This is a fan fiction story based on characters from the Lonesome Dove television show, which belong to Rysher Entertainment and Hallmark. No infringement on copyrights is intended. All other characters and storylines belong to me.
Rated: NC-17, m/f, coerced/non-consensual, some B/D content
The following story and its sequel, Pride and Punishment, are set in the late spring of 1860. (This is subject to change depending on how I develop the overall timeline for Clay's pre-war youth.) They are drawn from a larger story I was working on, but because I'm not sure when or if I'll finish it, I decided to go ahead and post these two interludes now.
At this point, Clay is 17 years old, and has been courting Mary for a few months. He has also been conducting an affair with a servant girl, Rachel, who is about 16 here. Rachel had resisted Clay's attentions and been less than enthusiastic until his interest shifted more towards Mary. In her ambivalence then, she felt jealous of Mary and found ways to pull Clay back to her. The most powerful method she uses is a dangerous one to herself because it involves tempting him to dominate her through sexual games he finds exciting. Clay needs little encouragement to combine his sexual and aggressive drives, and sometimes the games go beyond Rachel's expectations.
The picture below is of Eric McCormack in 1988, during his days with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival. It was the inspiration and impetus for these stories of Clay as the young master of Hatton Willows. (And yes, I see Clay as having a beard at that age, even if not a fully adult one. I think he grew it as soon as it was possible, to give himself an air of authority.)
Feedback would be great! Write to me if you get the urge and you can overcome the apathy and/or get up the courage to contact a complete stranger. (Believe me, I know what that's like!)
Colleen J. MacLennan
Clay stood outside the cabin and ran a hand over his beard and mouth, feeling the unaccountable agitation energize his limbs again. He breathed in and out hard, then rapped sharply on the rough plank door.
"Rachel," he called. "Rachel, open the door." The terse command didn’t specify consequences, but his barely controlled voice let her know what would happen if she didn’t obey him at once.
The door did open, but it was Mammy Rose who stood there. "Marse Clay, you know she need her rest for working up at the house tomorrow. Now you go calm yourself and she see you in the morning," the old woman said, using her ample girth to block the entrance.
Clay paced away a few steps before coming back up to the cabin. He slammed an open hand against the whitewashed wall and the whole structure shook at the force of his blow. "Rachel, you get out here now!" he said, ignoring his former mammy’s disapproving stare.
Rachel peered around her protector, her hand at Mammy’s waist. Clay reached and grabbed hold of her wrist, jerking her out into the night. She pulled back, however, not ready to submit.
Clay turned and looked into her defiant face with narrowed eyes. He smiled slowly then, almost too pleased with her response. "You want to resist me?" He began yanking her along behind him, his spurs ringing out like bells to announce their little parade. "Fine. You can resist me in the guesthouse all you want."
The guesthouse was empty when they entered, Clay still dragging Rachel by her wrist. Robert must be up at the house, he thought with some relief, probably playing billiards with the men his father invited to supper. He’d have privacy for an hour or more yet, time enough for Rachel to play any game she liked – any game he liked – and the sounds they’d make wouldn’t incriminate him later.
He opened his bedroom door off the central sitting room and stepped back to direct his lover through in front of him, keeping her firmly in his grasp until he’d shut the door again behind them both. Only then did he release her, and she retreated to a corner at once, head tilted up in challenge to his authority as she rubbed her unfettered wrist.
Clay just gave her the same enigmatic smile and started to undress as if she were of no further interest to him. He wanted nothing to interfere, nothing to fumble with in the heat of the moment. He stripped completely, even took off his boots without asking her help as he usually did, and when he was naked, he stood and faced her, hands at his sides flexing from the tension coursing through his muscles. He felt as serious as a cat watching its prey, preparing to spring at the slightest movement it made.
Rachel didn’t move, but the heaving of her chest as she breathed was all Clay needed to send him into action. He was on her instantly, pressing her into the corner, one hand smoothing down her neck to her breasts, the other searching for a way under her skirt. She grunted and squirmed and fought him outright – no pretense about it, and as he went to kiss her, she turned her head away.
Her refusal excited him more. He gripped her face and forced her to accept his mouth on hers. He knew not to use his tongue, however – not yet, anyway. She’d let him know when the real danger had passed. He had to soften her, bring her to the brink of surrender first, but she’d make him work for it. There were rules to follow, even for him.
Spinning her away from the walls, Clay flung her down on the bed. Rachel rolled at once to her belly and tried to crawl her escape, but he dragged her back by the bare legs and climbed over her. While he held her down then with a grip on her neck, he pushed her dress up to her waist to expose the thin cotton that covered her amply rounded bottom. He squeezed both cheeks and smiled, enjoying the firm and supple flesh that would soon be bucking under his thrusts – a nicely padded saddle for his ride tonight.
She seemed in a frenzy now to break free, making him exert more effort to hold her in place. Quickly, he felt between her legs for the open crotch of her drawers. His fingers found the moist cleft there, and he slid one finger along the slit till it touched the hard knob above her vagina. Though she continued to struggle, her writhing suddenly took on a different rhythm and he could tell she’d spread herself wider for him.
He laughed softly. The game had turned in his favor.
Victory could not be declared just yet, however. Rachel kicked at him and managed to throw him off balance, and as he used both hands to steady himself, she scurried out from under him. Clay grabbed her dress and yanked her back, ripping some of the skirt from its bodice.
"Where do you think you’re going, girl, hm?"
"Leave me be, Marse Clay!" she said, panting as she twisted to her back and lifted up on her elbows. "You act like you’re all grown up and master of Hatton Willows already, but I sure do guess your daddy would have something to say about that!"
Clay leaned back on his haunches and frowned at her disdainful words. Anger boiled up to mix with his sexual frustration. "You shut your mouth. My father has nothing to do with my affairs."
"Don’t he? I thought you needed his say so for just about everything round here," she taunted, though she no longer tried to move away from him.
Clay narrowed his eyes at her. "You want my father taking notice of you, Rachel?" he asked in a quiet voice.
She glared back at him and tilted her chin up in defiance. "Might be ... might be nice to have a real man on me, knowing what to do, instead of a boy who thinks he’s better than shit to flies."
He gave her a slow, dangerous smile and moved toward her, sliding his hands up her legs. "You shimmy out of those rags now, girl, and then you’re gonna show me what you can do."
Rachel lowered her eyes for a moment, and then looked up at him with a little smile of her own. "If you want what I got under these rags so bad, Marse Clay, you’re just gonna have to take them off me yourself."
Clay paused briefly and stared into her face. She parted her lips, licked them, made as if to pull her legs from his grasp. At the feel of her drawing away from him, all his aggression poured into his groin and gathered force there.
Rachel always did exactly the right things.
Clay took a deep breath and lunged at her, tearing the bodice so buttons went bouncing to the floor. Despite her attempts to shove him back, he pinned her to the bed with the dress front open and her breasts exposed. She squirmed and grunted, but her efforts only made her breasts shake and tease him, their hard nipples straining upward, seeming to taunt him all the more. He bent his head to suck and bite at them, and then he let go of her arms so he could squeeze the heavy softness roughly, reining himself in just barely enough to keep from hurting her.
She gripped handfuls of his hair and half-heartedly tugged at it to dislodge him, but her back arched at the same time, and her grunts turned to moans. Trailing her hands down to his shoulders and back, she dug her nails into his skin, and the pain spurred him forward to rip the dress open all the way.
Clay rose to straddle her hips and jerked her upright. Rachel tossed her head back, pushing to hold him at arm’s length. He was having none of it. He reached to the remains of her outer garment and pulled it down her arms, and then drew her against his chest. She pressed her mouth to his neck and the fight in her limbs eased momentarily.
He let her nuzzle him, but before she could comprehend his fussing with the dress sleeves, he’d used the shredded cloth to bind her hands behind her.
He’d never done that to her in previous rounds of the game. The unfamiliar move gave him a distinct advantage, and he chuckled as she finally understood, and struggled anew with an alarmed expression in her hazel eyes.
"Why’d you tie me, Marse Clay?" she asked, her tone pleading, her breaths coming faster. "Let me loose now and I’ll do whatever you say."
Her distress freshened his excitement. "I don’t believe you’ve truly learned your lesson yet, darlin’," he told her, touching a finger to her lips to silence her. "I’ll let you loose, but only after you’ve shown me how very much you’re willing to please me."
"But I can’t do what you want with my hands behind me."
"Yes, you can, and you will. And very thoroughly, too, or I’ll have to whip your bare bottom with that crop over there." He nodded his head to the stiff leather riding crop laying on a table across the room.
Rachel frowned at his threat and calmed suddenly. "If you whip me, I’ll never give you anything you want again. I’ll just lay there and you can do all the work yourself, and see if I care one bit even if you beat me half to death."
Clay smiled in dismissal. "We’ll just have to warm you up a little, then, and make you care." He shoved her off balance so she fell backward against the pillows. Kneeling between her legs, he spread her thighs wide apart. She still wore her drawers, but they were no barrier to him. The split up the middle gave him a clear view of her body’s vulnerable places, and her obvious desire to close her legs and hide herself only added to his sense of triumph.
He had complete control now. He was the master and she was the slave, and she would damn well give him proper respect and obedience, and satisfaction too, before the night was done.
His smile faded to a frown. Robert would be coming down from the house soon,
and an hour would hardly be enough time to accommodate his change of plans now.
Clay shrugged the concern from his mind. His disapproving friend would know to
stay out of this business. Robert might not like his doings with Rachel, but he
certainly knew better than to cross him while in the act.
He looked down at Rachel again, intending to recapture his zeal. Her ample breasts rose and fell as her breathing quickened, but Clay could see the distrust plain in her face. The tension between them had shifted and she watched him with the wariness of prey, still and waiting.
Unwelcome thoughts diverted him to the earlier part of the evening -- Mary's
broken promise, her token of affection denied him. His jaw tightened as he
recognized in Rachel now a hint of Mary’s expression when he’d bent toward
her in the Clairmonts’ parlor, when she drew back before he could kiss her and
turned her lips from his, her hands up to push him away.
The reminder angered him, and his cold smile grew as he let his eyes travel and linger leisurely, touching all that her position exposed to him.
"Whatcha looking at me like that for? Ain't nothing you haven't seen before." Although defiant, her tone lacked enough conviction to successfully shield her growing unease.
His smile deepened, but his only reply was to lightly run his fingertips up the inside of her thigh under the loose leg of her drawers. The skin there was silky soft and inviting to his touch. He circled his fingers higher and higher, enjoying the determined look in her glaring gray eyes that meant she was having to fight the sensations. But he sought a more powerful response from her body, and that required a more direct caress.
He cupped the palm of his hand over the opened flower of her vulva and pressed slowly against the center bud. Just as slowly then, he eased his palm away. When he saw her close her eyes and turn her head to the side, he knew he had her. He pressed once more, and let up, pressed and let up. Several more times, he repeated the cycle, until she began to breathe deeper and squirm ever so daintily, still trying to deny him his will. The next time he pressed his palm against her, he rubbed it in a circular pattern, giving her a taste of the friction she desired.
Rachel couldn’t resist; she succumbed with a moan, but in a perverse twist of mood, he felt suddenly bored with her arousal. He wasn’t interested in feeding her hunger at the moment. He had a hunger of his own already built to a blaze, and it would not be denied any longer.
Leaning back on his haunches, he watched her realize the change in his approach. Gone was the defiance in her manner. The game was his and he hadn’t given her the new rules. She didn’t know what he was going to do and fear made her hesitant to move or speak.
He liked her fear; he liked her submissive posture. They stirred his cravings further. She’d serve him without question now, his obedient little slave, or he’d know the reason why.
"Get up," he ordered, his voice low and soft with menace.
She pulled her legs together and curled to her side awkwardly. "I ... I need your help," she said, hiding her face beneath her hair.
"No, I don’t think you do. You can crawl over here on your belly if you have to, girl. Just be quick about it."
Rachel rocked and pushed herself until she’d gotten her knees beneath her. With a shove of her chin, she finally managed to rise and face him, straightening her back so her breasts drew his avid attention.
"She must of crossed you something awful to make you hurt me so bad," she murmured, her bravado returning.
Clay’s anger boiled up, spilling into his sexual need for a volatile blend of passions. In a lightning move, he thrust his arm out and gripped her jaw tightly. "I haven’t hurt you – yet," he said between gritted teeth. "But you’re coming damn close. Is that what you want? You want me to hurt you?"
She dropped her glare and he felt her try to shake her head "no."
"All right, then. You’ve mouthed off enough tonight. You’re gonna stop it now and use that mouth for something I like better. You understand me?"
Again, she tried to move her head, this time in a barely perceptible nod.
He jerked her head as he let go of it and got up on his knees. His cock jutted out, engorged and alive with anticipation. "I’m waiting," he said, his tone equally hard. But just as she came forward and struggled to bend without falling, he grabbed the back of her neck in a vise-like squeeze. "And one more thing, Rachel. Don’t you ever – ever – mention her again to me, or I will hurt you, in ways you couldn’t dream of," he hissed.
She nodded, still mute. He released her and her bound body shook in its unsteady posture. For some reason, he enjoyed her difficulty. He wanted her to work for his pleasure.
She reached her tongue to lick his penis and catch the tip in her lips. The wet warmth made him catch his breath and close his eyes as she sucked as much as would fit into her mouth. Her tongue massaged the underside while her sucking got stronger. He wobbled a little himself and couldn’t keep his hands from her despite his intentions. He stroked through her thick hair, surprisingly soft for one of her race, and held her head to accept his thrusts.
She squeaked a protest and fought until he knew he had to loosen his hold or risk choking her with his length. Of necessity alone, he forced himself to a slower pace and felt for her breasts hanging heavy below her. They were firm and full the way he liked, more than would fit each hand, and he played with them, pinching the light brown nipples into hardness.
With an uncertain moan, she lost her balance and collapsed on the bed at his knees. "Don’t be angry," she pleaded, wriggling to kiss his thighs. "I can’t stay like that, Marse Clay. It hurts my neck too bad. Let me take it here and I’ll do better."
He considered her through narrowed eyes as his breathing slowed. He wanted a different finish to this round of the game, one that impressed her with the fullest feeling of her purpose in his life.
Straddling her on his knees, Clay gripped his cock at the base between his thumb and first two fingers, and milked it until the preliminary drop of clear seminal fluid appeared at the tip. He pointed it for Rachel to see. "Lick it off," he ordered.
She glanced up at him quickly before extending her tongue to take his cum into her mouth. The brief heat made Clay close his eyes for a second. When he opened them again and looked down at her, he could see she was afraid and readily submissive. He smiled, pleased with his control, unchallenged at last.
"That’s a little taste of what I’m gonna give you soon to keep you warm inside tonight," he said with a smirk. "Now, you can kiss it and thank me for being so kind to you."
She strained to lift her head, but when she started to press her closed lips to the head of his penis, he grabbed her hair and held her away.
"You better show more enthusiasm than that, girl," he said, giving her hair a threatening tug, "or you’re gonna get a lot more than a good, hard ride."
He let go of her, and without looking at him, she raised her head once again. This time, she gave his cock a long, open-mouthed kiss. "Thank you, Marse Clay," she said amidst additional licking and sucking, "for bein’ so kind to me."
"Hmm." Clay regarded her with skepticism, but leaned closer so she could rest her head on the mattress, intent on prolonging the delicious attention she lavished on him. "As I recall, you don’t usually like the gifts I give you, Rachel. You sure you like this one?"
"Oh, yes. I do, Marse Clay." She rubbed her cheek against his erect member. "Of all that you give me, it’s the thing I like the best."
He smiled with real pleasure and kneeled back to stroke her hair. "That’s a good girl," he said when she looked up at him.
"You gonna untie me now?" she asked, her head tipped at a coquettish angle. She squirmed in her bondage just enough to make her breasts wiggle.
He jumped from the bed and pushed her to lie on her belly. "Not just yet, sugar," he told her while dragging her to the side of the high bed until her legs dangled to the floor. The position put her bottom at a height most convenient for his uses. Her drawers had fallen closed to cover her, but that only added to his anticipation.
"Marse Clay?" she questioned, apprehension in her voice.
He pushed her legs apart and with deliberate slowness, slid the seat of the undergarment open to reveal her private parts. The lamp on a nearby side table lit the prominent display, nicely framed by the split gathers of cloth. He savored the view, from the opened cleft of her round ass down to the full, wet lips of her crotch, between which peeked the pink tongue of her inner labia as if to defy him still.
Unable to resist, he slid his finger along the glistening folds of her swollen vulva, and finding the opening hidden there, pushed inside her to the last knuckle. She moaned and her hips began to move, and he withdrew his finger in order to rub over the hardened button of flesh above the hole, which made her rotate her bottom even more on his hand.
Finally tonight, she seemed to accept her God-ordained subservience to him, and for the most part, her responsiveness satisfied his sense of authority. But she’d been an awful long time coming to this conclusion and might yet need a bit more discipline to bring the points home to her.
He moved his hand, now lubricated with her juices, up the cleft of her bottom, lingering at the anal orifice. At once, she breathed in sharply and tightened her muscles against him.
"No, not there!" she said, then added as if to soften her tone, "Please don’t, Marse Clay. I couldn’t take it. You’re so big, it’d hurt too much."
"You’ll take whatever I give you, girl," he told her in irritation, toying further with the puckered ring of muscle just to put a fright into her.
For a moment, he wondered what it would be like to fuck her that way. He’d heard older boys at school talk about it, extolling the virtues of that method as superior in some ways to ordinary intercourse. Supposedly, the tightness of the passage offered more intense stimulation and better climaxes. A few of the boys were avowed converts, claiming exclusive use of the technique with their servant wenches at home in order to avoid unwanted pregnancies and hence, detection by disapproving parents and clergy.
But truth be told, Clay never had much interest in trying it himself. Though he tormented Rachel with the possibility, this was one threat he’d never act on.
She didn’t need to know that, however.
"You promise to be a good girl from now on, and obey me quick, with no arguments?" he asked. He continued to keep the tip of his thumb pushing on her anus, but ran his forefinger up under her at the same time to stroke her clitoris.
She began to breathe faster again. "Please, Marse Clay...."
"Promise me, Rachel."
She groaned against the bed and bent her legs up at the knees in restless motions. "All right, I promise. I’ll be as good as you want me to be."
Clay grinned at her clever turn of phrase, not fooled for a second, but happy to let it go under the circumstances.
He’d played enough games with her now. It was time for the prize.
Using his right hand to guide himself, he leaned forward and wet his cock first by sliding it between her legs – not into her yet, but along the crevice slippery with her body’s moisture. When he was sufficiently coated and harder than ever, he probed for her vagina until the head of his penis caught at the feminine entrance. Panting from his own urgency, he pushed firmly as she cried out and opened her legs further for him. The engorged knob of the glans widened the passage as it thrust forward, and for a brief moment, Clay stopped to feel the enveloping rush of heat and the rhythmic pulsations of her vaginal muscles as her body stroked him involuntarily.
Aggression fed his blood and he thrust into her as far as he could go, impaling her on his rigid member. There was nothing quite like this lustful feeling of conquest and dominance, knowing she had no choice but to submit to him and receive his forceful penetrations, knowing she could not close her legs, nor free her bound hands to push him away, nor bar his possession of her very core, that mysterious dark femininity inside her. She was completely open to his use. No part of her was beyond his reach and control in this moment, and he could take her like this for as long as he wanted regardless of her will on the matter.
He heard her grunt as he lifted her bottom off the bed with the increasing speed and power of his thrusts. He grunted, too, as his climax approached. Pressure welled at the base of his cock and his testicles seemed heavy with cum. He rammed into her even harder a few more times, and then the cum spurted from him in short, spasmodic bursts, filling her vagina with its viscous heat, just as he had promised her earlier.
In utter exhaustion, he collapsed on top of her, and rolled off to lie on his back next to her. Sleep started to overtake him when she called to him in a plaintive murmur.
"Untie me before you go to sleep," she begged. "Please, Clay? Don’t leave me like this."
Even in his drowsy haze, he noted the familiar form of his name in her plea. She had softened toward him. She only dropped his formal title – he only allowed her to drop it – in their most intimate moments of mutual pleasure.
He turned on his side to face her again and fumbled with one hand to loosen her bonds. The shreds of her dress came apart after a couple of minutes of his tugging, and immediately, she pulled her arms under her to work the stiffness from them.
After watching her with affection for awhile, he reached out and combed his fingers gently through her long, loose curls. "That wasn’t so bad now, was it?" he asked.
She regarded him with a raised brow. "You about near plowed me across the room," she said, but her tone was mild as well. She sat up and slipped from the bed. "I’ll wash your blade before you sleep."
She still had her drawers on, which proved an annoying obstacle to his view as she moved about.
"Take off those things, Rachel," he said in amiable complaint.
She paused in preparing the washbasin to untie the waist string and let the drawers fall to the floor. Stepping out of them, she carried the basin and towels to the bedside and set them on the table there. Clay rose to sit at the bed’s edge to afford her access to his genitals, which she commenced to bathing in careful, sensual strokes of the soapy cloth.
Despite his fatigue, he couldn’t help but get partially hard again. After she dried him off, he lounged back on his side in the bed and said, "Wash yourself, too."
She nodded and wrung out the cloth for her own use, but just as she went to put it between her legs, he stopped her.
"Wait. Come here and put your leg up on the bed so I can see you," he directed. He was getting that urge to dominate her again, made all the more enjoyable by her uncharacteristic obedience.
Rachel looked at him with suspicion, but she didn’t argue. Instead, she bent her left leg up and propped her foot against the mattress, leaving her to balance on the right leg with her crotch open to his view. Again, she started to lift the cloth to her private parts, and again, he stopped her.
"Don’t wash just yet," he said, moving the lamp closer on the table. "I want to see my cum drip out of you first. Spread yourself with your fingers so I can watch."
She frowned. "Clay–"
"Uh-uh, darlin’. No arguments, remember?"
She exhaled in resignation and complied with his instruction, though it made her blush and look away.
"Wider, Rachel. As open as you can get yourself. I want to see everything."
She pulled the tender, reddened flesh apart even more tightly until he could clearly see the mouth of her vagina, so recently stretched by his cock, gape wide like the entrance to a tiny cave. The white mucous of their mixed sexual fluids already flowed out of the canal from deep inside her body, leaving a thick trail as it oozed down the taut labia to her perineum.
He smiled a little to himself and leaned casually on an elbow to observe the process as if it were a classroom science experiment. She was obviously humiliated to be made to show him the private workings of her body, to have nothing left secret about it, and she would have to stand there like that, displaying herself for as long as he liked. This power over her was enormously satisfying, and he made a mental note to make her do it again when she was menstruating, which was a real curiosity to him anyway.
His fatigue was gone now and a resurgence of arousal coursed through him, bringing his cock back to life. He reached a hand to stroke along the underside of her raised thigh, and then traced a finger around the exposed membranes of her vulva, coming to rest on her clitoris. Very gently, he rubbed the distended button while watching her face. She kept it averted, but her eyes closed and she bit her lip.
"Did you come tonight, Rachel?" he asked in a most solicitous tone as he continued to stimulate her.
She simply shook her head "no" in response.
He withdrew his hand and she wobbled unsteadily. "You can wash now," he told her, "but keep your leg up so I can see how clean you’re getting yourself."
Still not looking at him, she wasted no time wiping the mucous from her crotch and cleaning herself thoroughly from front to back. When she was done, she dropped the cloth in the basin and waited obediently for permission to lower her leg to the floor.
"All right, get in the bed now," he said. "I have a reward for you for being such a good girl and doing everything I told you."
She joined him quickly and he pulled the covers over both of them as they laid together. He turned on his side and ran his hand over her breasts and then down to her hips, settling at last between her legs to resume the stimulation he’d started earlier. She writhed and breathed faster, and when he went to kiss her this time, she accepted his tongue in her mouth and even put her arms around his neck to hold to him.
She so rarely gave herself to him like this that he took care to be gentle now, feeling an outpouring of affection for her in her willingness to please him. When he was done bringing her to climax, he’d fuck her again, only he’d do it slowly and with more finesse than before, just to please her in return.
She’d begun to moan louder and push against his hand when the door to the guesthouse opened and Robert entered the central sitting room, making a clatter of noise that Clay knew to be deliberate.
Rachel stiffened next to him at once and stopped her movements. "Marse Robert’s here," she whispered, as if that should mean something.
"So?" Clay said, feeling a rush of irritation.
"He ... he might hear us," she said, her voice as tense as her body.
"So let him hear us. Or are you afraid he’ll find out that you like what I do with you in bed?"
"It’s not that–"
"Isn’t it? Don’t you have him feeling sorry for you, having to put up with me rutting on you like an animal?"
"No, really." She turned toward him and cuddled against his chest. "Please, Clay, don’t be angry. We were having such a nice time. Let’s not spoil it over my silly worries." She kissed his neck and rubbed her thigh against his cock. "Please, Clay?"
More noise from the adjacent parlor indicated that Robert had no intention of retiring to his bedroom any time soon. But Rachel’s efforts overcame the distraction. Besides, he wanted Robert to hear what they were doing. His brother was so damned self-righteous about the affair that Clay wanted him to witness the truth about Rachel’s desires, with his ears if not his eyes.
His determination renewed, he kissed her full on the mouth and slid his hand between her legs, applying all his skill to elicit the moans he knew she could never suppress.
* * * * * * *
Rachel woke with a start and sat up, looking to see if he was truly asleep. Twice in one night was sure to keep him down, but she didn’t want to risk stirring his anger again if he caught her trying to leave without his say so, even though he knew she had to be up at the big house before dawn.
He didn’t twitch a muscle, which meant he’d spent himself into a dead sleep.
She slipped quietly from the bed and gathered her clothes, or what was left of them. The drawers, she put on, but the dress was nothing more than bits of rags. She searched the room in the dark and found an extra quilt tossed at the bottom of the armoire. Wrapping it around herself under her arms, she opened the door and backed out of the room slowly, keeping an eye on Clay as if she could guarantee his unconsciousness that way.
Once in the small parlor, she sighed in relief and turned to go, only to catch her breath at the sight of Robert sitting in a chair, watching her with keen interest. The shock nearly made her lose her grip on the quilt, and she fumbled with it to keep herself covered.
"Robert! You scared me," she whispered, glancing back at Clay’s door in fear.
Robert stood up and looked her over. "What happened to your dress, Rachel?" he asked.
He hadn’t bothered to lower his voice, and she could see in his face what he was thinking, but it wouldn’t help anything for him to fight with Clay over her. It would just make Clay more like he was tonight, so full of anger and using her to make himself feel better.
"I have to go," she said, heading for the door.
He followed her into the waning night. "Rachel," he called, easily overtaking her and barring her path. "What did Clay do to you that you don’t have a dress to wear home?"
She avoided looking at him. It was far more humiliating to know that Robert heard her come when Clay was touching her than to have been made to show Clay her private parts after the first lay.
"Nothing. He didn’t do anything." Tears welled up and she tried hard not to cry. "I ... I have to get ready for my chores up at the house now. So ... you just have to leave me be, Robert. There’s nothing you can do about it anyway."
She walked around him, half-hoping he’d come after her again. She so wished she could let him hold her and comfort her. If he came after her, he could take her in his arms whether she agreed or not, and then she could say it wasn’t her fault.
But he didn’t come after her. She kept going and he stayed right where he was, and it was all because of Clay.
* * * * * * *
Robert watched her until she’d disappeared around the bend in the path, and then he headed back to the guesthouse, his jaw tightening over and over. Rachel was right – there was nothing he could do. He was just another servant Clay could use and abuse as the whim struck.
If he had any guts at all, he’d help her make her escape off the plantation and up to the North. But the chances of success were slim at best, and if they were caught, well.... In that case, Rachel would be in a hell of a lot worse situation, and he’d be jailed and feeling even guiltier than he already did. They were both damned either way.
Clay was waiting for him when he stepped through the door. No surprises there. Call it playing with fire, but he’d purposely spoken in a voice loud enough to wake him.
"Walking her home, were you?" Clay said, leaning in the doorway to his room with his arms crossed. "You’re always such a gentleman, Robert."
Robert shook his head and opened the door to his own room. Before going in, he turned and they looked hard at each other for a few seconds. "You’re getting to be more like your father every day, Clay," he said.
Clay frowned and stood straighter, dropping his arms to his sides. "What’s that supposed to mean?"
Robert felt no urge to enlighten him. He stared at Clay another second, almost as if he were looking at a stranger, and then shut the door in his face. Just as he thought, Clay did not pursue the matter further.
[Continued in Pride and Punishment]
Colleen J. MacLennan