Illicit Union_Sanctuary, page 19
Lyall called out, “My mother and I wish to thank ye all for the kindness and support shown to our family. I hope ye will excuse my lady wife. She needs a wee retreat before again taking up the burdens of life. I pray ye will employ patience while she heals from this grievous blow. But I speak for her too in thanking all of ye.”
“Me too.” Inserted William. “And Grandma’am.”
Pressing a kiss on William’s forehead, the Laird confirmed, “William too.”
“Yer most welcome Billie Boy.” Called out auld Ian.
Allie’s elbow gouged Gillie’s ribs, “Alfreda will tweak Ian’s nose if she hears her son called Billie.”
MacGillivray nodded agreement deciding to flee the dining room as soon as the laird concluded. Once the praising and teasing of William died down, Alspeth summed up, “As always, Clan McBain rallied to the aide of yer laird. Ye are the finest in the Highlands, and ye did my son proud.”
Lyall stepped up, “And again I thank ye all, especially The MacGillivray.” Silence fell over the crowd and made Gillie’s skin crawl as did the possible nuances of Lyall’s statement: “I dinnae ken how ye did what ye did, but ye have amazed me, Laird MacGillivray.”
Thinking of the very one who invoked Munro’s miraculous behavior, Gillie deflected, “Twas nae me.”
Guffaws broke out, snorts and mumbles erupted. A low voice from behind drawled, “It sure looked like ye.”
The McBain could not have heard, for he, Alspeth, and had exited without a backwards glance.
Allie immediately taunted, “Tsk tsk tsk. Ye best take credit whether ye did or nae, for tomorrow ye will need the McBain’s favor when you explain how it took ye three days to ride from Inverness.”
Too weary to bicker, Gillie recited, “I told ye, we took shelter from weather.”
Allie only blinked and the same sly voice hissed, “Aw, his cock got cold, and Gillie had to warm it up, did he nae?”
“I’m not putting up with this.” Warned Gillie whirling about in an attempt identify his heckler. “And I’ll say nae more on the matter.”
“Good, for we are nae going to believe ye.” Retorted Jamie Nae Lame.
Too angry to keep his resolution, Gillie snapped, “The roads were too dangerous. We called a stop two nights and a day.”
Allie took up the assault, “Did ye now? Two nights, eh?”
“Aye, she’s a woman.”
Allie lectured, “She is indeed a woman. A lady of the court of St James, a sister to our Lady, and a spinster of good repute, or she was before she set off on the road from Inverness.”
In clipped anger, Gillie warned, “Ca canny, Allie. I’ll nae have her name sullied.”
“Good, for none here have done her reputation damage. None except ye, MacGillivray.” Retorted Allie his brows drawn together in anger.
In full blown defensive mode, Gillie sputtered, “I w-w-wanted to g-get her here unharmed. With ice and snow, horses stumble.”
“Really?” Allie’s fingers danced drumming the table impatiently.
“Hmmm, but then ye told how she rode like the wind half way to Black Bannoch when ye were attacked at the Cock and Goose.”
“Aye, we had to chance it.”
“Hmmmm. I dinnae see ye on the road, and ye must have been on the road Wednesday. I slipped and slid a bit but made the whole distance to Inverness. The day before I would nae tried it, but twas nae so bad by Wednesday.”
At last a defense occurred to Gillie, “Ye are man and a fine horseman. I dinnae ken until Thursday she could ride . . . like her sister.”
“Ye dinnae ken the woman at all, and that’s my point. What are ye doing sleeping in her bed . . .” Gillie opened his mouth and Allie waved him off, “I heard how ye fell asleep from exhaustion, but having embarrassed the poor lass one night, how is the next night ye fell from her balcony?”
Daimh boomed out, “Nae, Allie, ye’ve got all wrong. Gillie here was just making a snow angel to impress his lady love.” Gillie now knew who had been taunting him.
“Sort of mating ritual.” Put in Jamie Nae Lame.
They all roared with laughter probably a reaction to the all sorrow and dreariness of the last few days. Nonetheless Gillie leapt to his feet gritting out, “Haud yer wheesht. Nothing untoward has happened between me and Lady Margaret. Am I courting her? Aye. I’m unmarried as is she. Maybe I was showing off last night, but . . .”
Allie’s saucy finger waved in Gillie’s face, “But ye have nae permission from any of her kin to press yer suite, do ye?”
“Nae, but . . .”
“And ye are pressing yer suite upon a lady made vulnerable by circumstance. Are ye nae?”
“Nay, but . . .”
“Save yer ‘but’ for tomorrow when we will have a talk with the McBain.” Allie flipped his wrist in an imperial gesture of dismissal.
MacGillivray pondered how many punches he could land on the McBain’s Tanist before the rest pummeled him to bloody mess. With all the dignity at his command, Gillie arose. He took great care to straighten his clothes before delivering his coup de grace the absolute truth, “I am sure the McBain will better understand the difficulties of our journey. And Lyall understands she and I are free to bestow our affections where we will.”
He stalked out ignoring the cat calls and obscenities echoing behind him.
“I must have ye, Maggie. I must.” MacGillivray darted through the balcony doors closing them behind him. He leaned back against them as if he feared she might shove him back onto the balcony. “And I’m going to make love to ye this night. Everyone believes I have, so by God’s beard, I’m going to.”
Chagrin transformed his expression, “Unless ye dinnae want me to.” With this he paused, breathing hard. She could almost feel his desperate gaze roving her face. “Please say ye have nae changed yer mind.”
“No!” The word ripped from her throat, as she sprang from the bed. “Lord God, no. I haven’t changed my mind.”
His arms enfolded her, and he hammered her face with kisses ranting, “Thank . . . God . . . God thank . . . ye. Oh my love.”
He squeezed her face to his chest, “Maggie, without ye, I could nae eat. Everything tasted like cold gruel. All I ever want is smoked beef dressing.”
She laughed, but he rambled on, “I can nae sleep. I roamed all about the bed last night trying to find the warmth of yer flesh. I would nae work for worrying who was saying what to ye. What if someone unknowing put ye. . .” His hand rested on the furthest most bulge of her stomach, “Ye and this one in danger.”
“Ferquhar, tis the same with me. I awake every morning wondering what the day will bring for you. I fell asleep last night wondering when I will see you again. I mean truly see you again.”
She had barely finished, when his lips bruised hers. His hand swept over her body kneading and caressing. When she broke from his demanding lips, he commanded, “Slap me. Make my ears ring.”
“Back hand me – hard, for I’m the fool who wasted those precious nights at the wee croft. I should have given myself over to ye when ye first asked.”
Kissing his neck, Margaret lovingly reprimanded, “No no, you were right. Then it would have been wrong . . . ill-timed.
He jumped back, pleading, “But nae now? Now is the time, right?”
Laughing Margaret conceded, “This night is it.”
Again he leaned forward to capture her, “Aye, but we could have saved a lot of trouble if I had rode in the gate saying, ‘This is my wife, Maggie MacGillivray.” His arm tightened across her back like a vise, “For I am making ye my wife. I’ll have none other, and I dinnae care if ye say yea or nay.”
Staring up at him, she challenged, “You lie, MacGillivray. You would not force me into a marriage.”
“Oh, yer right. I would nae do that, but I reserve the right to court ye day after day until I wear ye down.” Caressing her face with both hands, he whispered
From her very heart, Margaret replied, “Marrying you would be wonderful.”
The kisses this sally provoked reduced her knees to jelly while lifting her up above the floor. Eventually her body descended to the bed. Instead of following her to the mattress, Ferquhar leaped back declaring, “If ye want to first marry, I can shout from the balcony: Margaret Chilliam has become the wife of Ferquhar MacGillivray. All ye need to add is: ‘Surely I am’ and there we are a married couple.”
He flung the doors open, but by the time he stepped out and took a huge breath, Margaret hung on his arm begging, “On no no, shush . . . not like this.”
Of a sudden, dead serious, MacGillivray implored, “If ye will nae marry me, then dinnae let me take ye to bed.” Upon his knees, he beseeched, “Dinnae ye play with me.”
She clasped his face tipping it up to see his earnest moonlit countenance. Unable to consider the sensible path, unwilling to abandon her heart’s deepest desire, Margaret proclaimed, “Of course I’ll marry you. I am nothing if not your wife.” Realizing they were standing in full view of the men on the parapet, she yanked his arm, “But telling everyone now . . . would seem calloused. So get up and come to bed.”
Rising, he first knocked the snow from his knees, then he whisked her to the bed – except for a brief tussle when she insisted on closing the balcony doors.
Having stepped out of his boots, his hands fumbled with his socks, buttons, ties, and belt, while he muttered, “I’m as nervous as a bride. I wonder why.” And there he stood, gloriously naked.
This time he presented not the posterior with its firm buttocks and muscled back, but the frontal view: lean muscles overshadowing the flat expanse of his stomach, dark hair ornamented his chest diminishing to erupt anew where his upturned erection surged. Her prolonged stare evoked an anxious laugh, “As ye can see, I’m ready. How about yerself?”
Reminded of her own role in this union, Margaret tried to free herself of her robe and gown. She shed the robe by just pushing it back and off her shoulders. The gown put up a resistance. He joined her in tugging at her shift pulling it from beneath her, “Here, now take it off.”
Incongruously shy, she turned her back, wriggled free of the cloth beneath her and pulled the garment up and off. She gathered nerve to turn around, but his hands kneaded and smoothed her back, and soon his lips wandered freely kissing, nuzzling, and licking the expanse of exposed flesh. The delicious sensation warranted her full attention.
“Oh Maggie, how I’ve longed to touch ye like this, and thought I never would.” His chin rested briefly on her shoulder before he lifted her braid to lightly chew the nape of her neck. Liquid heat congealed in her loins, but then he was gone.
A tumult shook the mattress behind her, and his bare legs materialize on either side of hers, and he pulled her back to rest against his bare chest and bountiful erection. She wiggled to enhance the tickle of his chest hairs and further tantalize his swollen flesh. How wonderful, how spontaneous.
She could not hold her concentration when his trembling fingers closed upon the nubs of her breast massaging and tweaking. In her flailing about, his knees parted her thighs, and hands roved across her thighs which he parted even farther. The cool air brushed her exposed inner most parts but his fingers quickly brought the heat.
Time and again she had pleaded for a night to remember. Well, by heaven above, tonight would never be forgotten, by either of them. How she writhed bracing her torso against his to better thrust her pelvis forward would stay with him always. Her breasts heaving in rhythm with his titillations would tantalize his imagination many nights. Oh to feel her wet slick interior enclose his aching flesh, but would that be too . . . reckless . . . in the circumstances? Today of all days, MacGillivray needed no reminder of the fragility of babes.
Her squeaks and moans directed his explorations as did the flood from within. When she arched her back – embedding her head in his shoulder - her thighs teetered on his, he eased off yet still she cried out. Her hand smothered the subsequent whimpers as she collapsed into his embrace. He lifted her to lie beside him rewarding her cooperation with kisses. He encouraged her to curl up against him, as she preferred other nights.
“Dear God . . . MacGillivray . . . what did you do to me? I feel faint but my heart is racing.”
“Ye seem to enjoy my touch.” Teased Gillie brushing soft kisses upon her forehead.
“I feel so strange . . . there where you touched me. It feels so alive and aches for more.” She lifted her head to look into his face, “I never wanted more before. I never wanted touched in the first place.”
“Well I do, I want touched in the first place.” Moaned Gillie, “But I have never done this before.”
She froze within his arms, as she gasped, “You’ve never been with a woman before?”
“I’ve n’er been with one . . . in your condition . . . that I ever knew in the Biblical sense, ye ken? I dinnae ken what I may or may not do.” He caressed her jaw, “I dinnae want to harm ye or the babe.”
“Some say do and some say do not.” Purred Margaret curling up against his chest. Her hands wandered his scalp caressing his hair. “All I say is we’ve got to do something before . . . while we can.”
Her hesitation, the sudden shift in wording, spawned a dreadful anxiety. Clasping her tight, he shifted downward in the bed. His legs parted hers to lift one up and over his body, he sought entry all along her slick swollen crevice. He told himself he just wanted to get wet, but when she opened admitting him deeper, somehow he plunged right in. Of their volition his hips thrust. He had to grasp the covers to stop the spasms. “Are ye hurting? Maggie . . . are ye?”
Her hoarse refrain, “No, oh please do that again. Ferquhar, please,” unleashed his passion until once again he recalled the two of them were not alone in this, “Is all well? Maggie?”
“Oh . . . fine . . . wonderful . . .” She whined wriggling upon him, “Please, come on . . .”
Unable to resist, he seized her breast tweaking and squeezing the nipple, “Nay ye are nae ready yet.”
“Ooooo . . . stop . . . not stop . . . please Ferquhar . . .”
After this rasping entreaty there were no more safety checks, Gillie gave full rein to his passion for as long as it lasted. She was too warm and clinging, too responsive to his thrusts, and he too deprived to last long. Fortunately he managed to bring her bliss – as shown by her cries and clawing - somewhere along the way.
When she could muster her strength to move, Margaret crawled upon his chest to rest her head on his thumping heart. His limp hand awkwardly patted her head as he breathed, “Maggie, Maggie, ye should slap me just as I said. We could have done this so many times . . . night and day.”
His limp arm dropped upon her, and Margaret sighed, “Oh, it was marvelous.”
“And we are just getting started.” He clapped her on the rump and said, “Find me some whiskey, or wine, or water, give me wee rest, and hmmm . . . we’ll go for the distance.”
He sat up and urged, “If ye want . . . are ye hurting or is anything amiss? With ye or the baby.” He had nearly said ‘our baby’ and instantly wished that he had.
She stretched easily enough, “Well, I suppose all is well, except I fear I will die if you don’t bring me a drink.”
“Your servant,” Ferquhar sprang from the bed and executed a courtly bow. Coming ever closer, he offered, “I am yer servant, yer lover, yer man, yer husband . . . whatever ye want. Just let me be with ye, Margaret.”
“You said nothing about being my friend.”
“Tis nae up to you, for always I will be yer friend. I’ll help ye all I can whenever I can, I love ye, precious lady. Always I’ll do my best by ye, Margaret.”
“Does your best include pouring some wine in yon glass?”
“Aye, it can, if ye have kisses waiting when I return from my treacherous journey.”
“Dangerous territory. I might trip or stub my toe . . . maybe I should stay here safe in the bed and send ye instead.” He plopped back onto the bed.
She reared back to hit him. He grinned taunting her, “For ye are a mere woman and nae great loss.”
“And you love me, do you?” Margaret repeatedly smacked his shoulder and the hand shielding his face. Stomping across the room, she dragged the blanket along for concealment, “My servant, huh? A fine servant you make.”
She poured herself some wine, but stealthily filled his cup with whiskey. She creeped right back into his arms, pressing the cup on him. He turned it up, drank long, and sighed, “Maggie, what a braw wife ye will make. Bringing yer man whiskey in bed after being well greased. Up running about with yer belly ripe to pop,” He toasted her congenially, “To marriage . . . but only if I can have ye.”
She considered battering him anew, but she hated to reward his foolishness. With a haughty tilt of her head, she informed, “Enjoy your whiskey, Laird MacGillivray, for you will have no more from my hand.”
“Before I’m done, sweet Maggie, ye will kneel at my feet pouring shots. Especially once I drench ye with whiskey and lick every drop from yer skin.”
Falling back in a fake pout, she challenged, “And when will you be done? Ferquhar MacGillivray?”
He dodged her question, “Since we’re to be wed - if I have my way we will – ye must address me properly.” His stentorious voice proclaimed, “I am Laird Ferquhar Mochridhe MacGillivray,”
She interrupted, “What? Mochridhe? God’s blood, I just learned to say Ferquhar.”
He laughed and translated, “Mochridhe mean ‘my heart’. Tis said my mother hung it on me.” His eyes drew distant, but he snapped out of his trance with the declaration: “The MacGillivray of the MacGillivrays at yer service.”
“This very night, sir, we already established you do not serve me.” She shoved him playfully.
“Och, by now ye should know I mean to serve ye, and serve ye well.” He lunged upon her biting and bearding until she yielded her lips, her neck, her breasts until the Scotsman determined to have nothing less than her all. When he wrestled her to the edge of the mattress, where he could stand on the floor laying no weight on her, he entered her again to deliver the protracted version of their earlier joining.