Friday, December 09, 2005

Beautiful...Tangled Roots - Ch. 9

Chapter 9
1847
Eve’s ideas proved to be the very thing that finally put Edric’s fields over the top. Soon his cotton crop was excelling above his brothers and his slaves were more content than those on any other plantations for miles around. Eventually other planters began to inquire about his success, wanting to know what he was doing so right.

Then with his crop selling so well in the foreign and domestic markets, Edric was finally able to stop receiving financial backing from his father-in-law. For the first time since he married Abigail he felt like a free man. A man that could decide his own destiny. A man that need not cower to any man’s or any woman’s will ever again due to financial strangleholds.

******

Edric Wainwright retired to his bedroom shortly after sunset on that warm spring day. He was still a bit of annoyed with Abigail for leaving on yet another social engagement with Fiona McGee. Especially since she knew that he could have accompanied her this time. Yet Abigail couldn’t seem to wait one more hour for him to return home. Did his wife not know how that made him feel inside to know that she preferred the company of her friends to him? Did she even care?

Surely not, Edric thought bitterly, removing the black boots from his feet. He’d had a long hard day of traveling and doctoring and he was dog-tired. So tired that he’d asked the cook to send him up a meal before going to her quarters rather than go to the trouble of setting the table for one lonely soul.

Yet despite his current weariness, Edric would have gladly gone with his wife up to that week-long social event in Long Island, New York. According to his mother, that’s what good husbands were supposed to do. It was unfortunate that no one seemed willing to tell Abigail how to be a good wife. Or had they told her and she just didn’t care that her husband was now a lonely soul?

Lonely soul, those were fast becoming the words that Edric associated most with himself these days. Even when Abigail was near, he still felt lonely and it pained him so to admit that. Yet it was true. His heart longed for a true life companion. Someone to make coming home a joy. His only comfort now was the fact that he was no longer financially controlled by his father-in-law. And because he’d instructed his older brothers in the ways of the information that he’d gleaned from a very wise young slave, they weren’t controlled by Asa Naylor any longer either.

If only Edric and Abigail had borne children, then maybe things would be different. But after six years of trying, no seed had taken root and Edric didn’t know if the problem was with him or with her. Were they not blessed with offspring because his affections didn’t run deep enough for his wife? Maybe it had something to do with the fact that they slept in separate bedrooms? But if that was the case, then none of the Wainwrights brothers should have any children since they all had separate bedrooms from their wives, too. Yet all of Edric’s siblings had at least four offspring apiece by now.

Edric honestly didn’t know what it was and he wished to God he did. Especially since each year with Abigail was becoming more and more of a chore. The fact that each additional year arrived without children was starting to make Edric think twice about ever signing on for a loveless marriage. If only his other brothers hadn’t been already married at the time. Then Abigail could have gone to one of them when the time of financial need had been present.

Just then, there was a knock on the bedroom door. Thinking that it was Jem, the cook’s ten-year-old son, who often came up to the big house to help his mother for lunch and in the evenings in between his errand runs, Edric didn’t bother to get completely presentable as he usually would if a woman was to serve him. Instead he kicked the rest of the way out of his boots and began to unbutton his shirt.

“Enter,” Edric instructed as he sat down on the side of the large, handcrafted walnut wood bed and waited for his meal. He could smell the scent of fresh buttermilk biscuits from here. No doubt Charlotte had also sent up his favorite maple syrup. She was good about those kinds of things.

“’Cuse me, Dr. Wainwright. Charlotte told me ta bring these vittles up ta ya ‘fo I go dis evening,” Eve said in a semi-shaky voice. She’d been scared like the dickens to bring the master his meal, especially with all the riotous dreams she’d been having lately. Dreams that a virgin slave girl shouldn’t be having about any man, especially not the white man that owned her.

Edric’s blue-green eyes deepened in hue as color rushed to his cheeks. He ran a tense hand through his thick black locks as overwhelming desire surged through his loins. “Where is Jem? It was he that I expected.”

“Jem tripped and got a wee bit hurt taking fresh fruit ta da field hands, Dr. Wainwright. He home wit his leg up. Charlotte saw me finishing things up fo Miss Abigail in da sewing room and ask me ta do dis one thing so she kin go on home and check on her boy again. She say he be doing fine when she checked da first time, so no need fo ya ta come out after yo long day.” Eve looked for a place to sit the tray down so that she could leave…quickly! When she spotted the walnut bedside table, she started towards it on wobbly legs. If only she wasn’t afraid of spilling Dr. Wainwright’s meal, she would have run to the round table.

“That was quite kind of you to help Charlotte out. But then you are always helping others out. Is that not correct, Eve?” Edric said as he went to help her with the tray. If he didn’t help her, his meal would be on the floor before she ever made it to the table from the way she was shaking.

“I try ta, sir,” Eve replied, grateful for the help he was now giving her as they carefully lowered the tray to the table together. Now if she could only get out of here without making a fool out of herself, she’d be careful to sing three hymns in church on Sunday. But first she had to step away from the beautiful white man beside her.

Oh, how Eve loved the way Edric wore his thick black hair parted on the right side and styled with an extreme frontal wave on top. Although it was fairly short and just over the top of his ears, the cut made him look even more distinguished. Additionally, though some men were starting to present a more hirsute appearance with bushy sideburns and mutton-chop whiskers, Edric did not. He was aesthetic in nature and believed that a clean-shaven face gave him a more refined appearance. It did.

“I admire helpful people, particularly helpful people that always tell the truth,” Edric said in a husky voice that he didn’t even recognize as his own as another surge of desire raged through his body.

“I admire you, Eve,” he added with aqua eyes that were the picture of sincerity. Aqua eyes that were surprisingly along the same color theme as his window dressing, bedding, and exquisite quilt that sat atop of the handcrafted walnut chest at the foot of his bed.

At Edric’s words, tremors began to rake through Eve’s body like a soothing garden tool over fertile land. Although she’d run and later taken lash after lash upon her back for not giving in to her former master’s sexual advances, she was totally without the willpower of mind or body to so much as walk away from her current master. In fact, Eve figured she had avoided this moment with Dr. Wainwright long enough. She was ready to face whatever this was between them, lest the torment of constantly running away from her true feelings drive her mad.

Seeing her tremble with passion such as this, truly and unequivocally caused a third surge of desire to flow through Edric’s frame. There wasn’t a tired bone in his body now. And the only subsistence he wanted right now was wrapped up in skin the color of mother earth. Eve was such an appropriate name for this woman because desiring her made Edric crave something he shouldn’t have. It made him not care about the consequences. It also made him finally surrender to the call of his flesh.

“Eve, I must have you,” Edric proclaimed, completely overwhelmed with his need for her now. Need that have been building since she arrived on his plantation almost a year ago. Need that made him feel like her slave instead of the other way around. Need that had Edric selling off a certain male slave named Jonah last year in order to eliminate the competition. Dr. Wainwright could have never given another man approval to wed or bed Eve. Not when he wanted to do that himself.

“Dr. Wainwright…what ‘bout yo food?” Eve asked weakly. She sensed the evitable about to happen and felt a strange mixture of excitement and fear because of it.

“You be my food tonight, Eve. Sustain me with your ripe fruit. Allow me to feast upon your lovely frame.” Edric reached up and caressed her smooth mocha-skinned face with both hands as he spoke. He was amazed to find it even softer than his wife’s, considering the fact that Abigail was always putting some kind of cream on her face at night. Eve, on the other hand, spent a lot of time out in the sun helping Charlotte in the garden when she wasn’t in the sewing room or cleaning something downstairs.

“I…” Eve started, but a contented sigh interrupted whatever she was about to say as Edric continued to caress her face as if she was precious to him. Eve hadn’t felt precious to any man since her father who’d treated her like a rare treasure from birth. She closed her eyes and allowed the wonderful sensations to wash over her whole being since she had no idea when she’d ever receive this type of treatment again.

Edric smiled, feeling more alive than he had in years as he lowered his hand to Eve’s full lips and outlined the bottom one. When she shivered and moaned with pleasure, he moaned, too. It pleased him to please her. “I desperately want you, Eve. Do you want me, as well?” Edric asked. His voice was still so seductively husky and saturated with desire.

With her eyes still closed, Eve took a deep breath in through her nose in order to ventilate her passion, to cool it down far enough to at least think a little bit more clearly. Right now she was all muddled inside. Too many emotions were trying to take precedence and her body was in an uproar.

Suddenly Eve’s hazel eyes flew open and stared into Edric’s passion-glazed aqua pools. She slowly nodded, unable to deny her feelings for this man any longer even if she wanted to - which she didn’t. “Yes, sir,” Eve finally replied as the flames of desire continued to lap upon her.

Edric nodded with approval as he continued to caress her lips. “Excellent. I was not entirely sure until just a few minutes ago. You have a way of holding your emotions in so carefully. Some days I thought I only imagined those special looks between us. I am glad you want me, too, Eve. For I would not be touching you right now if you did not. I am not like other masters. I do not want any woman against her will. Do you give yourself to me freely, Eve?”

Eve knew that if ever a man could charm a woman with just a look, this man could. For she truly felt mesmerized by Edric’s eyes. “Yes, sir,” she repeated again. Her voice barely above a whisper this time.

At those words of consent, Edric lowered his mouth to hers and licked her bottom lip before taking it fully into his mouth to suckle. He’d wanted to do that many a day. He’d dreamed of doing it many a night. When Edric felt Eve part her lips in open invitation, he accepted that invite and sent his tongue inside to explore.

Eve tasted sweet and hot all at the same time, like Edric imagined all forbidden things did. Except in this day and age, sleeping with one’s female slave was not forbidden. It was widely accepted by all. Therefore, Edric would finally join the rest of his peers and partake of the goodness that came wrapped in such a premium brown package.

Eve willing allowed Edric access into every area of her mouth as she delighted in the intimate act of kissing. She’d been kissed before on other plantations, but this time was different. Not only was this man white, but this man was also kissing her as if he wanted to taste her soul. Edric’s kisses were dipped in hunger, drenched with desire and intent on branding the memory of him in her mind forever.

In response, Eve draw upon her limited knowledge of how a female should react to male affection and began to return Edric’s kisses in full force. She even suckled his tongue the way she’d seen a few serious couples do down by the river at twilight when they didn’t think anyone else was around.

Edric moaned and deepened the kiss when he felt Eve’s heated response. His right arm went about her small waist and drew her closer to him. Soon her soft curves were deliciously up against his muscular body, inflaming him further. Edric used his other hand to touch Eve’s sweet derriere that always made his mind wander away from his work whenever he watched her squatting in the cook’s garden.

Eve moaned this time and inched closer still, willing Edric to touch her there and everywhere else to his heart’s content. Her lower belly did flip-flops as the promise of sated passion became more of a reality with each passing second. Wanting to do a bit of touching herself, Eve dared to venture into that thick black mane of Edric’s. Her right index finger even traced that adorable side part in his hair. Slowly, it followed the path left by his comb, becoming intimate with his scalp as the rest of her body yearned to become intimate with the rest of his.

Hearing the back door suddenly slam closed downstairs caused Edric to abruptly break the kiss at that point before things got completely out of control. “Wait on the bed for me,” he instructed roughly over his shoulder as he went to close and lock his bedroom door.

Without even looking back, Edric knew that his every command would be obeyed by Eve. Although he treated all of his slaves good, they’d heard enough about the other ruthless Wainwrights to know that rebellion would not be tolerated in any form on any of their plantations.

Sure enough when Edric turned back around, Eve was on the high post bed waiting for him. Although nervously waiting and nibbling her bottom lip, the main point of the matter was the fact she was still waiting for him. This proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that Eve wanted this encounter to take place just as much as Edric did.

Seeing how nervous Eve was, Edric smiled and tried to soften the mood again. “Sorry if my voice was a bit rough just then. I did not want any remaining servants in the house to walk past and interrupt our private moment. Whatever goes on between you and I, is between you and I. Do you understand what I am trying to say here, Eve?”

Eve eagerly nodded. She knew how to be discreet. She’d never been one to gossip no matter how juicy the tidbits were and she definitely didn’t want others gossiping about her. A slave willingly sleeping with her white master would be enough juice to lubricate the plantation gossip mill for months.

******

Unbeknownst to Edric or Eve, someone had already seen enough snippets of their intimate encounter to fuel the gossip engine for a whole year. That someone was Georgina. She’d just finished the last of her upstairs tasks and was preparing to go home when she happened to pass by Dr. Wainwright’s open bedroom door. It was she who’d been in such a hurry to exit the house a few minutes ago. Even though Georgina was a full-figured woman, her footsteps had been light as she descended the stairs. Yet she forgot that the back screen door had recently lost a spring and thus had a tendency to slam when closing.

Fortunately, Georgina was a well-trusted slave. She would tell no one what she’d seen or heard tonight. Not even her husband would know this secret. Georgina’s discretion was just one of the reasons she’d worked in the big house for so long. The other was the fact that she was good at what she did. According to Dr. Wainwright, she was even better at housecleaning than Jeanne had been, which is why he increased Georgina’s rations significantly when he gave her the responsibility of the upstairs and the downstairs maintenance. Now her husband and five teenage children had more than enough collard greens, peas, smoked meat, and meal for cornbread year round.

Although the trusted slave would not utter a word of what she’d seen tonight, Georgina would ponder the matter in her mind a great deal from this day forth. After all, even though Eve was nothing like her promiscuous predecessor Jeanne, the way she responded to Dr. Wainwright just then told Georgina that the talented seamstress/part-time downstairs maid had it something awful for their master.

******

Meanwhile, Edric joined Eve on the bed upstairs and began to remove her clothing. He didn’t rip them as some other men would have done who were so inundated with passion. No, he slowly relieved Eve of her garments, kissing wherever her mocha skin appeared until she was completely bare. Eve almost felt loved by his actions. She certainly felt treasured. And the way Edric neatly folded and put away her slave clothes had Eve looking at him in awe.

Edric was grateful for Eve’s simple sheath cotton dress and under-things. The white chemise, white petticoat and gray dress made for easy removal. Although he admired beautiful clothing on a woman, for so long he’d been frustrated with all the physical trappings that went along with those garments. Starting from the inside out, there was the chemise, then the awful corset that attempted to make every woman’s waist seem much smaller than it actually was and her bosom much fuller. Abigail loved her corsets and always wore them extra tight in order to make her small bosom appear even suppler.

Next was the restrictive under petticoat, followed by the hoop petticoat, the over petticoat, and then finally the dress. Some women actually wore five to six petticoats under their dresses and their skirts were so long that etiquette books had to be written to provide instructions on how to lift them gracefully and with decorum when climbing stairs or walking down a muddy street.

Edric took a moment to look at the brown wonder before him. Eve’s frame was filled with supple curves without all the falsehoods of manipulative clothing and her stomach was board flat. The thick silky hair under her arms and that which covered her woman’s gate told him that she was a grown woman, not some smooth babe or shaven prostitute that no man should touch. Eve looked erotic and extremely desirable as she naturally was and Edric couldn’t wait to partake of her.

“You are so beautiful. You even feel beautiful,” he whispered, running his hands along her flat belly and then upwards towards two full handfuls of mocha goodness.

Eve had never heard such fancy talking in all of her born days. And although she liked it, she knew that if Edric didn’t take her soon she just might make a fool out of herself after all and attack him. She’d never wanted a man this badly before and it showed by how she fumbled with the rest of the buttons on his shirt as she sought to undress him now.

At one point Edric looked down at Eve’s clumsy hands upon his shirt and chuckled. “A bit eager for me, aye, woman?” Then he stood up and proceeded to help her undress him.

Eve nodded, afraid to say much of anything as he took the lead in undoing his white shirt, lowering his black trousers, and removing his gray under-things. She didn’t want to ruin the mood with too much female talk. Besides, she wasn’t sure if females were supposed to talk during sex.

Suddenly, Eve gasped when she saw the man that owned the title deed to her life in all of his glory. Although she’d seen naked men before, she’d never seen one this close up before. Or one this ready for her. Eve almost wanted to back down and run from the room. She didn’t think she’d ever be woman enough to handle such a man.

Sensing her nervousness again, Edric allowed the rest of his garments to drop to the floor and quickly rejoined Eve on the bed. He didn’t have time to be the neatest man of the year now. His body was too stimulated with unmet need and Edric feared it would likely send him into convulsions if Eve suddenly changed her mind due to his tarrying over minor details.

“Do not be afraid, Eve. I will not hurt you. I only want to make us both feel good.” Then Edric proceeded to do just that as he hovered over her mocha frame with skilled hands and lips, causing any resistance that even thought about arising within her to crumble like one of Charlotte’s famous peach cobbler crusts.

Edric loved on Eve’s curves at a snail’s pace and continued to treat her as if she was precious to him. He also whispered words of affection that any woman would want to hear, particularly a slave woman who’d always gotten the message from others that her dark skin was inferior to theirs. Yet according to the white man fervently sliding his tongue along her skin now, Eve’s complexion was something to be savored, not despised. Something to be celebrated, not tolerated. As a result, she soon experienced her first ever climactic release.

Edric watched in wonder as multiple emotions washed over his mocha lover’s face. He’d never seen anything like it before. Eve’s passion was so pure that she actually seemed in awe of her own reaction to his explorations.

Having gotten a thorough foretaste of Eve’s passionate side for the last ten minutes, Edric was utterly pulsating with need now. He knew that he had to finish this soon because he would never be satisfied until he’d made a full meal of her. He also knew that he would not mount Eve from behind like his brothers had bragged of doing with their slave women. The other Wainwright brothers were like many slaveholders who only saw slave women as property and thus didn’t deem what they were doing to them as rape, even though it was not always consensual.

No, Edric would treat Eve like the beautiful, precious woman that she was. And he would look her directly in the face while he was doing it, too. Then guiding the essential part of him to the essential part of her, Edric attempted to join with his willing mocha lover.

Suddenly, Eve let out a painful cry that would have been louder if she hadn’t quickly muffled it with her right fist. Edric paused over her and stared questioningly into her hazel eyes by the light of the nearby lamp.

“Have you known no man before, Eve?”

“No, sir,” she gasped out, trying to get as comfortable as she knew how with something so foreign nestled within her body. Eve had been told that the first time would hurt like the dickens and she’d been told right. Now she only hoped that the other part was true about the pain not lasting for very long.

Then Eve looked Edric directly in the eyes and made a bold confession. “I always said dat a man might own my body by law, but no man would take from my body what I wasn’t willing ta give ‘em. I got beet many a time fo’ dis, but I still kept what I meant to keep. My virtue is only fo’ da man dat I deem good enuff ta have it. Ya dat man, Dr. Wainwright,” she said with a firm lift to her chin, revealing a strong will that had not been beaten down by her current plight in life.

Edric closed his eyes and breathed deeply. The moment had just taken on a new significance. Now instead of a passionate lover, he became a patient teacher as he slowly and completely joined with Eve, reassuring her with his eyes and his gentle voice that her discomfit would be over soon.

Once they were one and her pain had subsided, Edric began to speak even more tender to Eve as he slowly moved within her depths. “Be free in this moment, Eve. Take your liberty with my body. Allow me to take my liberty with yours,” he said, urging her to intimately get to know him while he continued to do the same to her.

Be free? Eve mused. This was the first time a white person had ever said such a thing to her. Willing to test this new concept of liberation out, she immediately picked up on Edric’s rhythm and began working her delicious hips in hungry circles as she met each and every thrust of his muscular body. Like everything else she did around the plantation, Eve proved herself to be a fast learner.

Soon Edric was no longer the teacher. He became the student as Eve showed him what it meant to make love to a woman that didn’t just lie there and wait for him to finish as Abigail had started doing on the rare occasion that they did make love these days. Eve also showed Edric what it meant to make love to a woman that wanted him just as much he wanted her and wasn’t afraid to show it. In fact, the slave woman acted as if she never wanted to let him go as she entwined her legs about his waist, tightly embraced his torso with her arms and kissed him deeply with her mouth until he soared over the edge of ecstasy with her.

Afterwards, Edric held Eve close to his side and just stared up at the ceiling as their breathing patterns regulated. Awe was upon his face. Everything in him knew that he’d just found his equal in a lover. He seriously doubted if he would ever find another woman like Eve, even if he lived to be a hundred years old.

“You amaze me, Eve. In more ways than one,” Edric said, breaking the comfortable silence between them. “And to think, old man Ackerman deemed you ornery. Now I know that all you were doing was just protecting your innocence from the old coot.” Then as Edric thought of the discipline she’d undoubtedly had to endure for daring to refuse her former master anything, he asked to see her back.

Eve reluctantly left Edric’s arms and turned sideways. Suddenly she heard a sharp inhalation sharply, followed by a loud ungentlemanly expletive. Although her face remained neutral, she smiled on the inside. It pleased Eve that Dr. Wainwright, a bonafide white man, cared enough to even be angry just a little bit about the abuse she’d suffered. This was also a first for her. It seemed that today was a day of many firsts for Eve.

“As long as you are mine, you will never need fear the whip again. I promise you that,” Edric vowed as he ran his skilled physician’s hands along the healed scars of her back. Then he drew Eve to his chest again and placed his lips against her thick bushy hair. It amazed him that her tresses were surprisingly not wooly at all. “You will never need fear the whip again, Eve,” Edric reiterated in a whisper.

Suddenly, something akin to the first fruits of security went all through Eve. The possessive way when Edric referred to her just then seemed to transcend the master/slave relationship they already had. In fact, it seemed to suggest that a new relationship had begun. A relationship where they would be equals as all lovers should be.

Everything in Eve believed Dr. Wainwright’s promise and she couldn’t understand why. Growing up, she’d been taught to fear and distrust white folks like every other Negro child. Yet this white man seemed so genuine, so sincere. As a result, the newly sexually liberated slave woman straddled her white master and began to mimic some of those vivid dreams she’d had of them together. Those dream enactments caused Dr. Wainwright to get loud in a different way now and for a much longer period of time.

When it was all over, Edric held Eve’s sweat-drenched body closer to his damp chest again and soothingly stroked her healed back in comfort. “Tomorrow you move into the other side of the cook’s quarters. I need you as close as possible to me,” he said, before giving her a tender kiss on her glistening forehead. There would be no need to dream of Eve tonight. Edric had just had the real thing. Incidentally, Dr. Wainwright’s food never did get eaten that night.

© 2005 Suprina Frazier

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