"Goodbye, Professor Higgins. You shall not being seeing me again."
Her words rang through his head, echoing ominously in her beautiful, melodic voice. How could she have dared to speak to him like that? The cheeky girl. He'd given her everything-spent every moment of every hour of every day with her, teaching her,listening to her, watching her, even dressing her! And she'd thrown it in his face. He had been right. Women were irrational-they were nothing but exasperating, irritating, vacillating, calculating, agitating, maddening and infuriating hags. To hell with them!
"I can survive without you, don't you think I can?"
But could he survive without her? Eliza was, to his great reluctance, much more that an experiment. She was a part of his life, the little drop of sunshine in his morning cup of tea that made it taste just a little sweeter.
Henry switched on the gramophone as he glumly entered the library.
"…I know wha' lessons cost and I'm ready ta paiy. I won' give more than a shillin'"
He heard himself insult her, clearly relishing at the challenge that had lain before him.
"It's almost irresistible. She's so deliciously low, so horribly dirty. I'll take it. I'll make a Duchess out of this raggatail guttersnipe."
The gramophone switched off. Henry didn't move-didn't dare. He knew it was her by the way her heels clicked on the floor, by the soft scent that was so beautifully her that floated over to him. She'd come back. But, for how long? To pick a fight? To bid a final farewell to Pickering and Mrs. Pearce? Or to stay for good? Were he a religious man, Henry would have gotten down to his knees and prayed for her to stay with him forever. To live his life without Eliza was unthinkable-he could no longer know how he had survived without her, and he wasn't about to try again.
"I washed ma faice and 'ands before I come, I did."
A soft smile threatened to creep from his lips as he slowly sat up from his hunched position.
"Eliza," he breathed, sitting all the way up. He considered saying something, anything to convince her to stay, to be by his side forever, but, for once in his life, words failed him. Instead, he slumped back deep into his chair and tipped his hat over his eyes.
"Where the devil are my slippers?"
She smiled and slowly approached him, softly picking up the slippers that had been so viciously thrown from her hands not long ago. With an air of slight uncertainty, she stopped before him and carefully placed the slippers at his feet.
He tipped that up to look into her sparkling eyes. With a smile he stood, facing her, trying to read his expression.
"Eliza," he said again. They stared at one another, until a smile began to tug at the corner of her lips.
With a relieved laugh, she was pulled to him and swept up as he spun her round, laughing.
She gave a joyful cry as she was spun, laughing as she held to him, her body safe in his arms and she clung to him. He put her down slowly after a moment, worried he may dizzy her, still holding her tight to him, afraid to let go, lest she run away again. There was no way he would ever let her go.
He placed his forehead against her own.
"Don't you ever to that to me again, you silly girl."
Eliza smiled gently and embraced him tightly, whispering,