"Did you ever notice the colour of Mary Poppins' petticoats? They were kind of orange and apricot and red. I think she had a secret life going on there!" ~ Julie Andrews
A/N: Yet another story that I've wanted to write for ages and as I'm publishing this, it's two days before I go to university!
So, naturally my uploads will slow down a lot because I've had a very long summer break, but I do still have loads of ideas that I want to write (in fact, I'm think of writing a short sequel to "Come What May" and I have also written loads of chapters for "A Thing Of Beauty Is A Joy Forever" in advance, so hopeful I won;t be quiet for too long.
I do like this story, but I do have a few mixed opinions on it so I hope you enjoy it!
The Secret Life Of Mary Poppins
"Feed the birds,
Tuppence a bag,
Tuppence a bag…"
Mary walked back into her room as her sweet song ended – quite certain that Jane and Michael were now fast asleep. Her song had given her a somewhat bittersweet feeling – perhaps even sombre; whilst it had so perfectly illustrated the importance of love and charity – the important of showing that we care – Mary felt as if the compassion within the world was beginning to die out. There were people who could barely care for their loved ones, and those self-same people would refuse even the notion of helping a stranger who perhaps needed it most, she felt as though people had lost their empathy; for she knew that so many would expect help if they were in need, yet they do not give it to others. It made her sigh heavily, oh how she wished that people would start listening to their hearts more, even if they showed that they cared in simple ways, such as feeding the birds, the world would become a more loving place.
She switched the light on in her room and was about to remove the pins from her hair when she heard the sound of rustling leaves coming from outside the window. She felt her lips curl into a giddy smile.
"Hello, Bert" she said smugly.
She turned around as she spoke and saw Bert sitting in the tree that stood proudly outside of her window; he wore his token cheeky grin – he knew he'd never catch her off guard.
"Your singin' voice is beautiful, Mary" he complimented – causing Mary's cheeks to flush with a brilliant shade of crimson. It certainly wasn't the first time he'd said it to her, but it warmed her heart nonetheless.
"Really?" she asked bashfully.
"Really…" he shuffled to the edge of the branch so that he was inches away from her window, "—you 'ave the voice of an angel"
She blushed ferociously.
"Well, you can certainly carry a tune yourself!" she replied with a smile.
Bert began to blush too and tipped his cap in thanks. Mary moved and stuck her head out of the window slightly – the night air felt cool on her skin. She gave him a humorously hopeless look.
"Bert, what on earth are you doing here?"
"Well, a little birdie told me that tomorrow is your day off…so I thought I'd pay ya a visit to see if ya wanted to maybe get an early start?"
She could've swore she saw him wink at her.
"Really, Bert?" she sighed.
"Aww, come on now, you can't blame me for tryin' to be cute, can you?"
"I suppose not, but I can blame you for being so perfectly idiotic"
"Get down from there before you fall and break your neck!" her voice was quite stern, but Bert could detect an undertone of panic.
"Well, if I climb down we won't be able t' continue this wonderful conversation!" he teased, "I could always climb through the window"
Mary's eyes widened.
"And how do you think Mr and Mrs Banks would feel if they knew that their nanny was inviting men into her room late at night?"
"Well, I know 'ow I'd feel" he smirked.
"Yes, I know how you'd feel too" she retorted as she rolled her eyes.
"So, you're not gonna invite me in?"
"Certainly not! That would be most improper, besides, Jane and Michael are asleep in the next room and -"
As if on cue, the sound of timid footsteps began to echo in the next room. She shot Bert a warning look and he scooted back across the branch so that he was out of site. Mary spun on her heels as the door opened, but was shocked to see the apologetic face of Mrs Banks staring at her.
"Mrs Banks" Mary said as both a greeting and a question.
"Sorry to disturb you, Mary Poppins…I'm not interrupting anything, am I?"
"Not at all" Mary's tone was calm and nonchalant – Winifred never would've guess that Bert was right outside the window.
"I just wanted to make sure that you weren't upset by anything that my husband said to you this evening?"
"Yes, George can be so awfully temperamental…I think he's been a bit out of sorts recently"
"Mrs Banks, it's perfectly alright. I can assure you that Mr Banks did not offend me in any way…I'm just glad that we came to an agreement"
"Still, I should apologise on George's behalf"
"There's no need, Mrs Banks" Mary smiled.
"Well, sorry to have disturbed you…goodnight, Mary Poppins"
"Goodnight, Mrs Banks"
Soon Mary and Bert were alone again. She heard him shuffled to the end of the branch and his face was at the window yet again.
"What's Mr Banks been sayin' to ya?" he questioned – his tone and expression were laced with concern.
"Oh, nothing…he just tried to relive me of my duties, that's all"
"Surely no one would ever dare try an' fire the great Mary Poppins?"
Mary felt her lips curl into a smile.
"Well, don't worry, he didn't"
"What changed 'is mind?"
"I haven't the foggiest idea"
"Well, somethin' must've prompted the change"
"You're not suggesting that I had anything to do with that are you?"
Bert could see the playful spark in her eyes.
"Of course not" he chuckled, "So, Mary Poppins, can I tempt you with an invitation to my flat this fine evening?" he asked playfully.
"I'm afraid not"
"Because, Bert, it's still Monday – which means I still have my duties, secondly, even if I were to wait until midnight, I assured Mr Banks that Jane and Michael would be ready nice and early tomorrow"
"You're gonna work tomorrow?"
"I'd hardly class getting the children dressed as work"
"But it's your day off! You're usually so stubborn about those"
"Well, tonight I'm being stubborn about this" she said – almost playfully.
Bert smiled warmly at her – his expression was illuminated by the gentle glow of the full moon.
"You know, I 'ave to be with the sweeps tomorrow afternoon…we won't have much time together…" he said sadly and Mary gazed down at the floor for a moment.
"I'm sorry, Bert…but I promise that once Jane and Michael are ready I'll be all yours"
"I just wish it could be longer…"
"So do I…I'm sorry, Bert, you deserve so much better"
"'ey –" he said as he leant closer to her, "—no one is better than you, Mary Poppins" he ran his hand down her cheek, "you're more than I deserve"
She locked her gaze with his.
"You're too kind, Bert…" She let out a small sigh of contentment, "…sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky"
"You kissed a sweep, remember?" he smirked.
At that point, Bert closed the distance between them and pressed his lips to hers.
"'ow about I pick you up from 'ere tomorrow mornin'?"
"Sounds wonderful" she smiled, "And don't you dare think about not working with the sweeps tomorrow – especially not on my account" she let out a small sigh, "I promise I'll make it up to you"
Bert couldn't quite grasp the insinuation behind her words, but he couldn't deny that there seemed to be a fiery sparkle of desire in her eye.
"Until tomorrow, Mary Poppins" he said as he shuffled away from the window.
Mr Banks left at the same time he always did, he just had the addition of his two children and a fairly baffled expression painted across his face. As Mary had assured him, Jane and Michael had been ready and dressed early that morning and had accompanied him to the Bank with joyful dispositions – they had practically skipped out the door; but once they had left she was free to make use of her given day off. She found a slight smirk playing on her lips when the door closed behind them. Without a word to anyone, she made her way up the stairs – she didn't run of course, practically people did not run about the house like a maniac – but there was certainly a newfound speed in her step. Once back in her room she changed her clothes and wore a colour that was reserved only for her private time with Bert…red.
It wasn't a colour she'd wear during her daily duties, sure there would be flashes of it in her petticoats, the lining of her coat or in the dresses he would draw for her when they would leap into his chalk drawings; but a full outfit of luscious – and perhaps slightly promiscuous reds – that was a sight that only Bert got to relish in. She blushed at her reflection as she took in her appearance. She could never quite understand the effect that Bert had on her, the way that he was always on her mind and that fact that simply thinking about him would make her heart flutter. She would always blush and fight off fits of comfortable giggles when they were together…and when he would kiss her, well, it would take all her strength to stop her knees from buckling. She took a moment to briefly trace her lips with the tips of her fingers – remembering where Bert's lips had been last night and where they would soon be once again. With that thought in her mind, she left her room and made her way to the front door.
The household seemed strangely empty to Mary, which is why she almost jumped out of her skin when she heard Winfred Banks speak to her…almost.
"Enjoy your day off, Mary Poppins" she said kindly.
"Thank you, Mrs Banks – I shall be back by seven" Mary replied nonchalantly.
Mary caught Winifred's gaze for the briefest moment and when she did, she could see something more than sincerity, there was a twist of curiosity and questioning…like Winifred's mind was wandering into the topic of scandal as she looked upon Mary's red coat that perfectly matched the blush of her cheeks. It was as if Winifred wanted so desperately to know where Mary was going on her day off, or perhaps she was more interested in who she would be spending it with…and what they would spend their day doing. But Mary shook away these thoughts and assured herself that it was only her imagination. With that in mind, she gave a polite nod towards Winifred before finally leaving number seventeen.
The morning sun blinded Mary for a few moments as she stepped into the embrace of the crisp London air, but once her eyes had adjusted she saw Bert smiling up at her from the other side of the gate – and her heart began to do somersaults. She couldn't help but return his smile as she made her way over to him and when they finally stood face-to-face Bert brought her hand to brush against his lips. Mary had given him a look that almost scolded him for showing her such affections in public, but she couldn't hide the smile that was painted across her face or the blush that lived on her cheeks. In truth, Mary loved his affections and if she didn't care so much about her image she would've happily let him kiss her silly when they were out in London…but she had an image to maintain – one that was for the good of her occupation. Of course, her care for said image always seemed to disappear when they were in private and behind closed doors – where no one else could see them. When they were alone, propriety no linger mattered.
"You're lookin' beautiful, Mary – as always"
Her blush seemed to grow.
"You don't look so bad yourself" she teased.
After gazing at each other for a few prolonged seconds, Bert offered Mary his arm – which she gladly took and they began to make their way through the bustling streets of London – the city that seemed to live and breathe. They walked in a comfortable silence and eventually bird song began to fill the air as they made their way into the park – the place they almost always went during Mary's days off. Angelic Cherry Blossoms towered above them and petals rained down in the breeze like the snowflakes of spring; to Mary, seeing such beauty come from nature was her definition of magic – that something could be so pure and perfect without needing any kind of alteration. She adored this time of year.
They eventually came to a more secluded area of the park – what they liked to call 'their area', since it seemed to be the spot they'd always end up in…and they never found else there. They were hidden by the nature that they admired so and when she was sure that they could not be seen, Mary ran her hands up to Bert's shoulders before kissing him softly. She heard him moan gently at the contact of her lips and his arms eventually found their way around her waist – he held her securely. He just wanted to be near to her, she was in and out of London so much and even when she wasn't, she would have her charges with her – that was Mary's number one rule, absolutely no signs of affection when around her charges…and although they would often find themselves longing for each other, it was a rule they stuck to, especially since it could put Mary's occupation in jeopardy.
Still, they stole what moments they could, if they ever took her charges into a chalk drawing they would often try and steal some alone time – but they still made sure to be careful; but, it gave them a chance to dance with each other and maybe steal a kiss or two if they were feeling brave. And Bert would still compliment her profusely, it would often earn him a few icy glares but Mary could never hide the way it made her smirk or blush…and since her charges were usually too young to understand, she would let it slide.
That's what made her days off so important to them both, it was the only time they could spend together and be their true selves, to not have to worry about her charges or her employers…on their stolen second Tuesdays they could simply be Bert and Mary, two people who were absolutely smitten with each other. Bert rested his forehead against hers when their lips finally separated.
"It's been so wonderful 'aving you back in London" he breathed as he beamed at her.
He traced his fingers down the sharpness of her jaw.
"Oh, it can't be all that amazing?!" she chuckled.
"You 'ave no idea the effect you 'ave on people"
"Oh no, I'm perfectly aware of it – well, I'm aware of the effect I have on you – but even I try to be modest sometimes!" she teased.
"I never knew you were such a tease"
"Me? A tease? How dare you suggest such a thing!" she joked.
A brief interval of sharp wind whipped around them and Bert tightened their embrace.
"You can act as pure an' innocent as you like…but I know you Mary Poppins, the real you an' if there's one word t' describe you, it's a tease" he smirked.
"Oh, how utterly ridiculous"
"Well, you certainly give the sweeps somethin' t' talk about"
"Don't pretend you don't love it"
"Well, I don't" she lied – a hint of a smile puling at her lips.
"An' you certainly give me somethin' to talk about!" he teased.
"Oh, you do not!"
He chuckled slightly and nuzzled his nose against hers playfully.
"Don't worry, Mar, if there's one thing y' can say about Bert Alfred it's that 'e's a gentleman" he smirked.
Mary raised an eyebrow at him.
"Oh, is that so?"
"Absolutely!..." he proclaimed as he faked offence, "…I think that most men wouldn't be able t' keep their mouths shut if they were courtin' the great Mary Poppins, but I can promise you that I keep the details of our little trysts strictly between us"
"Well, I'm glad to hear that you behave with the upmost decorum" she hummed pleasantly.
"You expected somethin' less?"
"Such a tease" he grinned.
"Kindly don't call me 'Mar' – I am not a horse" her breath was warm against his lips.
"Anythin' for you" he replied – his voice becoming a bit more serious.
He brought his lips to hers again and kissed her longingly – letting her know just how much he adored her. Their lips moved together so fluidly and they began to see stars as they lost themselves in their heated kiss. Bert was about to say something when they finally separated, but another strong gust of wind hit them like icy shards and he felt Mary shiver within his arms.
"Just a bit…it is a tad chilly"
"Tell ya what, there's a little 'idden café just down the road, 'ow about we go there for a cup of tea?"
"Sounds wonderful" she said with a smile.
With a smile of his own, Bert offered Mary his arm again and began to walk with her once she took it. Another comfortable silence washed over them as he took her down some of the more secluded streets of London; Mary prided herself on knowing her city – her home – like the back of her hand, but no one knew London better than Bert. He always seemed to find new places for them to explore – making each of their outings a real adventure.
The café – as Bert had promised – was a gorgeous little rustic hideaway, it was peaceful and fairly unpopulated; it was the sort of place Mary and Bert felt they could be free – to not have to worry about the potential prying eyes of people they knew. They held each other's hand across the table whilst they drank their tea – which gave them a fluttering sense of togetherness. Bert smoothed his thumb across Mary's delicate hand. He also found himself gazing almost endlessly at her – when she wasn't looking – and just couldn't quite comprehend the situation he was in; the fact that he was sitting alone with such a beautiful and amazing woman with her hand laced in his; he couldn't believe how lucky he was. They had been together for a just over a year and it was still a fairly private relationship, the nature of it was never mentioned to her employers, but those closest to them, the sweeps, Mary's uncle – even Mrs Corry – knew of their romance.
And although it could sometimes be painful to be so secretive about their relationship, it was also enough for them, simply being able to spend time together was enough to satisfy their need for each other – if only for a moment. They hadn't spoken too much about the future – which was fair considering the nature of Mary's employment – but Bert was her anchor and deep down they both knew that she would always return to him. Bert had brought up the prospect of marriage once and he saw Mary physically stiffen, but she shook her head when he began to apologise, cupped his cheek and had simply said: 'One day my dear'…and that was most certainly enough for Bert; just knowing that she had essentially promised herself to him, that their chance at having a future together was still very much alive, well, he would wait a lifetime to see it through to the end. Of course, they had other means of satisfying their longing for each other…
Bert shuffled – almost uncomfortably – in his chair and Mary smirked at him.
"It's rude to stare, you know?" she informed with a slight giggle.
"Sorry-" he chuckled, "—just a bit lost in my thoughts, I think"
She gave him a knowing look.
"Oh? What kind of thoughts? Nothing to do with me, was it?"
Bloody hell, she was such a tease!
"You might've been a part of it" he said in a lowered voice.
Mary sipped her tea nonchalantly.
"Is that so? I hope they were appropriate thoughts, Mr Alfred"
"What would you do if they weren't?" he murmured playfully – he could be a bit of a tease himself.
"I never explain myself, Bert" she quipped.
He brought her hand to his lips and locked his gaze with her.
"I love you, you know that?"
It was something they didn't say often – but they said it enough so that the other person knew and so that it still meant something.
"I know" she smirked.
She took out her pocket watch and eyes the time…10:30am.
"Tell me, Bert, what time are the sweeps expecting you?"
"'bout twelve O'clock"
She gave him a look of mischief and her eyes darkened slightly. He knew exactly what that look meant.
"Well then, we'd better not waste any more time"
And with that, she let him pay for their drinks before they rushed out of the café. He held her close to him as they walked back through London, it was something she would usually scold him for, but she didn't mind – not this time. They didn't speak as they walked against the still strong winds, but in their defence, they didn't need to…
They giggled ever so slightly as they made their way into Bert's flat and once he'd shut and locked the door her captured Mary in his embrace; his arms possessively around her waist, hers around his neck and they kissed each other longingly. Bert slid a hand up to her hair, knocked away her hat and removed her silky brown locks out of the style they'd been trapped in – allowing them to tumble to her shoulders like a wave. He ran his hands through them, savouring their smoothness and the way the motion brought her closer to him. He loved seeing Mary with her hair down. But he stopped his motions when he felt Mary's tongue slide across his bottom lip, begging for entrance – which he gladly granted with a soft moan. Some time ago, such actions from Mary would've shocked him, but not anymore, he knew how forward she could be when it was just them…he knew how much of a tease she was.
Their kiss became for feverish as their longing for each other grew – it had been some time since she had been in London. Bert eventually broke away from her and moved his lips across her jaw.
"I love it when you wear red, Mary" he purred against her cheek – he knew it was a colour she only wore for him.
He began to leave a trail of slow kisses down her neck, letting his tongue dip out occasionally – causing the most heavenly moans to escape from Mary's lips. He pulled the collar of her blouse down so that he could cover more of her skin and eventually began to suck hungrily at her neck – leaving a small red mark.
"Oh, for goodness sake, Bert!" she panted when she realised what he'd done.
All he could do was smirk.
"Don't worry, love, it's beneath the collar – no one will see it"
"You're an absolute nightmare" she breathed as she brought his lips back to hers.
Bert eventually pinned her against the wall – pressing his entire body against hers. She gasped slightly into the kiss from both the satisfaction of feeling his body so fully against hers, but also from the desire to have his bare skin against hers. Bert smiled into their heated kiss as he felt two delicate hands push his jacket off his shoulders before moving to the buttons of his shirt – which soon joined the jacket in a puddle of fabric on the floor. Mary let her cool hands smooth over Bert's chest as she felt every inch of his muscled torso – he whimpered from her touches as they sent shockwaves through him and caused his breathed to come out in sharp huffs.
Bert trailed his hands down her sides before letting one of them tickle the underside of her thigh. Mary brought the let up to wrap around Bert's waist and he chuckled slightly when he saw Mary's second surprise.
"Pink petticoats as well? You really are a tease, Miss Poppins" he purred – his hot breath trickling against her ear.
"You sound surprised" she whispered.
"Imagine what Mr and Mrs Banks would say if they found out that their nanny – the great Mary Poppins, 'oo is as pure as driven snow – was so promiscuous be'ind closed doors" he teased.
She placed her palm flat on his chest, pushed him away from her before leading him to his bed.
"Never judge things by their appearance, Bert" she quipped before practically shoving him down onto the mattress.
With a mischievous chuckle, Bert lay back against the pillows before pulling Mary down to straddle him – an action that earned him another lascivious smile. She bent down to kiss him again – this time slowly – and her hair fell to one side, creating a make-shift curtain. Soon she felt her own jacket and blouse being removed before Bert's hands began to unlace the complicated ties of her corset; but once her torso was free of clothes she began to shudder as Bert's hands caressed every inch of her.
"Oh, Bert…" she breathed as her need for him grew.
It wasn't long before they were joined together as one and the air filled with their sighs. For the past couple of months, this had been a common occurrence in their relationship and whilst they both knew how scandalous it was – the kind of scandal that would drive them out of London if anyone ever found out – they decided that their feelings were more important than propriety.
That was the thing about Mary, to the outside world and especially to her employers she was pure, priggish and as morally driven as a woman could be – she embodied everything that society wanted of her; but despite what some may have said, Mary Poppins was human too, she had feelings, desires and a want for love – Bert was able to give her all of those. In fact, she was more promiscuous than most would've ever imagined and whilst it was an almost unbelievable fact to him at first, Bert wondered why Mary Poppins, a woman so secretive, so confident and so…tricky would be any other way when out of the public eye. After all, she was her own person who not only was poised enough to do as she pleased, but she also knew what she wanted in her life…Bert.
And that was the thing about Bert, he would do whatever he could to make Mary happy. He had always been a gentleman with her and so when their relationship began to stray into the world of scandal he had pulled back and offered his concerns, but Mary had replied with assurance, telling him that she wanted to be with him in such a way and that she would risk her reputation for him. It took a lot of convincing, but as ethical as Bert was, he couldn't deny his longing for the practically perfect nanny.
Everyone was different behind closed doors and they were no different. But that was the beauty of such hidden passions, they didn't have to worry about anything; to their closest friends they were merely courting and to Mary's employers they were nothing more than friends; but to them, they were too people who wanted to be together in every sense of the phrase. Of course, it certainly wasn't a relationship forged from desire, in fact, it was far from it; they had started courting like any other couple, they had merely taken a more forward route – and they didn't see it as immoral, they were simply showing how much they loved each other. The only thing that was missing was the ties of a marriage.
Marriage was something that they had spoken about briefly and although they had both expressed their want for it, Mary had reluctantly explained how she could not marry whilst she still worked…and Bert understood that and had told her that as long as they could be together then he didn't mind. But, of course, Mary had promised him that she would one day call herself Mrs Alfred.
Mary lay in Bert's arms with her head buried into his chest and they were peaceful in the aftermath of their love making. Their eyes were closed contently but they did not sleep, instead they wished to savour their closeness while they still had it. His breathing and the warmth of his body against her was hypnotic and there was nowhere else Mary would rather be than in his arms. She placed a feather-light kiss on his collar bone – causing his eyes to flutter open. He smiled warmly when his gaze met hers.
"I love you" she whispered.
Bert lightly nuzzled his nose against hers.
"I love you too" he whispered back before kissing her delicately.
She sighed quietly.
It was a moment of weakness – another characteristic that would only ever be revealed in private.
"Does it…does it upset you that I can't marry you yet?" she almost whimpered her question.
Bert pulled her closer to him and held her tightly in his soothing embrace.
"Mary -" he said softly against her forehead, "—I would love t' call you my wife…but the only thing I want in this world is t' be with you – marriage or no marriage. I love you, Mary, not the titles"
"I do want to marry you, Bert…it's just that –"
"Shhh, I understand, love…it's okay"
"I'm going to keep my promise" she assured him as her weakness began to slowly melt away.
"An' I promise t' wait for you"
He kissed her forehead.
They didn't speak again until it was time for Bert to leave.
"It feels weird that I'm the one 'oo is sayin' goodbye!" Bert chuckled as he and Mary both dressed.
"Yeah it does" she replied weakly.
Bert moved over to her as he slipped on his jacket.
"You 'aven't got long left with the Banks family…'ave you?"
She shook her head.
"A couple of days at the most"
He pulled her into an embrace and Mary burred her head into his chest. They always had moments like this…things would be so blissful when she returned to London, but eventually their foreboding would catch up with them as they knew that soon she would have to leave again. And even though her departures always hurt them, they knew that they could keep going, for their relationship had gained such strength through their courtship and they knew that Mary would always return and that they could show just how much they loved each other when they were behind closed doors.
It may have been a private life but it was their life and one day, they knew it would no longer be a secret.
A/N: Really hope you enjoyed that! Please let me know what you thought! xx