Helena’s stomach tightened as scratching emanated from behind the walls.
“Blasted mice,” she exclaimed to the dark, empty library.
Her fingers pressed on her closed pale red lips as a surge of nausea coursed through her. She paced the room, her skirts swishing against the hardwood floor, her eyes glancing to the source of the sound.
“Barnes!” she called.
The faithful butler bowed as he entered into her presence.
“Barnes. Can you do nothing about those vile creatures?”
“We are doing what we can, ma’am. Their numbers are depleting. We shall soon make our way through them all.”
“I do wish you’d be quicker about it.”
“I shall see what more can be done,” he replied, bowing his way out of the room.
Her eyes rolled as she emitted a small grunt and stamped her foot as the scratching persisted.
“It really is too much. Quite enough to drive one to distraction,” she muttered to thin air, wiping her brow with the back of her hand.
Her palms itched, and her fingers instinctively scratched at them. “I can’t bear it.”
The rain pummelled against the windowpanes, adding to her disquiet. A loud burst of thunder made her jump almost clear out of her skin. Her hand flew to her breast.
“That does it. I refuse to remain here,” she declared, storming out of the room, sending the door crashing in her wake.
“My cloak,” she demanded.
Barnes retrieved the required garment and hung it about Helena’s shoulders, venturing to say, “I do wish you’d reconsider ma’am.”
“Oh fie. I need to be out of doors, and that is where I shall go.”
Cold rain hit her face immediately as she stepped out of the large, oak, front door. Tilting her head up, she opened her mouth and caught droplets on her tongue. A flash of lightning highlighted the perfectly trimmed shrubbery for a brief moment.
Pulling the cowl of her cloak forwards and lowered her head, she strode across the lawn, happy despite the moisture saturating her clothing.
Helena returned to the house within the hour, a smile playing about her lips.
“I trust you are revived by your excursion?” Barnes asked with a smirk as he took her dripping cloak from her.
She just glowered in return.
“Come, ma’am, let us get you of these wet things before you catch your death of cold,” Higgs said as she fretted about her mistress.
Helena gave her a withering look, but led the way up to her rooms. Her maid fussed over her as if she were still a little girl, and not the lady she had grown to be. She brushed Helena’s hair until it was almost dry and its usual straight, dark brown.
It was not yet nine o’clock, so she dressed in a plain grey gown before venturing back downstairs. There was a fire lit in the drawing room, and candles lent a cosiness to the otherwise gloomy ambience. Country life was so confined, and she was anxious to attend balls and parties. But with nobody present to introduce her, she was forced to bide her time.
The ticking of the mantel clock echoed around the room, measuring the interminable hours she must spend in dreary isolation. Tick tock, tick tock, no life, bored now. Trying to distract herself, Helena picked up her needlework. Poking her tongue over her lip, she concentrated on the partridge amongst autumnal leaves she was sewing, the needle peeking through the fabric before disappearing below again.
Rigorous knocking and an accompanying pull of the doorbell startled Helena from her work. Creeping towards the drawing room door, she peeked around it.
“Damned horse got spooked by nothing discernible in the forest,” she heard the visitor moaning.
Carrying herself with the poise and dignity demanded of her, she approached the stranger.
“Dear me, I was not aware there was a lady present. Pray, forgive me, ma’am,” he apologised with a bow.
“You were not to know,” she replied with a curtsey, looking the man over.
The stranger was tall and covered in a long dark cloak. A top hat perched on his head.
“Barnes, help our guest,” she commanded.
“Begging your pardon, ma’am, but I have not yet ascertained who he is.”
“Forgive me. I am Lord Reynard,” he said with another bow.
“There, he is a lord, Barnes, and stands in my hallway dripping like a commoner.”
Lord Reynard scowled, and attempted to brush water from his shoulders. “Again, I most humbly beg your pardon, ma’am.”
“Pray, do not make yourself uneasy. The fault is not yours,” she said, narrowing her eyes in the direction of the butler.
Turning her gaze back to Lord Reynard, she smiled and informed him, “You will find a welcome fire in the drawing room.”
Helena turned to lead the way, but turned back again when there was a grunt behind her.
“Oh, you are injured. Barnes, don’t just stand there,” she exclaimed.
The butler allowed his person to be used as a crutch by this stranger claiming to be a lord. It was not without difficulty that he managed to escort him to a seat by the fireside. Lord Reynard roared as he plonked down.
“Barnes, get help,” Helena instructed, crouching in front of their guest and pulling a footstool closer.
Slowly, she helped lift his injured leg onto the aforementioned footstool, but not before many pained and anguished noises were wrenched from the poor man, who now sat biting his fist.
“I embarrass myself dreadfully,” he moaned.
“You cannot help being in pain,” she soothed.
Pressing down from his knee, she tested for breaks. He hissed as she prodded his ankle.
“It is just badly sprained, I think,” she announced, twisting her mouth.
“And you are a doctor, are you?” he asked with a sneer.
“Lord Reynard, if you do not want my assistance you may go back out into the rain,” she told him, pointing towards the door as she stood.
“You are right, you are right. Forgive me. My pride is injured more than my ankle. I am most grateful for your kindness. Truly.”
Noticing his obvious embarrassment, and return to humility, she forgave his outburst.
“That is better,” she said, allowing a weak smile as she sat opposite.
Barnes returned with Higgs holding a bowl of steaming water and a cloth over her arm. The butler offered forth a large brandy on a tray, which Lord Reynard readily accepted. He took a large gulp without delay, and let out a relieved ‘ahh’.
“Perhaps you should not be present, ma’am?” Higgs suggested.
“Stuff and nonsense. It is only a sprained ankle.”
“Perhaps the good lady has a point,” Lord Reynard said, adjusting his position with a wince, “And perhaps she should be excused too?”
“Well, good luck with that. You are not so injured as to warrant sending anyone out in this weather so late at night, in search for a doctor who should probably refuse to come. And Barnes is not much use with a poultice,” Helena said, smirking as she stood.
The lady of the house whisked herself away, taking her needlework with her. The two trusty family retainers remained with the miserable excuse of a man.
‘Comes in here, thinking he can order me about,’ she thought gruffly, taking a seat in the dim library, ‘Well, he’ll see how far that gets him.’
Helena was deep in concentration when a cough brought her head up.
“Pardon me, ma’am, but Lord Reynard is now fit to be seen,” Barnes announced.
“Oh, how good of him,” she snarled, making her way back to the intruder.
All politeness, she dipped a curtsey. “I hear you are made comfortable.”
“Indeed. Biggs is a wonder, but I am under her orders to rest here a while before making my way to a guest bedroom.”
Helena quickly hid her startled look. “Well, we would not turn a man in need out of the house without so much as his horse.”
“He knows where his stable is better than I.”
“I am newly arrived in the area. Believe me, the discovery of this fine house was more luck than judgement on my part. I was oblivious as to its existence.”
“Most people are,” she said snidely.
“You do surprise me. Why, a line of suitors should line your path.”
Helena’s mouth formed a silent ‘oh’.
“At risk of becoming repetitious, do forgive me. I spoke out of turn. I am not quite myself, something has come over me. Perhaps I hit my head when I was thrown from my horse.”
“Do you feel up to the task of informing me what happened?”
“I shall try, although I am not certain myself. I’d had a merry time at the Lallinger’s party.”
“I am sorry to have missed it.”
“I am now sorry for your absence. I was not top heavy, I would not have you think I was. The storm had broken so suddenly, and we all fled before the roads could become impassable. Dobbin is usually such a trusty steed. The lightning didn’t make him so much as flinch. But as we neared the forest road he became skittish. Of course, I spurred him on. The next thing I know, I’m on the ground, in a puddle, pain shooting through my foot, with Dobbin running into the distance.”
“I should say so. I found a fallen branch and used it to aid my way. It’s curious now I think of it, but I had no idea as to direction. I merely wandered, and well, here I am, indebted to the kind lady I found all alone.” A glint lit his green eyes as he spoke.
His hair, now dried, was a dark brown, and not as black as it had first appeared. He was pleasing to behold. Not too tall, and on the right side of slender; not too skinny yet not tubby, just as she’d hoped.
Helena smiled, the light glinting gold in her brown eyes. “Quite. Barnes is very protective, and truthfully, he was right to be wary.”
“Please, I do not blame him. If I was guarding such a beauty I should have done the same,” he replied with a smirk.
“Dear Madam, I truly do not know what I say.”
“You’ve had quite an evening, so shall excuse your impropriety. More brandy?” she asked, taking his glass over to the cabinet where Barnes had left the bottle.
Lord Reynard took the refill in shaking hands. “Thank you.”
Allowing her guest to drink in peace, Helena sat back down, smoothing her skirts. She watched his every move.
Once he’d finished the glass, she ventured, “So, tell me more of the party. Was the company pleasant? I do hope Papa shall take me once he returns.”
“It was lively enough. Much what one expects from life in the country.”
“Yes, it is a far cry from town, is it not?”
“Indeed. There are pleasures galore to be had there.”
“And what sort of pleasure do you most desire?” she drooled, twirling her hair around her finger.
“Err, what any man desires. I am no different.” He wiped his brow with his handkerchief.
She leant forwards, squeezing her elbows to her side to display her bosom at its fullest. “And have you lain with many women?”
“Yes, but none would compare with you.”
“You would consider me a great conquest? A defenceless female all by herself?”
“Indeed I would. You are a fine beauty.”
“You would not scruple to take my virtue behind my papa’s back?”
“At this moment, I couldn’t care two figs for propriety. Madam, you make my loins stir in a most violent fashion,” he said, leaning forwards.
She crossed to sit next to him. “A young woman’s virtue is there for the taking in your eyes?”
“I cannot be blamed if she does not take care to guard it.”
“And you have taken such?”
Leaning towards her, he brought his face within an inch of hers. His breathing was laboured, and his tongue ran along his lips.
Helena looked deeply into his eyes. “Sir, do you mean you would have me this night?”
“This very moment if you would but allow,” he said, his hand reaching for her waist, his lips seeking hers.
But Helena stood, too swift for him to claim her. “Well, you have had a great misadventure this night. You must be tired. A good rest should restore you to yourself.”
Turning her head, she called, “Barnes!”
He picked up the cane Higgs had earlier found for him, but Lord Reynard still required a little support from the butler to get him up the stairs.
“Damn fine filly, that,” Lord Reynard commented as he was helped into bed.
“If you say so, sir,” the butler deferred.
As Lord Reynard closed his eyes, he was vaguely surprised at the lack of staff and chaperon, but his mind was too foggy to overly care.
He burned for the fine young woman below. Having come so close to ravaging her, he was desirous of completing that task. Why had she dismissed him from her presence? Infuriating girl.
Barnes had returned to his mistress.
“Is he abed safely?” she asked, raising her brow.
“As snug as a bug in a rug. I am not sure he is safe though,” the butler said with a wry smile.
“Don’t be impertinent. I shall retire myself now. That will be all.”
Helena swished out of the room, and entered her own chamber. Higgs helped her undress in silence. She had her suspicions what the girl was about, and could not approve. But she had to hold her tongue. It was not her place to pass comment.
As soon as Higgs’ footsteps fell into the distance, Helena got out of her bed. Careful not to appear too soon, she paced her room, anticipation building inside her. Her nether regions tingled with the promise which dangled before her. Such a golden opportunity was not to be wasted. Her fists clenched and unclenched.
Creeping along the corridor without making a sound, she hesitated outside the door which led to her prize. A virile young man, keen to sow his seed. Taking a deep breath, she slowly opened the door.
Lord Reynard turned in her direction. “Madam? Is that you? Is everything all right?”
She held her finger to her lips, and approached his bed.
“You do not think I would leave you wanting, my Lord?” she whispered.
“I confess, I feared you would.”
“Silly man,” she admonished, slipping out of her nightdress.
Her companion gasped as he beheld her pure white body in all its glory. She was here, offering herself to him, and would be his finest conquest to date. He sat up, but groaned in pain.
“Shh, do not move,” she told him in hushed tones, pushing gently on his shoulder so he laid back down.
Pulling his nightshirt over his head, she revealed his fine frame. He was standing proud, but not as tall as she had hoped. But beggars cannot be choosers.
“I have not done this before. You make me quite nervous. Promise to guide me,” she urged.
He nodded, beckoning her with a come-hither look.
The fire was dimming, and framed Helena as she stood before him, surrounded by a red glow.
“I have read books,” she confessed, crawling onto the bed.
She made her way up his body tantalisingly slowly, her skin brushing his. But she did not stop in the expected place.
“Are you sure you read those books correctly?” he checked.
“Oh yes. There were pictures too,” she told him, turning to face his feet, presenting herself to his mouth.
“It is not supposed to go there,” he moaned.
“Oh, I think it does,” she said, running her tongue along his shaft in encouragement.
“Ahh!” He shuddered at her contact.
“Shh. Let us not wake the servants,” she reminded whilst wiggling her bum in front of his face.
She was rewarded by one solitary lick of her slit, which made her roll her eyes.
“Sir, I thought you more gallant.” She hadn’t, but was hopeful of bringing him to her way of thinking.
She heard his tsk, but he lapped again, and she mewled her pleasure. “Oh, Sir, that feels delectable.”
“You like that do you, you naughty thing?”
“Yes, yes. Do it again.”
He complied. She gave him an occasional lick when he seemed to slow. But he was soon sucking in all the right places.
“Oh, oh, what is this?” she whispered, “Such feelings.”
“What do you feel, sweet girl?”
“Your tongue. Oh, how it glides over me. Oh, where? In? Yes. Oh,” she said sweetly, digging her nails into his legs.
Her hips gyrated, and she pushed herself onto his tongue further and further until she came with a hiss.
He smacked her arse sharply. “My turn.”
He jostled until she rolled off him.
“What is it I am to do? Was that not it?” she asked, her eyes wide.
“That, my dear, was only the start.”
“There is more? I am not sure I would withstand more.”
“You cannot leave it there. There is better yet to be had. Come, turn about so your head is above mine.”
She clambered about, making a great act of it. He craned his neck to meet her as she leaned her face towards his. He claimed her mouth, his tongue invading and rolling. She lapped back, tasting herself on him.
Bringing herself apart for air, she pouted. “That was not better.”
“You are all impatience, madam. I shall oblige. Here, lower yourself,” he said, guiding her hips with his hands.
She shuffled down his body, rubbing her clit along his stomach, enjoying the friction of his hair. Then there it was; the throbbing thing she was after, bobbing against her thigh.
“Up just a little,” he commanded.
She moved along, towards his stomach again.
“Oh, you silly goose. No, back where you were. Up, towards the ceiling, just a little though.”
“Oh,” she said on a muted giggle.
He held his cock at her entrance in one hand and pressed on her waist with the other so she lowered down.
“Like this?” she asked.
“Oh yes, you’re doing beautifully. Such a clever girl. Oh God, yes,” he cried as she slipped herself down on him.
“Easy now,” he warned.
She inched herself down further.
“Oh,” she yelped, as if he had breached her hymen.
“Keep going. The worst is over.”
“You are sure? That hurt a great deal,” she whimpered.
His hand raked through her hair. “I’m sure. Continue.”
She took him all the way to his hilt, desperate to pick up the speed. It had been so long, and she needed this so much. But this fiend truly thought he was taking her maidenhood, so she was forced into slow steady progress.
“Good girl. Oh, you’re amazing. So tight,” he complimented.
She sat still.
“Move, damn you,” he whinged, gripping her buttocks, “Bounce.”
Obeying his gruff commands, she revelled in the sensation. Her hips moved back and forth, her clit getting full friction.
“Yes, like that. That’s good.”
“Oh, Sir, that feeling. I think it’s happening again.”
She writhed against him, bringing herself off, crying out into his pillow. “Oh, thank you. I had no idea of it being so…so…wonderful.”
“You are not done yet,” he said through gritted teeth, holding her in place.
“Am I not?”
“As you wish,” she said, moving once more.
He gripped onto her bosoms as she pounded on top of him. Placing his hand on her back, he forced her down and took one of her nipples in his mouth, making her moan.
“Oh, you should not,” she said.
His hips urged her on.
“You asked for it,” she sneered, building momentum.
Just as he was about to climax, her lips latched onto his neck.
“Ahhhh!” he screamed as her teeth sank in.
She didn’t stop her sucking until he was brought into his orgasm, sending her into an explosion all of her own, her head thrown back with the force as it shot through her.
“Ah, that’s more like it,” she commented before bending back down to lick and heal his puncture wounds.
“What? What did you do to me?” he gasped, his eyes wide in fright.
“Did you not enjoy it?” she asked back, cocking her head to one side.
“What are you?”
“Now, be civil, you are yet alive,” she warned, stepping onto the floor, hands on her hips.
“Now you’re hurting my feelings.”
“What in God’s name..?”
Leaning over him, she looked deep into his eyes. “Me? I did nothing. You, you naughty man had a dirty dream. You should be disgusted with yourself. How could you think of taking my virtue in such a manner? No, you shall claim no other woman until the day you marry, and even then you shall treat her with every care and respect.”
“All a dream,” he muttered.
She slipped his nightshirt back on him whilst he was still dazed and under her power, and then slipped away, ensuring her own gown was replaced too. Wiping her lips, she noted how much better she felt. Sleep would be far easier now her stomach was full, and not half filled with revolting mouse blood.
In the morning, Lord Reynard took a moment to realise where he was. He felt achy and tired as he got up and dressed himself.
“Not so much as a blasted man servant,” he grumbled.
Peeking out of the room, he looked up and down the corridor for any signs of life. Not seeing any, he made his way down.
“Ah, my good man, is the mistress of the house at breakfast?” he inquired of Barnes at the foot of the stairs.
“Lady Prendergast is not yet risen, but you will find nourishment in the morning room,” he replied, signalling the way with an open palm.
“Perhaps that is best,” he muttered under his breath.
“Pardon me, my Lord?”
“What a fine rest, I said. Wonderful night’s sleep,” he said, clearing his throat, before wandering to the room indicated, his head hung low.
Eating his fill as hurriedly as possible, he was about to seek out the butler, but was beaten to it.
“The carriage is awaiting you at the door when you are ready, Sir.”
“Good. Very good,” he said with a nod of his head.
Lord Reynard hurried out the door as quickly as his legs would carry him. Before climbing into the coach, he tested his foot on the ground.
“Huh,” he exclaimed, inclining his head before clambering in, pain free.
The carriage transported him away from the strangest night of his life.