The following day was quiet at the Hornbrook estate, save the household staff cleaning up after the ball. There had been a large crowd in attendance, which the family was pleased about, but that meant a good day’s work clearing the room of china, fine crystal, and stemware, the mess left behind by some of the younger people who had stayed on till well past midnight, drinking champagne and smoking out on the lawn.
Dorrington left shortly after Wesley, Proberta, and Henley had moved to the drawing room, and took his tired aunt home. Wesley had shown outward disappointment when hearing that news, much to the surprise of the rest of the group, but no one paid much attention. Wesley, on the other hand, could not keep thoughts of this fine young gentleman at bay, concocting various schemes of how they could get together again, and sooner the better. He had no idea how long Dorrington planned on staying with his aunt, but Wesley felt sure they would have the opportunity to converse, or go out for a ride, preferably alone. Perhaps Dorrington could be convinced to stay on a few weeks longer than planned.
Henley rose early, put on his flannel shirt, corduroy trousers, and Macintosh, slipped on his green Hunter boots, and headed out of doors for a walk. The morning air was cool and damp, the grounds covered in heavy dew. He took a deep breath and picked up his pace. He enjoyed being out in the early part of the day. It was peaceful, but also held a certain level of excitement, for he never knew what forest animal he might startle as he made his way farther from the protected grounds of the estate, and deeper into the woods. Dawn and dusk were known as the times when all natural creatures roamed their land freely. Birds chirped loudly, foliage crunched underfoot as deer, elk, rabbits, and fox, came out of hiding, fearless on their home turf, before the full light of day.
This morning, however, Henley’s excitement was far different. Although always aware when in untamed territory, today he had only one thing on his mind; Rosetta. Once he entered the forest, the mossy floor underneath his feet, he nearly ran through the thick brush, feeling the moisture, cold from the night’s chill, on his warm cheeks. When he arrived, the hut was dark, and his first thought was that he'd missed her. He knew early morning was best for collecting herbs and mushrooms, which she did regularly, not only to keep the basics well stocked for her regular customers, but to continually discover new roots and plants to concoct new remedies and tinctures.
Henley opened the front door and stepped inside. It was warm, even though there were barely enough coals in the hearth to start a new fire. He removed his shoes, as was customary for forest dwellings, and went over to add a few pieces of cedar kindling on the remaining white coals, placing two birch logs on top. Within a few minutes the kindling caught, emitting a warm, rosy glow into the sparse room. Closing the fire screen, he stood and padded through the front room to her bedroom at the back. He was surprised to see her fast asleep, buried under a fluffy feather quilt. A rush of care and concern swept over him as he moved closer to hear her breath. She stirred and opened her eyes. It took her a moment to focus, still groggy from sleep.
"Henley," she said softly. "You're here." She did not seem surprised to see him. "I was just having the most delicious dream about you."
"Really?" Henley answered. He began to unbutton his shirt while she continued to talk dreamily, as if telling him the most pleasant story.
"You were running through the forest, not lost but in a great hurry." She gazed out the small paned window, lost in thought. The sun was just shedding first light onto the world, casting hues of honey across the bed. Henley noticed warm red in Rosetta's hair as the sun streamed in, and her olive skin was shining smooth and radiant. Henley removed his shirt and began to unfasten his trousers.
"You seemed to be looking for something, frantically," she went on. "Climbing slippery banks, balancing fallen logs, racing alongside deer and elk in search of...I didn't know what you were looking for until you finally found it."
"And what was it I found, my darling?" Henley asked as he climbed into Rosetta's bed and snuggled up against her soft, succulent body, devouring her with kisses. She smiled, turning to him.
"Me, Henley. You found me."
He put his eager mouth over hers and smothered her with his cool, wet lips. He pulled back and touched each section of her mouth with his, starting with the corners and moving along her lip line one kiss at a time.
"You're a good student, my lover,” she said. “You learn quickly. You already have your own technique. Very nice.” Rosetta started laughing as Henley began to work his mouth and tongue down her neck, nibbling behind her ear.
"I had no idea you were ticklish, my lovely." He looked up, but only briefly. "What about here?" He asked, playing his tongue back and forth between her ample breasts. "Or here?"
The two of them played this game until she was dizzy with laughter, tears streaming down her cheeks, her body moist from his kisses. When he parted her thighs with his tongue, and planted his lips onto her wetness, her laughter turned to deep, guttural moans, her body arched with pleasure. Hips rising to meet his thirsty tongue, he dove in, sucking and drinking of her sweet nectar.
"Oh, Henley, please, please, enter me now." She was panting in desperation.
Henley had never heard her beg, and he found he liked it. He would not make her suffer long, just enough to make this titillating arousal last. He pulled his tongue out and softened his touch upon her opening. He blew softly, stirring the hairs that graced her womanhood. He looked up at her while manipulating his mouth and tongue above the vee between her legs, hovering over her teasingly. Her moans deepened, so he let the tip of his tongue touch her, then pulled away as quickly as he'd landed. This he repeated until her sweet juices we're spurting forth from her heightened state of arousal. But just as he too was ready to indulge in an intense meeting of body and mind, he rose until his body was above hers, taking in the breadth of her elegance, her grace. She looked up at him, puzzled at first, then pleased.
“You astonish me, young master. How quickly you learn the tricks of arousal. And this, just the beginning of our adventures together.”
She reached up and ran her long fingers down his taut chest until she grasped his stiff member in her hand. Looking into his clear, blue eyes, she gently squeezed him until his throbbing induced creamy juices from its erect tip.
“Now it’s your turn,” she whispered.
She arched her back until he was in her mouth, at which point he dropped to his knees so she could take all of him in.
Suddenly they heard a heavy knock on the door. For a moment they stopped to listen, but heard nothing more. When she took him in again and heard his moans, she also heard the banging at the door, this time more urgently. Torn between ignoring the noise and losing themselves in their delight, or letting the disruption tear them away from the moment, they waited, body to body, thirst to thirst. It wasn’t long before the pounding began again.
“Let me go, sweetheart,” Henley offered, slowly rising on all fours before getting up from the bed.
“No! Who knows who it will be. It’s likely the baker’s woman down the path who often drops by for teas to lighten her mood swings. She’s kindly, but I think it’s best you stay out of the picture, at least for now.”
Henley could see her point, so he flopped back down onto her feather bed in exasperation. She bent over him and kissed him, her soft, bare breasts grazing his chest. Unable to resist, he nuzzled down and buried his face between them, pulling her toward him. The banging began again in earnest.
Rosetta rose, put on her silk robe and tied it snugly around her waist.
“Wait here. I’ll be right back.” She blew him a kiss.
The fire in the main room was glowing brightly by this time, emitting heat and light into the early morning. She opened the door to an annoyed and haggard looking Edith Hornbrook.
“Where is he?” She demanded. “Where’s my son?” Rosetta looked at her, stunned.
“I don’t know what you’re talking about, Madam Hornbrook,” Rosetta replied. “Please, won’t you come in out of the cold and damp? We can talk.”
Edith seemed unsure, but finally stepped inside and looked suspiciously around the room.
“Would you like some tea?” Rosetta asked a perplexed looking Edith.
“No, no thank you. I don’t want your tea, nor your kindness. I want you to stay away from my son, do you understand me?”
Edith flushed pink in her cheeks. She did not remove her coat or hat, and seemed extremely agitated, pacing back and forth across the room. Rosetta hooked the kettle on the hook above the hearth and began preparing the pot for tea.
“I said no tea,” Edith barked. Rosetta ignored her. She walked over to the table and pulled out a chair for Edith, who refused.
“Why have you come, Madam Hornbrook? Surely not just to demand that I not see your son. You could have waited until past noon to tell me that. No, you’ve come for something else, haven’t you?” Rosetta sat down at the table and wrapped the robe around her more tightly. She heard a rustling in her bedroom, and saw Edith perk up.
“What was that?” Edith asked.
“I don’t know,” Rosetta answered. “The wind I suppose.” She began to break off leaves from a peppermint stalk and place them in the teapot. “Just out of curiosity, why are you now asking me not to see your son, when it wasn’t but a fortnight ago that you asked me to see your son, and if I quote you correctly, teach him the ways of women.”
“Impudent woman,” Edith scoffed. “How dare you question me.” Edith was beet red now, and clearly shaken. “I do not wish to speak of the past. The fact of the matter is, my son does not need your coaching, and certainly not your friendship. He is expected to marry a Miss Proberta Gerber, and I am going to make sure this wedding goes through, come hell or high water.”
Rosetta smiled, and turned away.
“Wipe that smirk off your face, you heathen. I never should have trusted you in the first place. I don’t know what I was thinking, expecting you to help me out. You and your kind are nothing but trouble. I’ll have no more to do with you.”
“Well, that should prove interesting, come time to replace those tinctures of yours, Mother.” Henley stood in the bedroom doorway, barefoot, shirt tails hanging over his trousers, hair a tousled mess.
“And please, stop being so rude. That’s no way to speak to Rosetta or anyone else for that matter.” Henley walked over to where Rosetta was sitting, leaned over and gave her a tender kiss atop her head, then sat down beside her. “Now for heavens sake, Mother, sit down and have some tea.”
...stay tuned...chapter twelve will be posted next Tuesday, March 27th...