aussiegirl (bsg_aussiegirl) wrote,

Chelsie fanfic for Cami

Title: While Away
Author: Aussie
Rated: T

Chapter One

I started to write a couple of fics for Cami for her birthday. The lack of real plot in either of them meant that I’ve dilly dallied around with both. (Who knew a plot was essential?) This seems to be the one that I’ve almost finished first. But I haven’t. No, this is just the first chapter. Hopefully I will finish the second one soon.

Their conversation dried up completely just before supper. Avoiding the uncomfortable silence, she ate, but if asked later, she wouldn’t have a clue as to what.

They lingered unnecessarily in the cramped booth of the pub, both of them twirling a seemingly bottomless glass of sherry each, until good manners forced them to leave, thus allowing the tired landlord to lock up for the night.

Their allocated room upstairs was clean but plain. They hung their coats in an unvarnished cupboard decorated with scuff marks. Their hats and Elsie’s bag were placed upon a squat dresser. Elsie had carefully secreted her smalls and a couple of other personal items into its drawers when Charles had gone in search of a pot of tea for them both after arriving. And there was, of course, a bed.

She was equally thrilled and terrified by that last piece of furniture.

“What do you think of Scarborough?” Charles had asked a few weeks ago. "I don’t think our savings will stretch to the Grand Hotel but I'm sure we could find some accommodation suitable. I’d like to visit the castle, and I thought you’d like to see Anne Bronte’s grave.”

“It’s quite a bit away,” Elsie had fretted at the time.

In the end, they did settle upon visiting the seaside town for their few days off after the wedding, not only for its many attractions, but because it also offered them a touch of anonymity.

They had never imagined their new relationship would be as talked about as much as it was. Villagers they’d known for years suddenly started leering, and some even added snide remarks along with lewdly knowing winks.

Elsie would have liked to have been a fly on the wall when Charles had 'set Reverend Travis straight', an incident that finally forced them to agree they should squander some of their savings and venture further than merely Ripon or Thirsk. Apparently Travis, of all people, had implied Elsie might have been hiding out in the butler’s pantry for years acting inappropriately.

This was nowhere near the truth.

They’d kissed. Once. This morning. During the ceremony, at the time it was expected by the gathered witnesses. And it had merely been the smallest peck which Charles had quickly dropped to the side of her mouth.

Before today they’d been content to simply hold hands. Really, at times, holding hands had been quite scandalous. Overall it was simply lovely to think there was someone in the world she wanted to hold onto. And someone who wanted to hold onto her.

But now... Her eyes drifted again to that third piece of furniture.

She had no idea as to what Charles expected. He loved her, she thought this was true even though he’d never uttered the actual words, but she suspected he might be willing to chose nobility over lust.

As usual, she didn’t think she would have such self control. She was unnervingly eager to learn more about how their bodies might fit together.

Luckily Charles had his back to her as she speculated and she needn’t explain the blush she could feel heating her cheeks. He was removing his suit coat and placing it inside the cupboard alongside their other clothes. Certainly he would think she was slightly batty if she told him the movement of his hands was quite mesmerising as he automatically smoothed the coat’s material and hung it with long practised precision.

When he turned she was struck again by how lovely he looked wearing grey. She was so accustomed to seeing him in black and white. The flower pinned beside his pocket watch on his waistcoat softened his look, and her heart, even more.

They’d both agreed to remove the flower from his morning suit after they’d left the church. They’d no desire to receive any extra attention as they boarded the train or dined in the pub. She had thought he’d discarded it completely, but it seemed he’d just hidden it from view.

As she reached out to finger the surprisingly still perfect white petals, he made a noise at the back of his throat. Perhaps it was the sound of contentment, perhaps relief, but she knew for sure it wasn’t displeasure so she allowed her palm to slip a little lower until she could feel his erratically beating heart.

"Charles..." she murmured, unsure.

He smiled. One she returned readily. Her new husband might be an unknown mystery, but she knew Charles Carson, her counterpart, well. He was solid, dependable, protective, chivalrous. And as soft as they come under all his bluster.

She suddenly felt foolish that they'd allowed anxiety build between them all evening.

She lifted herself onto her tiptoes and she kissed him for the first time. Just a small kiss again, to shake them out of their nervousness.

She was about to lower herself back to her flat feet when his head tilted and he once again made contact with her mouth. This second kiss of his was no peck or mere graze across her lips. This time he was kissing her as she'd seen men kiss their leading ladies on the screen. She closed her eyes, melting just like those heroines were so often obliged to do.

His lips were surprisingly soft, even though they seemed to be relentlessly demanding a response. She fisted his waistcoat to stop herself from falling in a heap at his feet but otherwise stayed passive in his arms, immersing herself happily in a suffusion of sensations which included a feverish warmth spreading across her skin and a distinct ache in the pit of her stomach.

All too soon he pulled away, eliciting from her a soft whimper.


She opened her eyes and searched his face as to what question he had posed merely with her name. Even with her extremely limited experience she could see his expression was in no way amourous. His eyebrows were drawn together and a frown marred his features. Worry? Guilt?

Then, it dawned on her. Her stillness wasn’t apparently the done thing. He must have interpreted it as rejection.

How could she reassure him she’d simply been relaxed, and she’d definitely been thoroughly enjoying the unchaste awareness his kiss had evoked?

There was only one way.

Still clutching his waistcoat she tugged him closer, gesturing with her eyes that he should lower his head once more. A thrill of exhilaration ran down her spine when he readily yielded to her gentle command and this time, for the first time, they were kissing each other.

Instinct told her to open her mouth wider, and when she felt a tentative flick in her mouth she boldly twisted hers until their tongues were essentially laced together.

This kiss went on and on, seemingly making up for years of pent up suppression.

When their noses bumped accidentally and uncomfortably, they broke contact.

His arms, which had crept around her as they kissed, still encircled her and she made no attempt to move away. His hard male body was both unnervingly different and comfortably familiar at the same time. His usual scent of silver polish was missing; the pub’s smoky air had thankfully not clung to his clothes or skin. She could smell the alcohol they’d consumed though. His ragged breaths matched hers.

“You taste of sherry,” she murmured lightheartedly, hoping to break the tension that had once again developed between them.

His only response was a peaceful sigh. He never made any move to release her from his embrace. She made the most of his calm, and burrowed herself into his chest. She liked how small he made her seem.

The mood was only broken when the noise of shattering glass drifted up from the laneway behind the pub.

“At least I don’t feel obliged to go out and investigate whatever that was as I would in Yorkshire,” Charlie said jokingly, lightly rubbing the stubble which was already starting to shadow his chin across her forehead. She chortled softly, at both his statement and the growth’s scruffy texture.

Then, she leant back and dared reach out to stroke the day's worth of bristles with the tips of her fingers. Could it be true she’d never touched him in this way before?

“Yes.” The word vibrated through her hand and arm. It was said in the same commanding tone he often utilised when giving orders at Downton. He palmed his face and grimaced before easing her out of his arms. “We should partake in our usual bedtime preparations.”

She nodded in amicable agreement and soon was scurrying off down the hall to the bathroom after he suggested, ‘ladies first’.

They would need to share should there be other guests on the floor. Fortunately however, she found the room vacant.

There was no mirror, so she could only wonder about her colour as she splashed some water onto her hot cheeks. Or if her lips were as swollen as she thought they still must be as she ran her tongue across them. Oddly, these physical reminders of the kisses she'd just shared with Charlie only made her eager to continue.

She rinsed her mouth, even though it seemed too late for such considerations, and used the toilet before changing into a pretty yellow nightdress she’d bought especially for the occasion. She’d worn a corset during the ceremony, but had removed it when she’d swapped from her wedding dress and into her going-away outfit. It had been Beryl’s idea to forego the torturous underwear item.

“You’ll not have a young maid to help you out of it in Scarborough," she’d warned.

Elsie had swallowed down her first thought; that Charles could be the one to untie the garment instead. Her friend’s mind was obviously not as coarse as hers.

She wondered about how the unusually exuberant hairdo was keeping up. There had been a mirror running along the entire wall of the pub. When she’d caught her own reflection, she hadn’t immediately recognised herself. Her eyes had looked wider; her cheekbones sharper; her mouth fuller. Ridiculous to think that could be true only from the alteration of her hair style.

She reached up to feel the curls, finding them damp from the bathroom’s humid air. They were probably kinking all over the place, she fretted, rearranging some of the pins that had kept the do in place.

She should have known her attractiveness would be short-lived.

“There really is no need for false first impressions on your wedding night,” she scolded aloud.

Or was there, a brash voice in her head asked.

She’d felt beautiful today. That was no false first impression; no illusion. It was simply how she’d felt as she married Charles, how he made her feel. His expression when he’d turned to watch her walk down the aisle had made all the effort she’d gone to with her look worth it. She would like to stay beautiful for him for a few more hours.

Still, she wet a flannel and dabbed away the rouge Lady Grantham had insisted she apply earlier. She next used the cloth under her arms and then, she lifted the skirt of the nightdress and cleaned around her belly and chest. Goosepimples spread across her skin as she held each of her breasts in turn to concentrate on the clammy skin just below them. It was somewhere she washed habitually each night but tonight she was sure the weight of her breasts had increased. Her nipples rubbed against the nightdress's cotton material and tightened uncomfortably.

She bit down on her bottom lip and moved to wash between her legs. This perfunctory task made her hand shake. Her thoughts had strayed to this part of her anatomy too many times of late. More in these last few months than ever in her life, if she was honest.

Her muscles there clenched and a sharp pain extended through to her lower abdomen and upper thighs.

She sat, balancing on the edge of the bathroom tub. It was only after a few steadying breaths that she concluded the pain was one of pleasure and anticipation. She was aroused.

She wiped her private parts again and then studied the cloth clinically. There was no blood, she had stopped having her time a year or so ago, but it was as stickily wet as she sometimes had been the days before she menstruated. Her mood was also as heightened as she sometimes tended to be during those days of her cycle.

Before she could sort all her reactions into some sort of order, a light knock came to the door, making her jump guiltily.

“Are you alright, Mrs Carson?”

She quickly answered in the affirmative, flushing with shame as well as wonder at the way he said her name, Mrs Carson. Dragging on her thick ribbed gown, she inched open the bathroom door and peeked out.

Charlie hovered, his pyjamas and a towel held out in front of his body awkwardly. “I’m sorry. Are you finished? I can wait if…”

“No, no,” she murmured, holding the door open with her back, allowing him to enter the room. He squeezed through the space she made, but still their bodies touched. She gripped the door handle, thinking her heart’s beat must be audible.

“I’ll…” She gestured back down the hall to the general direction of their room, pulling the lapels of her gown together tightly, disconcerted at how quickly both their moods had turned anxious once more.

“I… I won’t be long,” he said.

“No, no. No rush.”

After scampering back to their room, she took the opportunity of Charles’s absence to shrug off the gown and slip under the bed covers. The sheets felt cool and crisp, and she mentally rated the accommodation up a level on this basis. Old habits would die hard.

Her stuttering ‘no rush’ was hardly an encouraging turn of phrase, but Charlie would need to return to the room eventually and join her. Whatever else happened tonight, she was going to share a bed with Charlie at the very least.

Yes, being alone was one habit she wasn’t only about to break, but shatter into a million shards.

She hadn’t shared a bed since she was 15. The year her parents had passed away within months of each other, she had gone into service, and Becky had been placed into an asylum. It had been winter, and Elsie would never forget the way the cold had burnt straight through to her bones without her sister’s warmth beside her. She’d not complained at this small hardship later, when she’d learnt the truth of what happened in the supposed hospital.

Though the current weather pattern of warmer days had thankfully continued for today’s nuptials, night time was still accompanied with a drop in temperature.

The idea of Charlie stretched out behind her, pressing close to prevent a chill, was extremely appealing. Because of her birthplace, people always imagined she was much more accustomed to coping with the cold than she was in reality.

Their cottage was not yet completely furnished, but there was a bed. A nice double one with pretty white linen and a blue crocheted blanket folded on its base. Elsie had even been rather indulgent and bought six feather pillows for it as well. She’d done it after thinking of the time she’d been into Charlie’s bedroom in Downton, the awful year they’d been infected with the Spanish flu. He had a liking for more than one pillow on his bed, she’d noticed.

Charlie had seen what she’d done to the bed, but had not made any comment with regards her decoration. Instead he had merely stood near the threshold of the bedroom and nodded, she’d thought approvingly. As neither of them had suggested a bed be bought for the other bedroom, she guessed they’d be sharing. Separate beds for married couples was something only the rich could afford or want.

Childishly, she closed her eyes when the door opened and shut, signalling Charlie’s return from the bathroom. She held her breath, waiting for the mattress to dip with his weight.

When it never happened, she forced herself to open her eyes. Charlie had obviously turned off the light as the room was in darkness, but she could see the outline of his lofty figure at the side of the bed.


She blinked furiously to adjust her eyes until she could just make out his features. From his demeanour, she didn’t think he was particularly eager to consummate their marriage at this time. He stood stiffly by the side of the bed, wringing his hands together.

“I’m sorry, Mrs Hu--”

Charlie looked mortified by his gaffe. She had been expecting this slip of the tongue at some stage. She wasn’t going to get angry with him over it. She intended to tell him: “I don’t--”

“I’m sorry,” he interrupted her to apologise again. “But you should know I’m a complete fraud. I’m deeply ashamed I haven’t confessed to you before now. I should have, and now it’s too late, and…”

“Charlie?” she prompted when he failed to finish his sentence. She really was thoroughly confused as to what he was trying to tell her.

Her vision was now fully adjusted. She shivered with reaction at how slumped he stood, with his head bowed. Not the usual proud stance of Charles Carson.

“I’m not the man you believe me to be,” he finally announced, shocking her into silence.

End of Chapter One

Tags: birthday fic, carson/hughes, chelsie, downton abbey, fanfic, while away

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