Category Archives: 16 Chapter Sixteen

Eden 16:2

“Do you think me a beast for wanting you so much?” Eden asked Sophia, as they lay in each other’s arms watching the fire.

colt1Sophia smiled and considered a moment before answering her. “If you are a beast, Eden Smith, you’re a pretty yearling colt, tossing your head and prancing about; making everyone who sees you smile at your fire.”  And she ran her fingers through Eden’s hair and kissed the top of her head.

Eden rolled over, propped herself on an elbow and asked, “Can’t you stay one more night?”

“I’ve worn my mother’s patience thin,” Sophia said. “I have to go home.”

Eden stood now, and walked to the wardrobe in the corner of the room and opened a little drawer, reaching in and pulling out a small velvet bag. “If you’re really leaving me, have your Christmas present now.”

She walked back to the bed. “Hold out your hand and close your eyes.”

Sophia smiled and did as she was told.

Eden shook the bag and let its contents fall into the girl’s palm.

It was a flat band of yellow gold, carved with a star, in which sat a winking garnet. “Oh! It’s so pretty,” she said.

Eden sat beside Sophia, took the ring from her palm and placed it on the third finger of Sophia’s left hand. “You’ll wear it always, won’t you?” she asked.

“Of course I will,” the girl answered, holding out her hand to admire the ring

sophie's ring (sort of)“See the little red stone?” Eden asked. “When I saw it, I thought of the little glowing coal inside of Sophie, that she tries to hide. She thinks no one sees it.  But her boy…” Eden almost whispered the word “…can see it, however practical she pretends to be.”

“What nonsense,” Sophia said, but pulled Eden’s face toward hers for a kiss.

“And it means you promise to belong to me always,” Eden said. “If you agree to have it, you must agree to that.”

“I would promise to belong to you, ring or no ring,” Sophia told her. “But if that’s what it means, you must wear one for me too.”

ringAnd Sophia removed the simple monogrammed band that never left her right hand, closed Eden’s palm around it, and whispered, “I am yours, Eden Smith.  Don’t ever let me go.”

Eden found a finger that fit the ring and put it on. “I never will. Never, Sophie. I swear.”

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Eden 16:1

SophiaA nocturne filled the air of Eleanor Stephens’s music room as Sophia sat playing for Eden.

EdenHow long she had been listening and watching, Eden didn’t know. She had lost track of the time and was feeling soft and light, a snifter of El’s brandy in her hand, as she lounged in a wing-backed chair.

Eden’s glance moved from Sophia’s hands, skipping over the keys, to her feet pressing and lifting the pedals, to the back of her neck, where a tiny strip of flesh peeped between her collar and her low-gathered hair. She was overtaken suddenly with a desire to kiss that strip of flesh, and she rose quietly from her chair, putting her drink on the table beside it and stepping lightly to the piano.

Sophia played on as Eden stepped behind her, reached out and drew an index finger gently from her ear to the lace of her collar, then bent and kissed her neck. She kept playing still, as Eden began to draw out the pins that held the girl’s hair in place, slowly combing it through her fingers. At last, Sophia sighed, stopped playing and leaned back against Eden, asking, “don’t you like the music?”

“I love the music,” Eden said with a smile, “but the musician is irresistible.”

“Perhaps it’s time we went to bed,” Sophia suggested.

“But it’s so far,” Eden pretended to complain.

“It’s further than three steps across the room, like a boarding house.” Sophia smiled and rose as if to take Eden’s outstretched hand, but rather than let Eden kiss her, she ran lightly through the big room, down the hall and up the broad staircase.

“Sophie!” Eden followed her.

A fire burning high in the hearth was the only light in the room as Eden half kissed, half pushed Sophia to the bed. She began to gather the girl’s skirt up in her hand, whispering, “did you hope to evade me?”

“Never,” Sophia said, and put her arms around Eden’s neck, pulling her closer. “You are my own beautiful…boy…”

fireplaceIt was like a magic word. Eden blinked back sudden tears, but her heart surged with the satisfaction of being known in the exact way she had always longed to be known, by the girl she most longed to know in all the world.

“Sophia…Sophie…” was all she could say. But Sophia kissed her into silence.