Afterwards, sometimes she dared to remember being in his arms. How, after only clumsy couplings with others, she and this man had straightaway come together as a perfect fit. How they moved together, in effortless synchronicity and with such deep pleasure. How when their exercise left them exhausted, she cried a little, so Vinius wiped her eye with his index finger, murmuring kindly, 'No tears!' before they both fell into profound sleep. How her troubled mind had drowned in peace, her body melting against his... He was dead. No point speculating. Cherish the past for what it was, an ideal, a signal that human happiness might be a possibility. Raise your standards. Make a decent life, Lucilla. Life is all there is. If it's only once, it must be good... He had been right. If perfection only happened once, that was better than never. Now nothing for her would ever again entail complete despair. So thank you, Gaius Vinius Clodianus, son of Marcus, thank you for your good deed, a deed that brightened somebody's dark world.