Marion was standing by the side of the table hiding a yawn behind her hand. "It’s going to feel so good to sleep in a real bed."
Robin gave her a devilish look. "Ah, is this a little of the Lady Marion coming out?"
Not bothering to respond to the remark, she did however, throw him a dirty look.
"I’m just glad we’ll be home by this time tomorrow." voiced Little John.
"Amen to that my friend." agreed Tuck. "Shall we retire then?"
They all nodded in unison and made their way upstairs. There were two rooms on either side of the hallway above the main room. The owner of the inn was just coming out of the first room on the right. "Everything is all ready. The two rooms on the left and this one are for you to use. I hope you have a pleasant night."
"I’m sure we will and thank you again." replied Robin as the man went below. "Well I guess I will see you all in the morning." Goodnights were given and Marion entered the room across from Robin’s, John and Tuck took the third room next to hers.
The rooms, like the dining room, were sparse but neat. The innkeeper didn’t lie, the beds were small and Robin was glad to have the extra room. John and Tuck would be shoving each other all night. A small fire was going, giving the room a warm glow. Taking his sword he placed it on the bed and laid down next to it putting his hands under his head, feet crossed. It always took him awhile to fall asleep. Normally he would go over the days events in his mind before sleep would overtake him. He had been laying there for a short period when there was a quiet knock at his door. Thinking it was one of his companions, he was surprised when it turned out to be a young woman standing there.
"Yes, can I help you?"
She was nervously tugging on the material of her dress. "I hate to disturb you sir, but you see my lady and I can’t seem to get a fire started in our room. We were wondering if you might be of assistance." She wouldn’t look up at him, finding the floor more interesting.
A little perplexed at her request he asked. "Didn’t the innkeeper start a fire for you?"
"He said he did, but when we came up it was out. When I went to ask him if he could start another, he told me he started a fire already and not to bother him."
Robin found it odd the innkeeper refused to help. He seemed like such an amiable fellow. Then again maybe he was so nice to Robin and his party because of who they were.
Breaking through his musings the woman pleaded again. "Please sir will you help us?" She even managed to look up at him, although he could see how uncomfortable she was doing so.
Never one to leave a damsel in distress, or in this case, two damsels he gave her his most charming smile. "Or course I’ll help. We don’t want you both to freeze tonight do we."
Looking extremely relieved she thanked him as he followed her to the room next door. Gently she knocked on the door. "My lady, it’s me." The door gradually opened and the young woman entered with Robin close on her heels.
The moment he stepped through the door he knew something was amiss. First off there was a fire burning in the fireplace and where was the other woman who was suppose to be here. Then out of the corner of his eye a movement caught his attention. Twisting swiftly around he saw a woman who had been stationed behind the door. He gave a brief frown, then his eyes went wide as she leaped at him. Reacting instinctively, blocking her advance, he shoved her away , but not before he felt a sharp stab on his arm. When he examined his arm, there was a tear in his tunic and a small trail of blood. He eyed the woman he had knock to the floor and noticed a small dagger clutched in her hand.
Confused he went to speak but his mouth would not respond to his commands. He began to feel lightheaded and the room started to spin out of control. Swaying on his feet he attempted to grab for the door to steady himself, but the room suddenly went black as he tumbled to the floor.
When the outlaw didn’t move, Allison stood up and glanced at Meg who was crouched in a corner. Bending over she checked the fallen man. The steady rise and fall of his chest assured her he was not dead, just unconscious. "The potion the old woman gave us worked. He’s alive, but unconscious." she gave a sigh of relief. "Come over here Meg and help me." When the maid didn’t budge, she hissed. "Now Meg! I can’t very well drag him to the bed myself. In case it’s escaped your notice, he’s a fairly large man."
It took some time, but together they managed to get Robin across the room and on to the bed. Breathing hard from the exertion, both woman sat on the floor.
"What now?" questioned Meg.
"Now we get him undressed."
Blushing to the roots of her hair, the little maid just stared open mouthed at her mistress. Allison noting her expression got annoyed. "Don’t go and get all proper on me now. We have to get him at least partially undressed to achieve the right effect." Standing up she went over to the side of the bed. "Just pretend he’s one of your brothers, all right."
By the time Meg had made it to the opposite side of the bed, the other woman had already unbuckled Robin’s belt. Next she unlaced the ties of his long sleeve, navy blue tunic. Her hands were trembling as she opened up the shirt. She had never undressed a man before and it was a little disturbing.
"Okay Meg, I need you to help me take his shirt off." Rolling Robin to one side then the other, they were able to remove the garment. He now lay naked to the waist and two sets of eyes glued to his chest.
"Oh my!" exclaimed Meg.
"Yes....well....he is put together rather nicely isn’t he." Allison had a sudden urge to run her fingers through the sleeping man’s rich hair. Not one to hold back, she acted on the impulse. His hair felt like silk to her touch as she drew her fingers through it. Fascinated she let her fingers roamed down over his shoulder and brush lightly across his bare chest. Every muscle felt firm, well toned. She would have explored further but Meg’s voice brought her back to reality.
"He really is very handsome."
"That he is. He could almost make me change my views on matrimony." she only half joked. "We’ll take off his boots but leave the trousers."
Meg was exceedingly happy to hear the latter. Seeing her brothers is various stages of undress was vastly different from this. Taking off the boots, she placed them at the foot of the bed. They pull back the bedcovers and placed Robin underneath. Stepping back they surveyed their handiwork. Satisfied with the results Allison turned to her maid.
"It’s time for the second act. Go back to the castle and let my father know where I am. Make sure he gets here by dawn. I don’t know how long this sleeping potion will last." She gave the woman a brief hug. "I’m depending on you Meg."
"I know my lady, I promise not to fail you." Grabbing her cloak, she silently slipped out the door.
Facing the bed Allison took a deep breath. Walking to one side, she began to undress until she was wearing only her camisole. Lifting the covers she slid under them and gently eased over to Robin’s side. Taking one of his arms she gradually wrapped it around her shoulders and nestled her head on his chest. The heat of his body radiated through her making her feel like she was in a cocoon. He smelled like the fresh outdoors and she snuggled in deeper. A strange feeling of contentment filled her as she relaxed. All she had to do now was wait, and this was not such a bad way to pass the time.
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Through the night the rain had lessened and by the wee hours of the morning had ended. The inn remained quiet with the exception of a few early risers. It had been agreed upon the night before Robin and the others would get an early start. Marion had already splashed some cold water on her face from a small bowl which sat next to her bed. She could hear Tuck and John moving about next door. Opening her door she went across the hall to Robin’s room. Not hearing any sounds from inside she softly knocked. Still there was nothing. That was strange, Robin is usually the first one up.
The door to Tuck and John’s room swung open and the two men stepped out. "Robin not up yet?" questioned Tuck.
"No he’s not and it isn’t like him." She knocked again with more force, but was still met with silence. She sent her friends a frown. "Something isn’t right, I’m going in."
When she entered the room her frown deepened. The room was empty and it appeared as if Robin hadn’t even spent the night. As she drew closer to the bed she spied Robin’s sword laying there.
From behind her Little John said. "You’re right something’s wrong. Robin never leaves his sword just laying around."
Marion was having the same thoughts and she glanced up at the blonde giant. "I think we better start searching for him. Maybe he went down to the barn to check on the horses." None of them truly believed that, but it was a place to start. "Tuck, why don’t you go ask the innkeeper if he knows anything. I’ll stay up here and check the rooms over to see if Robin left a note or something." With that John headed for the barn and Tuck to find the innkeeper.
The sun was just starting to come up over the horizon as John made his way to the barn. He stopped right outside the structure when he heard the sound of thundering hoofbeats coming this way. Ducking into the barn he watched as fifteen or more soldiers came to a stop right in front of the inn. A man riding in the lead got off his animal and ordered half the men to stay outside while the other half followed him into the small building. Deciding it was better to stay put, John hid waiting to see what would happen next.
Tuck had located the innkeeper as the man was beginning to prepare the morning meal. Unfortunately the man had no idea where Robin was. Before any more could be said between the two, the door to the inn slammed opened. In the doorway stood a large man, his face a mask of fury. "Where is my daughter!" he bellowed.
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Upstairs, Robin began to stir. He tried to open his eyes but they felt so heavy, in fact his whole body felt like lead weight. Eventually he was able to open his eyes and he scanned the room without lifting his throbbing head. Where was he? There was a slight movement at his side and his eyes traveled downward. Cuddled next to him was a young woman, but who she was, he hadn’t the faintest notion. He attempted to sit up, but his body refused to do what he asked. A soft moan came from the girl as she started to waken.
Rolling onto her back Allison looked up at the ceiling trying to clear the sleep form her head. Feeling someone next to her she turned on her side and found herself staring into the deepest brown eyes she had ever seen. With a jerk she sat up, her cheeks flushed as she remember just where she was. Darn, the sleeping potion must of worn off and her father had yet to arrive. The outlaw hadn’t said a word yet and it appeared he was still in a pretty groggy state. What in the world was she going to do now. She didn’t have long to ponder on it, because a loud commotion came from outside her door. Without thinking she grabbed Robin’s face, giving him a long passionate kiss.
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Marion had checked all the rooms to see if they might of overlooked something, but found nothing. She hoped Tuck and Little John were having better luck. Standing in the middle of the hallway she glanced over to the one room she hadn’t checked. Perhaps the people occupying that room heard something. It wouldn’t hurt to ask, she just hoped they were awake, she’d hate to disturb their sleep.
She had her hand up to knock when she heard the sound of several footsteps on the stairs. Turning in that direction, she saw an elderly man come barging down the hall right at her. She barely managed to get out of his way as the man went for the door. Not bothering to knock he crashed open the door instead. There was a woman’s scream and the intruder yelled. "My God Allison, what have you done!"
At the sound of a woman’s scream Marion went into action. She rushed into the room, elbowing her way through the soldiers who had entered after the furious man. Once in front of the men she came up short. Nothing could prepare her for the scene before for.
There in the bed was Robin and he was not alone. A beautiful young woman was laying next to him, her arms locked around him looking very cozy. The woman was wearing next to nothing, and as far as Marion could tell, Robin was in even less.
Having followed the enraged father upstairs, Tuck and the innkeeper now entered the confusion. Marion heard Tuck utter "Oh dear." but didn’t bother to acknowledge the comment.
"I’ll ask you one more time young lady, what the devil is going on here?" demanded the irate man.
Giving him a shaky smile Allison answered. "I believe I have just spent an enjoyable evening with Robin Hood father."
"Robin Hood!" he exploded in return.
"Yes, and I would do it again in a heartbeat." Some of her courage was returning now that everything was going as planned.
In the meantime Robin was starting to come out of it. He sat up and shook his head clearing out the cob webs. As he looked around the room his eyes widen when he spotted Marion. An expression of betrayal mingled with pain stamped on her face. "Marion" he croaked, his mouth still not working as it should.
She heard him call her name, but was too stunned by what she was witnessing to reply. Her mind just kept telling her over and over, Robin was in bed with another woman.
Robin tried again and this time the words came out clearer. "Marion this is not what you think." He tried to rise out of bed, but the woman next to him held on tight.
"What is she suppose to think outlaw?" sneered the father. "We all see the same thing. You in bed with my daughter."
By this time Robin was wide awake and getting angrier by the minute. "I don’t know why I’m here, but I do know I did not compromise your daughter. Now since you know who I am, who may I ask are you?"
"I’m Lord Carrington and that, is my daughter, Lady Carrington. The one you can’t remember seducing." he snarled. Then he motioned to his guards. "Enough of this. Take him and tie him up. I’m sure Prince John will be more than happy to take him off our hands. His stormy gaze found his daughter and through gritted teeth said. "You will get dressed and meet me downstairs immediately."
Marion had not moved her stance, but her mind no longer numb,it was racing instead. She watched helplessly as the guards dragged the struggling Robin from the bed. Well at least he was still wearing his pants, thank god for small favors. One of the men threw Robin his tunic and allowed him to put on his boots. When he was dressed, the guards quickly bound him up and led him to the door. As they past her, Robin forced them to stop.
"This is a set up Marion. I don’t remember a thing, please believe me." One look at the sincerity in his eyes and she knew he was telling the truth. Before she could say anything in return the soldiers bustled him out the door.
End of Chapter Two