© 2013 Laura Seeber
“Come for me, my darling,”
Bruce awoke with the sensation of Meara’s full moist lips still lingering on his own. He rose to meet her, his breath raspy and hungry for her touch. Like everything in this accursed place, however, the sensation of her heat, her touch, her passion disappeared with the morning light.
He lay back down, noticing that his body was tangled among the silken sheets, and the bay window at the foot of his bed was ajar. He would have to yell at the manservant Donovan about that. Bruce might have been the last of the Calihan family in this remote part of Ireland, but he was still a Lord. Apparently his servants needed to be reminded of that fact.
In a fluid motion that lied about his age, Bruce planted his feet onto the floor. He stood up and strode over to the nearby chair where one of the maids- perhaps the young lass Kaiya had laid out his clothes for the day. Perhaps she had been the one to open the bay window. Bruce nodded his head slowly. Yes, the cold air of last night had driven his Meara away. Out of the corner of his eye, he saw her image, pale and graceful, a full head of fiery red hair cascading over her shoulder.
He remembered that she always loved the warmer weather, loved to meet him in the garden. He smiled, remembering how at first she was so innocent, so deliciously hesitant in her touch, and kiss. Over time, though, with his expertise her emerald eyes glowed with a passion that nearly matched the thrusts and the screams of passion as she writhed beneath him.
There was a polite knock on the door. It was too firm to be the young Kaiya, although she was probably already awake and working in the garden. No, this would be Donovan, delivering the morning meal and the daily paper from the nearby town. It was so gloriously routine.
“Come in,” he allowed as he draped the white button down shirt over his shoulders. After a small moment, the door quietly opened and a young man, his black hair just curling at his brow and at the nape of his neck walked in pushing a small cart with a tray carrying a covered dish, some coffee, orange juice, and the morning paper.
“Your morning paper, sir,” said the young man, his eyes downcast. Perhaps he knew that his transgression of leaving the bay window open was discovered.
Bruce uncovered the dish in front of him and smiled with satisfaction. The eggs Benedict were prepared to perfection as expected, and the fresh strawberries that were sliced alongside were certainly a welcomed addition. He watched as Donovan poured the coffee into the nearby cup, slowing and stopping the flow so that the liquid stopped just shy of the cup’s edge.
Taking his fork, Bruce stabbed into the eggs Benedict and allowed the hollandaise sauce, egg, bacon and muffin to collide onto the fork. He then popped the massive piece of food into his mouth and began talking without ceremony.
“One of you servants left the bay window open again,” he said, closing his eyes. Donovan watched as tiny pieces of egg and sauce spewed from his mouth and landed on his right lapel and face. He blinked slightly as he felt the slickness of the half cooked egg white.
“Is that so, sir? My sincerest apologies.”
Bruce frowned. Dammit, didn’t this pretty boy ever lose his cool? He was so… So professional!
“Don’t let it happen again. If you do, disciplinary action will be taken.”
Bruce smiled slightly at the thought. Yes, disciplinary action would be taken. After all, someone with enough gall to sneak into his bedchambers and open the bay window without his permission did warrant action. The image of Donovan, his bare back striped with bloody lacerations was somehow deliciously pleasing to him. He smiled more broadly as the image of Kaiya’s pale shoulder trembling beneath his grip came to his mind.
“I understand, sir,” said Donovan with a slight bow, his smoky glasses sliding slightly down his nose as he did so. “I will make sure that it does not happen again.”
“Make sure that you do, “he said squarely. “And tell Agnes that I expect a pot roast with potatoes and carrots tonight for supper and a lentil soup for lunch. Tell her if she tries to serve me that accursed fish again I’ll have her head.”
Donovan nodded again.
“Will there be anything else, sir?”
“No. Now leave my room. Your stench is starting to permeate the curtains.”
Donovan nodded, turned heel and left the room, closing the door softly behind him. Bruce walked over to the bay window, his hand raking through his blond hair. That stupid Donovan didn’t even have enough sense to close the window. He reached over and grabbed the window latch and began to pull it shut. Glancing down, he arrested his movements and watched the scene below him.
There was the young, sublime Kaiya, her chestnut hair tied loosely into a braid, and draping over the side of her body. He watched as the edge of the braid dust against her breast and he unconsciously licked his lips.
“Come for me, my darling….”
Bruce’s eyes fluttered closed as a small gasp escaped his lips. He leaned against the edge of the window, his hands hidden by the curtain as he quickly loosened his belt to relieve the pressure. His eyes turned inward as once again he felt Meara’s touch caressing his back, her long glorious hair fluttering around his face. He breathed in deeply, her intoxicating scent of lilac and honeysuckle somehow reaching through the morning mist to drive him further and further. He felt her kisses, at first hesitant and then blindingly, searingly hot land on his chin, his cheek, part his mouth in hunger, and then travel, miraculously lower and lower. Kaiya stood and stretched her arms, and arched her back. Bruce’s eyes widened as her dress inched slowly downward, the curves of her breasts becoming more and more exposed in the morning dance of shadow and light.
He closed his eyes again, his breath becoming jagged and rough as his hand twisted around himself, the other one tearing at the curtain. Meara was there before him, her breasts heaving, her lips parted in expectation and hunger.
Trembling, Bruce fell to his knees, tripping over the cotton twill pants that had slid to his ankles. He watched as Kaiya went down to her hand and knees and he felt his hips begin to buck and thrust into his dreamlike Meara, his breath becoming ragged and sharp.
When it was over, Bruce glanced out the window again a trickle of sweat hitting the window sill. In the morning light, he saw the reddish undertones of Kaiya’s hair dance, and he softly collapsed onto the floor, his breathing low and heavy.
He smiled softly to himself and chuckled. What an interesting way to start his day.
* * *
“An’ how does he expect me to find fresh carrots this time a year?” Agnes demanded of Donovan, her hand planted firmly on her ample hip. “Winter is coming o’er the hills, that “garden” of his is being overrun by honeysuckles. Traveling to town and back again in time to get a pot roast cooking for tonight’s dinner is simply not possible. I’ve got too much to do.”
Donovan smiled and gently pushed his glasses back up his nose.
“An’ I don’t know why in the world you hide those gorgeous blue eyes behind those glasses,” Agnes complained with a slight twinkle in her voice. “I bet you’re a true ladies man where you were from. Probably left a trail of heart broken lasses and wee folk in your wake just by batting those eyes at ‘em you did I bet.”
“Miss Agnes,” said Donovan with a soft smile. He always insisted on calling her Miss Agnes, although she hadn’t been a “Miss” some fifty odd years now. “If I can find the carrots and potatoes for you by noon, would you be able to make the pot roast by sunset? I would hate to disappoint Lord Calihan.”
“You just want to go into the town and flirt with that young blond at the fruit market. I know, trust me.”
Donovan bowed slightly and lightly took the dish rag from her upraised hand.
“Miss Agnes,” he said, leaning in a little closer than truly necessary, “you know better than anyone where my heart truly lies. For me, there will always be only one worthy of my devotion.”
Despite her age and upbringing, Agnes felt her face blush furiously. Grabbing the dish towel from his head she turned from him and began folding it into a small, neat square.
“You better go an’ talk to Kaiya, then,” she said briskly. “She might be needin’ something from town, you know.”
“Very true, Miss Agnes,” he said as he straighten himself up and gave her a small salute. He clicked his heels together, gave her a small smirk and turned, walking out the back door into the garden.
As expected, Kaiya was kneeling among the lilac bushes, her shoulders and arms tensing and relaxing as she yanked the weeds out of the cold morning ground. Donovan shook his head and smiled slightly. She stood and stretched, her small hands pressing into the small of her back.
“You’ve made good progress here,” he admired as he stepped forward. It was true. Many of the weeds that had been choking out the lilac bush had been cleared away. Kaiya jumped slightly and turned at the sound of his voice.
“Mr. Donovan!” she squealed in surprise. Catching her breath, she calmed slightly. “Mr. Donovan, you mustn’t sneak up on me like that,” she scolded. “It’s true, I’m no lady but still—“
Donovan placed his index finger in front of her lips.
“Ah, but that is where you are wrong, Miss Kaiya. You are always, and always will be a true lady to me. And please, do not refer to me as Mr. Donovan. I am not deserving of that respect—“
“But you are, Mr. Donovan,” said Kaiya stepping closer, and then stopped with a soft blush on her pale cheeks. “Well, I mean, everyone is worthy of respect, are they not? All creatures of God deserve our kindness and respect, don’t they?”
Donovan frowned slightly.
“I suppose you are right,” he allowed. His hand reached out and lifted a gold chain off the edge of Kaiya’s neck. “Make a wish, Miss Kaiya.”
“What? Why? Oh!” She reached and clasped the chain from him and slid the clasp to its proper place behind her neck. She then repositioned the gold locket more squarely on her chest.
“That is a beautiful piece of jewelry,” said Donovan. Kaiya glanced down, her fingertips brushing against the raised surface of the locket.
“It’s my mother’s,” she said softly, her voice wavering slightly. She took another deep breath. “I haven’t been able to get it open, yet. I know it’s wrong of me, but I am a bit curious to see what’s inside of it.”
“Perhaps it is a picture of her.”
Kaiya shrugged and smiled broadly.
“I hope so. I so want to see what she looked like. I don’t even know her name. “She looked around and leaned in closer, her voice low and conspiratorial.
“You know what I do sometimes at night?”
“I imagine that somehow, by some miracle that she isn’t gone. That I can see her, that’s she’s just here in this garden, among the flowers, you know? That she’s waiting for me among the daisies and honeysuckles.”
“So what does she look like in your dreams?”
“She is absolutely beautiful,” Kaiya breathed happily. Her hair is soft and warm, like a sunset, you know? And her eyes, they sparkle just like jewels. And her skin is pale, but not like mine. Not all pasty and full of freckles. No, her skin, it almost glows in the moonlight. Kind of like those old stories that Agnes used to tell about the good people, you know?”
Donovan nodded and smiled.
“She sounds absolutely beautiful,” he agreed his voice soft and wistful. “She sounds like a true queen.”
Kaiya nodded, her eyes lighting with pleasure.
“Yes! That’s exactly what I imagine her to be! A fairy queen!”
Kaiya giggled, bringing her hand up to her mouth.
“Please forgive me, Mr. Donovan,” she said as she recovered her breath. “I’m sure you didn’t come here to hear my fancies. Was there something you wanted? Perhaps some flowers for the evening table?”
Donovan smiled and straightened himself up, pulling away from the lingering scent of earth and greenery that permeated from the air around her.
“Ah, yes. There was something. Miss Agnes is sending me into town for some supplies for tonight’s dinner. Would you like anything? I’m afraid I can’t take you with me, that would simply not be proper, but perhaps there is something that you require?”
“Oh! Well… I’m not sure, Mr. Donovan.”
“Please don’t be shy Miss Kaiya. I only desire to fulfill your wish,” he said with a slight bow and smile, the smoky glasses sliding off his face as he did so. With a slight fumble, he tried to grab them as they fell. Kaiya shook her head with a laugh and knelt down to retrieve them from the ground. Without thinking, she used her skirt to wipe them clear.
“You really shouldn’t bow so much,” she scolded playfully as she looked up and handed his glasses back to him. “You’ll never keep these things on your face if you—“
Words failed her as she looked up at Donovan, his dark blue eyes somehow glinting in the morning light. Her eyes traveled instinctively over his face, the sharpness of his jawline, the cut of his perfectly tailored jacket, and down to his hand, strong yet soft that was reaching for the glasses.
“And you should not kneel so much,” he scolded softly. “It is beneath you, Miss Kaiya.”
“Mr. Donovan, you say the strangest things sometimes,” she laughed as she handed the glasses to him, the spell broken. “You’re going to give me airs if you aren’t careful. I’m only a chambermaid, after all. It’s not as if I’m royalty.”
Donovan smiled and took his glasses from her, placing them back on his face.
“So there is nothing that you require from town?”
Kaiya shook her head.
Donovan looked over at the slowly rising sun.
“Well, I better be off. Mind yourself while I’m gone, and don’t get into any trouble with Lord Calihan.”
* * *
Bruce placed the fork down at the edge of the plate and wiped the last of the rich dark brown gravy from the corner of his lips. The pot roast was rich and moist, but lacked flavor and zest, must like much of the world around him now. He really didn’t understand why his family had put up with Agnes for so long. It’s not like she was a talented cook. In fact, most of her fair was completely tasteless and bland.
He pushed himself away from the table and strode over to the window. The sun had just started to set in the west, the pale pink and gold colors seemed to give a faint glow to the brown grass of the early winter ground. Soon the night would come, and he would be able to see his Meara again. He smiled to himself, wondering how she would come to him tonight. Would she be wearing that deceptively innocent evening gown, full of white lace? Or perhaps she would choose to come to him wearing that tight blue gown with the buttons trailing down from the base of her neck to the edge of her tailbone. It didn’t really matter, of course. The clothes would not remain intact for long.
There was a soft clink of dishes, and Bruce turned to see Agnes carefully clearing the dishes away from the table.
“What are you doing, Agnes? Is that not the job for Donovan or Kaiya?”
“Ah, yes your lordship,” Agnes said hurriedly. “I’m afraid that they are still helping me in the kitchen. I didn’t see any harm, your lordship in taking the dishes myself.”
“I see. Tell Kaiya to change the flowers in my room before she goes to bed tonight. I want to wake up to the smell of fresh flowers tomorrow.”
“Your lordship, wouldn’t it be better to change it in the morning?”
“Just tell her, Agnes. Tell her to do it after her chores this evening.”
“Yes, your lordship.”
Agnes nodded her head and gathered the few dishes into her hands and with a bow, left the room. Walking quickly back to the kitchen, she placed the dishes at the edge of the table.
“Kaiya, come here,”
Kaiya looked up from the sink of dishes and handed a freshly washed cup over to Donovan to dry. She walked over to the older woman, raising her eyebrows.
“The lordship wishes to have the flowers in his room changed—“
“Yes, Miss Agnes, I’ll go.” Kaiya turned and started to take off her apron.
“Not right now, lass,” said Agnes, taken a hold of her arm. “Do it when you’re done with your chores for the day.”
“But that will be late. Won’t I disturb his sleep?” exclaimed Kaiya. Agnes nodded. Out of the corner of her eye she noticed the cut of Donovan’s shoulders take on a sharper edge.
“I know, lass, so it’s best to watch yourself. Lord Calihan can get quite…emotional during the evening. It’s best you don’t do anything to upset him. Just see what he wants, attend to it, and then do your best to retire early.”
Kaiya glanced over at Donovan.
“Donovan, can you and Agnes finish the dishes? I don’t want to leave you with this mess, but there is so much to do.”
Donovan nodded and reached to place a dishtowel on the hook above his head.
“Don’t worry about things here,” he said, his voice low and measured. “Miss Agnes and I will take care of things.”
Kaiya scampered over and threw her arms around Donovan’s mid-section in a quick hug.
Donovan stood motionless, the warm sensation of Kaiya’s arms still wrapping around him.
“You can breathe, now,” said Agnes from her perch near the table. “She’s scampered off to do the laundry for the day.”
Slowly, Donovan relaxed his shoulders and brought his hands back down to the sink. He reached into the hot water and began pulling out the next plate to be cleaned.
“The flowers will be wilted by morning,” said Donovan quietly. “What is his real purpose?”
“Not sure,” answered Agnes, grabbing a fresh towel and taking Donovan’s former position. “I’m not very fond of the idea, though. The evening never has been a good time for his lordship. Not since Meara left.”
“Oh, that’s right. Mistress Meara was before your time. Met her over there in the garden, he did,” she said, nodding quickly with her head. “From what I remember she came just around that lilac bush and he was completely smitten.”
“She must have been quite beautiful.”
“Aye that she was. A true beauty, one you’re not likely to find. She had some glorious red hair, she did. And the greenest eyes you ever did see.” Agnes sighed. “It’s not a wonder why he was so crazy about her.”
“Well they were happy,” Agnes replied as she dried the same glass for the third time. “But everyone knew that it couldn’t last. They were too much like each other, you know? They were both too passionate. Passion is a grand and marvelous thing, but if the fire burns to hot it will die out quickly.”
“So they lost their passion, then?”
“Oh no, lad, not that at all. The passion didn’t have a chance to burn out. She just up and left before it happened. Had a huge row they did the evening before she left. Lost a few of my best platters and glassware that night I did.”
“Kaiya must have been terrified.”
“Aye, she probably would have been, if she had been here. But she didn’t come and work here until about ten years later. She was a small lass then, but she’s grown up very fine indeed.”
“I’m surprised that no one has started to court her,” said Donovan with a slight smile. Agnes glanced at him and gently took the saucer that was slowly slipping from his slick hands.
“Aye, there have been those who have tried, but working at Calihan manor scared most of them away,” she said regretfully. “Now I doubt there would be a suitor who would take her. She’s getting too old.”
Donovan raised his eyebrows in surprise.
“Really? But she seems so young.”
“Aye and innocent. But she’s been on this earth just a few years shy of two decades. Most girls are promised long before then.”
Agnes shrugged her shoulders and snapped the excess water from the towel before hanging it up to dry.
“It’s the way of this world. Nothing much can be done about it, is there?”
Donovan nodded absently.
“Well, I need to get a few more chores done before I turn into the evening. Will you be needed anything else, Mr. Donovan?”
“What? Oh, no. Good night Miss Agnes. I will see you in the morning.”
“Yes, Mr. Donovan.”
Agnes walked out of the kitchen and left Donovan staring absently out the window at the old apple tree, a soft smile playing on her lips.
© 2015, Laura Seeber. All rights reserved.