Part 43 & 44 / Part 45 / Part 47 & 48
By Shelly Quinn
Robin dreamed without images. It was pure sensation. Soft hands gliding over his chest, fingers tangling in his hair, warm lips pressed to his and sweet breath mingling with his. Familiar sensations that made pleasure ripple through his loins. But it was then that Robin came awake, for this dream was suddenly too real. His eyes fluttered open even as he raised his hands to grab delicate wrists.
The woman smiled at him, green eyes sparkling from a beautiful face. "Hello, Robin," she said softly.
"Christina?" Robin blinked to clear his vision, but she remained. "What...what are you doing here?"
"Looking for you," she replied. Her laugh was deep and throaty, a sensual purr. Freeing one hand from Robin's grasp, Christina let her fingers tangle in his dark hair. "So beautiful, Robin," she whispered. "Like silk. And you let it grow. You never would when I asked you to. I told you it would suit you."
Robin couldn't help but smile as he remembered back to the days when they had lazed about in Christina's huge bed, arguing about his hair. But the fighting had been merely foreplay. An excuse to kiss and make up. "You look wonderful, Christina," Robin said, honestly. She had been stunning when they had first met. Robin being an innocent eighteen year old with a lust for life, and Christina ten years older, and taking a liking to him. She was the one who had introduced him how to pleasure a woman, he had been an apt, and eager, pupil.
Christina accepted the compliment with a nod, and her own eyes roamed over Robin as he rose, smoothly, to his feet pulling her up with him. "You've...filled out, Robin," she whispered. One hand reached out so her fingertips could brush over rock-hard biceps, the muscles seeming sculptured out of smooth stone.
"I've grown up," he said softly. Robin felt the heat of Christina's gaze and it warmed him from head to toe, but he didn't blush beneath her scrutiny. She had taught him not to be embarrassed or ashamed of his body, but to revel in it's power. Christina could do many things to Robin, but embarrass him with her passion wasn't one of them. "You said you've were looking for me," he reminded her. "Is something wrong?"
"In a word...yes," Christina replied. The light of passion dimming as sadness darkened her eyes.
Robin touched her arm and their eyes met. "Tell me," he beseeched her. "I want to help."
Christina sighed, then smiled. "I had hoped you would say that, Robin."
"Was there really any doubt?" he challenged. Then folding his arms across his chest and tossing back his head he declared, "After all...I AM Robin Hood."
"Indeed, you are," Christina drawled. "And you do live up to your legend...in more ways than one." Her remark was blatantly sexual and she was pleased to see an answering flicker of desire in Robin's beautiful, dark eyes. Christina did need his help, but that didn't change her passion for him. Before the dawn of the next day she intended to have Robin in her bed and she would kiss and caress every muscle in his body...and there looked to be a lot of them.
Robin laughed, delighting in Christina's boldness, yet never doubting that she was a lady. "Tell me how I can help," he beseeched. For she had taught him to believe in himself. And all men must learn to believe in themselves. Christina had helped Robin grow to manhood. To understand his passions and to control them. To become a better leader of men. He owed her one.
Christina sighed again, reaching out to tuck a lock of dark hair behind Robin's ear. "After leaving Sherwood, six years ago, I got married." She saw the look of surprise on Robin's face. "I know...I said that after my first marriage, I would never do it again. But...Dirk...he seemed different than most men. And since I couldn't marry you, Robin, I settled for him. And I was happy...at first."
"What happened?" Robin prompted, when Christina seemed disinclined to continue.
"He soon turned out to be a stranger," she replied. "It started when he would became angry...enraged. He hit me. When I hit him back he threw me against the wall and I nearly died. I became afraid, Robin...and I didn't like it."
Robin was horrified. He went to Christina and drew her into his arms, feeling her tremble against him as she remembered. "When did this happen?" he asked, his lips pressed to her soft, blond, hair.
Christina wrapped her arms tighter about Robin's slender waist and let her cheek rest against his shoulder. "A year ago," she replied. "I was pregnant at the time and I lost the baby. A girl."
"I'm so sorry," Robin replied, feeling his anger rise even as tears filled his eyes.
"Me too," Christina whispered. "Dirk didn't care. He wanted a son. A...perfect...son. You see, the first one I bore him is sickly. So he's small and weak. Dirk can't tolerate that. In fact...he's convinced that Adam isn't another man's child. But he's not."
Robin held Christina tighter. "What do you want me to do?" he asked.
Christina pulled out of Robin's embrace. "Protect me and Adam," she requested. "He's in the carriage." Christina pointed over Robin's shoulder. "I left Dirk six weeks ago. I know he sent men after me and he won't be far behind. You see...he may hate his son, and me. But we are his possessions. He won't let us go. And I won't go back." Christina's eyes flashed. "He'll kill Adam."
"I won't let that happen," Robin promised. "You're coming home with me. You'll be safe in Sherwood." As he spoke, Robin escorted Christina to the carriage and opened the door. When he did so, a pale head peeked out. Adam.
The small boy grinned. "Are you really Robin Hood?" he queried.
Robin studied the boy whom he guessed to be about five years old, but his body was too thin and fragile looking. And he wore wooden braces on both legs. Reaching out to ruffle the pale hair, Robin replied, "I am. It's nice to meet you, Adam."
"And you," Adam replied, solemly. "I didn't believe Mother when she said she knew Robin Hood."
"But now you do," Christina commented, but with a smile. Love for Adam shone in her eyes.
Robin felt his heart constrict and he became determined to help Christina and her son. He would find Dirk and convince the man to leave his wife and child be. But first Robin had to get them to safety. To Sherwood. "Where's your driver?" he asked Christina.
She grinned. "You're looking at her. I didn't trust anyone," Christina confessed.
"Fair enough," Robin replied. "I'll drive now.
Why don't you ride with Adam." That said, Robin helped Christina inside.
After shutting the door he climbed up in the driver's seat, grabbed the
reins, and they were off.
To say that Marion and the others were surprised to see the newcomers was an understatement. As Robin introduced Christina and her son, Marion found herself feeling jealous of the way Robin stood with a casual arm around the other woman's waist, while he cradled Adam on one hip. They looked like a family, Marion thought. And a beautiful one at that. Marion's feminine intuition also told her that Robin and Christina knew each other well. Intimately well, and the thought hurt. Not that she had expected Robin to be a virgin, she just had hoped not to meet any of his conquests.
Once Christina and Adam were introduced to the Sherwood group and Tuck and Little John had taken them under their wing, so to speak, and were showing them about the camp, Marion went to Robin and took him aside. "Why have you brought them here?" she queried.
"I told you why," Robin countered, frowning. "They need help."
"What kind of help?" Marion prompted. For all Robin had said was that Christina and Adam were in danger and needed shelter. He hadn't said why.
Robin sighed. "It's not story to tell, Marion," he said softly.
Marion nodded. "So..you're going to help Christina on your own?" she guessed. Not a surprise. But it made her angry.
"She's an old friend," Robin whispered. "I have to help her. You know that."
"I know," Marion hissed, then she turned on her heel and stomped away.
Kemal had been lingering in the shadows. Not trying to overhear, but he had been trapped there and hadn't wanted to embarrass Marion by revealing his presence. However, he stepped out now to face Robin. "Women are...emotional beings," Kemal said softly, in an attempt to justify Marion's actions.
Robin heaved a sigh. "Tell me something I don't know," he replied. Then he laughed and clapped Kemal on the back. "Come on, let me introduce you to my friends."
"I'd like that," Kemal replied, and side by side he and Robin strode off.
End of part 43
It was a week now since Christina and her son joined their happy family in Sherwood and as each day passed it seemed Robin showered more and more attention on the young boy. Everywhere he went, everything he did he brought Adam with him and he and Christina seemed to talk for hours. It didnt take long for Tuck to notice that the more attention paid Christina, the quieter and more reclusive Marion had become.
This particular morning, Tuck took a walk down to the pond to enjoy the cool morning air and noticed Marion sitting on its banks, knees drawn up to her chest, arms wrapped tightly around them staring off into the water. She was so engrossed in her thoughts that she hadn’t heard Tuck slip up behind her.
"I'll give you ten gold pieces for your thoughts milady" Tuck said trying to be good natured.
She gave a start then looked sadly into Tucks brown eyes.
"Oh, its nothing Friar. Just a bit tired today I guess"
"If that be the case, then you have been tired for the past week Marion. Now, we have been friends for years. Please feel our friendship strong enough that you can tell me your problems. I promise I wont breath a word to Robin". Marion’s head snapped back to look up at Tuck. "How did you know it involved Robin"
"My child," he started with a smile, "When it comes to you two, when doesn’t it involve one of you. Its Christina isn’t it"?
"Friar, he doesn’t even know I'm alive anymore" Marion sighed.
"Marion, there is a big difference between the friendship he feels for Christina and the love he feels for you" Tuck said gently rubbing Marion’s back.
"I hope your right Tuck, if I ever really lost Robin I don’t think I could go on"
And this said, Marion got onto her feet and slowly wandered away head still hung down.
The gates swung open and Robin and Adam entered arm and arm, Robin slowing his pace to compensate for Adams leg braces. Christina crossed the compound smiling brightly as she watched her son proudly display two partridges that he and Robin had hunted together.
"Mama, look what I got us for supper" It was obvious how proud Adam was of his accomplishment, "Robin is showing me how to use a bow"! "Is that so? Well, I am proud of you too son" his mother replied but as she spoke her eyes were only on Robin. She had seen such a transformation in her child since their arrival a week ago. Robin was rebuilding all the strength and confidence her husband had worked so hard to destroy. It had been so long since she had seen him this happy. She reached out and ruffled her sons dark locks of hair while mouthing the words "Thank you" to Robin. The outlaw just smiled and winked in return.
"Now Adam, go wash up and get ready for lunch"
"Oh mom, Robin and I still have to pluck and prepare them, don’t we Robin"?
Adam voiced his protest.
"Never argue with a woman....you'll learn that someday Adam" Robin said with a dimpled grin.
Adam looked up and, smiling, ran off to do his mothers bidding.
Robin turned with the two foul and started walking towards the barn Christina walking close beside him.
"How can I ever thank you"
"For what" Robin asked continuing to walk.
"For what you have done for Adam" Christina said giving Robin a warm smile.
"I haven’t done anything-he's a great kid" Robins emotions were genuine.
As they entered the barn Christina out her hand on Robins arm bringing him to a halt.
She looked up into Robins face, eyes glistening with unshead tears "Robin, Adam has never known the love of a father. I have tried to love him enough for both of us...now he understands".
Robin smiled down "If I've done anything to help, then I'm happy" he replied with his usual modesty.
Christina took his hand in hers and held it looking into his eyes for a long while but not saying anything. Slowly she moved her hand up his arm, then up to his neck and as she would have pulled his head down to hers to capture his lips, Marion burst through the door.
"Robin, have you seen Little....." she looked up with surprise to see Christina with her hand still wrapped around Robins neck tangled in his long hair.
Without saying another word, she spun on her heels and ran from the barn. Robin, caught off guard by Christina's advances and Marion’s reaction, turned and ran out of the barn.
He stopped looking in every direction but saw no trace of her anywhere.
"Women" he sighed under his breath.
"Did I do something wrong"?
Robin turned around quickly and saw little Adam, fear reflecting in his eyes.
"No! Of course not. We're a team! How could you do anything wrong" Robin assured him, "How would you like to go catch some fish to go with that Partridge"?
"Really? You want to go fishing with me?" His eyes were so bright it even choked Robin with emotion.
"Cant think of anyone I'd rather fish with"
He put his arm around his shoulder and the two strolled out of the front gate fishing poles over their shoulders making a bee-line for the river.
By the time they found a spot that met with Adams approval, it was late in, the afternoon and Robin knew they could not stay for too long but he, himself, really needed to get away from the compound and sort through his thoughts. As Adam stared intently at the string dangling in the water, Robins mind wandered back to the mixture of emotions he felt when Christina had touched him back at the barn. Then the rush of emotion of hurt and pain in Marion’s eyes upon discovering them.
"Its all so confusing" he mumbled to himself.
"What is confusing Robin" Adam asked with a smile.
"Why we haven’t caught a fish yet" Robin quickly replied mussing Adams hair.
Robin was so deep in thought that he hadn’t noticed the sound behind him until there were four men surrounding them. As Robin leaped to his feet he quickly realized it was too late to fight-all four men had bows with arrows notched and pointed at him.
After a theatrical pause, a tall strikingly handsome man stepped through the group holding a long broadsword and carried a sardonic smile. He had long sandy colored hair and grey green eyes, obviously a man conscious of his appearance. He was dressed in a green silk shirt and tight fitting black pants.
"So....you are the man who stole my wife and son away" he stated drawing it out as if to alarm Robin with his calmness.
"And you must be the fool I have heard so much about" Robin replied calmly.
Anger flared in the tall mans eyes as he back handed Robin across the face.
"You will learn to be subservient to your betters, peasant" he glared.
Shaking his head to clear the burst of lights Robin saw on impact, he reached up with the back of his hand and wiped away the small trickle of blood that had appeared on the corner of his mouth. Slowly he turned his head towards his assailant and smiled "Christina was right, you are a bully".
"Robin! NO! He'll kill you" Adam cried out.
"Robin is it??" The man said with a twisted smile, "Not the outlaw Robin Hood"?
In that moment Adam realized what he had done and tears filled his young eyes spilling onto his cheeks.
"Its alright Adam, everything will be fine". Robin reassured him," Leave the boy out of this..."
"Charles, the name is Sir Charles of Annaox"
Robin froze at the sound of the name. He had heard of the treacherous way he had treated his surfs. His brutality was known across the land. How could Christina have married such a monster? But then Robin observed his handsome face and lean body and being aware of his vast wealth and extensive land holdings, it all too soon became obvious what Christina was after.
"Well, Chuck, what now"? Again the man backhanded Robin across the face.
"We don’t need your sarcasm outlaw"
Adam sobbed harder watching the bruise appear on Robins cheek.
Sir Charles continued "This will be so easy Robin Hood. Instead of killing my wife’s lover, I can now hand him over to Prince John for a profit" He swung around to look at Adams small trembling form, "That you can dispose of" he said to his men.
Two men moved towards Adam and Robin jumped up to move between them. Charles took his broadsword swishing it through the air slicing Robin across the upper bicep. Robin hissed grabbing his arm blood spilling out between his fingers.
"Leave the boy go and I will accompany you willingly" Robin grimaced watching the two men standing on either side of Adam.
Charles laughed looking at the concern in Robins eyes.
"I don’t really understand why you care about such a worthless child, but we'll consider this a dying mans last request" he motioned with his hand "Be gone boy".
Adam looked at Robin obviously devastated. Robin played along with Charles power game slowly looking down at Adam "Go on Adam, tell your mother I said goodbye".
This obviously upset Charles as he threw a punch connecting with Robins chest, doubling the outlaw over.
"She is still my wife Robin Hood. Something I can see I will have to teach you".
Adam turned in horror and ran into the woods as fast as his braced legs would allow him to go glancing over his shoulder once to see his father and his men dragging Robin away.
End of Part 44
Part 43 & 44 / Part 45 / Part 47 & 48
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