the Whiskey Goes In
Fandom: A Great and Terrible Beauty Trilogy
Disclaimer: All characters are owned by Libba Bray, I'm just borrowing them.
Warning: Some spoilers for the third book, The Sweet Far Thing
"When the wine goes in, strange things come out."
Johann Christoph Friedrich von Schiller
Evergreen eyes swept around the familiar and yet long unseen library of Spence Academy. It had only been a year since Gemma herself was one of the young ladies being educated at Spence, but her last days at Spence had been fraught with turmoil and change and after being away at University in New York for a year, it seemed like a very long time indeed since she had last been in that room.
The return of the previous years graduating class to preside over the ceremony for the current years graduation had been a tradition at Spence since the founding of the school. When Gemma had first learned about the venerated practice she had thought it unlikely that she should return for the ceremony, however the months away in America allowed her look back at her time at Spence with a certain nostalgia and the possibility of seeing Fee and Ann again after a year apart convinced her to attend.
Turning her head to the side Gemma spotted a pinned head of white-blonde hair moving through the crowded library and felt a powerful spasm in her chest. Fee, she thought with a smile following the neatly arranged head of hair with her eyes. It simply had to be Fee.
And then the figure stopped, almost as if the woman could feel Gemma's eyes on her, and turned around so that they were facing each other. Gemma breathed in deeply. She would have known those piercing blue eyes and smirking lips anywhere. It was Felicity.
Gemma smiled brightly seeing the expression mirrored on the face across the crowd and then they were both in motion.
"Fee!" Gemma breathed out as they came to stop just in front of each other.
"Gemma," Felicity greeted with a playful smile that reminded Gemma of the last time she had seen Felicity, the two of them playing in a pile of flowers under the warm sun before Madam LaFarge's wedding. Felicity had smiled and laughed so freely that day in a way that Gemma hadn't seen since their first time in the realms.
"Oh, I was hoping you would …" Gemma began, however, before she could get more than that out of her mouth she found herself being enveloped in a warm hug that she eagerly returned.
Reluctantly they found themselves pulling away from each other a few minutes later. Still a jumble of emotions and surprise however, Gemma found that she could not seem to find words to express how happy she was to see Felicity. So, she was very glad when Felicity brought her hand up to her face cupping her jaw affectionately before drawing her into another hug, for that was just what she had wanted to say.
"I see you haven't entirely forgotten how to put yourself together," Felicity said as they pulled apart once more, her eyes running over Gemma's form lightly before her pale gaze returned to Gemma's.
"Nor you," Gemma returned smiling as she took in Felicity's dress. As much as the blonde complained about corsets and dresses she was very good at picking them out and wore them exceptionally well, "Though you no doubt continue to work tirelessly on behalf of the movement for the acceptance of female slacks."
Felicity grinned in a wolfish, completely unladylike and utterly charming way. "Of course," she drawled lazily. "I've some on under here actually."
Gemma stared at her at that mostly though not entirely certain that Felicity was joking. With the blonde it was sometimes hard to know when she was serious or not. If anyone would indeed wear slacks under their dress it would be Felicity.
Felicity laughed airily at Gemma's uncertain expression and looped her arm through the redheads in a most nostalgic fashion.
"Come let's find our Ann," Felicity said holding Gemma's arm gallantly as she looked around the library. "Our darling bud must be around here somewhere. I've heard some of the younger girls whispering about 'the' Ann Bradshaw being on the premises. Of course if we can't locate her, I have spotted Cecily Temple milling about and torturing her for a few hours is always good for a laugh."
"You're horrible," Gemma responded smiling allowing Felicity to lead her towards …well, she had no idea where Felicity was leading her but Felicity seemed certain of her course which was good enough for her. "I think I see Ann," Gemma declared as they worked their way through the crowd, the inch she had on Felicity coming in handy in crowds.
"I suppose tormenting Cecily will have to be our after dinner entertainment," Felicity sighed pushing in front of a very indignant couple to Gemma's mortification and delight. "Let's to Ann."
Six hours later …
"Well that was as boring and tedious as I thought it would be," Felicity commented as she Gemma and Ann made their way through the halls. "I do wish Nightwing had found a different place to board us. I can't help but expect to run into a pixie or a Poppy Warrior every time I turn a corner."
"With all the practice you've had I'm sure you could vanquish them without so much as perspiring," Gemma commented lightly though she too shared Felicity's unease about the East Wing. It was just not a pleasant place for people with their history to be roomed.
"Perhaps if I really did have slacks on under here," Felicity grumbled poking at her dress crossly. "Bloody things are impossible to move in let alone annihilate villainous creatures in."
"Well, we don't have to worry about that anymore," Ann said as they reached the hallway where there rooms were located.
"Honestly Ann, why did you have to go and say something finite like that? You're just inviting trouble. I shan't be able to sleep a wink tonight," Felicity declared though her eyes were twinkling with amusement. "We'll just have to find something to keep ourselves occupied so that we can forget about our supernatural fears."
"I suppose you have an idea in mind," Gemma responded knowing that Felicity had a no good very bad idea that they would all go along with because Felicity had a way of making no good, very bad ideas sound like a smashing good time.
"If I may spirit you away into my room for a moment," Felicity said gesturing grandly towards her door which she then gallantly opened for the other two. "I have packed away quite securely in my luggage," Felicity continued making her way further into the room and over to her trunk, "an entirely different and all together much more enjoyable sort of spirit," she said pulling a bottle out of her bag with great flourish. "Ah, so … anyone for whiskey?"
The Caves … 40 minutes later
Felicity clapped and whistled as Ann performed a series of intricate hand puppets on the cave walls, her body angled awkwardly over one of the lanterns they had 'borrowed' for their adventure.
"A consummate entertainer," Felicity said still clapping as Ann straightened up. "I should enjoy seeing your clog dancing show next Miss Bradshaw."
Ann rolled her eyes and turned to exchange a look with Gemma who was smiling at their exchange.
"The truly frightening thing is that she's hardly had a drop to drink," Gemma commented as Ann settled down on the ground next to her.
The bottle of whiskey Felicity had brought was almost half empty at the moment but much to her embarrassment it had been mostly herself and Ann who were responsible for draining the bottles contents.
"If there's one thing we can say for the theatre it's that it turns out some truly powerful drinkers," Felicity said smiling at Ann in a faux toast. "I don't know what Gemma's excuse is however," she added plopping down gracefully onto the ground beside her friends.
"So tell us about working with Tom Bowder," Felicity said settling into a more comfortable position as she looked over at Ann, the famous actors name coming out as no more than a sigh as she mimicked perfectly the dreamy affectations of the girls fast asleep in the mansion.
And so Ann sat up crossing her legs very seriously and began to tell them about the first day she met the Casanova of the stage. They sat around for hours talking, Felicity telling the story of how she met James McNeil Whistler and modeled for him for a while before he tried to sleep with her and she was forced to throw a glass of wine at him escaping into the night with the very fine fur jacket she had wearing at the time of his advance. And Gemma regaled them with tales of how different and more fulfilling University education was to the training they received at Spence, and about her efforts with the Woman's suffragette movement.
"So what are some of the differences between London and New York?" Felicity asked as she lay back on the blanketed floor of the cave and stretched in limbs like a sleepy cat.
"Well," Gemma said somehow managing to slur even that, the whiskey having started to make its effects known in her a little while before. "It's two words," she continued after a long pause, only to pause again.
The cave was silent for a moment and then Felicity began to laugh, Ann joining in a second later, as Gemma continued to look thoughtful, no doubt still planning the rest of her in depth comparison.
"Ann," Felicity drawled as Ann managed to get to her feet, her hands running over her dress dusting it off lightly. "My dear Miss Bradshaw you look as if you're preparing to leave us. This simply won't do. Look, Gemma has left us some whiskey still," Felicity continued holding up the now only quarter full bottle and shaking it for emphasis.
"Oh, I don't want to leave Fee," Ann said mournfully. "But I'm leaving dreadfully early in the morning and I have performances in the afternoon and evening so I can't spend the day recovering myself."
"How horribly responsible," Felicity sighed putting the bottle down again. "I think Gemma and I shall finish it off, but have no fear we will see you off in the morning with trumpets and rose petals and lovely angelic little doves."
"A hug and a fond goodbye should do I'd think," Ann responded smiling. "You'll make sure Gemma doesn't hurt herself," Ann continued glancing at the redhead.
"Gemma isn't quite as far gone as all that, Gemma can still hear you," Gemma mumbled pointing a lazy finger at Ann before dropping her hand, the effort of holding it up to much for her.
"I solemnly swear, I shall return her safely to bed," Felicity responded as if Gemma hadn't spoken. "I'll walk you out," Felicity said chivalrously rising to move to the mouth of the cave with Ann, handing her one of the lanterns a few moments later and calling out "Sweet dreams," before returning to Gemma.
Upon returning to the cave a restless energy seemed to come over Felicity and she prowled around the opening like some predatory jungle cat, occasionally lunging and jabbing her hand as if she had a fencing foil or her sword from the realms in her hand and was vanquishing some beast.
Gemma turned onto her side, her head propped in her hand and watching as Fee stalked around the enclosure gracefully. Even though Felicity had been drinking, she still moved with an impossible grace and sureness, her movements elegant and primal. When they first met she had been captivated by Felicity's fierce good looks, the icy strength that shone through in her pale eyes, her confidence and bravado demanding her attention. It was easy for her to see how so many fell for the blonde. She was a force of nature that few mortals had the strength to withstand.
"You kissed me here," Gemma said absentmindedly the alcohol clouding her brain as she continued to stare at Felicity.
"No I didn't," Felicity responded slowly pausing to look at Gemma, though icy blue eyes focused on the redhead intently.
"Yes you did, right here," Gemma replied smiling before she pressed her finger against her lips, puckering her lips and kissing the tip of her finger.
"Gemma, you're drunk," Felicity declared as if that was the end of the conversation, but she remembered kissing Gemma. She remembered how she had intended to simply kiss Gemma on the cheek but how the alcohol in her system and her desire to feel Gemma's lips against her own had overwhelmed her chaste intentions and her lips had found Gemma's own. She remembered how strong the urge had been so strong and how much her desire had terrified her even as it thrilled her.
"Yes, that's very true. I'm also right," Gemma said watching Felicity as the blonde began to pace around her in circles, looking over at her with a scowl occasionally. "Oh Fee, do sit down, you're making me dizzy."
Felicity paused considering Gemma for a moment and then sighed and lowered herself down onto the ground beside the redhead. Almost as soon as she was settled Gemma shifted and moved closer to her until her head was resting comfortably in Felicity's lap.
Felicity rolled her eyes as Gemma snuggled against her, but lifted her hand to the redhead's hair and began to stroke it gently nonetheless.
"I held you once like this," Gemma said softly as Felicity's fingers combed through her hair, freeing it of the pins that had been holding it up all night.
Felicity's hand paused as Gemma spoke, but then continued on its tender mission. "I remember," Felicity said softly recalling Gemma coming to her room and holding her through the night after the nature of her relationship with Pippa had been revealed. She had been so certain that her friends would abandon her upon learning the truth about her that Gemma's kindness had completely undone her.
"Do you miss her?" Gemma asked softly, turning slightly so that she was staring up at Felicity.
"Yes," Felicity responded quietly. "Her … the idea of her," she sighed her eyes closing momentarily. "She wasn't really Pip anymore at the end but … I didn't … I didn't want to see it. I didn't want to admit she'd changed … I just wanted to love her."
Gemma was silent for a few moments, the alcohol making it take a little longer for her to process things though she was processing them. Felicity had never really talked to her about her relationship with Pippa though she supposed she had never really asked too much about it in the past not wanting to pry or upset the blonde, though she had always found Fee's devotion to Pip to be extremely touching and had been curious after their relationship.
"She changed," Gemma began slowly, "but there was a part of her that was still your Pip. She loved you a great deal … in fact I think you're the only thing that kept her human … that kept her from going to the Winterlands for so long."
Felicity sighed deeply at that, the sound pained and frustrated.
"It never would have worked out, would it?" she asked pale eyelids closing over her eyes once more. "Even if the realms hadn't changed her, it never would have worked."
Gemma was silent again but this time Felicity knew she wasn't thinking, she understood that Gemma's silence was her way of agreeing with what she had said. If Pip hadn't eaten the berries she would have crossed over and left her, and once trapped in the realms there was no way that they would have been able to stay together because Felicity couldn't have stayed in there forever. They always would have been separated one way or another.
"Do you miss him?" Felicity asked a few minutes later.
"Kartik?" Gemma asked blinking.
"No, the rabbit Mr. Darcy," Felicity responded rolling her eyes. "Yes Kartik," she continued a second later.
Gemma nodded, her eyes turning away from Felicity's before softly saying, "Yes."
"Are you pining?" Felicity asked. Gemma had never mentioned any suitors in the letters they had exchanged and the redhead was lovely enough that there would have been interest.
"Are you?" Gemma returned tossing the question back on Felicity. They had both lost loves to the realms and anything asked of her could apply to the blonde as well.
"No," Felicity responded with a surprising strength. "I'll always miss her, but I've let her go … finally."
"Me too," Gemma said, Felicity's answering relieving her in some way. There was a part of her she supposed that felt guilty about moving on even though she knew it was the only option available to her. Kartik had sacrificed himself for her and sometimes it felt as if she was betraying him by living her life. "He wouldn't have wanted me to lose myself in grief," she went on knowing that it was true. "Really, Circe was right about one thing … we can only go forward."
Felicity's eyes narrowed at the mention of Circe. "She-devil," Felicity murmured, "gorgeous she-devil."
Gemma blinked. "Gorgeous?" she asked playfully a smile touching her lips.
"Oh, did that slip out?" Felicity asked sounding unconcerned.
Gemma laughed lightly, she had to agree with Felicity really. "She was quite beautiful," Gemma responded her thoughts and words becoming one as the alcohol in her system taking away her natural reticence.
Felicity looked down at Gemma at that, a smile tugging at her lips as she pointed a finger down at the redhead. "I knew it!" she declared.
"Knew what?" Gemma asked perplexed and somewhat alarmed.
"You fancied Miss Moore," Felicity said nodding as if that settled that.
"I did not," Gemma protested immediately, her voice squeaking with indignance. "I respected her. She was well-read, and independent and charming and …"
"Quite beautiful," Felicity piped in cutting Gemma off, a superior smirk firmly in place.
Gemma turned her face away from Felicity's smug expression and found herself thinking about Miss Moore in those early days even though she didn't want to. She had loved to be in Miss Moore's presence, she had loved to hear her talk, and whenever she had been in the older woman's presence a little frisson of energy and excitement had run through her that she hadn't known how to categorize but that had excited and thrilled her nonetheless.
"Maybe a little bit," Gemma said thoughtfully.
Felicity smiled triumphantly … for a moment.
"Did you ever fancy me?" Gemma asked Felicity, curious green eyes searching Felicity's face once more.
Felicity breathed in deeply, warning bells go off in her head. Carefully she reached forward moving the whiskey bottle from Gemma's side to safe distance and then looked down at the redhead.
"Perhaps we should follow our Ann's lead and turn in," the blonde suggested pleasantly.
"You're trying to change the subject," Gemma said easily picking up on the evasion even intoxicated.
"No," Felicity said a little sharply, "I'm being reasonable. I'm not quite the lush you are Ms. Doyle and I still have some sense about me and it tells me that we should return to Spence before you lose the ability to walk for I shan't be carrying you back."
"You did fancy me," Gemma mumbled quietly ignoring the murderous look Felicity bestowed upon her. "That night in the cave, did you want to kiss me like you kissed Pip?"
Felicity shifted underneath Gemma and somewhere in her mind Gemma knew that she shouldn't be asking the questions she was asking, that she was making Felicity uncomfortable and that if she had been sober she never would have had the gall to voice the questions she was asking. But she wanted to know the answers, she was not sober and she couldn't seem to help herself.
"Gemma," Felicity said warningly though her body seemed to relax as she spoke, almost as if she had resigned herself to having the conversation.
"Fee," Gemma responded not the least bit intimidated by Felicity's scowling.
"Yes, I suppose I did," Felicity sighed a long moment later. "Are you content now, is your curiosity satisfied?"
"Not really," Gemma muttered frowning up at the blonde.
"Listen, you need not worry about your virtue," Felicity began looking away from Gemma, her tone slightly pained. "I would never …"
"I know," Gemma interrupted realizing that Felicity misinterpreted her tone. Of all people she would never accuse Felicity of initiating unwanted touches. "I never would have thought that," she continued sincerely.
"I've always found you very beautiful, you know" Gemma said softly after a brief pause in which Felicity looked back down at her. "Your eyes," she continued, "your lips," she whispered lifting a hand to trace her fingers over Felicity's lips causing the blonde to inhale sharply and not entirely from surprise.
"I always thought your husband would be a very lucky man to have you as a wife," Gemma went on thoughtfully. "I suppose now I should say someday there'll be a very lucky lady though," she amended staring up at Felicity.
Felicity was very still for a moment and then breathed in deeply, releasing the breath in a measured and controlled way before she delicately extracted herself from underneath Gemma.
"Gemma," the blonde declared a moment later in a forceful tone. "You must stop with this sort of talk," continued averting her eyes from the redhead as she began to pace once more.
"Why? It's true," Gemma said defiantly.
"It is not idle chit chat for me, Gemma," Felicity spinning around to face Gemma before resuming her pacing. "Your words do not slide off of me like rain off the petal of a flower Gemma, they pierce me," she continued turning around to meet the redhead's gaze for a moment before looking away once more.
Gemma watched the blonde pace much as she had after Ann had left them, her mind focused on the look in Felicity's eyes before she had turned away from her that last time. She had seen a look like that in Felicity's eyes before. She had seen it when … when Pippa had kissed Felicity in the realms. When Pippa had pulled away from Felicity the blonde's eyes had burned with heat, with passion … with desire.
"I didn't mean to upset you," Gemma said feeling herself sober as she realized what the look Felicity had given her signified.
"I know," Felicity said her pacing slowing her hand fluttering up to her face before she lowered it again.
"Sit down," Gemma requested softly.
Felicity looked over at her after she spoke and then looked towards the exit of the cave clearly trying to decide whether to heed Gemma's request or make a run for it.
"Please," Gemma said trying again.
With a petulant sigh Felicity moved over to where Gemma was sitting and lowered herself onto the blanket beside her.
"You really are very beautiful," Gemma began her eyes on Felicity's lips as she lifted a hand to stroke Felicity's cheek.
Almost before Gemma could process it Felicity's hand lifted catching her wrist.
"I'm going to bed," Felicity said confusion and irritation warring in eyes as she released Gemma's hand and moved to stand again.
"Don't leave," Gemma said grasping Felicity's wrist, catching the blonde wrist leaving Felicity half bent over as she looked up at her.
Felicity held her gaze for a moment and then began to struggle trying to break the hold Gemma had on her hand, her movements forcing Gemma into a standing position as well as the redhead fought to hold on to the blonde.
"Unhand me," Felicity said softly as they stopped struggling, Gemma now standing as well, the two of them facing each other.
"No," Gemma said softly, looking down into blue eyes that were alight though with what emotion she knew not.
They stared at each other for more moments and then Gemma's lips were on Felicity's, Felicity responding to the touch automatically her hand lifting to cup Gemma's neck as they kissed each other forcefully, almost desperately for long minutes until they separated, panting for air.
"You're not thinking clearly," Felicity said breathlessly taking a step back from Gemma and curling in on herself slightly like a wounded animal anticipating another beating.
Gemma reached out, Felicity's look making her heart throb. She wanted to comfort the blonde but Felicity reared back away from her hand.
"You're not thinking clearly," Felicity said again.
"Maybe not, but I'm feeling quite clearly," Gemma responded stepping towards Felicity once more.
Felicity snorted unkindly, her body thrumming.
"Yes, well, we'll see if you feel the same way in the morning when you're good and sober," she replied already dreading facing Gemma in the morning not to mention the empty bed in her room. "Come along, I'll tuck you into bed snug as a bug," Felicity said bending down and drawing the blanket they had been sitting on over her arm before picking up the lantern and leading the way out of the cave.
"Will lay with me a while … until I fall asleep?" Gemma asked her arm snaking around Felicity's waist as the blonde led her out of the mouth of the cave.
"Most certainly not," Felicity responded though found herself smiling a little bit, Gemma's amorousness amusing her as much as it was frustrating her. The truth was she would have liked very much to lay with Gemma, but she would not do it in the state Gemma was in.
"You're mean," Gemma responded pouting, glaring at the blonde.
"I'm an absolute ogre. People regale their mop headed children with tales of my cruelty the worldwide," Felicity responded before making a claw out of her free hand and growling at Gemma, causing the redhead to laugh.
"I've missed you," Gemma said a moment later turning around to face the blonde, her eyes and tone serious.
"I've missed you too," Felicity responded meaning every word.
The Next Morning …
Gemma lowered herself gingerly into her chair at breakfast the next mourning, squinting and recoiling from the sun as it burned her retinas, her blurred vision causing her to miss the look Felicity and Ann shared as she seated herself at the table and the disapproving frown Miss Nightwing's face took on.
"I say Gemma you have looked better," Felicity commented lightly looking across the table. She herself was looking as pristine and perfectly put together as ever.
"Oh, do shut up," Gemma responded looking up and over at Felicity, ignoring the gasps of the young girls around her as she glared at the blonde. Everyone would just have to deal with her atrocious manners. She felt entirely too awful to be mocked by Felicity without returning the favor in kind.
Felicity smirked in response to her words and Gemma found eyes focusing on the curve of Felicity's lips, a blush touching her cheeks as she stared at the blonde remembering how enamored she had been with the blonde's mouth the night before.
At Gemma's blush Felicity looked away. She knew instinctively what brought the expression to the redhead's face and though she would never blush herself she did feel somewhat embarrassed at the reminder of what had transpired between the two of them the night before.
Ann's lips parted to comment on Gemma's impolite response to Felicity when she became aware of the fact that her two friends were fastidiously avoiding each other gazes and that Gemma had turned a most fascinating shade of red.
Ann sighed. She knew she shouldn't have left. Clearly she had missed something that would have made being a little bleary eyed the next morning worth it.
An hour later …
Gemma opened the door to Felicity's room entering quietly before closing the door behind her. Felicity had quietly excused herself after Ann left the table to finish packing and Gemma was somewhat worried about the blonde's hasty retreat and the fact that Felicity had refused to meet her eyes for most of the morning.
"Please tell me it isn't the company that's sent you packing," Gemma said softly as she looked at Felicity who was fussing with her luggage.
Felicity turned around looking at Gemma for the first time in an hour and sat down on her bed.
"No, simply a burgeoning sense of responsibility," the blonde sighed smiling a little. "It seems I have put away childish things and become a woman," she continued waving grandly at her tidy room.
"Yes, you have," Gemma said automatically a purr to her voice that surprised even her when it registered with her, her eyes focused on Felicity as she spoke.
"How much do you remember about last night?" Felicity asked Gemma's tone catching her attention and Gemma's blush answering her question for her.
Gemma moved over to sit beside Felicity on the bed, taking a moment to fold her hands neatly on her lap before she looked over at the blonde.
"I still think you're beautiful," Gemma said quietly looking down at her hands.
"That's because I am," Felicity responded in a consciously pompous way that made Gemma laugh.
"Appreciating another woman's beauty does not make one a Sapphist Gemma," Felicity continued seriously a moment later. As much as she had enjoyed teasing Gemma about her crush on Miss Moore the night before, Felicity refused to allow herself to think that Gemma's attentions in the caves were any more than a consequence of the redhead's intoxication. Gemma's behavior so far in the light of day however was warring with what she had forced herself to believe the night before and she found herself somewhat off kilter.
"I suppose not," Gemma replied carefully her eyes lifting to look at Felicity once more. "But I'm fairly certain that wanting to kiss another woman puts one in the general vicinity of Sapphism, or at least should constitute annexing a small part of Sapphist territory."
Felicity smiled a little at this and finally allowed herself to relax marginally, her eyes sweeping over Gemma's features openly and appraisingly for the first time before she spoke.
"What territory were you thinking of conquering?" Felicity asked finally, her voice low and playful as a soft smile touched her lips, her gaze focused intently on Gemma's despite her casual tone.
Gemma smiled back her heart thumping beneath her chest as she meet Felicity's gaze. Gemma suddenly felt the urge to tug at her bodice and as she considered Felicity's tone and the speculation in her eyes she realized that she was being flirted with, that in a split second Felicity had turned the full force of her charm on her and what more that it was working exceptionally well.
"Definitely…" Gemma began softly, hesitantly, blinking as she tried to slow down the pounding of her heart, "this part of town," she continued softy lifting a slightly trembling hand to touch Felicity's lips, her thumb moving over the plump soft flesh reverently.
"And," she went on a moment later, Felicity's acquiescence and burning eyes emboldening her, "I've heard excellent things about the bountiful fields slightly south," she said taking a deep breath, her eyes holding fast on Felicity's as she placed her hand over Felicity's breast, her eyes fluttering as Felicity drew in a sharp breath.
"Gem…" Felicity began her voice cracking in a way that Gemma had never heard before.
However, a rapid knocking at the door interrupted whatever else Felicity was going to say and sent the two of the scrambling apart from each other, the door opening just as they arranged themselves a respectable distance from each other, Ann in her traveling clothes coming to stand before them.
"It's time," Ann said solemnly as she moved into the room getting the distinct impression that she was missing something once again. Felicity was flushed and bouncing lightly on the bed and Gemma was looking down at her lap with the most sheepish expression on her face.
Felicity stood quickly glad to move and perhaps work off some of the energy pulsing through her. "We'll see you to the carriage," she said crossing the floor and taking Ann's hand knowing that Gemma was right behind them without having to turn around.
Twenty minutes later …
Gemma moaned helplessly as she found herself pressed up against the back of Felicity's door, her hands winding themselves in Felicity's hair, luxuriating in the feel of it lose and surrounding her fingers as the blonde's lips moved against hers, the Felicity's hand playing restlessly at her hip.
After saying their goodbyes to Ann and watching her carriage until it was out of sight, Felicity had anxiously taken her hand and led an equally eager Gemma back up to her room in a great haste, her lips finding Gemma's as soon as the door to her room was closed.
"This is ill-advised," Felicity murmured against Gemma's lips before kissing her again, her tongue flicking against Gemma's bottom lip before she sucked it between her own causing Gemma to make the most delicious mewling sound.
"Most likely, yes," Gemma agreed kissing Felicity back before tilting her head back, giving Felicity access to her neck, her hands griping at Felicity as the blonde attacked the new skin revealed to her with fervor.
"So delicious," Felicity whispered softly long moments later before she pulled back from Gemma and took a step away from the redhead placing some distance between them.
She wasn't sure if Gemma was ready for more yet, and besides that she didn't really want to take the redhead against the door to her room. In fact, with the hoop of the skirt Gemma was wearing she wasn't even sure she would have been able to if she had wanted.
"When do you return to America?" Felicity asked struggling to get her breathing under control as she moved a bit farther into the room approaching the bed. Her legs were a trifle unsteady.
Gemma blinked the sudden loss of contact, the return to conversation confusing her momentarily.
"At the end of August," the redhead finally responded her mind clearing the longer she went without Felicity's lips and hands on her body.
"You'll be in London for the summer then?" Felicity asked as she took a seat on her bed gazing over at Gemma curiously.
Gemma nodded standing awkwardly by the door uncertain what to do with herself before deciding to join Felicity on the bed, sitting beside her much like she had been before Ann had come in to announce her departure.
"Perhaps," Felicity began hesitantly a few moments later, her eyes staring out into the room even though she was addressing Gemma, "you should like to see Paris?" she asked finally turning her eyes towards the redhead. "Our home there is much more modest than the Admiral's house in London, but there is more than enough room for a guest … should you be interested in discovering what Paris has to offer."
Gemma turned slowly angling her body so that she was facing Felicity and grasped the blonde's hands quickly.
"Do you mean it, Fee? Would your mother not mind?" Gemma asked. She liked the idea of spending more time with Felicity very much. She would of course have to spend a few weeks at home at Belgravia, her grandmother simply wouldn't forgive her if she didn't and truthfully she wanted to spend some time with her family as she did miss them. But more time with Fee appealed to her greatly, especially considering the somewhat changed nature of their friendship.
Felicity smiled at Gemma squeezing her hands.
"I'm quite serious," she said relieved by Gemma's positive response. "My mother doesn't concern herself overly with what I get up to, and we occupy two entirely different ends of the house," she continued. "As long as you manage not to ravage me over tea, it should be a quite comfortable visit."
"Does your mother …" Gemma began to ask.
"Yes, it's simply not spoken of … like so much in our family," Felicity responded her tone darkening for a moment before she brightened focusing her attention on Gemma once more. "As I said, as long as we are not caught taking liberties with each other she'll be quite pleasant and charming."
Gemma smiled brightly in response, her other hand moving to cover the one that she had entangled with Fee's.
"Fee," Gemma began quietly a few moments later, her eyes rising questioning.
"Yes," Felicity murmured her thumb moving softly against the back of Gemma's hand.
"What sort of liberties shouldn't we take with each other?" Gemma asked, her lips twitching with the effort of containing a smile. "I think perhaps you should show me exactly what it is I mustn't do in your mother's company … so there's no confusion."
"Are you sure?" Felicity asked seriously in spite of Gemma's playful tone. Her mind had been ridiculously busy the night before entertaining ideas about what might have happened if she had accepted Gemma's invitation to 'lay with her', but as eager as she had been in her dream state, she needed to know that Gemma was certain in the waking world.
"I am," Gemma replied her tone as serious as Felicity's as she held the blonde's gaze. She never would have suspected that something like this would happened as she traveled back to Spence, but something had been awoken within her the night before with Felicity in the caves and she did not want to try to tuck it away. She had gone to America to learn about herself, who she was, what she desired, what sort of woman she was and she was not going to run away from an opportunity to find out more about herself and her desires.
"Then the first thing we absolutely mustn't do is help each other undress …" Felicity began smiling.
Gemma returned the smile her breath hitching pleasantly when Felicity moved to sit behind and reached for the strings holding her bodice together.
Finally she was about to learn a lesson at Spence with a practical application.