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Authors: Jennifer McNare

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BOOK: Dreaming of You
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Melody gasped in pain as he drove the full length of his manhood into her, gripping the sheets in her clenched fists as tears stung her eyes.
 

“Jesus, I’m sorry,” he said, knowing that he was hurting her and hating himself for it.  He remained motionless; hoping the worst of the pain would subside quickly.
 

His voice, heavy with anguish and remorse was touching.  Though he might not be in physical pain, she realized that he too was suffering.  Releasing her grip on the sheet, she tried to relax.  The initial pain gradually began to subside, giving way to a slightly more tolerable feeling of discomfort.  After a moment, she raised her hand and touched her fingertips lightly to his cheek.  It was smooth and clean-shaven.  “Don’t be sorry.  This isn’t your fault.”
 

Her soft whisper and gentle touch were both soothing and heartbreaking.  He rested his weight on his elbow, closing his eyes as her fingers moved gently along the line of his jaw.  Who was this woman seeking to comfort
him
, when
she
was so obviously the one in pain?  He opened his eyes, wishing he could see her face, and hating the darkness that hid it from him.  He remained still, afraid to move and cause her more pain.  “I don’t want to hurt you.”
 

“I know.”  She dropped her hand back to the sheet and tried to keep her breathing slow and even.   
 

“Is it bearable?” he asked, shifting his weight slightly.
 

“The worst has passed,” she assured him, though in reality she had no way of knowing if that were true.    
 

“You will tell me to stop, if it becomes too much for you?”
 

“Yes.”
 

He began to move then, ever so slowly, the slightest bit forward and then back.  She waited for the searing pain to begin again, but thankfully it seemed that the worst of it had in fact passed.  The effect of his movements wasn’t exactly pleasant, but it wasn’t agonizing either.  
 

Gradually Gavin increased the length and tempo of his thrusts, listening for the slightest indication of pain from the woman beneath him.  It became easier as her body’s natural response began to take effect.  She eventually grew moist, allowing him to move more freely and with less friction.
 

Melody was surprised as his gentle thrusting became smoother and more fluid.  Her body didn’t seem to be as resistant to his penetration as it had at first.  She began to relax, thankful that the pain seemed to have subsided.  Yes, she could endure this she thought with relief.  Well, she amended, she could endure it physically, emotionally was another matter entirely.  She tried not to think about it, losing her virginity to a nameless, faceless stranger, but it wasn’t easy.  It wasn’t supposed to be like this.  A woman’s innocence
should be given to her husband, the man she loved and who loved her.  Her parents had that kind of relationship.  She had always imagined that someday she would have that too, but instead, she’d set aside the romantic notions of her youth when she had agreed to wed Charles Cavendish.  Now, here in this dark room, those romantic notions were not just set aside, but completely shattered.  It was that, more than anything else that caused the tears to fall from her eyes and roll slowly down her cheeks.  
 

Not wanting to prolong her discomfort, Gavin finished as quickly as he could, spilling his seed a short time later.  However, instead of the gratifying release he usually felt at that point, he instead felt an odd sense of loss.  He had always been careful in the past, not wishing to father a handful of illegitimate children like so many of his peers were apt to do.  And now, here he was at twenty-four, being forced to father a child against his will, a child he would never know.  
Damn it to hell!  
He lowered his head in silent frustration, inadvertently brushing the side of his cheek against hers as he did.  He felt the dampness of her tears against his skin, and his anger and frustration were immediately replaced with guilt.  “I’m so sorry that I hurt you,” he said, his voice full of remorse as he lifted his head.  Rolling off of her and onto his side, he instinctively raised his hand to her face, catching one of her tears as his thumb brushed lightly against her cheek.  “Please don’t cry.”  
 

“No, it’s not that,” Melody assured him, though her voice was barely a whisper.  “It’s just…”  Her voice trailed off.  How could she put her feelings, her emotions into words?  “It’s just…” She tried again, and then choked back a sob, unable to continue.
 

Her obvious pain and emotional anguish nearly broke Gavin’s heart.  He wanted to comfort her, but what could he say?  What could he do?  He brushed another tear from her cheek, and then hesitantly he lowered his hand to her shoulder, squeezing ever so lightly in what he hoped was a comforting gesture.
 

Surprising them both, Melody turned toward him then, pressing her face against his naked chest as the sobs she had tried so hard to contain suddenly broke forth.
 

Gavin’s arms went around her at once, pulling her snuggly against the warmth of his broad chest.  “It’s alright.  Everything will be alright,” he murmured against the top of her head.  With his right hand, he stroked her hair in a soothing motion, noting as he did its long length and soft texture.  He inhaled the faint aroma of lilac-scented soap as his cheek rested against the thick mass.  He held her like that for several minutes, crooning soft, comforting words as her tears dampened his chest.  It reminded him of the time he’d comforted his sister when she had broken her favorite doll.  He’d quieted her tears with the promise of a brand new doll and a box of her favorite chocolates from the village confectionery shop.  Unfortunately he had nothing to offer the young woman in his arms to ease her pain, except for some comforting words and a warm shoulder to cry on.  He knew that it wasn’t nearly enough.   
 

Gradually Melody’s sobs began to quiet, and as the minutes went by she became increasingly aware of her position.  His bare skin was warm and smooth beneath her cheek, and she could hear the gentle thudding of his heartbeat beneath her ear.  It seemed odd that she could find comfort in the arms of this man, this stranger who had just taken her innocence, but somehow she did.  She lay there for a moment,
breathing in his clean, masculine scent.  It was rather pleasant, surprisingly so.  Finally her hands, which had been curled into fists, opened against his chest and she pressed softly.  “I’m fine now.  Thank you.”  
 

Gavin felt the slight pressure of her touch and released his hold at once, allowing her to pull back.  He didn’t know what to say.  
You’re welcome?
  It seemed inappropriate somehow.  “Perhaps we should get dressed then,” he said instead.  
 

“Yes,” Melody agreed.
 

“Watch your step,” Gavin cautioned as he rose to a seated position, dropping his legs over the side of the mattress.
 

Turning in the opposite direction, Melody rose from the other side of the mattress.  She used her hands to guide her to the foot of the bed, and then trailed them along the top of the wooden footboard to where she had laid her clothes.  
 

They dressed in silence, the only sound in the room the faint rustling of fabric as they donned their clothing.  They finished quickly.
 

“There are chairs, if you would care to sit?”
 

“Yes, that would be fine.”
 

“Here take my hand,” Gavin said, moving around the footboard, reaching in the direction of her voice.  
 

Melody raised her hand toward him without hesitation, feeling his touch a moment later.
 

Gavin grasped her hand in his own, noting as he did it’s smooth, soft texture.  Another indication, like her speech, that she wasn’t a member of the working class.  “This way.”  He led her to the two wooden chairs, knowing the exact layout of the small room, even in the darkness.  He guided her to one of the chairs, feeling for its high wooden back, finding it and then placing her hand upon it.  
 

“Thank you.  I’ve got it.”  He released her hand and carefully she settled into the chair, smoothing the skirt of her gown as she did, noting the slight tenderness between her thighs.  She heard the faint scraping of chair legs against the floor and realized that he’d taken a seat just a few feet away from her own.  
 

They sat in silence for a while, but it quickly grew uncomfortable.  Gavin, rarely at a loss for words, wracked his brain for something to say.  Surprisingly, once again it was she who broke the silence.
 

“How long has it been do you think?”
 

Her voice was soft and decidedly feminine, though not in the least bit high pitched or shrill.  It was in fact, quite appealing and pleasing to the ear.  
Appealing
, the unexpected notion caught him off guard.  “How long?”
 

“He said he would return for me in one hour.”  Melody said quietly.  “I was just wondering how long it’s been.”
 

“Oh, of course.”  He had no idea how long they had been in the room together, but if he had to guess, he’d assume that it had probably been close to thirty minutes.  “I think it will be a while yet.”
 

“Yes, you are probably right.”  Melody wondered if she should simply remain silent until Mr. Edwards came to fetch her, but after a moment, decided against it.   She searched her mind for an acceptable topic of conversation and decided on something she was actually curious about.  “Have you ever been to London?”  
 

The question caught Gavin completely by surprise.  “Yes, of course,” he responded without thinking.
 

“I know that we are not to speak of personal matters,” Melody said in a cautioning tone, “but perhaps you could tell me about London, in the most general sense that is.  I have always wanted to go, but haven’t yet had the opportunity.”  In fact, she hadn’t been anywhere really, aside from her childhood home, Edgington and the area surrounding the tiny village where she had grown up.  Her brother’s health, as well as their financial difficulties, had kept her and her family close to home.  She had never minded the relative isolation, but still, she couldn’t help wondering what it would be like to see other places and to experience some of the things that she had only heard about secondhand or read about in books.  
 

“I would be glad to,” Gavin assured her, relieved that she had provided them with a safe topic upon which to converse.  “What would you like to know?”
 

“Well, everything I suppose.”
 

Her voice was surprisingly eager, and for the first time in two days Gavin actually smiled.  For the next twenty minutes he gladly answered every question she asked regarding the royal family, the opera, the theater, Hyde Park, Rotten Row and a half dozen other subjects.  It was a welcome relief from the awkwardness of their situation, and to his surprise, he found her genuine curiosity delightfully engaging.  When the knock sounded at the door, indicating that their hour was over, he found himself feeling oddly disappointed.  It was…unexpected.
 

 

 

Later that night, as Melody listened to her husband’s rhythmic snores, her thoughts turned once again to the day’s events.  When she had returned home earlier that afternoon, Charles had immediately whisked her into the privacy of his study.  He had shown not the slightest degree of interest in her wellbeing of course, instead simply demanding to know if the union between her and his captive had been consummated, completely mindless of her feelings of shame and degradation or of the pain she’d felt at the loss of her virginity, both physical and emotional.  Despite her humiliation and embarrassment, she had assured him in the least possible detail that it had.    
 

Now, lying next to him, she could still envision the smug grin and self-satisfied expression that had quickly spread across his wrinkled face.  It was a look she had come to despise.  With a great deal of effort she forced the distasteful image from her thoughts, replacing it with one of her family.  She hoped and prayed that they would never learn of what she’d had to do to shield them from her husband’s vicious threats.  In spite of their own peril, they never would have allowed her to go through with it.  She knew without question that her parents would have gladly sacrificed everything they had to try and protect her from her husband’s depravity.  
 

She pictured her family as they had been before Charles Cavendish had entered their lives, sitting around the dinner table, sharing the highlights of their day as they had every evening for as long as she could remember.  The memory soothed her, and before long her heavy lids fell closed as she drifted off into a restless sleep.
 

Chapter 5

 

They had developed an unspoken routine in the days following their initial encounter.  The first part of their hour together was spent in bed, and for the most part their coupling, though only slightly less awkward with each successive occurrence, followed the same pattern as their first.  The second part of the hour was spent in polite conversation, conversation that seemed to grow easier and less stilted with each passing day.  They were, in a sense, getting to know one another, although their discussions were always generic and never touched on anything personal or distinguishing.  They both knew the rules and were careful not to break them, for each of them had far too much to lose if they did.
 

However, on this particular afternoon their polite dialogue had taken a rather amusing turn, for they were presently regaling one another with humorous anecdotes.
 

“Doesn’t it make you dizzy to waltz, one young lady asked of another?” Gavin began, and then paused.  “Yes, she answered, but one must get accustomed to it, for it is the way of the
whirled
,” he finished drolly.
 

BOOK: Dreaming of You
10.25Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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