I was working on BH&H all weekend and made some really good progress, so as promised, here is a sneak peak of Part 20!
Tortola - British Virgin Islands, 1802
Emma pushed through the front door of a rather nondescript looking building, hearing the jangle of a little brass bell announce her arrival as she crossed the threshold onto the wide plank floor. The man behind the counter looked up and she saw his eyes narrow in appraisal as he quickly looked her up and down. She had a lace shawl draped modestly over her shoulders and carried a small parasol to shade her face from the bright Caribbean sun, as every respectable European woman did. Her face was unpainted and she wore no jewellery, no pearl earbobs or abalone bracelets like the ones sold in the markets that dotted each good-sized island where the planters’ wives and the naval officers all came to shop for exotic tropical fruits and fresh palm oil and colourful woven textiles.
The man was rather stout, with a round, bearded face beneath a red knit cap. Tortola had a more temperate climate than some of the other islands claimed in the names of foreign kings, Spanish, French and Dutch alike were all spoken alongside English and the patios of the native inhabitants and the Africans who worked the fields and harvested the new crops of sugarcane and plantains. He puffed out his chest under the rough woolen jacket he wore and jerked his chin, “Can I help you, Mistress?”
Evidently he’d decided that she might have legitimate business to discuss, even though a woman without an escort was somewhat of a curiosity among the warehouses and offices that lined the dusty road rising above the harbour.
“I’m here to see the captain. I was told he conducts business from noon to six every Tuesday and might be available?”
The wiry eyebrows rose and his lips thinned as he took another glance at her attire, noting the sober cut and colour of her dress.
“A fair warning, Mistress, if you’re here in an attempt to spread the Gospel to the cap’n alongside the godless heathens who sacrifice chickens to their idols and the dockside whores who only worship coin and don’t get on their knees to pray, he’s not going to be very receptive.”
Emma hid her smile, “No, I suppose not.”
Many pious men and women had crossed the ocean, founding missions and churches with trunks full of treatises and pamphlets and hymnals, seeking to convert and baptize along the new roads being carved from virgin ground and in the towns that sprung like mushrooms around each harbour as cargo and wealth was transported from island to island. They preached in the market square to sailors and stevedores, whoever was willing to stop and listen for a moment.
But the one she had come to see was not likely to be among even the most unorthodox of congregations.
“Mr. Smee, show her in and tell anyone else who inquires that I am indisposed for the rest of the afternoon.”
His voice called from behind a door that was standing slightly ajar and Emma watched, amused, as the man named Smee almost jumped into the air like he’d been jabbed with a hot poker. His face flushed the same colour red as his cap and he came around the scrubbed counter, gesturing madly for her to follow. Emma smoothed out a fold in her skirt and nodded to him, entering what was clearly the inner sanctum while he held the door open and being greeted for the first time by Captain Killian Jones.
The chevalier in Paris with his fine velvet coats and polished riding boots was gone, and in his place was a figure clad in oiled leather trousers that rippled and flexed over his thighs when he stood, a scarlet waistcoat worn over a high-collared shirt that was open at the throat and revealed a dusting of dark hair on his chest and the glint of a silver necklace. But the face was the same, and the demon smiled, hooking a thumb in his belt and rocking back on his heels.
“Well,” he said, in a lazy drawl that was far removed from courtly French and felt like the whisper of silk against her skin, “It seems the tides have turned in my favour.”
The black Maserati came to a stop in front of the towering mansion. Sehun opened the car door and climbed out before reaching a hand back in for you. You took his hand and steadily got out of the car, careful not to scuff your heels on the paint in fear of damaging the luxury vehicle.
Warm, yellow light from the windows brightened the pavement as Sehun led you towards the entrance. When you reached the oaken door, Sehun pressed his thumb onto a pad near the doorbell, and you heard the click of a lock. He pushed open the door and walked you inside.
You were greeted with the sight of two magnificent staircases which climbed up the walls alongside the grand room to reach the landing of the second floor. Directly in front was the living area, complete with plush, velvet sofas, and polished wooden tables. A grand piano stood to the left of the area and a sparkling crystal chandelier lit up the whole room in white light.
You followed Sehun up the stairs, your heels making an attractive sound as they hit the marble steps. You took your time to admire the wonder of the house, the added height of the stairs giving you a better vantage point. You looked up towards the ceiling and saw a large circular skylight. Through the glass, you could see the stars sparkling in the midnight sky making the atmosphere more magical than it already seemed.
the crackling of fire, burnt parchment, loud and joyful laughter, adrenalin flooding through your veins, looking at the horizon and getting a feeling of eternity, a clear blue sky, rooms lit only by firelight, quiet
whispers between friends, shared secrets, the rush of courage when you finally
overcome your fears, black and golden tattoos, sleepless nights, neon lights in
the dark, red lipstick and golden nail polish, leather jackets,
pride and stubbornness, walking arm in arm with your best friends, breaking
into the city pool at night, playing pranks and then running away laughing
the smell of books, delicate silver rings, leather armbands, cold mineral water, the
sound of rain against windows, the silence of a library, heavy old curtains, quills and ink, the joy of accomplished work, myths and legends,
sitting in the shade of a tree,
polaroid photos of moments long gone, intricate
bracelets, starry night skies, smokey eyes, early summer mornings, dew drops, braids, writing novels on old typewriters, white roses, silver tiaras, notebooks in all forms and colours, ink stains on hands, the sound of cat paws on wooden floors, theatre visits, swimming in the ocean at dawn
fairytales, sunlight through windows, dust dancing in sunlight, muffins and
cakes, eating Nutella with a spoon, licking pastry from your fingers, soft
giggling, yellow rubber boots and raincoats, colourful flowers, sunshine on
your face, knitted sweaters, wool socks, roadtrips in the summer, watching your pets sleep peacefully, making your favourite dishes, going on a walk on a warm day; watching the sunlight stream through the
branches and onto the ground, sitting calmly at the edge of the lake and
watching the water move
fast cars, city lights at night, elegant clothing, thunderstorms, red lipstick
stains on wine glasses, smirks; lip bites and winks, high heeled
shoes clicking on the pavement, trench coats, stepping into shallow puddles, cold autumn nights, sunny
winter mornings, frozen landscapes, firewhiskey, the burning sensation when you
swallow alcohol, dancing in a crowd of people as if you are the only one there, the
feeling of letting something go, dark green and silver nail polish, long velvet
curtains, ghost stories at midnight, the light of the moon, mythology and long
forgotten stories, leather bags
Trixie is a stuggling music artist finally discovered by a sleazy Hollywood manager; however, his Russian trophy bride (along with her small-waisted young lover) complicate and confuse Trixie’s rise to the top as a legend, icon, and star.
A/N: Love triangles: so delicious yet so, so messy. Am I right, ladies? The last chapter will contain the climax, innuendo intended and implied. Also, between this installment and the last, I’m gonna have a little mini-chapter with some smutty smut-smut because I am *what*? Vatya Trash. I’m Vatya Trash.
This is the problem with even lesser demons. They come to your doorstep in velvet coats and polished shoes. They tip their hats and smile and demonstrate good table manners. They never show you their tails.
Leigh Bardugo, The Language of Thorns: Midnight Tales and Dangerous Magic
everything harry does is iconic. literally everything. my kids are going to look back at photos of him in sheer shirts unbuttoned to his tummy and velvet boots and nail polish and wish they’d lived in the harry styles era. and we get to. he’s incredible
“I can’t believe it’s Christmas already.” You sighed happily, cold air numbing your nose. It was a welcome refreshment from being cooped up inside the castle. Finally the winter Hogsmeade trips were beginning. Blaise’s company made it only better.
“I, for one, am happy. I finally have an excuse to kiss you all the time.” Blaise hinted flirtatiously. You rolled your eyes sarcastically.
“Like you have to ask anyways.” You threw your arms around his neck and he responded by twirling your around, bringing his lips to yours sweetly. Blaise placed you back on the ground under a pavillion of a restaurant.
“We should get some butterbeer.” Blaise suggested, capturing your gloved hand in his own. You nodded vigorously.
“It is getting a bit chilly.” You decided, allowing Blaise to pull you inside the Three Broomsticks. Other students filled the booths and tables, but luckily you found one to have a seat.
“Thank you for spending Christmas with me. I know your friends wanted to see you.” Blaise’s hand rested on your thigh and tapped his fingers rhythmically.
“I love spending time with my favorite person.” You whispered, leaning your head on his shoulder.
Soon, your drinks were delivered, heated to a foaming broth to sooth the red of your cheeks. In sync, you and Blaise picked up the glasses and bringing them to your lips. Sighing contently, you closed your eyes and took a deep breath. Sweet vanilla and fresh pine filled your nose and relaxed your mind.
“This is delicious– Oh, Y/N, you’ve got…” Blaise trailed, leaning over to kiss the leftover vanilla drink from your lips. You laughed against his lips; they tasted like sugar. He pulled away with a wide smile.
“Thanks.” You giggled, wiping whatever was left off with your thumb. You both finished your drinks and exited the warm fire of the pub into the fresh snow flakes falling into your hair.
“I have something for you.” Blaise broke the peaceful silence between you and pulled a long box from inside his coat.
“Blaise! This is so beautiful!” You gasped as he opened the velvet box. A polished emerald stone twinkled back at you on a silver chain. A thin ‘B’ was carved into the front. Blaise took it delicately from the box and stepped behind you. Lifting your hair, Blaise clipped it around your neck.
“It looks lovely on you.” Blaise complimented softly.
“Thank you so much!” You squealed and leapt at him. His arms circled your waist tightly as you crushed your lips against his.
“Anything for my wonderful lady.” He told you truthfully. You stayed embraced in his arms for a while, swaying gently with the wind. You could think of no better way to spend your Christmas.