Saturday, June 1, 2013
~ Chapter 16 ~
Brook followed not far behind him in silence the remainder of the walk back. Well now I've done it. The one person I feel the most comfortable with for some odd reason, is not talking to me. When am I ever going to learn to just shut my mouth and listen? I don't blame him for growing so cross with me. I am a Irish redheaded mule.
She gaze up at the back of his shirtless body. Even in the moonlight his muscles bulged with every movement of his arms. Brook reached up and touched the top button of his shirt at her chest. Perhaps if I had been slower to react he would have drew me up into his arms and buttoned his shirt for me. Lingering slow caresses of his fingers along me. Beautiful green eyes gazing into mine as he did it. That rakish smile of his creeping across his handsome face as he worked his way up the front of his shirt on my body.
“Oh,” Brook yelped. His back was as solid as it looked as she found out when running right into him. Her palms rested on him a moment longer then they should have but she was mesmerized by the feel of his naked skin. The sensation she felt instantly surging through her unlike anything she had ever experienced. Ending it was not a thought.
Landon slowly turned to face her. His glare was firm and not at all what she had hoped to see. His normally bright jade eyes seemed dull and dark. His jaw was clenched tight and his posture even more so.
“Pardon me,” she said softly. As soon as their eyes locked Brook's darted away. She couldn't bring herself to hold his gaze. The fear of him seeing what she was feeling is too risky.
Quentin cleared his throat as he approached them. “You can enter in through the back staircase. It leads up to the second floor not far from your chambers.” He looked to Landon. “At this late hour she should be undiscovered I think.” No one responded to his suggestion. Quentin reached out and patted Landon's shoulder.
“You can escort her if you don't mind,” Landon said. He didn't wait to see Brook's reaction and did not care what Quentin's was, although he knew him well enough to agree he was acting ungentlemanly towards Brook at the moment. Making his way up to his own chambers he walked with no regrets. It is for the best. The whole night was going further than I had ever intended in regards to her. I've showed her more of my feelings than I should have ever done. She knows we cannot become involved. I know my boundaries with her and yet both of us seem to wait for the other to say differently. To drop our guards far enough to easily welcome each other to cross. All this has to stop tonight.
He made it into his room. “I've spent so little time in here I don't even know where my clothes are kept.” After fumbling through a few drawers he gave up. Sitting on the edge of the bed Landon removed his footwear and laid back in the dark. Ticking rhythmic sounds kept his mind on nothing but that. Besides the occasional mummers of passerby’s the estate was quiet.
Brook waited at the dressing table for her bath to be filled. Eyes fixed on the scarf she had found in Landon's coat pocket she heard nothing of the three maids behind her talking about the night's events. She felt drained. Empty to the point of ghostly. Just a mere image for others to look at. She was facing the mirror and could not bring herself to look in it. How could everything have gone so wrong so quickly? He kissed me, underwater, he had kissed me. I saw the fear in his eyes, it was there. I sensed it in his hands as his entire body trembled while holding me. Why then the hollow gaze he looked at me with before he left? It makes no sense to me. Brook's attention was draw to movement in the doorway.
“May I come in?”
Brook turned to see Sarah standing there with teary eyes. “Do not fret, Sarah. I am perfectly fine.”
Sarah could not hold in her tears any longer and ran for Brook's embrace. “I do not know what I would have done if you were hurt or worse.” Sarah pulled back from her. “You are the sister I never had.” Taking notice of Brook's condition she bit up her bottom lip. “You are a mess? Has anyone sent for a doctor?”
Brook smiled. “Sarah as you are for me and it will always be this way. Now wipe your tears I do not need a doctor I am alright. Devon, Quentin, and Landon rescued me.”
Sarah took the cloth Brook held out to her. “Who was the man? Did you know him?”
“No,” Brook shook her head.
Landon's finger tapped to the rhythm of the clock on his bare chest. He could still feel the cool water washing around them as they kissed. Her grip on his hand as he held her was chilling. Only because at that moment he did not know whether he would lose her or not.
His eye flew open at the memory of her body as he pulled away his coat from her. Thank god we were not alone. I would have taken she and I know there would have been no turning back. Her taught nipples hidden by a thin layer of torn material and just long enough to cover her where my eyes wanted to see most. I bet she's breathtaking, every inch of her. Landon sat up. “This is ridiculous.” He pushed open the french doors are strode over to the railing. His jaw was clenching again. I'm going mad.
“Devon had said Landon was giving you air underwater,” Sarah said with a slight curl of her lips upward. He was also told by Quentin that Landon turned a pale color that was nearly a gray blue when you disappeared under water.”
Brook's gaze moved to Sarah. She had wondered if he had visibly reacted to what was happening to her. Brook stood up and walked back over to the dressing table. “I honestly have no clue what he was doing or thinking,” she said. Reaching down her took the scarf between her fingertips.
“Are you going to keep denying what you feel for him, Brook?” Sarah asked.
She tried to swallow but couldn't. “You know as well as I do and everyone else for that matter that nothing can ever become of us, Sarah.”
She rose from the bed and walked over to Brook. “That is simply not true. If he loves you or even wants to find out if he might, then nothing should stop him from doing so.”
Brook looked to Sarah's reflection in the mirror. “If means not knowing or maybe and it is not worth the risk he would take. Sarah, he would lose everything and his family would disown him.” Her gaze fell back to the scarf in her hand. “If I had been born to a respectable noble family than maybe things could be different but that is not my reality is it?”
Sarah rested her hand on Brook's arm. “I see the way you both look at one another. Isn't it worth finding out? I mean the possibility that he may want to love you more than needing the approval of his family is not so far fetched, is it?”
“I don't know Sarah. I will not allow my heart to wander there,” Brook said softly. She had almost confessed her thoughts as to having one magical night with him and than never looking back. “I may find love one day like you have with Devon but it will not be with Landon. Somethings are just not meant to be and I'm okay with that.”
“I understand. You know there was a time Devon and I seemed hopeless,” Sarah said.
Brook laughed quietly. “Yes I remember. The poor man was passing out all over London.”
Sarah's head fell back with laughter. “Odd and romantic wouldn't you say?”
Brook placed her arm to her forehead as if to swoon. “Very I would agree.”
A knock sounded at the door. “Yes,” Brook said.
Three maids cracked open the door. “We have the last of your bath water, Lady O’Brien.”
“Oh please come in,” Brook answered.
“I shall let you relax in your bath and see you in the morning,” Sarah said.
“Good night Sarah and please tell Devon thank you again for me,” Brook said.
A few minutes later brook was alone. The warm summer air floated in through the open french doors. Quentin had assured her the estate was going to be guarded on a twenty-four hour watch until her departure, so she had no worries about leaving the doors open.
Brook slipped off her robe and dipped her foot into the steamy bubble bath. Sinking down, hot soothing water engulfed her body. Sore muscles she had not even known were there hurt and ached as she rest motionless. Minutes passed. The strength to lift the sponge to her neck was not even there.
Finally she closed her eyes and said, “I know you're there.” She had wondered but now knew as the breeze carried in his scent in through the doors.