She stood at the window, waiting for the carriage she had been expecting for the last three days since she had come to know that Leonard was going to be visiting the mansion. It had been more than six months since his last visit to the Carmichael mansion. She had hoped to see him sooner but Leonard had been preparing for the council exam. Every time she asked him in her letters on when he would come to visit his answer had been the same- 'I am busy right now. Maybe later.' But that didn't stop her from sending out letters to him. In time the response had started to delay as he often travelled around the four lands which took time for him to receive his reply.
The weather was brighter than the other days, no sign of the arrival of the rain with the clouds light grey in colour.
Seeing the carriage appear through the tall black gates, Vivian could barely keep her excitement. Knowing it was Leo who had finally come home. Bouncing on her heels while slowing down at the stare Paul gave her, she quickly walked to greet the young master of the house.
A wide smile appeared on her face before the doors were even opened.
"Good evening, master Leonard," Paul was the first one to greet Leonard but he wasn't alone. Next to him was Lady Shirley who often visited the mansion when Leonard arrived here, "Lady Shirley," Paul greeted with a bow.
Vivian offered the same respect her head bowing but instead of greeting both of them, she looked at Leonard to say, "Welcome back home, Leo," she beamed for him to smile back at her. Happy with her greeting but there were two others who weren't happy about it.
The lady next to Leonard, Lady Shirley though a human by status had been trying to gain his affections but Leonard hardly noticed it. His aloof nature often attracted women, aiming the man to be their partner which he never considered. Lady Shirley had a smile on her lips but the same didn't reflect in her heart. She didn't like that the maid who stood in front of her had the audacity to speak to her master while she was supposed to shut her mouth and do her job. She had noticed that every time she came to meet her dear Leonard, this little maid would come to hover around them.
The next person was Paul who looked shocked to fix his face, "Vivi, it is master Leonard," he scolded her like he usually did. No matter how many times he had told her not to call their young master by his given name so easily. She still continued to do it without thinking what would happen if Mr and Mrs Carmichale caught her calling their son by his name without giving the respect he ought to be receiving.
Vivian looked at the man quizzically, to say, "It has always been Leo," and as if for confirmation, she turned to look at Leonard, "Isn't it true?"
Lady Shirley had a pleasing look. At least there was one servant who was sensible here, she thought to look down at Vivian who looked like an idiot in her eyes.
"Vivian, he isn't your playmate anymore. He's the son of Mr and Mrs Carmcichael and you need to respect and treat him the way we all do," Paul continued to scold.
The servant scolded her because he didn't want anyone complaining against Vivian. Knowing well the conditions on how a vampire household worked, it would be a problem for her with so many envious maids who wished to be in her position. But that wasn't the only thing that worried him, it was Mr Carmichael's younger brother Sullivan Carmichael whom he feared of. He wanted to keep the man's eyes off from Vivian. The Carmichael's might have been nicer to the servants compared to the other pureblooded vampire family where servants were treated like dirt. And one of them was Sullivan who disliked humans to his very bone.
The servants feared him after he killed a maid right in front of everyone when he caught her stealing a silver coin. It wasn't about money but the loyalty which the maid had failed to show to the family.
"It's alright, Paul. Vivian doesn't have to call me like the rest. We have never shared a master and maid relationship," cleared Leo to bring the smile back on Vivian's face. Vivian gave a look to Paul that said 'I told you' but he looked far from happy.
Lady Shirley didn't like it as she called him by 'Mr Carmichael'. Jealousy rising in her body, she spoke to Vivian, "How have you been, Vivian? I hope all well."
Vivian nodded her head, not knowing the intention of the woman who spoke to her while she meant nothing ill, "I have been doing fine, Lady Shirley. I heard you travelled to Mythweald and that is why you weren't available at your mansion."
"Ah, yes I did. My aunt had fallen sick and wanted me to be there with her. She is a spinster who didn't marry. To think that it is always the servant girls who have the lack of ability to place themselves a man even the people in our status and society are not spared," Vivian didn't take Lady Shirley's words badly but instead nodded with a smile but Paul wasn't happy about it. He was well aware of the jab of words that were intended for Vivi.
"Let me go inform Mr and Mrs Carmichael of your arrival. Would you like to have something in the meantime?" asked Paul, "Vivian, go to the kitchen. They will need your help."
This time it was Leo who looked unhappy. Giving a small nod, they headed to the drawing-room. By the time the snacks and tea was prepared, Vivian brought it herself to the room to offer it to everyone.
Mrs Carmichael said, "Your mother is very generous with her gifts, Shirley. I must say sometimes I wonder why your family doesn't open a shop at the local market. After all, the fruits are of decent quality," Lady Shirley smiled at this, blessing her mother for sending the fruits which they actually bought from the local market which wasn't from their backyard.
"My mother would be very pleased to hear it. I will make sure her words reach her," Lady Shirley looked nothing less to a doll while she had her ankles crossed without placing her leg one after another which wasn't lady-like.
When Vivian offered, Lady Shirley the tea, the woman took it without a murmur of thanks which Mrs Carmichael noticed, "Please do. Thank you, dear," Mrs Carmichael thanked Vivian when she brought the tray to her with teacups. Mr Carmichael had chatted for a short duration before leaving the mansion as he had to go see the magistrate and his brother who was going to meet him there. Vivian had to go around the little table to serve Leonard.
Leaning down she brought the tray forward for him to take two cups from the tray. Just as she was about to stand up and turn he asked, "Where are you going?" his question was posed in a manner as if he wondered what was more important than him right now for her.
"I was going to keep the tray," Vivian answered.
"Let me walk you there. Mother," Leo informed for his mother to smile back with a nod. Standing up, he walked her out of the room and in that time Lady Shirley wanted to get up to follow them. But instead, the lady stayed in the room as it would be rude to do so when Mrs Carmcihael who could be her future mother-in-law was still in the room.
Walking a few steps away from the drawing-room, Leonard placed the teacups at the nearest slab before pulling Vivian by her arm up the stairs while placing his finger on his lips to make sure she was quiet. Vivian had intended to go to the kitchen, seeing that Leo had different plans, she followed him without any questions.
Once they were far enough where no one could hear them, he stopped near the glass room. Turning the knob and getting.
Leonard didn't speak for several minutes. Vivian enjoyed the quiet silence along with him as he walked towards the table where the pots stood with new plants that were dug into it, "How is your preparation going on for the council exam?"
"It's going well. The exam is tomorrow," he murmured, turning around to shift his gaze from the plants to the girl who had grown up now.
"Eh? Don't you need to revise? I am sure you will do well," stated Vivian proudly.
Leonard stared at Vivian who stared back at him with curious eyes. How could the girl who had been little grown to this beauty in his eyes that he was finding it hard to tear away his eyes from her? She tilted her head in question without saying anything. The reason he had come here was that he had missed her immensely after the last letter they had exchanged. Through the years, it had been hard to keep in touch with each other and even though there were times he couldn't reply back to her, this one had made a point to send him letters. The letters consisted of serious matter to trivial details like her chatting in the local market.
"Bambi, don't leave without telling me," Leo's sudden words made Vivian wonder why he said that, "I will be posted to another location if I pass the exam where I won't be able to receive your letters," a small frown formed on her forehead.
"How long will that be?"
"Months," that was long thought Vivian to herself. Suddenly she felt her forehead being flicked, "Don't look so sad, dummy. Once I am done with my work, I will finally be able to return back here as by the Lord's words," he assured to see her give a small smile.
"Okay," her response made Leo wonder if she felt anywhere close to how he felt about her, "I am okay," she added for him to frown.
"Don't be," this made the girl confused. Vivian didn't hear it clearly when Leo muttered, "I need you sad and miss me when I am gone," he walked towards the glass wall to look at the clear weather.