Authors: Scarlett Rush
ONE FINAL NIGHT
An erotic novella
By Scarlett Rush
Published by Xcite Books Ltd – 2013
Copyright © Scarlett Rush 2013
The right of Scarlett Rush to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by her in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.
The story contained within this book is a work of fiction. Names and characters are the product of the author’s imagination and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No part of this book may be copied, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, electrostatic, magnetic tape, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the written permission of the publishers: Xcite Books, Suite 11769, 2nd Floor, 145-157 St John Street, London EC1V 4PY
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THE TIME BEFORE
‘If I gave you two options,’ he said, just as my fingers had curled around him, ‘I wonder which you would choose.’
‘Is one of them you?’ I said, instantly regretting how facile and needy I sounded, although my grip tightened round his hardness, not wanting to let him go.
‘We both know that in my position I cannot continue to see you for much longer,’ he replied, with something of a sigh. ‘It will not be allowed. We could drag it to a slow death, perhaps with our passion replaced by bitterness that it has to end, but at least we would have those few more moments together. That is the first choice. Your second choice is to have your beauty honoured in the way that it should be; to have one final night together, one of unmatchable bliss to be remembered for ever, the joy of its memory alone to replace the contact between us.’
In that moment, I knew he’d slipped away. It scattered the happy illusion of us together that I habitually toyed with when I was alone. He was never mine, and now it was time to prove it. I could free him and go out in a blaze of amorous glory, my heart ripped out in that instant. Or I could cling on for one more day, one more minute of him, my dignity and my soul withering by degrees, in the vain hope that this would somehow temper the final impact. My heart said “cling”, but my head was still conscious of my recent display of neediness. It wanted to pretend I still had some grace left in me, so, with as much bravado as I could muster, I proclaimed a preference for the “one final night”.
‘That choice may hurt the most,’ he said, stroking the hair from my eye. ‘At the time, you will think it to be everything your body ever wanted; the most scintillating, sensual fulfilment you could bear to take. It will be beyond any pleasures you could fantasise. However, nothing will ever come close to it again. You will yearn for more of the same, but it will never come. What you have to consider is whether the euphoria of having had it outweighs the regret of being denied as great a joy ever after. What you haven’t had, you cannot miss, and I warn you, this one night you will miss like the sun.’
Suddenly it sounded like a challenge, and I can’t help but bristle at such things. Did I not possess the strength of body and character to absorb such thrills? Did he presume I was not woman enough to take whatever he could give without being destroyed by forlorn nostalgia? Moreover, right or not, was I to let him bask in the conceited notion that my life’s true pleasure began and ended with him alone? I laughed, grasping him tighter to remind him that I was still to be reckoned with, that he might also miss
like the sun.
‘And what makes you think that you could give me such a night?’ I enquired.
‘Not just me, my love. Me and many others – as many as it takes to give you the perfect night of bliss you so deserve.’
Then he kissed me to leave the notion blooming in my mind. He knew my thoughts were now so easily swayed by such things. The sudden thrill of it blocked out what had been said before. My hand was moving on him and I was shuffling down beneath the bedclothes before I had a chance to regroup and consider my position. I ran my lips over him and took him in, and it didn’t seem like I had already lost, but I had. The severance papers were signed. It was too late to begin entreaties now. I had agreed the manner of our parting and, him being him, he wasn’t going to let me back out of it.
I saw him first during a guided tour of the Château. It had been a spur of the moment thing, perhaps too bright a day to spend indoors, but sometimes I simply need a quick fix of beauty and grandeur. I cannot remember another time I have been so instantly taken by someone they stopped me dead in my tracks. He was away from my group, studying Rodin’s tortured sculpture of a hand. Not many men can boast pure elegance, but he could, even just standing there. His black suit was slim cut and superbly fitted. His shoes probably cost more than a month’s rent on my apartment. The shirt was in lilac, worn without a tie; the small, neat collar unbuttoned at the top only. His hair was silver but he was not old – maybe only just closer to 50 than to 40. He looked fit, toned, and tanned. The eyebrows were still jet black and, along with the black creases that ran from each nostril down the sides of his mouth, they gave hints that in younger days his dark looks might have been described as “brooding”.
Then, suddenly, he was staring straight at me.
Sometimes you are just caught and, by the time your reactions awake, it’s too late to look away without making it obvious. I therefore held his gaze, bubbling inside at my own boldness. If there was one thing he would quickly learn of me it’s that I have a feisty side. I don’t know why his eyes shifted so unexpectedly to mine. Maybe he sensed me watching him, although I like to think he had already picked me out and was simply returning for another look. Once I decided to hold his gaze I didn’t then know what to do with my expression, whether best to look inviting or aloof, pleased or indifferent by what I saw. His face remained impassive, the head tilting a little as if studying me as he had the works of art surrounding us. I managed the slightest smile, trying to appear nonchalant, as if it had been that our eyes had met in an instant, rather than me being caught gawping at him. He blinked once, slowly, gave a small nod, and went back to Rodin’s hand.
My group had moved on and I was alone. I didn’t want to go chasing after them looking like a lost sheep, nor was I sure my legs would be steady enough for a dignified exit, so I stayed where I was, apparently appraising a pastoral scene of naively painted fat cattle.
‘It’s strange,’ he said from just behind me, making me jump. ‘Here I am, surrounded by fabulous treasures and works of art, and yet all I can see is you.’
It would have been nice to have maintained composure but in truth I blushed hard, and when whatever nonsense reply I rushed for tried to come out it got trapped in my throat, like I was gasping for air. This should at least have bought me some time to regain my poise but, sadly, my swimming head wouldn’t settle, so when I did manage a reply it was something trite and unfunny, like, ‘They should give you back your entrance fee.’
He might have produced a smile, but my pathetic reaction had already provided the impetus to get out of there and I was off heading for the next room, seeking the safety in numbers of my group. They were standing before a huge portrait of the greatest lady ever to have lived at the Château. She looked gorgeous and serene, depicted as a shy Venus at her
, being bathed by cherubs as Cupid looked on. Incredibly, I let my guard down again, and while I replayed the scene with him in my head, searching for a better response to his flattery, the group moved off once more and left me exposed.
‘She is beautiful, is she not? The one-time jewel of all the Empire,’ he said this time, coming once more out of nowhere. My chest thumped in excited relief that he had followed. He could have been proud and let me drown in the regret of my ill-judged reply. My blood was coursing again, but at least I could cover my lack of composure with a nod that might have been construed as silent thoughtfulness.
‘She was the Helen of her day,’ he continued, closing in right behind me so I could feel his breath at my neck. He smelled divine. ‘She was a paragon of grace and virtue, or so everybody thought. However, they couldn’t have been more wrong. Would you like to hear a secret about her? I’ll tell you: she had desires she could not keep to herself, a hunger she had to feed. One morning she was at the hothouse, collecting tomatoes. Two gardeners were there with her, stripped to the waist in their toil, spreading the mixture of hay and muck from the stables over the tomato beds. Only a very few people know of this secret, by the way, so you had better guard it well. Are you the type who knows the importance of discretion, I wonder?’
He briefly stroked his chin as he said this last part, perhaps to give me a view of his wedding ring, which I had already noticed, thank you very much. I looked him straight in the eye, my butterflies forgotten now that my honour was being challenged, even though I knew his question was intentionally loaded.
that type,’ I said, daring him to think otherwise. He didn’t bat an eyelid, merely turning back to behold the portrait.
‘I’m afraid that, in the stifling heat, her ladyship couldn’t keep her passions to herself,’ he whispered, close to me. ‘She sent a desperate prayer up to heaven, then lifted her skirts and petticoats and spread herself, demanding the gardeners use her as they would their wives or their whores. The gardeners refused before God, saying she was too pure and perfect for men such as themselves, whereby she sat herself down in their pile of mucky hay, covering her bare skin to show that she was no less dirty than them. She forced one of the men to raise his smock and she mounted him, crying out for more. The other gardener took her from behind, even though her rear was befouled by the straw, so that between them they filled her entirely, and did not stop until she was ready to collapse.
‘Some have called her the queen of decorum, but I know that, every week for three years, until typhus took her, she went down in secret to the hothouse and in that swelter she stripped naked and took the gardeners inside her two or three or more at a time, never able to sate her growing addiction to wantonness.’
I was out of practice, unused to so direct an approach from one so appealing. I might appear strong, I might indeed have that feisty side, but inside the protection of my body – the thing that deflects the attentions of men who fear I am above them – inside that pretty scaffold, at that particular moment, everything was falling down. I might play at being a woman of the world, the epitome of the unflappable seen-it-all-before sophisticate, but the reality is further from the truth than anyone would guess. His story was rude enough to have me trembling, yet he conveyed it without vulgarity, as if her ladyship had done nothing worse than collected her fruit and gone home to gorge upon it. I didn’t know who he was to be privy to such a tale, but that doesn’t mean I doubted it. Rather it set my mind afire, forcing the naughty images to come, as he surely knew they would. It was too warm a day, and the frisson already there between us, to stop it happening. There was no way
to picture him as one of the gardeners, with me as her ladyship.
‘Perhaps one shouldn’t condemn her,’ he pressed on. ‘It must be hard to live a reputable life when everyone lusts after you. You must be able to feel their desire for you in the air, constantly. Those looks coming your way, carrying those silent thoughts of lewdness, bombarding your emotions until it is all you can ever think about. It would drive you to distraction. Have you never had a moment in your life when lust has defeated decency and you had no choice but to give in to it?’
‘No, I have not,’ I replied, trying to look haughty, even though I was lying.
‘Then you are about to have your first,’ he said, nearly stopping my heart.
I surrendered to him as simply as that. Never before had I been left so completely vulnerable by another’s looks. Maybe it was a combination of his looks and confidence that stripped me so utterly of my usual resolve. He took me while I was bewildered, while my head couldn’t remember what a respectable girl would do, while my body and the ache of nearly two years without feeling another’s touch upon it held sway. He propelled me backward with a light touch, giving only the briefest glance toward the entrance to check that we were alone in the room for at least that moment. Our privacy wouldn’t last, but he didn’t care. He steered me back behind the thick velvet drape, pulling it across a little more to help hide us from incomers, although detection would have been almost instant. He leant into me so that my back was to the wall, and then he kissed me full on the mouth, blocking any protestations. The huge window at my side was nearly floor to ceiling, so we would have been clearly visible from the lawns, but my eyes were already shut, and so to me the world was blocked out.
His hands were immediately at my hips, sliding my narrow skirt upward. With the warmth of the day I was bare-legged, and I felt the rash of goosebumps spreading across my exposed skin. I could hardly breathe. He stopped kissing me and looked into my eyes. I could see his passion, and he would have seen mine. If I wanted to stop him that would have been the moment, but then his hand came up and covered my mouth. His other hand was busy sliding up between my thighs to part them. My flesh was warm there, moist from the heat, slowing the glide of his fingers. But it could not stop them completely. In the fractions before they found their target I felt a release from inside, my body readying itself for him whether my principles agreed to it or not.
My underwear was silk and came away just like that, pushed aside with precious little resistance. His hand squeezed tighter at my mouth, then a finger was slipping up inside me, sent with some force, knowing that I would be ready for the invasion. I gasped into his palm and could feel the instant mist of spittle on my cheeks and lips. He curled inside me, bumping the tip of his finger on the front wall of my womb, finding the spot that always caused my legs to turn to jelly. Only that single digit held me up at all.
I could feel the rush from within, my strength and resolve and desire all flooding out. His thumb pressed against the swell of my hood, surely hard enough to feel the pulse beneath from my little hidden bud. I’m ashamed to say I could feel my bliss seeping down my inner thighs, but that’s how lost I already was. Voices came: two ladies discussing the motifs of the Flemish tapestries they had seen in the previous room and then rejoicing at the sight of her ladyship’s portrait. He pushed me further into the wall to better our concealment, but his finger still kept up its light, stroking contact within and his thumb still pressed and rolled back and forth across my hood.
At first, I thought he was going to stop and ride out the danger, amazed that we were yet to be discovered, hoping no more would come into our room before the chattering ladies left. Instead, he continued with his advances, increasing the speed of his thumb movement, making sure my sensitive nub was squashed and flicked back and forth relentlessly. I felt myself begin to shake. My body was running out of air. The wet from my heavy exhalation was coating his palm and smearing onto my face. If I could just hold out for a minute or so the ladies might leave without being alerted to our presence. Then another finger slipped up inside me and my heel inadvertently jerked back to smack loud against the skirting board.
The voices stopped and I knew the eyes would be on the curtain, searching for signs of our movement. They must have been able to hear our breathing, especially mine, echoing around the hollow of his palm, coming in snorts against the press of his finger at my nostrils. He wouldn’t stop and I simply couldn’t. The ladies would surely pull the curtain across and stand in shock as they witnessed
ma petite mort
at the hands of this beautiful man. In slow-time the thrill burst through me, my eyes open, awaiting the ignominy of our discovery, though they wanted to be screwed tight shut, my legs giving way so that only his strength saw me from collapsing.
The curtain never was pulled back, although we could plainly hear the little gasps of our dumbstruck witnesses mere feet away. We would be way more obvious to them now that pleasure had taken us over. The movements behind the curtain would look like cats scrabbling inside a velvet bag. Escape should have been my only objective, if I could just make my legs work. I should have left him behind if he was so indifferent to detection. I had a reputation to uphold even if he cared nothing for his. I should have told him to let me go when his hand finally left my mouth, but all I said was, ‘I need you inside me.’
It was the shock of my own audacity that made our flight bearable. I have never before shown such blatant licentiousness to a man I didn’t know. When he dragged me out from behind our cover, I was only vaguely aware of the outraged cries from the ladies behind. My head was scrambled and my face burning, but he pulled me and I went out the way in, out through the group who stopped admiring the tapestries to witness this new commotion, through the room with the display of Sèvres porcelain in glass cases, out onto the galleried landing.
I thought he knew the way but he immediately turned wrong, coming to a junction where stairs might have given an escape route, if not for the thick red rope across it and the brass plate informing us there was no public access. He didn’t turn back. He simply lifted the hook at the rope’s end from the little brass hoop in the wall and pushed me through and up the flight of three stairs. He gained the lead again, and in a few steps he stopped at a door marked private. In we went, the cool and the echo inside telling me instantly that it was a washroom – a large, grand one at that, with rows of cubicles and sinks set side by side within a mottled marble slab. However, this wasn’t the most noticeable thing about the washroom. The girl in black mopping the tiled floor was.
He didn’t even baulk at her. He dragged me in toward the sinks, pointing at the girl and brusquely ordering her to go about her business. Over the marble top I went, my skirt already being lifted and my underwear being pulled down around my thighs to leave me bare. He spanked me. Only three times; not hard, but enough to make me squeal and have the sharp sound rebound off the toilet walls. It wasn’t to hurt me, it was because I was so wanton and he was so full of desire. The maid stood aghast, and I’m not sure whose cheeks were the redder: hers or mine.