One can see another a thousand times without recognition. When one sees, not with eyes but with heart, heaviness descends upon them, for life is different.
When Sir Malcolm returned, Vanessa’s eyes twitched and burned at the sight of him.
She did not appreciate the upstairs maid’s demeanor, in the hall, arms full of linen, fresh from June sky. Sir Malcolm smiled politely, moved, and allowed her passage. Blush bloomed over the maid’s chest.
Vanessa grit her teeth. He saw.
“Nessa, are you alright?” Possibly, he recognized her.
“Yes,” she collected her face into a smile and bore the new weight.
Touching was verboten.
And yet she craved.
Like the moon, they attracted and repelled one another. In dusk, she lured him to the shore.
“How you’ve changed,” he whispered as she approached. Wind nearly stole his voice.
She held out a shell to him. He reached and she pressed it into his palm. Their warmth blossomed like the pink and purple clouds, shimmered like the inside of the shell she’d just given him. There were no more words to be found, only their fingers begging for more in rhythm with the swollen sea, or with their hearts. Who could tell?
“I’ve twisted my ankle,” she demurred.
He plucked her up. She was no more than a bunch of wild flowers. Deeper into the maze, he carried her, placed her onto a bench. They hid within the tall shrubs with their green-scented sighs.
“I’ll go get help,” he murmured, but did not move to leave. Then, “You reek of rose hips and lilac, and wild sea wind,” he growled and crushed her into his chest as though she were petals and he could release then capture her essence.
“You smell of leather and strong things,” she whispered against his neck.
At first, their kiss had the metallic taste of secrets.
But the heat of their wanton lips quickly melted metal easy as butter, rich with desire. Their stomachs twisted for more. They gave into their need. Tongues lathed against cheeks and teeth to lap up sweet honeyed apple and feral brandy tang. Malcolm’s moan tasted of herbal tobacco, and Vanessa’s whimper was soaked with vanilla cream.
They gorged themselves on these delicacies until it wasn’t enough. He ruched up her skirts, dipped his fingers into her dripping delta, brought them to his mouth. Sweet, slippery as oysters on the shell.
Blood rushed in her ears. It deafened.
She begged for the song of the sea. She pleaded for his voice to scratch her skin.
She did not want the comfort of Devil’s poetry, and yet, anything was better than the clanging beat of the gate closing, the harsh pulsation of his eyes speaking volumes upon volumes. Even a serpent’s hiss was salve upon the raw, festering flesh aching in the shell of her ear.
She could not tolerate the whimper in her chest, or the beat of her own heart.
Evil echoed. She turned her head to better hear it.