From the first day I saw her I knew she was the one
She stared in my eyes and smiled
For her lips were the colour of the roses
That grew down the river, all bloody and wild
"Where the Wild Roses Grow" - Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds
There is a hunter's moon in the sky, and ten blood-red hunter's half-moons etched deep into his skin.
Crescents like the C in Lucille.
The large travel-worn trunks still standing in the hall have tags with a different name. Margaret McDermott. The charmed Highland bride, this latest one, who will never see Auld Reekie again. She will buckle soon enough, fade and wane.
Lucille will kiss the taste of her out of his mouth, pluck her from his memory. She was his first bride and will remain so forever. All the others are nothing but necessary evils, impostors afforded certain temporary permissions. Permissions she can and will revoke, teacup by teacup, spoon by spoon.
Their breaths are bone-white vapour in the air, because it is hunting season and the mist is settling in the great hall and sweeping through the corridors, hunting them and what feeble heat the fires bring. That heat is nothing compared to the heat under her skin. The ticking of the thousand clocks nothing against the ticking of her pulse.
The straps she tightens around her hips are oxblood red, dark against her skin.
It is a sweet sinful souvenir from the Continent, wrapped in red silk and labelled in coy Latin. Membrum virile. Carved in blushed cherrywood, almost slick enough in itself by virtue of the shellack, but she allows herself the luxury of scented oils. Allows him them, because his pleasure thrills her more than his pain. Because no one loves him more than she does.
When he warms his marital bed she entertains herself, but it is an echo that leaves her aching.
When she calls, he comes.
He takes it so well. Takes it all, each aching inch of cock, and there are moments when he forgets to muffle his cries. The moans that rattle in his throat shiver in her bones when she pushes his legs wider apart, and she answers the cries with a soft laugh. When she grasps his cock, running her thumbnail along the swollen vein, there is a soft little hiss from him, and the hectic pulse she can feel under her palm echoes her heartbeat. The first thrust is slow, it always is, and how it thrills her to take him. How it thrills her to drive deep with slow thrusts, to hear him beg breathlessly for more, to hear him beg her for permission to touch himself. She denies him nothing, and asks so little in return. Asks only that she be everything to him.
"Look at me," she says, and he has never been able to defy her commands. "Only me," she says when his eyes threaten to roll back, and she leans in until she knows she eclipses all else. "Only me." She digs her knees into the mattress for leverage. The leather straps dig sharply into the tops of her thighs when she rocks her hips.
His fingers tangle into her hair, suddenly pulling so hard it hurts, and she retorts by biting his lip. She doesn't break the kiss, not even when blood wells up in her mouth.
Blood of my blood. They share everything, even breaths.
When she breaks the kiss to draw a gasping breath, the air in the room is biting cold. The house creaks around them, sighs and gasps with her. A moth settles between her shoulderblades, its thin spiny legs pricking her skin, frosted wings shimmering against the dark fall of her hair, but soon alights again, jolted by her movements.
He reaches for her, eager fingers skipping over the arch of her hip, and she indulges him. Leans in until they are chest to chest, but she never breaks the pace. His fingers clutch at her sides, pushing and pulling with desperate need, and his head cants back until his hair seems an inkblot against the faded linen. "Lucille," he moans, his hips jerking as she thrusts even deeper. The ornate bedframe creaks, the wood protesting primly at this wanton use, but it is a sound that passes unnoticed, drowned as it is by a susurrus of sighs.
"Thomas," she says, voice catching just slightly. "My Thomas."
Time is slowing even as her movements grow more rapid, and she cares not a whit if there are minutes or hours slipping by. Not when all the world has shrunk to fit within a single room, when no one exists save her and him. Crimson Peak has become the dark hammering heart of the entire world.
Sweat is stinging her eyes as her head snaps back. She is teetering on the precipice, drunk on lust and power and wound as tight as the springs of some mechanical monstrosity, and when she falls, the fall seems endless. Shiver after shiver, pulse after pulse, and Thomas is writhing under her, lost in a climax of his own. Her arms give out, and she sprawls in boneless languor and feels their twinned heartbeats still flutter like the frantic wings of caged birds. The room is cold as winter still, but they are glow-hot, flushed with shared blood.
There is a faint echo in the room, trembling in the tall candle flames, but she does not know if it is the ghost of her howl. Does not care.
"Did she ask?" she whispers, deliberately tracing her fingers up the half-healed scrapes on his back. She fits her knees into the crooks of his and rests her chin in the narrow angle between his cheek and shoulder.
"I never showed her," he mumbles, the words falling nearly unheard into the snarled sheets that his fingers pluck at. "She won't see."
She laughs. "Will you fuck her in the dark? Is she so prim?" She reaches around him to grasp his cock. "So easily startled?"
He arches into her touch but does not answer her questions, and when he finally speaks it is her name and nothing more.
"She will be gone soon. But I will never leave you."