Giselle sat on the edge of the chair, folding her hands in her lap, looking at nothing at all.
Her heart was beating rapidly. Her throat ached. These were all unfamiliar sensations - her body had never done this to her before. She didn't know what it meant. All she knew was that Robert had turned and left - and it had hurt.
Uncertainly she stood and crossed back over to the couch. Robert and Morgan had provided her with two pillows, a sheet, and a blanket. Not as comfortable as her bed back home, but cozy and warm, radiating with the thoughtful kindness of the man and girl that lived here.
Giselle picked up the book, the confusing book that had many words she didn't fully understand describing women in a world that utterly baffled her. Giselle tried to focus on the words but no meaning would come from them. Her mind had suddenly lost the ability to comprehend. It was almost like she had been stricken by whatever afflicted poor Pip, who was unable to speak and had clearly been very unhappy about it.
With a sigh, Giselle closed the book. She looked at the lamp, the strange lamp that didn't flicker and produced light but no heat. Giselle studied it, trying to figure out how to darken it. Understanding wasn't coming.
It had been much easier this morning. She'd simply drawn upon her music, the never-ending song that flowed through her skin into the world around her. It moved her voice and her feet, and she'd used words she'd never heard before, like "vacuum", and had instinctively understood how to use the magic broom.
Magic. This whole world was magical, with mysterious machines and wonderful buildings. She'd never used magic. Not like this, anyway.
Giselle had a running debate with Pip about whether what she did was true magic. He argued that her ability to get woodland creatures to help her, and how she could use common items to make beautiful clothing and decorations, and the songs she could compose at the drop of a hat - all of that was magic. Giselle didn't agree. She was simply very good at making friends and enjoyed making dresses and music. None of it was real magic, not like the wizards and witches she'd heard about.
But the dream... her songs had entered her dreams, as they often did, and this time showed Giselle a vision of love. That had never happened before, but when she'd awoken - had it really only been two days ago? - she'd known with absolute conviction and clarity that she'd seen the vision of her one true love. It was hard to deny there was something magical about that.
She shook her head and focused on the magic lamp. For the first time in her life, Giselle tried to force the music to come. She tried humming a tuneless melody, hoping a song about beds and sleeping would come from inside her, incidentally helping her to shut off the lamp. Nothing happened. Her song was strangely silent.
Frowning, Giselle resorted to examining the lamp closely. Underneath the shade, just below the glowing glass orb, was a small black knob. Giselle gently fumbled with it, found that she could turn it. The glass orb instantly went dark, plunging the room into a gloominess she'd never experienced before. At night, the forest she lived in was pitch black depending on how full the moon was. This village that Robert lived in was never ever dark - there were many glowing orbs all over the place, and even here she could see their light.
Giselle slipped underneath the sheets. This fabric was strange, a mixture of textures she couldn't understand. In Andalasia, cloth was either smooth as silk or rough and coarse. These sheets were something else, something in-between. Back home, things were much simpler, much cleaner, much clearer. You could touch something and instantly know everything about it. Here, everything was muddled. Giselle never knew what to expect from the things she touched.
Like the small curly hairs that rose from Robert's chest, the firmness of the muscle underneath the skin, the heat, the wonderful heat of his body, the rising of his chest as he breathed -
Giselle squeezed her eyes shut in an attempt to banish the memories. Prince Edward, that was her true love. He'd picked up her song instantly and made it his, and it had felt natural to sing with him. He caught her on his horse, and indicated that they should marry, and it had all seemed natural and wonderful to Giselle. This was what she'd been waiting for, what her song and her dream had prepared her for, and eternal bliss was only moments away.
Then the hag, and the strange muddled world of New York, where people stole from her and were not very nice to her and Edward was nowhere to be found. Amidst the confusion and loss, she'd been found by a man and a girl, and they'd shown her kindness and warmth.
Giselle shook her head savagely. It couldn't be love. It just couldn't. Robert already loved Nancy. Nancy was a lovely woman who clearly cared for Robert and Morgan. Nancy shared something special with Robert. Something that been five years in the making. Something that no one should interfere with.
There was a word for people who tried to interfere with true love. Wicked. If Giselle allowed herself to be carried away by the strange sensations of this strange world, if she tried to take Robert away from Nancy, she would become evil. She would be as bad as any villain in any story she'd ever heard. Robert deserved better than a wicked interloper. He deserved love.
Water was coming from Giselle's eyes, and it was very uncomfortable, very unpleasant. This world kept making her feel things she'd never felt before, and she didn't like it. She wanted to go back to how she felt in the carriage, approaching Edward's castle.
The image of Morgan came unexpectedly to her mind, walking up to her and asking, "Are you really a princess?" Sitting in Morgan's bed, talking to her about Pip, Morgan sitting up and kissing her on the cheek. That kiss, too, had been unlike anything she'd ever experienced before. It had felt... wonderful. Such strength in those small arms, such wonderment in those tiny eyes, such love in that little girl's voice.
Would it be the same, in Andalasia, with her own children? Giselle wasn't sure. And she was scared, terribly frightened that when she went back to Andalasia, she'd never feel a kiss on her cheek like Morgan's again.
Never talk to a man the way she talked to Robert.
Never feel love like she felt with-
"No!" Giselle spoke out to the gloom, to the emotions that kept wanting to overwhelm her. She had no right to feel this way. Robert loved Nancy. Robert would always love Nancy. When Giselle had begun to lean in towards Robert, her hand on his chest, drawn by his heat, he had turned away. He would not, could not, be hers.
A new sadness welled up within her, something hollow and without hope. Despair, she supposed. She'd read about it in Robert's book, about how those brave women overcame despair. It seemed impossible to Giselle. How could she possibly overcome this terrible emptiness and longing?
Giselle tried to reach for her song again, tried to bring the music out to lift her spirits. But the place where her song came from was silent and empty. It had been so easy in that huge meadow - "Central Park", Robert had called it - to bring out her music and let it flow into all the wonderful people around her. With Robert next to her, music had been effortless, easy.
Edward. Edward was coming, and he would bring his own music. When Giselle saw him again, he'd draw the music out of her again. Then she'd know for certain that he was her true love and this... this pleasant interlude with Robert and Morgan would fade, and Andalasia would beckon, and she'd return to the love her dreams had promised.
At long last, Giselle found her emotions coming under control. She focused on that one thought. Her true love would sing to her, stir the music inside her, and she'd find happiness and love in his kiss. In her heart and soul, she knew that to be true. All she had to do was wait.
But oh, oh the cost.
Giselle pushed those thoughts aside and allowed sleep to creep into her consciousness. Her last coherent thought before finally succumbing was to wonder if going back to Andalasia would be like falling asleep again.
"Robert," she whispered, "don't let me sleep."
Before she could wonder what that meant, her mind took her away to her dreams and the promises of love.