Behind the Glamour ~ADULT~ m/l COMPLETE

Finished stories that feature the characters from the show, but there are no aliens. All fics completed on the main AU without Aliens board will eventually be moved here.

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nicola
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Behind the Glamour ~ADULT~ m/l COMPLETE

Post by nicola » Mon Feb 24, 2003 9:50 pm

BAnner by wonderful Christine....
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Behind the Glamour
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Author: Nicola Clarke

Disclaimer: The author of this fan fiction does not own any aspect of Roswell. Those rights belong to Melinda Metz, Jason Katims, WB, UPN, 20th Century Fox, etc. Disclaimer added by moderator.

Précis: When Elizabeth and Maxwell meet they have an instantaneous pull towards one another. Though Elizabeth is ‘happily’ married they can not help but let their passion overtake them and leisurely begin pursuing one another when backs are turned. In a scandalous fight to unleash desires neither have experienced before they may obliterate their homes, reputations and nuptials. When what was a search for unleashing sexual frustration turns into much more will they have to make the choice to linger together or return to their ordinary lives?

Notes: Set in the 19th century, all place names are bogus, made up in my imagination as are all characters apart from Maxwell, Elizabeth, Isabel, Michael, Alexander, Kyle and Maria.

~*~

Mrs. Elizabeth Parker-Samson glanced around the room with a tinge of languor setting over her heart. The tedious brown lounge room could not have been more monstrously decorated in her opinion. Quite recurrently when the tête-à-tête was of no significance to her, she would amuse herself with her surroundings. Although at the present moment this task was proving to be easier said than done.

“Elizabeth?”

“Yes Margaret?” She tried to make-believe she had been listening.

Margaret’s aggravation was blatant. “Elizabeth, have you not been listening at all?”

“Of course dear, no one is more fascinated with what you’re saying then I am,” Elizabeth replied smiling harmoniously. “Although I must confess I am not feeling one-hundred percent this morning and may appear distant, I am of full concentration I assure you.”

“Oh my,” Jane hissed. “If you are poorly we must call the doctor.”

Elizabeth swallowed. “No, that is unnecessary but nevertheless very kind of you Jane. I shall be fine in time.”

Aretha who had been quietly sipping her bitter tea studied Elizabeth’s face. “Eliza, forgive me for asking, but my curiosity has gotten the better of me. Your cause of bad-health is not for the reason that you are with child is it?”

Elizabeth squeaked in surprise. “No!” She exclaimed. “I mean, of course not Aretha, what ever made you think that?”

On the numerous attempts Elizabeth and her husband, Nathaniel, had tried, they had never been able to conceive a child. This vexed Nathaniel greatly for he was convinced it was a problem on his part and not on hers. Elizabeth who was the model spouse reassured him that children were not a high precedence for her, although deep down the prospect of having a child thrilled her.

“I do apologize,” Aretha spoke. “I do not mean to irk you.”

Elizabeth smiled. “Do not apologize, but if you must, ask for forgiveness for your mistrust of my character. Do you not believe I would inform you of my condition if it were so?”

Upon noticing the banter was heading in the unfounded direction, Cynthia changed the area of discussion.

“You will not believe what I was informed yesterday!” She cried.

“Ohhh,” Margaret cooed. “Please tell me this is attention-grabbing hearsay.”

Elizabeth’s ears perked up. “Yes, all right, let us have it,” she urged.

Cynthia put her tea cup down and leaned forward. “This must stay amid us ladies, or my head will be lost!” She giggled immaturely. “The attorney Senior Dawson educated me on the history of a Mr. Evans yesterday evening.”

“Mr. Evans?” Elizabeth asked. “I have never heard of this gentleman before?”

“Oh I know!” Cynthia hollered. “No one has. He is to arrive in the neighborhood within the week.”

“How inconspicuous of him to arrive so hastily!” Jane offered. “Where will he be staying? Does he have a large fortune?”

“Oh my! Oh my! Give me a chance for heaven’s peace!” Cynthia puffed. “He will be staying at Austen Park—“

“AUSTEN PARK!” Elizabeth cried. “Why that’s the most exalted abode in the region, he must be prosperous.”

“Next to your, Birkbeck Park, Eliza, don’t forget your residence is distinguished also,” Aretha harked back.

Elizabeth sighed. “Yes, I could barely overlook that but I find it hard to believe that after such a long period of time the old manor is to be occupied once more. How could I not be informed of its sale? Surely the neighbor has some right in knowing!”

Cynthia huffed impatiently. “Shall I finish or am I no longer needed?”

“Oh dear,” Elizabeth said. “Forgive and forget our foul manors honey, you must continue. Tell us about this Monsieur Evans.”

Cynthia smiled triumphantly. “He is very prosperous, as you guessed by his new abode and I am eager to announce he does not have a wife.”

“Oh,” Jane said cheerfully. “You have all my interest now.”

“Such a wealthy spinster will do great things for this district, no doubt,” Elizabeth alleged. “I shall like to make some new friends, precede Cynthia.”

“Yes do tell us why the Evans’s arrival is so hush-hushed,” Aretha said.

Cynthia was flushed with fervor to be the centre of attention. “Apparently, Mr. Evans was not always a bachelor but was forced to leave his consort and his home for he was put to shame by his brother, Damien’s, actions. His mistress…”

“This is no shock, I’m sure every male in the nation has a mistress…”

“Oh but they are very skilled at not getting caught,” Elizabeth whispered.

Cynthia continued, “Well Mr. Damien Evans is not very skilled, he got his heavy with child.”

“Oh.”

“It gets worse!” Cynthia cried. “His mistress was his brothers, Mr. Maxwell Evans, wife!”

The four women clucked together.

“Alas the pregnancy was proclaimed and the family kinship shattered only for the woman to afterward announce that it wasn’t Mr. Damien’s infant at all, it was someone else’s! But by then it was too late, Maxwell Evans was informed of Mr. Damien Evans excursions with his other half and he left the neighborhood!” Cynthia took in several deep breaths to calm her beating heart.

“How very disgraceful,” Aretha commented.

Elizabeth smiled. “I shall very much like to meet this man.”

All the women turned to her with astonishment.

“Do you think he is mourning over his wife?” Jane asked with a glint in her eyes.

Cynthia smiled. “He is not coming alone.”

“Two bachelors?” Margaret asked.

Cynthia nodded. “His comrade, Mr. Guerin will be joining him.”

“Well they would be quite the twosome,” Elizabeth believed. “Would none of you like to accompany me to their home?”

“Oh I will,” Cynthia said. “I should take much pleasure in seeing Austen Park.”

Elizabeth departed Yorkshire square within the hour and sat unaccompanied in her carriage for the expedition home. Her morning stopover had proven to be more useful then she had earlier estimated. With this new information she felt she had something to look forward to in the forthcoming week. For some peculiar reason she was ignorant of, she felt an eccentric drawing to meet this Evans and Guerin duo, particularly Mr. Evans.

Possibly it was the tedium of her routine existence that caused her intrigue or perhaps it was something else. Whichever, nothing would impede her from going to Austen Park when the new landlord arrived.

~*~

“Please prepare the carriage Abigail; I shall want to leave for Austen Park in a short time.”

Abigail nodded appreciatively. “Yes Miss, would you like some more tea before you leave?”

Elizabeth glanced out the window at the grey sky. “No thank you, I have had more then enough this morning.”

Abigail curtsied before departing the room.

Inside a deep storm of zeal was swelling in Elizabeth’s chest. She was unsure as to what caused her jitters but feared the worst; perhaps flu was coming on?

“Excuse me Miss,” Abigail returned to the room once again. “Ms Deluca is here for you.”

Elizabeth’s face lit up. “Oh wonderful! Please send her in,” she said.

A few moments prior a boisterous friendly voice echoed down the hall. “Oh my! Don’t fuss, don’t fuss!”

Elizabeth smiled to herself. “Maria, will you never allow anyone to look after you?” she asked before even seeing her.

Maria appeared in the doorway. “Never, never,” she cooed. “My dear, dear Lizzie I am so happy to see you. I meant to call before arriving but I just could not hold off my visit, I just simply had to see you. It has been far too long.”

“Yes, yes it has,” Elizabeth said standing up from her chair. The two old cousins hugged fondly. No one in Elizabeth’s life was as significant to her as her dear cousin Maria, not even her husband. “Oh you must accompany me!” She suddenly remembered.

“Where?” Maria asked.

“I am to travel to Austen Park to meet the new owner, Mr. Evans. I was to go with Cynthia but she has fallen ill.” Elizabeth took her seat but her hands remained clasped in Maria’s. “You will gladly come, no? An unmarried dame as yourself must be excited at the prospect of two male spinsters.”

“Why of course!” Maria exclaimed lively. “I am sparkling with curiosity, but what is your interest in meeting these two sirs?”

Elizabeth had no answers. She paused before replying, “I shall like to welcome them to the neighborhood of course.” A calling inside Elizabeth urged her to go, it was perplexing but thunderous and she would not disregard something so palpable. Could she tell her dearest friend of her misgivings?

No, she decided. She would not converse of her thoughts to anyone until she understood them.

Maria’s eyes twinkled. “Lizzie…” she spoke. “How’s Nathaniel? Is everything…okay?”

It was very kind of her cousin to ask after Elizabeth’s spouse considering she made it very clear that she detested him, every chance she got. When Elizabeth had announced her engagement to Nathaniel three years prior Maria had warned her that it was the wrong choice to marry for fortune.

“I love him,” Elizabeth had claimed.

“You do not know what love is!” Maria had argued. But being the good friend she was, she had given up when she saw there was no swaying Elizabeth’s decision and wished her the best of luck. She herself was yet to get married claiming she was waiting for the man that was her soul mate.

“Nathaniel is fine,” Elizabeth replied. “Working hard, as he always does.”

“Hardly any time for you, you mean? How exciting.”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes. “I am very happy to be autonomous, thank you Maria.”

Maria was silent for a moment. “Let us go now; you have me excited at the prospect of meeting two new bachelors.”

Elizabeth smiled. “If you wish,” she said.

The journey was short and uneventful but the humming in Elizabeth’s body grew louder with the closer they got to the house.

“What does your husband think of your keenness to travel to meet these men?” Maria asked teasingly.

Elizabeth stifled a laugh. “He may be my husband but I will never let him possess me,” she answered. “I shall voyage where I please, when I please.”

“Very strong-spoken for a woman of your importance,” Maria said.

The carriage pulled up outside the manor and when the two women scrambled out they were awed by the loveliness in front of them.

“It would be quite the triumph to be the madam of this residence,” Maria commented. “Don’t you agree?”

Elizabeth looked bothered. “My residence is just as striking,” she alleged.

Maria smiled. “Yes, Lizzie but what of me? I still live with my parents; I must live up to your accomplishments mustn’t I?”

“Yes, I suppose you must,” Elizabeth replied.

“How do I look? What do you think of my gown?” Maria tried to push her breasts up so more skin was exposed. “Your crimson dress is much fancier then mine, perhaps we should switch. After all, I am the one looking for the husband.”

“And where do you suppose we change?” Elizabeth asked greatly amused. “Behind the wagon?”

The two women were escorted through the immense house and then were made to wait while their presence was declared. Elizabeth had called ahead announcing she was coming so they should have been expecting her.

“Bring them in.” Both girls were surprised to hear a female’s voice.

Maria and Elizabeth walked into the large lounge room and were welcomed by a handsome, youthful woman going by the name of Isabel Evans.

“You must be Mrs. Samson,” Isabel said. “It’s wonderful to meet you.”

“Yes, it’s delightful to finally meet my new neighbor,” Elizabeth replied. She was bewildered to discover her sources had been inaccurate; it appeared Mr. Evans’ wife had accompanied him. Realizing she was being discourteous she quickly apologized. “Forgive me, this is my cousin, Maria Deluca.”

“Welcome Mrs. Deluca.”

Maria took a seat. “Oh, no just Miss.”

“I apologize,” Isabel said. “I must also ask for forgiveness for my brother and cousin, they were delayed unexpectedly.”

“Brother?” Elizabeth asked taken aback. “Oh, I had the notion you were married!”

Isabel smiled. “Oh heavens no, I’m just visiting, assisting my brother in getting established. My husband is back in Burlington,” she explained. “Maxwell and Michael will do their absolute best to be—“

“Good Morning,” a masculine voice interrupted her before she could finish.

Elizabeth’s eyes shot in the direction of the voice, as did Maria’s. A tall, dark, elegantly built male strode into the room with poise. His countenance gave the impression he was in charge and he oozed the air of supremacy and strength. His eyes sought out Elizabeth’s and when he caught them he smiled.

“And who do I have the pleasure of accommodating in my home this morning?” He asked. His eyes bore into Elizabeth’s causing her to splutter with nervousness as if she were a mere sixteen once again. Her spirit grew wings and soared out of her chest and towards the man before even allowing her to blink.

“This is Mrs. Elizabeth Samson and her cousin Miss. Maria Deluca, Elizabeth, Maria, may I introduce my brother, Maxwell Evans,” Isabel initiated. “I told you we had guests scheduled, remember?”

“Yes I remember,” he said. He stood in the same spot for a number of seconds with his eyes pasted to a somewhat red-faced Elizabeth. Maria and Isabel looked back and forth amid the two in bewilderment. Finally, Maxwell strode up to Elizabeth and, taking her hand in his, he placed a soft kiss on her wrist. His eyes burnt holes in hers, causing her abdomen to do flip-flops. “It’s wonderful to meet you Elizabeth.”

They ogled each other for a moment too long before he let go of her and stepped back. Elizabeth felt as if she had just seen his core; she gulped and looked away, trying to calm her pulsing body. Why did she all of a sudden feel the urge to recline?

After welcoming Maria, in the same manner but a great deal speeder, Maxwell obtained a seat flanking his sister.

Elizabeth could feel his eyes on her during the discussion but she could not bring herself to turn to him. What was wrong with her, she wondered? She had met fine-looking men before, she met them all the time, and she was married to one! So why should this man be any different? Out of blue, the aspiration to go home and hide snuck up on her.

“Elizabeth, Elizabeth…” Isabel said trying to get her attention. “Elizabeth!”

She crooked her head in Isabel’s direction and stared at her.

“Are you under the weather, my dear? I had to virtually roar to get you to take notice of me,” Isabel asked. “You appear as if you’ve seen a ghost.”

Elizabeth felt her cheeks burn. Her breaths started leaving her body in thunderous pants and the area started to spin. “I—I,” She attempted speaking although couldn’t get the words out. He was watching her; she couldn’t help herself, she gave in and caught his gaze. His brown pools lit up momentarily and a devilish grin trickled over his mouth.

“Is everything satisfactory?” He asked apprehensively.

“Lizzie?” Maria said.

Her eyes remained glued to Maxwell’s. “I’m all right, I just, I thought I—” She stuttered. “Please, don’t be concerned; I imagine I…I may require water.”

“Of course,” Isabel said. “We will obtain you some directly. Ada! Ada!”

A servant entered the room swiftly. “Yes Miss?”

“We will require some water, hurriedly,” Maxwell replied ahead of his sister.

“Yes Sir,” Ada said scurrying off.

Elizabeth put her hand on her chest and took several deep breaths to settle her heart.

“Thank you, you’re very kind,” she uttered. “I apologize for my conduct; I don’t understand what has come over me.”

“Do not apologize,” Maxwell said.

“Of course,” Isabel agreed with her brother. “Please you are no burden.”

Ada returned with the goblet of water and offered it to Elizabeth. “Will you need anything else, mam?” She asked.

“No I’m all right, thank you,” Elizabeth replied. She swallowed a large amount of water and closed her eyes to take pleasure in the sensation of it slithering down her esophagus.

“Maria?” Isabel asked. “Would you like anything?”

“No thank you.”

Maxwell watched Elizabeth. “Do you feel recovered?” He asked.

She nodded hastily. “Yes, yes, thank you.”

Throughout the rest of the morning Elizabeth remained secluded from the conversation. She would catch Maxwell’s eyes occasionally and he would smile secretly at her. When Isabel asked after her husband she noticed his eyes become considerably less light.

“Yes, Nathaniel is an attorney,” she responded to Isabel’s questions.

“Oh, and do you have any children?”

“No, we don’t…we haven’t planned to,” Elizabeth replied.

“Oh that’s a shame.”

Judging by Elizabeth’s current fluster and her assiduous glances in Maxwell Evans direction, Maria concluded that Liz had finally found true love. What Elizabeth had with her husband was not love, according to Maria, maybe Liz had finally found her soul mate?

But oh no, she would not say anything, if her romantic notions were correct, fate would bring them together if it was meant to be. Nevertheless that didn’t mean she couldn’t just help out a little bit.

“Isabel, would you be as kind as to accompany me for a short turn about the gardens?” She asked. “You’re grounds are very impressive, I shall very much like to be introduced to them.”


TBC????? This ones a big maybe people... :oops:
Last edited by nicola on Sat Feb 07, 2004 7:33 pm, edited 28 times in total.

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nicola
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Post by nicola » Thu Feb 27, 2003 12:08 am

Tell me what you think, I'm still a little unsure about this one. Thank you for all your kind comments :!:

Episode Two

The grounds were as lovely as the manor, Elizabeth thought fondly. She was trying to divert her thoughts from the man standing beside her. Maxwell was talking about his profession and she was dismayed to learn that he would be working with her spouse. She tripped over herself and he was forced to grab her. A shiver ran down her spine.

“Is something wrong?” he asked softly. His voice was the only part of him that was soft she thought atypically. His chest that was (‘inoffensively’) pressed against her left arm did not feel in the least bit soft. He let go of her and Elizabeth felt the loss, until he politely looped his arm through hers.

“I’m fine, thank you,” she replied just as gently. She caught Maria’s eyes that were constantly sneaking peeks at her and Maxwell every few minutes. She gulped unattractively and focused her attention elsewhere.

“If you don’t mind my asking,” she spoke refusing to look him in the eye, “where have you moved from?”

His façade altered to indifferent. “Nottingham,” he answered.

“Oh Maxwell you must tell Elizabeth of that darling novel you have just read. I am borrowing it from him,” Isabel explained. “Who is the poet Maxwell?”

“Randolph Henry Ash,” Max replied pleased about the change of subject. Turning to Elizabeth he asked, “Have you read any of his work?”

“I’m certain all of it,” she answered. “He is my preferred artist.”

Maxwell’s eyes danced with delight. “Do you,” he asked, “have a favorite poem by Ash?”

She didn’t hesitate, “The Garden of Proserpina.”

Max quoted it, “These things are there. The garden and the tree, the serpent at its root, the fruit of gold. The woman in the shadow of the boughs, the running water and the grassy space.”

Elizabeth’s breath caught in her throat. She thought hearing one of her most adored passages spoken by Maxwell’s deep voice was the most exciting and satisfying thing she had ever endured. Nathaniel had never shown any interest in Ash’s work.

“Maxwell would you do so much as to show Mrs. Samson the back garden? Miss Deluca has informed me she expressed an interest in it earlier and we would very much like to visit the stables.” Isabel glanced at Maria who was smiling brightly.

Elizabeth paled. She was not sure she was fond of the idea of being alone with Maxwell.

“It would be a pleasure, Mrs. Samson if you’d allow me?”

“Please call me Elizabeth,” she said.

“Elizabeth?” Maxwell asked. He looked so amused by her, she looked away.

“Thank you Mr. Evans, I’d be perpetually obliged.”

“Don’t be too long,” Isabel said. “I fear it will rain.”

“We must hurry then,” Maria offered hurrying off ahead. Isabel briskly walked after her. Elizabeth and Maxwell ambled in the opposite direction. Elizabeth couldn’t hear what he was saying over the loud thumping of her heart.

“I take it you know The Garden of Proserpina well?” she asked. “You quote it well.” It felt strange to be talking to him like this. As if there was another way. As if they were old friends and there was no need for formality.

“You’re kind,” he replied. “I do know it quite well.”

She smiled thinly at him and he stopped walking, reached out and touched her chin with his thumb and then quickly let go and continued onwards.

Elizabeth, perplexed with the familiarity of his touch, followed him closely. Wanting to further conversation she asked, “Are your family in Nottingham? That is not too far from here.”

“Yes,” he replied flatly. “Are your family in Leicester?”

“No.” She clasped her hands behind her back. “My family live in Coventry.”

“Were you brought up there?” he caught her gaze and fought to keep it.

She looked away. “Yes, with my two sisters, Samantha and Katrina, and my brother Timothy.” She was blushing, she hoped he couldn’t tell. “You have Isabel, any other kin?”

“No, none others,” he said. “Well at least no one I consider family anymore.” He stopped walking. “We’re here.”

She put her hand on his arm sympathetically. “Please tell me,” she said.

He smiled. “There is nothing to tell, for now.”

Nodding, she took her hand away and walked towards the rows of well-pruned gardens. She reached out and ran her fingers over the pedals of a blossoming jasmine. Maxwell had stopped to watch her. His hands rested at his sides and he looked patient but as if he was waiting for her to say something. She wasn’t certain what it was so she nervously glanced back at the garden.

“Flowers smell wonderful this time of year, do you not agree?” she spoke uncertainly, “particularly roses.”

When he didn’t reply she turned to him about to repeat herself but he was standing directly behind her. She got a fright and gasped awkwardly. “Oh my,” she purred.

Maxwell spoke, “Elizabeth, please excuse my inarticulateness when I say this, but you are extraordinarily beautiful.”

Her cheeks dyed crimson.

“I’m confused,” he admitted. “I look at you and feel as if I know you intimately. But I’m certain had we meet before I never would have forgotten.”

Elizabeth’s mouth went dry. “Mr. Evans, you are forgetting yourself.”

“Are my feelings one sided? Please tell me now, I must know!” His voice became feverish. He was finding it very hard to keep from touching her.

“Mr. Evans, please…” What were these feelings raging inside of her? “Are you ill?”

“No, I am astonishingly well,” he answered honestly. “Are you?”

“I must be,” she murmured. “I feel very light-headed indeed.” She tried to back away from him and as she did a soft rain began to fall.

“You feel light headed? I am in fever! You must not be afraid. Oh how cruel the Gods are, you must not be married. I simply can not bear it.”

“I am married,” she said, she thought sternly. “Your conduct is uncalled for. Mr. Evans I beg you to take me back to the house out of the rain.”

Mr. Evans stared blankly at Elizabeth. “Elizabeth, please…”

“You are making me regret coming to visit you,” she said quivering. “I assure you I will not make the same mistake again.”

He took her arm. “Let us go,” he added, “speedily.”

As they hurried across the lawn Elizabeth tried to let her feelings be known. “Mr. Evans, perhaps I need to remind you that it is dissolute to court a married woman. I have solo female acquaintances that look forward to meeting you. Should I, for some reason or another, feel a hint of what you have expressed to me - I shall suppress it admirably. Society does not allow married women to have…” she didn’t even know what to call it. She would not inform him that she did, in fact, feel what he was conveying. She was a married woman.

“I am well aware of your status in society and yet I feel forced to inform you of my feelings nevertheless. You must allow me to, in the least, correspond with you?”

She did not want to rebuff him. “The purpose of my visiting here was to befriend you Mr. Evans. If you give your word that your communication will be sincere then I shall be very glad to hear from you.” When they reached the front door he smiled at her.

“I vow to you, Mrs. Samson that anything from my lips or pen in your presence will be earnest.”

~*~

“My dear, there is nothing sadder then a glass of wine unaccompanied.” Nathaniel took a seat across from his consort in the dinning room. The servants danced around them, filling there plates and glasses.

Elizabeth looked up from her platter and smiled meekly at her husband. “How was your day?” she asked. Her eyes were void.

“Quite fine. All business and politics my love, it would bore you.” He picked up his glass between his thumb and forefinger and sipped at the white wine contents.

Nathaniel was a compact man with large arms and thighs. His blonde hair was neatly arranged with long sideburns. His thin mustache joined with his beard. His eyes were vivid blue, shiny like precious jewels.

He is handsome, thought Elizabeth as she tried to pinpoint what she had seen in him when she first met him. He had a small freckle beneath his left eye and the creases on his forehead were deep like clefts.

“Tell me about your afternoon,” Nathaniel said. Elizabeth felt as if it were an order not a question. All this time together in the same room and he had neglected to look at her yet. When she did not reply he looked up from his food and smiled. “Love? Is something the matter? You look pale.”

She nodded. “I’m fine. You’re kind. My day was very well; I went to Austen Park to greet the new landlord.” Nathaniel loved her, she knew that. But he did not worship her. What male did worship his wife? Elizabeth wondered if her husband had a mistress.

“Oh sure?” Nathaniel asked. “Mr. Evans I believe? He will be joining the firm tomorrow. Seem like a nice chap, did he?”

“Yes, awfully kind and attentive. He will be a worthy contribution to your work I imagine. Maria accompanied me. We were acquainted with his sister, Isabella Evans also.”

“Trudy, Trudy…yes. May I have more water? Thank you.” Nathaniel had stopped paying attention to her. She sighed inaudibly to herself and removed her napkin from her lap.

“I’m done,” she said. “I am not feeling well; I suppose I will retire for the evening.”

“Oh my, you are not poorly are you?” Nathaniel asked concerned. “Shall I send for the doctor?”

Elizabeth was helped from her chair by her maid. She thought about her taxing day and swallowed. “Send for him if you like,” she replied. Her head felt light. “Excuse me?”

“Of course. Sleep well.”

Walking down the well-lit hallway Elizabeth did not blame her husband for his absence of physical affectionateness. He was brought up that way, it was in his nature. It was not his fault that the only time he felt obliged to lay a hand on her was when he was making love to her. Even then devoted caresses were scarce. Did he stroke his mistress with fondness?

She shuddered. Imagining her husband with another woman was an ill thought.

The red carpet beneath her feet was soft on her heels and the floral walls were kind to her eyes. She had always loved this house. She imagined she would feel affection for it eternally. The chandeliers were crystal and marvelous, similar to everything else. The flower arrangements in terracotta vases were well kept and fresh.

Once in her chamber the maid helped Elizabeth undress and arrange her bedclothes. She let down Elizabeth’s long dark hair, brushed and plated it loosely. After she had pulled back the bedcovers she was dismissed and left the room swiftly as commanded.

“Oh dear,” Elizabeth spoke to herself. “Oh dear, oh dear!” Tears filled her murky toffee eyes and her cheeks grew flushed. She stared at her unsatisfactory reflection in her mirror and felt hopelessness dissimilar to all other instances in her years.

~*~

The next morning when Elizabeth awoke she was unwell. The doctor came and examined her only to diagnose her with the flu. Elizabeth knew this was because of being caught in the rain yesterday. She was to stay in bed for the rest of the week and not venture outdoors. This was a hassle and as soon as he left she got out bed and demanded her maid help her dress.

The maid was conflicted; she had been given orders not to allow Elizabeth to leave the bedroom. Thankfully Nathaniel came in and sternly forced Elizabeth back to bed.

“Now, Elizabeth, you know I can not bear to see you unwell. You must do as the doctor tells you. Try not to be so strong-willed on this one occasion.” Nathaniel sat on the side of the bed and patted his wives hand. “I have business to attend to but I will stop by to see you for lunch. Please get plenty of rest. Perhaps Abigail will read to you?”

Elizabeth sighed. She did not want to do as she was told. She wanted to walk in the gardens. She wanted to go to Austen Park and see Mr. Evans who, peculiarly, seemed to adore her. She could get used to being adored and perhaps, learn to adore him too…

With intensity she realized that if she were to adore someone, he would be the only individual she deemed worthy of that kind of devotion from her. This made her head spin, should not her husband be the one who deserved lashings of that brand of attention?

She had spent a lengthy four years with Nathaniel and a diminutive four hours with Maxwell. Knowing that she would choose a stranger over her partner was a grave anxiety to Elizabeth. This made her question if she should be married to Nathaniel. How had she not seen this before?

She had always thought of herself as successful to be the spouse of such an accomplished man. However, suddenly what he was offering was not as appealing as what Mr. Evans was offering.

It was impossible to lie to herself, from the second she had laid eyes on Mr. Evans her breath had been stolen. No other gentleman had evoked such unrefined sensation inside her before. She wanted to discover the new surge of passion rampantly romping about her stomach.

Throughout the daylight hours as Elizabeth rested under the covers on her bed she fretted over her inopportune circumstances. Her frame was a tiny speck on the sheets of her four-posted bed. Her ivory walls swirled around in her eyes mixing with the gold mirror frames hanging from sturdy hooks. When Nathaniel came with lunch she pretended to sleep and breathed in a sigh of relief when he left.

She lay staring blankly at the walls for several hours and as the afternoon sun began to drift down the horizon she felt a change inside of her. Her maid brought her mail and left it on the dresser. Elizabeth forgot about it until Nathaniel visited her after dinner and picked up.

“You have a note from Miss. Deluca”—Nathaniel never referred to her as Maria—“and another from Miss. Reynolds”—none of her friends for that matter—“oh and Mr. Evans! I wonder what he requires. Would you like me to read it to you?”

“NO!” Elizabeth cried. She became flustered. “I mean, of course not dear. I’m sure you have better things to do. I will read them after I have eaten.”

“Alright,” Nathaniel said. “Before I leave would you like me to get you anything?”

“I’m fine.”

Nathaniel asked the maid to keep Elizabeth company while she ate so she had no chance to read her mail until late in the evening. She saved Mr. Evans until last in order to draw out her enthusiasm. Cynthia enquired about her visit to Austen Park and Maria spoke of how she wished she could have stayed longer. She expressed how disappointed she was to have missed meeting Mr. Guerin, whom she had heard a great deal of from Isabel. She decided he sounded like a fine man.

Finally Mr. Evans’ letter sat open in her petite hands.

Dearest Elizabeth, it read. She prayed he would not retract his confession. His handwriting was neat and easy to read. I must apologize for my injudicious manner yesterday. Oh no, she thought devastatingly. I was taken aback by your anomalous splendor as I still am. I have by no means been one to forbid my feelings, even whilst the instant is unsuitable. I am acutely vexed when I presume that I have displeased you. That was far from my intentions. I do not regret my assertion but be assured I am conscious of your situation that imprisons you from offering me anything supplementary to companionship. I will be contented with this if that is your desire.

Elizabeth flopped back onto her pillows and moaned. Friendship was about the last thing she wanted. She read on.

Isabel informed me you are a keen artist. This interests me greatly. Would it be unsuitable of me to ask to one day observe your work?

With every caress of his being he gave the impression of yelling to her: If you want it, come and get it. Crying out loud, the love that I was offering you was not in doubt. Let go your heart, let go your head and feel it now.

With a burning soul Elizabeth got out of bed and walked towards her desk. Unable to contain her emotion, she wrote. . .

Mr. Evans,
I can not help myself. I have got to see you again. . .
100% Pure New Zealand Beef

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nicola
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Post by nicola » Mon Mar 10, 2003 2:59 am

Episode Three

Of course she knew it before she knew it. She was staring out across the lawn from the veranda and she felt his hand touch her shoulder. He felt as distant as Finland.

“Have a nice day, love,” he said. “Would you like me to stop by for lunch?”

The knowledge that she was changing crept up her back bone before she could stop it. She felt as if she was sand slowly being blown out of a glass by the wind.

“That will not be necessary,” she replied to her husband. “I will see you for dinner.”

He left without kissing her cheek like she had seen some of her friends husbands do. He did not even come and face her. She began to feel sorry for herself but then despised the overpowering stink of melancholy. She got up from her chair and headed to her chamber to prepare herself for Mr. Evans arrival at eleven-thirty.

While powdering her cheeks in the mirror she stared into her vacant eyes unblinkingly. It had been so long since she had felt feelings and instead of wondering if she was still capable of being something other then a blank canvas she was running after the one thing that had surged raw emotion through her.

She sat in the lounge room sipping tea while she waited for him to arrive.

When the knock came at the door she smiled, he was early. A bizarre fluttering sensation rippled through her abdomen and she had to place her hand over her mouth to keep from spitting out her tea.

When he entered the room the feelings became more harsh and exuberant. She could not hide the twitching to keep from smiling at the corners of her mouth.

“Good morning,” she said cheerfully. You look very beautiful, she wanted to add. “Please take a seat.”

“I can not stay long.” He bowed respectively not removing his eyes from her face. Was it possible that he appeared even more handsome then the first time she saw him? Why did he look so familiar? It was like stumbling upon something you had been looking for. Ah, there you are.

What is this? She felt as if she was steaming under her gown, particularly between her thighs. This was all new for her. She shuddered with delight.

“I was very sorry to here you were ill,” he said and took a seat facing her. “I pray you are better?”

“Yes,” she answered. Still smiling. Control yourself, she scolded. “Much. Thank you.”

He nodded and looked around the room. They were having a silence. Liz felt the awkwardness in the air. She wanted to touch him, she couldn’t believe herself.

Several minutes passed. “Birkbeck Park is a handsome state of affairs,” he spoke strongly.

She nodded. “Yes, I like it very well.” She tapped her fingers together on her lap and stared at his evident anxiety. Why couldn’t she wipe the smile off her face?

“I must inquire after Isabel?” she asked. She did not feel as if she had to break the silence, she enjoyed the feelings it was presenting her with. However, she wanted to ease his jitters.

“She is very well,” Maxwell replied. “She thinks of delaying her stay.”

“Oh I am glad indeed!” she said. “I should very much like it to have you over for dinner.”

His face showed no delight. “I am sure she would take pleasure in that very much.”

She nodded. “Nathaniel informed me you had started work in the firm.”

“Yes.” She knew why he was so uncomfortable. Their formality was curious after the intimacy and passion they had shared in their last few bits of correspondence.

Another silence, this one did not last as long. Maxwell’s face seemed to melt. “Oh Eliza .”

“Oh Maxwell,” she repeated. They both seemed to rise from their seats and float to one another. Maxwell grabbed Elizabeth’s cheeks and leaned down to capture her lips within his own. They kissed as if in fever, as if they could not stop and would not stop.

“There is a room,” Elizabeth panted against his mouth. “We could go there.”

“Where is this room?” His eyes trailed to her red puffy lips that he could not help devouring once more. Her hands touched his arms, rubbing them up and down fiercely.

“What is this?” she asked flustered. “Maxwell what is this? I do not understand what I am feeling.”

“Does it feel right?” he asked.

“Yes,” she replied without hesitation. “Familiar, yes, right, yes, so right.”

His hands caressed her cheeks. “Then why question it?”

They made a plan. If Maxwell and Elizabeth were seen by the maids they may say something to Nathaniel. If Maxwell left in his carriage and then rode back on his horse to the stables no one would see him. “To the right of the stables there is a hallway leading to the kitchen, laundry and a stair case. The stair case is towards the end, go up it and you will find the staff quarters.” Elizabeth had to take a deep breath to keep from fainting. “Walk down the hallway, I will make sure none of the maids are there, and at the end bedroom on the left, it is called the dark room, I will be waiting.”

They kissed once more, attacking each other in such a way that was innovative and exploratory to both of them.

“Please hurry,” Elizabeth begged as he walked towards the door.

“I will, love.”

She watched his carriage depart before scurrying out of the room. There were five maids to be accounted for before she could consider going to the dark room. Two were in the kitchen and three were upstairs cleaning.

“I am going to go for a walk about the gardens,” she announced.

“Miss, do you believe that is wise? You have only recently been ill…”

“Who is in charge here?” Elizabeth asked. “You? I should think not. I require fresh air or I may faint! Please fetch my coat.”

Tara returned with her fleece and walked Elizabeth to the door. She fastened her hat in place and bid farewell before she left.

Elizabeth looked back to make sure Tara was not watching and snuck around the side of the house to the stables. The hallway she was to walk down was stone with pale yellow cracked walls. It was dark and she did not like it much but she was too preoccupied to be frightened. Voices in the kitchen leaked out into the passageway so she trod softly in order to get past them without suspicion.

The stair case was to an abrupt left. She climbed it in a run and was puffed by the time she reached the top. The hallway in front of her was even darker then the last and sinister. It seemed to taunt her for being afraid.

She hiked to the end room and once inside she opened the dusty curtains and unfastened the windows to let out the unexploited smell. Elizabeth pulled back the covers on the bed and hit them with her fists to get the dust off the sheets and quilts.

When everything was satisfactory she sat down on the end of the bed and waited. And waited. It was very intimidating sitting in the murky room by herself. The walls were a deep scarlet red with velvet curtains and gold ties. There was a sofa chair and a fire place that hadn’t been used in God knows how long. There seemed to be a shadow clinging to everything - a dark space that hid any kind of brute from the naked eye. She felt the hairs on her arms stick up as she glanced around nervously. That’s when she began to panic. What was she doing?

She was just about to leave when Maxwell burst through the door. Her fears were silenced. “Hello,” she said nervously. She stood up from the bed and looked at the ground nervously. “Were you held up at the house?” Never in her life had she ever been more relieved and happy to see someone.

“Yes.” He sucked in a deep breath. “Elizabeth…”

“Yes?”

He seemed to forget what he was going to say. “Do they always call you that?” he asked.

“By ‘they’ I take it you mean my acquaintances? They also call me Eliza and Beth.” She smiled.

‘What about…Liz?

Her heart missed a beat. “No, I fear not. Maxwell that is very informal.’

“Is there anything formal about us Liz?” he stepped closer to her. His hands outstretched aching to touch her.

She could hear him breathing. “I suppose not.”

They kissed once more. Elizabeth felt devotion being sprayed upon her like she’d never experienced before. To be touched was a beautiful and wonderful delight.

She wanted his wet mouth touching her all over.

She wanted his warm hands touching her all over.

She did not understand it but she wanted it all.

Their breathing was loud in the empty room.

“Does anyone come in here?” he asked.

“Never,” Liz replied. She got up onto her toes; she was trying to get him to kiss her once more.

“I can see why it is called the dark room,” he hands wrapped around her forearms. “Liz?”

She didn’t care what he called her. “Please touch me,” she begged. “I need you to touch me.”

He eyes blazed. “Where?”

Everywhere.”

He removed her dress by unbuttoning it at the back. Her upper back was on view for his hungry eyes and his hungry mouth. He trailed his lips over every bit of skin. When he loosened her rib-crushing corset Elizabeth let out a puff of air, reeling in the feel of air flowing down into her once again. Her cage and petticoats were next to go. All was tossed aside onto a nearby dusty chair. His hands became angry at the amount of layers he had to get though. He became aggressive - ripping the material off her. And through it all Elizabeth remained breathless.

She was not embarrassed and did not try to cover herself. She simply stood in front of him with her chin up and her eyes on his handsome face.

Elizabeth thought the moment was very beautiful and if she were an onlooker she would have been awed. Maxwell seemed to pause his hands to stare at her standing powerless in front of him biting her lip. He kissed her slowly once more.

“You are jewel, aren’t you?” his hands touched her bare, pale skin. “Too good for me.” He knew he was dealing with someone who was betraying her morals for him, not just a widespread whore. He knew he had to give her the respect and love she deserved. They were both experimenting with a new kind of passion but that did not mean he could get carried away. He had to show her the respect he felt for her.

She smiled uncertainly. Her porcelain face glowed. “Maxwell, take your clothes off.”

“I will,” he said deeply. “Elizabeth…”

“Do not.” She placed her hands over his mouth. “Please…”

She sat down on the bed and watched him expose his beautiful being piece by piece. His hands did not tremble like hers; he was strong and confident, even when he was bare and defenseless. He knew who he was and he was not ashamed of it.

Elizabeth’s eyes widened when he removed the final barrier. She had seen peeks of her husband on occasion but he liked to cover himself until he was inside her. He always placed a sheet over her bare body to cover her nudity. Seeing Maxwell whole and in front of her was quite a shock to her.

She lay back allowing him to climb on top of her and looked into his soulful eyes.

“Elizabeth, I must confess,” he started, “I’m afraid of your expectations of me.”

“I have none,” she said.

He whispered softly, “I feel as if I shouldn’t touch you but I can not stay away from you.”

“I do not want you to stay away,” she spoke surely. “Would you be horrified”—she blushed—“hmm, may I touch you?”

He smiled at her innocence. “Of course.”

Keeping her eyes locked on his, she ran her fingers down his shoulder and over his muscled chest. She trailed her hand right down in-between them and took hold of a male for the first time. She closed her eyes and experimented with him, touching the tip and rubbing the skin gently and then harsher when she heard his moans. She arched into his chest, rubbing her nipples against his.

When she felt his hand pull hers away from his groin she opened her eyes. He let go of her hand and touched her thighs, spreading them apart as far as they would go. He entered her hastily, startling Elizabeth slightly. She quickly adjusted and pressed her mouth to his willing one. He whispered her name quietly before moving out of her.

Their mating was animated and vivacious. The scandal seemed to be a source of provocation for both of them. Maxwell touched Elizabeth with care at the same time as treating her with unrepressed excitement. His movements were unrelenting, pounding and incessantly agreeable.

Elizabeth moaned loudly begging him not to stop. Never to stop. When his relief came and his seamen splashed out within her Elizabeth felt a tightening in her walls that she had never experienced before. She arched her head back into the pillow. She cried out, she panted, her eyes rolled back. She did not know this feeling but she did not want it to stop. She felt as if she was about to explode. “Max!” she screamed. “Please.”

Maxwell took her breast into his jaws and sucked ravenously. He withdrew from inside her and reached to insert a finger where his prick had just been. She was dripping with his sperm. He touched her softly and then as her cries became more insistent he drove his fingers in and out of her rapidly. Finally she let out a weep of release and her body flopped back onto the bed. Her body trembled under him and he tenderly caressed her until she recovered. He kissed her cheeks and lips until she whispered, “Oh my God, Maxwell.”

He looked down at her and smiled brightly. “Elizabeth?” he asked. “I did not hurt you did I? Oh I beg you to tell me so at once.”

“You did not hurt me Maxwell,” she answered. “I feel very well. I feel…” Blushing she finished, “I can not seem to find the words.” The kissed softly.

“You called me Max,” he said.

“I did?” she asked. She was embarrassed by what they had just done and could not catch his eye.

“Yes,” he mumbled. “Please look at me.”

“I can not.” Her face dyed a deeper crimson.

“Do you feel you have done wrong?” he asked. He wrapped his arms around her. “Please do not tell me you regret this. I could not bear it.”

“Oh no,” she said. “I could not be repentant by this Maxwell!” His countenance seemed to relax. “I do not. Be assured.” Finally she glanced into his eyes. What she saw there silenced her vexation. He looked at her with such underlying love and esteem that she felt her heart would rupture. Never in all her years had anyone stared at her in such a way. Her husband seemed awkward after they’d been intimate—almost as if he’d violated her. Maxwell was novel and an agreeable bolt from the blue. Quietly she admitted, “Maxwell you are showing me what I have been missing.”

“You are giving me what I have constantly longed for.” His face melted. Hers melted right back.

When they made love again Maxwell never took his eyes off her face. She had to close her eyes just to stop him from analyzing her essence too deeply. She knew she bared all too him when he looked in her eyes. What would happen if they saw everything of each other there was to see? She knew what she was capable of feeling for this man and it was not a good idea taking into consideration her married position. While being as intimate with him as possible she had to some how keep from getting too attached to him. Little did she know that was unfeasible and completely out of her hands.

Maxwell liked to embrace her and kiss her and stroke her when they finished. When they were both spent and done from their exercise his body lingered inside her feeling her. Quite the reverse of her husband and precisely what Elizabeth wanted.

As Maxwell and Elizabeth’s moment in time sped on and the evident and unavoidable parting they had to endure sprinted closer the more Elizabeth’s chest seemed to ache. She dismissed it as pains from their excursions. Lying on her stomach she lay facing him with her head propped up on her hands and watched him when he got up from the bed and commenced dressing. He was immaculate. His whole being appeared flawlessly sculptured. As she watched him she felt the (‘now’) familiar pang of arousal in her lower stomach flair up all over again.

She got up off the bed and walked towards him. She could feel the sticky feeling of his liquids on her inner thighs and new she should get dressed so she could return to the house and bathe. He watched her with sultry eyes as she approached him with her hands held out. They touched once more, kissing keenly – showing one another that if it were their way they would not part. When they broke away Maxwell pressed his forehead to hers and said, “You are the handsomest woman of my acquaintance.”

She blushed. “You are too kind Mr. Evans.”

She stood in front of the mirror with her back to him staring out at the lawn while he concluded his dressing. Maxwell’s breath was stole at the sight of the dim sun rays shining in on her bare body. Her brown locks shined like silk under the illumination.

He helped her dress and afterwards when they had to part he kissed her with all his feeling and told her he wished things were different and that he did not want to leave her.

“You must,” she said. “Be careful.” They kissed once more and Elizabeth stood by herself as she watched him depart down the passage. He glanced back at her when he reached the stairs and pressed his hand to his lips.

Now was the matter of the sheets. She looked at the mess they had made with flushed cheeks and quickly tore them from the bed. What to do with them, she wondered? She crept down the hallway and checked no one was in the laundry before sneaking in there. There was a tub full of old water on the floor that she dumped them into quickly and then added them to the pile of dirty washing in the corner.

She could not get back into the bedroom to put fresh sheets on – that would have to wait. She had been gone far too long. She sprinted back to the front door and when she walked in the front door she ran smack into Nathaniel.

“Elizabeth!” he exclaimed. “Where on earth have you been? I have been waiting for the best part of an hour! Why are you so flustered?”

“Oh, dear,” she said. Could he tell what she had been doing? Was it observable? She prayed to God she could lie convincingly. “I am deeply apologetic. I lost track of time when I was walking and ran home as quickly as possible. I must bathe now I feel awfully hot.” She tried to hide her pants.

He shook his head. “Who let you leave dear? You have only just recovered from a cold you should never have left. I will have the maids prepare you a bath as soon as possible. Come, come sit down and relax. You appear so washed out. Too much exercise is bad for you. It is okay; you are home now and will be very well soon. ”

It appeared as though he did not suspect her. Nevertheless she could not slow her rapid beating heart for the rest of the afternoon. Both because she was still reeling from Maxwell’s touch and also because she was terrified someone knew. By the night time onto the jumpiness from Maxwell’s touch remained.

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nicola
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Post by nicola » Sat Mar 15, 2003 12:30 am

Hi everyone! I'm updating as often as I can, I hope its enough. Oh! Oh! Oh! Oh! can you please do my poll? Honestly, I need to know.

Thank you infinitely for your kind words and praise- this:your reward.


Episode Four

“My father has agreed to throw a ball in order to formally introduce Mr. Evans to the neighborhood!”

“Oh my!” Margaret, Jane and Cynthia all cooed together.

Elizabeth sucked her lips into her mouth to keep from combusting into a foaming mass of flesh at the mention of Maxwell. She felt a prickling heat all over her body. She wondered if she’d ever be able to sit still again while her acquaintances fluffed over the handsome man she yearned for.

“That is wonderful news,” she said stiffly. She was trying to hide her excitement at the prospect of setting her eyes on him again.

“Wonderful seems a vast understatement of what it really is!” Aretha cried. “This is the perfect opportunity for all the spinsters of the community to meet Mr. Evans. Surely he will single-out no less than one as a potential bride?”

Elizabeth swallowed. The thought of Maxwell touching or marrying other women was the vilest notion she could conjure up. She strived not to remind herself that she could not keep him to herself—a married woman! They both had requirements as a civilian in society and for her to keep a wealthy bachelor from an assemblage of healthy young women was uncouth. Of course—her being with him in the first place was uncouth too.

Elizabeth was so perplexed and muddled she became light headed. All she knew was that she could not tolerate one of her scrounging money-hungry associates to lay a hand on her Maxwell.

“Elizabeth, have we lost you?” Cynthia asked.

“Oh no!” Elizabeth cried. “I’m just exceedingly animated at the likelihood of a social gathering.”

All the women nodded their agreement. “Oh I know,” Aretha said. She was overly proud of herself for being the one to initiate the scheme. “We are planning to throw it two weeks subsequent to today.”

“I shall look forward to it immeasurably,” Elizabeth said.

Elizabeth was greeted by her husband when she arrived back at the house. He was home so much lately—why was that? Or perhaps it only seemed that way because now she didn’t want him here.

“Dear, I have news I believe you will take delight in,” he said. He took her arm and led her through the gardens for a short walk.

‘Oh yes?” she asked. Better than that of the ball, she wondered? This day was turning out to be rather eventful and informative. Not as eventful as Tuesday however, not as eventful as when Maxwell had come over.

“I have invited Mr. Evans, his comrade Mr. Guerin and Mrs. Evans-Whitman over for supper tonight. You took such pleasure in meeting them last week that I thought I should like to see what the fuss was.”

“No fuss,” she said—suddenly rather pale. “Just entertainment.” Oh no, she thought. Oh no. Oh no.

“Are you content with this arrangement?” Nathaniel asked.

She smiled into his face. “Oh my, yes. Very! I should enjoy the company very much.”

“I’m glad,” he said. “You have seemed down lately.”

“Me? No,” Elizabeth said. ‘How on earth did you come to that conclusion? I am pleased greatly.” Pause. “Aretha informed me she should like to throw a ball in order to formally welcome Mr. Evans. It will be in two weeks.”

Nathaniel tooted. “Mr. Evans is making quite the ruckus with his arrival, isn’t he?”

You have no idea, Elizabeth wanted to say.

“I should like to accompany you to the ball—however I will be leaving on business late next week.”

“Oh no,” Elizabeth said and hoped she meant it.

Nathaniel patted her arm sympathetically. “Do you still desire to go?’

“Yes, of course. If you will allow me.” She stared out across the lawn blankly.

Nathaniel smiled. “Certainly. I hope you will have a grand time.”

~*~

“It is a pleasure to finally meet you, Mr. Guerin. I have heard many good things of you.” Elizabeth nodded her head in appreciation.

“And I of you,” he said. “And please, call me Michael.”

“Then you must call me Elizabeth,” she offered.

Do not look at Maxwell. Do not look at Maxwell. Do not look at Maxwell, she chanted in her mind.

She looked at Maxwell.

He smiled.


“It is a grand surprise to see you again, Mrs. Samson,” he said and took her hand to kiss. Goosebumps broke out all over her body. Quieter – for her ears only—“An unexpected, pleasant surprise.”

Her voice cracked when she said, “You too.”

Before he walked forward into the house he watched her greet his sister with his bedroom-eyes. How they were going to make it through this dinner was a conundrum to her.

When they were all seated Elizabeth moved her food around on her plate with her fork. She was trying to seclude herself from the conversation.

“Elizabeth, I was just telling Michael of Miss Deluca’s disappointment in missing him last week. She was bitterly saddened Michael.” Isabel was the one trying to keep the conversation going.

“Yes?” Michael did not seem to show any interest what so ever.

“Maria lives in Coventry near Elizabeth’s parents,” Nathaniel said. “She was only here for the day. She has been a fine companion of my wives from the time when they were young.”

“My best,” Elizabeth added distantly.

Do not look at Maxwell. Do not look at Maxwell. Do not look at Maxwell, she chanted in her mind.

She looked at Maxwell.

He smiled.


She felt a pool of wet gathering between her legs and steam rising up through the top of her corset. Her throat grew dry and she found it hard to swallow.

“Maxwell you have scarce spoken two words since you got here,” Isabel said. “Is something the matter?”

“No, of course not,” he replied. “I apologize. Elizabeth I trust Miss. Deluca is well?”

“Yes,” Elizabeth answered not looking at him. “She is. Thank you.”

“Mr. Evans,” Nathaniel said. “You must inform us of the beauty in Nottingham. Elizabeth and I have been there but once on our anniversary. We should like to visit there again one day. Wouldn’t we dear?”

“Yes, a trip would be delightful.” Lies. It was proving to be true that once you start lying you just can not stop.

“Is it much changed?” Nathaniel asked.

“No, not exceptionally,” Maxwell answered. “It was quite splendid when I left but I have not been stationed there in many months.”

Elizabeth experienced a feeling somewhat resembling that of a slap on the cheek when she observed the man she was married to talking to the man she was having an affair with---as if they were friends. Ha! She thought.

“Why on earth did you leave?” Nathaniel asked.

Elizabeth smiled at Isabel and Michael, they smiled back.

“I had an unfortunate accident involving some immediate family,” he replied stiffly. Elizabeth wanted to touch and comfort him. She couldn’t believe herself.

She stared at him instead.

Returned were those perilous bedroom eyes once again.

After dinner the party headed towards the drawing room. Isabel sat down at the piano and Elizabeth stood beside her watching and commenting on her apparent talent.

“You must play,” Isabel said. “Yes, dear brother… Elizabeth should play, should she not?”

“Oh my no,” Elizabeth said and her face grew very flustered. “I am a very ill player indeed!”

Nathaniel touched her arm. “Please play something beautiful dear. You usually adore playing.”

Elizabeth did not want to play tonight.

Catching Maxwell’s eyes, she sat down on the stool and brought her fingers up to the keys. Please God, she thought—let me get through this.

She played a slow song that her mother had taught her when she was thirteen. She recalled the strong scent of rose perfume drifting towards her and her mother’s smooth hands dancing on the keys. Her father had brought her mother the perfume back from France with him and she had got a box of chocolates which were rapidly digested. Her mother had been so proud when she learnt the song.

When she finished she felt defeated. She wiped her eyes before and got up from the stool. “I apologize,” she said. “I am feeling tired, I fear I must retire for the evening.”

“Do not apologize” Michael said.

“Yes,” Nathaniel agreed. “Elizabeth has not been well lately. You’ll excuse her?”

Isabel and Maxwell looked concerned.

“Rest well,” Maxwell said and Isabel nodded her head.

Nathaniel walked her to her chamber and to her surprise—kissed her lips before leaving! She was so shocked she had to hold onto the door as he walked away. “Take care love,” he said.

When the maid came to help her she was still standing grasping the handle.

~*~

Maxwell,
“What a beautiful collision—with such beautiful precision—fate could create you and I.”
I fear I can not think of anyone but you when I quote that. Lately I say it over and over but I am trapped. You have me caught in your web spider.
All that I need is a day with you…please expect me on your Saturday - I will meet you somewhere in the milky night.
What did you say to me? “An unexpected, pleasant surprise” I must admit knowing you fills me with feelings resembling that indefinitely. How unexpected: A blinding romance to blow me away.
Please write me. I need a word—even if it be only one.
~Elizabeth
Unexpectedly – Pleasantly – Yours


Could she send it? Does she dare send it? She does. She watched the post carry it away and now she is left wondering if it were the right thing.

Finally she has decided—she is past doing the right thing.

As she stood waving goodbye to her husband. (Her husband. Ah, sigh.) She thought only of Maxwell. It made her feel shameful but she did not stop.

Tonight was the night of the infamous ball and she prepared herself with the maids help. She kept her eyes glued on the mirror to make sure she was as pristine as he had been when he was standing naked in front of her. The memory was as vivid as her reflection.

“You look like an archangel,” Rochelle said as she did her finishing touches on the Elizabeth’s hair. “Such a shame the master will not see you.”

“Yes,” Elizabeth mumbled. “Such a shame.”

Her best dress. Her best make up. Her best undergarments. Her best hair pins. Her best jewelry. All for Maxwell. Would he appreciate her efforts? Would he? Does he? He does. His eyes as she walk through the door tell her he does. Ah, hours of work so worth it just for that look.

She felt like the most striking madam in the room. Did he get her letter? He did.

“Elizabeth, my…it has been a rare occasion when you have looked better then now,” Georgina Simmons commented.

“Why, you are too kind Georgina, you look absolutely delightful as well,” Elizabeth offered.

“Is Nathaniel gracing us with his presence to-night?”

Elizabeth’s face feigned regret. “No, he was called away unluckily.”

Maxwell cut in behind her and said, “Oh, how unfortunate.” Did he mean it? No, he didn’t mean it. She didn’t mean it either.

“Mr. Evans,” she said politely. “How are you enjoying your party?”

“Very well, Mrs. Samson,” he replied. “Mr. Samson away for long?”

“One lone week,” she answered. They shared a look that did not go unnoticed by Isabel who was approaching them slowly.

Georgina smiled and nodded in greeting. “You must be Mrs. Whitman.”

“Yes, hello?” Isabel was staring at her brother.

“Georgina Simmons.”

“A pleasure,” Isabel said. “Maxwell.”

“Yes, sister?” he asked.

She nodded her head at Elizabeth who smiled at her. “Quite a few women were asking after you in the far corner, should you not ask one of them to dance?” she raised her eye brows. “Rather then talk to wedded ladies? No offence dear Elizabeth. You can imagine my wish for Maxwell to begin courtship.”

“Oh yes,” Elizabeth said. But she was offended.

Maxwell was not smiling any longer.

“Perhaps you have some recommendations?” Isabel asked—as if she were inquiring after what brand of wine to drink. Elizabeth suddenly yearned to be away. FAR away.

“No,” Elizabeth said. “I confess all the women from this county are quite pleasant.”

Isabel laughed. “This is good to know, isn’t it brother? Very good, very good. Please excuse us Mrs. Samson?”

“Of course,” Elizabeth replied brokenly. Isabel was a harsh snap back to reality. She was so exceedingly correct. -Maxwell should not be in close proximity to her in public.

She watched his departing back and then turned and stared blankly at the dancing figures on the marble floor. She had been silly really. To believe that maybe they would have a chance to touch again in private was quite unconventional. How ridiculous! She felt tears sting her eyes. How wrong she had been. How mistaken.

Suddenly she felt a profound loneliness that she recognized as her life three weeks ago. Before Mr. Evans.

“Mrs. Samson!” Dr. Maynard Hobson exclaimed. “Why, how on earth did you manage to veil yourself in-amongst mortals? For certainly your unnatural glow of a God can not be hidden?”

She smiled. “You are too kind.” Turning her head, she scanned the crowed for Maxwell. When she spotted him she wished she hadn’t. He was standing with Cynthia! Cynthia of all people! She had to put a stop to that—

No. It was none of her business.

“I hear that husband of yours is away again. No one to dance with?” Maynard conversed. “That is the greatest of wrongs. My wife is home sick; perhaps we should keep one another company? May I have the honor of accompanying you for the next dance?”

“Why, of course,” she answered. “I shall look forward for the conclusion of this song.”

“So shall I,” he said.

They waited in peaceful silence and when the song ended Maynard led her out onto the dance floor. They were fortunate enough to placed beside—

Mr. Evans and Cynthia. Oh, I dislike you intensely God, Elizabeth thought.

She pinched her cheeks to keep from exposing her pale countenance. Maybe they could some how move down the line…No, they could not. The song started.

Could she count how many times she caught Mr. Evans eyes during the dance? Impossible.

It felt as if she was dancing with him what with being so close. She tried to focus on Maynard, she really did…but how could she? Her life seemed to belong solely to the man standing next to him. He was just so damn handsome.

The dancers moved with casual familiarity and pose. An array of pastels and rich reds – greens – blues – gold’s - merged in concert – filling the room with an impressive whirl of dye. The unearthly energy floating down from the universe found it difficult to contend with its radiant splendor. Melody doused all else causing many to stop and monitor the glamour. Elizabeth felt animate with many things. Passion for Maxwell being the cause.

The song ended and Maynard excused himself from her presence. Unexpectedly, she felt Maxwell step up behind her and after checking no one was looking - slipped a little piece of paper into her hand and walked away with Cynthia.

Also confirming no onlookers, Elizabeth slipped into a dark corner and unfolded the message.

Tonight, same place?

An enormous smile oozed across her lips and she had to keep from ricocheting into the air and with her arms spread out wide like a bird - soar off into the Milky Way. Surely she would fit in there, lustrously-gleaming- for eternity over her diminutive three worded note.

Maxwell had a talent. He could make a twenty-one-year-old befall into a pond of icky goop. If he asked her to be anything else, she would be that too. What a brilliant spirit.

When he walked by she whispered so only he would hear… her soft voice caught on the breeze and drifted to him…

I will wait all night.
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Post by nicola » Wed Mar 26, 2003 3:02 pm

Episode Five

If the rewards for waiting in such sinister dark weren’t so great Elizabeth would never be able to endure the fear of getting to the dark room. Around every corner was the horrifying possibility of being caught.

She had never in her life felt her heart rate speed like it did in the five minutes it took for her to get across the house. She loved it. All these new ranges of emotion were not only enthralling they livened her spirit. She realized that before—as in before Maxwell Evans—she had been gathering dust.

Now, she felt as if she could do anything.

Half an hour passed. Elizabeth waited with anticipating silence. Her hands were folded comfortably on her lap and she sat with perfect posture like she had been brought up to do. The room was very badly lit; she could only see the outline of the furniture to her left and right. One candle was not enough to light the dark room.

She was in her lace night gown and her hair was down. She could not have told the maids she was going somewhere at this time in the evening so she had to pretend she was going to bed and then sneak here when they weren’t looking. They helped her as usual and she climbed under the covers as usual. Only, she did not stay there as usual.

How mad, she thought. I have to sneak around my own home.

Finally, after what must have been at least two hours, the door opened a crack and Maxwell slipped into the room gracefully.

Her heart sped up. “Mr. Evans…” That was all she could manage to get out her dry mouth.

His head snapped in her direction as if he hadn’t realized she was there. His expression was soft and loving. “Liz…” he breathed. “ Dear, beautiful Liz…”

She came for him and they stood with their hands clenched together at their chests.

“I do not understand that Nathaniel,” Maxwell confessed and stroked her knuckles. “How can he bear to stay away when he knows such a handsome angel waits at home?”

Elizabeth’s eyes drooped so they were half open. “Please,” she murmured. “Do not speak of him.”

They kissed with all the built up need from spending two weeks apart. Elizabeth moaned for him—begged for him—gave herself to him. They wasted no time.

“Like this,” Maxwell instructed from above her on the bed. “Wrap your leg around me.”

Elizabeth did as she was told. She wanted him not to move slowly but as quickly and as fiercely as he could. She wanted to feel the sensation she now recognized as ‘relief’ instantly. She wanted to ask him if his body had always been so flawless. She wanted to ask him if he liked Cynthia. She wanted to ask him if he loved her. What she wanted was some clarification as to what she was doing.

But she was not used to asking men for something. She was quiet.

Thankfully on this first occasion Maxwell did not have to be asked to be rough. He had obviously felt the loss of contact as much as she had. His movements were swift and thorough.

“Please,” she whispered openly. “Please, Maxwell, please…”

His mouth closed over her breast, sucking her nipple into his jaws and he teased her with his tongue until she was panting loudly and trying to catch her breath. What she had been missing, she thought loudly! If this was immoral and sinister she could not bring herself to give an inch!

Maxwell’s groin slid inside her damp walls - squelching with wetness and slurping as he yanked outwards – soon their bodies became covered in sweat. Elizabeth’s arms went around his neck—for she needed something to hold onto.

Maxwell lifted her leg up higher to rest on his shoulder as they both neared the anticipated moment. She heard him swallow and then saw him bit his lip with concentration. Before one last thrust he paused his movements…

She gasped and looked up at him, expecting him to give a reason for stopping. He was staring down at her face with an indecipherable expression. It resembled warmth but seemed louder and clearer then usual. She couldn’t help but think with dismay how appalling she must look – all red and sweaty beneath him. The thought was quickly dismissed. All she cared about was feeling that incredible floating sensation once more.

“Maxwell,” she pleaded. “Do not stop! I beg of you.” How could he have so much control?

His head bent to the side gently as if he was studying her –As if he was trying to capture the moment in his mind so it may be kept for later. She waited impatiently clenching the back on his neck with her rigid fingers.

Finally, with gritted teeth, he glided backwards and plunged within her as they both wanted. Elizabeth cried out loudly and Maxwell covered her mouth with his to muffle her noises.

His warm liquid oozed out within her as they both gasped for air.

Several minutes passed, they continued clutching one another and unwilling to part. Eventually Maxwell was about to shift off of Elizabeth but she tightened her hold on him still and shook her head. He understood and stayed put.

Somehow finding the courage Elizabeth looked up into his eyes and asked quietly and shyly, “Do you like Cynthia?”

The puzzlement that seeped over his face gave Elizabeth mixed signals. She began to panic.

“Oh my,” he said huskily. “You have it all wrong dear Liz.”

He made love to her again before saying anything else. His movements were gentler then at first and he kept from releasing within her until after she had been eased. He stroked and fondled her breasts and placed soft kisses all over her like she adored.

When he finally rolled off her trembling body he propped himself up on his elbows. “Elizabeth,” he said.

She smiled bashfully. “Suddenly I am Elizabeth again?”

He smiled brightly and then unable to help it, let out a quiet laugh. “Which would you rather? Wait, no I have decided—Liz, only.” As he spoke he could not stop grinning down at her. Pause. “Why did you ask me about Cynthia?”

Elizabeth blushed. “I—I—”

“Do you know who I like very well?” he asked. His fingers traced the line of her jaw.

“You will have to tell me,” she replied unsure. “As you have previously witnessed, I am a tad slow.”

Laughter again. She felt her insides fizz and erupt at the sound. There was something endearing about his character that made her prize everything about him. “Oh right, I forgot. I am deeply remorseful,” he said.

The corner of her mouth twitched. “Oh, yes sure. Will you tell me you like very well now?”

“You,” he said. “Any other woman would have understood that by now, but you…” His face grew serious. “Perhaps you are not used to being worshipped?”

Her smile faded. “Perhaps, but is that not a rather large assumption to make?”

“Liz does your…” he cleared his throat, “husband, love you?”

This was a very strange question to Elizabeth. “Why yes, I believe so. Yes…I know he does.”

“No,” he said. “Like this—?” He kissed her passionately and she felt his hand slip down in between her thighs. “Does he touch you like this?”

“I do not know what you mean,” she replied looking up at him.

He swallowed and looked away. “I am simply wondering whether your husband is bestowing upon you the interest you deserve.” If Elizabeth had been more experienced perhaps she would have detected his envy.

She did not know how to reply, she kissed him harshly instead.

He moaned and groaned into her throat until she pulled away. “Liz,” he repeated, “why have you asked over Cynthia?” He wanted to hear her declare her feelings.

She licked her puffy mouth. She was extremely aroused by him that she didn’t know what to do with herself. Her eyes roamed over his entire body and stopped on his hardening prick. She wanted to do something for him, but what?

“I,” she said and raised her eyes to him. “Wanted to know where we stood.” She was being very brave talking to him like this—however she was being suspect this was exactly how he wanted her to act. “Will I have to see you with Cynthia on a usual basis? It oddly vexes me.”

Maxwell smiled at this. “Oh, how so?”

She could not tell Maxwell she wanted him to be hers only. That she wanted to throttle Cynthia for going near him.

This would be wrong on so many accounts.

She was not his, she belonged to her husband and to demand this from him would be unjust. Did he understand that?

Judging by his features he knew what she was thinking. He cupped her cheek and kissed her. “You are so beautiful,” he said.

She purred. “You are so handsome.”

They stared into one another’s eyes.

“Does Nathaniel—?”

“Maxwell, please. I cannot,” Elizabeth said.

He understood. “I apologize. I simply wish with all my heart that you were not married.”

She touched his cheek with her finger tips. “You once were also,” she spoke softly – unaware of how he would react. “Will you tell me now?”

He swallowed. “Liz…”

“I do not wish to upset you.”

“You could not upset me,” he said. “I want to tell you.”

She smiled reassuringly. “So tell me.”

“I imagine your village gossips have exposed most of my past, no?” He did not seem to mind.

She nodded shamefully.

“I was once married, that is correct. Her name was Victoria. It was a betrothal and I thought well enough of her, she was a nice lady from a large fortune. Unfortunately soon after we were married she became ill and passed away the following year.”

Elizabeth’s brow knitted together. “I apologize.”

“Do not.”

“My sources were very inaccurate,” she said.

“Your sources?” Maxwell seemed to be infinitely amused and delighted by this. “What did ‘your sources’ say?”

“That your wife was…hmm…how shall I put this kindly?” she paused. “I was told that your wife was intimate with your brother and she fell pregnant with his child.”

Maxwell’s face was serious. “You know the next part of the story. Although this was a woman I was courting, I providentially was not wed to her. At a late date I was led to believe she was with child—my brothers as you say.”

“Did you like this woman well?”

“Adequately, yes. While I believe I did not know her well.”

Elizabeth nodded silently.

Maxwell took this moment to tuck her hair behind her ears and bring her face close to his. “You appear vexed my love?”

“I am not,” she replied.

“Shall I continue or do you know the rest as I suspect?”

“Yes, I know. And once you arrived in Leicester you met me.” She gripped his fingers in hers.

“I did indeed. But it appears as thought my bad luck has followed me.” He kissed her knuckles and tugged on her naked form so she would lie closer to him.

“How so?” she asked and kissed his chest lovingly.

“You can not be mine.”

Elizabeth was silent for a moment. She stopped kissing him and touching him. “Maxwell—is not what we are doing as immoral as your brother and your companion?”

Maxwell did not know what to say. Finally, “I did not want it to be this way. I told myself to stay away and then I decided to let you decide.”

Elizabeth started to cry. “Yes, and I betrayed my husband.”

“Oh dear,” he said. “Please do not be upset. You can not help your heart.”

“What of your brother? Perhaps he could not help his heart?”

Maxwell shuddered in the cold and wrapped his arms around her to keep both of them warm. “It was not his heart he was following.”

Elizabeth swallowed. “Why can I not stay away as I should?”

“I do not know about you, but oddly, I have no desire to stay away. Darling you have been neglected and I am here to show you what you have been missing.”

She sniffled unattractively. “Do you know I can not bear the thought of you marrying one of these girls in this village? But eventually you must.”

“I shall not do anything against my wishes,” Maxwell said. “For right now all I wish is to have these moments with you…if you will allow me.”

“You say that as if I have an option. As if I wanted to, I could stay away.” Elizabeth was uncomfortable so she urged him to move onto his back and after he moved she climbed on top of him.

She preceded kissing his chest and neck and touching him. There was something alluring about him, some hidden quality that other men lacked. The way he moved and the sound of his voice were so splendid that Elizabeth could have mistaken them for an act. She held his hand up against hers and smiled. He had very large hands that were soft and tender—these hands would never harm another. She knew it before knowing him.

What was it that drew her to him so?

“Maxwell I can not get close enough to you, I want to crawl inside your soul—you are the best of men do you realize?” she wrapped her arms around his neck. “I feel I know you better than myself although I hardly know you at all.”

Maxwell kissed her lips. “Anything you want to know, I will tell you.”

“I do not want you to go.”

“Who is leaving? I am staying here all night.”

Elizabeth smiled brightly. She suddenly had an idea. “Maxwell…can I try something?”

He cupped her cheeks. “May I ask what?”

“No, I could not tell you without dying of mortification. Will you trust me? I do not know if it is good.”

“I will tell you Liz. I will tell you if it is good.”

“I am glad.”

They grinned at one another.

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Post by nicola » Thu Apr 10, 2003 10:56 pm

Hi everyone!! How are you? Thank you for being so patient with me and my silly computer. I apologize for the shortness of this part, I was desperate to get something out.
Tell me what you think...


Episode Six

He did not move a hair on his body as she inched her way down his body. Her hands worked his thighs in circles in order to draw out the moment—she needed time to prepare herself for what she was planning.

“Maxwell,” she murmured against his abdomen. “What are we going to do?” It was a question that had no answer and he knew it so he did not say anything. Even if he wanted to he could not.

Her lips trailed further down stopping at the start of his hair line. She wondered if she would go to hell for this. Ignoring her thoughts, she wrapped her fingers around his shaft and rubbed his skin up and down.

Maxwell’s fingers wove through her hair to urge her onwards. His breath was stuck in his throat.

Finally her fingers loosened around his groin and gradually slipped away soon to be replaced with her mouth. She thought is this man what I want?

It suddenly occurred to her that this man was all that she wanted. Now. Forever.

Her mouth latched over him and they both reveled in the feelings soaking their innards. Elizabeth had the cleverness of dexterity and it took her a mere moment to become skilled with her tongue. She took as much of him as she could into her mouth and moved backwards and forwards on him.

Her tongue drew circles as her hands had just done minutes ago. She couldn’t get enough of him. The brackish taste of his sperm was a surprise to her and she was blissful to have discovered it. His groans were loud and sent her spirit soaring into the plum black sky.

Nothing could compare to the heavenly sensations that transpired within her when she was with him.

His climax came all of a sudden and Elizabeth nearly fainted with the strength of the liquid spurting towards the back of her throat. She gulped.

Maxwell’s body was covered with sweat as she tantalizingly slithered up him. He was still reeling when she kissed his neck and wrapped her arms around him.

How had she suddenly turned from the shy, naïve lover to the adventurous pleasure-giving angel? Maxwell rolled them over so she now lay at his disposal. “I just do not know what I will do with you,” he admitted. “How will I survive you?”

“How will I survive you?” she asked.

~*~

“Oh and we shared three dances!” Cynthia gloated. “Can you believe it? I can scarce breathe from excitement.”

Elizabeth sipped her tea and said nothing. Her eyes were focused on the tranquil gardens outside; there were no worries and no deceiving out there.

“You are frightfully lucky,” said Margaret. “I doubt I lay my eyes on him but once! Too busy with you I imagine.”

“Why yes,” Cynthia said. “But I do not brag.”

Elizabeth rolled her eyes to herself.

Cynthia continued. “He dances so well. Such a gentleman. He holds in his character a kind of placidness that many men lack. Would you agree?”

“I should not know,” Margaret said. “I have not spoken to him.” Margaret was very sour this morning. “You shall have to ask Elizabeth. She has.”

“Yes! I recall you speaking exceedingly fondly of him. No wonder, he is so handsome and fine. You have become quite good friends with Isabel, his older sister, yes? I saw you talking.”

Elizabeth smiled bitterly. “I admit he is one of the most excellent men I have had the pleasure of being acquainted with.”

“Other than Nathaniel, of course?”

“Oh yes!” Elizabeth cooed. “My husband is the best of men.”

“If I did not know better I shall think you want Maxwell all for yourself!” Cynthia exclaimed and then laughed at the absurdness of it.

“Yes, but you know better do you not?” Elizabeth said quietly. Her fingers were in a tight bundle on her lap. So tight her knuckles were deathly white.

“Of course,” said Cynthia.

“Should we not establish inviting dear Isabel to our lunches?” Margaret inquired.

Elizabeth swallowed. The look Isabel had given her at the ball was glued in her mind and she feared she was coming to conclusions of her own. In answer to Margaret, she just nodded and smiled in hopes of a conversation differ.

Thankfully, the afternoon sped on and soon Margaret and Cynthia departed Birkpeck Park. Elizabeth remained sitting on the couch for several minutes before advancing to the desk in the corner to write.

Maria would be arriving late that evening and would be staying for the remainder of Nathaniel’s absence. It was not too often Nathaniel was gone and Maria often enjoyed his absence.

Dearest Maxwell, Elizabeth wrote, Lines on your face do not bother me when you dance over me. Late in the night when I am all alone, I can not help but think…I have to see you again. I do not want to share you with them. I know where you have been. Do they? I forget myself when I am with you. Please remind me who I am.
I cannot make you want me if you do not, but when I leave the dark I take you with me.
How do you suggest I take this separation from you? How shall I end another day without you here? I must see you again, will you come? Same place to-morrow?
I could almost go there where you are. Just to watch you be seen. Just so I could live in a trance.
You may rescue me if you like.
Your Elizabeth


You have become my world Maxwell Evans, she thought as she sealed the paper with wax. She moved back over to a seat by the fire place and remained there while she waited for her life-long friend to arrive. There was not a creak or groan to be heard but if she strained she heard the occasional footsteps from the maids out in the halls. It was relaxing to sit by herself and feel time creep away. How long, she thought placidly, until time swallows me up?

There was a knock at the door.

“Mam, would you like some more tea while you wait?”

Elizabeth swallowed in hopes of dampening her dry mouth. “No thank you Rochelle, I am quite fine. But…would you be so kind as to give this to the post man?”

The maid walked across the room and took the letter from her. “Of course mam,” she said.

“Thank you.”

The door closed after she left and she was lurched back into silence.

Elizabeth wondered if Maxwell was tormenting himself over her as she was over him. Did he think of her constantly, longing for just another moment?

How could his eyes, those profound eyes, mislead her? How could those hands, those maddening, erotic fingers deceive her?

She could not comprehend it. Deep within her depths she recognized that she doubted him because they did not have that crucial time together to express what they felt. Those seconds when they could see the truth glowing in one another’s eyes. Every second she was away from him she wanted him here and when he was here she wished he did not have to leave.

What was she going to do?

There was another knock at the door. Rochelle stepped inside the room once again. “Mam? Miss Deluca has arrived.”

“Oh thank you, please send her in and be sure to search out anything she may like.”

“Yes mam.”

A few moments passed before Maria made her appearance. Elizabeth hugged her furiously.

“Elizabeth I have missed you so much. You look so lovely. Alive! I have scarcely ever seen you glow as you do now. Nathaniel’s absence agrees with you.”

Elizabeth looked at Maria warningly and said, “You will never give up will you?”

“No, never dear Eliza.”

She knew this was going nowhere so she quickly changed the area under discussion. “Is there anything you would like?”

“I would adore staying in here next to the fire to chat with you but I fear I am overly tired from the journey.”

Elizabeth was attentive. “You must retire then.”

“You would not mind?”

“Why of course not! How very absurd of you darling Maria. We have all of tomorrow and the following day to chatter. Now…the fire place is lit in your room—I had everything prepared prematurely for you.”

“You are the kindest of creatures Eliza I love you so dearly,” Maria esteemed.

Elizabeth’s cheeks dyed rose. “Nonsense, it is just common courtesy.”

They both retired to their chambers although; as Elizabeth sat in front of her mirror brushing her hair Maria knocked on the door and crept in.

“Remember when we were little?” she asked and sat down on the end of the bed. “We always used to sneak into one anthers room and talk.”

“Those were the best times,” Elizabeth said.

Maria smiled. “I…” she paused to think about how she would word her next question. “Elizabeth, may I ask what has caused your high spirit? I am failing to remember a time I have seen you so animate. You appear almost foreign to me.”

Elizabeth stared at her reflection in the mirror to try and see just a little of what Maria was talking of. All she recognized was the unchanged confusion and worry. She ran her fingers over her cheek bones and said quietly, “I have no idea what you are talking about.”

“Oh but you must! Your whole being can not just change over three weeks without reason.”

“I am content and at peace with myself…that is all,” Elizabeth said. “Perhaps mildness comes with age?”

Maria shook her head. “No, it is not mildness I see in you.”

For one moment Elizabeth considered telling Maria all about her situation and her growing feelings for Maxwell. Maria would be supportive, she was certain of it. Nevertheless…something held her back. She was hushed her as she opened her mouth. Perhaps it was the adventure in having a secret just for her. A little hidden life that she did not have to share.

She did not know why but she was convinced keeping quiet was what was best.

“You are foolish,” she said and tried to keep from smiling. “I am exactly the same.”

Maria was silent for a moment.

“I informed Mr. Guerin of your disappointment in missing him,” Elizabeth said.

“Who?” Maria asked and then slowly came to understanding. “Oh, yes…” her eyes brightened. “How is Mr. Evans? I am certain you have kept in touch?”

“Yes, just occasionally,” Elizabeth shrugged it off. Judging by the look on her friends face she suddenly wished she had not said anything. “Nathaniel invited Mr. Evans and his sister over to dinner. Michael, hmm, Mr. Guerin came too.”

“Oh is that right?” Maria asked. Did she dare ask what was on her mind?

No she did not.

“What is he like?”

“Mr. Evans?” Elizabeth asked instinctively.

Maria smiled brightly. “No. Mr. Guerin.”

“Oh,” Elizabeth replied. “He is a fine gentleman. I just know you two would suit. Somehow we have to have you meet.”

“Perhaps in the next two days?”

“Yes, perhaps.”
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Post by nicola » Thu Apr 17, 2003 4:47 am

Episode Seven

“Your mail, Mam.”

Elizabeth’s heart skipped a beat. “Thank you Georgina.” She read the sender and sure enough it was from Mr. Evans. She smiled to herself—behind her hand.

“Who is it from?” asked Maria with deep curiosity.

“Oh, just Margaret. She said she would write from London. She is there on holiday you know.” Elizabeth put the letter on the couch, slightly under the cushions.

“Are you not going to open it?”

Elizabeth stuttered slightly, “N-N-N-No. It would be rude of me. All my attention is on you.”

Maria and Elizabeth had spent the day together. They went for a long walk and then went in the carriage to have a picnic lunch by the pond.

“Is that so?” Maria asked. “Well I have not felt as if you are really here all day.”

She had not been there all day. Really she had been with Maxwell. Shamefully she apologized. What was wrong with her? There were other people in her life that were important too. People she had known longer.

Maria accepted her apology. “I was thinking,” she said. “Perhaps we should ask Mr. Evans and Mr. Guerin to allow us into their residence for dinner tomorrow night?”

Elizabeth caught her friend studying her face for her reaction. She decided she needed to stop being so obvious if she did not wish the world to know of her interactions with Maxwell. Remaining neutral, she replied, “If you like.”

“Oh I should like to very well,” Maria said.

~*~

Elizabeth excused herself to her bedroom straight after dinner that evening. In her hand she clutched her un-opened letter. It was shimmering, insistent to be opened and burning a hole in her flesh where she gripped it.

Closing the door roughly behind her, Elizabeth leaned against the wood and ripped open the seal. Her heart thundered in her chest and she felt her cheeks flush with excitement.

Dearest, lovely Liz

Ah, sigh. Relief.

I beg of you not to demand I rescue you. The offer is too tempting to refute and I fear you will regret your words once I come galloping on my valiant stallion to collect you. I should wish for nothing better then to ride off into the sunset with you, luminous and fine in my arms.
I
will remind you of who you are, only on this one occasion- you are my angel. You were sent to this terrain to show me there is such a thing as rapture and it does not have to be after death.
You ask me how you will survive this separation. In my shame I admit I cannot tell you. I am afraid we shall both have to endure this ache to no end.
I will do my best to get out tonight but I apologize if I cannot make it. A cousin of mine is here for dinner, her name is Tessa Harding. I shall admit only to you that she is the worst of company and I will think of nothing but you and your handsome face when I am with her. She is a selfish, insufferable woman whom I am sure will one day cause me to pull out my hair. I just recently received a letter from my mother and father; they wish I would marry her. Marry her! I should rather bury myself alive.
Dear Liz, how I long to see you. To touch you. To taste you.
Please take care of yourself for me and I promise I will be with you soon.

Forever yours,
Maxwell


Elizabeth let out a strained breath that ended up sounding like a dying animal. She clutched the paper to her chest and closed her eyes tightly. “Oh Maxwell,” she whispered. “Oh Maxwell. How I love you so.”

Later after she had crept through the dark and sinister, creaking and moaning house and was lying motionlessly in the dark room waiting for her one and only, she let her heart give up. Anything he wanted from her she would give with all her heart. If he asked she would run away with him.

She closed her eyes and buried her face in the pillow. At first she had been hungry for the relief he gave her. Now she craved to see him out of this room. She wanted to walk with him, she needed to glide into a ball room and dance with him all night. She wanted his mornings, his days, and his evenings. She wanted him only.

Breathless moments filled with her and him.

“Lizzie?” Gasps. “Are you alright?”

Elizabeth looked up and found Maria standing in the doorway wearing her nightgowns. She was holding a candle and she looked genuinely vexed. “What are you doing here in the dark?”

Wiping her tearful eyes Elizabeth swallowed and got up from the bed.

“Lizzie,” Maria repeated. “What ever has happened?”

“I-I-I,” Elizabeth said. “I need to escape Maria.”

Maria frowned. “Why on earth are you in this God awful room?”

“I told you,” Elizabeth answered. “I need to escape.”

Maria led her down the dark corridor and back into the main part of the house. “Nathaniel is not here,” she said. “Who are you escaping from?”

“I never said I needed to escape from a person,” Elizabeth demanded. “I just need to get away.”

Maria was hushed for a long moment. Quietly, hesitantly she asked, “You feel trapped?” She seemed to understand this theory. When Elizabeth did not say anything she added quietly, “Sometimes I do too.”

Elizabeth looked up abruptly. “You do?”

“Of course,” Maria answered. “Sometimes life just seems to swallow you up. Lizzie, you have me to talk to about these things. I am your closest friend—our conversation stays between you and me. Do not run away.”

“I did not run far,” Elizabeth said.

“This time.” Maria followed her into her chamber. “I afraid you will go away forever. This is all that Nathaniel’s fault! That horrid man! Why did he marry you?”

“Maria, Nathaniel has nothing to do with this.” Elizabeth climbed under the covers on her bed. “I just like to escape the pressures of everyday life. Nathaniel has never wronged me and I have no reason to flee from him.”

“Do you still believe that you love him?”

Elizabeth opened her mouth and quietly she lied, “Yes I do. I would be grateful if you would respect that. I must sleep now. I will see you in the morning.”

“Elizabeth, is there something you are keeping from me? We tell everything do we not?”

“Of course, I would never lie to you. There is nothing. Goodnight.”

There would be no sleep to be gotten tonight.

~*~

In the late morning while Maria was bathing and Elizabeth was preparing for Church a letter arrived from Nathaniel. There were no flutters or palpitating heart beats when Elizabeth opened it. Just a simple sigh as she fell to her seat in front of her mirror.

She read that he would be gone for three days longer and that he was greatly anticipating his return.

I miss you dearly, he wrote. I miss your beautiful features and the soft sound of your voice. Sweetheart, I know of your displeasure when I am away. I assure you, I suffer the same despondency.

She tucked the letter away and finished tying her silk scarf around her neck. She felt bad for him really. All he wanted was a spouse that devoted herself to him. For a few years she had been able to offer that to him but she feared he would have to find someone fresh before long.

In the carriage she informed Maria of the letter. “He is rather charming,” she said. “He speaks of how he misses me so.”

Maria was uninterested. “Do you think Mr. Guerin will be there?”

“There is a good chance.” Elizabeth recalled Maxwell telling her he did not believe in God so she was certain he would not grace her with his presence this morning. She had asked him if God would forgive her for her sins and he had indisputably and abruptly corrected her. She was brought up under the influence of Christian parents—it was all she knew.

“I miss my mother,” she said rather sadly. “I would like to see my parents very much. Also my two sisters, Samantha and Katrina, and my brother Timothy”

“When I go back tomorrow, you should come with me. You have two days before Nathaniel gets back.”

Elizabeth thought about it for a moment. “I will consider it. Perhaps it would be good for me to get away for a few days.”

“Well, I think it would. Oh! We ought to go for a horse ride this afternoon.”

Elizabeth smiled. “I should like that very much.”

Outside the church Maria was frantic, “Pray make haste Eliza!”

“Oh dear, what ever could have caused your sudden fever?” Elizabeth asked.

“You have my hopes up to the sky! I am frightfully enthused at the prospect of Mr. Guerin being inside.”

Elizabeth was delighted by this. One of them did, at least, have the right to be courted and married. They entered the building with their arms in one another’s.

They were greeted by many and everyone was delighted to see Maria. Elizabeth stood next to her friend feeling quite uninterested as they fluttered around her. After several minutes out the corner of her eye she saw Michael and Isabel walk in, soon followed by Maxwell. Her heart leapt to her throat. What a charming surprise!

She knew that conversation with him would have to be scarce and she would have to remain distant. Isabel was already conjuring up her own conclusions that did not have to be proven accurate. What she and Maxwell got up to was no ones business but their own.

She would wait for them to approach her. It was hell for Elizabeth to feel him so close and not be able to go up to him.

With thanks to Maria and her loud character she did not have to wait long.

“Maria!” Isabel cried. “You’re back in town! How wonderful.”

“Isabel you look darling, how are you? Good to see you again Maxwell, who is your friend?” Maria winked at Elizabeth who tried to hide herself behind the flower arrangement so no one would notice her staring. Maxwell noticed her staring, how could he not? He was staring too.

Fire burned brightly in his eyes.

Michael introduced himself to Maria who enjoyed what she saw immensely. “It is absolutely wonderful to finally meet you Mr. Guerin.”

Please,” he said. “Call me Michael. May I escort you to your seat?”

“Why, of course.”

Isabel went with them, somehow managing to forget that she was leaving Maxwell and Elizabeth alone.

Max smiled invitingly. “Good morning Elizabeth, beautiful day is it not?”

She smiled back. “I thought you did not believe in God Mr. Evans?”

He stepped closer to her. “I thought I would come to admire the…view. Such a shame that we missed out on our…meeting last night.”

”Yes,” Elizabeth replied and felt her cheeks grow hot.

“Husband still away is he?” Maxwell took her arm and led her to her seat.

“Yes, unfortunately. Three more days.”

Maxwell looked deeply into her eyes. “Such a shame.” He handed her a little piece of paper surreptitiously.

“Oh, I know.” She glanced down at the writing.

Please, Liz, tonight? I must see you.

She nodded her reply.

They took their seats on either side of Isabel so they would not be tempted to run from the church during the ceremony. Isabel conversed quietly with Maria and Michael until the sermon began.

After church concluded for the day and they were standing outside Maria and Elizabeth were invited around for dinner.

“That would be fantastic,” Maria replied. “Thank you so much.”

“Good bye!” Isabel chirped.

“Goodbye Isabel,” Elizabeth responded. “Goodbye Maxwell, Michael.”

They smiled and bowed their heads in response.

~*~

“Liz? What is wrong?”

Elizabeth sat up on the bed and wrapped her arms around him. “Maxwell, please.” He had managed to sneak into he dark room without her noticing.

“I can not bear to see you so displeased. Please, what ever is the matter?” he took her face in his hands and studied her eyes.

“I love you,” she admitted. “I am shameful to admit it but I believe I have I loved you since the earliest second I lay my eyes on you.”

Maxwell swallowed. “Liz…”

“You do not feel the same way, this I am sure of,” she said. “What did you say to me, on our first meeting? ” I am well aware of your status in society and yet I feel forced to inform you of my feelings nevertheless.’ I had to advise you even if you do not find my conduct appropriate.”

Maxwell smiled brightly so all his teeth glowed gaily in her eyes. She blinked. “Liz, how could you do as much as fathom the idea that I would not undergo the equal as you describe? I-the one who first declared my heart to you?”

Elizabeth blushed.

“Liz, I love you,” he said. “You must have recognized that before this day?”

“Maxwell I am so confused. You must forgive me.”

He let go of her cheeks and brought her body tightly against his. “What I go through…not to have you be seen as mine in the public eye. I extremely loathe it. My cruel fate.”

“Maxwell,” Elizabeth said and wiped the tears from her eyes. “I will leave with you. I will, ask me and I will follow you.”

“Where would we go?” Maxwell asked. “There is not a place for us.”

“What kind of a life is this?”

“Liz, I could not take you from this community. This is the life you were predestined to have. You have a superior title-the residents look upon as a queen.”

“I do not desire it,” Elizabeth alleged. “I yearn for you. Only you. You are the only one who can do this to me.”

“All I can offer you are these moments,” Maxwell said shamefully. “If this existence could be different I would take the alternative in an instant.”

Elizabeth started to cry again. “I know.”

“Tonight at dinner,” Maxwell said. “We have to be more careful or someone will notice.”

“I know.”

Maxwell wiped her eyes and kissed her lips. “Isabel will notice, Miss Deluca will notice, Nathaniel will notice.”

“Maxwell, make love to me. I beg of you. We have mere moments.”

“We have all night,” he replied.

“An hour passes as promptly as gunfire my love.”

Tbc..

Tell me what you think :o

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Post by nicola » Mon May 05, 2003 12:51 am

FINALLY!!!! whoa that took ages. I'm so sorry and thank you for the bumps i don't think I can express in English how much I appreciate it.

OH and thank you so much to those of you who nominated me in the writing categories for round three fanatics awards! I am so touched that you think I'm good enough to win an award!

anyway, I warn you in advance this isn't my best...


Chapter Nine

He got up off the bed and stood at the window. Elizabeth watched his naked form with adoring eyes.

“Maxwell…” she said.

He shifted his gaze so he was staring at her. “Yes, love?”

“If you do not believe in God,” she asked, “does that mean you do not believe in heaven?”

He smiled. “Liz, you are the closest to heaven that I will ever be.”

She pulled a quilt around her body before joining him at the window. “You do not have to die to be in paradise,” he told her. “Do you not agree with me?”

“I agree with you,” she answered and smiled. “How could I not?”

They kissed slowly and passionately. Elizabeth felt her stomach flare once more.

“Maxwell…why does heaven require such a sacrifice?” she asked. “Do you think anyone is truly happy unless they have fought for what they want?”

His brown eyes twinkled. “I am sure that is not so.”

“I have to believe that,” she told him. “I have to believe not everything requires a sacrifice.”

“Then do,” he replied as he ran his fingers through her long hair.

She smiled. “Can you guess what else I believe in?”

“Tell me.”

“You,” she answered. “I believe in you.”

He pressed his forehead to hers. “I believe in you too.” He paused. “I love your hair.”

“Oh yes?” she asked.

“Definitely.”

They moved back over to the bed where Max lay down on his back. Elizabeth lifted herself over him and sat on his stomach. She felt his prominent arousal press into her backside.

“Liz…”

“No, stay where you are. I want to be on top,” she said and lifted herself up so he could enter her. They both moaned in delight.

“Maxwell…”

“No talking,” he whispered. “Not now.”

She moved up and down and never tore her eyes from his face. His eyes were closed and he bit his bottom lip to keep from crying out. She was fascinated by him.

As he neared the end she leaned back and clenched her thighs to draw him in tightly. “Oh Liz…” he panted. “Please…”

With one swift thrust he exploded within her and she watched his face. He seemed pleased. When his eyes opened she smiled down at him. “Alright?”

He laughed. “Yes. Perfect.”

She laughed too. He was infectious. “I am glad.”

“But what of you?” he asked and rolled them over so she was lying underneath him.

“I am quite fine,” she informed him.

Maxwell pressed his lips to her stomach. “I love you,” he told her. “Please, in advance, forgive me for my unresponsive and perhaps vindictive face and manner in public. It is only for you—to keep from ruining your reputation and happy standard of living.”

“I fear not happy,” Elizabeth told him. “Routine and comfortable indeed, happy no.”

He did not say anything in response to her sorrows. For what could he do? His gentle and devoted hands spoke as much as necessary.

“The heart can not hide love,” she whispered.

He touched her wet heat and rubbed the little lump that caused her so much pleasure. She trembled. He made her feel such amazing things that it was hard to breathe. His fingers massaged her in circles, circles…

“Oh Maxwell, please…oh, oh, oh…” she arched her head back into the pillow and clutched her hands in his hair.

Suddenly his hand slipped away and she felt a slippery body replace it. She was shocked and so infinitely delighted she had to know what he was doing. Lifting her head and opening her eyes she glanced down at him. His dark head was in-between her legs and he was stroking her with his tongue…

She gasped and fell back onto the bed. “Maxwell! Oh yes,” her voice was throaty.

The now familiar tightening of her walls approached and she shuttered as she let go. Her body felt limp and useless as she lay there looking up at the ceiling. He leaned over her and she found herself watching his smiling face.

“Alright?”

She laughed. “Yes, perfect.”

“I am glad,” he teased.

After she had calmed down and was thinking coherently she rolled onto her side and stared at him. “Do you believe Mr. Guerin has taken to my Maria?”

He smiled. “I’d say there was a good chance.”

Her eyes lit up. “Really?”

“He would not have asked you both to lunch tomorrow if he did not,” he said simply.

“Maria really needs to get married.”

Maxwell laughed.

They were silent for a moment and then Elizabeth said, “Maxwell…tell me of this Tessa Harding.”

His happy expression fell. “Why should I do that?”

“I am intrigued as to why you have grown a loathing so strong for her.” She massaged his chest with her hand.

“How can I enlighten you?” he said his thoughts out loud. “She is uncouth and callous.”

“But what has she done? I should like to meet this woman.”

“No,” he said firmly. “Most certainly not.”

She smiled.

“She has had many occasions in which to prove herself and has on many occasions proven to be discourteous.”

Elizabeth kissed his lips. “Oh. Then pray I ask you to inform me of what you tell others of me?”

“That you are the most compassionate, amiable woman of my acquaintance.”

“That shall have to stop if you wish to keep us a secret.”

“Indeed,” he said. “It shall.”

~*~

“I have decided against traveling back with you,” Elizabeth told Maria. “I would prefer to stay for longer than two days. Perhaps in a few weeks I will.”

“Yes,” Maria answered nodding. “After further thought I’d have to agree with you. As long as you come.”

“I will,” Elizabeth said surely. “Most definitely.”

They arrived at Austen Park for lunch around twelve, early because Maria had a long journey back home. Michael and Isabel greeted them at the entrance to the house.

“Maxwell apologizes for his absence,” Michael said.

“A cousin of ours is here,” Isabel elaborated. “Miss Tessa. He is entertaining her in the drawing room. Would you like to meet her?”

“Why yes,” Elizabeth replied. My poor Maxwell, alone with a woman that vexes him so.

“As you wish,” Michael said.

Maria took his arm and neither Elizabeth nor Isabel missed the smiles they passed between one another.

She was so happy for her friend. It was long overdue for her to be courted and married.

They walked in silence through the house and waited while Isabel walked into the drawing room to announce their arrival. Michael ushered them in a few moments later.

Elizabeth expected Maxwell to look at her but he did not even acknowledge her presence. He greeted them formally and of equal consideration but nothing more.

She felt deflated by his rejection but knew his motives. She could do this too. She took a seat.

“Would you like any tea, Eliza? Maria?” Isabel asked.

“No thank you.”

“Eliza, Maria,” Maxwell spoke.

Elizabeth recoiled in horror. He never called her Eliza.

He continued, “I would like to introduce you to my cousin Miss Harding. Tessa, this is Eliza Samson and Maria Deluca.”

“A pleasure,” Tessa said. “I have heard much about you.”

“Thank you,” Maria replied. “Will you be staying in Leicester long?”

Elizabeth could not help but smile. Maria did not like the idea of a single female staying in the house just as much as her. Tessa Harding was an obstacle in their way of happiness.

“I have not decided,” Tessa replied and smiled at Maxwell. “We will see how long it takes.”

No one dared to ask what she meant. They all knew.

Elizabeth felt ill.

After lunch the party all except Isabel went out for a turn about the gardens. Maria and Michael left together.

“Maxwell,” Tessa said and clutched onto his arm like a leech, “Take us to the pond would you?”

“If Elizabeth would like to see the pond…”

“I would,” she replied quietly. What she really wanted was him to look at her. He hadn’t since she got there.

“Oh swell!” Tessa cried. “Then let us make haste.”

The pond was beautiful. As if someone had swiped blue-green paint across the olive horizon. They stood marvelling it for a long time.

“What do you think Elizabeth?” Tessa asked. “It’s it not the grandest thing you have ever seen?”

“I confess it is quite breathtaking.” After sucking in a deep breath, she added, “I have scarcely glimpsed something as handsomely situated.”

Tessa smiled and grabbed her hand. “Let us take a closer look? Maxwell will watch to make sure we do not fall in! Ha! Would that not be a sight? Our petticoats dripping with slime and water, not to mention what else.” She laughed at the absurdity.

Later, as they were walking back Tessa saw something in the shrubbery and ran on ahead to see. Taking his only chance and before Elizabeth could even open her mouth Maxwell was gripping her hand and tugging her behind a ledge out of view.

“Maxw—”

“Do not speak, love,” he whispered. “We have mere moments…”

He covered her mouth with his and kissed her passionately. His tongue thrust into her mouth so feverishly and overpowering she felt her legs weaken and had to grip his shoulders to stay up right. Seconds after they had broke apart and were gasping for air Maxwell had hauled back around the hedge.

In between puffs Elizabeth said, “Mr. Evans, I hope you are not going to forget yourself.”

He looked her straight in her eyes and replied, “I believe I already have Mrs. Samson.”
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Post by nicola » Mon May 12, 2003 4:39 am

Thank you for the FB, nominations and bumps guys! I hope you like the new 'episode'

Episode TEN

Elizabeth awoke to her cheeks being stroked and for a split second she thought it was him. She didn’t need to guess who it really was. Nathaniel’s hands were not as tender as his.

“I know you are awake,” he whispered. “Surprised? I am back early.”

She had to open her eyes then. “Indeed you are.”

“I could not bear being away any longer,” Nathaniel said and then, not unexpectedly, pressed his rubbery mouth to hers. She almost recoiled but knew she could not.

He was her husband. It was her obligation to be there for him when he needed her.

To be there for him when he needed her for anything.

His eager hands tugged the covers back from her body and she felt the mattress shift as he slid onto the bed. “I have missed you dreadfully Elizabeth,” he said huskily.

She knew what that meant.

When he began pulling off her night gown she wanted to tell him to stop. She wanted to tell him no. She wanted to scream and run away. She wanted to cover herself.

What she did was lift hips for him.

He was only wearing his night shirt and trousers. He removed the trousers but left the shirt and then dug his palms into her thighs to spread them. She squirmed under his weight when he moved over her.

This was so wrong. He felt so wrong.

Maxwell, she begged, save me.

He groaned loudly as he slid his prick inside of her. She wanted to scream.

Maxwell. It is Maxwell, she told herself. It was so immoral of her to pretend her husband was someone else but she did not care. Anything to get her through this.

She didn’t dare open her eyes so he could see the tears she was holding back. They threatened to spill down her cheeks and she was not up to questioning.

His panting was loud in the quiet room as he moved in and out of her. Minutes felt like hours. She prayed for it to be over quickly.

It was. He exploded within her and slumped down onto her chest with a slap. She didn’t know what to do. If it was Maxwell she would wrap her arms around him and hold him but she couldn’t bring herself to with Nathaniel.

She lay still.

“Have you missed me too, love?” he asked after a long while. He stroked her hair gently.

“Yes,” she replied. “I have missed you.”

“Are you not glad I am home?”

“I am very glad.”

He smiled in the dark. “What have you done to busy yourself this week? Maria came to stay, no?”

“Yes,” she replied quietly. “For a few days.”

“No doubt you would have liked that?”

“Indeed.” He moved and lay on his back beside her. She added, “I did, very much.”

“Good,” he said.

When he finally left for his own room Elizabeth pulled her night gown back over her shoulders. She tugged the covers back over her body and tucked her head back in between her pillows.

Only this time she did not sleep.

She cried.

~*~

On a sunny afternoon Elizabeth was sitting on the lawn eating her lunch. Her maid Rochelle came out to fill her tea cup.

“It is beautiful weather is it not?” Elizabeth asked. She needed quiet chatter.

“It is mam,” Rochelle replied. Just as she was about to turn and go something stopped her.

“Is something the matter?” Elizabeth asked.

Rochelle nodded. “There is,” she said.

Elizabeth studied her face. “What is it?”

“I thought I should inform you,” Rochelle answered, “that sometimes at night when I am sleeping in my room I hear footsteps creep down to the dark room.”

Elizabeth’s heart sped up. “Oh yes? Rat’s perhaps?”

“No, not rats,” Rochelle demanded. “Someone.”

“You must be mistaken. No one uses the dark room.”

“You do,” Rochelle said. Her eyes were burning intensely. “Mr. Evans does.

Elizabeth stared blankly at Rochelle trying to hide her shock. “You are mistaken. I do not use the dark room whatsoever and neither does Mr. Evans. He does not know of it—”

“Yes, both of you do,” she said. “There is no need to hide it.”

What could she say? She swallowed.

“I just wanted to inform you, that I know,” Rochelle said and turned to walk away.

“No—please,” Elizabeth called to her desperately. She got up from her chair and went after her. “Nathaniel—”

“Must not know?” she asked. “I know. I imagine the master would not appreciate knowing his spouse and the most distinguished lady of the town is nothing but a cheating whore.”

Elizabeth gasped. “Roche—”

She wanted to scream at her. What did she know about her relationship with Maxwell?

Nothing.

What right did she have to make those assumptions?

“Do not worry,” Rochelle said. “I will not tell him nor will any of the other maids.”

The other maids?

Elizabeth turned and retched onto the grass.

“Yes, we all know,” Rochelle said. She grabbed a napkin and dabbed it to Elizabeth’s mouth. “And we will keep it to ourselves…if—”

“If?” Elizabeth asked in horror.

“You do something for us,” Rochelle finished.

“Anything,” Elizabeth cried. “I will do anything. As long as you do not tell Nathaniel.”

Rochelle smiled. “That is what we were hoping you would say.”

~*~

“Nathaniel,” Elizabeth addressed her husband hesitantly. The weight of her guilt was choking her voice box. She croaked. “Dear, I need to talk to you. If now is a bad time…”

Nathaniel looked up from where was writing at his desk. “Yes, what is it dear?”

“I believe the maids deserve a raise,” she said. Straight to the point.

Nathaniel’s expression was surprised.

“They work very hard and they deserve more pay. Oh, and we should give them breaks. Did you know that some of the maids have not seen their families in years? I was thinking that we should have a—sort of—roster drawn up so some of the ladies work while the others go home for a month or so?”

Nathaniel stood up from his chair. “Elizabeth, what has inspired this sudden request? Have you been socializing with the maids? We really should invite your acquaintances around more often.”

“Darling, I do not need to speak to them to know how hard they are worked. Please, I believe we will be better for it.” The lady of the house did not usually converse with the master over issues of money but she had no choice.

He studied her face. “Elizabeth…”

She walked up to him and put her hand on his arm. “Please, love? It would make me so happy.”

“Darling they are already paid adequately.”

“Yes, but do you not agree that they should work even harder have they been paid more?” she rubbed his arm.

“I will allow them breaks,” he said, “this I agree with. But without extra money…”

“Nathaniel,” Elizabeth begged. “Paid breaks?”

He laughed. “No, Elizabeth…”

She was disappointed. “But that is nothing! The reason none of the maids have had time off is because they can not afford breaks. We need to raise their income love.”

Nathaniel had never heard Elizabeth speak so forcefully with him. He was shocked and surprised. He was threatened and for some reason, he was delighted. Finally, unable to say no to something she was so passionate about he said, “Fine. I never can say no to you Elizabeth. Have Rosie make up a roster but I will not pay for breaks over one-week. I will not budge on that. I am already being generous enough.”

Elizabeth smiled brightly. “Oh Nathaniel! How grateful I am!” How relieved I am. “Thank-you.”

In seeing her delight he knew he had made the right decision. “That will be all. Now go prepare yourself for the Opera this evening or we shall be late.”

“You are excessively kind to me darling!” she kissed his cheek and then hurried from the room to go tell Rochelle in the kitchen.

As she passed by the door she heard her name mentioned within. She paused to listen.

“I believe it is good,” someone said. She identified them as Rosie. “Some of the ladies marry so young they do not get to enjoy themselves. They are expected to be proper from the day they are born. Elizabeth has had a styled life but not a happy one.”

Someone snorted. “I wonder how she’d cope without the styled part!”

Elizabeth gritted her teeth and walked into the kitchen. Both of the ladies stopped talking immediately.

“You have paid breaks of up to a week, Rosie I suggest you draw up a chart as to who will go first.”

“Thank you mam,” Rochelle said.

“Yes, well,” Elizabeth said grumpily. “Let us see you keep your end of the deal.”

“We will,” Rosie said. “He will not know.”

“We promise,” Rochelle added sincerely. “A lady needs to help out her fellow woman.”

Elizabeth frowned. “If that is what you will call it. So be it. That will be all.” She headed for the door…

“Mam,” Rosie called her back.

“Yes?”

She smiled brightly. “Good for you.”

~*~

Elizabeth walked into the Opera house with her arm though Nathaniel’s. She was everything a well brought up woman should be. She was the perfect wife.

Or so it seemed.

Naturally, everyone stopped to greet and converse with the most handsome and prosperous couple of the neighborhood. Elizabeth behaved flawlessly, nodding her head, smiling and laughing at all the appropriate moments.

Standing in amongst a large group of guests was Mr. Evans, Mr. Guerin and Miss Tessa.

“Oh look,” Tessa said and clutched Maxwell’s arm. “There is that Mrs. Samson. The one that came over for lunch. I enjoyed her. We must go say hello.”

Maxwell could not see her. He wanted desperately to see her.

“Yes,” Michael agreed. “We shall.”

“Let us go then,” Tessa said and dragged Maxwell by the arm. “Make haste Maxwell. Pray, make haste.”

“Maxwell,” Michael said quietly. “Whatever is the hurry?”

“I fear I do not know,” Maxwell replied. “Does Tessa not always want to move in a hurry?”

They shot each other knowing looks.

“Elizabeth!” Tessa cried. “Elizabeth! My, you look utterly stunning.” Her eyes burned with jealousy.

“She does,” Nathaniel agreed. “Faultless as usual.” He looked into her eyes and smiled.

“You are too kind,” Elizabeth said. “Nathaniel, darling, this is Miss Tessa Harding. Tessa I am proud to introduce you to my husband, Nathaniel.”

“A pleasure,” Nathaniel said as he took her hand.

“Good Evening Mr. Guerin, Mr. Evans.” She met Michael’s eyes but not Maxwell’s. She could not.

“Indeed!” Nathaniel cried. “Wonderful to see you Mr. Evans. Mr. Guerin.”

“How was your trip?” Maxwell asked quietly.

“Awful,” Nathaniel replied honestly. “I can not stand being away from my dear Eliza. I am terribly glad to be back.”

Elizabeth swallowed uneasily when his hold on her tightened.

“I am glad you are back too,” she said quietly.

He smiled.

“We must get together for a brandy and cigar in the cocktail bar after the show. You too Mr. Guerin. I should enjoy being brought up to date with what I have missed in my absence. Yes? No? We will see you there.”

“Yes,” Maxwell said darkly.

“We will,” Michael added.

“Tell me is Isabel not here this evening?” Elizabeth asked.

“My sister has gone home to her husband for the time being,” Maxwell answered. “She has previously given her regrets in missing you Mrs. Samson. She says to tell you, Goodbye.”

“I am deeply vexed,” Elizabeth replied. “Pray, will you write me with her address so I may correspond with her?”

“Certainly. I will tomorrow.”

“Ah, how kind,” Nathaniel said. “We are both in your debt. We must go now. Come, Elizabeth. It was nice to meet you Miss. Tessa.”

She nodded. “You too, kind sir.”

When they were gone she turned to Maxwell and Michael with a smile. “Well, those two seemed deeply in love did they not? It is so nice to see. Shall we go take our seats?”

Maxwell glanced at her in an unimpressed manner.

“Yes, let’s,” Michael said.
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Post by nicola » Sat May 24, 2003 7:19 pm

Sorry about the wait! I am so bad, I've got exams all next week and I've been trying to stay and write and study and write...but I guess that isn't as easy as I hoped. Thank you for all the bumps and for staying interested even after the long wait! I know I'm annoying, I'll try do better...

Episode TEN

If Elizabeth had known that tonight’s opera was a tragic love story, perhaps she would have prepared herself. She closed her eyes and listened to the passionate voice of the female performer. The words she was singing seemed meant for her only.

Patricia was in love with a man she could not have. Elizabeth imagined Maxwell sitting next to her holding her hand. She imagined him kissing away the tears that were now dribbling down her cheeks.

She opened her eyes and turned her head to search for him in the dark. He was sitting quite a distance away but it was impossible to miss him because he was staring directly at her. She was shocked and lost her breath for a second. How long had he been watching her?

His dark eyes were worried and concerned.

She stared back at him sadly as tears continued to drip steadily from her eyes. When she reached up to wipe them away she noticed that Tessa was staring at her also. A moment of panic flood through her and she quickly diverted her eyes to her husband who was ‘thankfully’ wrapped up in the show.

She had to be more careful.

Turning back to Tessa, Elizabeth saw that she was still watching with curiosity. Elizabeth smiled at her and took Nathaniel’s hand before continuing watching that show. Was that convincing enough? She didn’t dare take a look at Tessa’s face and see.

Afterwards when Nathaniel was going to meet Maxwell and Michael in the bar he did not let her come with him. He sat her down with Tessa and her friends in the foyer and left by himself. The bar was no place for a woman, he said. All cigars and brandy.

She tried to disguise her worry and anxiety from Tessa who was watching her very closely. Inside she was frantic. What were they talking about? Was her Maxwell coping well enough in her husbands company? Maxwell was a strong man; he could take a lot…couldn’t he?

He could. That had been one of the first things that had drawn her to him. His strength and ability to stick out like a white rose in amongst red.

Elizabeth sat perfectly and tried not drum her fingers on her lap. Instead she lightly tapped her foot under her gown so no one knew. She had so much nervous energy she felt she would combust any moment.

On top of that she had burning desire for Maxwell. They had not been together for over one week and she needed him to make her feel clean again after her unfortunate encounter with Nathaniel.

When Maxwell and Michael finally emerged and came and collected Tessa she felt slight relief. She asked whether Nathaniel was on his way out.

“He was speaking with Senior Fredrick when he left,” Michael answered. “I am afraid we can not tell you.”

Great, she thought, I’ll be here for another hour at least.

“Goodbye Eliza,” Tessa said. “Amanda, Margaret, Jane, Aretha. It was a pleasure to meet you.”

“Indeed,” they all agreed but as soon as she left every single one of them started criticizing her. Elizabeth was barely listening but managed hear snippets through her Maxwell induced daze.

“I hope you all know that we have no chance with catching Mr. Evans eye now,” complained Jane. “I do not see what is so great about her.”

“She is in no way charming and I must say, one of the most disagreeable ladies I have come into acquaintance with,” Aretha said.

Elizabeth wondered if they detested her for reasons other then stealing one of the two bachelors in the community. Maxwell disliked her for reasons unknown to her but truthfully, Tessa had been nothing but kind to Elizabeth since she arrived.

“There is still hope for his comrade, Mr. Guerin,” Amanda said.

“I believe he has before now found a possible bride,” Elizabeth retorted and got up from her seat. “Good evening to you all.”

“Elizabeth, pray tell who?”

“That is not my gossip to tell, I apologize.”

As she was walking away she heard Jane groan loudly and cry out, “We need another ball! How I long for another ball!”

Nathaniel collected her an hour later and they left in their carriage for home.

Once there, he followed her to the bedroom and once again made love to her. “You were enormously admirable tonight; virtually every chap there congratulated me.” He smiled and traced his hand to her naked body stopping at her stomach. “You further reinforce my good choice of choosing you over so many to be my wife those years ago.”

Elizabeth shuddered and looked away.

“I feel I should reward you for your high-quality conduct,” he said. “But what to do…what to do.”

She wanted to tell him that if he left right now that would be a reward in itself but could not.

“You know I love you, do you not?”

“I know,” she answered.

“Don’t be frightened,” he said and his hand dipped lower to grasp her pink flesh. Elizabeth was shocked and wanted to tell him to stop. His finger dipped inside of her and then, as if he realized something, he instantly pulled it out again and got up. Elizabeth knew he had had every intention of ‘relieving’ her but had suddenly become conscious that he would have to do it from now on if he let her experience it just once. He liked to have all control in this relationship.

“It is late,” he said. “You need your rest.”

He left the room and Elizabeth threw up in her chamber pot.

~*~

The next morning she was called on my Tessa to join her for afternoon tea. Nathaniel insisted she go and put her in the carriage at one in the afternoon. Elizabeth did not want to go; she could not bear seeing Tessa talk of Maxwell as if he was hers.

“Hello Elizabeth!”

“Tessa,” Elizabeth said less enthusiastically. “How are you?”

“Well, very well,” Tessa said. “It is just so frightfully lonely in this house now that Isabel is gone and I have no one to converse with. Maxwell and Michael go into town for work during the day. I imagine it is the same at your abode?”

“How kind of you to think of me,” Elizabeth replied. “You are right. It can be quite lonesome at Birkbeck Park.”

Tessa smiled.

The door to the drawing room opened and Maxwell walked in without noticing them. When he finally he became aware he wasn’t alone he was shocked and stumbled backwards slightly. His eyes caught Elizabeth’s briefly. “Tessa, you never informed me we had a guest.”

“Oh?” her eyes twinkled. “Oops. Silly me. I invited Elizabeth for afternoon tea.”

Something in Tessa’s look made Elizabeth feel uneasy.

“Will you join us?”

“I shall,” Maxwell answered. “Pray, how are you Mrs. Samson?”

“I am well,” she replied quietly. “Yourself?”

He sat down. “I have been quite busy. Nevertheless I am also fine.”

After they had eaten Tessa asked to be excused for a brief moment and left the room. Elizabeth and Maxwell were left alone.

They remained in their seats for the two seconds it took for the door to click shut and then were in one another’s arms in a flash.

“Oh Elizabeth,” Maxwell said. “Oh my Elizabeth. I have missed you.” He kissed her furiously.

“Maxwell I have a great deal I must tell you,” she whispered. She was clinging to him with all her strength. “We do not have time now.”

He pressed his forehead to hers. “I love you. I have wanted to say that so much.”

“And I love you dear Maxwell,” she said. They kissed once more, neither of them willing to let go. They hung on for several minutes.

“You must allow me to come and see you tonight,” he begged.

Elizabeth wanted to say yes. “You can not,” she said. “We can not…it is not safe at my house any longer.”

“What has happened?” he asked seriously. “Oh no, please you must tell—”

They heard footsteps coming back and flung apart quickly. Composing themselves, they waited in silence for the door to open.

Tessa came back and took a seat on the sofa next to Maxwell. She smiled at Elizabeth. “Did Maxwell give you his sister’s address that you requested?”

“Ah-” Elizabeth swallowed. “No not yet.”

“I will write it for you now,” Maxwell said. He got up and strode towards the desk in the corner of the room.

A few minutes later Tessa asked, “What ever is taking you so long dear?”

“Not anything,” Maxwell replied quickly. “I just forgot it momentarily. Here you go Elizabeth.”

His fingers brushed hers as he handed it to her.

“Thank you,” she said.

~*~

When Elizabeth got home she read the address and the note he had attached to it. He said that she should not worry, they they would get another minute some time. He would make sure of it.

And she believed him. How silly that had been. She thought she was doing okay. She thought everything would work out somehow but four days later when she was eating dinner her husband came into the room, took a seat and said,

“I heard Maxwell and Tessa are engaged!”

The knife and fork in her hands fell from her fingers and made a loud clank on her china plate. “How-ho—” she could not get it out.

Nathaniel smiled. “He told me himself this afternoon at work. Is that not the BEST news? They are perfect for one another and it’s about time the old spinster got married!”

Elizabeth could not hear him over the screaming pain inside her head. She turned away from him but behind her the maids were standing in the doorway with barely suppressed shock all over their faces. She didn’t know what was worse.

She turned back to Nathaniel.

“Elizabeth? Do you not agree, it is just wonderful news, is it not?”

“Indeed,” she croaked out. “It is just wonderful”—could she keep from crying?—“news.” No she could not. She covered her face with her hands and tried to breathe. She could not do that either. Her lungs just ceased functioning. She tried to suck in but only ended up choking and coughing uncontrollably.

Rochelle rushed to her side to her help her. “Are you alright mam?”

“Elizabeth?” Nathaniel asked worriedly. “What ever is the matter?”

A tear dripped down her cheek. “I believe I swallowed my food too quickly.”

Rochelle helped her sip her water and then returned to her position at the door.

“He seemed rather excited about it,” Nathaniel continued, oblivious of the tears in Elizabeth’s eyes and the loud thumbing of her erratic heart. “How could he not be? Tessa is a fine…catch if I do say so myself.”

Nothing had prepared her for the intangible sting of heart break. She did not know how to hide it, or how to make it go away. She did not know how to take it.

All she could think was how? And why?
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