After fleeing dinner, I unpacked and paced my room. Today had been an exciting day, but I still felt restless. I tried laying down to sleep, but my mind ran in circles. Frustrated I pushed back the covers, and slipped into my slippers.
At my window, I could see the almost full moon high in the sky. The moonlight view looked mysterious as the light could not penetrate the forest, yet still highlighted the waves in the sea. Turning from the window I paced around the room. I couldn’t sleep.
After a minute, I knew staying in my room would not help, so I grabbed a flashlight, my key and left. Using the light from the moon, I turned away from the main stairs and retraced my steps from earlier straight to the locked door.
Turning the knob, it opened easily. I knew it had been locked earlier. Carefully, I stepped inside the stairwell and closed the door behind me. Not wanting to get caught, I carefully listened.
I caught my breath when above me I heard a tight voice say, “Where is it? It should be here by now?”
Then I heard footsteps start down the steps. Carefully turning on the light, I fled down the steps as fast as I could without falling. I wanted to see who was out above me but my self-preservation kicked in. I could not afford to lose this job.
Running down the stairs, I came to two doors. One probably opened to the main floor, but where did this other one go?
Turning off my flashlight, I let my eyes adjust to the limited light and turned the handle.
Light flooded the stairs temporarily blinding me. When my eyes adjusted, I could see a nicely designed modern kitchen. Walking in, I closed the door behind me as I looked at the large stove, ovens, and pretty white cabinets. Finally, my eyes lighted on a kitchen island, where blue eyes twinkled at me.
Gasping I stepped back against the door as Caden smiled, held out a roll, and asked, “Hungry?”
“What are you doing here?” I asked.
He gave a small chuckle, “I could ask you the same thing.”
I stared at him as I tried to figure out what to say before settling on the truth, “I couldn’t sleep so I went exploring.”
He smiled, “And found the kitchen. Please come join me.”
“I don’t want to interrupt anything,” I demurred.
“Cassie, I just came for a midnight snack. Sally knows I tend to wander at night and always leaves me something. I would be happy for the company.”
“Okay,” I nodded, coming to stand across the island from him and taking the roll. “This is really good.” I devoured the roll.
“Yes,” he started to say more, but then the door behind me slammed open.
“Ah, Caden, darling, you waited for me,” Rose said as she walked by, dressed in a robe just one the right side of modesty. She walked over to Caden hooking her arm around his and kissing his cheek. Then she turned to me, “What are you doing here?” her voice frosted over as she spoke to me.
My brain struggled to comprehend all that had just happened. Though I had noticed Caden looked uncomfortable with Rose’s affection.
“Um,” I stuttered, “I, I found the kitchen.”
“So you did,” Rose said then dismissed me, “Now maybe you should find your room.” She turned towards Caden, but Caden stepped away.
“I’ll escort you,” he said to me.
“If looks could kill, I would be bleeding from a thousand wounds,” I thought, but said, “I don’t want to interrupt anything, I can make it back myself.”
Caden stared in my eyes. They pleaded with me, “No, I insist.”
Obviously, Caden did not know Rose had claimed him and I couldn’t resist his eyes, “Okay.”
“Oh fine,” Rose said, “If you insist we’ll escort the little mouse back to her room.” She took Caden’s arm and practically pushed him out the door.
“Um, the lights?” I asked.
Caden quickly came back, walked over to the wall, and flipped the switch. Brightness to darkness blinded me again.
I laughed softly as I waited for my eyes to adjust. “Care to share the joke, Cassie?” Caden’s voice sounded next to me.
I jumped as I demanded, “How do you move so quietly?”
He laughed, taking my hand, “Years of training.”
“Training?” I asked, trying to ignore the tingles his touch gave me.
“Yep, years of training of moving quietly,” he responded. I could just hear him grinning at me.
I opened my mouth to give a reply when Rose demanded, “Are we going or what?”
Caden responded, “Yes, Rose, I was just taking Cassie’s hand, since she doesn’t know the way around things well, especially in the dark. Why don’t you start up the stairs, Rose?”
I could not see Rose well in the darkness, but I could have sworn I saw her green eyes flash in anger before she turned and stomped up the stairs.
“Oh great,” I muttered, “Not here a full 24 hours and already have an enemy. Lucky me.”
“Don’t worry,” Caden whispered as he helped me walk up the dark stairs, “I’ll protect you my lady.”
Caden insisted on seeing Rose in her room first. She lived just down the hall from me. I could feel her rage as she walked into her room. Caden then escorted me to my room. I tried to open the door and realized I had been holding my flashlight the whole time.
Giggling, I showed it to Caden, “I had a flashlight, I could have made it back just fine.”
Caden chuckled, “Well I’m glad you forgot, otherwise, I might not have had an excuse to hold your hand.”
I blushed, looking down.
“Remember, Princess, if you have any troubles, I will be happy to serve you.” He then took my key, opened my door, and returned my key. “Now get some rest.”
“You too,” I responded as he softly closed my door.
After he left, I laid down and fell asleep. I dreamed of Caden and Rose facing each other. Caden stood in front of a wood door carved with roses and vines and Rose held a staff. She and Caden seemed to be fighting but I couldn’t hear anything. I woke just as I watched Rose shoot light from her staff at Caden.