"I'm liking your progress, Taran; I think you are proficient with two hands now. I'll have to find you a more complex melody." Esme sat next to Taran as she started thumbing through different sheets of music, playing them inside her head to rate their difficulty. She was amazed with her husbands progress, which accelerated ten-fold once he set his mind to the idea that he could actually do it. His mood also helped improve his progress.
"I like where we are. I'm not as skilled with my left hand yet." Taran fingered over the notes, playing a scale with both hands, trying to play it through perfectly. After the third muffled oath, Esme looked up from the paper in her hand, and at her husbands' hands. After a minute she found the problem.
"You are using your hands as if they were separate parts-"
"Last I felt, they were."
"No, you need to use them together." Esme moved from her seat and placed herself behind Taran, placing her hands over his on the piano keys. "When you play, move both hands together. Think of it as using swords; the weapon might be a separate piece, but you use it in conjunction with your hand and arm." Esme kept her hands the way they were until Taran could play the scale perfectly. She moved them up to his shoulders when he started playing the song they had just been practicing.
Esme liked the feel of Taran's shoulders; she could feel their strength as his muscles moved with him. Esme hadn't really thought of her husband in the context of a man before. A stranger, a tyrant, a child, and someone to be pitied had all crossed her mind, but never as a man. Now that she had a second to reflect on it, she was attracted to Taran's person. He was tall, and largely built, with very nice features. His hair could use another trim, but it was not the massive mane he had when they married. Even his facial hair wasn't repulsive to her, nor his eyes. They weren't like the average blind man's eyes, swimmingly unfocused in the socket, but sharp and clear. Both were framed by thick, dark lashes. Esme had finally convinced him, and his valet, to shape his eyebrows so that now he looked like a gentleman.
"Esme…Esme, are you listening to me? I know you are there, I can feel you." Taran even shrugged his shoulders to prove his point. Esme hadn't been listening to him; he could have played one of Haydn's piano solos and she wouldn't have noticed.
"Taran, have you ever wondered about me?"
"Yes, and you've told me mostly everything about your past, so my curiosity has waned."
"No, I mean about me physically…as a woman." Esme still had her hands on Taran's shoulders, which she felt tense up at her question.
"I haven't needed to, I've felt you against me, that time when you cut my hair." Esme decided to sit down at her vacated seat next to Taran on the piano bench, since she wanted to spend some time exploring this topic.
"I didn't know you remembered. But don't you wonder what I look like, my colouring? Many of David's friends wouldn't even talk to a woman if she wasn't blond or dark, with blue eyes or with brown. I don't even know your likes and dislikes in a woman."
"It is too late to matter now, isn't it?"
"Still, it would be nice to know."
"Very well, I'll take the bait. What do you look like?"
"Which part?" Esme was laughing inside; she secretly liked making Taran uncomfortable.
"You are not going to make this easy; very well, what colour are your hair and eyes?"
"Both are a dark brown, which I inherited from my mother's side. David says in the summer, if I let the sun touch my hair too much, it gets lighter, but I don't notice-"
"I would have settled for brown."
"Do you like women with dark colouring? You never told me what your fiancée looked like, or any of the other women in your life."
"I never had a preference when it mattered. Right now, you could have purple hair and red eyes for all it concerns me."
"It does matter, a man is still a man, not matter what impairments. Now, what else do you want to know about me?"
"I know enough."
"If you are not going to ask, then I shall just have to tell you. I have thick, long hair, longer than my waist. I am taller than the average girl, with a slim figure. I have small feet and hands, with long fingers and fingernails-"
"That is quite an itinerary."
"You keep interrupting me. I am trying to give you a mental image. If I were in your place, I should certainly want to know what my wife looked like, so that I would not have to be embarrassed about what she looked like.
"Your appearance is not everything."
"Yes, but you haven't asked about anything else. We don't really know each other personally, not in the present sense anyway. We've never even kissed."
"I should have thought you had the advantage there."
"What do you mean?"
"I know when you are near me, but not what is specifically there. It would take me too long to search for your face."
"You could ask me, or even start small by kissing my hand." Taran didn't answer for a minute. Instead he slowly moved his hand across the piano keys. When he didn't find what he was searching for, his hand slowly moved from the keys and descended towards Esme. When he found her hand, he slowly brought it back to his lips where he kissed it firmly. When he was finished, he brought it back to her lap.
"When was the last time you kissed a woman?" Taran tried to release Esme's hand, but she kept it with hers, even strengthening her hold on it by taking it in her other hand.
"Probably not as long a time ago as you think." Taran didn't struggle to reclaim his hand, but let Esme hold it.
"I'm not so stupid to think that there haven't been women in your life, even after your accident. Have you thought about kissing me? We are married, we can do that."
"As I said, I think you have more of an advantage."
"Just because you haven't done it, doesn't mean you haven't thought about it."
"Contrary to popular opinion, I am a warm-blooded man, Esme, so yes I have thought about kissing my own wife. Even without eyes, I can find you attractive enough to want to kiss you."
"You have eyes, you just cannot don't use them as everyone else does." It was Esme's personal mission to keep Taran from being bitter about his sight. "Would you mind it if I wanted to kiss you…now?" Esme hesitated slightly, since this was the strangest experience she'd had in initiating a kiss.
"I would not object." Taran's body went even more still, if possible, till Esme thought he would form into stone. This didn't deter her, only strengthened her resolve.
Esme picked up Taran's hand from her lap and started at the back, placing small kisses on his smooth, taught skin. Moving towards his thumb, she kissed each pad of each finger before placing a small kiss in the centre on the palm of his hand. When she looked up from her work, Taran's face was still stone. Esme kept his hand in her lap with one of her hands as she pulled her face up. Because there wasn't much difference between their heights sitting, Esme didn't have to raise her body much. She started by kissing his chin. He had a strong chin, Esme knew, with a strong jaw. His entire face was beautifully structured, which any female could appreciate, and Esme wasn't just any woman. With a small kiss on one side of his chin, she glided over to the other side, before moving up to one of his cheeks. There she paused for a moment, awaiting a response.
"I should have thought you had more experience than that. I didn't think you were shy, Esme." Esme smiled a little, but didn't move her lips. He might be saying one thing, but his voice wasn't as unaffected as he was trying to make it.
"I'm not shy, I'm just not entirely sure how to continue." Taran slowly raised his other, unattended hand still on the piano keys and raised it towards Esme's face. His hand felt out the bottom half of her face before securing it on her own chin.
"Liar." Slowly, Taran moved Esme's face until it was positioned in front of his own, before moving his lips the short distance to cover hers.
Esme didn't know what to expect from her first kiss with her husband, but she wasn't afraid to find out. She let go of Taran's hand and raised her own to rest on his shoulder. The other went out to lightly touch his face. Taran's one hand remained to hold her face while to other moved to support him on the bench.
While their hands were moving, so were their lips. Taran had set the pace as slow and steady, which Esme was happy to comply with. This was her first kiss in a long time, and she didn't want to rush it or ruin it. He was keeping his mouth closed, content to just feel her lips move with his own for the time being. When Taran stopped, he didn't pull away from Esme, content to rest his head against hers, with the occasional brush of their lips.
"Now are you satisfied?"
"Of course, my husband kissed me. Thank you, Taran."
"What else do you want from me?"
"Nothing else, why should I? Would you give it to me if I asked?"
"I didn't think so. This is what I want for now."
"Do you mind having a wife who is not untouched?"
"Only if you mind a husband who is the same."
Esme and Taran were sitting next to each other on the sofa in the sitting room, after finishing a comfortable dinner. They hadn't been awkward with each other after what happened in the music room, nor had they been awkward during their meal. The last barriers between them were surely crumbling, which was a good feeling to the both of them, though neither was admiting it to the other.
"Society expects a man to have a string of women, but not many will forgive a woman. My own father still hasn't."
"Your father is not the straightest line to measure anything by, so ignore him. I am not concerned with your physical status; it happened before we were married, so what could I have done to prevent it?"
"I've not had a string of lovers, you know? Just because that is what everyone says does not mean it's true. After a while, I just let everyone see what they wanted to see."
"If that is what you say, than I will believe you."
"You would trust my word like that?"
"You have not given me any reason since we have been together to make me distrust you?"
"No, but no one has believed me whenever I have tried to tell them the truth."
"What is the truth?"
"Charles was the only one. I might have been drunk and kissed my fair share of men, but nothing else. I couldn't, I wasn't brought up that way and I still couldn't forget Charles."
"Then that is what I will believe." Taran pulled Esme's head down onto his shoulder, but not before he kissed it.
"I have trouble with alcohol; I start drinking too after that incident. When you left the first time, that's what I did because I didn't like being left alone."
"I didn't know. Why are you telling me?"
"You say you trust me. I want you to know everything so that you can trust me completely."
"I have a very short temper. I'm still bitter about what has happened in my life until now. I am still adjusting to normal interactions with outside people. I'm also a perfectionist, and won't settle, no matter how long, before something is perfect."
"Thank you for telling me." Esme liked when her husband let his guard down enough and let her be near him like this. She never in her wildest dreams imagined that Taran would let down his defenses for a woman again after being scorned by his former fiancée. But here he was actually letting her in.
"I want to earn your trust as well."
"Hello Mary, I was just stopping by to ask if you have finished everything in the order yet?"
"Aye, Yer Grace, th'girls just finished the last stitches last night. Yer should see them, Yer Grace, 'tis the best work that's come out of this shop, or my name's not Mary Niall."
"I'll see them when they're delivered, Mary, when I can see them properly. Thank you so much for doing this so quickly. I know you've had a lot of business recently."
"Aye, thanks to Yer Grace, we have. Bruce's been able to hire a few more girls to help the twins an' I in the back. Everyone's needin' new clothes for the Spring. Yer Easter dress be almost ready."
"Thank you Mary, though that's not as important as what you've just finished. I can't thank you enough. How is everything else going with you? I haven't been able to see you in so long."
"Everything's jus' wonderful in my part of the world. The twin's are healthy, my boy is healthy, my man isn't stressed. The only thing new is that I'm expectin' in the next couple season's."
"Oh, how wonderful Mary, when do you think exactly?"
"I figure the end o' summer. I'm not that far along; I don' even show yet."
"Oh, Mary, this is fantastic. I'm glad you have more help, I wouldn't want you working too hard before the baby comes."
"Aye, what kinder Scots woman would Yer Grace have me be? When I was with Colin, I was workin' till the very last day, and didna take more than ten days at home before I was back."
"Yes, but now you don't have to be back so soon. I wouldn't want you to hurt yourself."
"Nay, Yer Grace, I'll be fine, yer'll see. Just you wait till Yer Grace starts havin' bairns of yer own. We be waitin' in town for news any day now that Yer Grace is expecting the next Duke o' Argyll."
"What do you mean, Mary?" Esme was surprised by the turn of the conversation. She thought the town had enough to think about with money coming in and everyone spending it.
"Pardon my saying, Yer Grace, we all jus' be thinking that it'd be about the proper time to be ahearing that Yer Grace be with child. But if it be too soon for Yer Grace to tell, it be too soon."
"They fit, what more can you need to see Esme?" Taran spoke behind the wooden screen in his room, where Esme was sitting a few feet away on a sofa, waiting for him to emerge.
"I want to see how they look. I want to make sure you look presentable."
"How much more presentable can they look? I've already said they fit."
"The presentation is for my benefit. Now, come on out Taran. Please." Esme was getting impatient with her husband. She had given Mary Niall an order for a complete new wardrobe for Taran, and now it was finally finished, she wanted to see the finished product on the live model.
Taran slowly emerged from his hiding spot so that his wife could admire his new clothes. He hadn't understood her reasons for buying him new clothes, and still didn't, but he was having a hard time arguing with her on the point. The new clothes felt just like the old ones, maybe a little lighter and less constricting, but it wasn't as if he could see them and tell the difference. Taran supposed that was what Esme was for.
"Oh Taran, they look just as beautiful as I had thought they would. These fit much better than your old clothes, and look more modern. Ornaments don't suit you; clean lines are much better."
Esme circled her husband, adjusting things as she went until he was perfect. She wasn't going to be cruel and make him model every piece she bought, but if they looked as good as what he had on now, than she had chosen well. She could wait for his evening suit his outdoor attire later.
"They were the height of fashion when I bought them, and my tailor said embellishments were necessary."
"He lied to you to make a good sale. Tu es tres chic." Esme had gotten used to men in kilts, and only occasionally missed men in pantaloons. But seeing Taran in a kilt now, all of those thoughts disappeared.
"That is saying too much."
"No it's not. The dark blue of this jacket contrasts beautifully with your eyes and makes them stand out."
"Contrast? My eyes are supposed to be dark too. I never knew they changed." Esme wanted to take back her words since they were now upsetting Taran, but she also wanted to come to terms with his condition.
"This is the only colour I've known them, and they look beautiful to me." Esme stood on her toes to kiss them closed. When she was coming down, Taran reached for her face so he could steal a kiss on her lips.
It was the same closed mouth kiss from the day before, but Esme was starting to want more. She slowly wound her arms around her Taran's newly clad waist before deepening the kiss herself. Taran caught the hint and opened his mouth for Esme. The two dominant personalities battled for a turn before Taran conceded. After all, ladies first. But that didn't last long as Taran wanted his turn. After all, he wasn't a patient person. Soon, both needed to release for air.
"This is a good reward for trying on new clothes. You might convince me to do it again."
"I should have done it before, so you wouldn't have complained as much." Esme tightened her hold on Taran before leaning in again.
Esme and Taran stood there for a while until both became too heated to continue standing there in what they wore. Taran tried reaching for his jacket, when Esme released his mouth and stopped his hands.
"Stop, Taran, don't. I don't want to go too far."
"Are you scared, Esme?"
"No. Yes. No. I'm just confused really. I had the strangest conversation with Mary Niall this morning. We were talking about her expecting, and then she said how the village is expecting me to…well, expect soon, and I've been thinking about it all day-" Esme was rambling and Taran didn't say anything as he walked Esme back towards the sofa as both were not in any condition to stand. When Taran finally removed his jacket and both were comfortable, then he spoke.
"Calm down. Why is this confusing you?"
"Because my comfort bubble was burst and now I realise that everyone is waiting for you to have an heir; impatiently waiting."
"People can wait."
"Do you want them to wait? We've never been comfortable discussing children before, and now I feel when we've just become comfortable around each other, we have to rush to expand our family."
"Do you want to rush?"
"No, I don't want to rush, but then I've never had to worry about heirs before. This is about your family's name."
"I've waited this long. I can wait more. Besides, it is your family and your name too."
"Do you want to?"
"I haven't had time to be a good husband yet, and I'm not sure I know how to be a good father."
"Neither of us have had good examples. I don't mind waiting, if you don't."
"We have time until we want. I'm not planning on dying anytime soon, I'm certainly hoping you're not either."
18 March 1801
My Dearest David,
I write this to you with a happy heart. Me and Taran (yes, I can refer to him so personally) have made leagues of progress in our relationship. I cannot tell you how happy both of us are together. Spring is almost here in Scotland and I hope the weather is a sign of our relationship. I do not know what else to write except that I hope everything is well with you. I cannot wait for you to come home.
I miss you and love you.
AN:Hello, I greet all on my journey here from the dead. Yes, I am alive and (for the most part) well. It's been a long year+ since I last updated, hasn't it? I hope I still have readers. I never, never, ever, ever meant for this update to take this long. It's been a rollercoaster ride for me though these past months. Depression's a b**ch and a half, if any of my reader's have ever experienced it. If you haven't, take my word for it. But I'm back and hopefully better than ever with new experiences under my belt to help me finish this story. I want to finish this story, please don't get me wrong, so please still keep posted for when I update. I'm in college, with the next few weeks being really busy for me, so I can't update as fast as I want to, but it wont be another year+ again. I tried to give you a bone to chew on this chapter. To some I might be speeding things up, I thought so too when writing, but for some reason it flowed when it went in this direction. Fate (if I believed in it) wanted them to kiss (alot) in this chapter, so they did. NO SEX, just kissing. And as an early F.Y.I, I don't write lemons. I read them, and enjoy them, I just can't write them. I'm more about the sensual, than the sexual, so if your reading and hoping for a lemon, they're not here. Thanx for reading, plz review, I haven't seen that email in a while. 8D
P.S: I commissioned someone on deviantART to draw Esme and Taran (to help get the creative juices flowing again) so the links are in my profile if you're interested.