Here is another one. For some reason their bedroom behavior seems to intrigue me lately. They are so, so different in that department, I often wonder how they managed. Once again, these two took the story from me and ran. This was supposed to be all lovey-dovey, but they just can't stop bickering, and they don't even care, when it's me who's writing them! A special call out to rx9872, thanks for reviewing each and every snippet! And to the rest…

As I used to say in another life….Reviews are my muse!

Ego and Sentiment

They had just finished making love and Scarlett, sweaty and flushed lay sprawled against his chest. He had one hand wrapped around her hip and the other played lazily with her hair. Rhett Butler was happy, as happy as he had been in years, and he chuckled softly to himself at the thought that this young little "southern belle" could bring him so much contentment. "Ahhh" he sighed deeply as he pulled her closer, what had he done to himself?

"What?" she asked drowsily and he could feel her warm breath on his chest.

"I didn't say anything my pet." He drawled.

"…you sighed…." She yawned.

"I certainly did not." He laughed.

Scarlett pulled herself up from his chest, and her bright green eyes danced in the moonlight as she smiled down at him. "You did, you took a breath and then sighed, just like this…. 'Ahhh'".

"Perhaps I was simply trying to get some air," he replied, a smile pulling on the corner of his lip. "I seem to have a sizeable weight across my chest."

"Sizable!" she exclaimed. "Why you….perhaps you'd rather have no weight at all!" she said curtly as she began to pull herself off him.

"No, no, no!" he laughed. "Forgive me my pet; I erred greatly in my word choice. I love having this feather like weight across my chest." He wrapped an arm around her waist and pulled her back to him.

"My word Captain Butler, first you sigh and then you speak of love" she said coyly, "I've managed to turn you into a schoolboy in just a few short days."

"It's more the nights that have had an effect, if any." He mumbled.

She rested her square chin upon his chest. "Oh don't try to bait me Captain Butler," she continued. "I won't let you change the subject quite so easily this time. Has it really taken less than a week for me to reduce this great big man into a love sick pup?" she laughed.

"Good Lord Scarlett, all I did was take a breath!"

"Yes you did" she smiled, and her eyebrows shot up, "You took a great big giant breath followed by a sigh! So tell me husband," she continued with a smirk, "what does make you so sentimental on this evening?"

"You are goading me my vixen." He replied with a smile.

She looked up at him and frowned, her lips forming a perfect pout, "No, I don't think it is the goading that has raised such a deep sentiment."

He laughed and shook his head, raising his hand to brush delicately through her hair.

"Well?" she asked an eyebrow rising up, "pray tell what is the cause of all this….sighing?"

His eyes narrowed and they fixed on hers, a small smile played upon his lips, two can play at this game he thought. "Can a man not be happy?" he asked lightly.

"And what is the cause of all this happiness? Is it perhaps your newlywed wife?" she asked with a sly smile.

Ah, he thought, how easily a vixen can fall into her own trap. "If you must know," he answered smoothly, "I am sighing out of shear contentment for having spent the past several hours making love to my beautiful wife!"

Her cheeks turned the most delicious shade of pink and her eyes blazed open. "Good Lord Rhett, "she nearly shouted, "How dare you speak of such things!"

Now it was his turn to play innocent, "What things?" he drawled, "Oh the joys of our intimacies? But it is the recollection of those tender moments that makes me sigh."

"Well," she snapped, attempting to slide off his chest. "You mustn't speak of them…or…or recall them."

He laughed openly and squeezed her in his arms, shutting his eyes. "I am recalling the most exquisite moment right now my pet."

She shot up and pulled the sheet to her chin. "Don't you dare Rhett Butler? Why…open your eyes, open them!"

He smiled, his big lazy smile and stretched beneath the sheets like a giant cat in the noonday sun, "I'd prefer to keep them closed my dear, your current angry countenance is interfering with my lovely recollections."

"You are impossible!" she snapped and smacking him on the chest, rolled to her side.

He laughed for a moment and then fell silent. Her anger always rose to the surface so rapidly; she was like a burning ember that only needed minimal stoking in order to turn into a blaze.

"Come on my pet," he whispered rolling to face her back, "Don't get angry, I was just playing."

"Well," she countered, "I was not enjoying your game."

"Don't be a child Scarlett," he laughed, "you enjoyed teasing me! You're only angry that I managed to get the upper hand so quickly!"

"I am angry that you would be such an ill-mannered cad. You cannot speak of such things. It isn't proper!"

"Well," he countered, "it was you who insisted on knowing every last detail in regards to the very cause of my….er…..sighing."

"Well, I did not think the reasons would be quite so…obscene."

He laughed and pulled her towards him, "since when is making love to your wife considered obscene?" He asked.

"Don't," she pried his arm away from her waist. "I'm not…comfortable with this."

He let go and sat up propped on an elbow, his head resting in his hand. "Come now Scarlett, a moment ago you were sprawled against my chest engaged in a lovely game of teasing; now all of a sudden you pull from my arms and speak of discomfort."

"I will not speak of relations." She said curtly. "It is bad enough that I must engage in them, I will certainly not make merriment of the matter."

"Bad enough!" he asked, his hand reaching out to touch her shoulders. "It seems to me you quite enjoy them. Am I wrong?"

"It is my duty." She answered quietly, "and I won't discuss it."

"You duty?" he repeated dumbfounded. "Scarlett, I do not wish you to partake in our marital relations simply because you feel it is your…duty. Dear God, do you not enjoy my advances?"

Oh goodness, she had ventured into forbidden territory, very forbidden indeed. Why, she never understood how things like this always seemed to happen with Rhett. One moment they would be talking about something, laughing and joking as if it was the lightest topic on Earth, and then one small turn, one wrong word, and they were veering off either arguing, or venturing down these forbidden paths.

Of course she enjoyed her relations with him. He was gentle and tender and caring, and, good Lord she turned a deep crimson just thinking of how she enjoyed their night time adventures. But she knew it wasn't right for a woman to feel these things, it was terribly ill bred for ladies to feel any such pleasures. Why she had been through two prior marriages before, and she had barely endured relations with either of those husbands. This time around she simply couldn't grasp how he had managed to turn her mind on the topic. And no matter how he pried, she would never reveal her new found zest to him. Never, she would, in fact, prefer to die!

"I won't speak of it." She replied simply.

"You must! "He insisted, his brow furrowing. He knew women, and he knew when they were pleased, there was no denying that Scarlett had been more than pleased beneath his touch. To be fair, it had taken a bit of coaxing, to ease her into the more intimate aspect of their marital status. But he was certain, certain, that she had reveled under his ministrations. Why, her body had responded, much against all her futile attempts to tamp down on her urges, and she had melted under his touch. And despite all her lip bighting, she had even managed to let out a few gasps and inadvertent moans. Why, she had been pleased! He was sure of it!

"I certainly must not !" she snapped, sitting up with one hand holding the sheet pressed up against her chest and the other fumbling around the covers until she found her nightgown. In one swift move she slid it on and threw the covers off her form.

"It is the middle of the night Scarlett," he chuckled softly, despite her obvious ire, "where is it exactly that you intend to go?"

"As far away from you as possible!" she replied coldly sliding into her wrap. "Even if it is simply the sitting room."

He lay back and folded both his arms beneath his head. Why on earth was she upset, he wondered. Good Lord, it's not as if they were discussing marital relations prior to having engaged in any. And it's not as if he had made reference to anything….specific... or shameful. Why they had often enjoyed much more vulgar jokes than these, and she had simply scowled before bursting into a fit of laughter. He had really no idea why the mere mention of their relations would throw her into such a complete tizzy.

He rolled onto his side, and looked at the soft candlelight the glowed from underneath the sitting room door. It wasn't really her reaction that bothered him so, for he knew she was quite hot headed, and there had been countless of seemingly innocent conversations that had ended up with either one of the storming off. Though usually, he chuckled to himself, it had been him who had offered her a short, curt bow and had removed himself from the situation.

This time rather, what bothered him the most was the fact that she had insinuated that their sexual relations were simply a matter of duty for her. He knew it shouldn't bother him, that it was simply a matter of vanity that it did so, but still. Why had she said that? Then there was a thought that niggled in the corner of his mind, he himself had been with women, that though did not necessarily please him, had managed to elicit the desired physical response from his body.

Was he merely generating a physical response from her? Was her mind and heart so closed off to him, that she saw nothing intimate from their relations. Good Lord this woman managed to worm her way into his deepest thoughts. Slowly he took a deep breath, and slid into his black silken robe. He would not lie in bed alone going in circles all night.

He found her curled up on the settee, facing a fire that had died out long ago.

"Scarlett," he said softly, standing beside her, "Come back to bed, you'll catch a chill."

She did not respond, but continued to stare into the ashes. Not knowing how on earth a simple game of goading had ended up this way. And, even worst, not knowing how she could possibly gather all the yarn she had unraveled so quickly.

Rhett was different from most men, all men. No subject was off topic for him. There seemed nothing too shameful of private to discuss, and when it came to intimacies; he would go on forever if he could. Good lord, he wanted to know everything, had he hurt her, had he pleased her, was she happy? And things she would not even think of in the darkest most private corner of her mind, he would want to speak of.

"Would you like me to start a fire?" he asked gently, "It will take but a minute, and it will warm you."

"No," she answered softly, all the anger seemingly having left her. "I like the cold."

He scooted her feet to the side and sat on the edge of the settee. "I did not think that type of talk would upset you so." He said simply.

She made no reply.

He took her hand gently between his and pressed it to his lips, "I'm a bit upset myself, if I may say so." he added with a smile, and a chuckle.

"Well." She laughed briskly, "I would think by now you would be accustomed to me getting angry and storming out." She paused for a moment before adding, "And if you're not I suggest you become so, quickly, for I suspect our 'blissful union' will have quite a few of these moments."

'It's not your storming out that has…upset …me, but rather the cause."

"Ah, a blow to your ego." She said simply.

"No," he answered slowly, knowing he must tread carefully here. "Not my ego. Though I admit, it was quite trampled."

She made no reply, and failed to meet his eyes.

"Scarlett," he said softly as he stroked her palm gently with his thumb. "I must know. Do you really feel it is your 'duty' to partake in our relations?"

She closed her eyes, regretting the moment she had let that errant comment fly. "But it is isn't it? It is often even describes as such, 'a wifely duty'".

"Well," he guffawed, "It may be described as such by fools, but I certainly hope that you know you have no such 'duty' to me." Here he paused and stood, offering out his hand. "Now, I know you wish to not speak of this, so I will stop, if you so desire. But, please know my wife, that I never want our….unions to be out of….obligation." He motioned for her to take his hand. "Come now my pet, come back to bed. You'll catch your death of a cold out here." She rose and he tucked her hand under his arm for the short walk back into their room. "Then not only will I be guilty of having caused you to leave our matrimonial bed in a huff, but of having caused you illness as well."

"Thank you," Scarlett said, releasing his arm as he folded the sheets back for her. "For someone with your …er….reputation, I would have never thought you would be so…understanding."

He laughed softly as he disrobed and slid in besides her. "It is not mere understanding my pet" he said, as he reached out for her and pulled her to him, "I would be remiss if I did not confess that there is also a bit of my, so called, ego at play here."

"You ego?" she asked, raising an inquisitive eyebrow. "One would think that would make you behave in quite the opposite way."

He laughed lightly in the darkened room. "No, it would certainly not stroke my ego to be the type of man who forces his wife into 'enduring' their most intimate moments. Indeed, I would hope my wife would come to me willingly."

"And if she did not?" She asked, recalling both of her previous marriages, in which she had never willingly done a thing. Not that she had been taken by force, not ever, but it had certainly been a most horrid chore.

"Well, if she did not, then I presume I would have to wait, keep my distance, and hope that in time she might recall that perhaps my advances had been quite nice after all." He answered smugly. She was playing cat and mouse with him now, and he knew it. Lord this woman was willing to dangle anything over his head, to get her way.

"Ah," she yawned, "yes, I understand now. I've been through this before."

"How so?" he asked wrapping his arm about her waist.

"When I was a child," she yawned, "I once refused to attend mass; Pa got so angry, he picked me up and tossed me in the wagon besides my sisters. But Mother, oh she had a much more gentle nature. She let me simply wait at Tara until my sisters' return. Week after week they all loaded in the wagon without even a glance my way and took off without me. They would return smiling and happy, from Jonesboro while I had spent the day alone on the front porch. After about a month I cried and pleaded for them to take me along. I never once complained about mass again."

He laughed aloud in the dark and leaned down to kiss her hair. "You never cease to entertain me my pet. While I never assumed you would be crying and pleading for my advances, I certainly hoped it would take less than a month!"

"Well its true.," she said laughing, recalling those long boring days sitting on the dusty porch, her chin held high, defiant to the bitter end., "it took at least a month!"

"My little vixen," he laughed. "You've been goading me all along, haven't you? Haven't you?"

She threaded her fingers through his and pulled his hand more tightly around her. "You know I haven't Rhett," she said sleepily, "and besides it was all your doing, in the future I would thank you to not be quite so…sensitive….about your ego, I made one errant comment and you became as angry as a wet hen."

"I can assure you I am no hen!" he snorted "You made a comment, I reacted appropriately…I have absolutely no call to be ….sensitive in regards to my masculinity! I was simply trying to be….accommodating." He pulled his hand away and rolled onto his back. "Good Lord woman!"

She laughed in the dark; she had found an easy target, his ego. "Quite the ruffled feathers this evening husband." She said coyly as she rolled to face him, in the dark her hand reached out to find his and she threaded their fingers together once again.

This discourse had become tiring. This endless talk of relations had managed to irritate first one of them and then the other. He was vain, and she was shy, not the best combination for such discussions. She knew he could be cold, and brazen, and taunting, but tonight he had surprised her with his kindness and sensitivity.

He had always made his desires for her known, and his past reputation with women had left her filled with trepidation regarding this aspect of their marriage. She hadn't known what to expect, but despite, his vanity…and his…ardor, he had always been gentle, and cautious not to push her or shame her. He was a good husband, a kind husband. Yes, beneath the sheets they had managed to reach quite a comfortable middle ground. She blushed deeply, and smiled to herself at her brazen thoughts.

"Rhett," she said softly as she pulled on his hand, a peace offering. "You know that month at Tara, when I was a child it was sooo long…"

He pulled her into his arms and smiled, "Was it my pet?"
"Yes," she pouted, "Terribly."

He kissed her softly on the lips, "And where you bored my pet?" his voice sounded oddly deep and gruff.

"Yes," she said coyly, "I had no one to …play with."

He groaned deeply, and she laughed at the sheer power she had over him. "I can assure you Mrs. Butler," he said in between kisses, "that I can be quite the agreeable playmate."

"Are you sure?" she asked, enjoying the game once again, "I can be rather rambunctious."

He let out a moan, and rolled on top of her. "I am quite sure." He whispered into her mouth.

She looked in his face, his dark, hooded eyes, the look of almost delirious passion he got in moments like this and she knew, in an instant that she couldn't resist. "Oh-hum," she said in a sing song voice, "Seems as if I have more 'duties' to 'endure'!"

His deep laughter was the last thing she could remember clearly from that night.