Seven years later...
Coralie settled down into her bed after a long day of working in the chateau, pulling the covers over herself and trying to get warm. Coralie usually liked the fall, but her basement room was terribly cold during these few weeks gaining up to winter. She looked over to her side table and looked at the photograph of her parents.
/November 23rd.../she thought to herself. It was seven years to the very day that her parents had died she realized. A flood of emotions rushed through her. Had it really been seven years? Coralie couldn't tell if it felt too short or too long to be real. Suddenly she began to cry. And she wasn't quiet. She started crying in big blubbering sobs. She reached for the locket around her neck, as if touching it gave her some reassurance. Finally once she had calmed down a little she laid her head down on her pillow although she kept making slight involuntary, whimpering sounds. She heard some shuffling from above and looked towards the large vent in her ceiling. Suddenly she felt embarrassed, hoping that she didn't wake Tyler up with her weeping. Tyler's room was directly above hers and they sometimes passed little notes to each other through that vent. Usually she loved getting the notes from him, but tonight she prayed that he was still in his bed, asleep, unconcerned about her events.
"Cora," she heard his voice through the vent and sighed inwardly, utterly embarrassed, "Cora, are you okay?" he whispered again. Coralie got out of bed quietly and stood directly under the vent, looking up so that they could see each other. Tyler looked concerned once he noticed her tear stained face and he held up his index finger.
"Hold on," he said in a reassuring voice. Coralie wondered what he was about to do but soon saw him reappear. He tried quietly as he seemed to be hammering something and finally he removed the cover from the vent.
"Come here," he said in an affectionate tone. Coralie smiled through her tears and walked over to the rocking chair, pulling it over to stand on so that she could climb up through the vent. Holding her hands up, he reached down so that he could lift her into his room. Coralie hadn't been in his room very much, seeing as his mother strictly forbade it unless something had to be cleaned, but when she was there, she loved it. His room was huge, with a large bed, a couch, a low table and a sizzling fire in his fireplace. Compared to Coralie's small room, it seemed like a whole house.
"What's the matter?" he asked as they both sat on the floor of his bedroom. He couldn't help but reach over and wipe a tear away from her cheek with his thumb. Coralie sighed and looked back down the vent, wondering what would happen if Madame Colville found out where she was.
"You know you can tell me, Cora," he said in a sweet, low voice. She smiled a little. Yes, she did know that she could tell him.
"It's November 23rd. It was seven years ago today that I came to this house..." she trailed off, taking a piece of the hem of her white cotton night gown between her thumb and forefinger, "Seven years ago that my parents died..." Another tear fell and Tyler brushed it away, surrounding her in a hug.
"It's going to be okay," he whispered to her as she cried a little. It was very rare that Coralie got upset over her parents, but when she did, it felt good to let go a bit. Tyler lifted her in his arms and placed her on his bed.
"Sleep here tonight," he said quietly, "Maybe it will be better if you're with someone," he smiled, his cheeks going the slightest shade of pink. Coralie bit her lip and nodded, loving the feeling of his soft sheets and blankets but also feeling very self conscious, being in only her nightdress. Tyler noticed that she felt somewhat uncomfortable and pulled a blanket out from one of the closets and set up a place for himself to sleep on his couch. He climbed onto the couch and pulled the blanket over him, leaving her to have the oversized bed all to herself.
"Goodnight, Cora. Sweet dreams," he said quietly, but noticed that she was already asleep. He watched for a while as her chest moved up and down in a steady pace, "...my love," he muttered before closing his eyes and falling asleep as well.