Vlad pulled Anna closer, his furry chest tickling her back. “You smell divine.”
She chuckled. “I smell like you.” Rolling over, she rubbed her nose along his. “Oh, bother.” She pushed herself up, grabbing her dress from the floor.
“What are you doing?” he asked.
“It’s nearly dawn. I don’t know what’ll happen if I don’t have my dress on when I change. I might appear naked wherever I happen to be at sunset.”
He licked his lips and she knew what he was thinking. “But what if Anastasia is there?”
“Oh, very well,” he grumbled, swinging his legs out of the bed.
“You don’t have to get up.” She nudged his shoulder to knock him down. “I can be a duck here on the floor. I just need to put this on first.”
“Hm, never cuddled a duck before.” His words were muffled as she pulled the dress over her head.
“Ha! I have never been cuddled as a duck either. Be careful you don’t squish me,” she teased. She was about to say more, but abruptly found her eyes level with the bottom of the mattress. Anything she said now would only be a series of quacks.
Vlad slid to the floor, curling around her. “This could work.”
Ajar, she was able to work her bill on it and push it open just wide enough for her to pass. She immediately squawked and flapped her wings as feet crashed down the corridor close by her.
“Oh! Sorry, duck,” Anastasia apologized. The little girl looked around and then peered in the door to where Vlad lay sleeping. “He’s so loud,” she complained. “Come, let’s get some breakfast.”
Ana had no trouble sailing down the stairs, but Anna had to jump from one to the next. Eventually she launched herself out far enough to flap her wings and reach the bottom. The indignity of the clumsy flight resounded in a quack.
Anastasia had already run into the kitchen and came out with two pieces of toast. She sat on the floor beside Anna and offered one. “Here. This is yours.”