Henry felt a familiar warmth inside as he heard her voice. He sat back in his chair, listening to her move closer. Peering his eyes open, he watched her move in front of him. He couldn't help but let out a small smirk as she held his slippers.
"Thank you Eliza. You see? I've taught you remarkably well, one could-." He stopped talking as she leant down slightly. Eliza did not remove her eyes from his.
They entranced him, they broke him.
She removed his shoes and placed them to the side.
He couldn't help but notice how delicately her hands moved.
Now where did a cabbage leaf learn such natural grace! They did not look so utterly dirty as when he had first noticed them. She slid his slippers on with so much effortless intimacy that he couldn't help but feel a sudden surge of feeling from within.
But then it was all over. She simply got up with a smile and left the room.
Damn that insufferable woman! He thought. Who was she to entice a man and just leave him? Surely he had taught her about conduct with gentlemen. Well, perhaps not. Blast it, she wouldn't listen anyway.
Higgins wiped his forehead with his handkerchief, he adjusted and tried to compose himself, feeling highly embarrassed.
"Are you quite alright Higgins?" Cornel Pickering was stood at the door.
"Alright? Of course I'm alright, why the devil wouldn't I be alright?" He stuffed his handkerchief away. "Simply tired Pickering, tired."
"Well, Miss Eliza has returned to us! You can stop worrying now old chap!" Pickering gave a large smile.
"Ah yes. I thought I saw her come in."
"She talked about meeting your mother again later. I suppose we will be having two for tea hmm? Things back to how they should be Higgins. I'll tell Mrs. Pearce to put the dinner on!" With that Pickering almost bounced out the room. It was clear the day's excitement had got to him.
Silly old fool he thought. Acting like she is some sort of angel returned to earth. More like the devil thrust back to us from Heaven.
This made him smirk.
I won't be a part of her prudish games. I'll simply go about my life as before.
It was dinner time. Henry and Pickering were seated at the table.
"Why on earth is she not down here yet? It's not Buckingham Palace, it's our evening meal. Women take so disgustingly long to prepare their faces." Henry fiddled with his napkin, tucking it into his shirt.
"Oh Higgins, don't be so negative. I haven't seen her leave her room since she came back. I'm sure you won't complain when the girl comes down here looking all done up." Pickering gave a look to Henry.
"Don't be so absurd Pickering. 'All done up' she looks like those wretched pompous women from town-." He was cut short by Eliza once again. She had entered the room. Eliza stood by the door wearing a light evening gown, holding her bag between her fingers.
Henry tried not to show reaction to her beauty, he sat up straight.
"And where do you think you are going all dressed up like that? We are dining here. Now sit down before I start eating the silverware." Henry pointed a commanding finger to the empty chair.
A servant entered. "Miss Eliza? Mrs. Higgins has arrived; she is waiting in the car. Will you be along shortly?"
"Yes. Thank you." She nodded to the man, he left.
Henry chimed in "Mother? In the car? Not coming in? What in gods name is going on? What are you two up to? I want to have my dinner, enough of this farce!"
"She invited me to dine and then go to the theatre tonight. We are going with two other young women and two young men. She said it would be good for me" Eliza smiled, studying Henry's face.
"Good for-.. Good for you? Who on earth are these young women...men?" Henry tapped his knife onto his plate slightly. "No no no. We agreed dinner; we were all going to.-"
"Don't be a tyrant Higgins. Let the girl go enjoy herself." Pickering smiled between the two.
"I really must go. See you gentlemen later." She nodded slightly to them before leaving.
Henry stared open mouthed at the door.
"Well have you ever...such imprudence. How terribly rude. The food is wasted..." He trailed off, yanking the napkin from his shirt.
"It will be good for her! Maybe meet a nice young man or two-."
Henry slammed his fist onto the table.
"It's damn foolish is what it is!" He stood out his seat, shoving the chair back in. "I didn't teach her these slum manners. These impulsions!' Henry exited the room with a bang. He went straight up to his room.
Loosening his tie he stood by the window.
What is she playing at? Going out with young men... young men with their idiotic fancies and simple minds. It made him sick.
He would stay up; stay up all night by the window until she returned. If she returned tonight. He felt himself shudder.