"I have a loaf of bread for you," he said, and he placed it tentatively on the table before her.

She sighed and rolled her eyes to look at it. "A loaf of bread? Why would you do that?" She unfolded an arm to poke its crust with one finger. It was soft, and a dent was made there with the pressure of her touch.

"I thought you might like it," he said softly as he hovered behind the other chair as if in need of an invitation to join her at his own table. "I thought you would be hungry."

"Well, I am not." She poked at it again, and this time her fingertip unintentionally broke its fragile surface. The whiteness inside was even softer. She withdrew with a bothered frown and flicked a crumb from beneath her nail.

"Forgive me," he whispered and moved as if to take it away, but did not seem to be quite ready to come back that near to her. So for the moment, it remained there, broken and unwanted, and very likely already growing stale.

It only took another moment before she appeared to regret her coldness and with a second sigh she added more gently, "Erik, I prefer…" But that was as much as she could manage, and she pressed her lips together and glanced away.

"You prefer…?" he prompted her carefully and dared to put his hands on the chair back in front of him.

She shook her head and tucked her hand again under her arm. "…Another kind of bread," was all she eventually answered.

"Which kind?" He pulled the chair out from the table and moved around it, but he stopped before sitting. "I will get it for you. I would bake it myself if you would eat it. Only name what you would have of me and it is yours."

"You know what it is I want."

He seemed to sink with his hopes. "Christine…"

She lifted her eyes to look across at him for the first time and showed him that the black rings beneath them were once more bathed in tears. "Please…"

He released the chair, took up the loaf, and with it left her alone again in the dining room on the lake.

"Please!" she gasped after him, pushing up from her seat, but it had been too late before it had even begun.