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 There is an infinitesimal moment of time that most mornings we do not notice. If your dreams are sweet and nothing threatens you when you wake slightly you drift back to sleep without ever knowing. If your dreams are alarming or something is wrong as you momentarily rouse you jolt into awareness, adrenaline forces you into fight or flight mode and it is the end of sleep. A busy mind may use this moment to force lists of things to be done into your consciousness leaving you to decide whether to wake properly or ignore it and drowse with the covers drawn up over your head.

It was under a mix of conditions that Cecily woke up. Her dreams, as far as she was aware, had been good but a momentary alarm forced her eyes open. There was someone in bed with her! There was only time for three anxious heartbeats before she felt a gurgle of pleasure well up inside her. Of course there was, she was a married woman now. Her beloved husband was lying exactly where he should be.

She started taking note of her surroundings as her muscles relaxed. The room was still very dark but there were lighter rectangles showing where the windows were shielded by chintz patterned curtains. Dawn was not far away. She turned over and felt her hair was caught, she traced the long black curls to their ends where she disentangled them from John's fingers. She smiled into the dark. She remembered last night, as she struggled to keep her eyes open, John had stroked her hair and face as if loathe to stop touching her or could not believe that she was really there.

She slowly stretched her back as her mind reached further into the night before. It had been wonderful. Better than all her expectations. Excitement bubbled up and she tried to see her husband's face in the shadowy room to see if he was near waking but it was too dark to discern anything. Anyway, she was now only too aware that nature was calling. She slid carefully from between the sheets, so not to let the cool air in, and fumbled around for her robe before running for the bathroom.

Under the bathroom's bright light she could gaze into the mirror. She did not know what she had expected but she did not look any different. Looking into her own dark eyes, they were as childish and innocent as they had been on the morning of her wedding day. Her body could feel it had done something different last night but her excitement overlaid every slight discomfort.

She was wide awake now and decided she would shower, so she could leave the bathroom free for John later. Returning to the bedroom she drew the curtains back. The world outside was still waiting for the sun. Away from the lightening horizon she could see a few stars studding the sky but there was enough light being given for her to see shapes in the room. She bent over her lover and kissed him very lightly on the nose. She wondered if all men looked so young and boyish when they were asleep. Even in his sleep John had a small smug smile. She kissed him again but there was not a flicker of response, even behind the closed eyelids.

She wanted to do something. It had been a tiring week and John obviously needed to catch up on his sleep. She wanted to dash out into the world and yell 'Guess what I was doing last night.' Then had to suppress a giggle as she imagined what effect that would have on this quiet place. Quickly she made her decision; she would go and skate. Carefully she used her delicate fingers to locate a short woollen dress and then quietly felt in the drawers for the thick woolly tights she had snaffled from Felicity's practice bag. Flixy was going to be so cross when she found out what Cecily had done. Before leaving the room she checked once more that her husband was still asleep, then went out hearing the arrival of Liesl downstairs to start her day's work.

Cecily sat in the hall and pulled on an extra pair of socks and her heavy boots. She had a shouted conversation with the maid as she put on her outer wraps. Then she picked up the bag containing the new skating boots that Felix and Felicity had given her for Christmas and headed outside. It was slowly lightening towards the east and she scurried through the crisp snow to the ledge at the side of the frozen boathouse to change into her skates. The cold seeped to the back of her brain waking her consciousness further and for a moment she sat and almost regretted her decision to come outside, but considering her excitement what else could she have done. Last night had been wonderful but, she now thought, there was probably room for improvement. They had been too tentative, too shy, too careful of each other. She stood up to get her balance. She had been surprised last night at how nervous John had been. He always appeared so calm and balanced but his hands had shaken as he touched her after carrying her to the bed and she had sensed his nervousness. Cecily giggled out loud, the sound shattering the silence, then sighed. She should have stayed in bed. Waking up naked next to each other would have started making it all seem more natural, more normal. Still, she took a few steps, she was out here now and being alone always energised her. There was tonight, and tomorrow and the next day and so on forever. Nothing was going to ruin that.

She headed out onto the ice, stumbling a little as she usually did on the first few steps, then glided out picking up speed. Her exhilaration gaining momentum as she prepared for the appearance of the sun. She was a woman now and was loving it. As she had stumbled, if she had looked up at the chalet she would have seen a figure raise an arm as if to stop her falling, even at that distance.

Old Mrs Jameson could have warned her new grand-daughter that John had a habit of going from what appeared to be a deep sleep into wakefulness in a second. While Cecily was having her conversation with Liesl he had woken up and immediately had put out an arm to wrap round his beautiful bride. Part of him could not believe that the sweetest, funniest, loveliest girl in the world was now his, to have and to hold from this day forth. He had a second of disappointment as he found the bed empty. As consciousness rose he discovered that the sheets were still clinging to a slight warmth and as he moved the covers there was a sensual waft of rose scent that made his senses reel.

He heard the front door close and threw back the covers to go and see what she was doing. As the cool air passed over his skin he thought how wonderful it would have been to wake up to find her beside him, to snuggle down together in the warm bed. He watched her from the window as she walked down to the lakeside. He knew her so well that he could see the suppressed excitement in her every step. Suddenly he laughed. He understood what she was doing. He also felt like running around yelling that the most beautiful girl in the world had made love with him last night. It had been good despite his nerves and their shyness, with none of the tears so many had warned him about. They had made the first time special, as he had wished, and enjoyed themselves. Next time, he relaxed a little as he continued to watch her, it would be easier. Why was he standing here watching her? He should be with her. Not on skates though. His blundering around on blades would not be romantic especially as the rest of the day he would be suffering from the bruises. As he turned to go he saw her stumble and laughed at himself for putting out a useless hand to save her. He never wanted her to get hurt. 

Chapter End Notes:

I need a few phrases translated into German before I can post the next chapter. Any volunteers? Pretty please. :)

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