"It is not a respectable offering, but it is heartfelt," he said, holding out his hands. "I can not promise freedom from want, but I can promise no want of love."
"You do me honor, sir," she replied, and her calm tone belied her wet cheeks. "And I could ask for no better. But --" His breath caught as she paused. "I must likewise do honor, to my father and forefathers."
He looked at the wall, the floor, his hands. "Honor to father Abraham indeed," he said. "I know my form displeases."
"Oh, God," she said, and her poise dropped from her with the harsh sound. "Nothing could be further from the truth. And no perfect Turkish lordling, no Sevillian merchant, not the Sultan himself would be more welcome to myself, or even to my father. It's only..." Her voice trailed off.
"It's only, it's only," he said, but he could not speak so bitterly to her, not leave her aching and heartsore. He looked up, met her eyes. "Sara."
She only held both his hands in her own cold ones and met his gaze steadily. "Will you be back, after you have run this errand?" she asked, almost conversationally.
"Always," he said.