Staring blankly at the ceiling, Eiri saw nothing. He turned onto his side and his focus slid onto the beautiful Venetian glass sitting on his bedside table. He sighed deeply and sat up; swinging his legs around and folding them underneath him in one fluid movement. With slightly shaking hands, he carefully picked up the glass and lifted it to the light. He gazed at the coloured lights dancing and twirling in it. Such a sight to behold beauty so pure it made you want to cry. But it didn't satisfy his aching heart. He longed to see her again, but was terrified all the same.

"Cossette..." just speaking her name out loud sent his heart fluttering like mad. She didn't appear before him. Feeling conflicted; he set the glass back down and gazed across the room at the portrait hanging on the opposite wall.

"Cossette... You are so beautiful... Why don t you like it when I draw you?" he muttered to it, looking for answers on the painted canvas. He glanced at the mirror next to the painting and stared in horror at his bare chest. The scar was getting bigger.

"I don't care! I ll bear this pain for my Cossette! I will go through this because I love her!" he exclaimed quietly.

He stared at his face, still not believing that he was a reincarnation of Macello Orlando, the artist who murdered his love 250 years ago. The idea made him sick and he wished it wasn't true, but he knew it was. Cossette would never lie to him. She would never make up such stories. Plus the way the cursed objects reacted towards him proved everything.

"I don't blame them," he said out loud. "What I... what he did to her is unforgivable. I deserve this torment."

Yet, try as he might, he couldn't understand why he had killed her. "Why, Macello? If you loved her so much, why did you cause her so much pain and grief?"

He started to hate himself. How could he be this man, this... murderer? He looked at his hands and imagined that they were drenched in her blood. He cried out in agony and clenched them, realising dimly that tears were streaming freely down his face.

"I'll show you, my love. I'll prove to you that I'm not like him, that I would never hurt you! I love you too much to do that!" he rambled whilst gazing at the portrait again.

"Eiri," the small voice spoke from the shadows. "Eiri, why are you crying?"

"Cossette, where are you? I need to see you again!" he called, peering around the room. "I need to ask you an important question!"

"Eiri, have I made you sad? Is the pain too much to bear?" her voice questioned sadly.

"No! No, Cossette. I want to know... Am I like him?" he shouted into the darkness, clutching at his bed afraid of the answer.

"Like who?" she asked him, wondering into view. She perched at the end of his bed, watching him with unblinking blue eyes.

"Macello..." he spoke the name carefully, knowing how much she hated him talking about him. She seemed unfazed so he continued, staring at her, taking her beauty in greedily. "Am I like him? Are we so similar?" he finished wondering and went quiet, seeing what she would say.

"You are in some ways," she replied distantly. His heart gave a painful twang. "But yet you re different. You re not mean... You re not selfish... And you aren t a coward," she added, making him feel slightly better.

"But how are we alike?" he demanded softly, not wanting to look away from her as if scared she would disappear if he did.

She stood up suddenly. "Why must you know?" she commanded, her tone of voice changing only slightly. "You must finish your task and bear the pain. You don t need to know anything else."

Eiri opened his mouth to complain, but she vanished before his eyes. Shocked and angry at himself, for making her mad at him, he bit his tongue. "I'm sorry if I offended you," he apologised to the room. "I won't ask any more questions from now on. I just want to spend some more time with you. Please come back."

Silence answered him. He was about give up when she reappeared beside his bed. A small smile played on her delicate lips.

Eiri beamed, feeling the happiest he had felt in days. He knew he shouldn't worry about anything else. As long as he had his Cossette.