.
“What are you thanking her for? She’s just doing her job,” Annabel spoke up, and I glared at her unapologetically.
“Because I have a manner, that is why, something I thought a Lady was meant to possess in spades. Clearly I was wrong about that,” I said harsher than I had intended, but the one thing my parents raised me on was the importance of manners no matter whom or what you became. Her disregard for them only made me dislike her more.
She sat back on her seat, looking as chastised as I’ve ever seen a woman look, whereas I had suddenly lost my appetite for food.
“Excuse me.” I took my leave from the table, and before I was out of the room I heard Holdson finally speak, only to chastise her more on her manner, or lack thereof, I imagined.
I turned the corner to see the end of Sookie passing up the large staircase. I took my shot at speaking with her, hopefully alone, and climbed the same stairs in record time. I rounded the corner of the bedroom I had seen her enter, and before either of us had a chance to speak, I merely caught her by her hand and spun her closer to me, and in a step, against the wall.
I kissed her again before either of us had a chance to stop the other, and it was as glorious as the night before. She had dropped the fresh sheets she held in her hands, leaving her hands free to go to my face where she held me in place as each of us planted kiss after kiss, provoking small moans from the other. I pulled away, just mere inches, and only so I could move my focus to her jaw – she liked that – her grip on my shoulders got stronger when I would kiss her there, and moreso when I moved to her neck. The soft, shallow, breaths she was letting escape were shooting through me like a drug, a drug I wanted more of, a drug I would happily die of. I could feel the bones of her old style corset under her uniform and I wanted nothing more than to feel her body without it, without all of it in the way as it was.
“Wait … wait …” she said breathlessly, putting both her hands on my chest and pushing me back, I complied, but disappointedly.
“We shouldn’t be doing this … at all, never mind in here …” she whispered, looking around the room, and I realized we were in Lady Annabel’s room.
“We could go to mine?” I suggested, aiming for her neck again but she stepped out of my gentle grasp.
“I …” she caught her breath as she stood further away, a panicked look on her face once again. “We … that …”
“Yes?” I asked, watching her squirm.
“I told you … I will not be your mistress.” She was stern when she wanted to be, I’d give her that.
Oh, yes, that.
“Good …Wait … if you know, why are you still … with the kissing?” she said, waving her hand at me frantically, as if to prove her point.
I shrugged, “Same question I should ask of you, really.”
“Well, if you still mean what you say, you still kissed me back, that means something too, you know?”
She grew pinker by the second, and gathered her fallen laundry in the meantime.
“Yes I suppose it does,” she said, fixing her hair that I had messed.
“And you want to kiss me again. I know you do.” My cocky words earned me a glare, one I was sure could freeze water.
“Now, Sookie, don’t lie to yourself, nor to me,” I said, as it was true there was nothing I loathed more than a liar. Approaching her gently like she was a spooked horse, as she looked about ready to run, I touched her cheek softly.
“I … never said I lied, I simply said it can’t … happen … again.” As she finished her sentence, I merely – innocently if you will – planted a soft kiss on her cheek, one that made its way to her mouth as she stopped talking. I felt her body go limp in my arms, and it was amazing. She gave in as I shut the door with one foot and moved us closer to the bed slowly. Our mouths in exploration of each other, soft kisses, wanton but somehow still gentle. I hated the fabrics of our clothing in those few moments, keeping me from what I wanted so desperately, and from the sounds of her reactions to my touch, something Sookie wanted just as badly, too. With a soft thud, her head hit the ruffled blankets on the bed. My weight on top of her causing her to moan a little louder, a sound that went straight to my groin, a sound that I would take pleasure in creating forever for her if only she’d let me. I knew she would not though, she was stubborn. I was sure one of the many things that turned me on about her, was the fact that she was so set in her ways, even from me. For a few glorious minutes we continued to touch and grind and kiss, and all too soon it was over, for she had come to her senses and pushed me away.
“Eric…” she sighed as she stood, straightening her uniform and her hair once more. All the blood in my body had rushed to my dick and I was having a difficult time thinking, never mind stringing together words.
“I don’t regret wanting you,” I spoke up as she gathered her sheets once more.
“I don’t, and nor should you, we’re doing nothing wrong.”
She scoffed, but wouldn’t face me.
“Eric, there are things in my past, things that mean that this … between us … it can’t go beyond today. Do you understand?”
“Sookie, everyone has a past. I have one I am not proud of, and everyone has their secrets.”
Granted, some are worse than others, but I looked at her sweet angelic face, her lips pinkened and her cheeks flushed, and I couldn’t imagine anything in her past that would turn me away.
She sighed, and suddenly looked as if the weight of the world was on her delicate shoulders.
“I will not be your Mistress, and I cannot be your wife.”
Hard truths, but honest ones, and they made my heart sink at the reality she was speaking.
“So then you know, this has to stop. Now. You must stop what you think you feel for me and … I don’t know … focus on the young woman downstairs, the one that is infatuated with you, the one that society approves of. Your life would be easier if you did.”
“Easier yes, but miserable.”
She looked saddened then, and I knew she felt as heartbroken as I in those moments. She was a strong woman, stronger than she looked, and I had no doubt that her life had been a hard one. But she came through whatever it was she went through, and she came out the other side with class and dignity and a heart which was more than I could say for the girl downstairs.
“Then if not her, choose someone else,” she said, as if it were that simple.
“What if I choose you?” I asked as she made her way to the door. She turned and with tears in her pretty blue eyes, and she broke my heart.
“I’m not an option, Sir.”
When I made my exit from Lady Annabel’s room, I managed to hold in my tears until I got to the bottom of the staircase that led to the kitchen, and then I sobbed silently to myself. I knew what I was doing what stupid, knew that I was stupid for even getting emotionally involved with someone like Eric in the first place. I knew the one and only outcome was this one; no matter how far we went or how much my feelings grew for him, I knew everything was based on lies – my lies – and therefore I stood on shaky ground, ground that I knew would one day crumble.
I took the basket and changed my uniform, and just as quietly made my way into town. I thought that the walk would soothe me, or at the very least distract from my mind filled woes for a time. Little did I know that it would only add to them, ten fold. You see I took my time, in no real hurry to get back to the house or what awaited me there. I collected the pre-ordered meat from the butcher, as well as extra vegetables, all of which had gone up in price yet again from the week before. I really questioned the inflation prices if the war kept on going much longer, I dreaded to think how I might survive on my own again now, if Eric decided that my personal rejection of him, and us, warranted a professional dismissal. I doubted that he would be so petty, but one was never secure, not now. I had options of course, though none of them were particularly appealing. I could stay where I was, watch the man I very well may love marry another woman … another girl, and live as their maid as I watch him live a miserable life while I look on from the sidelines, or I could quit and throw my lot in with others, or maybe make things a thousand times worse by finding a crueller household, or none at all and become destitute. I could never be his mistress, I had too much pride for that, and he could never be my husband for many reasons, the main one being how ashamed he would be to his peers in the process, and how sullied his good name would become. I could never allow that to happen, not to Eric, because of me. Lost in my thoughts, I almost missed my name being called across the busy main street.
I turned and saw Pam sitting in a motor car not far from the markets, her driver gone and her maid also absent, she was waving with a smile on her face.
“Hello, how are you?” I asked as I approached, my smile mimicking hers.
“I’m well, and you?”
“I … muddling through. I am picking up a few extra pieces for dinner tonight, thankfully no guests other than Lady Annabel. You’ll be at the grand party on Saturday, I assume?”
She rolled her eyes. “Yes I have been summoned by Eric to be his gossip monger for the evening. There is nothing I like more usually, but I tire of the London scene so easily now. Come in, sit with me a minute?” She opened the back door to her large and ornate ‘car.’ Hers was a lot more feminine than I had recalled Eric’s to be. It was a shiny silver with black rims and large black tires. Eric’s had been black on black on black, sleek and cool, much like himself.
“I have a proposition for you, Sookie.”
“Mmm, I like you very much, and I feel that we get along, don’t we?”
“Well you see, my Ladies Maid, Narcissi, she’s taken ill… Well, I say ill, the poor fool is married and pregnant and happy about it…” she sighed, “and as such she’s due any day now, and it leaves me without her vital services for at least three or four months. Now I have to discuss this with Niall, but, I feel you would be the best woman for the job. That is of course if you want it, and it would be temporary and you could come back to Niall … and Eric … at any time.”
“What if he doesn’t agree?”
“Who, Niall? Oh, he’ll agree, trust me, I have my way around Niall. He loves me, so he’d grant me anything I desired if I go about it the right way. But I wanted to know from you first. No point in asking if it’s not what you want.”
“And I’d come live with you?”
“Yes, well, for the time being. I’m organizing a small trip to France.”
I gulped, France … as in where the majority of the war was taking place?
“Oh don’t fret, where my home is, is far, far from the front lines. I just need to be there for a few weeks, a month at most, to check on things, see old friends – basically show my face and my support. We would be perfectly safe. I assure you, I am in no hurry to get myself killed.” She smiled, and I knew that to be true, Pamela loved her life too much for that risk.
“In that case then, I would love to.”
“You sure? It’s a good wage, more than you make with Niall … much more, and let’s face it, I’m just much better company,” she winked.
“I’m sure, I need the change. But see with him first, I don’t want to ruffle any more feathers.”
She nodded, and I checked the time on my watch, I was late.
“I’d better be getting back,” I said as I exited the large vehicle as gracefully as I could with a basket full of goods. I was standing outside the car, and I glanced – merely glanced to my left and that’s when I saw him, I saw him and my heart stopped.
“Sookie? Are you alright?” Pam asked, but my thoughts were far from her. What was he doing here? How was he here? Why? Was I the reason? Surely I had to have been the reason. The way I left things with him … I assumed he was dead. I hoped. But I knew, deep down inside somewhere that he wasn’t, that it had been too easy, all things considered, and I knew this day would come. And now it had, and I still almost lost my mind.
I panicked, and I looked to see Pam looking on her face full of concern for me. I made my excuses to Pam and apparently my basket full of food, and left as quickly as I could. It wasn’t until I reached the house, a good mile away, breathless and filled with terror, that I even realized I had forgotten it. It was the least of my worries however, with Bill on my tail. I knew then that I had to get out of there, and the sooner I did, the better it would be for everyone.