My adaption of The Glass Coffin by the Grimm Brothers
Dusk came with the bursting of the sun as it touched the horizon. The world was bathed in a yellow-orange light that emanated from the glowing orb. Although the light from it was brilliant, it still paled in comparison to the glow of Evelyn.
She sat on the stone sill of the window and gazed at the ground so far below. She had been working in one of the castle’s spires, but she sat on the high sill without fear of falling. Evelyn faced the setting sun. Beams of light brightened her amber hair and made her golden eyes sparkle. Her cheeks were flushed from cleaning the guest bedroom. She had sat on the sill to allow air to reach her for it was blowing meekly and could not cool the room.
The door behind her opened, but Evelyn did not turn to see who it was. All the guests had left. Only her and her brother remained within the walls.
“Hello, Evelyn,” Tristan said softly.
She turned towards her brother and smiled. Tristan had inherited beauty and charm from his parents, just as she had. His hair was a shade darker than Evelyn’s, it was more auburn than amber, but the two featured the same goldenrod eyes. After he surveyed the room, Tristan returned the smile and sat down next to her on the sill.
“This looks nice,” he said. “You’ve been working hard all day. I’m glad to see you rest.”
“Thank you, Tristan.” Evelyn replied.
“I should be thanking you. If you hadn’t cleaned up after our guests, I would have had to do it. You know how much I like cleaning.”
Tristan laughed, and Evelyn joined in. Tristan despised cleaning and made no effort to hide it from anyone.
“It is fine, Brother. It is the least I can do after all you’ve done for me.”
“No, I mean it, Tristan. Please, let me show you my gratitude.”
“There is no reason to. In all honesty, you are more of a help than a burden to me. I don’t know what I would do without you here.”
Evelyn’s cheeks turned a brighter red. Tristan was too kind to her. She had felt like his burden since the day their parents took to their deathbeds. Ever since that day Tristan had taken care of her because of Mother’s last request and his kind heart.
“Don’t think about it anymore. I need you just like you need me.”
Evelyn nodded. She turned her attention back to the sun which had dipped below the horizon while she was speaking with Tristan. A gust of wind rushed into the room and raised the hairs on Evelyn’s naked arms.
“It is getting chilly.”
Evelyn was surprised that Tristan noticed the goose bumps along her forearms. She looked to his eyes and tilted her head slightly in confusion.
“Here, take my coat. It will keep you much warmer than your dress, even though it is not as beautiful.”
Once again Tristan brought a rush of hot blood to her cheeks. He had a way of doing that to her - always saying that which made her happiest. Evelyn looked down at her dress. The design was simple, yet because of its simplicity it was the loveliest piece of clothing she owned. Pearl-colored silk wrapped around one shoulder, forming a strap. It fit around her breasts snuggly because of a gold (emblem) that gathered the fabric tightly at her diaphragm. From there, the dress flowed freely to the floor and a slit in the silk revealed one ivory leg. Upon that leg rest the golden anklet her mother gave her.
Tristan stood up and removed the jacket from his shoulders. Evelyn shook her head at him, but he ignored her and placed the coat around her. The jacket was warm and smelled faintly of him. Evelyn brought her knees to her chest and wrapped the jacket tightly around her, discretely breathing in its aroma.
“Evelyn?” Tristan asked apprehensively.
Tristan shook his head and chuckled a bit. “Never mind. Forget I said anything.”
Evelyn’s eyebrows furrowed. Her brother was never one to be indecisive. Tristan always thought before he spoke and not finishing a spoken thought was out of character for him.
“What is it, Tristan? You know you can tell me anything.” Tristan looked deep into Evelyn’s eyes, and his anxiousness was evident to her. “Please tell me.” She said.
Tristan sighed. “I know I’m not always clear on my thoughts and emotions, Evelyn, and I’m sorry for that. If I ever appear to be distant, know that that is not how it truly is. I am closer to you than I have ever been with another person-”
“And I with you.”
Tristan nodded. “I…” he trailed off, not knowing how to say whatever it was that was on his mind. Evelyn could see how much he was struggling and moved closer to him. He looked up at her again.
“I know this may be strange to you, but I think you feel like I do.”
“Tristan, do not be afraid to speak freely with me.”
“If that is what you desire-”
“Alright. Evelyn, the two of us are so alike and so happy with each other that I don’t think either one of us will be happy if we get married. Marriage would mean we would be separated, and I ‘m not sure of my ability to be away from you.” The words came out on a rush, as if he had forced them through him. Evelyn’s eyes widened in shock but not in horror.
“What brought about this thought?” She quietly asked him. Tristan turned from her. Evelyn immediately regretted asking the question until he spoke.
“Well, I was thinking of your birthday coming up and realized that you become a woman this year. I knew that on your birthday, I would need to search for a good man for you to marry. The thought of it has been bothering me for days now.” He faced Evelyn once again, but was no longer apprehensive. “I want you to stay here with me, Evelyn. I don’t want to give you away.” Evelyn looked at her brother and smiled.
“I did not plan on leaving. I will stay with you for as long as you wish me to, and perhaps longer than that.” She frowned. “The thought of my birth date had been troubling me as well,” Evelyn whispered.
“Pleased to hear it.” He said.
Tristan positioned himself closer to Evelyn and reached for her hand. She looked down at it before returning the gesture. They sat together on the edge, watching the sky darken. The earth had turned quiet other than the occasional hoot from an owl searching for its breakfast.
“Evelyn,” Tristan said, breaking the silence. “Do you really want to stay with me?” Evelyn shook her head at him and laughed softly.
“I would not tell you I did if I did not.” She said. He nodded, demonstrating that he understood. It looked as if he was about to speak, but was cut off by the sound of a horse’s hooves. The two looked down at the dirt path leading to the castle entrance and saw the source of the sound. An unknown rider approached the doors to their fortress.
“I wonder who’s here so late into the night.” He said. “Were you expecting guests?”
“No,” she replied.
“I wasn’t either.”
The distant sound of knocking came to them from the entrance below.
“I should probably see who it is.” Tristan said.
His eyes grew soft as he looked at her. Reluctant to leave and to answer the door, he lingered beside Evelyn until the knocking became persistent. “I’ll be right back.” He told her.
“Evelyn! Come down and grace our guest with your presence!”
Tristan’s voice rang through the castle, even though he was all the way downstairs. He had a powerful voice, but he usually talked in whispers with her.
“Coming!” She called back to him.
Evelyn rose from her perch at the window and made her way downstairs. She walked through the great wooden doorway into the hall. Torches were burning along the wall, lighting her way. Their maid always came round to light them before leaving. As she made her way down, Evelyn examined the intricate stone walls that lined the stairwell. A dark stone here, a light one there, and all the monochrome colors in between made these stairs a focal point of the house.
When she reached the bottom, Evelyn walked into the long entryway. It branched off into fifteen different rooms and four staircases. Inwardly, Evelyn sighed. She and Tristan had no need for such a large home, other than when relatives and friends were staying with them. Even when they had guests the castle was far too large, but she could not complain. Her mother and father gave the house to Tristan and Evelyn in their will. It was gift borne of love and that was all that mattered.
Evelyn finally reached the front doors and saw her brother standing with the stranger. The man’s clothing was a bit ragged, as if he had been traveling for days without stopping. His eyes were bright though, and he did not seem to mind the constant travel he was surely doing.
“Evelyn this is Wolfe, our guest.”
“Delighted to have you here.” Evelyn said politely.
“Wolfe will be staying with us tonight. He’s been traveling for three days now without a decent place to stay.”
“Yes, milady.” Wolfe said. “I have gone without decent food as well. I was just telling your brother my story. It is fascinating really. I will have to tell you it soon.”
Evelyn nodded, but inside she wished the man would not be here long enough to tell his story. His speech was smooth, and words dripped from his tongue like honey dripped from the hive of bees. Evelyn did not trust Wolfe – she did not trust him at all.
“Well,” Tristan said, “we should probably begin cooking. It may take awhile to get the stove started. Wolfe, you can wash up if you want to. Afterwards, you can meet us in the dining room. The washroom is three doors down on the right. The dining room is the opening right across from the washroom.”
“Will do.” Wolfe made his way towards the door but stopped halfway there and turned to them. “I want to thank the two of you again for allowing me to stay. I know it must be difficult to welcome a stranger into your home.”
“It’s no trouble.” Tristan and Evelyn said in unison. They smiled at one another. Wolfe finally reached the washroom, and Tristan turned to Evelyn. “What’s bothering you?” He said.
“What do you mean?”
“I mean, when you saw Wolfe you seemed to draw within yourself. I know how you are. I’ve lived with you my whole life. Now tell me what it is that’s worrying you.”
Evelyn sighed. “Nothing is wrong really. It is just; Wolfe gives me a strange felling is all.”
“Would you like me to send him away?”
“No, no. That would be rude to invite someone to stay in our castle only to send him packing moments later. Besides it is only a feeling, and the man seems as if he truly needs a good place to stay.”
“You are so sweet, Evelyn. You always put others before yourself.” Tristan kissed her on the cheek.
Evelyn gently griped her brother on the arm and said, “Come. We must begin cooking. Otherwise it will be midnight before dinner is ready.”
The two of them headed to the kitchen arm in awkward arm. It was different for them to be intimate with one another, but it was a good kind of different. Upon reaching the kitchen Tristan immediately started the fire, and Evelyn prepared the food. She listened to the sound of her brother’s knife hitting flint as he attempted to catch the tinder beneath the firewood ablaze. He grunted in irritation when, after fifteen minutes, the tinder had yet to flame.
“Do not fret, Tristan.” Evelyn said. “I am sure it will light soon.”
“I hope so.”
After a few more minutes had passed without any luck, Wolfe sauntered into the kitchen much cleaner than when they had first encountered him. Yet, he still held the same smug smile on his face that Evelyn despised.
“Is there a problem?” He asked.
Tristan turned from the stove and to the stranger standing in their kitchen.
“No. No problems.” Tristan said. “Although, I thought I asked you to wait in the dining room for us?”
“You did. I just thought you two might enjoy some help. I hadn’t seen any servants around here, which surprised me by the way. I figured, by the looks of this castle, that the people living here were royalty and sure to have servants.”
“No. We are not royalty. We have a few servants, but they are more like family to us. They do not live inside the castle, however. They live with their families on the grounds. We allow them to go home at night. It does us good to serve ourselves. That way, we do not lose who we truly are.” Tristan said.
“Well spoken, friend. I hope you don’t think I meant that negatively. I enjoy this much more than staying with royalty. Trust me. I know this to be fact. I’ve taken refuge at the castle of a king before. Not the most pleasant stay to say the least.” Wolfe smiled.
“I can believe that.” Tristan smiled back.
“Would you like me to help you?” He asked Tristan.
“Yes, actually, I would.”
In minutes the two men had the fire lit and had begun helping Evelyn cut, mix, and cook the food. Sleeves had been rolled up to elbows, and strong forearms were exposed. The three worked hard as they finished cooking the meal. By the time they were done sweat was beading on Tristan and Wolfe’s foreheads. Evelyn was glistening from light reflecting off the tiny droplets that decorated her body. They were all smiling, even Evelyn. By now she had forgotten about the bad feeling Wolfe gave her.
“It smells delicious.” Wolfe groaned.
“It does smell good.” Tristan said.
“Well, I would like to thank the two of you for helping me make the delicious-smelling food. Go on and sit down in the dining room. I will bring the food out to you when it has finished cooling.”
“Thank you, Evelyn.” Tristan said.
Wolfe walked inches from her face and said, “Yes, thank you.” He took hold of her hand and gently kissed her rough knuckles. Her head shot to Tristan, but he did not seem to be troubled by Wolfe’s actions. To her surprise, he was grinning. Evelyn discreetly pulled her fingers from Wolfe’s grasp.
“You are quite welcome. Thanks to both of you as well.” She said as she turned her back to her brother and Wolfe, who was once again a stranger to her. The two of them left the kitchen and headed into the dining room, laughing and talking joyously. When they were out of sight, Evelyn gathered three plates, three sets of utensils, and three wine glasses. She placed them before her, examining them closely.
One day, her mother and father had been looking around the street market in town. Her mother had found the plates at an older gentleman’s stand. She had such exquisite taste in life. Even in death her mother probably retained her refined tastes.
Evelyn missed her mother fiercely. She longed for the warmth of her mother’s arms; for her harmonious voice which sang her to sleep every night as a child. She missed her father as well. They both held a place deep within her heart. The food had cooled as she dreamt of the days when her parents still lived.
Evelyn grabbed a silver tray and placed the plates, utensils, and glasses of red wine upon it. She brought it to the dining room where she found Wolfe and her brother sitting across the table from one another. Wolfe appeared to be telling Tristan a story, and her brother thought it was hilarious. “What is so funny?” She asked the two of them.
“Wolfe was telling me about the time he got lost in the Iridian forest. He was lost in it for three days.” Tristan began laughing harder.
“Hey! It was cloudy. I judge direction by the sun and stars. If I can’t see them, I can’t tell which direction I’m going. If I can’t tell which direction I’m going, then that means I’m lost.” Wolfe was laughing, too.
“I really do not see what is so funny about this,” Evelyn said, but she began laughing as well.
“What’s so funny is that he didn’t think to stay in one place. He decided to travel anyways.”
“I was in a hurry. I needed to be in (name) town within the week. I did not have the time to wait for the weather to clear. Although, I only succeeded in making myself more late and in fulfilling my desire for a battle scar. Which, by the way, I cannot show off to the ladies like I wished.” He looked at Tristan. “Well, I suppose I could.”
The two of them began laughing hysterically again, and Evelyn just shook her head.
“Well, I am going to bring out the food. I obviously do not want to hear the rest of this story.” They only laughed harder which made her mumble, “Immature boys.” With that, Evelyn returned to the kitchen. She brought out the (meat), (potatoes?), (vegetables), (fruits), and (dessert).
When Tristan saw (the dessert) he said, “I don’t recall fixing that.”
“Neither do I,” said Wolfe.
Evelyn smiled at them. “You shouldn’t remember making it. I made it while you two were cutting the vegetables. It has been hidden.”
“It looks delectable.” Wolfe exclaimed.
“Again, I have to agree.” Tristan said.
“Well, neither one of you will receive dessert unless you eat your dinner.” Evelyn told them teasingly.
“Yes ma’am,” they said simultaneously.
Evelyn took her place at the head of the table. Tristan was to her right; Wolfe to her left. She glanced over and saw Tristan looking back at her. He grinned and took her hand. When she turned to the left she saw that Wolfe’s body had become rigid. His jaw clenched and unclenched. It was like he had gone from happy traveler to angry beast. Tristan must have noticed as well because he said, “Is everything alright? The food isn’t to your liking?”
With obvious restraint, Wolfe shook his head. “No, the food is delicious. As I suspected it would be.” He gave a half-hearted smile.
“Then what is it that troubles you?” Tristan asked.
Wolfe played with his food a bit before replying. “I’m not feeling too well. I believe the best thing for me is a good night’s rest.”
“Would you like to stay for dessert?” Evelyn said.
“I don’t believe it would be a good idea. If you could just point me to my room I would be extremely grateful.”
“Do not be silly. We will lead you to your room. Otherwise, you would be sure to get lost. I know I have before.” She laughed feebly.
Wolfe’s jaw flexed again. “It is not necessary. I will be fine.”
“We insist. What kind of hosts would we be if we didn’t even show you to your room?” Tristan said.
“You two have done more than enough for me.”
“Well, I can see that our guest is going to be stubborn. I suppose he has yet to hear about us.” Evelyn said to Tristan. The two of them rose from the table and motioned to Wolfe. He sighed but stood up to follow.
“Thank you.” He said.
“It is our pleasure.”
Evelyn wrapped her arm around Tristan’s waist and started off towards the nearest staircase. Wolfe trailed behind them.
“Are you sure you are going to be okay? Do you need medical attention?” Evelyn asked him.
“As I said, I just need a good night’s rest. I haven’t had one in...” Wolfe paused as he counted on his fingers. “Hmm, I cannot remember how long it has been since I’ve slept in a bed.” He chuckled, but his face still held its angry expression.
“We are almost to your room now. When you lay down in this bed, you’re sure to feel better instantly. And if that doesn’t heal you than the view in the morning will.” Tristan said.
“I sure hope so.” Wolfe replied. The three of them had reached Wolfe’s guest room.
“You will sleep here. A bathroom is right down the hall. If you need anything else, our rooms are around the corner. They are the first doors on your left and right.”
“Thank you both again. I can’t accurately describe how much this all means to me.”
Evelyn and Tristan said goodnight to Wolfe and headed to their rooms. When they reached Evelyn’s door, Tristan did not come right out and say goodnight as he usually did. He stood with Evelyn for a moment, holding her hand tightly in his. “What is on your mind, Tristan?”
He turned his head sideways before answering, “I’m really not sure.”
Evelyn squeezed his hand before letting it drop at his side. He frowned but did not turn to look at her. Frustrated, Evelyn grabbed his face in her hands and forced him to look into her eyes. Shock materialized on his face at her boldness, but it quickly faded into a much softer expression.
“Evelyn,” he whispered.
He smiled and took her face in his hands. Slowly he brought her head towards his, watching her eyes the entire time for any resistance. Evelyn made sure none showed on her face. He moved in closer until their lips brushed against one another’s ever so slightly. She felt his lips twitch into a smile before they completely covered hers. Tristan wrapped his arms around her waist and pulled her body closer to his. Finally, Evelyn broke away to breathe and Tristan laughed.
“What is so funny?” She asked.
“Nothing is funny. I am just happy. That’s all.”
“Oh,” she said which made Tristan laugh harder. Evelyn looked up at him but could not help from laughing as well. “Shhh, be quiet. We are going to wake Wolfe.”
Tristan stopped laughing, but the huge grin never left his face. “You’re right.” He said.
“I know I am.”
Tristan took Evelyn into his arms and squeezed her tightly. “Goodnight and the sweet dreams to you, Evelyn.”
“Good night and the sweetest dreams to you, Tristan.”
They walked to their doors, put their hands on the knob, and turned to look back at each other before going into their separate rooms. When the door was safely closed behind Evelyn, she ran to her bed and pounced on it. She rolled onto her back and surrounded herself with sheets and pillows. Her lips stretched across her face in a wide, silly smile that she could not get rid of. Evelyn grabbed one of the pillows and silently screamed into as she kicked her feet off the bed.
Once her fit of delight was over, Evelyn reflected on the strangeness of her day. It had begun like any other day. She had started the morning by fixing breakfast and saying good-bye to guests. Then she began cleaning which lasted until sun down, just as it normally does. Everything seemed to change as night fell. It was then that her brother confessed of his love for her, which was a wonderful thing. Then the stranger, Wolfe, found his way to their house and asked for a place to stay. She could not say his coming was a bad thing, but she still had a strange feeling that something was not right with him.
Evelyn shook her head at herself. She was being absolutely ridiculous. Wolfe had been nothing but helpful, polite, and entertaining all night long. Still, she could not shake her feelings about him. She looked out the window, checking for a full moon but found no moon at all.
She sighed. Evelyn suddenly realized how exhausted she felt. Her day had not been normal, and a normal day alone wore on her. She closed her eyes tightly, attempting to block out the world and herself. More than anything, Evelyn wanted to sleep but found she could not. Her eyes gradually opened. By now, Evelyn’s eyes had adjusted to the dark and she could see her bedroom as plain as day.
Her eyes grazed over her four poster bed at the silk draped over and around it. The carpets on the mosaic stone floor all matched one another and were the same scarlet color as her sheets. Little gas lanterns sat on the end tables directly to the left and right of her bed. They glowed dimly, barely lighting her cozy room. In the corner sat her armoire. It was made of cherry wood and, again, matched the color scheme of her room. In the opposite corner sat three full bookshelves. They, too, were made of cherry wood. Scattered all throughout the room were various paintings and sculptures, most of them created by her brother. Tristan had always had a talent for the arts.
Strangely, Evelyn kept her room in disarray. Clothes littered her floor and chaise, books laid everywhere, and paintings that could not fit on the walls were carefully arranged on the floor and propped up against chairs. Evelyn rolled her eyes at herself. Even she, at times, had to admit she made no sense. She constantly cleaned guest rooms that were rarely used, but spent no time trying to arrange her own haven.
She tried to fall asleep again, this time barely letting her eyelids touch. Sounds of the night blew into the doors that led to her balcony. Wind rustled through the trees, horses gently neighed from their stables, and an owl hooted loudly. Too loudly, actually. Evelyn opened her eyes and sat up in her bed. The owl hooted once more and Evelyn realized why it sounded like it was hooting in her ear.
She dangled her feet over the edge of the bed and stretched her feet until they reached plush carpet. Evelyn tiptoed over to the open doors and peeked around the edge. There, on the iron that enclosed her balcony, rested what looked like the same tawny, Barn Owl her and Tristan had seen earlier that night. It turned its head a full one eighty to look into her eyes. Evelyn stood frozen in place, afraid that if she moved the owl would suddenly take flight.
Instead of flying away, the owl cocked its head sideways at her and fluttered down from its perch on the iron railing. Evelyn’s heart pounded, but she stayed completely still. When it talons were firmly on the ground, it looked up and studied her. Evelyn caught her breath in her chest, trying hard not to move. After several seconds, the owl began hopping towards her. Slowly, it made one hop after another until it had almost reached Evelyn, but she giggled, and the bird stopped. Evelyn immediately stifled her laughs in fear that the owl would leave. As soon as she stopped laughing, it resumed its hopping.
It clumsily hopped until it was directly under Evelyn’s hand, and then looked at her with huge, bright eyes. The Barn Owl looked no older than a few months, and it was absolutely adorable. She laughed again, and the owl puffed its feathers up in surprise. Suddenly, it hopped up and hit her hand. No longer afraid the little one was going to fly away, she reached down to pet it. The little bird made a funny noise and nudged its head against her.
Evelyn felt peace now that the little bird was there. She felt her eyelids getting heavy as the little owl cooed at her. It was as if the tiny owl was telling her, “Go lay down. I will watch over you.” It gently nipped her finger before flying back to its perch on the rail. Evelyn rose from where she was crouched and returned to her silk-laden bed. Almost immediately after her head hit the pillow, Evelyn fell into a deep sleep.
Beneath dark eyelids, Evelyn beheld a different world.
An enchanting melody resonated through Evelyn’s bed chamber and woke her from sleep. The music was soft and sweet, like a musician was pulling the taut strings of a harp with expertise. It was mesmerizing, and it raised her from the warmth of her bed. Evelyn’s feet brushed against the cold, stone floor, but even it did not wake her from her trance.
Instinctively, Evelyn moved towards the door that exited in the hallway. She pushed it open silently and stepped into the hall. The carefully composed tune was coming from around the corner. Evelyn allowed herself to be lead to Wolfe’s door. She put her ear to the thick wood and listened closely. The hypnotizing music was coming from his room.
Without thinking, Evelyn pushed the door open and walked in. Wolfe was sitting in a chair by his bed, a harp in hand. His cacao bean-colored hair waved down around his shoulders as he plucked the melody from the harp’s strings. Evelyn edged closer to him, not wanting to interrupt his song. He chuckled softly and looked over at her.
“Hello,” he said. Evelyn just stared at him.
“I am sorry if I woke you." He glanced down to the harp. "This is one of my many hobbies. Playing the harp. It’s quite relaxing.”
“It would seem that way,” Evelyn whispered.
“It is. Perhaps I could show you sometime? That is, if you wish to.”
“I would enjoy that.”
He smiled. Wolfe said no more, but continued playing his song. Evelyn sat on the edge of the bed and listened carefully to every note and chord. Once the song came to an end, Evelyn rose. She blinked a few times, as if she was just waking up.
“Is everything alright?” Wolfe said. Evelyn looked around the room, wondering what had possessed her to walk into a stranger’s bed chamber.
“Yes, everything is fine." She stuttered. "I am truly sorry for disturbing you, however.”
“Do not apologize. I was the one who woke you. It is your job as a hostess to know what goes on in your house.” Evelyn bowed her head.
“Thank you for your kindness and for allowing me to listen." Evelyn looked back to the door. "I should be off to bed. There is a lot of work to be done tomorrow. Good night, Wolfe.”
She began to walk out the door, but Wolfe grabbed her wrist before she could get away.
“Wait,” he said. “Let me to walk you to your room.”
“I will be fine.”
“No, I insist.” Wolfe walked to the door and stood by it, waiting for Evelyn to follow. She sighed and reluctantly went with him. They walked in silence until they reached Evelyn’s door.
“Thank you,” Evelyn said.
“It is no trouble whatsoever.”
She pushed in the door and walked inside. Wolfe followed her.
“May I ask what you are doing?” Evelyn said.
Wolfe looked back at her and gave a small side grin. “Your room appears intriguing from the hall. I had to get a closer look. Forgive me?”
“As soon as you take your leave, I will forgive you”
He laughed and continued his examination of her room. Wolfe stopped at the bed, ran his fingers over the silk sheets, and closed his eyes.
“Are you quite finished?” Evelyn asked in irritation.
“Evelyn,” she shuddered at the way her name fell from his lips. “Do not fret so. I’m sorry if I have offended you.” He stepped outside her door. “Do you forgive me now?”
She shook her head, but laughed. In all his creepiness, there was still something about him. “Yes, I forgive you. Although, I do need my sleep. Tomorrow will be long.”
“Before you retire to your bed, I have something to ask you.” He paused and looked into her eyes.
“I know we have not known one another for any time at all, but I feel as if I’ve known you my entire life.” Wolfe put one knee on the floor and looked up to her. Evelyn’s heart pounded in her chest. She blinked over and over again, wondering what could have possibly possessed Wolfe to ask her such a question at such a time. Was he hallucinating? Had the food poisoned his mind?
“Evelyn,” he pulled a ring from his pocket, “Will you marry me?”
“You carry that with you?” Evelyn asked in disbelief.
“Well, yes, but…”
“Doesn’t that seem a bit strange?”
“Evelyn, I just asked you to marry me. Are you going to give me an answer?” He asked, anger creeping into his voice.
“I believe you already have your answer. I have not known you for any time at all. You said it yourself. How can you expect me to say yes when I lack even the most basic knowledge about you? For example, your last name.”
“It is Baird. Wolfe Baird. Now will you say yes?” He snarled.
“I most certainly will not, and I think it would be best if you returned to your room. In the morning I believe you will find that you made a mistake due to a fever. Once you realize that, I do hope you come to apologize. It would a great pleasure to be on good terms with you once again. Now, for the last time, good night.” Evelyn grabbed the doorknob and attempted to shut the door, but Wolfe was pushing against the other side.
“I will not take no for your answer.”
“You will have to,” Evelyn said, grunting as she pushed against the door with all her might. The door didn’t even budge. “If you do not let go of this door and return to your room immediately, I will scream for Tristan. He is only across the hall, you know.”
“I am quite aware of his location, thank you. And by the by, you can scream all you want. I will not mind.”
Evelyn sneered at him and opened her mouth to scream. She let her vocal cords rip, but no sound left her mouth. She looked to Wolfe, but he only smiled. Preparing to try again, Evelyn licked her lips. She looked Wolfe dead in the eyes, forced her mouth open, and nothing happened. He laughed at her.
“Are you ready to say yes?”
Evelyn shook her head violently, making herself dizzy.
“Why you ungrateful, little-” Evelyn found herself restrained by Wolfe’s rough hands. He reached out and grabbed her, then forced her body to his. She found her face smashed against his chest, which made breathing difficult. Evelyn reached up and dug her nails into the soft flesh of his arms. Wolfe growled at her as he threw her to the floor. Slowly, Evelyn backed away from him like she would back away from a rabid animal.
Obviously, she had made too quick a movement for Wolfe's liking because he picked her up from the floor and grasped her firmly in his hands again.
“Would you like to change your answer? I would highly suggest it.”
Evelyn found her voice again and whispered, “Never.”
Wolfe gently removed his hands from her arms and moved them to her cheek. The place where Evelyn’s face was flushed from the effort to keep Wolfe away, he tenderly caressed.
“Then I will simply have to put you in a position where you can’t refuse. Since you have no regard for yourself, I will take other measures.”
Evelyn’s eyes grew wide. “What do you mean?”
“If you will not change your answer now, then I can assure you that you will find out tomorrow morning. So, what will it be?”
“My answer,” she said, taking deep breaths between her words, “has not changed.” Wolfe took his hand from her face and wrapped his arm around her waist. “What are-”
“Shh,” he said.
He swooped Evelyn up into his arms and laid her in the swirls of her sheets.
“Then sleep now. When you wake in the morning, I will give you one last chance to change your mind. Until then, goodnight.”
“How am I supposed to fall asleep with you still…” Evelyn trailed off as her eyes grew heavy. The last thing she saw before she slept was Wolfe walking out of her room. Harp in hand.