Authors: Dorian Mayfair
The Hidden Mistress
by Dorian Mayfair
Published July 2013
Amazon Kindle Edition
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This eBook uses some actual locations and family names, however all events are fictionalized and all persons appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real people, living, dead or uncanny, is entirely coincidental.
Copyright © 2013 Dorian Mayfair
Lips cover photo by Wagner Cesar Munhoz
The Pyrenees Mountains, Two days southwest of Toulouse.
As Marie’s carriage lumbered deeper into the dark forest, she leaned back in the seat and tried to relax.
The journey had been long, and the autumn cold that seeped through every crack in her carriage made her shiver. The sun had set quickly, as if eager to hide below the mountains, and for hours, the view from the windows had been the same: an endless wall of moonlit trees, blending with the darkness into a mass of silver and shadow. Only the sound of the carriage’s wheels crushing twigs and gravel disturbed the silence. She pulled her scarf tighter around her as she looked out. Seeing frost on the ground would not have surprised her.
Several times, she had heard the flapping of nocturnal birds, but when she searched the sky, she saw only the faint pale disc of the moon, almost hidden behind light wisps of clouds. There was no sign of life, but she felt watched. Perhaps she was; sometimes bands of highwaymen robbed unguarded carriages.
But soon she would be warm. If the driver was right, they were only minutes from Chateau the Coincere. The castle was located high in the Pyrenees mountains, and it had taken Marie two days to reach from Toulouse. Two long, dull days on cold and uneven roads. Her sore back told her the trip had taken weeks. Now that Marie was near the castle, she could not wait to get inside it. She had always loved the night, the fresh air and the scents it brought, but now the dark unsettled her. This place was far from Toulouse and its many lights and radiant sunsets.
Travelling to the Baroness of Orable, a distant acquaintance to Marie’s family, had seemed like an unusual but delightful plan to escape the boredom of her home, and the baroness had reputation as generous and welcoming host. Many spoke of her parties as lavish affairs that ran long into the night, although few could actually say that they had laid eyes on the baroness herself. It seemed the baroness preferred to organize large and extravagant events only to watch her guests from behind the proverbial curtain. Still, that was common. Marie had attended many evenings during which the hosts were absent or hid behind masks.
This invitation had been personal, delivered directly to Marie. She had been delighted by the attention and the privilege; few of her friends had received private calls from people of such high standing. And it was to be a long visit, on top of that – three full days. On the first evening, they would have dinner, the letter read, together with three other guests. During the two following days, Marie would be shown the castle and its grounds, and participate in more social activities.
No doubt, this was an opportunity to be introduced to some of the baroness’s closest acquaintances. At the age of twenty-one, Marie was old enough to socialize without her mother and father watching over her, and she was eager to do so. This was a great opportunity. If she could improve her family’s already prominent social status, her father would reward her.
However, Marie’s excitement had faded soon after she left Toulouse. The hostess’s reputation was at odds with this region, and the quiet disturbed her so badly she had to fight the urge to sit in the middle of the carriage to be as far as possible from its windows. She felt misplaced, detached from the safety of the city. Even the landscape itself contrasted her: it was as dark as she was pale, cloaked in gloom while she was fair-haired. While Marie was not short, the towering trees made her feel so. Some of her ancestors could trace their relations to remote parts of Russia; perhaps those relatives would have felt more at home here. This isolated pocket of mountainous land could only be seen as welcoming by someone who liked privacy and solitude.
Once again, Marie wished that her maid had accompanied her. Anna had been in Marie’s family’s service for less than two months, but during that time Marie had grown fond of the young Spanish woman. Anna was pretty, tidy and – Marie had discovered with great pleasure – very eager to share Marie’s bed whenever she was allowed. But now Anna was far away, attending to her chores while Marie was heading deeper into the night.
Marie turned back to the window and sighed. She hoped a bath would wait for her in the castle. After the long and rocky journey, soap and hot water would be a blessing.
” the driver called from his seat on top of the carriage.
“What is it?” Marie called back, resisting the urge to tell the driver to speak more quietly. His voice sounded too loud in the silence.
“We are close now,” he said, now speaking more softly. “The castle is just ahead.”
” Marie moved close to a window and peered out.
In the distance were half a dozen lights, fluttering in the breeze as if struggling to chase away the night. Torches, Marie guessed. Soon she saw the castle itself, a huge bastion of stone against the backdrop of a great cliff. The main building had to be at least four storeys high. Near the roof was a row of tall arched windows, all of them lit from inside with a warm glow. Four broad towers rose from each of the castle’s corners and disappeared into the murky sky. A low wall ran around the grounds and encircled the buildings. Marie leaned out and tried to see the top of the towers, but the sky was too dark. The carriage was heading straight for what looked like an ornate iron gate illuminated the torches.
She sighed again, this time in relief. Soon, she would leave the dark road behind and dine among other people, safe in the baroness’s home.
With a little luck, this would be a night to remember.
An hour later, and feeling both a little nervous and excited, Marie was walking down the corridor that led to the dining hall.
When Marie had left her room, her maid, a quiet woman several years younger than Marie, had pointed the way and then walked in the other direction. Leaving Marie to wander alone in the castle was odd, but nothing so far had suggested that the hostess was anything but generous and considerate.
As Marie had hoped, there had been a bath available upon her arrival. No sooner had the carriage stopped before two maids, both of them smiling and so beautiful Marie felt a twang of envy, rushed to Marie’s side and offered to escort her to her lodgings. Marie had followed them through stairwells and hallways until her head spun; the castle seemed to hold an endless number of passages.
After many minutes, the maids stopped in front of a dark oak door, opened it with visible effort, and moved aside to let Marie enter. Marie stepped forward, paused on the doorstep, and held back a delighted gasp.
The room was three times the size of her own, with two grand windows and an enormous bed that could have slept a dozen people. A large candelabra, placed on a round gilded table in the middle of the room, cast the interior in a reddish glow. The scents of flowers and wet wood filled the air. On the walls were large paintings, many of woodlands and mountains. Marie did not recognize any of them, which irritated her slightly; her studies had given her a broad knowledge of art, and she would have liked to comment on the baroness’s collection. However, that was a trivial point. The room was splendid. If the rest of the dinner was as luxurious, she had a superb evening in front of her.
Across the room was another door. A fluttering light shone from underneath it, and when Marie opened the door, she laughed out in joy: behind the door was a bathroom, complete with an enormous bathtub in red china. It must have cost a fortune, but Marie had eyes only for the steaming water that filled it. The bitter cold from her journey still clung to her.
She stepped in, looked around, and caught her reflection in a large mirror in a gilded frame, mounted on one of the walls. It was an unusually good mirror. Perhaps a little dark, but the reflection was almost unblemished. In a way, it resembled a fogged-over window, but no stars or other lights were visible in the dark surface. Besides, no one in his or her right mind would install a window in a bathroom unless it offered a good view. Marie shook off the idea. Clearly, the journey to the castle had left her nervous.
With that thought kept firmly at the front of her mind, she turned to the mirror and smiled at the image of herself.
All those years of socializing finally paid off.
Laughing quietly, she spun and stretched out her arms. This was where decent connections and clever manners led you.
As soon as the maid had left, Marie undressed and slowly lowered herself into the water. It was so hot she had sit down gradually into the tub, but once the waterline reached her chin, she leaned back and sighed. Heating the water this much must have taken time and effort. The baroness certainly spared no expenses on her guests. Four small candles provided enough light for Marie to see most of the bathroom, but not much more. Together with the heat, the gloom was sedating.
After a few minutes, Marie reached for one of the many different pieces of soap on a tray. It smelled strongly of honey and flowers, scents strangely harmonious with the soft light. As she washed herself, her thoughts turned to Anna, her maid back in Toulouse. Anna frequently shared Marie’s bath when they were sure Marie’s mother or father would not notice.
Those times, surrounded by heat and silence, were some of Marie’s favourite moments. Giggling under their breaths, they usually spent hours taking turns to wash each other with excessive amounts of balms, and often they found themselves laying embraced in the bath and kissing while steam rose around them. Like Marie, Anna was rather tall; and while years of riding and fencing had left Marie strong and lean, Anna’s body was hard and nimble from her everyday work of carrying loads and climbing stairs. Better yet, she was
deft with her hands, and had a talent for making Marie gasp in pleasure sooner than should be possible. And best of all, Anna was a maid, which meant that she would do
what Marie told her to do.
Her thoughts and the hot water were making Marie light-headed. Twirling the soap in her hands, she watched lather drip down on her chest and slowly run into the water. This was how her games with Anna often started. Marie would never admit openly that she enjoyed directing Anna even in mundane everyday tasks. She would never be so crude, but in secret, she enjoyed the thrill of knowing that she had authority. The candid idea was undignified and beneath her, but nevertheless exciting. Besides, fanciful ideas never hurt anyone.
Laughing softly to herself, Marie closed her eyes, leaned her head back against the porcelain, and enjoyed the sensation of the cold soap travelling down her skin. This was heaven.
Her thoughts turned to the two maids who had met Marie at the castle’s entrance. Both women had been graceful as well as pretty, and Marie had felt more than envy of their looks. Sharing this bath with them would no doubt be a fantastic experience. A dangerous fantasy, perhaps, but also harmless; no one but Marie knew about the scenes that played out in her imagination. It was easy to picture the women here, taking turns to wash Marie, gently rubbing scented oils into her skin while their touches grew slower, more intimate, and more eager.
Marie let one of her fingers follow the soap as it travelled down her body.
A beautiful maid – or perhaps two – naked, warm and keen to please her.
The vision made her smile. Their caresses would be tender and careful but passionate. Of course, when Marie was satisfied, she would return the favour. That was the kind of good-hearted woman she was. With a firm voice, she would command the two women to keep still while she made them shiver and moan. Only after many minutes, when they were begging Marie for mercy, she would graciously let them come.
Then, right in the middle of Marie’s fantasy, a maid had rapped softly on the door to the bathroom and announced that the baroness and the other guests were converging for dinner. Marie had been so startled she had almost shouted out in surprise.
“Thank you,” Marie had called as she scrambled out of the tub. “I will be only a moment.” She tore down a towel from an ornate rack and dried herself vigorously. Imagine that she almost had missed the occasion for which she had come. That would
Now she was approaching the door behind which her hostess awaited, and while Marie was nervous, she also looked forward to the event. Looking around as she walked, she took in the long corridor and the large paintings and tapestries that lined it. Some of them looked quite expensive. She wished that the corridor had been lighter; only a few candles lit her way, and in their weak radiance, she could not make out any details in the works of art.