Eden pulled back the curtains at the widows and tied them messily. Morning sun streamed in and the room glowed yellow and violet. Sophia lay sleeping, only half covered by the bed linens, an arm thrown over her head.
Eden pulled a pencil from Sophia’s bookshelf and found a sketchbook she had left in the room the week before. She sat down in a chair at the bed’s foot and drew.
After some minutes, Sophia stirred. Reaching for Eden in the bed beside her and finding nothing, she rose halfway up and squinted into the light falling on her from the window.
“Eden?” she asked, shading her eyes and peering at the window.
Eden smiled, put aside her drawing and crawled back across the bed to Sophia’s side. She took the girl in her arms and buried her face in the hair that fell across her neck.
“I love you, Sophia Abington,” Eden whispered contentedly. “And I never want to leave this room again.”
“Not even for breakfast?” Sophia smiled.
“Breakfast? It’s half-past eleven.”
“Lunch then,” said Sophia and she sat up and shivered. “Help me dress?” She looked around the room, saw her variously discarded clothes from the night before and blushed.
She gathered her under things and put them on, with Eden’s help lacing the corset. She stepped to the wardrobe for a fresh skirt and waist as Eden buttoned her own rumpled shirt and set to work on her tie before the little looking glass by the door.
Eden turned to see Sophia holding the drawing she’d done while the girl was still sleeping. She smiled. “It’s you of course.”
“Eden you can’t—you must promise me you’ll burn it!” Sophia said, a line of worry crossing her forehead.
“But it’s beautiful. You’re beautiful. I can’t burn it.” And she took it and laid it between the pages of the sketchbook and told Sophia, “I’ll be quite careful with it. I promise.”
“I’d rather you burned it,” Sophia said, but in a less insistent tone, this time.
“Trust me.” Eden held the sketchbook tightly.
Arm-in-arm, they walked to the square for lunch.