Author's Note: For the record, all of these drabbles take place in the same world as my other stories, The Assassin's Thief and The Wager. Hence there are random references to those. In the meantime, well, here's the conclusion. And wow, it's a lot harder than I thought to shorten a story down to 100 words! Anyway, hope you enjoyed them.
He would've forsaken other women for her alone long ago. But her relentless insistence for freedom kept him at arm's length.
Even as they unapologetically engaged in more physical pursuits.
Yet as time passed, he yearned for what his parents had, despite how cruelly it was snatched away all those years ago.
Better to taste a bit of heaven before it all went to hell.
Squeezing the Auditore seal in his hand, he made his silent oath.
Tonight, on the roof of the Ducal Palace, he would propose.
How could she say no? He was an Auditore, for God's sake.
Paupers and nobles simply didn't mix, at least not permanently; after all, her courtesan mother never saw her father again following their pricey liaison.
Yet, here he stood beside her on the roof of the Ducal Palace, pressing the Auditore seal into her hand.
Her family was the Guild. Becoming some haughty, simpering broodmare in order to continue his precious line for the promise of tomorrow was sheer insanity.
She refused his gilded cage.
He silently slipped away. But her hand still clutched his seal. Even cursing his name, hot tears spilled down her flushed cheeks.
She'd lost him forever.
For all of his swaggering, smirking bluster, the thundering realization that he couldn't live without her initially gripped him with paralyzing apprehension.
But to deny such would be to reject his very essence.
Then again, it took him years to admit it out loud.
Neither of them ever mentioned the first proposal. Its outcome so utterly disastrous, the less said, the better.
A two-year absence from Venezia and dozens of his letters from Rome finally convinced her he was absolutely serious.
The always reminisced about the second proposal. For without it, he could never lay claim to his Signora Auditore.
"Cazzo!" he snorted, "To bind oneself to such an oath-"
"I had all I desired…well, at least all I thought I did."
"But you swore never to marry!"
"To anyone but you, si."
"Why?" he murmured. He began absentmindedly winding a strand of her hair around his fingers from where he lay next to her.
Like his, it was now sprinkled through with varying streaks of gray.
"You have no equal, mio bello," she grinned, "And you consider the same of me in turn."
As he captured her mouth with his, she was rather thrilled she'd never broken her vow.
Cazzo! – F**k!
Si – Yes
Mio bello – My beautiful, pretty one