Phineas Douglas, although it was his idea to send prospective customers to Mrs. Browne in order to keep her from out of his shop, was stunned. Now, instead of having one lone woman wandering in on occasion, he now had many. No longer did they meet elsewhere for their sewing circles.
He listened to the laughter from above, wondering what they could find so hilarious. His apprentice seemed oblivious to them, working quietly on his duties. Master Glazier Douglas sighed greatly. As annoying as the weekly meetings were, he couldn't deny that his business had increased. The ladies would often stop and gaze at his wares, buying baubles and bottles when they could afford it.
The redhead in the corner watched several of Lydia's friends from the sewing circle come down the stairs. One was Martha Greer. Widow Greer actually —who had hopes for finding husband number three. Alexia hid a smirk as the woman subtly demanded Phineas' attention. She leaned forward, moving herself closer to the middle-aged glass worker.
Biting her lip, Alexia couldn't but help admire the woman's technique. She fingered Master Douglas' sleeve and cooed over its tattered edges sympathetically. Perhaps she and the others could mend it next week—a small thank you for his patience and generosity. The widow patted his hand and left the beguiled glazier staring after her. Should she warn him or let him fall prey to his doom like every other man has done since time began?
Phineas cleared his throat and walked over to his apprentice, checking his work. Mr. Browne was making glass beads. They were used by those wanting to trade for items from the Indians, such as food and furs. The older man picked up several from the bowl, noting that they were uniform in appearance. Grunting his approval he went about his business, and wondering if Mrs. Greer would care to take a carriage ride come spring.
The four months had passed and Alexia nervously awaited Master Douglas' word on her apprenticeship. He had not yet said aye or nay. Her anxiety kept her from sleep, often staring out the windows into the night. Lydia tried to soothe her fears to little avail. Even her sweet caresses couldn't ease the knot of tension that had become a part of her.
"Alexia, come to bed."
"I be nae sleepy lass," she whispered back into the darkness.
"I do not care. Get into bed before you catch a chill," she ordered firmly. The redhead felt a smile tug at her mouth from the imperious tone. She walked to the bed and lifted the coverlets.
"Take off your nightshirt dearling," Lydia suggested even as she too slipped her long garment from her own body. Alexia slipped under the covers and snuggled close to her wife, humming in pleasure at her welcoming warmth.
"Mmm, ye be nice and warm," the redhead murmured, nuzzling her nose into her spouse's neck. Lydia chuckled softly and wrapped her arm around Alexia's large shoulders.
As Alexia settled into caring arms, her eyes gazed over the shadowed landscape of her lover's body. Faint light from the night sky caused her skin to glow palely. Alexia let her artistic eyes roam pleasurably along each curve and valley until the urge to explore them became too much. She pulled one hand from beneath the covers to trace the skin with her forefinger. Brushing the skin lightly, her finger followed the ridge of Lydia's shoulder, admiring the delicate strength she possessed.
Sighing in a sensual haze, Lydia closed her eyes and relished the gentle exploration. Her spouse often felt the need to just spend time touching, being intimate without asking for more. Once she had learned this, she could allow herself to just experience these moments without becoming aroused—most of the time.
This wasn't one of those times. The smaller woman felt a quiver along her skin and felt her nipples harden as a warm finger grazed down the center of her chest. Lydia knew Alexia had seen her reaction because she heard the slight increase in her breathing although the touches didn't become more aggressive. Instead, they turned more sensual. The wandering finger made its way to one stiff peak, teasing closely to it. Lydia's fingers combed through the red hair under her hand, clenching with anticipation. After several teasing circles, the petite woman arched upwards, urging her spouse to stop playing and just touch her.
But the ex-soldier didn't want to hurry. She felt a slumbering need to be in control overcome her. Unlike Lydia, who could become a bit rough when she was highly aroused, Alexia's approach was different. She sometimes wanted to be in control but with exquisite gentleness.
Pushing herself upwards, she searched for Lydia's full lips and began kissing her quietly, in tiny soft brushes and nibbles. Lydia pressed herself closer, wanting more solid contact.
Not to be rushed, the larger redhead took her spouse's wrists and eased them back until she had them pinned against the mattress. She kept up the feathery soft kisses, almost stopping to smile when Lydia tried half-heartedly to break her hold.
The smaller woman was frustrated, yes, but knew her lover would be nothing but gentle. Never once in all their time together had she ever forced her into doing anything she was uncomfortable with. She also knew that Alexia derived an intense delight during these times. ‘I feel a special peace inside when I give you pleasure,' she had whispered one night in their cottage.
The seamstress also knew her lover liked at least a token resistance to fulfill the desire to be in charge. Well, having a lover with the patience of Job provided the resistance. Lydia was often convinced she would go mad with need at times. She grinned and arched her breasts higher to rub against Alexia's. The larger woman told her to behave as one palm was placed against her belly to hold her still.
The overly gentle kisses continued for a while before Alexia's tongue began teasing her, tracing her inner lips with the tip. A moan escaped from the pinned woman as her hips attempted to rise. Held firmly, the seamstress raised her free leg and hooked her calf behind a strong thigh, pulling her lover closer. The warm hand left her belly and stroked the olive skinned thigh and hip. For a brief moment, Lydia believed she had convinced her spouse to step up the pace, but the idea was dashed.
Alexia used her grip on her thigh to tug her over onto her belly and covered her prone body with her own. The smaller woman hummed because she loved how it felt to be blanketed by her strong frame. She felt her long hair being brushed aside and lips nuzzling her nape. She could feel the shivers start from head to toes as sensitive lips brushed along her hairline and travel slowly to her ear. Alexia's warm breath on her neck made her quiver and grip the bedding. The redhead softly urged her to relax before taking her lobe and softly worrying it between her lips.
Relaxing wasn't on her mind, not when each gentle tug was echoed lower on her body. Her breathing became rapid and her hips wanted to move. She whimpered and gripped the bedding tighter.
"Shh, tis alright love, relax," Alexia said soothingly as her lips placed soft kisses along her back. Lydia couldn't stop the soft sounds of pleasure that kept escaping her lips. Her body thrummed from the loving caresses as her passion grew. In the back of her mind, she was amazed she was able to remain still, until a tongue teased the dip of her lower back. Lydia gasped out in pleasure and writhed as the wet tongue journeyed along her bottom and hips. Panting hard, she shifted her hips and moaned out her lover's name.
The urge to spin around and grab her lover and ravish her was growing strong, but it was forgotten as fingers caressed her lightly along her inner thighs. Praying that Alexia wouldn't torment her too long, she parted them instinctively. The fingers stroked her softly, never quite reaching where Lydia needed them.
"Please!" she begged, then almost wept as the fingers left her.
"Shh, come here," Alexia urged her as she placed her strong hands around her hips and guided her backwards. Lydia found herself on her knees and sitting on the larger woman's kneeling thighs. Gentle arms surrounded her as lips nuzzled her neck. "I hae ye Sweet Lydia, I hae ye."
The seamstress felt her breasts being cupped and caressed. Lydia placed her hands on top of them as her head drooped backwards to rest on a broad shoulder. Callused thumbs began flicking her hard peaks and Lydia jumped as the touches caused her entire body to respond. Urging her on between gasping for air, she groaned as fingers carefully played with her dark nipples. It wasn't enough. Using her own hands, she guided Alexia's fingers, showing her what she so badly needed. The strong fingers touched her more firmly but it made the seamstress ache for more. She was near her limit.
"Touch me please!" she begged, the urgency in her voice apparent. One hand left her breasts and slid along her belly. Her thighs parted as the gentle hand found her heated center and caressed it fully. Lydia's body rocked against the woman loving her so tenderly, her eyes tightly closed. She was so close. Alexia whispered soft words into her ear but Lydia couldn't hear them over the pounding of her heart. Her body was trembling and shifting uncontrollably as she neared the paradise she craved. Then she found it, crying out in pleasure as the sensation sent exquisite shocks throughout her body. She could only slump limply against her lover, who held her securely within her arms and whispered soothing words into her ear.
As soon as Lydia recovered, Alexia helped her under the covers and spooned behind her. The seamstress felt her spouse let out a deep breath. Within seconds, the redhead was asleep, causing the smaller woman to chuckle softly.
Mary Elizabeth poured them each a cup of tea and added a bit of honey to her own. She glanced at her brood of children through the open window, making sure the scamps weren't into too much mischief. With their chores finished, she allowed them to play outdoors. The warm spring day after a wet and miserable winter was welcomed and enjoyed. John was chasing his wooden hoop as his little brother Matthew ran after him. The oldest, Martha, sat under a tree, reading quietly, her little face in serious concentration. Mary Elizabeth sighed. How did a woman such as she give birth to such a studious and serious child?
"I worry about her sometimes," not realizing she spoke the thought aloud.
"Why Mary? Martha seems such a well behaved girl."
"Lydia, my daughter is too serious for her age. Look at her, studying on such a beautiful day. She ought to be having fun, or maybe visiting friends. An education is fine to a point for a woman, but it has no real value. All too soon, she'll meet a young man and marry, have children of her own, and wonder where time went."
"I was just like her a few years ago. I was an only child and never was permitted to play."
Mary laughed at the idea, hard pressed to see this lively young woman as dull and studious. "Lydia, you are warm as a sunny day and make me laugh. I can't picture you as a serious child."
"Oh, but I was. It wasn't until I met Alex that I learned to laugh. S-, he's a child at heart. Somehow, despite his troubled past, he finds joy in small things."
"And in spite of working long hours, manages to keep you smiling," she grinned, watching the young woman blush. "My dear, there's no need to be prudish around me. I think I know how children are brought into the world. I'm just amazed the two of you haven't had any," she said, not directly asking, but giving the seamstress an opportunity to talk.
"I doubt there will be any Mary," Lydia said sadly. She and Alexia already agreed on an excuse for it and she gave it to her friend, hating to lie. "Alex had the swelling sickness just before coming to the Colonies. He was told children were unlikely because it struck him so severely."
"You knew this before your marriage?"
"Yes, but I didn't care. By then, I already loved him. If children weren't in God's plans for us, we would accept our lot. Perhaps we will adopt one day, once we establish our own lives."
"You'd make fine parents Lydia, I'm sure of it."
A rapid knock ended their conversation. Mary Elizabeth opened the door, seeing Alex standing there, holding a covered basket.
"Is my wife here Mrs. Sullivan?"
"Yes, do come in Mr. Browne." Mary held the door open, curious.
Alexia grinned and rushed inside looking for her spouse. Spotting her sitting on the padded bench, she sat next to her, kissing her cheek.
"Master Douglas hae gotten a bit of spring fever and closed the shop for the day. I thought we'd take advantage of the sunshine and packed a picnic dinner for us. Care to join me Mrs. Browne?"
The seamstress smiled hugely. "I'd be happy to Mr. Browne. Mary Elizabeth, you will excuse us?"
"Of course dear, enjoy your afternoon. And Lydia, watch out for that charming rogue of yours, I believe he has plans for you," she teased, laughing as both of them turned predictably pink.
The redhead had borrowed a carriage from the Wainwright along with directions to a nice location several miles outside of the community. The jingle of the horse's rigging and the clop clop of its hooves were the only sounds that competed with the birdsong. The couple sat contentedly in the carriage, drinking in the warmth and beauty of the spring day.
Lydia pointed to a nearby tree, where a gray squirrel shook its tail in alarm at their intrusion. Alexia grinned and mockingly tipped her hat at the irate creature. It scurried up the tree and disappeared. A few minutes later, the apprentice spotted the twin pines and boulder that marked the hardly used road she sought.
It led to a farm that was uninhabited for the inheritors to the small estate lived in England and had no intention of moving to the Colonies. It was for sale, but as yet, no one had purchased it. The couple looked around, charmed by the small farm. Very little of the forest had been cut down, leaving the property surrounded by shady trees and fields of wildflowers. The only land touched had been about two acres to the east. A small wooden cabin sat beneath a large willow tree.
"It is beautiful," Lydia sighed.
"Aye, like the garden of Eden," the redhead replied reverently. They looked at one another, feeling a connection as the same thought occurred to them both.
"I wonder how much they want for it?" Alexia asked.
They sat on nude on a woolen blanket that they had draped over a large flat stone next to the small pond. The women had eaten their dinner of fruit, cured ham, and bread. It hadn't taken long for the couple to give in to their desires and had made love under the shade of a large tree. Now feeling lazy, they watched a heron wade among the cattails as it hunted for its supper. Dipping its head, the heron pulled out a small fish then paused.
Alexia froze. The bird had sensed something.
To be continued.
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