Mary Elizabeth Overstreet

© Copyright August 1997

- SIX -

Javert slipped quietly out of the cottage in the morning before anyone else had risen. He was dressed more formally than the previous few days, his jacket buttoned, cravat neatly arranged at his neck, his hair pulled back and tied with a black ribbon.

Outside he began walking toward the village, the rising sun just touching his shoulders. He found the church without difficulty. Two nuns were in the side churchyard feeding chickens. He nodded to them formally and ascended the steps into the church itself. It was an odd feeling to enter here, a place he had always respected out of the power it possessed in people's lives. Now, it held more than power, it held mystery and profound meaning for him. Javert found it humbled him, and he bowed his head and could go no further.

"May I help you?" a man's voice said near him, and Javert looked up to see a man in a black robe. He was probably in his sixties, what was left of his grey hair was thin and sparse, but his blue eyes were alert and intelligent.

Javert nodded respectfully. "Father." He was suddenly uncomfortable, confronted by the reality of another's faith. "I have come. . . I have come to seek guidance."

"Come, it is early. Break fast with me, then we shall talk."

"As you wish." Javert followed him into another room and sat at a small table opposite the priest. He found it odd that the old man served him food—an egg, a small piece of cheese and a slice of bread. "Merci, Father."

"What is your name, my son? I am Father Paul. You are new to our village."

"Yes. My name is Javert. I am staying with Girard LeBlanc and his brother's widow, Madame Jewelle."

"Ah, yes. Good people."

Javert found his meal gone very quickly. He had not lost his resolve to talk to the priest, but he was nervous about it, wanting to get it over with, afraid of the answers he might find.

But Father Paul ate slowly, speaking little, interrupted once by one of the sisters come to tell him something about the hens.

"You are a most gracious host, Father," Javert said when the meal was finally over.

"I am here to serve. Now tell me, Javert, your story. I know that you have one because I've heard things from the villagers about you."

"Indeed?" Javert cleared his throat. "I have never been one to seek council within the church, Father. This is strange and unsettling to me, but I do not wish to commit sin. I fear I already have, and I must know what is right."

"Please explain."

Javert took a deep breath. "Perhaps I should explain what has brought me here. I was an Inspector of Police in Paris. For all my life I have believed that there were two absolutes, right and wrong. There was the Law. That was my faith, Father, and nothing could shake me from it. I lived a life of self-deprivation from those things most people seem to take for granted. And then I was shaken. Something happened that made no sense. I, myself, broke the Law—I made a judgement outside the Law, and I could not understand why. It made me realize there was something greater than the Law, and that was God. I could not bear it. I— I took my own life."

Javert could not look at him. He knew suicide was a sin as much as murder and confessing to a stranger felt frightening. But the other man said nothing. "How, you ask yourself, is that possible that I took my own life when I sit here before you now? It was a miracle, Father. Archangel Michael came to me as I drowned in the Seine. He did something to me, he made me feel love. He forgave my sin, and sent me back. He said it was not my destiny to die in the river."

He looked up at the priest and found his eyes were welled up with unshed tears. "I had never known love, Father, but. . ." Javert felt the unaccustomed emotions rising. "But I need to know. . .what is right." He unconsciously touched his white hair.

"My son, you have been blessed. Few are given a second chance."

"I realize that. And that is why I have come to you. I have no experience with love. I mustn't tarnish

"Is it Jewelle?" The old man looked at him knowingly.

Javert felt his face flush. "Yes, Father. She has saved my life. She claims that I did her a great kindness many years ago, but I do not remember it that way. I was only doing my duty then. It meant nothing to me, but she never forgot." He clasped his hands together, looking down at them as his knuckles went white. "And now I love her. I know that it is not wrong in the eyes of God to love her. Michael told me to follow my heart, but. . ." He trailed off, too embarrassed to continue.

"What is it, Javert?"

"Is it. . .is it a sin to feel lust, Father?"

"No, Javert," Father Paul said gently. "Not if you truly love her and you keep that inside your heart only. God granted us that feeling so that we could continue to multiply our numbers. Remember, all things in moderation, my son."

"So it is not wrong to want. . ." He could not finish.

"Passion is a blessing when sanctified by God."

Javert understood then, and rose. "Merci, Father. I know what I must do."

The old priest stood up and laid a hand on Javert's arm, smiling up at him. "God bless you, Javert."

"And you, Father. Merci." Javert left him and began to walk back to the cottage. He wanted to hurry, but would not let himself. He wanted to think it through, he wanted to be sure.


Jewelle was surprised and disappointed to find that Javert was gone from the cottage when she rose for the day. She knew she had unsettled him, but she had wanted him to know how she felt, she had wanted to open up his mind to possibilities. She even thought she might have been successful.

"Where is our guest?" Girard asked her as he came into the kitchen and kissed her cheek.

"I do not know. But I have prepared him a place at the table should he come back soon."

Girard gave her a knowing look. "He is probably taking a walk, my dear, thinking of you."

Jewelle found herself surprised that she was blushing. "I would be lying if I said that didn't please me, Girard. But he is a very formal person, I do not think it will be easy to get close to him." She put a hand on his arm. "Now you go get Stephan. Breakfast is ready."

They had little more than seated themselves when Javert's heavy steps resounded from the porch. Jewelle deliberately did not look at Girard as their tall guest entered the cottage. She got to her feet, smiling at him, studying his unreadable face which she thought was very composed.

"Breakfast is just ready, Javert. Won't you join us?"

He removed his coat and hung it on the stand by the door. "Yes, though I must confess I have already eaten. Perhaps a small portion, then?" He took his place at their table, across from Jewelle and next to Stephan.

"You may have as much as you like. If you are still hungry, I shall prepare more." She smiled when he looked at her, a little feeling slipping through his neutral mask. It made her heart flutter.

"You are most generous. May I inquire as to your plans for the morning? Or the afternoon."

"I have made no plans." She felt her face flushing red again. "I am free," she said jokingly. She caught Girard looking at her and smiled at him. Oh, she felt like a girl again! Like when she had first begun working for Girard and Guy was courting her.

"Well, I'm taking Stephan fishing again," Girard said. "We want to try a new spot."

Stephan looked at him, puzzled, but caught his wink and shrugged. Jewelle knew he didn't mind—her son loved fishing.

"Would you like me to prepare a lunch for you to take?"

"No, I'll take care of that, Jewelle."

"Well, you see, Javert, I am free today." She thought he probably saw right through Girard's maneuvering, but hoped he didn't bother him. Clearly he had something on his in mind.

"I see, madame." He looked at her steadily.

Jewelle felt her heart being racing. There was a look in his eyes, an intensity, a power; it made her blush and her thoughts scatter. But then he seemed to be embarrassed suddenly and looked away.

She found she was grateful to Girard for not taking his usual leisurely breakfast. Stephan was always finished before anyone, so she found herself alone with Javert sooner than she thought she would. He helped her clear the table, and she thought he was nervous because his movements were quick and almost jittery.

"Jewelle," he said while she rinsed off the serving plate, "there is something I wish to discuss with you."

She set the plate down and turned to look up at him, drying her hands on her apron. His eyes were full of uncertainty and feeling before he turned away. "What is it?"

"I cannot stay here with things as they are."

"Oh, Javert, don't say that!" She moved in front of him, holding his arm. "I want you here. We love having you here."

"That is most kind of you, and I have come to expect no less. However, it would not be proper for me to remain unless. . ." His eyes found hers and she could see that he was breathing hard. "Unless we were married."

Jewelle felt surprise and joy burst from her heart as tears from her eyes. "Oh, Javert! You could not have said anything that would make me happier. If you are proposing—I accept; without reservation or doubt."

She thought he looked almost surprised himself. His furrowed brow did not soften, but a smile began to touch his mouth. "You would marry me?"

"In an instant, Javert. I do love you." She forgot herself and waited for him to kiss her, but he only looked down at her with wonder.

"And I love you, Jewelle. It is strange and wondrous, but I know it is true. My heart has never felt so. . .full."

"Nor mine. Oh, kiss me, Javert. I long to be in your arms."

He stiffened away from her. "We—we should be married first."

"Then let's go. Now. You go fetch Stephan and Girard and I will prepare things here."

He was hesitant. "It is not too sudden for you?"

"No, not at all."

"I have no ring for you, and very little to offer. . ."

"We can get a ring at the jeweler's in the village, and I believe you are wrong to think that you have little to offer. You have yourself, and I love you." She reached up and touched his face tenderly. "Now, go, before you change your mind."

"I will not change my mind." He did not move to touch her, but looked at her with uncertainty. "But before you rush into this, there are things you should know. About me, about where I come from. You may find them unacceptable."

"I have already accepted you, Javert. That is all that matters to me. I can see what a changed man you are. Nothing you can say will change what's in my heart." She ached to think he was so anxious over something, but his eyes were troubled.

"I have no good name, Jewelle." He looked down, ashamed. "All my life I have simply gone by Javert because I would not take my father's name. He was a convict."

Jewelle could only imagine how that must have affected his outlook. There was so much more to him than he showed! "I'm sorry, Javert. But that changes nothing for me."

He turned his gaze upon her, his eyes full of pain. "My parents were gypsies, my father in the galleys for robbery, my mother for chicanery—she was a fortune teller. I was born in that prison, and I grew up there. So you see, I—"

"I see a man who overcame tremendous obstacles to be come a respectable citizen. A man who triumphed in his career, who dedicated his life to protecting honest people from the depredations of the unscrupulous. You—"

"You oversimplify, Jewelle," he said softly.

"Javert, you saved me from a fate worse than any I could imagine. You came to me for a reason. I don't know if it was simply that God wanted me to be happy, or if it's something far more important. I don't care what it is. You could tell me that your parents were the worst murderers ever to live, and it would not change anything. You are still the man I've come to love. That will not change."

He just looked at her then, frowning and uncertain. "I do not feel worthy of you, Jewelle."

She took one of his hands in both of hers and brought it to her lips. "You can tell me anything. I want to be everything for you, your confidant, your friend, your servant, your wife. And it isn't just gratitude. I look at you and feel so much tenderness and love. I promise to be more gentle than anyone ever has been with your heart." Jewelle felt her eyes burning, and pressed his hand which was lightly curled around hers to her breast bone.

Seeing his tear fall onto his sleeve nearly took away what she had left of her composure. She could not bear to see him suffering. What had his terrible dark life done to him? How painful must it be to look back upon it? "I offer you solace, Javert." She felt his hand tighten around hers and looked up at him.

"I don't know what to say." He looked at her with such confusion and, she thought, tenderness. "I should not be surprised—your kindness is infinite." He drew himself up, brought her hands to his lips and gently kissed them. "I still have no name to offer you, Jewelle."

"What was your father's name?"

"I will not use it."

"But tell me, so I will know."

"Jacques Racosa." He sighed. "You are perhaps, the only person outside the prison to know this. And while I do not feel the same hatred I used to feel, there is the shame that he was a convict."

"Then I will simply go by Madame Javert if it pleases you. But you should know, that I cannot judge you by anything but your actions. It is hardly your fault you were born in a prison."

He nodded. "I know."

She squeezed his hand one last time and extricated hers from his. "Now, I wish you would go get my son and Girard. We have a lot to do to prepare." Jewelle saw him relax a little, and she had to admire his honestly and strength.

"I will go now." He turned to do as she asked, then looked back at her. "I love you, Jewelle."

She smiled. "And I love you." She watched him stride toward the stream once he'd left the house. "Oh, Javert," she said softly, "you are a most intriguing man."


Javert was too nervous to feel the fatigue that pulled at him. It had been an exhausting two days with all the arrangements Jewelle had said needed to be made. He had spent much of the time on the road to and from Paris with Girard, contacting his family, sending out word, buying needed things, though Jewelle had gone with him to buy the ring. Father Paul had married them in the evening, there had been a small celebration afterwards, and now they were alone in the cottage, Girard having taken Stephan to Paris for a week.

Javert sat in one of the parlor chairs, arms on the armrests, feet planted firmly on the floor in front of him. Jewelle was changing clothes in their bedroom, the same room he'd been occupying now for a few weeks. She had given up her own room for him and stayed with her son for him, he'd found out. It all seemed utterly impossible, yet he was so filled with love for her nothing else made any sense. Who had he become? Inspector Javert was most definitely dead. The thought of spending a night hunting down some convict or other malefactor had absolutely no appeal. Instead, he thought of walking in the field with Jewelle, picking wildflowers sounded like heaven.

My wife, he thought with a trace of disbelief. When he'd said his vows to her, he never meant any words more. A love-struck fool, I may be, he thought, but I know happiness now, and it is more beautiful than any satisfaction I have ever felt. Only anticipation and nervousness marred his blanketing euphoria. He had never been intimate with a woman, what if he. . . No, Javert thought, I will not be concerned about it. God has blessed our union, He will let nothing disappoint us.

"Javert?" Jewelle said as she entered the room, clad in the frilly robe Girard's sister-in-law had given her. "Would you like anything? Tea, wine?"

He got to his feet. "I should be asking you that question. Instead, I sit here like a lazy—"

"You look very tired, why don't you change, too? I'll fix us a glass of wine each. It'll be relaxing."

It was difficult to break away from her eyes, and Javert felt his heart pounding even as he nodded. "Good idea." He strode into the hall without looking at her. He realized his palms were sweaty and wiped them on his pants. The room had changed a little. The bed was freshly made, and a few of Jewelle's things hung from the footboard. A fragrant candle was burning on the bedside stand.

It was a moment before he could make himself move. Using the bootjack, he pulled off his tall boots. Unbuttoning his coat and collar were more difficult, but he managed after a few minutes of fumbling. He was draping his shirt and coat over the chair back when Jewelle came in.

"I'm not disturbing you, am I?" she asked, looking up at his face.

Javert was suddenly embarrassed, but hid it with a slight smile. "No, or course not." He took a glass from her hand and then the bottle of red wine.

"I didn't know how much you might need—I mean, want." She winked at him. "Or I may want more than a glass myself."

Javert, who was not in the habit of getting drunk, who, in fact, could not remember ever being drunk, thought this might just be the time. He opened the bottle, and poured them each half a glass. He'd had wine earlier, but the slight effects had long since worn off. "To you, Jewelle," he said, "my wife." It felt so strange to say the words.

She held her glass against his. "To us." She sipped it when he did.

He looked at her, held her gaze for what seemed forever. He felt so much he thought it would overwhelm him. How could anyone ever feel as much as he did right now? Did people go through their lives like this? Would it pass? What was he supposed to do now? He noticed her image in his eyes was getting a little blurry. Where once he had shunned the kind of feeling that filled him now, he let it take him, rule his thoughts, his body. It was love, and it made him feel that God was right there in the room with them.

Jewelle was suddenly in his arms, though he could not have said who made the first move toward the other, or when they'd put down their glasses. Her arms were around his neck, her body was pressed against him. Javert held her to him, so full of light and love he knew nothing else. Passion rose in him at the unfamiliar feel of her body against him. She was so small, so fragile, he thought, pressing her to him with his large hands. Slowly, hesitantly, he bent his head down and let her kiss him, reciprocating as his desire sent waves and waves of passion through him.

How soft her lips were! How warm and alive. How could I have missed this? he thought, restraining the urge to crush her against him.

"Javert," she whispered, "how I have longed for this."

He pulled his head back to look down at her. "I cannot understand why me," he said, "but I understand the longing. And it is not a sin now, is it?"

"Oh, Javert, it was never a sin. Neither of us has been unfaithful to anyone. I admit I was concerned for a while about what my feelings for you may have made Guy feel, but I think he would want me to follow my heart. He always wanted my happiness. Being with you is that."

Javert nodded. "It is difficult for me, Jewelle, to reconcile the passion I have for you with all my previous years of experience with the. . .the dregs of society. I doubt I would have understood the purity of anyone's passion back then, and even now, I cannot help but doubt myself and this feeling as being right."

"It is right. And we are married, we have not failed to obtain God's blessing. We are merely doing what He wants us to do. He wants us to love one another, and I love you more than anything. I would give anything for you." She stroked his cheek tenderly, wiping at the tear that had run down. "I love you, Javert."

"Mon chere," he said, "God has truly blessed me." He kissed her then, and let the last of his reservations slide away, and for a time he was aware of only the small, warm body in his arms and how everywhere she touched him there was a burning tingle. But then she moved in his arms, and her robe slid off her arms, held up only where it draped over his hands. Javert looked at her, suddenly afraid and ashamed. She was wearing only some thin, silky shift which left her shoulders bare and clung to her enough to reveal her small, still firm breasts. Javert found his face was hot, and he was unable to move beyond dropping his hands to his sides. His eyes slid to one side, and he was filled with a terrible mixture of shame and desire and fear of his own passion.

"Too much?" Jewelle asked him, taking him by the arm. "There is nothing wrong, is there?" He could not answer, caught up in his turmoil. Somehow he'd been robbed of his determination. There was too much conflict between the man he'd always been stern, self-denying, implacable—and the man he now was—confused and inexperienced.

"Oh, Javert. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to rush you." She clung to his arm. "You're my husband. I want to please you." She kissed his shoulder, but his ropy muscles remained tense. "I love you. I'm sorry."

He heard the emotion in her voice and tried to speak, but no words came to explain his dilemma. He knew he was trembling, and the wonderful angel beside him was crying.

"Javert, listen to me," Jewelle said after a moment. "I want you to just sit down on the bed." She pulled at him, gently but firmly. His muscles finally gave way, and he obeyed, sitting stiff and ramrod straight, hands clasping the edge of the bed cover. She knelt behind him in the bed, he could feel its movement and her hands on his shoulders as she steadied herself.

"Try to relax, Javert, I'm going to massage your shoulders." She leaned down close to his ear. "And you know nothing has to happen tonight if you don't want it to. I'll be ready whenever you are."

He still could not speak, fighting within himself, trying to reconcile with himself that Jewelle was a woman the same as any whore, except she was no whore. She was a chaste woman, was a. . . She was his wife.

Her hands kneaded at his rigid muscles, but he did not find it relaxing. He was unused to having anyone touch him. Indeed, no one had ever touched him as she was doing. Pleasure was something with which Javert was ill-acquainted. It brought up feelings of self-loathing, decadence. But it was wrong to feel so, wasn't it? He didn't know, he didn't know how to find out. What was right and what was wrong? Was it wrong, even though God had given them bodies capable of feeling pleasure? It couldn't be, it just couldn't be. . . He felt tears sliding down his face. He had never been one to cry, even as a child, and now the tears flowed like water whenever he felt the slightest emotion. What did it mean?

Jewelle had given up on his taut shoulders, and she was leaning against him. "I'm sorry, Javert. It is too much. I should've known that." She traced her hand along his shoulder and back. "May I ask you something?"

He found his voice finally. "What is it?" The words came out hoarse and soft, little more than a whisper. What must she think of me? he thought despairingly.

"Were you in battles? These scars you have. . ."

He hardly knew what she was talking about. He had never looked much at himself in the mirror except to make certain that his clothing was orderly. He certainly had made no attempt to look at old scars. "I believe they are from my childhood," he said finally, distracted for a moment from his confusion.

He felt her sag against him. "Oh, I am sorry. Nothing I do is the right thing tonight." She rested her chin on his shoulder. "Please forgive me."

Javert shook his head slightly. "It is not your fault. I do not know what is right, and what is wrong. It seems it should be wrong to me, but I don't know!"

She was silent so long, he wondered if she had heard him. When she did speak, her voice was soft and thoughtful. "It is not wrong. We are married. God has blessed us, and given us a great gift." She slid her hands around him, over his chest where even the thick curly hair had turned white. He sucked in a sudden breath at her touch, his turmoil returning.

"No one has ever touched you with affection, have they?" she asked. He shook his head, her words bringing up grief he'd much rather have kept buried. Only his mother had been gentle with him, and he had shunned her attentions while he was still fairly young. "No one has ever—" She finished her sentence with a physical move, her hands going to the buttons of his pants.

He almost jerked to his feet with the shock of it, but his body didn't obey him. He froze, his heart hammering in his chest. And suddenly it seemed to him, his body exploded in a burst of unbelievable pleasure. He gasped, nearly groaning, shocked, horrified, disbelieving, and more than anything else overcome with a physical pleasure he had not experienced except dreams of his youth. It was too wonderful, too good to be right. It had to be a sin, a sign of decadence.

Jewelle still had her hand down in his pants, holding him, touching him where no one had ever touched him. Oh, this had to be wrong, he thought, as his erection softened. She released him and moved so that she faced him.

"Look at me, Javert," she said, trying to turn his face to her. "Look at me, look into my eyes."

He was too ashamed, even now he could feel the cooling wetness on his skin. She persisted, pulling herself onto his lap, using both hands to turn his face. He finally looked at her, desperate to end the pain inside him. Her dark eyes were like beacons of hope to him, and his heart cried out for an answer. He saw her mouth moving, but all he could hear was a roaring in his ears. Her hand was on his face suddenly, wiping at his cheeks. He realized she was crying, too, and the pain burst inside him.

"Lord, help me!" he said, letting go of the bed for the first time since he had sat down. He touched her face with trembling fingers, never looking away from her eyes. "It's not wrong, is it?" he whispered brokenly.

"No, it's not wrong. It's a gift. To be appreciated and shared with your mate." She kissed him gently, holding his face in her hands. "It's time, Javert, to appreciate what God has given you. No more denial, no more privation. This time you will learn to live and enjoy the gifts we're given." She kissed him again. "You are the greatest gift I've ever been given."

No! Javert thought, I'm going to break down and sob right in front of her! He fought it off, but he couldn't say a word.

She put her arms around him and held him, gently pushing his head down onto her shoulder and stroking his hair. "I would make up for all the love you denied yourself all your life if I could," she said.

His chest hitched in a sob. She was holding him, comforting him, and it was what his heart needed. He leaned on her, then slowly put his arms around her. "I do not deserve you," he said after a few minutes of holding himself barely together. "I have been a cold, heartless man, how can you love me?"

"You have been a lonely, driven man, and you are certainly not heartless. Especially now. And I love you, perhaps because God wills it, or perhaps it has always been so. I only know that I feel complete with you here as my husband, and I would do anything to help you."

Javert began to feel a little calmer. "Would you not prefer it if you didn't have to. . .perform all your duties as my wife?" He wanted her to say yes so he would not have to face this again. And he was not a man who usually avoided difficult hurdles.

"Oh, Javert, you don't understand, and I think I know why. It would not be a duty to me. It is my pleasure." He did not raise his head to look at her. "But tonight, let's just lie in bed together and be close. I know it has been trying for you."

He lifted his head and looked at her, something of his old resoluteness returning. If she actually wanted it, didn't he owe it to her? What kind of husband was he going to be if he would deny her something so fundamental? He began to see the situation in a new light. Instead of being just some base animal urge that men used women to satisfy, it was something important to a wife. And he could not have asked for a more understanding one. Perhaps that was the way marriages worked. It was not something he had ever taken time to understand.

"I apologize, Jewelle, I have not been. . ." He looked away from her eyes briefly. "You are kind to be so patient when I've been acting like a fool."

"You are so hard on yourself. Come, let's just get in bed. It has been a long day." She slid her legs off the bed, but he did not release her from his lap.

Javert just looked at her. "I will do as you ask." Impulsively, he pulled her against him and kissed her. Oh, how strange it was to initiate such a move! But it was easy, and she responded by holding him and returning the affection.

Jewelle looked at him when he loosened his hold, then touched his brow. "Such a stern look, Javert." She slipped away from him and went to the other side of the bed.

He looked down at his lap. His pants would need to be laundered, he slipped them off and used them like a towel, trying not to feel ashamed. This kind of thing never happened to him. He should have. . . Instead of dwelling, he stood and pulled the covers back. Jewelle had her back to him, for which he was grateful. She understood, she was an angel.

He lay in the bed, nervous again as she blew out the candle and cuddled up beside him. Her familiarity with his body was so disconcerting, he shivered when she draped her arm across his chest. Wondering what he should do, he took her hand in his and brought it to his lips, then pressed it against his cheek. She pulled herself closer, and pushed up so that she could kiss his face, and Javert took her into his arms. I am a husband now, he told himself, I will be a husband. But he honestly didn't know what she would expect next, and the whole experience had his stomach in a clenched ball.

"Tell me what you want me to do," he whispered in between kisses.

She smiled, he could feel her mouth turn up. "I'll guide you," she promised, freeing herself from him long enough to struggle out of her silk gown. "Help me."

He obeyed, helping her lift it over her head. It disappeared into the darkness and she was holding his hand, taking it and pressing his palm to her shoulder. She drew it down to her breast, encouraging him to feel of her there, and he did, though his wonder was spoiled by the conflict he still had within him.

Jewelle made his hand explore her body, stopping here and there, coaxing a caress out of it when she could, though it was not easy for him because he felt as though he were doing something shameful. At the same time, his own body was responding. He was much more comfortable when she let him take her in his arms again, though her hands explored him in ways he would never have imagined. She also kissed his neck, breathed into his ear, which sent shivers all over him.

She threw her leg over him pressing down on his erection with her hip. For a moment, he thought he was going to lose it again, and gasped, but she pulled him toward her, and guided him on top of her.

Javert looked down at her. What little ambient night light filtered in through the curtain shown on her face, giving only a little shape to the pale blur beneath him. He felt her touching him again and could not suppress a slight moan. He was breathing hard, holding himself over her, letting her push and maneuver him down.

"Slow," she panted. "It's been two years. Just go slow."

It almost unnerved him, but then her fingers were touching him, guiding him, and he responded by lowering his hips, feeling the hot, moist softness suddenly begin to envelop him. His hips seemed to know what to do and he thrust slowly forward with them. Her moan made him stop. He didn't want to hurt her, and he had no idea what she might be feeling. He hoped it was as good or better, if that was possible, than what his body was feeling.

Jewelle put her hands in his hair, stroking it then down his back. "Yes, Javert. That's perfect."

He felt his body meet hers and he knew he must be down as far as he could go. Instinct he would previously have denied had him pull out a little and thrust slowly back in. It felt indescribable. A gift, he thought hazily, a duty, a pleasure. He suddenly knew he could never do this with someone he didn't love. And with that thought, he felt himself filled with lightness. "I love you, Jewelle," he breathed. It was building again, the inevitable climax of their actions.

"Oh, Javert," she said. "You are wonderful." Her moan sounded relaxed, and he knew he hadn't hurt her.

He found he was suddenly moving faster, bringing it on, that unbelievable feeling. He slowed back down for her, but she shook her head, and breathing hard with the sustained effort, he began harder and faster thrusts. His body had a mind of its own then, and Javert hardly knew what was happening. It was a shock that went from one end of his body to the other and it lingered in waves even as he pressed against her, gasping for breath, exhaling groans of pleasure he would not have believed possible. He utterly lost track of Jewelle during that final burst, and only when it began to fade did he realize he was lying on top of her, struggling for breath. He pushed himself up with weak, trembly muscles.

"Are you all right?" he asked, panting. "I didn't crush you, did I?"

"No, I'm wonderful," she said dreamily. "Your weight is a burden I gladly carry."

Javert carefully extricated himself from her and lay over on his back beside her, exhausted.

"That wasn't so bad, was it?" she asked teasingly, taking his hand.

He held hers tightly. "No. It's almost too good to not be a sin."

"It's not a sin between two married people."

"I know." And he almost believed that now. "I am not used to pleasure, Jewelle. But if it is part of being a husband, I will comply whenever you need me to."

Her laughter filled the dark room. "In time, my husband, you will seek me out for love-making without my prompting. Besides, it's only natural. It is what we are supposed to do."

It would be a while before Javert could accept sex as something other than a duty, despite the obvious rewards. He found he was extremely sleepy. "As you wish." He squeezed her hand. "I love you."

"I love you." She squeezed back, then bent down to retrieve the covers which had been thrown off in their passion. "Good night, my love."

"Good night, angel." He was asleep before he felt the covers touch him.

* * *


Chapter 5

Chapter 7