Lily looked at the clock on the wall. Half-past ten! A slight uneasiness settled in her stomach: James would be home soon. She scrambled to her feet letting the book she’d been enjoying fall to the floor. Hurriedly, she went to the kitchen for the bottle of wine she’d been saving. She glanced over the tray of grapes and cheeses one last time before bringing it out to the lounge and setting it down on the plush blanket before the fireplace.
A slow smile slid across her face as she took in the room. Music played in the background and the soft glow of candle light flickered teasingly into every corner. James had been gone on a mission for the Order for two weeks and each day had been more agonising than the last without him. Newlyweds shouldn’t spend their first days apart... or their nights, for that matter.
The quivering in the pit of her stomach intensified as she imagined him walking through the front door and finding her there eagerly waiting for him. She had to stifle a frustrated groan as each minute that passed stretched into a hundred little eternities until he would be home again and in their bed. Lily didn’t even think she could wait to get him into the bedroom, so she stripped down the sexy little undergarments Mary MacDonald had gotten her as a bridal gift and posed provocatively in front of the fire.
Finally, the door opened and James stumbled in looking exhausted and journey-worn. He stopped, blinking at his wife for a moment as if he wasn’t sure what he was seeing.
Disappointment flooded Lily as she realised she hadn’t taken into consideration how tired he’d probably be.
“Lily,” he breathed as he walked over to her. She wanted to throw her arms around him and drag him to the floor, smothering him with her desire, but instead reached up and lightly stroked his cheek.
“I suppose you’re tired,” she said quietly, tipping her face up to his. James took in the vision of his wife and with his heart pounding in his chest, swept her into a heated embrace.
“A man’s never that tired.”
Lily looked at the clock on the wall. Half-past ten! A slight uneasiness settled in her stomach: James would be home soon. She scrambled to her feet letting the book she’d been enjoying fall to the floor. Hurriedly, she went about the house shutting things down for the night, save one small light for James in the front room. She went up the stairs quickly and quietly, checking that the baby was still sleeping before she moved on to her own room.
She readied for bed in the dark, least the light give away that she was still awake. Silently, she slipped beneath the covers, her ears pricked for the sound of the front door.
She laid there in the quiet of the house morosely contemplating what their relationship had been reduced to. After all, it wasn’t James’ fault that his desire stayed intact after Harry’s birth, while hers had fled along with a full night’s sleep and rational pre-baby thought. She cringed to think of how cowardly she’d been acting with him. She should just tell him she wasn’t ready, not just yet. But how many times could a wife say no before her husband became too frustrated? It’s not that she didn’t love him anymore; she just didn’t – couldn’t – feel that way right now. So, she did what any hormonally-crazed, exhausted, irrational, new mother did: she went to bed before her husband and pretended to be deeply asleep by the time he joined her.
Lily jumped as she heard James close the front door. She pressed her eyes shut, chastising herself all the while. Quietly, he entered the room.
“Lils?” he called out in a hushed tone. She listened to him carefully undress, then slid into bed behind her. Tentatively, he caressed her shoulder; she could feel his breath in her hair next to her ear. “Lily?”
She laid still and, after a moment, heard him sigh. He brushed a light kiss on her skin.
“I love you,” he whispered. Her heart sank.
Just one more night... I promise, I’ll try tomorrow.