The carriage ride to the cottage was almost unbearable. Christine's thoughts raced as she thought about what would happen next. Partly apprehensive, mostly excited, she thought about giving herself to her husband for the first time. Giving herself to anyone, really. Christine glanced to Erik, his strong gloved hands grasping the reins fitfully. She felt her cheeks grow hot as she remembered where those hands had been earlier. She closed her eyes and tilted her head back against the wooden rim of the carriage back.

"Are you alright, my angel?", Erik asked her, worried she might be ill.

Chrisitne's eyes opened and she turned to face him. "Yes, my love. I….was just thinking about…well…what comes next."

He turned to her again. "Christine, as I told you before, I will wait for you. I have engaged the cottage solely for the purpose of us spending moments together undisturbed. You need not worry, darling."

Christine smiled at him, and playfully teased, "Now what kind of wife would I be to deny my husband his wedding night?", as she added a coy grin.

"The best kind," Erik said, in all seriousness, and turned back to the task at hand, driving the carriage.

Gradually, the small cottage came into view. It was small, but charming, made mostly of round stones, with shutters and a chimney. Christine's heart sped up as the horse drew nearer.

"Whoa, mon frere," Eric softly spoke to the horse, pulling the reins so the animal knew to halt.

With one last smile, Erik descended the carriage, tethering the horse to the post in front. Then, with his eyes on her, he rounded the side of the carriage and offered her his hand. Christine took it without hesitation, eager to get out of the cold.

Once she was on the snow-covered ground, Erik leaned into her for a soft kiss. It was so gentle it made her knees weak. Taking her by the hand, he led her to the door, turned the key, swept her in his arms, and carried her over the threshold of the cottage, careful to gently place her down once inside.

Christine had been surprised by the gesture, not remembering one is supposed to carry one's wife across the threshold of the home, and started giggling.

"Stay here, my love. I will get a fire started," Eric said, as he busied himself to find wood.

Christine looked up. The cottage inside was much larger than it seemed. The high, beamed ceilings were quite remarkable. It was rustic, cozy, and everything she could imagine for her honeymoon. She walked from the main room into the kitchen, following Erik.

"Take a look at the rest of the cottage, my angel. I will be with you in a few moments."

Christine nodded, watching as Erik removed his coat, and bent to pick up the first of the wood. The muscles in his back shifted and moved with him, and for a moment, she caught herself wondering what it would feel like to be pressed beneath him, her hands on those muscles. She blushed to herself and turned away,

Following the natural layout of the cottage, she wandered into the living area, with it's stone fireplace. There was a door in the back which she supposed led to the bedroom.

She opened the door and gasped. Erik must have been here earlier. That sneak! The curtains had been drawn open to expose a beautiful view of the snowy grounds around them. The bed, covered in crisp white linens, had rose petals strewn about it. Christine felt the beginnings of tears stinging the corners of her eyes. Erik had tried so hard to make this day perfect for her, and the realization of everything he had done for her made her suddenly emotional. Walking to the corner of the bed, she ran her hand along the sheets, touching the rose petals. They felt like velvet, and as she brought one to her nose and breathed in the scent, she was overwhelmed again.

"It is to your liking, then?," Erik asked.

Christine gasped and spun around. She hadn't heard him approaching the bedroom.

"It is, my love. It is more than I ever could have imagined."

Then she looked back down to the bed, running her hand on the covers and she felt the stirrings of heat deep in her belly.

Erik cleared his throat. "I will tend to the fire."

"No," Christine cut him off. She sat on the edge of the bed. "Stay."

Erik shrugged out of his suspenders, and let them hang. He sat next to her in his shirtsleeves and trousers.

He placed his hand on her knee, and she covered it with her own. He looked at her tiny hand on his, and brought them up, kissing the back of her hand.

Christine's free hand clenched into a small fist. She leaned her head against his shoulder and let out a sigh of relief. Their plan had worked. It was over, and they had nothing to worry about. It was as if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders.

"Eric, I love you so much, " she said, her head still on his shoulder.

He responded by kissing the top of her head, in her hair.

Mustering all her courage, Christine turned her head ever so slightly, and placed a gentle kiss on his neck. The muscles in his body tensed, and she felt it as she moved to kiss him again, loving the scent of his skin, the nearness of him.

He turned her to him in a moment, brought his hand to her cheek and pulled her in for a kiss. It started fairly chastely, but it was almost as if they could not be close enough, for the kiss turned into something fiery. A tangle of lips and tongues and small noises that involuntarily rose. As they kissed, Erik's hands went to the front of her bodice, gently touching her along the top. As her breath caught in her throat, he gently pushed her shoulders, motioning for her to turn her back to him so he could work the laces. The moment she turned she felt his lips everywhere. The side of her neck, the back, her shoulders, kissing and sucking and making it hard for her to breathe and unbearably warm. She had to be free of some of this constraining clothing. Several moments later, the corset had been removed, tossed to the floor, and she remained in her chemise. As Eric unbuttoned his shirt, she removed her undergarments and stockings, careful to leave the main chemise on.

His shirt off, Erik moved in to kiss her again, wanting to taste her everywhere. He moved down to the hem of her gown, drawing it up with him, to do what he had done before which brought her so much pleasure. As he rested his body between her thighs, wanting to taste her she stopped him. "No, Erik…..I…..want to be joined with you."

He looked at her and for a moment it seemed like time stopped. She moved first, drawing her gown the rest of the way up and over her head. His hands went to the front of his trousers, freeing himself before pushing her back into the bed, a mess of kissing and touching and writhing with want.

As he settled his body between her naked thighs, he could feel she was ready for him.

"My angel," he started.

"Erik, " she spoke softly. And nothing else needed to be said. As he pressed himself into her, she barely felt any pain. She felt him deep inside her, completely joined, and as her hands gripped his sweat-slicked back and she moaned into him, she felt she was seeing Heaven.

……………..

Christine had fallen asleep shortly after, and Erik busied himself keeping the fire going, as he sat, amazingly content for the first time in a long time. Walking silently into the bedroom, he looked at his beautiful wife. Naked, except for the sheets covering her, wrapped in rose petals, she never looked lovelier.

She must have sensed his eyes were on her, for she slowly opened hers, letting out a small "oh", and then smiling at him. He smiled back, and then his face became tight with arousal. He approached the bed and his lips were on hers in an instant.

"I apologize, dear wife," he said between moist kisses. "I'm going to have to take you again, my darling Christine."

She smiled into his kiss, and for a moment, they forgot about the outside world as they melted into each other.