Lord Alexander had said they would be arriving today but hadn't mentioned what time they would be here and she could hardly wait to see her cousin.
How many months had it been since she had last seen him?
He was the only family she had.
Since the time she had arrived at the mansion she had buried herself with work but when her mind was idle she thought about a lot of things. Things that were related to her past memories with her family and others that concerned about Lord Alexander. Visiting their graves and talking to them was what she did to drive away the loneliness.
Though people in the mansion offered her their kindness, she wasn't able to share it with them. One reason being she didn't want burdening her emotions on anyone.
Standing at the window she saw Samuel, the little boy trailing behind Caviar. It seemed that the boy had taken a liking towards the horses and was often found near the horse shed. She was glad that she had brought him and his sister to the mansion.
The outside world wasn't safe and leaving them out in the rain and cold didn't feel right. She was glad that Lord Alexander had permitted them to live here in the mansion. They were after all children.
She was once too. Sometimes when she spoke to Elliot and Sylvia, Elliot would recollect memories of the time when she had stayed in the mansion when she was six years old. Sylvia had laughed showing a book that Elliot had kept safely with him which he had bought to read it for her during bedtime.
They had provided a roof over her. Not once but twice and she couldn't tell how grateful she was towards them.
With the times and the world she lived in, she had seen and heard good as well as bad things. The world they lived in was a place where a six year old girl wouldn't have been able to survive decently.
What was projected to people was far from the actual truth. Most of the deeds that took place in all the four empires were hidden or covered by the officials though some details sometimes slipped by which turned to rumors for the common people.
Dorthy and Matilda who were passing by found Katie looking outside the window as though lost in her own world.
"Looking outside the window isn't going to bring them soon. The carriage will arrive when it has to," Dorthy interrupted Katie's thoughts making the girl turn towards them with a smile.
"I don't think was this excited to see my sister after two years. I never wanted to meet her actually," Dorthy scrunched her nose.
"She was a wretch and still is," Matilda commented with a dull tone as her expression turned sour.
Katie raised her eyebrows at Matilda's words. True that the woman had no filer when it came to her mind and mouth but wasn't it offensive? Even though she had Ralph as they grew up, there were rare moments when she wished she had a sibling and may be that is why she and Annabelle shared the bond as sisters even though they weren't related by blood.
Catching the surprised to look on Katie's face Dorthy laughed saying, "She is an ungrateful person and a hoe who did things that makes me ashamed that she was my sister. I wish I had a brother instead."
"Are you sure they are arriving today?" Matilda asked to which Katie nodded.
"That's what Lord Alexander said two night ago," Katie answered picking up the mop she had placed at the corner, "Oliver sent a letter to him saying they would reach Valeria today so they must be on their way now."
"Ah, we'll have a new face to work with. We are having a lot of new servants being added," Dorthy said making Katie go silent.
She had forgotten that she had decided to leave the empire when she would find her cousin, to go back to the south empire. Life had been busy that the thought of her leaving the empire had gotten out of her mind.
"It would be of great help if you women could use your time for quality work than stand here for idle chatter."
Hearing the old, grim voice of the butler all the three of them turned around to see the man standing there before all of them scattered to continue what ever work they were doing.
As the day progressed, Katherine couldn't stop thinking about what she was supposed to do once Ralph would be here in Valeria.
She doubted that he would like working in the mansion as a servant as he was a free spirited soul. When they lived in the south empire Ralph worked along with her uncle Desmond in sawing woods as a lathmaker who worked for an important relative of the royal blood of the current Lord. She also doubted that he would like to see her working in the mansion forever as a maid as they were never born into slavery or poverty.
But the main question was that if she was ready to leave?
She had grown attached to the people, to the place and every little thing in the past few months of her stay in the Valerian empire. Sighing to herself she mopped the corridor before dipping it in the bucket of water.
"One step at a time Katie one step," she murmured to herself taking a deep breath.
Around noon Lord Alexander had returned back to the mansion along with Mr. Tanner and Mathias. Recently it seemed that the council member was visiting more than often. Lord Alexander and he would be in the study room discussing the current empire's political view which sometimes Elliot took part in. She knew it because she was the one whom Martin had assigned to bring them refreshments. Usually it was the butler's job as the thoughts and words that took place was highly confidential but the old man must have trusted her to give her the task of entering Lord Alexander's study.
Even though the lives of the servants were mundane like a repetitive cycle, the higher ups lives were as busy as ever. If not same then more.
She had tried to complete most of her work to keep herself free later on and now that she thought about it she hadn't seen Malphus since the time she woke up. He had told her that he would let her borrow the book of 'Moon Signs' but now he was missing. May be Lord Alexander had sent him on an errand again.
She was walking up the stairs when she saw Lord Alexander descend down in the opposite direction.
"Lord Alexander," she greeted him with a shy smile to see him already wearing a smile on his handsome face.
There were moments when she would call him Alex and then would realize he was an important man, a Lord and would switch back to calling him Lord Alexander. It was in those rare intimate moments she called him with his given name.
She saw something catch his eye on her and he raised his hand to dust the side of her hair.
"Where have you been cleaning to have cobweb stuck on your hair," he said flicking his fingers after removing the strands of web stuck in her hair, "And here I thought the mansion was spotless from every corner."
"Some spider's are quite persistent in turning the dark places into their home," she said making his lips quirk up.
"Indeed they are," Alexander said looking at the mop in her hand.
Since a few days Lord Alexander had been thinking of releasing her from her work routine as a maid in the mansion. After all she wasn't a maid. But if he did that there was no saying she would stay in the mansion.
"Haven't you heard the saying- the spider spins its web with its strands again and again until it succeeds to its goal. Walk with me," he said and she let the mop lean over the wall before accompanying him down the stairs.
"I haven't heard this version but we have a proverb that says 'try and try till you succeed'. Vampires have their own version of speculation when it comes to life," said Katie wiping the remnants of water on her palms on her dress.
"It isn't that different compared to the humans. The humans and vampires are reflections of each other because we both are capable of destruction and restoration. We have been living for decades mimicking each other," she heard Lord Alexander say when they reached the end of the stairs.
Lord Alexander was right, they were capable of bringing peace and war. She wondered if the dispute along with the south Lord had calmed down.
"By the way Katherine..."
"Yes?" Katie's body went into an alert hearing her given name roll out of his lips.
People usually called her by the name 'Katie' and when they called her by her whole name it meant she was in trouble because that is what she had observed when her aunt called her that way.
"I hope you had a good exercise and wouldn't go looking for an educator with what you wanted to learn so keenly because I can always help you with that," he said with a sly smile.
She didn't understand the first time but when she did she felt her cheeks flame with him.
"N-no I-I wouldn't do t-that," she stuttered her eyes darting to his left. Lord Alexander was way too blunt with his words, she thought to herself.
She wouldn't do something like that again. The last time she needed advice hadn't gone well and instead she had gotten into trouble. She wasn't stupid to repeat her mistakes twice and a part of her didn't want to face the Lord's fury.