Glorious Lady Evangeline peered down at him from the rafters when his eyes opened. She floated up there as if people did that everyday, anyday, all the time or merely when they chose to do it. As if anyone could be an angel, rising over the transgressions of mortal flesh with a weightless conscience.
Perspiration trickled down Louis' face. Surely the hearthfire had gone hellish. The air was stagnant, but for the updraft of heat making her dark dress flow like diaphanous ebony mist. Her sleeves were hemmed with the color of blood.
The flawless wonder of her countenance hovered before him as she ebbed close on waves of hallucination. If a woman's face could be a perfect pearl, he witnessed such harmonious splendor now. Her skin had the glow of moonlight on whiteblue ice.
"I'm here if you need me," Lady Evangeline promised, speaking French in such a way she made the already refined language more elegant. She touched a bead of his sweat with her fine white fingertip. Flowing back, she put the bead to her lips. The tip of her red tongue received the salty offering and vanished once again inside her exquisite mouth.
As she smiled, he raised his hand towards her, observing how this simple action looked clumsy compared to her smooth motions. His open palm invited her to return, but he shook his head at the same moment he asked.
He watched her floating, bobbing gently up and down on invisible waves of air. She drifted close again, touched her white fingertip to his index digit. A crisp spark snapped between them. Cold spark, sharp with the desire to be known.
Absorbed into the blue eyes positioned above him, so close they hovered between cloud and clarity with the slightest ebb and flow, he forgot the pain of the past and present. The color remained an azure constant, however, a light looking into his heart and soul at his beckoning. Her eyes glanced to and fro. She retreated on the current, letting it take her to the rafters again. "Someone's coming to see if you're awake."
Louis raised both his hands this time, beseeching, begging to float with her.
"You must nourish yourself," she suggested the practical path in a kind way. In less than a blink, she knelt before him, and said mournfully: "Life is a mausoleum without you." She vanished. All in less than a blink.
Where her blue eyes had been, he saw two glowing embers from last night's fire on the hearth.