Shouldn't he be upset? Trying to convince her that she was making a mistake?
And what was he doing in there anyway?
That question was answered a moment later when he left the closet with some items, carrying them to … his bedroom.
Not even an hour had passed since their conversation! Did she mean that little to him? Somewhere in the back of her mind, she knew she should be relieved, overjoyed. At the moment, though, that part of her that came from being an O'Hara was taking front and center.
How dare he?
He returned into her sight, not even looking in her direction (though he had to know she was watching, she was sitting right there!), and into the closet he went again.
Another trip. Same result. More things removed. How humiliating! The servants would know, and they would tell other servants and then there was no telling who would know. And no doubt somehow it would get twisted into somehow being Rhett's idea rather than the other way around.
She would not allow him to ruin her like that. She stormed into the closet after him on his third trip in.
"Just what do you think you're doing, Rhett?"
"I thought that was painfully obvious, Scarlett. I'm granting your wish."
"I didn't say you had to move your things out of here."
"And do what with them? Get new things? Leave them in here? That would be a might inconvenient, don't you think?"
"I think," she said, her sentence cutting off at the sound of the closet door closing.
Either Rhett hadn't noticed or he didn't care because he was continuing on inventorying his things. As if he didn't know what he had down to the number of socks! He was almost more particular about the care of his clothes than she was.
She tried the door, only to find it wouldn't open. She knocked, rapping none too ladylike on the door, hoping someone - anyone - would hear her.
"Do something, Rhett!"
"About the door."
"What's wrong with the door?" he asked, apparently now just noticing it closed. She doubted he'd just noticed, he was one of the most observant people Scarlett knew. If not the most observant. Nothing got past Rhett Butler's keen eye. Ashley had told her once it was part of what earned him so much success. He knew how to read even a gentleman's slightest move, gesture whether they were playing cards or negotiating a business deal.
"Keep knocking, Scarlett, I'm sure someone will come rescue you from me in due time."
She did just that, knocking until her knuckles hurt. And then she switched to her fists, banging to the point her arms hurt.
"Do I frighten you that badly, Scarlett? What do you think I'm going to do? Kill you in the closet? And do what with your body? Hide it amongst your clothes?"
"You don't frighten me, Rhett," she said simply.
She paused then, noticing for the first time she'd cut open the skin on a knuckle or two. She felt the stinging of scraped flesh now, funny she hadn't noticed it a minute ago.
Rhett noticed at the same time and was there in a minute, handkerchief in his hands.
"What have you done?"
"It's nothing," she said.
She'd certainly gotten worse abrasions at Tara after the war. Her knuckles would heal.
"Like hell it is," he said simply, bringing her hand to his lips.
Her breath caught and she felt as if the wind had been knocked out of her, finding it difficult to breathe at all, as he kissed each of her knuckles. Such a simple gesture, barely a touch of his lips against her skin and yet everywhere his lips touched, the wisps of his moustache tickled, burned.
He didn't stop there, though. What started as something she'd seen him do for Bonnie and Ella turned … different.
Right down to her toes she felt her entire being come alive. Like an onion with its many layers, the simple gesture he was doing was shedding her of those layers, opening her to him in a way that was frightening.
She had no business feeling like this from his touch. And with that feeling? A niggling doubt in the back of her mind that no matter how much she might love Ashley he could never bring about this feeling.
He was her husband. She had every right to enjoy their marital rights the same as him.
She should stop him, push him away, slap him. Anything to get away from him. He was toying with her, pretending as if he cared. Pretending he needed her. Needed her in a way no one ever had before.
Not Charles. Not Frank. And not Ashley.
Not in this way.
Frightening to give thought to such things. It made her head hurt trying to picture any of those three doing this to her.
And he seemed to know that because he grew bolder, taking a finger into his mouth. She gasped as he slid his tongue around the tip before releasing it and capturing the next one. He didn't look at her, didn't hesitate as if seeking permission.
He just did it.
Again and again.
Taking what he wanted as if she had no say in the matter.
Of course, she could have stopped him. Her voice still worked, but she remained silent.
Mouth to fingertip, tongue caressing her in a way that should not have been making her weak in the knees and yet it was. God help her it was.
Her mind was screaming at her to … arch into him. Toy with him as he was with her. She slid her fingertip along his lips as he released it before allowing him to take hold of the next one.
A soft moan, her or him?
She couldn't be sure, but either way neither one of them were complaining just then.
Forgotten was the fact that moments ago she wanted away from him. Out of this closet. Anywhere that wasn't in the same room as him. Or that his actually moving his things out of their closet upset her.
She only cared for what he was doing to her.
Tentative hands worked his cravat, unsure if that was taking things too far. If doing that would stop whatever this was. And Scarlett didn't want it to stop.
Not yet. This need she felt that so clearly mirrored Rhett's was foreign to her. Something to be explored and she knew there wouldn't be another chance.
He didn't stop her, finding her neck and ear with his mouth now that her hands were occupied with other - more important things.
Neither spoke. Perhaps he was just as afraid as she was that words would break whatever spell they were currently under.
That had to be it. Magic, because Scarlett O'Hara had never removed a man's cravat, working the collar of his shirt open, and kissed the pulse point on a man's neck before.
She'd never worked the buttons on a man's shirt as if she was anxiously unwrapping a surprise gift before. She'd never touched him before. Not like this. Hands wandering over his torso, wishing the undershirt he wore was not in the way.
She knew him to some degree. Knew where his scar was, found it and traced over it with a fingertip as he worked the sash on her dressing gown.
She started to say something, but he silenced her with a kiss before she could even make a sound.
As if he knew just as she did if either of them spoke it would be over. Never mind that all she was going to do was say his name. Beg him to keep going.
Her eyes fell closed and she arched into his hand as he slid it along her hip, behind her to cup her bottom through her chemise. Was she supposed to press against him so wantonly? Just as she knew he could feel every curve of her body against him, she felt that she hadn't been the only one affected by what he'd done with her fingers.
His tongue slid along her lower lip as his hand slid lower along the curve of her bottom, fingertips grazing the tops of her thighs. Lower and over he touched her feminine parts.
She moaned into his mouth as she felt his finger graze the crevice between her bottom just enough for her to crave more. He took that opportunity to deepen the kiss. His tongue was there, seeking out hers almost brutally.
She whimpered softly when she felt him lifting her chemise. Her mind was at war with her heart and body at the moment. Her mind wanted it to stop. His hands touched every inch of her as he slid the smooth silk of the chemise up along the length of her body.
That's what he was doing.
Marking every inch of her with the heat of his touch like his own form of a brand. She would never again be able to look in a mirror and not think of him touching her so completely.
Two could play at that game, she realized. Instead of being embarrassed at being naked in front of him she felt emboldened. Brazen even. There was something surreal about being here with him, in their closet, as if it was an out of body experience. Didn't count.
Only she knew somehow, as his shirt and undershirt joined the growing pile of shed clothes on the closet floor that it did count. Probably in a way she didn't understand.
She touched him, mirroring what he had done. Every inch of him was explored, memorized because she really wasn't sure if this was a figment of her imagination. Or not.
His kisses told her it was real. He didn't let up, stopped only to let each of them take a much needed breath and then he started the onslaught again. Deep and bruising, almost as if he was out of control. He had to be seething with anger earlier and yet he'd said nothing, suffered in silence.
And now she was paying the price.
His pants weren't removed completely, just enough for him to gather her up, bring her to him and press into her. Right there, her back against her closet door as if she meant nothing to him.
Only he gave himself away by the way he touched her, his kisses too thorough to be from someone who didn't care. His hands cradled her bottom as if she was the most fragile thing in the world even as he drove into her with such abandon she knew she'd be sore later.
His whispered murmurs of her name in the heat of the moment accompanied by his sighs and moans of pleasure told her she meant more to him than nothing.
She thought, assumed, he'd be fast. So much smoldering emotion between them it had to fade quickly. Only he didn't let it. He held back, working at prolonging her pleasure at his expense. She could tell he didn't want to stop moving inside of her. But each time he did, his fingers worked their magic where their bodies were joined, bringing her release after release.
She cried out his name. It was too much. She felt too exposed and as if she saw too clearly into him. His heart. His mind.
She didn't want him seeing into hers, afraid of what he might see there.
He took her with him to the floor, dislodging himself from inside of her only for the briefest of moments. And then he was there again, on top of her, inside of her. There was nothing mechanical or dutiful about this. His eyes when he finally looked upon her face were the darkest she'd ever seen them. Yet somehow, they blazed with the same fire she felt inside of her just then.
Eventually, it was over. And yet, Scarlett wasn't sure it was. He'd done something to her that she didn't understand.
She opened her mouth to ask him what it all meant, but he silenced her by placing his lips at her breast.
Wasn't he done?
Fingers sliding lower along her body to that spot that only Rhett seemed to know what to do with told her he wasn't yet.
"When you going to let them out, Mammy?"
"Whenever they's good and ready to be let out."
"But how will you know?"
Mammy just shook her head, gave a soft chuckle and shuffled away. No one in the household would dare go against Mammy's orders. She didn't like doing it, knew Scarlett would be madder than anything if she knew what Mammy had done. It was the only way she could think of making them work out their problems. It wasn't so much Scarlett she was worried about, but the children. Gerald and Ellen O'Hara may not have had a perfect marriage, but their children never saw it. Never knew their secrets. These children wouldn't either.
Story ©Susan Falk/APCKRFAN/PhantomRoses.com