Slowly, he lowered the hood to my shoulders. His fingers brushed my hair away from my face, smoothing the longer pieces behind my ears. His eyes never left mine, his gaze burning into me. He lifted the washcloth to my face. Instinctively, my eyelids fluttered shut. Gently, almost reverently, he pressed the soft cotton to my skin, removing all traces of my formerly exquisite makeup job.
I held my breath for as long as possible, taking in shallow, ragged portions of air when I couldn’t stand it any longer. My heart was pounding, the blood rushing frantically through my veins. Fresh tears threatened to spill from my still closed eyes.
Matthew raised the towel now, gently patting me dry. When I sensed he was done, I forced my eyes open. Those blue eyes still studied me intently. He wrapped the washcloth in the towel and dropped them both to the floor, never looking away from me. His hand reached for my face, his thumb tracing the line of my jaw.
“You are so beautiful.”
That comment was more than enough to trigger the waterworks. He brushed away my tears with his fingers, tipping my chin up so I looked him straight in the eye.
“Don’t cry for him. He doesn’t deserve it. He doesn’t deserve you.”
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