Chapter Seven

"Who was it mommy? Who?" Her eyes are wide with excitement.

"You're going to find out soon, don't worry. Shhh." Her mother places a calming hand on her forehead.

Eva gasped. She felt behind her for the door handle, but voice hissed out of the darkness.

"Don't be scared darling, I just need to talk to you."

"Who... Who are you?" Eva stuttered in reply.

The shadow moved, and a form was gradually revealed. With a mocking bow, the figure introduced itself.

"Prince Leo, at you service." He gave a wicked smile, took her paper hand into his with a deceptively soft grip, and brought it to his lips.

Eva snatched her hand away indignantly. "Don't touch me, Prince or no."

"Oh, a fiery one. Well I'm afraid, Princess, you're all alone out here. Nobody to kiss your feet on command."

"Well I wouldn't want your lips dirtying my shoes anyway. The words you speak do not become you, I'm afraid. Don't expect me to fall at your feet." Eva was equally mocking back. 

He leant against the wall, holding himself up in front of her with one arm. His free hand gently stroked her cheek.

"Excuse me, sir." She said, emphasising the last word with distain. She twirled sideways, out of his reach. "Now if it please you, explain why you are here, or leave."

"Oh I'm sorry, did I frighten you?" He enquired, teasingly.

"I don't think that there's any way I can answer that without insulting you, which I certainly wouldn't want to do as, you know, you seem rather sensitive. Delicate, even." She spoke lightly, but crossed her arms to indicate her seriousness.

"Well you're clearly good at picking up on things."

"Unlike you." Was her terse answer.

"I'm here... Because you are taking advantage of my hospitality, and I would like to get to know my guest a little better. How's that for an answer?"

"I would prefer the truth, to "an answer"." She said, imitating his voice.

"Well firstly, that isn't what I sound like, and secondly, that is the truth. Why? Do you suspect me of some ulterior motive? I'm just being a gentleman. I'm the Prince, soon to be King. It's my job, isn't it?" His voice seemed slightly bitter.

"Indeed. Coming to my room late at night probably isn't the best way to make me feel at home, though." She said sarcastically. "So, goodnight."

"I see, I am to be scolded from a room in my own castle." He voice was sweetly mockingHe said, but lightly.

"It would seem so. Now, oh kindly sir, I wish you sweet dreams and golden slumbers." Her tone was patronizing, till it turned steely and firm to say "Leave."

Prince Leo gave a simpering smile, tilted his head, and left. He didn't look at her, but he switched on the light as he closed the door.

Blinking, Eva had the feeling of waking from a dream. As those surreal few minutes were already taking on a strange quality, Eva found herself doubting they had even happened. But when she went to the bed, she saw it there on her cover. A translucent paper rose, a dazzling golden colour, freshly coloured in.

She smiled to herself, put it on the mantlepiece under the mirror and got ready for bed.

As she lay there, she realized he couldn't see any stars outside the window. Another disturbingly true-to-life detail, for if she was in a castle in her room, there would be no stars outside these windows.

The End

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