The Court leaves for Murano, where the Queen will stay until tomorrow. As well as entertaining the Marques, she wants to buy glass. I have a day and a night ahead of me to spend as I please. Well, not quite as I please for there are servants here who’ll spy on me. Dorotea has told me I should stuff pillows under my bedcovers so that it will seem as if I am sleeping. And that’s what I do when Zorzo calls.
In his studio, my fingers shake as they hold the brush. How clumsy I am today. He covers my hand with his and my confidence soars. I can feel his breath against my ear, soft and warm. Turning towards him, I run the tips of my fingers lightly down his cheek. I suck in a gasp and a quiver travels down to my core.
Zorzo moans, but he does not stop me when I move my hand down his body and encounter his arousal. His eyes hold mine and I feel as if I shall sink into them; liquid gold, they burn with desire. How different he is from Signor Lodovico. I don’t like to think of that man and banish him from my mind.
My painter reaches down and unpins my hair (for today I have dressed it properly). He entwines his hands in my tresses and pulls me against him. ‘Lady Cecilia, you will be the undoing of me.’
I lift my mouth to his and our lips meet. The softness makes my insides shiver. We stumble to the bed in the corner of the studio and lower ourselves onto it. Our tongues are dancing and my whole body is on fire. ‘Are you sure, dolcezza?’
I nod, the decision made. The step I’m taking will alter the course of my life, yet I can’t envisage any other destiny for me than to become one with this man.
‘You are a horsewoman,’ he says, lifting his lips from mine. ‘Your maidenhead will have been stretched. Even so, I shall enter you slowly, so you do not feel too much pain.’
For a second, I am perplexed. Our gaze locks and his eyes burn with such love that I know this can’t be wrong. Whatever the church says, we aren’t sinners. There’s no need for us to speak the words. There will be time for that later. He lifts my gown and I let out a small cry as he pushes gently into me, my sex resisting only momentarily. Only a twinge and then we rock together, and I’m lost to the exquisiteness of the sensation.
Too soon, it’s over. Zorzo shudders and withdraws from me, pulling a kerchief from his pocket and covering his prick. ‘You know how babes are made?’ he says. ‘I can’t spill my seed inside you or we shall have a child. The next time we make love, you will know the pleasure I’ve just experienced, my sweet. Just give me some moments to regain my strength.’
He gets up from the bed and goes to the sideboard where there’s a flagon of wine. We drink and nibble biscotti, then wash, then take our time over lovemaking. I had no idea that a man could make a woman writhe the way I’m doing. Have I no shame? I’m lying naked with my legs apart and my lover’s hand is doing such things to me that my whole body is trembling.
On the brink of that joy, like the one I felt the other night, about to reach the end of a blissful journey that has built and built, Zorzo stops. ‘I want to be inside you when you climax. It will be stronger for you.’
And he is right. Pleasuring myself can’t be compared with what is happening now. He thrusts into me and I arch against him. Arching and rubbing myself against him until a spark inside me grows into a flame of such exquisiteness that I’m completely lost to it.