76 Rune's mansion- Part 1
Once the carriage had started from the Carmichael's mansion, Vivian couldn't help but keep glancing to look at Leonard who finally turned to look at her.
"What is it, Vivi?" he questioned, his hand reaching out to tuck the blonde piece of hair behind her ear. She shook her head in response, "If you keep looking like that at me it's going to make me think that you are unhappy with the decision I took."
"I am not. I am just a little surprised. Could I ask you something?" he nodded for her to continue, "Why now?"
"Why I revoked the bond after all this time? Or why I am turning you to a lady? Which one is it." Leonard knew her well, framing the questions which she couldn't at the moment.
"Why did you decide to remove the bond today?" she saw him lean back in his slightly.
"It was after you slept did I decide to remove it. I know you have only started to experience things now and it will take time for your feelings to completely catch up to mine," his voice was gentle towards her, "It is only recently that you have come to realize what you feel. As I said, I would one day like you to share the same bed as mine but that doesn't mean you will have to sleep in that cramped room. You deserve better and I don't see why I shouldn't spoil you with everything I am capable of," he said sincerely.
"T-that doesn't exactly answer my question," Vivian looked bashful before gathering her thoughts, "Is it because of the society?"
"What about it?"
She didn't know how to put it without the words coming out to be harsh, "That the people would shun us. A Duke and a maid having an affair..." she trailed hitting a nerve.
"Vivian," he said her name and she readied herself to be scolded because that's how his voice sounded, "It isn't an affair. What I have with you is far from an affair and if it's about the society I have no interest in what people think," he then asked, "Would you rather like to stay as a maid?"
"I never told that," Vivian frowned. To be turned from a maid to a lady in a span of a few minutes felt surreal to her as if she was still dreaming but she wasn't.
"Of course, you didn't. Don't worry about trifle matters, the only thing you should worry about is me," he said it in such a straightforward manner that Vivian felt her cheeks and body heat up.
Now that Vivian was no more a maid, she had plenty of time on her hands which she could use to knit clothes and read if she was allowed to borrow books which she hadn't got to before Leonard returned from his longtime stay in the Rufus' mansion.
The lower class of the society who belonged to servants, they never had a privilege of education, to be scholars the only thing they were exposed to was labour but not Vivian. She had learnt words during her childhood and after moving to the Carmichael's family, it was Leonard who taught her to read and write further. Every time Leonard sat to write, little Vivian always went in search of him during which he would make her sit and read along with him.
"Why are we going to the Lord's mansion?" she asked curiously.
"Lord Nicholas asked me to meet him at his mansion saying he has important matters to discuss. Few things cannot be spoken in letters," he stated.
"I know that," she bit her cheek after saying it.
"Of course, you do," he then leaned in front of her face from his seat, watching her he slowly leaned more to kiss her on her lips. It was a light kiss. A kiss of assurance. Pulling back he said, "You don't have to be anxious, Vivian. I am right here. I will always be where you are," his eyes looked into hers with promise.
To his surprise, Vivian closed the gap to kiss his lips this time. Before she could pull away, Leonard didn't give her a chance and pressed back his lips on hers. Applying pressure on it before he began gnawing on her lower lip, sucking and letting it go second after second while pulling her. The road the carriage was travelling was comparatively smooth to the ones they had crossed which made it less difficult for him to pull her on his lap.
Wrapping one of his arms around her waist keeping her from falling off while the other grasped her chin so that he could angle her face the way he wanted. Just as they kissed, the carriage experienced a small bump making Vivian grab his shoulder and the brown coat he wore.
"I got you, Vivi," curling his hand around the back of her neck, he continued to kiss her.
When his tongue sought out for her, she could feel it's coarse texture which was sweet on her own tongue. Vivian didn't realize the way her tongue tried to seek his which made the man holding her smile into their kiss.
Retreating from the kiss, her forehead rested on top of his, catching her breath with her eyes closed. Her hand that had held on to his shoulder quietly slid down to settle on her lap. The weather in Bonelake continued with its normal routine of rain. Muddy ground, dull and gloomy clouds that refused to go away from the sky. Reaching the Rune's mansion where Lord Nicholas resided, Vivian followed Leonard inside. It seemed like he was accustomed to the place after all he did grow up around the fourth lord. The butler only bowed his head, his eyes merely looking at her as they passed by him.
Vivian wasn't sure if she was allowed to enter the room where the Lord sat with his feet up the couch, holding a glass in his hand.
"Good morning, Vivian, I didn't know you were visiting today," Lord Nicholas moved his long legs off the couch to sit straight, waving his hand for her to take a seat.
"Good morning, Lord Nicholas. Sorry for intruding your day without prior notice," Lord Nicholas smiled, his eyes turning small, his eyes turned to Leonard who took a seat next to Vivian when there were other seats available to sit.
"Please, don't. Someone of Leonard is always welcome here, especially when it's a lovely girl like yourself," the Lord's words were polite yet his eyes filled with untold mischief, "It seems like something's changed," he observed Vivian.
"What did you want to speak? I don't appreciate Toby's presence in my mansion," came the voice of Leonard sounding slightly irritated.
"What can I say...He likes you," Lord Nicholas smiled, "Did you know that Alexander has been sending scrolls in an effort to close down the slave's establishment?"
"I heard about it from Mathias. One of his maid who had been out in the town got abducted to be put back in the establishment without notice," answered Leonard. It wasn't often for servants to be put back but it was possible.
"Hmm," hummed the Lord, "Would you like something to drink, dear Vivian? Perhaps water?"
"I am fine, thank you," she bowed her head, 'I would like some fresh air," she hinted to which Lord Nicholas nodded his head.
"Please go ahead. The butler will be right around the corner if you need something," Leonard didn't like the idea of Vivian being away from him, not when they weren't at the Carmichael's mansion but he decided to stay quiet about it. As Nicholas said, the butler will be around her if there was something she would need.
Bowing her head once again, both the men saw her leave the room.
"How did last night go? Everything as you wanted?" Lord Nicholas asked when the door to the drawing room was shut close. The fire from the fireplace cast a shadow which made the lord look evil not that he wasn't in Leonard's eyes. He might have been generous to him but the same couldn't be told when it came to the others and that was why he couldn't help but let his thoughts wander over Vivian.
"Yes, we went to the glass mansion," Leonard walked up to where the bottle of liquors was placed. Searching for the one he usually drank, he pulled it out from the lot.
"You didn't go to the theatre?" asked the Lord in surprise, "Why the sudden change?"
"Your idea of taking a girl out is terrible," huffed Leonard with narrowed eyes. With one hand holding the glass and the other holding the round bottle, he used his teeth to pull out the top of it. After pouring the drink into the glass, he came to take a seat, "Vivian isn't like the women you fuck. She's important to me."
"My my, your love for her is something I am intrigued about. She's a simple girl Leo. You do it now or you do it later, it doesn't make much sense," the Lord took a sip from his own drink, gauging Leonard who ignored his words as usual.
"I hope you fall in love one day, Nick. A love that will need you to work hard for."
"I don't know if I should be worried or pity my future," chuckled Lord Nicholas to see the Duke roll his eyes.
"Why don't you do both of them. The future isn't that far," he murmured before downing his glass.
Vivian who after stepped out of the drawing room walked down the corridor which led to a much brighter location than the dark corridors she had come from.
Lord Nicholas might have been close to Leonard but that didn't mean she was comfortable sharing the same space. She had heard him kill a maid she had known just because the girl had decided to not work in the Carmichael's mansion. To think a man who looked gentle and kind was capable of such drastic actions, she shook her head to rid her thoughts.
Just like the Carmichael's mansion, the Rune's mansion was quiet and if she didn't know better she would have considered no one to be here. Even the maids were hard to find. Walking through the mansion, she looked around the walls and decorative items placed at every wall and corners. Exploring the mansion which she had been on for more than twenty minutes now, she came to find paintings placed across the walls. There were paintings of the previous Lord whom she never got to see as he had passed away when she was young. Paintings of his and other family members. At the other side in the corner, far away from all the paintings there stood one painting which was isolated from the rest.
Taking a few more steps towards the painting, she came to see a beautiful woman in it. The woman had brown hair who smiled with a tender smile. A smile that very much resembled Lord Nicholas only that it looked much genuine. She must be his mother, thought Vivian to herself. Unlike the rest who had their names bolted below the portraits, she had nothing written down. It made her wonder why.
Stepping closer to it, she raised her hand, letting her fingertips touch the painting before she felt a flash of memory pass through her mind with laughter along with it.
"Mama!" for a second she pulled back her hand at the image of a girl running.
Vivian gulped wondering what had just happened. Surely it wasn't her imagination. Looking back up at the woman in the painting, she drew in a sharp breath before placing her full palm on it before she was taken to another flash of images.
"Mama! Mama!" the girl went to pull her mother's skirt.
"What is it my child?" the elder woman asked who was in the kitchen.
"Guilene took my rabbit doll," the little girl complained.
"I did not," came the voice of another girl, the girl looking a year or two older to the first one, "I have no interest in her doll."
"It must be somewhere in your room, dear," the mother spoke to her youngest child who pouted.
"I did! Mr Perkins is nowhere to be found. Guilene has kidnapped him!" it made her mother and rest of the staff laugh, "I am serious!" the brown-haired girl looked upset.
"Oh, Louise. Give me a minute and I will search Mr Perkins with you."
Vivian who stood in front of the portrait ran her fingers gently across the coarse paint with her eyes closed as the scene shifted to a newer one.
The mansion was surrounded by snow, snowflakes falling down from the sky and inside the mansion were candles lit with gifts and celebration. A man sat in front of the piano, playing music as the family danced. Joy and laughter filling up space. When the song completed, the father of the girls clapped, delivering praises for the man.
"It was a wonderful piece, Wilhelhum. Wonderful!" the man stood up from the piano seat, "You should teach the girls. Louise has been asking me to let her learn it but the only teachers you will find here are the humans," he tched.
"Is it true Louise?" the man named Wilhelhum asked the young girl who no doubt was the same woman in the painting as they almost looked the same age now, "Why would you find a teacher when I can teach you much better than the humans?" the man asked her. Louise was a beautiful girl, with other two girls who looked older to her, she was much attractive than her siblings.
Louise shrugged her shoulders in response. Her response was a little shy as she spoke, "I wouldn't mind where I learn it, Uncle Wilhelhum. I think the music it produces is very melodious and enchanting. Would you be willing to teach me?"
"Anything for you, darling," he hugged the girl.
"Did you hear that, Venetia, Guilene?"Louise's voice was bright with happiness, "Uncle Wilhelhum said he would teach me the piano!"
"Yes, we heard it," her older sibling answered dully, not bothering with her younger sister.
"Of course, you did," Louise grinned as bright as the candle.