"This is a sight only you get to see in comfort," she reminded him fondly, quietly delighted with his apparent fascination with her hair. "Andrea does not count; she has to put it up."
"Andrea is not your husband," he was quick to point out. "You are beautiful, Lena," he told her, his voice not much more than a whisper. Why had he not noticed this before?
"To your eyes," she told him with a smile. "And since yours are the only eyes I care about, I am very pleased to know that you like my looks." There was a hint of mischief in that smile, but only because she saw nothing so very remarkable about her face.
"I am sure I am not alone in that, but I do not know what I might do if I caught another man admiring your beauty," he teased back, mirroring the smile on her face.
"I would not mind if you chose to make it blatantly clear that I am yours," she offered impishly. She reached up, daring to curl her hand to his cheek. "I do love you, Lory. Very much."
"Not like a brother," he said, more statement than question, as if he needed to make doubly sure of that before he claimed her for himself completely. He covered her hand with his own, turning his face to press a kiss to her palm.
"Not at all like a brother," she promised, catching her breath at the soft press of his lips against her sensitive palm. Her thumb stroked over his lips as he drew back, her smile gentle and inviting.
He supposed they had stalled long enough, and they didn't have long before the evening meal was due to arrive, and yet, he didn't want to rush things. It was to be her first time, and he wanted it to be both tender and memorable. "Shall we?" he asked, leaving it completely in her hands.
She nodded, her smile turning shy just for a moment before she turned her hand in his, claiming him with a gentle tug toward the door to his bedroom. That was the best place to start, wasn't it?
Arguably, they had already started in the bath, even if nothing had really happened. As eager as Lorenzo was for his new bride, he did not want to rush her or make her uncomfortable and was perfectly happy to take his time with her. He smiled back, charmed by her shyness and letting her lead the way to his room and his bed.
At least she was not surprised by the room itself, having spent her first night as his wife cuddled up against his side, even if all they had done was sleep. Madalena dropped his hand as she reached the bed, turning to face him. "What would you like me to do, Lory?"
"Do you trust me, Madalena?" he asked, in as tender a voice as he could muster, a hopeful gleam in his eyes. He knew she did, but before they went any further, he needed her to say it.
There was no need to even consider thinking over her answer. "Of course I do, Lorenzo," she assured him, her smile warming. "I trust you with everything I have."
"It is going to hurt a little," he warned her with a frown - at least, he assumed it would, considering the fact that she presumably had never been with a man before. "But I will be as gentle as I can."
"Lory." She reached out, laying her palm over his heart as she leaned into him. "I trust you." She didn't know how else she could say it to make him believe that. She knew there might be some pain, but she also knew him. He wouldn't let it hurt too much.
It would only hurt briefly, or so he'd been told, but he didn't want to hurt her at all. Still, it couldn't really be helped, and it was the first time that would be the hardest. "All right, then," he said, stepping closer and reaching to slide the velvet robe back from her shoulders, his gaze meeting hers.
Her smile seemed to relax as he made that decision somewhere inside to continue on with what she had begun. The sash at her waist came undone fast, the soft velvet sliding back from her bare skin under the gentle pressure of his hands, slipping to the floor with barely any assistance. And there she was, his wife, with nothing to hide behind but her own hair.
She'd lost the towel, too, and he was at a loss for words to find her standing there before him, as naked as the day she was born and as lovely as a goddess. Then again, this wasn't the time for a conversation. He reached out to touch her, surprisingly gentle fingers tracing one bare shoulder before moving to trace the curve of her breast, marveling at the beauty before him.
There was no way to disguise the answering desire that rose in her at his touch, under his gaze; no way to hide the way her skin flushed rose, the way her breath caught in her throat. Her eyes, so sweetly mischievous much of the time, darkened with sultry want as she looked up at him.
Her reaction to his touch was encouraging, and so, he dared take the next step, easing her down onto the bed and moving over her, though the velvet robe was still covering him. He kissed her again, deeper this time, his tongue probing past her lips and exploring her mouth, tenderly, but with barely repressed hunger.
As he moved her beneath him, she raised her hands, tasting his breath in his kisses even as she slipped those hands beneath his own robe. There was no hesitation in her; only her desire for him, and to please him, and her trust that he would never hurt her.
It seemed the shyness they'd both felt the night before had finally given way to desire. Maybe it was partly because of the bath, but he thought it was more likely because they had confessed to each other their feelings and fears, their hopes and dreams and wishes, and most of all their love, though he had yet to say it plainly. Perhaps actions really did speak louder than words though, as his kisses and caresses were those of a loving partner, as concerned for her pleasure as he was for his own.
And he had an apt and eager pupil in his inexperienced wife, though she knew little of the act itself. What little her Cicilian tutor had been allowed to teach her had given her the confidence to reach this moment, but her marital education lay in the hands of her husband. When he touched, she touched; when he kissed, she kissed; each time learning something new about him, learning to please him even as she shivered with pleasure under the loving stroke of his hands.
He knew enough to go slow, to take his time in his tender exploration of her body, savoring and memorizing every inch of and leaving nothing unexplored. But he let her explore, too, as they shared kisses and caresses and slowly learned each other, inch by tender inch. Inevitably, the robe that had covered him fell to the floor, leaving him as naked as she was, but he hardly cared - too intent on pleasing her, on showing her that this was not something to be feared, but enjoyed.
As the first moans finally made themselves known from her lips, there was no denying that she was learning exactly what he wanted to teach, clinging to him through wave after wave of pleasure, wanting to give that pleasure back to him even as she shook in his arms, gasping for breath. There was no pain, no blood - Lorenzo had done his job so well that there was nothing but pleasure for them both in their marriage bed.