From what Eleanor could tell, there was no light.
No sliver of light threw a curtain, no dull light from a candle, nothing.
Even if she did open her eyes, she would be surrounded by darkness, and she knew that.
Eleanor had discovered two things during her time in the darkness. One, she was in a carriage. She knew this because of the not-so-gentle swaying of her body that every once in a while, would be thrown to the side of the carriage when there was a turn or avoiding something on the road. Second, she was not tied up. While she was getting thrown about in the carriage, she would move her hands and feet subtly to test out her range of motion. Nothing constricted her.
When she first woke up, her massive headache made her keep her eyes closed. But as she drifted in and out consciousness, she slowly discovered the two things she knew now.
Another sudden swivel from the carriage threw her to lay down on the seat. The action caused her to wince and move her hand to her head.
‘Ok, now I know a third.’ She thought triumphantly through the pain.
The third being her recognizing the carriage to be an expansive type. The seats were covered in velvet, giving it a moderately comfortable feel, and were not lumpy like most modest ones.
Keeping her eyes closed, Eleanor casually moved her feet again, hoping to feel the familiar restriction of her small knife in her boot.
Alas, it was not there.
Eleanor cursed under her breath, berating her stupidity when she remembered taking out the knife just before she tended to her garden.
She started to become restless when the thoughts of what was going to happen started to seep in. She was defenseless. Whoever took her, she was no match for while her sickness rendered her weak and useless.
The sound of a tick stopped Eleanor’s restlessness. The sound continued, piercing through the noises of the carriage, getting louder and louder until it was the only thing she could hear.
Very slowly, she opened her eyes. The carriage was dark like she thought it would be. It took her several seconds for her eyes to adjust to the intrusion of it.
Once her eyes adjusted, Eleanor found herself staring at a silhouette of a man sitting across from her. He lightly swayed with the carriage like it was not being violent and fast trying to reach its destination.
His head was tilted down, giving off the impression that he was looking at something. Her eyes followed.
The source of the ticking was from his pocket watch. He had it open and seemed to be staring at it, not minding Eleanor any sort of attention.
When Eleanor started to move to a sitting position, he snapped the cover of the pocket watch shut and stuffed it into a vest pocket. The ticking ceased with the disappearance of the watch.
Flinching slightly at how loud the pocket watch closed, Eleanor straightened her back against the seat and glared at the stranger. He was diagonal from her, so the effect of her glaring most likely did not do any good.
In response to her glare, silver reflecting eyes lit up and stared back at her. The sight took Eleanor’s breath away.
The name and voice combined sent a pleasant chill up Eleanor’s spine. Heat flushed between her legs at the mere sound of how possessive he said her name. Unconsciously, she squeezed her thighs together.
Even through the haze of desire that had flooded her head after he said her name, Eleanor was upset. She recognized the voice and knowing that fact did not settle her nerves.
“Eilif?” She asked, her voice shaking slightly. Her hands gripped her skirt in an attempt to control something as she waited for a response.
“I found you passed out in your home. You were so pale and cold. I had to help you, so I am taking you to see a… doctor to help you with whatever ails you.” Eilif moved ever so slightly towards Eleanor, careful not to cause panic in her already tense body.
Eleanor’s eyes narrowed at the mention of a doctor. “Your doctor will not help me. I’ve been to several doctors and they either told me I was imagining these problems, or they made it worse.”
“Oh Lenore…” Eilif reached out to Eleanor.
Eleanor pushed back against the corner of the carriage away from Eilif’s outstretched hand. The action made Eilif curl his hand into a fist and sigh as he brought it back to him. His reflecting eyes looked away for a moment, giving Eleanor the impression he was trying to calm himself.
When he finally looked at Eleanor again, he said, “This doctor is different. I will make sure he looks after you properly.”
Eleanor did not answer him. Instead, she stared at his silver eyes, not understanding how they could glow like the stars at night.
The air around them turned thick with desire and fear. The aching between her legs grew even though her thighs continued to clench.
Eilif tilted his head as if to study her. If Eleanor could see in the dark, she would have noticed him frown.
“You are still quite pale, are you hungry? Thirsty? There is a town not too far off that we can stop and dine, if you wish?”
Eleanor was about to deny his offer when her stomach growled loudly.
Wrapping her arms around her stomach, Eleanor cleared her throat, glad that Eilif could not see her incredibly flushed face. “Yes, that would suffice.”
Eleanor could see a smile in Eilif’s eyes. Without saying a word, he reached up and banged the roof of the carriage twice.
In response, the carriage turned sharply to the left, causing Eleanor to practically fly over to the other side of where she sat.
She closed her eyes and braced herself for the painful collision of the door and her frail body. But it never came.
Instead, she felt an arm around her waist that had stopped the impending impact.
Eleanor slowly opened her eyes, finding herself face to face with Eilif.
The sudden intrusion made her Eleanor’s breath hitch. The air thickened again as Eilif stared into her eyes with his silver reflecting ones. His eyes traveled down to her lips, then neck, leaving a trail of passionate fire burning in its wake.
Eleanor shivered from the contact, making Eilif pull her closer until their breaths were steadily caressing their faces.
The action made Eleanor realize what type of situation she was in.
As of that moment, she was a married woman in a dark carriage with a man that was not her husband. Their embrace suggested more than mere friends. If they were caught just as they were, a scandal would break out. And as much as Eleanor despises rumors, she did not want to become the center of one.
So, she pulled away from Eilif.
Not wanting to witness any sort of emotion that could change her mind, Eleanor turned her head away and faced the door that she was near earlier.
Another cold realization dawned on Eleanor, making her heart race and her breathing rapid. She was alone with a man that was not her husband. A man she barely knew. A man who is claiming to want to help her rapidly deteriorating health. A man who took her without any kind of consent.
Eilif cleared his throat, not understanding her sudden retreat. “We cannot stay long at the tavern. We will eat and depart immediately. Its going to take several days to get to our destination so I want to limit stopping time as much as possible.”
Nodding, Eleanor squeezed her eyes shut, tears escaping down her cheeks, and started to repeat her new mantra in her head.
’I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die, I don’t want to die…’ She chanted as she curled herself into a ball, as far away from Eilif as she possibly could.