K--- nodded, looking up at him. His eyes were black in the torchlight, his cheekbones drawn, and his wet hair slicked straight back from his head. He looked like a Cossack warrior, the kind who pillaged villages and stole maidens.
Maidens like her, milkmaids and poor relations and women with few relatives.
She cleared her throat and quickly shifted off his lap to the seat next to him. "Thank you for warming me," she said, starting to shiver immediately.
An odd look passed through his eyes and she followed his gaze downward. Her gown was utterly soaked, of course, and unfortunately her wax breasts had not survived their bath unscathed. One was still in place, perkily holding up K---'s meager offering. But the one on the right, where G---'s arm had towed her through the water, had been squished. The misshapen remains had migrated down and were positioned just above her waistline.
She looked down, thinnking desperately what to say. "H--- calls them her 'bosom friends,'" she blurted out, saying the first thing that came to her head. "If you would please close your eyes..."
He did. "A gentleman would not be grinning like that," she scolded, plucking the freezing ball of wax from her ruined gown. The crushed one was a bit trickier, but she was able to pull her destroyed bodice down enough to pull it out through her stays.
The boat was close to shore by the time she had restored her bosom to its natural state. Luckily they were obscured from view by the fact that their torch had at last spluttered out, though she could make out curious faces lining the marble basin.
"All right," she said, hauling her bodice into a reasonable approximation of its former self.
He opened his eyes.
"Take that expression off your face!" she said crossly.
"It's this or look at you in such a way that everyone would know exactly what I'm thinking about," he said softly.
She glanced down and saw her nipples poking straight through the wet silk. Heat rose in her face. "You'd better give the discards to me," he said. "If the servants find them, they'd never be able to keep it to themselves."
She had them hidden at her side, but she reluctantly handed them over. G--- turned over the blobs of wax. "You don't need these," he said. "But they're fascinating, all the same."