Ms. Anna Leonowens was not sleeping after the banquet. Far too many thoughts had plagued her mind and far too many tears were shed to stop her from reaching that warm abyss. She dabbed her wet cheeks with a handkerchief, consumed with thoughts of him. Of all the people she had encountered in Bangkok, no one had infuriated her more than the King of Siam. And yet, she could not ignore the feeling at the pit of her stomach during the dance.
Oh, that dance... If there was one thing she did not expect from him, it was for him to sweep her off her feet like that, like a summer rainstorm, with no control or future. Nothing but the present and its feelings.
She had to admit that she was quite pleased when she helped the King with the whole business of being a barbarian. Although, that moment of victory was quickly swept away with the plans of a grand banquet one week later that she had to plan out. That and the prayer after the plans were made made her really wish she didn't have an audience of his wives and children that would stop her from slapping him across the face. He was a blend of both child and adult, the adult side of him appearing when, during the prayer, he promised to Buddha that he would build her a house, the same one he refused to give her the day they met. She barely stopped her tears from surfacing when he prayed. However, the levels of emotions she felt were quickly decimated when he started to lie down on the floor, forcing her to do the same due to that promise she made at 2 o'clock in the morning. Again, that was also his fault.
And then at the banquet. He was doing his best for the British Ambassador, but the facts about his extensive family did not exactly enthrall the embassador. And then Edward came...
She had to admit to having the smallest of crushes when she was younger. He was a tall, gentlemanly man that continually sought after her affections. But when Tom came into the picture later on, she fell in love with that dashing officer that swept her off her feet, and when he proposed, she agreed without hesitation. Edward never managed to take the defeat and his friendship with Tom ended soon afterwards. When he mentioned his feelings for Anna during the dance, she couldn't help feeling sad. She knew it wasn't his fault for her not having feelings for him, but she knew that she could not marry him for anything in the world.
And then during that dance with Edward, the King marched in and broke them apart. If she hadn't known better, she would've thought he was jealous. But that was probably not the case, as Anna was also his aid in communicating with the British. She tried her very best to show the embassador the best sides of the King and it undoubtedly worked.
After the party, she had met with the King and they had the whole conversation about women, that slowly went to the topic of dancing. The most embarrassing part in all of that is that she began to sing and dance, right in front of the King. He watched her with rapt fascination and had said it was pretty, but she was embarrassed nonetheless. And then he asked her to teach him to dance.
The matter was simple - the polka was an easy dance - and they began to dance. The King was a good partner. But then he stopped, and stared her dead in the eyes. She stopped dancing. Butterflies danced in the pit of her stomach as he spoke, telling her how what she taught was different from how the other men danced.
"Were not holding two hands like this."
She had swiftly let go of his hands, putting them behind her back, unable to break eyes with him. The atmosphere of the room became tense and he slowly, cautiously, waiting for her to tell him to let go, put his arms around her waist. She unconsciously stopped breathing when he did, something no one had been able to do, not even her late husband. Her emotions were battling in her chest when he held her waist with his gentle hands that might've hurt so many others, but somehow it felt warm. She molded into his body when they stood there perfectly.
And then they danced. She had never had such a capable partner to dance with before. He swept her off her feet like an oncoming storm, at some point even picking her up in his arms. She had never had so much fun before. She forgot the past and future. Nothing but his hands on her back, sending sparks all along her body mattered in those moments. She didn't have a care in the world in those few moments. Then he let her go.
The emotions, the stifled tension in the air was palpable when she was holding the pillar as he slowly made his way towards her, arm outstretched. He held onto her waist again, firmly and they danced again around the room before the gong sounded and it all came crashing down.
He was much too exotic, she confirmed. Much too exotic and such long contact with him must be the cause for her turmoiled feelings in her chest. He tried to whip Tuptim, when the police found her running away with Lun Tha. But when he raised his whip just about to strike, she couldn't help but gasp. Of all the things he could do to her, this might've been the worst. It was as if he shattered something, something irreparable between them.
He dropped his whip. For a moment, she saw the turmoiled feelings in his gaze. His pained facial expression turned away as he ran out of the room. The school teacher was hurt by his willingness to subject a child to unnecessary cruelty, but her feelings of worry for the King conflicted with her fear and anger.
"I wish you had never come to Siam!"
"Oh, so do I!"
She sobbed into her pillow, miserable and confused. The dance was on replay in her mind. She recognized these feelings, but she had never felt this so intensely, so profoundly. She was in love... "Oh, no, no, she thought to herself. She was simply isolated from the world for so long she forgot how English people are supposed to act. That's right... She was simply isolated.
After a few moments of sobbing, she knew that no matter what she did, she might've developed feelings for the King of Siam, despite being from different cultures and backgrounds. It would be the only explanation to the hole in her chest and the pain, as if someone has speared her through the heart and twisted.
But no matter, she will leave the moment the next ship arrives. If these feeling had appeared, she was to be sure to eliminate the unwanted love. She would never forgive the King for such misogynistic behavior. Besides, no proper Englishwoman would dare fall into a harem. She had to leave on the next sailing.
She bit her lip as she concentrated on trying to fall asleep, her cries slowly dissolving into hiccups as she heard her heart sing the song she danced to that night. She slowly, ever so slowly drifted off into a fitful sleep.
Shall we dance? On a bright cloud of music, shall we fly...