A/N: There was a ridiculous amount of writing that took place tonight but this is perhaps my favourite. And because I'm evil and tired I'm going to have to post more Sam tomorrow, not tonight. Sorry! (but I hope you enjoy this!)
He kisses her on a Sunday.
He's sure there's something ironic in that, that on the holy day he decides enough is enough and catches the side of her face in his palm gently and draws her towards him. But Mackenzie is startled and then soft and insistent in his arms and she smells like flowers and feels wonderful against his body and he can't help but think that nothing between them could ever be less than sacred.
It begins with the two of them in the loft, Will sitting with his legs hanging over the edge whilst Mackenzie rests beside him. She has her head pillowed against his thigh and a hand lying back against his stomach and the touch is so idle and intimate that Will can hardly breathe.
She's reading poetry to him but he can't make heads nor tails of the words, only the lyrical, beautiful cadence of her voice as it lilts through the clean summer air around them and mingles with the soft sounds of barn swallows chirping in the eaves.
"The shadow of the dome of pleasure, floated midway on the waves; doesn't that sound wonderful," she interrupts herself, and knocks her fingers back against his chest to catch his attention.
Will hums in agreement and smiles at her upside down face. They're being stupid today – acting too intimate and comfortable with each others presence and Will takes the time to run a gentle finger from the dip between her eyebrows down her nose.
She giggles restlessly and her nose scrunches up and Will draws his hand down until it's resting upon her stomach. She's wearing a soft, almost silky cream dress that sways around her knees and it's ridden up slightly where her legs are curled up – he can see the pale curve of her thighs and lets his hand rest heavy on her stomach lest his fingers decide to wander lower.
As it is, that touch alone has her breath stuttering and Will can't help the wonderfully irrational feeling swell in his chest at the thought that he's caused that reaction – he should be used to it by now; it's not really a secret how horrendously attracted they are to each other.
Instead the last few days have been a carefully crafted game of cat and mouse.
"One day I'd like to go to India," she murmurs with her eyes drawn shut, "Or somewhere in the heart of Africa, or the Caribbean - anywhere that isn't here," she decides, as if here is the most terrible place on earth.
"Is my company that abhorrent?" he mutters, and her eyes fly open comically. He tries to hide his smile as she bolts up and sits but he can't help it when her eyes are wide and startled.
"No," she demands, and then she turns the tables back on him completely by adding, "You'd be with me, of course," and her smile is much to knowing for that to be innocent.
He clears his throat and tries not to think about the warm weight of her head that still rests, like a phantom, on his thigh. He almost wants her to settle back down there, but her hair is wild where it's been mused by the position and her lips are a gorgeous red in the bright summer sun and Will's glad that he's able to drink in her features directly.
"They'd ask questions; a man and a woman travelling alone together," he teases, but then his stomach clenches when she smiles knowingly – like that was her plan all along.
God, he thinks, knowing her it has been.
"Not if you married me," she tells him straight, and then she smiles like an imp and turns back to let her head rest on his thigh.
She starts reading from her book once more; "All thoughts, all passions, all delights; whatever stirs this mortal frame," and Will lets his fingers drift across her forehead and twirls them in her strands of wayward hair.
Half an hour later as she stands at the barn door, instead of turning and hurrying back down the path towards his bicycle as he always does, he curves his palm around her soft cheek and tugs her forward with his other hand on her waist and kisses her through her soft, mumbled, "oh," until she's pliant in his arms with her hands tangled up in his hair.
"Tomorrow?" he asks, breaking away, and her cheeks are blushed a furious red.
She doesn't respond, and as she blinks rapidly and licks at her lips Will idly wonders if he's the first person to kiss her – if so he hopes she remembers it constantly. He wants her to be feeling that kiss to her toes long after he's gone.
"Yes, tomorrow," she finally mutters, and this time as he walks away its with a definite skip, and a definite smile.
She's distracted out of her mind the next day.
Sleep was next to impossible when all she'd been able to think of was Will's hand as it curved around her waist and the solid weight of his chest pressed up against her breast and the soft, slick nip of his lips against her own.
It wasn't her first kiss, but it was the first born of passion – the first that wasn't desperate fumbling or nervous and reserved. It was filled with want in a way that up until then been only in her daydreams, and now that she's felt it she can't help but want more of him.
He's in her body and her blood and she can't close her eyes without seeing his wide blue eyes focused intently on her.
"That's the third time you've picked up that glass without drinking," Ellen tells her sternly, and Mackenzie blushes, finally bringing the glass to her lips.
"What's going on in that mind of yours?"
"Nothing. Just thinking about the book I was reading last night," she mutters, and Ellen's eyebrows rise disbelievingly.
It doesn't hold much strength because every look Ellen gives her nowadays is disbelieving and if Mackenzie wasn't certain that they were very discreet she would swear Ellen had been spying on her.
"It wouldn't have to do with Mr. McAvoy?" the housemaid asks, and Mackenzie blushes furiously.
"No," she gripes, and then stands quickly to disappear out the kitchen door.
It's not her finest exit, and neither does it give her story much credence, but the morning is bright and beautiful outside and she has designs on accidentally running into Will down by the post office.
It's been much too long since she saw him last and she wants to know if blushing post-kiss is something mutual.
It is mutual, as Will discovers when Mackenzie barrels into him on the street corner.
It's eerily reminiscent of their first meeting all those weeks ago, and Will wonders if she planned it that way. The slight smile stealing at her lips would suggest so.
"Good morning," she chirps, and as the blush spreads down his neck Will becomes acutely aware of everyone else on the street around them.
Mackenzie is stood quite close and he can already feel the disapproving glare of the older women who take up residence outside the local store each morning on the back of his head.
"How are you?" she questions, swaying close. She's wearing a long skirt with a fitted blouse that meets at her waist and the light, creamy blue makes her eyes sparkle. Her hair is out and wispy at her shoulders and Will can remember what it felt like against the back of his palm as he'd cradled her cheek yesterday; how her skin had been soft and pale against his broad fingers and how her lips had been cherry red and sweet to kiss.
"I have to post a few letters," he tells her, clearing his throat and brandishing the envelopes in his hand before her. "For my sisters," he answers her unspoken question, and her gaze softens a little.
"What time are you free this afternoon?" she asks, and Will almost wants to nudge her out of the way and someplace more private, lest someone overhear them.
(Not that there is anywhere private or innocuous on a main street in a small English village)
"Mackenzie," he mutters, but can't help but smile knowingly at her. She's watching him like he's something she wants to devour and it's making it almost impossible for him to resist. "Two o'clock?" he finally asks, and her cheeks flush in delight.
"Yes. Please. By the stream?" she adds, and he almost groans at the image. He'd very much like to practice kissing her on the soft grass with the water babbling happily behind them and only the sun on their backs; yes please.
She watches him carefully a moment, and then heedless of the crowd around them, smiles adoringly, "Okay."
I'm so far in over my own head it's not funny, Will panics.
"Stupid stupid stupid," he mutters, banging around his tiny room and trying to find the clean pants he knows are hidden somewhere.
It shouldn't be hard, he only owns three pairs, and that alone makes him entirely unsuitable for her. It's not that he has some idealistic notion of class barriers – he's not resisting because she's a Baron's daughter and he barely owns more than his books. He knows he could marry her if he wanted to, and god does he want to - but Mackenzie herself could do so much better than an exhausted American who doesn't know where he's going beyond three steps down the road.
He wants her to have everything in life – every opportunity and pleasure and experience; and whilst he can certainly provide some that she might otherwise have been restricted from, he can't take her around the world exclusively, or take her dining and dancing in wonderful places across the globe.
She wants to explore the world but Will can hardly keep himself together long enough to leave his room each day (truly, it's the thought of meeting her that has him bounding towards his bicycle each afternoon), and no matter how he paints it – how often he tells himself that he could and would love her explicitly, he can't help but shake the thought that someone else could do it better.
He shouldn't have kissed her yesterday. It was a mistake born of too many feelings and too many sensations and her damn fingers walking up and down his chest and he resolves to tell her that this afternoon.
That's if he can get his clean pants on.
"Do that again," she demands wistfully and all Will can think is fuck, fuck, fuck this is not how things were supposed to go.
Despite that, he cups the back of her head with his palm and uses it to tug her more firmly across his lap. She's wearing a soft cotton summer dress in pale blues that pools around her waist as he runs a hand up her thigh and he can feel the heat of her pressed into his lap – she's intoxicatingly persistent as she sucks at his lower lip and whilst he's certainly no virgin, he feels like a fumbling novice all over again with her.
Mackenzie, on the other hand, has taken to kissing like she was born to seduce him and Will can't even remember how they go here – one minute he was walking cautiously towards her by the stream and the next she'd tugged him down onto the grass.
She shifts her hips and he groans into her mouth and she makes a delighted noise, like she's uncovered the mysteries of the universe.
"This is much more fun than debating politics, don't you think?" she mutters, and he grunts but can't help but nod.
He loves arguing with her; loves debating the nuisances of capitalism and the faults of socialism (which she bravely defends); loves listening to her read to him and finding new books for her to discuss in turn. He loves watching her as the sun sets – for they always meet in the late afternoons – and listening to her laugh delightedly at him by the water and making her blush with his words and whispers.
He's never met a girl – a woman, he sternly reminds himself – that captivated both his heart and his mind, but Mackenzie seems intent on stealing both. His resolve to end this thing before it started died the moment she smiled at him as he stepped around the large trunk of an obscuring tree – because this isn't about the kisses or the books or the shared intellect or even the pleasure of being enjoyed by a young, beautiful woman.
There's something about her that he feels intrinsically connected to, like some part of his soul's been waiting for her to come along.
"God, I adore you," he murmurs, and presses quick kisses to her brow and her eyelids and then down her nose. She laughs softly against his lips and lets her hands tangle in his wayward hair and presses her body closer until she's cradled against his hips.
"And I you," she whispers.
He believes her.