Delilah downed the meaty broth in one go while the Prince struggled to slurp through a spoonful. All eight eyes upon his fair face watched his every move expectantly. She noticed his throat work itself and she suppressed her own burgeoning smile. Her shoulders shook from the effort.
"My Lady, you're still cold," The farmer's wife mistook her shivers. Damian made a face as soon as all the attention was removed from him. The pampered soul just could not force himself to consume the tasteless meat.
Delilah looked upwards as the roof creaked under the merciless storm. They had been truly blessed to have found shelter when they had. Even the barn would have left them exposed to the elements.
"You should reconsider, My Lady. Take our room. We would be honoured," The rotund woman pleaded. Her six children sat silently, in awe of the company. The couple had managed to dry themselves at the hearth but could not salvage their appearance. Even then they could not contain how important they looked.
"No, no, no. We cannot rob you of your peace and quiet," Delilah could not imagine being such a rude houseguest.
"Besides our men will be here as soon as they can. We shall wait in our chairs. Hopefully the storm will let up," Damian interjected as he dropped his spoon in the broth decisively. He just hoped no one insisted he finish the meal.
One by one the family bowed and left them at their leisure. As tempting as it was to sit and gawk at royalty they had an early morning ahead of them.
The couple sat down near the fireplace. Both of them chose to sit on the rough, stone floor to ensure their clothes completely dried out.
Damian suddenly plucked her hand out of her lap and tenderly examined the ring. It was an almost perfect fit on her pale finger.
"Fate was very kind to me," He spoke with a solemness she had very rarely seen him display. It unnerved her.
"Being the prince has it advantages," She replied trying to bring levity to the situation but failing.
"Undeniably. But you know what I mean. We met again only by chance. Who would have thought you would have willingly stepped back in the castle."
"I had no intentions on associating with you again if the suspicion lingers. If you hadn't been stubborn I would have never even conversed with you," Delilah replied realising what she would have lost if he hadn't pursued her.
"Then it's good thing I take after our transportation from when you were kidnapped. I just hope I do not smell as such." He took advantage of her silent laughter and let his head land on her lap while still holding her hand. He interwined it with his own and watched Delilah look discomforted. Her pale, damp face flushed to his satisfaction.
"You truly want to be mine?" He asked, anxiety still feeding his thoughts.
"Do not mistake me for a toy," Delilah deflected as her other hand gently brushed away errant hair from his forehead. He really needed a hair cut.
"It does not matter. For I am yours," Damian decided and went back to tracing her life line.
The next morning when the sun rose up the family of eight quietly tiptoed out of their home to make sure they did not disturb the sleeping guests.