The next morning when Corinne awoke, she climbed straight out of bed and dressed in the clothes of the previous day energetically. She opened the bedroom door and was startled to see Eric sleeping on the floor.
Then she felt very silly. Of course she had slept in his bed: nobody else lived here and she would have seen any other bedrooms during her tour yesterday.
Oh, he was a sweet man for giving up his bed. Yet she would attempt to swap the sleeping surfaces today. She could hardly expect the treatment of a princess.
Throughout all of Thursday, Corinne had waited for Eric to be nasty to her: to mistreat her in some way. But that moment had never come and all she had seen in his eyes were heartfelt emotions and a bewildering happiness, seemingly produced by her company.
Having seen that, it was easy to believe that he well and truly cared for her. Also, Corinne sensed that Eric could have kissed her after the declaration she had asked of him. His self-restraint, in her view, showed a desire to look after her rather than merely take advantage of the fact that he had kidnapped the woman he loved.
Corinne wished, with startling suddenness, to see Eric awaken. She longed to see his beautiful eyes, in all their mystical loveliness, and yearned to watch them fill with all the emotion he felt for her. What an entrancing sight that would be.
Corinne was astonished by these desires. She barely knew the man and she was imagining being enchanted by him. How reckless of her!
But Corinne was certain, in the depths of her heart, that Eric was as kind and gentle and friendly as he appeared to be. It seemed ridiculous to suggest that the personality Eric had displayed was a façade.
And then the man awoke.
Eyes like tiger’s eye blinking several times before arriving at their normal rate of opening and closing. Gaze focusing on Corinne as she watched him, her breath held in awe as she drank in his soft, tousled hair, his round boyish features and those magnificent eyes. Left corner of his mouth curving upwards in a slow, infectious smile. Face beginning to glow with affection whose warmth pervaded her soul.
“Morning, my lady.”
She breathed out heavily, wondering romantically if she might faint another time she watched this sequence of lovely events.
“Good morning, Eric,” she responded.
“Could you turn around for a moment, my dear? I need to dress.”
“I’ll wait in the kitchen,” Corinne murmured, half worried that she would be tempted to snatch a look in Eric’s direction.
“Whatever suits you, my lady.”
Corinne entered the kitchen, sat down at the table and waited for Eric to clothe himself.
Shortly Eric was in the kitchen, cooking an interesting breakfast of fried bread drenched in whisked egg liquids. He cooked a slice each for himself and for Corinne, and sat with her while they ate like he had yesterday.
“You weren’t waiting for very long before I woke up, I hope?” Eric asked as they chewed the interesting breakfast which tasted great.
Corinne shook her head.
“One or two minutes. No longer.”
“That’s good,” Eric replied.
Corinne nodded. And then she recalled where he had woken up and said, “You needn’t sleep on the floor again. I can just as easily sleep between rugs.”
Eric grinned. “My lady, I assure you I could not sleep more comfortably than a woman.”
“You are most kind,” Corinne murmured.
The pair lapsed into a brief silence before Eric remembered the matter of Corinne’s clothes.
“I was going to buy you a dress today,” he said. “I’ll find a piece of parchment soon. Which colour is your favourite?”
Corinne beamed. And found that she could answer the question easily.
“Green. I like the co-ordination of green with my hair. What about you, Eric?”
Eric looked intently into her eyes.
“I like blue,” he murmured, his smile widening ever so slightly.
Corinne blushed and tore her gaze away from those captivating circles of delight.