A/N: The last chapter :(
I am going on holiday, who knows what I will bring back!
Please do review, but I mostly want to say: THANK YOU FOR STICKING WITH THE STORY!
They slip into a routine fairly easily. After all, they have lived in the same house for years. What is new is being awoken with him poking her bottom. Sometimes she takes him up on the promise, a little surprised he is still asleep - she kisses and strokes him awake, their lovemaking is sleepy and tender, so much different from the urgence of the night. She finds it quite flattering that even in his sleep he finds her desirable. Sometimes she gets up and lets him sleep in, potters about the house, tries her hand at something in the kitchen.
Daisy has given her some written recipes and Elsie tries to follow them, but she finds it hard to follow the instructions. A pinch, a bit, fifteen minutes or so, oven on medium. None of it is actual, the results are inconsistent. He doesn't mind if the results are barely edible, she will never admit to a few tears being spilled.
But he is the perfect butler still, hidden under a civilian's suit and he finds her weeping over a tray of burnt scones and he takes her in his arms.
"That was supposed to be your tea…" She sniffs. She isn't used to crying, not used to showing any emotion, though in the weeks they have been here, she shows her love freely and it opens the road to more. He manages to make her laugh, a rippling sound heard more and more when he reads to her in the evening while she mends his socks or knits, when he tells her stories of footmen's mischief.
"I am sure we'll rustle something up. Bread and butter will be fine, bread and jam will be better." With his thumbs he wipes her tears away. "There is no use crying over this. Even back at Downton things like this would happen."
"Not to me."
"I don't remember you doing much of the cooking."
She shakes her head, smiles, puts her arms around his waist.
"No. I never was much of a cook. More a 'change the linens, check the maids, make love to the Butler' kind of woman, me…" She stands on her toes and pecks his cheek.
"Hmm… More of a 'seduce the butler, check the coast is clear, make love in the Blue Room kind' of woman." he kisses her soundly. "My kind of woman."
He lets her go, takes her hand, leads her into the sitting room, into the hall, up the stairs.
"It's broad daylight!" She exclaims, but she doesn't mean it.
"I am looking forward to seeing you." He opens the door to their room, turns to her. "All of you."
He kisses her neck, her new dresses are so much lower cut, he easily reaches the tender skin of her chest, his fingers slide down the zip at her back. The dress falls in a puddle at her feet while she starts to unbutton his shirt. He helps her out of her stays and shift, rolls down her stockings, she undoes his trousers, pulls at his vest until she can't reach. He is so much taller than she is.
He gets on the bed, she follows him, she is on her knees between his legs, she lets his head rest against her chest, runs her fingers through his hair, plants kisses on top of his head.
"I love you, Charles…" She mumbles and pushes him down on the mattress. She lies down next to him, puts her hand on his chest, lengthens herself to kiss him. The sun beams down on their bed. He pulls the pins from her hair, one by one, places them on the nightstand. Her hair falls down on the pillow and he gently strokes the long locks.
"They are almost like spun silver…" He says.
"I am an old woman, Charles." She answers, her fingertips ghost over his cheek.
"Maybe." He kisses her lips softly. "To me you are all I ever wanted."
She kisses him back. "I only ever wanted you." Her hand lies on his hip. They are so close together, she can feel him against her thigh, he isn't as ready as he sometimes is when he leads her upstairs and ravishes her in a haze of hunger.
"Are you happy?" He looks a bit worried.
"Disregarding the burnt scones, I am very happy." She hopes her smile reassures him.
"Good." They kiss again, tenderly, slowly, his fingers on her cheek, hers still on his hip. She feels how he stirs now and she lets her fingers wander to his bottom. His go from her cheek down her neck, her shoulder, her upper arm. He rolls her on her back.
"Now… let me look at you."
And he does. He gazes, lingers on his favourite parts, his gaze is soon joined by touches, he cups her breast, leans over, licks her nipple. She arches her back, pushes her head back into the pillow, puts her arm out so she can reach him, but she misses her goal as he draws in her nipple and sucks on it, almost hard. Then her hand is in his hair again, it always ends up there. It did when the hair was all dark and it ends up there now it is streaked with silver.
He feels so right, his skin against hers, she traces the new lines that are appearing on his brow, presses her lips against his. His chest hair brushes over her breasts, he positions himself at her entrance. She lift her legs, like she always does, moves to accommodate him. They rock back and forth, they cannot get closer, he whispers in her ear, endearments, words of love. She gasps and moans, wraps herself around him, she presses her cheek against his as he thrusts into her.
He halts, looks at her again, the sun no longer comes through the window, the light is softer now. He pushes away a strand of hair as he balances himself on his hands. She lowers her legs, puts her feet on the mattress. For now, there is no need for anything besides the basics. Besides feeling the nearness. They are joined and connected and she feels a love for him that has been growing since that first time she let him take her in the Dining Room.
She nods and he moves her, his weight on top of her first, but he pushes himself up and puts his hands under her bottom, lifts her a little and she lets her legs fly in the air, widens them, gives him as much access as she can. He is an expert lover, he knows exactly how to touch her, how to caress her, how to enter her at an angle that makes her forget everything around her. Her noises are loud, since they are married, she doesn't hold back.
As he increases his speed, she feels her climax come closer with every thrust and she calls out his name, calls out her love, begs for release. When he gives it to her, she groans and slumps back on her pillow, her eyes closed.
He lies down beside her, pulls the covers over them both. He kisses her forehead, the tip of her nose, her cheek, finally her lips. She has no idea if he has managed to find some release himself, gingerly moves her legs, finds his residue leaking from her. She can't help but smile widely.
"Hello…" She says when she opens her eyes. He is looking at her again.
"Hello, wife." Her heart swells as he says it, tears well up in her eyes.
"Who would have thought…" Her voice wavers.
"I did. I knew." His voice is as steady as always. Steady and certain and soft.
"So this is what they call 'forever after' in storybooks?"
He doesn't answer, but puts his arms around her, kisses the top of her head, takes a deep breath and sighs contentedly.
'Yes.' She thinks. This is her happily ever after.
A/N: I think Charles and Elsie deserve a happily ever after, loving each other, being together until the end of time.
Thanks again - I REALLY appreciate it!