She sighed, wiping down a table after the last of the travelers and the noisy drunks had finally made their way out the door of her tavern. It had been a good night, with no more than a scuffle, nothing a free round of mead hadn't fixed, and Mary was looking forward to finally making her way up to her small room and resting her bones.
A small candle in her hand -- all the mead, ale and wine locked away should anyone get thirsty while she slept -- Mary took one last look around, pleased with the way everything looked, all clean and tidy for tomorrow, when a knock startled her.
She knew her candlelight would be visible through the cracks in the door and window shutters. And Mary was no lady of the court, so she grabbed a broom.
“The tavern is closed for the night! Come back tomorrow!” she hollered.
A moment passed.
“I mean no harm. I wish to make reparations for a brawl that happened here in the fall,” a deep, but gentle voice replied.
Mary laughed, carefully making her way to the door, still armed with her broom. “A brawl, you say? ‘fraid you’ll have to be more specific.”
“I’m afraid I can’t, it has been too long, but I just want to pay you back and be on my way. If it’s too much trouble, I’ll leave the satchel here and you can take your chances with picking it up later.” There was a bit of an arrogant lilt to his tone, a smirk Mary could practically feel through the door.
Mary hesitated. The man was insistent, which often spelled trouble, but he seemed sincere enough, and Mary just wanted him gone so she could go to sleep. She opened the door.
His face was covered by a hood, which fell further down as he bowed before her.
Mary leaned on the broom and blocked his entrance, waiting, tired. “I haven’t got all night.”
“My apologies,” the stranger said and pulled his hood off, revealing a face Mary could almost recall, niggling at the edges of her memory. His hair was blonde, falling into his eyes, face covered in day-old stubble, a strong jawline highlighting his smile, brilliant even in the dim light of her candle.
“It’s you!” Mary finally remembered. “You have some nerve showin’ up here now. The time it took for me to fix this place up after you lot got done with it! And not a single one offered to help. Some men you are.” Her hand on the broom itched to smack the stranger upside the head, and Mary was ready to continue ranting, anger bubbling up, when the stranger placed a finger against her lips.
It shocked her more than anything else, the nerve, but she stopped talking. He stepped into her space, making her step back into the tavern, before closing the door behind himself, finger not leaving her lips for a moment.
Though it had been his companion then who had caught Mary’s eye -- her tastes more toward the lean, wiry men -- having this strong, built stranger looming over her wasn’t unwelcome.
“As I said, I merely want to make amends.” The stranger placed a jangly satchel on the table next to them, and Mary’s heart fell. Of course.
But as she exhaled against his finger, ready to speak her mind once more, she saw him shudder, stepping even closer into Mary’s space, their bodies practically flush together. Mary felt heat travel through her body, a familiar dampness spreading between her thighs, and she opened her lips, taking the stranger’s finger into her mouth, closing her eyes, sucking.
He moaned, as if in pain, but pulled his finger from her mouth, holding her face in his big hands as he kissed her with little finesse. The broom fell out of her hand, clattering to the floor, and Mary only just had time to set the candle down safely before the stranger had her pushed against the table.
She scrambled backwards, resting on her elbows, and watched as he kissed down her chest and stomach, over the dirty, rough fabric. She felt self-conscious, suddenly, having all his attention on her like that, his face right there, probably smelling her hard day's work on her clothes, but she had no time to focus on it as he hiked up her skirts and immediately buried his face in her wet heat, nosing through her folds.
Mary clung to her skirts while the stranger lapped at her sex, getting her wetter and wetter. The licking and sucking sounds echoed through the dark, empty tavern. Filthy. His hands held her thighs open, probably digging bruises into the flesh, but as she rocked herself against the stranger’s face, chasing her release, getting closer and closer, Mary didn’t care. She only wanted his tongue to keep lapping at the hard nub, to never stop, while her head swam in a needy haze.
When she finally came, she held his head in place between her thighs, riding out the pleasure. Her body relaxed and she felt boneless, no strength to pick herself up or speak to him.
He fixed up her skirts, smoothing them down, and kissed her thighs. She reached for him, and he kissed her hand. Mary was exhausted, body limp from the pleasure. She looked at him, illuminated in the candlelight, glowing, and tried to speak, to-- but he leaned over her and pressed his glistening lips to hers, chasing away all her thoughts..
“Thank you,” he said, bowing again before pulling his hood back up and leaving the way he'd come.
As the door scraped closed behind him, Mary realised that he hadn’t.