VII. Becoming Undone
They were soft, so soft and smooth that Darla found herself closing her eyes as she was leaning forward and brought her hands onto his chest. James groaned before he was pushing her back to hit the floor.
He groaned before Darla gasped and she sensed the tongue was entering her mouth. He tasted of chocolate and lemon. She gripped his shirt before James was breaking the kiss before his mouth was trailing hot kisses on her jaws and throat. She gasped before James was sucking on her skin.
"Your skin...how soft," he mumbled before James was pulling her by the nape and kissed her again. She did not know what possessed her to be allowing James—her mortal enemy—to be kissing her with wanton.
And the worst part was she wanted him to.
Then, all revelry broke when she remembered that this man in front of her was a rake. A rake that will take any opportunity to get inside someone's skirts no matter if he liked her or not. And Darla was on the 'not' list.
She pushed him away, breathing hard as some of her hair was escaping in tendrils down her face. She was taking a deep breath before she was composing herself before she was glaring at him.
"I still don't have any feeling or regard even after you kissed me, my lord. So perhaps you are wrong. Your charms don't work on me and they will never be. So, if you excuse me, I have a lesson to attend to," Darla said before she took a step forward as she was trying to gain and hoping that her knees will not be giving up now.
Not in front of her mortal enemy who kissed her and stole her first kiss.
Darla hurried to the room where Madam Flemington was waiting for her, she arched her eyebrows before Darla was clearing her throat and tried to be indifferent.
"Shall we continue, my lady? I wish to be back at the academy as soon as possible, please," she said before Lady Ashley just nodded and Darla cannot focus for one bit on how to make a gentleman kneel to his knee and worship a lady like her as if she was a goddess.
Darla thought she was going to puke but with a chance of meeting James again, she held it in until the end of her lesson and went back to the academy to scrub his taste on her lips forever.
Even when it was ingrained to torture her for eternity.
"Did you do something to Lady Darla today, James?" his grandmother asked before James was looking up from his soup that was being served for their afternoon meal. He blinked his eyes before he was focusing on his grandmother.
Lady Ashley Flemington who just got out of her mourning and pursued her passion to teach manner and etiquette to young ladies.
"Pardon?" James asked before he was dabbing his mouth with a napkin. Lady Ashley clicked her tongue.
"Did you or did you not harass Lady Darla Lockwood when she went to the bathing chambers?" his grandmother said before James took a sip of his wine as he was trying to form his words.
"Grandma, she was my mortal enemy and she did not have any interest in me. At all. So, why would I waste my charms on someone like her when I have a thousand choices from the brothel and tavern? Surely you would not think that I would be wanting her simply because I could not have her, can I?" James said before he was arching his eyebrows at his grandma.
The old dowager countess was narrowing her eyes to slit before she took a sip of her wine before she put the glass down. She nodded before she continued to indulge in her soup. Feeling victorious, James continued to eat as if there was nothing to be more contented with other than the soup.
"So, when will Magnus come to visit me? I heard that he was having fun, touring the kingdom with your parents. And when will William be joining you at the academy? It was time for him to enroll in his education," she asked James before he smiled at his grandma. Then, he took the dismissive from Will that had been sent to him a week ago.
"Will was preparing for the last minute that he needed to look over his stuff again. and considering that he will not part from his bow and arrows, I would say that he will be spending more time in the forest than visiting you, grandma. And Magnus...let's just say that he was being the doting son and heir to our parents," he said before Lady Ashley grimaced.
"Would it kill him to come and visit me in Hamptor when he has visited the whole kingdom? And would it hurt Will to come out of the forest once in a while and greet me in the civilized town? I wonder what will happen to him when he'd grown up and decided to live in that forest? It will break my heart and send me to my death bed early," his grandma said before James was shaking his head.
Lady Ashley Flemington loved to be dramatic.
"Well, I can persuade him to come after he enrolled, grandma. Do not worry. I'm sure Will will be tired so enough of the forest and come to visit you later," James said before Lady Ashley nodded, letting the silence paused between them before they resumed their meal as the day went on.
Darla was taking off her bonnet and gloves before she was looking at the window overlooking the academy. The chill has brought the rain into Hamptor as she was taking off her shoes as well as her stockings.
Then, she moved to remove her bodice and dress as she put them in the laundry basket. She took a deep breath before she went to the bathing chambers in her chemise as the indoor plumbing was giving her the convenience that she did not have to ask the maids to come and fill the bathtub with hot water.
It was already be done and filled as she was looking at the rising steams above the tub.
She chose her favorite soap before she was lathering them on the rags as she was filling the water with the aromatic scent. She sighed before she removed her chemise over her head and stepped inside the bathtub.
"Why can't papa have indoor plumbing as well? That would be very convenient," she mumbled before she brought the rag and put them on her body as she washed away the grime and sweats from the encounter with James Flemington.
Damn him to hell!
Darla touched her mouth as she can still feel the tingling sensation of his lips mashed together with hers as well as the taste of chocolate and lemon on his tongue. It was torture as well as a blessing that she cannot thank anything but her stars that James was the first one to kiss her.
And stole her first kiss like the rake he was.
Darla clicked her tongue before she was washing away her body, trying to forget the brown hair and sapphire orbs as if they can see right through her. She groaned before she submerged underneath the water and gasped for air before she was getting out of the tub.
She took a towel and dried her body before she drained the water from the tub and went to put on her nightgown. She did not wish to dine in the dining hall as she had sent a dismissive that she will take her supper in her room.
She went to pat dry her hair as she was sitting at her vanity, looking at her reflection. Her black hair and amber eyes were looking at her as she was biting her lower lips. She turned to take the comb and combed through her wet hair before braided them and went to take a book for one of her classes and sat at the divan in front of the window.
The rain splattered against the glass before she took a candle and put it near her so it illuminated her book as she read through her notes to revise her education.
One more week and I will be out of here, she reminded herself, thinking that if she passed the test with flying colors, she will be back in Scatterford in no time and she will move forward with her life. Giving her life to helping the orphaned and the poor of Norkins before she would be thinking about rake.
"Tarnation!" she cursed before she was taking a deep breath and was closing her eyes. Then, someone was rapping at the door. Darla took a robe and put it on over her nightgown before she went to open the door. The maid bobbed a curtsy to her before she put the tray on her table as she turned and smiled at Darla.
"Your dinner is served, mum," the maid said before Darla dismissed her. She looked at the book before she settled herself at the table and took a sip of the wine that was in the glass before she ate her supper.
Somehow, being alone in her room was making her feel lonelier than she would ever feel before. And Darla knows why for she wished that one young lord with brunette hair and blue eyes was there to irritate her.
At least James would be a good company in this boredom of her academic life.