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“Where did you learn to kiss like that?”
“I don’t know what you mean,” Meredith replied defensively, then immediately realised her mistake. But it was a risky issue to acknowledge, even now that she was married to the man who asked the question.
James’ eyes slid across to her. “As you reached climax, you grabbed my hair, thrust your tongue deep in my mouth and then raked your nails across my back,” he clarified deliberately.
Ah. She hadn’t realised that she had done that. It had been instinctive, a reaction to the pleasure he was giving her. But it wasn’t very lady like. And neither was it very virginal. Did he think that she had lain with a man before him? She couldn’t let a doubt like that grow. He might put her aside. No. Perhaps a slightly dubious truth was better than him imagining something worse. Meredith sat up in the bed and turned to face him. She focused on tidying her chemise into a semblance of order while she corralled her thoughts.
“You know of course that I have endeavoured to learn everything that would make me a good wife. Home-making, hostessing, intelligent conversation.” She glanced down at him. He was looking up at her, curiosity and a hint of confusion on his intelligent face. Naturally he didn’t understand how this was relevant, but was too polite to interrupt her.
“There was one element which I felt was neglected by the general scope of appropriate education for young ladies.” She took a deep breath. “A wife must please her husband in bed.”
Meredith didn’t allow herself to look away from James. He was completely still, his expression neutral, still laid back on the pillow where he had collapsed after their lovemaking. His dark hair was tousled from her fingers and his body was replete, but his eyes watched her intently.
“Victoria and I decided to tutor ourselves. We had learnt history and geography from books, why not about this? We acquired novels and set about learning together. The Monk, Fanny Hill, Justine. However, you know how I favor vigorous, practical learning. Therefore we acted scenes from the books, taking it in turns to play the different roles.” She hesitated, then looked away. This was the difficult part.
“Your friend and you played the different roles in the stories?”
She couldn’t look him in the face for this bit. “Yes. Well. We meant to switch. But Victoria preferred to be the lady, and I… “ She would not back down. “I liked to play the man. Consequently, I am less adept at the woman’s role. But I will learn.”
“What did you do?” His voice didn’t sound accusatory, so Meredith turned cautiously back to him. His expression held anticipation at her answer. He looked like Victoria had when she’d started putting emphasis on words like heavy, tight and deep as they read together. Could he be aroused by the thought of her and Victoria together?
“We would pretend to be the characters in the novels. Or sometimes we would make scenes up: A lady captured by a pirate king; a reluctant wife; a priest and a virgin nun. At first, we just kissed, caressed.” His eyes were bright now and his breathing a little faster, as it had been when they had begun to made love earlier that evening. The sight emboldened her. “It was Victoria’s idea that we should experience what it was like when we didn’t want to. I would force her down onto the bed, cover her mouth with mine so she couldn’t cry out. Then I would rub and pinch and stroke her until she didn’t fight anymore.”
“Yes.” His breath hitched on the word. He wasn’t disgusted, Meredith realised. He wanted to hear more.