|Out of My Hands
Author: the.eye.does.not.SEE PM
(Currently on hiatus. I sincerely apologize for the delays. I will return as soon as I can.) "All of this was happening too fast. He didn't want a wife. He'd never wanted a wife. But he wanted her." A story based off of, and a precursor to, "A Walk on the Wild Side." Rated M for chapter 10, as well as later chapters.Rated: Fiction M - English - Romance/Family - Lexie G. & Mark S. - Chapters: 21 - Words: 139,950 - Reviews: 259 - Favs: 46 - Follows: 70 - Updated: 01-05-13 - Published: 07-03-12 - id: 8283491
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: Thank you all SO MUCH for your reviews. You have no idea how happy it made me that you guys enjoyed their wedding night. I was so, so worried about that chapter. I hope you enjoy this one as well.
He did dream of her, as it turned out, but they were not pleasant dreams.
His mind replayed that first moment inside her again and again and again, until he'd seen the tears on her cheeks so many times that he'd been able to memorize the exact placement of each drop of moisture. When he looked down to ask what was wrong—she'd been so happy and inviting a moment ago—all he could see where her tears and her blood.
He tried pulling back, tried leaving her alone, but that only made things worse. His cock glistened in the candlelight when he withdrew it, covered in her blood. He could feel the heat rise in his body, and he hated himself for the fact that his cock remained prominent and full and hard, even through everything. The heat rose higher and higher then, and suddenly he realized it wasn't attraction between them—there wasn't any, anyway, not for her, at least—but fire. It was licking at his heels, swirling around the bed, and when he looked over his shoulder, he found the entire room engulfed in flames. A few of the maids worried it might give rise to a great fire…
"You promised!" She was screaming at him now, and sobbing, and covered in blood from the waist down. Her face was a contorted mask of desperation, of hatred, of terror. "You promised nothing bad would happen! You promised you'd take care of me!"
"I…" He didn't have a response. He never had a response.
"You told me not to be scared." She was whimpering now, her lower lip and chin trembling horribly as more tears fell down her cheeks. It was a constant flow now, a heartbreaking waterfall. "How can I not be scared? How can I not be terrified? How?"
And even with the fire raging around them, the heat oppressive and the smoke choking, Marcus knew death wasn't what she feared. She was looking up at him with those big brown eyes, cowering beneath him, shivering and crying, and he knew it was him—and only him—that she truly feared.
He tried to think of something to calm her. He tried to think of a way to give her peace of mind. But the fire had sapped his strength, smashed his willpower, and as the flames began curling up the sides of the bed, he realized it was too late to make her feel better. It was too late to do anything.
"I'm not going anywhere," he always whispered, just before the flames engulfed them both. It was only after he'd said the words that he always realized she wouldn't perceive them as comforting. He never had time to tell her not to fear like he did the night before. They were always ash by then.
Marcus Sloan woke up sweating.
The heat was so horribly overwhelming, and his dream so fresh in his mind, that he thought for a moment it was all true. He could see the flames, feel the heat… But then he blinked, and the wind shifted, and he realized that it was just a hot day. It was a day where nature felt the need to remind man that by its books, it was still summer, and autumn was far off. Marcus usually loved the heat, but today—today he hated it.
He squeezed his eyes shut, trying desperately to forget his dream. But he couldn't. The heat wasn't helping, and it wouldn't have mattered even if it was ice cold outside—some of the heat was inside his own body, and he hated that heat more than any weather Mother Nature might stir up.
He was just taking a slow, calming breath, when he heard a rustle in the sheets. His entire body froze automatically, locked up tight, as he listened to her mumble a couple letters in her sleep. He knew he shouldn't—he knew couldn't… But he looked over to her anyway.
The sight of her hit him like a hard punch in the gut, and he half-expected himself to double over at the view. God, she was beautiful. Her hair was spread out on the bed, tangled out behind her head and up in the pillows. The left side of her head was pressed solidly into the pillow she clutched tightly, and her face looked so serene, so at peace. He hoped to every god he knew that she was having better dreams than he'd had.
His eyes trailed down her body—his mind couldn't stop them—and a little part of him collapsed inside when he saw that the sheet that had been wrapped up around her shoulders earlier had fallen away. She was bare from the top of her back to just the crest of her buttocks, and she was lying on her stomach—but it was enough. The swell of her breast was obvious, even pressed into the mattress as it was. The skin of her back looked so smooth. He wanted to touch it, to stroke it, to kiss it and run his hands all over it.
But he couldn't. He'd never be able to, because doing that would only lead to other things.
His eyes drifted further, down past her hidden legs and feet and there… There was the blood. There was the proof of what he'd done to her.
I raped her.
He shut his eyes at the thought. He turned his head from it, turned his head from her, and tried to bury it in his mind. But it was impossible. It was the truth, and the truth—try as one might—can never be fully buried. And gods, was it true.
She hadn't wanted him. She hadn't even liked him. He had forced the want out of her, though he never would be able to force the like, let alone love. Part of him laughed at that thought. When would any woman ever love him? His mother hadn't, and if she was any indication—and she obviously was, considering what had transpired between him and members of the female sex in the decades after his birth—it was clear that every woman he ever met would follow in her footsteps of hate and disappointment.
His eyes roamed over the girl lying in his bed. She had never had a choice in their marriage, and least of all with what happened last night. He had tried to make it as easy and painless for her as he could, but he had obviously failed. He cursed himself again for not taking Derek's advice when he was offered. Maybe if he had, last night would've gone differently and he wouldn't be in the mess he was today.
Marcus lurched to his feet. He couldn't look at her anymore. He couldn't think about her, either, but that wasn't exactly something he could stop. He came face to face with yet another reminder of their failed wedding night when he stood. The candles.
God, he was stupid. Why had he done that in the first place? It was ridiculous, not to mention dangerous. He was lucky he'd had the strength and awareness last night to blow them out. If he hadn't, he was sure something just like his dream would've transpired not long after he fell asleep, and then where would the both of them be? Dead. (He tried not to think on the fact that she might prefer that to her current situation.)
But he ignored the candles for now. He didn't feel like picking them up. He didn't want to touch them. And he wanted to be out of this room—his favorite room out of over three hundred in the house—as quickly as possible. He swore softly as he started pulling on clothes. Why had he brought her here? There were almost a hundred bedrooms in the house, why did he bring her to his favorite one?
Marcus sighed as he pulled on the last of his clothes. Last night had just been one bad decision after another. As he walked out of the room, he wondered what she would say if he proposed they slept in different beds from now on. She would have to feign being offended at first, of course, but… She would prefer that, he knew. And it was better for them to be separated by whole rooms when his body took him over again like it had that first night, than to run the risk of being in the same bed. Even if they were full clothed… Well, he'd done away with clothes before and he could do it again.
But he wouldn't. He couldn't. She would never forgive him if he repeated last night's behavior again, and especially not if a reoccurrence came so quickly.
He ducked his head in disappointment when he realized what the rest of his life would be like as he strode from the bedroom. A strained, almost non-existent relationship with a woman who clearly wanted nothing to do with him. He might as well have married his mother.
His head snapped up at the voice. He hadn't noticed anyone was around—a stupid thought, seeing as the servants were always around—and here two women stood a few feet away, waiting expectantly. His eyes roamed over them, but they didn't look at all familiar and he couldn't place their faces with names. That wasn't surprising—he knew one name for every ten of his household staff, but… They should at least look vaguely familiar, shouldn't they?
The older woman spoke first, leaving the younger to focus on standing properly still and completely silent. If it were any other day, Marcus would've smirked at the way the young girl's eyes tried to subtly roam over him. It was horribly obvious. "We're your wife's handmaidens," she informed him. Ah, of course. He remembered sending them away, along with the rest, yesterday. They'd been the ones to protest. Well, the older one had protested, at least. The other had stood by shyly. "Is she awake? We can have her ready and dressed for breakfast—"
"Don't wake her up," he interrupted. He swallowed. He knew the second he walked away, they'd go and wake her, dress her, present her to him like proud parents. And he had to be gone by then. "Wait 'til she wakes on her own. Let her rest."
"Yes, my lord."
"And tell her she may take breakfast as she likes it. Inform the cooks from me that she can have whatever she wants."
The maid frowned. "Will you not be there, my lord?"
He stared at the woman for a long moment. She was older than the young one, she should know better than to question him. He relented from his planned reprimand a moment later, though. She only seemed to genuinely want to know. "No," he answered.
"And what should I tell Lady Sloan you are doin—"
He shook his head. "Don't call her that." His voice came out much sharper than he'd ever intended, but perhaps that was because hearing his name after hers bothered him so much more this morning than it would have yesterday. He knew she would loathe to be tied to him in such a way, so permanently and publicly; a constant reminder whenever anyone addressed her. He closed his eyes. He could only imagine how much she'd hate it when they had a living, breathing child to tie them together instead of just a name and the pretense of a shared bed."Don't ever call her that."
He watched as the maids traded a worried glance. He knew this would get back to the other servants sooner or later. He sighed; that, of course, was inevitable. They were always chattering about him behind his back, thinking he didn't have ears of his own. "What would you like us to—?"
"Just call her by her name," he ordered. "It's Alexandra."
The older maid paused a moment and then asked again, "What should I tell Lady Alexandra you are doing when she asks, my lord? I'm sure your wife will want to see you."
Marcus clenched his teeth together, breathing through his nose. He did not like the impertinence in this woman's tone. And why did she have to say it like that? 'Your wife?' Why did she have to use that word? Because that's what she is. She is my wife. What would be better, if she were referred to as my 'victim,' instead?
"Tell her I have matters to attend to in the village," he replied, his voice curt. "I'll return home when I have a spare moment."
The maid paused—she was judging him, he knew—before murmuring, "Yes, of course, my lord. I'll tell her."
He left without another word. He knew he was being a little boy. He knew he was being a coward. But he couldn't stay here, couldn't be in the same room as her, the same house… He couldn't look her in the face, not without remembering the blood and the pain and the tears. And not without wanting her, even still.
A quiet whispering woke Alexandra that first morning.
"…and so romantic. All the candles…" The girl exuded a wistful sigh. "I had no idea he was so romantic!"
Alexandra smiled to herself, somewhere between waking and sleeping. Laura was here? She turned in bed, wondering, " Laure?" She cleared her throat, and blinked her eyes open. It was then that she remembered where she was. She sat up straight in bed, and came face to face with two pairs of eyes in the doorway.
Her breath left her immediately, and she automatically brought her arms to cover her bare breasts. She could feel color rising to her cheeks. She'd never been naked in anyone's presence before, but now it'd happened three times in just a few hours. Her eyes flew from face to face. "Y—You are?" She managed to eek out.
The older of the two stepped forward. She had dark brown hair—almost black, like Alexandra's—and it was pulled into a tight bun atop her head. "I am Dorthea, my lady," she called quietly. She glanced over her shoulder to the young girl, the one Alexandra had mistaken for her little sister. She quickly stepped forward as well, obviously in training and still learning the ropes from the other.
"I'm Grace, m'lady." She introduced herself with an awkward curtsy.
Alexandra couldn't help but smile at her. Her blonde hair and freckles were nothing like Laura's, but somehow… because of her young age her bright smile, she looked just like the littlest Grey. The only Grey. She's the last one left, Alexandra realized with a pang of sadness. None of us carry the Grey name anymore. The thought made her turn her head, and she was surprised when she saw there was no one lying there next to her. She didn't know which she felt first—relief or disappointment.
Dorthea must've noticed the look on her face, though, because the older maid informed her mistress quietly, "Your husband had some business in the village, he said. He didn't know when he'd be back."
Alexandra nodded to herself. So he was gone already. She didn't know why she felt unhappy with that realization. She wasn't even sure she wanted to see him again, and even less sure she wanted to see him, alone, in their bed again. She felt a blush rise to her cheeks as she remembered everything that had happened the night prior. It had been wonderful. It had truly been wonderful, more wonderful than she could have ever imagined… But she was not so sure she would have been ready to do it again the moment she woke.
She bit her lip again so she wouldn't blush anymore. She wondered when they'd do it again. Tonight? Or before? Derek and Meredith did it all the time. Would she and her husband do it all time? Until she was pregnant, at least? His mother's words still swam in her head—she couldn't forget them—about how she would visit in a year and expect a baby boy waiting for her when she arrived. Alexandra suddenly felt her breathing grow shallow. What if she had a girl? What if there was a girl growing inside her right now? What in the world was she supposed to do with that?
No, that would be impossible. She wouldn't have a girl. She couldn't have a girl. She would not keep her husband or his mother waiting any longer for their heir, she would not have a girl. It was not possible. It would not happen. She wouldn't let it.
"Would you like a shift, my lady?"
The servant's voice broke her out of her thoughts. She quickly nodded, clearing her throat. "Please," she whispered quietly. She waited until the thin garment was brought to her before she stepped out of bed. She did not want to be naked in front of these strangers any longer than she had to be.
"The privy…" She trailed off once the fabric was in place, looking around. There were too many doors leading in and out of this room; she didn't know which to pick. Dorthea indicated to the one just a few feet to Alexandra's right.
"Through there, my lady."
Alexandra breathed a sigh of relief when she closed the door behind her. She shut her eyes and slowly sank to the cold, tiled floor. She sat there, crouched, for a few seconds before finally standing up again and crossing the room. She winced slightly as she made water; her woman parts burned just faintly as the urine passed by them. She did not look down for fear of seeing red. She wondered how long it would be like this, and if it would get better or worse over time. Her eyes settled on the door separating her from the bed she'd shared with her husband. She wondered again if they would do it a second time tonight.
Of course they would. Why wouldn't they?
She bit her lip, standing. Would he be just as gentle a second time? Or was one night enough? He had a right to take her as he pleased, she knew that, but she had a hard time imagining… Would he really do that, really take her as he wanted, with no concern, after what had happened between them last night?
Alexandra hoped she wasn't a child for deciding no. He wouldn't be like that, she reasoned. Not with me.
But how do I know? The thought made her shiver. I've only known him for a day, after all. It was a wonderful night, yes, but it was still… just a night.
When she returned to her bedchamber, the two women were collecting the multitude of candles into two piles. She smiled at the almost reverent way the girl Grace handled them—as if they were fragile, or her most prized possessions. She remembered the whispering girl she'd heard just before she'd awoke.
"Do you like the candles?" She asked, speaking pointedly to the younger girl.
Grace swallowed, looking to her superior for instruction before nodding quickly. "Yes, my lady. I do. They're—beautiful."
Alexandra smiled. "I thought so too." She paused, and nodded to the bundle in the girl's arms. "You may take one, if you like."
"Oh!" The girl's excitement made Alexandra so happy for a second—until it made her want to cry. This girl was exactly like Laura. All little girls were the same. Their heads were filled with songs and stories; tales of romance and chivalry and everlasting love. Lies.
"My lady," Dorthea interrupted from the side. "The girl has no need for candles."
"Of course she does," Alexandra insisted. She pointed to a thick purple candle a few feet from Grace's right foot. Hardened wax had dribbled down the side sometime during the night. "Would you bring me that one, dear?" Grace did as she was bid, and Alexandra thanked her when she put the candle in her hands. "Which one would you like?" She wondered, running her fingers over the soft wax of her own candle. "You can take whichever one you want. I'm sure my lord husband won't miss any." In a second, the girl was clutching a tall blue one in her hands. She held it tightly, as if nervous someone would snatch it away. Alexandra smiled at her. "Well, there you are."
"You're too kind, my lady," she murmured, quiet and soft. "Thank you so very much."
Alexandra couldn't help but smile. She was a timid, shy girl too, once. Like Laura, like Grace. She closed her eyes for a long moment, remembering the night prior. And at times, I still am. Though I am a girl no longer. Her eyes drifted to the bed automatically when she opened them, as if drawn by some unseen force. Staring at the red spots on the sheets, she wondered if her husband's child was planted inside her, growing already. If so, then I will be even more of a woman grown by the time the year is out. All she could hope for was that it was a boy.
"Would you like to view your boudoir, my lady?" Dorthea wondered a moment later. She began walking across the room before Alexandra could even reply; she'd clearly had enough of this candle business.
"Of course," Alexandra answered even though it was unnecessary, and let the women lead her to a side door in her bedchamber that she hadn't noticed the night before. Opening the door, Alexandra was immediately struck by the space inside… And how much was taken up. The room stretched back near twenty feet, and dresses hung from tall rods that stretched from the front wall to the back. The room was almost overflowing with color and fabric.
"We put your dresses from home to the right," Grace told her softly. Alexandra slowly managed to turn her head from all the splendor in front of her. What she had considered a rather large wardrobe when she was at her childhood home turned out to fill up no more than six feet of one wall in her new home. She had never in her life imagined that one person could wear or own so many clothes… And now she did.
"He… did all this?" She wondered in awe. "Bought all this? For… me?" Alexandra could not fathom how much all of this had cost. The clothes ranged from common threads to the most expensive silks and velvets. Some of the flashier pieces looked to be studded with emeralds, diamonds, and amethysts, as well as many other precious stones. The colors ranged from the deepest blacks to the most startlingly bright pieces she'd ever seen. I did not know which color you liked. Your father said you had no preference, she remembered him saying the night prior. So I brought all I could find, and bought some too. If he had said those words now, 'some' would be an understatement. She guessed that there were at least a hundred gowns here, and space for even more. When would she ever have time to wear them all? Would she come here to change multiple times a day?
"He wanted you to be comfortable here, my lady."
"I…" Alexandra sucked in a breath. "I shall have to thank him when I next see him." She took a long moment to stare at her beautiful collection before turning to face her personal maids. "He didn't say when he'd be back?"
Dorthea shook her head. "No, he did not." She paused. "Would you like to pick one?" She wondered. "To wear today?"
Alexandra let a smile spread over her face as she turned back to the dresses. There were so many…
In the end, she chose a pale lilac one. Grace commented that it matched her candle, and Alexandra smiled. Purple was her favorite color, though she never saw much of it. Maybe that was why she liked it so much; it was rare. As they dressed her, Alexandra recalled the last time she'd been dressed—just a day ago, and for her wedding. She looked down at the flowing, expensive fabric wrapped around her body. She could tell just by looking at it, feeling its softness, that it was more expensive than anything she'd ever owned—even more expensive than the white dress she'd been married in. She wondered if she would look as beautiful in this as she had on her wedding day. She could still remember the moment he'd said that, the moment she knew things would be alright. You look very beautiful, my lady. She suddenly wondered if she'd looked beautiful last night. She'd been barely clothed and then completely naked for most of it… Did that make her more attractive or less to him?
She had aroused him, she knew that—and she took very private but very deep pride in the fact—but that didn't mean he thought she was beautiful. She knew some men didn't care what a woman looked like—as long as they had lips and breasts and a place to put it, they didn't need anything else. But she had known from almost the beginning that he was a different sort of man. What had happened last night only proved it to her, made it a certainty instead of just a girlish notion.
He was different.
She hoped she was different, too. Different from all the rest.
It was later, as she was walking through the halls after breakfast, that she finally remembered her dream from the night before. She had always been one with an active imagination—brought about by her father's fanciful tales of all the strange ports and lands he'd visited while trading, no doubt—so it hadn't surprised Alexandra when she'd dreamed her first night in her new home, even as tired as she'd been when she had closed her eyes.
She recalled it with a smile now, running her fingertips across the gilded railing on the upper floor as she looked down over the open living space on the ground floor below. There were a few maids darting about, dusting and primping pillows and making nice the smallest corners of the room. She leaned against the railing, watching them, and remembered…
George had just returned from the war in her dream, arriving in his mail and armor, and true to his written word, he'd come to their door for his wife, fresh from the battlefield. They were married in what felt like the blink of an eye. Alexandra remembered smiling the entire time, and whenever she looked to him, George was smiling too. She closed her eyes when he stepped closer for that first kiss. Their noses bumped against one another awkwardly, but his lips were soft, warm… And then confident. Their faces did not clash again, but his hand moved to the back of her neck to draw her close. She sucked in a breath reflexively and leaned into him, almost stumbling in her haste to get closer. She had never expected that he would be such a good kisser. But when she opened her eyes, it was not George staring back at her. It was her husband, her real husband…
And when she looked into his bright blue eyes she could do nothing but smile.
She could've sworn her heart melted in her chest when he smiled back.
Author's Note: Reviews are always greatly appreciated. :) I hope you all liked reading about the morning after :)