πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Allure of the Night Chapter 1 - 5 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️



Chapter 1

The body of a mermaid is a vault of treasures. Their tears formed the most splendid of pearls, their exquisite blood a euphoric drug for vampires, their luscious hair woven into the finest of silk, and their tender meat sought after by werewolves more than Heaven’s ambrosia.

The creatures of night mingled within human society, fleeced in the wool of aristocracy, veiled in their portrayed innocence and nobility, their savagery continued to predate on the weak and powerless.

Genevieve Barlow, Eve for short, was an exceptionally strange young lady. She had an alluring and beguiling nature, where for her twenty-four year old self had barely changed in appearance since her eighteenth birthday. She had fooled the administration and had gotten a degree so that she could have a better life.

Most odd of all was that Eve had a secret she shared with no one.

She enters the house of Moriarty, not just to earn but also to find answers on what happened to her mother nearly two decades ago.

Unfortunately, things do not always proceed as one planned. Despite her cautious nature and desire to stay out of sight, a cold pair of eyes falls on her, that soon refuses to leave her out of sight. 

— — —

Welcome old and new readers, I hope you enjoy the book ^.~ The book will have 1 chapter update a day.

For readers who missed the information, TFM is on hiatus and will be picked up after some time. LTR will soon be coming to an end.


Chapter 2

A little girl sat in the tub of water, her mother washing her golden blonde hair. The woman filled the water with a battered mug, pouring water gently over her daughter’s head.

“Mama,” said the little girl. Her eyes followed the length of her mother’s wrist to a fresh bruise.

“Yes?” Being attentive, her mother asked, “What is it, Eve?”

“You hurt yourself…” the girl’s voice was sweet. No older than eight, she gazed at her mother with her clear blue eyes.

Her mother smiled at her. To the little girl, her mother’s smile brightened the entire room even though it was dimly lit with the few remaining candles they had.

The woman placed her wet hand on the little girl’s head, “It was slippery from the rain. Your mother tripped and got herself a little boo-boo,” the woman assured her daughter, “It is nothing your mother can’t handle. Don’t worry!”

Eve nodded, believing her mother’s words without question, even though she saw a second bruise on her mother’s cheek.

The smile on the woman’s face faltered when her daughter was distracted by the water’s surface. Most of the bruises that she received were covered by her dress, and the long sleeves that she wore outside was enough to cover up to her wrists. But the bruise inflicted on her face was difficult to hide.

Her daughter was growing, and she knew that her child had come to an age where she was easily curious and able to grasp difficult subjects. She did not wish to lie to her daughter, but at the same time, it was hard to explain what she did.

“How was your day, my dearie?” asked the woman, watching her daughter.

“I helped Thomas with his sheep. He let me walk with him and watch them graze,” the little girl replied fondly as if she had enjoyed it very much. She turned to look at her mother before saying, “He was taking their clothes off, mama! He said they would grow it back, but I felt bad because they looked cold. Mama, can we get a sheep one day?”

“Maybe one day,” replied her mother, the look in her eyes gentle. “I hope you didn’t step on his toes.”

The little girl vigorously shook her head.

“That’s good,” said the woman, picking up a jar off the ground.. “Thomas is a generous and kind man.”

Kinder than many who lived in this town thought the woman.

As she bathed her daughter, shimmering blue scales appeared on the little girl’s legs. The little girl’s hand touched the scales that left a dazzling criss-cross pattern. The woman turned the jar’s cap, and added two spoonfuls of white powder into the bathtub, letting it dissolve.

The little girl questioned, “Mama…why doesn’t our soap have bubbles?” Her little eyebrows furrowed. “Mrs. Edison told me we couldn’t afford soap.”

Her mother smiled, “What were you doing talking about soaps? We use something that’s even better than soap. It keeps your skin smooth and silky. Don’t you like being smooth and silky?”

“It does?” Asked the girl with an innocent expression, and her mother nodded.

“It does. Plus, it’s important you use the salts during your baths, until you learn to hide your scales. This will keep you safe. Remember, Genevieve. No one can know about your scales, else it will be big trouble for both of us!”

Shortly after the salt dissipated into the water, the scales on the little girl’s legs disappeared. Her mother came to sit behind her head, pouring water and rinsing her head and body before being brought out of the tub with a towel wrapped around her.

“Mama, will you come with me tomorrow?” A hopeful expression hung on the little girl’s face.

Eve was hugged by her mother, and the little girl was more than happy to hug her back. Eve was still young and missed her mother whenever she had to work, as she was often gone for long hours, not returning till late in the evening. There were some days where her mother was away for the entire night and early in the morning, leaving the little girl all by herself in the small house.

“I am sorry that I haven’t been able to spend much time with you. But I promise that things will get better. Once we have enough money, we can move to a better place. Maybe one with a sheep or two for you to play with,” the woman promised her daughter, “and I will be able to spend more time with you.”

“We’ll be able to play together all the time?” Excitement apparent on the girl’s face at the simple thought. The woman pulled away from her daughter to stare at her sweet face.

In the future, she would get her daughter a tutor who could educate her on etiquette and nobility so that she could become part of higher society. And unlike her, her daughter would be respected and loved! She would definitely accomplish this for her daughter’s sake!

Eve’s mother leaned forward, planting a kiss on her little one’s forehead.

“Yes, all the time, you and me,” chuckled the woman.

Later that night, the woman put her daughter to bed, covering her with the bigger quilt of the two they owned to combat the harsh Winter outside.

She walked towards the bathtub, staring at the surface of the water for a couple of minutes. She dipped her hand into the water, lost in thought before pulling the stopper out and allowing the water to drain.

When morning arrived, the sun’s rays failed to reach the town due to the clouds covering the sky. A certain gloominess filled the air, the chilly breeze making those on the streets pull their coats closer to them as they walked.

In the house where little Eve slept curled in bed, her mother stood in front of the mirror.

She was dressed in clothes that had been borrowed. Then again, most of her clothes were either handed down to her or borrowed from somewhere. Her hair was tied in a subtle yet seductive knot that appealed to her target, and her lips were painted a provocative and bold red.

The bruises had become a little more prominent with this appearance, but she carried herself proudly. When she left the house, closing the door behind her, she could feel the stares leering and judging her.

Rebecca Barlow was not new to people staring at her. And as demeaning and condemning as those gazes were directed at her, she walked with a steady composure. But if one inspected her closely, they would notice her eyes never looked ahead. Downcast, her gaze was trained on her footsteps, but whether this was to ensure she would not trip and fall or to avoid the shame felt from the eyes of others, only she knew…

When she reached the end of the road, a carriage stood waiting for her. The coachman at the carriage door opened it upon seeing her.

Rebecca felt her legs stiffen, but she did not stop walking. Though she had come here, knowing the carriage was waiting for her, she felt trepidation remembering what happened yesterday.

She stoked her courage and climbed inside the carriage with the coachman shutting the door behind her.

A few hours later, little Eve spent her free time on one of the many streets of Brokengroves. She wore a puffy coat that her mother had made for her and an adventurous glint in her eyes.

With her mother away from the house most of the time, the little girl explored the nearby next town Meadow while trying her best to avoid the townsfolk. Though young, she could sense that people did not like her or her mother much.

Her little feet left little footprints on the snowy ground as she watched people shovel away the snow in front of their houses. After turning a corner to a different street, she noticed a crowd not too far ahead of her.

Flutes were being played, filling the place with music, and streams of people headed in that direction.

For a minute, she stood there, watching little bubbles floating in the air, and her eyes widened in curiosity. As if that was not enough to lure her, the smell of hot food being sold at some stalls wafted in the air, and in this frigid weather, the aroma was extra enticing.

Unable to resist, the little girl strolled into the town fair. Excitement and awe filled the atmosphere, with the wide variety of foods and trinkets the stalls offered dazzling the crowd.

The fair was filled with more than just the townsfolk, but people from nearby towns had also traveled here to join in the festivities. Amongst the sea of people undecided on where to go first, a large crowd could be seen in front of each stall.

As a small, lone child, Eve was unable to see the stall beyond the bodies and heads of so many people, even when she stood on the tip of her toes. While she was looking for a better view point, a woman who was walking past her, pushed her, making her stumble backwards. 
“What’s a little rat like you doing here, standing in my way?” the woman huffed, before making her way to the front of the stall.

Eve quickly moved back to only be scolded by another couple for bumping into them.

The little girl quickly bowed her head, “I am sorry.”

But the rich did not care for the girl who wore dull clothes.

“I thought they went extinct! How did you get your hands on this?” Questioned a man wearing an expensive looking coat that protected him well from the chilly air. He held a bottle in his hand, looking at the red liquid inside it.

The merchant offered a cunning smile before letting out a chuckle, “I have my ways, which is why the bottle is priced at five hundred gold coins.”

“Five hundred? Aren’t you being a bit greedy? How do I know it’s authentic?” Asked the man, his eyes shifting from the bottle to the shopkeeper. His eyes narrowed, and as he did this, the colour of his eyes turned to red for the briefest moment before reverting back to brown.

“I would never cheat you, Sir. I went out to sea myself. A very rare catch as you know, a delicacy sure to quench your thirst and sate your hunger,” the merchant enticed his wealthy prospect. “I can assure you, once you taste it, every drop will be worth more than its weight in gold.”

Eve was drawn to the strong smell of baked buns that were coated with sweet caramel. She bit her bottom lip and clutched her empty stomach, contemplating how it would taste.

The portion of food that her mother prepared for each of them was fixed, and though her mother made sure to feed her, Eve had never felt satisfied. At the sight of the many delicious and interesting foods in the fair, her stomach roared in rebellion.

She drew closer to the buns, staring at the nearby children and adults devouring them in delight, who could purchase it because they had money.

And she had none.

Seeing that the shopkeeper was busy talking to a wealthy customer, her hand inched towards a bun at the edge of the stall.

But before the little girl could pick up the bun, a hand grabbed ahold of her arm!


Chapter 3

A carriage entered the town of Meadow at a steady pace. Four horses pulled the carriage made with fine oak decorated in luxurious gold patterns. The rhythmic humming of the wheels came to a stop a short walk away from the town’s fair taking place today.

The coachman jumped from his seat with a stool in hand.

Though he was a lower-class man, he wore a fine white shirt with a clean black coat and trousers . As one of the two coachmen responsible for driving his employer’s carriage, he was required to dress decently.

Quickly placing the stool on the ground in front of the carriage door, he opened it with his hand stretched outward to offer support for the person inside.

A young girl stepped onto the stool, and though the hand of the coachman was offered, she chose not to use it. She appeared no older than nine years of age, yet her steps and slight movements carried an obvious disdain. Her pale skin was clean of the usual filth and grime found on children of the lower class, and her long, black hair was braided into an elegant knot crowning the top of her head.

This was his Young Miss, Miss Marceline.

As she took a second step forward, her long, silk dress hindered her leg, and she tripped.

“Young Miss!”

The coachman came to her aid, but before he could catch her, she abruptly regained her footing and stood straight on her feet, behaving as if she had never tripped.

“Don’t shout, Briggs. You will bring us unnecessary attention,” Marceline spoke in a polite voice while she straightened her dress. “Also…move back. You’re standing too close.”

Briggs moved two steps behind her, ensuring he was not in her space. He bowed his head, “My apologies, Young Miss.”

“It is because I am kind that I forgive you,” came the dismissive voice of the young miss.

“You wouldn’t have to forgive him if you looked where you’re walking.”

A young boy, older than the girl by two years, placed a polished shoe onto the stool and alighted the carriage. He wore a thick black coat with ebony fox fur around its neckline. The luster of his silver hair complimented the dark grey clouds in the sky. His eyes revealed annoyance, and the way he carried himself held far more disdain than Marceline.

Marceline was slightly embarrassed by her older brother’s words. “It’s not my fault! Mrs. Garrette made the front of the dress too long,” she blamed the seamstress.

The boy stared at his younger sister, who smiled at him sweetly, and he rolled his eyes. He ordered their coachman, Mr. Briggs, “Park the carriage.”

“I will return shortly,” Mr. Briggs replied with a bow.

The siblings did not wait for the servant, and they walked towards the town’s fair. Marceline’s eyes brightened at the sight of the vast number of merchants selling various unique items. Though the siblings were already acquainted with many of the rarer or expensive items, most of the cheaper goods were things they had never seen or tasted, producing a feeling of novelty for the brother and sister pair.

Marceline hastened to check the other stalls, holding her head high while her brother followed after her.

“Vince! Look at that doll!” She pointed her finger at a specific stall. She ran towards the stall, standing amid the other young girls. The ones in front were fairly dressed like her while the rest flocked around the toy shop.

The silver-haired boy’s footsteps were firm and more calculated than his sister. Barely interested in the fair, Vincent kept a distance from the people and what they had to offer. If it were not for his sister’s insistence, he would not have deigned to step into such a crowded and filthy place.

But it was not just him but also the others who kept a distance from the boy with the striking colour hair and air of high nobility.

“That one! And the one on the right. And the one next to it!” Vincent heard Marceline’s excited voice through the loud bustling of the crowd, ordering the stall’s merchant to bring the dolls to her.

“Spoilt little brat,” Vincent murmured under his breath.

Marceline made the merchant bring every doll out for her, causing him to feel annoyed. If the girl was not dressed in such an expensive-looking silk dress, he would have shooed the little girl away for wasting his time and interfering with his business.

He looked at the boisterous crowd of middle and lower class people around the stall, leaving little room for him to maneuver through.

“Tch,” he clicked his tongue in annoyance and decided not to make his way through the concentrated numbers of inferior beings. Hopefully, she would soon be satisfied looking at the dolls and leave.

With his sister busy, Vincent decided to take a walk around the place while steering clear of the crowds where the men, women and children with tattered clothes were concentrated.

His parents had always brought him and his sister to places where people matched them, both in kind and status.

The weather had chilled further, and he noted a few peasants far away from the boundaries of the fair, huddled around a fire burning in an oil drum. Homeless, such people would soon die because of the worsening winter and cold that would arrive in the next few days.

His gaze passed a stall that sold hot buns. Though it smelt fresh and delectable, it was not enough to entice him to go and take a bite. His eyes momentarily fell on two upper class families who stood in front of the stall, speaking to the merchant.

As Vincent looked away, his eyes caught a scrawny little thing hovering near the edge of the hot bun stall.

It was a little girl who stood out like a sore thumb compared to the people near the merchant.

She wore a puffy, black coat with multiple sewn patches that he deduced were naively stuffed with some type of cheap wool to protect against the cold and winds. Such a homemade hand-me-down must have been crafted by the poorest of commoners, unable to afford the simplest and cheapest of snowpig leather coats which would have doubled or even tripled her protection from the cold.

Despite the patchwork job, it was not tattered like the other peasant children’s clothes. Also, the girl’s appearance was too clean and her skin was unordinarily smooth for a commoner, perhaps smoother than his sister’s and mother’s..

Regardless, one’s appearance was never enough to change one’s status.

The girl hungrily eyed the buns as if it were the most delicious food she had ever set her sight on. But he knew they were merely regular buns, probably inferior in taste to the ones he would dine on at home.

The little girl reached out for the bun, and Vincent clicked his tongue for the second time in the day.

“Fool,” he muttered because someone caught her hand before she could touch a bun.

The merchant, who had been talking and gushing over one of his customers, had caught something moving from the corner of his eye. His eyes narrowed, and he was quick to catch Eve’s little wrist.

Eve was not taught to steal, but with the frigid cold and her increasing hunger, the warm food in front of her had made her mouth water. She had not meant to steal it and only reached out impulsively, and now that she was caught, she was petrified.

“You little rat!” the merchant sneered at the little girl, his tone completely different from when he was speaking with his customers, “Did you think you were going to steal it without my knowledge?!”

Little Eve shook her head, “I didn’t mean to,” came her small voice, “I didn’t touch them!”

“But you were going to steal one, weren’t you?”

The merchant glared at her in anger.

As if the merchant’s glare was not enough, many of the people nearby, turned to watch the little scene play out.

A noble woman stated to her partner, “This is why we need a clear distinction and place to separate people like us from the likes of them. They’ll Pounce on any opportunity like a bunch of thieves and criminals.”

“Such a young girl, and already picking up such atrocious behavior. She should be reprimanded immediately. Where are her parents?” asked a second person.

“She’s probably an orphan,” commented another.

“Is she?” inquired a man whose wavy hair was combed to the side, an eerie smile etched on his lips. “She can be of some use then.”

Vincent, who stood there quietly, heard the adults that shared his social status speak about the little girl, whilst the merchant held onto the terrified little girl. He knew a few things regarding what happens to the poor abducted by the upper class, especially young children.

Little Eve wanted to get back home, and she would have fled by now if the merchant had not been gripping her hand tight enough to leave a noticeable bruise around her wrist.

“Please forgive me,” little Eve apologized and bowed her head obsequiously, “I meant no harm.”

“Not so easy, little rat. Who knows what other things you’ve stolen from here,” the merchant looked down at her.

She could hear the crowd around her erupt in whispers, casting looks of judgment and blame.

Some of them agreed to check the girl before sending her away from here.

Little Eve was scared, and she wished her mother was there. She tried hard to pull her hand out of the man’s grip, but it was not enough. As she pulled harder, the smug merchant loosened his hold, and she fell onto the cold, snow-covered ground.

The man with the creepy smile and wavy hair stepped forward and stated in a benevolent tone, “I shall take the girl to the magistrate and see if he knows her. Who knows what other sins she has committed?!”

Little Eve’s bottom was in pain because of the way she had fallen, but she was too frightened to care. She was worried that if she was taken away, she would be unable to see her mother again.

She wanted to cry, but she stopped herself from doing so. She bit her lip to hold it in.

Her mother had told her never to cry in front of people, no matter the circumstance. Her heart was growing anxious with the increasing number of eyes on her.

But before the man could drag her away, a silver-haired boy appeared in front of her.

“Stop right there,” Vincent ordered as he stepped forward.

The wavy-haired man was annoyed that someone had stopped him, but when he turned around, his displeasure turned into surprise, “Young master Moriarty, what a pleasant surprise! Are you here with your parents?” inquired the man, looking past the boy with an ingratiating smile.

“Who are you?” Vincent questioned bluntly, and the smile on the man’s face fell.

The man cleared his throat, fixing the fallen expression on his face, “Young master, I am Declan Halston. We met at Lady Georgiana Winston’s manor.”

“I don’t remember you,” responded the boy, and though young, it was obvious that the boy disdained the man as if he were mud beneath his shoes. “If you could step away from my servant now.”

“Your servant?” Declan examined Eve with a hint of doubt in his eyes.

“Yes. Move,” came the direct command, and though Declan disliked Vincent’s attitude, he stepped away because of the young boy’s family name.

To everyone’s surprise, the boy had offered his hand to her.

The man named Declan huffed and asked, “You aren’t planning to pick her up, are you? A young man of your status, shouldn’t—”

Ignoring the noble, the boy turned to look at the merchant and stated, “You have damaged what belongs to the Moriarty family. Would you like to pay it with an apology or would you like to be reprimanded for it by losing your business?”

“My apologies, Mr. Moriarty,” the merchant bowed his head, “but I did catch her stealing my—”

“She didn’t lay a finger on it. Aren’t you assuming the worst?” Vincent shut down his accusation, and the merchant murmured an apology.

The spectators of the town, who were looking at the scene, lost interest as quickly as they had gained it and returned to what they were doing before.

“Are you planning to sit there all day?” This time, his question was directed at the girl.

It was the first time little Eve had seen someone with silver hair. His clothes looked warm and cozy, and he wore a subtle frown on his face.

Her mother had told her, ‘Stay away from the fancy-looking ones as they might steal you away from me.’

And while she was busy looking at his nice clothes and shiny shoes, the silver-haired boy glared at her.

Here he was, the young master of the illustrious Moriarty family, offering his hand to help her up, a hand he would never offer to others, and this ungrateful girl did not make an effort to reach for it.

When she saw his eyes narrow, little Eve sensed danger and quickly reached for his hand.

The people around them slowly dispersed, leaving the two young children on their own.

Little Eve felt her hand being pulled up, and she quickly stood on her feet.

“Follow me,” came the curt words of the silver-haired boy. He did not give her time to answer, especially after he had proclaimed that she was a house servant.

He shifted his hand to her wrist and dragged her away from the stall and other onlookers.

The boy held onto the same area the merchant had grasped before and bruised her. She winced in pain from the boy’s grip.

Eve did not know if she was in trouble again, so she tugged her hand back to no avail. She felt the chain of events continued to pressure her one after the other and that she would certainly never see her mother again.

Though the boy did not let go of her hand, he did stop walking.

When he looked at her, he noticed her eyes were moist, and a single teardrop escaped from one of her blue eyes. The tear slid down her cheek, and his eyes widened in surprise when he noticed the tear turn into something solid.

“Vince!” He heard his sister call him, distracting him for a moment.

But before he knew it, the little girl bit right into his hand, and he flinched away from her!


With the boy releasing her hand, Eve ran away from there as fast as her little feet could take her in the direction of home, not looking for even a moment.

The boy was taken aback by the tear more than the bite he had just received.

His eyes fell on the snowy ground, and there, at his feet, laid a smooth and shiny pearl. He picked it up in his hand, and before his sister could see it, he slipped it into his pocket.

“Who was that?” asked Marceline, her eyes following the girl who obviously belonged to a lower class.

“Did she harm you, Master Vincent?” the coachman accompanying Marceline asked full of concern.

“It was no one,” replied the boy.

Remembering he had held the hand of a person who was beneath him, he grew annoyed. He ordered the coachman, “Bring the carriage to the front. I am going home.”

Chapter 4

Music Recommendation: Snow- Ben Frost

Little Eve held her hand close to her chest while her little feet tried to get away from the fair and the scary townsfolk.

Reaching home, Eve closed and locked the door. Her little heart beating loudly in her chest, she moved towards the window to look outside the house, if someone had followed her. Her blue eyes continued to search before she finally gave up.

Her stomach growled. Hunger had been induced in her since her eyes had fallen on the hot bun, and she softly gulped.

‘Meow,’ came the sound from the corner of the room.

Little Eve turned alert, trying to find where the sound came from.

‘Meow.’ A little tabby cat appeared near the table, swishing its tail in the air.

“A cat!” Exclaimed the little girl in delight, quickly forgetting what had taken place in the fair. At her excitement, the cat turned startled and stared at her. “Here, kitty kitty kitty…” she tried to lure it towards her.

The cat didn’t look at her, and instead, it jumped on the nearby chair and then on the table. It came near the plate that had Eve’s lunch, which her mother had prepared.

“Are you hungry too?” Asked Eve, noticing the cat sniffing the plate that was covered.

She went to the table and moved the lid—a piece of meat, potatoes, and a loaf of bread prepared last evening. The cat was quick to sniff the meat, ready to take a bite, but the little girl placed her finger between the cat and the meat.

“Mama says you have to share food,” She tore the meat into two pieces. She offered the cat the meat and watching it eat it. Little Eve stared at it with a smile on her face. “Will you come here everyday?” She asked the cat, who was busy eating. 

But the cat was greedy and eyed her hand that held the other half of the meat. It hissed at her, and before she knew it, the cat scratched her hand. This resulted in Eve dropping the meat. Startled, her hand pushed the plate, and it fell to the ground with a clatter.

The cat jumped from the table, quickly snatching the meat from the ground before escaping from the window.

“Wait!” Little Eve called the cat, and her heart sunk in her chest.

All alone again, she picked up the potatoes and the bread from the ground. Putting it back on the plate, she started to eat it.

Far away from the town of Meadow and Brokengroves, there were other towns that consisted of manors that belonged to the wealthy families. While Skellington town tried to be tolerable to people from the lower status, the wealthy side of the land looked at the middle and lower class folks as bugs and worms that needed to be trampled.

In one of the manors and one of the bed chambers, the lamp-lit dimly, but the fireplace was bright enough to shed light.

A naked woman sat upright on the bed, pulling the covers around her used body. Hearing the rustle of clothes in the room, she turned to notice the man wearing his trousers. He then picked up his shirt.

“My family isn’t going to be back until the weekend. You should stay the night,” the man let her know, a smirk on his lips. “I will pay you twice the price.”

Hearing she would be paid twice the amount, it was alluring. The debt that had been increasing over the last few years, she would be able to repay a little more of it.

But she couldn’t take up the man’s offer.

Rebecca politely smiled and replied, “Thank you, but I need to be home tonight. My daughter—”

“Yes, your daughter. I keep forgetting you have one,” he chuckled, picking up the cigarette case from the table. He took one of the cigars and lit it up, taking a large swig, while watching the beautiful woman. “I don’t think I have seen her before. You should bring her around. I would definitely want to get acquainted with her, it will be easier to do business in the future,” he said, turning behind to reach for the ashtray.

The smile on the woman’s face faltered, and her face turned stiff at the man’s words. She was here out of circumstances, and she wished and prayed for her daughter to not have the same fate as her.

With careful words, she replied, “I wouldn’t want to tarnish your reputation, Sire. If people were to see her here.”

“You do not have to worry about it. She can come through the backdoor like you do,” stated the man. “Don’t tell me that you are trying to hide her because she is more beautiful than you,” he looked straight at her, and Rebecca felt sweat form on her back.

Though Rebecca made money by selling her body to make a living, she had tried to keep the dirty claws of these vultures away from her precious daughter.

The man walked towards where she was sitting, leaning forward to come face to face with her. He said, “It will be a while again when I am free from work, and my family members are not home. How about this, I will pay you thrice for two days,” he raised his fingers to emphasize his words.

Rebecca’s eyes slightly widened, as she had never been offered this amount of money before. More money meant the debt collector wouldn’t harass her or her daughter. And maybe she could even spend some time with Eve.

It was just two days, and she would have to worry less about being far away from her daughter. What could go wrong in those two days? She asked herself.

“Okay,” replied the woman.

The man looked extremely pleased, knowing exactly how to twist people from the lower class. All he had to do was offer money, and they would do anything. He internally smirked at it.

Rebecca wore her clothes and was returned to the spot where she had been picked up this morning in the carriage. The sky had turned dark, the weather colder than the morning, almost as if she would have frostbite if it weren’t for the shawl wrapped around her shoulders. But that didn’t stop her from shivering.

With the time of Winter here, most of the streets looked deserted, with not many outside.

Somewhere, she was glad. Glad that the weather was harsh enough to send the people to their houses, reducing the eyes and the gossip from the people who lived here. But when she reached her home, she hoped for the weather to show mercy on her daughter, who was curled in a blanket on the floor.

Closing the door, the woman made her way to where Eve laid. Bending down, she gently caressed the little girl’s head.

Eve woke up, her blue eyes opening to see her mother.

“Mama, you are back,” came the muddled voice of the little girl.

Eve didn’t know when she fell asleep, only that she had started to feel terribly cold and had ended up crawling into the blanket. Happy to see her mother, she got out of the blanket and wrapped her small hands around her mother’s neck.

Rebecca might have lost respect in front of society, but having Eve next to her, she forgot the despair and the way society looked at her as nothing more than someone who sold her body. She hugged her daughter, patting the back of Eve’s head. Feeling her daughter cling to her more than usual, she asked,

“Were you alright today, Eve?”

“Mm,” answered the little girl, burying her head in the crook of her mother’s neck.

“I brought you some things that you might like,” said Rebecca, pulling away from her daughter. But when she took a look at Eve’s face, the little one was fast asleep in her arms.

The woman laid her daughter back on the mat and then lay next to her. Pulling the blanket over them, she covered them. Little Eve was quick to snuggle into her mother’s arms and fall sound asleep with her mother softly humming something.

Eve had lost her father before her father had the opportunity to hold her in his arms. He was a handsome and kind man who had brought Rebecca to the shore when she had fallen into the water. He loved her very much, and she loved him back. She doubted she could love anyone the way she loved him.

But one day, he was killed brutally. Rebecca had witnessed her lover being killed by the humans, humans like herself. She remembered the day well as if it had happened a few minutes ago. She stood behind the tall barrel, covering her mouth with her hands to not let the sobs escape and be heard by the other humans.

She looked at Eve’s sleeping face, where her lips were slightly parted and her expression filled with innocence. Rebecca knew that her daughter was going to be different. Special like her father.

She had taken a lot of care when raising Eve, making sure people didn’t find out what or who she truly was. Leaning forward, she pressed her lips gently on top of her daughter’s head.

“I hope you have good dreams, my child. Grow up wise, move up in status, and live a comfortable life. A respectful one. But most importantly,” she whispered to Eve. “Be happy.”

When it was morning, Eve was bathed and dressed, and so was her mother, who had packed their clothes for the two-day stay. Stepping out of the house, the woman locked the door.

One of their neighbours, who caught sight of the bag in Rebecca’s hand, commented, “Good riddance. It looks like the shame is moving away from near our house.”

Rebecca bowed slightly to greet the woman, who looked appalled that she had grown a thick skin. The woman turned her face and got back inside her house.

“Mama?” Eve called her mother. “Are we going for a picnic?”

Noticing her mother stretching her hand towards her, the little girl was quick to hold it. Her mother said, “We are going to a manor today, and we’ll be staying there for two days. Your mama has work.”

“In the manor?” Asked Eve, her big blue eyes staring at her mother while they began to walk.

“Yes, my dearest. And once my work is done, let us go out. Just us,” promised her mother, and Eve looked happy at her mother’s words. “Okay?”

Eve eagerly nodded.

“Now remember, do not step out of the room. Stay away from trouble and wait for me to come and get you. We do not want to cause any trouble to anyone, do we?” Her mother’s voice was gentle as she spoke to her.

“No,” came the small voice of Eve.

Before they could reach the end of the road, a carriage with two horses appeared and halted for them. Rebecca squeezed her daughter’s little hand, offering her a smile to assure her that she would be with her.

But only fate knew what was in store for them and the danger they were walking into.


Chapter 5

When the carriage arrived at the manor, the coachman pulled the reins of the two horses to stop away from the entrance. He got down from his seat and pulled open the carriage door. He didn’t bother to keep a stool nor offer his hand to the woman who stepped out of the carriage.

Rebecca helped Eve get down from the carriage, and the very next moment, the coachman closed the door with a light thud.

The little girl stared at the large building and the gardens surrounding it. She had never seen anything like this before, and her blue eyes took in everything that she could see from where she stood.

“Come, Eve,” her mother gently spoke to her, holding her hand and pulling her away from the front.

The manor’s entrance was only for the family members and not for the servants or anyone who belonged to the lower class of the family. Eve’s small feet followed her mother, and they entered the manor from the back of the house.

Their path was interrupted by the butler of the house, who was a man in his late fifties. His grey hair was combed to the back, and his stature was of average height. He wore a black uniform along with a disapproving frown on his face.

“Your room has been arranged in the servant’s quarters,” informed the butler, though he wasn’t particularly fond of speaking to the woman sleeping with his Master. His eyes fell on the little girl with the woman, and he instructed, “Follow me.”

The other servants didn’t speak a word, but their eyes discreetly followed the mother and daughter.

The butler slightly turned back to look over his shoulder and said, “Master has already told me that you will be living here for two days. And during that time, keep in mind to not roam around the corridors of this manor. You shall not step out of the room, unless you are told to. As you know, the manor has frequent visitors and guests. We wouldn’t want them finding out about your existence in this place during my mistresses absence.”

“I will bear it well in my mind,” Rebecca bowed her head to oblige to his words. She then noticed him looking at her daughter. She said, “She will follow it too.”

“Good. Because there’s no room for any errors here. I wouldn’t like my Master’s name being tarnished,” the butler’s words were curt, holding an underlying threat that didn’t go unnoticed by the woman.

Once they were brought to their room, the butler left them as he had other important matters to attend to. As expected of a servant’s room, it was small and had minimal things like a lantern, a mat and a bedsheet.

An hour later, Rebecca and Eve were summoned by the Master of this manor, where the butler was the one to get them from their room. When they reached the large sitting room, the butler announced,

“They are here, Sire.”

Eve, who was looking at the beautiful objects and the clean floor, noticed a buff man standing a few steps away from her and her mother. She clutched on her mother’s skirt when her eyes met the man’s.

The man had a rough appearance, his jaws holding a stubble and a shadow underneath his eyes. He commented, “Who would even think that you have a daughter this big. Is she really your daughter?”

“She is my daughter,” Rebecca’s reply was polite, but her eyes were wary. She noticed how the man’s thoughts were moving regarding her daughter’s future.

Even Eve, clutching onto her mother’s skirt, moved closer, almost hiding behind her mother.

“Isn’t she lovely,” remarked the man. “I am sure she will grow as beautiful as you. She will fetch you a lot of money. And this line of work is the quickest way to make money, don’t you agree?” his lips twisted into a smile.

Though Rebecca had agreed to spend two days in this manor in return for money, she was here because she had a debt to this man too. He knew where she lived. Life wasn’t easy for the poor, but it was even worse if someone tried to run away from the debt collectors, who were especially rich and had connections.

The townsfolk believed that Rebecca had conceived Eve by sleeping with one of the men she had serviced. And though it had tarnished the remaining respect in their eyes, she took it. It was better for people to believe that lie than they know the truth and tear her daughter from her.

“What is your name, girl?” The man demanded from the little girl.

“Genevieve,” came the small voice of Eve.

“Hmm,” responded the man, shifting his eyes at the butler, and he ordered, “Take the girl back to the room. I have business with Rebecca,” he smirked.

Rebecca turned to Eve, placing her hand on her shoulder. She whispered to her, “I will be back with you later. Go with the butler.”

Eve slowly let go of her hold on her mother’s skirt, and she followed the butler out of the room. Before the door closed, she turned to look at her mother, who looked at her, while the man in the room walked toward her mother.

Eve was taken to the room, and the door was pulled so that she stayed there and did not cause any trouble. She sat there alone, staring at the wall while obediently waiting for her mother to get back. Food was provided to the girl on a dented plate, which the servants had overused over the years.

“Mama!” Eve exclaimed, running to her mother and putting her arms around her mother when the woman stepped inside the room.

“You have been a good girl, Eve. Waiting for me patiently,” her mother praised her, running her bruised hand on Eve’s hair.

“I always wait, mama,” said the little girl, fondly looking up at her mother.

Rebecca hugged her daughter, finding the comfort she didn’t feel all these hours when she was away from Eve. She bent, kissing the top of her daughter’s head.

“Just until tomorrow night, and then we’ll go out just as you wanted,” she whispered, just so that even if someone was walking past the door, they wouldn’t eavesdrop on her. After waiting for two hours, she said to Eve, “I have arranged for your bath, where no one can see you.” said Rebecca, and they stepped out of their room.

As it was night, most of the servants had stopped working on the first floor of the manor. Rebecca made sure that no one saw them, tip-toeing carefully with Eve before entering the guest room at the end of the corridor. The woman was quick to pour salts into the bath so that Eve could soak in the tub.

Once wrapped and dressed, the mother and daughter stepped out of the room. They reached the end of the corridor and used the stairs to get down, only to face the butler.

“What do you think you are doing here?” Questioned the butler, his shrewd eyes staring at the insolent woman. “Don’t you know that these floors are for the family’s guests, and not for a servant, less a woman of the streets to take a stroll?”

Rebecca let out an internal sigh of relief, thankful that the butler hadn’t arrived when they were stepping out of the room. Bowing her head, she apologized,

“Forgive me, for I wasn’t aware about it.”

The butler’s eyes narrowed at their backs, and he then turned to look at the stairs from where they had come. He wondered what they were doing up there. Though the woman said she was exploring this side of the manor, he didn’t believe it.

His eyes fell on the woman’s hand, and he demanded, “What is that you hold in your hand? Did you steal something from the rooms?”

Rebecca’s eyes widened at the accusation, and she shook her head, “I didn’t steal anything.” She hid the jar from which she had poured salt into Eve’s bath earlier.

“Show your hands!” Came the firm words of the butler, who wasn’t going to let her leave without inspecting her.

Eve’s eyes widened on hearing the butler’s voice move one octave higher as if to frighten them. She saw her mother stare at the man and then stretch her hand to show the empty jar.

The butler snatched the jar from Rebecca and looked at the jar that looked old. He asked, “What is this?”

“There were biscuits that I had brought from home,” replied Rebecca without losing her composure because there was no way one would know what they were up to.

Not convinced, he turned the top of the jar and stuck his nose inside it.

“It smells like salt,” he pulled the jar away from his face and handed it back to the woman. “See yourself back to the servant’s quarters. We have guests in the manor, and we wouldn’t want them to see you both,” the butler glared at them.

Rebecca closed the jar and hurried to the servant’s quarters, holding Eve’s hand.

While her mother was pulling her, she caught sight of something shabby at the top of the stairs, but she couldn’t see what it was. When they reached the room, her mother locked the door and let go of her hand. The woman leaned against the door, placing her hand on her chest as if to calm her heart.

The little girl stared at her mother.

Rebecca only hoped that they would be able to leave the manor day after tomorrow without any suspicion being raised about them. She wondered if she should take Eve for the bath at midnight tomorrow, or maybe it would be better to leave the manor in the evening, she thought to herself.

“Mama scared?” Asked Eve, and Rebecca sat on her knees on the floor.

The woman pressed her lips on her child’s forehead, “Never.” She would not appear weak in front of her daughter, and she would be strong for her daughter’s sake. “I am just glad you are safe.”

“Me too,” came the small voice, and Rebecca smiled.

“Do you know how precious you are, Genevieve?” Asked her mother. “You are mine and your father’s sweetest child.”

“Papa too?” Asked Eve, and Rebecca nodded.

“Yes, your father’s too. He loved you very much, before you were even born,” replied Rebecca, pushing the baby hairs back on Eve’s forehead.

Eve’s eyebrows furrowed, and she asked her mother in sorrow, “Why won’t he come meet me?”

Rebecca’s heart sunk in her chest. She didn’t know how to explain to Eve about death. “Your father… he’s somewhere far. It is difficult for him to come, but that doesn’t mean he loves you less,” she assured Eve. “Come, sit here with me.”

Picking up Eve, she placed the girl on her lap, who laid her head on her chest.

“Never feel that your father didn’t want you. He was looking forward to meeting you. He would talk to you everyday. Telling you how much he loved you. To be brave, to never give up, and to believe in yourself. He loved us a lot, he wouldn’t want you sad. Remember what I told you?”

“No tears,” replied Eve.

“That’s right,” answered her mother, putting her arms around her. “Aren’t you the most understanding child. Remember that after every night, you have morning to look forward to.”

Rebecca sang a lullaby to Eve that quickly put the little girl to sleep.

The next day was no different to the previous day. Where Rebecca was summoned to provide her company to the Master of the manor, while Eve was left in her room. Hours passed, and the little girl continued to wait even after evening passed to night.

Eve’s mother turned to look at the clock in one of the rooms. She had tried to leave, but the man had stopped her from leaving the bed.

She requested the man, “I should go now. My daughter might be frightened as she hasn’t seen me for such long hours, Sir.”

The man took hold of her hair, playing with it, “What’s the hurry? It isn’t like she’s living somewhere else, but under my roof. Don’t worry, my butler will make sure to feed her.”

But that wasn’t what worried her. It was getting late, and she had to take Eve to the bath.

Her chest started to drown in anxiousness with every second that passed by with the thought of her daughter being exposed.