Elle’s heart pounds harder against her chest as they near the wooden door at the northeast wing of the manor. You’ve snuck out of the manor and received more beatings than you can count, so you should be used to this by now. She tries to focus all her attention on Emile, but her attempts are futile. Once both feet are set on the ground, Elle smoothes down her wrinkled skirts, making sure that her petticoat is hidden beneath the cotton skirt of her daily work dress.
“Elle, dear, the moonlight cannot hide the look of fear upon your face,” Emile says. He flips the mass of curls behind her thin shoulders.
Elle lowers her head so to avoid the worried look on his face. “Then why do you bring me here every night? You know how I feel, Emile.”
On impulse, Emile grabs her by her shoulders and presses his lips against hers. He can feel the tension in her body as she struggles to free herself from his embrace. But, soon enough, she gives in and allows herself to feel the warmth of Emile’s lips against hers and the sweetness of his breath on her face. Feelings of pleasure and comfort envelope her body, dispelling all of the anxiety from the trenches of her soul.
“I will stay the night with you,” he whispers.
“Are you sure?”
“Yes Elle. Nothing will happen while I am here. I promise you that,” he says. He drapes his arm around her shoulders, and leads her over to the door.
The two lovers slowly make their way up the dimly lit, winding staircase to the attic room at the top. Fortunately, the only means of entering the tower from inside of the manor is through a short wooden door in the right corner at the foot of the stairs. The door leads into the parlor. But, most of the time it is locked by a heavy iron padlock. Elle can remember the several times Robert locked the exit door from the outside. One time she spent an entire week locked inside of the tower after she returned from the city market hours later than instructed. The only comfort she had was her mother’s rosary beads. She spent the entire lonely week studying it while the tears flowed.
Oh, get out of my head. She shakes her head to rid herself of that terrible memory.
Emile gives her worried look. “Elle, my love, what is wrong?”
“Oh—nothing. I’m just dreadfully exhausted,” she says, faking a yawn.
“Well, here we are,” Emile says. He pushes open the heavy oak door.
Elle lets him scoop her up in his arms and carry her over to the small cot beside the stone wall. He nudges himself closer to her than he already is and kisses her again on her lips.
“Elle, I cannot find the right words to explain my love for you. I just wish you would trust me,” he says. He then traces his fingertips over her oval face.
“I pray this night will never end.” She effortlessly unbuttons Emile’s blouse and lifts it over his arms and head.
Caught up in his excitement, Emile lets his shirt fall to the dirty floor below. He then unlaces the back of her dress and petticoat and eagerly pulls them down her thin torso. Normally, she would be humiliated, but tonight she feels strangely comfortable in her nakedness. She loves the way he lays on her cot and the way he looks up at her with that seductive smile on his face.
“I’ve been waiting for this moment for years,” she whispers. A strong feeling of bliss comes over her when she feels Emile’s cool, smooth hands against her body. His hands are wonderful and playful. They caress her chest, her small breasts, and down her torso to the bottom of her thighs. Elle smiles as she glides the palm of her hands up and down his back and around his neck. As she locks her right leg around his, she feels his body press harder against her. Elle lets out a muffled groan. Beads of sweat break out on their bodies.
“I love you,” Emile says over and over again.
She brushes the damp hair from his face. “I love you too, Emile. I want this moment to last forever.”
But it doesn’t. Both lovers fall asleep without even realizing it.