“Sorry,” she murmured, stepping back.
Robert span around on the office chair, his head tipped to the side slightly. Beth looked down at her fingers, embarrassed. Robert took her hands in his like he had done in the library. She glanced up at him nervously through her lashes. He had a slight smile on his lips.
“What did I say about sleep?” he said rhetorically.
“What did I say about more interesting things?” Beth said in the same manner.
“I meant what I said.”
“So did I.”
Robert’s smile grew fractionally as he pulled her into his lap, her back to his front. Beth felt the usual tingle as their skin connected, reminding her that all she was wearing was her bra and a pair of boxers she’d got from Robert’s chest of drawers.
“What are you doing?” Beth asked curiously.
“Replying to Isabella’s letter. She was asking how you were.”
“She knows about me?”
“She has the power of foresight; she knew about you a long time ago.”
“Are you warm enough?” Robert asked, planting a kiss on her shoulder.
Beth nodded. “What are the scars on your back?”
“Punishments, for all the times I misbehaved as a child.”
“You must have been a very naughty boy.”
Robert laughed against her skin.
“The ones you touched were how Isabella and I met. When I was an assassin, she was in charge of punishment and torture. She scratched me and was shocked when I didn’t respond. She was a seventeen year old slip of a girl. A year older than I was. Very successful in her... other professions as well.”
“She was a thief, and she worked with Alex and Catalin’s mother.”
Beth looked at the letter Robert had been writing. The language looked very similar to Italian, but not quite.
“How many languages do you know?”
“Are we including Latin?”
“No,” Beth said.
Robert thought for a minute. “Fourteen.”
“Fourteen?” Beth asked, shocked.
“Yes: Italian, Sardinian, English, French, Spanish, Hungarian, Polish, German, Russian, Finnish, Czech, Dutch, Swedish and Romanian. You learn much faster when the threat of a beating looms over you. Besides, I’ve had two hundred and sixty years to learn them.”
“Are you going back to bed now?”
“Not without you.”
Robert chuckled and kissed her shoulder blade before sweeping her up in his arms, cradling her. Beth rested her head against his chest. She giggled when he dropped her onto the bed.
“Happy now?” he whispered in her as he lay behind her.
Robert wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her closer. Beth sighed contentedly. Then she was sleeping.
When Beth woke, Robert still had his arms around her. He was still sleeping. His gentle, slow breathing hit her shoulder repeatedly. Beth carefully turned over in the circle of his arms, trying not to wake him.
His face was peaceful and strands of his hair were resting on his forehead. Beth brushed them aside and softly kissed his lips.
“Good morning,” he whispered.
“Did I wake you?”
“No. What time is it?”
Beth looked over his shoulder at the digital clock.
“Just gone seven.”
“You to get ready for school.”