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let loose your longing

Chapter Text

First, Aunt March was hungry, so Laurie found her a snack. Then, she was thirsty, so Laurie brought her some tea. She was hot, so Amy cracked open the window. She was cold, so Amy closed the window. The room was too stuffy. The seats, too uncomfortable. It was all too irksome. She needed to stretch her legs.

“Oh stop fussing, child!” she snapped, batting Amy’s hands away. “I am not dead yet. I can manage a little walk by myself.”

Still, Amy hovered, brows creased, lips pursed.

She’d been on edge for hours, for days, before the train ride, before Aunt March’s foul mood. Jumpy, and skittish.

Was it his fault? He’d thought they’d sorted everything out, that she understood. They were engaged and yet...and yet she could barely stand to meet his eyes. She flew from his touch and left a room as soon as he entered it.

Was it the kiss? Should he not have kissed her? She hadn’t seemed bothered by it at the time--quite the contrary--but it had been days and each day it got worse.

“Aunt March,” she rushed to the door. “Do be careful, the train shakes and--”

The door slammed in her face.

Amy stood unmoving in front of the door, her back stiff and tense.

Was she scared of him? Did she think he would use the opportunity to maul her? He could hardly blame her, given his past behaviour.

“Amy,” Laurie approached slowly, “is every---”

She whirled around, eyes wide. “Kiss me.”

He blinked. “What?”

“Kiss me, now, before she comes back.”

As always with the March women, he was confused, lost and caught unaware. But this was one order he didn't mind following without question. He closed the gap between them and pressed his lips against hers.

Amy sank into the kiss. Her body relaxed for the first time in days. A thrill swept through her. The same thrill she’d felt on that sunny day when he’d first kissed her; when he’d proposed. A thrill that started from her head and ended at her toes, a swooping in her stomach like she’d just jumped off something steep and terrifying and wonderful. Laurie.

“I thought you’d changed your mind,” he said in between kisses, voice hoarse. “You avoided me so much I thought you regretted the engagement. That you were sorry.”

“Don't be silly,” she said. “It was hard to be around you without thinking about this, that's all.”

He laughed, feeling suddenly light. “Have you been having impure thoughts about me, Amy March?”

Her lips pulled up. “Shut up and kiss me.”

She grabbed hold of his vest and pulled him closer and closer, until she was pressed flush against the door and he pressed flush against her. Or as close as he could get with all those ridiculous layers of clothes she wore.

He nudged at her lips with his tongue. She frowned, unsure what he was asking. Another gentle swipe across her lips. Slowly, hesitantly, she parted her lips--and moaned when she felt his tongue against her own.

Laurie.”

There was a voice telling her that this was not proper. There was no chaperone in the compartment. Five more minutes alone with him and she could be ruined. It was wrong--wrong--of her to enjoy a kiss so much. Unladylike. Unladylike to have longed for it as she had. What would Aunt March say? the voice asked. But there was a much, much louder voice chanting happily, and triumphantly, and incredulously: Laurie, Laurie, Laurie .

Laurie, kissing her.

Laurie, putting his hands on her waist and pulling her close.

Laurie, groaning as though she was all he wanted.

Laurie, saying her name like a prayer.

When they finally broke away, she couldn't think. Didn’t want to think. She wanted only to feel the safety of his arms, the softness of his tongue.

She leaned her head against the door and closed her eyes. She hummed, feeling like she was in the softest dream. “You are so much better at that than Fred.”

There was a beat then Laurie gave a breathless laugh. “I don’t really want to think about you and Fred.”

She opened her eyes. “Oh, hush. As though you did not have your share of dalliances, which, I am sure, were far more scandalous than anything Fred and I were up to.”

His cheeks reddened and he cleared his throat. “Yes, well, that is--”

There was a small clamoring outside.

“Aunt March!” Amy gave him a small push, hands flying to her hair. “How do I look?”

“Beautiful.”

Laurie.”

He smiled, reaching up to fix the one small strand that had escaped its pin. “You look very proper, my lady.”

His gaze was soft, and gentle, but hungry too and Amy found herself blushing to her roots as she cleared her throat and took her seat, sketchpad held in shaky hands.

The door flew open.

“Amy? Why are you so red? Are you ill, child? Open that window, boy, can’t you see she’s overheated? It’s no wonder -- it’s hot as the Dickens in here. What is so funny, Theodore Laurence?”

Laurie schooled his face quickly. “Sorry, Aunt March.”

He could feel Amy glaring at him as he moved to open the window, but all he could do was smile, hoping it looked more apologetic than it was. He couldn't help it. Amy March had avoided him because of how much she wanted him. Who wouldn’t feel triumphant at that?

Amy March, ladies and gentlemen. Amy March.

Chapter Text

“Laurie,” Laurie’s grandfather started mildly. “My memory is not as good as it once was. Remind me, was she always this terrifying?”

Laurie looked over at where his fiancée was currently making Frank Garlob the Sixth regret ever opening his in-bred, aristocratic mouth, and smiled. “You should try being on the other side of one of her lectures.”

His grandfather raised an amused eyebrow. “Had experience with a lot of those, have you?”

“I don’t mind admitting that there have been one or two occasions where my fiancée has, uh, lectured me on my behaviour.”

“And I can see that they worked brilliantly.” A pause. “Do you think we should go and rescue him?”

Laurie’s answer was immediate. “No.”

A chuckle from his grandfather and they lapsed into silence, Laurie’s eyes fixed on Amy. They were too far for Laurie to hear her exact words, but Amy had a certain way of speaking when she lectured and he could make out the way she was enunciating her words slowly and careful, her voice stern.

(“Well he is expecting you, so why don’t you do it?”)

(“So don’t sit there and tell me that marriage isn’t an economic proposition.”)

His grandfather scoffed.

“What?”

He shook his head, chuckling. “That girl has you wrapped around her finger.”

Laurie rolled his eyes but didn’t deny it. There was no point to denying it.

“I’m glad to see it,” his grandfather continued, “I know you always thought you would marry Jo, and I would have supported the match if it made you both happy, but I hope you don’t mind me saying now that I very often found myself rooting for our little Amy instead.”

Laurie did a double-take, before turning fully to his grandfather. “You knew?”

His grandfather smiled. “She wasn’t very subtle, Laurie. Used to break my heart whenever I saw her little face when you and Jo went off on your own.”

He swallowed, looking down at his drink. “I--I never noticed.”

“Well, I’m not surprised. You only ever had eyes for Jo, back then. Eventually she grew resigned to it, I think, and learned to hide it better.”

(“Not when I have spent my entire life loving you.”)

He looked across the room to where Amy had relinquished Mr. Garlob and had resumed watching the dancefloor wistfully. She’d been doing that all night; watching the couples dance and pretending she didn’t want to join them. It wouldn’t be proper, for a lady in mourning. A ridiculous restriction, Laurie had always thought, and resented all the more now. The evening was in his grandfather’s honour before he returned home and here his fiancée was, wishing for a dance. As though a simple dance would make Amy forget her grief or her sister’s memory. Like she wasn’t living every moment of her life with the constant pain of her loss. Amy carried her sorrow well, the way she did everything else: with grace and poise and dignity. But Amy--Amy should spend every minute of her life happy. Jubilant. Proud. Occasionally, she could yell at Laurie, if she wanted, to add some variety. But, on the balance, she should be happy.

“Are you alright, Laurie?”

Laurie glanced at the clock. They’d promised Aunt March that they would spend at least an hour talking to other people at the soirée (“honestly, it is unseemly, the way you two keep carrying on”)--he figured forty-five minutes was sufficient.

“Excuse me.” Laurie said, and did not wait for a response before he was already crossing the room and sliding beside Amy.

“Hey,” He leaned over, whispering. “Come with me.”

Amy did not take her eyes off the dancefloor. “What?”

“Just,” He reached down and linked their hands together, “come with me.”

Amy looked back to him, a small puzzled smile tugging at her lips, before she nodded, giving his hand a gentle squeeze.

Laurie grinned, and led her out the hall and through a set of doors, up a flight of stairs, and in through another room, pulling the doors closed behind him. The music drifted in softly from the floor below.

He turned, linked his hands behind his back and smiled.

“Laurie, what--what are you doing?”

“I’m looking at you.”

She laughed softly. “I mean, what are you going to do?”

He extended his hand. “I am going to dance with my fiancée.”

“What? Laurie someone could see.”

“No one will see.” He promised, stepping closer.

“Laurie, you’re--”

“Beautiful, I know, we’ve spoken about my beauty before.”

She shook her head. “You’re ridiculous.”

Still, she slipped her hand into his. He executed a bow. She made a curtsy. And then he pulled her close.

They twirled around the room together, a comfortable silence between them as they navigated their way around the fireplace, the sofa and all the other little obstacles around the room, giggling each time one of them bumped into something.

“Are you having a good night?”

She smiled. “It’s had its moments.”

“I noticed you reduced Frank Garlob to tears.”

She gave him a look. “And I noticed you were conveniently nowhere to be seen.”

“I didn’t want to stand too close! I didn’t want to risk being found guilty by association." She laughed again and Laurie felt lighter. If he could make her happy--he’d spend his whole life doing it. "And you looked like you were having fun.”

“I am having more fun now,” she said.

The music came to a stop and the two slowly, reluctantly, came to a still.

She stepped closer, resting her head on his shoulder. “Thank you, Laurie.”

He pressed a kiss to her temple. “Always.”

She raised her head at that, at the same time he leaned down, their lips mere inches apart. The moment stretched between them.

He wasn’t sure which of them closed the gap, but then her mouth was on his and he didn't care.

Their kisses were soft and gentle. As soft and gentle as Amy was. One kiss, two, three. On the fourth kiss, he paused just before reaching her lips, glancing up at the door as voices drifted close. For a moment, they stood frozen, their breathing stilled as the doorknob twisted. Amy clutched his arm. Then, thankfully, the knob released and the voices faded. Laurie closed his eyes and breathed a sigh of relief.

Amy sagged against him, a small giggle escaping. “That was dramatic, wasn’t it?”

“Amy--”

A firm hand landed on his chest and pushed. Laurie fell on the sofa, Amy fell next to him and then her lips were on his, prying his mouth open with her tongue. Laurie groaned. He should have known bold little Amy March would catch on quick to kissing. And surpass all expectations. Was this the best kiss he ever had, or did he only think that because it was Amy doing the kissing?

He reached up a hand to cup her cheek, the other firm around her waist. He should not--they should not--he should not be near a horizontal surface with Amy trying to devour him. If the Lord was trying to test him, Laurie was the first to admit he would fail. He was a weak man. He did not stand a chance.

“Amy, someone could walk in,” he said in between kisses.

“Hm, yes—we—we should go.”

“Exactly,” he said, “hmm—just—”

“—just—”

“—one more kiss,” they finished at the same time.

And if the kiss turned into several before Laurie snuck them out of the room again, well, he’d already admitted he was a weak man. How he was to wait the whole journey home for their wedding, he didn’t know. Not when his fiancée was so unfairly tempting. Not when she kissed like that.

Chapter Text

Over the years of watching the March sisters practice their craft, Laurie had made certain observations about them. Whenever Jo concentrated on her writing, her tongue would stick out the corner of her mouth. It made an adorable picture, with her wild hair and ink-stained hands. Whenever Beth concentrated on her music, she would hum to the tune of the music. And whenever Amy concentrated on her art, her brow would furrow, as though the canvas was some naughty imp she could frown into submission. It shouldn’t have been so appealing, except that it was and it stirred something up in Laurie that was not entirely appropriate for the drawing room of a hotel in the middle of the afternoon.

“Laurie, will you stop fidgeting!”

Laurie’s body obeyed before he’d even registered the words. “Sorry, sorry.”

His fiancée dropped her brush with a huff. “You’ve ruined your necktie again, Laurie.”

“My apologies, Raphaella.”

Another huff, this time amused, and she reached over to straighten his necktie. He took the opportunity to catch her wrist and tug her down next to him.

“Laurie,” She hissed, fighting back a laugh. “Someone will see.”

“No one will see.” He said, the lines now a familiar pattern between them.

He captured her lips with his own. It was a chaste kiss. Their kisses always started off chaste. Then one of them would part the other’s lips and they would lose themselves to the taste and feel of each other, the rest of the world forgotten.

Laurie cupped Amy’s cheek, pulling her closer to deepen the kiss when the clock rang and Amy sprang from him.

“Oh, Laurie, I have to go. I promised Jordie I’d help her with her gown for tonight.”

“She can’t dress herself?” Laurie asked, confused, even as he stood to help her up. Jordie Tuppins was an intelligent girl of 18 with enough maids to help her put on several dresses. Surely she did not need yet another person for the task?

Amy rolled her eyes. “Well, yes, she can but she wants to look particularly good because she’s going to the theater tonight and her former beau will be there, and she wants to look so good on Mason Ruus’s arms that he will fall to his knees and beg her to forgive him and to marry him at which point Mason will be so overcome with jealousy that he will beg her to marry him, which she will accept because really, it’s Mason she wants and not her former beau who did not seem like a sensible man in the first place but he is essential to our plan regardless as Mason is dragging his feet and being entirely unreasonable about the whole affair.”

Laurie blinked. “What?”

“Oh, nevermind,” she said, waving him off and walking quickly to the door, “you wouldn’t understand.”

She was just a step away from the door when she turned back around, walking to him and tugging him down for a kiss. “I will see you at dinner?”

“Of course,” he said, both of them unable to keep the silly smiles off their faces.

A final kiss and Amy dashed out the door, leaving Laurie smiling in her wake and shaking his head. Still more than a little confused at that explanation, Laurie made his way through the hotel, whistling to himself. It was a beautiful day, perhaps he would go for a walk--

“Young man,” a voice called.

Laurie stopped. Thought about it. Walked backwards three steps. Peered through the open doors to his right. “Aunt March?”

“Come,” the older woman ordered, tapping her cane to the floor, “sit.”

“Is everything okay?” Laurie asked, taking his seat and already nervous.

Aunt March said nothing, fixing him with a shrewd look that stretched and stretched as Laurie fidgeted, feeling pinned to the couch. Had he done something--?

“Aunt Mar--”

“I am very fond of Amy, Theodore.”

Laurie smiled, relieved. “Yes, I know. She’s very fond of you too.”

Don’t interrupt me, young man,” she glared. “I am very fond of Amy. She’s a good girl and she is certainly the most practical and level-headed of her sisters. And for better or for worse, she has decided that she wants you to be her husband.”

“Yes,” Laurie said, “I am very lucky.”

Aunt March glared again at the interruption. “You wouldn’t know it to look at me now, but I was young once and I remember what it was like to be young and in love, and while there is nothing wrong with a kiss here or there between a young couple engaged to be married, Amy is still an impressionable, young, sheltered girl. Do you take my meaning?”

Laurie swallowed, mouth suddenly dry, and nodded. Had she seen them at the soirée? Or the drawing room earlier? Or the gardens, the day before? They’d been careful, and their interludes so so short, but there was no getting around that the two of them had taken full advantage of every opportunity for privacy.

“She is unaccustomed to male appetites, and naive in the ways of men and women. You,” She raised an eyebrow at him and he flushed, “Are not.”

“Aunt March—”

She brought her cane down again, cutting off whatever he may have said. “She is an innocent girl who has been in love with you her whole life. It is easy for her to be overwhelmed. It is your responsibility to ensure that nothing gets out of hand, or whatever befalls that girl will be your responsibility. You may be engaged but you are not married. You would do well to remember that. Do we understand each other?”

Thoroughly terrified, Laurie nodded, then croaked, “yes, ma’am,” when she did not appear sufficiently satisfied.

“Good.” She sat back, suddenly calm. “You may go.”

“T-thank you,” he said and fled.

Good mood evaporated, Laurie paced the halls of the hotel, unable to still his mind.

As humiliating and terrifying as the conversation had been, Aunt March was right. Amy was happy to kiss him, yes, but could she have any notion of what she brought out in him? She parted her lips easily enough, but what would she say if she knew how vividly, and how often, Laurie fantasized about parting her legs and sinking to his knees in front of her? What would she say if she knew that sometimes he broke their kisses, not to get air, and not for the fear of discovery, but because he had begun straining against his clothes?

Could she have any notion that he sat through every meal, trying not to flush too much when Amy bit into something delicious and moaned. That he watched her sketch and modeled for her and had to bite his lips to stop from begging her “please” when she ordered him about (“stop fidgeting, Laurie” or “roll up your sleeve, Laurie”). That at night he lay in his bed and took himself in his hands and thought about how it would feel to sink into her, to lick into her, as he tugged himself into a climax.

Aunt March was right. Amy was too innocent and too precious for this.

He would have to do better. He would do better.

With this new resolution in mind, Laurie arrived late at dinner that night, having decided that fresh air would be just the thing to strengthen his resolve and having walked further than he’d intended. He studiously avoided Amy’s concerned gaze once he entered the room, and, ignoring the empty seat next to her, took a seat between his grandfather and a lady whose name he was sure he knew but could not remember for the life of him.

He could feel Amy’s eyes on him throughout dinner, which he pretended he did not see. Thankfully, they were seated too far away for any attempt at conversation. Regrettably, dinner did not last forever, and while Amy did not immediately corner him, he did eventually find himself confronted with his irresistible fiancée and her irresistible pout. Why couldn’t he have fallen in love with an ugly person instead?

“Laurie,” she said, words carefully enunciated in a way that indicated he was testing her patience, “would you like to escort me for a walk through the garden?”

“Perhaps another night.”

She blinked at him, lips parted in shock, and Laurie almost folded right there. What would be the harm, really--no. He was going to do better.

He took a deep breath and drew himself up. “Excuse me.”

He could feel Amy’s eyes on him as he walked away to stand next to a group of other men, pretending to listen to their conversation. He would not look over at Amy, he would not look over at Amy, he would not look over at--

“This is a rare sight,” his grandfather said, clapping him on the shoulder.

“What is?”

“You and Amy, spending the night apart. Usually, Mrs. March is all up in arms about how you two go on.”

Of their own accord, his eyes flicked to Amy who had since given up on staring at Laurie and was engaged in conversation with Mrs. Beecham. Feeling his gaze on her, she glanced over. She pursed her lips and lifted her chin, turning away from him.

He cringed. Great. Now she was angry at him. He probably deserved that.

His grandfather’s eyes flicked between him and Amy. “Is everything alright, Laurie?”

“Yes,” he answered immediately, before he sighed, “no.”

“Those are your two main options,” his grandfather said, “let’s walk outside and you can tell me all about it.”

It was not a suggestion.

Laurie sighed again and followed his grandfather outside, breathing the fresh air.

“I know I’ve been acting strange,” he admitted, “I’m just trying to put some boundaries. Physically, I mean. I mean not that anything has happened--it hasn’t--I just--I don’t want--”

“Ah,” his grandfather said, “likely a wise decision.”

Laurie swallowed and nodded.

“I suspect you could have done that without offending the young lady, though.”

Laurie winced. He knew he was acting ridiculous. He did. But he couldn’t figure out how to allow himself close to her without being overwhelmed, and until he could figure it out, it would be best for everyone that they kept their distance.

“It’s great to want to protect the people we love, Laurie. But you can’t make a decision like this unilaterally, without giving Amy any explanation.”

“You’re right,” Laurie said, “I’m an idiot.”

“You’re young,” his grandfather declared jovially, “mistakes like this are bound to happen. Now you go apologize to her first thing in the morning, when she’s had time to cool down, and do as much grovelling as necessary to get back in her good graces and you can figure out a solution to your little problem together. How does that sound?”

Laurie chuckled. “That sounds good.”

“Great,” the older man said, “and with that, I am heading to bed. Goodnight, Laurie.”

“Goodnight, grandpa.” Laurie watched him go but did not follow him inside. Another walk. Yes, another walk was what he needed. Clear his head, try to come up with a good apology that said, “I’m sorry I was an idiot” without saying, “I only did it because I can’t want you an appropriate amount” and “your aunt terrifies me.”

By the time he made his way to his room (a good apology still eluding him), the night had wound down, most people having retired to their rooms. He paused at Amy’s door. He could knock and attempt to speak with her now, make sure there were no hard feelings before the night was over. But she was likely preparing for bed and the two of them without a chaperone at this time of night would not be good for anyone. He turned away. He would have to wait until morning to speak with her.

A startled yelp came from Amy’s room followed by a crash. Laurie burst through her door, searching frantically for an intruder and seeing no one.

“Amy? What is it? What’s wrong? What’s happened?”

Amy stood staring at him over her collapsed easel. “Laurie? What are you doing here?”

“I heard a crash.” He said, looking her over for sign of injury.

“The cat,” Amy gestured to a red mop of fur that was staring unrepentantly back up at them. “Startled me.”

He blinked down at the cat. “Oh.”

The cat gave him an unamused look before slinking towards him, moving leisurely past his feet and out of the room.

“He probably belongs to one of the guests.”

“Yes, I gathered as much.” Amy said.

Laurie’s head snapped up at the coldness in her voice. He opened his mouth to say something but it was at that moment that he fully took her in. Amy was in her underclothes, her hair loose and wet around her shoulders, a damp patch on her clothes from her hair. His mouth went dry. His throat closed up. Oh, heavens.

“Laurie?”

He shook his head to clear it. “Y—yes?”

“Was that all?”

“Yes,” Laurie swallowed.

She pursed her lips. “You may go, then.”

And that was as effective as a bucket of water on him.

“Amy,” he stepped closer. “I’m sorry about tonight. Don’t be mad at me, please.”

She lifted her chin, fixing him with a look he was sure she’d learned from her aunt. “Why did you give me the cut tonight?”

Laurie’s eyes widened. “I wasn’t giving you the cut, Amy, I swear. I was just--”

“If you want your space, you only have to ask. You don’t have to--”

He took her hand in his. “That’s not it at all. Please, just let me explain.”

She took her hand back and crossed her arms in front of her, drawing Laurie’s eyes to exactly where he was avoiding.

“Go on. I’m listening.”

“Uh—”

“Laurie? What’s wrong? Are you feeling unwell?” She asked, any coldness gone from her voice and replaced with concern.

“Could—could you put something on please?”

She blinked, and looked down at herself. “Oh!” She hurried over to her bed, the material of her dress clinging to her as she reached for her robe and shrugged it on, tying it tightly around her. “There, that’s better.”

Sure. Sure it was. Except that the robe wasn’t particularly thick and he knew what was under it and her hair was still cascading around her in wet ringlets he wanted to reach out and touch.

“Laurie,” She prodded when he still said nothing, “I’m waiting.”

He shook himself out of his stupor again. “Right.” He licked his lips. “I know I was acting strange tonight. And I’m sorry, I was just trying to do the right thing. See, Aunt March spoke to me today and she made me realize that the way we have been carrying on can be...inappropriate for two people who are not married and that if we are not careful, things could... get out of hand.”

Amy frowned. “We’re only kissing.”

“Yes, and that would be fine, if kissing was all I wanted.”

“Is it not?”

Laurie bit back a groan. He was the worst. “No, no, it’s not.”

“What is it you want? I don’t understand.”

“Amy,” he took a death breath and let it out with a whoosh. “I want to be with you.” At her blank look, he continued, “in the way of a man and wife. In the biblical sense, Amy.”

“Oh.”

He flushed and looked away. He was a demon. An outrageous demon.

“Well, I should hope so, Laurie.” His gaze snapped back at her. “We are to be married, after all.”

“You—what?”

She took a breath. “Laurie, I will admit that I don’t know much about that particular part of marriage, save for what my mother and my sister have explained to me. But, I will say that I too have been looking forward to our wedding night.”

Laurie couldn’t breathe. Was he dreaming? Had he knocked his head somewhere? Was he dead?

Amy continued as though Laurie wasn’t standing in front of her, having a small crisis. “So while I understand and appreciate your concern, you don’t have to feel guilty about it, Laurie.”

“Right.” He said, because his brain was irreparably broken.

“Good. I’m glad we had that out. Now,” she placed her hands on her hips, “I trust that took care of any silly notions about keeping your distance from me for the duration of our engagement?”

A laugh left him in a puff. “Yes.”

“Good,” She said again, “in which case,” she took a step toward him, a predatory glint in her eye, “I think you better kiss me.”

She was in her underclothes.

“I don't think that would be such a good idea,” he said, taking a step back.

She took another step towards him. “Why?”

“Someone could see,” he croaked.

“No one will see,” she promised.

His back hit the door. She pressed herself against him.

She captured his lips with her own and he groaned, his mouth falling open and ready for her onslaught.

This time there were no hoop skirts between them, no yards of fabric. He could feel the heat of her body as she crowded him against the door, chest to chest, thigh to thigh.

A hand trailed up his side, cupping the back of his head, before tangling in his hair, fingernails scratching at his scalp.

He groaned again, melting against her. His arms around her waist tightened and he slipped a thigh between her legs.

The hand in his hair tightened and tugged. Hard.

Oh—oh.

Amy moaned and shifted so slightly against him and he—

He started. Oh, no.

He pulled away. “Amy, we have to stop.”

She pulled him back down for another kiss.

“Amy--” He tried in between kisses. She tugged at his hair again and his knees buckled. Why was he resisting? Why--she shifted against him again. Oh.

“Amy--stop.”

This time when he pushed gently, she went. “You’re right. We should stop.”

“I should go.” He said.

She nodded, but didn’t release him, and he made no move to leave either.

They stood there a moment more, foreheads touching, before Amy suddenly stiffened in his arms, pulling back enough so she could gaze down between them. “Laurie?”

Laurie flushed. “I’m sorry, I tried—-”

She stared down at where he was tenting in his trousers as though she couldn’t hear him. Slowly, she lowered her hand from where it was on his shoulder and—-

He snatched her wrist in his hand. “Amy, no, please. If you do that, I will lose my mind.”

She pulled away with a squeak. “Sorry, I’m sorry.”

He dropped his head back against the door, closing his eyes and taking deep breaths. “Don’t be sorry. But this was what I was afraid of. Things getting out of hand between us.”

She nodded, but still didn’t move away. “I don’t know what’s come over me. I never imagined I could be so wanton. I can’t seem to stop myself with you.”

Laurie made a sound that was somewhere between a groan and a laugh. “You can’t say that, please. Not when I’m trying so hard to be good.”

She giggled despite herself. “Forgive me, my Lord.”

He had to bite back another groan because it was just not fair for her to stand there dressed like that, flushed from his kiss, hair loose and tousled from his hands, and calling him ‘my Lord’ in that voice.

She laughed into his neck and he shuddered again.

He had to leave before they both lost their senses.

Quickly, though gently, he pushed her way, grabbing the door and putting himself on the other side of it before shutting it.

“Goodnight, Amy!” He called softly.

There was another giggle. “Goodnight, Laurie.”