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Buttons and Bells


“Here’s one more,” somewhat sheepishly I stand up after fishing out the button that has rolled under the bed and put it on the table. Joe is leaning against the wall, regarding me with his eyes twinkling, hands deep in the pockets of his trousers, his button-less waistcoat hanging open.

“That’s seven lass - there’s still one missin’.”

I cast my eye over the floor in the dim little shack, muttering under my breath, “If you’d been a bit quicker with takin’ that thing off this would not have happened...”

“Surely yer not suggestin’ I should have arrived at a lady’s place of residence in a state of partial undress, expectin’ to jump on her the minute I walked through the door? That would be very un-gentlemanly of me!”

“Now there’s an idea...” I stop in front of him, still on my knees from inspecting the floor, perfectly aware of the view I am presenting to him with only my shawl loosely draped around my naked body. I run my hands up along his thighs.

“Yer tryin’ to rip more buttons off there, lass?” Joe is chuckling but his voice comes out a little breathless.

“That might be a plan worth considerin’; after all yer can go out without yer waistcoat without anyone raisin’ an eyebrow but is a different matter altogether with yer trousers now isn’t it? And looks like these buttons are about ready to come flyin’ off all on their own without any help from me...” I deliberately rub my hand across the buttons that are now under considerable strain.

“Ned’s goin’ to be furious, waitin’ for me,” Joe is deftly slipping buttons through cloth with one hand while the other is tangled in my hair, “but it’s worth riskin’ for this... Oh Christ lass...” His voice trails off as my mouth slides over smooth warm skin. I press his hips firmly against the wall with my hands, stopping him from moving, and as his breath comes in ever shorter gasps I can feel the tension building in my own body too. He is now moaning and swearing under his breath, and having the power over his pleasure is making me quite wanton. Only half aware of what I am doing, I slip a hand between my own legs, and bring us both over the edge as the sound of ringing bells fills the room.

Joe starts laughing as he slides down onto the floor, pulling me against him, “Did we die and go to heaven lass? Cause I’m in bliss and I’m pretty sure I’m hearin’ bells ringin too!”

I join in his laughter. “I’m afraid there’s a more earthly explanation. They finally finished the church they’ve been buildin’ across the hill and that’d be the Angelus bell.”

“Ah... but I think I like my explanation better.” He brushes the hair off my face and kisses me gently. “There’s a poem about bells that old Mr O’Donoghue made us learn at school, let me see if I can remember any of it.” Joe closes his eyes for a moment, thinking, and then he starts to recite in a soft voice:

Hear the sledges with the bells -
Silver bells!
What a world of merriment their melody foretells!
How they tinkle, tinkle, tinkle,
In the icy air of night!
While the stars that oversprinkle
All the heavens seem to twinkle
With a crystalline delight;
Keeping time, time, time,
In a sort of Runic rhyme,
To the tintinnabulation that so musically wells
From the bells, bells, bells, bells,
Bells, bells, bells -
From the jingling and the tinkling of the bells

“Oh, that’s nice! Who wrote it?”

Joe often reads to me and I love the sound of his voice. If I’m totally honest it does not matter to me much what he reads, because listening to his voice is like being caressed all over.

“An American called Edgar Allan Poe. He was one of Mr O’Donoghue’s special favourites I think. Funny that, I had all but forgotten but the sound of the bells brought it back. Will have to ask Mr Ingram next time I’m in his shop if he’s got the book; will bring it and read the whole thing to you.”

“So you’re prepared to risk yer buttons again then?”

“I might just undo them first next time, if yer don’t mind... And talkin’ about buttons, I think I just found that missin’ one,” Joe shifts slightly and pulls out the offending item from under him. “Would yer be so kind and sew them back on for me, am strugglin’ to think of an explanation I could give me Ma as to how they came to all fall off like that!”

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