Age of Edward Contest
Title: Going to Sleep
Your pen name: Babette
Type of Edward: Civil War-ward
Pain. I needed something to help me forget the pain. How had I ended up here? On a battlefield, in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, feeling my life force drain from me slowly. This wasn't where I wanted to be as the last sleep I would ever enter came over me. I wanted to be with her. I forced my mind to think only of her.
We had just moved from Chicago, traveling by wagon across the plains and Rockies, on the westward expansion. So many were heading to Washington Territory to settle. Promises of land where everything grew with ease. Promises of gold flowing in rivers. Promises that drew my father to leave his law practice, and head west with the others to help with homesteading.
I was young at the time, only 15 when we arrived on the Olympic Peninsula. I remember walking with my younger sister, Alice, to the one-room school house where I saw her for the first time. She was sitting alone on a bench, working out figures on her slate when we walked in. The teacher, Mr. Banner, had sat Alice next to her since they were of an age, giving me a reason to look over there the whole day long. Her hair was tied up on the sides with a dark blue ribbon, keeping it out of her heart-shaped face, and in a long braid down her back. Her eyes were soft and brown, intent upon her work, except for when they happened to glance up, and catch me staring. Then they were startled, and her ivory skin colored into a lovely blush, as she shyly looked away.
I sought her out at recess. The sun behind her made her hair glow, the blended colors of brown and auburn making her skin seem even more porcelain. She was laughing as she skipped rope with the other girls, her face alight with joy. Alice was with her, certainly that was a good enough reason to approach? But the other boys were calling my name, wanting me to wrestle with them. They had a stick, and were sitting on the ground in a crouch, their feet against one another's, all four hands on the stick, trying to pull the other off balance. I didn't want them to think I didn't want to be friends, so I wandered over.
I sat across from a comely looking boy, possibly of Scandinavian descent. I remembered his name was Michael, and his father owned the general store in town. I was able to pull him quickly, and as we waited our turn to test ourselves against the others, we talked. It was he who told me the name of the girl who had caught my eye. Actually, he had told me the name of all the girls, pointing them out, but it was only hers I cared about. Her name was beautiful; fitting for a girl as lovely as she. He then assisted me in remembering the names of the other boys in the group, for which I was grateful. I didn't want them to think me slow.
I had been doing well in the wrestling, able to throw many of the boys there. Only once did I lose, because I had heard her. She was close by, watching the contest with the other girls, discussing the possible outcomes with my sister. I had wanted to impress her, and so was showing off, knowing she was watching me. However, since my focus was on her, and not the task before me, I was unobservant when the call came to begin, and was easily thrown. Unfortunately, I was thrown against a rock, causing a cut above my eyebrow. It had bled furiously, and she had almost fainted dead away!
My sister came over and cleaned me up. Taking me to the creek to wash out the blood from my shirt. Tsking at me over my carelessness. I just asked her about the girl. Were they friends already? What was she like? Oh, how Alice teased me then…
Someone near me cried out in agony, rousing me from my thoughts. I slowly, painfully, reached up and touched the scar above my brow. Smiling in spite of the pain as I remembered her care and concern over my wound. She didn't know I was wounded now, and would be beside herself with worry if she did. I knew from her last letter that this was her greatest fear, but that she understood my reason for leaving her.
Cessation from these United States was wrong, I had to go join the fight. Even traveling thousands of miles from my regiment was a small burden to attempt to ensure the solidarity of the union my grandfather had fought for. I had originally joined up with the Washington 1st Regiment, but since they would never be deployed east to where the fighting was, I requested a transfer. I was sent to The Army of the Potomac, arriving shortly after the Chancellorsville Campaign at the end of May. We had been having battles with the Greys for quite some time. Giving and taking land. We knew what Lee wanted, farmland, rich with food for his troops. Surprisingly, Northern support of the war was waning. They no longer cared that the country was being torn in two. We were in an emergency, protecting Pennsylvania from invasion.
A spasm pulled me from my ruminations on what brought me to this place. While I knew I was right to come, it wasn't what I wanted to have as my last thoughts on earth. I wanted them to be of her.
We were adults now, and she was wearing her hair up. She had it wrapped in a snood, with a ribbon that matched her dress. It was fall, and the harvest dance was being held. Alice had her come to our house to dress, having ordered dresses from Paris, one of which Alice had assured her would work. Granted the dresses were ordered when we lived in Chicago a year before, and so were last season, but no one here knew that. They had been designed by Charles Frederick Worth, and had cost my father a fortune. The dresses had very wide, bell-like skirts, with layers of crinolines underneath, causing them to rustle as they walked. There were layers of ruffles down the skirt, enhancing the fullness of the skirt, and smallness of her slight waist. The necklines were low and revealing, with the sleeves short. Her dress was a blue silk, with a black lace overlay that shimmered as she walked. She had on short, fingerless lace gloves, allowing her smooth arms and long fingers to show, her dance card hung from her wrist, and a square shawl, folded diagonally, was across her shoulders to ward off the chill. While my sister looked pretty, she was beautiful.
I was escorting both of them to the dance. I rejoiced when my sister asked her if any man had caught her eye, and she had glanced at me, blushed, and indicated that perhaps one had. Had I caught her eye? Was she as interested in me as I was in her? I thought of our talks. We had discussed Shakespeare, Longfellow, Ibsen and Holmes. We debated the rising Republican Party and their platforms, and the politics behind the Opium War and the Taiping Rebellion. She had said how foolish she thought the rushes for gold were, since money was not a source of happiness. When pressed, she indicated, with a blush, that familial love was, in her opinion, the greatest source. I knew of her deep intellect; did she think the same of me?
Upon arriving at the dance, I could hear the strains of a Minuet. Surely this was done to appease the older generation. I asked her for her dance card, and inquired how many I was allowed to take. What rapture filled my heart when she indicated with a blush that lit her face and continued down to her bosoms that all could be mine. I smiled at her, and declared that it was my greatest wish. As the strains of a waltz filled the air, I took her gently into my arms and into the ballroom. Having her there was pure heaven. I had eyes only for her the entire night. How she giggled as we attempted a Polka! How flushed was her skin at the end! How I wished to have her flush for different reasons.
I pulled her from the ballroom as the orchestra took a break, asking if she needed refreshment. At her agreement, I proceeded to the punch bowl, getting her a cup. We walked out to the balcony where the cool night air caused her flesh to raise. I handed her the cup, asking if she required her shawl. She told me she was still warm enough, but smiled as I stepped closer to lend my warmth to her. Oh, how I longed to wrap my arms about her! How I desired to touch more than her slim waist and delicate hand! As I glanced down I could see the top of her corset, and the lace of her chemise. The hunger building in me embarrassed me. Could she see the evidence of my desire for her?
She looked up at me and gasped. As I looked into her eyes, I could discern desire forming there as well. Or, was I mistaken? Did she want me as much as I wanted her? Not only intellectually, but also physically? How would she react if I touched her? Caressed her? Kissed her? I continued to stare into her eyes, hoping to find the answer there. Dared I attempt it? How my heart raced in an extreme mixture of fear and desire. What would I do if she rejected me? Asked that we simply remain as friends?
I saw determination fix in her gaze, and felt as her small hand reached for mine. We had touched innocently before, and there had always been a surge of feeling at the touch, but this time it was different. As her fingers came in contact with mine, I felt a fire build from the site. It traveled up my arm, and into my heart, and my groin. My breathing deepened, and I could see that hers had as well. I saw the pulse point in her throat, and it seemed to have sped up. As the fingers of my right hand wrapped around those of her left, I lifted my other hand to touch her face. I lightly caressed her cheekbone with my fingertips, my lips jealous of their contact.
My right hand let loose of hers, and reached around her waist. I wanted her closer to me. I wanted to feel the rise and fall of her breathing against my chest. As she stepped nearer, she tilted her face up to mine. She hadn't rejected my touch, and in fact seemed to continue to invite it. I leaned my head in closer to hers, watching the emotions on her face and in her eyes. The fire I saw and felt continued to build between us as I lowered my lips to hers.
I felt her rise up on her toes in order to reach me better. She wanted this as much as I did! With great happiness I touched her lips with my own, my eyes sliding closed with the contact. She tasted as she smelled, like strawberries and cream. I longed to touch my tongue to her, to see if it was different, but was afraid of rushing her. I schooled myself to be happy with just the kiss.
I now felt her arms reach around my waist. One small hand was traveling up to my shoulder to pull me closer. I thought I heard a whisper…
I could hear the man that had cried out before. His cries had quieted, but his breathing now rattled. Mine own was growing more labored, but at least thoughts of her were helping the pain die down. I could hear those afar off who where searching among the dead for the wounded. I doubted they would find my neighbor prior to his demise. Would they find me? Would I expire without ever seeing her face again?
That thought brought great pain, unlike the agony of my body. This caused my chest to heave, and my heart to rend. I thought of her last letter in my coat pocket, along with a daguerreotype of her and our infant daughter. I remembered receiving it just a few days ago. She had had it taken shortly after my transfer was approved. I pulled it from my pocket, and opened the picture. Even if she wasn't smiling, I could still make out the twinkle in her eye. The gold they used to highlight the pupils of her eyes did not detract from that look of love. In her letter she stated that she hated the picture, but had had it done for me, to keep her with me. She said it was so I wouldn't forget her when I was so far away. As if I ever could.
She had given birth while I was stationed in San Francisco with the Washington 1st Regiment. My daughter's birth had spurred me on to join more fully in this war. I wanted my daughter to be proud of me. I wanted her to have a poppa that could tell her stories of heroism and valor. Now I wondered if she would know a poppa at all.
The man nearby drew his last breath. He released it with a long sigh, entering his final rest. I wondered how long it had been since the battle. How many hours had I spent lying here hoping to be found and rescued from this field of death? I thought of the man I had shot. I had shot him just as he had shot me. I had been stationed to defend Barlow's Knoll, and we had been overrun. I had seen the Confederate soldier at the same instant his sight had centered on me. Even through the deafening noise of gunpowder, cannon blasts, and screams of the wounded I could hear the bullet hit my abdomen. I saw as mine hit him in the throat. Would he die before I did? Was he the man whose last breath I had just heard? If I ever recovered, would I ever be able to put the horror of that moment behind me? The fear of having that thought, of seeing his blood running down his side, as the last of my life pushed me into another memory.
She was resplendent in her white gown. I stood in my uniform, having recently joined the regiment, waiting at the nave of the church. She was on her father's arm, walking at an agonizingly slow pace toward me. The white lace fell from her shoulders, and met in a v at her waist. From there it split down her skirt, that layer ending half way down. Layers of white ruffles descended from there to the floor. She had on long, elegant white gloves covering her arms. Her hair was caught up in a white snood made of velvet adorned with pearls, with a white ribbon runched on the crown of her head. The front of her hair was wavy, parted in the middle.
The Reverend Weber was standing by my side. I remembered my discussions with him about heaven and hell. He had said to me that death to the righteous was like falling asleep, and we would awake on the other side with those whom we love that had preceded us in death. I wanted to be that kind of man. I wanted to forever be with this beautiful woman who was walking towards me. Whether I died before her, or she before me, I wanted to fall into that sleep knowing that we would be reunited on the other side eventually.
Her father placed her hand in mine, and we were married before God and man. All of the words washed over me, and I know I responded as I should have at the right moments, but all I remembered was her. The look of love on her face and the joy in her eyes as tears slid down her cheeks sealed my heart to hers far more surely than the words we spoke that day. I was caught up in her eyes, and surprised when she smirked at me, and reached up to place her lips on mine, sealing our vows with a kiss. I wrapped my arms about her waist, pulling her in, drowning in her love. I felt as her arms came around my neck, pulling me closer, pressing in with her lips, touching mine with her tongue. I think we would have stayed like that if not for the snickers coming from the congregation.
She blushed as I unwrapped her arms from around my neck, and propelled her to our well-wishers. Our families had set up a party in celebration of our union. The celebration started with a dinner, little of which I remember. My sister had been in charge of the celebration, as neither my love nor I had cared really all that much beyond the fact that we would be wed. After dinner we danced through the evening. Occasionally dancing with others; me with my mother, her with her father, but always returning to each other. I vowed in my heart at that moment that that is how it would always be for us. Obligations may pull us apart from time to time, but we would always return to each other.
At the end of the evening my sister came to collect her as we waltzed on the dance floor. Actually, I wasn't aware if we were still dancing, being wrapped up with the feeling of her lips on mine as we swayed. Since my sister wasn't moving as she spoke with us, I imagine that we must not be moving either. I wasn't willing to let her go, but Alice threatened me that she would ruin the surprise of our honeymoon, so I reluctantly relinquished my bride.
She was returned to me in a dark blue traveling gown, with a long jacket over her shoulders. She kissed her mother, hugged her father, and then allowed me to help her into the carriage. My best team of six was pulling my father's best carriage, ensuring speedy travel to our destination. As I held the reins in one hand, I reached over and took her hand with my other. After asking as to her comfort, she assured me she was fine. I could see her shiver, even though the summer evening was warm, and reached back for a blanket for her to drape over herself. She would never tell me of discomfort, so I knew I had to be vigilant in observing her. I did refuse, however, to disclose our ultimate destination. Knowing she had never been outside of the immediate area, I was able to conceal it from her. I loved to surprise her, even while she complained about being surprised.
We arrived at a small home on the beach after traveling for a number of hours. She had fallen asleep along the way, even with the jolting of the carriage over the bumpy highway. I wanted her to sleep, she would need her energy once we were inside. I gently awoke her, letting her know we were here. She looked at the cabin, then at me, and blushed fully. Even the tops of her breasts, hinted at by the low cut of her gown, were red.
I knew how innocent she was. She was exactly as innocent as I was. Since I had loved her always, I would never do anything to tarnish her reputation. All of my courting had been chaperoned. Even stolen kisses had been watched over by my sister, lest we become too aroused in the midst of our ardor. Since the first kiss at the dance, I was careful of how far I had allowed us to progress in our physical relationship. While it wasn't unheard of for girls to be pregnant when they married, I would never allow anything like that to happen to her. Since no other woman had ever caught my eye, and I had been young when I first sighted her, there had been no one for me to learn from either.
Knowing this night was upon us, I had quietly asked my father for advice. He had given me basic instructions, the most, and possibly least, helpful being to wait for her to be ready. I would know of her readiness from the sounds she made, and the wetness between her legs he informed me. He warned me that if she were dry, it would be even more painful. He spoke of her hymen, and how it had to be broken. This would cause her pain, but if I had prepared her fully, the pain would be less.
He had refused to elaborate on how to prepare her, though, probably feeling that would be uncomfortable for me, knowing that he had been that way with my mother. So I had turned to our driver, Emmett. I knew that he and his girl, Rosalie, had been intimate frequently, for he had boasted of it to me. In my heart I had wondered if my bride would be interested in some of the things he told me, and I knew I would never ask her to do other things he described, even if I thought they sounded…intriguing. He assured me that she would respond favorably to many things, and laughed that I would be a fool to not ask for the others. I had decided to go slowly, wanting to spare her any lingering pain, and ensure her enjoyment of the evening.
I handed the reins off to the groomsman, and jumped from the carriage. Reaching up, I gathered her in my arms, carrying her across the threshold into the house. I could hear the waves lapping quietly down at the shore through the double doors leading from the bedroom. As I set her on her feet, I noticed that her blush deepened, and looked down into her eyes. While she was feeling timid and shy, I could also see the burn of desire, which only served to add fuel to my own fire. I could feel myself harden and strain, and quickly chastised my body for its reaction. I must be slow. I must be careful. She is delicate and lovely, and I wanted no harm to come to her.
I reached up under her chin and undid the ribbons to her bonnet. As she trembled beside me I carefully removed the ribbons holding the snood on, releasing her hair down her back in soft mahogany waves. The feel of its weight as I ran my hand through it, carefully removing pins, shot desire through me in force. My fingers trailed down, unclasping the tie of her jacket, and sliding it down her shoulders, catching it in my hands behind her back.
I could hear the manservant carrying our luggage into the house, and so went to meet him in the front room, leaving her to wash up from our journey. After thanking and paying him, I dismissed him from the home, asking for breakfast to be brought around midmorning of the next day, and declining any late night dinner tonight. He gave me a grandfatherly smile, and wished me luck. I nervously thanked him, and he laughed, clapping me on the shoulder, assuring me that all would be well. He reminded me that there have been wedding nights since Adam married Eve, and no one had died from one yet. I sincerely hoped he was right.
I returned to the bedroom, removing my coat and vest. I had undone my cravat, and unbuttoned the top buttons of my shirt by the time I could see her in the mirror over the wash basin. She had brushed out her hair, leaving it in long waves down her back, and removed her gloves. She was using a cloth to wash her face and neck. The sight of the cloth running down her throat caused my trousers to become more uncomfortable, but I was undone by watching as a trickle of water escaped the cloth and ran down between her breasts. What I wouldn't give to be that trickle of water!
I could hear movement nearby. Whether it was man or beast, I could not ascertain. I knew men must be coming closer now, as they continued their search for the wounded. I also knew that it wasn't uncommon to find corpses partially eaten by the predators that were drawn to the scent of blood on the battlefield. I could only hope it was the former, and not the latter.
It was becoming more difficult to stay awake. I was afraid of falling asleep, lest I venture into that last sleep that Reverend Weber had described to me. To what would I awake? Who would be waiting on the other side for me? It wouldn't be her, for she was safely ensconced at my parent's home in Washington. Sighing, I returned to the only source of happiness I could find in this dreary, godforsaken place.
I came up behind her, placing my hands on her waist. I enquired if she needed assistance with her dress, and she informed me that Alice had done it up for her, and blushingly added that she didn't think she could undo the corset on her own. I willingly moved to the small buttons on the back, slowly undoing them one by one. My fingers were lightly stroking her skin as I continued my journey downwards, watching as her flesh raised anew under their tips. Once all the buttons were undone, I slipped the dress from her shoulders, and pulled the drawstring that held on her crinolines, allowing them to pool with the dress on the floor. I looked at her from behind in her knickers, chemise and corset. She bent to gather the dress, explaining that she didn't want it to wrinkle, but I told her to leave it, knowing the maid would iron it in the morning for her.
I reached down to her waist, pulling the ties of her corset, and slowly loosening the stays. I wasn't surprised to find that the garment actually changed her figure very little. It was tight around her, but in reality only served to support her breasts, which I could glimpse over her shoulder. Once it was opened enough, I slid it down over her hips, and allowed it to rest on top of her dress. I then turned her to face me.
She was blushing furiously, and asked if I needed help as well. Laughing, I allowed her to open the buttons of my shirt. The feeling of her fingers on my chest caused me to harden painfully as they went lower. I didn't know if I would be able to last long enough to get her clothes the rest of the way off, much less bring her any pleasure. She pushed my shirt off my shoulders, and started on the buttons of my trousers. I didn't know how much more of her tentative touches I could take, so I ended up pushing them down and kicking them off quickly. As we stood there in our undergarments, I decided I needed to kiss her. I spoke her name reverently, and bowed my lips down to her.
The feeling of standing there in so little clothing, knowing she was mine, with my lips on hers, helped push my fears aside. I gathered her up in my arms, sweeping one behind her knees, and lifted her. She gave a little squeak in shock, but then giggled nervously as I carried her to the bed. I placed her gently on the ticking, grateful for the down mattress that had been laid above the straw. I spoke to her of my love as I began again to kiss her, allowing my lips to follow the trail the droplet of water had taken earlier.
I could hear her breathing increase as I pushed aside her chemise in order to go lower. My hands reached down and gathered the material up to her waist. Looking into her eyes for permission, and finding it there, I slowly lifted and removed the garment, revealing her perfect breasts to me. They were perfectly sized; I reached out, touching her, encompassing the entire breast in my hand. I could feel her hardened nipple against my palm, and we both moaned as I squeezed lightly. I looked to her other breast, and licking my lips, dipped my head down to draw the nipple into my mouth. I heard her gasp loudly, but couldn't remove my lips from her, as I was relishing in her taste.
I glanced up to her eyes, to see her looking down at me with fire and desire. Encouraged by her reaction, I allowed my hand to trail down across her stomach to the drawstring of her knickers. I quickly pulled the string, loosening them. I was surprised when she reached down, and helped me to remove them, surprised that she was as excited for this as I was. She had always been so demure; to see her as a vixen was a shock, and headily liberating. I felt her hands roam down my chest to my own undergarment, and laughed lightly as she struggled with the fastenings. Her sound of frustration and kittenish glare snapped me out of my frivolity, and I made quick work of the rest of my own clothing. Finally, we were fully exposed to each other. If I had ever thought her lovely before, there were no words to describe her now.
I reached down to her sex, and could already feel her wetness. My father had told me that this was all that was needed, but Emmett had explained that if I wanted her to enjoy this as much as I did, then there was more to do. Following his instructions, I slipped my fingers between her folds, feeling the nub he had described, and started to rub it. Her moans indicated that I was doing this correctly, and I looked up from what my hand was doing to see her face. Her eyes were closed, and her breathing was heavy. I couldn't resist, and lowered my face back to her breast, sucking her nipple in again, tasting her flesh. Her moans increased, and I felt her hand slide back down my abdomen to my erection. I groaned as I felt her small hand encase me, squeezing me gently.
I felt the muscles of my stomach begin to contract; Emmett had warned me of this, that I might have trouble holding out for her since it was my first time. He had told me to think of something else, but nothing could pull my attention from the angel before me. I felt her stiffen, and heard a loud moan escape her lips. This was the moment he had told me to wait for. Now, she was truly ready for me.
I rolled over on top of her, spreading her thighs with my legs, aware of her heavy breathing. I angled myself so that I was at her entrance, and slowly pushed in. Her eyes snapped open, looking at me. I saw signs of discomfort on her face, and began to withdraw, but she wrapped one of her legs around mine, pulling me in. I complied slowly, allowing her to stretch to encompass me, watching for signs of pain. Stopping when I felt her barrier, I waited for a sign from her to continue. She breathed deeply, and started to relax. Looking at me, she nodded. I took her lips in a kiss, as I thrust past this obstacle.
Her loud gasp around our joined lips told me of her pain, and I opened my eyes to see a small tear escape the corner of one of hers. I halted my movement, and waited for her to gather herself. She responded affirmatively when I asked of her welfare, and a couple minutes later, I felt her begin to move her hips under mine. Knowing I wouldn't last long, I tried to gently thrust into her. I knew she was still hurting, so I wouldn't want to prolong her pain. I looked upon her as I continued, amazed at the depth of love I felt as we consummated our union.
Would this joining of our love bring forth life? How long before I had a living and breathing representation of the love we shared? I hoped it was soon, knowing I would be leaving in a few short months for my assignment with my regiment. The joy I felt in the thought of having a child with this amazing woman overwhelmed me. I felt my stomach muscles clench strongly, as I reached my peak, providing the essence that would hopefully bring about this much desired outcome.
I pulled out of her, and rolled from her, keeping my eyes trained upon her face. Breathing deeply, I took her chin in my hand, and turned her to look at me. With a kiss I again declared my love for her, and heard as she responded the same to me. Upon questioning, she assured me once again of her welfare, and I wrapped my arms about her, as we drifted to sleep.
Sleep. I could feel its pull on me desperately now. I knew I would succumb eventually, but it was too soon. Would this be the one from which I would never awaken? I felt a pull on my arms, and started. I couldn't open my eyes to investigate what had hold of me, but could feel hands on my body, reassuring me as to the nature of the creature in whose grip I found myself. I felt myself being lifted to a stretcher and carried, I assumed, to the hospital.
A deeper darkness than just my closed eyes was descending on me. As much as I fought against it, I now knew the time had come to relinquish my tenuous hold on consciousness. As I let go, and allowed myself to drift away, I heard a voice call out. It was a voice I longed to hear, sweet, soft, full of love, as it said only one word.
Fighting back against the darkness, I answered.
Then I let go, and fell to sleep.
A/N: Many thanks to Getshorty for reading this over for me, while on vacation, in the Florida Keys! You rock bb! Hugs and Kisses!