Upon abandoning Professor Higgins in his mother's solarium, Eliza had waited in a covered alley across the cobblestone street. She wasn't entirely sure what she expected to witness but when the good Professor, not a quarter of an hour later, plowed out of Mrs. Higgins' residence like a freight train she felt an urge to follow him. At a distance, she mirrored his path. She couldn't make out any of his mutterings but she knew his attitudes well enough to recognize when he was talking to himself. He took no heed to the other pedestrians on the street, he could have just as easily been pacing around his library or his study as he was pushing down a busy London thoroughfare. His steps were chaotic, his gait was one moment slow and wide and the next quick and short. He tapped his fingers against his pockets as if he were looking for his pipe or his watch. He took his hat from his head and ran in along the fence posts and then stopped and plunged his head back into it. He did this just before realizing he'd missed his own door by ten or fifteen paces, in his effort to rectify his mistake he nearly toppled over a neighbor out walking her poodle.
As the door slammed behind him Eliza stood on the sidewalk frozen, unsure what to do. This morning was so alien from any of the mornings before it she wasn't really sure who she was anymore. She was obviously no longer the "gutter snipe" flower girl the professor and Colonel had plucked out of obscurity those many months ago. Had it only been months? Her own people didn't even recognize her anymore, hadn't her little trip last night proven that? And yet she certainly wasn't the princess she'd pretended to be the night before. No, pretending for one night was one thing but keeping that up was impossible. Eliza wasn't even sure she'd want that kind of existence forever. She what now? The flower shop? That had been the plan hadn't it? With a recommendation from Colonel Pickering she was sure she could get a job there now. But - why did she hesitate? What was stopping her from walking away?
Before she knew it Eliza was turning the handle on the door that had been her home - funny though, up until this morning she had thought of it as a prison, but not any more. She closed the door silently, knowing Mrs. Pierce was unused to soft entrances. As she walked passed the breezeway she could hear the sound of her own voice, her old voice, playing over the recording device. She stood in the doorway of the study and saw the Professor siting pitched forward in a chair. She reached out to the machine and switched it off.
"Washed muh fice an' 'ands bufore I cum, I did." the old Cockney felt thick on her tongue.
The professor's face looked up like a beam of light, hope lit up the room as the two locked eyes! She wanted to run to him, to fall to her knees at his feet and pour her head onto his lap. She wanted to feel his arms around her as they had been when they'd danced the night before. She wanted -
"Eliza -" he let out softly.
Then with a grunt and a mutter the light dimmed and the Professor asked, "Where the devil are my slippers?" Before pushing his felt hat over his eyes and slumping back into his chair.