A Scent of Roses
A Beauty and the Beast Vignette


     Catherine lay sprawled across her bed in a daze.  As Vincentís weight shifted, she whimpered, trying to keep him there, atop her, but she had absolutely no strength left in her arms or hands, and they did nothing more than caress his bare, glistening flesh lovingly as he settled along her side.  His own breath came in harsh, gasping pants, and she shivered, still feeling the feverish exertions of his body upon and within her own, though that time was now past.  His face was nestled into the crook of her shoulder and neck and soft, crooning sounds still vibrated there in the aftermath of his climax.  The sounds had an amazing effect on her, as they always did, setting the tender, intimate tissue of her body convulsing to clasp futilely at an emptiness which a moment ago had been full.  God, would she never lose this craving she had for him?
     As though he read her thoughts and her needs, his hand moved heavily from its resting place on her belly to stroke lower down, over sweat-drenched curls and post-coital engorged flesh with a comforting touch, while the animalistic nature of those sweet sounds shifted somewhat to a tender, reassuring murmur.  They were still wordless - he was almost incapable of speech after such an orgasm - but they spoke volumes nonetheless, easing her own turbulent emotions down slowly, gently.  She turned her head to press a soft kiss upon his brow, her hand stroking languidly over the length of his arm as he touched her, and he nuzzled deeper into her neck with a rumbling purr of contentment.
     Finally, after ten minutes or so, he found his voice, though it was hoarser and deeper than normal.  "I hate the thought of leaving you, even for a few days," he whispered with a heavy sigh.
     "I know, I know" she whispered soothingly.  "It will feel like forever, but itís only three days.  Iíll be waiting for you below Friday night, and then weíll be together again."
     "Three nights without you," he muttered darkly.  "Impossible..."
     The last word was spoken so softly she almost didnít hear it.  Even had she not, though, she would have gleaned his emotions through their sexually-charged bond.  She was much more in tune to it now, and had been ever since theyíd finally made love some months ago, but in the aftermath of their erotic encounters it was as though the doors were flung wide between them.  Only then did she feel it in its entirety, and that alone would have kept her coming back for more, though certainly she needed no other reason that Vincent himself.
     What a lover he had become!  He was as insatiable as she, and their need for each other had only grown with the passing weeks and growing intimacy between them.  She could hear not only that need in his voice now, but also a note of incredulity, as though he still couldnít believe how much he needed her, as though he couldnít believe he now had her love in all the richness of its many facets.  She could hear within that a tinge of dismay for the depths of that need, and knew he struggled recently with his own physical desires, trying not to overwhelm her with them in a constant barrage, though god knows she wanted nothing more than that very thing.  He couldnít believe that, either.  Finally those emotions spilled out, and she could tell that the words he spoke were drawn from him despite his efforts to keep them in.
    "Three days and three nights without your touch, without your kisses..."  He sighed raggedly.  "I used to love these trips to the lower levels.  I looked forward to them all year, but now..."  He sighed again.  "I donít want to go, Catherine, I donít want to be apart from you."
     "I know," she murmured, snuggling closer to rock her body softly against his own in a comforting rhythm.  "Iíll miss you too, but I donít want you to lose the enjoyment you had in these trips because of me.  Youíve told me often about the beauty there, the crystal caverns, the deep rivers and sprawling halls hallowed out of rock.  One day weíll go together, and you can show it all to me, but for now you have to see it for me, just as I do for you above."
     He nodded, pressing his face closer to her throat, a mewling whimper buried there.  "I will," he whispered hoarsely.  He drew in a slow, deep breath, and she thought he might finally be allowing himself to let go of that anxiety enough to sleep for the few remaining hours before dawn, but a moment later he shifted slight until he nuzzled at the curve of her underarm, drawing in another deep breath.  The sensation tickled, but also aroused, and she found herself shivering.  When he shifted once more to press his face between her breasts and repeat the deep breath of a moment before, she finally couldnít stop herself.
     "What are you doing," she asked, her voice breathless.
     He cupped her right breast and stroked it gently, nuzzling beneath to breath her in there, too, before he responded.
     "Iíll miss your scent, too," he whispered, moving to repeat that action on the twin to her left.  "So sweet, so spicy, so rich..." he murmured softly.
     The words died away, lost in a sigh as he slid slowly down her body, nuzzling the long line of her torso as he went, from sternum to belly.  At that soft mound he stayed for a moment, his hands grasping her hips while he rubbed his face over the gentle swell, stroking it with the silky soft hair along the bridge of his nose.  She bit back a groan.  Finally he moved again, this time to brush tantalizingly through the silky curls below.  When he drew in a deep breath there, she couldnít contain a loud moan of excitement.  He nuzzled lower, pressing his face to the apex between her thighs and did it again, only this time his mouth dropped open and she felt a hot pulse of air finally release itself to warm her with a burst of heat.  She moaned again, then bit the sound back, muffling it to a deep whimper in her throat.
    Five times he repeated that sensual action, drawing that most intimate aspect of her scent in deep and hard, as though to hold it close for the time they would be apart.  Finally he drew away with great reluctance and pressed his face low on her belly, beside her hipbone.  His fingers clutched convulsively at her waist and he groaned softly, shivering in response to the blatant sexual nature of his actions.  A moment later, as though drawn against his will, his right hand slid down between her thighs to stroke the creamy softness there.  An image flashed into her mind, and she drew in a gasping breath, stunned by the thought.  It was a bold thought, a wanton one.  What would he think of such a thing were she to do it?  What would he think of her?
     She resolutely pushed past those worries and reached out a trembling hand to the bedside table, her other stroking gently through his hair as he rested upon the curve of her thigh and hip, his breath still pulsing over her quivering flesh.  In the moon-dappled darkness her fingers searched, finally finding the soft leather pouch resting there.  She clutched it close, then brought it over to lay on her stomach.  Her other hand left his as the fingers of both worked the leather thong shakily.  His gaze had moved upward with that action, and he now watched her curiously, though his hand still stroked lazily between her thighs, as though he absolutely could not make himself stop touching her.
     In a moment the pouch was open and the rose removed.  She set it on her belly, nestling it in the indentation of her navel, where it rested securely.
     "Catherine?" he asked, a bemused note in his voice.
     "For you to remember," she replied, her voice shaking.
     The confused look on his face deepened, but she didnít clarify her words with more of the same, instead reaching down with trembling fingers to close about his hand where it still moved inexorably over her sensitive flesh.  She tugged gently and he obeyed her command, though through their bond she felt a residual twinge of reluctance.  In the dim moonlit night both looked down at the hand she held suspended above her silky curls.  His fingers glistened with the creamy warmth of her desire for him, and he gasped, the sight jolting him at a visceral level.  She wasnít finished, though, the pressure of her hand guiding his until his fingers touched the rose.  Her own fingers rested on the backs of his, and she used them to stroke the liquid honey lightly along the porcelain surface of the rose, along the petal tips, and the valleys between.  He gasped again, understanding suddenly, belatedly filling him, and watched with amazement.  The pressure on his hand shifted downward again, and let himself be led back to the creamy warmth between her thighs.
     "Again," she whispered.
     His gaze flew upwards to hers in astonishment, then down to the spicy heat of her nest once more.  For a moment he was absolutely still, but then his fingers began to move again, gathering the slick ambrosia once more, coating his fingers from the slick tissue waiting there.  Her hand stroked lightly, encouragingly along his arm, but no longer guided him, and after a few moments he hesitated, then returned to the rose to add a second coat of dew to the delicate petals waiting there.  Over and over again his hand returned to her, delving deeper each time, until she was writhing beneath him in quivering waves.  He felt it when she could take no more and suddenly shifted over her.  His hand left her to cup over her belly, holding the rose safe against her, while his mouth replaced the absence left by his hand.  He devoured her with a growl of passion and she exploded in ecstasy, screaming his name.  He urged her on with lips and teeth and tongue, groaning with his own unfulfilled need, unbearably aroused.
     When she finally lay panting and still beneath him he rose up to kneel between her legs, his whole body trembling.  She stared down her own length, watching him with awe.  His body was magnificent, hard muscles, golden flesh, taut arousal...  All of it was just too much.  Despite her second and most recent release, she wanted him again, immediately.  She needed him inside her.  She begged him throatily, but he resisted, staring down at her with a look sheíd never seen before.  It was a look full to overflowing with passionate desire, lusty excitement and an incredulous disbelief.  His trembling hand slid away to expose the rose once more.  It rested on her belly still, and the glistening of her superheated flesh was matched by the glint upon its petals.  Carefully he cupped it in his hand and drew it up to draw in the scent there deeply, his eyes drifting closed.  He groaned in response, his tongue peeking out until the tip lightly touched one delicate petalled lip.  He groaned again, taking in the tiniest taste of her.  Through the bond she felt how difficult it was for him to stop, but he did, reverently sliding the rose back within the leather pouch.  He drew it closed then wrapped the thong protectively about the neck, finally leaning over to set it on the bedside table once more.
     When he sat back on his haunches to peruse her once more, she gasped in amazement at the hungry look upon his face.  He growled and leaned over her, capturing her wrists in his hands and holding them still at the side of her head while he took her mouth in a deep, demanding kiss.  He plumbed the depths of her tender flesh with his tongue in a reckless fashion and she moaned loudly, the wildness of his response heralding what was to come.  Her arms were drawn slowly upward until her hands rested above her head, the wrists crossed together and held now in just one of his hands.  The other moved between them to close about his thick erection.  He guided it to the creamy heat between her thighs and she moaned again, the sound muffled by the searching presence of his tongue.  Nothing stopped her from drawing her knees up about his flanks, though, and she quickly did so, opening herself fully for the lusty assault to come.  When he took her it was with a wild abandon he had never before allowed himself.  She screamed with pleasure, exulting in the release of the sensual nature at his very core.  Together they sought the heights of ecstasy once more, the scent of their passion drenching the night, the vision of her rose burning through them...