Dispelling the Darkness
"Belle," he whispered, concern marking his countenance. "What is it, dearest?"
Her eyes fluttered open and then closed at the sight of his face. She turned her head into the pillow and her shoulders heaved.
"I canít think what I . . . have I done something wrong?"
She shook her head. "It was a dream." Her voice came muffled through the pillow.
He stroked her hair tenderly. "Would it help to tell me about it?"
She quailed. How could she tell him she had dreamt he was unfaithful, that she could not satisfy him and he only humoured her when he told her he loved her? Scenes of him with other women taunted her. His voice dripping with scorn as he spoke to her echoed in her ears. How could she rid her mind of the images that seemed so real but were only insubstantial dream visions totally disconnected from reality? Hadnít he proved his love time and again since his first tortured declaration at Hunsford? What had conjured up such agony behind her sleeping lids?
Their evening had been idyllic, devoid of any type of confrontation, as always. They had sat curled together in front of the fireplace, reading. She had chosen a biography of Byron, <I>The Flawed Angel</I>,* but it had not been to her liking. And then she remembered Ė Byronís pride in his ancestry, his disdain for those beneath him, his arrogance Ė it had all reminded her about how she had misjudged her beloved Darcy when she had first met him. How she had thought him devoid of all proper feeling. She did not like being reminded of such blind prejudice. Before putting the book aside she had skimmed through it, glancing at descriptions of Byronís profligate, rakish ways. He was neither immune to pretty servant girls nor young wives disenchanted by their husbandís infidelities. She barely repressed a shudder as she dropped the book upon the floor. She knew she would never return to it.
The next book she had taken up had been her comfort book. <I>Touch Not The Cat</I>.** It was an old favourite that she had read so many times it fell open naturally in a number of well worn places. She turned quickly to her most loved parts. To where Bryony ran out under the blossoming pear tree to find Rob, the first time they looked into each otherís eyes as acknowledged lovers, and then the day they were married when they had their picnic by the river and discovered that they had waited for each other, just as she and Will had done. There had been no one else and they had discovered all there was to loving together.
She had sighed and leaned into Will as she read, and he had stroked her arm, laid a soft kiss upon her brow. It had not stopped there, and soon their lips had met softly and sweetly only to get caught up in the delight their love evoked. Belle had pulled her head away to look into his eyes. They were filled with warmth and tenderness and that look she knew only too well. He had pulled her to her feet and by unspoken agreement they had walked to the bedroom, fingers entwined. They had made love with a gentle, lingering passion that left them fulfilled and so pleasurably tired that they fell asleep in each otherís arms.
How such dreams dared to intercede after a night like that she did not know. Their vividness had horrified her; their prurience had left her numb. They were as completely unwarranted as they were deeply disturbing. Somehow she had to eradicate them.
"Who knows where dreams come from, but they have no bearing on our waking life." He was still playing with her hair and running his fingers caressingly down her back. His voice was warm and soft but carried a hint of worry. "I canít bear to see you hurting, my love. You are my one, my only, my light in the darkness." The last was said into her ear as he nuzzled her head.
Belle turned then and with a sob nestled against his bare chest. "I canít tell you . . . the dream was too . . . but help me lose this feeling."
He ran his hands up and down her back and sprinkled kisses across her cheeks, upon her eyelids. "The only thing that is real is you and me." He looked into her eyes deeply, his own radiating assurance. "You are my everything."
She felt as if a flower had burst open inside of her, loosing its beauty and fragrance throughout her being. The lingering shadows in her mind dissolved and she knew the difference between dreams and reality. Will was constant as the rising run. She brought her hand up to his face and stroked his rough cheek. "Thank you." She brushed his curls back from his tanned forehead and kissed it reverently. "Thank you for being you. For loving me."
"How could I help but love you?" he said with a grin.
"No matter how harsh I was, how foolishly I acted, you were always there for me. I could never doubt you." She put her fingers to his lips and then could not resist kissing him fully, longingly. "I donít know what I did to deserve you, but thank goodness! I love you madly."
He put his arms around her and rolled them both over until he was resting on top of her. "You realise you are in my power now," he said suggestively.
"Thatís what you think," she said, pulling his head down to hers and kissing him again in a way that made them both lightheaded.
After their lovemaking they slept again and the dreams they had were sweet and light. They woke to a room where sunshine had cast away all of the shadows and from the trees outside their window came ebullient birdsong.
* Byron The Flawed Angel - Phyllis Grosskurth
** Touch Not The Cat - Mary Stewart
© 2004 Copyright held by the author.