Deatrice woke up late the next morning.
The evidence of last night’s affair was nowhere to be seen since Lucius had cleaned it while she was asleep. However, the marks left on her body and the subtle ache between her thighs reminded her something indeed happened between them.
She glanced at an inconspicuous towel he used to wipe themselves clean…
The female servant sent by her father entered the room to check for proof of their consummation. Taking a glance at her, the maid bowed her head and left without even further inspecting Deatrice’s body hidden under a robe.
Deatrice took a sip of her coffee, thinking it was a good thing the servant didn’t bother her more than necessary and just left. But all of a sudden, she laughed.
In the end, everything went according to what her father wanted, and she found it ridiculous.
Naturally, it was impossible to confirm whether or not she was pregnant right away. That being said, it was also impossible to know whether or not Lucius would keep her even if she carried his child.
Her father thought of their situation too lightly. It wasn’t something the presence of a baby could fix so quickly and make their problems vanish into thin air.
She rested her chin on her hand.
Somewhere deep inside her, Deatrice hoped for Lucius to abandon her even if their union bore fruit. She was tired and just wanted to get away. She just might do it out of spite, not wanting to give him the satisfaction of being able to control her life still.
The smell of lukewarm coffee lingered and teased her nostrils.
Deatrice recalled Lucius’ nonsense whispers from last night, his words wrapping around her body like tendrils of smoke.
“Who bathes you?”
“From now on, you bathe by yourself… Or, I can help you instead.”
She had asked why he didn’t call her ‘Dee’ as he did in his letters, to which he replied with:
“Well, I like your name as it is… I like the feel of it rolling around my tongue and how unique it sounds when it leaves my lips.”
Last night was a night to remember.
Lucius had embraced her tenderly and passionately. They put aside all of their doubts and hatred and only expressed how much they wanted each other with their bodies. The affair paved the way for a sweet memory, but it only made things more complicated.
If he had embraced her with hatred, she would’ve noticed it right away. However, everything from the moment they touched resembled the time when they were still sincere towards each other.
Deatrice couldn’t help thinking that last night wouldn’t have been possible if the feelings from the past no longer lingered in their hearts.
When Deatrice was awakened in the middle of the night, she saw Lucius caring for her. He gently wiped her skin with a damp towel and then embraced her.
Like that, the two talked quite a bit.
His fingertips lingered on Deatrice’s bare skin was touched by the moonlight and lightly traced invisible patterns on it. Deatrice laid her head on one of his arms, and she could practically feel the blood rushing in his bulging veins.
“Was it hard?” He asked lightly, and she simply sighed in reply.
“Do you even know what I’m asking about?”
The corners of his lips rose, “Silly.”
“Then, what were you asking about?” Deatrice asked, letting herself come nearer to the crook of his neck.
“Your divine powers.” Lucius spoke quietly, then saw her being startled, “You used your powers on the late duchess when she was sick, didn’t you? Wasn’t it hard?”
Deatrice remained silent for a moment, somewhat surprised that he cared enough to find out and ask, then nodded her head in reply.
“A bit… I was scared.”
As if the words elicited fear, revealing a weakened and helpless figure, Deatrice closed her eyes. But even if she couldn’t see, she felt he was staring at her.
Lucius remained silent as he looked at her, and after a while, he kissed her eyelids. No words were spoken, but at that moment, Deatrice felt as if they had returned to the past—
—to the times when she had never thrown him away and when he had never hurt her.
Enveloped in darkness, she could pretend that everything was fine. However, its magic would soon end as the moon bade farewell, and she woke up with the sun glaring at her.
Lucius wasn’t beside her. He was gone.
Perhaps last night would simply remain as one of those unpredictable events that would never happen again. Instinctively, Deatrice knew this would be the case and had even long prepared for it.
It was just that, in a moment of weakness a few days later, tears streamed down her cheeks as she rested her back against the edge of the bathtub.
The marks he left on her body had already disappeared, but how can one even begin to apply salve on a bruised heart?