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Another uneventful few days passed where Lavinia and I spoke of life, dreams, and spent nearly a day hashing out our favorite novels. Austen and the Brontë factored in as our lady heroes, though a wealth of Gothic novels crowned Lavinia's favorite muses above all else. Whereas I gravitated more specifically, solely, to Edgar Allan Poe. Because there was a truth to his words, stories, poetry that resonated with me more than the sweeping romantic gestures of others. Lavinia, like Nathaniel, enjoyed the theatrics. But I understood Poe's pining, his loss, and also, his horror. That hit, unfortunately, so close to home.
And of course we spoke of our loves and of hopeful futures. We attempted to be consummate ladies on a delightful, carefree journey, taking tea in the finer tea rooms specifically to distract ourselves with pretty place settings. It seemed an unspoken agreement to entirely ignore the dread that sat in my stomach, and I’m sure hers too.
A part of me was sure he'd be slightly angry for my making the journey. The rest of me was sure he was absolutely expecting it.
But still, I had to let him know, and as he'd given no itinerary, no specific instructions, I was left to my own devices in terms of communicating with him. So, I used our unique and unparalleled connection: our meeting of the minds and entwining of the souls.
Thusly, I forced myself to dream of Jonathon, and thankfully, enough of me knew my life was on the line to agree to a subconscious demand.
Shockingly enough, no corridor in this dream! I almost didn't even know I was dreaming. I was presented with an entirely literal dreamscape, at least at first, a desperate telegraph from a desperate woman.
I was standing on the deck of a ship, this ship, the one I would remain on until we arrived to port two days or so from now. There was a great gale around me. I was wet, struggling to stand, hearing the crash of waves upon the steel hull, the splash of water across the deck, feeling the sting of whipped moisture across my cheek, but I held to a rail and shouted into the storm, for there before me, a few paces away, stood Jonathon. He was turned away from me, but as always, distinct.
I knew it was him- black frock coat, black shoulder-length hair whipped back in the wind, his frame, his stance, his height, and the way my heart pulled towards him like a magnet.
"Jonathon, I'm coming for you," I called.
He whipped around as if he were tossed by the gale, his bright ice-blue eyes luminous in the moonlight, ethereal and otherworldly. His expression was pained.
"That's what the demon said to you. Do you say that to me… because you have been compromised, my beautiful girl?" he asked, calling across the gale, anguished.
"No… Those were the demon's words, but that's hardly what I mean," I protested, reaching out to him, trying to move forward to him, but the pitch of the ship nearly made me lose my balance. Jonathon reeled a bit and regained his footing, still space between us. "I hope you know I'd never let anything within me hurt you…"
I hated that space between us. I needed to be in his arms, to prove what my words only hinted at. I needed his body fully against mine. I needed to kiss him. To go even further. To accept his proposal and act like the betrothed, with certain permissions… I felt a wave of heat radiate down my body. We were not meant to be so separated. Not in spirit, not in body.
"I am coming to
," I clarified. "I
must help you. Because I need you. I want you." England
He let those words settle in, in the myriad ways I meant them. A lady could say this to the man who was her hero and partner. I could not be ashamed of what neither my body nor my mind knew was right and true.
"Why, Natalie, of course I want to see you. Of course I feel the same. But we don't know what we'll face, this was foolish—"
"You know me better than to think I won't come for you—"
He laughed wearily. "That I do. But take care. People may be on to us. I am not sure when or where we can meet, safely, there is so much sniffing about. We're trying to be the bloodhounds, but there is an arsenal of similar dogs trying to out us. We've tried to play our cards brilliantly, but we maintain constant vigilance."
"How shall I find you?"
"I will find your steamer. Do you know what day you arrive?"
"Dusk. Two days hence. Lavinia is with me."
"Oh, is she?"
"She planned this, separately. She'll not allow Nathaniel to slip away any more than I will you."
Jonathon smiled. "He'll be glad to hear it—"
"So he is with you?"
"I seem to attract the best company. Don't find me, I will find you. And when I do, just… You’ll have to trust me. Do you trust me?”
“I do,” I cried, wishing that were another proposal if not a wedding vow.
He grinned. “We are so lucky our dreams are like letters and telegraphs. Only better, because I get to see you… And oh, look at you, you're all wet…" His noble voice descended in pitch, to a purr that somehow still carried across the storm.
And suddenly he was the one to close the distance between us. He seized me roughly and drew me into a furious kiss, the saltwater of his lips crashing over mine like the waves upon the ship. My soaked dress revealed the full contours of me to his bold and questing fingertips. Perhaps the fury of the storm was an excuse to be rough with me. Never has a girl so welcomed a squall.
He pinned me against a large cabinet bearing life vests, and this steadied us for our deepening kisses, soft cries, bold and searching caresses. And in this storm, we sunk together into our desperate need, as much of a force of nature as the pitch and roil of the boat. I noted all the ways in which I knew he desired me, and I blushed into the gale, and I wanted more.
I welcomed this abandon that would risk all, as I had always welcomed our physical trespasses. I could not think of anything carnal between us as anything but sacred, for magic had bid us be lovers, and being lovers was its own magic.
"Come to me, then, Natalie Stewart," he growled, his words thrusting against my ear as he did against my body. "And let's finish all that we started…"
I woke up perspiring, my nerves making the moisture of the gale real, and my body was alive. Shaking. Humming with titillation. Furious that I was now awake and no longer his willing captive.
It dawned on me that this was the first dream in my memory that wasn't a nightmare.
This didn't change the fact that I faced a living nightmare ahead of me.
But for now, my love, my lover, my pride and joy, he transformed a troubled mind into a paradise. Even in the storm.
(End of Chapter 19 - Copyright 2013 Leanna Renee Hieber, The Magic Most Foul saga - If you like what you see, please share this link with friends! Tweet it, FB, + it! The Magic Most Foul team really hopes the audience will continue to grow and it can only do so with YOUR help! If you haven't already, do pick up a copy of Magic Most Foul books 1 and 2: Darker Still and the sequel: The Twisted Tragedy of Miss Natalie Stewart and/or donate to the cause! Donations directly support the editorial staff.
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