"I am sorry," came the whispered voice of Vivian.
"What for?" asked Leonard, guessing so much that the vase wasn't what had broken her down into tears. The way she clutched her hands to her chest made him doubt if she had hurt herself. Taking her hand in his, he ran his thumbs over her palms before looking up to see her eyes that looked.
"I..." Vivian tried to tell him how sorry she was for what had occurred that night but she couldn't put it in right words. When it had happened, everything around her had been chaotic and her mind hadn't grasped the way the situation had presented. Guilt ate her at the thought that Leo could have somehow saved his mother if she hadn't decided to attack her. Now that her tears on her face had disappeared, she stared into the waiting eyes of Leonard, "I saw what happened," she saw him give her a confused look, eyes wavering away from his, she said, "Your mother...I saw you..."
Leonard felt his hand freeze for a second when Vivian mentioned about the night he had been trying to forget for the past few months. As painful it was for Vivian to rewatch the scene, it was much worse for him to remember the way his parents died; especially his dear mother.
His hands slipped away from Vivian's.
It had been some time since someone had brought up his parents in a conversation. He had bottled his emotions close somewhere far away that he never spoke about them.
"What did you see?" he asked keeping his voice calm and helping her stand up. Everything, her mind whispered at his question.
"Memories of what I already have seen," she answered, realizing she should have kept this one to herself. Vivian would be more than happy to listen to him but she doubted he would want to speak about that certain day. Silence awkwardness surrounded them, leaving Leonard deep in thought.
When she heard Leo let out a sigh, her brows scrunched together in worry.
"Vivian," hearing Leonard call her by her given name straightened her back, "Did you have lunch?" she blinked her eyes twice.
"No, I was waiting for you," he nodded his head.
"Ask Jan to prepare lunch for you."
"What about you?" she asked him, "Did you eat?"
"I don't have the appetite for lunch. Go now. Staying hungry too long isn't good for your body," he placed his hand on her back which slid away after a gentle push.
Vivian saw him walk past her, heading to his room as she stood there for a minute. Her hand on the railing she turned to step down the carpet stairs, one after another. The meal that noon was lonely. Sitting in the wide dining room which was empty except for her and the housekeeper who had left on her word as she didn't ask for anything more than what was served, she sat at the table eating quietly.
The fork in her hand played with the pea before it was picked and put into her mouth. The rain murmured down to the ground and walls, whispers of the leaves long lost as she stared outside the window from where she sat. The clouds had gotten darker, darkening the dining room as if a shadow of pain crept around it just like it had enveloped her heart. She hadn't meant to cry, not so much at least in front of Leonard. The tears had fallen down like a broken unstoppable dam, the pain, and heartache still echoing in her mind.
He had given his heart to her but matters would be easier to handle if he showed the wounds he suffered.
Vivian hadn't mentioned what she had seen at the Rune mansion, and if he hadn't caught her at the time right after her visions she might have not mentioned about it. Not that she wanted to hide anything from him but she believed that a few things were better left forgotten and untouched. Things that were not meant for her and what she had found by accident.
Only if she could heal the wounds he had hidden from her and the world, thought Vivian to herself. Placing the fork beside the plate, she wiped her lips with the cloth that rested on the table.
Leo had told her she had the ability and power to heal physical wounds, it wasn't the wounds that appeared outwardly that was painful but the ones that were caused within. And if she could help him in any way, she would do her best, knowing well that Leonard would do the same for her.
She wanted to support him, be there for him and with that thought in her mind, she got up from her seat to take a glass from the table. Picking up the knife which was placed on the stand, she took it. Taking in a deep breath, "You can do this," she whispered to herself, running the sharp edge across her palm and letting the warm liquid fall down drop by drop into the crystal glass as it filled up.
"What are you doing?"
The sudden voice of Leonard who stood at the door startled her, making her hide her hand suddenly like a child who was caught stealing sweets from the kitchen, "Isn't that what you have?" Vivian's question was right in all forms as that was what she was used to seeing him drink during meals.
"Don't tell me that it's for me," his voice sounded tired, making her feel as if he were disappointed by her action, "You need to stop cutting yourself, Vivian," he reprimanded her, "One wrong action and you'll end up dead."
"I'm still alive," she muttered, feeling slightly bad that he wasn't happy about her offering her blood.
"Stupid girl. Don't do it again," he took her hand where the wound would take time to heal, drying the fresh blood while it turned thicker and harder.
"Fine," she looked away from him. He took the jug of water, placing her hand on the used plate and began pouring the water on her hand to clean it.
"I don't know what goes in that head of yours to cut yourself, not once but twice. Or have you done this before to do it without a second thought?" taking the clean napkin he placed it on her hand, pressing it making her wince in pain.
She took her hand away from him, clutching it close to her chest, "I just wanted to do something nice for you. Why is it so bad?"
"Didn't I say I lacked an appetite," his expression was dull as he looked at her hand, eyes moving to see the amount of blood that had been collected.
She shook her head seeing the way his eyes darted from her to the glass that laid on the table, "Skipping meals isn't good. It's not just me but you need to eat too, Leo. Things have happened but you need to live and not shut yourself," this seemed to have hit the nail which made his eyes narrow at her.
"Why?" his dull expression turned to life but not the kind she would have wanted. Anger began to simmer in those red eyes as they stared down at her, "Do you feel pity? Is this what this is about? Feeling bad for what I did?" a dry laugh broke out of his lips, "Is it?" he questioned.
Vivian could have denied, denied that it wasn't pity but she ignored the little bells that warned her not to go through that road. Fortunate or unfortunately, as she grew up away from him, she never got to witness the temper like the others who lived with him. He had always been extremely calm and patient with her, there were times he showed his annoyance but she took it with joy.
The expression on her face gave away what was in her mind and Leonard spoke, "I don't need your pity. I won't pass out if I miss a meal," he turned on his heel ready to leave the room.
"Talk to me, Leo," she pleaded softly in a whisper to make him stop in his tracks.
Leonard who had opened the door, turned to face at her swiftly, "What do you want me to talk about? About my dead parents?" he snapped making her flinch, "Of how you pity me for losing my family? Or is it how I killed my own mother?"
"That's not what I meant," she frowned, knowing Leo was only speaking such things out of anger. If this was how he was going to cope with his emotions by using anger as a shield, then she wouldn't mind it.
Vivian knew Leonard was hurting deep down but keeping everything locked in like that wasn't healthy. They both had lost people whom they loved and care for, his being on a much greater pain than what she had gone through. The council had held Paul to be the culprit after long trails that took place for extended weeks. Paul had been hung, and there was no way they could bring Mr and Mrs Carmichael back to life. She wanted Leo's mind to be met with peace, to overcome the pain gradually but something said he still held on to it.
"You shut yourself out. The more you shut yourself like that it will only hurt that much more. I don't mean for you to forget and forgive for what has happened," Vivian's voice was gentle. It didn't seem like her words would convey everything she wanted to say but she tried, "You don't have to carry the burden all by yourself. I am here if you need me, Leo."
"I know," he replied, closing the door behind him when he stepped out of the dining room.
Her eyes falling upon the glass filled with her blood, she murmured, "He didn't take it. Tapping her foot for three seconds, she picked the glass and was out of the room, following down the halls so that she could catch up to him.
"Leo!" she called loud enough to bring attention to herself.
Maids who were working in the hall stopped to see the couple, even the housekeeper who had come to fetch and clean the dining room saw the girl chase after Master Leonard. The girl had finally been turned to a lady yet her actions sometimes slipped to fall back as a commoner.
Leonard who turned to see what had got her running saw the glass of blood in her hand.
"You forgot this," she said keeping a smile on her lips whilst her heart pumped loudly. She had an inkling that he might be holding the last thread with her before he would actually get mad at her, "It will go stale and would be a waste."
"Should have thought before you poured it in there," he responded back haughtily.
Her heart dropped slightly, "You want me to throw it away then?"
"Do whatever suit's you," at the same time the bell at the front door rang and the housekeeper went to get it.
And as if his mood wasn't enough to be spoiled in came the curly haired vampire gentleman, Jerome Wells with Jan following him behind. Dressed in light-coloured slack and shirt, the vampire looked close as good as any elite vampire would look to be.
"Master Leonard, Mr Wells is here to see you," announced Jan with a bow.
"Good afternoon, Duke Leonard. Good afternoon Vivian," Jerome wished both of them, his eyes lingering more on Vivian than Leonard which irked the blonde man.
"Noon, Mr Wells," greeted Leonard. Vivian offered the man a smile and a bow, greeting him the same manner he had greeted them.
As if noticing the stare coming from Leonard, Jerome spoke, "You said you wanted to speak to me about something important," he reminded.
"Let's go to the drawing room," suggested Leonard to move the conversation to a private room.
Vivian who had been standing there next to Leonard, turned to Jerome when he spoke to her, "Will Ms Vivian be joining us in the room?" he had never seen her so finely dressed as a maid always wore less attractive clothes due to the wages they received by their masters.
Jerome Wells had been the only one to call her with a title of miss before her name, unknown that she had been moved up from the position of a maid to a lady, he still referred her the way he always had since the first time they had begun to speak to each other.
"I don't think so..." drawled Vivian unsure of why Leonard had called Mr Wells home today. She never asked him matters regarding why people came and what was their reason for visiting him at the mansion.
But Leonard surprised her by saying, "I think you it would be alright for you to join us, Vivian. Unless you don't want to," she could? she asked herself mentally.
"That's lovely," chimed Jerome with a smile that could have melted the maid's hearts but it didn't melt Vivian's heart. Not that she didn't find the man attractive but she never felt the way she felt like when she saw Leo. As they walked with Leonard in the front, Jerome fell back slowly to walk next to Vivian, asking her, "What's with the glass of blood? Is the Duke yet to have his meal?"
Vivian remembered what Leo had said just before Jerome had appeared at the mansion,
'Do whatever suit's you.'
If that was really his answer then he wouldn't mind what she was going to do next, "Would you like to have it, Mr Wells? It's fresh," she smiled.
"If you're insisting, I don't think I would mind," answered Jerome.
Not after two seconds, Leonard had turned to snatch the glass from her hand, "This one is mine, Mr Wells. Jan will get you another glass. Jan," Leonard flicked his fingers.
"You don't have to do that. I had my meal before I left home. I was going to have only because Ms Vivian insisted," said Mr Wells as they stepped into the study room.
Vivian didn't miss the glare Leonard sent her way when Jerome wasn't looking. She looked away in another direction behaving as if she hadn't noticed it.