posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:34:01 PM
Title: A Matter of Duty
Author: me
Rating: PG, with one part NC-17
Disclaimer: ROSWELL is not mine, I do not claim it, though if Jason Behr was up for sale...Nevermind, hee-hee...


A Matter OF Duty

((Part One))

“You must do this, Elizabeth, for the family.”

“But, Father…”

“It is a matter of duty, Elizabeth, a matter of pride. Phillip Evans stole what was rightfully ours by birth. He condemned us to this life of welfare.”

“We are still noble, Father.”

“It does not matter! Don’t you understand, Elizabeth? Don’t you see? Even with Phillip dead, we still have a chance for revenge.”

“But why must I? I had plans…”

“You were not born for a life of seclusion, my daughter, you have a higher purpose.”

“To be used for vengeance? As a weapon?” she demanded bitterly.

“Yes!” he hissed, “You will seduce Maxwell. You will tempt him with every glance you send his way, every blush that crosses your cheeks, every breath you take…And when you have him firmly ensnared, when you have him wedded…we will dispose of him.”

Her father’s triumph rang out in his tones. His absolute faith that God would grant him victory in his private war. She couldn’t understand him, vengeance was for the Lord to handle, it was as He willed it. Her father did not control his fate, what had happened all those years ago was God’s bidding and that was irrevocable.
(((((())))))

She was perched on the top landing of the stairs, listening silently to the conversation going on between the two men below. Her father sounded angry, though she could never remember him being anything but.

The other man had come on horseback at sunset, a small entourage with him. She didn’t know why they were here, but she was insanely curious and quite determined to find out. However, at five, her inadequate perception of adult matters was not enabling this.

She did understand that by coming to their small summer cottage, they had done something to provoke her father. The shattering of mother’s favorite vase contested to that. Her eyes widened as she watched the white roses she had so lovingly gathered earlier scatter on the floor, water dripping into the hand-woven carpet.

Her mother had adored that vase, she had left it to her when she died and she brought it with her everywhere. Nancy Parker had been a nervous woman, but she had loved her daughter and husband to distraction, and her death had affected Jeffrey deeply. Elizabeth suspected this was what had triggered the violence.

She headed back to her room as the decibel of the shouting increased. She didn’t want to be around when her father finally lost control. She had had nightmares for weeks about that poor servant…

Clutching her tiny rag doll, she made her way to the window, staring up at the night sky. The moon was full, the stars shining brightly…She wished with all her might for the happiness she knew was out there but was never certain she could find.

Her gaze fell to the prancing horses and men the intruder had brought with him. Only one of the company remained still. It was a boy, a few years older than her, perhaps eight…The moon illuminated him nicely.

Raven hair blended with the black background, a straight nose, stately posture, and his eyes were dark, she suspected brown, but couldn’t tell. Her curiosity was piqued for the second time this night.

He finally moved, as if drawn by her intense gaze, and looked up toward her window. She gasped, and fled for the safety of her bed, burrowing under the goose-down comforter.

The next day her father ordered her to pack her things, she didn’t want to, they had only just arrived, but he would not be dissuaded. So she packed and he lifted her into a carriage and they drove away, to a foreign place that was not her mansion, nor her little cottage home.

“Why Father?”

He didn’t answer, merely stared out at the gray building. “Phillip Evans and all his kin will rue the day they crossed us, Elizabeth.”

“Father? I don’t understand.”

“You will in time, Elizabeth, wait until you’re older.”

(((((())))))

The full-length mirror provided in her room gave her a clear view of herself. She saw nothing special, nothing that would recommend her to a man’s eyes, which was just as well. She had no desire for her father’s plan to succeed, if Maxwell showed no interest than all the better.

Regardless, she adjusted the, to her, unseemly low bodice in an effort to feel more clothed. All these layers of silk and she still felt naked. She fingered the gold cross around her neck absently, praying. “God give me strength and grant me forgiveness.”

Another look in the mirror, a twitch of pale green fabric, and a quick pin to her hair and she was out the door.
(((((())))))

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Jun-2002 9:34:29 PM ]
posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:35:18 PM
((Part Two))

Boredom had once again set in. That seemed to the trend for these dinner parties. He turned his head, looking at his fellow table warmers. His brother-in-law Alexander Whitman was chatting with the other man, Jeffrey Parker, something about religious matters…

“Max, grab a partner and come dance!”

He gave his tall blond sister a wry grin, “I am in the middle of a very interesting conversation, Isabel, so, if you’d please not bother me?”

“You’ve barely said a word since you got here Max.” She was scowling ferociously down at him.

“You shouldn’t make that face Izzy, it might freeze that way,” he teased.

“Yes, Isabel,” Alex piped up, smiling widely, “It’s most unbecoming.”

“Ooh,” she harrumphed, turning a sort of crimson, “You-“

“Run along and play hostess, dear sister, your guests are growing despondent in your absence.”

Her brown eyes narrowed and she leaned down, hissing in his ear, “Just you wait, Maxwell, someday some woman is going to tie you up in knots so bad you won’t know which ways up and you’ll regret having a sister who’s not talking to you.” She stood, nodded to her husband, “By your leave, my lord?”

“Of course, Izzy, have fun.” They watched her sweep away, Alex in admiration, Jeffrey in puzzled amusement, and Max with growing trepidation. It was never a good thing to upset his volatile sister, but never before had she responded to a little teasing with such vehemence.

He turned bewildered eyes to Alex, who shrugged, “You’ll have to excuse her, we’re expecting.”

“Congratulations,” Max said airily. Children? Who wanted children? For that matter, who wanted a wife like Isabel? Not him, it was a shame he had to find a wife now that he had inherited the title and land…Duty called for a legitimate heir, as much as the prospect displeased him.

He sighed heavily and tuned into the conversation. They were talking about Jeffrey’s daughter.

“She’s an absolute angel, I fear I shall miss her when she’s gone…”

Tuning back out... The sound of rustling fabric caught his attention and he looked to the curtain separating the dining area from the hallway. His eyes widened as the young lady stepped forward.

Her slippers whispered gently on the stone floor as she approached the table, and he watched her unabashedly.

She was petite, delicate of face and body, her hair was a dark brown, her eyes a perfect match, and her skin was not the normal lily white. She had a golden glow of a healthy, happy person, though there seemed to be a trace of sadness in those huge brown eyes.

“My lords, may I present my daughter, Elizabeth?” She dropped into a deep curtsey, a perfect attitude of servitude.

“My lords,” she murmured and then straightened.

“Welcome Elizabeth,” Alex stated, but she gave him no smile, merely a nod of her head and a slight curve to her lips. Full lips, he noted, very soft and kissable.

“Your father was just telling us he was going to miss you greatly, Lady, are you going very far away?” he asked, not knowing what he was doing, “Perhaps to meet your betrothed?”

Her eyes looked startled, but then she shook her head. “I am going to the nunnery in Blaise, my lord.” She fingered the pearl necklace around her throat, the gold cross hanging from it made her throat look even more fragile.

Now it was his turn to be surprised and he said nothing more. A nunnery, what purpose was there in putting a creature such as her in a nunnery? Was she deformed? No, he could see she was perfect, even her voice had a soft, rich quality that most women didn’t possess. Was she a harlot? No, his heart was fiercely denying that accusation. She was pure, an innocent that, if not stopped, was going to remain that way for the rest of her life.
Her attention was now on her father, her eyes downcast, he didn’t like the way she always seemed to obey her father without question, she was a free soul, not meant to be kept chained at the bidding of a master.

“Elizabeth, may I inquire if you’d care to dance?”

“I fear, my lord, that I have not danced for many years-“

“Neither have I,” he interrupted, standing and walking around the table to stand beside her. He offered her his hand. She stared at it and then glanced mutely at her father, who nodded, and she slowly placed her small hand in his.

He clasped it firmly, an irrational fear that she would fly away if he didn’t, and led her into the next room, where dancers flitted about in every corner. “Shall we join them?”

“If it pleases your lordship.”

“No,” he corrected sharply, “It should please you.”
(((((())))))

She was unsure how to respond to that comment, so she just looked away and arranged her feet to begin the dance. He stared at her for a moment before moving to stand beside her, head turned in the opposite direction. She listened intensely to the soft beat of music, trying to catch the cue.

They moved in a sort of synchronized grace, as if they had danced together before, many, many times, and were intimately familiar with the other’s body movements.

To tell the truth, she was overwhelmed by his very nearness. The heat he radiated, the hidden power rippling beneath his garments…His scent was a subtle tease to her senses, his eyes were burning into hers, unnerving her further.

They were not brown in the usual sense, as she had wondered when she had first saw him that night she had wished for happiness, they were a startling mix of brown and amber…His eyes were unearthly…heavenly…They captivated her soul and she shivered as his hand brushed her neck, and finally managed to look down.

She wished now for the dance to end, for Maxwell to go away and never return, for her father to change his mind and actually allow her to take the Holy Rites…But most of all she wished her treacherous heart would stop pounding in rhythm with his!
(((((())))))

[ edited 1 time(s), last at 9-Jun-2002 9:35:48 PM ]
posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:37:31 PM
((Part Three))

He had decided to marry Elizabeth Parker. The decision surprised himself as well as Alex when he had informed him earlier that night, but the words had just sprung forth unplanned.

But now he didn’t know what to do. Was he supposed to ask Jeffrey for his blessing? Should he ask Elizabeth herself? How had he gone from despising all women to being infatuated with one all in one evening?

Ah, but Elizabeth was no ordinary female, she was perfect.

He thought back to earlier, when she had danced in his arms. When he had felt her discomfort at his staring, he had struck up a conversation on the Church and the general public. Her responses had been well informed, well mannered, and well thought out, as well as said in an innocently seductive voice that nearly drove him insane.

Her speech, her body, the sweet blushes that would grace her smooth cheeks at each compliment he paid her, the quick, flirting glances her bottomless eyes sent his way…Every thing she did made him want to delve deeper until he knew her inside and out, until he had possessed her soul as it seemed she did his.

He needed to talk to Isabel, she was a woman, she would know what he needed to say, to do. But she still wasn’t speaking to him. Well then, he’d have to wing it. Summoning his courage, he made his way to the door to find Jeffrey, only to be confronted by his sister. Smiling.

“Izzy?”

“Max!” she squealed, pushing past him into the room, “Alex just told me the Parker girl has caught your eyes.”

“I thought you weren’t speaking to me?” he asked guardedly.

“Oh. Oh, that,” she dismissed it with a wave of her hand, “Forget it, I wasn’t myself.”

“Congratulations on the baby, Izzy.”

“Thank you.” She smiled again, glowing. “Now what about you?”

“Me?”

“How are you going to woo her?”

“I don’t know.”

“Good, because I have a plan.”

“What kind of plan?”

“Elizabeth will more than likely walk around the grounds tomorrow-“

“How do you know that?” he interrupted.

She glared, “Because I’ll make sure of it! Now be quiet! You will just happen to be along her path, and a picnic lunch for two, prepared specially in advance, will just happen to be with you. Invite her to sit down and eat, converse, find out how she feels about you, try to be attentive and remain a perfect gentleman Max. We’ll take it one day at a time, I’ll talk to you again tomorrow.” She left.

He stared at the closed door, confused. Woo?
(((((())))))

She walked through the grounds with only her serving maid, Maria, who was walking a demure ten paces behind her mistress. Lady Isabel was supposed to have accompanied her on this venture but she had been summoned suddenly by her husband to attend to him. When Elizabeth had offered to wait Isabel had waved an airy hand.

“Nonsense,” she had said, “One never knows how long Alex will chat and I don’t want you to miss out. The gardens will be at their most lovely this time of day, the roses are particularly beautiful.”

“Are you very sure, my lady?”

“Quite, now I must fly before Alex loses his temper and threatens to take my monthly allowance away.”


So here she was, and she could just make out the rose garden ahead, the blossoms calling her. She cast a quick glance at Maria, who was reading her mind and they both grinned. “Ready?”

Maria laughed, “Set…Go!” She took off, blonde braid flying. Liz followed, trying her hardest to catch up, but alas, her legs were much shorter and Maria was nearly there. So she stopped trying to race and just enjoyed the freedom of letting her legs stretch. When she went to the abbey this type of pleasure would be forbidden… But serving the Lord would be worth it.

She was so caught up in feeling and thinking she didn’t notice Maria’s sudden halt and crashed into her. A cry of surprise caught in her throat as she tumbled forward, only to be stopped by a large pair of strong arms. Oh no, they had been discovered, this was it. She’d be restricted to lessons in ladylike deportment until they reached Blaise and Maria would be discharged.

She looked up into a laughing pair of golden-brown eyes and felt a blush creep over her cheeks. Oh no, this was much, much worse than anything her imagination could come up with.

“Good afternoon, Lord Evans, what a pleasant surprise,” she said, attempting to keep her voice calm and steady, even though his touch was wreaking havoc on her senses.
(((((())))))

“And fortunate, my lady. Your dress is far too pretty to be ruined by mud.” She looked up startled, a rosy tinge to her skin, and her tongue slipped out to wet parted lips. “And so are you,” he whispered, so that only she could hear.

Brown eyes widened and slide a furtive glance at the blonde maid and then back to him, the color in her cheeks rose again. “Thank you for catching me, my lord, your assistance is greatly appreciated.” She straightened and his hands tightened involuntarily as her slipper caught the hem of her light pink summer dress and she stumbled into him again.

“I am always happy to aid you, Elizabeth, you need only say my name and I’ll come for you.” Her gaze on him this time was slightly wary, as if she could not figure out if he was jesting or being serious. He did not give her a chance to find out just how serious he was, instead he looked over at the maid and then back down at her, smiling, and stepped back. “As it happens, you may be able to return the favor.”

“My Lord?” Again, she was both puzzled and cautious of him.

“I had planned a picnic for myself, but the cooks made an error and packed me far too much food for one person, perhaps you and your maid would care to join me?"

“Oh! I do not know. Maria?”

A blonde head was shaken, green eyes dancing, “I fear I have already eaten Senor,” she spoke with a heavy Spanish accent, “However, the Senorita has not. You two enjoy yourselves and I shall sit just there,” she pointed to a shaded tree, “and finish my needlework.”

“But, Maria-“

“No, no, chica, do not worry about me,” she pulled thread from her apron pocket, “I will be well occupied.”

“Well, then,” he extended his arm, “Shall we?” She cast one last helpless look at her maid before slipping her hand in the crook of his arm and following him among the rose bushes to a space wear Isabel had meticulously plotted a romantic site of seduction.

She gasped and he grinned, watching her bewitched expression. “This is most beautiful, my lord.”

He plucked a white rose from a nearby bush, and stripped it of its thorns. “No more beautiful than you, Elizabeth,” he told her, placing the flower in her hair. It was still disheveled from her run, and he slid his hands through the silky mass, making the rest of it come out of the intricate style she had had it in.

Again that small intake of breath and he looked down at her face, which was peering up into his in a soul-searching fashion. She appeared as if she had just been thoroughly kissed, and he dearly wished to make that appearance true, but Isabel had said to court her slowly. So he backed away.

“Welcome to our feast!” he gestured to the lavish amount of food spread on the blanket. He sat, and she followed.
(((((())))))
posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:39:07 PM
((Part Four))

“Don’t go to Blaise.”

“What?” They were to the dessert portion of lunch, today, the cook, who was used to Isabel’s strict diet, had only provided them with strawberries. Max had no idea how strawberries could be considered dessert, but as it was the only thing he had to work with, he went with it.

“You don’t belong in a nunnery, Elizabeth,” he stated, voice low, he was trying not to look at her. When he finally had the courage to do so, she was staring at the ground, one hand on her cross.

“Then where do I belong, Maxwell?” He drew in a sharp breath, it was the first time she had ever said his name, and he never wanted to hear it in any other way except from soft lips and in a husky voice again. She raised her eyes to his finally, they were bleeding with confusion and some other warm emotion, aimed at him.

He picked up a strawberry and held the little red fruit to her lips. He watched her as he lounged beside her, one of his hands held to her mouth, she closed her eyes and took a tiny bite, licking her lips to catch all the sweet juices. Temptation and desire overcame him and he leaned forward, capturing her lips in his.

Her response came gradually, tentative and searching, but it came nonetheless, and it swept over him like a windstorm. He felt her body mold to his as he drew her into his arms, deepened their kiss slightly. He heard her gasp, her murmur of his name, and he broke away from the sweet wetness of her mouth.

“You belong with me.”
(((((())))))

She belonged with him.

Everything in her was shouting in complete agreement with this statement. Everything she had thought she would give up to serve God was flaring to life instantly and she was being swept away with the tide.

But her father, his plan…She’d never be able to kill Maxwell, she’d never willingly hurt him, or anyone…She wouldn’t have done it before anyway, but for some reason, knowing she was falling in love with him, made the thought of it even more abominable.

He stood, and she followed him with her eyes, silent. A large hand was extended to her. “Walk with me?”

His eyes told the truth of the simple request. If she said ‘yes’, it was a compliance. Yes, she was his forever. Yes, she belonged with him. There was not a ‘no’ in this situation, she couldn’t comprehend ever being able to say ‘no’ to him.

She said nothing at all, merely put her hand into his and let him pull her to his feet. His hand clasped possessively, protectively, around her small paw, and he smiled down at her.
(((((())))))

The crowd was hushed, though a few murmured low in the background, beneath the silence. They were mostly women, jealously disparaging her dress, her name, her common looks…

She didn’t hear their whispers. She didn’t see the triumph in her father’s face.

She did hear the Bishop as he wedded them. She did see Maxwell’s happy smile and glowing eyes when he placed the Evans’ family signet ring on her slender finger, and that was all that mattered.
(((((())))))
posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:41:00 PM
((Part Five))

She was his now.

He was standing, looking down at her bent head as she stood before him, her slender hands playing with the cross still around her neck. He watched the way his family’s ring glinted in the candlelight.

She was his now.

He caught her hands in his own and she looked up at him, dark eyes loving but haunted. He frowned, it was their wedding night, she should be happy, but something was frightening her and he knew it wasn’t him.

That wasn’t right. Nothing and no one could threaten her now that she was his wife. He would not let them.

“What’s wrong Elizabeth?”

“Liz,” she told him hoarsely.

“Beg pardon?”

“My mother always called me Liz…Before she died, I was her little Lizzie.”

“Then you shall be Liz.” He didn’t know where she was going with this, but she obviously needed to get it off her conscious. She was starting to cry and his heart was starting to break. She should never have a need to cry. He picked her up gently and sat on the bed, cradling her in his arms. “Tell me,” he commanded her tenderly.

Her small hands clasped onto the buttons of his shirt. “You might hate me,” she said in a very small voice.

“Never,” he swore. Her eyes grazed over him quickly, gaze meek, but she nodded.

“My mother died when I was three, one of my first memories is her on her deathbed…” His arms tightened, he remembered when his mother had passed away, he had been sixteen and his father had started crying. It was the first time he had discovered his father was not the hard man he pretended to be. “After…” her voice grew hesitant.

“After?” he prodded.

“Father changed, I don’t remember how he was before, but I know he wasn’t violent. And then suddenly he was, he yelled, he threw things…He beat a servant so badly she died, and he didn’t care. I could see it in his eyes, he looked at her, bleeding to death on the carpet and he just went back to eating dinner. He looked at me from across the table and told me to go to my room and then he poured a glass of brandy as if everything was normal and I had done something he didn’t want to deal with.”

“Liz…” He couldn’t imagine seeing that, couldn’t imagine a little girl, such a delicate one as she, witnessing brutality like that.

“Later that summer, we went to our cottage. I was five and I didn’t understand what was going on, but after a week we pulled up in front of a church and he was angrier than ever. We didn’t have a home anymore.”

“Why?” he asked, “What happened?” She met his gaze, eyes incredulous and shimmering with tears.

“A man called Philip Evans came to our door.” She was watching his expression carefully, but he was confused, what had his father to do with this?

“What happened, Liz? What did my father do?”

“I told you I didn’t understand. All I know is that Father started yelling at him and he threw Mother’s vase and it broke. I left after that. I didn’t want to be there, not when he got like that. I went to my room. Did you know it had a window?”

“Did it?” he asked softly, not sure if she wanted a response.

“I was wishing for happiness on a star. I’d always heard of happiness, but I never recalled feeling it. I wanted to know what it felt like, Max, I wanted it so badly. I wanted to be happy. Something made me look down, away from the full moon and all those sparkling dreams… There was a little boy on a horse. He was staring at the sky too… What were you wishing for?”

Her eyes showed she expected an honest answer. He gazed down at her, thinking. He could envision that night in his head now. Parker lands… It had been so long ago, near twenty years, he had forgotten, but now he knew. He remembered seeing a lighted window in a small cottage, and a flash of a dark-haired figure dressed in white… The same color as now.

“I was wishing to go home.”

She nodded. “But that night… That night my home became yours. That cottage was yours…”

“By God,” he whispered, burying his head in her hair, “I’m sorry, Liz.” He felt her hands in his hair and he lifted his head to look into her eyes.

“We still had our title,” she continued, “No lands, but our title… We lived at the church for a while, until moving to a smaller residence not far away. I went back every day. I was content there, surrounded by the monks and priests and the quiet. Not happy, but content. Three years ago I told my father I wanted to be a nun, he told me no, that I had higher purpose. I was to be the tool for the revenge he’d been nursing since that night.”

“How?” He didn’t like this at all. Jeffrey Parker was a coward for hiding behind his daughter’s skirts and he wasn’t going to let Liz near her father ever again.

“I didn’t know, but then your father died and suddenly he was so eager. I thought that would be the end of it, his enemy was dead and that was it, he could start living again and I could go to the nunnery, but things didn’t work out that way. He wasn’t happy just for that reason, he was happy because he could finally use me.”

“How?” he repeated.

“I was supposed to seduce you into marrying me and then he’d kill you.” He stiffened, but said nothing. “I wasn’t going to. I was a child of God, soon to be a nun, I wasn’t a pawn, I wasn’t a wife. I didn’t know how to be a lady. I didn’t know how to seduce someone, and I really didn’t care. I just wanted to get to Blaise and be free. But I humored him anyway, I never thought I’d even talk to you, let alone marry you. I never thought I could fall in love…” she trailed off, staring at the bedpost.

“But I did notice you, I did talk to you, and I married you. And you did fall in love.”

“Yes,” she breathed, finally looking at him, eyes begging, “I’d never have gone through with it if I didn’t love you. But I saw you, and I talked with you, and I knew you. I belonged with you. I could feel it in my soul. No matter what, Max, I’m yours.”

“I know,” he told her, lifting her off his lap and setting her down on the bed. She sunk down into it and struggled to get up, she kneeled there, precariously, and gazed at him imploringly.

“Are you angry with me?” she demanded softly.

He frowned, “Of course not. I realize your father didn’t give you much choice in the matter, and I realize that you’re not going to kill me off.” She smiled at that, at his tone, and reached out her arms to hold him. “And I realize that if your father wasn’t the way he was, and you weren’t the way you are, we might not have met, or fallen in love.”

Max kissed her, hands tangling in the brown locks that tumbled down her back, her arms locked around his neck, keeping him close to her. His hands drifted over her shoulders and he slowly broke the kiss, his fingers getting to work her white gown. He wanted it off of her.
(((((())))))
posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:41:50 PM
((Part Six))

She felt warm. Warm and tingling all over. His hands on her body… Max lifted her up, letting the gown fall from her slim hips to the floor, making a silken puddle on the carpet. Liz shivered as the air suddenly hit her, and she clung closer to her husband.

It felt odd to be nude before him, but the feeling passed quickly as she registered the hunger in his eyes. Lust was a sin, she reminded herself. But when tempered with love, that which was godly… It was as if she were in heaven now, sacrilegious as the thought was, it was true. Max’s arms were heaven.

He lay her down on the bed and she sunk into the goose-feather mattress, holding her arms out as if to embrace him. A grin curved his Grecian features and he slowly removed his own clothing before climbing gracefully into the bed .

Liz watched him beneath lowered lashes. He was so handsome, so kind and understanding, so very hers… She was glad he loved her as much as she had come to love him, so much that he would ignore her father’s plot and honor the marriage between them. She was so lucky.

Max came into her embrace easily, fitting in her arms as if he had been made for her. She suspected he had, that he was the destiny God had planned for her to have. Not a nun, or a tool for vengeance, but a loving wife. Maxwell Evans’ wife.

She felt his lips on her fevered skin and she shuddered with pleasure as he worked tenderly at her neck, his kisses sliding downward between her breasts and then back up so that their lips met.

The kiss was sweet, with the heat of passion threatening to overtake them lurking in its depths. His body descended onto her, hard and hot, and she broke the kiss with a gasp, feeling him completely for the first time. “Max!” she exclaimed.

“What?” he asked, breath coming faster. She could feel his heart pounding in rhythm with hers. “What’s wrong Liz?” His large hands slid up her arms to her face, smoothing brown hair from her eyes.

“Nothing,” she assured him, “it’s just…” She blushed and moved out from under him. He turned on his side, not ashamed of his nudity, and kept his eyes on hers. She looked anxiously down his body at his manhood and her blushed deepened. “It’s just…you are rather…um…large.” She bit her lips hesitantly, wondering how he would respond to her fears.

Liz had no idea how things between a man and woman were to commence, but it would make sense that they would fit together, wouldn’t it? It was so unfair! She and Max had matched each other so perfectly up until now, and now they were wed and he was so much bigger than she assumed he’d be and she was still so small… There was no way they’d join easily…

A low chuckle burst her pitying thoughts and her head swung up to meet his amber eyes from her previous blind staring at his…attribute. She gazed at him, laughing there, and felt a little relief. Obviously he felt her fears were unfounded, so then it would work out. She smiled and a little giggle escaped her. She had known Max would figure everything out.

Her husband wrapped strong arms around her and pulled her down to him, kissing her deeply. “It will work out, my lady wife,” he told her confidently, “I promise we’ll fit together perfectly.” He turned over again, rolling her beneath him once more, and she twined trusting arms around his neck.

“You’re certain?” she inquired, needing to know for sure.

“Positive,” he replied, still amused, “But perhaps it would be better to get you ready first.” Ready? What did her mean by that? But she didn’t get a chance to ask because one of his magnificent hands was traveling possessively down her petite body until it cupped her at the center of her body.

She uttered an exclamation of surprise, not sure if he should be touching her there, but he swept that cry away with his mouth, delving into her both with his tongue and finger. Liz arched up when he slid into her, her body instinctively rising into his touch, her mouth opening wider in response to his kiss.

This felt odd too, but it was a wonderful sort of odd, a sort of pleasant friction and a building up of something that was sure to make her see heaven as well as feel it.
(((((())))))

Max swallowed her second cry as her muscles tightened around his hand. She was hot and wet and ready for him. He took both finger and lips away from her and spread her thighs a little further apart, making sure he could slide between them with no difficulty, and then he carefully fit himself at her entrance.

He held her hips down with his hands as he slowly pushed his way into her tightness. She gasped and stiffened, her nails digging into his skin where she grasped his broad shoulders. He didn’t protest, he couldn’t feel the pain because the pleasure was overwhelming. She felt so good. So very right.

In the back of his mind he was aware that this would hurt her, and that he had forgotten to warn her, but the caution was drown out once he had fully sheathed himself inside of her core. Her cry of alarm and pain brought the knowledge back full force and he stopped in his penetration, remorse washing over him.

“It’ll go away,” he promised her, “It’ll pass, Liz, I swear.”

He felt her nod where she had buried her head against his chest, and still he waited, giving her a chance grow accustomed to him in her body. Very gently he began thrusting again, and with a feeling near to joy, he discovered her inner walls expanding to accommodate him.

After a little bit, Liz began to move with him, and once assured she was all right, he lost himself to the feel of his wife once again.

His climax hit suddenly and he plunged deeply into her as he spilled his seed. Her body was also convulsing below his, and he knew she had reached her release, and he was content with the knowledge that he had managed to please her too.

Once Max had gathered his bearings, he moved onto his back, still buried in Liz, who was falling asleep draped over his chest. He stroked her silken hair as she drifted into sleep, and vowed that he would never allow Jeffrey Parker to break this intimacy between them.

He would not allow anything to jeopardize their love.
(((((())))))
posted on 9-Jun-2002 9:43:24 PM
((Part Seven))

Jeffrey Parker was livid. He could not believe the nerve of the Evans lordling, throwing a party in what had once been his house!

The cottage had little changed over the several years he and Elizabeth had been ousted from it. It had gone from a summer retreat of much love and joy for he and Nancy and their child, to a place haunted by bitter memories when he lost his beloved, but it had still been Parker property.

Until Phillip Evans came.

But now…Ho-ho, now everything was falling into place. His daughter had ensnared Phillip’s son, and had him well and truly wedded and bedded.

His gaze rested on her where she stood next to her husband and the Whitmans, one hand resting naturally on her abdomen, where it was obvious she was with child. A grin curved Jeffrey’s face, whether anticipatory or wicked was anyone’s guess, for he was unsure about it himself.

Elizabeth was a superb actress, playing the role of contented wife and expectant mother off to perfection, even he, her father, had trouble distinguishing it as a farce. It was unfortunate the babe would be Evans’ get, but it gave Elizabeth a firm claim on all Maxwell’s purchases and properties.

He made his way over to the close-knit group of men and women, slipping between other laughing guests and frantic wine servers. Elizabeth turned, a sparkling laugh escaping her parted lips, and caught sight of him. “Father!” she greeted, smiling at him, “How good of you to come!” She hugged him and planted a kiss on his cheek.

Jeffrey gave her a smile and kissed her in return, placing one hand on her stomach. “How could I not sweetheart, what with my first grandchild on the way?”

Her smile grew larger and she sent a loving look at Max, who wrapped an arm around her shoulder and drew her to him, dropping a kiss on the top of her head. Jeffrey’s lip curled in derision, but he quickly hid the reaction with a tolerant smile when he noticed Maxwell’s gaze coming to rest on him.

Evans’ eyes then slid past him, meeting Isabel Whitman’s, who’s widened. “Oh Liz,” she exclaimed, and Jeffrey started to hear his wife’s endearment for their daughter on another’s lips, “Won’t you come with me to check on Charles? He always behaves so much better when his Aunt Lizzie is around, and it’ll be good practice for the future.”

Elizabeth laughed and nodded, giving both her husband and her father a kiss before hooking arms with Lady Whitman and heading for the staircase leading to the second story. Jeffrey caught Maxwell’s gaze following Elizabeth’s until she disappeared into a room.

“Oh look,” Alexander suddenly piped up, “I do believe I see Michael over there, I need to speak with him about…um…” he looked around, “Something.” Then he nodded at Jeffrey and Maxwell and left, leaving the two men alone.
(((((())))))

Max eyed his father-in-law distantly. He had noticed the zealous gleam in the older man’s eyes and knew Jeffrey was on the verge of putting the final stages of his plan into place. Well, Max wasn’t about to let that happen.

“So Jeffrey,” he began conversationally, pleased when the other man jumped and looked at him wild-eyed. It was always good to unbalance one’s enemies. “How goes the plot to murder me?”

Jeffrey’s jaw dropped, and Max just looked at him politely, taking a glass of champagne from a server’s tray, and waiting for his response. His mouth worked for several seconds before he managed to say, “I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Really?” Max inquired calmly, as if commenting about the weather, “Because Liz was quite certain that you were using her to get to me.”

He could read Jeffrey’s denial about his daughter’s betrayal in his eyes. “I really don’t know what you mean,” he repeated staunchly, but it was obvious he knew his game was up.

“Oh, she said something about you vowing revenge on my father and the entire Evans family, she seemed quite in earnest.” He took another sip of the wine and raised an eyebrow at Jeffrey, who was turning pale. “She thought you had given it up, you see, when you didn’t approach her right away, but when you sent word you were coming to this event to celebrate our firstborn, I knew you hadn’t. You were just waiting for Liz to get pregnant so that you would have an undisputed claim to my lands and properties.”

“Maxwell-”

Max cut him off, “Leave Liz out of it. She’s not going to attempt to kill me in my sleep, and if you ask her to do, you’ll only end up hurting her and further succeeding in driving her away from you.”

Jeffrey drew himself up, eyes blazing. “How dare you! She is my daughter-”

“And she is my wife,” Max interrupted again, “A fact you would do well to remember. Liz is an Evans now, and so is any child she bears, and I will not have you threatening their lives.” His tone was decisive. “Now, I suggest you take your leave and I never want to see you again.”

“Elizabeth will want to see me,” Jeffrey protested.

“Then make your excuses and get out.”

“I’m her father,” Jeffrey was insisting, “She loves me, she won’t let you cut me out of her life.”

Max gave a dry laugh, “Love you? What cause would she have to love you? You’ve ignored her for years, and then you decide to use her as a pawn in your ridiculous game, expecting her to assassinate her husband, who she actually does love, and who loves her back. No, Jeffrey Parker, if Liz feels any love for you it is because she feels it is her duty as your daughter to do so.”

Liz’s father was turning pale again. “You-you…”

“For your sake, Jeffrey, you will not finish that sentence,” Max put in smoothly, “Please say good-bye to Liz, because you’ll never see her again. And don’t make a scene, or I’ll have you escorted off the premises.”

He watched the man make his way over to Liz and Isabel, who were chatting on their way down the stairs and back to their guests. Max’s heart swelled when he looked at his wife, pregnant with his child. He’d never let any harm befall either of them, and that was why he was now watching Jeffrey like a hawk watches a mouse.

When Jeffrey finally left, Max relaxed slightly, hoping that it was all over. Liz approached him, smiling, though it faltered a bit when she saw his intense expression. “Is everything all right?” she asked.

He gave her a smile and wrapped an arm around her, drawing her into the protection of his embrace. “Everything’s perfect, love, I promise.

((The End))