This is an excerpt from Book III, which is still a WIP (Work in Progress) in the Bandita Series.
This excerpt is a recollection of Lucy in Book I, as Lucy recalls a special moment she shared with Billy after their friendship develops into an exceptionally close relationship, both of them indugling in an as of yet unrequited love affair they both possess for one another, afraid to admit these feelings for fear of the consdquences: she an Eastern heiress engaged to Billy's employer, and he a lowly drifter.
They engage in a respectable relationship until Billy finally has the courage to admit his feelings to his true love; feelings that are fervently returnend.
**As always, WIPs are always subject to change
We were sharing the coveted, precious time we longed and hoped for, praying the days would allow us these moments. We were sitting closely to one another upon a blanket, leaning together, devotedly, and taking pleasure in our time, imagining we had stolen it away as thieves might, which wasn't so far from the truth. As we desperately looked forward to being together, the fact that this time was merely permitted between us was actually a disappointment, knowing that we must wait to be told in order to have it.
As we sat on the blanket out in the open spaces among the trees between the McSween's and John's properties, we listened to the murmuring, whispering secrets of the leaves when Billy looked up at me and smiled, his pretty face so full of its usual light and allure that it outdid the brilliance of the day's light.
"What?" he asked, still smiling.
I looked at him steadily before releasing a breath and letting down my guard.
"I like looking at you," I said.
He snickered as he put his head down.
"I'm sorry, I've embarrassed you."
He shook his head. "No, not at all. I'm glad if you like to look at me. I want your attention."
He sat up and looked into my eyes, and I said, "Well, you've certainly gotten it."
We looked at each other for another moment when I frowned a little; I could feel Billy growing restless as a young man is inclined to do when alone with a virtuous woman he longs for.
He observed my reticence and asked what the reason was. I looked at him and considered asking him the question that was on my mind, hooking my thumbs and forefingers together, worrying them.
Seeing that I was in the midst of a thought, his good nature prodded, "Yeah? What?"
"What?" he said again, ever more amused.
"Can I…can I speak openly?"
"I wish you would already."
"Ok, well… my mother-" I hemmed and I hawed and I hesitated.
If I couldn't ask Billy, then who? I wasn't supposed to talk about it, but the moment between us both was so very thick with tension anyway, and I talked about everything with Billy. Well, we'd talked about everything but this. But couldn't this come up in conversation? And couldn't now be the time when it did? I decided that, certainly, I could ask him, and it all tumbled out of my mouth before I could stop myself.
"My mother told me about sex before I was sent here."
He looked stunned. "Oh," he said. "I apologize,"-he flicked his eyebrows in surprise, his eyes snapping wide as well, looking anywhere but me-"I didn't know you was gonna ask me that."
He leaned back down while I sat quietly and a little expectantly. He looked into my face and considered me.
"All right," he said. "I'll do my best, but I don't know if I-"
"What is it like?"
I was overeager. I hadn't given him a chance to gather his thoughts and I caught him off guard.
"Well, I imagine it's a little like this conversation, at first…"
"Uncomfortable," he laughed.
"Oh, well… I know you must like it." I spoke quickly before trailing off, nearly losing my nerve but desperately wanting him to spit it out. I chose to provoke it out of him.
"I mean, not just you, but the others. I know-well, I assume-where you all go at night. At least sometimes. And I'm not completely daft and naïve. I'm perfectly aware of a man's...of a man's…"
"'Of a man's what?" he teased, swiftly learning to play my game and matching my objective to incite.
So fine, I thought. We'll have it out, then.
"Of a man's need for a woman. You know, in that way."
"Well, now…" he pretended, "In what way?"
"Billy…" I pleaded.
"What?" he again pretended.
"I don't want to have to say it right out. What I mean, that is. I know you understand me perfectly well."
He seemed to give in and quit embarrassing me, taken in by guilt inspired by his adoration.
"All right, darlin'. Tell me what it is you want to know."
"Well, my mother, she told me about it. But she made it all seem like…some kind of…business for me to do. She told me that, as a wife, I would have to…well, she called it an 'Amorous Congress'."
He laughed wildly at that, unable to help himself, I'm sure.
"Geez-US! What do your people do? Apologize as they're bumping their pelvises into one another?"
He laughed madly again before blushing.
"I apologize," he said. "That was,"-he chuckled and waved his hand dismissively, embarrassed-"inappropriate."
I didn't understand the joke. What was inappropriate? I wanted to ask, but by the blush of his cheeks I thought better of it.
"Look, I get it," he said. "I see you and John together and it looks cold and uncomfortable and…well,"-he seemed to shiver-"I don't see that happening at all. In fact, I can't even imagine it despite my talking about it. That must be why your mother was talking like that. She makes is sound like a task."
He looked at me thoughtfully and then sat up again, lightly brushing my cheeks with his fingertips, sliding them softly along my jawline and nearly felling me with his touch as he inspected my eyes with his own intense azures, allowing me to take note of his newly severe mood.
"What is it?" I asked.
His eyes were unyielding and seemingly out of focus as they peered into my mine. I had the distinct feeling he was caught up again in his own customarily selfish, covetous nature, deliberately neglecting the innocence of my inquiry. The intensity of his azure irises deepened into something cerulean until they made my eyes feel like burning embers and I had to shut them tight against the sting.
My breathing grew labored as the moment was painfully sustained, and I begged God to please let it end. The longing in his eyes was so clearly conveyed that a torrent of lust penetrated every nerve of my being. This was a trick he used to implore of me what it was he wanted from me without words and it was truly more than I could bear. My soul knew he was growing impatient and that he wanted to lay with me, and I thought that it might not be long now until I gave in. I had been here like this with him before and the closing of my eyes, willing this impropriety to be illusive, was never in my favor; it was forever useless. The look of stark devotion that often obliged his face when he looked at me mattered not whether we sat alone, hidden away in secret, or in a crowded room of others. This look of his frightened me for fear of getting caught, but try as I might, I could not wish it away, nor would I pray for the strength to be unaffected. That look, the one he reserved for me alone, only made him all the more beautiful to me, though it killed me with the adoration I held for him. No…I could never truly wish this away, nor did I truly want to.
'That man,' he'd said, refusing to speak the name of John Tunstall in this instant, his superior and perceived competitor, his voice grave in that way when a man is lost in aspiration; a menacing whisper which caused me to tremble madly.
"-the one you're set to marry. I don't want him to have you."
I listened intently to these words and remained properly composed as my breeding would have it before I helplessly faltered; betraying a look of distress as I quickly understood the desperation of his tone. I wanted nothing more than to fall into him and let him seduce me, decorum be damned. His face grew heated and his brow furrowed sternly. His hands closed around my wrists and he held to them as tightly as he could without causing me pain. He kissed me there, upon my inner wrists, fervently yet delicately.
"I won't let him have you-he won't know you before I do. I'll have you first!"