Charlotte returns home to a telling off from Mary.
London – 1841
It was early evening, by the time I got home from Freyja’s house. Early evening on the next day. I’d been walking, sitting, thinking. Mostly thinking.
Josef was in the sitting room with the children telling them a story about dragons. Millie was sat on the floor with Merry huddle up to her and trying to hide behind Patches, her teddy. Mary was sitting on the couch next to Josef hugging the biscuit box with her teddy beside her and an uneaten biscuit in front of it.
When she realised I was in the doorway she climb down and stomped over to me. ‘Mummy, where have you been? Pappy went looking for you, he was worried.’
Given that Pappy could pick out my scent in the middle of a crowded market he hadn’t tried very hard to follow me.
‘It’s naughty, Mummy,’ she added.
I crouched down. ‘I got a bit lost but I found my way back.’
‘You always tell us not to wander of ‘cause we’ll get lost.’
‘Do you ever listen?’ I asked. It was a well-known fact that you couldn’t take your eyes off Mary for a moment unless you tied a rope to her first, and that wasn’t a guarantee.
‘I wasn’t wandering, I was exploring.’
‘Mary, don’t you want to know how the dragon is going to defend his hoard from the knight?’ Josef asked.
She trotted back to the couch and climbed back to her spot. ‘Tell, please.’
I found Bran sitting in his favourite armchair in the library with a glass of whiskey in one hand and a piece of paper in the other while he stared at the flames.
‘Listening to yourself again?’ I asked and unfastened my hair. ‘That’s dangerous.’ I shook out my curls, purely for his benefit.
He looked up and crumpled the paper. ‘I was worried you wouldn’t come back.’
‘Freyja gave me somethings to think about.’ I peeled of my jerkin, which was a relief after wearing it for so long. ‘I went into a house in London but it wasn’t London outside the window.’ I straddled his lap. ‘They never mentioned that in The Bible.’
‘There’s a lot they didn’t mention.’ He set his glass down on the table beside the chair and pressed his face into the curve of my neck.
‘Don’t do that, I haven’t washed since yesterday.’ I pushed him playfully.
It being Bran he drew away. ‘Sorry.’
‘I was teasing.’
I sighed, took a sip of his whiskey then kissed him. I hadn’t brushed my teeth since the day before either so whiskey breath had to be an improvement. I made it a hands-all-over-take-his-breath-away kiss because I owed him and apology.
He lifted me up and lay me on the carpet with an ease that gave the lie to his appearance. I was small but muscle was heavy. I wrapped my legs around him before he could retreat thinking he’d done something wrong. I’d let him go if he wanted me to but telling him it was fine meant I had to stop kissing him for a moment and I was inclined to selfishness.
He tugged away and I unlaced my legs.
‘Sorry, you were telling me about what you saw,’ he said.
‘That summed it up really.’ I pulled him back into a kiss.
‘Stop, please,’ he said.
I lay my arms against the floor.
‘You crossed between worlds and “that’s about it”?’ he asked.
‘You know me, I have my priorities.’ I slid my hands down his chest but stopped before things got interesting.
He lay down beside me. ‘You were gone for a whole day.’
I shifted onto my side, our rug really wasn’t comfortable to lie on, normally when we were horizontal on it we were thinking of other things. ‘Well, there’s the idea and then there’s the reality. Eventually I just thought “the world’s going to carry on the same, I’m just looking at it differently” and that was that.’
‘How do you do it?’ he asked. ‘Not be afraid all the time.’
I traced his nose with my fingertip. ‘Mostly I do things, then think it could’ve gone worse.’
He gave me a look.
‘Alright, I figure out as many angles as I can in the time available then throw myself into trouble?’ I shrugged and ran my fingers through his hair, they snagged in the permanent tangle. ‘I liked your hair longer like this. I like running my fingers through it.’
‘Are you distracting me?’
‘I don’t know, am I?’ I grinned and kissed him. ‘Plus I’ve been reading your supernatural encyclopaedia.’
‘Your notebooks fully of your observations on supernaturals,’ I replied.
‘Those aren’t in the library.’ He blushed.
‘They were the first time.’
‘But you never went… You never mentioned you could remember things you haven’t seen.’
‘A recent realisation.’ I cleared my throat. ‘Ish.’
He gave me that disapproving look of his that worked so well on Josef.
‘Maybe I didn’t want to admit I was reading your books without your permission.’
‘You never asked before.’
‘It didn’t used to matter before,’ I murmured then added, ‘Shall I apologise?’ I moved downwards.
I shifted back up and kissed him.
He broke away again. ‘I should’ve given them to you but –‘
‘You didn’t want me to know about Richard because you were worried what I’d think of you. Then when I found out you didn’t want to admit you’d had them all along,’ I said and touched my nose to his. ‘I swear I can read your mind.’
‘What am I thinking now?’
I propped myself up. ‘That you’d like to have sex with me?’
‘The other thing.’
I feigned a shocked gasp. ‘Brandon O’Connor, did you just go along with a dirty joke?’
I kissed him.
‘You can read my mind,’ he said.
I laughed. ‘Oh, you’re in a good mood now.’
‘You came back and you’re not angry with me.’
I caressed his face. ‘I could never be angry about you hurting, Bran.’ I grinned. ‘Besides, I told you, you’re stuck with me.’ I straddled him. ‘Shall we pretend Josef isn’t here and work on that other thought?’
He wasn’t in that good a mood.
Part of Jesse’s Studio’s Fiction Frenzy there will be a new episode of Victorian Mistress everyday from 4th June until 17th June 2017.