Log in

No account? Create an account
Previous Entry Share Next Entry
Battle of Britain--Chapter 23
ears, eyes
Rating: R (language and sexual situations)

Author: morgan72uk and rogoblue

Summary: Will Dominic and Adelle actually go through with their hasty wedding?

“Good morning.” Enjoying breakfast in bed, Adelle wondered about her bridegroom’s state of mind. “Did I wake you?”

“Driscoll woke me when breakfast arrived along with news of an urgent phone call. I haven’t made a run for it, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

She laughed. “I felt I should check to be sure James hadn’t left you tied naked to a lamp-post.”

“Your cousin attempted nothing of the kind. I was in bed by midnight – alone.”

“I’m glad to hear it. The breakfast is supposed to be the best Claridges has to offer. You’ll need the strength provided by a hearty meal.” She hoped he understood the implication.

She smiled when he spoke in a low, slightly husky voice. “I missed you last night.”

“I missed you, as well.” Her final night as a single woman had been spent regretting his absence. “Tonight will be very different and I promise to be with you for as many nights as possible from now on.”

“I’ll hold you to that.”

She sipped her tea and returned the cup to the bedside table. “I took the liberty of arranging a few other things on your behalf.”

“Such as?” Wariness mingled with interest in his tone.

“After you have eaten and dressed, you will head to a rather exclusive venue for a massage and then to a barber Uncle Edgar recommends. I thought you might appreciate looking sleek and pampered today, not to mention working out any residual tension.”

“I just might, Miss DeWitt.”

“You can consider it my wedding present.” Suddenly nervous, she added, “There is something else.”

“The name of the church where we’re getting married would be good.”

“St. Martin, Ludgate. It’s a Wren Church, rebuilt by 1703 after the Great Fire. It didn’t fare too badly during the blitz, although an incendiary bomb damaged the roof. I asked Sebastian to find us somewhere small and quiet. It has a rather lovely chapel and he also thought it appropriate; St Martin of Tours is a patron saint of travellers.”

After a moment of silence, Laurence commented, “Your Uncle’s a clever man.”

“And a subtle one.” Adelle took a moment before continuing. “I know this is difficult for you, because the men who knew you best can’t be with you in church. So, yesterday I spoke to the American Embassy and before our ceremony someone from the Ambassador’s staff will accompany you to Westminster Abbey to pay your respects at the tomb of the Unknown Soldier.”

“Adelle, I—.”

“Let me finish, please. I’ve selected a wreath for you to lay on the tomb. That’s my acknowledgement of the importance of your friends and a symbol of my respect for their sacrifice. I knew them as well, Laurence, however slightly and see what it costs you to be without them. I want to do this, instead of carrying a bouquet.”

“I don’t think I can do what you suggest.” His voice thick, he tried to contain emotion that she suspected would be better expressed. “Not today.”

“I love you,” she breathed, “and I know you can do this on behalf of both of us. Then come and be married, mourning them.”

* * *

“I’d like to be alone, if you don’t mind,” Dominic said.

“Of course, Colonel.”

He hadn’t been prepared for the US Ambassador to Great Britain, his wife and teenage children to accompany him to Westminster Abbey and insist on attending his wedding. When they retreated, he knelt and lowered his head.

“The last time we spoke, you called me an idiot for leaving Adelle the way I did,” he said, addressing the shade of John Devon. “I’m an hour away from rectifying that situation, even to your satisfaction. We’re getting married, John. Can you fucking believe it?” He chuckled softly and felt badly for that and for cursing. “I’m marrying the woman I love beyond reason and am on my way to a star. There’s a little girl too, a war orphan. I couldn’t love her any more, if she was my own. Kate would have you eating out of her hand in a heartbeat. I have just about everything I’ve ever wanted, but I miss you, Devon. I think of you every day. I wonder if you’re in ‘a better place’ but suspect you’re just in the ground along with everybody else. I always imagined getting married with you standing next to me, teasing me for being nervous and making a drunken toast at the reception. You were the best man of us two. I might’ve been brighter, but mostly I just worked harder. I was certainly more driven, ambitious and focused.” His next words nearly stuck in his throat. “I loved you nearly as much as I love Adelle. You had been such a big part of my life for so long; I just knelt next to your body and cried. We thought of ourselves as tough guys, but I broke down when I saw you bloody and torn.” Dominic raised his head, tears streaming down his cheeks. “I’m not ashamed of it. I’m not ashamed I’m crying now. There’s a hole in my life that will never be filled.” He took a breath. “I’m going to light a candle for you and salute the others too. Know this, John. Today, I grieve for my best man.”

Dominic lit a candle and as it flickered, he sensed someone behind him. He spun but there was no one. Slightly uneasy, he tightened his grip on the wreath. “Gardner, you were a rock, a wise and thoughtful man and a fine comrade at arms. I mourn your passing. Bishop, I imagine you in the afterlife, if there is one, fighting with Hill and vice versa. Your friendship meant the world. Your trust, which turned out to be a little bit misplaced, meant even more. I salute all four of you.” Dominic placed the wreath where Adelle insisted it should go, accepting her wisdom, as he should probably do more often.

“It was Adelle’s … um … Miss DeWitt’s … ah …” He swallowed hard. “Soon to be Mrs. Dominic’s idea for me to come here and say goodbye.” Gesturing at the object, he said, “She picked out the wreath and arranged this visit. She wanted to honor and remember you, too.” Dominic wiped his eyes and cheeks. “Even crying like a baby, I’m happy to be alive and so sorry you’re not. Adelle’s helped me to understand I have to live in a way that makes your sacrifice personally meaningful. I think I might be able to accept that now.”

Slowly, Dominic rose. “Goodbye, guys.” He saluted the tomb four times.

“To the church, sir?” Driscoll asked, when Dominic nearly fell into the car.

“Yes.” Everything blurred. One moment, he’d just escaped Westminster Abbey; the next, he stood in a chapel smelling incense. A frantic look revealed James to his right.

Music played and he found it soothing. When Juliet smiled at him from across the aisle, he realized a vision in white approached. The gown clung to her body and he couldn’t help feasting on the visage. He hadn’t known they made dresses of such flimsy stuff. When her hand slid into his, Dominic raised his eyes to hers. He loved her more than was strictly healthy, but suspected she had the power to heal his damaged person. Adelle might even be able to make something of the tatters of his soul.

* * *

A Few Minutes Earlier

“You aren’t nervous at all, are you?”

Adelle shook her head at her uncle. “As soon as I said yes, I was certain I had made the only possible decision.” Looking down at her hand, she smiled and fiddled with her engagement ring. “It isn’t the future I imagined for myself but I can adjust. We will build something new, something ours. I can’t be without him; he makes me feel complete.”

“The two of you have a remarkable relationship,” Edgar observed, “with a rare honesty. He’s one of the few men I can honestly say matches you.” He kissed her cheek. “I have great confidence that you will be very happy together.”

Sebastian emerged from the church, as the car halted. “Laurence?” she asked, after Edgar helped her out, trusting Sebastian to divine her meaning. Juliet arranged her dress and Adelle shivered, the thin silk providing little protection from the chill January air.

“He’s waiting.” Leaning forward and lowering his voice, Sebastian added, “His visit to the Abbey did him good, but it took a considerable toll. He needs you.” Although she had determined that he needed to face his losses today of all days, she hated that he had done so alone. She vowed it would be the last time.

“I’m ready,” she said firmly, following Sebastian inside. The wedding party was small, though it made a difference that Laurence’s side included more than the bodyguards and James. She didn’t regret her decision to call the Embassy.

Someone, she had no idea who, started to play the organ. As Sebastian walked ahead, followed by Juliet, Adelle took Edgar’s arm. “Ready?” he asked when Juliet reached the halfway point.

“Of course I am.”

Laurence looked resolute and very dashing. She felt the heat of his gaze, as it travelled over her body and imagined his hands following the same path later. When she reached his side, she met his red eyed gaze, unable to look away and desperate to communicate the depth of her feelings. She intended to pledge her life to his – to love and to cherish him, if not to obey. The sacrifice of her independence seemed startlingly insignificant in comparison.

Sebastian’s sonorous voice filled the chapel. There had been no opportunity to rehearse. While ‘Laurence Matthew’ might not have been the full name she expected, it didn’t warrant a reaction. It charmed her that he looked surprised and stumbled slightly when asked to address ‘Adelle Maguerite.’

When James stepped forward with the ring, Adelle smiled and lost herself in Laurence’s eyes. His hands shook as he slipped the ring onto her finger. The larger ring that remained on Sebastian’s bible surprised her. She hadn’t thought Laurence would want to wear a ring. But as she placed the ring on his finger, nothing could be more right.

“You can kiss the bride,” Sebastian said, with a slight wink, an instruction Laurence didn’t need repeated. He drew her close, his hand resting on the small of her back as she yielded to a kiss that stayed just on the right side of propriety. Drawing back, she smiled and touched her palm to the side of his face, a gesture almost more intimate than the kiss.

"I love you," she whispered.

* * *

“You have the rest of your life to have her on your arm,” James DeWitt said, handing Laurence Dominic a glass of red wine supplied by no less a personage than the spare, Charles DeWitt, exclusively for their wedding reception at Claridges. “Let Addie mingle for a few minutes.”

“They’re plotting something,” Dominic muttered, unable to fathom another reason for all of the women present to be huddled together laughing.

“What could they possibly be plotting?” James countered amiably, clapping him on the shoulder. “My cousin is not the sort to take advice concerning her wedding night.” Gesturing to the group of females, he added, “Certainly not from that lot. Had you arranged for several of your former lovers to be in attendance, she might have been willing to entertain their counsel.”

“Adelle doesn’t need any tips,” Dominic said, sipping his wine. The excellent beverage drew an admiring glance, but his attention returned to Adelle.

James regarded his cousin respectfully. “Sex becomes tedious when your partner has no idea what they’re about.”

Dominic didn’t much care for the idea that Adelle might have found some of their early sexual encounters boring because of the limited breadth of his experience. The memory of how tactile she’d been in the car yesterday restored relative good humor. “Speaking of partners,” Dominic said, full on smirk in place, “when might we expect an invitation to attend your wedding, James?”

“You are family now, aren’t you?”

“Am I the first to have posed that question after I kissed my bride?” Dominic asked, raising the wine glass to his lips to block a jab to the jaw.

“You are and don’t think I’m likely to forget it.”

“Excuse me, Colonel,” said a well dressed older man Dominic didn’t know. “Your wife indicated you’d like some assistance with a transatlantic telephone call.”

“Oh, yes, thank you.”

“Why don’t I wander over to the bevy of ladies and see if I can discover their nefarious plan?” James suggested.

“Good idea,” Dominic said and then gave the man his mother’s telephone number and waited for the connection to be made. “Hi, mom, I just called to let you know that the world has another Mrs. Dominic in it.”

“How wonderful! I’m so pleased to have gained a daughter.” Her pause allowed Dominic a chance to imagine his mother mothering Adelle. “Hush,” she said.

“I didn’t say anything, mom.”

“I was speaking to your sister, Laurence.”

Not inclined to allow things to fester, he said, “Put Lynn on, mom.”

“There is no need for discord on this joyous day,” his mother said.

“I’d like to talk to her, please.”

“As you wish,” she said. “Give my very best to Adelle and be sure to tell her how happy I am for you both.”

“You’ve gone through with it.” Lynn’s flat tone struck a strident chord.

“What do you think?”

“Mom’s walking on air and offering me a glass of beer to celebrate. Gaining a daughter doesn’t sound like code for a promotion to Major General.”

He pitched his sigh to be audible. “I’m married to a British woman from an influential and titled family. You might as well get used to it.” When she didn’t immediately jump down his throat, he said, “I know we’re from very different worlds, but we’ve inhabited the same one for several years now—one that allows us to be together.”

“Her family shares this poetic view?”

“Some of them.”

“The others?”

“Don’t know me well enough yet.” He didn’t know whether the heir’s family, other than Nigel, would ever accept him or if the spare and wife truly approved, but he didn’t care. Adelle making the same vows he had was acceptance enough for him.

“I never thought I’d see the day when my careful, clever, ambitious brother threw everything away for a woman of dubious character.” He laughed. Adelle DeWitt had enough character for twenty people. “How is marrying a British spy going to do anything other than grind your career to a screeching halt?”

“The war is over.”

“Once a spy, always a spy. The Brits will know your every move in advance, because you imagine yourself in love with her.”

He heard his mother say, “That’s enough, Lynn.”

“Do you really think I haven’t thought of that?” Dominic snarled. He shook his head, dispelling the tiny doubt before it could take root and grow. “I’m in love; I’m not an idiot.” Lynn hadn’t taken the spy tack before. The switch from ‘she’ll break your heart when she tires of her small town boy’ to this pragmatic and plausible objection unsettled Dominic. He hadn’t lied. He’d considered this possibility, but Lynn articulating it made it seem more real.

“Mom told me she knows Churchill and who knows who else. We snatched the big stage from them. What makes you think they aren’t interested in getting some of their own back, big brother?”

“People will approach Adelle to serve in the capacity you insinuate, but I plan to get the issue out in the open beforehand, so neither of us is surprised or disappointed.”

“Not before the wedding, though.” Lynn’s unpleasant laughter ended in a murmured question. “Is she that good in bed?”

“Yes.” He didn’t regret the shocked silence he interrupted. “Some of the things that woman does to me ought to be illegal.”

“Here’s mom.”

“What in heaven’s name did you say to your sister, Laurence?” He noted equal parts dismay and curiosity in his mother’s tone.

“I set her back a step. That’s all. I promise.” He felt her skepticism but remained silent.

“Enjoy the rest of your special day and try to accept that your sister is concerned and not hell bent on ruining things for you.”

“Yes, ma’am.” His mother’s laughter hadn’t lost its healing power.

* * *

“Do you need to make any more telephone calls?”

Dominic jumped at the sound of Adelle’s voice and suspected his cheeks reddened. “How long have you been standing there?” he asked, tone falling somewhat short of nonchalant to his ears.

She raised an eyebrow and she slipped her arm around his waist. “I didn’t realize you wanted absolute privacy, but I must confess I’m intrigued by the alleged illegalities you mentioned.”

“How about a demonstration?” he asked, hands itching to get beneath the thin silk she wore.

Adelle smiled wickedly up at him. “I long to be enlightened.” Her purr of the word long vibrated through his body.

“If you don’t want to be dragged off to our suite right now, stop talking to me like that.”

“We should mingle, have a bite to eat and dance a little before taking our leave,” she agreed in the same come to bed voice.


“I want you,” she whispered, tracing his lapel with clever fingers, pressing her body into his. “I want you desperate. I want you to make me believe you can’t live without me.”

“Here?” he gasped.

She sighed and rested her head against his shoulder. “In this building, certainly.”

“Well, now, isn’t this something?” The voice Dominic recognized, but he didn’t place it before tearing his gaze from Adelle to face Clive Ambrose. “Harding clearly had no idea what he started when he chose you as the American liaison to the SOE, Colonel Dominic. My very best wishes to you both.”

“I hate owing him for that,” Dominic admitted, offering his hand. “How are you, sir?”

“Enjoying civilian life, Colonel.” Smiling beneficently, he added, “I don’t have to ask how you’re adjusting to peace time. It’s writ large on your faces. Congratulations, and I mean that most sincerely.” He turned to Dominic’s … God, the word sounded good even when he just thought it … wife. “Adelle, my dear, I have never seen you look so … so … becoming and happy. I couldn’t be more pleased.” His eyes slipped back to Dominic. “How is the Lieutenant Colonel enjoying taking over for you?”

“Not at all,” Dominic replied.

Ambrose chuckled. “He disliked you from the start.”

“That feels like ancient history,” Dominic said.

“You are neglecting Mary quite shamefully, Clive,” Adelle said, deftly turning Ambrose about thirty degrees. “Wave her over or go to her.”

Ambrose clapped Dominic on the shoulder and kissed Adelle on the cheek before making his way to a short, chubby brunette whose eyes lit up as he approached.

“His wife?” Dominic asked.

“One of the long suffering variety,” she said. Adelle looked sidelong at him. “A fate I will not share.”

“No,” he agreed, “you save the suffering for me.”

“How so?”

He pulled her close, not caring what anyone else thought of them being nearly nose to nose. “I ache for you.”

“I hope you’re hungry as well,” she said, before kissing him lightly, “because we’re being summoned to the buffet.”

“I’m ravenous, Mrs. Dominic. There’s no doubt about that.”

“I think I prefer Adelle,” she said, taking his arm and drawing him toward the food.

“I’m not sure I do.”

“Perhaps, later, in our suite, I can make you see reason.”

“You can make me see a lot of things. Reason might not be one of them.”

* * *

“Are you having a good time, Mrs. Dominic?” Adelle smiled, as Laurence’s hand settled on her hip. She felt his warmth through her dress, the way her body responded a salient reminder that they had spend the previous night apart.

“I am,” she said, leaning against him, as they watched their remaining guests talk and drink. She enjoyed the way he said, ‘Mrs Dominic,’ proud, but just a little hesitant, a reminder of how great a transformation they had just experienced. Glancing up at that most unlikely of beings, her husband, she observed, “You look the same.”

“Good.” He pressed his lips to the top of her head, before asking, a trifle plaintively, “How much longer do we have to stay?”

“We might be able to take our leave now.” Some guests had departed and she doubted if anyone expected them to remain until the bitter end. “It is traditional for the bride and the groom to leave the wedding reception early; I don’t see why we should be any different just because we are spending our wedding night here.” Lowering her voice and pressing closer to him, she said, “The spare arranged for a bottle of vintage champagne to be sent up to our suite.”

“I want you,” he said, his gaze heated. “I don’t care about the champagne.” His hand grazed her side and she barely stopped herself arching into him. “Say goodbye,” he commanded; she didn’t baulk.

“Give me a moment, please.” With some effort, she detached herself from his side and crossed the room to her aunt. “Laurence and I are going to slip away,” she informed Juliet quietly. “We don’t want there to be a lot of fuss.”

“Honestly, Adelle, I am surprised the two of you lasted this long.”

Smiling ruefully she said, “I’m a little surprised myself.” Laurence conferred with Mason, when she asked, “Will you make our apologies?”

“For wanting to consummate your marriage? Go and enjoy your wedding night.” With every intention of following her aunt’s advice, Adelle returned to Laurence, her husband, clasping his hand in hers and drawing him from the small private room where the reception had been held.

Bodyguards followed at a discrete distance, but she ignored them, conscious only of the man at her side. She felt his tension and thrilled at the restraint he exercised and the desire he would soon surrender to. She couldn’t resist pushing that restraint toward its limits.

The bodyguards didn’t follow them into the lift, the privacy a wedding gift of sorts. As the lift slowly ascended, she kissed Laurence’s cheek, brushed her lips to his earlobe and then grazed his flesh with her teeth. His voice broke on her name and she didn’t for a moment believe he was telling her to stop.

“Yes?” Her eyes delivered a challenge he met by pushing her back into the wall of the lift. She rubbed herself sensuously against him and his eyes fluttered closed before the sound of the doors opening at their floor had him pulling away.

Once again, she slipped her hand into his and they strolled along the corridor to their suite. Driscoll waited at the door. “This was brought up for you ma’am,” he said, handing Adelle a heavy envelope with her married name inscribed across it.

Before she could open the envelope, she cried out in surprise as Laurence lifted her into his arms. “Put me down,” she demanded, laughing.

“Absolutely not.” Driscoll opened the door as her husband, it felt less strange to think of him that way this time, carried her over the threshold.

“We don’t want to be disturbed,” Laurence called over his shoulder as he strode across the suite. “Seriously, if another war breaks out, we’ll get to it tomorrow.”

“Yes sir!”

She knew Driscoll was laughing, but she didn’t care. Laurence lowered her gently onto the bed and plucked the letter out of her unresisting grasp, dropping it onto the bedside table without another glance. “We’re married,” he said, sounding awed. “Can you believe it?”

She pulled him down for a kiss which burned with promise. “I’m starting to,” she said, “but you should kiss me again, to convince me.” He complied, happily if she was any judge.

Pressing his shoulder, she rolled him onto his back, straddling him. His hands ran over every inch of her body he could reach and she threw her head back and rocked her hips against him. “Christ, Adelle! Slow down.”

She shook her head and started to unfasten his jacket. “We have the rest of our lives to make love slowly, I don’t want that tonight.”

“What do you want?” He helped her ease his jacket off and she heard the thud of his shoes hitting the ground.

“The first night we made love, you marked me. Do you remember? The bite mark was the least of it, Laurence. You marked me emotionally; even if we hadn’t been reunited I wouldn’t have been the same.” Looking down at him, she continued, “I want you to rip this dress off and take me the way you did that night. I want you to mark me.”

* * *

“You want me to tear this?” Dominic breathed, tugging lightly at Adelle’s sleek and incredibly sexy wedding dress.

“God, yes,” she nearly whimpered.

“Don’t women pass wedding dresses onto the next generation? My mom did.”

Adelle laughed, kissed him on the nose and pressed her body to his. “Do you want Kate to wear as little as this on her wedding day?”

The weight of fatherhood crashed down on Dominic briefly. “Of course not!” His consternation gave way to a soft sigh, as Adelle undid his shirt buttons. “I know that’s hypocritical, but I’m comfortable with it.”

She kissed him breathless. “Must I make you uncomfortable to get what I need?” she murmured, slipping her thigh between his and placing his hands on her breasts. Adelle moaned when his fingers clenched involuntarily, drawing an answering one from him, as she pressed a hand against his erection. Smiling, she tightened and released her fingers before stroking him through his pants. Her deft, ever varying, far too light touch maddened him. He lifted his hips, but Adelle adjusted, not permitting him to increase the stimulation.

“Come here,” he growled.

Adelle climbed off of him and positioned herself to have the sort of sex she craved, heated over the shoulder gaze demanding compliance. Refusing her directive as she had his, Dominic pulled her down for a kiss. She struggled. Startled, he released her. “Take me,” she said and resumed her position, playfully wiggling her raised bottom.

He slipped out of his shirt, feeling anything but playful. Matching her earlier intensity, he tossed Adelle a condom and rose to shuck his trousers. She sheathed and tempted him with a luscious, open mouthed kiss, before dropping to her hands and knees once more. Blood pounded through his veins. Hard enough to hurt, he knew he wouldn’t last long. Dominic settled in behind Adelle and gently tugged her onto her knees and angled her body to face a large dressing mirror to the right of the bed. “I’m going to take you like you’ve never been taken before,” he hissed, figuring to talk a good game at least. “Look at me,” he commanded. Adelle glanced over her shoulder and he kissed her fiercely, both hands entangled in her hair. “In the mirror.” The instant Adelle’s eyes met his in the mirror, he smiled and gripped the shoulders of her gown. He felt desire shiver though her and made her wait before he ripped the dress off her upper body. Her parted lips emitted a harsh cry when he caressed her breasts, concentrating on her distended nipples, certain the silk of her bra enhanced the stimulation. Panting hard, Adelle started to turn her head. “Bad girl,” he said, twisting a nipple savagely. She gasped, but faced the mirror. “Take off your bra for me.” He worked her nipple ruthlessly while she complied.

“Any … anything else?” she said as she tossed her undergarment aside.

“Watch in the mirror,” he said, stroking her throat, breastbone and her breasts with the ruined dress. Her eyes grew wide and her breathing even more labored.

“Laurence,” she groaned as he drew lazy circles on her stomach with silk covered fingers.

He ripped the gown a bit more and pushed her underwear aside. Shamelessly, helplessly, Adelle lifted her hips to meet his caress. Dominic held his hand steady and allowed her to pleasure herself, marveling at her sheer abandon, trying not to think about how aroused he was. Her body spasmed and she cried out in relief and pleasure. Unrelenting, he drove two fingers deep within her and nibbled along her throat. She experienced a second shuddering climax when he bit her shoulder. He held her until she relaxed. “Turn around,” he whispered.

“I need to take care of you,” she said.

“Not just yet,” he muttered.

“It’s past time, Laurence.”

“I’m too damn close to give you what you want, unless you’re right there with me.” Without further ado, he put his mouth on her and didn’t relent until Adelle writhed with lust. When he pulled back, she released his head and turned her back to him. Dominic drove into her with all of the passion he’d held in check. Four thrusts and two love bites later, the pressure demanded release and the pleasure pounded on and on, both exhilarating and draining.

Dominic couldn’t recall how they came to be entwined together in a redolent haze, sharing the same pillow. He had no idea how much time had passed and certainly didn’t remember dealing with the condom, but it was gone. What’s more, he couldn’t think of a single thing to say. They’d communicated with sheer physicality and he couldn’t articulate what they’d said with their bodies, so he finished what he’d started. The remnants of her thin fragile gown joined her bra on the floor. With more care, he removed her underwear, returned to the shared pillow and slowly dragged his fingers through her tangled hair. She snuggled closer, smiling against his shoulder. Inspired, he said, “You make my life worth living, Adelle. Thank you.”

She kissed the base of his throat and he felt the barest hint of teeth at the same location. “You make being sore a benediction, Laurence.”

He angled his head to look at her. “I’m sorry,” he murmured. “I didn’t mean to hurt you.” Frowning, he said, “I guess I did a little, but only because you asked me to.”

“That wasn’t a complaint. I enjoyed the way you took charge and I’d like you to do it again.”

“I love you.”

“Really?” she said, preventing him from answering by slipping her tongue into his mouth. “I hadn’t noticed until you used my dress against me.”

“You’ve been using it against me all day.”


“Do you want some champagne?” he asked, recalling seeing it as they’d passed through the living area of the suite.

“Would you take it amiss if I did?”

“No. I could use a splash of something.” After one last kiss, he unwound himself from her embrace, pulling his pants on without bothering with underwear and shrugging at Adelle’s obvious amusement. “I’m only going to be wearing them for a minute or two, right?”


Adelle sat up and stretched her arms over her head. Dominic’s heart leapt into his throat. “I can’t believe you’re mine,” he said.

“Even after I gave myself to you so completely?”

“I did a bit of taking,” he smirked, “ma’am.”

* * *

Left alone, Adelle leant back against the headboard. The gold ring adorning her finger meant she wasn’t alone any longer. She and Laurence had entered into something that could not be ended easily or without pain.

Before she could contemplate further, Laurence padded back into the bedroom, carrying glasses and the champagne bottle. “You ordered champagne, madam,” he said, the formality undermined by his being half naked. Opening the bottle with a flourish, but stopping any precious liquid from escaping, he poured them both a glass before undressing and returning to bed.

“A toast?” She offered, raising her glass, “to no longer being alone.” If he thought it strange, he didn’t say, but she wanted to explain. “I’ve been on my own since I was 18. I couldn’t allow myself to become too close to my aunts or uncles, because I didn’t want to replace my parents. Now, I feel as though I have something of my own, something we’ve created. You’ve given me a sense of belonging.”

Her words didn’t warrant a spoken answer. Reaching up, she kissed him slowly, lips moving gently against his. Gone was the urgency of their love-making, when passion and abandon had driven them. This declaration echoed the promise she had made him in church. Tucking herself into his side once more, she drank her champagne, tracing idle patterns on his chest, for the pleasure of touching him rather than to arouse.

“Who was your letter from?” he asked, reminding her of the missive Driscoll had delivered.

“I don’t know. I was prevented from opening it.” She picked up the envelope, opened it and failed to hide her surprise when she recognised the handwriting. “It’s from Churchill.” Laurence looked stunned.

‘My congratulations on your wedding,’ she read aloud, ‘I am not surprised to learn that you brought all of the subtlety, intelligence and flair you were known for in your recent posting, to the choice of a husband. Colonel Dominic’s valour is beyond question. He will be one of the architects of our peace and I am sure your presence in his life will speed and support his endeavours. Your wedding present will be delivered tomorrow and I hope to see you both when I am next in Berlin. In the meantime His Majesty’s Ambassador there will be glad to hear from you from time to time. Until I have the chance to congratulate you in person, I remain your humble servant, Winston Churchill.’

His frown warranted caution. “Laurence?”

“Sounds like you aren’t redundant, after all. The Ambassador won’t invite you to tea to discuss the weather.”

“He won’t, but he and Churchill know I will not spy on my husband.”

“What about occasionally passing on information about his activities to your own Government?” He had posed an interesting question, but the answer was complex.

“If I hear something at a function, perhaps from our Russian allies, you’ll expect me to pass the information onto you. If that information could also be passed onto the British Ambassador, he might tell me something of use in return. Is that acceptable?” He hesitated and she didn’t wait for him to find an answer. “I’m not a spy, Laurence, and I have no interest in becoming one. I can be a conduit for information that will, at times, flow both ways, with your agreement, of course.”

* * *

“I don’t know, Adelle,” he sighed. “My sister thinks you’d spy on me but I know you wouldn’t make a mockery of what we have by making a laughingstock out of me.” He shifted a stray lock of hair to behind her ear. “You’re nobler than that. Even if you weren’t, it’s not in your best interests to alienate the man who gives you a sense of belonging, unless that was just a very pretty speech.” Making a show of looking her over, he shook his head. “A single Shakespeare play aside, you aren’t a good enough actress to pull that off, not with me in your audience.”

“You know me as well as anyone ever has, Laurence.”

“Having you spying on me would be brilliant. Someone’s going to suggest it, if Churchill hasn’t already, which he hasn’t, I guess, because he talks about how our association will facilitate the peace process rather than potentially derail it.” Her expression surprised him. “Am I amusing you, Adelle?”

“I’d forgotten how convoluted your speech patterns become when you analyze a complex issue.” She kissed him lightly on the lips. “I do so enjoy it, my love.”

“It’s not fair. You say that in your accent and it sounds great. I’d sound like an idiot.” God, he adored her laugh. Hell, he flat out adored her.

“You’d sound like a man in love.”

“Those aren’t the same, are they?”

Adelle laughed again. “Not exactly.” She sobered quickly telegraphing the importance of what she intended to say next. “What of what I and Winston have suggested?”

“I see pros and cons,” he said, feeling his way. “There will be tough decisions for me, because I won’t implicate my superior officers in any exchanges you make.” He cupped her chin in his hand. “We might not always agree on what’s to be shared.” Kissing her softly, he added, “You called the shots before. I do now. Is that going to be a problem?”

“Will you listen to my counsel?”

“Always. I’d be a damn fool to ignore it, which I hope we can agree I’m not.”

“We can.” Adelle ran gentle fingers through his hair. “If you give me a fair hearing, I will abide by your decisions.” She chuckled. “It’s only fair, as you did the same at the SOE.”

“Forgive me for hoping this collaboration will be longer lived.”

“Consider it done.” She wrapped her arms around his neck and kissed him soundly.

“So long as you stay a conduit, Adelle,” he cautioned. “I don’t want you to become a target. I need you. Kate does too, even if she doesn’t know it yet. You can’t risk being more overt.” He sighed and looked away. “I won’t say I won’t let you, because I can’t enforce that and I know it. I’m trying to appeal to your better judgment and hope you won’t leave Kate and me alone in the world.”

“I agree to your condition.”

In an effort to mask profound relief, he said, “You need to wear silk underwear made in France all the time.”

“I agree to that condition, provided you supply a suitable collection of same.”

“I like this negotiation.” He stopped her undoubtedly acerbic comment with his lips and tongue.

When he let her up for air, Adelle adopted a serious mien and asked, “Have you considered how we’ll break the news of our wedding and adoption to Judith?”

He hadn’t. “Judith won’t slap you, so it’s crystal clear you should do it.” He held up a hand to forestall the protest he knew was coming. “If you take Kate with you, she’ll melt in about fifteen seconds, so there’s really no risk at all.”

“And you can’t do it, because …?”

“She can slap me in well under fifteen seconds.”

Laughing, Adelle straddled him and said, “What I have in mind will take a tad longer.”

“Thank Christ.”

  • 1
This was fabulous! I can't believe they're married. YAY!

We couldn't either. When morgan72uk suggested he go to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, I knew I had a tough scene ahead of me to write. Got a little emotional writing that one.

But then they said, "I do," and all was better.

That scene at the tomb was heartbreaking but it was needed. I think it was perfect that he go there before the wedding.

For whatever reason, I liked putting this version of Dominic through the emotional wringer. I'm trying not to wonder what that says about me.:)

  • 1