Stop, I command myself. You need to figure out what the hell you’re going to say to her tomorrow.
I start pacing the small room, my shoes making a squishing sound against the wet rug.
I was too hard on her, I acknowledge. I sigh, knowing that in the morning I will need to apologize for behaving like a monster.
Cora is feisty, and I know from many different occasions spent with her that she acts a lot tougher than she is. The engagement dinner had been one of the most heart wrenching events I’ve ever witnessed. Cora trying so hard to stay upbeat for her guests but the whole time feeling lost about Marky.
Of course, the poor girl wasn’t thinking straight tonight. I cover my face with my hands and groan into them. Anyone can make a mistake about fire safety, especially when their mind is preoccupied with ending an engagement. She probably also freaked out with the storm and just didn’t think clearly. Yet, I was a complete ass to her.
“I have to apologize to her,” I say out loud to the quiet cabin. After taking another quick look around the ashy room, I shake my head and vow to control my fury in the morning when I issue that apology.
I blow out the candles and take them back to the kitchen. I place them in the sink to avoid them relighting and sparking another fire. Weary, I take the lantern and go back to the couch.
Soggy, I think with disdain. Fuck my life. I have to sleep on a soggy couch.
I let my glance shift to the ceiling above me. Maybe there are other rooms upstairs. At least I know where the sheets are now.
Carefully, just as I had done earlier with Cora pressed into my side, I make my way up the steep stairs. The lantern casts shadows on the wall as I make my way up, and I shiver against the cold. At the second-floor landing, I hear a sound from Cora’s room.
Maybe I should check on her. I’m worried that Cora may have inhaled too many poisonous fumes from the ink or the lighter fluid, and I use this as my excuse to peek in on the sleeping woman.
Quietly, so as not to wake her, I push open the already slightly ajar door leading into Cora’s room. I set the lantern down on the floor by the doorway, so it casts a soft light into the room – enough to see with but not enough to wake her.
In front of me, Cora is gently snoring, some of the covers now pushed off only to reveal her ample bosom rising and falling in peaceful sleep. I watch her for a moment, assuring myself it’s just to make sure Cora is breathing properly, but it’s also for the pure enjoyment of seeing her breasts rise and fall in such perfect rhythm. What do they taste like? I’ve had a sample and it was nowhere near enough.
My whole body tightens in response to the titillating vision, and I have to control my urge to cross to the bed and kiss her – this time between her legs.
But then, Cora rolls around in her sleep, mumbling something incoherent and then wincing, her face scrunching up in reaction to something in her dream.
I let myself watch her for a few more moments, unable to step away. But as I watch Cora’s fitful sleep, I realize that I can’t give in to the temptation to touch or kiss her.
No. I shake my head. You’ve already done enough. What kind of man takes advantage of a poor girl when she’s this vulnerable? You have no morals.
Chastened, I slowly back out of the room, determined to leave the sleeping beauty alone.
Back in the hallway, I pull Cora’s door until it’s only slightly ajar and take a deep breath. I have never been so tempted by a woman before, never wanted to give in to my lust with such intensity. How does she do this to me? I muse as I make my way down the hallway to another bedroom, trying to find a place to sleep.
The ring. The whole reason I came up to the cabin in the first place. Cora wasn’t wearing it, I realize.
Fine, I decide. I’ll just get it in the morning and be out of here first thing. If I stay, bad things are going to happen.
I won’t give up my sanity for a woman, no matter how beautiful and tempting she may be.
Resolved, I continue my search for a place to sleep, determined to stop thinking about the luscious girl behind the door.
What, where am I? I keep my eyes closed in the early morning darkness and try to wiggle around, but I’m being firmly held down by some sort of weight.