Author Topic: A Wedding in Alanic  (Read 203 times)

Lorenzo de Bueri

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A Wedding in Alanic
« on: December 01, 2019, 05:54:09 PM »
Beginnings could be difficult, or they could be easy. Some rose out of heartache, others from triumph. A marriage was an auspicious occasion, and the marriage of a conte even more so. The city of Pont-Elise, deep in Alanic, was bedecked with torches and flowers even as the first snows lay over the streets, the people celebrating in their own way the marriage of their young Conte Lorenzo to his new bride, Madalena. Men, women, and children stood in doorways, leaned out of windows, to wave at the covered carriage as it made its way through the streets from the feasting hall, hoping to catch a glimpse of the young couple within on their way to the villa that waited to welcome them on the outskirts of the city.

Madalena smiled out at them as they passed, almost embarrassed by the attention. "They seem very happy with you."

"As they do with you," Lorenzo replied quietly, smiling and waving to the crowd of well-wishers, more out of necessity than happiness.

The marriage had been arranged when they'd been children and though they'd both been prepared for it, it was still a bit strange to find oneself married to someone they'd always loved like a friend or even a sibling.

She leaned back against the seat, looking over at him with concern in her green eyes. "Are you so very unhappy that we are wed, Lorenzo?" she asked softly. "Would you have preferred to marry another?"

He turned his gaze toward hers, a soft smile on his face as he reached for her hand and gave it a soft pat. "Of course not, mia cara," he assured her. "We have known we would be wed since we were children. There is no one I care for more than you," he assured her. "I only wish to make you happy," he told her further, hoping she had no regrets. There wasn't much that could be done to change the arrangement, even if they wanted to.

She laughed gently, capturing his hand in both her own. "That isn't your job, Lory," she told him in amusement. "You are the great Conte de Pont-Elise; your job is to rule fairly and wisely, and to look after your people. My job is to support you in all things, and make you happy."

Lorenzo couldn't help but chuckle a little at her flattery. "The great?" he echoed, amidst that chuckle. "I do not think I have done anything to have earned such a title just yet, Lena," he told her, giving her hand another pat. "Perhaps in time," he added with an amused smirk.

"At least you need not worry about affairs in your home," she promised. "Nonna raised and taught me everything I need to know to be a good wife to you."

"A good wife and a good contessa," he remarked with a smile, closing his hand around hers in a show of affection. The crowd almost seemed to notice the affection between them, the applause nearly deafening. "You would think they had never seen a married couple before," he teased her, a good-natured gleam in his eyes.

She laughed, glancing through the window of the carriage at the crowd watching them go by. "You would think they had not known this marriage would happen in time," she countered, just as teasing as he. "Your mother is not coming to the villa tonight?"

"No, she thinks a man and his wife should spend their first night of marriage alone," he replied, rolling his eyes a little, as if there was some secret, unspoken joke between the two of them. He would do his duty when the time came, and he had promised to be gentle, but they both knew it would be awkward at best. "At least there will be no bedding ceremony." Of that, he'd made certain.

Madalena couldn't help giggling a little at that. Lorenzo's mother had utterly despised her wedding night, and had not been shy about making sure the entire idea of a bedding ceremony became less and less popular in Pont-Elise ever since. "At least she follows her own advice," she suggested, trying not to laugh any harder as the carriage rattled off cobbles and onto packed dirt.

"Si, well ... She means well," Lorenzo admitted. He believed his mother had his best interests in mind, though she sometimes had a strange way of going about it. And she was fond of Madalena. The situation could always be worse.

"I do like your mother, Lory, very much," Madalena assured him. "If she is a little strict at times, it is only so she can help us along. But I am glad she will not be there to wake us in the morning."

"No, this arrangement is difficult enough without her there to prod us," he agreed. "I promise I will be as considerate as I can," he assured her, not just with regard to the wedding bed, but in all facets of their marriage.

"I will, as well," she promised, smiling a little nervously back at him. "It is not wholly incumbent upon you to do everything, you know. Nonna hired me a Cicilian tutor." She blushed as she shared this.

"It is not so very complicated, Lena," he assured her. He gave her hand another reassuring squeeze, though he assumed the first time was going to be a little painful for her, as well as awkward. But at least, she wasn't going into their marriage without some knowledge of what to expect.

"Have you ..." She made a curious gesture before continuing, "... before? With Donata, maybe? She looked at you as though she wanted to eat you up."

Lorenzo chuckled again. "No," he assured her, though he didn't remark whether there had been anyone else. "Donata is more interested in my title than my heart," he told her.

"Well, as my nurse would say, she is s*** out of luck," Madalena offered then, the coarse language proffered with a cheeky smile, certain in the knowledge that there was no way anyone would expect her to say something like that.

That remark earned her a chortle of laughter. "As mia madre likes to say, 'Her loss is your gain'," he told her, grinning. Whether or not they were in love, there at least seemed to be an easy-going affection and companionship between them.

"But what if she truly loves you, Lory?" Madalena asked. "Do you truly believe she only wanted to be contessa, and not yours?" She was still young enough to believe in true love, even if she never expected it for herself.

"Donata?" Lorenzo said, making an almost rudely derisive noise in response to her statement. "She is the kind of woman who only cares for herself, mia cara. You must know this," he said, having a hard time believing she didn't.
« Last Edit: December 03, 2019, 06:50:37 PM by Lorenzo de Bueri »

Lorenzo de Bueri

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Re: A Wedding in Alanic
« Reply #1 on: December 03, 2019, 06:51:23 PM »
"I don't like to think of people being so selfish," she said quietly, relaxing a little now they were not being stared at through the windows of the carriage. "Surely there is no need to think only of yourself and your ambitions."

"We have been raised to think only of our duty, of our responsibility for our people," he explained, though she must know this already, too. It was why there were together, after all. They had known this day would come since they were small children. "But there are others who would use us for their own selfish reasons."

"Perhaps you should take charge of making sure any friends I make are not intending to do such with me," Madalena admitted ruefully. "I am not very good at reading the darkness in other people."

"That is because you have a pure heart," he told her with a fond smile. But not so pure that she didn't deserve a little happiness of her own. He only hoped he could give that to her.

"Not because I am a sheltered little silly, then?" she asked teasingly. She bumped her shoulder to his fondly. "Will we have to go to Turvon? I have never  been out of Pont-Elise."

"At some point," he admitted, "but my ambassador can handle things for now." There would likely come a time when they were required to show their faces in Alanic's so-called capital city and the place where the Council of Four gathered to meet.

The tone of the carriage wheels changed as they moved from packed earth to gravel, passing between the gates of the Villa de Bueri toward the house itself as the light faded from the sky. "Is it very complicated, being the conte?"

"It can be," he replied, as they moved through the gates of the villa. He was especially fond of this place, and seeing the perfectly manicured grounds and the lovely architecture of it, it was easy to understand why. "Here we are," he told her, smiling as the carriage made its way up the drive to the house itself.

The staff seemed equally pleased to see him as he was to see the house, a small contingent standing out on the steps to welcome home their master and his new wife as the carriage rumbled to a halt. "I almost can't believe this is home now," Madalena commented, her smile bright with merriment.

He smiled, glad she seemed pleased with her new home, even if she felt a little awkward at her place as his wife. "Our home, Lena," he reminded her. The place where they would live together and hopefully raise a family together. There were worse places to live than Villa de Bueri, and it didn't hurt that neither of their mothers were there to lord over them.

The driver leapt down from the box to open the carriage door for his master. "Our home," Madalena agreed with a soft smile, all but on the edge of her seat.

Lorenzo allowed the driver to help Madalena down from the carriage, hopping down after her and offering his arm. The villa's staff was assembled outside to greet their master and new mistress, their faces expectant and hopeful. "Shall we, mia cara?" he asked her.

Sliding her hand into his elbow, Madalena beamed happily. "As my lord commands," she teased, giggling as they walked toward the villa itself.

He smirked at her remark, both of them knowing that he would never be the kind of husband to command her in any way. Together, they greeted the staff and received their cordial and polite congratulations before being told that the evening meal would be served shortly.

It was a strange feeling for Madalena, to find herself the lady of the house when she had always been just the granddaughter of the lady of the house; to have a bedroom of her own, a servant girl to help her wash and loosen the heaviest of the coils of her hair before she made her way back down the wide stairs to the small dining room.

It was not as strange for Lorenzo, as he had been well prepared for his role as Conte de Bueri. It was marriage, he feared, he was not quite as prepared for. He retired to his own rooms, his groom helping him remove his cloak and brush the dust of the road from his clothes. He washed his hands and his face, reviving him a little from his journey, before making his way to the dining room to rejoin his bride. While it might seem strange to some that the lord and lady of the house had their own quarters, it seemed perfectly natural to him, as that was just the way things had always been.

Madalena had not been left entirely alone as she waited - the dogs of the house had decided to keep her company, and so Lorenzo walked into the dining room to find his bride sitting on the floor in front of the fireplace, petting four excitable hounds as they licked at her face and hands.

He paused in the doorway, smiling to find her making friends with the dogs, of whom he was rather fond. "Do you remember the time Aldo stole the crostata right out of your hand?" he asked of a particular memory of one of his father's dogs from their childhood.

She laughed, looking up at him with that familiar bright smile of hers. "I cried so hard," she remembered. "What a spoiled brat I was, crying over a crostata."

"Si, until Mother gave you another," he said, moving over to settle himself on a chair near the fire and not far from where she sat with the dogs. "Father was always rather fond of you," he said, a wistful look on his face. He had always adored both his parents and had taken his father's death hard. In truth, he would have happily waited forever to become conte, if only his father had lived.

"He was so proud of you, Lory," she told him, reaching up to take his hand. "The way he looked at you ... even I could see that you were everything he could ever have wished for."

"You were like a daughter to him, in many ways," he told her. The daughter his father had never had. Was it any wonder, then, that a marriage between them had been arranged at such a young age?

"He was very good to us, especially after my father died," she said softly. The deaths of her parents had been so long ago that she felt little about them; the only parent she had ever known was her grandmother. "I think we were both very lucky in him."

"I think you're right," he agreed, tangling his fingers with hers, happy for her friendship, even if that was all they ever shared between them. It was more than most people could say for their marriages. "We had a good childhood, Lena," he said, though he wasn't sure why. Their childhood was over; it was time to be adults.

She held his gaze for a long moment, her smile softening as she squeezed his hand. "It's time to grow up, isn't it?" she asked, more about herself than about him.

Lorenzo de Bueri

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Re: A Wedding in Alanic
« Reply #2 on: December 03, 2019, 06:51:39 PM »
"Si," he replied, unwilling to lie to her. She knew the answer to that question as well as he did. "This is what we were raised to do, what we have waited our whole lives for," he told her, though she knew that already, too. Was it more to convince himself or her of their readiness to lead their people?

"You won't be alone, Lory," Madalena promised him, curling both her hands about his. "I will be beside you through everything, I swear."

"I know," Lorenzo replied, a soft smile on his face. "There is no one I trust more than you, mia cara," he assured her. It was not quite a declaration of love, but then, they had always known this would be their future.

A gentle knock on the door roused them from their quiet moment together, as the housekeeper entered, directing various servants to lay out dishes on the dining table before curtsying and leaving the newly-wed couple alone once again.

Madalena giggled softly at their departure. "When do you think they'll stop pretending I'm a fine lady?"

"Unless you intend to climb a tree again anytime soon, probably never," he remarked with a teasing smile, recalling another event from their childhood. He moved to his feet, drawing her up beside him. "Shall we?" he asked, gesturing toward the food-laden table.

"Do you really think anyone would stop me from climbing the trees still?" she asked in a giggly tone as he drew her up from the floor. The dogs rose with them, padding hopefully around their feet as they turned toward the table. "Oh, goodness ... how hungry do they think we are?"

Lorenzo laughed at her question as he led the way to the table, pausing only to pull out a chair for her. "Perhaps they think we are too thin," he suggested with a shrug of his shoulders. He assumed the food wouldn't go to waste, even if they didn't finish it. "Wine?" he asked, reaching for a bottle of good Alanic wine.

"Thank you." Sitting down, she nodded in answer to his offer, raising her glass even as she looked over the dishes set out for them. They were spoiled here in Pont-Elise, the home of the best cookery on the continent, but it was with some relief that she noted their supper was reasonably simple. Nothing heavy or complex to lie on the stomach after a long day.

He poured them each a glass of wine - rich, red, and robust - and held the glass up to offer a toast. "What shall we drink to?" he asked. Though the answer to that question seemed obvious, he wanted to give her a chance to speak her own mind.

Madalena considered this for a moment before lifting her glass once again. "To staying friends, no matter what may happen," she suggested with a smile.

"To staying friends," he echoed, smiling as he took a sip of his wine. At least they had that; it could be much worse. His parents could have arranged a marriage to a harpy. "At least, I don't have to give you a tour."

"Do you remember playing hide and seek in your parents' apartments?" she asked as she lowered her glass, reaching out to serve herself from the various dishes between them.

He patiently let her serve herself first, as any well-reared gentleman would, in no real hurry to rush the evening along. He chuckled a little at the memory her question sparked in his mind. "I remember the housekeeper chasing us with a broom and threatening to tell my mother."

"That only happened once," Madalena pointed out in amusement. "And if she hadn't been waving the broom around, I wouldn't have fallen in the fountain trying to get away."

"You did make quite a splash," he teased, chuckling again as they reminisced. "Do you remember the time you fell out of that tree, and I was inconsolable because I thought you were dead?"

"Oh, goodness, yes! You snuck all those sweets into my bedroom to make sure I didn't die, even though all I did was frighten both of us!" Giggling at the memory, Madalena shook her head. "You were such an adorable little boy."

"Were," he echoed with a bit of a feigned pout. "Though I suppose it is not very manly to be called adorable when one is grown," he pointed out. He couldn't remember the last time anyone had called him adorable, including his own mother.

"You know perfectly well that you are the most handsome and kind man in Pont-Elise, so shush," his new wife informed him with a smile. "Nonna told me not to let you corner me into giving you compliments unless you deserve them."

He laughed again, even as he skewered a hunk of meat and slid it onto his plate. "I did not know that, but you are certainly welcome to flatter me, though I am not sure what I did to deserve it, as you say," he told her with a smirk, as he filled his plate from the various dishes in front of them.

"I am not sure it is flattery if it is simply the truth, Lory," she responded, lifting a delicate bite to her mouth to begin eating. "After all, how is it possible to consider the facts as flattery?"

For some reason, instead of being pleased and smiling at her statement, he only frowned. "And you are lovely. Do not think I have not noticed." How could he not notice? She was no longer a gawky girl, but had grown into a lovely young woman - a woman who any man would be proud to call his own. So, what was his problem?

Her surprised smile was almost shy as she met his gaze, ducking her head almost immediately as a gentle flush covered her cheeks. "Thank you, Lory."

"Lena ..." he started, leaning forward, the food on his plate momentarily forgotten. "I promise I will always take care of you, always protect you, no matter what the future may hold."

She looked up, the shyness fading from her expression as her smile deepened. "I know you will, Lory," she assured him, her faith in him without match. "I won't ever leave you."

Leave him? The thought hadn't even crossed his mind that she might leave him. What worried him was whether or not he could truly make her happy. "I won't leave you either," he told her, reaching across the table to touch his fingers to hers. "I promise."

She beamed, tangling her fingers with his. "What's worrying you, Lory? You've been under a cloud all day, but you were very clear that it isn't because you didn't want to marry today. Talk to me. We're not strangers."

Lorenzo de Bueri

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Re: A Wedding in Alanic
« Reply #3 on: December 03, 2019, 06:51:59 PM »
Lorenzo sighed, his gaze shifting to the food on his plate, unsure if he should tell her what was bothering him. They had always known they would be wed someday. Now that it had come to pass, what was it that was niggling at him? "I only want you to be happy, Lena," he confessed. "And I am not sure how to accomplish that."

"By not worrying about it so much?" she suggested gently. "Lory, the only thing that has really changed is that, well, I'll be sharing your bed from time to time. That doesn't mean we are no longer friends, or that I am going to be unhappy living here. You are very dear to me, Lory. Truly, I am happy today."

But it wasn't just her happiness that worried him. "There will be times when I am busy, mia cara. Times when I will not have much time to spend with you. But I do not want you to be lonely. My mother always had the company of her friends, and I would like the same for you."

She bit her lip, smiling once again. "I was going to ask you, actually," she said, "after a few weeks, that is. It likely wouldn't be appropriate before a month is out, but ... do you think we could invite Francesca to live with us? You wouldn't ever need to worry about my being lonely then."

Lorenzo arched a brow, not really surprised that she'd want Francesca to join them. The two of them were like sisters, after all. "Only Francesca?" he asked curiously. His mother had had a small circle of friends, and he expected no less from his wife.

"Well, we can visit the others, or they can visit with us," she pointed out. "But Francesca is dependent on the kindness of friends for her shelter, and ... well, she is my best friend, Lory. I would like to look after her, if I may."

"Si, of course," he readily agreed. "Whatever you wish, mia cara," he told her, smiling over the table at her. "Anything you wish, you need only ask. You are mistress of this house now, Lena," he reminded her, though it was so much more than just a "house".

"As you wish, my lord." There was that teasing flicker in her eyes again, the mischievous caste to her smile, both signs of the girl she had been and the woman she had grown into under his nose.

He couldn't help but smile, chuckle even, knowing her well enough to know she was teasing him now. "Eat your dinner," he told her, unable to stay moody for very long when he was around her. Today was a day for celebration, after all. Hopefully, the future would take care of itself.

They fell to talking over the day, and reminiscing about ridiculous moments from their childhood spent in this house that was now theirs. Few enough arranged marriages began in so convivial a manner; Madalena was acutely aware that she was extremely lucky to be so very fond of her husband, to have known him long before they took vows together. That did not quite prevent the natural nerves as the end of the day approached, but she trusted Lorenzo with everything she had. She knew he would not hurt her and mean it.

The conversation, as well as the wine, put them both somewhat at ease, even as the day turned into night, and the consummation of their marriage awaited. In all the years they'd known each other, they had not so much as shared a kiss, except of the kind that was shared between friends and family members. Though Lorenzo was no virgin himself, as the day wore on, his nerves became apparent, if only for Madalena's sake.

At last, however, the moment could no longer be put off. Madalena parted from Lorenzo with a shy smile as she was taken to her rooms by her ladies maid, to be stripped and prepared for him. Her golden hair was uncoiled and left loose about her shoulders as she was helped into her nightgown and robe. Then it was entirely up to her to gulp down a last glass of wine, and knock on the door that adjoined her room to his.

Lorenzo, too, had changed into more comfortable clothing made for sleeping - nothing too extravagant, just a linen shirt and short pants - but far more comfortable than the layers of elaborate clothing he was required to wear during the day. He wasn't quite sure what to do with himself and had taken to nervously pacing the floor while he awaited her arrival. When she at last knocked on the door, he nearly jumped out of his skin with a case of nerves.

When there was no response, Madalena raised her hand to knock again, remembering just in time that she didn't have to knock. Taking a shaky breath in, she let it out and quietly turned the knob, peeking in through the door.


In the meantime, he'd grabbed a long robe designed for lounging and tossed it over the linen bedclothes, more for modesty than fashion. He wasn't sure why he felt the sudden need for modesty when they had grown up together. He had never felt shy with her before, but that was before they'd been married.

"Si, I am here," he told her, stepping out of the shadows, just as he was loosely tying off the sash at his waist. "Come in, come in!"

The worried look on her face vanished behind her smile as she slipped into the bedroom at his invitation, carefully closing the door behind her. She couldn't quite hide her nerves, though, reflexively squeezing one finger between thumb and forefinger as she inched further inside.

"Well ... here I am."

The room, at least, was toasty warm due to the fire in the hearth, and he'd asked for yet another bottle of wine to be brought to his rooms - he had a feeling they were going to need it.

"So you are!" he said, trying to hide his own case of nerves, even as he forced his gaze away from her. "Would you like a drink?" he asked, going to pour himself one, even if she declined.

It wasn't as though they had never seen one another in just their nightwear, but this was different. Madalena pulled her hands apart, watching him as he moved to pour the wine.

"Oh! Yes, thank you," she agreed, nodding even though he could not see her. She advanced a little further into the room, a new thought occurring to her that had not been touched upon today. "It is a shame Giovanni couldn't be here for your wedding."

"Vanni?" Lorenzo echoed, brows arching upwards at the mention of that name. He might have shrugged were it not for the pair of wine glasses - one in each hand. "I am sure he will return soon enough full of congratulatory presents," he remarked, wondering if she was perhaps soft on his friend.

Lorenzo de Bueri

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Re: A Wedding in Alanic
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2019, 06:52:17 PM »
She snorted with laughter, rolling her eyes. "For you, perhaps," she pointed out in amusement. "He's never really approved of me. Too much of a child, as he always says."

There went those brows of his again. "Has he?" Lorenzo asked. "Well, we shall just have to prove how wrong he is, won't we, mia cara?" he said, as he handed her one of the two glasses, both of them filled to the brim with a ruby-colored liquid.

She giggled, taking the glass gratefully and managing to swallow half the contents in one go. Biting her lip, she looked around the bedroom she hadn't seen very much of.

"You took your grandmother's portrait out," she commented, glad of that. As lovely as the de Bueri matriarch had been before her death, her portrait had always seemed to be judging anyone who looked at it for too long.

He chuckled to see her drain half the glass in one gulp. "Easy, Lena. We have all night," he assured her, taking a much smaller gulp from his own glass. He shrugged a little at her remark regarding the portrait. "I am not a boy any longer. I did not think we wanted her watching us now that we are, well, married," he said, with just a hint of nervousness in his voice.

"I wish I had known her," Madalena said softly, absentmindedly sitting on the edge of the bed. "Nonna always said she was a lovely woman, and your father was so fond of telling stories about her."

"I don't remember much about her," he replied, snagging the bottle to refill her glass, a small frown on his face at the memory of his paternal grandmother. "I think she would have liked you," he added. Then again, who didn't like Madalena? She was a sweet girl who didn't have a bad word for anyone.

"What do you remember?" she asked, her bright eyes just a little sleepy. While they talked, it was easier to forget that they were married and about to go to bed together.

"Mmm, not much," he replied with another small frown. "I remember that she liked to tell me stories," he said, as he, too, took a seat on the bed. "And she was very fond of sweets," he added, the frown changing to a faint smile at the memory.

"So are you," she teased, giggling a little as she did so. "Do you still keep a stash of sweets under your bed, or do you have a more grown up hiding place for them these days?"

He laughed, a mischievous gleam in his eyes at her question. He held up an index finger and laid it across her lips, as if to silence her. "A secret stash, mia cara," he whispered, all the wine starting to go to his head. "Shhh."

She pouted, her lips pressing against his finger even as she blushed at the unexpected touch. "But I like sweets, too," was her complaint, though she hardly seemed to mind.

"But it wouldn't be a secret stash, if I told you where it is," he reasoned, his finger brushing her lips as he drew his hand away, a silly smirk on his face. "Perhaps you will just have to find it."

"That's a challenge," she pointed out. "You know I will, I always win." Mostly because people let her win, but she hadn't quite worked that one out yet.

He laughed, unafraid to tell her the reason she always won, or just drunk enough to feel uninhibited enough to do so. "That, my little coccinella, is because I let you," he told her, tweaking her nose with a finger.

"But not this time?" She laughed as he tweaked her nose, batting at his hand with less than perfect coordination. the wine was going to her head, but that didn't stop her from taking another drink from her glass.

"Not this time," he echoed, grinning like an idiot. If nothing else, the wine was relaxing both their nerves, even if they were acting like children. "But feel free to search for it!" he told her, waving a hand at her, as if giving her permission to do so.

"I will!" Downing the rest of her wine, Madalena set it on the nearest flat surface and stood up determinedly, only to sway as the wine finally hit her like a ton of bricks. "Oooh ..."

He chuckled, amused at the way she was swaying. He doubted his so-called stash was in much danger of being found considering the way she was swaying. "I think perhaps you have had enough wine," he teased her.

She thumped back down onto the bed, and onto her back, arms raised over her head comfortably, face flushed but smiling. "You might be right," she conceded. "But tomorrow, I will hunt your sweets out!"

"Not before breakfast!" he warned, chuckling as she thumped back onto the bed. He tried not to think too much about what was expected of them tonight, content just to see her smiling. He drained the wine in his own glass and leaned over to set it beside hers before dropping onto his back next to her. "Do you think there is any chance we could be happy together, Lena?" he asked her, staring up at the wooden beams above their heads.

"We've always been happy together, Lory," she pointed out, her fuzzy head making it easier to say such things than it would have been an hour ago. "I don't see why that should change just because we're living together now."

Not only living together, but married and expected to have sons and daughters together in the not-too-distant future. Especially sons. An heir. No pressure there. But he didn't want to spoil her good mood by pointing that out. "I suppose," he admitted, half-heartedly. "Do you think ..." he started before breaking off, turning his head toward hers, the spot between his brow crinkled with worry.

"I don't think, I'm just pretty," she said without thinking, repeating the mantra her grandmother had drummed into her head since she was small. She giggled as she said it, her own head turning toward his with a warm smile.

He frowned at her, reaching over to brush a stray strand of hair away from her face. "You are more than just a pretty face, Madalena," he scolded her gently. "You only need to believe in yourself."

Her smile warmed further at his scolding, her heart swelling at his obvious care for her. "You're very sweet," she said, rolling onto her side to look down at him. "And I'm very drunk."

He chuckled at her insight. "Si, I am sweet, and si, you are drunk," he told her, tapping a finger against her nose. "Perhaps I am the secret stash," he teased her with a smirk.

Lorenzo de Bueri

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Re: A Wedding in Alanic
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2019, 06:52:35 PM »
"I'd have to taste you to find out," she giggled, wobbling a little on her elbow. Her other hand landed on his chest to steady herself, suddenly aware of his heartbeat beneath her palm.

He laughed at her remark, though he didn't think she meant it quite the way he thought. The laugh softened into a fond smile as he found her close, and he absently brushed a finger against her cheek. "You should sleep, mia dolce," he scolded her softly, though he made no effort to move away.

She leaned down, the tip of her nose bouncing off his perhaps a little harder than she had intended, a happy, sleepy smile on her face. "I should," she agreed in a low murmur. "So should you. In the bed, not on it."

He smirked at her remark. Though he, too, was feeling tipsy, he had a feeling he was not quite as tipsy as she was. "Si, cara," he replied obediently, leaning close to whisper in her ear. "Do you think you can stand without falling down?" he asked, as if the response was something of a secret.

She giggled, taking the opportunity to wrap her arm about his neck and hug herself in close. "I can try," she said, muffled against his neck for a moment. "You smell good."

"Grazie," he murmured back, feeling a mixture of amusement, embarrassment, and confusion. There had been a time when she'd told him he smelled, but that had been a very long time ago, when they'd still been children. "You, uh ... you smell nice, too," he replied, awkwardly. He was all too aware of her proximity - close enough to kiss - and yet, he hesitated for some reason. Would it be like kissing his sister, he wondered? If he'd had a sister.

Unbeknownst to him, the same thoughts were whirling through her mind, but she didn't have the courage to follow through with those thoughts, even tipsy. Smiling her shy smile, she drew back, pushing herself to sit up, and then stand, clinging to the post of the bed to stay upright.

He watched her a moment to make sure she wouldn't topple over before pushing himself to his feet, swaying just a little as he stood. "After you," he told her, gesturing with a hand for her to be the first to disrobe - literally.

She nodded, looking down to pick at the girdle tied at her waist and undo the knot. The heavy velvet fell open, already slithering down one arm as she shuffled to the other side of the bed, finally tugging it off to lay the robe over the chest that sat at the end of the bed itself. She flashed Lorenzo another of those shy smiles, and scrambled under the covers in a flurry of linen and golden hair.

He watched as she drew the velvet robe from her shoulders, finding his pulse strangely quickening. Was it the wine or something else? His gaze darted quickly away, not because he didn't like what he saw, but because he was afraid of embarrassing her by staring. He bent over to douse the candles, before pulling the sash loose on his robe, tossing it aside, and climbing into bed opposite her.

After a moment, he felt her crowding close against his side in the darkness, cuddling into him the way she had when they were children. "Good night, tesoro," she whispered, kissing his shoulder through the nightshirt that covered him.

He arched a brow as she snuggled close, not surprised by that so much as by the endearment. It was not something one called someone who was only a friend or a brother. "Good night, cara," he replied, pausing a moment before touching a kiss to her brow, an arm going around her to draw her close.

They had utterly failed to consummate their marriage, but he wasn't sure it mattered. They were just starting a new life together. There would be plenty of time for that in the future.