Note and Disclaimer: So this story is what I was sure was going to happen when I saw the vote sneak preview thing after pages 13 and 14, but then, it didn't, so I wrote this fanfic, (yay!). Bea and Alan were created by, and belong to Lora Innes

Stay

A The Dreamer Fanfiction

By: DaggerQuill

After minutes of searching and struggling, Beatrice had finally found, and unbuttoned the tiny buttons on her bodice. She let the complicated garment drop unceremoniously onto the bed. She was frustrated to find at least two more layers of cloth, and she hadn't even started on the skirts. Beatrice gasped at the thin, shoe-lace like cords that tied from her waist to her shoulder blades. She reached her arms behind her back in every way she believed possible, trying to grab at the ends of the laces so she could escape from the stays. It didn't matter which arm she used, or how she twisted them, nothing was working. Annoyed, she tried to look over her shoulder for guidance, but, of course, couldn't get a clear view of her own back. There was no way she was going to get this thing off by her self.

"Alan?" She called quietly to the closed door.

He threw the door open and slammed it closed faster than she could have imagined. "What's wrong?" he asked in a booming voice.

Beatrice was too surprised to find him, brandishing his musket, barefoot, vestless and suddenly in her doorway, to answer immediately. Her pause gave him a moment to notice her state of undress. Her expression remained shocked, while he quickly looked at the floor, they both blushed furiously.

"Oh!" He said, too loudly, as he hastily turned back toward the door.

"Wait!" She called. He paused.

"I…I can't…I…I need help." She stammered.

Alan turned around, confused, to see what she meant. As soon as he understood, his face turned even darker red and his gaze returned to the floor. "Oh…of…of course," he said as he hesitantly walked toward her.

He could feel her breathing quicken when he began fumbling with the ties. He tried to keep his focus on his hands and the unnecessarily difficult task of removing her stays, but as she strained her neck to watch what he was doing her dark hair cascaded over his left shoulder and he could feel her warm breath grazing his right ear.

As soon as he had untied the laces he dropped them as if they were burning his fingers and took two quick, long strides toward the door, so he didn't actually have to watch her remove the undergarment.

"Wait!" she called again. "Stay with me?" she asked, hating how desperate her voice sounded.

He knew he should have said "goodnight" and left, closing the door gently, but firmly behind him. But the tinge of plea in her voice touched him so deeply that his hand remained frozen on the doorknob.

"Beatrice." He said through his clenched teeth, not caring if she heard the annoyance in his voice.

"Hold on," She said. When he heard her skirts fall to the floor, every muscle in his body tensed. "Okay, all covered" she continued in a muffled voice.

He stared at his white knuckles on the doorknob. He knew that, with one flick of his wrist he would be away from all temptations, but against all of his better judgments, curiosity won, and he turned around.

He couldn't help laughing when he saw her. She was in the bed with the blankets pulled up to her chin, he could see the top half of a sheepish grin playing on her lips.

"Tell me something I should remember," She said as she rolled on her side and scooted toward the middle of the bed, "about us."

He sat on top of the covers but leaned down on his elbow so their eyes were level. "Well," he smiled, "we can start with the fact that your father never liked me."

Beatrice studied him while he talked. Everything seemed so familiar, not just the stories he told, but the way he told them. The sound of his voice, the things that made him laugh, the expressions he made, they all seemed so right.

She watched him until her eyelids were too heavy to keep open, so then she listened, ignoring the knocking she could hear in the back of her mind. 'It's a dream, Bea.' She told herself for the hundredth time, but she felt his warm, loving, and utterly real fingers brush across her cheek.

"Goodnight, Beatrice." He said, but she barely heard him over Yevette.

"God Bea, why are you still in bed? Get up!" and when she opened her eyes, he was gone.

________

More Notes: So I left the back story vague because I figure we'll probably find out more about their past someday. Also, when I was writing this I made the decision that even if Alan has had…ahem experiences that would have allowed him to see women in their underclothes, he probably hasn't seen Beatrice in anything but proper dress, and that's the reaction that matters. But, I couldn't get the question out of my mind so I e-mailed Ms. Innes, and… she wouldn't tell me anything.

Review, Please!