Had he imagined it or had Corinne watched him wake up wearing an expression of awe? He dared not say anything in case it embarrassed her but he was curious.
After breakfast, Eric found a scrap of parchment and handed it to Corinne with a quill pen and a bottle of ink.
She scribbled down her measurements, blew on the ink until it was dry, folded the parchment in two and handed it to Eric.
At the tailor’s shop, the customers all looked miserable. Eric heard Corinne’s name and, surprising himself, felt a little resentment towards them. These people claimed to adore Corinne yet no one had tried to take her away from Richard before him. He doubted he could have been the only one who had noticed her discontentment in Dachshund Manor. He was also a little angry because Corinne was much happier with him, though in retrospect this was a silly thing to feel because the townsfolk did not know this.
Eric forced himself to calm down because the townsfolk could not truly be accused of anything unless they had played some part in Lord Dachshund’s mistreatment of Corinne.
The tailor was surprised by Eric’s purchase of a woman’s clothes - who could blame her? - but she appeared to believe him when he said the lady could not leave the house. After all, the weather was cold and snow lay everywhere, quite posing a threat to the delicate female. She proceeded to make a dark green dress out of soft, thick velvet.
The process lasted a few hours during which time Eric left the store and bought meat from the butcher and bread from the baker, aware that this may be his only opportunity if he intended not to leave Corinne alone in his home again.
Before midday, Eric was in the cottage with Corinne again and she was admiring the dress he had had made for her.
“I adore it,” she declared, stroking the material as she held it. Next, she had astonished him by kissing him on the cheek.
Eric found himself embracing the woman, closing his eyes as he imagined kissing her in return but stopped himself from doing so. He rapidly withdrew in case he had alarmed her but when she smiled at him to show that she had not been shocked or upset he could not resist hugging her once again.
“Oh, my lady Corinne,” he breathed.
He sighed and released her, smiling ridiculously widely.
“I shall... go to change now,” she murmured, her expression also ecstatic.
‘Wouldn’t it be wonderful if she fell in love with me?’ Eric thought, in a love-induced daze. ‘Wouldn’t life ... become a dream?’
‘Without a doubt,’ was the answer. But who could foresee the future?