Alice held a sympathetic look on her face, her eyes trailing from the ring, up to fanny, and then to the tea tray. She smiled at Lurch in a silent thank you as he moved to the harpsichord. “It has been a terrible night. But it is always darkest before the dawn. Bart and Elvira will be back, and mother will get better, and we’ll all be a happy family again.” She didn’t dare mention Juliette – she was too angry with her other sister. She also didn’t want to trust hope and say her father would have his memories when he was reincarnated. And, as a cherry on top of her sorrowful thoughts, she had no idea where Edward was. Juliette would probably have strangled her for asking if she hadn’t been… out of her mind when she returned to the manor. “It’s all just in a matter of time. Mother waited centuries before she met the love of her life, I’m sure we can wait a few days for the people we hold dear to calm their minds.” She reached for a cake, her fingers gentle on the dainty treat as she brought it to her mouth.
Roxburg Manor, Main Foyer
Sally was dusting the mirrors and lamps when there was a knock upon the doors. Setting down her duster, she moved to answer the door. One of the twins stood there with Elvira cradled in his arms like a baby. “My word! What happened?” she asked, stepping aside to allow him entry.
“She fell and bumped her head. She may have a concussion according to The Count. A message has been sent to Doctor Bianchi asking for his assistance in this matter.” he explain. He looked around. “Where may I set her?”
“Oh, yes! This way please.” Sally exclaimed, leading him up to Elvira’s room. She opened the door for him and pointed to the bed. “Set her here please.” She went to the sideboard and dipped a cloth in the water there, hurrying back to her mistress’s side and placing it upon her forehead. She looked at the large man who easily took up much of the space in the room. “Thank you for your help.”
“You are most welcome. Good day.” The man bowed and left the room. Sally turned back to Elvira, patting her face with another spare bit of cloth.
“What have you gotten yourself into now?” she sighed as she waited for the Doctor’s arrival…
Lurch heard the ringing of the bell at the front door, but as he bowed his leave to Fanny and Alice, the roar of Bart’s voice came filtering through the entrance as the door was slammed open.
“I don’t need to use the damn bell in my own house. LURCH…here, now!” All bets were off, as Bart had returned home, fueled by rage that his sister Elvira had been brought home ill from the Count’s mansion, and also that she was even there in the first place. He was doing his family’s duty to attend the meeting of the Council, only to be interrupted by the messenger. He tossed his hat onto the hat rack and didn’t even bother to remove his coat. The Doctor looked apologetic, since it was he that rang the bell. “Habit…my apologies.” Johnathon then caught sight of the enormous butler, Lurch. “What do you feed your people, Bart?’ Lurch did his usual introduction.“You rang?” Bart started to poke Lurch’s belly. “I didn’t ring, he rang…oh BAH…where is my sister, Elvria?” The butler looked down thoughtfully at the small Lord and then pointed up to her room “In….her chambers, Sir.” That was all Bart needed to hear, and he pushed up his sleeves, and like a man possessed tore up the stairs, leaving the Doctor standing there. He suddenly felt incredibly awkward. “Love the decor…you do this?” The Doctor asked. Lurch just shook his head and snatched the Doctor’s hat off his head with his massive hand. “Rrrrrrrrrrr.”
Elvira’s chambers – Second floor
Not caring if she was sick, asleep or having sex with some poor unsuspecting male, Bart ripped open the door to her room, and strode in, full of anger and rage. He saw that Sally had put his sister on the bed and he glared at her with eyes like searing hot coals. He balled his fingers into his palms, ready to pound the living daylights out of her when….
“Ah…so here is the patient.” Talk about being saved by the Doctor. Doctor Bianchi had followed Bart up the stairs, and made his way past Bart, setting down his medical bag. He looked to Sally and asked. “Clean water bowl if you will, and some towels.” Standard really, and the Doctor then took Elvira’s hand and with his pocket watch out, he started to time her heart beat and check her pulse. It was steady, and he was impressed with this. Placing her hand back down gently, he drew back one of her eyelids, and then started to move his finger back and forth to see if there was any pupil dilation or reaction to the light of the room. Thankfully, she showed signs of dilation and this was enough to confirm his suspicions. He pressed his hand to the nape of her neck, and felt for her major artery, whilst looking up at Bart. “Forgive me for saying, but…if you don’t undo your collar, your going to burst a blood vessel.” Johnathon knew that Bart was furious with his sister at the moment, but he had to realize that this was not helping the situation at all. Johnathon moved further down the bed, and raised back Elvira’s skirt, and he picked up her ankle, and started to test her reflexes in pushing her foot back so her knee would bend. The Doctor wanted to test if she had muscle issues, if they were tense or relaxed, to gauge her mind’s reactions and nerve endings. Everything appeared to be fine on that end. Resting her foot with a pat, he brought her dress back down, then moved up to her head, which he felt around for a tell tale sign of a lump. Sure enough he found one the size of an egg. “Concussion….definitely. I advise that she have 24 hour watch, preferably her maid. Worst case scenario is if she wakes up suddenly and is sick. If this is the case, she must be rolled on her side, head tilted to release her stomach fluids. Last thing she needs is to choke on her own vomit.” The Doctor then took out his note book and made out a list of foods and fluids that would be suitable for her, as well as his card with address, should they need him to return to check on her. He handed this to Sally, then said. “These are strict instructions on diet and also how I may be contacted. Otherwise, I say she should show signs of recovery in the next 48 hours.”
Bart’s face was still beetroot red, and he folded his arms, tapping his foot, like he wanted her to wake up then and there and explain herself. Johnathon sighed, packing up his bag, and then turning to face Bart. “You have all had a very trying time. Each are dealing with their grief in different ways. I dare say…she went for some answers, and didn’t get them. I truly don’t know, but at least the Count was wise enough to send her home and arrange care. That…has to say something.” Bart knew that the Doctor spoke righteously and honestly. What did he expect, the man was an angel. Bart started to let go his anger, and lowered his head, ashamed of himself. “I’m sorry, Doctor Bianchi. I can’t help what I am at times.” The Doctor knew this and then patted his shoulder before leaving. “Sometimes…we have to put our own feelings aside, and be there for those that are family. After all, they are all we truly have.” With that, the Doctor took his leave.
Bart stood staring at Elvira, and waited……
She recognized her room and wondered how she got here. The last thing she remembered was The Count and…
Hell and Damnation! she sighed. “I’ve gone and made a complete fool of myself.” she murmured, unaware that she wasn’t alone.
A sound caught her attention and she carefully turned her head to see her brother standing in the middle of the room. His arms were crossed and there was an angry glare on his face.
Oh hell! she groaned. “Hello, brother.” she murmured, reaching up to her neck to steady her hands. She felt the chain about her neck and unconciously brought her hand around the locket, clenching it in her fist. It brought her a sense of comfort she hadn’t felt since her father passed. She would realize what she had done later, but right now, she needed to talk to her brother and diffuse his anger.
Bart had been standing there for hours. Too angry to move. He had lost more than enough this night, and he was going to be damned if he lost another. Truth was…he was scared. Scared of all that had happened, and the fact that he was now head of the house, that was torn apart at the seams. Fragmented and bleeding. His father’s shoes were too big for him to fill, and he knew this. He wanted to go back to two days ago, when life, and everything made sense.
Seeing Elvria stir, had him catch his breath. Relief washed over him, but at the same time, he had many questions that needed answering, for his own peace of mind. The sound of her groan, and then a soft “Hello, Brother.” showed she was still under the weather, and for her sake, this was probably a good thing. Bart started to pace, and this would continue as he found his voice.
“Now…when you took lovers, by the truck load, I never said a thing. When you took your own sister’s fuck toy to the ball, I never battered an eyelid. I know you well enough for your sneaky ways, hell I taught you a lot of them. But when you…go and spend the night with the very creature that not only led an attack on our family …..but tore apart your own ball partner. I have to ask myself. WHAT WERE YOU DOING?!” His voice was a roar of anger and frustration. He came to an abrupt stop and stared down at her. “WELL?!”
“Now…when you took lovers, by the truck load, I never said a thing. When you took your own sister’s fuck toy to the ball, I never battered an eyelid. I know you well enough for your sneaky ways, hell I taught you a lot of them. But when you…go and spend the night with the very creature that not only led an attack on our family …..but tore apart your own ball partner. I have to ask myself. WHAT WERE YOU DOING?!” She bowed her head, and for the first time she could recall, was ashamed of herself. “WELL?!”
“He didn’t lead the attack, Bart.” she stated. “He was trying to stop our grandmother from killing Father. Edward wasn’t supposed to be in the middle of that. But because ofJuliette…” she spat the name like a curse, looking her brother in the eye so that he would see the truth of her words, “…he was was an accidental casualty. No one but the other demons were supposed to be hurt. And yet Grandmother’s plan came to fruition.” She took a deep breath, trying to form her next set of words.
“I left the house this morning to try and make sense of everything and he, The Count, that is, found me alone. He just wanted to talk, tender his apologies for what happened to Father and that he never meant for any of it to happen. I said…some not so pleasant things to him and chased him away, even after he was kind to me. You know how my temper gets.” she tried to smile but it fell flat in the face of her brother’s anger. She continued. “So I went to his estate to apologize. Again, he was nothing but a gentleman to me, and it…confused me…” She did not want to tell her brother what she discovered about The Count but she had never kept a secret from him, not even when they were children. “…He…He is…” she clenched her fists and closed her eyes. She did not want to see his reaction to this news. “I found out that he is my destined mate, Bart.” she nearly whispered, feeling drained. “It frightened me and I started to leave. I…tripped over a table or something and I fell and hit my head. I blacked out after that.” she finished lamely, staring at her hands clenched in her lap.
She waited for Bart to either berate her more for her folly, or try to be the supportive big brother/Head-of-House he had become…
Fanny had been sitting quietly with young Alice since arriving back from that dreaded ball. Lurch had tendered to their every need, and after about six cups of tea and god knows how many cup cakes, Fanny was feeling bloated and sad. Alice was saying all the right things, trying to cheer her up, and just as she was going to reach for Alice’s hand, she heard the roar of her Bartholomew, who had stormed upstairs. Fanny froze. Her love had returned, and it seemed he was now unleashing his anger on another member of the family. Elvira. ~Will this night of horror ever end?~ she thought to herself. Fanny excused herself from Alice, and then shuffled quietly out of the parlor and crept upstairs. She watched the Good doctor leave, and he gave her a polite smile, and descended the stairs. The room remained deathly silent for hours, and so, Fanny sat on a nearby couch….and waited.
Elvira’s chambers – Second Floor
Having fallen asleep on the couch, waiting for something to happen, she then was startled by Bart’s voice, roaring all of a sudden at Elvira. Fanny sat bolt upright, and got up like a shot, making her way to the door, and leaning forward to listen. She heard Bart go off the deep end about the Count, she suspected, and then Elvira replied, explaining how the Count was not after their family, nor responsible for the carnage. But when she heard Elvira say that the Count was her destined mate, Fanny couldn’t stay silent anymore, even at the threat of being banished by Bart. She opened the door, and boldly entered with her head held high.
“Daaaarling…you brute. Can’t you see the girl is sick.” Fanny went to Elvira’s side and then turned to look at Bart. “You look like shite…go clean up and leave your sister to me.” There was a stand off between Fanny and Bart, as Bart was trying to take in all his sister had said. “Don’t you dare tell me to……” Fanny stuck her chest out proudly. “AND IF I DO…?”Bart frowned. He loved his Kitten, and here she was playing mother to Elvira. “Fine…but I will be back.” he shook his fist, to which Fanny blew a kiss. “Love you too…now go.” her hand waved him towards the door, then Fanny smiled down at Elvira.“I want all the juicy details. Is he as gorgeous without his clothes on as he is with? Hmm?” she said with a wink.
Good old Fanny.
“Daaaarling…you brute. Can’t you see the girl is sick.” Fanny berated Bart and she moved to Elvira’s side. “You look like shite…go clean up and leave your sister to me.” Bart stood there, looking like a landed carp, eyebrows disappearing into his hairline. Elvira really wanted to laugh but she held it in. “Don’t you dare tell me to-” Fanny stuck her chest out proudly. “AND IF I DO…?” Elvira saw her brother frown, stunned at this woman who had come to her defence. Bart seemed to give up…for the moment. “Fine…but I will be back.” He shook his fist and Fanny just blew him a kiss in reply. “Love you too…now go.” She waved Bart out the door and then looked at Elvira. She could have sworn the woman’s eyes were sparkling. “I want all the juicy details. Is he as gorgeous without his clothes on as he is with? Hmm?” she said with a wink.
Now it was Elvira’s turn to look like a landed fish. “What are you talking about? Were you eavesdropping? How much did you hear?” Elvira gaped. Fanny seemed to give her a look. Mindful of the bruise on her head, Elvira leaned back. “This is such a mess.” she sighed. “Fanny…how did you know Bart was the one for you?”
Had Elvira been eavesdropping? “Absolutely. I think the whole house could hear you two, so it wasn’t that hard.” Fanny started to fuss over Elvira, helping adjust her cushions and pillows to make her comfortable. She fussed like a mother hen, which was so unlike what Elvira would ever have noticed about her. Truth was, Fanny took care of her elderly great grandmother, and that meant a lot of bed care, and some rather nasty things, like washing her down, tending to her chamber pot, feeding her, dressing her. The old woman simply didn’t trust the hired help, and asked Fanny to do a lot of it. But whatever chance she got, she escaped the estate, and either went to Oxford to board, or visit Bart. Both were a holiday compared to being at that sprawling manor.
Watching Elvria thoughtfully, she nodded that things were a mess. “Is life ever a picnic? No. We just get what we are dealt and deal with it.” Fanny smoothed out the sheets, and then patted them, like she was cleaning off dust, then sat on the edge of the bed, toying with Elvira’s hand. “Your brother and I are like…cream cheese and crackers. We match each other, like matching shoes and purses. How I knew? Gosh. The first moment I saw him, and those wicked eyes of his. That…cheeky smile. People were teasing me about my dress. The joys of having clothes bought for me by a woman who probably stitched clothes together using camel hair. Anyways…they teased me cause of my name…WHICH I still hate, but…he called me “Kitten”, and took my hand..” she said wistfully. “After that we put itching powder in their kit bags at the sporting ground, and I can still remember the way your brother laughed *gigglesnort*…oh…we were both hated so much. And that is how I knew. He is my only.”
Patting Elvira’s hand, Fanny then asked the big question.
“You’re scared of this Count, aren’t you? He is so different from other men, hell I could see that. So…so..dominant, yet reserved. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give to see how he ploughs into some poor woman’s folds. Oops…been reading a lot of erotica lately. Being a virgin in these times is so ghastly.”
“You’re scared of this Count, aren’t you? He is so different from other men, hell I could see that.”
“He frightens me like no man ever has, Fanny.” Elvira admitted. “I’m all thumbs around him. I’ve made a fool of myself so many times with him today, it’s a wonder he’ll still speak to me after this.”
“So…so..dominant, yet reserved. Gosh, what I wouldn’t give to see how he ploughs into some poor woman’s folds. Oops…been reading a lot of erotica lately. Being a virgin in these times is so ghastly.”
“FANNY!” Elvira exclaimed, shocked at the woman’s daring. But this was Fanny. She felt the comforting warmth of the locket between her breasts and stared down at it, surprised to see it there. “I tried to give this back to him and he asked me to keep it. Why would he do that if it means so much to him?” she wondered.
When she saw the locket that Elvira was wearing, she leaned forward and said. “How odd, my great grandmother had a locket like that. Its a real antique too. Said she got it from her great great grandmother.’ Fanny then looked at Elvira oddly and asked.“Where did you get it?”