Although there were some pews located near the altar usually reserved for members of the clergy and gentry, Iago was more comfortable kneeling on the stone floor at the back end of the nave near the font and away from the majority of the congregation who were huddled close to the transept. Elena knelt reluctantly near him, she would have preferred to have sat in comfort as her station allowed. Magdalena knelt behind them at a discreet distance.
Iago closed his eyes and gave thanks for his deliverance from the gates of Hell. He had served the king fighting his wars in the Netherlands. Iago was grateful at having survived battle after battle, mostly unscathed with just a few scars to remind him of his ordeal. His thoughts changed to reflect his relationship with Elena. Was he in love with her? Yes, he believed he was. The feeling of joy that overwhelmed him each time he was in her presence said as much. She was beautiful, intelligent, at times willful just like him, and he smiled inwardly at the thought. He conjured up the moments before at the ancient gardens and felt a pang of guilt at having not withdrawn quickly enough when they had made love. But the moment had been too nice to end too quickly. The problem was their lovemaking was far too nice to end at all. The erotic thoughts were arousing him, and he was beginning to get uncomfortable kneeling. He wished they could be away from this dark place, although it seemed fitting he should pray. Pray that he had not inadvertently created an illegitimate life due to his selfish act. Iago was determined to make it up to her.
Elena too closed her eyes, but not in prayer. She was reliving the moments earlier in the shadows of theAlcazaba. She recalled the sounds, which had previously been ignored, the chirping of birds hidden amongst the trees and shrubs. She could now hear the rustling of leaves scattering from a light breeze, which had come in from the sea, and the sound of water rippling at a nearby fountain. She recaptured the scents of various flowers such as jasmine, orange blossoms and honeysuckle intermingled with the oils Iago had applied to his hair. Thinking now of the man who knelt inches away made her long to touch him. Beneath her skirts the warmth of his fluids trickling down her thighs and pooling at her knees on the flagstones was an erotic sensation making her swoon from sheer delight. Opening her eyes, she looked about, the light in the church was dim. The littlest amount of daylight reached the floor from the high windows and candles near the altar emitted a small amount of brilliance. Gazing at the surroundings, a few peasants knelt in silent prayer, rosary beads clicking in a monotonous tone. She reached down with her right hand and searched for the bulge at the front of Iago’s breeches, delighted in finding it so hard squeezed gently.
Iago lowered his arms from the praying position, placing his left hand over hers, entwining their fingers. He then raised her hand to his lips, lightly kissing her fingertips and glancing down by tilting his head slightly to his left side, Iago showed her a reassuring smile. Elena’s eyes sparkled mischievously in the dim light as she withdrew her hand to clasp the other in mock prayer. They stared at each other until the Mass ended.