21 Woolen sweater- Part 1
Vivian pushed the wooden spoon in the batter she had prepared, moving it around as she twisted her wrist to make sure everything was well mixed. Her movements were slow and precise just the way Paul had taught her in the kitchen. Two years ago when Leonard had arrived at the mansion, she was only sixteen when she had learnt to bake her first cake under Paul's guidance. Finding out about it Leonard had praised her for the treat she had prepared that day but that was all the words he had exchanged with her before he left with the councilman he had come with.
Looking up from the bowl in her hand to Leonard who had his eyes fixed on her hands. The blonde tresses of his hair settled on his forehead looked darker in shade due to the scarce amount of candles that were lit in the kitchen. He had grown tall again. They had never been of the same height but when they were young they differed by two-three inches and now it seemed to have doubled or was it more? She thought to herself.
Transferring the batter to another container, she placed it on the baking paddle to push it to the enclosed mud and stones below which she had started the fire minutes ago.
"This will take more than half an hour," said Vivian turning to see Leonard hovering over the bowl which had been emptied to swipe his finger over the last remnants of the batter and lick it with the tip of his tongue, "Didn't you have dinner?" she asked blinking her eyes and moving it to something uninteresting at the corner of the kitchen.
Hearing the tone in her voice change, he looked at her who had her back facing him cleaning something on the slab. She had turned around in an effort to hide her cheeks, Leonard wasn't oblivious on the effect his little action had done on the girl.
Walking around so that he could look at the muddy oven where she had placed the batter which was now getting baked, "Why do you ask?"
"You seem hungry," she answered, her voice sweet like the batter he had tasted, "Has work been busy? I overheard Mrs Carmichael say that you had gone to North for your last council case."
"I did. There are some unexpected creatures that have been harboured by the white witches. Unfortunately, the case was dismissed before we could get to the bottom of it. What about you?" he asked settling his dark red eyes on her. His gaze which had previously been warm before they left the glass room, it now felt intimidating the way he observed every small movement of hers.
"I," she smiled, "I don't think anything has changed in my work routine except for a few additional ones as Martha's health hasn't been that great for some time now. I have gotten better with my work."
"Is that so. I am amazed they haven't cut down your wage yet for the number of breakages you cause here," Vivian hid her face hearing Leonard remark on her slippery hands, "People here are very generous. If you get fired, finding a job outside won't be easy."
"About that, I was offered a job by Mr Jerome. He told he was interested in hiring me for the position of housekeeper at his mansion. He said he finds my work here to be very, ah the words he used were precise and clean," she shook her head at the memory with a smile, bending down she peeked into the oven.
"Isn't he generous," Though Leonard's words appeared nonchalant, there was something hidden under it, "And what was your response to it?"
"I said no and that was three months ago. I cannot leave when Martha and Paul are here."
Mr Jerome Wells was born from an average vampire family, unlike Leonard's pureblooded lineage. The man was respectable in the town who at the age of his early twenties had made a good name when it came to furnishing houses of the elites who now was in the process of stepping into the elite world.
When it was time, she dusted the mittens she wore on her hands, bending again this time she pulled the long paddle to put the cake on the slab. Few more minutes and an uneven cake which seemed a little burnt around the edges was put on the plate for display.
"Ah..." drawled Vivian a little bashful, "Please don't doubt the taste of the cake by its physical appearance."
"Believe me I am," Leonard muttered under his breath when she took the knife and began cutting thin slices out of it. After he took a bite from the slice he was offered, he said, "Hmm not bad."
Eating the whole slice which Vivian had offered him, he ate it without any complaints. As he took the last bite of the cake he heard the sound of carriages and horses in front of the mansion.
"Thank you for the cake. I hope I can eat such delicacies made by you in the future," his words brought warmth back to her cheeks, "It is rather late for you. I will see you in the morning," he gave her a heart clenching smile that squeezed her heart leaving a sweet pain to linger in her chest.
"Yes," Vivian smiled back.
"Goodnight," she murmured, her eyes following him until it could which wasn't too far as the corridor to the kitchen wasn't long.
Remembering that she had to clean the mess she had created in the glass room, her shoulders drooped before she went to fetch the mop and a bucket. As the next day arrived, she continued with chores of her work in cleaning the house with two other maids. The Carmichael's had a total of eleven servants which included Vivian in it. Now that Martha had taken her absence, Paul had replaced her position. Right now, she wiped the windows at the staircase with a clean white cloth. Moving her hands in a circular motion while humming a song, she wiped the already clean glass.
Mr Carmichael came dressed down the stairs in formal attire with Mrs Carmichael trailing behind him asking him when he would return home. Vivian bowed her head at both of them.
"Oh, Vivian!" Mrs Carmichael exclaimed after she had got down the stairs, "I entirely forgot. I will be going to the town later this afternoon and will need your assistance."
"Yes, milady," Vivian bowed her head again.
"Why do you need to go to the town? You can send Paul or someone else if it's something you need to fetch," Mr Carmichael asked his wife when she helped him with his coat.
"That's alright. I need to go visit Martha too on our way, Paul just informed me that..." their voice diminishing until the stairways were quiet again except for the wind that blew the leaves out and away from the branches of the trees.