Ellen stretched and stroked her lover’s back as he lay naked beside her. A slight breeze wafted through the open window and ruffled the curtains and yards of rose and ruby tulle draped over the bed. Charles called it her harem room, but Ellen loved the feel of soft material, and had used lots of satin, silk and tulle when decorating their private bower.
Charles stirred and rolled over to face her. “What time is it?”
“Just after twelve, I believe. Would you like a cup of coffee?”
Stretching his lean body, he donned a sly smile. “Perhaps in a little bit, my love. Do we have anything planned for the afternoon? What about the evening?”
Pursing her lips, Ellen thought for a moment. “I don’t believe so. In fact, I think we have the rest of the day and the night to ourselves.”
“Isn’t that wonderful?” Hooking his arm around her, Charles scooped her into his embrace.
“Very wonderful,” she murmured as she gazed at him—Charles Henry Edward Lambert, a very handsome, elegant and charming man. He came from a wealthy, aristocratic family and he still wore his heritage well despite the many years since leaving kin and country behind. Charles had been made a peer of the realm and knighted by King George III in his former life; although, he had quite sensibly shed the title of Sir Charles, the fifth Duke of Bellmore. In today’s world, such formal affectations meant very little or nothing at all.
Ellen drank in the color of his eyes, a clear ocean blue, bright and shimmering on the surface, but filled with the cool, dark, fathomless shadows of time and circumstances. He had never regretted what she had done to him, changed him so irrevocably that he could never go back to his homeland and claim what was rightfully his.
Beside his arresting eyes, Charles possessed noble features, a Roman nose, high cheekbones and a firm, sensuous mouth. His chestnut hair fell in soft waves around his face and brushed his regal neck. He wore his hair a little shorter than he had in the past when men tied their long tresses back with silk bows or concealed their hair under powdered wigs. And in the old days, men of his caliber and station would never have considered a tattoo since body art had been associated with the lower classes, the tars—or sailors—the soldiers and pirates who had experienced exotic locales where tattooing was common.
But today everyone from all walks of life sported tattoos, and so Charles joined the trend, his tat of a golden lion standing on his hind legs and wearing a jeweled crown, the closest link he had to his home and identity.
Now Ellen traced the tattoo with her index finger and gazed into his eyes. “I love you madly,” she murmured.
“Same here, darling.” Despite his many years of traversing the globe, Charles still maintained a hint of his smooth, erudite accent. Like the blood that flowed in his veins, he could never quite shed all that made him a British aristocrat.
Slipping out of his embrace, she rose from the bed. “Now I’m going to take a shower.”
With balled hands, Charles stretched again. “You’re no fun, my dear.”
“We’ll see.” She offered a sly smile.
Padding over to the bathroom, Ellen gazed in the mirror over the sink before turning on the tub faucet for a shower. Despite living, loving and surviving for so many years, she still maintained an attractive face with smooth, porcelain skin, sparkling golden-brown eyes, and lustrous blond hair. And since her body had defied gravity, her breasts remained firm and her flesh supple over slim hips and thighs. All these years she had no complaints, no reason to feel sad, lonely or guilty. Yet, she let out a wistful sigh. She had seen the first signs of degeneration in Charles, just little things but there nonetheless.
And I thought we had conquered the after effects, she thought. This time around she had wanted to believe that success had come at last, she knew it, felt it, and yet... There was no denying the subtle changes. Had Charles noticed? He appeared and acted the same as always, laughing and joking in that cavalier manner of his, and talking about their future plans, a trip to Europe this summer, perhaps even back to his native England. With all her heart, Ellen hoped her lover would survive long enough to realize his dream.
She suffered so brutally with each loss of a loved one, but perhaps she had no choice. She had defied the gods, had defied the universal laws of life and death, and now had to pay for her sin...forever.
Under the stream of water now, she wet her hair and body before cleansing. But before she grabbed the shampoo and body wash, Ellen tilted her face upward and opened her mouth to catch the water on her tongue, her eyes closed to savor the feeling. Two jets on either side offered additional shower spray, the water hot now the way she liked it.
Before she opened her eyes, she knew that Charles had slipped in beside her, wanting to surprise her. But Ellen had felt him as she always did long before she actually felt him. The bond between them remained strong, a bond that transcended all earthly emotions and opened for them a universal plane of love, devotion and commitment.
Filling his hands with the body wash, he began to lather her arms and then her hips. Ellen shivered with his touch, so silky smooth with the addition of the soap. As she turned to him, Charles glided his hands over her abdomen and then slid them up to caress her breasts. The tantalizing sensation he produced made her blood sizzle.
“Charles, darling,” she murmured as he worked the lather over each breast.
“I love it when you’re wet—” As he spoke, he nudged her against the tiled wall, “—slick and hot.”
When his fingers winnowed between her legs and then slipped inside of her, he began a slow, piston rhythm, making Ellen moan with pleasure. Her head fell back as her body responded with a pliant arch toward him. Her hands splayed against the wall as he increased his stroking to a tortuous level, bringing her to the edge. Her body pulsated like the jet streams, the water running over and around her as she came in a violent shudder.
Ellen still trembled when Charles pulled her to him and took her mouth in a rough, greedy kiss, his hands once again roaming her body, tracing her curves and smoothing across her soft skin. She was helpless against him, what he brought to her, a mindless, endless joy, leaving her helpless and staggered with the enormity of his feelings for her and her own for him. She felt gratitude as well, grateful that she had him for her companion and lover all these wonderful, long years. Ellen couldn’t bare it otherwise, the losses and the loneliness.
She ran her fingers through his soft wet hair as his caresses continued to stimulate her arousal once again. In turn she grasped his erection and ran his foreskin up and down to increase his pleasure to the bursting point and make him harder still. Charles shuddered and gasped her name.
Pleasure swamped him as he quickly lifted and held her up against the wall. Gripping her hips, he dived into her, his rhythm strong and urgent now. His eyes glazed to a stormy blue as he gritted his teeth and plunged further still. Ellen watched his face, how those handsome features twisted and stretched as his desire climbed to stunning, excited heights. She ringed her arms around his neck and her legs around his waist, clinging to him as he took his fill.
A wild, desperate hunger burned in him, a need to savor and experience everything about her, her smell, her taste, her touch, her embrace. Charles was in an everlasting hell, but a tantalizing hell where he gladly withstood the torture because he would always have her in the end. It seemed centuries ago when he agreed to Ellen’s proposal, a vow of everlasting love in exchange for his soul. He never regretted his decision.
Now, dragging his mouth back to hers, he drove them both as Ellen matched him beat for beat, her nails biting into his back. After pausing and tensing, he took one last plunge and emptied inside of her, his release hard and violent as he shuddered against her. She quickly joined him, diving under with sweet pleasure.
A moment later, Charles gasped for air as he eased away and Ellen dismounted. He stumbled against the wall, dizzy now. Bending forward, he willed himself to take slow, even breaths to regain his equilibrium and calm his wild, racing heart, pounding so hard he thought it would burst through his chest. Ellen paused in shampooing her hair when she noticed his struggle. Quickly going to him, she placed her hand on his arm.
“Here, let me help...” she began, her expression tightening in concern.
“I’m all right,” Charles told her as his stood straight again, his head cleared and his pulse steadied. But Ellen wouldn’t leave it at that. He knew her too well and her need to smother him with maternal care. With a snarl of impatience, he added, “And I can manage just fine by myself. As you can see, I’m still breathing and standing. I’m not one of your shriveled mummies...yet.”
Slipping away from her, he opened the shower door and stepped out of the stall, although his body trembled with the effort.
“Oh, Charles!” Tears ran down her cheeks and mingled with the pinpoints of water.
So he had known, knew all along... and now he cut her to the quick with his realization. Through the wisps of steam and pebbled glass of the door she could see his shadowed form as he dried off with one of the fluffy towels from the rack. She didn’t have to look close to know he still shook. Was it his first attack or had there been one or two before?
Ellen knew Charles was frightened, frightened of becoming something other than his strong, healthy, vibrant and invincible self. She ached to go to him, hold him in her arms, and speak to him in a calm, low voice, tell him everything would be all right. There still might be hope.
She had embraced hope a long, long, long time ago. But inevitably, her faith and hope had withered away with time—year by year, age by age—as surely as Charles would do in the coming days. Ellen desperately wanted to take her life in order to save his, but she knew it was an empty and impossible gesture. She could only give life, not take it away. As she was his irresistible torment, he was also hers.
For you can never reverse what has been given to you by the gods...
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