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‘Tis new to thee

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“Let me help you with that,” Matthew said, taking the ivory handled brush from Diana’s hand. She sat in front of the little vanity table, the top littered with ribbons and combs. “There’s a trick to it. We’ll have to find you a lady’s maid I suppose.”

“I didn’t expect dressing my hair to be such a production,” she said.

“You’re used to elastics and all those accessories, dry shampoos, leave-in conditioners. It’s simpler here, in a way, but it takes some skill.”

“I begin to see the appeal of a hennin and wimple,” Diana laughed. It was easy to laugh with the pleasure of Matthew’s touch on her skin.

“Speaking from experience, those are overrated. And the wrong century, as you know,” Matthew said.

“I didn’t think you’d look like that,” Diana said, tilting her head towards his dim reflection in the looking-glass.

“Like what?”

“I thought you’d be wearing round hose or slops, that I’d hardly be able to find you in all the fabric. You look like Armani’s take on Ren Faire,” she said, gesturing at his close-fitting dark trousers. He hadn’t put on his doublet yet and had the collar of his linen shirt open so she could see the hollow at the base of his throat.

“Are you disappointed, my medievalist? I assure you, this is period typical—if you have the legs for it,” he smirked. Something about the time-walking had suited him, something about the time they found themselves in made him comfortable in a way she’d never seen before and she was sure it wasn’t simply that they were temporally safe from Peter Knox and Gerbert.

“Not disappointed at all. Just wondering how much of a peacock you are here. Will you wear a pearl earring? With your neck, I think it would suit you,” she said, smiling, feeling his hand stop suddenly in its steady strokes.

“We’ll never leave this room if you keep this up, Diana,” he said. He’d liked it, her imagining him, the way she let her desire for him into her voice with her affection. “And then you won’t be able to find out how well I fit in, what this world is truly like.”

“You’ll still be Matthew, whether it’s Roydon or Clairmont or de Clermont. You fit in everywhere and you stand out everywhere, whenever you choose. But I would like to explore and it would be a pity to put all your hard work to shame,” she said, tossing her head very gently, to show off the braids he’d woven and pinned. He cursed under his breath Jesu and leaned in to kiss the nape of her neck, making her shiver. The air brightened around them, every dust mote lit to a silvery sheen; Matthew saw, swore again, and stepped back.

“We need to find you a proper teacher before you cast a spell you can’t conceal. Now let’s go hand in hand,” he said, taking hers to help her stand.

“You know him here?” Diana said.

“I know Kit better. But you can’t know Kit without knowing Will,” Matthew said. “You’ll see, soon enough, you’ll see, my witch.”