Chapter Eighteen – When Two Become One
The cold winds announcing fall began coming in from the north when, one evening, Father Patrick visited Betty’s cottage.
“I’ve good news for you, John and Margaret, but there’s also some bad news.”
“Oh!” Margaret’s anguished cry startled John, and he went to put his arm around her shoulder.
“For God’s sake, Father! Do tell us! You are upsetting Margaret.”
“I’m sorry, my dear,” Patrick apologized, “but I’m afraid a proper civil marriage isn’t possible. The Registrar has to enter your marriage in the register, and since you have no proper address nor legal whereabouts, that won’t be possible. However, you can marry in a religious marriage and be registered here, in the parish where Betty lives. Mr Routhledge, the local vicar, has agreed to perform the ceremony. You could be husband and wife within three weeks from the date the banns are published.”
Margaret immediately looked at John. Although her heart had just made a huge jump of joy inside her, she wasn’t sure about her betrothed’s reaction. John had set rules for himself that could be very strict. Being engaged to him, she was now subjected to those same rules.
She was seeing conflicting feelings on that strong face of his; a bit of doubt, a touch of fear but also, relief.
“My darling,” he said softly, “do you find it convenient if we go to Mr Routhledge and ask him to publish our banns?”
Margaret flung herself around his neck in sheer joy!
On the tenth of October 2013, John and Margaret were wed in the parish church of St Mary’s at Sileby by Mr Routhledge, the vicar. Margaret was wearing a beautiful, mint-green dress in the finest cotton, that reached halfway down her legs, in transparent white stockings, to reveal her slim feet in short, white, high-heeled boots. To protect herself from the biting wind, she had donned a woollen coat, a bit longer than her dress, and of a green a bit darker than that of her dress. She could not stop glancing at her bridegroom in his three-piece black suit of fine wool over a light blue linen shirt and matching tie. Even without the glorious cravats he used to wear in 1852, John managed to look simply dashing.
Father Patrick was there too and acted as a witness for John and also, for Jowan. He and Marjorie finally decided to be husband and wife and begin a real family, now that their baby was duly underway. Betty was radiant with pride and joy for the two lovely couples in front of the altar. She was Margaret’s witness and Dorothy, Paul Burrows’ wife had agreed to be Marjorie’s. Of course, Jowan’s parents were also present.
After the ceremony, the whole company went to “The Green Huntsman” to celebrate with a fine meal and a few bottles of champagne.
John and Margaret were then settled in a taxi, which brought them to a nearby hotel for their wedding night. This was Mr Thorn’s wedding present for the newlyweds, as a token of his appreciation for John, who’d worked so hard in the pub. They would stay for three days and enjoy a quiet honeymoon in Leicester.
After the door closed behind them, they found themselves in a pretty room of large proportions, upholstered in a twenty-first century version of the Victorian style, with dark mahogany furniture and long, dark red velvet curtains. A flower-patterned wallpaper covered the walls and their feet sunk into a thick carpet of a rich brown, sprinkled with tiny rose buds. However, their eyes were drawn to the big four-poster bed with its silken bedspread.
Margaret’s breath escaped her lips in a helpless little sigh of both anxiety and anticipation. This was her wedding night with John! She turned towards her husband and immediately was enveloped in his intense blue gaze, burning dark with unmistakeable desire. It startled her, despite the stirring of her own rising need. How familiar this feeling had become, she reflected. This surge of heat, originating low in her abdomen and spreading slowly through her entire body, until she shivered from the intensity of it.
John saw the slight shudder of fear in Margaret’s stance and his heart clenched with deep, uncontrolled love for her. He opened his arms and offered her his brightest smile.
“Come, my love.” He said it with a voice so husky with suppressed need, that Margaret instantly responded to his call and stepped into the waiting circle of his arms. She felt so safe and so whole as her cheek came to rest against the hard surface of his chest.
“My sweet Margaret …” The deep, warm rumble of his voice kindled the fire within her to a heat and Margaret lifted her face for him to kiss her. He took her mouth in his with a fierceness that made her want to press even closer to him. Plundering her mouth with his tongue, revelling in the sweet, clean taste of it, John moaned and let his hands move to the back of her dress. Slowly unzipping it, his fingers felt only the soften silkiness of her creamy skin until they found her bra, which he unhooked deftly. Margaret gasped as her breasts came free from their restraint.
“Shhh, love … relax … let me finish.”
Suppressing the burning need to simply throw her onto the bed and take her, John forced himself to go slowly. He eased Margaret’s dress from her shoulders, removing the bra in the process, and his hands followed the fabric as it fell to the ground, tracing the lush yet delicate curves of her gorgeous body. The soft moans, escaping from her moist lips, delighted him to a sudden edge of fierce arousal, and he pressed her against his body to let her feel how he ached for her.
Margaret felt the long hardness push against the silk of her drawers, and a sudden wetness pooled between her legs in a rush of heat. It was breathtaking! Swirls of molten fire started to originate in her belly with tantalizing progress. She found herself tugging at John’s jacket and removing it. Then she attacked his waistcoat and shirt, unfastening buttons as they came. Finally, at last, she found the warm yet soft skin of his bare chest and roved her hands over the taut muscles in delight.
“Slowly, my sweet. Do not rush things.”
John’s suave baritone voice sounded at the edge of her ear, and Margaret closed her eyes, better to savour the moment. She felt John’s hands slide down her body to her legs. Her stockings were being peeled off her legs and her drawers followed and, at the back of her mind, she acknowledged vaguely that she was naked.
She looked down to see her husband’s gaze travel over her in awe. Heat swirling through her, she continued working on John’s clothing with a determination of steel. She wanted him naked too, as quickly as possible.
That goal finally achieved, they stood contemplating each other for a while, eyes big with wonder.
“My God, Margaret! You are so incredibly beautiful, my love …”
“So are you, John … I … it is the first time I … oh, oh, it’s … it’s so … “
“What?” John chuckled. “Don’t you like what you see? I can put on my clothes again and …”
“No! No, don’t do that!” Margaret shrieked in panic.
John swooped her up in his arms so swiftly her breath seemed to become solid within her. With endless tenderness, he positioned her on the turned-up bed and lowered himself beside her. His hand followed the soft curve of her cheek to cup her face and kiss her. Margaret gave herself over to that kiss with rapt eagerness, and now her body was aching for him. John felt the length of her slender figure touch every inch of him and again he had to control himself fiercely not to go till the end.
With slow, teasing touches of lips, tongue and teeth, he traced the curve of her neck to descend further to her shoulder and lower, to the onset of her breasts until, at last, his lips encountered the hard peaks. Margaret gave a small cry of delight when he nibbled, first one peak and then, the other. The ache in her belly became a roaring fire, and she pressed herself hard against the steely length of him, marvelling in the delicious tortures it unleashed in her.
While Margaret was savouring all those swirls deep inside her, John began kissing her along her flat stomach and down to the dark triangle that covered her femininity. God, the scent of her! All roses and cream, so completely woman! He gently parted her thighs with trembling hands to gain access to her deepest core, kissing her warm folds, tasting her sweetness and shivering with the delight of it.
Margaret arched her back to meet his mouth even closer, swept up by waves and waves of sheer, uncontrolled pleasure. She buried her hands in John’s thick, black curls, slid her hands over the hard muscles of his back. Her legs gripped him around the waist with only one purpose; to bring that tantalizing mouth of his deeper into her core. Suddenly, she came in a rush of heat so fierce that she cried out in the bliss of her intense release.
John positioned himself between her thighs and slowly eased himself into her wetness. Oh Lord! She was still pulsing with the bliss of her aftermath. It tore at his control so fiercely that he had to fight the incredibly powerful urge to let himself go.
He began thrusting carefully while he waited patiently between strokes until she adjusted herself to his weight and to the rhythm of he set. When Margaret started to follow his pace, he gradually began pushing harder and faster.
A faint little whimper escaped her as a sharp pain meandered through her deepest core.
John instantly stopped and drew her close.
“I am so sorry, my darling, did I hurt you? The pain won’t last, sweetheart, do not be afraid.”
“Yes, my heart?”
“Do not stop, please?”
Exulting in her eagerness, John resumed his lovemaking, thrusting gently into her sleek womanhood. As he felt Margaret respond again to his caresses, he gave himself over to his own arousal completely. Rushes of heat swept through him as his strokes became stronger and faster. Margaret climaxed suddenly and she cried out, her inner muscles clenching around his manhood, which caused the wave of desire to sweep him higher and higher until it pushed him over the edge in a powerful release.
Shock after shock of sheer bliss rolled over him, and his breath was harsh and loud as he struggled for air. Sweet Lord in Heaven! Later, much later, he lay down beside Margaret, taking her into his arms and, pulling the bedclothes over them both, he cradled her tousled head against his heart. Sweet oblivion settled over John, now that Margaret was finally his.