Hey everyone, long time no see… I explained what's going on in my profile. I wrote the most of this forever ago, but I couldn't decide about the last of it and, well, read my profile.

It was cold. The air was eerily still and most of the trees had lost all of their leaves. The sky was a blanket of billowing grey clouds, hiding the warmth and light of the sun and pressing in the silence. Rowena usually liked days like this, it was strangely beautiful when the world seemed to lose its vibrancy to the thin, still air and thick clouds. All colors were dull and subdued, touched with silver light rather than gold; sounds seemed echoing and muffled at the same time; out of place.

But today was too still; too quiet. Like the calm before a storm.

Was the whole world telling her not to go?

She hadn't expected to suddenly feel so nervous. But the woman in her seemed to have realized how naïve she was. She had no idea what she was doing. She was an ignorant child with a crush, a new feeling of maturity she had too quickly grown addicted to. But he was a man, not a boy, and something about her was clearly eating at him. She felt like if she were only more mature, she would suddenly know what this meant, and how to deal with it. But all she had discovered was that he did, in fact, want her... and to be wanted, to see it in his eyes, was perhaps the most seductive addiction of all.

She wanted so badly to go to him... just to be in his arms. She wanted to spend her life staring into his eyes; nothing else seemed to matter. Bade, this man she had only just met, was everything. Was this love? No, this could not be love. Such a thing as love must be far beyond this, not so easy to reach. But it was certainly something she had never felt before, and something she never wanted to be without again. This was obsession.

So why couldn't she go to him? She could tell he wanted her, she thought with a grin; she was half way there now, but something had stopped her and she had resorted to pacing a five-foot long rut through the wet leaves. Why was she so worried? It couldn't be the way he pleaded her to stay away, because that wasn't what he had truly wanted. He seemed so tortured… but from desire; she was a temptation, and that only thrilled her and drew her to him…

Perhaps it was how she had acted… how she had become someone almost completely different: passionate and seductive, terribly naïve but laying her innocence on the table to be sacrificed…

So was it the girl in her, afraid of losing her innocence, or the woman, appalled at her ignorance, and warning against that deeper thing she couldn't grasp, whatever was standing between her and Bade? Whatever it was, it was losing its war with her selfish desire, and she found herself moving onward.

Her hand had barely touched the knocker when the door swung open. He had her by her shoulders; he pulled her inside, closed the door behind her and pushed her against it. He had been waiting for her. He was still dressed in the white shirt and black vest of the day before, but his cravat was missing and his hair was even more untidy.

Had he been up all night?

His hands landed on the wood on either side of her; he was leaning against the door and caging her in with his arms. His face was only inches away, his eyes burning fiercely down at her.

"You shouldn't have come." She looked back at him nervously.

"Well I-" He was kissing her before she could finish her sentence. It only took her a moment or two of wide-eyed surprise before she willingly kissed him back. God the way he kissed her… like he had thirsted for her lips for an eternity. Her entire body was burning, she couldn't press herself to him hard enough. She ran her hands through his hair, behind his neck, up his back and down his chest but she couldn't feel enough of him, nor he of her.

His eyes were closed in a pained frown as he pulled her against him. He parted her cloak open and pushed it off her shoulders, the weight of it pulling the sleeve of her loose white shirt off one shoulder, slipping down her arm and held in place only by her light grey corset. She still wore the amethyst at her throat. He slid his hands from the sides of her neck down along her collarbone, pushing the neckline of her shirt wider, feeling the creamy, bare skin of her shoulders and throat… he ran his palms over the soft swell of her breasts and down the front of her corset to hold her waist… he moved one hand down over her hip to wind around the back of her thigh until his fingers pressed through the folds of her skirt and between her legs… sliding the other up her back, anxiously searching for the best way to force her against him…

Rowena felt her lust rising inside her and taking over, weakening her, clouding her mind. She was intoxicated. Her surroundings faded until there was only the space between their necks and the soft rustle of their clothes; his warm fingertips caressing her skin; his strong chest and arms, holding her; the beating of his heart; his breath, passing from his mouth to hers, their lungs sharing oxygen. Her hunger for him was swelling in her chest and rushing through her like fire in her blood.

He stopped abruptly. Both were suddenly stilled by the realization of their complete defenselessness against each other, Rowena embarrassed at her overzealous reaction to him.

When their lips parted he was holding her in place by her shoulders again, slightly distancing himself from her, separating them just enough so they were no longer pressed together, though she would not allow their hips to separate. Both were panting softly, their hot breath swirling in the small space between them. Rowena stared into the churning, liquid gold of his eyes. He was thinking, hard. He seemed to be frozen there, something in him dragging him away from her, but his hands refused to release her. His eyes held the same tortured look as the night before, but stirred with thought.

He was going to tell her to leave again, she knew it. He was deciding if she was worth whatever he was fighting. She suddenly felt like she was on a scale, expected to outweigh all of the other women in the world, all of them far more beautiful, wise, and deserving of him than she was. If he told her to leave again, she would lose all of this... this feeling of being wanted... him... She would not come back without his permission again. She tried to beg him with her eyes, to convince him that she was worth it, that she deserved a chance; but she couldn't even convince herself.

Aida bustled down the hall toward the entry, wondering if the knock at the door had been the pretty little redhead.

Not that anyone else would come knocking.

When she approached she could hear the sort of filled silence of people present, being silent. She crept along the side of the staircase to peep around and spy.

The girl was backed up against the door, her hair in soft, tangled waves, her cheeks flushed and her lips bright red and wet. Her cloak was on the floor at their feet. Bade had her face in one hand, the side of her neck in the other, his hips pressing hers to the wood. They were locked in a gaze, not of sweet, young love, but of serious, questioning thought. Aida, in the former case, would have had to suppress a giggle of delight, but she was instead frozen in place by the depth of the scene before her. Those searching, emerald eyes seemed to fill the room with anticipation.

Bade was making a decision. Knowing what it must be, Aida leaned forward, trying to read his thoughts.

Sensing the movement, Bade released Rowena and stepped back-the regrettable movement in slow motion-and turned toward Aida.


Aida had her innocent expression affixed to her face, quick as a flash, and trotted over to them as if she had only just arrived.

"Monsieur, darling, I do very much prefer it when you put on new clothes in the morning-well hello, dear, how are you, cold out isn't it, would you care for some tea?"

Rowena, looking utterly thrown off balance, shook her head to clear some confusion and managed an "er, a-alright, that would be nice…" before realizing with a start she was still relying on the door for support. She jerked forward quickly, adjusted the slipping sleeves of her shirt awkwardly with a deep blush, and turned to Bade for consent about the tea.

Something about the way Rowena could hardly stand made it absolutely necessary for Bade not to look at her, so he glared at Aida for the intrusion instead.

"Give her whatever she wants, I'll change." He said bitterly, but he went up the stairs with relief. She was staying, for now, and it wasn't his fault. There was nothing he could do about it right now, so… so be it.