The threesome that never was!
In the first draft of Listen to the Moon, I wrote a threesome. Because John and Sukey dirty-talk about one, and I felt like it was Chekov’s threesome. Like if I hung it over the fireplace I had to fire it in the third act. And also I was really excited to write it! It didn’t hurt that I totally pictured the third person as Hayley Atwell.
Unfortunately I just didn’t have space in the finished book for 5000 extra words of sex PLUS the emotional fallout and everything. So! Here it is, for the dedicated fan (or, you know, the pervy fan!).
In the original opening of Chapter 16, instead of the coach already being in Chichester it was still halfway through the journey. The scene follows directly from:
When her feet and hands had gone good and numb, the coach pulled off the road into an innyard. Sukey was afeared to stand. Her legs might not hold her, and then she’d fall to her death and they’d have to fish her out of a snowdrift and bury her in this strange town, away from all her people.
But John helped her up, holding her elbows until she found her balance. He clambered down into the unsteady snow and caught her when she jumped, his hands strong and familiar at her waist…
A mail coach had just come, and both sets of passengers milled about the frozen innyard, jostling each other in their haste to collect their luggage and get inside. Elbowing her way to the door and holding her bandbox clutch, Sukey came up against a sturdy young woman in an ancient but fur-lined pelisse.
“May I dine with you?” the woman asked, surprising Sukey no end. She threw back her thick veil, revealing a square face that gave off generous frankness as unmistakably as a plum pudding gave off brandy fumes. A few locks of dark hair dripped down her high forehead, above brown eyes, a straight nose and full mouth. “I was the only woman on the mail, and I don’t think I can brave the coffee room alone.” Her low, pleasant voice struck the ear cheerfully after a cold, silent journey. She looked to be about ten years older than Sukey, and about ten steps closer to being a gentlewoman.
“Of course,” Sukey said, rather pleased to have been singled out by such a person, even if only for being female. “You stick by me. I’m Sukey.”
The press of people swept them into the wet, bustling coffee-room, but John found them almost at once, his trunk borne on his broad back. He set it by their feet. “Watch this for me, would you?” He gave Sukey’s new friend a warm smile, knocking snow from his hat and looking altogether much too handsome and brisk as he did it. “Good evening.”
“Good evening.” The young woman smiled back and held out her hand. “Lucy. I’m a governess. Or I was, and will be again when I reach Felpham.”
“John Toogood, at your service. Would you like me to deal with the host for you? How much can you pay for a bed?” In just a few minutes he’d found them a place to sit, dealt with the innkeeper’s wife, and come back with three plates of steak and potatoes, the third balanced easily on his forearm. “It’s a busy night and I’m afraid the three of us will have to share the attic. But if you object, madam, I’m told I can find a bed in the stables.”
He gave Sukey a brief, regretful glance. They had hoped against hope for some privacy on their journey. Sukey wanted, just once in her life, to hear John not worry about who might be on the other side of the wall. But she’d known it was more likely they’d have to share.
“Oh,” Lucy said, surprised. “I suppose I don’t object. I—I took you for a gentleman.”
John’s smile made his amber eyes shine. It was darling much he relished that particular compliment. At least, Sukey would have ordinarily found it darling. But she couldn’t help thinking that Lucy would never mistake her for a lady.
“No, I’m only a butler. Here, let me take your wet things.”
Lucy handed him her pelisse, revealing a wine-colored round gown striped with pale gold. She also revealed an astonishing bosom. Sukey couldn’t drag her eyes away from it.
When she did manage to give her own pelisse to John, she caught him staring too.
“What a very efficient fellow.” Lucy watched him appreciatively as he laid out their bonnets and overclothes by the fire, wiping them down carefully with his handkerchief as he did so.
“Isn’t he just.” Sukey wished she sounded prouder. But it was hard to stay grumpy when he returned with three glasses of hot huckle-my-buff. She fell on her food, telling herself that grilled steak would silence the churning of her stomach.
She tried not to feel annoyed by John and Lucy knabbling on about Mrs. Edgeworth’s latest novel, the state of things in Ireland, the Duke of Wellington’s military strategy, Spain, Lord Byron, Alexander Pope…
John seemed to make an effort to be charming, talking more than he generally did. He’s glad to have somebody to talk books with, Sukey thought; there was nothing wrong in that. Even if Lucy had a low, infectious laugh and tomboyish way of moving that made Sukey think of the Amazons John had told her about when he described that Shakespeare play with the fairies.
John got up to refill their glasses, and Lucy leaned over to Sukey. “Are you well? You’ve barely said a word.”
“I’m jawled-out, that’s all—tired, I mean.”
“How well do you know him? Do you think him trustworthy?”
Sukey froze. Lucy didn’t know John was her husband! They must have said—they must have done something—but no. John, topsawyer ex-valet that he was, had shown Lucy every courtesy he’d shown his wife. And Sukey’s wedding ring was on a ribbon round her neck to keep it from thieves. She’d ought to confess the truth at once, but curiosity got the better of her. “I do think so. Why do you ask?”
“Well…” Lucy spoke quieter, eyes sparkling. “Don’t think ill of me, but this is my first holiday in years, and it may be my last chance at—at masculine companionship, until—”
Sukey’s hand shot out and clapped itself over Lucy’s mouth before she could think. “He’s my husband!” she said hastily. “I’m so sorry, I never meant to mislead you, I should have said at once just now, but I’m nosy and I thought you must want his help with business—”
Lucy dropped her head into her hands. Despite her remorse, Sukey couldn’t help looking down her dress. “Oh damn. Damn. Please forgive me, please don’t think ill of me, if I’d known I never would have—oh hellfire. I should have known. I only—he’s—”
“He talks better than I do,” Sukey finished glumly.
“No!” Lucy shook her head emphatically, her face still behind her hands. “No, forgive me, I only meant he’s so much older than you are! Blast, is that worse?”
“Oh no, it’s much better.” Sukey couldn’t help grinning. “He’s vigorous for his age.”
Lucy peeked hopefully through her fingers. “So I’d hoped.” At Sukey’s laugh, she let her hands fall, still blushing furiously. “Are you too angry to share an attic with me?”
“It was an honest mistake. I’d have married somebody less handsome, if I couldn’t bear other women to look at him.” Of course, they both knew it hadn’t only been Lucy looking. John had looked back.
Sukey’s eyes widened. Maybe this evening didn’t have to be a waste of a journey away from all their friends, where no one knew them, after all!
She waited through pudding before dragging her husband a little ways off, so Lucy wouldn’t think she was warning John against her. “Do you remember what we talked about after my bath?”
John blinked, as if sifting hastily through his memories. “About wanting to see a play in a real theater? Yes, I remember. Chichester’s playhouse is very fine. Small, of course, but pretty. And the musicians are good.”
Sukey dimly recollected discussing that at some point in the evening. She rolled her eyes. “Not that. Directly after my bath.”
John flushed. “Lucy will be in the room with us. In my youth I wouldn’t have cared, but now I don’t think I could perform.”
“Yes,” Sukey murmured pointedly. “Lucy will be with us. And we talked about asking another woman to—”
John looked as if he’d been dipped in cochineal. “Sukey, we can’t,” he said after a long moment of silence. “We can’t importune a chance-met stranger. A respectable governess no less.”
Sukey leaned up to whisper in his ear. “She told me she was hoping for some masculine companionship tonight.”
She would have bet John couldn’t turn redder, but she’d have lost her money. “Sukey, I don’t need any other women.”
“I’m not jealous,” she said impatiently. “You like her, don’t you? I’ve never seen you talk so much in my life.”
“Yes, because you were dead silent. I don’t believe you really want to do this. You seem unhappy. It’s natural to be nervous—”
Sukey cut him off before he could mention her father. “If you weren’t married to me—” He opened his mouth to protest. She tried, “If you’d never met me—”
“I’m not interested in that hypothetical,” John interrupted, and Sukey felt very warm indeed.
“If I told you I wanted to,” she said, more softly, “would you want to?”
John frowned at her for long seconds. “Yes, I would. She’s pretty and clever.”
“First-rate tits, too.”
John was surprised into a laugh. Leaning in, he said in her ear, “I’ve always thought enough was as good as a feast.”
Sukey shivered happily. Do you think he’s trustworthy? Lucy had asked. The truth was, she did. She hadn’t worried for a moment that he might sneak off with Lucy when her back was turned. “Well, I always say you can’t have too much of a good thing,” she said cheekily.
“So…you do want to?”
It was her turn to whisper in his ear. “I’m wet already.”
John took a long, steady breath. The lines in his face deepened as he smiled at her. “Well, ask her. But don’t blame me if she throws her glass in your face.”
Lucy was looking worried when they got back to the table. When Sukey took a seat, beaming at her, she didn’t appear to know whether to be reassured or afraid.
“Lucy,” Sukey said in confidential tones. “It’s not too late for John to sleep in the stables if you find this idea alarming, but I want you to consider…” All at once, she lost her nerve. Her stomach filled with butterflies. She couldn’t spend tonight feeling like this. She needed a distraction, and they might never have such a good chance again. She forced herself to lean in and say, “Have you ever thought of keeping company with a married couple?”
Lucy’s jaw dropped. She looked between them. “Do you mean—No. You can’t mean—what do you mean?”
Sukey flushed, wishing she didn’t always doubt herself most just after being her most daring. She glanced uncertainly at John.
John put his hand over Lucy’s. “My wife means sharing a bed. The three of us.”
“Not merely for sleeping,” Sukey clarified.
Lucy drew her hand back, her strong straight brows climbing. “I—goodness. Do people really do such things?”
Sukey felt a moment’s doubt.
“Yes,” John said. Sukey relaxed. “We haven’t, previously. But people do, I promise you.”
There was a short silence. Lucy ran her eyes over both of them; it was a strange feeling, to know she was measuring them for her bed. “And you will both be discreet?”
“Yes, and we would ask the same of you,” John said.
She nodded, very quickly, with a nervesome sort of laugh. “All right, then. I think I should enjoy that very much.”
Sukey felt all the thrill of victory, and even managed to join in the talk over another round of huckle-my-buff. There was a sharp enjoyment in chatting politely like any chance-met travelers and to know that later they were going to be so wickedly improper. Lucy felt it, Sukey could see; it was in her rich laugh and the gleam of her eyes. John’s voice took on the warm, secret promise that Sukey was so fond of. By the time they climbed up to the attic, Sukey felt as if someone had put coffee in her beer-and-brandy, wide-awake and lazy at once.
It was a small garret, already crowded with their luggage, floor and wall and ceiling nearly making a triangle. They could stand upright only along one wall, where a brick chimney gave the room its small portion of warmth. A bed-tick broad enough for three covered most of the floor.
“I’ll give you a few minutes to get into your nightdresses.” Nightshirt in hand, John ducked back down the ladder into the hall beneath.
Lucy’s face was flushed and alight, but she said, “He hasn’t bullied you into this, has he? Because I was forward? We can still refuse him.”
Sukey winked at her. “It was my idea. Turn round and I’ll undo your buttons.” Lucy owned more petticoats than Sukey did; it was a struggle to get down to her stays. Sukey wondered whether it would be impolite to touch her bosom. The boned linen exhibited it so temptingly you couldn’t avoid the idea.
Lucy turned away. “Here, get me out of this contraption so I can take my hair down.”
Sukey sighed and undid the knot, tugging the lace out and passing it to her. Lucy took a deep breath, her first free breath after a long day strapped into stays, and Sukey remembered how much she loved John’s hands on her then. She pushed Lucy round to face her.
Sukey had thought her taller, but really Lucy only topped her by an inch. They looked at each other, nervesome but ready to laugh about it, and Sukey brushed their lips together. The action pressed her own clothed breasts directly against Lucy’s. Lucy’s mouth opened, soft and full, her hands rising uncertainly to Sukey’s shoulders. It was different from any kiss Sukey’d had before, too long to be chaste but without the fever she felt with John. She put her own hands to Lucy’s strong hips, slid them up her sides, and firmly cupped her breasts.
Lucy drew in a breath. “Oh, goodness! It’s been a long time.”
Sukey pressed in with her fingertips, kneading and shaping Lucy’s flesh. “Mm, and after being in stays all day…”
Lucy sighed, arching her back like a cat. Sukey watched, fascinated, as her nipples hardened beneath her shift. She hesitated, and then did what she wanted to do—she bent and sucked Lucy’s nipple into her mouth.
Lucy gave a small cry, fingers digging into her shoulders. Sukey sucked harder, and Lucy made a keening sound, stumbling a little.
John rapped on the trapdoor. Lucy pushed at her shoulders, but when Sukey held on and sucked again, she gave in, whispering, “Pinch the other one.” When John lifted the trapdoor, she moaned rather showily. Sukey raised her head, angling it so that if John was looking, he’d see Lucy’s nipple slide through her teeth.
He was looking—quite still, his face mild, but she knew him. He was burning up.
“Oh, John,” she said lightly, “would you be so good as to help with my gown?”
He had her down to her shift in under half a minute, pulling her back against him in proprietary fashion. She could feel his hardness at the small of her back.
“Goodness, he really is efficient,” Lucy said. In the light of one tallow candle, Sukey probably imagined it; but she thought she could see the darker halo round Lucy’s nipple through the damp spot in her shift.
“Just you watch. He’s going to fold our clothes next.”
John kissed her neck. “You’ll thank me in the morning. Warm up the bed for me, won’t you?”
Sukey wanted Lucy between her and John. Why—to keep him away? Maybe. She was afraid of anyone looking at her too closely tonight. John and Lucy both would be too much, would make her lose herself, and she couldn’t lose herself tonight. She wanted her and John, united, to make Lucy lose herself.
So she slid in next to the wall, rolling onto her side to face Lucy as if they were two girls sharing secrets. Lucy’s eyes glinted as if she were about to confess to stealing a ribbon or dreaming about the butcher’s lad, and Sukey couldn’t help kissing her again, couldn’t help wanting to be close. She pressed nearer, sticking a hand in Lucy’s soft dark hair and wishing they really were friends.
Lucy smiled against her mouth, nudging a thigh between Sukey’s legs. “It’s quite like being back at boarding school.” It was a lovely strong thigh and Sukey made rather a whimpering sound. Could she?—dared she?—she rubbed against it, her breath shuddering in her lungs, and it felt too good not to do it again.
John came to stand above them. Fuck her, Sukey wanted to say, but she couldn’t say that in front of Lucy. They had to ask Lucy first, and Lucy’s hand had burrowed up inside Sukey’s nightdress to palm her breast, and Sukey felt impatient and shy and wanted everything to happen without her having to make it.
Lucy rolled half-away to look up at John, whose cock was making a tent of his nightshirt. “I know you’re married. What can I have?”
“What do you want?” Sukey asked.
She hesitated. “I want to be sore between my legs tomorrow,” she blurted out ruefully. “It’s been so long, and I miss it.”
John looked at Sukey, who gave a single quick nod.
John lay down beside Lucy, turning her onto her side facing Sukey. He drew her nightdress up and over her head. “If you’re too cold, say so.”
Lucy shivered, but she didn’t protest. The room, chilly at first, was heating up rapidly, and they lay near the chimney. Sukey couldn’t think of Lucy’s comfort, anyway: her body was more than beautiful, and it was thrilling to see it.
John lifted Lucy’s leg and hooked it over his thighs. Sukey’s eyes widened. She enjoyed that position herself, but she’d never thought how it would expose you to the view of someone watching, how you’d be laid out to their eyes. She gazed spellbound as John stroked himself to full hardness. Lucy raised herself up on her elbow to peer down too, goodnaturedly at first but soon panting with excitement. At last she reached down to take hold of John’s cock herself and rub it over her pearl. “Yes,” she murmured contentedly, her body relaxing as John’s tensed.
It was strange and wonderful to see John do this thing he did with her with someone else, to see his brow furrow and hear him breathing harshly through his nose—to watch him and not be caught up in it, herself. Inwardly she gloated a little, thinking, He’s done this with lots of people, but he only married me.
Lucy guided John into her cunt, finally. Sukey watched inch by inch, and then she didn’t want to watch anymore. As John thrust, Sukey licked her fingertips and set herself to rolling Lucy’s nipples between them, quickly and steadily. Lucy gasped, making sharp quick moans as if in pain. “Harder,” she begged, her voice breaking, “oh, God, please—”
Sukey slid down to where her husband’s cock pumped in and out of Lucy like a piston, stretching her arms above her head to keep at Lucy’s nipples. She watched for a few moments before licking where she thought Lucy’s pearl would be.
“Lower,” Lucy said eagerly.
It was difficult to go lower without touching John’s cock. But why was she avoiding it? She opened her mouth wide, John’s shaft sliding against her lips. He slammed into Lucy with a growling noise, making the woman squeal. Sukey smiled— and then her tongue found Lucy’s pearl.
Lucy thrashed and bucked, stopping Sukey’s nose and mouth for a moment. It was…odd, but not unpleasant, which was good because Sukey hoped John didn’t mind doing it for her. She concentrated on staying in time with John’s thrusts. Lucy was making a lot of noise now, wordless broken moans, and then she screamed. Sukey sensed her cunt rippling with a deep sense of accomplishment.
John’s cock stilled, hard and huge.
Come here, you darling girl.” Lucy pulled Sukey up for a brief kiss. Her hair was coming undone, plastered to her forehead now by sweat instead of rain. Her beautiful breasts heaved, the nipples taut and flushed from Sukey’s fingers. “You’re terrifyingly efficient yourself. Good Lord.”
Sukey smiled smugly. “Can you stand to be a little sorer?” John had curled forward to press his forehead against the back of Lucy’s head, but at those words, his hand tightened on Lucy’s hip and his shoulders rose on a drawn-in breath.
Lucy laughed unsteadily. “If you mean, do I want your husband to keep fucking me, then yes.”
Sukey reached out to tug lightly on John’s ear. “You heard her.”
John couldn’t help feeling that what he was doing was wrong. His ring was on that blue ribbon around Sukey’s neck, dangling tantalizingly into her nightdress. So why was his cock buried deep in another woman?
That only made it better. It was wrong, it was indecent, and yet he was allowed to have it. He moved again, because Sukey told him to. “Harder,” Sukey said, and he obeyed her in that too, not close enough to spending to worry about pulling out. Eyes closed, he let his hand roam, sliding over Lucy’s strong thigh and up her belly, fondling one of her heavy breasts. He remembered Sukey saying, You can never have too much of a good thing and smiled against Lucy’s nape.
Without warning, Sukey took one of his ballocks into her mouth. His thoughts stopped abruptly. This was incomprehensible, unspeakable. After a small, arousing struggle, she gave up on taking them both in and switched to the other one, rolling her tongue rhythmically against it. There was hot, wet sensation everywhere. He was surrounded, engulfed. His skin felt hungry, striving for every bit of contact he could get, pulling Lucy’s smooth back against his chest and bending one knee until it brushed Sukey’s stomach. She put a hand on his thigh, the soft tip of her tongue stroking lightly, concentrating his awareness unbearably on the almost tickling feeling. He thrust deeper so his wife’s lips would tug at his skin.
Lucy cried out; for a moment he felt terrible, because he’d nearly forgotten she was there. Fortunately, she seemed a self-reliant woman, and was assisting herself quite adequately with her fingers. “Is there anything…” he got out. “For you…?”
“Don’t spend,” she begged. “Not yet. I’m almost there again.”
So John gritted his teeth and pounded into her, trying for a few moments to think of something else. It was difficult because Sukey had begun sucking wholeheartedly, no tease to it at all. Lucy spent a second time, with less force but longer, each wet ripple a divine torment. At last they died down—no, there was another, oh God—
“I’m sorry, I can’t—Sukey, stop.” He pulled out with an unpleasant scrape of Sukey’s teeth. His cock lay twitching on Lucy’s thigh, poised on the very brink of orgasm. Sukey took its damp length in her hand and gave two brisk strokes, and he spent at once.
He was afraid to look at either of them, afraid even to raise his head. He lay panting, his heartbeat slowing gradually. At length he relaxed his hold on Lucy’s hip, allowing her to roll onto her back and gaze drunkenly at the ceiling.
Sukey sat cross-legged and still nearly untouched, smug as a sprite who had had her way with foolish mortals. John was tempted to pull her into his lap, but he remembered what he had wanted, when they discussed this first: he had wanted to watch.
“It’s my turn to ask you a favor, madam,” he said hoarsely to Lucy.
“Your wish is my command, sir,” she returned, “as you were lately so obliging.” She wiped his seed off her thigh with a corner of the sheet. John smothered a twinge of guilt for the laundress.
“Would you be so good as to pleasure my wife?”
Lucy heaved herself up on an elbow. “I suppose it couldn’t hurt. Always provided I can sit up.”
“With your tongue, if you shouldn’t object,” Sukey said lightly, eyes on John. “He’s mentioned to me particularly that he wants to see it.”
John felt embarrassed and aroused—not ready for another cockstand, but very conscious of the peak he had just had, like liquor lingering in his veins.
“Very well, you little minx,” Lucy said. “One good turn deserves another.” She rucked up Sukey’s nightdress up and spread her folds with her fingers.
Sukey hooked her leg over Lucy’s shoulder and used it to pull her closer, still meeting John’s eyes. She knew exactly what a wanton, elegant little picture she made, with her nightdress slipping off her shoulder and her lean legs bare. She took out her hairpins, her raised arms pushing her breasts against thin linen. Her nipples tightened as Lucy went to work, her teeth sinking into her lower lip, and all the time she kept her eyes on his. For a moment, her breath whistled through her teeth and her eyes fluttered shut—but she opened them again and smiled at him.
She had never looked so much like a cruel fairy queen—or not cruel, but so distant from humanity that she could feel no sympathy with it. Her nightdress didn’t hide her body, but veiled it from his sight.
But soon pleasure overtook her. She shut her eyes and leaned back on her hands and drummed one dainty heel on the floor, the catlike satisfaction fading from her expression. Her mouth made a pleading, almost plaintive O around her quick shallow breaths. He saw Lucy slip a finger into her; Sukey’s gasp resembled shocked hurt, her face twisting as if so much pleasure was a betrayal.
He had watched her frig herself before, but this was different. Not being mistress of her own pleasure and its pace made her a little wild. He wanted to gather her in and soothe her, but he wanted to see her face too.
When she began to make small, desperate moans—ah, ah, ah—he knew it wouldn’t be long. She spent, back bowing and face scrunching up, and then she opened her eyes wide and sat looking at him as if to say, Oh my!
Lucy planted a kiss on her belly and sat, plucking a stray hair from her tongue. “I need some rest.”
John pulled Sukey against him on the bed and fell asleep with his face in her hair.
John’s watch chimed only moments before the innkeeper poked her head through the trapdoor to say that their coaches would leave within the hour. Sukey felt as if they ought to talk things over or at least say something, but they were all too occupied in being ready—for their coach, and for what awaited them at journey’s-end. Lucy checked the contents of her bandbox four or five times, fussed over her hair in a hand mirror, and began reciting French under her breath. “Thanks for a lovely memory,” she said at last with a distracted smile, and disappeared down the ladder.
She took with her Sukey’s capacity to think about anything but her father. Her stomach gnawed at her insides in hunger and indigestion, and her heart sank down into the space her stomach ought to have filled. She didn’t look at John as she dressed, not wanting him to see her face pinched and afraid. He tried gently to take the comb as she struggled to drag it through the tangles she hadn’t braided the night before. She jerked away from him. “I’ll do it!”
He went back to checking the locks on his trunk without a word, and then went off for a porter, leaving Sukey feeling the worst sort of shrew. But she was glad to be alone, so John wouldn’t see what a madwoman she was being, going over every worn place in her gown and every stain in her cap and kerchief. She didn’t want her father to think she was poor, that she’d suffered a jot for lack of his money. She didn’t want him to think she’d had any reason to miss him at all.
Serve him right if she showed up in rags and told John to demand a dowry!
After a minute or two she finished dressing, glad that at least the pelisse John bought her was nearly new. There was nothing to do now but wait for help with her bandbox. She was tempted to try the ladder one-handed or to drop her bandbox to the floor below. There was nothing breakable in it—nothing in it at all but her nightdress, the blue gown Mrs. Gilchrist had given her, slippers, and some spare underthings. That was all she owned in the world. But the bandbox itself was borrowed from Mrs. Khaleel, who’d neatly covered it in scraps of the dining-room wallpaper, and the fall might crack the thin wood.
Sukey had tucked the box under her arm and was about to brave the ladder when she heard it creak with John’s weight. Once in the attic, he reached for her bandbox as if it was naturally his to carry, just as he had for her basket at the market all those weeks ago.
Lucy managed without you and so can I.
Sukey knew she was being ridiculous. She handed him the box and watched him toss it to the porter below, feeling strangely powerless.
John’s trunk was next. He owned it, and it was full to the brim with his possessions; the porter cursed when he took its weight.
She’d planned to buy herself a new everyday dress at Lady Day, when she was paid. If John decided he wanted to live at Tassell Hall, she’d see barely two more crowns of vicarage wages. Not enough for a new dress.
John caught her at the bottom of the ladder, and helped her to the roof of the coach, and handed her a sandwich and flask of coffee for breakfast. With each kindness she grew more uneasy…