A/N: So there was the Christmas Special. And then there was this. Because how could I not? I believe this qualifies for a new genre - gloop. It's like fluff but MORE SO.
Happy, happy, happiest Monday!
She was as light as a feather. He swung her round and round again, their laughter mingling in the frosty air. Finally he set her down, after stumbling several paces further away from the door. Her feet touched the ground in the physical sense alone for her eyes were bright and her mouth wide with laughter. Her arms were still tightly wound round his neck, there was snow in her hair and it made sense for him to kiss her again.
Matthew's eyes darkened and his expression sobered as he took her in. After the initial burst of ecstasy had passed, he was able to still and try to take in the depth of his happiness. It was impossible. She was in his arms; he was in hers. Her smile softened in response to his and this time when he lowered his head purposefully towards hers and captured her lips they both felt a greater depth and intimacy than before. Slowly, gradually, they shifted and tasted and explored each other, the smiles never quite disappearing. It was several long moments before they separated, and when they did it was with reluctance and their eyes opened and focused slowly.
Gently he brushed his fingers against Mary's cheek and was amazed at how cold they were. "Oh, darling..." He trailed off, testing this new title out on her and finding that it fitted, and grinned impossibly at her. He blinked, having almost forgotten what he was saying. "You're terribly cold."
Her eyes flickered upwards for a moment. "It's snowing." Her voice was soft and her hand came and covered his, pulling it down again.
"So it is, darling." The snow was beautiful and magical but in their current mood, it could have been rain or sunshine or wind or thunder or shooting stars and the effect would have been the same. He slid his hands onto her arms and rubbed them and she gave a little contented sigh and shiver as she leaned into him.
"I wasn't expecting to stay out so long," she explained after a moment. "I was hot inside."
"Shall we go back?" When she hesitated, he continued affectionately, "We don't have to say goodnight quite yet, but perhaps I should find your father and ask his permission before anything else."
Before she could do more than open her mouth in a mix of delight and incredulity, he had stepped back and taken off his jacket. He draped it round her shoulders, pausing only to admire her and stare adoringly, a look she returned with all her heart. Nevertheless, once he had positioned the coat to his satisfaction and put his arm back round her for good measure and they had turned back to the house, she did glance up at him and reply, "You do know that asking Papa's permission isn't necessary. We're both of us considerably over twenty-one!"
He squeezed her more tightly. "Don't you want me to do things properly?"
She met his eyes as they went up the steps and a spark flashed between them. Mary caught her breath. "Maybe not quite all the time, my dear."
They had reached the hallway and he stopped walking to face her. Holding onto the jacket, he pulled her towards him and kissed her again, briefly and tenderly, leaving them both smiling when they parted. It seemed impossible to go more than a minute or so without kissing.
Mary gave him a quick, radiant look before turning towards the library and pushing the door open, Matthew only a pace behind her, so close that she was deliciously aware of his breathing and proximity.
"Papa?" she called softly as they entered the room, Matthew closing the door behind them. All was silent, however. The warm remains of a fire still crackled in the grate and one lamp was still on, casting a golden glow over the room, but it was deserted.
"He must have gone to bed too – I know Edith went a while back," she said, wandering around.
Matthew came further into the room, before walking over to the fireplace and warming his hands. "What do you want to do?"
Mary was silent a while, taking the opportunity to gaze at him while he wasn't aware of her, admiring the pull of his shirt over his shoulders as he leaned forwards. Hers. He was hers, inasmuch as he was anyone's, and she had a right to stare. Her heart contracted in a burst of overwhelming love and happiness.
As if aware of her gaze, Matthew straightened and turned round, raising his eyebrows. "Well? Or should I simply walk home?"
She jumped slightly, before her lips pursed into a sweet smile. "Oh no, don't do that. Not yet anyway," she added with a blush. "Shall we sit?"
"If you like, darling."
He held out a hand to her and she came to him, and they both sat down on the sofa closest to the fire. He retained her hand and after a few moments of peaceful silence, increased his pressure and looked down at it, smoothing the satin of her glove gently with his fingers.
"I need to get you a ring."
"Alright," she smiled. A beat later she bit her lip and added with a touch of mischief, "May I make one request?"
"I don't ever want to wear another rock on my fingers. Carlisle's, you know."
Matthew's lips twitched. "Very well, darling. I must confess I wouldn't relish competing with him in this respect."
She gave a little, elegant shrug. "Really? My money would be on you."
"I'm flattered!" His eyes dipped back down to her lips and before she could reply, he had kissed her softly again. With a sigh, she turned into him and stroked his face with her hand. Very tenderly, he drew her closer. It was still so very new to them, this intimacy. Here they were in the silent room, the fire burning next to them and nobody to interrupt them... It was utterly intoxicating. Shivers of desire ran through her turning into shivers of warning as his fingers began to dance over the bare skin of her back and neck.
With a gasp she pulled away. They stared at each other with eyes hazy and wide with love, unified in the gratification and consciousness of the awakening passion between them and an awareness of where it could and would lead. Matthew swallowed, Mary's eyes fixating on his throat as he did.
"I should go," he said, and cleared his throat as his voice came out deeper than expected.
He stood up and Mary did immediately too, understanding his motivations perfectly. They hesitated together a moment, not quite wanting to break eye contact, then she nodded and pulled herself together. "It's too late for Pratte to drive you back." She walked briskly to the window and pulled back the curtains, drawing in her breath. "Oh my..."
Matthew followed her over and without even thinking about it wrapped his arms round her and rested his head against hers as he stared out. The snow was falling thick and fast, so much so that it was impossible to see very far in it.
Mary turned in his arms. "You can't possibly walk back in this, not at this time of night."
He brushed a strand of hair away from her face, more concerned with her beauty, the smattering of freckles across her cheeks and how tremendously dear she was to him, than how he was going to get home.
"You'll have to stay here," she continued, and this did bring him back to the present.
"What? I couldn't possibly. How-"
She pulled out of his arms and headed to the bell. "I'm sure Anna or Mrs. Hughes won't be asleep yet. One of them can see about getting a bed sorted for you."
He crossed the room in a few strides and intercepted her with a hand on her arm. "Don't, Mary."
She stilled and raised her eyebrows at him.
"Don't disturb them unnecessarily. I can sleep here by the fire. If you help me move the sofa closer then I am sure I will be perfectly comfortable."
She stared at him. "You will not be!"
Matthew shook his head fondly and then replied, his eyes quickly darting round the room, "And if that cloth can be spared, it will make an excellent blanket."
"Matthew, please, this isn't proper."
He took her hands. "Darling, in the circumstances this is the least improper solution."
Her eyes widened and her lips parted. Then she pursed them and stepped away with an involuntary shiver. She took up one end of the sofa and jerked her head imperiously until he picked up the other end. Together they manoeuvred it right in front of the fire. Matthew then pulled the cloth off the side table and turned back, only to find Mary sitting down, engaged in pulling off her shoes. He paused.
"What are you doing?"
She looked up at him with a beaming and very determined smile and patted the space next to her. "I couldn't possibly leave a guest alone and unattended in the library."
Matthew's throat worked noiselessly. His mouth was suddenly dry at sudden thoughts of what being attended to could imply. Then she kicked off her shoes and pulled both her legs up under her. She leaned back against the sofa and wrapped her arms around herself. "Well, if you don't want the cover, I'd like it, please, dear!"
Matthew's objections suddenly seemed terribly insignificant. His steps were heavy as he came over towards her and sat down next to her. He held out the table cloth, a thick, uncomfortable, embroidered thing from the previous century, with raised eyebrows. Suddenly they were very close to each other and Mary was no longer cold. Without breaking eye contact, she took it from him and placed it carefully behind her. Their breaths became increasingly shallow as they looked at each other, the air growing thick between them. Seconds before he kissed her, Matthew hesitated. "You're really staying?" he barely whispered.
Her lips trembled and her eyes flickered downwards. "Oh, yes, I'm staying."
It was all the encouragement he needed. His arm slipped round her waist and he pulled her flush against him, her arms going straight round his neck. With a hum of complete and utter satisfaction, impossible to tell from whom, their lips met in a deep kiss, their heads swirling with the promise of the future.
A/N: I will probably write more of this. As always, your comments are most gratefully received - it means a lot to me.