He could feel Melitta as her soft step crossing his cell's threshold. He failed to harden his heart stone as to not be weakened by her presence before he faced her. Ill equipped to fight his passions, his strength in arena faded in sight of temptation. The movement made him wince from the cuts along his side and arm from a mace's swipe. He had won the match handily but hadn't left the arena unmarred.
Melitta had a smile in her eyes but her lush mouth lay solemn as she carried a small basin and bandages. "Good eve." She nodded her head. "Dominus bid me to tend to your wounds."
"And nothing more?" Gannicus jested, enjoying the bemused fall of her neutral villa slave expression, as the real woman appeared.
"After all that you've had, still you desire ever more?" Melitta shook her head, conflicted, before setting the basin on a roughened stool and taking a wet cloth from within it. Her brown eyes looked away when her hand touched his skin to cleanse the wounds. "Greedy like a tom cat."
Gannicus clenched his fists to keep from tipping her chin up, with his fingertips, to face him. "You're not wrong, but I do not stand alone in my desires."
"Some dreams should fade with the morning dew." Melitta bit her lip and continued to dress his arm wound.
The touch of her skin as she wrapped the bandages around his arm eased the noble pain of the arena. Gannicus cast his eyes down.
She reached for his waist to wrap the bandages around him and came closer. Their fingers touched as she placed one end of the bandage on his stomach and he moved his hand to keep it in place. Melitta gazed at him with wide eyes before she forced herself to focus on wrapping the bandage around him. After she tied the ends together, Melitta glanced up and found their lips only inches apart.
Gannicus felt lost as he tried to make himself back up yet lost the will to pull away.
Melitta made the decision for them when she kissed him, soft lips opening up, and gentle touch on his face. It felt like peace, it felt like passion.
He kissed her back but didn't get the chance to take her into his arms before a familiar and betrayed voice sounded in the courtyard and she retreated in a flutter. Watching her go, Gannicus had only one wish, more fervent than any before, to feel her touch again. He heard Melitta greet Oenomaus and it tore at him to yearn for something that would hurt his friend so.
Melitta had tried to warn him once that there were problems that he couldn't fight his way out of.
Waiting until the voices drifted off, Gannicus left his cell to peer over the edge, alone but for his thoughts. The sea broke against the cliff in thunderous claps that mimicked the beating of his heart as the villa's nightingales chirped goodnight to the sun.