She felt nothing. Poor Alfosno, he was trying so hard, and yet she felt nothing. Somewhere in the dark corner of this room, her husband's uncle watched and she had to squash down the urge to cry. Her eyes searched the other corner... and found him there.

He looked stony, frozen, and stricken. She stared at his furrowed brow, he looked like that sometimes when he was concentrating. In a flash so visceral it made her gasp she saw his face the night he'd touched her... his brow had furrowed then too. He'd touched her with reverence and longing, yet kept his own desire firmly in check. The memory made her breath quicken and she met his eyes.

As always, when she stared into his eyes, she felt as though more passed between them than would be possible with words. She was struggling, she felt suffocated and used... He leaned forward in his chair, his hands clenched tightly on his knees. He schooled his face to calm, even though there were tears in his eyes, then slowly and deliberately he bit his bottom lip.

She moaned louder. There was no one else there, she may as well have been alone, or perhaps touching herself to the memory of his face. Clouded by thin fabric and darkness, he let his mouth fall open and gazed adoringly at her... she whimpered. If only he could touch her now, his face alone was almost enough, just a single touch... but he couldn't reach out to her, not with his hands. Instead, she held his eyes, there was nothing else, and he allowed his vision to blur, his jaw to clench, as though it were he she was giving her body to. With a rush of surprise she groaned and felt pleasure rush through her, independent completely from the poor stuttering thrusts of her husband above her.

Cesare let out a slow breath and gave her the tiniest hint of a smile.

She'd been so angry with him. How could he allow this to happen? Allow father to barter her body's modesty for an alliance... but he was suffering too, she could see, and as always she was helpless in the face of his adoring eyes. For the good of the family... when father said it, what she heard was 'for the good of me', but not Cesare. When he said it she believed him, saw what it cost him... She could never stay angry, not with her love.