"Hello. I've come to say goodbye." Hamish was standing on the doorstep.
Emma stared at him and stepped back with a sigh of irritation.
"You'd better come in."
He stood nervously on the tiled floor of the big hall. Sunshine picked out the patterns in the tiles and emphasised the colours of the flowers on the table. He looked at the girl.
"I'm going away tomorrow."
"I thought I'd better say goodbye." It was the first time he'd seen her since the evening, half a year ago, when he'd asked her to marry him.
"Arthur's not here."
"It was you I wanted to say goodbye to, not - your husband." He still had difficulty accepting that she was a married woman, settled in this big house.
She was watching him. He was embarrassed and had to drop his gaze. That was more embarrassing because her body was as fascinating as ever. Her perfect breasts were lightly supported so their shape was evident beneath the heavy silk blouse. The gold stripes framed the imprint of her nipples. He was thankful that the long skirt concealed her legs.
He swallowed and said, "You've got your hair pinned up." The fatuousness of this remark made him blush.
She smiled and touched the plaited crown of silver-gold hair. "Arthur likes me to be tidy."
The last time Hamish had seen it, her hair had been free, tangled by the wind. It had framed her face as she raged at him. Now she was tamed, her lips and eyelids touched with make-up.
The light in the hallway changed as a cloud passed over the sun. Shadow washed the colour from her face and from the blouse, and then she blazed in splendour as the sun came out again. He saw her blink and screw her eyes against the light. She turned as though to lead him from the hall into some room more suited to a social visit. Then she turned back, as fierce as she had been six months before.
"Why couldn't you keep away? There's nothing more to say. It's finished. Can't you understand?"
"I felt I ought to say goodbye."
She was so close to him that he could smell her perfume, light and fragrant. Her face was ugly with anger. "You're always so bloody correct! Doing what you ought to do! Your whole family's the same. Duty! I didn't want to fall in love with some kind of machine that simply did its duty."
He felt the blood drain from his face and the pain of her condemnation gouge at his stomach. He should never have come, like a moth to a candle, to have his wings scorched once again. He stepped back, turning, seeking the door and escape.
"I did love you. I still do," he said.
She cut him off before he could move more than a couple of steps.
"You didn't love me enough to stay," she said, bitterly. "Your bloody duty - your career came first. That's not enough for me. I want a man who'll live with me and love me - not some untouchable hero, off exploring the Empire. I can't make do with loving a photograph on a piano."
The injustice triggered his anger. "It's nothing to do with heroism or Empire. You knew I was going on this expedition. Geology's not something you do in an office - not the sort of geology I want to do. I thought you knew how I felt and were prepared to share it with me?"
"How can I share? You're going off for three years in the Antarctic - men only. No! Boys only, playing boy's games. And you expected me to wait for you. Doing what? Living in a nunnery? I'm twenty-one and I need love - the love a man can give me."
Now, the justice of her attack made him feel guilty and he tried to hit back. "I thought you felt the same about wild places - loved the open air." He gestured round the grand house. "Emma - this isn't you."
She was contemptuous of his pathetic retort. "You forfeited any right to criticise me. I'm married now. We've both made our choices."
Then he saw her anger crumple and she looked down at the patterns of sunlight on the tiles. "It's all too late. You should never have come here."
He saw a tear slide down the flat curve of her cheek.
"Why didn't you just fuck me?" Her voice was bleak. "I wasn't a virgin. It would have solved everything if you had. I'd have had to wait then - or you'd have had to stay. But your bloody sense of honour got in the way." She turned away and he saw more tears follow the first.
Her sudden coarseness and the tears shocked him. He realised that her pain matched his own and he wanted to comfort her. Instinct made him reach out as she turned away in despair. Her breasts suddenly filled his hands. They stood, frozen, shocked at the intimate contact. He felt her nipples stiffen against his palms. Horrified, he felt his penis stiffen against her thigh.
"Hamish!" It was a groan of despair mingled with desire as she turned against him, grinding her belly against his arousal. Her cheeks were blushing and, glancing at the open neck of her blouse, he saw the spread of colour darkening her chest. Fascinated, he reached to touch her throat and see if the heat of her skin matched the rising flush. Her fingers brushed his as she released the top button. The white edge of her bra was thrilling in contrast to flushed skin and the sumptuous colour of the blouse. Her fingers undid a second button and his control broke. He forced fingers beneath white lace, desperate to feel the solid curve of naked flesh and the thrusting nipple. The blouse yielded and a button rattled across the tiles, emphasising their silence. Her fingers finished undoing the buttons and she wriggled blouse and straps from her shoulders. As she bared herself, he bent her back so his lips could join his excited fingers to learn the shape and texture of those exquisite breasts.
Her ragged breathing revealed her abandonment to his will. It was as if the last six months had never been. As his fingers sought for more, she whispered, "Upstairs!"
She nestled against him as he carried her. Only the hollow clack of one of her shoes and then the other falling onto the tiles marked their progress.
He laid her on her married bed, still unmade and marked with the imprint of two bodies. Intimate possessions were everywhere, intimidating him. She raised her hips and pushed skirt and underclothes into an untidy heap on the floor. Glancing round the room as she wriggled out of blouse and bra, she said, "Get undressed. Don't worry about anything else. There are only the two of us here now."
The unguarded declaration and her dazzling nakedness sparked him to action. She laughed as he struggled out of his clothes.
"I won't run away," she giggled and his heart lifted at her gaiety. Her beauty made him forget guilt and honour and duty. His irresistible desire drove him into her body without preliminaries.
"Wait! You're so big." She moved beneath him and he felt her moisten and then liquefy.
"Now!" She placed his hands on her breasts. "Fuck me!"
Her body was an enchantment for his hands and eyes and penis. He'd had no woman since he met her and wanted her a year ago. Enchantment became concern and then alarm, as he doubted his ability to keep control. Emma seemed unmoved, her eyes closed, not responding to his urgent thrusts. At last, she seemed to sense his crisis and her hands tensed on his back. She opened her eyes, smiled and then breathed, "Don't stop. Oh, please don't stop. Oh, Hamish!"
She arched to meet him, holding herself rigid while her hands urged him into her. He almost forgot himself as she cried out and writhed against him, using legs and arms and fingers to urge and control, to hurt and to soothe. His own climax was the most intense he'd ever known. As he spent and spent again, groaning with effort, she met him with her own small cries, encouraging him to one more effort and then more. At last, they finished and lay, shaking and exhausted among the tangled sheets.
It was half an hour before he felt her move, rousing them from a blissful drowse. Propped on her elbow, she looked down at him, her breasts hanging in perfect tantalizing curves. Strands of hair had come loose and he reached up to unpin the rest. Together, they spread it over her shoulders and breasts. As he looked at her, he realised at last, all that he was giving up.
"I love you," he told her.
"Enough?" She was very solemn, looking down into his eyes.
"Enough?" he echoed, puzzled.
"Enough to take me away from here. Will you do that? We can go away and be together all the time."
He didn't believe her at first. He thought of his family and hers. Her husband and his family. And friends and...
"No! Emma! How could we?"
"Easily. I've got a car. We could simply go. Why not?"
He looked at her in horror. She had pitched him from the comfortable aftermath of his most profound sexual experience into some bizarre gypsy escapade. It would have been terrifying if it hadn't been so ludicrous - a musical comedy pursuit by her outraged husband.
He got up and searched vaguely for his clothes. "I'd better go."
She slipped the blouse on and pulled it round her. Her hand cupped her chin and she shook her head slowly. "Hamish, if you weren't such a simple idiot, I wouldn't love you so much." She stood close to him, her eyes bright with tears. "Would you really run away with me?"
He hesitated a little and then said, "If you really wanted. Yes!" He dropped his shirt and pulled her against him. The hard points of her breasts stabbed him and her round thighs pressed against his. "Oh yes!" he breathed and kissed her for the first time that day.
.... There is more of this story ...