Miss Swan's POV
The slim grey fingers of early dawn played across my face and I stretched out, feeling the tension of my muscles relax as I woke. My body was suffused with a pleasant languor which I had come to realise as the symptoms of recent carnal exertions. I smiled sleepily and reached behind my head to pull the pillow down so that I could look at my bed fellows in their deep repose. Soon we would have to wake and leave, Laura and I were expected for the fitting of my wedding dress and Edward and Bosie had arranged to meet Papa at the Savoy for breakfast but for now I wanted to enjoy the sweet sight of my very favourite people resting so peacefully together.
Bosie's handsome features were smoothed in sleep, his lips pursed in the most delightful smile. My mind flickered back to the night before. How he had made to leave us at the top of the stairs, assuming that he and Laura were not welcome in our post engagement celebrations. Edward's expression to me had been inquiring and, with that sense of understanding which still had me marvelling at the profundity of our connection, I understood the question he was wordlessly posing. Without speaking I held my hand out to Bosie. He frowned and held my hand. I pulled him with me into the room, behind us I saw Edward leading Laura in a similar fashion. Laura giggled and the excitement between us all spilled over until we were all laughing as we fell onto the low bed.
My mind was brought from my reminiscences by a gentle sigh which breathed from Bosie's sculpted lips, he stirred and turned upon his side, throwing his arm out across Edward's sleeping form and his fingers gently brushing Laura's arm where she lay curled against my side. Laura was snoring gently, a ladylike, contented sound which made me smile with the warmth of our friendship. What a way I had come from the frightened girl who had first encountered this woman, here in this very room! It was as though she was a sister of my heart, so intense were my feelings for her. I felt no shame or remorse at the way we had explored each other's desires or that I had shared my Edward with her. Indeed it was as though we had all been shared. Each of us revelling in the pleasure we afforded the others.
Memories of the night before flushed my skin with renewed longing as I recalled the feel of Laura's lips on my skin, trailing a sensual path along my body which was held still by Edward's hand cupped over mine on the pillow. Unable, unwilling to move I writhed and stretched as Laura's mouth exacted such sweet torture on my delicate flesh. Before my face Bosie and Edward kissed deeply, their jaws seeming to move in mirror image as they enjoyed each other's mouth and Bosie's hands enjoyed Edward's body.
The night had been a delicious melting and a desperate need to satiate our desires for one another. Our bodies had moulded to skin and muscle, hands slipped over and down into forbidden delights. There had been moans and sighs and whimpering. Each had had their turn of pleasure and of sugared torment, four pairs of hands had caressed and stroked, four soft mouths had nipped and suckled until each of us had been thoroughly loved.
Erotic visions played before me. I sat astride Edward, his manhood nestled between my legs, hard against my desperate body, his thrusts pushing me further and further to the edge of longing. I ached for him to fill me, to claim the empty space inside me which made my blood clamour in my ears but he stroked himself, long and silky smooth, against my enflamed bud, gently opening my body to him but not fulfilling that which I yearned for so intensely. Behind me Bosie held my hips as, also astride Edward, he moved in slow motions against my buttocks, his movements mirroring Edward's teasing hips. Laura's mouth was on mine and her hot fingers nipped and rubbed my erect nipples until I felt I might drown in the blood warm ocean of the pleasure they were affording me. My hands sought her body, slipping over her gentle curves to dip between her legs and my fingers found her own need and my rhythm matched the boys in their thrusting. Laura came first, her cries and movements sparking my own release which seemed to ignite both Edward and Bosie whose pace became more frenzied and less controlled. Panting and smiling we lay together in a tangled heap. Our breathing became slower as fatigue made our limbs heavy and we slept as we fell.
I must confess, dear reader, that my mischievous hand was stealing to the wet juncture of my legs at these memories of the night before when the noise of hooves on the cobbles outside and the simultaneous sound of rustling at the door startled me from my reveries. With my elbow I propped myself up from the pillow in order to hear more clearly and see what had made that strange noise.
It was obvious that there was some commotion outside. Voices were raised in loud whispers as though they were angry but did not want to be heard. I looked to the door just in time to see a small square of paper being pushed under it from the outside. Careful not to wake my companions I eased myself from the bed and padded over the floor to pick up the strange note. Hasty writing scrawled in pencil read 'GET DRESSED. LEAVE NOW. HASTE IS OF THE ESSENCE!'
Panic coursed through me. Without conscious thought I shook my friends awake. Laura was instantly alert, her eyes narrowing as she sat up sharply, dislodging Bosie's hand. She looked at my expression, it must have been one of stark terror, and, without a word I passed her the note. Her eyes flew across the page and then she was pulling at Edward and Bosie, whispering fiercely in their ears and throwing me my travelling cape. In what seemed like moments, we were tumbling down the back stairs of Madam Chang's. My initial reaction to take the front stairs, with which I was most familiar, was checked by a sharp tug on my arm by Bosie who was clutching the rest of our clothes to his chest.
Hal f dressed women and girls were spilling from every room, their pretty foreign features distorted with fear and panic. Men stumbled, hopping into trousers as doors were burst open by bulky men in dark uniforms. There was barging and bustling and an air of desperation as people were manhandled to the floor. A woman's voice was shouting from the bottom of the stairs. Even in our hasty escape I recognised the voice, it was not that of Madam Chang's. Edward's arm enveloped my shoulders as he carefully, but quickly, ushered me down the stair and out into the night. A carriage was waiting in the dark alleyway, the cobbled street slick with dawn light and the drizzle of the morning. Edward pushed us back into the alleyway, searching the face of the driver for recognition. Bosie fell back and dropped the shoes and clothes he was carrying onto the cobble with a clatter which seemed to echo on the muffled street. Shouts from inside the building alerted us to our pursuers. The door of the carriage swung open and Shannon's face, pinched with impatience loomed from the darkness.
"Get in!" she hissed and grabbed at my arm with very little deference. Without a hesitation we stumbled into the carriage, each landing upon the other in a mockery of our actions of the night before. Shannon banged upon the roof and the driver careened dangerously off into the night. Behind us in the distance we heard the shouting and the whistles of London's constabulary as they realised that a number of their intended arrests had escaped their clutches.
We drove at breakneck speed through the Eastend streets until, with a gentleness which seemed at odds with the morning we had experienced, dawn painted the streets with pink and golden light and we saw the familiar houses of the street on which Ashton House stood, just waking in the early hours. The carriage slowed as we approached the rear entrance of the house and stable boys rushed from the mews to collect the horses. None of us had spoken but I could see the concern and the profound realisation of what we had narrowly escaped etched in the frowns and tight lips of my dearest friends.
Still dressed loosely in our cloaks we made our way up the marble stairs to Laura's private drawing room. Shannon bustled before us pouring brandy and stoking up the fire as she noticed our shivering. Laura fell into a chair and pulled her cloak around her. Bosie stroked her hair and I could see how the thought of their near discovery had shaken the aristocratic poise and grace to which I had become so accustomed. Edward's arms were about me and I buried my face into his chest before I realised I was crying. His hands brushed my hair and my face and he kissed my forehead gently. Together we sat at Laura's feet and I held her hand.
"Who wrote the note?" My words wavered and I heard the fear in my voice. Bosie looked at me sharply.
"What note?" he asked, his eyebrows drawn into an uncharacteristic frown as he fought to understand my question. I realised the piece of paper was still in my hand. I unclenched my fingers from its sharp edges and held it to Bosie. He eyes scanned the page in the same sharp way in which I had seen Laura's. His head cocked to one side. "Shannon?" The maid turned from where she was bringing in blankets and a replenished decanter of brandy.
"Yes, Lord Douglas?" her voice was respectful now the immediate danger was over and her soft brogue fell gently over us and I was grateful for the warmth and familiarity in the midst of so much uncertainty.
"Who told you to collect us from Madam Chang's tonight?" Shannon straightened and looked at us with an expression of frankness.
"I thought the gentleman was from your household Lord Douglas. "She answered with a surprised tone. "He spoke awfully nicely, just like you do. "
"What exactly did he say Shannon?" Bosie's voice was sharp but not with anger, more like a dawning thought.
"Well, one of the girls woke me and said there was a gentleman downstairs who was waking up all the house with his banging. I got dressed sharp like and came downstairs to see what was going on. There was a man in the hallway; he had a nice suit on, like you would wear to a fancy party sir. He told me the address and that you needed me to collect you straight away, that there was an emergency and I shouldn't dally."
"What did this man look like?" Bosie's tone was still sharp and he leant forward on the back of Laura's chair to catch every nuance of Shannon's expression.
"At first I thought it was you sir, but I couldn't see his face much, it was dark in the hallway as none of the lamps had been quite lit yet. His voice was very like yours." Bosie looked quickly to Laura and then to Edward. Their expressions were a perfect match, thoughtful and alert like hawks or hunting dogs sensing their prey. Once again I was reminded of the formidable side of Edward's temper as I saw his soft mouth drawn into a harsh line.
"Thank you Shannon for your help," Laura said, the sincerity of her words obvious from her tone." You really rescued us from something terrible this morning." Shannon coloured a deep pink, curtsied far lower than she needed to and rushed from the room. She was obviously ill accustomed to the gratitude of her social betters.
"So now we have an idea of who rescued us," Edward's voice was low and I could hear the menace in his tone. I was also oblivious of the meaning of his words and I waited for an explanation. "But why would your brother be warning us Bosie and who would have instigated a police raid on Madam Chang's?"
Before Laura spoke I knew what she was going to say. The woman's voice which I had heard shrilling out orders and commands in the tumult of the raid would forever be seared into my mind.
"Lady Caroline Bentham." Laura's voice was cold with animosity.
Sorry it's taken so long! Can you forgive me? RL is crazy crazy at the moment! We are moving to the other end of England in the next few months and I just haven't had the time or energy to write. I hope you're not too disappointed with the short chapter but I'm hoping it will spur me on to get more written and end the story.
So, leave me a review and try not to tell me off for how long this took to write!
Love goes to the Tinis for their patience and gentle nudging, to Awesomesauce76 whose new story I have to get on and bloody read! To RaindropsToo for always being a star and of course to my darling OHOB who told me it would come when it wanted to and, as always, was right. Love you muchly sweetness.