165 Playing house- Part 1
The Carmichael's carriage traveled from the land of rain to the land of sun, from East to West, heading towards Valeria where both Vivian and Leonard were going to attend the Winter's ball. After the long journey, the carriage stopped in front of a decently large house which belonged to Maximilian Gibbs who was a dear friend of Leonard.
Vivian walked through the doors of the house, finding it rather warm and cozy as it didn't leave much room to be empty. With well-furnished furniture and a few decorative items, it felt enough to be called home. Unlike the mansion she had come to be used to, there was only one maid a woman in her prime forties who was a human, looking after the Gibbs' house.
"You don't have to exert yourself, Mrs Clark," Vivian could hear Leonard speak to the maid who had offered to take the luggage, "My coachman will take our suitcases to the rooms."
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"Okay, okay. Let me show the rooms. It has been long since Mr. Gibbs came to stay though he does visit us once in a while," said the woman to lead them to the room where they would be staying in. With the Winter's ball which was being hosted in Lord Alexander Delcrov's mansion, Leo had thought it to be wise to come one day before the grand day.
"He did tell me that," Leonard replied looking at the walls which hand frames being hung, occupying almost every inch of space of the passage.
"Sure he did. I do receive a letter every once a week. He's an adorable child," she spoke fondly of the eccentric man she had come to know. Maximillian Gibbs was one of the very few men Leonard associated himself with. The man with his shocking blue eyes was someone she had been wary of not because he was a bad man but he was strange. He would be looking dull looking at an inanimate object but when his eyes would meet a person's it would turn to a smile which made many people uncomfortable under his intimidating self. Maximilian was a rare case of a pureblooded vampire to have eyes that weren't red which only made him odder than the rest of the folks.
She walked behind them, taking her time to look at the house and in one particular frame she found Leonard there who must have been ten to eleven years old at that time.
With the coachman and the maid who had left the room so that they could rest, she removed the overcoat that she had worn and hung it on the stand while also taking Leonard's coat who had taken out his.
"It is a beautiful house," she commented, coming to sit on the bed which was made of soft matress that dipped down due to her weight.
"You like it?" Leo was unbuttoning the cuff of his sleeves as he asked her. It was a casual journey from one land to another with only Vivian who was riding along with him but Leonard had been brought up to wear his clothes to the clock as if he were attending a gathering. Now that they were in a closed room, he decided to change himself into casual wear, "I take that you aren't fond of mansions then," his eyes were trained on her as he said it.
"It's not that," she smiled leaning back and then forward so that she placed her hands on her knees and support her face with it.
"Bored?" he guessed and he returned back a smile seeing the reluctance on her face as she didn't respond back. Vivian was looking at the small fireplace which was in the corner of the room, staring at the logs which hadn't been lit as the surface on which they laid was clean to the spot, "We can always move."
"Hmm?" Vivian's eyebrows scrunched up together taking a second more before she came to realize with what he meant.
"Where would you like to go?" he asked.
He was being serious? thought Vivian to herself. It wasn't that she didn't like living in the mansion but just that it was too big with only two of them along with the servants. Sometimes that space reminded her of the emptiness but she had never thought to move away from there at least not until Leonard had come back after staying at the Rune and Rufus' mansion.
Before Leonard had come back to stay she did think about leaving the mansion, specifically to work in Jerome Wells mansion as he had asked her, proposing the deal where she could look after his mansion being a housekeeper directly. For a normal servant, it would take years of experience and time before she or he would be assigned as the housekeeper but only some were given such privilege. To make it more unfair, families usually hired male as the housekeeper instead of females. To have been offered such position, she had been ecstatic before. Utterly happy at the thought that she would be looking after a mansion just like Martha did in the Carmichael's mansion but things had changed after Leo's return.
Seeing him shook her resolve of being the housekeeper and she prolonged the time, wanting to spend time with the young master.
"I am happy where I am right now," she answered when he came to walk to the bed, taking a seat next to her but to only lay down on his back, "Lay down with me, Vivi," he said waiting for her to accompany him in the leisure hours of the day as they had nothing else to do. Giving him a smile, she laid next to him on the bed both of them staring at the ceiling of the bed where the silk-like curtains started from the center to be taken and twirled around the corners of the bed.
"What did you dream of?" he surprised her with the question, "You must have had some thoughts about your future on what you wanted to do. How you wanted to spend your time unless you planned to be my personal maid," he grinned erupting a giggle out of her lips.
"But there were so many other maids in the mansion, older than me," she teased him to hear him hum a response.
She turned to her side so that she could see him better, "Because you know me better than the most. Maybe not as good as Paul and Martha but you had some redeeming points when it came to them. How can a young master not want to have pretty maid as his personal maid where he can do what he wants with her," Vivian puffed her cheeks at his words.
"You have a bad mind," she retorted to look at him raise his brow.
"What's bad in making you study harder than before?"
"My, what dirty thoughts you have, Bambi?" he teased her to see her blush.
"Trickster," she mumbled under her breath. It only recently did she come to realize how corrupt his mind was when it came to her. He often liked to tease her, either it was by words or through actions leaving her breathless countless number of times.
"Tell me. How did you see your future?" he asked wanting to know what she had thought in the past.
"Just normal, general thing how the rest of the girls want," her evasiveness on the matter only made him that much curious that he now wanted to find out. Vivian was sure it was something he wouldn't like hearing but his eyes held that spark which said he wouldn't be let her go unless she revealed about it, "I wanted to be a librarian in the local village," she said shyly but Leo didn't comment on it and waited knowing there was more, "They have a lot of books which is often circulated across the four lands. They need people who know how to read."
"Of course," he responded back. It was good to hear that his Bambi actually had better plans by leaving the mansion for reasons of wanting to have a better life for her. Vivian had been a bright girl since she was young, learning quickly which made him make her study that much harder.
"I did go to apply to it but I heard Martha say that I wasn't allowed to leave the mansion until Mr. Carmichael approved of it."
"Father didn't?" it was an obvious answer as to when Leonard had come back Vivian was still there breaking vases of the mansion.
She shook her head. Loyal servants were hard to find, servants usually had to be brought from the market or the slave establishment so that they would obey the owner's orders. Most of them were bound to not leave the mansion to work elsewhere unless a written parchment was received by the owner.
"So I thought to be a housekeeper as requested by Jerome Wells," she said in the flow, playing with the button of his shirt and pausing her fingers, "He said he would like to turn me to a lady."
"What else did he say?" Leonard asked in a casual tone.
Giving him a troubled look she said, "You already know," and seeing him not ask on the matter she decided to shift the topic, "Are everyone invited? For the ball I mean."
"Almost all the pureblooded vampires but a few elite humans or smart people who are of good trade. With the ball being here in Valeria, it is more of a compulsion for the pureblooded vampires to make their presence," he answered to look at the anxious state she was in, "What's the matter, Vivi?" he placed his palm on her cheek, "You have been very quiet all the way here. What's bothering you?"
She shook her head, her smile coming to form half way before it quivered and fell down.
"Don't trouble yourself by thinking so far into the future. Live with me in the present. If you do, you will see me in every step you take if not next to you then behind you," he pushed the baby hair away from her face that had been stuck to her face thanks to the wind.
"Your words are few but you weave it well," she complimented him.
"Until I am here with you have nothing to worry, allow me to carry the pain, the anxiousness that you are feeling right now."
She bit her bottom lip, emotions bubbling and she closed her eyes, "I am scared, Leo," something felt cold on her cheek when he ran his hand as if to rub something away.
"What is it that scares you?"
"I don't know," was her immediate reply, her eyes still shut with her lashes that had turned wet. Leonard hadn't mentioned about it but for four days she had been quiet, often getting lost in her thoughts and her nights weren't peaceful. She had been having bizarre dreams, once it was the ghost then it was something that she had relieved to feel the past which had blood but it was another dream which she refused to speak about that made him wonder why was it hard for her to speak about it.
She had hugged him, her heart beating against his chest with such rapidness that had got him worried.
"You don't know or you don't want to talk about it?" he asked her as they laid next to each other on the soft mattress alone in each other's company.
He saw her open her eyes, her eyelashes having drops of water in them which she had to blink away, "I need to know Vivi so that I can help you. It doesn't feel right to see the person you love cry, the feeling of helplessness isn't something one would like to go through. Tell me, please. It would also lighten my chest," she took a deep breath.
"My emotions feel all over the place," she confessed, she took a deep breath to stop herself from crying more as she didn't understand what exactly was upsetting her. Leonard suddenly frowned and he placed his hand on her stomach, "What happened?" she asked confused until realization dawned on her and she blushed profusely with her wet eyes looking at him. He was checking to see if she was pregnant.
"Emotions," he helped her continue looking back up at her.
Vivian's heart murmured to itself, her thoughts even more scrambled with the thought of a child of theirs. It hadn't crossed her mind but Leo's sudden inspection now deviated her mind before getting back to what they were speaking about.
"What if they don't accept me?"
"They don't have to. You need to know that if they abandoned you they might not accept unless there is something they can benefit from you," Leo's firm words were like a mirror breaking into pieces to show the reality of emptiness that laid behind the mirror, "You need to remember that you are worth more than anything in this world. And no matter what others say, it doesn't matter. Do you think I would a girl randomly to be my wife?" he attempted to try to cheer her up.
"No," came her soft voice.
"You are a very valuable person and if they failed to see it, it wasn't your fault but theirs," both of them knew the truth that it was her parent's shame that had driven her out of her house when she was a child.
"Yes," she nodded her head to hear him ask her, "Is there something you're hiding from me?" she saw him stare into her eyes waiting for her to answer.
Leonard loved Vivian to the point where he could know and understand her emotions well. His ears had been tuned to listen every beat and skip of her heart. Though meeting her family was something that worried her he doubted that it was her major concern. Her hugs sometimes felt as if she was too scared to let go.
Her eyes looked slightly dilated and her breathing quickened as if she was remembering something. He saw her lift herself up and sit on the bed which he followed to do the same. Waiting for her, she finally spoke,
"I have been having bad dreams."