It had been a week of utter chaos for Elvira. And she loved every moment of it. From sun-up to sun-down, she doted on her children like any new mother would. Most days you could find her in the twins’ nursery, watching them sleep, gently touching their baby-soft skin, or even cuddling them while she sat in the rocking chair, humming lullabyes. She simply could not bear to be away from them for more then a few moments at a time.
It was where Sally found her after returning from imparting the news of the twins’ birth to Elvira’s family. She stood in the doorway, watching Elvira. It still amazed Sally to see Elvira with such a gentle and loving expression on her face. She hadn’t thought it was possible. But there was the proof. Elvira bent down, pressing a gentle kiss to Damion’s head as he slumbered, before giving the same attention to Dominique.
Sally stepped further into the room, catching Elvira’s attention.
“How did it go?” Elvira asked in a near-whisper.
“About what you expected. Bart looked as if all his Christmases had come early, the way he was grinning and carrying on. You know he’s going to say or do something to drive your mother insane.” Sally sighed, sitting in the other rocker. She took Damion from his mother and held him. He made a noise of protest for a moment before settling back into sleep.
“Wonderful.” Elvira sighed. It was no secret that the Roxburg Family was fractured beyond repair. Since the death of its Patriarch, Amos, things had not been the same. Elvira chose not to dwell on it. She had her own family to care for now. She had extended an olive branch of sorts, inviting her brother and mother to come visit the twins. Whether they chose to or not was now up to them.
“Where is Virgo?” Sally wondered, just as Dominique awoke with minimal fuss. With expert ease, Elvira bared her breast and brought it to her daughter’s lips, who latched on the moment they touched.
“Out on the grounds somewhere. One of the horses has broken free and went wandering about.”
“Ah. Has Damion fed?”
“Mhm.” Elvira murmured as she watched her daughter. “He’s ready for a nap.”
“I’ll put him down and check on dinner.” Sally slowly got to her feet with her precious bundle and placed him in his crib. He hiccuped once before settling deeper into sleep. Sally left Elvira with her daughter and headed for the kitchens.
As fast as the runaway horse sped across the rolling hills of the Marulo Estate, Virgo was powering hard upon his black steed to recapture the daring filly. It was a race watched by Gerard, who knew better than to charge on after his lordship. Virgo’s natural thrill for the chase made this more than a game. It was like a wild calling, that near had him leap off his horse and transform. Thankfully, he kept those urges suppressed, unless he was around Elvira when the children were asleep and he got into one of his moods. The Count had never let up on his need to be as close physically to his wife when he was able. However with the arrival of the twins, he had found that she often had her hands full – literally, and that he had taken something of a back seat. Virgo loved his children dearly, but did miss the intimacy he and his beautiful wife always shared. It was still early days of course, and this ride was in some respects a good tonic for his need to follow his nature.
Thundering across the final hill, the Count cracked his horsewhip at full gallop, startling the filly, who reared up and then came to a stop, while the Count rode around the front of the horse and brought the filly to submit to his lead. His own horse was snorting and frothing at the mouth as it had been a hard ride to catch her. Virgo saddled his whip and leaned forward to pat his horse’s neck firmly.
Putting a halter on the runaway filly, he then calmly rode back with the filly in tow much to the delight of his man servant, who had much to tell him about the ride to the Roxburg’s manor. Reaching the manor grounds a short time later, he gave the rope to a young stable hand, before dismounting his steed and smiling brightly at his good companion. The Count removed his gloves one at a time and stuffed them in under his belt as Gerard walked towards him.
“Gave the filly a run for her money, M’lord?’ His voice having a humorous edge to it, as he could see the Count was slightly flushed. “I know another filly I would rather be riding for, but she probably has my son to her breast.”
Both men laughed as Gerard walked with him inside. “How did things go at the Roxburg’s, or should I just refrain from having fanciful ideas that they are accepting of us now?” At first Gerard winced, not liking having to explain the situation he encountered. He was also concerned on how the Count would react. “Bart seemed, well, very pleased with the news, though I have my doubts about his Mother. Strange woman. Bart informed us that he would be the one to tell her, so…it’s anyone’s guess how that went. Perhaps Lord Roxburg may come visit, one can only hope.”
It was the best that Gerard could come up with to explain the odd situation that now existed between the two households. Fractured would be a good word for it.
“So long as Elvira is not upset by a visit, then I will condone it. Speaking of which, I have not had a chance to hold my children this morning. I think I should go up now.”
“Yes sir…very good.”
Virgo didn’t bother to change, but instead took off up the stairs and headed for their Nursery where he was certain his wife would be.
Not bothering to knock, he marched into the room and clapped his hands together. Always boisterous.
“Who missed Daddy?” He chortled, looking at his son Damion in his crib. Reaching in, he picked up his son and cradled him in his arms.
A light kiss on his son’s head brought a small gurgle from the baby and the Count cast his eyes over to his beloved wife.
“You’re next.” He said with a laugh, meaning he would take Dominique for a cuddle when she was done feeding. The Count walked his son around the room, gently rocking him as he whispered and cooed in that wolf like manner. Doting on his small family. Finally he made his way to Elvira and planted a kiss on her forehead as she nursed their daughter.
“And how is my darling wife today?”
Dominique had just nearly finished her own feeding when Virgo strode into the room, looking dashing in his riding outfit. Elvira eyed him hungrily as it had been some time since she had been intimate with her mate. As much as she loved her children, her mate was everything.
He picked up his son and began walking around the room with him, cooing and making comforting noises that had their son giving him a big toothless smile. Elvira’s lips quirked up in a grin seeing the look on her husband’s face.
He bent to kiss her forehead, asking after her well-being.
“I’m well, beloved. You managed to wrangle your horse, I take it?” she smiled, turning her head to look up at him.
He would answer in the affirmative and she smiled.
“Oh good. I would hate to have to put her down since it is so close to her foaling time.” she stated, well aware of the fact that it was Virgo’s own steed who’d done it. She wondered if he knew that?
“Virgo, love. What do you think of us passing the children off to Sally and Gerard for the eve and taking some time for ourselves? I say we’ve earned it.”
The Count walked slowly with his young son and set him down gently, before going back to his wife, and taking up Dominique as he was sure Elvira would have finished. He placed Dominique upon his shoulder and rubbed her back lightly till she brought up bubbles of wind, that were sure to have her making comical faces if Elvira was to look upon them, while he walked the baby around the room. Ever the doting father, he did his best to be an on hands father, something that many men of his era would have frowned upon. Then again, Virgo was ageless in a sense. Placing Dominique down in her crib and gently drawing a blanket across her, he continued to pat her back and make that soft growling sound, he once only reserved for his wife. Now, his children shared in this, a special way of communicating his love – his bond.
Once it appeared that Dominique and Damion were both asleep the Count crept back over to his wife, and then sunk down upon his knees. His face looking up adoringly at her beauty, ever transfixed – bewitched by her, not to mention she smelt divine. Having had just fed the children, who both had their own sweet scent. The Count lay his head down on her lap, as though he was the one wanting attentions.
“Oh how I have missed you.” he murmured, lightly stroking her thigh. His eyes closed as he just calmed at being so close to her.
After taking care of Damion, he took up Dominique as she’d finished feeding. Elvira adjusted her top as Virgo walked the baby around, rubbing her back. There was the tiniest of burps from little Dominique and the face she made was comical, bringing a giggle to her mother’s lips.
Placing the baby in her crib, soon both the littlest Marulos were sound asleep, leaving Virgo free to be with his wife. He sank to his knees before her, his face one of serene calm and pleasure. He lay his head upon her lap, drinking in her presence.
“Oh how I have missed you.” he murmured, stroking her thigh and sending delightful tingles through her body. She placed a hand upon his head, sliding her fingers through his hair and lightly scraping his scalp.
“As I have missed you, my heart.” she whispered in return, tilting his head up with her hand. She leaned forward, pressing her lips to his in a tender kiss.
She had missed this intimacy with her mate and knew their bond needed to be reaffirmed. She had devoted so much time with their children, solidifying her bond with them that she had neglected her bond with her mate and husband. It was now time to remedy that situation.
“So, what say you, darling. Me and you and a night alone? Hmm?”
Two of the darkest creatures were playing house with beautiful children and a perfect life it would appear. But in the days since the birth of the twins, the couple had spent so little time together, much of it was no fault of their own. For now there was a gap, a pause in time where the Count could be himself around Elvira. The loving and dutiful husband. He felt the way her hand caressed his cheek, and brought his face up to look at her. Eyes adoring for her and her alone. Though still dressed in his riding clothes, he was still very much wolf like in how he attended to her.
He brought up his hand to cup her cheek when asked if they should enjoy a night alone.
“A whole night? Just the two of us? Dinner…dancing…and of course, romping the sheets.” Virgo said the last part with an eyebrow wiggle, before doing something totally out of character. Burying his face into lap and snuffling about….-ahem- Hopefully the reaction would not wake the children.
Virgo drew his head up and then chortled asking her;
“Tonight out of the question?’
Virgo caressed her cheek as he thought about her question. It had been quite some time since he and Elvira had a night alone. She thought they deserved it.
“A whole night? Just the two of us? Dinner…dancing…and of course, romping the sheets.”he grinned at her, waggling his eyebrows. She giggled lightly before it changed into outright laughter when he pressed his face into her lap and began to snuffle and snort. Hearing the noise, the twins made a small noise of protest from their beds, almost waking.
“Virgo!” she hissed, pushing at his shoulders to get him to stop before they woke their children from their sleep.
He drew his head up with an unrepentant grin.
“Tonight out of the question?”
“Tonight would be lovely.” she smiled. She moved to push him aside so that she could get to her feet. “You may want to let Cook know or she’ll be upset she cooked for no reason…unless you’d rather we dine on the terrace tonight. Dinner by candlelight does sound romantic.” Tossing him a wink, she ducked out of the nursery so that she could go change and ready herself for a “date night” with her mate.
Virgo loved the sound of his wife’s laughter, but what was alarming was that the babies must have not only heard their father’s playful snorting, they reacted to it by making a small noise each of protest – squirming in their cribs. Virgo grimaced playfully at the thought he had caused them to stir. His wife was right to hiss at him, for the were had a habit of getting carried away when he was in the mood. It was probably one of the things that she loved about him; his doting and constant attentions. Forever her shadow he was always in the background, ready to protect and in some cases show great affection for both her and the children at a moment’s notice. Elvira was happy for this night to be a date night and this immediately had the cogs in Virgo’s mind whirring. Dinner on the terrace. Perfect. Candles, and of course let Cook in on it.Virgo rose to his feet and allowed her to duck out of the nursery to go ready herself for their romantic evening.
“I shall alert Cook, my heart.” Virgo sung out, and then he silenced as one of the babies hiccuped and gurgled. The Lord tiptoed out of the nursery in the hopes of not waking them further.
Down in the kitchen, Virgo was going over with Cook what he had in mind for a romantic dinner. Stuffed pheasant with garden vegetables, a torte for desert and of course heart shaped chocolates to enjoy with coffee and brandy as a close. Cook clapped her hands together at the challenge and set to task, while Virgo tried to steal a morsel off a cake she was making. A quick snap on his wrist had him skulking away chuckling to himself, licking his fingers.
~A few hours later~
Standing out on the terrace, dressed in a suave suit made from the finest velvet and silks, Virgo stood by the balcony edge. His hand held a cigar which he was enjoying, and he stared out at the expansive grounds, whilst Cook brought out silver doomed trays and sat them down on the perfectly set table. The scents and smells certain to intoxicate the senses. Candles were lit in lanterns, that hung from the canopy, whilst a small quartet that had been hired specially, played a soft tune, all wearing masks and fine dresses at the Count’s request. He spared no expense to treat his wife as the Queen he believed her to be.
Love and romance would fill the air.
“This…will be a night to remember.” He mused thoughtfully to himself
Elvira poked her head out of the bedroom door and called for Sally.
A moment later, Sally was in the room. “What is it?”
“Virgo and I are taking this night for ourselves and I have nothing to wear.” Elvira pouted.
“What’s this night entail of?” Sally wondered, moving to the open closet.
“Dinner on the terrace, some dancing, and a bit of “alone” time.” Elvira smirked. Sally looked at the various dresses Elvira had and pulled one out that she knew Elvira had never worn before. She held it up.
Elvira made a face. “No!”
“It’s ugly. I hate the color.”
“Elvira! This color is lovely on you! You’re not going to be in it long anyway so what does it matter?”
“It matters because I’ll be the one wearing it!”
“Darling, Virgo is not going to care one whit about what you are wearing. It’s you he wishes to spend time with, not your bloody dress!” Sally growled.
“But nothing. Put the bloody dress on!”
“Fine!” Elvira huffed, stripping out of her smalls. Sally wasn’t the least bit scandalized. Elvira oft went without undergarments. The ladies of the Gossip Circle were quite put out that Elvira never once comported herself as a young lady should. Elvira was a class all her own.
Once she was buttoned and set, Sally quickly did her hair, brushing her long locks until it glowed like dark satin. No adornments or curls were put in her hair. She thought Elvira’s natural beauty were all she needed.
“Done.” Sally stated, setting the brush down. Elvira gave herself the once over in the mirror and had to admit to herself that the color did look good, especially with her hair.
“Go…have fun…I’ll keep an eye on the children.”
“I don’t know what I would do without you, Sally.” Elvira smiled, kissing the woman’s cheek.
“And you shall never have to find out, now shoo. Off with ya.” Sally grinned, pushing Elvira toward the door.
Terrace of the Marulo Estate
Heading for the open terrace doors, Elvira could hear the soft sounds of music playing and she wondered what Virgo had been up to in the time she was gone. She peeked around the doorway and saw Virgo standing at the balcony, enjoying a cigar. His back was to her so he didn’t see her just yet and it gave her a moment to admire him. It was hard for her to believe it had been a year since he had ridden up to her in the park and kissed her senseless.
Beneath the veneer of an aristocrat, beat the heart of a fierce warrior, and one she was proud to call her own.
The love within her for this man was plain to see upon her face as she gazed at him.
She stepped out on to the terrace in a rustle of silk and waited for his acknowledgement. He always knew when she was close and this time would be no different.