Mrs de Winter: The ashes of Manderley

Chapter 2: Solace in the night

I couldn't sleep. was the last thing I could do that night. I lay on my back staring vaguely at the , white ceiling of Beatrice's guest room. Maxim stirred beside me. I wondered how he could sleep and I could not. So much had happened, so much had changed. But soon Maxim's peaceful sleep became a restless and tormented one. He began to toss and turn next to me, twisting the sheets around him as he moved. I heard him mumble, could not make out what he said. More mumbling and murmuring came.

"He must be dreaming." I thought as I waited to see if he would speak again.

"W-where?" Maxim called weakly, still sleeping.

I sat up in bed and turned towards him.

"Where are you?" He cried louder.

He then began to thrash around, moving his legs frantically, his arms outstretched if reaching for something.

I reached over and gently nudged him awake. Maxim's eyes fluttered open, his face held an expression of pure fear. I touched his face lightly, wiping sweat from his brow.

He breathed heavily, his eyes darting around the room as if he had forgotten where he was. He suddenly reached forward and held me tightly, pulling me back down into bed. I closed my eyes, my cheek pressed firmly against his, his arms clasped around my body. I exhaled deeply, still maintaining his grip on me.

"I was so frightened." he said finally, his voice shaky with emotion. "I thought I'd lost you."

"I'm here darling, I'm all right." I said soothingly.

I moved up and kissed his dark head before stroking it with my hand. It was a strange feeling, to be the one reassuring, soothing, calming. He now seemed like a frightened little boy, crying out for love and comfort.

I wrapped my arms around his trembling form and sunk lower into the bed, fixing the covers. He faced me trying to steady his breathing, his forehead still damp and glistening in the pale light. I caressed his face with my hand. Maxim pressed his lips against my palm whispering things that I couldn't hear. The electricity from our skins contact made my breath quicken. Maxim then moved his face inches from mine.

"My darling." He said before kissing my lips ever-so lightly.

He kissed me again, this time more deeply, parting my lips with his own. The kiss became more passionate as Maxim ran his hand down the length of my body, resting it on my abdomen. His lips moved to my neck as he planted hot and urgent kisses. I groaned with pleasure, causing him to roll on top of me, his kisses becoming more feverish.

So strong were the feelings that Maxim was stirring within me, so strong was the love I felt, the passion. Gone was that inexperienced little girl with a crush, here lay a grown woman in love.

I traced my fingers along Maxim's broad shoulders as I looked into his dark eyes.beautiful and deep they were, filled with love and desire...but there was something else. It was fear. The fear of a man who had lost so much, a man who had almost lost his wife.

I reached forward and kissed him, abandoning any shyness I had, then kissing his neck with a feather-like touch.moved my lips to his ear, kissing it gently. A soft groan could be heard from Maxim, his breathing becoming more rapid.then resumed kissing me, holding my body tightly to his, whispering my name.

"Oh God I love you, I love you, I love you..." He repeated over again as we held each other in the darkness.

BE CONTINUED

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