Thank you all for you reviews! I appreciate them. This is the last chapter so enjoy.
James woke the next morning to sunlight streaming in the porthole and a warm body curled up next to him. He glanced down to find Elise sleeping peacefully. He watched, fascinated as he took in her long red locks spread over his pillow, her long lashes sweeping over her porcelain skin, and her gently parted mouth as she breathed steadily.
He couldn't say how long he watched her until his eyes fell over a set of bruises on her shoulders. James leaned closer and pulled the fabric of her nightgown farther to the side to inspect them and he could clearly see finger marks on her delicate skin, obviously his. Remnants from his rampant onslaught. He looked away feeling thoroughly chastised.
"Good morning." Elise said as she chose that moment to wake.
"Good morning beautiful." He whispered and met her gaze.
"What's wrong?" She asked, not missing his pained look.
"I'm sorry I hurt you last night. There was no need to be that rough with you." He said in an achingly sweet tone as he gestured toward her bruises and kissed her shoulder gently.
"Don't be. It's what I've wanted from you. Losing your control. You proved your trust in me last night." She replied and cupped his cheek.
"I bruised a woman. The woman I love." He answered with anguish as he looked away.
"It will heal." She said determinedly and forced his gaze back. She pressed a soft kiss to his lips and sank her fingers into his hair, but he broke the kiss and looked at her with great seriousness.
"What is it?" She asked.
"That makes me as low as Andrew." He said angrily.
"Andrew bruised me out of anger and hate. You bruised me out of passion." She assured him with a smile as she met his green eyes.
"Marry me Elise." He said suddenly as he shifted to kneel in front of her on the bed.
"James, you have me, I'm not going anywhere." She replied as her eyes widened in surprise.
Her stomach had dipped at the question and Elise couldn't deny the temptation to accept but she knew he was proposing on an emotional whim. He was feeling guilty and wanting to somehow make it up to her. But that wasn't what she wanted. She wanted him to ask out of love, not out of guilt or a moment of madness. "You're just being impetuous."
"I'm not being impetuous. I know exactly what I want. I love you Elise. I want to spend the rest of my life with you. Marry me." He said as he pulled her up so she was kneeling also. He kissed her until she was dizzy and gasping for breath.
"James, you're overwrought. I love you too but I think you're just...feeling exposed at your loss of control." She replied, trying to convince him that he was being rash.
"That's not true. I'm glad you pushed me." He answered. "I'm glad it was you. I don't want any sort of barriers between us. Marry me Elise." He said again and kissed her again until she was clinging to him. If he had to convince her with kisses that's what he would do. He would kiss her until he got the answer he wanted to hear.
"But what..." She began when he finally pulled away. She was only silenced again with another breath stealing kiss.
"Marry me." He whispered when he broke away.
He quieted her again as he pressed a kiss to her open lips.
"Say yes. Marry me Elise." James said quietly and kissed away her next set of protests.
He pulled away and looked into her heavy lidded gaze, waiting patiently for her to say something. She gazed back at him until she realized he was anticipating her answer. Now she had no doubts of the seriousness of his question.
"Ask me again." She said.
"Elise Gold, will you marry me?" James asked.
"Yes. Nothing would make me happier James." She cried and threw her arms around his neck.
"You'll have to get my father's permission of course."
"I got that last night." He said.
"You did?" She asked incredulously.
"That was the reason I came to you last night but I got...distracted." He smiled.
Elise smiled back. "We're going to be very happy James."
"You know, I'm sure we will." He said and pulled to him for another toe curling kiss, having no doubts as to their blissful future.
That's it. That was the end. Tear.
Thank you all for reading and for reviewing! Till next time!