Waking up in the Grove

They were woken by the joyful twitter of birds in the grove; Britannicus’ body sheltering Hypatia from the cold, his hand cupping her breast. When she stirred, he gently swept the hair away to reveal the nape of her neck, planting a tender kiss on that lovely spot. Hypatia moaned with pleasure. Then he slipped out, careful to prevent the cool morning air from touching her skin and dressed quietly. She dozed a little longer, savouring the pleasures of the previous night before she opened her eyes in surprise. ‘Hot milk and honey, my Beloved, how thoughtful!’ she exclaimed, sitting up as he handed a cup to her.

‘I have more surprises for you, my lovely Lady Alexandrina!’ Britannicus had arranged for a tub to be carried into a sheltered part of the grove and filled with warm water by the faithful Harald. Martha laid out soaps and drying cloths – all done with the greatest discretion to protect Hypatia from prying eyes.

Britannicus led her to the spot within the protection of his arm, wrapped in the purple cloak. ‘Oh, how lovely!’ she cried delighted as the charming scene unfolded before her. Sunlight touched the dewed grass teeming with wild flowers, birds and butterflies. He held the cloak until she had safely stepped into the tub and reclined in the luxurious fragrant water, sighing contentedly.

‘Heavenly! Come join me, Claudio mio, there is space for two.’