BP/JP: Profound Acts of Bravery #francesca #rafael


Who: Francesca and Rafael

When: February, 858 RoK

Where: An abandoned manor in the West

Rafael had thought his brother was messing with him when Miguel said, on their way to the abandoned manor, that Francesca Rossi was a sure thing. He'd laughed and shook his head, sure that the daughter of the Duke wouldn't even look twice at him, yet somehow he'd ended up here, the two of them wandering empty halls with her warm hand clasped in his.

The manor wasn't much different that the one Rafael's family lived in now, which was both unnerving, to see it abandoned and rotting, and also rather helpful for navigation purposes. It also could explain why he was so eager to head up the stairs and the take the hallway on the right, leaving behind the faint noise of laughter for the heavy silence of the east wing.  

"Bedrooms," he said, nodding toward the first room they passed. Beyond the door hanging cockeyed from the jamb, was the mildewing remains of a huge bed and a standing mirror, it's clouded glass a spider web of cracks.

Francesca chirped in muted fear at the mere possibility of a spider on that web. She drew closer, her fingers tightening around Rafael's even as her opposite arm reached across her body to grip his arm for extra support… and a nice handful of firm muscle under his sleeve.

"Shh!" he hissed into the darkness, pulling her to a sudden stop with a bold hand on her waist. He stared down the hall stretching out ahead of them, its details lost in darkness and shadows, and a close inspection would see mischief shining in his brown eyes as he asked, "Did you hear that?"

And one of two things were bound to happen - either she'd turn tail and run, which he doubted, or she'd want to see what 'it' was. And then he could lead her toward the lord and lady's quarters, which were likely right at the end of this hall, and then maybe he could find out for sure if his brother was lying to him . . .

She was, in fact, terrified. She had nightmares all the time about zombies, ever since she had seen one as a child. Her father had showed her a captive in the dungeons beneath their estate - usually, creatures were killed on sight, but the Duke made an exception, this once, because his eight-year-old daughter had taken to staying out past sundown with the servant children, running about in the fields, even though she had been warned a thousand times about zombies. Vampires won't hurt you, she remembered clearly from so long ago, but zombies will strip you down to bones. The fear had never taken hold until he had forced her to watch the beast swiping at her through the bars…

Obviously, it hadn't stopped Francesca from staying out late where she shouldn't have been, but it did make the fear real. But the fear was, in its own way, fun: adrenaline surged when Rafael exclaimed and his hand on her waist only heightened the thrill.

Luckily, she was with the son of the new Royal General, who had been taught to fight zombies his whole life! He would protect her if there was a creature over there, she assured herself, with a glance down the dark hallway.

"Go look," Francesca said, her voice tight and eyes wide, at first convinced that she couldn't possibly take a step. But when she felt him move even an inch, she immediately changed her mind. "No, don't leave me!" Instead, she devised a compromise that left him in the best possible position to leap into action if needed, with his arm held firmly in both of hers and with her face timidly tucked against his shoulder…

The hallway was still just as silent as it was when he'd started this ruse and Rafael had to really work to keep the smile off his face as he allowed himself to enjoy the feel of Francesca's body pressed so firmly against him. It was a new sensation, and one that the teenager found himself thoroughly enamored with, and he reached across to rub her shoulder in what he hoped was a reassuring way. "Hey, it's all right," he said softly into her hair - which smelled amazing. "I won't let anything get you." Because there was nothing there to get her, mostly.

He moved slowly down the hallway, allowing her to drag him to a stop here and there when she needed a second to gather her nerves again, and he was actually beginning to feel a bit bad for keeping the lie going as long as he had when the ornate double doors of the lord's chamber came into view.

With one last glance at the pretty blonde on his arm, Rafael reached out and pushed open the door - and let out a surprised shout as a clatter reached his ears, followed quickly by the skittering of claws against flagstones as a dark shape darted into the cold fireplace. "Bloody hell!" he cursed, stumbling backward and tripping over the hem of Francesca's dress. He landed hard on his ass and it was only once he was down there that he realized he'd dragged the Duke's daughter straight down with him.

With wide - and slightly horrified - eyes, Rafael reached for her, "Francesca? I'm so sorry! Are you hurt?"

The comical combination of Raphael falling while Francesca screamed and only grabbed him harder meant that when they landed, she was on top of him.

"No," she answered breathlessly. Pushing herself up on one hand on the dusty floor over Rafael's shoulder, Francesca took her time looking toward the fireplace and then around the rest of the room so she could enjoy how nicely their bodies fit together this way. He was younger than she was by a couple of years, but he didn't look like a child and he was certainly acting like the older boys…

When she looked back down, she finished with relief: "I'm fine. Maybe... it was just a cat." Francesca should have moved off of him at that point, but she didn't, quite. Instead, she shifted her weight carefully to put a knee against his ribcage so at least he could breathe. As she relaxed, her anxiety turned into a girlish giggle, and as she joked, her shoulders sashayed a bit and her long hair fell over her shoulder. "Not a creature, a cat! Oh, my heart feels like it's going to burst out of my chest!"

It really was a good thing it was a cat and not a creature, because there was little chance that Rafael could tear his eyes off of Francesca long enough to mount a defense, not with the way her hair brushed along her cleavage as she took a moment to survey the room. His hand settled on her thigh automatically as her knee slid upward and he found a laugh bubbling up in his chest in response to her giggle.

"Mine too," he admitted, the sudden levity breaking the tension and making the air around them feel somehow lighter. And then, in what may have been the most profound act of bravery thus far in his young life, Rafael reached up and pressed his hand to her chest, just above her heart. He could feel it beating against her ribs, thumping against his hand, but it was the soft swell of her breast under the heel of his hand that had his blood suddenly rushing southward and his tongue darting out to wet his lips . . .

"Can you feel it?" Francesca asked. She intended it to sound playful and flirty, but her own teenage hormones were eager to meet Rafael's and instead her voice came out lower, breathier. But she had no desire to hide what she wanted and play hard to get, not like most girls her age. To listen to them, all they wanted were high-born husbands-to-be, but she suspected that they were all lying for fear that their peers would steal their prospects. Maybe it was her high station, or the fact that her betrothal had been set for years, but Francesca felt none of those pressure and what she desired was desire itself. So, it took very little prompting from her partner for Francesca to show her interest; the hardening lump beneath her was telling enough. She arched her back just enough that her breast filled Rafael's hand, and then hers closed over his to show him how she wanted him to touch her.

He was so cute, and she'd thought so the moment she had seen him. She loved his golden skin and longed to run her fingers through his hair and those lips… not to mention, the glaze of lust in his eyes was more intoxicating than the strong wine their friends drank downstairs. His tongue peeking out was the most alluring thing she could think of and she couldn't help but lean down - hesitating just a moment unless he wanted to push her away - and then captured him with a kiss, urgent and enthusiastic.

Yes, indeed, he could feel it, but all Rafael could manage was an eager nod as Francesca guided his hand. The arch of her back had her weight shifting atop him, pressing her more solidly against his hips and suddenly his heart was racing and throat dry, and then she was leaning in for a kiss . . .

Francesca had been flirty all night but all of those little touches and teases hardly meant that she was actually interested in him. Now though, there was no doubt in his mind that she was and he quickly closed that distance between their lips in a hungry, and somewhat clumsy, kiss. It wasn't Rafael's first kiss - that had belonged to the cook's daughter back home - but that hardly meant that he had any sort of experience.

Still, there was something to be said for enthusiasm and Rafael had it in spades, pulling her closer with a groan against her lips. She tasted like the wine they'd drank before their excursion upstairs and her hair smelled like flowers and some sort of spice that he couldn't place, and it all added to the hunger that had his hands groping for the hem of her dress in a desperate attempt to reach her skin.

Francesca helped on the other end, shifting carefully so she could straddle him more comfortably, then grabbing bunches on fabric up by her waist and lifting until her knees and pale thighs were mostly exposed and welcome to his touch. His skin on hers was exponentially more exciting than through their clothes, and the erratic combination of gasps and moans told him as much and encouraged him to continue exploring.

Her hand lifted to his cheek, fingertips exploring his jawline as her mouth worked deliberately against his. The inexperience evident in his kiss was an exciting opportunity to play back and forth between finding a rhythm, slowing to a tease, and trying new techniques: the gentle press of teeth, suction on his lower lip…

Then Francesca pulled back, just enough that she could catch his eyes again. Everything about this moment was erotic to her - the masculine scent, the firmness of muscle, the sound of his groans, but more than anything, she wanted to watch him when she touched him. So as her hands ventured downward, she bit her lip in anticipation and whispered, "Is this your first time?"

Francesca's skin was so soft beneath his hands, silky and perfect, and Rafael found himself struggling to divide his attention between that and the kisses she was so generously gifting. As eager as he was to jump ahead to the actual sex - because there's where this was heading, right? - he managed to drag his mind back to the present, to take a minute to just enjoy her body pressed against him. So much so, that it barely registered anymore that they were on a dusty stone floor or that there were cobwebs clinging to nearly every surface of the room, or even that the door was hanging wide open and anyone who happened down the hall would see them . . .

Right then, they were the only two people in the world.

Following her lead, Rafael experimented when she prompted him to, taking the direction without being explicitly told to, but when she caught his lip and gently sucked tingles shot through his body and tightened his hands on her thighs. It took a second for him to process her question, distracted as he was by the rosy flush along her cleavage and the way she looked at him.

"Uh, yes?" he admitted, watching as her hands began to work the laces of his pants and hoping and praying that his confession wouldn't make her stop. "Is that--ohhh." Apparently it wasn't a problem.

"That only matters for girls, for some reason," Francesca said, clearly annoyed at the double standard, although the phrasing and her intonation left the question open as to whether she was speaking as a girl or a lover of them. But even if it seemed silly and arbitrary, Francesca had made sure her first time was with her betrothed, the King's half brother and future Duke of the East. Neither of them had known really what they were doing, but they had cared for one another…

It was the opposite that Francesca could offer to Rafael tonight - she couldn't like him any more than a few hours and a few drinks could account for, but she had a healthy appreciation for the act itself.

The look on his face delighted her, as much or more than the feeling of hot, hard flesh in her hands. "No, I'm glad. You're going to love it," she purred, looking downward with an appreciative smirk on her lips. She had blossomed into a kind of evangelist for this; sex made her happy, made everyone happy, it was joyful, and she was grateful to be its messenger.

She pulled the laces of her bodice loose, inviting him to do the rest while she concentrated - firm, but not too fast... Oh, he was going to be fun.