Come the next morning, Celeste wasn't quite sure what to make of this roguishly handsome earl.
He had woken her up in the middle of the night with soft slow kisses, making her head spin and her body ache for more. This time he was slow and deliberate, not allowing his own lust over take him. He touched her and made love to her like she was a fine porcelain doll that even the slightest force would break her.
It was such a sharp contrast to how he had been with her only hours before and if asked, Celeste couldn't say which side of him she liked better. There was a certain allure to the rough dominating side of him, who took what he wanted without much thought. But then there was the slow seducer, who made her ache for the other side of him.
Celeste woke slowly, stretching out her aching limbs. She sighed contently into her pillow, feeling strong arms encircle her. Opening her eyes carefully, she stared into the bright green ones of the earl. She smiled softly at him and tucked her hands under her chin.
"Good morning," she whispered.
"Good morning," he replied, grinning brightly.
Celeste was surprised that he had remained the entire night in her bed. Most of the gentlemen she had been with had gotten up soon after the act was over, gotten dressed and bid her a farewell. So, this was something new entirely and Celeste wasn't sure how to act.
"Sleep well?" he asked, trailing his fingers lightly over her bare arm.
"Very well, my lord. And yourself?"
"With an angel such as you by my side, it would be hard not to sleep well. Though I think our vigorous activity also had something to do with it." He remarked, kissing her nose.
Celeste couldn't help the blush that crept up her cheeks.
"I do hope you enjoyed yourself, my lord," she said hesitantly.
Jasper chuckled. "Do I need to remind you to call me by my name. Also 'enjoyed' would be a gross understatement. I do hope it was as pleasurable for you."
Celeste took one of her hands and lightly touched his arm.
"More than I can up into words."
"Good. I would hate to think I was losing my touch."
"Hardly," Celeste laughed. "Though I am sure I will never hear the end of it."
"Oh really? From whom?" Jasper asked with a frown.
"From Eliza. From what I hear, she was your usual." Celeste felt slightly bad for bringing it up, but part of her wanted to know he picked her in the end.
"I see her a handful of times and she thinks that she has a claim on me. I know this may sound odd given the current situation, I am a one woman kind of man. Now, that I have had you, you will no doubt be seeing a lot of me," he remarked, pulling her flush against him.
"Then why not just keep a mistress as most men of your class do as opposed to visiting one girl in a whorehouse?" Celeste asked with genuine interest.
"And have a woman sitting in a house all day pining away for me, waiting for my every visit… no. As it stands currently, my schedule is too demanding to have a woman waiting for me all the time."
"Oh. If you don't mind me asking, what is it that you do that has you so busy?"
Jasper sighed heavily and propped his head up on his fist so he could gaze down into her face.
"It is a rather long story, if you would like to hear it," he remarked, figuring that she wouldn't.
Celeste reached up a hand and softly touched his cheek.
"Please. I would like to better understand the man who is apparently going to visit me regularly," was Celeste's cheeky reply.
Jasper turned his head and kissed her palm.
"If I am to tell you my story than you have to tell me yours," he replied. "Are we in agreement?"
Celeste thought about his proposal for a moment wondering if she could really tell him everything. She had never spoken so candidly with any of the other gentlemen before. But there was something about Jasper that made her want to tell him. Somehow knowing that he couldn't judge her or pity her for how she got to where she was.
"Agreed," Celeste replied, laying back on the bed.
Jasper grinned when he noticed that she made no effort to pull the sheet back up to cover her bare breasts from his sight. He laid his head back down and took one breast in his hand, tenderly massaging the fleshy globe.
"I work in the London headquarters of the East India Company for about the last year and a half. I had been there about six years after I had bought my commission. I was forced to return from India when my elder brother died and the title fell to me since he had no sons."
Celeste brushed away a tear and snuggling up close to him, gave him a hug.
"That must have been very difficult for you," she whispered softly into his ear.
He ran a hand up and down her back.
"Yes. It was something I never thought I was going to have to do. Either way, I have some direction to my life."
"Thank you," Celeste said, kissing his shoulder.
Jasper smiled against his hair. He couldn't believe he had just told her that story. Most of the girls he had been with since returning from India didn't care to ask about his life or even to listen to what he had to say. This one was different, however, and Jasper was going to do whatever it took to keep her for a while.
"Now, it is your turn," he whispered into her hair.
Celeste sighed heavily, not bothering to move and began to tell her story.
"I was sent away from my home, my country to this place," Celeste said against his shoulder, his arms holding her tight. "Madam bought me from the man I thought was my father. I was my mother's bastard and he wished to have nothing more to do with me and decided this was the easiest way to make something of me and get something in return."
"How much?" Jasper asked softly.
"I am not sure how much it would be in English money, but about twelve thousand francs," Celeste replied trying to keep herself calm.
Jasper whistled low. "That is a significant amount of money."
"I know. So, I am stuck here until I can pay back my debts."
Jasper's heart went out to the tiny girl in his arms. He had not expected a happy story, since most girls in her place came from impoverished homes and had no other means of survival. She had been forced into this without a choice and that was something that Jasper couldn't quite wrap his mind around.
"I'm sorry," he said.
Celeste shook her head. She didn't tell him all of that for him to pity her. She felt sorry enough for herself without having someone else involved. Instead, to distract him from his line of thought, Celeste smiled softly and reached a hand under the sheets. She took his member in her hand and started to stroke it up and down.
Jasper groaned his approval, pulling her in for a kiss.
"Naughty girl," he said, tracing the fullness of her lower lip with his tongue.
"You do manage to somehow bring it out in me, my lord," Celeste giggled, her grip becoming firmer.
Jasper slid a hand down and between her legs, his fingers feeling her moisture. He was surprised when he felt that she was more than ready for him already. Easing two fingers inside, he matched the movements of her with him.
Celeste moaned against the side of his neck, enjoying the feeling his fingers invoked. For the first time in a long time, Celeste felt like she was close to him, that he was enjoying her company because he wanted it and not because he paid for it.
With a hand on his shoulder, she gently urged him on to his back. He laid back contentedly as she swung a leg on either side of his hips. She sat back on her heels, running her hands over the broad expanse of his chest and stomach. Taking him back into her hand, she guided him to her entrance and slid down on him.
Jasper admired the view before him – her hair all mussed, her eyes hooded, her lips parted and her full breasts bouncing slightly. She rolled her hips back and forth slowly, savoring the feeling of him filling her so completely.
Jasper surged his hips forward meeting her downward thrusts and leaned up on his forearms to catch a harden nipple in his mouth. He licked and nipped on the harden bud, first one and then the other.
Celeste wove her fingers into his hair, holding him close as her hips began to move faster and harder.
They both cried out their completion and Celeste fell heavily against Jasper's heaving chest, his arms coming around her once more.
"I should have left hours ago," Jasper sighed, running a hand through her hair. "But I am finding it very difficult to leave you."
Celeste rubbed her nose against his. "I am glad you didn't sneak away in the dead of the night."
"Oh really?" he asked teasingly.
Jasper pecked the tip of her nose, before easing her off of him. "I really should go through. I have to go settle my debts with Henrietta and they are expecting me at work today."
Jasper rose from the bed carefully and went in search of his clothes.
Celeste pulled the sheet up to cover her and leaned on her side, watching him as he tugged on his pants. He shrugged on his shirt and buttoned it up the front.
"Will I see you again, my lord?" Celeste asked softly before she could stop herself.
"You will be seeing a lot of me," Jasper chuckled and leaned in, giving her a soft kiss. "Tomorrow, if it can be arranged."
"I will look forward to it," Celeste replied.
Jasper finished dressing and bade her good bye, lightly touching her cheek.
Celeste watched him go, frowning slightly when she realized that his limp was more pronounced than she had originally thought. She figured it had something to do with the scar on his leg. If she could find enough courage, maybe she would ask him about it if and when she saw him again.
She stretched leisurely before finally pulling herself from the bed. She approached the now cold bowl of water set upon a side table. Dipping in a cloth, she cleansed herself before dressing.
Approaching the door, Celeste heard voices on the other side. Leaning down, she peeked through the key hole into the hallway.
Jack had Pearl pushed up against the doorframe of the room directly across from Celeste. He kissed her longingly as if he hadn't already spent an entire night in her company. He finally pulled back for air and smiled tenderly down at her. Reaching into the pocket of his jacket, he pulled out what appeared to be a few paper bills and discreetly tucked them into Pearl's cleavage. Kissing her once more, he whispered something in her ear before heading down the hall.
Celeste waited until she heard his steps disappear before opening the door. Pearl was still outside her room, staring at the money in her hands.
"Good morning," Celeste said pleasantly to make her presence known.
Pearl jumped almost a mile in the air and dropped the money. She quickly fell to her knees to scoop it up.
"Oh, dear dear. Please, you mustn't tell Madam. She would 'ave my 'ead, she would," she said frantically.
Celeste dropped down beside her and taking the money nearest her slipped it back into Pearl's hand.
"Hush. I will not tell a soul," Celeste whispered, trying to reassure the trembling girl.
Pearl tucked the money back into the bodice of her dress before throwing her arms around Celeste.
"Thank you, Celeste. I know I'm not supposed to be taking money directly from gentleman, and I don't really. But Jack understands the spot I am in and offered to 'elp out in what way 'e could," Pearl tried to explain.
"You don't have to try and explain yourself to me. I understand and if Jack is willing to help you, who am I to stand in your way," Celeste replied, kissing Pearl's cheek.
"You really are the best friend, I ever 'ad." Pearl hugged her tighter. "Can I tell you a secret?"
Pearl looked up and down the hallway to make sure no one else was around before leaning close to Celeste.
She spoke barely above a whisper, but she couldn't conceal her excitement, "I 'adn't seen 'im in a while and if you 'adn't been busy, I am not sure I would 'ave. But we really seemed to reconnect last night since it 'as been a long time since 'e 'as visited me. You know what 'e told me this morning? 'e said that 'e only wants to visit me now."
"Oh, Pearl! I am so happy for you. Jack is a good man," Celeste said happily.
"Some of the other girls would just be jealous, but I knew you would be happy for me."
Celeste helped Pearl to her feet.
"Of course I am."
"Ah, there you two are," a new voice broke in.
They both turned to find Grace walking their way.
"Good morning, Grace," Celeste said pleasantly.
Grace smiled and returned the greeting. "Good morning. Madam would like to see you both, once you have gotten cleaned up and dressed."
"Thank you," Pearl replied.
Grace waved it off. "Think nothing of it. I hope you ladies have a nice day. I am going back to bed."
Celeste and Pearl laughed.
"Long night?" Pearl asked with a wink.
Grace groaned wearily and rubbed a hand over her eyes. "He had me up all night and I am surprised that I can even walk right now."
The three laughed and parted ways. Celeste and Pearl headed back to their rooms to wash and dress. Promising to meet up again when they were done, to go and see Henrietta together.
TO BE CONTINUED...