A/N: Another chapter ALREADY! I'm so fired up for writing this, though school hols are practically over so they won't all be this quick. But this one was rushed especially for Eolivet's birthday which is today. :)

Thank you so much for your lovely reviews to ch 1! I'm really pleased to see some of you are excited to see where it will go! Though things will probably become clearer soon... But I really appreciate all your comments, thank you so much!

This chapter is rated T but I'll warn you now, it's a very strong T. Erm... yeah. *cough*

Enjoy...!


Chapter Two

"Matthew! Don't – please."

Somehow, Mary had managed to reach the door before it slammed entirely shut, and wedged her foot in the gap, letting out a small cry at the crush of pressure. Her hands were pressing against it, trying to push back against the weight of Matthew's body the other side of it. For once in her life, she didn't care how unladylike she appeared. She would not let him close a door on her… On them.

Matthew heard her cry and winced as he felt the resistance of her foot. No matter how furious he was, he could not bear to cause her pain, and stepped back reluctantly. Mary's hand appeared around the edge of the door and she gingerly stepped through, flushed with exertion and shame. The very sight of her made Matthew's blood boil.

For an unbearably long moment, he couldn't bring himself to speak to her. He wasn't sure he'd ever felt so angry at a person, certainly not a woman, in his entire life – and his anger was only increased by the irritating knowledge that his rage was only equal to the strength of his love, for it was that alone which fuelled his anger. He glared coldly at her, and when he finally spoke, his hushed voice shook with barely suppressed emotion.

"That's a cruel turn, Mary. Even for you."

Mary shrank back from the accusation in his voice. God knew she deserved it. Part of her wanted to turn and run, now; she'd only served to hurt him more and the pain in his eyes was breaking her into pieces. She swallowed and tipped her chin up defiantly, eyes glistening with tears that she refused to let fall. She had come this far.

"I'm sorry, Matthew, but I had to speak with you. It was the only way I'd find out where you were." Her own voice trembled with the effort of keeping it level.

"And so you thought you'd say you were my wife?"

"Matthew…" She had no excuse, she knew.

"In any case, there's nothing left to say," he bit out harshly. Sharply, he shrugged, glaring at her in challenge. "I imagine you're here because of the letter I sent your father. Well, you're too late. I am going."

Mary's expression flinched. Her eyes flickered down at his unconscious gesture, to the small stack of papers on the desk. Official papers. Army papers. Taking him away from her… Though she knew she had pushed him away herself. His tie was heaped in a loose tangle beside them. His jacket – and waistcoat, she realised – lay on the chair by the desk.

For the first time since she'd come in (barged in, given him little choice but to let her in), she really looked at him. His cheeks burnt with anger, and with only a shirt covering his torso she could see his throat pulse softly where his collar was loosened, the muscles in his bared forearms twitching as he clenched his fists by his side in bitter frustration.

Mary paled, flushed, somehow both at the same time as she stared at him openly for a second. She had never seen him like this… It was only when he frowned and whipped away to stand by the window that she realised she'd ignored him.

"That much is evident!" She exclaimed, bitter at his tone, forgetting for a moment why she was there. She looked up again sharply, hardening her gaze. "I might be too late to stop you flinging yourself stupidly into a war, but if you are determined… I know you have done this to run away. But you don't know what it is you've run away from. There are facts, things about me…" She trailed off, becoming distracted, heat flaring in her stomach at the contours of his back and shoulders through the thin white cotton of his shirt. She steeled her voice as if it could drown out her treacherous thoughts. "You must allow me the courtesy, at least, to make you privy to the full reasons for why I didn't accept you."

Matthew whirled to face her, looking even more agitated. He glared daggers at her, spearing her heart.

"Allow you the courtesy?" He threw her words back at her mockingly. Mary quavered. "I'm sorry, Lady Mary, was two months not quite long enough for you to make me privy to your opinion of me?"

"My opinion of you had nothing to do with it!" Mary couldn't help her voice rising in frustration. His anger was infuriating her, the way he was twisting her words and blocking her efforts…

Matthew's jaw dropped in speechless fury. He had started pacing, agitatedly, though the room was only small.

"You are really outdoing yourself, Mary." He spat the words out like thorns. His heart was burning a hole in his chest. "I thought perhaps that your regard for me counted less to you than more – material – concerns, but to know it mattered nothing to you?" He gasped for air; it was like he was drowning in a storm of hurt. Everything he had thought, everything he'd believed… The shreds of hope she'd given him… It had all been nothing.

"Matthew, will you for goodness' sake just listen!" Mary yelled suddenly, shocking him to silence. She couldn't quite control the rush in her and continued to shout across the, otherwise silent, room. "My opinion of you was nothing to do with my hesitation, other than that it was so great as to cause the other!"

"What?" He snapped back. Mary took a deep breath, realising she had made little sense. Forcing her voice to quiet, she spoke more seriously, measuring her words.

And she told him.

She told him everything.

As her sorry tale unfolded, her tears kept remarkably in check, Matthew stared almost blankly. His heart had burnt out; he could feel nothing any more. Pacing, pacing around each other, past each other, they hurled accusations and questions and justifications and gradually, painfully, dragged out the full truth.

Matthew's head was in his hands.

"That utter bastard."

Mary gasped at the curse on his lips, unused to such language from him.

"I let him." Her quiet voice sounded resigned. Defeated.

"That isn't the point!" Matthew's voice rose sharply in angered frustration. "He had no right to – God – and that is why you wouldn't marry me?"

"Do you imagine it was easy for me, Matthew?" She shouted suddenly in response to his tone. "The thought of destroying everything we had together? I could have just married you in ignorance, but at least I loved you enough to want to tell you!"

"Yes, but you didn't, did you!" He was filled with passionate indignation. "Instead you left me to believe that you just didn't care enough, refusing to satisfy me either way!" He paced towards her, leaning forwards, his dark expression tinged with hurt. "How long did you expect me to wait?"

"I don't know! I tried, but I –" Reeling with frustration, she yelled without reserve at him, though he was only mere steps away.

"I am not a mind-reader, Mary!" He flung his arm back towards the desk. "And now I'm going to a bloody war, and now you tell me that you loved me!"

"Oh!" Mary let out a loud, frustrated exclamation and kissed him.

She clutched the front of his shirt in her hands and yanked him towards her, pulling his lips fiercely to her mouth. Words were useless, they were achieving nothing and the thought of having driven him away made her desperate to reclaim him now. The sharp tug tore open the top of Matthew's shirt and he fell forwards, slamming Mary's back against the door with a grunt of shocked pleasure.

Hot desire surged through him and he kissed her back with a fury and a passion beyond anything Mary could have imagined. She gasped as her eyes closed and she surrendered to him. It was glorious. She wanted him. She wanted him to claim her. She wanted to give herself to him. She wanted to be his, utterly, completely. She gasped as he bit her lip hard; his hands were tearing at her coat to shed it, then her hat, allowing his fingers access to delve into her hair.

She had kissed him with such visceral passion… Matthew felt possessed. He had felt so much in these brief minutes, fury, rage, hurt, devastation, regret, longing, lust, and all of it had been driven by the depth of his love that now had broken, flooding over into a raging desire that gripped him. She loved him. Oh, the thought of her with… Pamuk (he forced his mind to repeat the man's name) tore at his heart and he… It was terrible, he knew, but she loved him and he wanted her to be his, not anyone else's. And she wanted him. His rational mind had ceased to think a long time ago.

Mary whimpered softly, clutching his head to hers as his tongue coaxed into her open mouth, and she slid her own along it. She bit down. He grunted, jerked, did not pull away. His hot breath mingling with hers made her shudder.

Her hands were all over his shoulders, his back, his waist, his hips, pulling him against her and he pressed back against her just as earnestly. His hips ground against her and… she could feel him through his trousers, through the linen of her skirt, feel how he wanted her and she groaned into his mouth before sucking at his tongue, scraping her teeth and her lips against him.

Matthew was burning. His eyes were pressed tight shut as he savoured every single touch and point of pressure and softness he could feel. She was writhing against him desperately. Oh, he needed her… Gasping raggedly, he dragged his lips from hers and tasted her neck, her sweet skin. Her lips were by his ear and her soft moans, the way her tongue brushed against his lobe, sent shudders sweeping to every extremity.

Mary held him fiercely to her. She didn't want him to stop. She had never felt arousal like this, never imagined… Her hands were clutching greedily at his shirt, fumbling to undo it so she could touch every contour of his bare chest, his back... He groaned, breath reverberating hotly against her neck. Her hands roamed all across his back, up to clutch at his shoulders then tracing all the way down, down to the small of his back where her hands slipped over the sweat on his skin and then still further down, with a daring squeeze that made Matthew gasp audibly. She grinned, drowning in heady exhilaration, and kissed his shoulders.

It wasn't enough. Mary pushed her hips against him, pushed him back. As they staggered back towards the bed they carried on kissing in an exquisite clash of lips and tongues and heat. They fell carelessly, landing on the bed with a delicious thud that knocked the breath out of them. Mary kicked off her shoes as Matthew shrugged his shirt off, before leaning over her and kissing her again as their legs tangled together. Raw need burnt through every vein.

His hand found its way under her skirt, grazing along the silk of her stockings and up to her thigh. Mary was trembling in pleasure, his touch sending pangs of desire sweeping through her so strongly it was almost painful. She could not think, did not want to think. If he were to leave, they would at least have this… His free hand, limited in movement as he was leaning on that elbow, made hasty work of undoing her blouse. Mary tugged his belt off. He kissed her neck, lower to the top of her chest. Mary pressed her head back into the pillows and squirmed up against him, gasping for breath. Her lighter daytime corset pulled her waist alone in, and she felt him pull aside the scrap of vest that covered her breasts and then his mouth and hands were on her. His breath and his tongue and his lips… Her hands twisted desperately into his hair, holding him against her.

Underneath her skirt, Matthew's hand was stroking up her thigh to her hip, finding her skin. Mary flamed with desire. And then, without any warning at all, a treacherous thought surfaced in her mind and she froze. Matthew felt her stiffen. Reluctantly he dragged his lips from her breast and kissed her mouth softly, panting heavily as he looked at her in concern. It took every fibre of strength he possessed to hold himself back.

"Matthew!" Her face twisted into an unreadable expression.

"What is it?" He practically groaned the words out. His body ached for her. His hand slid from under her skirt to rest on her waist.

"I... can't…" Tears filled her eyes suddenly. "Oh God." Her eyes closed and she pulled his lips fiercely to hers again, shifting her hips against him as though her body were protesting against her mind. For a second Matthew gave in to her, before pulling back, frowning in confusion. He was struggling to concentrate, her movements driving his mind to unspeakable thoughts.

"Mary…" He gasped.

Mary stared up into his eyes, her gaze filled with confusion.

"I… Matthew I want to, but…" She sobbed suddenly.

"If you don't, Mary…"

"No! But…" Another sob. Edith had been right. She was a slut. She had no sooner told Matthew of her shame than she was seeking to repeat it. True, it was different… It was so, so different, already she could barely think of Pamuk as her body burned for Matthew, but… Was she incapable of controlling herself? Her desire turned, ashen, to shame.

Matthew swallowed hard and shifted off her so that he could sit, and pulled her up into his arms, bowing his head. He felt thoroughly ashamed of himself. What had he been thinking? After she'd suffered such trauma at the hands of a man and confided in him, what had he done but… Oh, he was an insensitive, thoughtless, selfish fool.

"It's alright," he murmured against her hair. "I'm sorry, Mary, I don't know what –"

"I'm shameful!" Mary pulled back to look at him with tear stained cheeks. "Matthew, I… I told you what sort of a woman I was and now I have only proven it! I'm…" Her words were lost in a sob.

Matthew shook his head incredulously, stunned that she could speak so of herself. In that moment his desire was swept out by a burst of such love that it took his breath away. He looked at her, really looked at her, tracing her every treasured feature with dark eyes. His pulse started to race impulsively and he brushed his fingers across her soft cheek.

"Marry me."

TBC


A/N: Well, there we are...! Tick number 3 for me in 'Pamuk Confessions'. You may be getting an inkling now where this will be heading! Thank you so much for reading - I'd love to know what you thought, reviews are always appreciated!

Oh, and I'm not sure if this will go M next chapter or the one after - so please add to alerts if you don't normally check the M section!

Thank you! :)