The Earl and the Virgin

David dismissed his manservant, who left the room with a proper bow, and then an improper wink for his young lord. “Oh, to have such a beauty in my bed,” he thought as he returned to the servants’ quarters, “and to be young enough to truly enjoy her.”

He hadn’t expected to inherit, being the third son, but fate had seen fit to intervene. Although Henry Tudor’s forces had been victorious at the Battle of Bosworth, David’s own family had suffered a grievous loss—his eldest brother, Edward, had died in his arms after being run through by one of the king’s men. Moments later, Richard III had himself been killed and the battle won by the Lancastrians. His second brother, Thomas, had been born lame and had already entered the clergy, so David was the only child left to inherit. Word of Edward’s death had reached his ailing father before David had been able to arrive bearing his brother’s body, and by the time he finally made it home to his family’s estate on the border with Wales, there were two graves to be dug, and he found himself the new earl.

Despite her grief at losing both her first-born and her husband within days, David’s mother, Llewella, was a practical woman, and she knew to secure her family’s position her youngest son would need an heir, and soon. But first, he would need a wife. The daughter of a minor Welsh king herself, she naturally looked across the border to find David a bride. 

Caitrin was nineteen—old to never have been promised to anyone—but she was the apple of her father’s eye, and he had refused to marry her off just for political expediency. Llewela could be persuasive when she needed to be, however, and she quickly convinced the old man that his precious daughter would be well looked-after in her son’s household. After all, she pointed out, David had been named for the patron saint of Wales.

Therefore, a mere six weeks after becoming earl, David found himself outside the bedchamber of his new wife—a woman he had first met when he married her that morning. He knew it was her bloodline and presumed fertility that mattered, but he had been relieved to find that she was also fairly pleasing to the eye. That fact would make performing his husbandly duties that much easier.

As the earl, he knew he could have just entered her room, but he didn’t want to begin their married life on that note, so he knocked gently, calling, “Caitrin . . . love . . . are you ready for me?”

“Yes, my lord,” came the almost inaudible response from within.

Opening the door from his chamber to hers, David found his wife seated by the hearth, but she quickly rose to greet him. He crossed the room to her, unsure of how to proceed. Although she was older than many brides, he wondered how much Caitrin truly knew about what was to happen next.

“How do your like your accommodation?” he asked.

“Very well, my lord.” She raised her green eyes to him briefly, then lowered them shyly to the floor. 

David realized that this was his first opportunity to take a really good look at her, and he found he liked what he saw. Divested of her matrimonial robes, Caitrin stood before him wearing only her filmy nightdress, the curves of her body evident beneath it. Her attendants had undone her dark hair and brushed it until it shone in the firelight, framing her lovely face. He chided himself for thinking that she was merely pleasant to look at. His wife was truly beautiful, and he felt himself becoming aroused even before he touched her.

He had had sexual congress before, of course, having tagged along when Edward had visited whorehouses. And there had been that memorable evening of his twentieth birthday when his brother had purchased him a woman for the whole night—Ellen had given him quite an education!

But Caitrin was so much more enticing than Ellen or any of the others had been . . . and she was his. Giving in to his growing lust, David took her hands and pulled her close, wrapping his arms around her and caressing her gently. She was stiff in his embrace, but he hoped she would relax when he began to kiss her. Instead, she trembled and began to cry when his lips met hers. 

Confused, he let her go and stepped back slightly. He had never had this reaction to his advances before, but then, of course, he had been paying for the other women’s enthusiasm. Perhaps they too would have been reluctant with their affection without the financial incentive.

Had he been a different sort of man, he might have become enraged and demanded she yield herself to him. Caitrin was, after all, his property now to do with what he wished just as much as the bed that stood behind them, the table in the dining hall, or the horses in the stable. But David wanted a wife who lay with him willingly—not out of fear—so he used his thumb to trace a tear down her cheek and asked, “What’s wrong, my gentle wife?”

She simply shook her head. 

“You must tell me. I’m your lord, but I also want to be your husband.”

Caitlin looked up at him through her tears. He was very attractive and had thus far been gentle with her, but she couldn’t help remembering the lewd conversations she had overheard among the servants about men’s pricks and virgins being pierced by them. In her mind, the male organ was rapier-sharp. As the pampered daughter of a Welsh king, heretofore sheltered from pain and discomfort, she was afraid of what her wedding night had in store.

“What’s wrong?” he asked again. “Do you find me so ugly that you cringe from my touch?”

“No!” she said with a vehemence that surprised both of them. Then she blushed and stammered, “I find you quite handsome.”

“Then what is it that gives you pause?”

Caitrin knew she should submit to him as she had been instructed, but something made her speak up. “I’m frightened, my lord.”

“Frightened?” He cupped her chin and turned it toward him. “Do I look like someone to be frightened of?”

“No,” she had to admit. “But I’m frightened of being cut by . . . by . . .” She found she couldn’t say it and instead gestured vaguely toward his groin. Her cheeks burned hot.

“Cut? What do you mean?” David said, misunderstanding. “I have no knife or sword.”

“But your . . .” she lowered her voice and her eyes, “. . . your prick. It is sharp, is it not, my lord?”

He wanted to laugh. It wasn’t as if he harbored any suspicions, but now there was no doubt his bride was a virgin. He pulled her close again, lifted his nightshirt, then took her hand and used his own to shape her fingers around his tumescent but not fully erect organ. He helped her slide her fingers up and down, and though their movements were slow, they rapidly brought him to his full size. He whispered, “This is my prick. It grows hard when you touch it out of my desire for you, but it isn’t sharp, is it?”

“No, my lord.” She seemed fascinated by the effect she was having on him and had subtly begun to move her hips closer to him without even realizing it. Although David was enjoying her ministrations very much, her touch was going to make him burst if he wasn’t careful. Gently, he removed her hand and began to kiss her, running his own hands over her body as he did so.

He probed her lips with his tongue and was delighted when she opened her mouth to him. His hand wandered beneath her garment and found one of her soft yet firm breasts. He held it for a moment, admiring its weight in his hand before beginning to stroke ever closer to the nub in the center, finally raising it with his thumb. Caitrin moaned softly and pressed her body even nearer.

Unable to resist seeing his wife in the full glory of her nakedness, David carefully lifted her gown off over her head and couldn’t help smiling at what he saw. The hollow of her collarbone, the roundness of her breasts, the patch of hair that both invited and concealed—his gaze drank them all in. He took her by the right hand and raised her arm, spinning her as he did so. The maneuver made her giggle, but it accomplished his goal, and he was as pleased by the back of her body as he had been with the front.

With one deft movement that had her giggling yet again, he lifted her and carried her to the bed. He quickly removed his own shirt and joined her. Leaning over her, he resumed kissing her while his hands caressed her tenderly. Breaking free of her lips, he kissed lower until he had her breast under his mouth, teasing it with his tongue, and eliciting first a gasp of surprise and then a murmur of contentment from Caitrin. 

Although she was a virgin, Caitrin’s body knew how to respond to David’s loving attention, and when her legs parted slightly, his fingers drifted downward to explore the hidden place between them. One touch was all he needed to know that she was also deeply aroused, and he made her even more so as his fingers gently kneaded the hooded bit of sensitive flesh which he had learned gave great pleasure to women. 

Barely able to contain his desire, he allowed his hand to travel lower. Caitrin was slick with her own need, but he could feel an impediment to their lovemaking. 

None of the women he had lain with previously was a virgin, of course, but he wondered if all women were so narrow when intact. His prick wasn’t sharp, as she had feared, but he was still afraid he was going to hurt her. Abruptly, he pulled his hand away. 

“Is there anything wrong?” 

David didn’t know how to answer without alarming her. He thought quickly back to the lessons Ellen had taught him. Initially timid, Caitrin now desired him—that much was clear. “Do you trust me, my love?” he asked.

Staring into his own with her big green eyes, Caitrin nodded.

Using as light a touch as he could manage, David carefully massaged the entry to Caitrin’s womanhood. When she didn’t object but instead sighed with pleasure, he placed a finger inside of her. Her eyes grew wide, but then she smiled, and eventually he slid another finger in to join the first. She arched her back and pressed up on his hand. 

“Caitrin, I want you badly, but I fear it’s still going to hurt you, at least at first.”

“I know,” she whispered. “I’m no longer afraid. Take me, my . . . Take me, David.”

He was aching, and so he did.