117 Love rival- Part 3
Vivian found Eleanor to be nicer than her first impression on her. The vampiress toured her around the mansion though it was a lie when she had spoken about the glass room to be much more beautiful than the Carmichael mansion as, to begin with, there wasn't one to compare to.
With Mr Henz who had spoken about his dislikes and strong thoughts of how he opposed a woman entering the council and how one would be a misfit, Eleanor, on the other hand, spoke about lighter matters like any other girl of her age would. The topics ranged from cooking to knitting and making tea.
"You must feel very fortunate right now, isn't it?" Eleanor asked as they played with the rabbits which were bred in their backyard.
Vivian smiled, petting the white rabbit which sat comfortably on her lap, "Initially I was worried about passing the exam, after all, it was told that not everyone who tries it passes the exams. The number of success ratio is very little..." she saw Eleanor shake her head while chuckling behind her hand.
"That is not what I meant," seeing Vivian tilt her head in confusion, the vampiress cleared it by saying, "What I meant to say is, you must be feeling fortunate to have Leonard guide you. He is a very good teacher. I used to have a pile of questions when we were kids and he would always help me out during my studies. My governess was a mean lady."
Though Vivian was accustomed to Leonard's first cousins like Charlotte, Julliard and Rhys from his maternal side, she had never heard him mention about his second cousins from his paternal side. She didn't know about Christopher nor did she know about Eleanor. But remembering back the old days, she faintly did remember why Leonard was sent away from his own home. When he wasn't around, she often searched for him, thinking if he was hiding behind his thick books in some corner of the mansion. It was only after days had passed did she start asking Paul where Leonard had gone.
There were times when the issue of his temper was mentioned but it was hard for her to believe that the kind Leonard whom she had come to know had a thing called anger in him. Until now she had never seen him angry. The man was always quiet, compose and sometimes teasing in his remarks towards her which was enough to get her all flustered.
"Yes, he's a good teacher," Vivian didn't let the vampiress dwell too much on the information. Not everyone knew about her being a former maid at the Carmichael mansion. Right now everyone only knew of her as an acquaintance to Leonard who was probably a relative of Sir Malcolm Rufus, "Why didn't you try to study forward for the council? Sorry for my intrusive question," she apologized but Eleanor shook her head.
"I didn't think that's what I wanted before though now I wish I did," Eleanor stared into space, a sad dejected look on her face before she smiled brightly, "But this should be fine too. Do you have siblings, Vivian?"
Siblings? wondered Vivian to herself. She didn't know about it. Did she? Or did she not? It was something hard to explain when she had no clue about who her family was.
During the time Leonard was in Valeria he had tried to find about Martha but there was nothing he could find. Martha had no relatives that they could backtrack whom she could have known. One thing she confirmed was that she was nowhere related to Martha but then it came back to the question of who her family was again.
Her life before coming to the Carmichael's mansion was a blank sheet. There was nothing in there to read or know about.
"I don't. It's just me," Vivian answered the vampiress. Interested she asked, "Do you often go to meet the Duke?"
"Unfortunately, no. I was in Woville for almost a year and only recently returned back home. My maternal grandmother lives there alone and she needed someone to watch over her lands and handle the matters there," from Eleanor's words, Vivian could tell that she was a smart woman of trade.
Maybe that is why she never saw her before, thought Vivian while walking beside her in the empty corridors of the mansion. She had seen Mr and Mrs Henz at the Carmichael's mansion but not Christopher or Eleanor.
"That's an odd coloured glove you are wearing," Eleanor commented glancing at Vivian's hands which she had held together in front of her, "You should try white or skin coloured ones. They will look much feminine. What do you think about shopping with me?"
"Ah, that's alright. I don't think I need it right away," Vivian tried to refuse but the vampiress was having none of it and instead went on to say, "I haven't found the time to shop lately and I would love it if you could accompany me there. It is always good to have company, don't you think so too?" unable to refuse she did nothing but smile, hoping the girl would understand it to be neither a yes or a no for now.
Talking to Eleanor had been a pleasant experience in the dark mansion of the Henz. After the revelation of her taking part in the exams, Mr and Mrs Henz' attitude seemed to have a stark and possible view of how uncomfortable and unwelcomed they wanted Vivian to feel.
When it came time to leave and head back to the mansion, the family came to see them off at the carriage but Christopher didn't make an effort to appear and say goodbye.
After Eleanor hugged Vivian, asking her to visit in the future, she hugged Leonard.
Vivian didn't know why but the hug seemed to appear like it was a sad one. As if the girl wanted to linger a little longer than the time that was available. It seemed that after Charlotte, Eleanor was closer to Leonard or was it Eleanor and then Charlotte? It was hard to guess.
"Visit us soon," Eleanor got a pat on her head in response by Leonard.
"Sure. We shall take our leave now," Vivian bowed along with him and then got into the carriage.
On their way back, Vivian couldn't help but clear her doubt with Leo, asking him, "It was Christopher who killed Billy?" Leonard who had been setting his jacket looked up.
"It was him," she bit her lip, pondering about it.
"You need to visit them more. Eleanor misses you."
"Sometimes it's better to keep your relatives at a distance than keep them close and let them manipulate you with your thoughts. Not that they could but sometimes it's considered wise to keep them at an arm's length," he paused for a second, "Let's not visit them again."
"Why would you say that?" asked Vivian, a small furrow formed between her brows. As if in self-realization she then said, "You don't have to worry about me. I...I know that pureblooded vampires don't take a human's life that well. Don't stop on my accord."
"It's not that. I went because it was needed to maintain the relationship; for the namesake. Didn't I tell you, Vivi. You are all the family I would ever need," his eyes lazily looked into hers, a languid smile on his lips.
Vivian shook her head yet smiled, leaning towards his shoulder she rested her head on his black overcoated shoulder. Though it wasn't something she wanted, she didn't voice out the disapproval of him wanting to stay away from his relatives. Instead, her chest felt lighter by his words. Not because she wouldn't be hearing any disapproving remarks from Mr Henz but because there was something she felt when it came to Eleanor.
Though the vampiress was sweet and had been kind to her, there was just something she couldn't put her finger on. She wondered if it was because of the jealousy that had brewed in the beginning as a misunderstanding. Or if it was due to Mrs Henz teasing both Leonard and her daughter together.
Leonard had to carry Vivian out of the carriage as she had fallen fast asleep. Not having the heart to wake her up, he picked her with less possible movements and took her inside the mansion. On his way, the housekeeper and some of his maids couldn't help but ogle at them as if something had happened to the lady in his arms as she looked unconscious.
Tucking her in the bed, Vivian turned her body to hug her blanket which Leonard had used to cover her body. Closing the door, he turned around to see Jan at his service.
"Master Leonard," the housekeeper bowed at him, "Mr Carmichael has come to visit and is waiting in the study room."
"Yes. He arrived a minute ago," his uncle sure had the worst timing to drop by the mansion to see how he was doing.
"Get him some refreshments while I go change my clothes," the housekeeper bowed his head and went on his way to the kitchen. Once Leonard had changed his clothes, he went to the study room to meet his uncle who had taken a seat on one of the couches while having Jan, the housekeeper entertain him.
Sullivan Carmichael was Leonard's paternal uncle, his father's younger brother who dotted on Leonard like his own son. And with the same privilege, Sullivan made sure to support his nephew like his own while also keeping unwanted people away from him.
Up until now, Leonard had kept away the relationship he and Vivian shared to be a secret. It wasn't that he was ashamed about it but merely because he needed Vivian to first settle down with her feelings for him. To make sure that she saw that the only person she would ever need in her life was him and no one else.
He wanted to monopolize her, keep her to himself entirely.