Summer in the City
It was summer in Milton, and when the season turned to heat and sunshine several changes in the cotton capitol of the North became apparent. The cotton fluff from the mills would cling more readily to anything it came into contact with; tensions ran high as the workers sweated through their daily toil; food was slightly cheaper due to the abundance of grain, which was a small mercy; and the families of the Princeton district, and others like it, would emerge, blinking, from their shadowy city at the weekends, to take a leisurely afternoon stroll in the leafy suburbs.
None of these changes, however, were foremost in Margaret Thornton's thoughts right now. There was one singular change, one very significant change that came in two stages; it affected her and her alone.
Stage one of the issue that occupied Margaret's attention was that due to the heat, her new husband had shed his customary black suit jacket.
And his cravat.
Fanny was out of town for the season and was therefore highly unlikely to drop in on them unannounced. Hannah Thornton was away from home, visiting relatives, and would be gone for at least two more days. Margaret and John had the house completely to themselves. They had settled for the afternoon in the dining room, it being the coolest room in the house; it also afforded John ample space to spread out his paperwork over the table. Margaret was seated in her favourite spot in the room, the window seat that afforded her a view of the street below and a peek of the peaceful cemetery on the hill, rising in the distance behind the buildings.
It also gave her a splendid view of her husband.
Margaret swallowed as she watched him cross the room again, to retrieve a letter opener from Hannah's bureau. The shirt that he wore almost sparkled with whiteness, the crisp purity of it contrasting deliciously with the dusk skin of his exposed throat. His waistcoat, his exquisitely, beautifully, suggestively tailored waistcoat hugged his body in all the right places. He cut a dashing figure, even in his state of partial undress. His silhouette was clearly outlined for anyone who cared to look, and Margaret cared, especially as - now that they were married - she knew what was underneath the shirt and the waistcoat. His shirtsleeves were unbuttoned and rolled up to his elbows and Margaret watched rapt, as the muscles in his forearms flexed with every sweep of his pen, or in this immediate case, every slice of the letter opener.
Finished with the opener, he strode back across the room and Margaret took a moment to admire his impossibly long legs and slim hips. She had never given much thought to whether she would prefer a taller than average husband, but now that she had one and understood the benefits she enjoyed from having him, she would laugh behind her hand at women who's husbands were, shall we say, vertically challenged and horizontally gifted. Those wives did not know what they were missing out on. They did not know the glorious feeling of long, strong legs entwined with their own, of slender hips settling purposefully between their thighs...
Feeling her temperature rise, she chuckled and John glanced up at her, noting with the quick eye of a shrewd businessman, that she was no further along with her embroidery than when she had first come in to join him twenty minutes ago. "Something amuses you?"
She pressed her lips closed and shook her head, not trusting her rebellious tongue not to betray her wayward thoughts. They may be married now, but she did not want to be perceived as lecherous. Looking away from him, she resumed her needlepoint and cleared her thoughts, determined to return to the state of immaculate poise she was famed for. She was successful for only a short amount of time; managing exactly seven stitches before a gentle noise of disgust from the other occupant of the room drew her attention. She looked up and almost swallowed her tongue.
He was bending over.
Blinking quickly and remaining successfully silent, half of her consciousness immersed itself in enjoying the view, while the other tripped back to memories of her covert admiration of his shapely behind, from before they were married. She remembered with pleasure the night of their wedding when she had finally given into months of temptation and touched it. He had groaned thickly into her neck as she took each buttock firmly in hand and pulled him deeper into her body.
She squirmed as the memories assailed her. Blast this heat!
John was completely oblivious to his wife's predicament as he hunched over his paperwork; whoever had done these purchase orders needed sacking. He was becoming more and more frustrated in his attempts to make sense of the chaos of scribbles laid out before him. He growled low in his throat and ran a hand through his hair, knocking some of it loose from its neat style as he did.
Margaret had lost control of her jaw, it hung open making her look like a fish as John's quiet groan slid into her ears and he became tousled before her very eyes. It was the final straw and she dropped her embroidery, her fingers no longer willing or able to grasp anything.
John looked up as he heard the wooden embroidery hoop hit the floor. Margaret was looking at him with an odd expression on her face. "Margaret? What is it?"
Was it her imagination or were his eyes burning? No, no, it was just the heat playing tricks on her mind and her body, it was she who was burning. She tried to reassure him. Failed. "Y-Y... uh..."
Forgetting the illegible paperwork, John crossed the room in three long strides and crouched in front of his still-seated wife, concern for her well-being over-riding everything else. "Margaret, tell me what is wrong."
Oh no, this was dangerous, he was close, very close; his long, skilled, dextrous fingers had taken hers, his masculine scent filled her senses, making her head spin, his pale eyes gazed anxiously up at her. She swallowed and tried again to calm him, "N-Nothing. I-I think it's the heat, I feel a little lightheaded."
John rose to his feet and drew her up with him to stand on rubbery legs. "Come, let me take you into the parlour, you'll be more comfortable there and I'll pour you a glass of brandy."
She nodded and let him wrap her in his strong, protective arms as he led her out of the room, trying and failing to ignore the feeling of his muscles flexing against her below the thin cotton of his shirt.
Once she was seated again in the adjoining room and the promised brandy was burning a track down her gullet, John sat down beside her and brushed his knuckles gently down her cheek. "I am sorry my love, I have been neglecting you, I did not know you were feeling unwell."
His tenderness and the touch of his skin against hers made the heat flare to life in her belly again and she finally understood her behaviour. The season had warmed her skin but it was John who was heating her blood.
She gazed deep into his eyes and lost herself in their depths. "I am not unwell, John." Her voice was low, sultry, she didn't recognise it as her own. His brows twitched in a moment of confusion and studying him closely she saw the exact instant that understanding dawned in his eyes.
John heaved a breath and fought to tamp down on his instant reaction to Margaret's intimation. His pulse thrummed in his ears as she gazed unwaveringly at him; her eyes broke away from his to flick down to his mouth; her pupils dilated when his tongue emerged to moisten his lips. He swallowed. "Margaret..."
A tiny voice in Margaret's head giggled shrilly: who knew that he could use his voice in such a way? She shivered as the air between them vibrated with the bass tremble of his vocalised response to her, and a pulse of heat throbbed between her legs. His hand came up to her face again, only this time is was his fingertips that made contact, stroking from her eyebrow, down her cheek, along her jaw before finally cupping her chin and tilting her lips up towards his. He was close. Very close. "Margaret..." It was a whispered prayer against her lips, a prayer of hope and love. She sighed and in a wanton act she had never before contemplated, she parted her lips, slipped out her tongue and tasted the seam of his mouth.
John gasped in a breath through his nose and trembled as his wife, his beautiful, guileless wife instantly turned him into a quivering mess of arousal. For one so artless and inexperienced, she was able to touch the very core of him with startling ease and speed. He drew back and she moaned at the loss of contact.
"If this is what ails you, Margaret," he purred her name and thrilled in her shiver, "then I suggest we tend to your needs in a more private setting."
Margaret had lost all sense of propriety as stage two of her affliction set in: she needed to get John out of more of his clothes. She didn't care that he had work to do, or that it was the middle of the day and to do such a thing at such a time was improper for a gentleman. She needed him and she needed him now. "This is private," she murmured, "no-one else is home." Her fingers toyed with the top button of his waistcoat.
John had to close his eyes and take a Very. Deep. Breath, as Margaret's suggestion grabbed hold of his manhood and jolted it to full alertness. By the time he had managed to gather his senses and articulate an answer he realised she had loosened two of his buttons. He hastily covered her hand with his and said shakily, "The servants are home. Imagine the chatter if one of them were to come in and discover their master and mistress rutting on the chaise longue."
A bolt of heat struck Margaret as John's crude choice of phrasing spoke directly to the very core of her sexuality. She closed her eyes for a second as her head swam and John's hand released hers. The image that his wording conjured was explicit indeed and she did not quite know what to do with herself. Her voice was husky as she replied, "You are right, let's go upstairs-" her eyes shot open and she grabbed his lapels to pull him in close to hiss in deadly seriousness, "-quickly."
Hand in hand, Milton's most well-respected couple crept out of the parlour like a pair of secretly concupiscent teenagers, and dashed upstairs before any of the servants could intercept them.
Two bodies hurtled into the master bedroom, the door slammed, the lock hastily fastened, and no sooner had the key holder finished his work than his wife was upon him, her much smaller frame suddenly strong as she spun him around and took possession of his lips.
John's back slammed into the door and his eyebrows shot up into his hairline as his dainty, elegant Margaret turned into a miniature titan. Her fingers tore into his waistcoat and he broke her fevered kiss to cry out throatily as her over-eager nails grazed his nipples through his shirt. The waistcoat was yanked down from his shoulders and trapped his upper arms in place; he sagged against the door, gasping for breath as Margaret stepped back to admire her handiwork.
A very Thornton smirk spread over Margaret's face as she watched her usually highly-composed husband struggle to gather his wits. With his arms held in place, the fabric of his shirt stretched over his muscled chest and Margaret's smirk grew as she noticed the tiny peaks of his nipples straining against the taut cotton. She stepped close to him again and when he moved to speak, she quickly placed a finger over his lips, silencing him. Holding the finger in place, she reached out her other hand and brushed one of the begging nubs.
John's eyes closed and a moan bubbled in his throat; he wanted to let it out, to let her know how he enjoyed the touch, to encourage her to do more, but her finger was still indicating for him to be silent.
He was curious at her actions; since their wedding night a month ago it had always been he who had initiated any sort of intimate contact between them and, while she had always reciprocated, he had sensed that she was holding something back for propriety's sake. It seemed to be the assumption made by ladies of breeding that it was the accepted way for women to cater to their mens' desires not their own, so she had made no move on him and he had been doubtful at first whether she actually wanted his attentions at all in this manner. The woman standing before him now was almost a stranger; she wore Margaret's face but the look in her eye was one he had dreamed of only in his darkest fantasies.
He felt his brow creasing into a thunderous scowl as the thought slipped unbidden into his mind that this was an act, that she was teasing him. She removed her hands from him at his expression and he pushed off against the door to tower over her, shrugging out of his restricting waistcoat and throwing it to one side as he did. "What's this about, Margaret?" he rumbled.
To his surprise she did not do what he expected her to do, which would have been to drop her gaze and clasp her hands demurely in front of her, then stammer an apology for being cruel. Instead, she continued to smirk darkly at him (smirk UP at him now, as he loomed over her), and began to undo his shirt buttons.
"It's about heat, Mr. Thornton."
"Heat?" His heart resumed its rapid, excited tempo against his breastbone.
A sliver of skin and muscle was slowly revealed as Margaret continued her work. "That's right."
He swallowed thickly, she wasn't teasing him, she was serious. "I had not noticed an increase in temperature." He played coy, deciding to see how far she was willing to take this intriguing exploration.
"You are decidedly unobservant, Mr. Thornton." The shirt came open and she untucked it from the waistband of his trousers. "If you had been paying attention, you would have seen that your wife is afflicted by it, and it would now appear you are too..." Her hands slid from his waist, up to his shoulders and separated the shirt from his body. "There. Is that better?"
"Much." The word came out as a throaty purr and he reached for her, eager to have her match his state of half-undress.
She gently slapped his hands away, so he returned them to his sides. "You still look hot." She trailed a single finger along the naked skin just above his waistband and he hissed a breath in through his teeth. "Perhaps these rather thick breeches should come off as well?"
His words had gone, his mouth refused to work. He nodded mutely, itching to touch her but fighting the urge, knowing now that this was not part of the unspoken deal. She had to be allowed to set the pace and he was more than willing to let her set it.
Bending her head to her task, her fingers fumbled with the fastenings of his trousers and he noticed her hands were shaking; she was not as in control as she appeared.
The realisation sobered him and he covered her hands with one of his again. His voice returned to him and he whispered, "Margaret, are you sure you want to do this?"
The troublesome button popped free in answer and she slowly raised her head, meeting his gaze with heated promise as she hooked her fingers into the waistband and slid them over the hips she had so admired earlier, down over his muscular thighs, past his knees and pooled them around his ankles. Reaching below the pile of fabric, her nimble fingers made quick work of his shoe laces and she helped him slip the shoes and socks from his feet.
By the time Margaret stood upright again, John had managed to get himself under some semblance of control. His hands were fisted by his sides, his eyes were squeezed closed and he was breathing deeply, all in an attempt to keep his underwear from tenting directly at her. She smirked, unseen by his closed eyes and swiftly and stealthily unfastened his drawers. She whipped them down before he had chance to react and he was left in completely naked glory before her. Her mouth watered at the sight.
John's eyes snapped open as he felt himself divested of his last piece of covering.
Margaret was devouring him with her eyes, he could see her fingers flexing with the effort of not just throwing herself at him. He had to admire her restraint, if their positions were reversed he could not say that he would be able to do the same. Realising too late what he had just done, the image of his wife wearing nothing but her skin shot into his mind and his so-far controlled arousal sprang back into full life.
"Mr. Thornton, you appear to be suffering..." John liked the thickness in her voice, it meant that she was not as unaffected as she was letting on. She licked her lips and John's eyes darkened.
"I feel it is my duty as your wife to assist you." She moved closer.
He swallowed. "Yes."
"Would this help?" She reached down and stroked one finger lightly along his straining length.
"Yesssss..." John's head fell back and his jaw fell open to allow one long, low, agonised moan to stream forth. His knees trembled, his pulse thundered, his vision went black as his eyelids suddenly became too heavy to hold open. Margaret withdrew her touch and he gasped, coming back to himself and staggering back a step as the world became upright again.
Margaret beamed; to see her strong, powerful, respectable husband reduced to a state of raw need at her hand was a heady feeling indeed. His eyes were almost black with his arousal and his eyelids hung heavy as he watched her, awaiting her next move.
She had been wanting for some time to transfer her usual forthrightness into their marital bed, once she had overcome her complete lack of experience. However, she had been too timid to do so before today, it seemed the city heat - and seeing John in his shirtsleeves - had finally gotten to her. The urge to end the teasing and begin what she had been shamefully fantasizing about all day gripped her, but there was one last obstacle she had to overcome first.
Ignoring the nervous flutter in her belly, she turned her back to him and whispered, "Undress me, john."
John Thornton, Master of Marlborough Mills, one of the most powerful and successful men in the north of England, found himself scrambling to do the bidding of a tiny woman. Furthermore, he found himself thoroughly enjoying being in her thrall, it was oddly freeing to be able to hand over control of even this small part of himself to her. His hands fumbled with the buttons of her dress in his excitement, making the task infinitely more difficult.
"Carefully, John," she murmured, as he yanked desperately at the fasteners, "this dress was expensive."
He couldn't take it any longer. Hooking his hands into the low back of the dress, he flexed his arms and tore it open. Buttons could be heard pinging all over the room as they were forcibly ejected from the fabric that had held them. She squeaked and he growled into her neck, "I'll buy you another."
Margaret gasped as he spun her around, seized her lips fiercely with his and pulled the dress non-too-gently from her body. She was left in her corset and drawers as his arms came around her, crushing her to him. Fighting the urge to give in to him and getting a firm grip on his waist, she pushed him back and away from her, their kiss breaking with a pop. "Get onto the bed, John." She panted.
He stood blinking for a moment, struggling to process her words, then did as he was told and moved to lay on his back on the bed, curious as to what she was going to do next. She came around to the foot of the large four poster and, making sure she held his gaze, reached behind herself to undo the ties of her corset.
John, realising what she was doing, bolted up onto his elbows and was about to launch himself to her assistance, when she glared at him, commanding him with a look not to move. With a frustrated sigh, he relaxed and felt his mouth begin to water as she slowly and efficiently shed herself of the restrictive garment. With his eyes pinned to her breasts as they became free, he missed the embarrassed flush that stained her cheeks. His chest began to heave, his breathing laboured as he struggled to remain where she had placed him.
Margaret felt a twinge of self-consciousness as she undressed, but John's expression of hunger reassured her that it was okay. Moving slowly, she dragged John's gaze with her as she knelt on the bed and slipped between his knees.
John watched her, he couldn't watch anything else, the mill could be on fire and he wouldn't care.
Parting his thighs to allow her the access she indicated she wanted, he realised with a jolt what she intended to do. "Margaret..." his voice cracked, if she was about to do what he thought she was about to do, then he would most likely suffer a heart attack before they were finished.
She paused at the juncture of his thighs and watched his quick pants for breath, his hands twitching by his sides. If this was his reaction before she'd even done anything, then she had most definitely made the right choice in following through on her temptation.
With her weight braced on her knees between his legs and a hand on either side of his hips, she leaned down, holding his gaze as it clouded and blew gently on the head of his erection. He gasped, the pants for breath becoming great heaves of his chest, then a full throated groan as she gently touched her tongue to the place she had blown on.
This was unreal. This wasn't happening. His wife was not on the verge of pleasuring him with her mouth, he was asleep, he had to be, he- "UNGH!" Her tongue touched him and any spare blood that was not otherwise engaged raced excitedly into his member.
Margaret had always been an advocate of education and exploration, and right now she was educating herself in her husband's sensitivities by exploring his most intimate area. She started with small, cat-like laps to the flushed head, then tried the same action from the tip down to the base. Glancing up she saw that his eyes had closed and he was breathing heavily, but beyond the first gasp prompted by her first touch he had not made another sound. Hmm, maybe this was not the way he would like it; she flattened her tongue against the base of his penis and licked back up to the head in one long, wet motion. He barked out a rough shout of pleasure, throwing his head back and she smiled; that was more like it! Trailing wet, feather-soft kisses down the length of him, she repeated the movement and he cried out again, his hips bucking up towards her.
John was drowning in a sea of sensation, he'd never felt anything like this before and it was made even better by the fact that Margaret was doing it with absolutely no prompting from him. She wanted to do this, the thought alone made the warm feeling in his chest explode. His hands fisted into the sheets as his blood turned to fire and burned him from the inside out.
He whimpered as she placed one last, lingering kiss on him, then moved up to lay alongside him, watching him struggle to catch his breath. His eyes were closed but the arm nearest to her managed to gather her close in a one-armed embrace. Pressed up against his body, she tried something she had registered as pleasurable for him earlier.
John hissed in a breath as Margaret began a new assault upon him, he had never realised how sensitive his nipples were until today and as she gently teased them into peaks he silently thanked her for her explorative nature. Each pinch and roll of her delicate fingers sent tiny tingles from his chest to his groin and when she leant down to suckle and nibble on him he moaned deep in his chest.
Worrying one nipple with her teeth and tongue, Margaret reached over his broad chest to pinch and squeeze the other. His arm tightened around her and he grunted in time with each pinch and nip. Glancing down the length of his body, she saw his penis - his cock, her mind whispered filthily - jump and she smirked darkly against his trembling skin. Releasing his far nipple from her fingers, she reached down his body and lightly grasped the begging length of flesh.
A hoarse sob was torn from John's throat and his whole body jolted as she stimulated him in two places at once. Her hand moved gently, slowly, but he needed more, she had stoked an inferno within him and teasing touches were no longer enough. Moving his free hand to cover hers, he guided her to grip harder, to move faster, his moans coming louder and with more frequency until it was too much and he teetered too close to the edge. He pushed her off him with a desperate cry.
Margaret bounced on the mattress as he rudely removed her and she would have been offended, had he not immediately shot down the bed, removed her drawers, yanked her into a good position and buried his face between her legs. She yelped out her surprise then fell into a harmony of croons and sighs as he frantically worked her towards a hot, wet, pleasurable end.
John had neither the time nor the presence of mind to savour the intimacy of his actions, he was on the verge of explosion and by God he wanted his wife there with him. She relaxed around him from her initial shock and was soon writhing against his mouth as the beginnings of her pleasure trickled onto his eager tongue. He groaned in success then moved up the bed, took his trembling wife in his arms and buried himself inside her in one satisfying thrust.
Margaret gasped into John's neck as he penetrated her, his thick, hot length filling her completely. The sweet stretch of muscle around his possessive flesh made her mewl with pleasure and the sound seemed to drive him to full motion.
John's breath had caught in his throat and he vowed not to release it until he had brought his secret vixen to climax. Fortunately he did not have long to wait, Margaret's body arched, then locked, her eyes flying open to meet his, then shut again as she writhed frantically against him, chasing the tremors. Aiding her in her chase, John released the breath he had been holding and drove into her hard and deep, angling to enter her just so, and... there! She jolted hard against him, biting down on his neck and he picked up the pace, finding the perfect tempo then losing it just as fast as a monumental climax took hold of his body and shot his control to hell.
Margaret watched her husband as his eyes glazed and the smooth rhythm of his hips decayed into erratic spasms. He groaned long and low, pushing into her one last time and holding himself there, as warmth flooded her and he filled her with his seed. He collapsed, his trembling arms having been bled of all their strength and she relished the weight of him pressing her into the mattress. She writhed against him, enjoying the lingering seconds of his softening pleasure inside her. He gasped into her hair, grasped her hips to hold her close, rolled them over until she straddled him, then arched up lethargically against her again and again, until he fully softened and slipped from her body.
She finally rested and draped herself over him and he sighed, deeply and happily. Grabbing a handful of blanket, he pulled it up to cover them, smiling into his wife's hair as she drowsed on his chest.