Some aspect of Robert caused Violeta to relax instantly. Perhaps it was his hands: so gentle yet so confident in taking her waist. Perhaps it was his eyes: so expressive before the kiss that she had been mesmerised and was currently acting not of her own will but his. Or perhaps he exuded a soothing aura, as caressing as his voice and as powerful as his appearance. Violeta felt warmth all throughout her body and sweet, serene pleasure, and had the sensation that the moment was right - perhaps an explanation fo this could be that she felt the Powers That Be were smiling on the couple.

Robert withdrew, still looking serious though his eyes were twinkling like the diamonds around Queen Mariana's neck.

Violeta found herself doubting that a prince such as Robert could truly admire her, so asked she "You would kiss me merely to convince me I was special?"

Robert shook his head wonderingly. Murmured he "You are blinded by your low opinion of yourself - or your high opinion of me. You fail to see what most people recognise: that you are an incredible young lady. I kissed you, dear princess, because I am attracted to you. There is no other reason I would kiss a woman, apart from in the cases of those women who are my relations."

Quietly, said Violeta "You kiss amazingly."

"As do you," said Robert. "Now, may we dance?"

Violeta smiled. "I would enjoy that greatly."

Robert's hands moved to where those of Zack had rested mere minutes ago, and Violeta placed her free hand on Robert's shoulder. Together, they waltzed.

Violeta  felt as tough in a dream. Robert and her were gliding, a few inches above the floor, and when they twirled, the world twisted a little to echo the dance.

Soon, Violeta felt dizzy, and her heart was racing in a frenzied manner. She was too conscious of Robert holding her, too captivated by his gaze and handsomeness, and too amazed by the possibility of this absurd reality.

Robert began to look concerned. He pulled Violeta to one side of the room.

"You are sick," said he. "You tremble and you are weak, you look as though you may faint, your skin is pale and cold: what is wrong, dear Violeta?"

Violeta took steadying breaths.

"It will sound ridiculous, sir," answered she, "but it is the effect you have on me."

"That is both flattering and disturbing. Allow me to accompany you outside."

Not waiting to hear if she might object, Robert put an arm around Violeta's waist and guided her to the glass door which opened out onto the gardens.

He led her to a bench constructed from iron and bid her sit down. He sat beside her and turned her face towards him with one hand and took her wrist in his other in order to feel her pulse.

"The flush is fading and you have ceased quivering but you are still a little pale and your heart appears to be trying to say that you have physically exerted yourself."

Violeta laughed. "It is emotional exertion, sir."

"And why are your emotions exhausted?" asked he.

Violeta's face settled into a smile. "Because I admire you."

Robert looked moved. "My darling princess, my attraction to you is requited?"

"Of course," said she softly.

"Could you explain to me something, Violeta?" asked the prince.

"I will try my hardest," replied she.

"Why does every girl seem to adore me? Why indeed have I been called the most handsome prince in the land?"

"You do not know?" asked Violeta, laughing at the ridiculous nature of the notion.

Robert regarded her totally seriously and asked he "Would I ask if I did?"

Violeta was bewildered. "You do not know the effect you produce in us? Why, that amazes me!"

"Would you tell me?" asked Robert.

"I can only speak for myself, though I am certain other women feel exactly the same way, but yes, I will tell you. Or at least attempt to tell you. After all, who can really do justice when describing the senses?

"To start off with, your eyes are most captivating. They seem to capture and hold a woman. They are so ... expressive. When you first regarded me, I noticed warmth in your gaze and I wanted that warmth to ... strengthen, and even melt me."

Robert looked almost awed as she continued, but she was blushing furiously.

"And then there is your muscular build which causes a woman's heart to flutter. And your hands look to place themselves so gently, yet so confidently, on a woman's body that she cannot help but wish to feel your touch every day.

"Finally, though there is so much more you do subtly, you have the most beautiful voice. It seems to caress my ears and pervade my entire mind. It has an almost musical quality to it. I would love to hear you whisper sweet words in my ear every so often, even if they were mere nonsense."

Robert looked dazed. "Do you speak the truth?"

Whispered Violeta "I could not lie to you."

And he kissed her again, with such a great passion that she felt he was taking her to Paradise.

When he drew back, Robert chuckled in a mysterious manner and said he something that totally confused Violeta.

"We have unintentionally made our parents' plans for us easier."

The End

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