26 Dropping the facade- Part 3
"Master Leonard, will yo- Why are your feet bare Vivi?!" Paul who had come to see Leonard found Vivian sitting on the chair while the young master stood in front of her, "Please go out and wear them."
"It is my fault that she's barefoot. Sit here and wear them," he instructed the last line for her to listen to. Not meeting either men's eyes, Vivian picked her socks quickly, "What did you need Paul?"
Paul turned his gaze from the girl to the young master who wasn't happy with his presence. Internally it made him sigh. When they were both children he had encouraged Vivian to write letters as she seemed sad from the absence of the young Charmichael boy. But they weren't children anymore and that worried him. Mr and Mrs Carmichael might have not noticed or he hoped they didn't because it was quite evident that Leonard Carmichael showed interest on the girl more than an employee would.
"About lunch...The kitchen wanted to know if you would like to have steak, pork or flank of the deer?" How about a fresh cut out of heart from your chest on a clean silver platter, thought Leonard to himself. He took a few good seconds before he replied steak, "Please excuse us."
Vivian was ushered out of the study room by Paul to leave Leonard behind the closed doors. The remaining hours of the day she was asked to help in the kitchen.
Before the hour of dinner arrived, Vivian had finished doing all her chores and had retired to her room early. Settling herself cosy in the sheet of her bed she continued to knit the wool. It took more than a week for Vivian to complete the sweater as the only free time she found was at night. While Vivian sat in her room in front of the candlelight, Leonard sat in the darkness of the glass room staring at the black sky with a bud of cigarette in his hand.
One fine day, Vivian who was out to pluck out the flowers for the vases found Maximilian Gibbs accompanying Leonard inside the mansion. She bowed her head at both of them. Seeing Maximilian smirk at her, she quickly lowered her eyes on the ground. Maximilian's father was a close friend of Mr Carmichael due to which it allowed Leonard and Maximilian to be in each other's company enough to become close friends. Out of all the people she had seen the Carmichael's interact with, she had to say Maximilian was the peculiar one out of all. His hair was dark grey in colour and his eyes strangely were the colour of turquoise even though he was a pureblooded vampire. She had never known vampires to have a colour which wasn't red. But it wasn't just his appearance that made him odd. His turquoise eyes were always curious which made one extremely uncomfortable. The maids always steered clear of him. If he weren't Leonard's friend she would have pegged the man to be suspicious.
Humming a tune just for her to listen to, she plucked the flowers carefully without harming the leaves and branches. Raising a single flower to her face, she leaned forward to smell its fragrance. The scent of it was so lovely that couldn't help but smile. She wondered if she could take these to old Martha who was sick in the bed. Mrs Carmichael as promised had gotten a doctor for the old woman but no medicine sufficed and with hours and days, her health deteriorated.
It wasn't far when the sad news about old Martha death reached the mansion in the morning. Mrs Carmichael had attended the small ceremony without her husband but was attended by her son, Leonard. Paul, his family and Vivian along with few others were present as the priest prayed for the woman's soul to rest in peace in the local town cemetery with the rest of the passed away townsfolk.
Eyes filled with tears Vivian saw three men drop the wooden coffin to the ground. Wiping her eyes and cheek with the kerchief which was wet for a while now, she sniffed under the rain holding an umbrella in her hand. In her lifetime, the only close to a mother figure she had grown up to know was Martha who had taken under her care. The woman had loved her as her own and now that she was gone Vivian didn't know how to fathom the emptiness that was left behind in her heart. She stared at the coffin being buried. People who had come began to leave until she was the only standing there in the rain. She didn't question God why he had taken Martha away because she knew old age was inevitable and to those old people, sickness and death was inevitable. She missed the old woman and the only parent she ever knew or remembered was no more among them.
She stood there for a while looking at the medium sized headstone beneath which the old housekeeper was buried. Someone came to stand next to her and she had to blink away the tears to see it was Leonard who had come back.
Leonard raised his free hand to wipe the trail of tears that streaked down both her cheeks. His hands were cold against her warm cheeks. Her lips pink and the rim of her eyes had turned slightly red due to crying. He didn't utter a word knowing it wouldn't change the loss that was caused but instead he brought his hand around her and let her cry to her heart's content on his chest which she did without holding back. Rubbing her back gently he kept her there until she quietened down.
"Would you like to stay with Grace today?" he asked her gently. Feeling her nod he said, "Let me take you there," and he took her in the carriage he had come in after taking his mother back to the mansion.
After Leonard had dropped Vivian at Paul's sister's house, he returned back to the Carmichael's mansion. With his shoes slightly wet, he stepped inside the mansion. A maid came over to help him out of his coat.
"Everything settled?" Mrs Carmichael arrived in sight with fresh clothes that had been changed from the ones she had worn half an hour ago.
"Yes, mother," he answered, "Paul said that he would be back at the mansion in two hours of time."
"Is that so," murmured Mrs Carmichael walking down the halls with Leonard, "Human lives are very fragile and delicate. And they live only for a certain amount of time. It is quite sad when the time of a dear one comes to an end," Stopping in the middle of the hall, Mrs Carmichael patted her son's head with affection, "That is one of the reasons why people like us have to be careful when it comes to our emotions. Let me go see what is being cooked in the kitchen. I will see you at dinner," his mother left to walk in another direction.