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This Beautiful, Silent Moment

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“It's just a silly game," she said as they entered his cottage. "And there’s only one rule: once we begin, we cannot speak until the clock strikes four. That’s just under thirty minutes..”

Phyllis Baxter would have laughed at his expression had she not already been consumed with nerves over her scheme. Joseph Molesley had a good many qualities about him, but being tight-lipped was not on the list.

“Well, I’m certain I could do that, Miss Baxter,” he stuttered, “although I’m not sure what the point of the game is.”

The point is I’m trying to seduce you, and if you start in on the latest astronomical discoveries or the history of grapefruit consumption in the United Kingdom, I will lose my nerve, she thought. Aloud, however, she merely said, “I assure you, it’ll be worth it. But we haven’t much time.” She put the packages she’d bought in town on his parlor table, her eye to the curtained window looking out to the street.

They’d not been observed entering his cottage at this time of the day. She’d been certain to choose mid-afternoon when most people would be busy at their jobs and not spying on the schoolteacher to see if he had an unmarried woman in his home unchaperoned.

“I suppose I’m up to the challenge, then.” Molesley took off his light jacket and helped Baxter off with hers before hanging them both up in a small closet by the door. “I must admit, this game of yours has me intrigued. Anything else I should know before we start?”

“Just silence. No matter what happens, if you speak, the game is over and we have to stop.”

“Then I will be the picture of restraint.”

God, I hope not, she thought before saying, “Are we ready?” At his nod, she said, “Silence begins….now.”

Molesley made a show of zipping his lips together, then waited patiently for her to begin.

And in that first, horrific moment of silence, it hit Baxter full force what she intended to do. It had all seemed so clear in her schemes. She loved him. He loved her. They loved each other. But both were saddled with crippling shyness and histories of heartbreak, and neither had ever had the nerve to make the first move.

It was one thing to do such things in the safety of your own warm bed, tucked under the blankets against the chilling, lonely nights. But here in broad daylight, Phyllis Baxter felt her resolve starting to weaken.

Part of her wished he would say something as she stood there doing nothing for what seemed an excruciatingly long moment. One word would break the spell, they’d both laugh at his folly, and all would return to normal.

But normal wasn’t where Baxter wanted this afternoon to go. And they only had thirty minutes.

For once, Molesley maintained his silence.

All right, then. In for a penny, in for a pound, she told herself as she leaned forward and placed a firm kiss on his lips.

His look of stunned surprise almost made her laugh. He opened his mouth, but she pressed her fingers to his lips to stop him from speaking. Thankfully, she stopped herself as well. His lips were warm against her fingertips, and she could almost see his nerves running away with him.

Tracing her fingertip from his lips to his collarbone, she then pressed her hands flat to his chest, leaning in for another soft kiss.

This time Molesly did not try to speak. Instead, he slipped his hands to her waist, pulling her into the kiss. For a man who seemed afraid of his own shadow, socially speaking, Molesley was a surprisingly good kisser.

Baxter got lost in it for a moment, eyes closed, enjoying his warmth, the feeling of his hands grasping her gently. When they finally broke the kiss, she had to force herself not to blush and turn away. Molesley was staring at her in wonder, his eyes sparkling in disbelief. Once again, he started to speak before quickly stopping himself. He grinned at her as if to say, “No, I absolutely do not want this game to end, thank you.”

Suddenly very aware of the window, Baxter took one of his hands in hers, leading him towards the closet near the door where he’d hung their jackets. She’d noticed, on earlier visits, that this corner was a perfect spot for privacy. From the outside, it was virtually invisible to passers-by, regardless of the direction they were walking. With more nerve than sense, she guided him until his back was against the closet door and kissed him once more.

She tried to wipe from her mind the circumstances by which she’d learned the art of the clandestine rendezvous. As she pushed against Molesley, her lips seeking and finding that perfect angle and pressure, she realized that in comparison, her trysts with a certain Peter Coyle had been ugly and sordid.

With Molesley, she felt all the passion, all the desire, all the excitement she’d ever felt with Coyle, but none of the shame or self-doubt. Moseley allowed her kiss, greeted it eagerly, and returned it with a force that surprised her. She tried not to moan as he pulled her body against his, arms around her waist as she wrapped her own around his shoulders.

When they finally surfaced, faces flushed and breathing heavy, Baxter had to remind herself of her own rules. No speaking. Not a word. Words would only destroy this. Words would bring her back to sense, and at this moment the one thing she did not want to be was sensible.

With fingers made nimble by years of delicate needlework, she unbuttoned his shirt, placing gentle kisses on his neck and chest. She pressed the flat of her hands against the warmth of his undershirt, burrowing into the crook of his neck to kiss and nibble his flesh. He smelled of musk and chalk and Molesley, and Baxter found the scent so mesmerizing she almost lost herself for a moment. It was only when he tensed in her embrace, his entire body going rigid, that she remembered where they were and what they were doing.

A single glance at his beet-red face confirmed what she already suspected. Baxter wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pressing her body against his, feeling his arousal between them. A rush of almost smug elation ran through her at the undeniable evidence of his pleasure. She buried her smile into his shoulder, mindful of his embarrassment. Poor Mr. Molesley. A sliver of shame shot through her joy, knowing that of the two of them, she was definitely the more experienced.

But to Baxter, who had done things that would make good men blush, this moment felt as fresh and clean as the first time she’d been intimate with a man. She blinked upward, catching the look of amazed adoration in his face, the unabashed joy at her touch, and she might as well have been a girl of eighteen as a grown woman in middle age.

Their eyes held for a long moment, seeking without words, mesmerized. She leaned in to kiss him again, and this time his mouth was full on hers, hungry, commanding. If his reaction had been any less decisive, she might have lost her nerve. But in the wake of that kiss, she found her hand slipping between them to explore his pocket. She pulled out his neatly-folded handkerchief and pressed it into his palm. Ignoring his look of confusion, she kissed him again, reaching down to unfasten his trousers.

His startled response to her touch almost dissuaded her. But she was inundated with memories of all the times she’d done this to Peter Coyle–all the times he’d asked, no demanded she pleasure him in this way.

Molesley asked for nothing. He gave freely.

She would not let Peter Coyle’s memory spoil this moment…this gift. Because Baxter wanted to give Joseph Molesley the pleasure he was too shy or too self-deprecating to ever ask for. She craved the feel of his length and heft in her hand, reveled in his changing expression as it morphed from surprise to nervousness to absolute rapture. He appreciated her, and it made her want to give to him. It made her feel powerful, knowing he made no demands, had no expectations from her beyond basic human decency. She could stop at any moment, in a heartbeat, if she felt uncomfortable. And while she knew he’d be disappointed, there was no fear that he would become angry or violent in retaliation.

At the core of her, Joseph Molesley made her feel safe. And from that place of safety, she dared to give herself to him in this way. She smiled at his closed eyes, the look of rapture on his face, his lips pressed tightly together to suppress the words she knew were pushing at his lips. One day, perhaps, she’d change the rules, let his voice express what only his face showed now. She wondered what he would say. Would he babble incoherently, or let loose a stream of guttural obscenities to shock the Devil? Her pulse skipped a beat at the thought, and she quickened her strokes on his manhood. It would be soon, she knew. There was too much tension in him, too much repressed desire for him to last long in her grasp. With her free hand, she directed him to hold the handkerchief in place while she focused on bringing him to a climax.

To his credit, Molesley did not cry out. He gasped, shuddered, and collapsed slightly against the wall, but did not speak or moan. Baxter leaned against him, her cheek on his chest as it rose and fell in a deep steady rhythm. She ignored the tiny voice inside her mind telling her she’d done it now, she’d cheapened herself, she’d destroyed herself in his estimation. All of that might have been true, but at this moment–this beautiful, silent moment–she felt all was completely right and true and good.

How long they stood together, breathing in unison, hearts beating in sync, Baxter did not know. Time seemed to have lost its importance. The world and its troubles seemed so very, very far away. Eventually, though, she found her voice. “Has the clock struck four?” she whispered into the silence.

He shook his head, still playing the silence game. The soiled handkerchief had disappeared, folded back into his pocket perhaps, and he wrapped her in a close embrace. “Thank you,” he whispered as he pressed soft kisses against her rich brunette bob. “Thank you.”

Now it was Baxter’s time to lose her voice. Every horrible thing she’d ever thought of herself came rushing to her mind, every unkind slur to describe women like herself, women of loose morals, women of easy virtue. She averted her eyes, unable to look at him, terrified of what she’d see in his face.

But Molesley made the choice for her. He lifted her chin gently, urging her to meet his gaze. When their eyes finally met, Baxter saw none of the shock, none of the condemnation or disgust she might have expected. No, she saw Molesley, his face so open and honest it made her want to weep. The love, the admiration–he looked at her as if she were some angel, fallen from the sky to bless him and make him whole. “Thank you.”

The words brought tears to her eyes, and she flung herself into his arms to hide them in the expanse of his chest. Her lips moved, but she could make no sound. In fact, she was so overcome by relief that it took her a moment to notice Molesley’s hands gently caressing her thighs through her skirt.

She shuddered slightly, hiding her face in his chest. Did he know what his hands were doing to her? As his touch deepened, his strong hands kneading slightly at the long muscles of her legs, she struggled to control her response. But when his lips found the juncture where her shoulders met her neck, she could not help a low moan of pleasure. She blushed furiously.

“It doesn’t seem fair…” he whispered into her ear. Was his breath made of fire? The very touch of it on her earlobe sent a shot of electricity through her body. “...for me to have all the fun.”

What was he suggesting? She shuddered at the thought of her hands between her own thighs, those late nights where she couldn’t help herself, where she’d had to find some sort of relief from the frustration.

“Show me how to please you,” he murmured into her skin as he kissed her neck. “Please…I want to…”

And at that moment, Phyllis Baxter did something she’d never before done with a man. She took his hand and guided him to her. She showed him exactly what she liked, how she liked it and taught him to pleasure her.

It helped to have such a willing learner.

Molesley approached her body as he approached every new area of study–with curiosity, enthusiasm, creativity, and joy. It was not long before she was putty in his hands, barely able to stand as he delighted in finding new ways to bring her pleasure. When she climaxed, it was as if a dam broke in him. Instead of stopping, he pressed forward, searching for ways to extend, enrich, and increase her pleasure. Wave after wave of intensity flooded her body, and still, he persisted, probing and stroking and placing hot kisses on her face, neck, and ears. He pressed his mouth to her breasts, the heat of him scalding through the thick fabric of her dress, leaving her wanting more.

“I’m not…” she gasped. “I can’t…”

He pulled away slightly, giving her a moment to come down and gather her wits about her.

“I’m not ready to…” Her blush said what her words couldn’t manage. She wasn’t ready to fully consummate, no matter how much her body wanted it. There was still a part of her that wanted at least that much propriety.

Mr. Molesly, bless him, seemed to understand immediately what she meant. He pulled away slightly, pressing an almost innocent kiss to her lips as he disengaged his hand and wiped it dry on the handkerchief. “Of course,” he said solemnly, although he couldn’t seem to wipe the silly smile off his face. “I understand.”

The silence hung awkwardly between them for a moment until she said shyly. “I...need the loo.”

“Oh, please, yes. Through here,” he said as he walked her towards the lavatory. “I’ll wash up after, and then make us a pot of tea.” As she closed the door between them, he called out, “Would you like that?”

“Yes, please.” Baxter relieved herself quickly, then washed her hands and tidied up as best she could. She examined her reflection in the mirror–hair a bit mussed, but easily straightened. Dress neat–no sign of anything indecent. Even her blush had settled slightly. But her eyes–oh, if anyone looked in her eyes…

She straightened herself and vacated the lavatory, allowing Mr. Molesley time for his own ablutions. And just as he came out and started to make the tea, the clock began to chime four…

And they both laughed.

The end.