Aphrodite. I taste the name on my lips. The Greek goddess of love and beauty. I know I should be more than flattered at the insinuations the Duke of Albany is making, and I am the first to thank him for his kind gesture.
But the thought of having a painting of myself in the flesh, in the nothing but the flesh, makes the colour in my cheeks rise and I worry about the effect it will have on my reputation. If the Duke of Albany, this grandchild of Bohemia, heard about me across the Continent, what would be said if I were to accept his offer and drop my clothes to be painted in all my naked glory?
He is bold with his movements and has not let the matter rest since he arrived not two days ago. I adore his firm touch; tilting my head and arching my back as he whispers my name in my ear, but he presses me for an answer when I have not yet decided.
Decisions are not my forte and that is hardly the first time I have said that. I have not been coerced to make my choice before I was ready, but rather the Duke showed me some of the artist's work. He is truly talented, and he shows great love for the female form. The Duke and I have discussed what is appropriate attire for a woman of my stature, and he assures me that I may wear as many or as few garments as I please.
The commissioning of the painting will only begin once the artist and I have met and considered at length what my stance shall be, what backdrop I want behind me and what I want to represent in this painting. I have to admit that now I have accepted the Duke's offer I am rather excited at the prospect. Of course I shall have a few of my handmaids with me for propriety's sake, but should the Duke care to observe one of the sittings, it cannot be faulted to have just the one other presence, can it?
I have thanked the Duke in the only way I know how, and though he was due to leave this evening, it seems he longs to appreciate my gratitude for a while longer. This is not a decision I believe I'll regret.