Adrianna’s body was on fire as she felt Matteo’s hands touching her, exploring every inch of her body as they kissed. As his lips moved away from her mouth, caressing her jaw line and moving down to her neck, Adrianna’s breathing grew heavier, adrenaline pulsing through her veins.
Every kiss was like a burn against her skin, sending every nerve in her body tingling until she felt like she was vibrating. Adrianna ran her hands down Matteo’s chest pulling off his jacket and starting work on the buttons of his shirt.
“I can’t do this,” Matteo said, pulling away, much to Adrianna’s dismay.
“I want you to,” she implored, running her hands through his hair and pulling him into another kiss.
“It’s not that. I want this too.”
“Good,” Adrianna breathed, her body aching to feel him against her again, to have his lips on hers and his hands on her waist.
“I just can’t do it here, not like this.”
“What do you mean?”
“Have you done this before?” He asked, his nerves beginning to show through as he stumbled over his words.
“No,” I replied. “It’s something that should only be shared between a husband and wife. My father wouldn’t even think I would be able to consider lying with a man out of wedlock.”
“I thought as much.” Matteo clasped my hands in his. “I don’t want your first time to be in a dingy back room of a tavern. You deserve better than that; you deserve romance.”
“But I want you,” Adrianna insisted, reaching up and stroking Matteo’s face tenderly. “I don’t want anyone but you.”
“That’s not what I’m arguing about,” he replied softly. “I just don’t think that this is the right time or place.”
“Then take me somewhere that is right,” Adrianna suggested, her fingers gently stroking Matteo’s hair. “If we don’t seize the opportunity then it might never come again. Please Matteo. You wouldn’t deny me my once chance of freedom before I get shackled to Alberto, would you?” She looked up into his eyes as seductively as she knew how, leaning in so her face was only centimeters away from his, her breath brushing his skin.
“Why do I love you so much?” Matteo said, fighting within himself to do the right thing. The only problem was, he didn’t know what that thing was. “I can’t leave right now, the others will expect me to go back in and apologize for what I’ve done, for the protest. I’ll insist that it’s peaceful and we’re only trying to get our voices heard, we’re not planning to trying to reform the country in one day.”
“And after you’ve told them that?”
“Then, if you still feel the same way, we can find somewhere private.”
“I promise.” Matteo sealed this with a kiss, slower and less frantic than the ones that had come before it but with no less heat or passion. “How do you manage to do this to me?” He breathed as he pulled away. “How can you have this power over me to convince me that I should do whatever you say?”
“How can I explain it? I’m simply magic.”
Matteo laughed, kissing Adrianna once more before helping her put her mask back on, taking her by the hand and leading her out of the room and back into the meeting. They crossed the room together, still hand in hand, approaching the table full of people they had left. Rowena looked up anxiously at Adrianna as she noticed her approaching but instantly relaxed when she saw her friend smiling calmly as she sat back down.
“Can I say something?” Matteo asked the group, looking sheepishly at his companions.
“Of course,” Alexander replied, leaning in to hear what Matteo had to say.
“I just wanted to apologize for what I said in my speech. I wasn’t clear enough about what I wanted us to do. I’m not trying to change our country in a day; that would be madness. I just want people to know that we exist and understand what we’re fighting for. I’m not planning on tearing down statues of long dead kings and advisors, declaring them tyrants; you know that’s not what I believe. I just want people to know that we have a voice. Can you forgive me?”
There was a tense silence where Adrianna had no idea who was going to speak or what they were going to say. When Ava finally looked up from the table and met Matteo’s gaze, Adrianna was prepared for another argument to break out.
“You’re a crazy fool, Matteo Contadino,” she said seriously. “You don’t think before you open that mouth of yours and you can be so impulsive at times that I don’t know what to do with you. But I know your heart is in the right place, and because of that, I forgive you.”
There was a great release of tension as Ava stood up from her seat and hugged Matteo warmly, signaling that their short fight was over.
“So will you join me at the protest?” He asked.
“We wouldn’t want to leave you standing there alone,” Georgie said, smiling broadly at him. “Of course we’ll be there.”
“All of us,” Alexander agreed.
“Together,” Adrianna added.
Everyone was smiling as Matteo took his seat at the table next to Adrianna. The conversation flowed as easily as the wine and ale and soon everyone was very merry, so no one noticed Matteo and Adrianna’s hands, clasped tightly together under the table, his thumb gently stroking her skin.