AT MAISON BLANCHE:
"I've been told a flat for you in the attic has finally been finished so if you would like me to show you I'll take you there," E.J. said.
"O.K." Sami said, a little fearful but less so once E.J. grabbed her hand and held it as they made their way up to the stairs to the heavy door at the top of the stairs that he started to unlock.
Sami held her breath as the key turned and E.J. opened the door to the dark room.
"After you," E.J. said, but this time his gentlemanly ways were not appreciated.
"No. You go first," Sami said frightened of the unknown, which E.J. sensed immediately after he had said the words.
"As you wish," E.J. said and kissed the top of her head. He stepped up into the room leaving Sami on the top step while he retrieved a lantern, lit it, and returned back to her.
Sami could have run away just then but she didn't think to. Perhaps it was her curiosity that compelled her to stay.
"Well, I checked, Samantha, and there are no monsters here," E.J. said with an impish smile.
Sami made a face as she thought, I hope so.
"A lot of dust and maybe some cobwebs, but if there are any spiders here they are no match for me," E.J. said making a show of putting up his fists.
Sami shook her head and let out a sheepish grin as she stepped up into the room to join him.
"Did I just get a smile out of you?" E.J. said teasing. "I think I did."
But Sami was too distracted by the room to notice. Sure there were plenty of dusty boxes, candles everywhere, bookcases stacked with old books and odd pieces of furniture including an old desk, benches and even a large globe that she would have to sort through later... but first her eyes were drawn to the far corner where the room offered a beautiful dark brown Jacobean four poster bed with a trunk to match resting at the foot of it, the most beautiful bed Sami had ever seen.
Sami just loved the wine-colored plush drapes that gilded the posts and its same-colored bedding. Despite her earlier fear of this room and how little she still knew of it she couldn't resist racing over to the bed for closer inspection and began running her fingers over the soft luxury it provided. She sat down and found the bed soft, but not too soft and smiled to herself.
"A little bit nicer than your accomodations last night, eh?" E.J. said as he set down the lantern and used all of his 6'4" inch frame to reach up and pull back some dusty curtains on a small window that seemed to let in a quite disproportionate amount of sunlight into the room for its size. The sunshine did more than just illuminate the room. It filled Sami with a feeling of warmth.
E.J. looked back at Sami and bit his lip as he saw the way the sunlight made her bright blonde hair sparkle before snapping out of it.
"And I believe this is your suitcase, Samantha," E.J. said dragging a heavy piece of luggage from a large walk-in closet that Sami had not yet spotted. "If you so choose however, you are welcome to any of the clothes here in this closet. They're a bit old and fancy and formal for just lounging around the house, of course, but they've just been cleaned and I'd have to say they are in pretty remarkable condition."
Sami's blue eyes appeared almost green as her eyes perked up at the thought.
"Although judging by how heavy that bag is of yours I'm not sure how necessary you will find the closet," E.J. said with a chuckle.
Next he pulled back a curtain along the wall opposite from the bed.
"Sorry this water closet doesn't offer more privacy, my dear, but it does work well and it looks like someone left you quite the array of toiletries and some fresh towels here," E.J. said as he picked up one and held it in front of his face for a second to take in the feeling of home it gave to him.
Sami didn't know why but she had always loved white tubs with feet and was glad this room had one. She couldn't wait to use the flower-scented bubble bath that had been left for her and soak for a while and relax. She couldn't remember the last time she relaxed between her breakup with E.J. and getting back together with Lucas and what happened the night she and E.J. were together and Lucas was saved and all the lies and heartbreak and wedding stress and now this awful honeymoon that followed. She needed to relax.
And as she saw E.J. holding that plush, white towel she couldn't help thinking back to their first their meeting when he was wearing nothing but one and laughed to herself. She started to mention it, but then she remembered E.J. would have no recollection of the memory.
"Hey, E.J. This is all... great... I mean... I never would have expected all this..." Sami tried to get out.
"Samantha, it is nothing," E.J. said. "You deserve nothing less and probably much more."
"That's nice, E.J.," Sami said getting off the bed and walking toward him. "But I have to say I'm rather confused exactly why you are letting me stay in this room and why you're being so nice to me. I mean if Stefano sent you to guard me and keep me prisoner here, I don't get it."
"Prisoner?" E.J. said just as confused as Sami had been. "I'm not here to keep you captive. I've been instructed by my father to protect you."
"Protect me?" Sami said exasperated. "From what?"
"From yourself," E.J. said to Sami's surprise.