I silently watched him as I cleaned up the evening meal. He was teaching his son Benjamin how to clean his hunting rifle. He was patient and kind, as he was with his children. I smiled slightly at his gentleness. I finished clearing the dishes and began to wipe down the table. I felt like a mother, cleaning her own house as her husband occupied the children. In my fantasy, I would then sit by the hearth with my family and mend as my husband talked about his day and the farm. It was a small amusement for me, a dream I had.
My master, John Proctor, was a handsome man. He was hardworking and cared about his family. He was well respected in Salem. He was the truest man I knew. He made me feel like there was more to life then Salem and hellfire and damnation for sins. I loved him with my whole being.
His wife, Elizabeth, on the other hand could be compared to a slave driver. She was cold and coarse. After her last child was born, she was weak and sickly. John deserved better. I was pretty, the prettiest girl in Salem. No one could compare to me. I could please him if I was given the chance. A small groan escaped my lips. I blushed. How could I be so careless?
I quickly finished wiping the table, washed the dishes, and went to empty the water outside. He never gave me a second glance. It wasn't until I was pumping fresh water into the bucket that I realized I was crying. I quickly wiped the tears off of my face and sat the bucket down on the ground by the pump. This was horrible. Day after day knowing that the man I loved had his bed being warmed by that…that sniveling woman was exasperating for me.
The night was cold and unwelcoming. I went to the barn, where it was warm. The animals were sleeping soundly. Good fortune to them for not ever feeling heartache. I lazily wandered the stalls, stripping pieces of hay absentmindedly. I would not be missed inside for some time. How could I ever convey my feelings for him? He was dear to my heart; this man was my ideal love. The other boys in the town were mere distractions. They were nothing compared to the glorious John Proctor.
There was a noise. I turned, worried for some intruder. It was him. I stopped, bowing my head. My face felt hot.
"Abigail, it is getting dark child." Child. Oh, but you could change that. I nodded in response.
"Pardon sir, I just needed some time for myself." I whispered. Not knowing what to do, I fled. I rushed past him to get the bucket and went into the house. Benjamin was nodding off by the hearth and I smiled. He was so sweet. I held back my pressing tears and knelt by the little boy.
"Come Benjamin. Let us get you to bed now." He rubbed his sleepy eyes. A tender feeling rose in my breast for the child. He took my hand and I led him up the stairs to the room he shared with William. He dressed in his nightshirt and said his prayers. I tucked the covers around him snuggly.
"Goodnight Benjamin. Sweet dreams." He snuggled under his covers, whispering a "goodnight" to me. I blew out my candle and headed down to the great room to finish my chores.
John was sitting, looking into the fire. I stood at the bottom of the stairs, not wanting to disturb him. He looked so peaceful and contemplative. I crossed my arms and smiled to myself. How I yearned to be mistress of his household and of his bed…The thought of intimacy with him made my heart beat faster.
"Abigail. What is going through that pretty little head of yours?" Gooseflesh prickled my arms. He called me pretty. Those words were worth as much as precious stones to me.
"I did not mean to intrude sir. I was just about to finish my duties before retiring." I replied taking a step into the room. The fire cast a wondrous glow on him. I saw his smile falter before turning back to the hearth.
"Good then. I hope that nothing is the matter. You seemed upset earlier." He said as I put the dishes away in the cabinet. "You are too young to have problems." I stopped, dropping the stack of plates I was holding. John jumped up and turned to me.
"Are you alright?" Flustered I began collecting the tin plates. I was afraid the noise would wake Elizabeth or the children.
"It was an accident sir. I am sorry. I have a lot to ponder lately." He knelt down to pick up a plate near to him. Our gaze met as he handed it back to me. Impulsively, I covered the distance and kissed John on the lips. His mouth was everything I had dreamed. It was warm and tasted of cider. I pulled away, eyes wide. Standing quickly, I turned away and placed the plates on the cabinet shelf. I could not look at him. If he came to me, it would mean he was mine and my feelings were returned. I waited in anticipation.
I felt his heat behind me. His hand touched my shoulder and gently turned me to him. My eyes were wet out of elation as he held my chin and leaned down to kiss me of his own free will. He pressed me against the counter and I emitted a groan of longing. My hands grabbed the front of his shirt, clutching him closer. His mouth moved with mine, fiery and passionately. One of my hands tangled in his hair. It was rough, perfect for him. His hand held my waist firmly. I was drunk off of his touch.
"Oh John…" I gasped, pulling away. His mouth gently brushed against my open lips. I moaned out of hunger for his touch. He kissed my throat tenderly, a slight growl from his throat as he touched the soft flesh of my neck. His hand no longer touched my chin. It teased at my bonnet, trying to remove the cover off of my hair.
It tumbled down around my shoulders and I felt him touch it and wrap it around his fingers. He kissed my vanity hungrily. My heart was pounding against my breast rapidly and my body was heated to the core.
"Abby how you taunt me…" he moaned kissing my eager mouth again. His lips were hot against mine and I could not quench my thirst of him. I loved him, oh God how I loved him. I pulled him closer, if it was possible, touching his chest and arms and hair. He still held my hair possessively and his other clenched my waist, his fingers pressing into my tender skin.
We broke away after a time, finally dawning on him what we were doing. We were breathing heavily. My lips felt swollen and were parted in exasperation. He took a step away, clearing his throat. His hands were unclenching and clenching nervously. Mine clutched the edge of the counter, my knuckles white, bloodless. I did not want him to stop.
"Abigail…what are we doing? I, please, do not think….I…Oh Abigail." He offered his hand and I took it without hesitation as he pulled me close. I laid my head against his chest and listened to his heart. It was beating furiously. I made him feel this way. I caused him to feel as deeply about me as I felt about him. He wanted me as much as I wanted him. This proved it. I smiled to myself and closed my eyes as our heart rates began beating normally, together.
John pulled me away gently staring into my face. This was only the beginning. He tenderly kissed my forehead. He reached around me for my cap and placed it in my hands.
"Go sleep now Abigail and do not speak a word of this." I saw a flash of pain in his eyes, whether from having to be away from me or out duty to his wife, I did not care. I reached up on my tiptoes and placed my hand gently around his neck, lightly kissing him goodnight, taking a moment to let our breath mingle. Then I bowed my head and took leave to my room. I felt his eyes on my back and a grin slowly grew on my face.
"John, I do not know where I stand anymore. You love me do you not?" I clutched my cloak to me. Even tonight the barn was colder than usual. John ignored me. I groaned, annoyed. We have not spoken of that night. Only the small glances we shared that brought a blush to my cheeks were proof of our infatuation.
"Please John, I-" I insisted on getting an answer from him.
"Abigail you will stop this nonsense." He snapped, turning to me. I took a sharp intake of breath. Why was he being so cold? Had Elizabeth rubbed off on him? Tears pressed at my eyes. It was not justified, not at all.
"Fine, I-I will not press you." I said. "But, I know you want me still." I walked in closer to him and pressed my finger to his chest. "I know you yearn for me and you should know…I am willing to comply." His face was hard, but I challenged him, raising my chin ever so slightly, with a burning light in my eyes. He placed his hand on my shoulder.
"Abigail, I cannot do that. You know that." He said. I smirked. I would have my way tonight. The fire in my body was raging, it was consuming me. That one night had fanned the flames of my heart. Surely he cared if I died from being consumed by my passion for him.
"John, but surely you want to. I am offering you an alternative." I took his hand in mine and kissed the knuckle airily. "I know you John. I burn for your touch. I cannot think that you do not feel the same way for me." I placed his hand over my heart, holding it so he could feel my heart racing. I reached up with my other hand to his face, pulling him down to kiss my lips.
It took him a moment before returning my affection. He pulled me close and I wrapped my arms around his neck. His hair was windblown from his day in the forest. John Proctor was perfect and I was perfect. We were meant to be together. How could two halves of a whole not be together? How could he be with Elizabeth when he could have me? It was warm in his arms and I did not want to give that up.
We were suddenly in the hay. The prickly pieces poked through my stockings into my skin, but I didn't care. I just wanted John. My cape was spread out under us. He pulled at my stays and pulled apart the front of my dress. I fumbled with his shirt buttons, wanting to touch his skin. My hair was spread about, free of its prison. He touched my breast, making me groan in want. We were kissing fervently. The heat had chased away the chill of the night. My head was foggy with my need and want for John. He lifted my skirt and petticoats up. He was touching me in unexplored places. I teased at his pants, ready to give to him what he truly deserved.
Afterwards, we lay there, taking in each other's warmth. I felt like I was on fire. It was better than I could ever imagine, and my expectations of him were pretty high.
"I love you John. I want to be with you, as your wife." I confessed. His grip on me tightened and his breath was warm on my neck.
"I cannot give you that Abigail, you know that. You are so beautiful; it is hard to stay sensible around you." I took a deep breath.
"You think I am beautiful?" I smiled warmly to myself.
"Vain as well I see." He muttered into my ear. I turned to face him and kissed him tenderly. I sat up, my long hair falling around my bare shoulders. I was elated with him.
"John, you are my true love. Can you not see that we belong to each other? I love you so ardently it is unbearably consuming." His face was troubled. I cocked my head, confused. He should be as happy as I was. I traced his face from his eye to his lips soothingly. I pressed a gentle kiss to his mouth.
"Abby, I- I cannot do this to you or to Elizabeth."My face contorted in disgust. What did he see in that dull, miserable woman?
"Please do not talk about her. This is about you and me. I mean to please you, I do. " I laid back down next to him and put my hands in his shirt and around to his back. He flinched at the coldness of them, but he was so warm. John pulled me closer, kissing my head. I knew he could not resist.
"Abigail," he groaned against my mouth. I smiled as he gripped my back. He had me against the barn wall. The air was cool and the moon shone brightly, making the snow sparkle. I held him kissing his mouth and face. He was impatient tonight, but so was I. He lifted my skirts and I tugged at his trousers. We were manic in our loving. It was daunting, how much we wanted to consume each other. I moaned when his lips touched my lips hungrily.
It was getting harder and harder to conceal our feelings when we were together in the house. I loved him even more. I was no mere girl anymore, I was a woman and I had his heart for mine own self. It felt so right to feel him touching me and kissing me, to have him on me and in me. The only problem was that he would not abandon Elizabeth. It distressed me to no end.
"Oh how I love you Abby," he said when we were done. He held me close, shielding me from the cold night air. I beamed. Oh how my heart felt like it would burst!
"I am no longer in need of you Abigail." Elizabeth said one morning. I stopped cleaning the hearth and stood.
"Whatever is with the sudden dismissal? I am supposed to work here until end of summer, Goody Proctor." I said coldly.
"Your work lately has been slow and careless. You are being displeasing to me and I shall seek service from someone else." I clenched my fists.
"Displeased you? Goody Proctor I have done everything you ask of me and beyond that. I help with the children. I help with the baking and cooking and cleaning and washing. And I do it all in a timely manner. I keep my appearance neat and clean. I never complain. What have I done to earn your displeasure?" I protested. I knew her intention. She wanted me away from John, my only happiness in this dull world.
"I think you know why Miss. Williams." I turned to her, meeting her cold gaze with one of my own. I set my jaw and raised my chin in defiance. How could she have found out? Oh that cold, insufferable woman! John did not love her though. He loved me. He would not allow this. He would not!
"You may get your things together and leave after Mr. Proctor returns for the midday meal." She stood as if making a final declaration. "He will pay you for your services." I knew there was an undertone to that. My eyes turned into slits.
"I am sure he found me very pleasing indeed." I said picking up my pail of ashes and walked outside to deposit them.
When I returned she was not in the main room anymore, but I could hear gentle sobs from her bedchamber as I went up to my garret. I smiled to myself. She deserved it. I did not regret anything I had done. It was justified! We loved each other. She needed to realize that how could he ever want her when he could have me? Someone who loved him and could give him anything his heart desired.
I packed up my three dresses, two bonnets, my hairbrush, Bible, stockings and undergarments, nightdress, sewing supplies, and soap. I would leave with dignity. That envious woman would pay for her choices. The children…I would miss them. They were bearable most of the time. And they were his.
I put on my cloak and muffler and carried my gloves and bag down to the main room. John came in the door shaking snow off his hat. Our eyes locked. He knew. He had known this was going to happen. I swallowed back my tears and stepped into the room, holding up my head with dignity. The room was quiet. Elizabeth was serving the bread to the children. They were quiet, looking at me quizzically. John went to the strong box and took out my wages.
"Here you are Miss. Williams. You should leave now before it gets dark." He said handing me the coins gingerly. He wouldn't look at me. What had Elizabeth done to him? I was infuriated. I tucked the money into my skirt pocket and nodded, without a word.
"Thank you, Mister Proctor, for your concern. Good day to you. Goody Proctor." I bobbed a stiff curtsy. I left the house pausing at the doorframe to look back at John. He would not meet my gaze. A tear rolled down my face and I left, not crying until I was running out of view of the house. I would have my revenge on her. That Devil's bitch would disappear if I had anything to do with it.