Author's Note: I should clarify that these don't happen in any sort of chronological order. Hopefully, they make more sense that way.
The boy's uncle sent word to Antonio that his precious nipote would soon arrive in La Serenissima. In turn, she was to tail their guest. The last thing they needed was for him to become entangled in fisticuffs, drawing the undue attention of the city guard to their cause.
But seeing the pouch of florins hanging at his side was too much temptation. She had her eye on a new book in the market. And books were the one thing she never stole. Better to snatch a bit of coin from this cocky, rich stronzo than to go without, right?
From the moment she opened her expletive-laden mouth, he wanted all of her. Her unfettered courage. Her stunning dark eyes. Those deft fingers that saw fit to relieve him of his florins at the first opportunity. His insatiable imagination wasted nearly too much time contemplating how they would feel tracing across his skin, committing him to memory with each precise little movement.
Yet she rejected him out of hand.
But desire bred patience. And patience bred its rewards.
She may not have known it yet. But he refused to rest until he took his prize.
Every single part of her.
"You're familiar with the whores?"
"Forgive me, piccola." When he called her that, how could she not?
"So they trade their bodies for coin?" she shrugged, "I trade my quick fingers for such. Them, us, the mercenaries. Even the troubadours. We're all the same. Yet we watch out for each other. For the rest of Venezia ignores us in her turn."
"Then I shall look after you, signorina…all of you." She would protest. But that unyielding gaze in those dark eyes told her otherwise.
She always secretly preferred the chivalrous ones. Not that she'd ever tell him such.
Silently scrambling over his balcony and leaping down into his quarters, she found him asleep. The bandage around his wrist was new, reeking of the fresh poultices Bianca soaked them in. Clutched in his hands at his chest, the tattered codex of Polo's Il Milione.
Removing a newly-bound copy from her satchel, she nimbly replaced the old one. He didn't stir.
Grinning, she brushed her lips across his, allowing her hand to linger along his cheek before slipping out of his window, a ghost on the wind.
She couldn't wait to see his face light up at his birthday gift.
Nipote – Nephew
La Serenissima - the shortened Italian term for the Venetian Republic. Its full title is La Serenissima Repubblica di Venezia, which translates to The Most Serene Republic of Venice. The Republic lasted for a thousand years, from the late 7th century all the way to 1797, ending with Napoleon's conquest.
Stronzo – F**ker
Piccola – Sweetheart
Polo's Il Milione – Refers to Marco Polo's The Travels of Marco Polo, which was also known as Oriente Poliano or Description of the World, and Le Livre des Merveilles or The Book of Wonders in French. It was nicknamed Il Milione, or The Million. Traditionally, Marco Polo dictated the book to the famous writer Rustichello da Pisa while both were in prison in Genoa from 1298 - 1299.