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Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Seventeen

Margaret_001

 

Chapter Seventeen

 

We were completely out of breath, Douglas and I, by the time we managed to pull the massive stone block aside. It showed a small entrance to a dug-out passage, shored-up by wooden planking which did not seem at all sturdy.

“By Jove!” Douglas wheezed, “It seemed much larger when I was ten!”

I do not know how but I found some breath and laughed weakly.

Soon we were crawling through a pipe that was so low and narrow we were forced to go single file. Douglas went first and I followed.

“Mind you stay close to me, Miss Dashwood,” he said. “This torch is not going to last much longer and we do not want to lose each other. Here, hold this.” He removed his belt, trusted one end into my hand and took the other himself.

The going was difficult as the passageway floor was bumpy and littered with cave-in debris. At least the passage was straight. Soon our progress came to an end when we reached a solid wall of earth where the tunnel roof and walls had collapsed.

“Damnation!” Douglas hissed and tried to sit up but could not because the ceiling was barely three feet high. He only managed to lay on his side and I noticed his face was grey under the torch light. He was covered in streaks of dirt and perspiration and undoubtedly  I  looked the same. I realised we were both too exhausted to continue our laborious journey. Although I was aching to touch him and have him touch me, I did not dare to move toward him; I was no longer sure of Douglas’ feelings for me, after he was forced into signing those dreadfully final estate documents. However, my mind was in such turmoil about the recent revelations about Wilkinson that I could not stay silent.

“Mr Spencer, would you please consent in telling me what has transpired this past week? I … we have been seriously concerned about you when we learnt that you had disappeared.”

“I might as well tell you, Miss Dashwood, since I know all too well you will not stop harassing me about it! It must have certainly occurred to you that my cousin is not, to say the least, an agreeable man. We never got along well but the difference in our ages could have been the cause for that, since Phineas was already a grown man of twenty-two by the time I was born. Although I cannot recall having done him any wrong, he always showed an aversion to my person and has forever treated me with contempt. Yet never had I imagined that he hated me so much that he wants me dead all these years .”

“Oh, no, you are mistaken!” I said vehemently. “It does not signify whether you are dead or alive, Mr Spencer. All he wants is your property, your title and your money! Surely you must see this clearly now your premature return to England is what urged him into action. He never expected you to turn up before your thirtieth birthday, the day on which he would become the legal owner of your father’s wealth, unless you married. He has been plotting to kill you since that moment and nearly succeeded when he shot you on the moors.”

“Yes,” Douglas replied, raking a hand through his hair and mussing it even more. “I think that is sufficiently clear, although I fail to see why he had to go to such lengths to accomplish his goal. He would have gotten his wish soon enough, since I had no prospects of marrying before August 22nd.”

“There are a number of unexplained parameters in this case, Mr Spencer. Col. Brandon, who suspects financial difficulties are at the base of them, has gone to Liverpool to sort them out. We might be able to find prove of Wilkinson’s premeditation to your downfall and death.”

“Ah … well, my dear Miss Dashwood, if we do not succeed in getting out of here, that would be of no use, would it?”

He rose onto his knees but wavered and shook his head to dispel some dizziness.

“We should go back,” I urged. “You do not look well at all, Mr Spencer.”

“No, confound it! We will dug ourselves out of this rat hole or die trying!”

 

With that, he started digging with the help of a piece of wood he picked up from the floor. I followed his example by shoving the earth he had removed behind me. We managed to proceed for about ten feet when it happened – the ceiling came crashing down on my head and dirt filled my mouth and nose.

Strangely enough, I felt no fear at all. It was like a warm blanket covering me on a cold winter night, except that there was no air to breathe. I would soon be gasping for air so I abandoned myself to the warm darkness of death in which I had fallen.

 

Suddenly I felt a forceful slapping on my  back which caused me to cough hard.

“Excellent! Keep coughing and do not forget to breathe!” I heard a voice say and found myself lying on my side, draped over Douglas’ arm while he was trying to make me spit out the dirt I had swallowed. I threw up violently and then gasped for air, wheezing like an old woman and feeling nauseated. After a few moments, just as I began feeling better, I realised Douglas was caressing my neck and shoulders with gentle, soothing strokes.

“There, there, my darling … better now?”

“Yes,” I croaked, “how did I get here? I thought I was buried for good.”

Since I was much shorter than Douglas, I managed to sit and was able to lean my back against the passage wall. Only then I saw we were still buried, more or less, for we were in a kind of cubbyhole between two barriers of earth. Fortunately our makeshift torch was still burning.

“You were still clutching my belt,” Douglas replied, “so I was able to pull you out. Are you well, Meggie?”

“Ah, we are back on first name terms, I see. That is a true relief, since I have been living under the impression that we were no longer friends because of your return to formality.”

“Margaret?”

“Yes?”

“Will you do me the honour of becoming my wife?”

 

The situation was ridiculously hopeless. I was half lying, half sitting, against the wall. Douglas lay propped up on his elbow, his head half a foot from mine. For the first in a long time, I looked Douglas in the face, but was at a loss for words. He tried to flash me a smile but it was a shaky one at best.

“Well, Meg, that is what you wanted, is it not? You needed me to say it aloud so I graciously obliged.”

“And here, here of all places, you are actually asking me to leg-shackle you? Me half choked and you half starved?”

His arm went up and he drew me to him, hard and swift. His mouth was equally hard and so demanding I was aroused in two seconds. I pressed against his iron chest; my body crushed against his – I was lost! Suddenly I remembered I wore no corset under my breeches and shirt, just a thin chemise, which caused our bodies to touch more intimately. Douglas must have noticed it too for his hands stroked me in various places. A devastating desire for him threatened to overwhelm me. When, finally, we had to come apart to draw breath, we were in a black, stifling darkness because the torch had gone out.

“My God, my loveliest Meggie! Will you give me an answer before we both perish here? I love you, for God’s sake, as I always have since the first moment I set eyes on you.”

“If you can free us from this hell, Douglas Spencer, I will be your wife. You have my answer. Now let us get digging again before the air runs out in this confined space.”

 

With desperate tenacity we tried to dig through one side of the cubbyhole. I could feel my hands bleeding from the effort but in the darkness could not see them. In my recollection this was the worst experience that had ever happened to me in my whole life and the whole time I was terrified the ceiling would collapse and bury us both alive. The only way to bring this off with success was to shut our mind off from the horrible consequences and keep shoving and passing the earth from the front to the back of this impossibly small space we crawled into. We were forced into coughing and wheezing from the lack of oxygen, while we performed in deep suffocating darkness.

I was becoming dizzy and light-headed and so worn out that I was working like an automaton, no longer capable of doing anything except shoving the earth behind me as Douglas passed it to me. Then with a jolt, the wall of earth collapsed and cool, fresh air rushed into what could have been our temporary grave. Douglas burst through the hole and dragged me with him. Gasping for air, I lay on top of him and did nothing more than just gulp in that wonderful, clean night air.

After a while I became aware of Douglas’ hands caressing my derrière, chuckling as he did so. “You know, Miss Dashwood, I find the image of you in breeches and coat a very thrilling one. To my delight, I found out you are not wearing your corset. It is a most wonderful feeling, your body beneath those breeches.” His wonderful smile had returned, causing my heart to stutter. I brushed the hair from his dirty face and kissed him, an act which seemed to please him very much, judging by the reaction of his body.

“Why have you tortured me for so long, Douglas Spencer? Why did it take you almost to the point of death before you fully accepted me?”

With a sigh, Douglas sat up and embraced me while I was still sitting on his lap.

“My dear heart, in that dreadful moment when I realised I could lose you forever, only one thing seemed to be the right one to do. I had to have you in my life, forever, for as long as we both shall live.”

“So if I had been buried alive sooner, you would have asked me sooner?”

I started to laugh but stopped when I saw his earnest face.

“No, my love, you are mistaken. I have said it many times already but I will say it many times again until you realise it – I have loved you since the moment I saw you. I ultimately resigned myself to have you for my wife when Dobson’s blade was on your throat. That was when I gave in, Margaret, when I was on the verge of losing you.”

He took my face between his hands and, in the light of the full moon, his eyes shone dark and deep.

“My darling Meggie, here I am, with no fortune or property. I have no idea how we are going to make a living but I promise you I will find a solution.”

We will find a solution together, Douglas. We will be together and that signifies it all.” Tears welled up in my eyes and I had no desire to stop their flow.

 

Lost in our kiss, we did not immediately hear the voices until they were upon us. Douglas, whose hearing was keener than mine, suddenly pulled me down beside him.  An angry, all too well-known voice rang nearby.

“Search, you stupid oaf! They must be here somewhere! I must find them and kill them!”

It was Wilkinson and his accomplice! I could see them clearly now, firearm in hand, only twenty yards away. For some reason, they must have gone back to the crypt. Douglas’ voice was a breathless whisper in my ear.

“Hide yourself in the passage, my love. I will try and distract them and then you must go for help.”

“Douglas, no …”

“Please, my darling, do as I ask. Run from here as quick as you can. I could not bear to have you killed, my love. Promise me you will run?”

“Very well, I promise.”

 

Douglas waited until I had crawled backward into the hole so that I would be able to come out swiftly when the time was right. He then began stealing to the left in the opposite direction of our attackers, on hand and feet and keeping low to the ground. I watched him disappear into the thick undergrowth and my heart inexorably sank. To my right I could now see Wilkinson, shoving tree branches aside, but where was Dobson? Slowly it dawned on me that I might have a good chance of luring Wilkinson away from Douglas if I could make him believe that we were still in the passage. I had to do it! I could not bear that Douglas might be caught again and most certainly killed.

When Wilkinson was almost upon me, I rose from the hole, screamed, and threw myself back into the tunnel’s gaping darkness.

 

 

 

 

 

Flash – October 7, 2014 on CW Channel US

Barry Allen was just 11 years old when his mother was killed in a bizarre and terrifying incident and his father was falsely convicted of the murder. With his life changed forever by the tragedy, Barry was taken in and raised by Detective Joe West, the father of Barry’s best friend, Iris.

Now, Barry has become a brilliant, driven and endearingly geeky CSI investigator, whose determination to uncover the truth about his mother’s strange death leads him to follow up on every unexplained urban legend and scientific advancement that comes along. Barry’s latest obsession is a cutting edge particle accelerator, created by visionary physicist Harrison Wells and his S.T.A.R. Labs team, who claim that this invention will bring about unimaginable advancements in power and medicine. However, something goes horribly wrong during the public unveiling, and when the devastating explosion causes a freak storm, many lives are lost and Barry is struck by lightning.

After nine months in a coma, Barry awakens to find his life has changed once again – the accident has given him the power of super speed, granting him the ability to move through Central City like an unseen guardian angel. Though initially excited by his newfound powers, Barry is shocked to discover he is not the only “meta-human” who was created in the wake of the accelerator explosion – and not everyone is using their new powers for good. In the months since the accident, the city has seen a sharp increase in missing people, unexplained deaths and other strange phenomena.

Barry now has a renewed purpose – using his gift of speed to protect the innocent, while never giving up on his quest to solve his mother’s murder and clear his father’s name. For now, only a few close friends and associates know that Barry is literally the fastest man alive, but it won’t be long before the world learns what Barry Allen has become…The Flash. (Source: The CW)

Genre: Action | Crime | Drama | Super Heroes
Status: New Series
Network: CW ( USA)
Airs: Tuesdays at 08:00 pm
Runtime: 60 Minutes
Premiere: October 07, 2014
Episode Order: 13

John Thornton Meets Miss Hale, Mill Owner * Chapter 29

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     Chapter Twenty Nine

 

Before Margaret could say another word, John kissed her. He stroked her lips with his tongue, as she lost all concern about what was on her mind a moment ago. She felt the fire flare within her and saw the passion in John’s eyes. He had known what tonight would bring to them. She embraced his tongue as it entered her mouth and heard him sharply catch his breath.

John was emboldened when he felt her willing to give as well as receive, despite her naivety to the experience. Lust could possible lead one to such encouragements but he knew that love was with them, expanding and deepening the physical ecstasy. He struggled to contain his raging desire for her because she was still innocent of a developing passion. And although he had never bedded a woman with her virtue still intact, he knew what pleasures and discomfort would be awaiting her. This was a sacred quest. And this first time, above all other times to come, would be their most precious memory. He tried to rein in his fevered blood and excited bodily actions. If he kept breathing heavily he might frighten her.

Surprising herself, Margaret slid her hands under his shirt. Her soft warm hands found his skin and John could not help himself when a pleasurable a groan slipped from his mouth. Margaret became frustrated at the clothing separating them and pulled on his shirt. She wanted to find that handsome broad hairy chest he had shamelessly flaunted at the nurses in the hospital. John sat up, removing his waist coast, allowing her to pull his shirt over his head and toss it aside. Her tormented hands roamed over his broad taught chest and then muscular back. He licked and nipped at her neck while unfastening her garment. Margaret felt him trembling just as she was. The excitement of each moment encouraged her onward.

John carried her to his room. He could feel the powerful and understandable shyness sweeping over her as he was about to lay bare her femininity. “Margaret, I love you and I want to love every part of you,” John said softly in her ear.

Margaret responded, “I think we’re lusting, do not you?” That caused a mild laugh from both of them which seemed to settle her fears somewhat, allowing the fires of desire to build again.

“You may think of it as you will since this is all new to you, but I know mine is lust with love being my guiding force. I never felt this way about anyone before. The experience hasn’t even started yet and the thirst is so much richer, you cannot ever know the difference,” John said, in a passionate tone. “And you will never know the difference,” he laughed.

Their small laughter stalled the moment, permitting Margaret to feel more at east at the thought of being naked in front of him. “What if he finds me unattractive compared to all those other women?” She could not help but wonder and fear that she would disappoint him. “John, I am afraid that you will find dismay with me. I was so ready only moments ago and now I have doubts about being all that you want.”

“Margaret, unless you are a man under your frock, I cannot possibly be disappointed. I want you to understand that I love you much deeper than what I can see and touch. You could put a scarf about my eyes so I could not see you naked and I would still love you every bit as I do now.” John covered her mouth before she could say anything else. That interlude had appeased his frenzied passion and he was more the glad for it. Those times would come later, but now he had to be gentle and controlled. He was going to teach her to spread her wings and soar.

Being starved for the taste of her lips, his lips found hers. His tongue savored her mouth while he slowly undid the bindings to her clothing. John felt her body heat searing his hands as her skin started to reveal itself to him. She was trembling in anticipation. He wanted to rip her clothing from her body but he needed her to trust him and he must be lovingly gentle with her. He felt if he did not soon touch her flesh, he would go mad. The urgency that welled within him was a frighteningly new sensation. He had always felt he had good patience when he needed it. Not this time. Everything he had ever learned or cultivated with other woman was gone from him now. His hands were shaking. John kissed Margaret passionately again, trying to reaffirm he was a mature man in control with the dream of his loins lying with him.

Margaret could not help but feel and fear more shyness as he unlaced her shift. Not since being a small child had anyone seen her naked. As John found the curve of her neck with his mouth, she could feel her stiffness and unease float away. She whimpered at the thought that she and her handsome man would be naked and be flesh to flesh within seconds.

The moment John removed her last garment he rose and removed all of his clothing, casting them aside. John stared at Margaret as he undressed, noticing her full rounded breasts. Her rose nipples already pert and waiting to be tasted. “Margaret, you are exquisite, my love. You are more beautiful than I have any right to hold. He feverishly kissed her neck and then continued downward.

John stroked her skin; it was soft and the color of ivory. He caressed all the way to the soft brown curls that formed a triangle at the top of her thighs. He found it difficult not to just lift her legs, and place them over his shoulders. He wanted so much to kiss that sweet spot. Because this was her first sexual encounter, he would take her in the most basic way. John, lifted his head and watched at her eyes, as she studied his body. When her smile broke out, demonstrating approval of what she saw, he felt great pride. Her eyes traveled down to his loins. There, where his manhood was proudly standing, her eyes widened. He thought he saw fear in them, stealing the passion that had been building.

He quickly pulled her to him and kissed her. Their bodies touched and he moaned into her neck, snuggling and suckling there. He never experienced anything this wonderful in life, but she must not fear him. John feasted upon her breasts with his hands, mouth and tongue. Margaret gasped out a sultry moan at the relief to her aching bosom. John’s suckling of her breasts and nipples sent waves of heat to her lower area. Margaret began to writhe about. Her body wanted attention elsewhere.

His hand traveled down to her navel, gently circling and soothing her back to the building fire all over her body, casting off all fears, leaving only heated passion in his wake.

Margaret became aware that anywhere he touched her, he sent radiating heat between her legs.

John kissed her deeply. His hand traveled down her thighs and slowly with his fingers he parted them. A little at first and then wider still. Margaret hesitated, instinctively feeling the life-long guardianship of that part of her body. Not exposing herself had been engrained in her for twenty five years. The wall of self preservation, however, easily yielded itself and welcomed her hero. As John touched her inner lips, her intake of breath echoed the room . She threw her head back, and was overwhelmed by the sensual sensations and was surprised at the sounds she was making and could not control. He watched her eyes squeeze tightly shut as she arched up to his touch. She wanted more firmness to the wondrous feeling, but then would recoil, not being able to absorb the fierce pleasure and the embarrassment of her own desirous body.

John immersed himself in her response; he could feel the fear that he had seen in her eyes was now disappearing. Leaving her mouth, he licked his way to her nipples, still waiting for attention. Margaret strained to find some way to touch him more, to run her hand over his skin. She was aflame and didn’t know what to do, or what she wanted, until John took her nipple into his warm moist mouth. She gasped! She bowed her back again and started running her hands through his sweat laden hair and drawing him harder against her. She wondered if she was a wanton woman. Through an exhausted breath, Margaret said, “This is almost too much to bear, but please do not stop.” Margaret felt the suckling give way to John’s smile.

“Always know, I will never stop unless you tell me so. I will never have enough of you in my arms, my hands or my mouth.” John rolled over on top of her, nudging her thighs further apart. As he continued to suckle at her breasts, he slowly introduced her to his erection, allowing his rigid penis to lie against her womanhood.

Margaret wanted to start thrashing as she felt his hard shaft touch her there. Such a wonderful pulsing ache ran through her and she wanted to encourage him further but didn’t know how. Suddenly, John slid one long finger into her moist opening. She was startled at the intimacy of the act. Small sounds escaped her, never intending to be spoken. Waves of delight started to crest over her and she wanted more of John as he unlocked her sensuality. Her lustful passion was birthing. She was no longer embarrassed of her urgency. Her need was too strong to let any other emotion take over.

John wanted to drown in her moist readiness. He steadied his shaken nerves as he would need to be delicate with what was to come. He listened to Margaret’s gasps and soft moans. He knew the time was now for them both. He was close to spilling his seed upon the sheets. He settled himself comfortably between her thighs preparing to enter her body. Sweat stung his eyes. As he began to enter her, she suddenly tensed all her muscles. “This is what could not happen; anything past this was rape,” he told himself. “Do you want me to stop,” John asked quietly, his lips against her ear.

“No,” Margaret bellowed as she arched her back to beckon him further.

Margaret started writhing, pleading for John to use her and ease her needs. “Please John, do something! Every nerve ending in me is taut like a violin string. I am weak, I do not know what I need but you must know what I need. What can I do to help us?”

“Relax your inner muscles. This first part of this first time will be uncomfortable for you,” John said as he kissed her deeply. Penetrating her mouth with his tongue, he felt her soften her feminine contractions. “As I enter, your body will stretch to accommodate me.”

“Yes, I am ready for you, John, no matter how it feels. I want you desperately. I do not know what is happening to me or how to control this anxious feeling.”

“You have no need to control any of this. This is my greatest pleasure. Please, do not deprive me of it. A man’s release is swept away so quickly. Controlling the entire intimate act helps balance the scales.” John kissed her tenderly which eased all of her fears and allowed him further entrance. He was slow and gentle. Margaret felt the lightening travel her body, with no way out. Her body was headed for something great but she knew she could not get there without John. She wanted more of him, there had to be more to this, she thought to herself. “Is there more to this? I need more of you,” she heard herself cry.”

“Yes, Margaret, there is more.” Margaret heard him saying through a smile. “But I am about to breech the shield of your maidenhead. There could be some pain of short duration and that will never happen again. You are about to give your virtue to me. I love you more than life for your giving me this most precious gift. Shall I continue? I will not be able to stop once I start again.”

 

“Bloody hell, John, you’re not leading the cavalry into battle, are you? Just get on with it!” A quickly frustrating Margaret replied.

 

At that very moment, shock and a thick fog drifted through his mind and body, halting any further movement. In fact, the bugle cry to retreat had shook him to his very core, sending his manhood off somewhere to lick its wounds. John opened his eyes, disbelieving what Margaret had just said; totally flabbergasted at her statement. He wilted on the spot, and withdrew, laughing his head off. Once again, in their relationship, she had thrown him far off balance.

“John, what are you doing?” Margaret asked in a panicky voice, looking at him. “Come back here. Where is your . . . thing?”

“Margaret! You have just ruined my carefully, well thought out and passionate plans for this, your first time and mine with you. You have emasculated me,” John said laughingly, covering his eyes with his crossed arm.

Margaret looked down said, “Oh, I see that now. Well, you would not hurry. I wanted you to hurry and you had to keep talking and asking questions. You apparently do not know what you’re doing to me, do you?” She questioned, not really knowing what answer she should be expecting. “Do not you know you’re starving me? I hunger with the need of you, but you give me crumbs and conversation. Wait . . . I know what to do. Do not move.” Margaret got up, disappeared for about three minutes then strode back into another room. Striding across the room, now comfortable with her nakedness, she carried a sheaf of paper. She began to read to John.

 

Being of sound mind and a passion-starved being, I, Margaret Hale, do here by bequeath total access to my body to one John Thornton of Milton, to have and to hold all of me, including my virtue until death do us part.

                              Respectfully, but still virginal, Margaret Hale

 

John sat up and was cramping from laughter. All wide eyed, he said, “I cannot believe we’re having this conversation. Now, of all times.” John swatted at her hand that held the proclamation and took it away from her. “I am not ready to relinquish my manly propriety and allow you to guide my performance. Men take great pride in that, especially at this time. Later, yes, you will have free rein, but I am the experienced one. I am now hobbled as you can see.” He was still reeling with laughter at what had just happened.

Margaret also started laughing as John laughed even harder. They found each other’s eyes and their passion was restored instantly.

John kissed her intimately as he again settled between her thighs. He tried not to recall her comment of moments ago. He kissed her silken neck down to her breasts. But this time proceeded below her abdomen which he could tell Margaret wasn’t prepared to find his mouth there. His tongue assaulted her womanly folds and John had to hold her down. Knowing this to be the most delicate part of a woman, he didn’t remain there long. He didn’t want her to climax without him buried deep inside of her warm miost contracting sheath. She was completely ready for him. Slowly, at the pace he felt she would safely have this first time, and not what she thought she needed, he entered her again. He could injure her if he wasn’t careful but she obviously didn’t know that. On his second thrust, John drove through the barrier or her innocence. As he pushed hard he stifled her cry of pain with a kiss covering her mouth. He absorbed her pain into him as she took him into her and he drove deeper. “Put your legs around me as you once did,” he panted.

John struggled to rekindle her fire that she had before he took her virginity. He thrust again, burying the all of him into her. As he withdrew, she gasped in disappointment, and as he drove back deep, she moaned with pleasure. Margaret was a passionate fire in his arms. She wanted and needed him badly –– urgently. Desire was caressing them, sending them on a blissful journey. Margaret knew John could give her what she needed and she wanted to give to him. John throttled his control wanting to be slow and gentle, fearing any lingering pain. However, Margaret didn’t want slow and gentle now. Her body met him thrust for thrust and she urged him on. John could feel her vaginal muscle contractions holding him, milking him. He opened his eyes briefly wanting to see her raw desire for him. Her eyes were closed, and her brows were furrowed with expectation as she moved her head from side to side. He drove for their release. She clung to him as he carried them both into oblivion. The end came all too quickly for him, as John cried out her name when he jetted his life into her. He heard his name come from her lips. He opened his eyes as she crested her climax and he rode her wave that he fervently wanted to give her time and time again.

“Do not stop, John. It’s too beautiful,” Margaret said while struggling to take air in her lungs.

Watching her embrace the greatest pleasure he could give her, John knew at that instant it was the most stunning vision he would ever have in his lifetime. His own senses were competing for first place in his body. Was it to be the pleasure shared, the tender moment when she gave him her most precious gift, was it his own pride as he watched her face or was it his devout love for her? He knew whatever the feeling was, it ran much deeper than all of those thoughts. John move very slowly and savored her contractions that wanted to hold him there. He found her eyes were still closed and kissed her mouth. Her fists were starting to unclench, signaling her wave was rolling on shore. He absolutely loved the way her orgasm continued long after his.

Instead of shifting his weight off her, he rose on his elbows and watched her face as she ascended back to consciousness. Tears formed in the corners of her closed eyes but they were tears of contentment. A broad smile spread across her face, even though her eyes were closed. He was capturing this unguarded look of ecstasy on her face. Somewhere in the future, he wanted to stimulate her to climax with only his hand, while he watched her every twitch, spasm and facial expression. He wanted to visually drink in her quivering thighs and legs instead of just feeling them. He wanted to hear every sensual moan, gasp, and cry. He wanted to watch her body shudder as her orgasm finally took her. He would love to hear her plead for release from the almost intolerable moment of pleasure. He desired to see her build to a climax he would give her, and then her experience of it before falling back to earth. John knew he could give her all the rapture she could bear. He felt fulfillment, knowing he had found the woman of his life. She was a woman that made a man really feel like a man.

Margaret opened her unfocused eyes. Those eyes of hers, by god, he felt he could fall into them and never be seen again. She sought for words but they would not come.

John rose and went to the basin for a damp cloth. He washed himself and then returned to the bed to wash away all the signs of her conquered virginity. She was delirious and didn’t seem to mind what he was doing. John felt exhilarated with this additional experience and trust she showed in him for his gentleness. Of the women he had been with, he never shared this most intimate and delicate of acts.

They quietly laid together in the soft afterwards of their oneness.

“John?” Margaret spoke barely above a whisper.

“Yes, love?”

“Was making love to me any different, better, or disappointing than previous women you have lain with?”

John turned to her, hardly believing what he was hearing in that question. But then thought, how was she to judge him or any other man’s responses. “I know we have known each other for a short time by all standards but surely you know that tHere is been no one like you for me, ever before.”

“How could I know that? That does not really answer my question,” Margaret said on the edge of tears. “I guess I could, perhaps, think I was different since I was a virgin but from what you’re telling me I am not sure I like that any better. Actually, do not tell me or explain anything to me. I do not want to know. I have no business meddling into your life before me. Just forget that I asked that.”

John sat straight up in the bed and pulled Margaret to a sitting position, too. “No, I will not forget that. You will always wonder if we do not get this out in the open. First, if you had been a different lady and had flirted or tried to seduce me, I would probably bow to your request, as I knew it would fill my own physical needs but that would never happen here at my home. Should I have known in advance that you were an innocent, then by no means would I have taken you. That would never happen, as that ruins a woman’s whole life. Unless I was prepared to take care of her for the rest of her life, it would be unthinkable. Nothing of what I have said has answered your question but you must believe me when I say that I have never loved another woman before you. I have never wanted to spend the rest of my life with one woman until you. The sex act itself is for purely a physical satisfaction but with you, it isn’t. I want you to feel all the passion you are capable of; my needs come second. Serving your wants and desires are what satisfies me. I have never felt that way before and I can tell you, it’s damn intoxicating and powerful. It’s rapturous, it’s unequaled, overwhelming, and it’s potent. You make me know that I am a man that can truly please his woman. That swells my inner private pride. You complete me. You are the only one that now has the power to break my heart,” John said to Margaret as the tears welled in his eyes. His emotions were overpowering him. She had to understand how much she meant to him.

“Having sex is one thing, but making love is so much richer and deeper. It is all consuming. Having sex feels great and loving someone is wonderful. Put the two together and nothing on earth can equal it. My whole being, down to my soul, connects with your love. What we have just experienced took us to a place where only we can share; it’s our place. Do you not feel that touching depth?”

Crying her tears of joy and love, she said, “Yes, John I do feel that. I just would not have known how to say it as well as you did. You’re more experienced in the difference and I have had none.

“Margaret, I am not experienced in what we just shared. This time spent with you is new to me, too.”

I wondered if having sex was that great for everyone, but I know now that it cannot be unless one is in love, as we are. John, you just overwhelm me and I love you so.”

“Margaret, you keep me off balance, just like your proclamation. I love you for that, along with many other wonders you have.” John noticed Margaret’s eyes were glazing over, totally unfocused to anything other than her sensual emotions running around in her head and body. She laid back down and stared at the ceiling. John became undone looking at her contented face. He wanted to always see the face he was now seeing. “Margaret, is all well with you? Did I hurt you?” John wondered why he would ask such a question, but she had just seemed to float away from their conversation.

In a dazed voice, she said, “I just realized what the whole experience feels like. I do not know why such a thing just came to me. Would you like to know or perhaps you already know the sheer pleasure you gave to me.”

“More than anything I would like to know what it felt like for you” John said being all too anxious to hear her words spoken so emotionally.

“I felt like a rock.”

“A rock?” John questioned, somewhat disturbed and confused.

“Yes, I am a small little rock, a pebble perhaps, and you are my slingshot.”

John could not help but grin broadly at the analogy.

“Yes, you are the slingshot. You fold me into you and you cradle me. You hold me tight and draw me back, tautly and deliriously, urging me to fly. You hold me there, in your strong but sensuous trembling hands, inducing my anticipation of flight. The tension of the bands compels me to reach for further heights, and it encourages you. You draw us further along with your strength and control. Both of us are straining for a release from the force that has built to an unbearable unyielding demand to be set aloft. And then . . . you lovingly snap me lose. Your work is over but from there I just sail and soar freely above the clouds, over the horizon, into a world that you created just for me. There is nothing to see, I can only feel a resonating quiver. I am oblivious to everything except the raptures of the voyage that you launched me toward. The joy of my flight eventually wavers and I tumble into the sweet grass and there you are, ready to sling me again and I am in heaven once more.”

“That was lovely, Margaret. I loved hearing that and it did give me a heartwarming and prideful insight. I will always remember and cherish this moment. Right now, I am going to put you in my pocket and keep you forever more. You are the rock of my life.”

Margaret thought to herself that she would look for the perfect pebble and have it set into a gold ring for John. She would give it to him on their wedding day.

 

The next morning, a smiling Nigel was at the front step, waiting for his Mistress, who was also wearing a smile. He saw the door open and as his Mistress was about to step out, she was pulled back in and the door was pushed closed. “Undoubtedly, a farewell kiss after their night,” Nigel thought. “Oh yes,” he said to himself as she came through the door with that look. The smile is there, the blush is there, he was happy for her. He saw that Mr. Thornton was doing the honors of handing her in the coach, before he could.

Margaret leaned out the window and John kissed her lips. Nigel heard John say, “walk on.” As he reined the horses home, he wished he could be in the house when she met up with Grayson.

As she had envisioned, Grayson was in his position as St. Paul guarding the pearly gates. Margaret’s elated posture sagged somewhat. “What am I coming home to?” she wondered. She reminded herself that she is the boss. “He is not my father, he is someone who works for me.”

“Good morning, M’lady,” Grayson said handing Margaret out of the coach. She caught Grayson eyeing Nigel as if he had been in on this liaise she had managed.

“Grayson, I do not want to hear any reprimands. I am my own person and a grown woman,” she said in a huff.

“Quite so, M’lady. There seems to be no evidence to the contrary. The staff was worried about you last night, until someone went to wake Nigel. He told us you might not be home. May I be permitted to ask where you’ve been?” Grayson questioned as he followed her into the house, starting to remove her cloak.

“I was securing your gentleman, if you must know. Everything I did last night was for you. I must say it cost me quite dearly for your sake.” Margaret struggled to turn the tables on him. She wanted him to know what she had done last night without having to say the words and not leaving him room to maneuver the conversation his way.

“I am not sure, I quite . . . “ Margaret interrupted.

“Oh yes, you do, do not play innocent with me. Also, I should tell you that there will probably be a wedding soon after the Mill Challenge. In less than two months, I should not wonder. Mr. Thornton is insisting that when it was over, we marry. I countered with, I would marry him if *I* won the contest. Now, I am certain I will win. We have not discussed anything beyond that, but I hope we decide to live here.”

“M’lady, I could not be happier for you and I say this with my utmost sincerity. I think you have found the man to do you justice and perhaps rein you in. I shall have a talk with him and let him know what he can expect living with you.” Grayson then turned and walked away.

Margaret hollered after him, “You will have to give me away, you know.”

As Grayson walked down the hall, he became aware that he would be the most logical choice; he felt properly honored. Her happiness was always his tantamount concern but after worrying about her for all those years in Helstone, he knew she had arrived at the foundation of the rest of her life here in Milton. He, inwardly, worried about her after he was gone and she still alone, but now that big unknown burden had lifted.

 

Ecritoire 2

Dearest, loveliest Meg – Part Sixteen

 

Margaret_001

 

Chapter Sixteen

 

My head hung upside down and my arms dangled straight down like those of a rag doll. Dobson had flung me over his shoulder and, with every step he took, a jolt of pain spread from the back of my head all the way down my spine in throbbing waves. For a moment I feared I was going to be sick but I forced myself to breathe deeply. I closed my eyes as I felt my surroundings sway, fighting the nausea that was threatening to overcome me. As this was also preventing me from seeing where Dobson was taking me, I decided against it. We were still in the Watcombe Home Wood, though now we were descending some roughly hewn stairs that led into a kind of ruined crypt. A castle, maybe? A church?

I was not granted the time to dwell on this for Dobson unceremoniously threw me down and I landed on the floor, my hands and feet catching me. We were in a musty, decrepit room, littered with all kinds of rubble. In front of me I saw Douglas, his hands and feet tied to a chair.

He looked absolutely ghastly! His unshaven cheeks were covered with a thick, black beard that blurted his strong jaw line and his body seemed to have shrunken. His clothes hung appallingly loose around his frame. Yet, more than by his appearance, I was worried about the cold, almost disgusted look in his eyes!

“Well, cousin,” Wilkinson’s voice sneered, “this is the moment where you sign over your property to me. I was prepared to wait until August 22th but the arrival of this person here forces me to move matters forward.”

“Who is this? Are you plucking urchins and peasants from Torquay’s workshops now, Phineas?” Douglas demanded.

Douglas’ comment reminded me I was still clad in men’s breeches and coat and, for a passing of a heartbeat, I found myself hoping no one had recognized me.

In answer to that, Wilkinson grabbed the grubby cap that covered my head and ripped it off, causing my hair to loosen from its pins and tumble down over my shoulders. He pulled my head back in a rather painful manner, thus forcing me to face Douglas.

“It is your lovely Miss Dashwood, cousin. She has come to your rescue or so it seems. I am sure you would not want to see her harmed?”

If I had presumed to find solace in my rake’ face, I was completely wrong. His features did not change and his eyes continued to look at me – cold and uninterested.

“Ah, yes, Miss Dashwood!” Douglas aid in a matter-of-fact tone. “Well, Phineas, she seems to have formed an attachment to me, though I cannot think what she sees in me. Rest assured I did the best I could to fend her off. I am not in the least prepared or interested in having her leg-shackled to me!”

Surely he must be bluffing, I thought. He does not want Wilkinson to see that he cares for me. Yet his deep blue eyes, even in the poor light of torches, kept their coldness and indifference. Had I been wrong? Had I let myself believe that Douglas loved me, even when he had never spoken the words? Wilkinson’s icy snicker abruptly forced me back to reality.

“Forgive me, cousin, but that performance does not convince me at all. I also have a bone to pick with her for rejecting my more than generous offer of marriage.” Wilkinson’s ruthless stare still bore into me and I had to suppress a shiver.

His free hand suddenly grabbed my throat and squeezed it just enough to terrify me and I was forced to gasp for air. A waft of his vile, odorous breath invaded my nostrils and I gagged with horror and disgust. I made a futile attempt to claw at those beefy, squeezing fingers but they felt like a vice around my neck.

“You did not think it was your pretty little face that prompted me to offer you marriage, did you, my dear?” Wilkinson growled. “You were merely a means to an end and marrying you would keep you away from him. Did you think I did not know about your little meeting with him on the moors?”

“It was you who shot him!” I choked, fury mounting in my chest.

Wilkinson chuckled. “Yes, and I waited to see him die but then you came along! You had to meddle with my affairs, had you not? You had to help him out and disrupt all my carefully laid plans in the process. Imagine my surprise when I recognized you. I knew who you were from a miniature picture your brother showed me. He and I concocted our wedding but now this little scheme will have to be re-adjusted.”

Wilkinson so abruptly released me that I fell and smartly hit the floor on hands and knees, while he again turned to Douglas.

“You are indeed hard to get rid of, cousin! I had high hopes that you would never return to England after your little adventure with the Finney girl. Rumours were that you were depressed and apathetic for years. You did not even wish to come back when your father, in his later years, begged you to come back.  What prompted you to do so now?”

Douglas eyed him coolly, yet with a calculating gleam in his eyes.

“I was notified of my father’s demise by his solicitors, as you well know is customary. Imagine, Phineas, my surprise to hear that you had been living at Watcombe Manor for about ten years and that you had moved in shortly after my departure for Jamaica. How did you succeed in convincing my father to take you in?”

All of a sudden, Wilkinson seemed uneasy under Douglas’ hard gaze. I could only wonder what Douglas might have uncovered about his cousin lately. Not for the first time, I wished Christopher would have returned from Liverpool with some confirmation. My eyes were riveted on Douglas’ face – so stern, so unperturbed, so strong and so rigid with suppressed anger and powerlessness. I saw how he was attempting to free himself from the crude hemp-made ropes that bound his wrists, which were dripping with blood from the friction.

In a level voice, he said: “Phineas, Miss Dashwood has nothing to do with all this. Let her go. This is between you and me.”

That was a mistake. Wilkinson’s countenance cleared instantly and a sneer of triumph distorted his puffy cheeks and thick lips. His yellowed teeth gleamed.

“I am pleased indeed that you are confessing your attachment to her at last, cousin! It will make the taste of my revenge all the sweeter. You must know that I have reasons of my own, never to let her see the light of day again. Miss Dashwood will share your destiny and die with you. But enough dawdling! Dobson?”

All of a sudden, my arms were snatched behind my back in a grip of iron by Wilkinson’s henchman and the point of a blade slightly nicked my throat, causing a warm trickle of blood to run down my neck.  I bit my lips so as not to scream out of fear. Those two were merciless! Lives did not count for much with men such as Wilkinson and Dobson.

“Well, Douglas Spencer? Are you prepared to sign the documents or shall I have Dobson cut her scrawny throat? The choice is yours, cousin. This pretty little chit’s life is literally in your hands .”

The villain seemed amused by his own wit and threw back his head, roaring with laughter.

I was on the verge of death. At least, I hoped it would be quick. I was determined to go in dignity, however. With an effort to keep my voice level, I spoke up.

“Douglas, no! Do not sign on my behalf. After he has killed me, you will be next. At least, do not give him that signature.”

“Ah, first name terms already? I knew there was something going on between the two of you! I want your answer now, Douglas!”

My beloved’s face did not change; it was as impassive as a statue’s. His eyes, though, did. They were telling me he loved me.

“Free my right hand, Phineas. I will sign.”

And so he did. Wilkinson grinned when Douglas put his signature at the bottom of the document that robbed him of his inheritance. With a florid gesture Wilkinson folded the paper, slid it into his coat pocket and, in one gesture, smacked Douglas across the face. With a kick of his heavily booted foot he caused Douglas’ chair to turn over and  his head thudded in the crypt’s flagstones with a sickening crack.

“Do you want me to tie this one up, master?” Dobson asked, not taking his knife off my neck.

“No, my good Dobson, just leave her. The boy you allowed to escape will think them in the icehouse. Nobody will think of looking down here for them. She will not be going anywhere nor will he. They are where I want them: in their graves.”

Dobson just threw me and I hit and fell against the wall. Both men left, locking the door behind them. The torches still burned in their holders, though their light was beginning to fade. However, there was enough light for me to crawl to Douglas, free him from his bonds and take his head onto my lap. Cautiously I probed the back of his head but could only find a large lump. No fracture of the skull -  a great relief to me!

“Douglas, wake up … can you hear me, Douglas? Say something …”

His lip had been cut by Wilkinson’s blow and I gently wiped away the trickle of blood, careful not to open it again. Through the thick beard, I could feel his jawbone  and face clearly, as if no flesh covered them. He was frightfully thin and a horrible thought struck me. Had they not fed him while he was their prisoner? Through the dirty fabric of his torn shirt I could actually see his ribs and the muscles seemed to have shrunken to nothing. Was that why he had not resisted or put up a fight when he might have had the chance?

“Why are you weeping all over me as if I were already dead? You did not use to be such a wining wench, Miss Dashwood, at least not to my recollection.” Douglas cracked a slight smile, even though this little gesture caused him some pain.

“I am not weeping, my nose is merely running from the dampness in this cellar.”

“Well, maybe you will assist me when I want to get up?”

“You should not … you are hurt …”

“No, I am fine. Just a bit knocked about …”

With my help, Douglas managed to sit up and lean his back against the wall. I did the same, feeling a trifle worn out by everything that happened over the past hours. The silence in the cellar actually suited me very well. It was, at the very least, soothing until Douglas’ angry voice startled me.

“Confound it, Miss Dashwood! What drove you to come here tonight and burst in like some madwoman which forced my cousin to act in this insane behaviour? Before you came, I might have had a chance of convincing him to release me but no! You had to appear here and give him his best opportunity to persuade me into signing those papers! Of all the insane, foolhardy …”

He banged his head against the wall and slammed his hand on the floor in a gesture of sheer impatience. I suddenly felt so crestfallen that I could not think of an answer to his righteous indignation. He was absolutely right – I had ruined it all. Watcombe Manor was lost to him because I turned up and gave his ruffian of a cousin a hold over him. He must surely consider me the most stupid woman on earth!

 

There was nothing I could say so I turned my face away from him because I did not want him to witness my distress. After a long silence, in which I managed to conquer my rampaging emotions, I ventured:

“Was Wilkinson right? Is this where we die?”

“Not if I can help it. Come, help me up, Miss Dashwood.”

“Why? What are you planning to do?” I started to get up, wanting to help him.

“Do I always have to explain my actions to you? Can you not simply do as I ask? I swear, Miss Dashwood,  you are the most exasperating woman on earth!”

“Well, I will take that as a compliment, Mr Spencer! Here, you are on your feet! What now?”

He freed himself from my grasp and limped over to the room’s back wall where there was an altar, a big rectangular-shaped lump of stone, , which must have weighed several hundred pounds.

“Was this ruin once a church?” I asked, following him.

“More like a chapel but it was destroyed long ago, after Henry VIII banned all private chapels. It was, however, my favourite playground when I was a boy, and if I am not mistaken, there is a secret passage behind the altar. You must help me pull it from the wall, Miss Dashwood,  for I fear I am a little weak after my stay in the icehouse.”

“Did they starve you? You lost so much weight …” I was till mortified by the sight of his now thin build.

“Bread and water, just to keep me alive, but do not concern yourself, Miss Dashwood. I am a strong man and it takes more than that to wear me down. Now stop talking and put your hands here, on this edge. On three, pull with all your might.”

 

 

Unbroken – Release Christmas Day

Angelina Jolie directs this true life tale

An epic drama that follows the incredible life of Olympian and war hero Louis “Louie” Zamperini (Jack O’Connell) who, along with two other crewmen, survived in a raft for 47 days after a near-fatal plane crash in WWII—only to be caught by the Japanese Navy and sent to a prisoner-of-war camp.

 

The Mill’ Series 2 trailer

The Mill Year 2

Channel 4 has released a trailer for the second series of historical drama The Mill.The new six-part series covers the period between 1838-1842, focusing on the lives of the mill workers against a backdrop of turbulent social, political and industrial change.Series 2 begins at 8pm on Sunday 20 July on Channel 4. UK

This is a time of the great Chartist rallies and the birth of modern democracy with the movement for the right for working class men to vote sweeping the country. The drama is driven by a spirited young cast who depict a moment in history when the working classes were beginning to demand a say in their own lives. Just four years have passed since the end of first series but now the effects of the Poor Law Amendment Act of 1834, which made a distinction between ‘deserving’ and ‘undeserving’ poor, are starting to take hold and desperate economic migrants from the South of England are beginning to arrive at the mill in search of work.

The Last Kingdom

BBC Two to adapt ‘Sharpe’ writer’s ‘The Last Kingdom’

Sharpe Sean Bean

BBC Two has announced a new adaptation of Sharpe creator Bernard Cornwell’s best-selling series of books, The Saxon Stories.

Adapted by Stephen Butchard (Good Cop, House Of Saddam), the eight-part historical drama series is described by the BBC as “a show full of heroic deeds and epic battles but with a thematic depth that embraces politics, religion, warfare, courage, love, loyalty and our universal search for identity”.

The Last Kingdom is a co-production with BBC America and Downton Abbey makers Carnival Films.

The official synopsis reads: “Set in the year 872, when many of the separate kingdoms of what we now know as England have fallen to the invading Vikings, the great kingdom of Wessex has been left standing alone and defiant under the command of King Alfred the Great.

“Against this turbulent backdrop lives our hero, Uhtred. Born the son of a Saxon nobleman, he is orphaned by the Vikings and then kidnapped and raised as one of their own. Forced to choose between the country of his birth and the people of his upbringing, his loyalties are ever tested. What is he – Saxon or Viking? On a quest to claim his birthright, Uhtred must tread a dangerous path between both sides if he is to play his part in the birth of a new nation and, ultimately, seek to recapture his ancestral lands.”

The Last Kingdom begins filming this autumn.

Executive producer Gareth Neame commented: “Cornwell’s Saxon novels combine historical figures and events with fiction in an utterly compelling way.”

He added: “In the hands of Stephen Butchard we believe it will make original and engrossing television drama. In part the epic quest of our hero Uhtred, it is also a fascinating re-telling of the tale of King Alfred the Great and how he united the many separate kingdoms on this island into what would become England.”

Ben Stephenson, Controller, BBC Drama Commissioning, said: “I hope The Last Kingdom will expand BBC Two’s distinctive portfolio of drama. It’s an epic narrative with an extraordinary creative team. It will feel like nothing else on television, with all of the scale and intrigue of the best fantasy stories but the reality of fact.”

The Independent announcement

Deadline Hollywood

~ Remembering Times Forgotten through Period Drama ~