The Wages of Sin
Every so often I feel like being naughty, this is one of those times. If naughty upsets you, don’t read.
BTW, Robert Stuart, Lord D’Aubigny, was the commanding general of Louis XII’s armies. He was received by the pope who gifted him with a “fine grey charger.” A banquet was held in his honor that night by Cardinal Sanseverino, who had taken possession of Cardinal Sforza’s lovely villa.
The summer sun came in streaks through the curtains, casting dancing patters on the stone floor. Lucrezia sat up, noticing that Cesare was not in her bed. She pulled the sheet around her, and went to look for him.
He was putting on the finishing touches of his outfit—a blue velvet tunic edged in gold, stockings of the same blue. She watched, unseen, as he dabbed perfume on his throat, then allowed his man to put the finishing touches on his dark brown hair and beard.
His hair is so like Constanzia’s, she thought, that beautiful dark brown with touches of gold, and wondered where that thought had come from. Her cousin was the last thing she wanted on her mind.
She stepped forward, heedless of the impropriety of what she was doing. “Cesare? What are you doing?”
With a curt nod, he dismissed his man. Taking her, not gently, by the arm, he led her back to his bedroom. “What are you doing, Lucrezia? That could have been one of my men, you cannot afford to be seen in my chambers.”
“I wondered why you were not in bed, come back to bed, Cesare,” she said beseechingly.”
“Lucrezia, this must stop, last night was the last time. You cannot afford to risk a pregnancy, there is too much at stake. Your wedding is in September and then you will travel to Ferrara after the first of the year. Neither one of us can afford to endanger your wedding, this is a good match. Father needs it, and I need it. With you as Duchess, I will have an ally in the northernmost reaches of my dukedom. Even if you wish to risk it, I don’t.
“And what I want does not matter? Have you heard what he’s like? Wandering the streets at night holding his penis? Is that what you wish for me, a man who revels in the sewers? And for this you killed my Alphonso,”
She could no longer hold in the tears. “I have been so unhappy. I try to please God, but the more I try, the more he tries me. You and Father care nothing for how I feel, only your ambitions. Were I a simple milkmaid, I would know more happiness.”
“And you would lead a miserable life, and you know it. You’re a Borgia, you are made of sterner stuff. Give D’Este his children, then go your own way. He will certainly have a mistress, if you are very discreet you may take lovers, away from the eyes of Father. We are counting on you, Lucrezia, this is the best marriage we have made for you yet. Alfonso was not worthy of you; did he not desert you while you were pregnant?”
“Well, what about Constanzia?” Will you say the same to her when Father wants to marry her off? Or will you poison her husband again?”
He wanted to slap her, the look on his face gave him away, but he exercised that steely control he had cultivated over the years.
“If Father wishes to marry her, there is nothing I can do but support it,” he said, but she knew he was lying.Even if she was the more beautiful of the two of them, she was still jealous of her cousin. When she was young, her romantic heart had been enchanted when her brother and her cousin had become lovers. Then, as she grew older and had returned to Rome, she realized the depth of her feelings for Cesare. Now she realized she was in a rivalry she could not win. She was Cesare’s sister, and they loved each other, but Constanzia was the love of his life. Never mind the fact that she loved Constanzia, too.
“Come, put on your robe, I must try to get you back to your rooms without someone seeing. Sis, you must not do this again, I want you to promise me. Last night was the last time.” He held out her peignoir, and covered her with it.
“Cesare,” she said, but he cut her off.
“Whatever it is, Lucrezia, I do not want to hear it. I only have a few more days, then I must leave again. Do not make me sad because my beloved sister is unhappy.”
The gods were smiling on her, no one saw them as she stole back to her rooms. He kissed her swiftly on the lips, then pushed her into her room and shut the door.
He went, as was his custom, to visit Constanzia and see his son. Constanzia was newly awake,and looking delightfully tousled. Cesare was tempted to remove his clothes and have her right there, but he had business to take care of in the form of a visitor from the French Army.
“I want to remove that nightgown and have you, but alas, I cannot.” She looked at him and smiled as Carmilla brought a smiling Marco in. “Papa!” cried Marco and held out his arms.
He tossed him in the air, then hugged him close. “Would you like to see the solders, my son?” he asked, “Do you think your mother would be upset with me?”
“What soldiers do you mean, Cesare?” she asked, “Is there something you haven’t told me, for it is your habit to tell me everything, is it not?”
He sat down, and positioned Marco on his lap so he would not fall. “It is the French army, my love, they are camped outside Rome.Their commander, Robert Stuart, Lord D’Aubigny will be received by Jofre at the gate of Santa Maria Del Populo. Father will be handing out gifts, and I have arranged to have a pearl necklace presented to you. Cardinal Sanseverino will be hosting a banquet for him tonight in Sforza’s old villa. Wear that gold brocade that I love, and your blue silk riding habit this afternoon. We will bring Marco with us to the presentation, it is time he learns his papa’s importance in Rome.”
“Well, was this intended to be a surprise? How long will our guest be with us?”
“The Army will leave on June 28, and D’Aubigny and I will leave a few days later. I am learning that there is always last minute business that one never foresees. Oh, and Constanzia?”
“Yes, Cesare, what is it?”
“Do not flirt with him, he is married. And tell Lucrezia also.” He smiled his devilish smile to let her know he was teasing.
She smiled as she turned to go to her dressing room. “Oh, so you would have him think your mistress is a paragon of virtue? I am sorry, my love, I cannot promise that.” She shut the door behind her, then opened it and peeked her head around. “If he is handsome, I may not be able to help myself,” and closed the door again.
The summer night sky glowed dark blue, the stars twinkling overhead. The trees were in blossom, and little silver lanterns had been tied to the branches. The guests milled around, talking, laughing, drinking, waiting for dinner to start. Cardinal Sanseverino knew how to throw a party.
Constanzia wore her new pearls with her gold brocade gown. Carmilla had dressed her hair, wrapping her long braids with gold ribbons, and the pearls Calvino had given her on her wedding day. She touched them for a moment, remembering how he had placed them around her neck, then kissed them and whispered, “Ti amo.”
“So, where is this paragon of male pulchritude, cousin, I find myself in need of male company.” Lucrezia took a sip of wine out of her golden goblet. She was slightly drunk, her eyes bright, but not yet slurring her words.
“Shh, he’s coming, Lucrezia, is he not handsome? It’s too bad he’s married, he’d make an excellent husband. He’s almost as handsome as Cesare, I like Spanish looking men.”
“A wager cousin? Say five hundred ducats to the one he chooses for tonight.”
“Done,” Constanzia answered, “Now hush, he’ll favor neither one of us if he knows what we’reup to.”
Robert Stuart, Lord D’Aubigny was darkly handsome, surely there must be Moorish blood running through his veins, Constanzia thought. It had been hard for her to keep her eyes from him during the long afternoon ceremonies, but if she was not mistaken, he had had his velvet brown eyes on her. Fortunately, Cesare hadn’t seen, otherwise she would be locked in her room right now until Cesare saw fit to release her.
And he was coming over now, so she smiled, ignoring Lucrezia for the moment. Was there such a thing as a Frenchman who did not cheat on his wife? If so, the handsome Lord D’Aubigny surely was not one of them.
“Mademoiselle,” he said, his mustache tickled her hand as he kissed it, “It is my pleasure to see you here this evening. My Lord Cesare and His Holiness have made me feel very welcome. I must make more time for my next trip to Rome. He smiled, and the smile came close to breaking both girls’ hearts.
Constanzia came out of her reverie as Lucrezia jabbed her in the ribs. “May I present my cousin, the Lady Lucrezia Borgia?”
He bowed and Lucrezia curtsied gracefully, something she did very well. “It is my pleasure, Mademoiselle. I did not realize that the Borgia women were graced with such beauty. If they have not assigned us seats, would the two of you consent to sit with me at dinner?”
Oh, you are good, thought Lucrezia, you’d have both of us if you could, I know that look. It’s too bad for you that my cousin and I are as good as married. She thought for a moment, well, I do deserve one last fling and no one would ever know. I don’t think Constanzia can get away from Cesare all that easily, but we shall see. This is going to fun, I think.
They strolled through the crowd of people, arm in arm, talking to the Pope’s guests. If Alexander VI saw, he pretended he did not care. Jofre and Sancia saw, but only Sancia seemed to notice. “Excuse me husband,” she said, “I must go speak to our sister and our cousin.” So talented was she at deception, Jofre did not seem to notice. She wandered casually, seemingly without destination, to where Lucrezia and Constanzia stood, talking to a most handsome man. Make way, my sisters, she thought, the two of you are certainly not going to keep me from this jewel.
Sancia was self-confident, especially when it came to men. She approached D’Aubigny, and curtseyed low enough for him to see her décolletage. “I am Sancia of Squillace, my sisters must have forgotten to make our introductions.
Etiquette was one of Lucrezia’s specialties. “My Lord D’Aubigny, may I present my sister in law, Sancia de Aragona, wife to my brother Jofre.”
Sancia curtseyed again, “My Lord,” she said in her dulcet tones.
D’Aubigny raised her up, “Enchanted, mademoiselle, here I am surrounded by beauty, whatever shall I do?”
The party walked beneath the light of the lanterns, Lucrezia in front with D’Aubigny, while the other two girls trailed behind.
“Does he favor blonds then?” Sancia asked Constanzia.
“No, but to be frank, I think he simply favors cunt. There will be one thousand ducats for you if you win him, we each pay five hundred to the victor.”
“How delicious, let’s make sure Lucrezia does not win him. After all, she will be married in September, and then will travel in January to Ferrara. It would not do for her to get pregnant, whatever would her husband think?”
“Perhaps he will have each of us, after all, there are plenty of dark, quiet corners in this garden. I only need worry about Cesare finding out, he will take out his anger on my poor bottom, I am sure.”
“Well, we must not have that. Let us have the D’Aubigny and spare you ass.” Sancia and Constanzia laughed, amused by the angry look Lucrezia was giving them.
D’Aubigny found himself seated not between the girls, but between the Pope and Cesare during dinner. He had, at least, unhindered views of the girls. He saw the dark looks that Cesare was casting towards his cousin. Your charming bottom will be quite sore if you are not careful, he thought, perhaps I should not endanger it, though you do seem so tempting I just might.
My Lady Lucrezia, you are to be married in a few months, it would not do for me to put your marriage in danger. Perhaps someday I will visit Ferrara, and we can renew our acquaintance then.
So that leaves you, then. Signora Sancia. I hear that you are so skilled at making cuckold of your husband that he barely notices. I have heard that there are fireworks planned, perhaps they will provide us a diversion and we may steal away for a while.
Lucrezia and Constanzia each were quietly fuming when they saw Sancia leave with the handsome Frenchman. “Imagine that,” said Lucrezia, “I was sure it was going to be one of us. Jofre will pay no attention, he never does. I wonder how she manages it.”
“I don’t know,” Constanzia replied, “But Cesare is coming over here with a look like a thunder cloud on his face. I didn’t think that he saw our little flirtation, but he must have, for here he comes.”
“Excuse me sis,” said Cesare, “But I must borrow our cousin.” He took her by the upper arm and dragged her to his horse, and threw her up on its back.
“Cesare, what is this? What is wrong with you?” She tried to wriggle down off the horse, but to no avail.
“Evidently you need a little lesson in conduct, this is perhaps overdue. Behave yourself and I might decide to be kind.
He took her to the Vatican, marching her up a little staircase that was used mainly by the servants. He unlocked the door to his room, saying, “In,” and shoved her into his chambers.
She watched as he locked the door, then unceremoniously removed her clothes. He took her arm and whispered in her ear, “Did you think I would not notice? This lesson is long overdue. Your sweet little bum is going to pay for your sins. Fight me, and I shall take my sword belt to you. Do as you’re told and it will be over relatively quickly, though do not expect that I shall be lenient. Now,” he said as he sat on his bed, “Bend over my knee, and do not argue. I do not mind if you scream, but do not think about fighting me.”
She did as she was told, squinting her eyes shut and waiting for the first blow. When it came, it was much harder than she expected, as were the others that followed. She did not scream, but tears flowed from her eyes. She squirmed around, trying to find a place where his hand could not find her, but there was no such thing. All she could do was lay there and wait until he finished.
At last he did stop, but ran a fingernail across her sore, red read rear, making her jump. Then, to her horror, his hands separated her legs and she felt his fingers start to play with her. She realized, to her shame, that she was wet, and she was responding now to the ministrations of his fingers.
He pushed her off his lap, then she heard him unfasten his hose. He leaned over her, letting her feel how hard he was, then pushed into her and began to move.
He’d won in every way. Not only was she wet and slippery, her traitorous body was responding to him. Resisting him now would do no good, so she obediently submitted to him, not even trying to move away from him when he’d finished and collapsed on top of her.
He pulled off the rest of his clothes. “I know you took no pleasure in that, my sweet, but I did. I’m going to have to do this more often, you are devilishly tempting when your bottom is being spanked.”
The next morning a purse was delivered to Sancia. It contained a note that read: “You won this time, but do not count on it happening again.” Inside was a thousand gold ducats.