Chapter Two: The Arrangement

Author's Epic Real Life Announcement: I'm going to be an aunt. My Sister-in-law is pregnant! Can't squee on Facebook yet, but I can squee here!

"Are men so terrified to marry a beautiful woman? Is it her headstrong nature or that her father doted on her and let her do things that shocked other men, or is it that blonde-haired bastard Michael that I hear screaming in the other room demanding to see you? He dragged her from the safety of her room to ravage and hurt her. He disgusts me, he doesn't deserve to have anything, I'll marry your daughter, and your money doesn't matter, seeing the shocked look on his face does." –Kevin Levin.

Gwen struggled to return to the life she had lived before. A warm bed, a fire, fine clothes, all of it seemed like it was from another world and felt foreign to her.

She had spent time in the castle, just readjusting to her life as a noble. She had regained a little of her strength, but not nearly enough. She walked stiffly and her joints ached from disuse.

"Do you feel better?" Kevin asked as he entered her room, bowing politely.

"Yes," she replied.

"I will accompany you to your father's estate," he told her. He knew she wouldn't be safe without an escort, especially with Michael Morningstar out there somewhere.

"I'm grateful, but promise me you won't do anything without my permission," Gwen gave him a stern gaze.

"Of course not," he gave her an appeasing smile.

"How noble and moral of you," Gwen chuckled.

"Morality has nothing to do with it, fornicators are publicly disemboweled. I wish to remain intact. Ugh!" he replied and walked away.

"Tell that to Michael!" Gwen spat. "I'm sorry. I'm not angry with you."

"Who isn't a angry with him? I want the money he owes me," Kevin laughed.

"We have that much in common. We both hate him." Gwen looked over at him.

It took them a week to return to Bellwood, they made their way to her father's castle and she saw him in the gateway.

She dismounted her horse and ran to greet him, she threw herself into her father's arms as they both wept, her mother was there and Kevin couldn't help but be touched by what he was seeing.

"I'm grateful to you, Kevin Levin, I never dreamed you would be the one to rescue my daughter," Frank Tennyson said, his eyes brimming with gratitude.

"I never dreamed of it either," Kevin replied. He had to admit, he was going to miss her, but he had a lot on his mind, getting his new estate in order, still, he felt a sense of pride that he had saved a beautiful girl, it was something out of a fairy tale, although he had not been kind to her, at least from his point of view.

"We will give a feast in your honor good sir!" Frank Tennyson smiled.

"I accept," Kevin smiled, who was he to turn down a free meal?

The feast was prepared and many guests invited to celebrate Gwen's return. The feast went on for hours, people laughing and talking.

The women around Gwen were gossiping, what else did women do?

"I've heard Michael Morningstar has a great wit*," Lucy giggled.

Gwen felt utterly disgusted. They thought they were clever, but she knew what they were talking about, even though she'd never been with a man before, she'd seen her captor's "wit", it had been disgusting.

"I could care less for Michael Morningstar's wit," Gwen glared.

"His wit is very impressive," Lucy laughed. Gwen knew that all they saw was the handsome, charming man. They'd never seen him for the disgusting letch he was.

"A great gross one!" Gwen spat. She began walking away from them. "If only men were witless!"

"A man without his wit isn't much of a man, but that's a fair thought to lie between a maid's legs," a voice said behind her. Gwen turned to look behind her, expecting to see Michael Morningstar. Instead, she saw Kevin Levin.

"What is, my lord?" Gwen asked; his train of thought was obvious.

"Nothing,*" Kevin rested his gaze on her, Gwen flinched.

"Is nothing all men think and talk about?" she looked at him.

"I don't believe so; you give me a lot to think about," Kevin smiled softly.

"I do apologize that he had to come up in conversation," he turned and left.

He left her and approached her father who was sitting in a room with various papers.

"If you are dissatisfied with the reward I have given you for rescuing my daughter, I can negotiate."

"That's not why I'm here. Why does Michael want her so badly? He'd get money from a dowry, but she can't inherit any of your wealth. It will go to your son Kenneth."

"He is obsessed with possessing her, because she has always refused his advances, he wants to own her, use her until she's spent and he is bored, he has always gotten what he's wanted."

"How could this happen?" Kevin asked, he could hardly believe that Gwendolyn would just let a man kidnap her.

"He took her from her room, while she slept; she awoke tied to the back of his horse. He tried to bed her and resisted, he locked her in his castle apartments, sending me a ransom note, she tried to escape, he caught her and tried to force himself on her, but she told me she fought him off, he put her in his dungeon, thinking it would break her, but when he tried again she broke his arm. Then he had his men put her in the oubliette. Every time she resisted, he increased the price of her ransom, making it impossible for me to pay. She would be in his clutches for the rest of her life."

"You would understand, because you were a commoner, this is a time where men view women as property, but we have always been a close family. We don't use each other for financial or political gain. We love each other, and that is what is important to us. Especially now, since love is the thing of stories and fairy tales and troubadours and minstrels songs. Love is very rare, and the fact that we possess it makes us vulnerable to others. But the only way Michael will ever have her is over my dead body."

Frank sighed, "I've wanted to protect her, I have tried to arrange marriages for her, but it never works out."

Kevin could hear shouting outside the room. A familiar voice and he wished he could find an excuse to silence it permanently.

"Are men so terrified to marry a beautiful woman? Is it her headstrong nature or that her father doted on her and let her do things that shocked other men, or is it that blonde-haired bastard Michael that I hear screaming in the other room demanding to see you? He dragged her from the safety of her room to ravage and hurt her. He disgusts me, he doesn't deserve to have anything, I'll marry your daughter, and your money doesn't matter, seeing the shocked look on his face does."

Michael shoved a guard aside and entered the room.

"Father, you called for me…Michael…" Gwen's face went pale and she began backing away.

Michael reached out and grabbed her arm. "Hello, lovely Gwen."

"You don't get to touch what's mine!" Gwen heard Kevin's voice growl.

Gwen saw the horrified look on Michael's face as Kevin gripped his arm and pushed him back.

What's he talking about? Gwen asked.

"My daughter has been betrothed to Kevin Levin," Frank Tennyson smiled, a knowing smile, one that told Michael he would never have his daughter again. "And he has gladly agreed to it."

"Fine," Michael spat, "It's not like that cunte will be able to bear you anything, not your weight, and certainly not a son. Marry your punk*, you deserve her!"

"Not like any woman you've ever bedded has been able to bear you a son! I'm sure you've known plenty of punks in your bed!" Kevin snapped.

"Get out of my sight Michael; the next time you come here, my men will have orders to shoot you! That you even show your face here is disgusting!" Frank Tennyson glowered. He had his men drag Michael from the room.

"I feel sick," Gwen moaned, Kevin saw her stagger and held her against him.

"It's all right, he's gone," he reassured her.

"Gwen, I'm sorry that you had to see him," Frank apologized to his daughter. "I've arranged this marriage to protect you, you understand."

"Yes Father," she knew that men had refused to marry her because they were afraid that Michael would kill them.

Frank handed her some wine, "Drink, it'll calm your nerves."

Gwen drank it and took a deep breath.

She looked over at Kevin and wondered why he had agreed to marry a total stranger.

He walked away and left her alone with her thoughts.

Ben found his friend in the guest hall. "I do believe congratulations are in order."

"I guess this means we will be close as family then," Kevin smiled. They had been best friends for years, but he had not met Gwen before that.

"Why didn't you raise an army to rescue her?" Kevin asked.

"I was anticipating doing so, but Ken insisted we pay Michael. You solved my problem and for that, I do thank you. You should find her."

"Why didn't you tell me she was your cousin?" Kevin asked.

"You've never seen her," Ben replied, "And you've never asked about my family."

He smiled and left. Kevin found her standing by a large window.

"Are you all right?" Kevin asked, concerned.

"I will be," Gwen replied. "I…thank you, for what you've done for me. You've…"

"Been very kind, so you've said," Kevin smiled softly. "Can you show me your gratitude this time?"

"What do you mean?" Gwen looked at him hesitantly.

"Thank me with a kiss," Kevin whispered.

Gwen pressed her lips to his. She pressed her mouth to his gently, giving him a chaste, sweet kiss.

She pulled away from him. "Is my thanks enough?"

"You're so beautiful; one kiss is never enough for me, not with you…" Kevin pulled her back for another kiss, hungry, passionate and greedy. He gripped her waist and held her against him and ran his fingers through her hair. Her father spoiled her, he let her wear her hair down, which was unheard of, and only permitted on her wedding night, but he didn't mind that one bit. Women covered their heads and it made them almost indistinguishable from one another.

Kevin smiled at her, she blushed.

"Why did you accept my father's arrangement?" Gwen asked. "Is it money? Or something else?"

"Something else…you aren't the only one, who has suffered at the hands of nobles. My father was a knight. We weren't wealthy, but we were happy. My father Devin, he went off on a campaign and never came back. One of his friends said that someone betrayed and murdered him. So I left home and tried to find him. I haven't found him yet, but I'm going to kill him."

Gwen said nothing; it wasn't her place to speak. Kevin shook his head dislodging his angry thoughts.

"I will arrange for us to be legally married as soon as possible, it might take time before we can have a wedding ceremony, but as long as there is a contract we will be married."

"Ah! There you are!" Ben exclaimed. "Gwen, your father says that the two of you must go to the courtyard, there is a priest and he will have you both married this evening!"

Gwen was shocked.

"So soon?" Kevin asked. "He must be worried if he rushes us to our wedding…" Gwen heard him mutter "bed" under his breath.

Gwen was ushered to her chambers were her mother helped her into a beautiful dress, and she was prepared for a day that was the dream of many young women, but to her it felt surreal. This wasn't exactly how she thought it would turn out, but she knew Kevin had come to care for her, and she had felt stirrings in her own heart as well, it was enough for now.

Kevin had been accompanied by his closest friends, as he had intended to make the marriage legal quickly and wanted trusted witnesses to the event, they brought her family to the courtyard and since his only family was his mother, she accompanied him there as well.

The vows were exchanged, along with her dowry. The ceremony was quiet and it was over, Kevin declared that he would pay for a feast to celebrate for nine days.

The guests were overjoyed and Gwen wondered how they could possibly eat more food.

The guests began to gather around the new bride and groom. One of them, a man began to reach for Gwen's garter and she flinched.

"She's not exactly comfortable with men touching her. Allow me," Kevin removed her garter and tossed it to the guests. He escorted her back to a guest apartment.

Kevin shut the door of their bedroom and smiled.

"The consummation," he moved closer to her.

'My lord…I…" Gwen began. Kevin embraced her, kissing her eagerly.

"No titles, Gwen. I hate titles, call me by my name. You aren't beneath me, do you understand?"

She smiled. He was unlike so many of the other nobles, always asking to be called by their titles and enjoying having others grovel before them.

"Kevin…before this happens, can I take you somewhere?" Gwen asked him, touching his cheek affectionately.

"I'd follow you anywhere," he smiled.

She led him outside and to a large river located on her father's estate. There was a small wooden shelter and in it, a small bed.

"I used to come here as a child, to spend time by myself. I felt safe here," Gwen smiled.

"This is a good place, and no one will hear us," Kevin reached out and pulled her into his arms.

"Where do we start?" Gwen asked.

"Ah, I'm not sure, I suppose we will start with kissing," he leaned over and kissed her gently, coaxing her back onto the small bed.

They kissed gently, enjoying each other's company. Kevin was content. To think she'd been in that castle for five years, such a beautiful, strong-willed woman.

"Michael told me about you once," Kevin whispered, stroking her face. "He said you were beautiful, and that you'd bring him a great deal of money."

"When was this?" Gwen was curious.

"Four years ago, he'd brought me down to his dungeon, trying to convince me to give him more time to get money."

"I heard you talking to him, I reached for you…"

"Did you grab my ankle?" he asked.

"I think so. Michael crushed my hand with his boot."

"I'm sorry for that, but it's not my ankle that I want you to grab," he grinned.

Gwen pulled off his jacket and his linen shirt. He guided her hands, teaching her to explore his body. Gwen couldn't help but admire his strong and muscular physique, he smiled appreciatively at her.

She unexpectedly grabbed his hand and brought it down to her clothed breast.

"So that's what you want lovely Gwen," he whispered, kissing her again.

"Don't call me that, please," Gwen pleaded with him.

"Why not?" Kevin asked. "I say it because it's true."

"Michael called me that, whenever he tried to…" Gwen's voice trailed off.

"I'll make you forget he ever called you that," Kevin leaned down and kissed her neck.

Gwen gasped as he pulled her dress off, he wanted her, he'd always thought an arranged marriage would be a burden to him, but she completed him, they both understood life was harsh and that people were cruel and they simply wanted to have a normal life somehow in a world where life was short and you could die any day.

"Get these trousers off me!" Kevin growled, his eyes were burning, he couldn't control his desire anymore, and he knew that there wasn't anything wrong with that. He saw Gwen flinch and his facial features softened. "I'm not going to hurt you…I can't help myself. I want to make love to you, Gwen…Please…Let me…"

She hesitantly pulled his trousers where she could see his penis, flaccid and limp. Gwen swallowed nervously. He didn't look too big, she hoped it wouldn't be painful.

"You…" Gwen stared at him.

"I won't make jests regarding my wit, but," Kevin kissed her. "I've heard this does hurt a woman but I'll be gentle, I promise."

"I just hope I can please you…somehow, I feel so weak," Gwen sighed. Her poor body hadn't regained much of its strength. She genuinely wanted for the two of them to be happy in this marriage, she didn't want him to stray and leave her alone.

"That's none of your doing, I will take care of everything tonight," Kevin soothed.

Kevin ran his fingers down her cheek; he began to stroke her skin, sweetly kissing her as he moved down her body.

"Kevin wait…I want to touch you…" Gwen's voice trailed off as she pulled off his shirt and began to explore his body with her hands, her gaze traveled downward, still nervous about what they would do. She'd seen Michael naked from the waist down and she desperately reminded herself that they weren't the same person.

Gwen reached out to touch Kevin, stroking his penis until she heard him groan. "Is this…good?"

"Yes, lovely Gwen, it's good," he growled in her ear. "You just keep doing that."

She stared at his face as she continued to pump him slowly, feeling his erection as he became aroused. Kevin groaned and hissed as he felt himself orgasm, he sighed and looked over at her. Gwen was a little stunned as she saw his semen land on the sheets.

"I shouldn't have done that, I'm supposed to have you inside me when that happens."

"It's something I wanted Gwen, it's fine," he reassured her, pulling her in for a kiss.

He kissed his way down her body and gently groped her breasts; he sucked her nipples and heard her gasp. Kevin looked up at her and smiled.

"I love you."

Gwen stared up at him, "I love you too."

"I know we don't know each other very well, but I know that I've loved you," Kevin spoke between kisses, "But I think it was when you embraced me that night, I knew you were different from any other woman I've met."

"I don't know what to say," Gwen was truly touched by his words.

"Don't say anything then," Kevin kissed his way down her belly, settling his head between her legs.

"Kevin, you can't do that! It's a serious taboo!" Gwen scolded.

"No one can see us, we don't have to tell anyone anything," he smiled. He slid his tongue into her, savoring her warmth; Gwen groaned and squirmed as he continued flicking his tongue in a rhythm. She cried out as an exquisite feeling washed over her.

"Now you're ready for me, and I'm going to take your maidenhead," he whispered, easing himself into her.

Gwen groaned, it hurt, she gasped and gritted her teeth, letting the pain pass.

"Are you hurt, Gwen?" Kevin was concerned.

"No, I'm fine," Gwen reassured him.

Kevin began to move, pulling back until he was almost out of her and then thrusting back in.

Gwen cried out, the sensations he caused, they overwhelmed her. She gripped his shoulders, trying unsuccessfully to use her weakened knees to steady herself by wrapping them around his hips.

"Shhh, don't overexert yourself, I can move," Kevin reassured her.

He set a hard rhythm, moving quickly as he gripped her hips.

"Fock!" Kevin exclaimed. "So snug around me, you're too beautiful…" He kept moving, he wasn't finished yet.

He heard her scream his name as he felt her body grasp his. He felt his semen leave his body as he collapsed on top of his wife, panting heavily.

"Gwen, you're…" he panted. "…mine…I won't…let him have you, or anyone else…I…love you…"

"Kevin…" she stared at him. "Kevin…"

"Roll over on your stomach for me," Kevin instructed. Gwen was puzzled but obeyed him.

Gwen lay on her stomach, feeling Kevin's body and his weight. He kissed her cheek and smiled.

"This will be much easier on you," Kevin soothed.

"This is also a position that's about pleasure, not procreation," Gwen murmured.

"Who said we can't have both?" Kevin kissed her mouth.

Gwen didn't say a word to him, she felt him stroking and kissing her back as they lay together on the small bed.

After awhile, Kevin began to move as he buried himself inside her.

Kevin slammed himself in and out of her, grunting as he kissed her neck and cupped her breasts from behind.

"I love how you react to me, you're beautiful," Kevin complimented. "Gwen…"

He felt his orgasm wash over him. Gwen screamed, her body tightened for a moment and then she felt exhausted.

"Shouldn't I do something for you?" Gwen asked. She'd heard women whisper about how to pleasure a man in bed, of using one's mouth to make a man release but it was a taboo.

"No, no, not tonight, tonight is for you, I am perfectly happy here with you."

"We should go back to our room," Gwen suggested.

"You can't expect us to walk," Kevin complained.

"No," Gwen summoned her powers; she grabbed their discarded clothes and took them. "Eo Recedentia." Kevin watched in awe as a strange crimson field of energy surrounded them and he found himself in their room again.

"What was that?" Kevin asked in awe.

"You could call it magic, it's something I've known how to do all my life," Gwen said hesitantly, not everyone understood her strange powers and the church could have her executed for practicing magic, not that they knew about it, she'd been locked away and Michael had known how to restrain her so her powers were sealed away.

"Sorceress!" Kevin hissed, the expression on his face was teasing as he kissed her deeply. "You are unbelievable." He embraced her. "Go to sleep."

Kevin pulled the blanket over them as Gwen drifted off to sleep. He would protect her and keep her secrets, he owed her that much, she'd given him the love and attention he'd always dreamed about. He didn't know too much about her, but what he did know, he cherished, and he promised himself that they would really love each other, like the love in the stories that gave the characters a happy ending, and no one, not Michael or anyone else would ever come between them.

He kissed her head and slept, completely content for the first time in his life.

* Wit – A clever euphemism for dick, thank you Shakespeare.

* Nothing – Slang for vagina, that is all.

* Punk - Female prostitute, yes, it did mean that a long time ago!