WARNING: Some sexual content.
Lot soothes fears and Josef voices a suspicion.
London – 1844
I climbed through the bedroom window and sat on the ledge. Bran was lying on his front with the sheets twisted and thrown off and his nightshirt had ridden up his legs just short of his rear. He wasn’t asleep, he couldn’t sleep until I got home so he’d toss and turn, worrying about me and worrying he worried too much.
Anxiety strummed at his fears, plucking at all the worst notes until it became a crescendo. Reasonable worry for his wife seemed like being doubtful, controlling, and any other negative interpretation his inner voice could come up with.
I dropped off the ledge, slipped my boots and trousers off and set them aside. He opened one eye and closed it quick.
I climbed onto the bed and straddle him. ‘Hello, chuckaboo.’ I kissed his cheek, laced my fingers with his and pressed his hands lightly into the mattress. ‘Everyone is safe.’
Bran’s heartbeat slowed, the confines of my arms were his safe space. I slipped one hand under his nightshirt and cupped his arse, caressing my thumb back and forth. He sighed, still tense.
‘Mmmm. Your arse is perfect.’ I smiled and I nuzzled his neck. ‘Can I kiss it?’
Bran reached down and drew his nightshirt up over his rear.
‘Words,’ I whispered.
He squeezed my hand. ‘Yes.’
‘I’m a lucky wife.’ I shifted down and kissed his rear.
He made his satisfied sound as I explored. His skin was warm and thrummed with energy, threads of it caught on my skin and snapped when I drifted too far. Then there were the threads that never broke, tying us together. I could’ve reached out and snipped them, but I didn’t.
I bit him, not hard enough to break the skin. He inhaled sharply and his fingers squeezed mine. I licked the spot and kissed it. He exhaled tension. As much as Bran liked ouch with his love he wanted tenderness too, the salve to ease the sting. Elizabeth had never understood it, I wasn’t sure Bran had, thinking he needed more when he needed balance.
He’d needed someone to take the time to find what he liked, when he liked it, and all those sensitive secret places he didn’t know he had. I loved to touch and taste, searching out his secrets, and taking my time to be thorough.
‘How can you have so much hair on your legs and so little on your chest?’ I asked and kissed the top of his thigh.
‘If you’re not interested.’ He shifted.
I grabbed his hips and pulled him back. ‘Oh, I am.’ I caressed his thigh, rough fingers chafing against hair. ‘I’m interested in every beautiful bit of you.’ I kissed his hip. ‘And every bit of you is beautiful.’
He tapped my hand and I crawled back up him to snuggle against his back and kiss his shoulders.
‘Do you want more than kisses?’ I asked.
He shook his head. ‘Just hold me, please.’
I slipped my arms around him and gripped his shoulders. ‘I feel like a limpet.’
‘You’re a beautiful limpet.’
I laughed and touched my face to his. ‘You’re comfortable, maybe I’ll just go to sleep here.’
‘I’m sorry I’m not as strong and confident as Josef. He wouldn’t have let the Elizabeth situation develop.’
‘Except, he did.’ I kissed between his shoulders. ‘Quiet strength is still strength, Brandon, and we need at least one adult in this family who isn’t of murderous inclinations.’
‘You’re not –‘
‘I know what I am. I’m fine with what I am. I don’t need appeasement, Bran.’
‘I know, I just…’ He sighed.
I touched my lips to his ear. ‘I’m a benevolent goddess.’
‘Our Nemesis,’ Josef said and leaned against the doorframe. ‘Daughter of justice.’
His reflection in the mirror on the washstand saluted me with a glass of whiskey, being able to move faster than most could perceive made him seem a sneaky sod. It was lucky he could only do it over a short distance and in a straight line.
‘Reformed criminal? Very poetic.’
‘Mesomedes. Greek poet, second century.’ He sipped his whiskey. ‘Given your Fae heritage it’s entirely possible it’s not untrue. There are a lot of supernaturals who specialise in justice, there’s plenty of stories about it.’
‘Ah, the old destiny card,’ I said playing my fingers through Bran’s hair.
‘Not destiny,’ Josef crossed to the bed and put his glass on the bedside cabinet. ‘More like cards falling in the right way to win the pot. You’re a vigilante, your bother’s a priest, Mary and Merry are protective. It’s suggestive.’
‘Well, don’t go suggesting it to Freyja, I don’t think she’s given up on figuring out “what” I am.’
He pulled off his shirt and got onto the bed. ‘I’m certain it will have already occurred to her.’ He put his arm around us.
‘Joy.’ I kissed Bran’s ear. ‘You don’t have to worry about me, Brandon.’
‘Someone does, you don’t worry about yourself,’ he said.
‘I’ve spent the entire time since Elizabeth walked through our door figuring out how to get rid of her.’ I kissed his jaw. ‘I may have plans in my pockets to get rid of every shit you’ve told me about, when and where appropriate. It’s practically a hobby.’
‘That protective instinct is adorable,’ Josef said and pulled the stiletto from my hair.
‘Sarcastic git.’ I pushed my curls away from my face.
He smiled. ‘Who said I was sarcastic?’
I leaned over and gave him a soft kiss. ‘Wives are always right.’ I rested my chin on Bran’s shoulder. ‘Are you going in the middle?’
Bran sighed. ‘No.’
‘You’re the one in need of hugs.’
‘If a man’s going to get an erection against my arse I’d rather they were thinking of me, not my wife.’
‘You’ve got a dirty mouth,’ I whispered against his ear. ‘Can I kiss it?’
He laughed. I slid off him and squeezed between the two of them.
‘I could think of you both,’ Josef observed.
‘You could think,’ I said.
Josef curled round my back, chuckling. ‘We’ll see.’
I tucked my head under Bran’s chin. ‘Maybe.’ I slid my hand down Bran’s back and squeezed his arse.
‘Can’t keep your hands to yourself.’ Bran smiled against my forehead.
I kissed his chest. ‘Never.’
Josef caressed his hand down my arm and linked our fingers. I turned my face in an invitation for a soft kiss and got one then sighed and snuggled down onto my manwich burrow.
‘Do you want a kiss too, Bran?’ Josef asked.
‘Bloody flirt,’ Bran muttered through a suppressed smile.
The bedroom door opened and Mary padded in, hugging her wooden sword and holding Edward’s hand. ‘We can’t sleep. We want a story, please.’
Edward tried to scramble up onto the bed, Mary gave his rear a helpful shove and he tumbled onto the mattress, giggling.
She climbed up after him and wriggled in between Josef and I. ‘You’ve got to save space for us. Rules.’
Edward crawl over us and squeezed in next to Bran. I straightened the sheets and tucked us all in. We were going to need a bigger bed, Bran and Josef were at risk of getting shoved out.
Mary did her big, sweet smile at Josef. ‘‘Bout lady knights riding dragons and slaying monsters.’ She gave us a look that said ‘anytime you’re ready, as long as it’s now.’
‘An’ wolves,’ Edward said and poked Rawr out from under the blankets. ‘Good wolves, what save people.’ He snuggled down.
Josef sat up and leaned against the headboard. ‘Once upon a time…’
Read more episodes of Nine Shillings, or read Lot’s first adventure, Victorian Mistress, here.
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