My Foolish Boy
The first time had, in fact, been sometime before they were married.
They’d made love in a meadow outside of Knighton, by the light of a full moon, not long after she had fled from her wedding with Guy. It had been something of a safety measure, initiated by Marian herself, in order to safeguard her right to choose who was the first to lie with her. Should another wedding to someone other than Robin crop up, and should nothing occur to prevent it, then she would at least be prepared.
It had, as Robin recalled, not been at all bad as far as first times went. And it had meant something, because it had been Marian, swallowing her pride and trusting herself to him (though it had been no small feet on his part to trust himself to her, also).
Marian had suggested, afterwards, that they might as well have been married in the eyes of God from that point onwards.
“It’s not about churches and blessings and dresses and veils and ceremonies after all, is it?” She had asked, her head resting on his chest, “it’s about union. I don’t care what stamp the state and the church put on it… I don’t think I could ever be like this with anyone but you.”
He had asked her to marry him then, but she had laughed quietly and told him that, no matter how joined she was to him in the eyes of God, she would quite prefer to stay severed from all in the eyes of the Law for as long as possible.
So he had not asked her again until King Richard had returned, on a quiet day in the rain:
“I need a wife, Marian, now that I am a respected member of high society once more… and I could not marry anyone but you.”
“Why?” Her reply had surprised him a little.
“Why could you not marry anyone but me?” She had quirked her head at him, “it’s a fair question.”
“Because I love you,” he’d told her quite truthfully, “and marrying anyone else strikes me as somewhat pointless.”
Marian had smiled at him, “that is a good answer.”
And then there had been a long pause in which she had watched the rain and he had watched her. And then he had asked:
“So will you marry me then?”
And she had shrugged, “um… yes. I suppose so. But not because I need to, and not because it’s the right thing to do, and not because we’ve shared a bed on numerous occasions already, and not because of needing someone to help take care of father, and not because of needing a man to stop Knighton being handed over to one of my cousins when father dies.” She had paused for breath, her brow furrowed, then glanced at him with a look of sudden clarity, “but because I love you, and that is important.”
Now, watching as Marian slid her nightdress off over her head, Robin was accosted by a sudden longing for those heady days of pre-marital trysts. The days of Robin Hood, outlaw lover of Lady Marian of Knighton, when their encounters had been dangerous and poignant, laced with the bitter-sweetness of the knowledge that every time might be the last.
The days when, oddly enough, they seemed to have more time together than they did now; when it was not duty and noble labour that kept them apart but the law; when he would creep into her bedchamber early in the morning and they would end up tangled in her bed sheets, stifling themselves for fear of someone overhearing them. The days when he could pull her from her horse in the forest and have her against a tree and half undressed in the time it took him to string a bow. Days like the time when he had caught her in the stables of her home and had ended up covering her mouth with one hand to stop her cries from drawing the guards as he buried his face between her thighs.
Of course those days had been underlined by the significantly higher risk of one or both of them getting caught and hanged, which somewhat dulled the sense of nostalgia. Still, the spontaneity and danger of it all had been gloriously exciting.
Now, as he kicked off his under-shorts and covered Marian’s body with his own, he allowed himself a brief moment of fantasy, drifting back to that time when he had managed to sneak into Marian’s bedchambers in the castle itself whilst she was staying there. That had been entertaining – horrifyingly dangerous, looking back – but entertaining. And Marian, for all she had scolded him for taking such stupid risks merely to reach her, had proved more than receptive to his overtures at the time.
Riding on the memory of that old passion, he kissed Marian fiercely, running increasingly purposeful hands down her body. Marian moaned softly and pressed herself back against him – the softness of her, the way she was squirming slightly to help him find the places where she wanted most to be touched – it was almost too much. Robin could feel himself growing painfully hard, and knew full well that if Marian kept up what she was doing with her hands then he would not last long enough to give her any satisfaction (a situation that tended to have rather unpleasant consequences for him afterwards).
“Marian,” he broke the kiss and gasped, pulling one of her hands away, “just – give me a moment, will you?”
Marian laughed softly and wrapped her arms around his shoulders, pulling him down against her. His brow was slick with sweat and his cheeks were flushed (like, she thought, a little indulgently, a tired, sickly child) and he rested for a minute against her shoulder.
“Not moving too quickly for you, am I, husband-mine?” Marian asked, softly.
Robin laughed and kissed her temple, “if you want this to last, Marian, I would appreciate a moment to get my bearings and work out what exactly we are doing.”
“I should have thought, Robin, that what we are doing is patently obvious,” Marian told him, giving him a somewhat wolfish grin.
“Mm, well, let’s see,” Robin propped himself up over her and appeared to appraise what he was looking at, “here is your hair,” he leant down kissed the top of her head, “and here is your forehead,” another kiss, “and here are your ears,” he ran his hands over each, “which makes this your nose,” he kissed it gently, “and these your lips,” Marian pushed herself up and kissed him before he could quite complete himself but the point was well taken.
Robin kissed her back and pushed her down again as he did so, pausing for a moment to catch his breath, “and if those are your lips and that is your face,” he kissed her temple, her chin and her jaw, “then this is your neck, mm – ” his voice became somewhat muffled as he pressed his lips to her throat and then worked his way down, “and these are your shoulders – and this is your collar bone… and these two interesting parts here would be your breasts…” Marian sighed softly as Robin closed a hand on each, then, like a curious child, delicately ran two calloused fingers along the soft flesh, traced her nipples and paused to tease her as he leaned down and lightly pressed his lips to one and then the other. Here he lingered for only a second before he gently drew one into his mouth. He felt Marian curl her toes in pleasure, her eyes fluttering closed.
The silence of it was almost as sweet as the physical contact. Robin liked those long, quiet moments, in which all that could be heard was their breathing and the sound of skin moving over skin. It reminded him of the stillness in a church or in a woodland glade after a rainstorm – something sacred happening, daring anyone to interrupt.
He paused, propping himself up on his elbows and contemplating her.
Marian smiled at him lazily, reaching down to stroke his hair, and rest her knuckles against his cheek. He closed his eyes, leaned into the touch and kissed her fingers as they passed over his lips.
For a second they allowed the moment to stretch out, warm, comfortable and indefinably precious. That was the good thing about these later days, Robin knew. The element of urgency in their unions was gone – they could afford to savour the time as they chose to.
“Are you going to keep going?” Marian asked him, softly, a hint of playful petulance in her voice.
Robin pushed himself forward and kissed her briefly, “as you wish, my lady – where were we?”
Marian raised her eyebrows at him in such a way as to suggest that he knew precisely where they had been.
“Alright then,” Robin began, mockingly business-like, “if those are your breasts, quite lovely as they are, then these would be your ribs…”
Marian shrieked with laughter as Robin promptly sank his fingers into her sides, tickling her mercilessly.
“Robin! Robin, stop it!” She cried, writhing with helpless laughter, “Robin!”
“Mm?” Robin grinned at her mischievously, “did you say something?”
“Robin!” Marian yelped and twisted, “stop it now!”
“I used to do this to you when we were little,” Robin remarked, mildly, without letting up, “remember?”
Marian couldn’t answer, shaking her head vigorously as Robin continued to tickle her, very nearly managing to kick him off the bed entirely as she attempted to escape him.
“Shh!” Robin laughed, finally letting up, “people will think I am trying to murder you!”
“And whose fault is that?” Marian demanded, gasping for breath, “honestly, Robin – you really haven’t grown up, have you?”
Robin grinned at her, resting his cheek on her abdomen, “oh, I don’t know – I doubt very much I’d be feeling half of what I’m feeling now if I hadn’t grown up just a little…” he flashed her a boyish grin and kissed her stomach, “you never stopped being ticklish, did you?”
“You know I didn’t,” Marian gave him a reproachful look, but couldn’t hold it and began to laugh, softly, instead.
Robin brushed one devious hand over her ribs again before hastily withdrawing as Marian swatted him away – then he kissed her abdomen again, picking up where he had left off.
“Your ribs, then, lead us down here to your abdomen, and your belly button,” he touched his tongue to the place where the flesh folded down into itself, “which is delightful – and then, down here…” he dropped a line of kisses slowly down her stomach, “well… we have something very interesting indeed…” he slowly ran a finger down to the nest of dark, coarse curls between her legs. Marian shivered, involuntarily, and Robin paused, allowing her to feel his breath on her most sensitive parts.
“These,” he began again, quietly, “would be your thighs here…” he pressed his lips to the inside of one, inhaling the sent of her, “and below them your knees… but really, what we’re interested in, would be this part here…” he gently pressed a hand to that warm cleft between her thighs, feeling how moist she was becoming (allowing himself a moment of quiet pleasure at the thought of what he was doing to her).
“Because,” he continued, “we can do some very interesting things down here, if we try…” he frowned, concentrating, as he tenderly began to part the hair and folds of warm, damp skin. He could feel Marian’s breath beginning to catch, feel her muscles tensing. She lifted one knee, allowing him better access – and revealing precisely what he had been looking for.
With a grin, he dipped his head and ran his tongue over pink, glistening flesh.
Marian let out a low, languid moan, tensing and then relaxing again. “Oh, God…”
Robin allowed his teeth to graze the sensitive skin, making her gasp in something between pleasure and pain, then began lapping in earnest, moving in swift, concentrated circles. As much as this was huge amounts of fun (there was definitely a part of him that enjoyed rendering Marian utterly helpless to his ministrations) it was not the most comfortable position in the world (his neck tended to start to ache horribly after a few minutes), so he knew that getting through this part with reasonable speed was important.
If he had to stop half way because of the unbearable pain in his neck, Marian was liable to give him some very nasty injuries for leaving her in the lurch.
Cautiously, he slid the tip of his finger inside of her, staying shallow, where she seemed to feel him the most.
Marian yelped, arching her back and throwing her head back.
“Alright?” He looked up at her for a moment, grinning.
Marian was trembling, biting her lip so hard that Robin thought it a wonder that she had not drawn blood. She gave him a look that registered somewhere between desperation and consternation, “don’t stop, you idiot!”
Robin laughed, delighted by her temper, and buried his head between her thighs. He had located that particular little nub of flesh near the top of the cleft, and knew very well how to manipulate it. He heard Marian cry out as he covered it with his mouth entirely and sucked, hard, allowing her no moment of respite. She had (for once) been rendered speechless and could only gasp and moan, her whole body reacting against the sudden onslaught of sensation.
“Robin – Robin – ”
She let out a cry that made Robin very glad that the walls of their castle bedchamber were so thick, shuddered, froze for a split second and then went completely limp.
For a few seconds, all that could be heard was Marian’s laboured breathing. Robin stayed where he was– largely because he knew that he would receive a sharp clip about the ear if Marian spotted the triumphant grin on his face.
He contented himself by nuzzling her thighs, and then giving his neck a break by dropping his head down to rest his cheek on the mattress (it really had been starting to ache).
He was still distractedly running his fingers up and down the inside of one of her thighs, when he felt Marian’s hand seeking out his own. She shifted slightly, stroked his hair with languid fingers and then sighed.
“Are you planning on staying down there all night?”
Robin snorted, propping himself up on his elbows to grin at her, “what? Are you not having fun?”
“Well, I would like some company at some point…” Marian raised her eyebrows at him. “Only, of course, if it’s not too much trouble for you, my foolish boy…”
Robin pushed himself up and scrambled over her body, then leant down and kissed her.
“I love you.”
Marian pulled him down to her, wrapping her arms about his shoulders, and kissed him back with the kind of warmth and openness that Robin knew he would only ever see from her when they were like this. He leant his body down on hers, feeling her sweat-slicked skin and the press and pull of her muscles as she drew in breath. The smell of her, and the way she was running her fingers over the back of his neck, and the soft sound she made when he broke the kiss…
“I love you so, Robin…” And that, of course, murmured so sincerely into his ear – what he only ever heard from her when they were alone and close, where she could say it with need for neither restraint nor bravado, without expectation or pretence.
“I know,” he told her, softly, “but I like to hear you say it.”
“Mm.” He kissed the place where her shoulder swept up into her neck, “I love you – I love you – I…”
“Robin,” Marian interrupted, giggling, “I take your point.”
Robin shifted his weight rather deliberately and pressed where he was growing hard again against her thigh, “oh you do, do you?”
Marian’s eyes grew wide, mockingly appalled, “oh, my fiendish outlaw –what precisely were you planning to do to me?”
Robin grinned a somewhat feral grin and began nipping her ears and her neck. “Oh, let me see now…” He dragged his teethe over the pale flesh of her shoulder and then slid one hand between her legs, feeling her arch into his caress with an eagerness that bellied the coy tone of her voice as she teased him. She was hot and wet and eager, still, despite what minor satisfaction he had already given her, and the spark in her eyes – the feel of her squirming beneath him – was making him just as eager once more.
“Robin,” Marian’s voice carried a hint of urgency, “God, Robin…” Robin could feel her growing slick under his fingers, her hips lifting, her breath catching.
“You want me to…?”
“Yes,” Marian buried her face in his shoulder, gasping, “Robin, I know I – but I…” she gasped as she felt him pressing into her opening, the heat of him and the memories of all the other times – each linked and each utterly separate and still, so – “… all day, I wait and I – I still want…”
“You,” Robin almost growled it into her neck, “Lord knows I want you, Marian.”
He entered her with one, smooth movement, unable to prolong the moment any longer. And God – she was hot and tight and wet and warm and exactly as he had imagined she would be all day but better – infinitely better. She arched up into him, driving him further in and letting out a long, shuddering gasp, as if she were submerging herself. Robin bit down hard on his lip, forcing himself to think long, intellectual thoughts as the fierce, white-hot sensation that he knew so well threatened to engulf him. For a moment, he did his best not to move.
Marian was waiting for him patiently (as she always did), her voice soft and sultry in his ear, “alright?”
“Mm,” he kissed her neck, “better than alright…”
She lifted his chin and made him look her in the eye (even now, a year into the marriage and several into their sexual relationship, traces of the old self-consciousness remained). Her cheeks were flushed and her brow was damp with silvery sweat, turning gold in the candle light, but her smile was sweet and he leant down to rest his forehead on hers, touching her nose to his. He carefully readjusted his position, resting his forearms on the mattress over her shoulders, allowing himself more leverage and taking most of his weight off of her.
He moved carefully at first, really more to allow himself to adjust than to allow Marian to. Marian, particularly after being pleasured first, tended to take this stage in her stride – whereas he, particularly after a long and frustrating day, and after several nights in which they had both come back together too exhausted to do anything but sleep, needed a moment in order to reel his body in. Once again, the focus was on pacing himself – move too hastily and this would be over far too soon for either of them to feel any lasting satisfaction.
But God above – the way Marian trembled a little with each thrust, no matter how gentle he tried to be; the soft, slightly muffled mewling sound she made every time that he withdrew; the press of her lips against his neck and graze of her fingernails on his shoulders – everything about the woman was threatening to overcome him. He remembered the blazes of passion in her bedchambers at Knighton; the frolicking in woodland glades and the stables and Nottingham castle itself.
Taking a deep breath to steady himself, he careful readjusted his angle, pulling himself out of Marian almost completely (who gave an short utterance of protest before he kissed her into silence), and then thrusting down, hard, knowing well the reaction he would get.
Marian yelped and bucked, crying out into his kiss and shuddering violently. Robin, breaking the kiss, pressed his face to her neck and began to move with more purpose, making Marian gasp and push herself up to meet him.
Robin knew there to be a spot inside of Marian that he had learned, with a little practice, to hit precisely if he entered her at the right angle. He’d first found it completely by accident a few years ago, but had never managed to discover it when he was actually looking for it, probing with his fingers. Of course, the process had hardly been helped by the fact that they’d really not had enough time for such exploration whilst he was still outlawed, and so it was not until after they were married that he had purposefully set aside a few hours to once and for all find the damn place (before he had been made Sheriff, whereupon such a situation would have been rendered impossible yet again).
Marian had been somewhat amused by his efforts, and tolerated them with surprising grace considering that the process had involved him having to spend a prolonged period of time up to his knuckles in the most sensitive area that her body had to offer. But Robin had kept at it determinedly, because Marian’s body fascinated him. He loved to see how she reacted to him, loved to find the tipping point between her emotional and physical self, loved to see what he could get her body to do when she allowed him a little control. And she had most definitely agreed that it had been worth it once he had finally found that place, and worked out how to reach it with any accuracy on a regular basis.
That had been one of the best parts of the marriage during the first few months, really. The sudden amount of space and time they had in which to explore one another properly at last – experiment and enjoy each other.
And he was close now – Marian stiffened, cried out, sank her fingernails into his back (the pain was just enough to jerk him from the edge) and then relaxed again, breathing hard. She pulled him down against her and kissed his temple, stroking his hair with tender, trembling fingers.
“Marian,” he moaned into her hair, “Marian – God above, Marian – please…”
“Go on then,” she told him, softly, “let go – I am here, Robin – let go…”
He did, feeling that great rushing sensation finally boil over and claim him completely, dragging him from his body and then forcing him back into it with such violence that he found himself shaking. The world turned white, and then black speckled with brilliant stars and then blue and then gold and then… he felt it begin to ebb…
Gasping and shuddering still, Robin felt the tension leave his body. The frustrations of the day drifted back to him, but somehow much further away – dim, distant and far less important than the room, and the moment, and the woman whose body was pressed to his as she kissed his fevered brow and stroked his hair.
With what strength was left to him, Robin rolled onto his back, pulling out of Marian completely, though keeping close to her touch. He pushed his hair out of his eyes and felt the sheen of sweat clinging to his skin.
Marian curled onto her side beside him, and rested her head on his shoulder, listening to him breath. She splayed the fingers of one hand across his chest, feeling the heart beat beneath her touch. Robin slid an arm about her shoulders, absently toying with a strand of her hair as he did so.
“I love you,” he told her, softly, meeting her gaze.
“I know,” Marian replied, into the silence, “but I like to hear you say it.”