Sunday, June 22, 2014
Chapter 5: Midnight Lightning
Two months, he thinks as he watches her happily clatter around in his kitchen. Two months since that night with the duke, and she still refuses to let me near her. Maybe she doesn’t love me, Griffin scowls and shakes his leg restlessly. Maybe I’m nothing more than a friend to her.
Stop it, his rational side snaps. She just needs more time.
Or maybe she just needs someone else, he sighs irritably and rises to his feet.
“Georgia,” Griffin walks up behind her and spontaneously wraps his arms around her waist, letting the delicate sound of her name roll off his tongue.
Georgia freezes and sets down the bowl. “Griffin?” Her hands tremble slightly as they move to cover his own, but she does not push him away.
“You don’t have to cook every time you come over,” he murmurs in her ear. “That’s not why I asked you here tonight.”
“And if I don’t, then who will?” Georgia tries to sound lighthearted and carefree, but she cannot hide the trepidation in her voice. “You can’t survive on ale and tavern food, Griffin.”
“If you lived here with me…” he begins hesitantly.
Georgia snorts. “What would the townspeople say?!” she laughs hollowly as she turns to face him. “They already wonder about us, but an unmarried man and woman living together under the same roof?! We’d be scorned by the entire province!”
“Then marry me!” he blurts out, refusing to let her wriggle out of his grasp. “I love you Georgia, and I would wait for you forever, but not if you don’t feel the same way about me.”
“Griffin, please!” she begs. “Not tonight.”
“Then when?!” he exclaims angrily. “Because damn it, George, I want to marry you! I want everyone to know how I feel about you! I want to scream it at the top of my lungs. I LOVE YOU GEORGIA POET! Fuck this town. They would gossip about a rooster if it didn't crow every morning. You mean the world to me, but I need to know if I’m just wasting my time. I need to know if you love me too.”
And in that moment, it hits her. Griffin deserves better than her. He deserves a woman who can give him everything he wants, who can satisfy him in ways she can’t even bear to imagine right now.
“I do love you,” Georgia replies quietly. “And I will always love you. As a friend.”
The word hangs in the air between them like a sheet of ice, cold and hard and utterly impenetrable.
“Yes,” she whispers, turning away. “I- I’m sorry.”
The following weeks crawl by in agonizing silence. Georgia tries to busy herself with her alchemy and healing, but the loneliness wears at her. She misses Griffin terribly, and while she would never admit it aloud she attributes her recent bouts of nausea and ever present fatigue to the pain of losing him.
“He’s in town again,” Amara informs her housemate one chilly autumn evening.
“Who?” she yawns idly.
Georgia gasps and fumbles with the book in her hand, accidentally dropping it to the floor with a thump. “O-Oh,” she stammers as she bends down to pick it up. “Why would I care?”
“No reason,” Amara responds casually. “I hear he’s engaged.”
“Engaged?!” Georgia cries. “I mean, oh really? That seems awfully quick.”
“Yes, it does. Too quick, if you ask me, but money has that effect on some people. Apparently she’s the daughter of some rich merchant on the mainland.”
“Well, good for him,” Georgia whispers, fighting back a sudden onslaught of tears. “He deserves it.”
Amara sighs and rubs her head as Georgia gets up and sprints to the bathroom. She can hear the sound of retching through the closed door, and it makes her feel sick to her stomach. She hadn’t meant to upset her friend, but she’d rather George hear the news from her than some insensitive loudmouth on the street.
Over the next few days, Georgia tries to avoid leaving the house as much as possible on the off chance that she’ll see him, but she can’t hide from the inevitable forever.
“Georgia!” Griffin greets her with his signature heart melting smile, and she stops dead in her tracks.
“Hi,” she swallows hard.
“Don’t look so petrified, George,” he laughs easily. “This doesn’t have to be awkward.”
“No,” she forces herself to grin. “No, you’re right. It doesn’t. How have you been, Griffin?”
“Engaged!” he announces excitedly. “And moving back home to the mainland. I just came to Lincolnshire to tie up some loose ends and settle some old business. I intend to leave first thing tomorrow morning.”
Georgia feels her heart sink. “So soon?”
“Yes,” he answers, a little too brightly. “Nothing to keep me here now.”
“Hey, do you want to join me?” Griffin offers suddenly. “The Fall Harvest Fair starts today, and I’ve never been before. I thought, if you aren’t busy, that maybe we could catch up again? As friends,” he adds in a gentle tone.
Georgia grimaces. Every instinct in her body screams for her to run home and lock herself in the bathroom so she can cry her eyes out in peace, but a tiny voice deep inside dares her to accept him.
“O-Okay,” she nods shyly. “I’d like that.”
“Pie eating?” Georgia laughs as Griffin drags her over to the contest table. “Do you really want to risk losing to a girl and embarrassing yourself, Griff? Because we can just declare me the winner now and never speak of this again. Or I can whoop your butt and watch all these people laugh at you. Your choice.”
“Pfftt. Georgia, I hate to break it to you, but no one has EVER beaten Griffin-the-Glutton at pie eating. I love pie. I live for pie. I was born on Pi Day, for God’s sake.”
George rolls her eyes. “Pie Day? Since when did they give pie its very own day?” she giggles.
“Well, we’ll see whose laughing after you lose,” he smirks.
Griffin cheats and starts eating well before the bell rings.
But Georgia doesn’t let that discourage her. She digs into her pie with vengeance.
For a minute, it looks like a close race, but George easily kicks his ass.
And then the waiting begins.
“Griffin-the-Glutton?” she mumbles. “More like Griffin-the-Windbag.”
Georgia offers no sympathy.
“I warned you, remember?” she laughs.
“No matter,” he grins. “Anyone can eat their way to glory. Bobbing for apples takes real skill.”
“Big talk for a man who can’t hold his pie,” she taunts. “I own this game, Griff.”
“Oh yeah? I have an abnormally large mouth, love. I have never lost at bobbing for apples.”
“An abnormally large ego, as well,” Georgia smirks.
Griffin tries. He really does.
But Georgia was not kidding when she told him that she rules at bobbing for apples. She handily beats all three of her competitors, including a thoroughly crestfallen Griffin.
“Thank you for the wonderful day,” Georgia whispers as she throws her arms around him for one last goodbye hug. “I’ll miss you.”
“Let me walk you home,” he offers. “Please?”
George hesitates. “Griffin…” she begins in a wary tone.
“Please?” he implores.
Georgia sighs but reluctantly agrees, not wanting their perfect afternoon to end just yet.
As they stroll along the familiar road home, Griffin casually slips his hand around hers.
Georgia stiffens slightly at first, but her fingers soon relax within his comforting grasp.
“Thank you,” she squeezes his hand softly as they approach her house.
“For what?” Griffin asks.
“For that night,” she mumbles. “You made me feel safe again, and that’s something I can never repay you for.”
Griffin stops suddenly and turns to face her, blocking her path to the door. “You don’t though, do you?” he demands tersely. “Every time I ever tried to touch you, to hold you or kiss you, you would always pull away from me. That’s what happened that night at my house, isn’t it?” he whispers. “You’re still scared.”
“Griffin, no,” she pleads. “Don’t do this.”
“You do love me, Georgia,” he persists as the realization dawns on him. “You love me, but you’re too damn afraid of what that means. My love, I will wait for you. Forever, if I have to, but please don’t run from me. I will never intentionally hurt you.”
“I need to go, Griffin,” she shakes her head vigorously. “You have a fiancée to get back to tomorrow, remember? Please, just let me go!” she sobs.
And he does, watching her slam the door on his broken, shattered heart once more.
That evening, Georgia forces herself to go through the motions, preparing dinner and tending to her chores as if nothing unusual happened at all. She hasn’t told Amara anything about her encounter with the duke or her relationship with Griffin, and she doesn’t know how to bring it up now, so she hides her pain behind red eyes and an all too cheery smile. Fortunately, if Amara notices anything out of the ordinary, she wisely keeps her questions to herself.
Nevertheless, sleep refuses to come to Georgia, and as her day with Griffin plays back over and over again in her mind the quiet tears gradually turn into loud, uncontrollable sobs.
“Georgia?” A comforting hand grazes against her back, but Georgia flinches away from her friend’s touch.
“I think I’ve lost him,” she cries desperately.
“Shhh,” Amara soothes. “Who have you lost, honey?”
“Griffin.” His name sound muffled and incomprehensible through Georgia’s wet, tear soaked fingers, but Amara already knows the answer to her question.
“Why don’t you tell me what happened?” she presses gently. “Start from the beginning, alright?”
Amara sits and listens patiently as Georgia tearfully recounts her first kiss with Griffin, the duke’s ultimate violation of her trust, and the strange telepathic cat who instigated this whole mess.
“I’m so ashamed,” she whispers. “I should have told you before, but I couldn’t even bring myself to think about it.”
“Georgia, honey, you have nothing to be ashamed of,” Amara tells her pointedly. “That man, on the other hand, deserves to have his balls cut off and shoved down his throat. He should be ashamed. Goddess save me, I want to castrate him for what he’s put you through.”
“You’re not angry with me then?” she breathes, carefully avoiding her friend’s worried stare.
Georgia nods solemnly.
“Honey, no. I’ve known about you two for months. I mean, really, you guys were about as subtle as a circus parade.”
“Thank you,” she smiles at her weakly.
“Besides, I have something to tell you too,” Amara sighs and glances away. “I’m pregnant, George.”
Her eyes grow wide and round as her friend’s news slowly sinks in. “Oh,” Georgia blinks. “Are you- When did- Who?” she splutters.
“It’s not important, hon. He doesn’t know about it, and I want to keep it that way. Besides, you have more pressing matters to deal with at the moment.”
“Go to him,” she urges. “Right now. Tell him how you feel. Better yet, show him how you feel. He will take good care of you. I can vouch for that,” Amara grins mischievously.
“You know what?” Georgia exclaims, jumping off the bed. “You’re right! I love him, and I don’t want to spend another day without him. I won’t let Alasdair steal anything else from me. He’s already taken enough.”
“Georgia?” Griffin rubs his bleary eyes and beckons her inside. “What are you-”
“I do love you,” she blurts out. “As more than a friend. Everything you said today was true. I’m sorry, Griffin. I… I was scared. Scared of the intimacy. Scared of the pain. But the idea of losing you frightens me even more. I love you,” she whispers, her voice cracking with emotion.
An unbearable silence greets her words, and she closes her eyes tight, letting the sting of humiliation and burn of his rejection seep into her skin.
I’m too late, she thinks as she wills herself not to cry.
But then she feels his hand brush across her face, wiping a single tear from her cheek.
“I love you too,” he breathes as he leans in to kiss her.
“Take me upstairs,” she whispers once they finally break apart.
“Georgia,” he hesitates. “We don’t have to do this tonight. I told you. I will wait until you’re ready. Forever, if I need to.”
“Take me upstairs,” she repeats more firmly.
Griffin nods and leads her up to his bedroom, and as they stumble over to the mattress Georgia’s clothes quickly fall to the floor.
“You’re sure?” he murmurs, his breath coming in heavy, ragged waves.
Georgia traces her fingers down his muscular chest and over his sculpted abdomen, lower and lower until she reaches the cloth on his shorts. She can feel him warm and hard against her leg, and it arouses a burning sensation inside unlike anything she has ever felt before.
“Yes,” she smiles, watching in fascination as Griffin’s eyes widen at her soft caresses. He quickly grows firm beneath her hand, and so Georgia wriggles out of the rest of her clothes and lays back, preparing for the pain. “I’m ready now,” she tells him.
Griffin chuckles. “Not so fast, love. It’s your turn.”
Spreading open her legs, he slowly runs his lips along the inside of her thigh, kissing and sucking her skin as he nimbly teases her clit with his fingers. Griffin can hear the labored sounds of her breath as she grows wetter and wetter beneath his touch, and with an appreciative smirk he buries his tongue deep inside her.
“Oh Griffin,” she moans as he speeds up his pace. “Now. I want you now.”
He eagerly consents, thrusting himself into her with uninhibited passion. Back and forth they move, their hips swaying together in perfect harmony.
“Yes,” she gasps as he finds her sweet spot. “Yes, yes, YES!”
He feels her body clench around him, her nails digging into his skin, and as she reaches her peak the sound of her voice screaming his name proves too much for him. Griffin loses control of himself, and they come together, their bodies intertwined in pure, blissful ecstasy.
Please ignore all non-medieval, immersion-breaking items in my pictures. I try to stick with old-fashioned types of activities as much as possible, but I can’t help that the pie eating tables come with red plastic cups on them. ;) The pictures were just too cute not to use though.
That is all. =D