New Life

By: A. K. Naten 

Category: Uber Alternative fic

Rated: R-ish with some NC-17; Mature content

Summary: How many chances does a person get at a ‘new life’? ‘Period piece’ set in the 1850’s Oregon territory; Drama; Angst.

DISCLAIMER CRAP: This is a F/F SLASH PIECE that depicts a sexual relationship between consenting adult women. If you are under 18 years of age and/or this type of story is illegal in the state or country in which you reside, consider yourself hereby warned. If depictions of this nature disturb you, then stop reading and bail now, dude.

This is an UBER story; characters are *loosely* based on two chicks from a now-defunct TV show, but that’s where the similarities end. Any resemblance to people or characters living, dead, or imagined is purely coincidental and completely unintentional.

Sex, Violence, Rock ‘n Roll? — Yes, Yes, No. This was a little ‘different’ for me; it’s my first attempt at ‘period piece’ kind of thing, and I honestly don’t know why I chose to do it. The idea has been floating around inside my head, and I had to get rid of it. It gets crowded in there sometimes, y’know? This story and its characters belong to me. No beta, no editor; it’s all on my shoulders. If you wanna post it on your site, please ask me. Okay? ...Okay.




Emma lay in her bed, completely drained but unable to sleep. A loud, reverberating snore emanated from the hot, sweaty, bulky body beside her, rattling her head and making her cringe. Emma shifted a bit, scooting her body and trying to get as far away from the man as she could, which was fairly impossible, given that the bed they shared was just a flimsy little double mattress. Her action only prompted the man to stir and roll over closer to Emma, his pungent body odor wafting from the sweat-dampened night shirt that he wore and his putrid breath now blowing directly in her face. She shivered, suddenly wishing a tribe of Indians would descend upon the house and whisk the man away... or at least shut him up. She closed her eyes, suppressing an urge to scream.

Emma realized that she was thinking these hateful things about her very own husband, but honestly, she didn’t care. She might have cared a little, once upon a time, when they were first married... when Isaac at least pretended to care for her and treated her reasonably. But that was before. Before Isaac began to show his true colors... before he began to drink so much... before he realized that his pretty little bride may not be able to bear him any fruit.

It was the 1850’s, and Emma Dunwoody’s family was one of the many thousands who moved from the mid-western United States to the recently acquired states and towns that were popping up in the rapidly expanding territories of the Wild West. Gold rush fever had gripped the Nation, and people flocked to California and the surrounding areas to get a piece of the action. Emma’s father was a farmer, and rumor had it that land in the Oregon territory was lush, fertile, and ideal for raising crops and livestock to sell to the burgeoning towns and industries. To Thomas Dunwoody, God was handing him the opportunity of a lifetime.

Downplaying the rumors and reports that the life was harsh and the towns were often polluted with highwaymen and gunslingers, Thomas packed up his family and headed west on the wagon trains. It was a long, arduous journey, and they endured many hardships and setbacks, but the Dunwoody family persevered, by the grace of God, and eventually carved a new life for themselves in the rugged wilderness of Oregon. Five years had passed since then, and for Emma, the highwaymen and gunslingers didn’t prove to be as much of a problem as the simple, eligible bachelors had.

Apparently, pretty, young women of a childbearing age were hard to come by in these parts, and whenever Emma accompanied her parents into town, the single men swarmed around like bees drawn to honey. Martha Dunwoody thought it was wonderful that the men were interested in her beautiful daughter. Emma, on the other hand, thought it nightmarish. Her parents were horrified that she was, in their opinion, well past the proper marrying age and still showed no interest in finding a suitable husband. What they didn’t understand was that Emma didn’t want a husband, nor any man, for that matter.

She didn’t want to get married and end up being someone’s work-horse and breeding-stock; she had loftier aspirations and bigger dreams for herself. She was a very bright girl who was fascinated by books and loved to read and write, and she dreamed of being an author, or a poet, or even a schoolteacher or a nurse. She did not share her parents’ religious convictions and had, in fact, begun to think of herself as a feminist. She read everything she could about the women’s rights movements that were underway, especially back East. Emma liked the thought of being independent, and if that meant she would end up a spinster, then so be it. She didn’t care. Her parents, however, had other ideas.

The Dunwoody’s were hopelessly old-fashioned and stood fast to their devout Christian beliefs. They cared nothing about the feminist movements and talk of women’s rights. In their eyes, it was pure blasphemy, and they insisted that Emma behave ‘properly’ and settle down and get married. And her parents always got their way.

Emma was 19 when her traditionalist parents ‘arranged’ for the 35-year-old Isaac Johnson to begin courting her. Not only did Emma not want to court the middle-aged widower, she didn’t even like him. He attended their church and played the part of the perfect, mild-mannered gentlemen, but that never mattered to Emma. Something about him gave her an uneasy feeling, and she was always wary of the burly little man with the dark, emotionless eyes. Her mother insisted she was just being childish and ridiculous, but Emma knew differently.

That had been almost two years ago. Emma was now 21... she was married to a man she didn’t even care for, let alone love... she was childless... and she was miserable. And her mother still had the nerve to tell her that she should thank the good Lord for giving her such a wonderful new life.

Emma squeezed her eyes shut and gritted her teeth as her husband’s snoring rattled the roof timbers of their little house and intensified the headache that had been nagging her all day.

Every day it was the same routine... every evening the same ritual. Isaac would work in the fields tending to the crops and animals all day while Emma stayed close to the house, cooking and cleaning and baking and sewing and washing. If a crop was ready for harvesting, she’d expand her work-horse duties and help Isaac in the fields. If the cows needed milking, or one of the animals was in labor with a newborn, she would help Isaac in the barn. She worked all day, and when that was done, she worked at night fulfilling her wifely duties by submitting to Isaac’s urges and needs.

Emma squeezed her eyes tighter at the thought of her husband’s heavy, hairy body on top of her, grunting and sweating and gripping her hair to hold her still while he took his pleasure and tried, unsuccessfully, to impregnate his young wife. If he hadn’t been drinking, it thankfully didn’t take too long; but if he was intoxicated, it drug on endlessly, and he was usually unable to reach satisfaction before falling asleep atop her. Tears burned in Emma’s eyes when she thought of the beating she’d receive when she would, most likely, have her monthly courses once again, and Isaac would rant and rave that she was good for nothing.

And I should be grateful for this, mother? Emma thought to herself as a tear broke free and rolled down her fair cheek.


Emma was out in back of the house washing clothes, grateful to be far away from Isaac. As predicted, she had started her monthly cycle a few days earlier, and Isaac had thrown a fit, although this time he’d only slapped her and knocked her across the room while calling her ‘worthless’. She’d gotten off easy this month.

As she began to hang the clothes up to dry, she spotted someone riding across the field, near the back of their property. Recognizing the beautiful light gray horse and the cowboy-hatted rider, Emma smiled. Edward Daniels was their neighbor, even though he lived quite a distance from them. He was fairly new in the area, having only moved into the dilapidated old ranch house in the next valley a short time after Emma married Isaac.

The town rumor-mill had it that he was a half-breed — half-white, half-Apache. He appeared to be tall and lanky and always wore his cowboy hat pulled down quite far on his forehead. Having only talked to him once, very briefly, Emma thought Daniels to be an odd, introverted kind of person who never stopped to chat or visit and kept his distance. She recalled him being soft-spoken and very neat and clean in appearance — at least for a farmer-rancher. He had an exotic-looking face, Emma thought, and even though he wore his hat pulled down far, she remembered his exquisite blue eyes. Emma was, quite honestly, fascinated by the strange man, and she thought it a shame that she didn’t know him better. Then again, the way everyone gossips about him, who can blame him for being aloof? Emma considered.

Some people insisted that Daniels was a full-blooded Apache - apparently ignoring the fact that his skin was not very dark and his eyes were definitely blue - and was simply trying to pass himself off as a white man; therefore, he was a filthy, lying, cheating, murdering heathen who couldn’t be trusted. Isaac Johnson was one of these people. He insisted that Emma not interact with the quiet man. She obeyed him, especially since she’d received a beating after Isaac saw her talking to the tall man on the gray horse that one time. Isaac claimed that Daniels was evil, and Emma remembered how he screamed at her, dramatically quoting the Book of Revelations, "...And I looked, and behold a pale horse; and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him!" She grimaced, remembering the wild look in Isaac’s eyes as he came at her like a madman.

Checking to be sure Isaac couldn’t see her, Emma lifted a hand and waved to Edward. The rider tipped his hat at the petite blonde woman, acknowledging her greeting. Just as Emma was waving, however, their dog, a mangy good-for-nothing mongrel named Rascal, spotted the rider and his horse and took off after them, barking and gnashing his teeth.

"Oh no... Rascal!" Emma shouted, quickly taking off after the errant mutt. She watched in horror as Edward’s horse reared up and whinnied frantically, but being an obviously experienced rider, Edward was able to maintain control of the animal and calmed him down while the scroungy little dog yapped at the horse’s heels.

Emma came racing up, breathless and apologetic, "Oh Mr. Daniels, I’m *so* sorry!" she sputtered, gasping for breath and grabbing hold of the wayward varmint. Edward patted his horse’s neck and murmured to the animal, trying to calm him.

Emma felt terrible, "I don’t know what got into him... he usually doesn’t act so vicious, really!"

"S’alright Mizz. Johnson. No harm done," Edward said in a low, raspy voice, quirking a slight grin while continuing to pat his horse.

Emma noticed that some of Edward’s saddlebags were lying in the grass, obviously having fallen off when the horse reared. She bent to start gathering the items and when she turned back, she was surprised to see that Edward had dismounted and was kneeling beside her, gathering the spilled goods as well. Emma couldn’t help but look. She had never been this close to her enigmatic neighbor before, and she found herself staring openly.

Edward was dressed in ordinary, but neat, dark wool trousers, and wore a buttoned up, long-sleeved shirt covered by a buckskin vest. His face was boyishly handsome and smooth rather than rugged and weather-beaten, and if he had any facial hair, it was either very sparse or he kept it immaculately shaved off. His skin was a beautiful olive tone, and he had high, pronounced cheekbones and a strong, hard jaw. Emma decided that Edward Daniels was a good-looking man, and he was much younger than she originally thought. His features were usually shadowed beneath his broad cowboy hat, hiding the fact that he couldn’t be too much older than Emma. Some hair peeked out of his hat at the back of his head, stopping midway down his neck. It was dark brown in color, almost black. Definitely part-Indian, Emma mused to herself. Just as she reached her inner conclusion, pale blue eyes turned toward her, and Emma felt her heart flip. She darted her eyes away, a blush stealing across her face as she flashed a nervous smile, feeling bad for staring and embarrassed that she’d been caught.

She stood quickly, smoothing her skirt and holding out the bag of goods to Edward, "Here you go," she mumbled, still forcing her eyes downward.

"Thank you," Edward said, all the while surreptitiously studying the attractive young woman in front of him. He didn’t know very much about Emma and Isaac Johnson; he only knew that while Emma seemed very kind and friendly, Isaac seemed to be the exact opposite. Edward exercised and rode his horses across the valleys nearly every day, frequently nearing or crossing parts of the Johnson land in one way or another. He knew how Isaac spoke to Emma; it wasn’t too difficult to hear the older man screaming and yelling at the pretty young blonde way out here in the middle of nowhere with no one else around. Some days his harshly shouted words and commands seemed to bounce off the mountains in every direction. Edward felt for the young woman; she seemed to be a good soul, and it was a shame to see her mistreated by a nasty son of a bitch like Johnson.

But that was none of Edward’s business, so he stayed out of it.

When Emma dared to look up at Edward again, he caught sight of a light purplish bruise on her cheek. Even though he tried to make his face remain impassive and mask his surprise, Edward obviously failed, and Emma quickly turned and walked away from him. The sad, knowing look that was reflected in the small woman’s unusual sea-colored eyes told Edward everything he didn’t need to know. Isaac was more than a nasty son of a bitch... he was an abusive one too.

Emma grabbed hold of the dog again, "I’m sorry again, Mr. Daniels," she offered as she began to back up toward her house.

Edward nodded solemnly and climbed back onto his horse, "Not a problem, ma’am," he said.

Their quiet conversation was rudely interrupted. "EMMA!" Isaac shouted harshly, making Emma jump. She turned to see her husband marching toward her with an axe in his hand. Stopping in front of his wife, Isaac grabbed her roughly by the arm, "What the hell do you think you’re *doin’*?!"

"I—I was just fetching Rascal... he took off after M-Mr. Daniels and the horse," Emma stammered, grimacing at the pain Isaac was inflicting on her arm.

"Get your worthless hide back in the house, NOW!" Isaac growled lowly so that only Emma could hear, or so he thought. He gave Emma a shove then turned to regard Edward, who was watching the scene with furrowed brows, "If you aint got any business with me, boy, then I suggest you git on outta here!" He spat out tersely.

Edward felt his hackles rising as he regarded the surly man. He bit back the urge to tell him what a sack of shit he was. Isaac Johnson was a mean-looking bastard. Greasy, reddish hair peppered with gray at the temples, bushy eyebrows set upon a face that was craggy and overly tanned and rough from being exposed to the weather, and a short, stocky, muscular body that was covered in dirty, sweat-stained clothes. What bothered Edward most were the man’s dark brown, ominous-looking eyes. They were lifeless and cold, and held no emotion whatsoever.

Deciding that he shouldn’t stir the little man’s ire any more, Edward simply nodded, "Yessir." He said politely, "You have a good day, sir... ma’am." He added, tipping his hat toward Emma, who was walking away slowly, but still looking. Emma gave a half smile and watched as Edward turned to ride off toward his home.


Emma hadn’t seen Edward for nearly two months. She figured that Isaac sufficiently scared the man off the day he’d caught them talking in the meadow. He certainly scared Emma. As soon as they were inside their house, he beat her soundly. She only tried explaining and apologizing for a little while, then she just gave up and let him rent his anger on her and all around her.

Today was, for a change, a bright spot in Emma’s gloomy existence. Actually, she got at least one bright day per month, since Isaac always went into town for an entire day to buy supplies and whiskey, then he’d spend the rest of the afternoon getting drunk at the tavern and doing god-knows what else. Well, Emma had a good idea what else; Isaac came home more than one time smelling like a French whore, so she knew what went on. Emma acknowledged that she was somewhat naive, but she wasn’t stupid.

A perfect Spring and Summer had produced a bumper Fall harvest for the Johnson’s, and Isaac announced today that he intended to take the excess crops to the surrounding towns to sell them, then he would shop for some supplies and farm equipment that they needed. He would be gone for at least three weeks. Emma thought she’d died and gone to heaven.


Isaac had been gone for three days when Emma thought she spotted someone on a horse way off in the distance. She squinted her eyes as she hung up the laundry, trying to determine whether or not it was Mr. Daniels. If it was, then his far-off distance would explain why she hadn’t seen him around for such a long time. The man was obviously steering very clear of the Johnson tract.

Deciding that without Isaac being around, she could safely risk talking to Edward, Emma walked out toward the figure, waving to him. The rider stopped and looked for a few moments, but didn’t move. Emma waved again, understanding Edward’s hesitancy. Soon, the figure began riding toward her slowly.

When Edward was within speaking distance, Emma smiled at him, "Hello Mr. Daniels."

Edward brought his horse to a stop, keeping a safe distance from the blonde as he touched his hat and nodded, "Ma’am."

"I haven’t seen you for awhile... how have you been?" Emma asked eagerly.

"I’ve been fine, ma’am, thank you," Edward answered, his tone forever courteous and genteel.

Emma hesitated a moment; she so wanted to talk and interact with another human being, but she really didn’t know what to say to this handsome man she barely knew, but very much wanted to. "Uhm... lovely weather we’re having... isn’t it?" She said, feeling nervous and verbally inadequate as she brushed her hair away from her face.

"Yes ma’am, it certainly is." Edward agreed carefully, peering at the woman as the breeze played with her long, golden-blonde hair. He wasn’t sure what she was up to, but it made him uneasy to think that Isaac Johnson would most likely catch them again. Why Mrs. Johnson would risk angering her husband like that puzzled him.

"Uh, Mr. Daniels, I wanted to–" Emma began unsteadily, but Edward cut her off.

"Mizz. Johnson... I don’t mean to be rude, ma’am, but...," The tall man began, "do you think it’s... wise for us to be standing here talking, like this?" He asked softly, nodding toward the house as a way of reminding the petite blonde of what happened the last time they dared to speak to one another.

Emma blushed and gave a short laugh, "No, Mr. Daniels... under normal circumstances, it definitely would not be wise for us to talk," she began, piquing Edward’s curiosity. "But since my husband has gone away for several weeks... I think I can allow myself to be ‘unwise’ for a little while and luxuriate in having a real conversation with another human being."

She didn’t speak in a sarcastic tone; she spoke in such a way that Edward knew exactly what she was trying to say. And he understood. This bright, beautiful woman was starved for contact with anyone, and though he might kick himself in the morning, Edward decided right then and there that he would do almost anything for her.


They had been talking for hours; just walking and chatting about anything and everything. Emma was captivated by Edward’s surprising refinement and easygoing manner. He was intelligent, insightful, witty, and gracious, and the melodious burr of his raspy voice was both calming and unsettling to Emma.

For his part, Edward was equally entranced by the lively little blonde beauty. For a woman to be so full of questions and have such a sharp mind was unusual, even in this day and age. In the short time they’d spent together, Edward could see that Emma was a gem of a woman whose value was most definitely not appreciated. Her eyes sparkled with untapped life and energy, and Edward found it amazing that despite being obviously unhappy, she still possessed the warmest, most genuine smile he’d ever encountered.

The late afternoon air began to cool, silently warning of the approaching nightfall, and Emma found that she didn’t want Edward to leave. His presence, although oddly disquieting in some way, was also reassuring to her. If she were honest with herself, she would admit that she didn’t like staying at her house by herself while Isaac was gone. She wondered if she would be so bold as to ask Edward if...

"Mr. Daniels," Emma began, turning to look at the tall man. "Uhm... I suppose this may be exceedingly... ‘improper’ of me, but...," she twisted her hands nervously, "but... would you consider having supper with me tonight?" Seeing the slightly startled look on her neighbor’s face, she almost regretted her foolish words. "It-It’s just that... well, I don’t really like being all alone out here, and...?" She half-grinned as she let the question trail off, all the while looking at Edward hopefully.

Edward knew he should decline. It was definitely improper for a married woman to play hostess to a single man, especially when they were alone, but more worrisome than that, Isaac Johnson would kill the both of them if he found out.

"Well, Mizz. Johnson...," Edward began to decline; however, one look into those bright blue-green orbs changed his mind. "...Improper or not... I’d be honored to join you for supper, ma’am."


Emma was busy bustling around her kitchen fixing something especially nice for her impromptu guest. She was so thrilled to have someone new and interesting to talk to, and she was especially thrilled that it was Edward Daniels. The man captivated her, and she was most eager to learn more about him. And you’re most eager to stare into those mesmerizing eyes too, Em, she scolded herself, feeling the tingle of a blush color her cheeks.

A light knock sounded at the door, signaling that Edward had tied his horse out front and had washed up with the basin of water that Emma had given him. Emma opened the door, welcoming him in and taking his hat, her eyes darting to the thick, dark shock of combed-back hair that adorned Edward’s head. Emma directed Edward to have a seat and relax while she finished with the dinner preparations. They made idle small talk while Emma continued to steal furtive glances at Edward, observing his lean, lanky figure as he stood uneasily by the fireplace rather than sit down.

"What would you like to drink, Mr. Daniels?" Emma asked over her shoulder as she gathered dishes and silverware for the meal.

Edward’s voice so close to her made her jump slightly, "Whatever you have is fine, Mizz. Johnson."

Emma turned around and looked up into sky-blue eyes. Swallowing the lump in her throat, she decided to venture a suggestion. "Mr. Daniels," she began, "since we are neighbors and since we are, hopefully, becoming friends... might I suggest that we drop the formalities?" Edward froze for a moment, momentarily unsure where the conversation was headed, but Emma sensed his dismay. Reaching out to lightly touch his arm she explained, "I’ve never thought of myself as a ‘ma’am’, and I don’t really like being called ‘Mrs.’, so... why don’t you just call me Emma?" She finished, smiling at the taller man.

Edward visibly relaxed and grinned back, "Alright, Miss Emma... you must call me Edward then." They nodded and smiled, giving each other nervous laughs, and Emma was amazed at how much a simple smile changed and brightened Edward’s face.

"Why don’t you let me help you with something... I feel useless standing around here watching you do all the work." Edward said, having no idea what kind of impact such words would have on Emma.

Emma turned, amazed, and looked into Edward’s soft, honest eyes. He’s offering to help? She wanted to laugh... and cry. Why couldn’t she be surrounded by someone like this kind-hearted man all the time? Why did she have to be married to a hideous, insensitive beast like Isaac?

Catching herself before she did or said something foolish, Emma blinked hard and averted her gaze, nervously pushing a strand of blonde hair behind her ear, "Why certainly, Edward, thank you. You can, uhm... you can set the table for us, alright?" She said, forcing a small smile and handing the dark-haired man the plates and utensils.

Edward smiled back and took the items from Emma’s hands, noticing how she quickly turned away from him and went back to her kitchen duties. It only infuriated him more to think that something as blase’ as a simple offer of assistance could be so significant to this woman.

He began to truly loathe Isaac Johnson.


Emma and Edward quickly became good friends. They saw each other nearly every day while Isaac was gone, and their long, relaxing walks were now the highlight of Emma’s life. Every morning she would awaken early and rush around to take care of the necessary chores so that she could head out to the meadow, where she and Edward would normally meet. Emma was thrilled to discover that, like herself, Edward was a lover of books and poetry. He possessed several books and would often bring one along on their jaunts so they could read aloud to each other. In addition to occasionally sharing evening meals, Emma had also started packing picnic lunches, and the two of them would sit by the stream that ran through the meadow, and eat, relax, read poetry, and enjoy each others company. It was a wonderful existence, in Emma’s mind.

Edward seemed to constantly surprise Emma as he shyly, almost cautiously, displayed the different facets of his personality. He had a refreshing sense of humor, and he was a romantic too, presenting Emma with small bouquets of flowers on occasion. The two of them discussed books and authors, religion and science, politics and the rumblings of war back East... anything and everything she couldn’t, and wouldn’t dare talk to Isaac about, she talked to Edward about.

Emma would have been perfectly content to consider the kindly neighbor man her friend, but as time progressed, she knew that might not be possible. Not only would they have to stop seeing each other once Isaac returned, but Emma also realized... she was becoming quite attracted to Edward Daniels.

She knew how immoral and adulterous it was to think such things, but she couldn’t help it. Edward was well-read, well-mannered, and kind-hearted; all the things she wanted in a friend and partner, her dark-haired neighbor seemed to possess. But it went beyond cerebral considerations; Emma felt absolutely drawn to Edward, both physically and emotionally. It was strange, because there was something about the engaging man that just didn’t quite ‘fit’ in Emma’s mind. She couldn’t put her finger on it, but something about Edward was just ‘different’. But maybe that was what drew her to him in the first place.

The western territories were harsh, cruel places, and the pioneers and settlers either matched the terrain, or directly contradicted it. Edward wasn’t a religious zealot, like Emma was accustomed to, nor was he a rough, crude frontiersman. He was tall and broad-shouldered, and he certainly seemed to possess all the manly attributes... but his was a gentler sort of masculinity that was softer, yet not frail in any way. Emma spent a good deal of time studying Edward, trying to discern what it was about him that was so unique.

His hands, though fairly large and roughened, had long, tapered fingers that moved gracefully when he used them while speaking; his face was a unique combination of sharp angles and smooth sleekness; his voice was low and raspy, but it was tinged with a rich, sultry sort of undertone that unnerved Emma immensely. And then, of course, there were the eyes. The eyes that could either be as pale and light as the clear blue sky, or as dark and deep and churning as the raging river rapids. They were expressive and soulful and honest, and Emma could see every emotion that Edward felt reflected in those blue, blue eyes.

Emma usually told herself that Edward’s uniqueness was due to his unknown heritage. She was convinced that Edward had Indian, Spanish, or Mexican blood in his genetic makeup, and this accounted for his unusual features and characteristics. Since she knew very little about people of those nationalities, and since her own family lineage was of the typical all-American, blue-blooded, eastern U.S. type, it made sense that Edward would appear somewhat ‘different’ to her. She really wanted to just come right out and ask him, but propriety told her that was rude. So... she vowed to keep her mouth shut and her curiosities to herself. But it would be difficult. She felt her attraction to the handsome, dark-haired man growing stronger each and every day.

For his part, Edward was experiencing his share of difficulties as well. Emma Johnson was the most beautiful, engaging, delightful creature he’d experienced in quite a long time. The time they spent walking and talking and dining together were some of the happiest moments he’d had in the past few years, and he’d had very few.

Edward had not allowed himself the luxury of being close to someone — anyone — for such a long time, he was at first very uncomfortable with the good-natured little blonde who seemed intent on getting under his skin. When Emma talked, she used her hands, and when she grew especially animated or emotional, she also touched quite a lot. That was difficult for Edward to get used to; he was not a ‘touchy’ kind of person. Surprisingly, however, Edward allowed the contact, and he allowed Emma to get close to him. Even more surprising was, he found that he not only enjoyed it, but he was beginning to crave it... and he was beginning to crave her.

But there was a downside to all of it, and that was that Emma was a married woman, and her husband was a bastard who probably wouldn’t hesitate to kill the both of them if he knew about their friendship, no matter how innocent it was. Edward knew that he had to watch himself very carefully. He had to keep a very tight reign on his feelings and not give in to his temptations, no matter how intense they might be. It would be so easy to fall for the golden-haired, jade-eyed beauty; Edward could feel the strong pull between the two of them, and he wondered if Emma felt it as well. No matter, he would constantly remind himself, she’s not yours for the taking.


Emma and Edward were enjoying one of their usual leisurely walks along the meadow stream. They had been engaged in a deep conversation about something and weren’t paying attention to the time or the area they’d traversed. A loud rumble overhead finally called their attention to the fact that, not only was it about to storm, but they were quite a distance from Emma’s ranch. Luckily, Edward had brought his horse along for the walk, so as the heavens opened up and the rain began to fall in a heavy torrent, the two of them quickly saddled up and tore off, laughing all the while.

Closing her eyes tight and hanging on to Edward for dear life, Emma was surprised when they finally arrived at a small ranch house nestled in-between neatly fenced-off pasture areas. Edward whisked her off his horse and carried her up onto the porch of the house, where he hastily opened the door and ushered them inside. Emma darted her eyes around the simple but neat house, shocked that Edward would bring her here, to his house, without asking.

Seeming to read her mind, Edward spoke, "I’m sorry to come here without your permission, Miss Emma, but... I just felt that my house was much closer than yours." He looked at the drenched blonde with sincere apology. "I’ll take you home directly, just as soon as the weather breaks."

Emma told herself to relax, and she smiled; it was Edward, after all. "That’s alright Edward. I guess I just feel foolish for letting the storm sneak up on us like that."

"We both look rather frightful, don’t we?" Edward grinned, pulling his saturated shirt and vest away from his chest. They both laughed, easing the tension. "Why don’t I get a fire started and you can make us some hot tea, if you’d like," Edward said, indicating the kitchen.

Emma smiled and went about the job of finding the things she needed in the small, but well-stocked kitchen area. She marveled at how comfortable and at ease she felt as the two of them busied themselves with their tasks. They moved about the house and chatted as though it were something they did every day. It felt entirely ordinary and entirely extraordinary at the same time. Emma had never even seen Edward’s house before, let alone be inside, making herself at home while rooting through his pantries and fixing refreshments for the two them. It was equal parts strange and pleasant.

After a few moments, Edward got a fire roaring and Emma had set the kettle to boil on the stove. They had come to stand in front of the fire when Edward turned to regard Emma’s wet countenance again, "You know, Miss Emma, you really should get out of those wet clothes and change into something dry and warm." Emma’s eyes immediately grew wide at the impropriety of the suggestion, and Edward panicked, holding up his hand, "Oh, uh... I didn’t mean for that to sound so inappropriate, I was just... I mean, I just think... uh...," he faltered miserably, "I’m just afraid that you’ll catch your death if you stand around here in wet clothes." He offered, trying desperately to justify his rationale while retrieving the foot from his mouth.

Emma blinked her eyes and fought to regain control of her flabbergasted senses. She managed a small smile as she nervously fingered the small buttons at the front of her dress, "Thank you, Edward... that’s very kind of you, but... well, I sincerely doubt that you have anything for me to change *into*, so... I think I’ll just... sit here by the fire and try to dry out." She smiled again and quickly sat down in a nearby chair.

Edward ran fingers through his hair, feeling incredibly stupid, "Uh, I could give you something of mine to wear," He queried carefully, "It wouldn’t look very ladylike, but... we’re the only ones here to pass judgment...?" He asked, looking hopefully at the blonde.

Emma smiled again, "Thank you, Edward, but I’m sure I’ll be fine."

Edward shrugged, "Well, if you don’t mind, I think I’ll change into something else. I’ll be just a moment," he said as he disappeared into his bedroom. Not only was Edward soaked, he was freezing too, and he knew that the little blonde had to be chilled to the bone. Perhaps if she sat by the fire, she’d warm up; but he was still concerned.

Emerging from his room a few moments later, Emma watched as Edward fetched their tea and brought it over to sit with her by the fire. His damp, dark hair was mussed and a stray lock fell across his forehead, making him look very much like a little boy. Emma’s fingers itched to reach up and push it back into place. More than that, her fingers itched to run through the shiny, thick tresses.

Goodness, Em... get a hold of yourself! She scolded internally. She could, of course, blame her sudden out-of-control urges on hormones, but the truth was, it wasn’t hormones; she just lusted after the unusually attractive gentleman who sat across from her. Emma forced her eyes to concentrate on her teacup as she sat and silently chastised herself.

Edward suddenly turned to look at her, his face pensive, "Miss Emma?"

"Yes Edward?"

"Would you, uh... would you mind terribly if I asked you to call me... ‘Danny’?"

" ‘Danny’?" Emma asked, "As in ‘Daniels’?" She smiled at Edward’s shy nod.

"It’s sort-of a... nickname. My mother called me ‘Danny’... I always liked it much better than... ‘Edward’."

"Danny... Danny... Hmm," Emma rolled the word around on her tongue and feigned a contemplative face. "I think I like it better too," she finally announced with a smile.

Danny grinned and nodded at her and they sat and drank their tea in the warm, comfortable silence.

A few hours passed and the storm seemed to be weakening, even though the sound of rain still pinged against the cabin’s tin roof. They had been reading numerous stories and poems from Danny’s vast collection of books when they realized it was near the evening meal time. Danny offered to fix something for the two of them while Emma checked her clothes to see if she was getting dry at all. It certainly didn’t feel like they were drying. Despite the fire, she was freezing and she wished that she had taken Danny up on his offer of dry clothes.

Emma had the skirt of her dress flipped up, feeling around and checking the amount of dampness that remained in the fabric, and she didn’t notice that Danny had come to stand beside her.

"Miss Emma," Danny’s soft voice so close to her made her jump. He reached out and touched her arm, "Look... I don’t want you to think I’m trying to be... *indecent* or anything... because I’m *not*," Danny started hesitantly, "but... why don’t you at least take your dress off. We can hang it up to dry, and then your undergarments will dry better too." He offered gently, hoping that the blonde wasn’t offended by the practical suggestion. Emma blushed furiously and bit her lower lip, making Danny grin slightly. "I know you’re cold... I can see you shivering." He smiled knowingly at her.

Emma finally gave an embarrassed laugh, "I suppose you’re right, Danny, I just...," she blushed again, "it’s just so... *improper*," she said, shaking her head a little.

Danny laughed, "Miss Emma... you worry too much about what’s proper and improper." Emma gave him a curious look, unsure what he meant exactly. "There’s no one here but us, and I promise, I won’t think you any less ladylike," Danny said with an easy smile.

Emma finally acquiesced, thinking of the heart attack her mother would have if she could see her now. She began unbuttoning her dress, wiggling out of it as best she could while Danny pretended to busy himself in the kitchen so that she was afforded a little bit of privacy. She was just stepping out of it at last when Danny suddenly appeared by her side again, producing a wooden hanger for the garment. Emma nervously smoothed her damp, wrinkled undergarments while Danny hung her wet dress beside the fireplace to dry. When he turned back to face her, he immediately saw the mottled, fading bruises on her upper left arm.

Apparently, there was more to Emma’s hesitation to undress than just her ladylike propriety.

Emma saw the horrified look that flashed across Danny’s face, and she brought her other hand up to cover the ugly arm. "It’s... it’s not as bad as it looks," she murmured, looking down at the floor in shame. What must Danny think? She worried, he must find me positively revolting. Tears began to well in her eyes, and she suddenly wanted to go home. The feel of Danny’s fingers touching her chin startled her, and she looked up into sympathetic, worried blue eyes.

"Oh Miss Emma... how can he do this to you?" Danny whispered in anguish.

"I-I... I make him angry... and... and I can’t get pregnant, so... h-he gets upset...," Emma tried to explain, but the tears overtook her and she began to sob.

The feel of Danny’s strong arms wrapping around her made her cry even harder, and her body shook as the emotions spilled forth. Danny just held her tight, whispering to her that it wasn’t her fault, and stroking her back gently as she cried and cried. Eventually the tears stopped and Emma got herself under control. It felt so wonderful being in Danny’s arms that she didn’t want to step away from his warm embrace, but she had to... didn’t she?

Moving her head away from Danny’s chest, Emma nervously ventured a glance upward. Danny’s eyes pinned her immediately, the blue depths dilating and revealing a passion and intensity the likes of which she’d never seen before. One of his hands slid up from her back to tangle in her hair, and her breath seemed to evaporate as Danny leaned in closer to her. When their lips met, she thought she’d faint dead away. Her hands unconsciously wrapped themselves around Danny’s neck, and she leaned into him as they kissed and absorbed each other tentatively.

Danny’s mouth and lips were so warm... so delicate. And his face was soft, lacking the rough, scratchiness she was accustomed to. He was the complete opposite of Isaac. When Danny’s tongue darted out to tickle her lips and ask for entrance, Emma’s mouth instinctually opened, and the kiss deepened further. Normally she disliked kissing, even though she didn’t have much experience; the only man she’d kissed seriously was her husband. But Isaac was never gentle, and he never asked her what she liked or disliked. He just roughly forced his way inside, into her mouth, into her sex — wherever and whatever he wanted, he just took without asking. It was his, after all; she belonged to him, so why should he ask?

But Danny... Danny was so different. He kissed Emma with such gentle reverence, like he was worshipping her rather than conquering her. His hands caressed her body and his thigh subtly insinuated itself in-between her legs, bringing their bodies together and moving treacherously closer to her femaleness as he continued to pleasure her mouth with his tender lips.

Emma knew how horribly wrong it all was, but she couldn’t bring herself to stop. She admitted that she’d fantasized about this very moment, but it was turning out to be so unlike what she’d dreamt that she couldn’t stop. It was as though her body had developed a mind of its own. She wanted to know every part of Danny; she wanted to feel him and smell him and absorb him. She wanted to give herself to him and know how it felt to have someone like Danny touch her and taste her and take her.

Her lustful thoughts were abruptly halted when Danny brought a hand down to her bottom and grasped it gently, pushing their hips and bodies together even more and bringing his firm thigh into contact with her most intimate parts. Emma gasped, and when she felt the hardness of Danny’s desire pressing against her stomach, she finally broke and pulled away, suddenly shocked back into reality.

Both of them breathed great lungfuls of air as they tried to calm their racing hearts and libidos. Emma’s eyes were wide with fear and amazement, and she could only stand and stare at the man who had brought out this unrecognizable beast inside her.

Danny raked a trembling hand through his hair, wanting and needing so badly to touch the flushed beauty before him. When was the last time he had wanted someone so badly? ...He couldn’t recall ever wanting someone as much as he did Emma Johnson. Her sweet taste was still on his lips, and licked them in an attempt to hold onto her flavor. He was aware of the horrified aqua eyes that stared at him, and he thought that the blonde looked like she was going to faint.

"Emma...," Danny began softly, reaching out to touch her shoulder.

Emma took a slight step backwards, blinking her eyes rapidly, "Danny... I-I need you to take me home... right now." She said, her voice tight and her words clipped. She wasn’t angry... she didn’t want Danny to think she was angry, she was just... she was just... flabbergasted... overwhelmed... confused. She just needed to get away from him so she could think.

"Emma," Danny tried again, but she shook her head.

"Please, Danny," she whispered, her voice cracking as tears welled in her eyes and threatened to escape down her cheeks, "Please... just take me home."

Danny didn’t argue. He simply nodded, giving Emma a long, sorrowful look before he went outside to fetch his horse.

Emma thought she would die. Whether it was from the frightening aftershock of her surprising arousal, or the blossoming sadness she felt growing inside, she didn’t know.





Two days had passed since the incident at Danny’s house. Two days of misery and loneliness for both of them.

Danny was certain that Emma hated him. How he could have lost control so completely and behaved so inappropriately, he didn’t know. He reasoned that Emma Johnson simply drove him so insane with desire, he’d lost his ever-loving mind. Still... he felt he needed to apologize to her. If they could salvage at least a friendship, he would be eternally grateful. Of course, who knew what kind of friendship they could have once Isaac Johnson returned home. They would have to go back to never seeing one another again, so maybe it was best if things ended now. Danny had no idea what to do. He only knew that he would do anything Emma wanted. ...If only he knew what that was.

Emma, on the other hand, was a nervous wreck. Even though she told herself repeatedly that it had been incredibly wrong and a huge mistake, the incident replayed itself over and over inside her head, all day and all night. She thought she would go mad with her jumbled thoughts. Lust and desire mixed with feelings of shame and deceit, filling her mind and confusing her soul. She missed Danny. She missed him, and deep in her heart, she knew she longed for his intimate touch. ...But it was so sinful for her to think such things... such a sacrilege. How would she ever reach a compromise that she could live with?

The next day, Emma arose early in the morning, her mind made up about what she must do. She set about taking care of her daily chores, and when she finished, she took a nice hot bath. After the bath, she slipped into her favorite dress, fixed her hair just so, went out to the barn, saddled up her horse, and headed off toward Danny’s house.

She had decided that she would apologize to Danny for behaving like a harlot. She would explain that her emotions had made her weak, and she would ask that they remain friends only. Hopefully Danny would be forgiving and as gracious as always. Hopefully he realized the position she was in, and he would not demand anything from her or try to use the situation against her in any way. She wanted to think that Danny would never do something like that, but she couldn’t be absolutely certain. People sometimes carried darkness and cruelty in their hearts, and even though she felt she knew Danny rather well, she also knew that there was something about the man that quietly nagged at her subconscious. He knew full well that she was married, and she hoped that he also realized that they would not be able to see each other at all once Isaac returned. More importantly, they must not discuss what had happened between them. It had to be their secret. She prayed that Danny would understand.

As she crested the top of the hill that stretched between Danny’s house and hers, Emma looked down at the small, quaint ranch of her neighbor. It looked so peaceful and tranquil there... not dreary and full of unhappiness like her own home. Shaking off her pessimistic thoughts, Emma urged her horse forward, determined to make amends with her friend.

When Emma at last neared the house, her heart was in her throat, and when she saw the front door open and Danny step out onto the porch, she felt as though the organ would leap right out of her mouth. The dark-haired man wore a casual cotton work shirt, and a pair of suspenders held up pants that fitted his tall, lean frame snugly.

Emma dismounted her horse and slowly walked up to Danny. When she came to stand right in front of him, she found herself completely at a loss for words; her prepared speech suddenly gone missing. They stood and gazed into one another’s eyes so deeply; it was as though no words were needed. No language could describe the feelings and the thoughts that rushed through their bodies and filled their minds. Sky blue locked with earthy jade, and both of them knew they were lost. They could never be just friends; they were foolish to ever think so.

They leaned into each other, their lips meeting mutually and fusing together in a rush of need and desire. They kissed feverishly, their desire quickly escalating into a ravenous hunger. Danny suddenly bent and swept Emma up into his arms, carrying her inside the house and into his bedroom where he laid her gently upon the bed. This was their turning point. After this, there would be no going back. They would not be able to undo anything; they could never take it back nor deny that it happened. They realized all this, and they accepted it. Their need for each other and the need to merge their souls together was so great that it overrode all other thought and consideration.

Danny carefully slipped their shoes off and climbed onto the bed, holding himself above Emma’s petite frame so that he didn’t crush her. They kissed long and lasciviously, all movement and time seeming to stand still as they worked themselves into a desperate frenzy.

Danny finally broke the kiss and buried his face in the crook of her neck, "Emma... Emma Emma," he whispered in a rough voice as he fully laid his body down upon Emma’s. Her breathing hitched as his warmth enveloped her and his manhood again announced its presence. She closed her eyes as a snippet of bad memory flashed through her mind. Normally, with Isaac, this was the part where she dreaded what was about to take place. Normally, this was where she closed her eyes and held her breath, praying that things would be over quickly and painlessly.

But this was different, she told herself. This was Danny... and Danny was nothing like Isaac. The dark-haired man lavished kisses on her lips and face and neck, his hips gently undulating against hers. But it wasn’t forceful, and it wasn’t harsh; it was slow and mellow and tender. Emma wrapped her arms around Danny’s shoulders, pulling him deeper into the kisses and urging his body further between her legs as she opened them beneath him. He reacted by pushing his hips against her, and Emma gasped as Danny’s hardness pressed into her intimately. He buried his face in her neck again, and Emma let her nose drift into the soft, dark hair that brushed against her cheek, inhaling the clean smell of soap mixed with autumn breeze.

Danny’s hips rocked into her again, and her hands flew up to sink into the thick, silky tresses as she clutched his head tightly, her mouth unable to stifle the moan that escaped from her lips. Lifting his head away from her slightly, Danny bore his pale blue eyes into Emma, silently asking her the question. Wordlessly asking her if she really wanted to do this... to give herself to him... to cross that final boundary. Emma looked at Danny’s kind, loving face, and the passion and trust that she saw there convinced her that, more than ever, she wanted to do this. She answered Danny’s silent question with a simple nod and pulled him down into a kiss.

He lifted his head again, "Emma... are you sure?" He whispered quietly.

"Yes." She answered, pulling him to her lips again. She tried to tell him everything with those kisses. She tried to tell him that she wanted him; that she needed him; that she was amazed and stunned and so incredibly touched that he had the respect and courtesy to ask her what she wanted rather than just taking what he needed.

Danny quickly unbuttoned her dress and parted the material so that he could feast on her newly-exposed flesh. He lavished attention on the soft, pale skin, tenderly suckling her breasts and peppering her chest with kisses. Emma writhed beneath him, gasping and shuddering at the amazing sensations that assaulted her. Danny did things to her that she’d only read about; the passion that emanated from him overwhelmed her as he continued to love and devour her body.

"Emma," Danny whispered breathlessly into her ear, "Emma, I need... I need to taste you." He nearly wept to her, "I need to taste you so badly!"

"Yes, Danny... yes!" Emma answered desperately, not sure what he meant but not caring anyway. She would give Danny whatever he wanted at this point.

He slid down Emma’s body, lifting her skirt out of the way and gently easing her undergarments down. At the first touch of Danny’s warm, wet lips on her thigh, Emma nearly shot off the bed. He calmed her with his hands as he stroked her thighs and kissed and touched her all over.

Emma’s mind raced in a maelstrom of frantic thoughts. She suddenly had a good idea of what Danny wanted to do, and she felt her entire body surge with heat over the notion. She had read about such sexual acts in some of her more racy books, but she never dreamed that she would experience it first hand. Of course Isaac never tried it. From what she understood, it was something that a man did for a woman, to pleasure her rather than himself; therefore, Isaac would never do such a thing. But Danny... Danny would most definitely do it... Danny *was* doing it.

She felt warm hands urging her thighs apart and pushing her knees upward. She looked down in wide-eyed wonder as Danny lowered himself between her legs, his dark head bending down to kiss a trail and work his way from her inner thighs, up to her groin, and across the curly thatch of hair that concealed her most sacred body parts. Delicate fingers and a warm, wet tongue touched her, and her head fell backwards as a guttural cry erupted from her throat. Danny groaned his approval and he proceeded to first explore and then devour the bounty spread before him. Emma’s hips moved on their own accord, her eyes glazed over in lust and her mind lost in an erotic haze as Danny feasted on her over and over.

Suddenly, without warning, Danny stopped and climbed back up to bring his face close to hers, "Emma," his eyes penetrated hers, wild and desperate. "Emma, I want to–"

She cut him off, bringing her hands up to cup his face, "Anything, Danny! Anything!" She answered back, again not caring what she’d just agreed to due her own acute feeling of desperation. Danny delivered a bruising kiss to Emma’s lips, her foggy mind taking awhile to realize that the tangy sweetness she tasted was from her, and not him. As her brain somersaulted over that realization, she was dimly aware of the rustling sounds of pants being unbuttoned and the sensation of Danny leaning over her as he settled himself at the hot, damp spot between her thighs.

Danny braced himself with one hand as another hand eased her thighs further apart. Crystal blue eyes were locked onto her, and Emma let out a hushed gasp as Danny gently slid himself inside her.

Emma wasn’t new to the sexual act of intercourse; heaven knew that she was quite accustomed to Isaac’s insistent rutting nearly every single night. But this wasn’t just intercourse, and it certainly wasn’t the rough, harsh coupling that she was used to. This was something else entirely.

Danny moved his hips slowly, gliding in and out of her in long, smooth strokes while poised above her, his eyes holding hers and watching her intently. Emma reached up and grasped at Danny’s shoulders, urging him down to lie against her fully. He complied and Emma pushed her hands into his hair, bringing his lips to hers in a deeply passionate kiss. She brought her knees up and tangled her legs around his narrow waist, wanting to open herself to him completely and swallow him whole. Danny groaned deep in his throat and wrapped his arms around Emma’s shoulders as he hugged her tight and began to work his hips with a little more urgency.

Never before had Emma felt the urge to writhe and move her hips so wantonly and in such a lustful way. Never before had she felt the sensations that now coursed through her body. Never did she know that such feelings were even possible; and never did she dream that she would experience them like this. Danny gritted his teeth, his body growing rigid and taut as he quickened his pace, changing the tempo of his thrusts and moving deeper and faster. Emma could feel the surprising strength and power in the muscles of his arms and shoulders as she clutched him tighter, and she could see perspiration dotting his forehead.

A strange, slow burn began in the pit of her stomach and Emma dug her nails into Danny’s shoulders as her back involuntarily arched up off the bed and waves of pleasure began to ripple through her body. The tension between her legs coiled tighter and tighter until Danny at last reached down and pressed his fingers on the spot that triggered her eruption. Emma cried out, coming in a violent, crashing explosion, and Danny gave one final thrust, releasing a strangled gasp and following her over the edge.

They rested against each other for a long time, panting and trying to catch their breath. Emma thought that she felt Danny withdraw from her, but she wasn’t sure; her mind was in such a daze. She kept her legs looped around his still-clothed hips, not wanting to relinquish the reassuring feeling of having his body fitted so snugly in-between her thighs. She rubbed his neck softly and ran her fingers through his dampened hair, letting herself drown in the feel and smell and weight of him.

Emma’s mind raced in a whirlwind of emotions. She was certain that Danny was the most gentle, passionate, tender lover on the face of the earth. Something about him was so familiar... so comforting... so loving. The way he held her and kissed her, the way he respected her and asked her permission, the delirious pleasure he inflicted on her... how did he learn to do such things? *Where* did he learn? Her mind boggled at the multitude of questions, thoughts, and feelings.

She felt Danny shift slightly, and he lifted his head to look into her eyes as he made to move off of her. "No, don’t... please?" Emma whispered, "I want you to stay here." She added, tightening her legs and pulling him close to her again. Danny’s light eyes bored into her and as he lowered his head to tenderly kiss her lips, she felt tears welling in her eyes.

Feeling the wetness against his face, Danny broke the kiss and looked at Emma, concern and fear on his face and in his eyes. "What’s wrong?" Emma couldn’t answer, she only shook her head as more tears poured out. "Did I hurt you?" He asked, the worry clearly evident in his tremulous voice.

"No... no, Danny... never," Emma finally said, shaking her head and bringing a hand up to caress his face and push away the dark locks of hair that had fallen into his eyes.

Danny had a bit of an idea why she might be upset, but instead of pummeling her with questions, he just slipped his arms around her shoulders and tucked his face into the crook of her neck, holding her tightly and letting his actions speak for him.


Emma woke with a start, unaware that she had fallen asleep. The comfort of Danny’s warm body was missing and she turned her head to the side, finding crystal blue eyes staring at her. She smiled in relief and Danny grinned back. Obviously he had not fallen asleep; obviously he had been lying beside her, watching her the entire time. She felt a little embarrassed and a telltale blush crept across her features.

Danny’s grin spread wider, "Is that color in your cheeks because you’re feeling shy, or because you’re thinking naughty thoughts," he inquired teasingly.

Emma blushed even further, "Perhaps both," she said, an uneasy smile flitting across her lips.

Danny propped himself up on an elbow and reached his hand out to touch her stomach, "Emma... please don’t be embarrassed... I’m not," he said, looking directly into her blue-green eyes. "If you regretted this... I would hate myself." He said with quiet sincerity.

Emma looked back at him, feeling a surge of emotions that she couldn’t describe, "I don’t regret it, Danny... I don’t." She said, shaking her head and resting her hand on top of his. Danny smiled at her and leaned down to smother her with a kiss.

After a moment of leisurely lip-locking, the two of them rested quietly on the bed, holding and caressing one another tenderly.

"I don’t want to leave," Emma finally whispered.

"I don’t want you to leave," Danny agreed.

"I have to, though," Emma said, sighing and pulling herself up into a sitting position. "I’ve been here all day... I have to go home and check on the animals," she said, smoothing the wayward locks of her long hair. Danny remained silent as he lay back on the bed, watching Emma get up to fix her clothes and put her shoes back on. She knew he was looking, and she grinned, shooting him a sideways glance, "You’re staring at me."

"Can’t help it," Danny answered with a smile, thoroughly enjoying the blush that colored his lover’s cheeks. "You’re so beautiful," he whispered, the words coming without thought.

Emma stopped dead and looked at the man lying on the bed, gazing at her with such affection in his deep blue eyes. She felt her heart begin to pound and her eyes stung with the arrival of tears as her mouth parted, wanting to say something, wanting to refute his incredible words, but not knowing how. Danny saw the shock clearly written on Emma’s face, and he reached up to caress her cheek, "You are, Em," he reasserted. A single tear trickled down her cheek and Danny sat up and pulled her to him, delivering a kiss that told her how much he truly believed in what he’d said.

"How about a picnic lunch in the meadow tomorrow?" Danny offered, holding Emma’s face in his hands and giving her a gentle smile.

"Yes... tomorrow," Emma agreed.


When Emma awoke early the next morning, her thoughts instantly focused on Danny. ...On Danny, and what the two of them had done yesterday. She still could scarcely believe it. She’d thought about it the entire ride home last evening; she couldn’t fall asleep because she kept thinking about it; and she dreamt about it during the night. All she could think about was Danny. The way he kissed her and held her; the way he touched her and loved her. The feel of his long, strong body atop her, moving against her... inside her. So unlike Isaac... so gentle and affectionate... so passionate. She was certain that she was in love with Edward Daniels. And she was certain that she was going to go mad.

Mixed in with the fond thoughts of the pleasure she experienced were feelings of incredible guilt. How could she commit adultery? What would the church think? What would her parents think? As much as Emma knew it was wrong and she was committing one of the worst sins, she just couldn’t bring herself to regret it. All her life she had been surrounded by church and religion and preaching of right and wrong and morality and immorality. She was sick of it. She’d tried to live by everyone else’s rules — God’s rules, her parents’ rules, society’s rules — and look where it had gotten her. She was unwillingly stuck in a marriage with an abusive man, she had no children, and she was woefully unhappy. The only thing that brought her happiness was being with Danny... Danny who was good, and kind, and loving. How could that be wrong?

Her time with Danny was akin to the kind of love and romance she’d read about so many times. This was the life-altering, hopelessly devoted, love-of-a-lifetime kind of romance that she’d always dreamt about but thought she’d certainly never find. This was it... Danny was it. But... she couldn’t have him. Emma sighed. Feeling a sharp cramping pain in her side, she sat down on a kitchen chair for a moment. Isaac would be home in another week. She would go back to her role as wife and breeder, and she wouldn’t be able to see Danny. She closed her eyes and let her head fall into her hands.

Oh why must I be so cursed? She bemoaned internally. I finally meet someone whom I truly love, and we cannot be together. Perhaps that is my punishment for what we’ve done... what I’ve done... perhaps God knows that I’m just a worthless sinner, and that’s why he punished me with this life... this life of childless servitude. She lamented, feeling tears building inside.

Another sharp stab pinched in her side, and suddenly, adding together the thoughts about children and the cramping pains, Emma came to a frightful realization. My God... what if I were to become pregnant by Danny!? Her head snapped up as that reality sunk in fully. Horrified thoughts filled her head... What if everyone found out? If the child had Danny’s dark hair and exotic features, everyone would know for certain. She would be vilified... the child would be a bastard... the church would banish her... Isaac would kill her... Isaac would kill Danny... oh dear God, she thought, her head falling into her hands again.

Panic filled her head as she mulled over the wretched possibilities; but... mixed in with the panic, tucked away in a deep, dark corner of her heart was a secret little part of her that thought that it would be wonderful. To share something like that with Danny; to know that his blood would be mixed with hers... to create a new life and have a part of this man — this man she now knew she loved, undeniably — growing inside her... it would be the most incredibly beautiful thing.

Still... she and Danny should not be intimate with each other anymore... or at least not have intercourse. She should tell Danny her thoughts... explain to him what she feared. She should tell him that she loved him, but she just couldn’t take the risk. He would understand... wouldn’t he?


The two of them were stretched out on a blanket in the middle of the tall-grassed meadow. The mellow gurgling of the nearby stream and the occasional shrill shriek of a hawk were the only things that punctuated the comfortable silence of the afternoon. Danny lay with his eyes closed, his head on Emma’s stomach. She ran her fingers through his thick hair, marveling at the silky texture of the dark locks and wondering again where he got his exquisite characteristics from.

"Danny?" Emma asked.

"Yes love?" He answered, his eyes remaining closed

"You’ve never really told me much about your family, or your mother," Emma began, wanting to start some conversation so that they could get around to discussing what was really on her mind.

"Not much to tell," Danny answered simply.

"Well... where does she live? When’s the last time you saw her? Where is the rest of your family?"

Emma began to rattle off the questions, but Danny rolled over and reached up to kiss her deeply, "Emma... I don’t want to talk about my family."

Emma drew a deep breath, the sudden dark, lustful look in Danny’s eyes pushing her heart to beat faster immediately. She knew they shouldn’t do this... she knew it, but she seemed to be powerless to resist. The mere nearness of Danny made her head spin and her body throb with desire. "Well... what *do* you want to talk about then?" She replied throatily, a slight grin playing at the corners of her mouth.

Danny slid his body over Emma until he was on top of her, "I don’t." He gave only a brief smile before leaning down to capture her lips in his.

Their kisses quickly escalated in intensity and depth. Emma’s hands roamed over Danny’s body. He was dressed in his usual pants, long-sleeved shirt, and vest, and Emma sincerely wished that she could undress him so that she could see his body and feel his skin upon hers. Wishing to at least feel him a little, Emma let her hand trace a tentative path down his chest and stomach, until her fingers made sudden contact with something firm in-between his legs. She gasped lightly at the sensation, but before she could explore it further, Danny reached down and snatched her hand away.

Emma giggled, "My goodness, Mr. Daniels... are you always so excited?"

Danny laughed nervously as he continued to hold her wrist, "Well... I guess I just have trouble controlling myself when I’m around you, Miss Emma."

They kissed again, until Danny could no longer stand it. "Emma... I want you," he growled in her ear.

Emma remembered what she’d thought about earlier. She remembered her fear, and she remembered her decision, but she felt her resolve melting in the face of Danny’s intense passion. God help me... I can’t control my want of him! She thought. "Yes... yes, Danny," she breathed.

Danny turned Emma onto her side and positioned his body in back of hers. She felt him lifting her skirt and pushing it out of the way, then she felt the tug as he pulled her undergarments down and away. The sensation of warm hands and fingers gliding along her buttocks and inner thighs made her moan softly, and when she felt Danny shift and then gently ease himself inside her, she let loose a breathy groan.

Strong hands firmly grasped Emma’s hips as Danny moved against her backside in slow, short strokes. Emma tried to match her lover’s rhythm, her hips jerking backwards, eager to be filled and taken by this man who had captured her heart and soul. She could feel her body responding quickly as her pleasure mounted, and she let loose a low, throaty moan. Sensing the rising passion in his lover, Danny grabbed Emma’s thigh and pushed it up and open, bending her knee and twisting her hips and body so that she was mostly on her stomach. Bracing himself on his arms, Danny hovered above her body and increased his tempo, thrusting deeper and harder, his breathing turning ragged. As the waves began to pulse through her, Emma squirmed and reached out, desperate to hold onto something. She grasped at Danny’s hands and arms, painfully digging her nails in as she pulled his arms tight around her. Danny rested his body against her and encircled her in his arms while he continued to push both of them to their limits. Emma’s whole body tensed and stiffened, and she held her breath as her orgasm ripped through her like a tornado, her mouth opening in a silent, strangled scream. Danny released a choked gasp as he followed right behind her, his hips driven firmly against the soft skin of Emma’s backside as he buried his face in her hair and clung to her so tightly.


The afternoon sun was dwindling as Emma and Danny lay snuggled together on the blanket, their bodies comfortably warm and fuzzy from the passion they’d shared. Emma’s head rested on Danny’s shoulder, her hand idly playing with the buttons of his vest.


"Yes love?" Danny answered, smiling as he mimicked his earlier words.

"I’ve been thinking," Emma hesitated, twisting her head up to look at Danny. Her lover’s pale blue orbs widened slightly, his sudden anxiety obvious. "I mean... I was worrying, really," she corrected, but Danny’s expression didn’t change. "What if... what if I were to get pregnant? I mean... what if you were to get me pregnant?" She asked the question and held her breath, fearful of what Danny’s response might be.

A smile and gentle chuckle was not what she’d expected. "Em... that wouldn’t happen," Danny said, reaching out to touch the soft cheek of his lover’s puzzled face.

"You don’t know that for sure," Emma argued, "I mean, I know that I haven’t gotten pregnant yet, and maybe I can’t, but... what if I did, Danny? What would I do?" She asked, the worry plainly evident in her voice.

Danny drew a deep breath. How could he explain to his lover that she needn’t worry about such things without giving away his deepest, darkest secrets? It was a complete non-issue, and Emma’s fears were totally pointless... but how could he say that without arousing the curiosity of her sharp mind? Edward Daniels had many secrets, but he wasn’t ready to divulge them... not yet.

"Emma, my love," Danny began, cupping her face in his hands, "believe me when I tell you that you don’t have to worry about this... alright?" Emma opened her mouth to say something but Danny pressed a finger to her lips, "...Just believe me."

She stared at him for a moment as he caressed her face. "I do believe you, Danny," she said. "I... I love you." She spoke the words with soft conviction, her guilty, uncertain feelings suddenly nowhere to be found.

Danny’s heart melted. Looking back at her, Danny suddenly wished he could tell Emma everything. He hated keeping things from her, and as he gazed into the blue-green eyes so full of adoration and affection, Danny said a silent prayer that she would understand and forgive him when the time for truth came. "I love you too, Emma," he whispered back to her.

They kissed and settled back down on the blanket, hugging each other tight and wishing things could be so different for both of them. Emma did so love Danny, and she believed him too, but she didn’t understand how he could be so certain of his beliefs. What did he know that she didn’t? What was he not telling her? The worries and the endless questions began to form rapidly in Emma’s mind, but something told her not to ask them. At least not right now. Some day, Edward Daniels, she thought, some day I will know all there is to know about you.


The rest of the week passed much too quickly, and Emma and Danny spent every possible minute together, talking, touching, loving... wanting and needing to be with each other as much as humanly possible. They both felt the foreboding spectre of Isaac’s imminent return, and it left them frustrated to know that they wouldn’t be able to be together or even see each other once he was back.

Emma explained to Danny how Isaac went into town for a full day once a month, but they both knew that one day would never be enough for them. Still, it was better than nothing at all, and so that was what they had to look forward to. One miniscule day out of an entire month. It seemed like torture, and their love for one another seemed hopelessly ill-fated.


END Parts 1 & 2 of 5

Parts 3-5

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