Mask of the Highwaywoman

By Niamh Murphy

Warning: This story contains sexual content of a graphic nature between consenting adult women. If you are not over 18 years old or not allowed to read content of this nature, please move on to other suitable stories. If, on the other hand, you simply have to know how the story turns around to the extent that there is sexual content in this chapter, then get reading!

Chapter 5: BETRAYAL

She turned and ran.

Back down the stairs and through the crowded pub. She didn't wait to see if they came after her, she just ran and carried on running out into the night.


It took a moment for William to get over the shock, he leapt up and followed Bess, down the stairs, and after Evelyn. Once he came to the front door of the White Hart, Bess was staring into the darkness.

"Which way did she go?" he demanded.

"I don't know, she could be anywhere!"

"How in hell's teeth did she get out?"

Bess hesitated, she had no idea, but she knew it was her fault, and now she had to act fast, and prayed it would work.

"Look" she said "you go that way, get the lads, I'll go up here, just in case." He nodded, and ran off across the bridge, back in the direction of the farmhouse. As soon as his back was turned, Bess ran in the opposite direction; following Evelyn.

Although she'd got a head start, Evelyn was exhausted, and it wasn't long before Bess caught another glimpse of her, running up towards Raker's Wood, she knew that as soon as she went in, there was little hope of finding her in the thick trees.

She called out, Evelyn stopped and turned. She looked at Bess for just a moment, and then ran into the forest.

Bess called out again, running up to what she hoped was the same spot that Evelyn had gone in.

"Evelyn!" she yelled, not expecting a reply. She caught a glimpse of a shadow to her left, and turned, just as Evelyn leapt out wielding a large stick, which she swung down towards Bess. Surprised, but agile, Bess was able to catch a hold of it, just as Evelyn started to scream.

"How dare you? HOW DARE YOU?" She tore back the branch.

"It's not what you think!"

"How long have you known him?" Evelyn waved the branch in the air "How long? A few days? A few hours? How could you? Is this what you meant? Is it? Is this your big plan to set me free?"

"Evelyn -"

"How long did it take him to get you into bed? An hour? Two hours? And that whole time-"

Bess grabbed her by the shoulders "Listen to me!"

"Why should I? Why should I do anything you say? Why should I trust you? You're just a whore! A FILTHY, LYING, CHEATING, STEALING-!"

"He's my brother!"

"What?" Evelyn stopped. She wriggled out of Bess's arms and stepped back "What?" she repeated.

"William is my brother." Saying the words again didn't make it easier for Evelyn to comprehend.

"How?" She stared at Bess in bewilderment, trying to take in the revelation "How can he be your brother? Did you know?"

"I shouldn't have said anything." Bess glanced up at her, but could only hold her gaze for a second before she looked away.

"Goddammit Bess! How can he be your brother? How can you be William's sister? This doesn't make sense!"

"I'm so sorry."

"Sod sorry!" Evelyn shouted, wielding the stick once again. "Have you only just found out that he's your brother? How did you find out? How long have you known?"

Bess looked up at her, but couldn't hold her gaze, and looked away quickly. She bit her bottom lip, and closed her eyes briefly "From the beginning." She said.

"The beginning?" Evelyn lowered the stick.

"We planned this all from the start… everything, the proposal, the robbery, the kidnap… everything."

"But…how…? Why?"

"For money, why else?" Bess looked up at her.

"But William has money, he's in business, in trade. He's been trading with my father in and out of the port at Bristol for months-"

"There is no business, no ships, no imports. Nothing! He's been taking everything your father invested… just …taking it."

Evelyn stared at her. "But William was going to invest… My father said that William was going to invest in the business, a great deal of money he said…"

"I know." Said Bess "That's why we needed money."

"So you decided to kidnap me?"

Bess nodded. "We'd take the ransom, then give it back to your father as the investment…"

"And he'd never know…" Evelyn thought about her father, her poor, foolish, trusting father, she wondered how much money he'd given to William, how much of their estate had already been lost. "How could you?"

Bess shrugged "We've lost everything." She said "Our mother drank, our father gambled and drank, and between them they lost the estate. All that's left is the house, and… well… you've seen that."

"So you thought you'd cheat an old man out of his fortune?"

"It wasn't like that-"

"This was all part of an elaborate plan…? The days he'd come over, and they'd talk business for hours… I should have seen it," Evelyn laughed "he was so friendly, so nice, so charming, people try to get away from my father, William sought him out… and the necklace?" She instinctively reached for it, and looked cautiously at Bess "This was part of it too wasn't it?"

"It was how we knew which one you were. William was at Cambridge, he paid off a coachman to make sure that your carriage was delayed, but we still had to be sure it was you."

"And when you came to give it back? Was that part of the plan?"

"No!" she reached forward.

"How can I trust you?" Evelyn said recoiling.

"I tried to stop this! I tried to stop them taking your locket. I gave you back your money so you could get home. Today I tried to persuade Bill to stop this, to let-"

"Tried! Anyone can say they tried! But you haven't done anything!" Evelyn ripped her necklace off, and threw it to the ground.

"I love you."

Evelyn looked up, startled. Bess looked straight back towards her, there were fresh tears on her cheeks, but she didn't bother to wipe them away.

"I've loved you since the moment you said you'd rather stand. I don't know why, or how, I just know that I love you, and all I want, all I've wanted since I met you, is to just… be near to you, just be close, and just…oh God, I don't know… I'm sorry..." She was struggling to speak, and fresh tears were pouring out.

Evelyn was overwhelmed, she wanted to reach out, to hold her, to comfort her, but she was still so angry, and had so many questions.

"If I hadn't found you today," she said finally "if I hadn't managed to escape, and if I hadn't found you with William... together, in the way that I did. If I had gone through with the kidnapping, and through with the marriage, with everything… would you have just stood by and let me? Would you have stood by and let me marry the man that was stealing from my father, even though you say you love me?"

Bess said nothing; she stood in the semi darkness of the woods, looking down at the ground, rubbing her arms slowly to keep off the chill. Finally she let out a deep breath, and looked up at Evelyn, resolute.

"Yes. I would have let you."

Evelyn laughed "You know that is the first thing you've said that I can believe." She dropped the stick, and massaged her temples, still struggling to take everything in.

"Where does that leave us?" Bess asked, looking at her.

Evelyn laughed again, "It leaves us in the woods Bess. In the woods, in the dark, being chased by big men, with big guns."

"I know somewhere we can hide."

"I've followed you before, if you remember."

Bess held out her hand, "Please trust me."

Evelyn looked at her, she felt exhausted from the running, she was dirty, and hungry, and her head ached. "Give me one good reason why I shouldn't turn you in?"

"I don't have one." Bess's hand dropped. "I just want this to be over, and I don't want anyone to get hurt."

Eventually Evelyn sighed, and took the highwaywoman's hand "So where is that hiding place?"


The barn towered up in the dark. Evelyn wasn't sure she wanted to go inside, let alone hide in there all night.

"What if somebody comes?" She whispered, following Bess across the courtyard.

"There's no need for anyone to go into the barn in the middle of the night, and we'll be gone before they get up" she glanced around before grabbing, the door "come on it'll be fine."

"This all looks very similar to your farm." Evelyn looked at Bess doubtfully, "How do I know there isn't somebody waiting in there with a musket?"

Bess reached out and put a hand on her arm "It's dark, of course it looks similar. But it's getting cold, the barn will be warm, and safe. I have never hurt you Evelyn, and I don't want to see you get hurt again."

She cursed herself for trusting her, but Evelyn cautiously stepped through the door.

It was black, and musty, she could smell the hay, and hear the creaking of the wood against the light wind. As Bess followed her in, she closed the barn door, and the blackness was complete.

"I can't see anything." She whispered trying to keep the panic out of her voice.

"I know, it's alright, hold on a moment."

She heard Bess strike a match, there was a flash, and then nothing, Bess muttered under her breath, and tried another. She protected the small flame with her hand, and the light reflected softly against her face. She started to look around, searching along the wall.

"What are you doing?"

"Well if this was my barn" she said softly, without breaking her search "I'd keep a couple- yes, here we go" she reached for a candle and lit it with the last of her match "I'd keep a couple of candles out here, and maybe a lantern." The candle threw out much more light, and she saw three small lanterns hanging from hooks along the wall. She reached up for one, and placed the candle inside, cursing softly when a drop of wax landed on her hand. "Well let's look around." She said, putting her hand out for Evelyn to take.

The barn walls were lined with tools: forks and scythes of different sizes, and a few other bits and pieces that Evelyn couldn't name. There was a cart, which was empty and leaning towards its front. As they crept past it Evelyn could see the barn was split in half, with wooden pillars running down the middle, holding up the hay loft; beyond the pillars, from floor to ceiling, was fresh hay.

"It's not quite silk sheets, but it will be more comfortable than a ditch. We're lucky; it looks like they only brought this in recently." Bess leant down and pressed her hand into the hay, as if testing a mattress. "What do you think?" She looked across to Evelyn, clearly delighted with their find.

"Will there be rats in it?" Evelyn asked.

"Rats?" The look of delight washed off Bess's face, and she looked back at the hay with suspicion. "I don't think so; the farmer has a lot of cats, so we should be fine."

"What about spiders?"

"Spiders...? … well… cats eat spiders, so that should be fine too."

"Cats eat spiders?" Evelyn started to wonder just how easily lies came to Bess's lips.

"Yes, of course they do, and whatever they miss the owls get."

"There are owls in here?" Evelyn instinctively looked upwards.

"Probably. I don't know. Are you alright with this?"

Evelyn closed her eyes for a moment. She was not alright, the thought of spending the night in a rat infested barn, with owl droppings, and spiders, let alone the thought of Bess's gang catching up with them at any moment, was not making her feel alright. She felt Bess squeeze her hand, and opened her eyes. "Perhaps if we go up to the next floor, it might be safer." She said.

Bess nodded "alright, you take that." She handed Evelyn the lantern, and started looking around for the ladder, it was lying on the floor next to the cart. She set it up, and tested it "Do you want to go first?" When Evelyn shook her head, Bess climbed up, and swung herself on to the next floor with ease. She reached down, and Evelyn passed her the lantern before taking hold of the ladder herself. It wobbled slightly, and she was wary of putting her full weight on it, but it was only a few steps up to the top, and Bess helped her up into the hayloft, then pulled up the ladder, just in case.

"Happier?" Bess asked, she nodded. Bess reassured her several more times that there were no animals in the fresh hay, and in order to further put her mind at rest she suggested that they sleep in their undershirt's, and lay on their clothes; they would be far more comfortable.

They made a snug little nest between them, hidden from view, so that should anyone have a need to enter the barn, they wouldn't be seen. Finally Bess blew out the candle, and lay next to Evelyn. "We only have a few hours before sunrise."

"Well we'd best get some sleep then." Evelyn whispered.

"Thank you." Said Bess after a few moments.

"What for?"

"You could have turned me in."

"I still could." Evelyn warned.

"Well… thank you for trusting me."

Evelyn reached out and found Bess's hand, she held it and Bess inched closer, resting her head on Evelyn's shoulder. Evelyn's heart started to beat faster, she could smell Bess's hair, she wanted to feel her soft skin against her own. Tentatively she placed a hand on the highwaywoman's waist, she was struggling to hold back, even though she didn't know if she could trust her, or even believe anything she'd said.

"What are we going to do?"

"What do you mean?" Asked Evelyn, cautiously.

"Well I can't let you turn my brother in, they'll hang him, or transport him-"

"Oh, I… I don't know, I hadn't really thought about it. I suppose the only way we can end this is to get back to Bristol, to my father. Then we'll think about what to do next."

"Bristol is a long way."

"I know; we should probably get some sleep."

Bess moved to rest on her elbow "Goodnight" she whispered, and leaned forward, kissing Evelyn softly on the cheek. Evelyn's breathing was ragged, and her heart was pounding in her chest, Bess was so close she was sure she would be able to hear it.

"Goodnight." She whispered back, she found Bess's cheek in the dark, and stroked the soft skin. Bess moved forward again, this time she caught her lips, and her kiss was soft and slow. Evelyn couldn't help but pull her closer.

She wouldn't let her go this time, she couldn't let her go.

She wrapped her arms around her, she could feel the soft flesh beneath the chemise, and Bess edged closer, her whole body pressed against Evelyn. Bess tasted sweet, and soft, Evelyn licked the soft skin of her lips, gently biting and caressing her. Her hand moved tenderly across her back, squeezing her, gently digging her nails into the soft skin.

Bess gently pushed Evelyn back, and slid on top of her, she broke off their kiss, and brushed her lips gently along Evelyn's jaw line, and down onto her neck. Her hand moved along Evelyn's body, past her waist, and her thigh, to the back of her knee. She gently pulled the knee up, sliding her thigh between Evelyn's legs, and as she writhed against her, Evelyn moaned softly.

Evelyn guided Bess back to her lips, the highwaywoman ran her hand along her thigh, squeezing occasionally as she gently rocked her hips, her full weight pushing against Evelyn.

Evelyn told herself it was just a kiss, just a long, powerful kiss. But as she raised her hips to meet Bess, she pushed all other thoughts out of her mind. Her hands slid down Bess's back, and she grabbed the soft, taut flesh of the highwaywoman's thighs, she squeezed the flesh of the cheeks, massaging, and pulling them closer, as she writhed her hips, arching her back. She heard Bess cry out softly, and her gentle rocking became more frantic, Bess licked Evelyn's neck, and then sunk her teeth into the skin of her shoulder.

Evelyn grasped the cotton of Bess's chemise, pulling it up, searching for the warm soft skin beneath. Bess kissed Evelyn, and let her pull the cotton smock over her head.

Evelyn allowed herself the pleasure of running her hands across Bess's naked body. She moved her hand around to cup the soft flesh of her breast, and once again she felt her breath was ragged in her chest, she massaged her breast, waiting, hoping, and begging for Bess to do the same to her.

Bess leaned forward and placed a kiss on Evelyn's lips, she moved down to kiss her neck, and down to her chest. As she did so her hand slid down Evelyn's legs, and under the hem of her undershirt. She pulled it upwards, and Evelyn lifted her hips, and arched her back, until finally the chemise was over her head, and the two women lay together, naked.

Their hands ran over one another taking in every inch of skin, absorbing every moment, every sensation. Bess's tender kisses moved down to Evelyn's nipple, she gasped as Bess licked, and softly bit the tender flesh. Bess moved to rest on her side, and slid her hand down, along Evelyn's stomach, toward the smooth skin of Evelyn's inner thigh.

Evelyn writhed under Bess's touch, she pulled herself closer, her hips rising as Bess stroked her skin. She reached out for Bess' hip, moving onto her side, so they faced one another in the darkness. She reached her arm around Bess's neck, and kissed her, allowing her other hand to stoke, and clasp Bess's thigh, before slowly sliding her fingers between her legs. Bess arched her back, and gasped, as Evelyn felt her; soft and wet beneath her fingers. As Bess's kiss became more hurried, and her hips pushed forward, Evelyn finally felt Bess slide her hand up her thigh, and push softly against her.

Evelyn moaned, they didn't break their kiss as their hips rocked in rhythm to one another. Evelyn felt Bess become more frenzied, her breathing hurried, and she felt something tear through her. She could no longer control her body as she cried out, Bess became taught against her as they continued their frantic movements until Evelyn screamed her body pulsating as the surge of ecstasy washed over her.

She felt Bess shaking slightly, their breathing was heavy.

In the dark it was impossible for her to see Bess's face, to know her reaction, to know if she had felt that same sensation.

She heard Bess softly chuckle in-between panting. "So much for sleeping." She whispered. As Evelyn lay back in the hay, Bess snuggled up to her, stroking her stomach. "Are you alright?"

"Yes." Evelyn said, kissing the top of her head, and holding her tightly in the darkness. Unable to stay awake, Evelyn drifted into a solid, heavy sleep.


The sun crept through the cracks, poking her in the face with its rays. She turned over, and realised she was naked. She tried to remember where she was, and why she was there.

As she remembered the night before, she suppressed a smile, and opened her eyes, hoping to catch a glimpse of Bess, still naked next to her. But the hay was empty.

She turned, the other way, but there was no sign of the highwaywoman.

Evelyn sat up and looked around her, only her own clothes were left in the hay, no undershirt no corset, no sign that there had been anyone else with her the night before.

Bess was gone.

To be continued in Chapter 6…

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