So, I missed these two fools and needed to get in the frame of mind for getting the sequel going properly (my muse has been all over the place recently!). So here is a 'missing' chapter, set just before Killian leaves to redeem himself.
Hands shaking, she fastened the silk covered buttons of her gown.
The sun was dipping below the horizon and with it, her heart began to sink. By the time it rose again, he would be on his way. For how long, she knew not.
Already, she could feel the looming sense of loneliness and loss that she knew would consume her in his absence.
It was a topic of conversation that she had stubbornly refused to dwell on in the preceding few days. He had promised her he would return quickly - that his business would not part them for any longer than necessary. Yet his reluctance to share further details on how he would be, as he said, 'redeeming himself' had made her wary.
What if he did not return? What if, she thought with a sudden start, he decided it had been a mistake - that she was a mistake? He could easily disappear into the vastness of the ocean… Her breath caught as this new idea began to spiral in significance in her confused mind.
There was a soft click of a lock opening behind her. She knew without looking, it was him. Within a second, he was at her back, his hand clutching her hip through the gauzy material, his lips dancing over the skin of her neck.
"My love…" he whispered, sending a shiver down her spine.
"You're late," she replied curtly, resisting the urge to sink her body back into his.
"Apologies, milady, a boat can at times be a very demanding mistress."
She froze, his words ringing in her ears.
Perhaps that's all she was to him? An aside, a brief interlude, easily replaced-
She clenched her fists tightly.
"Emma, are you okay?"
Taking the few steps to her bed, she took hold of one of the elaborately carved posts that held up the blue silk canopy and hugged it tightly.
"Emma," he asked again, his voice brimming with concern.
"I just-" she began, feeling all at once foolish and scared.
He slipped around her until he stood on the other side of the post, his intense blue eyes pulling her into his gaze.
Squeezing her eyes closed, she tried to think rationally. Where had this panic emerged from? Just a day ago she had been sure, so sure of him and them.
"I'm scared," she admitted, pressing her fingers into the dark wood until the skin on her fingertips blanched.
Slipping his hand up to her shoulder, he squeezed gently. "Of what, love?"
"I don't even know," she replied, tears just on the verge of falling, her hands sinking to her sides in defeat. "I feel so lost."
"I'm here," he promised, bundling her into his arms, letting her cling to his shirt as though if she let go, he would disappear.
He'd never seen her like this. So quiet and withdrawn. It was so unlike her, he felt a painful shift in his gut as she held onto him.
"What if you forget me?" she asked in a small voice.
The pain inside him deepened.
"How could I forget you? My life didn't really begin until we met."
Perhaps it sounded trite, but it was the truth. For so many years he had lived in a fog of self-pity and single mindedness. It had taken her to make him see the light - to see that life could be more, that new beginnings can be found even in the darkest of times.
"I can't lose you Killian," she whispered, pressing her cheek against his chest.
"You won't," he promised. Emma lifted her head, seeming more composed that when he had happened upon her, but there was still uncertainty there.
"How can you be sure? Life changes quickly, Killian, we both know that. You won't tell me what the matters are that you have to resolve - that take you away from me, you give vague answers when I ask how long you will be gone-"
He stops her with a finger to her lips. "And that's why I need you to trust me. As I trust you. I will return and we will be together."
Her reaction to his words was guarded. She looked aside, across her shoulder. He could see more was troubling her.
"I do trust you," she whispered, and he felt a spring of hope grow again, "It's just," and she sighed, "Perhaps when we are separated, you may get lonely. And I've seen the ports that boats frequent. I know what goes on-"
"Emma," he cried, needing to immediately wipe her mind of such ideas, grabbing her shoulders with enough force to send her gaze whipping back to him in an instant. "How could you ever think such a thing? I love you. You are all I want. Could ever want."
A flicker of a smile danced over her face.
"But when we are apart, will a mere memory sate you?"
He closed his eyes for a second, and let his mind fill with the thoughts of her that he carried around with him. Her smile, her laugh, the way she walked, the sounds she made when he brought her to the heights of ecstasy, the rhythm of her breathing when she slept by his side.
"Lass, one mere memory of you, is far finer than any other woman I have encountered before." He dropped his hands to her waist, tugging her hips towards his, his gaze darkening as he felt the want for her rise, knowing that this would be the last time he touched her, tasted her for some time to come. "In any case, perhaps tonight we both need to create some new memories? Ones that will fuel both of us - you, lonely in this bed in a dark and empty castle, and me, adrift on some far-flung ocean with merely a motley crew for company."
Killian gave her a melancholy smile as he laced each word with desire, each syllable rolled around his mouth as though it was her he was caressing, every sound becoming tainted with his need for her.
"I'd like that very much," she whispered, fingering the fastenings of his shirt as she looked up at him with glistening eyes.
Dropping his head to press a kiss to her shoulder, he whispered, "Have I told you how beautiful you are?"
"Many times," she blushed.
"But never enough," he replied, nipping at the base of her neck, his teeth catching the bare skin, his fingers dipping into the neckline of the sheer white gown she wore. "Did you wear this for me?" he asked.
"Yes," she panted, rocking her hips forward to press harder against his. The material left little to the imagination. But, God, he foresaw little use for garments for either of them this evening.
"Oh, love, you know how to taunt a man. Are you sure you aren't an enchantress?" She laughed lightly, her voice becoming a gasp as he laid a trail of kisses across her neck, leaving gooseflesh in their wake.
Beneath the gown she was so warm and soft, her every contour clearly visible and heartily enjoyed as she crushed herself against him. He gathered the material between his fingers, finding the parting at the front and the tiny silk covered buttons that closed it.
"Will you miss me?" she suddenly asked.
"Oh Emma…" He sighed, "Every hour, I will burn, I will ache, I will yearn - for you." He took her hand and began pressing his lips to each fingertip in turn. "Your touch will haunt me, my skin will burn with the memory of it. For before you, I was blind, love-"
His fingers released her hand and slid down to begin undoing the buttons of the gown. Slowly, one by one.
"And you?" he asked, almost with a juvenile hesitance, for their love was passionate, but still young and as forthright as she could be, his lovely Emma was still a little bashful in some areas of lovemaking.
Grasping his biceps, she lay back a little against the bed, baring the fresh skin of her decollate. "I shall be incomplete, my love, until your hand is once more in mine, until our tongues are entwined in a reunion kiss - until," she paused and trailed a finger down the skin that his half open shirt exposed, her eyes wavering as they tried to hold his gaze, "Until I feel you inside me once more."
"Love," he groaned, "You know not what you do when you speak such words to me.
She took in a short breath, seemingly emboldened by the effect her speech had had on him. "You like it when I talk of such things?"
"Aye love, so very, very much."
Her hand began to slide down his chest, fingers scraping against the skin and picking apart buttons as they went. "Perhaps, I should tell you how much I love you naked. The hair of your chest pressed against mine - oh, I love the way it feels against my breasts."
His shirt was tossed to the ground as he drifted into a deep state of arousal, one that was rendering rational thought more difficult by the second.
"They're very powerful words, you use, love."
"So I am learning; but not intimidating, if wielded correctly."
"Indeed," he whispered against her lips trying to snatch a kiss, before she pulled her mouth away. Soft hands glided over his chest, his breath hitching with the shivers her touch evoked. This confidence she was displaying kindling a deep desire in his gut. "Go on."
It was not that her earlier trepidation has subsided. It still lingered, but she loved him and trusted him - despite the flutters of dissent in her heart. And for that, she knew that the only balm to her now was his presence and passion, for those feelings and sensations she would gather now would last her many a lonely night.
Emma looked through her lashes at him, biting on her bottom lip as she slid her palms lower, across the muscles of his stomach, to the waistband of his trousers that were currently beginning to tent with her each caress.
"I love this," she murmured, her eyelashes fluttering a little shyly as she cupped his hardness, memorizing its warmth and fullness in her palm, pressing her lips against his chest as her other fingers picked apart the fastening of the heavy cotton trousers that were stained with the remains of a hard days labor. "I-"she paused, nuzzling at his chest, "I love you - all of you."
Her teeth nipped at his chest, causing him to wince a little as she toyed with each section of bared skin, before soothing it with her tongue.
"My love-" he stuttered, his guttural sigh flooding heat straight to her loins, a flush of satisfaction bruising her cheeks as she grasped his hips with her small hands and steered him around towards the waiting blankets of her bed.
"Before you," she whispered into his neck as she pushed away his pants, "My life was monochrome - I saw only the opposing sensations of responsibility and freedom."
She grasped his ass as her mouth pressed against his neck. She could feel his pulse reverberating against her lips, beating the same passionate rhythm as her own.
"And now?" he asked, the vibration of his deep voice cutting straight into her.
Kissing a trail up the centre of his neck, she met his sea blue eyes and smiled, "Now I see the rainbow of possibility."
His eyes slanted dreamily, a matching smile on his lips, the fluttering of butterflies in her stomach that he gave her, still a surprise. Like the first time. Like always.
"I don't deserve you," he sighed as she pushed him back onto the too soft mattress - the one that she still found difficult to sleep on; sometimes, instead, Killian pooling their blankets on the floor, cocooning his body around her.
"You're a fool," she laughed lightly, crawling up onto his body, settling herself above him.
"Only for you," he replied, rocking up his hips, pushing the thin material of her gown behind her.
And then words seemed trite. Only touch and caress seemed appropriate.
He reached upwards, pulling her into dizzying kiss.
It was still a dream. One that he feared he would wake from.
Love, real love. With a woman who was strong and wise, as equally as she was beautiful and beguiling.
The tide of events that had brought them to this moment, suddenly seemed to pause. Reality hit like the pounding waves of the ocean against the hull of the Jolly. She cared. She was real and human and open - more than he ever imagined he would ever have. He pressed her back into the mattress. Reveling in her revealed flesh, fingering the last buttons of her nightgown, memorizing the way the candlelight adored her flesh.
Slowly, he cherished her, exploring every inch of skin, mentally recording her responses, trailing over each curve with a slow rake of fingers and lips, peeling away the last of her coverings until her only disguise was that of the half-dark room and the hazy lust in his eyes.
There was so much he wanted to say. So much he wanted to tell her. Ways he wanted to make her feel-
Stilling his mind, he took a deep breath, scented with her simple floral perfum, and slowly turned to lay her on her back.
"How did I become so lucky?" he murmured to himself, trailing his hands over her thighs and waist, enjoying the way she shivered from his touch.
"It's not luck Killian, it's fate. Now make haste, the room is cold and the only remedy I see is your body upon mine." Her tone was playful, but there was a searing undercurrent of passion that quickened his pulse.
"Aye love," he nodded, snatching a longing kiss as she shifted farther onto the bed, giving him a moment to remove his trousers, leaving them both bare to each other; in more ways that one.
Further kisses and caresses were intermingled with loving words and tender sighs as they explored one another as if it were their first time; the secret fear it could be their last remaining buried inside. For Killian still bore the steely self confidence of a pirate captain, for whom failure was never an option.
Beneath him, she arched her body as he buried himself deeply. Taking her slowly as they stared into one another's eyes, her hips rocked in time with his. Her eyes shimmered in the candlelight. The gathering tears they wore glistening as they rolled over her eyelids and caught on her flushed cheeks. He kissed the tears away, tasting their bitter, salty tang, trying to sooth her with the whispered mantra:
I love you, I love you
Coiled together, she counted the beats of his heart; tattooing this night upon her soul.
"Killian?" she whispered into the lingering darkness.
"Aye love?" he replied, the baritone of his voice penetrating her flesh easily.
"I need to know more. Tell me something."
She waited, a few seconds slowly slipping by, his fingers moving gently over her arm, a small shiver coursing through her.
"I've done things I'm not proud of, love-"
"That's in the past," she cried, rolling around to face her love, catching the pained expression of his brow.
"Most are not as easily forgiving as you, my darling." He pressed a tender kiss to her forehead.
Wriggling closer to him, she wrapped her fingers in his pendants and pressed her cheek against his chest. "Many scores will forever leave a black mark against my name, but there are some I can settle. I have a hoard, buried on a remote island. I plan to return it's more important treasures."
"You know my father would pardon you in an instant-"
"In this realm, love. But what of the others? How can I openly love you with a price on my head."
The words washed over her. Of course this made perfect sense - it was what she herself had expected. If he made some retribution to the kingdoms affected by his piracy, then along with her father's word, he could, she hoped, return to an honourable life. For that is what he wanted, wasn't it?
She noticed that his body remained stiff and rigid, the tension running in his veins radiated from him and she found her own body tightening in response.
He sighed deeply, tucking her head under his chin.
"Nothing love, that is all. I promise."
With that his body softened a little, moulding tighter to hers, his arousal beginning to press into her flesh. Still, she wasn't sure if she truly believed him. God, she wanted to. But a small corner of her heart felt his hesitance.
Pushing away her fears, she slipped her arms around his neck, "Okay," she whispered, before rolling him onto his back. Silently, she rose and settled her hips above his, taking his length in hand and working it to hardness. Her hair became a cloak around the pair as she moved in for a kiss, slowly sinking his body into hers as their tongues and lips entwined.
Wordlessly she rocked her body. Each movement an oath.
I love you.
I trust you.
Come back to me.
Heat and passion rose as she pressed herself harder against him, working out her frustration, determined to leave her mark. Her fingernails dug into his chest as his hand grasped her hip. The pace was dizzying, spinning her out of her body for a moment, easing the pain as she forgot briefly the cause.
Release was both a blessing and a curse. Reaching her peak, she cried out his name as he stiffened beneath, before collapsing once again into his arms: tired and aching, with numb toes and short of breath. Sleep soon claimed her, her fingers entwined with his.
He woke her just before dawn. His eyes red raw from the lack of sleep. He'd watched her for the few hours she had slept, committing her image to memory - worried he might forget if he didn't study her intently.
She clung to him when he announced the time was near, silent tears dripping down her cheeks, drawing out his own denied tears that mingled with hers as they kissed.
Would it be the last time? Would she wait…
A thousand questions. Ones that could not be answered with certainty.
"You will be at the docks?" he asked, pressing kisses to her bare shoulders as she huddled tightly against him.
He pulled her tightly to his chest, steadying himself, refusing to let his fears get the better of him, refusing to believe that fate could be so cruel as to rip happiness away from him once more.
"Then I must go and make final preparations. I'll see you soon?"
Emma nodded as he cupped her cheeks, barely drawing the strength to pull away.
Promising himself that this sacrifice would be worthwhile, that through it, he would finally be worth of such a woman as Emma.