AUTHOR: Nikki Harrington
PAIRING: Arthur 'A. J.' Raffles/Harry 'Bunny' Manders
SUB-GENRE: First Time
SUMMARY: Raffles and Bunny's relationship develops into something even more intimate. However, upon agreeing to the change Raffles lays down certain rules.
WORD COUNT: 7,230
DISCLAIMER: I do not own the characters created by E. W. Hornung, nor am I making any money from them; I merely borrow them from time to time. I do, however, own the original characters.
"Raffles," I murmured. "Raffles," I cried his name a little louder. "Raffles, I -"
"Bunny? It's all right, my rabbit, I'm here. Come along, Bunny, open your eyes."
"Raffles?" I gasped as his voice pulled me out of my dream and I opened my eyes to see him sitting on my bed, gazing down at me; he had a slightly worried look on his face.
"Yes, Bunny, it is I. You are quite safe." He had one hand on my shoulder and the other on my cheek.
I blinked as I struggled to pull my mind out of my dream and also to ascertain exactly where we were - as we certainly were not in my bedroom. And then I remembered; we were on a sleeper train on our way back from Scotland. The bunk I was in was not particularly wide and I could feel Raffles's thigh pressed against me.
He still looked slightly worried and I was about to assure him that I was quite well when he spoke again. "Was my rabbit having a bad dream?"
I swallowed hard and for a moment let my gaze flicker away from him for a moment, unable to meet his steady gaze. I glanced back at him as I tried to shift slightly least my lower body betray quite of what I had been dreaming. However, his grip on me was firm and with the way he was so close to me I was unable to move - I just had to hope he didn't decide to look at the covers rather than at me.
"No," I said, belatedly realising I hadn't replied to him. "No, Raffles, I was not having a bad dream."
He frowned a little and moved his hand from my cheek to sweep my hair back from my forehead, it was a gesture he had been making almost from the moment we had met as school boys, one to which I was quite used. And yet I had to bite my lip to prevent a soft moan of pleasure from escaping as his fingertips touched my forehead.
"Then why were you calling my name in such a -" he paused, frowned again and then gave a small shrug. "In the way you were," he added, "you sounded quite distressed, Bunny. I was," he hesitated for a second and in the dimly lit sleeping compartment (I suddenly realised he must have lit a lamp before getting out of his bunk and coming down to mine) I saw a very faint flush touch his cheeks, "concerned," he finally said, his tone soft.
His hand slipped from my hair where it had slid into my hair (something he had done often at school, but rarely since) and once more moved to my face where his fingertips touched my cheek. This time I couldn’t prevent a soft moan of pleasure from escaping as I once more tried to move a little as a certain part of my body became even harder. "Bunny?" Once again he sounded and looked a little concerned. "What is it, my rabbit? What distresses you?"
For a moment I wanted to laugh. How could he, he with all the experience I knew him to have, think my moan was one of distress and not of pleasure? And how could he have thought the way I had called his name to be one of fear and not of joy? "Nothing distresses me, Raffles," I managed aware that my voice was slightly hoarse; I was also aware that I was breathing a little quicker than I should be given I was lying on my back in bed.
"Then what - Look, Bunny, you can tell me, I won't be troubled. Is it because we are sharing a sleeping compartment? I know you are not used to -"
"No!" I cried somewhat more sharply than I had intended. "No," I said more softly as his eyes widened. "It's not that, Raffles. I am more than happy to share a sleeping compartment with you, surely you know that," I added.
I don't know quite what made me act as I did, but suddenly I threw caution to the wind. I managed to extract one arm from beneath the covers and reached up to tug his head down until his mouth was against mine and I began to kiss him. A few seconds went by during which he seemed to freeze completely and I did feel fear race through me, before I felt him begin to kiss me back as he slid one hand beneath my back and lifted me a little from the bed.
Finally, just as I was beginning to see bright lights behind my eyes and fleeting feared for my life, he lowered me back onto the bed and took his mouth from mine. He just gazed down at me as I stared back up at him; his cheeks were now obviously flushed, perspiration touched his forehead and upper lip, his lips were red and slightly swollen and he appeared to be more than a little content.
"Bunny?" he murmured, once more stroking my face with his fingertips. "My very own rabbit."
I smiled at him and moistened my lips with my tongue which caused him to make a faint noise in his throat. "I was not having an unpleasant dream, Raffles," I said quietly, "in fact it was anything but." And then to my own surprise and certainly to his from the look which crossed his face, I pulled his hand from my shoulder and guided it down the bed to where the evidence of quite what I had been dreaming was clearly to be seen and felt.
His hand closed around me before he turned his head and glanced down the bed. "Well, my rabbit," he murmured. "I believe you spoke the truth."
And then in one fluid, seamless movement, he kissed me again with far more intensity than the first kiss had showed, pulled the covers from my body, got into the terribly narrow bunk with me and his fingers were unbuttoning my pyjama trousers. Mere seconds after he had pulled my hardness from inside my pyjamas and closed his hand around me and begun to stroke me I was crying his name as he quickly covered my mouth with his in an attempt to muffle my cries.
Finally, he lifted his mouth from mine, pushed himself up a little and gazed at me. "Well, my rabbit," he murmured softly, as his fingers slipped into my hair and began to caress my scalp.
I waited for him to say something else, however he did not. Instead after simply gazing down at me for a moment or two longer, he put his mouth back on mine and moved his body slightly until he was pressed against my thigh - his desire was clear as was what he wanted me to do. Thus, telling myself it couldn't really be that different from touching myself, I moved my hand, unbuttoned (with far less skill than he had showed) his pyjama trousers and gentle pulled his hard flesh out and began to stroke him, somewhat clumsily at first as I soon realised that touching someone else was rather different from touching oneself - the angle was quite, quite different.
However, I was determined to give him the same pleasure as he had given me and after a short time I found a rhythm that seemed to please him given how passionate and intense his kiss became, as well as the soft noises he was making and the way he pushed himself further into my hand. It wasn't that long before my hand was wet and sticky and he was softly crying my name as he pulled me into a tight embrace; after taking a gulp of air once more kissed me with a passion I wasn't aware existed.
We continued to kiss one another as he began to unbutton my pyjama jacket and his fingers began to caress and stroke my breast before they wandered further down my body, teasing my stomach and once more slipping inside my pyjama trousers where he again closed his hand around me and began to move his hand.
He lifted his mouth from mine and stared directly into my eyes, a soft, gentle, affectionate smile touched his lips and he murmured something so softly I didn't hear what he said. However, he didn’t seem perturbed, nor did he seem to be waiting for an answer as after brushing his lips over mine once more he moved his mouth to my neck and began to kiss, suck and even lightly bite the tender skin.
As he teeth grazed my neck I gasped, felt myself harden even more and automatically put my head back further giving him even more access to the skin he was now sucking and licking. He had stilled his hand and now just held me in a loose but firm grip as he kissed my neck for a moment or two longer before he slipped further down the bunk and began to kiss and lick my breasts before he moved even further down the bed.
I cried aloud as I felt him take me into his mouth, biting down hard on my bottom lip to quieten myself as I sought for his hand. I found it and held it tightly as I gripped his shoulder with my other hand and experienced sensations I had never before known, had never even believed it was possible for a human being feel - at least not and remain alive. I felt my release begin to build up and managed to gasp his name, before I returned to biting my lip.
I fully expected him move away and replace his mouth with his hand again, but he did not. As I felt my release become more and more imminent, I shifted slightly and again said his name, this time with more urgency in my tone. However, still he did not move, all he did was to entangle our hands more tightly, put more pressure on the hip he was holding and move his mouth over me somewhat more quickly.
Gripping his shoulder so tightly I felt certain there would be bruises on his skin on the morrow and tightening the already impossibly tight grip I had on his hand I cried his name softly as my body released into his mouth. "Oh, Raffles," I murmured; my body shuddered for a second time as I felt him swallow around me. "Oh, Raffles," I repeated, blinking hard in an attempt to clear the burst of tiny lights that seemed to cover my eyes.
My entire body felt damp with perspiration and I felt as if all my muscles had left my body and even though my hand was still in his, it was he rather than I who was holding on. My heart rate was far, far higher than it had ever been and I was trembling with the enormity of what he had done.
Finally he gently let me slip from his mouth; he kissed my now soft flesh gently several times and let his fingertips flirt over my skin for a moment or two before he carefully rearranged my pyjamas and even more carefully buttoned them back up. He then sat back on his heels and looked at me and smiled.
"Raffles," I whispered, unable to form any other words as I just gazed up at him.
He merely smiled at me for a moment or two before moving and lying back down next to me where he encouraged me to move towards the wall just a little before he pulled me into a loose embrace and kissed my cheek. "Go to sleep, Bunny," he murmured softly.
I blinked. "But, Raffles, I -"
"Go to sleep, Bunny," he repeated, his tone just a little more forceful and then he added more gently, "we can talk when we get home."
I wasn't all together certain I liked the idea of 'talking' but as my body felt so relaxed and completely sated and I was comfortable in his arms and my eyes were growing heavy I decided not to argue with him. "Very well, Raffles," I managed.
"That's my good boy. That's it, Bunny, close your eyes and go to sleep." His mouth brushed over mine for a moment or two before I felt his head come to rest next to mine on the pillow.
I smiled. "Yes, Raffles," I murmured as my eyes closed completely and I slipped into sleep.
THE ALBANY THE FOLLOWING DAY
Raffles had barely closed the door behind us before he had pulled me into his arms and his mouth was on mine kissing me deeply, intensely, encouraging my lips to part for him. His arms were around me and he had pulled me so closely against him that I could feel the beat of his heart - it wasn't the only thing I could feel.
The thrill and delight of being kissed and held so intimately by Raffles, of feeling quite how much he desired me was the most wonderful feeling I had ever experienced. To think that A. J. Raffles, beloved of so many, actually wished to kiss me, touch me, hold me in the way he was was still so very surprising, I almost for a moment feared I was still asleep and that everything that had happened last night and again this morning as had left barely enough time to finish dressing before the train arrived in London, was in fact a beautiful dream.
And then I somehow found myself on my back on Raffles's sofa, his hands already unbuttoning my trousers and he next moment he was next to me, his mouth was on mine and I was being stroked to another swift release as my hands fumbled, inexpertly for the buttons on his trousers.
Whether it was just my lack of experience, thus I had caused him to have to wait for longer than was usual to have a hand around his hardness or whether he simply did desire me as much as I desired him, I knew not. I only knew that the second after I had slipped my hand inside his drawers and closed it around him, it became wet and sticky as he cried my name aloud and kissed me so hard that he grazed my lip.
He sank down further onto the sofa one arm over me as we both breathed hard and I had to blink to clear my eyes, my hand was trapped inside his trousers but he seemed not to mind and I certainly didn't.
After a short time it was he who carefully, given where my hand still rested, pushed himself up onto one elbow and pulled his handkerchief out of his pocket. He wiped his hand and then gently pulled my hand from inside his drawers and wiped that for me before tossing the handkerchief onto the floor. It was he who as gently as any mother or nurse might do firstly rearranged me and buttoned my trousers up before buttoning his own up. He then brushed his lips over mine; the kiss became deeper and went on for several minutes as I felt my body beginning to react just a little.
"Well, now, Bunny," he murmured.
I gazed up at him, utterly and totally in love and in adoration of him - although neither emotion was new to me. "Oh, Raffles," I said softly, raising a hand to touch his cheek. "I do lo-" His hand over my mouth silenced me and a faint hint of hardness touched his gaze for a moment. "Raffles?" I managed to whisper around his hand. "What have I -"
"Nothing, my rabbit," he said softly, bending his head to once again kiss me. "You have done nothing wrong. It is just -" he broke off abruptly, swung his feet off of the sofa, stood up, rearranged his coat and tie and strode over to the whisky decanter and poured whisky into two glasses.
I sat up slowly and also swung my feet from the sofa as I felt a chill began to seep through my body and the complete happiness I had felt earlier began to fade a little and be replaced with a hint of fear.
I watched him as he came back to the sofa and handed me a glass. To my surprise, given the way he had only moments before reacted, as I took the glass from him, he closed his hand around my hand and held it for a moment or two. I watched as he put his glass down onto the table and pulled out his cigarette case which he offered to me. I took one, accepted the match he held for me and sat in silence watching him.
He threw the match onto the dead fire, smoked his Sullivan for a moment or two, took a sip of his whisky and soda and then sat back down next to me, took my glass from my hand, put it next to his on the table and took my hand in his. "Bunny," he said, brushing my hair back from my forehead with his other hand - I never for a moment feared the cigarette he still held would burn my hair.
He stared at me for a moment in silence, then sighed softly and said, his tone far more formal than I had ever heard it. "I do love you, my dear rabbit, please remember that. Promise me that you will remember that."
I frowned a little as I looked at him before I nodded and said quietly. "I promise, Raffles."
"That's my good rabbit. Bunny?"
He didn't reply immediately; instead he sat and smoked in silence for a short time, his steady, dark gaze never once leaving my face. "Dare I presume that you enjoyed what we did last night, this morning and just now?"
I stared at him in amazement. Enjoy? Had I enjoyed it? Well, enjoy didn't come close to explaining what I had felt - but at that moment I could not think of another word. So instead I just nodded and said quietly, "Yes, Raffles, I enjoyed it very much indeed."
He smiled a little. "Good," he said, once more brushing my hair from my forehead, "because so did I." He fell silent and I simply waited until he spoke again. "Given you enjoyed it, would it be presumptuous of me to assume you would like it to happen again?"
I shook my head. "No, Raffles, it wouldn't be presumptuous at all. I would like it to happen again; I would very much like it to happen again."
He smiled again. "Good," he said, lifting my hand to his lips to lightly kiss it, "because so would I." Again I waited for him to speak again. "However, Bunny, if we are to - continue with this addition to our relationship, there will have to be rules."
I stared at him. "Rules?" he nodded. "What kind of rules?" I was more than a little surprised and a little apprehensive as to quite what he was going to say next and for a fleeting second I dared to wonder just what kind of sexual intimacy he had been used to with other men.
My apprehension must have shown on my face because he hastened to reassure me. "Oh, not those kinds of rules, Bunny, I assure you." Then he frowned a little and said, "Just what kind of things do you believe I engage in?"
I felt my cheeks flush and I bit my bottom lip and shook my head as I shrugged. "I don't . . ." I trailed off and looked away from him.
"Oh, my dear rabbit," he said and I felt his lips brush my cheek for a moment. "It really is nothing like that, Bunny."
"Well, what rules are there to be then?" I demanded.
He looked at me and for a moment I thought he wouldn't answer me. Then he sighed softly and said, his voice now quiet flat, "Firstly, you must never, never, Bunny, never, tell me that you love me."
"No, Bunny. You must not."
"But you know I love you!" I cried.
He sighed and gave me a half smile. "Indeed I do, my rabbit, indeed I do. However, I do not wish to hear it."
I blinked at him. "But why not?"
He shrugged. "That is of no importance," he said.
I opened my mouth to argue, but closed it again abruptly and said instead, "Very well, Raffles, I will never tell you that I love you. What else? What other rules are there to be?"
He put his Sullivan out and now slid his hand into my hair and tangled it around his fingers. "I will still choose what I shall and shall not tell you about any burglary we undertake and you must not question me."
I shrugged and gave a curt nod. I had given up expecting him to tell me and had finally accepted he had his reasons and that in truth I was, for the most part, actually happier not knowing certain things. If I didn't know about them, I didn't have to worry about them.
"And there will be times, not many but some, when I shall choose not to dine with you, but to dine with someone else. You must never, Bunny, ask me with whom I am dining or show any objection to my not spending the evening with you."
Once again I gave him a curt nod. It wasn't an onerous rule to which I was agreeing; after all there had been times recently and in the past when he would be unavailable to dine with me and I never asked him with whom he was dining, because in truth I did not wish to know the name of the young lady in question. I always assumed it was a lady with whom he was dining when he was not dining with me, as I rather believed that the men he shared a bed with were just that: men to share a bed with.
I nodded again and asked, "Is there anything else?"
For a moment he was silent and I believed he had finished. However, then he sighed softly and put his hand on my cheek. "Just two more things, my rabbit. Firstly I am afraid you will not be permitted to spend the night with me," he paused for a second or two and glanced away from me as he said softly, "I do not do that." I waited for him to tell me the second thing. "And secondly, there must be no talk about the future or commitment or - or anything like that, do you understand, Bunny?"
I swallowed hard and for a fleeting second gave consideration to telling him that I had changed my mind and no longer wished to do what we had done but that I wished our relationship to remain as it had been. I tried to tell myself I had too much pride to allow myself to agree to the terms he was setting for our relationship.
However, even as I stared at him and tried to do thus, I knew it wasn't true. The damning truth was that I wanted to be with Raffles under any circumstances. And the more I thought about his rules the less troublesome they were - most of them I already did. And if I had to leave his bed and return to my own flat, well at least it meant that no one would start to wonder quite why I spent the night at the Albany when my own flat was near by.
And as for talk of the future and commitment - well, I was never going to be under any illusion that Raffles would want me in his life, as anything other than a friend, for the long term. He wouldn't want any other man to be his life in that way. One day he would marry, of that I was quite certain - I always had been; I had just never wanted to think about it, so I didn't.
Thus, I smiled and put my hand on his cheek. "Yes, Raffles," I said firmly, "I understand and I will of course do as you wish."
He stared at me and for a moment a look crossed his face which I did not understand; it was a look I had never before seen on his face. His next words surprised me completely, "I am not certain I quite deserve you, my rabbit," he murmured.
I felt my cheeks flush and I shrugged as I glanced away from him. "Well, it's not as if I ever expected you to - at least not with a man anyway."
He stared at me and another look I had never understood crossed his face. Then to my surprise after kissing me intensely for a moment or two, he stood up and crossed to the fireplace which he leant against as he pulled out and lit another Sullivan before tossing his cigarette case across the room to me.
I of course proved what a poor catcher I was as I fumbled and it fell onto the sofa and then onto the floor. I hastened to pick up and finally opened it and took a Sullivan out for myself and then after hesitating for a mere second, I carefully put it down onto the table rather than attempt to throw it back to him - although I have no doubt that no matter how poorly I had thrown it, he would have managed to catch it. I lit it and finally looked at him.
He was staring at me and I was quite certain his gaze had never left me for a moment; he appeared to be contemplating something as he smoked his Sullivan. For a second or two as I stared back at him, his gaze did flicker away from me before he shrugged and said in a soft tone that contained a hint of self-deprecation. "It may surprise you then, my dear rabbit, to learn that at one point in my life I truly believed that I would - let us say spend the rest of my life breaking the law. And not," he added softly, "as a cracksman."
I stared at him as his meaning finally became clear. "Raffles?" I whispered. "You . . . You . . . You mean . . . ?" he nodded. "But with whom?" he just stared at me and I felt my cheeks become a little warm as the answer became obvious. "Charleston?" I said softly; I made it a question even though I was quite, quite certain I didn't need to. It had to be Charleston; there was no one else Raffles had ever cared about as much as he had cared about - loved even - Charleston.
He nodded. "Yes."
"But what happened?" I asked the question automatically without thinking about it and as I heard myself speak I began to stammer an apology.
He, however, spoke over me. "You did, Bunny. You happened."
"What?" I managed. "But - Why did you not . . . I mean . . . Raffles?"
Now he turned around and dropped down to his knees and began to put some coal onto the fire. "I did not realise it when we were at school, or maybe I refused to realise it," he said. "But Charlie knew," he added softly. "And that, my rabbit, is why you must never tell me of your affection for me. Why you must not care too much."
"I don't understand." And I didn't.
He stopped putting coal onto the fire, stood up and wiped his hands together before he turned around. "Because, Bunny, if I can do it once, I am afeared I can do it again - and I cannot hurt you as I hurt Charlie. Now, shall we go out to lunch?"
Slowly I stood up as his words finally made sense. Maybe I should have felt afraid; maybe I should have been more determined to tell him I had changed my mind. But instead I felt the opposite.
It was all very well him telling me I could not, I must not, tell him of my feelings for him. But I didn't need to tell him; he knew - he had always known, I do believe the entire school had known. And suddenly as I stood staring at him still dusting his hands together I realised with a startling clarity that he was trying to protect himself as much as me - maybe even more so.
Thus, I smiled at him and said brightly, "Lunch sounds like an excellent idea."
For a moment he looked a little surprised but then he smiled at me in the way he has always smiled at me - the way he has never smiled at anyone else - and said, "Excellent. Just give me a moment to wash my hands and fetch a clean handkerchief and then we can go." He turned to leave the room and I followed him. "Bunny?"
I shrugged. "In case you have forgotten, Raffles, you are not the only one who needs to wash his hands." And it was I, rather than he, who went ahead through his rooms until we reached his bedroom and the bathroom.
Except . . .
Whether it was the proximity of his bed or something else, I do not know, all I know is the simple act of washing our hands led to one thing, which led to another, which led to us being in his bed naked and . . . We never did go out to lunch nor to dinner.
It was eleven o'clock when I kissed him and got out of his bed. He caught my hand and held it. "Bunny," he murmured.
I bent down and kissed him as I gently pulled my hand from his. "I cannot stay, Raffles," I said firmly, "that is the rule, is it not?" And with one final kiss, I left his bedroom, dressed in the bathroom where our clothes were scattered over the floor, left his rooms and returned to my flat.
SIX MONTHS LATER
It had been a strange six months in a way, strange because apart from the fact that Raffles and I were now lovers, nothing else really seemed to have changed. I don't know what I had been expecting, after all I was completely new to the idea of having any kind of lover, but I had thought something would be a little different. However, apart from the fact we spent a considerable amount of time in his bed or on his sofa, nothing else was different. In many ways it was as if we had always been lovers.
He was as good as his word and still told me only what he wished to tell me about a burglary we would undertake and I kept my word and didn't ask any questions. I also kept my word about telling him how much I loved him; on the occasions I found myself becoming a little saddened that I couldn’t tell him, I simply reminded myself that I didn't need to tell him, he knew it only too well; he always had. And I also made certain I did not mention the future or any kind of commitment between us.
It seemed though his rules did not apply to him. There was more than one occasion when he told me how much he cared about me, how much he loved me; and it was he who talked about the possibility of me accompanying him when the England team when to play in Australia the following year. And he made it quite clear that he would do anything in his power to ensure that I did accompany him; that he had no desire to go without me.
He did dine out from time to time with other people - and I never once asked with whom he was dining. However, it was a rare thing - rarer than it had been before we had kissed for the first time. On the occasions he did dine with out without me, it was he who would arrive at my flat late in the evening to join me for a nightcap which led to he being to one to leave my flat in the early hours of the morning to return to the Albany.
Two nights ago something, well two things, happened that really made me determined that I would speak up; I would find a way to mention our relationship and quite what it meant. At least I was determined that I would at an appropriate moment and then . . . Then hopefully the words would come.
We had dined somewhat earlier than usual at the club and had walked back arm-in-arm to the Albany where we had exchanged a word or two with Parker before going up to his rooms. Once we were inside he poured whisky and soda for us before leading me into his bedroom.
Some time later, after hands and mouths had caused us both to cry aloud and tremble with the force of our releases, he had left the bed for a moment or two and returned with a small bottle which to my amazement he handed to me.
I just stared at him as he put the bottle into my hand. "Raffles?" I didn't know what to say or indeed quite what to do. He, of course, had done it to me several times, but he had never, not once, given me any indication that he might like me to do it to him - and I had certainly never expected him to do so. Indeed, even as I sat holding the bottle staring at him I did not know for certain if I wished to do it.
He got back into bed, took the bottle from my hand and put in on the table which stood next to what had become my side of the bed before pulling me into his arms. "Come along, Bunny, do no look so afeared, surely you would like to do it?"
I stared at him, uncertain whether to tell him the truth and quite possible face him laughing at me or to be less than honest. In the end I heard myself say, "Do you want me to?"
He smiled and kissed me. "As a matter of fact, Bunny, I do - I would not have given you the bottle had I not wished that, would I?"
I imagined that was the truth. "But, Raffles, I have never -"
"Yes, my rabbit," he said with just a faint hint of irritation in his voice, "I am quite aware of that. However, you had not done other things either, had you? And now you really are very adept - you are a quick and conscientious learner. And you make me very happy and give me a great deal of pleasure," he added softly. The irritation had gone from his voice and I saw in his steady gaze he spoke the truth.
I felt my cheeks flush a little at his praise. "But, Raffles," I said, "what if I . . . I mean you . . . I don't want to -"
His mouth on mine silenced me and for several minutes we simply kissed and he stroked my back finally sliding one hand into my hair where he began to caress my scalp. "Actually, my rabbit," he said when he finally took his mouth from mine and moved back a little so that he could look at me. "I have only ever allowed one other to do that to me and that, my dear Bunny, is one of the reasons I wish you to do it. However, if you really do not then -"
This time I silenced him with a kiss as I realised quite what he was saying to me. I had no need to ask who the one had been - it was quite obvious, as he would have known.
And so with a degree of trepidation and a somewhat shaking hand, guided as always by him, I did what he wished me to do. When it was over, he gathered me into what I believed was the most possessive embrace he had ever held me in, kissed me before saying softly, "I really do love you, my dear Bunny."
I stared at him and bit my lip. It really was so very unfair that he could say the words to me, but he still forbade me from saying them to him. I sighed softly and just went on gazing at him, quite certain that my eyes were saying what he would not allow my lips to say.
It was about one o'clock in the morning when I finally sat up and moved to the edge of the bed. However, he caught my hand and pulled me back. "Stay," was all he said, as he tightened his grip on me and manoeuvred me until I was once again lying down wrapped in his arms. I was still in his arms when I awoke in the morning.
And now, two nights after that had happened, I was standing in his sitting room, drinking whisky and smoking a Sullivan as I tried to force what had started out as sorrow and a hint of irritation, but had now become anger away from me.
I had arrived at Raffles's rooms only to discover that he already had plans to dine out with someone other than me. His announcement had rendered me silent, and by the time I had thought of something coherent to say to him he had kissed me, pulled me down onto his sofa and rendered me silent in another way before kissing me again and leaving me in order that he might bathe, shave and dress.
As I poured myself another whisky and added the merest splash of soda, I told myself that I should leave; that I should go and return to my flat or go to the club and dine alone. I should ensure I was not still in his sitting room when he returned from bathing and dressing. However, I could not force myself to leave - instead I poured myself another whisky, lit another Sullivan and sat down.
A few minutes later, looking as elegant and handsome as he always looked, his bowtie at a slightly jaunty angle than I had ever seen him wear it, his watch chain gleaming, his dining jacket sitting perfectly on his shoulders, he strode into the sitting room.
I believe he looked both a little surprised and more than a little pleased to see me waiting for him. "Bunny!" he cried, coming over to me, taking my glass from my hand and swallowing the remaining whisky. "I'm so glad you waited for me to bathe and dress."
"Are you?" I said, offering him a cigarette from my case.
He took one. "Of course I am, my rabbit. Why would you think I wouldn't be?"
It took me a great deal of effort not to reply with something along the lines of 'if you're so pleased to see me here, why then are you dining with someone else'? Instead, I merely gave him a half smile and watched as he adjusted his cuffs slightly.
We stood in silence as he smoked half of the Sullivan he had taken, before he threw the rest of it onto the fire and glanced at his watch. "Well," he said, "I really must be going."
I nodded, threw my own cigarette into the fire and said, in what I hoped would sound a genuine tone, "I hope you have a nice evening, Raffles."
He paused in his task of refilling his cigarette case, put it down on the table, looked at me and said in a tone I really could not identify. "Do you, Bunny? Do you really?" And then he came towards me, stopping only when he got close enough to touch me - however, he did not do so.
I just stared at him, my mouth slightly open, trying to read his gaze, trying to ascertain if his question was a genuine one, attempting to decide if he wanted me to answer him honestly - if he wanted me to answer him at all. "Well?" he said softly when I did not answer as he slowly ran the tips of his fingers down my cheek. "Is my rabbit not going to answer me?"
I swallowed hard, mentally crossed my fingers, moistened my lips and took what I suddenly felt was the biggest gamble I had ever taken - including kissing him for the first time on the train. "No, Raffles," I said firmly. "No, I do not wish you to have a nice evening."
His gaze still gave nothing away nor did his face; his fingers continued to caress my cheek and he took a half step nearer to me. "Do you not?" he asked softly, as with his gaze and expression his voice gave nothing away.
Once again I swallowed and now shook my head. "No, Raffles, I do not. I never wish you to have a good evening when you are dining with someone other than me." I mentally prepared for - well, pretty much anything from his anger to him dismissing me to him accusing me of failing to stick to his rules to a look of pity to him turning his back on me to - well to anything.
Except to what actually happened. His gaze softened even more as he stared at me and a smile, the like of which I had never seen before touched his lips as he put his arms around me and gathered me far more, carefully than he ever had before, into his arms and held me in a way that made me think he never intended to let me go.
If the embrace hadn't surprised me enough, his words stunned me. "Well, then, my dear Bunny, it is a jolly good thing that I do not intend to dine with anyone other than you ever again, is it not? Well, not unless my beloved rabbit is also with me."
I blinked and swallowed, I even shook my head a little as I was quite certain I hadn't actually heard what he had said. I moved back just a little so that I could look at him and felt myself begin to quiver just a little at the look on his face. I have always known Raffles cared for me, adored me, loved me - but until that moment I had not realised quite how deep that affection went.
"Raffles?" I whispered. "Are you . . Raffles?"
His answer was simply to pull me back into his arms and find my mouth with his.
Master list of my Raffles/Bunny stories