Written from the aiw_porn_battle on LJ
Prompts: swing, stockings
Tarrant was well aware that Alice found Endless Excuses to explore the grounds around Marmoreal with him, but she need not seek them in every Nook and Cranny, because he was just as eager to spend time alone with her.
He was contemplating letting his Thoughts find their voice, when Alice's arm slipped from his and she darted through a hedge.
"Alice?" he called after her. Had the lass run after a rabbit, he wondered? She had a habit of doing so.
"Did you know about this?" she called back.
He ducked his head around the flowering hedge to spy Alice climbing onto a wooden tree swing.
"Yes, I suppose I did," he admitted, although he did not know that it was worth mentioning. If it was not tea, hats, or kissing Alice, he did not consider it worth mentioning it these days. Not that he Mentioned kissing Alice to anyone, for he was not a Kisser and Teller. Heavens, no! But he did, he thought with a slow smile: he did kiss her, regularly.
"I love to swing!" she enthused, as she wrapped her hands about the thick ropes that held the wooden plank swing to the branch above her head.
"A swing is just the thing," he lisped, as he stepped forward, watching her walk the swing backward.
"Lovely rhyme," Alice praised him just as her feet left the ground and she swung forward.
"A…A…Alice?" Tarrant stuttered, his speech matching the patter of his heart, which had suddenly become rather Irregular.
"Yes?" she inquired, tossing her head back to expose the white of her neck, which was Not helping the matter.
"Alice are you aware…are you informed about your lack of stockings?" he asked, trying to maintain his smile.
"Why, I never wear stockings," Alice said matter-of-factly, as if she had not just revealed Very Important Information.
Tarrant coughed into his fist.
"Have you never noticed?"
He tried very hard not to notice such things about Alice. He had once seen rather more than he Ought of Alice when she was tucked inside a teapot, but he had made it a practice ever since to not contemplate that overly much. Kissing Alice is where he drew the line with white seamstress chalk. To do anything else would be Wholly Improper. He did not mind in the least, for Kissing Alice was a very fine thing indeed.
"Never," he assured her.
She slowed her swinging and reached down to pull her skirt up another few inches. "Scandalous, isn't it?" she said with a slow smile.
"Alice," he responded, his brows drawing together.
She thought he looked rather serious and that had not been her intent. "I don't mean to shock you," Alice said, shaking her skirt back down. "I thought you wouldn't mind."
"I don't," he said, his voice sounding rather deep and lacking its characteristic lisp.
It occurred to her that he was not so much shocked as intrigued. More so than it appeared he was comfortable with. Curious.
"I believe you're off balance," Alice observed brightly, as she dragged her feet in the dirt and came to a stop. She liked the idea that she momentarily had the upper hand, for she often felt a bit out of her depth in romantic dealings. They did not always feel Natural.
"My feet are firmly placed on the ground," he argued back.
Alice had a habit of testing limits. She had tested her mother, her sister, and that poor governess with the hook nose. No one had ever managed to cure her of it.
"I don't wear a corset either." Boldness, thy name is Alice, she smirked silently.
Caught at her own game!
"Are you going to argue with me while you stand over there or are you going to come here and kiss me?"
He swallowed, evidently considering her offer.
"Hatter?" she demanded a little impatiently.
"Is today a kissing day?" he giggled.
Alice was certain that he was merely wasting Time, and he was already on such bad terms with the man that it could not be a wise course.
"Isn't it always?" she asked, sticking her bare ankle out from underneath her skirts once more and giving it a little shake.
If there had been but a moment, she might have seen his eyes change.
"Oh!" she exclaimed as he lurched forward, seizing the rope in his hands and nearly knocking her backwards off the swing.
Leaning over her, she could see his Adam's apple bob as he narrowed his eyes at her. "Kythe me yer anklet again, lass."
It sounded like a Challenge. Alice licked her lips, mustering her muchness. She never backed down from a Challenge.
Alice reached down to gather up her skirts, and a smile—a practically predatory grin—began to stretch across Tarrant's face. Her heart skipped dangerously, when he leaned down that much further to rest his hand over hers, helping her draw her skirt up as he insinuated a knee between her legs. Suddenly her bare ankle felt less like a rebellion and more like an invitation, less saucy and more salacious.
"Mey Ah?" he asked, his hand hovering above her ankle, his breath against her ear as he bent over to reach for her exposed skin.
Resting her head against his jacketed shoulder, she whispered her reply.
His hand wrapped around her ankle and Alice's hand flew up to knot itself in his lapel. Her mother had been concerned about appearances, but she doubted very much that her mother ever thought something such as this might result from her daughter's irregular dressing habits. This was quite nearly Unthinkable. Or rather, she was having trouble Thinking at the moment.
Her head lolled back of its own accord as his hand began to blaze a trail up from her ankle, over the round of her calf, towards the heat of her inner knee. Before he reached his goal, his mouth was at her neck, making a remarkably similar trek towards her ear, although his hand was warm and dry and his mouth was most pleasantly warm and wet. Both found their target in calculated unison, and Alice was nearly unseated by the sensation of his mouth tugging on her earlobe and the realization that his hand was easing her knee further to the side.
His thimbled index finger drew lazy circles around her kneecap with the lightest of pressure. Alice was certain that every hair on her body was standing at attention as stiffly as one of the Queen's soldiers.
"Alice," he mouthed against her ear.
"Yes?" she said, turning her neck so as to encourage his ministrations. Tarrant's conversations were enjoyable, but right now she wanted…
"Ah like thaim bare," he explained, his finger continuing to draw lazy circles on her. "But A'd like thaim in hoshen juist as weel."
"But," she began to complain. But this was so nice! His hand, her knee: why would she want stockings in the way?
"Tho the outcome wad be the same: A'd tak thaim aff ye."
The hand not engaged in investigations down below found its way to her offered neck, his thumb tracing its length until it found her pulse and pressed lightly. "Yer aff bawlance nou, Alice," he chuckled.
Alice briefly considered a reaction to that that cheeky observation that might involve the flouncing of skirts and rolling of eyes and even perhaps a stomped foot, but instead she sighed indulgently. "Crow now, my dear Hatter. When you explore my lack of corsetry one day, I will be the one rescuing you from tumbling head over heels."
His lips caressed her collar bone. "Oh, 'tis too late, too late. I'm already heels above head when it comes to you, Alice."
She nuzzled into his neck, as bread-and-butterflies cavorted about her middle. He loved her. She was certain of it. "It is a good thing you are quite skilled in walking on your hands then."