33 - Waiting Game

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April 24, 1478

Florence, Italy

When Catherine woke up, she was distinctly aware of a pressure around and on her chest, a warmth on her lower body, and then another bit of pressure on one leg. She frowned, eyes opening to the sight of the ceiling. It was the room she'd fallen asleep in, and she was under the covers well enough, but she wasn't alone. A glance down showed her it was Ezio, and a flicker of memory told her why. The smell of wine was an equal reminder of what had gone on, and her first reaction of annoyance settled down into pity. His head had found its way to her chest during the night-no doubt seeking the comfort-and while that might have sent her on a small tirade any another morning, this one she let it be. He had been in such pain, after all; he needed some kind of respite.

So, breathing in slowly, she reached up to stroke his hair gently. That was, in part, a selfish act of her own. She'd always wanted to be intimate enough with a handsome young man that they could just lie together, holding one another; her stroking his hair. And now she had it. Sort of. They were hardly intimate, but they had a trust, and she supposed that was enough. It had been enough for the young man she'd spoken of the night before once, and he hadn't had affections for her, so why would it be different for Ezio? Thus, she let things be and didn't dare give hope to herself; it only ruined a person. Instead, she kept her mind focused on things to come as she gently glided her hand through his locks.

She paused when he stirred, though, letting out a sigh. He wasn't fully awake, but his body seemed to curl around her more. His arms tightened and he snuggled closer, not yet conscience. Or no-was that-but it couldn't be. Yet, it was. Sympathy instantly vanished from Catherine's mind as she saw the smuggest grin she'd ever seen appear on his face as he kept his eyes shut while nuzzling more into her chest. She glared at once, but refrained from striking him-for now. Instead, she made a sweet cooing sound as she drew her fingers through his hair again, to which he purred at, acting as if it were instinct.

"Eziooo," she "sang" with only half sincerity, "time to get up."

"Aaaah, but it's sooo comfy," he sighed dreamily, nuzzling some more.

"Well, you're going to have to find another source of comfort this morning you perverted ass!"

She took far too much joy from suddenly grabbing his pony tail and yanking him up. He yelped, grabbing at the back of his head. The motion, unfortunately, caused him to slump off the bed, and his hands grasped onto her shirt for leverage. She promptly pried them free, though, and flung him to the floor. He made a pitiful sound, but she only glared and then slipped out of the bed, making sure to "bump" him a little too hard so he grunted. He no doubt gave her an equally pitiful look as he sat up while she waltzed past, straight to the door.

"Yeesh-was that all really necessarily? I thought you were enjoying that," he pouted, but she only had ice for him as she grasped her door handle, pulled the door open, and put her other hand on her hip.

"Out. Now."

He sighed as he trudged over as if the weight of the world on his shoulders, "Can I not stay a little longer and rest-to enjoy the company of a lovely lady?"

"I need to change so I can work today. And no. You may not have any of those luxuries. Now get out before I shove my boot up your ass and throw you out," she growled and motioned into the hallway. "You lost that chance with your little stunt. Now out."

"And what if I say no?" Ezio chuckled as he suddenly stood straight and stretched so he had an arm on the door, the other pressed on the wall behind her, and her body between it and him. Her heart raced a little with him so close, but managed to keep her cool as best she could and raised a brow. Her gaze briefly flicked behind him, and she smirked-ever so slightly.

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