|Maella Abbey (maella_abbey) wrote,|
@ 2008-03-15 23:31:00
The storm blew up so suddenly as they approached the Northwest Isle that Angelo half suspected it of being Dhoulmagus's doing, rather than natural for the cold northern seas. If so, the jester was going to be sorely disappointed; the ancient magic which powered their ship kept it moving as smoothly atop the waves as if the skies were clear.
A fact which made Jessica's obvious distress all the more puzzling.
He thought at first she was worried they wouldn't reach the Dark Ruins in time to catch Dhoulmagus; the storm had slowed them, forcing the ship to continually correct its course. It was only when he went looking for her on the third day and found her on deck - not, thank the Goddess, near the rail, because he doubted even the ship's magic was proof against being washed overboard - staring back toward the long-vanished coast of Baccarat, that he considered the problem might be something else entirely.
She was white with cold, hair and clothing slicked tight against her body, and she didn't notice his approach until his arms were around her. "We've enough risk of dying when we face Dhoulmagus," he said into her ear. "Surely you don't want to do his work for him by freezing to death."
"I thought I heard...do you think the ship's all right?"
"This ship has survived for centuries; I doubt a little rain is going to concern it."
"I suppose not."
He waited, but she didn't move, not even to pull away from him. "Come below and get warm," he said finally, unsure whether to be worried or relieved that she obeyed.
Below decks, the air was warm - more of the ship's magic - and that seemed to bring Jessica back to herself. He loosened his hold on her, wary of her temper, utterly unprepared for her fingers to close over his damp sleeve and hold him still when he would have left her safely outside her door.
"I would never have thought you afraid of storms," he murmured.
"My father." Her voice shook. "After, Mother wouldn't even let us near the docks of Port Prospect unless the weather was fine."
"Shall I take your mind off the weather, then?" He meant it as a joke - mostly - and felt a hint of guilt when she nodded, relief in her eyes, and fumbled the door open without looking away. He had always taken a certain pride in never needing to coerce a woman, and seldom needing to pay one; he could almost understand Marcello's disgust with him, now that he was preparing to use Jessica's fear to his own advantage.
Still, he let Jessica pull him into the small room, helped her undress when her cold-numbed fingers proved too clumsy for laces and buttons, even unfastened the clasps holding her hair.
"Here." He wrapped a blanket around her and pressed her onto the bed, then retrieved her brush and settled sideways next to her, working the tangles out of her sodden hair. She would undoubtedly come to her senses and throw him out far before he finished, with dire threats of what would befall him should he ever tell anyone he'd seen her unclothed; he would make lewd suggestions until anger burned the fear from her eyes; and their relationship, whatever it was, would return to some semblance of normal.
Only Jessica merely sat, rigid and wide-eyed, staring at the far wall with her fingers tight around the edges of the blanket.
Angelo shed his gloves and began braiding, unable to restrain himself from going slowly, fingers gliding sensuously through her hair, wayward touches of his hands against her neck and shoulders. He hadn't quite convinced himself that he was doing it merely to provoke her by the time he reached the end.
"Are you all right?" he asked, pulling the ribbon from his own hair and tying off the braid.
"No." She looked at him, and it was only the steadiness of her gaze that made him nod when she said, "You promised to distract me."
"If you're sure."
In answer she leaned toward him, with a trust that made his conscience ache. He rested his hands on her shoulders, kneading out the tension, following fingers with lips that trailed feather light kisses above the blanket. She reached back, fingers tangling in his hair, and the blanket fell away. His hands strayed to her breasts, fingertips tracing their contours as if in memorization, thumbs teasing cold-peaked nipples.
When she shivered, he realized he was wearing his still damp uniform, and left her side long enough to shed it, long enough to give her yet another chance to protest, before returning to kneel in front of her. He could yet see the fear, but it was no longer so desperate, and her lips parted sweet and willing when he kissed her.
Angelo's right hand settled on her hip, his left on her breast, kneading, teasing pleased little sounds out of her throat, until the rich scent of her desire began gradually to overcome the not-quite-scent of cold and storm. He kissed his way down her throat, then, across her breasts, worked his way down her stomach. A pause to lick and nip at her belly button made her giggle; he smiled against her skin, the rare and welcome sound easing the last of his guilt.
His mouth dropped lower; her breath caught as he kissed the inside of first one thigh, then the other, and her fingers threaded through his hair.
Jessica's eyes were dark with desire when he looked up, her skin flushed, now, instead of pale. She tugged him up by her hold on his hair, kissed him hard, her legs wrapping around his waist so that she was pressed hot and slick against his erection. He wanted to accept that obvious invitation, but not yet, not when he could feel all the wrong kinds of tension beneath his hands. "Patience," he murmured, catching one of the tiny slime earrings she wore between his lips and giving it a tug. He shifted her slightly away, hands tracing patterns across her back, her hips, moving toward more tempting places. "I'll make sure you don't remember what a storm is, much less that we're in the midst of one, but you must...be...patient."
He punctuated his final words with light nips to her throat, and she laughed, no giggle this time, but a low, breathless sound that went straight to his groin. "I thought the Goddess taught...ahh, Goddess, yes, there...taught humility."
She squirmed against the hand which had reached its goal, and Angelo was hard pressed to keep his tone humble when he said, "I admit I still have a great deal to learn about certain things, but I believe my skills are adequate to the task at hand."
"Yes," she gasped. "Adequate."
"Perhaps more than adequate." He kissed her, then paused in what he was doing long enough to free his hair from her grip, ease her onto the bed, angle her hips so he could more easily taste her. Delicately, he licked her swollen folds, felt the muscles in her thighs quiver against his palms, his cheeks grow slick with her. His tongue plunged deep inside her heat, then he drew back, sucked gently on the nub of flesh that made her cry out and writhe up against him.
The throbbing between his legs grew more demanding with every breath, every taste, every sound she made, and he finally drew back, though her legs wrapped around him, tried to hold him in place. She was beautiful, skin flushed pink and sheened with sweat, eyes closed, mouth slightly open as she panted. Tendrils of hair had already escaped the braid, clinging in damp curls to her cheeks. He reached to brush them back, and her eyes opened, hand rising to capture his.
Not beautiful, he decided as she turned her head to kiss his palm. Nothing less than stunning.
He leaned over her, mouth retracing the path it had followed down her body, and now the tension thrumming through her was exactly the sort he wanted. He kissed her - she drew back, just a bit, at the taste of herself on his lips - and shifted her until they were both properly on the bed and he could guide himself into her.
For a moment, he was still, gathering the wits which had scattered when she squeezed tight around him, but she was moving, impatient, demanding, and he was far too near the brink to resist. He felt a pang of something soft and wistful, that this encounter should be so brief, that there likely would never be another, then Jessica moved, a throaty groan escaping, and thought vanished, wholly replaced by need. Had it not been, he might have been amused that even this appeared to be a battle between them, bodies straining against each other, yielding only reluctantly, the narrow bed creaking and shifting beneath their struggles.
Angelo felt the familiar tightening, possessed just enough presence of mind to slide his fingers between them, stroking and circling. Jessica jerked, her legs closing tight around him, pulling him deep, and he came hard when she tightened, both their bodies shaking with release.
Eventually, she released him. He settled beside her, and she snuggled against him, loose-limbed and pliant. Not likely that she was going to toss him out right away, then, he decided.
He wrapped a protective arm around her, and let his eyes slide closed.