Thank you for reading. Sorry about the delay in this particular story.

It was not a secret in the family that some members greatly disapproved of his wife. In fact, it was something a good few of them were quite vociferous about. He had never wanted to know why; though they had made it quite well known exactly what they thought of her. They thought her haughty and aloof. He knew them to loathe her because of her beauty and candor. But worse than that, they saw her as a harlot. Easy. This was the worst and most unfair of all their judgments. Because he knew it to be false. His wife was far from their interpretation. They had made assumptions because of the unusual way in which their relationship had begun and had never cared to look into the facts. It suited them to pin their delicate hatred on his beautiful wife.

There were six of them in particular; all of them sure that they were in the position of being able to preside over all judgments because of age or perceived position. He watched them as they convened, as they did on an annual basis, at the far end of the ballroom, nearest as always to the sherry and brandy. Two were his aunties, one was a spinster and rather unbecoming cousin and the other one was a friend of one of his aunts who had ensconced herself in the family a very long time ago. She had attended their wedding just to get a glimpse of Morticia and in order to make a foundation on which she could build her malice. Then worst of all the Amore twins had joined the coven some years ago and completed the six. They were the most vicious of all because they envied his wife.

It made his blood boil with fury.

But he knew that it was ill-mannered to pretend they were not there. And it would upset a great number of people if he did not invite them. He strode towards them, making sure that his wife was otherwise occupied at the far end of the ballroom. And she was, she was chatting animatedly with her friend Carmen. He smiled as he watched her. He tried to shield her from them but she was no stupid woman. However this was where his wife shone most brightly; when she was being devious. They had sniped things before but she had brushed them off with the ease of one so confident that he wondered if it really wounded her at all.

"Gomez," his aunt Eldora, bristling beard and cane came shuffling towards him. He braced himself.

"Aunt, how are you?"

"Fine fine," she motioned to Pugsley and Wednesday, who were loitering around the punch bowl rather suspiciously, "Isn't their mother keeping an eye on them, they should be shackled to their beds by now."

Already, he thought with gloom, it had begun. It wasn't that they went out of their way to insult his wife, it was that they inferred weakness in her character by feigning concern.

"No," he waived an airy, dismissive hand, "It's Christmas and they are enjoying themselves."

"You ought to be more strict," she waived her cane in the air, "My mother would never have let me be up so late…"

He crumbled lightly inside as he seen the Amore twins shuffling towards him from the corner of his eye. He had thought that he might speak to one of them and avoid the rest of the old geese for the night but evidently not. They were all descending with the courtesy of ravenous lions to ensure that he knew exactly where he was going wrong and how he might remedy it.

"Gomez Addams," one of the chimed.

He had never smelt the breeze of her hair so swiftly, so readily, in his entire life. Morticia slithered up beside him, though he could not guess how she had moved so quickly in that small space of time. Her hand rested on the small of his back and she smiled radiantly at the twins.

"Morticia," one of them laughed but Gomez could see the falseness in it. It sounded like the squawking of unnatural birds. He was sure the more aggressive one was Fauna.

"Hello," she answered quietly, and then placed her mouth tantalisingly close to his ear, "I would like to dance."

Gomez was not, for a moment, under any illusion that this was truly her intention. Morticia wanted, in reality, to put as much space between her spouse and these women and dancing was the way to get him to do anything. Anything.

"Whatever the lady wants, she gets."

He took her by the hand. They were not quick out of ear-shot, and it was said loudly enough by his aunt so that they would hear it quite audibly.

"…And he bends to the harlot's whim as well…"

He felt Morticia's hand go rigid in his but she displayed no other sign of having heard it. He took her in his arms, felt the ice of her hand in his. The corners of her mouth had turned from that genuine, delicious smile into an oddly false one. He looked into her obsidian eyes and read, for a split second, humiliation. Rage coursed through him but to do anything about it would only feed their ardour.

"Ignore those ancient harpies," he whispered quietly as he waltzed her around the floor.

"I have, for all of our marriage," she answered quietly, "Perhaps their assertion is right, perhaps I am a harlot. But I am your harlot."

"Cara mia," he kissed her knuckles as he moved her effortlessly, "They're just six old geese a-laying, as the carol goes."

"Six geese I wouldn't hesitate to behead," she whispered quietly and his laugh rung out around the ballroom.

A story that has taken nearly a year. Sorry but it is the season...

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