She stood in front of the giant Richardsonian Romanesque style mansion. The noirette sighed, picking up her suitcase as she approached the giant ornately designed doors. She dropped the doorknocker against the aged wood. It echoed throughout the house and she waited nervously outside the door. The door flung open and in front of her stood a young man no older than his late twenties. What was surprising was that he was dressed in a Victorian style.
He looked irritated as if she had just disturbed him from a nice nap. She realized she had been staring for quite some time now and managed to squeak a sentence out. “Hi, I’m the one who rented a room here.”
Nice manners would be to introduce yourself first. The man at the door seemed satisfied and led her indoors. The moment she stepped into the grand foyer, her breath was taken away. The grand staircase curled its way to the top floors, the handrails being constructed from the same brass as the doorknockers. A velvet carpet was laid out over the wooden stairs. The foyer branched out into two different wings.
The man pointed down one way of the house. “That’s the parlor and that’s the dining area.” His voice was deep with an authoritative tone and crisp British accent to it. He took massive strides towards the stairs and she had to run to keep up. As he walked silently up the stairs, she felt the need to make small talk.
“Um… so, are you the caretaker?”
“No. I am the owner.”
Her brows furrowed. This mansion hadn’t had an owner for more than a hundred years. He glanced back and realized she had stopped following him. “Hurry up, would you? I do not have all day.”
She glanced up at him and nodded. “O-of course, sir.”
She followed him through the hallways until he came to an abrupt stop in front of a door. He pulled a key out of his pocket and handed it to her. “This is your room and that is the key. Do not lose it. Dinner will be served at seven. Do not be late.” He gave her a curt nod and walked down the hallway, the heels of his boots clicking on the dark wood floors.
Inserting the key, she pushed the heavy doors open. The king bed had black sheets with red, velvet covers. Velvet curtains hung from the ceiling to the headboard of the bed, tied back by gold drapery hooks. A velvet rug sat at the foot of the bed along with a velvet bench. Antique furniture was littered through the room and portraits hung on the walls. Closing the doors behind her, she walked to a heavy wooden door that opened onto a balcony.
Rose vines had crept up the side of the mansion, winding against the rail of the balcony. Below her was another view of the garden. There was a rose hedge maze, tall as average ceiling height. In the center of the maze sat a stone fountain shaped like a lotus. She checked the clock on the wall and read one o’clock. There was no way that could be possible, she had arrived at the manor at six-thirty. She grabbed her phone, 6:45.
She stepped back into the hallway. Her head whipped in both directions to figure out which way to go. After wandering for ten minutes, she concluded that she was lost. The harsh clicking of boots caused her to spin and crashing into someone.
“What are you doing here?” The owner's voice boomed with anger.
She shuddered at his tone. “I-I got l-lost.”
His eyes narrowed, and he gripped her elbow tightly. Pain shot up her arm where his nails dug into her skin. He dragged her through the hallway and down the stairs. He walked into a room with her following him like a puppy who had been scolded. Before them sat a long mahogany, dining table littered with chairs. He pulled his chair out and sat down, motioning for her to do the same. She obeyed and sat down at the opposite head.
“Eat.” The single word rang out through the dining hall.
Her head snapped up to meet his gaze and she realized that before her lay a feast. She dug into the food, shifting uncomfortably in her seat all the while. His electrifying blue orbs seemed like they were cutting into her soul.
“What is your name?” It wasn’t a question, more like an order. He was intimidating with his bright, blue eyes never wavering and his towering height. She noticed that he spoke in crisp sentences so that whenever he spoke, he was right to the point.
She managed to squeak her name out. “Chaya.”
She wanted to ask his name but was too scared to speak up. She remembered the anger and disappointment she had seen in his eyes and felt that if she made one wrong move, he’d rip her head off her shoulders and feed it to the dogs. Once Chaya was done with dinner, she sat back and observed the room. Against one wall sat a tile fireplace with a giant painting. Looking closer, Chaya realized it was the owner’s painting. In big bold letters on a golden plaque were the words: Sir Tobias Henry Charles II.
Tobias asked her if she was done and she didn’t want to irritate him more than he already was, so she nodded her head. Tobias gave her an abrupt nod and stood from his seat. He motioned for her to follow him and dropped her off in front of her room and started to walk away. Chaya called out to him.
She spit out the rest of her sentence. “Goodnight, Tobias.”
Surprise flickered through his eyes, but he covered it up and walked away. Chaya entered the room as moonlight lit the room with a heavenly glow. The velvet sheets quickly lulled her into a dreamless sleep.