Regaining his equilibrium, he finally said as he extended his hand to her, "Dear Lady, may I have this dance?"
Elena took his hand, once again admiring his striking appearance and breathed in response, "It would be my pleasure."
With that, Antonius escorted Elena to the dance floor and taking her in his arms, they began to dance. Being this close to his love, he was transported and his heart swelled in his chest, overcome with emotion and in his joy, a single tear rolled down his face. Inhaling her perfume, gazing into her eyes peeking from behind the mask, he could know no greater happiness.
Elena was feeling very happy herself as she danced with Antonius. Over the short few weeks she had known him, she had come to care for him deeply and in his arms, she felt safe and loved. She had come to know him as a caring and sensitive man, and most charming. As thoughts of the evening ahead filled her mind, both the dancing here with him and their tryst later, she felt increasing anticipation.
Dance after dance, they moved in unison around the dance floor, shutting out the world around them and in what seemed no time at all, the hour of the unmasking approached, and Antonius leaned towards Elena to whisper, "After the unmasking, I'll be in my carriage at the west wall gate and I'll be waiting."
Elena, whispered in return, "I'll be with you as soon as I can."
At just before midnight, the sergeant at arms reappeared and with his staff, signaled it was time to remove the mask. As she did so, Antonius looked her deeply in the eyes of his beloved Elena and with his finger, caressed the line of her jaw. "I'll see you soon my beloved," he mouthed and left the ballroom.
Elena left immediately afterwards and made her way quickly to her room. She found Mirabelle there asleep and gently shook her awake, "Mirabelle, wake up dear and help me." Mirabelle opened her eyes slowly, but upon seeing her Lady, she got up and started to help Elena extract herself from the costume gown. In a few moments, Elena was freed from it and sat in a chair, wearing only her shift, stockings and shoes. Carefully removing the tiara and the decorative stars from her hair, Mirabelle ran a brush through it quickly and it lay now long and flowing down Elena's back. As Mirabelle attended to her hair, Elena used a washcloth to clean her face and neck and then applied the new perfume she wanted to wear. Once satisfied with this, Mirabelle helped her into the corset she had selected of a light purple silk, with a matching skirt. The grabbing her hooded cloak, she put that on as well.
"Mirabelle, go see if the hallway is clear," she said as she stood nervously looking in her mirror. She was shockingly underdressed by the standards of the day, but she wanted to be comfortable for her meeting with Antonius. Would he think her too wanton? Would he reject her for behaving in a manner unbefitting a Lady? She shuddered at the thought.
Mirabelle waved a hand at her to indicate the coast was clear and Elena ducked out the door and kissing Mirabelle briefly for her help, she made her way quietly through the hall and outside. Once outside, she breathed easier and made her way quickly to the west wall gate, where as promised, the carriage of Antonius was waiting, with Antonius pacing nearby. Seeing Elena arrive, he came to her and ushered her into the carriage and with a tap of his cane, signaled the driver to be off.
Antonius sat next to Elena in the carriage and they gazed at each other for a few moments in silence before he suddenly could restrain himself no longer and leaned in to kiss her passionately on the mouth, whispering, "Oh Elena, I have been waiting it seems forever, but it was worth every second to have you here in my arms now." And with that, held her close to him, her head resting on his broad chest, as the carriage carried them towards his home and the delights that awaited them there.
Riding in the carriage with Elena, Antonius was beside himself with delight, so much so that he almost forgot about the gift he had for her. Remembering it, he shifted slightly, not wanting her to move from where she rested against him, and was just barely able to reach the small leather case. Feeling him shift position as he reached for something, Elena stirred a bit, but didn't want to move from the warm space next to him. Antonius took the leather case and placed it in her lap and waited patiently for her reaction.
Elena sat up a bit and looked questioningly in to his eyes and asked, "For me?"
Antonius smiled and nodded, then watched as she opened the box and at her sharp intake of breath as she saw the necklace nestled on a piece of black velvet within. The focus of the necklace was a heart shaped amethyst approximately one inch wide, in a silver setting which looked like a small arrow piercing the heart, with tiny bits of sapphire as the fletching and a small marquise cut ruby as the arrowhead. This was suspended from three short lengths of chain, which merged into a single chain to fasten behind the neck.
Elena touched the beautiful piece and bit her lip to hold back a sob, then turned towards him and kissed him again passionately, unable to express her joy. Antonius returned her kiss with equal ardor and as their lips parted, he took the box from her hands and lifting the necklace from the box, held it up so fasten it around her neck. Elena reached up to lift her hair from the back of her neck and leaned in so that he might see to fasten the chain. After he had done so, she shook her head to readjust her hair and then with her forefinger touched the amethyst that lay nestled just above her cleavage. Then overcome again with the joy that the gift brought her, she wrapped her arms around Antonius and lay her head to his broad chest, listening to his heart as she hugged him. Feeling him wrap his arms around her and stroke her back as she lay there was pure bliss and to his statement, "I'm glad you like it my dearest. It is a symbol of how you have pierced my heart and it is yours forever," she could only murmur her acknowledgment.
A short time later, Antonius noted through the carriage window that they were passing through the gateway to his estate and was about to say something to Elena, but noticed that she was breathing softly and evenly, apparently having been lulled to sleep by the swaying of the carriage as she lay with her head next to his heart. Seeing her so peaceful, he was loathe to disturb her and when the carriage came to a stop, he carefully turned to lift her into his arms and stepped down from the carriage with a steadying hand of assistance from the driver. Nodding his thanks to the man, he made his way towards the house with his precious cargo and found Jameson waiting with the door open behind him. Moving inside, Antonius walked slowly down the hallway to the sitting room and with Elena still sleeping, he lay her down on a sofa and its pillows. Bending to brush his lips against her forehead in a tender kiss, he smiled as she mumbled quietly in her sleep and nestled into the comfortable sofa.
Taking this opportunity, he silently left the sitting room and as he moved towards his bedroom, he began removing the doublet. By the time he reached his room and his closet, he was bare chested and took a moment to cool himself with a cloth and water from a basin on his dresser. He then selected a loose fitting dark red silk shirt with a loose neckline and pulled it over his head and tucked it in. Taking just a moment to check that he was presentable, he quickly returned to the sitting room and retrieved the box he had purchased from the Oriental merchant. Opening it, he removed three long sticks of incense and lit them in the fireplace before placing them a small wooden stand that had come with the box. As the subtle scent of sandalwood drifted around the room, he moved back towards Elena and taking a seat on the sofa beside Elena, he kissed her on the cheek and whispered to her, "We have arrived my beloved."
Elena stirred in her sleep and her eyes slowly opened. She realized that she was no longer in the carriage and for a moment was startled and sat up. Then she felt the presence of Antonius and relaxed, turning to face him as she sat up. She took a couple of minutes to look around the room, taking in the orchids on the table, the large stone fireplace with the picture of a man who must be Antonius' ancestor above it, the soft velvety sofa on which she was sitting, the scents of sandalwood, flowers, and food in the air, and finally Antonius himself, sitting quietly beside her. Seeing how intently he was watching her, she blushed and lowered her gaze for a moment, but only for a moment before looking up into his eyes again, seeing in them such a passionate intensity that she felt a stirring deep inside of her, such as she had not felt since the loss of her husband.
Standing and taking Elena's hand, Antonius guided her to her feet and helped her to remove her cloak. Seeing the simple, yet elegant gown she wore, so different from the current fashion, he smiled and said, "You look lovely my dear."
Elena, remembering her earlier nervousness that he might not approve of her attire, was relieved and smiled at him and said, "Thank you, Antonius".
Antonius wrinkled his brow slightly and replied, "You're most welcome, my dear, but it would please me immensely if you would call me Anton and dispense with the formalities. When people call me Antonius, I always look around to see if my grandfather is standing nearby."
Elena looked at his wrinkled brow, and responded with a soft giggle, "Then Anton is shall be," and reached up to brush a stray bit of hair that had fallen across his forehead, seeing his brow smooth as she did.
Anton smiled at the light touch and taking her hand in his, kissed it tenderly on the palm, then still holding her hand, he lead her across the room to the table prepared for them by his kitchen staff. When closer, he released her hand to fold a napkin over his forearm and pick up a small platter so he could select some food for them. Turning to her, he bowed slightly and said, "I had my staff prepare some dinner for us and would be pleased if you would allow me to serve you this evening."
Smiling as his offer to wait on her, she looked over the food that was laid out on the table before her. As she walked along it, Anton would lift covers from the various trays, revealing roasted meats and fowl, fresh and cooked vegetables, an assortment of fruits, some cheeses, and at the end of the table, some chocolates and small cakes. As they were revealed, she indicated she would like some of the roast beef and some delicious smelling turkey, asparagus tips, small new potatoes, some cubes of cheese, some red and green grapes, and from the tray of chocolates, some light chocolate truffles with a light dusting of powdered sugar. In addition to the items she indicated, Anton added some leaves of lettuce and fresh spinach and a small cake that smelled of honey and lemon, which he told her was a madeleine. Then once her selections were complete, Anton used his free hand to guide her to a love seat and they sat down together on it. She noted however, that he had no utensils and wondered.
Anton set the platter on his lap and taking the napkin from his arm, lay it in Elena's lap, getting a slight thrill as he smoothed it out there. He was having decidedly wicked thoughts of her thighs as he did so and felt a pang of lust for the beautiful woman beside him. But putting aside his lust for a moment, he turned to the tray of food and picking up a small portion of the roast turkey and wrapping a bit of lettuce around it, he held it out towards her mouth for her to sample.
Elena was momentarily taken aback at the thought of eating from his hands. The thought was almost sinful, but then she found that the idea of being served in such a way thrilled her a bit. The thought that this important and self assured man was willing to do this for her made her excited and she opened her mouth and took a bite of the offered food, savoring the taste of the exquisitely prepared meat and the crisp lettuce surrounding it. She had never realized that such a simple act, which she had only seen before between parent and child, could be so delightful when performed by a man towards whom she felt great affection. She saw his smile as she enjoyed the bits of food and reaching down, she took a bit of the roast beef with a piece of spinach leaf and offered it to him in return. He grinned broadly before taking the morsel from her fingers and playfully licked a bit of juice from the meat from her fingertip, which gave her the most delicious shiver and elicited a soft laugh.
Anton and Elena continued feeding each other, saying little, but occasionally making noises of pleasure at the delicious foods they shared and at the teasing licks and nibbles on each others fingers they both engaged in. Finally, Elena felt she had eaten enough and took the napkin from her lap to touch to her face and Anton, sensing that she wanted no more food, set aside the platter and poured two glasses of white wine from a decanter on the end table next to the love seat. He offered her a glass, which she accept with a smile and as he sat, she took her napkin and touched it to the corner of his mouth before setting it aside.
Anton took his glass of wine and raising towards Elena, offered this toast, "To my beloved Elena, whose beauty, charm and wit has enchanted me and captured forever, my heart. I love you, my dear."
Blushing profusely at this declaration of his love, then recovering a bit, she toasted in return, "To my adored Anton, whose style, humor and rakish good looks have endeared him to me and whose love I most assuredly return." As she finished speaking, they both took a drink of the wine, all the while staring deeply into the others eyes with an intensity that was almost a tangible force. As if a single spark would ignite the room in flames of passion. It had been a long time since Elena had felt such desire and the feeling was a bit overwhelming.
Having finished drinking to each other, Anton set aside his glass and noted that Elena was looking for a place to do the same with hers. He reached out to her and took her glass as well and set it next to his on the end table. He then turned his attention once more to Elena and so intense was his desire for her, that he could not refrain from taking her in a passionate embrace and kissing her, his lips hungry for hers, his arms holding her tight against his chest and his heart racing.
Elena responded to his embrace, also unable to contain her passion for this man. She felt warm and safe in his arms and as he kissed her, she placed her arms around his neck and stroked his soft, dark brown hair. It had been so long since she had felt the strong arms of a man about her that she thought she might melt right there on the spot, like butter on warm toast, her knees feeling a bit weak and she leaned into Anton as they sat locked in the deep, soulful kiss. As they kissed, Elena felt Anton's hands slide down the side of her dress in a long slow caress and she let out a small moan as his hand brushed her breast through the light fabric of her dress. While she had loved her late husband, her marriage had been more of a political arrangement that a love affair and she had long waited for someone like Anton to ignite her passion. She responded to his caresses with a caress of her own that traced down from his neck and over his chest, feeling the firm muscles beneath the red silk shirt and his slight shudder as she stroked him there.
Anton felt Elena responding to his embrace and kiss and ran his hand down over the curve of her hip and eased her back on the love seat a bit, cupping her bottom in his hand and moving to kiss her neck and throat. She signaled her pleasure with soft cries and a whispered, "Yes". She ran her hand through the loose open collar of his shirt and ran her fingernails over the hair on his chest, furthering inflaming his passion. Letting loose from his embrace of her, he slid to the floor between her feet and lifted one leg, sliding his hand under the bottom of her dress and caressing her calves. He slid his hand down to her ankle and then taking the heel of her shoe in his hand, he helped her slip her foot out of it. Once freed from the confining shoe, he then slid her stocking down from her knee and removed it, free at last to touch the bare skin of her shapely leg. He lifted that bare leg and kissed the top of her foot, then ran his tongue up to the middle of her calf.
Elena felt as if she were on fire as he removed her shoe and touched the naked skin of her leg. It was delicious torment after so long without the caress of a man. She looked down at him on the floor between her legs and as he kissed her foot and stroked her leg with his tongue, she ran her fingers through his hair. She knew that there would be no stopping tonight...she must have this man. Her heart raced and she began to feel a slight dampness between her thighs.
Anton loved the feel of her fingers in his hair and as she touched his head, he bent to remove the other stocking and shoe and to kiss and fondle the freed leg as well. Elena responded by pulling her dress up a bit, exposing her legs from the knee down, a positively scandalous act for a lady, but which he found exciting in the extreme. Taking his boldness a bit further, he caressed up her exposed leg and then pushed his hands under the dress to caress her silky thighs all the way from her knee to her hips, then trailed his fingers lightly along her skin back down to her knees. He then rested one hand on each knee and looked up into her eyes, to gauge her approval of his forwardness. The burning look in her eyes and a slight nod told him to proceed and he gently moved her knees apart and pushed her dress up a bit further, exposing her creamy thighs.
Elena slid down a bit on the love seat and moved her dress up a bit further, exposing not just her legs, but her increasingly wet pussy. She was not accustomed to having a man at her feet and she was eager to see what his next move would be. She was ready to let him have his way with her and was reveling in the passion she felt for him.
Anton saw her move to open herself to him and bent to kiss her knees, then started working his way up her thighs. Gentle kisses, playful nibbles, and soft licking caresses with his tongue led him at last to her warm sex and it's soft thatch of hair. Scenting her deeply, he tentatively kissed her on her pussy lips and sucked them into his mouth, his tongue reaching out to part them and to taste her moisture. As he did so, he felt her fingers twine in his hair and heard her give a shuddering sigh. He then began licking and flicking with his tongue, her clitoris, and her hands formed fists in his hair, pulling as she moaned out her pleasure.
Elena had never experienced this pleasure before and she moaned out, "What are you doing to me?"
Anton chuckled a bit, causing his body to shake and would have pulled away from his licking and exploration of her pussy with his mouth, if not for the tight grip she had on his hair, forcing his face deeper between her thighs. Instead, he sucked his clitoris into his mouth and began to flick it rapidly with his tongue, causing her body to tremble violently with pleasure. Looking up, he saw her throw her head back, with her eyes half lidded and give a shuddering cry of joy. His experience told him that she was in ecstasy and to enhance her pleasure, he moved his hand to let him insert a long finger inside of her and began moving it in and out as he continued to tease her clitoris with his mouth. He also moved his thumb to press against the entrance to her ass and felt the muscles there relax and contract as her pleasure mounted.