A/N: I posted this little bit of silliness on Tumblr yesterday as part of the Winter Writing Challenge, but I had SO much fun writing it that I thought I'd share it here, too. (The Winter Writing Challenge is a daily drabble, for those who don't follow me on Tumblr, but I promise my next real fic task is With All The Time In The World. Definitely over Christmas. I know I keep saying that!)
Anyway, this idea sprung into my head last week as I was listening to the song, Baby It's Cold Outside... and I desperately wanted to write a Matthew/Mary 'scene' of it. It happened to fit with yesterday's prompt, which was 'snowed in' - so, here it is! The version of the song I took is Tom Jones', but I don't think it makes a lot of difference. Anyway, if you're familiar with the song in some form, I hope you'll appreciate the homage!
No copyright infringement of anything (Downton Abbey or Baby it's Cold Outside) intended, of course.
Baby It's Cold Outside
Crawley House was quiet, and dark but for the soft glow of lamps and firelight in the sitting room windows. While Mary had dined there, the snow had begun to fall, but in her state of newly-engaged bliss she could only think how romantic it was, reminding her of Matthew kneeling in it, asking her to become his wife, kissing her, spinning her around and around until they were both dizzy with happiness… and so she had not been able to bring herself to leave when she knew that she should have.
Isobel had retired upstairs some time ago, and Matthew had taken advantage of the cold and their solitude to keep Mary within his embrace, in his arms as they danced while he hummed softly to keep them in time around the small sitting room, as he kissed her tenderly, again and again, relishing the warmth and delight of her lips.
Now, as he stooped to stoke the fire a little more, Mary wandered to the window. She hugged her arms around herself, already mourning the loss of Matthew's warmth after only a few moments. As she eased the curtain aside and peered into the darkness, she let out a soft gasp as she saw how thickly the snow had fallen, and how fast it was still coming down.
"Matthew… I really can't stay any longer," she said regretfully, turning back to him.
He blinked up at her from the fireplace, his expression refusing to acknowledge her words.
"But darling, it's freezing outside-"
"I've - got to go," she said again, more firmly. His instant reluctance for her to leave made her heart flutter again with warmth, and she smiled at him. "But - this evening has been so very nice, thank you…"
Matthew stood, roused at last, and hurried to stand by her. Taking her hands, he rubbed his thumbs reflexively over her knuckles.
"Well, I'd - been hoping you'd come by - God, your hands are like ice!"
She laughed at his poor attempt to convince her to stay in the warmth, here with him - as tempting as it undoubtedly, definitely was - and lifted a teasing brow.
"My mother will start to worry, you know. As for Papa - he'll be pacing the floor by now, I should go-"
"But darling, listen to that fire, there's no hurry…" The gentlest of tugs at her hands brought her closer, close enough to kiss, and she sighed against his lips.
Her eyes slipped closed, she felt herself wilt against him, frighteningly unable to resist now that she knew the pleasure of kissing him…
"Well," she breathed at last, and could almost feel his smug little smile. "Maybe I've time for just half a glass more of that delicious mulled wine…"
Matthew kissed her forehead triumphantly, knowing that she was far safer here with him than trying to battle home through the snowstorm outside, even if they were to call for the car. That was entirely besides the fact that he couldn't bear to let her go, to relinquish the pleasure of her company, her kisses, her love.
"Why don't… you find a record to put on, while I pour," he suggested with a gentle smile.
Feeling breathless from his affection, Mary clasped her hands together and nodded. She could do that, and her heart leapt that he had suggested it. The gramophone had been Lavinia's - well, theirs, really - but Reggie Swire had insisted that Matthew keep it after her death. It had sat unused, a mere, hated decoration in Crawley House in the months since, and it was only now that Matthew felt free enough of conscience again to bear enjoying it.
Mary selected from his slight collection with care, smiling helplessly as she felt Matthew's arms encircle her waist once more. There really wasn't the room to dance, but in the simple pleasure of being so close to each other they did anyway, in tiny, shuffling steps around the settee.
"I dread to imagine what your neighbors will think," Mary whispered, her head tucked against his shoulder as she let him guide her. "You must have put something in my drink, put me under a spell… I'm not sure I know how to break it." She pressed her lips to his neck, feeling his arms tighten around her and his breath tickling her skin. Oh, this was perfect, but…
With failing resolve, she leaned back in his arms, kissing him once more before disentangling herself from him. The music had crackled out long ago, she didn't know how long, and her eyes twinkled at him as she strode towards her coat and hat, Matthew's protests ringing amusedly in her ears.
"Darling, you can't - it's dreadful out there, look - you can't possibly walk and I don't think it's even safe for the car, so - let me take your hat, your hair looks just marvellous-"
"Matthew!" she laughed, swatting him away as he pulled the hat from her hands even as she tried to pin it on.
"Stay," he implored her, moving closer again and knowing she didn't mind. "I mean - until it's stopped snowing, at least. Then I can walk back with you safely. There's no sense in hurting my pride by refusing that, surely?"
His hands were already curling around her waist, pulling her flush against him, his lips at her neck…
"I ought to say no, Mr Crawley…" she sighed, her argument weak as her body succumbed. "At least - I'll say that I tried! But I really… can't… stay," she insisted, even as her fingers slid into his hair to kiss him more deeply.
Later, she stood by the window once more, leaning back against Matthew's firm chest, her fingers playing idly over his hands where they lay around her waist. The snow seemed to have slackened… she told herself so, anyway. Even only a little.
"I simply must go," she said again, her voice lacking in any conviction at all… any conviction she did have left diminishing fast as Matthew kissed her neck, her shoulder…
"But look, darling," he murmured softly. "It's terribly cold outside…"
"The answer is no!" she laughed, pushing back against him a little. "This welcome has been so nice, and so warm-"
"Well, I'm very lucky you came, and that you've enjoyed it-"
"-but I'm afraid that I-"
"-but darling, look out of the window… Look at that storm, it's still much too fierce."
Mary sighed. It certainly did look unpleasant, and even standing by the window was cold, and Matthew's arms were so much warmer, and… his mouth…
"Edith will be suspicious, you know," she commented drily. As if that would convince him, but he was pulling her around to face him, and his eyes were dark as they gazed at her lips.
"I'm sorry, darling, your lips look… delicious," he breathed in wonder, too taken with desire to kiss her again to listen to her weak insistence.
"And you're lucky I don't have a brother - well, that Tom's in Ireland - or he'd be there at the door by now! And what if Aunt Rosamund heard? You know how vicious her gossip is-" Her words were cut off sharply as Matthew gave in, and kissed her, his lips firm and coaxing and utterly wonderful against hers. She stiffened in pleasure, unable to breathe until he eased back, cheeks flushed with delight. A gentle, shy smile tugged at his lips, and she couldn't help but love him.
"Hmm, I was right…" he murmured happily, his smile broadening when Mary laughed. He loved her laugh, he loved it completely, and to know that it was his own poor efforts making her laugh… He could hardly believe it. His eyes blinked slowly open, and slid to the window. "I've rarely seen such a blizzard," he said, more seriously now.
"But the fact remains," Mary cocked her head a little, "I have got to go home!"
Matthew looked at her. They both knew that she didn't, that the guest room lay quite ready and furnished upstairs, but the both knew equally that for her to stay most likely wasn't sensible. That much had become evident, from the few but passionate embraces they'd snatched since their engagement just days ago.
"Darling, you'd freeze out there," he said sternly. But she was in no mood for that.
"Then lend me a comb," she retorted flippantly.
Matthew shook his head. "I'm sure it's up to your knees, at least-"
"Matthew…" She sighed, running her hands up and down his arms to soothe him. "Darling, you've been wonderful, but don't you see-"
All the rational arguments in the world had been given already, and so he simply stepped toward her again, pulling her close as he made his plea peppered with kisses just below her ear.
"Please don't do this to me," he implored her. "Don't go. Don't make my life a misery if you were to catch pneumonia, or-"
She swatted his arm even as her breath hummed in pleasure, rebuking him for such melodrama. There was wanting her to stay, and there was being ridiculous. Reluctantly, she pulled away from him, taking his hands firmly in hers to stop the danger of an embrace again.
"There's bound to be talk tomorrow," she warned him. "At least - there'll be plenty implied! So I really can't stay, darling…"
"But the snow is far too cold, Mary, it's too deep-"
Smiling, she pressed a finger to his lips, quietening him as she eased up on her tiptoes until she could whisper in his ear.
"I can't stay, Matthew… however much I might want to…"
A/N: There we go! Thanks so much for reading. I had enormous fun writing it, and as ever I'd love to know what you think. Happy Holidays! :) :)