πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Allure Of the Night Chapter 11 - 15 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️


Chapter 11

Eve stared hard inside the ceramic vessel as if her bath salts would magically appear if she tried harder. And she did try it, nearly glaring at it before giving up and sighing.

“How did I forget to refill it?” She put her hand inside the vessel and touched the bottom surface, only to feel her fingers touch the little amount of grains left in there.

Unlike when Eve was young, she didn’t have to depend on bath salts every day. When she turned eighteen, her body had finally turned accustomed to her legs, but that didn’t mean she was free from using the bath salts. In a week, she had to use it at least once. The longer she took to bathe herself in the salts, the weaker her legs turned.

She already was clumsy enough. The last thing she needed was to fall flat on the ground.

Once she was done taking a bath, she changed herself into a dress and walked down to the kitchen. Picking up the cool lemonade in her hand, she took a couple of sips before asking Eugene, who was cleaning the island of the kitchen,

“Do we have Sour rocks in the storage room?”

Eugene paused what he was doing and nodded, “We must have enough to last you for the next four weeks. Would you like me to bring some of them to you?” he asked her.

“I will take it,” replied Eve, and she walked to the storage room, where the servant followed her from behind.

“Did you run out of it?” Asked Eugene, and Eve nodded.

“I did. I won’t be needing it for the next three days, but it would be better to stock them,” Eve had bent down, pulling out a small bag that was hidden behind the other vessels. When she opened the gunny bag, there were small black rocks. After she went through another vessel, she said, “We are out of Ivory dust. Seems like a trip to the deeper part of the market is required.”

“Let me accompany you,” Eugene offered, and Eve gave him a small nod.

It wasn’t that Eve wasn’t capable of taking care of herself. But Lady Aubrey had never approved of Eve stepping into the darker side of the market, and the older woman preferred that Eugene accompanied Eve.

If Eugene knew to identify the rocks, he would have gone to buy it himself. But there had been a couple of times when he had been fooled by being given simple rocks of no purpose. In the beginning, years when Lady Aubrey had taken Eve in, she knew a merchant who sold it. But three years ago, the seller had disappeared without a trace.

Even though their town was occupied by middle and lower class human families, the items that were of no use to the humans were sold right in Meadow without their knowledge.

Eve and Eugene reached the market by foot, which was located in the corner part of the town. 

“The weather seems to have changed quite quickly since the last two hours,” commented Eugene, while he looked up at the sky that had turned cloudy.

Thankfully for Eve, she had carried her umbrella with her.

The pair shopped for other regular things so that they didn’t look suspicious before coming to stand in front of the human merchant’s shop, who sold different rocks.

“Good afternoon, Lady Eve. Did the stones help in blocking the water seepage?” inquired the merchant.

“Yes, it did. But I believe we will need some more of those,” Eve smiled. She explained, “With the house being old, it needs constant care.”

“I can only imagine,” the merchant agreed. “You don’t have to come all the way here for that. I can always send these things through your servant.”

“This gives me an excuse to come out and take a stroll in the market,” Eve moved closer to look at one of the gunny bags before she raised her eyes to look at the merchant throwing white stones into the gunny bag. “It looks like you have fancier looking ones. How much are these?”

The merchant gave a glance and replied, “Those are rather new and of very high quality. It costs fifty shillings, but if you are going to buy, I will sell it for thirty.”

“That is very kind of you,” replied Eve.

Since the past, wealthy men were only aware that mermaids made use of salts, but they weren’t able to figure out what kind because there were two components mixed in it—Sour rocks and Ivory dust. This is why it made it easier for Eve just to buy the rocks and then crush them for use.

“Shall I add them?” Inquired the merchant, eager to sell and make his profit.

Eve turned distracted when she heard a little commotion take place further inside the alleys of the market. It had not only attracted hers but a few others’ attention. The only difference was that the humans went back to what they were doing, trying to avoid the darker side of the market. While Eve stared in that direction.

The clouds above the town of Meadow had come to hover, growling softly.

“Maybe next time I visit,” she replied. She paid the merchant the money, who handed the bag to Eugene. “Thank you.”

“Lady Eve, this is the way,” came the startled voice of Eugene when he caught Eve taking a step in the opposite direction.

“Would you like to take a walk with me, Eugene?” There was a look of curiosity in her eyes, which Eugene turned wary of.

“No… I think my legs are tired, and we—Wait! I am coming!” Replied Eugene when Eve started to walk in the opposite direction. Catching up with her, he whispered hurriedly, “I don’t think it is safe for us to walk where you plan to walk right now, miss.”

“I felt I heard someone scream, and it was very faint,” Eve replied worriedly.

“I think that is a sign to walk away and not towards it,” Eugene looked around them as they continued to walk. The people on this side of the alleys wore long cloaks, and they didn’t look like people who were kind or had good intentions.

“We’ll take a quick look and leave,” said Eve because she knew if she didn’t take a look right now, she would keep wondering if someone had been in trouble. “There’s nothing to worry. We are still in our own town.”

Though the wind that blew was cold, Eugene had begun to start sweating. He kept an eye to make sure no one was looking at them, but he knew sooner or later, people would.

Eve’s blue eyes tried to find anything that could stand out, but so far, in the places they had walked past, everything appeared to be normal. As the scream had been faint to her ears, she wasn’t sure if it was a male or a female’s voice.

Soon drops of water started to fall, first softly before increasing the pace. Both Eve and Eugene had pulled open their umbrellas and positioned them over their heads.

The rain blurred the vision of their surroundings after a few steps. The town’s men and women hurried back to their houses while some took shelter. Then there were a few who continued to l


Chapter 12

“Ow! Ow!”

Eve winced at the impact of her fall on the wet ground. With no umbrella over her head, raindrops fell on her. Her clothes were quick to soak in water, and her hair dampened.

She then looked at the man with a bit of glare. Pushing herself up, she came to stand in front of him, who stood with a black umbrella over his head.

His silver hair was almost camouflaged with the rain, but it was darker and more prominent when it slowed down. With the cloak that covered his clothes beneath it, Eve didn’t take note of where he could be from.

“Why didn’t you stop me from falling?” She asked him, feeling the dull pain in her bottom. She had seen his eyes shift towards her hand, but he had made no effort to move.

“You never asked,” replied the man, his words higher than the sound of the rain that surrounded them.

D-didn’t ask?

“Any gentleman would have been kind enough to stop it before being asked,” said Eve, the fringes of her hair now stuck to her forehead.

The man stared at her for a second before one side of his lips pulled up, and his hazel eyes twinkled, “I guess I am not a gentleman.”

Eugene, who had been walking ahead, finally realized that Eve was not behind him and his eyes widened. He looked left and right before going back in the direction where he had come from. He noticed Eve standing in front of a stranger, and she looked like she was about to fight.

A frown appeared on Eve’s forehead, and she said, “You are a rude man—”

The man took a step forward, and just for that moment, his umbrella offered shelter to Eve.

She noticed his eyes dangerously narrow, and he said in a low mocking voice, “Little girls should get back home quickly. Lest you want others to see you…”

Eve’s face paled, and one would assume that it was because of the rain, where little drops of water had dripped down her face and then her neck before disappearing in her dress. Was her scales showing up? But that was not possible, passed the thought quickly in her mind. She had learned to control and hide her true appearance. But then, it was raining right now.

She quickly took two steps backwards, this time making sure she wouldn’t fall again and make a fool of herself.

“Lady Eve!” Eugene came to her side with her umbrella that had fallen on the ground.

At Eugene’s presence, the man walked in the other direction without sparing a word of apology.

“Are you alright?” asked Eugene, “Was that someone you knew?” Eve, who was still alarmed, asked him,

“Eugene, how does my face look??” She moved her face left and right.

A little confused, Eugene replied, “You are drenched. Here, take the umbrella.”

Eve took hold of the umbrella in her hand and turned her eyes to look in the direction where the man had now disappeared in the rain. Why did he say that then? Did her scales appear and disappear?

“The rain doesn’t look like it is going to stop anytime soon. Let us hurry back home,” Eugene ushered both of them from there and away from the market.

On returning home, Eve folded her umbrella and let it lean against the wall. She ran up the stairs.

“Careful with th—ACHOO!” Eugene sneezed, even though he wasn’t the one to be drenched in the rain.

Eve had already made her way to the top of the stairs and reached her room. Closing the door behind her, she walked up to stand in front of the mirror. As expected, she looked like a stray cat thrown out in the rain.

Her blue eyes stood out compared to her wet and cold skin. She quickly looked at her face and then her neck, but she found no hint of her scales. It was when her eyes lowered further did she notice that her dress stuck to her skin like a second skin. The dress she had worn today was beige, and the usual opaque dress had turned transparent.

Blood rushed up to her face in embarrassment for not realizing it earlier.

To make it worse, she had even taken two steps away from him, letting him see her womanly curves and her snug, wet dress.

Changing her clothes to a dry dress, she rubbed her wet hair.

When she took a look at her face with her wet hair let down, she looked like her eighteen-year-old self. Young like the other girls of that age, her face was unblemished and smooth. Having lost her mother at a young age, Eve didn’t have answers to why she had stopped ageing.

She grit her teeth when she remembered the rude man who had called her ‘little girl’. She was a woman!

When Lady Aubrey returned home, which was after the rain had stopped.

“Welcome back, Lady Aubrey,” Eugene greeted the woman, taking her coat off.

“Where is Eve?” Inquired the woman, her lips set themselves in a thin line.

“She’s in the kitchen crushing the rocks,” answered Eugene, wondering why the lady had right away asked for Eve.

Lady Aubrey made her way towards the kitchen. She found Eve, using the mortar and pestle to crush the rocks.

Before Eve could greet her, Lady Aubrey asked, “Is it true, Eve?”

“What?” Eve tilted her head.

“Did you slap someone in Skellington town today?” demanded Lady Aubrey, and the expression on Eve’s face spoke volumes. A tired and vexed sigh escaped from the woman’s lips, “Why? Why did you do that?”

The older woman looked like she didn’t know what to do with Eve. A few minutes before leaving Mrs. Henley’s house, the lady had a visitor from whom she heard about a lowly woman from Meadow slapping a man. Lady Aubrey had her doubts, but now she confirmed it.

“How did you hear about it?” Asked Eve, continuing to crush the rocks carefully. How fast did gossip travel from one town to another town? It wasn’t like she had slapped a Lord or a Duke. The man was a lowly being.

“How I heard is not important. What happened that you had to slap him?” Lady Aubrey waited for Eve to speak. Worry fell on the woman’s face, and she asked, “Was it unintentional?”

Eve could tell that Aunt Aubrey was soon going to faint in distress. She shook her head, “No, it was intended.”

“Oh, dear, God,” the older woman placed her hand on her forehead in disbelief.

“He deserved it. Actually more than that,” replied Eve, using more force to crush the rocks. “He should be glad that I didn’t hit him with my umbrella after misbehaving with me,” she added. Lady Aubrey’s eyebrows furrowed, finally understanding what might have happened, and she sighed.

As if suddenly enlightened, Eugene remarked, “Ah! I now know why your umbrella would have been damaged by the heat,” realising what Eve’s earlier words meant.

When Lady Aubrey took a seat at the dining table, Eve let go of the pestle, and she came to stand behind the older woman. She carefully massaged the woman’s shoulders to ease her worry. She then said,

“I didn’t mean to cause trouble.”

Lady Aubrey couldn’t scold Eve because what happened was something unavoidable. She asked, “How did you end up with that person? Never mind. You have to be careful, Genevieve. Especially with people from Skellington,” and Lady Aubrey sighed again. “If people find out that you were the one who slapped the ‘respectable man’, you might as well forget being a governess.”

Eve’s shoulders drooped because she knew how true Aunt Aubrey’s words were.

No one would offer her the job of governess. After all, the people residing in the towns around them were all about reputation.


Chapter 13

With the time of night came the memory of darkness from the past. Crawling near her and into her mind as she continued to sleep.

Eve’s dream took her back to when she was small and was in the meadow with her mother.

‘Mama! Mama! Look what I found!’ Came Eve’s bubbly voice while she squatted down on the ground.

‘What is it, dear?’ Asked her mother, who was plucking flowers. Seeing Eve not move, she finally made her way through the long stalks of the grass, one hand holding the flowers and the other holding the front of her dress.

Eve’s cheeks had turned pink out of happiness, and her blue eyes danced in joy’ as she stared at her hand that she hadn’t moved since the last minute.

‘Oh my, look what you have there!’ Her mother looked surprised, watching a butterfly sitting on little Eve’s palm.

The butterfly moved its wings gently as if ready to fly with the slightest movement around it. The butterfly’s wings started deep blue before turning lighter as it moved to the ends of its wings, which had a smudgy black outline.

‘Isn’t it pretty, mama!’ came Little Eve’s excited voice as she continued looking at it. When the butterfly flew away a few seconds later, the little girl turned to look at her mother, who stood there with a blank expression on her face. ‘Mama…?’

A hole started to form in her mother’s chest, and it widened. Bigger and bigger with every passing second, blood began to stain her mother’s clothes.

‘Mama?… Mama!’ Little Eve cried, but her mother continued standing there unresponsive to her cries before falling. ‘MAMAA!’

A gasp escaped from Eve’s lips. Her eyes opened, and looked at the ceiling in the dark, and sweat covered her forehead. She sat up on the bed, feeling something cool on her cheek. She touched it to find it wet.

Even after years, the pain that was caused by her mother’s death continued lingering in her heart. She missed her mother terribly. And if there was one thing she wished she could do in the past, it was to bury her mother with respect, something the people of this and the other towns had been incapable of doing.

She hadn’t got to say goodbye to the person she loved the most in this world. Who was her world. It was because of a man, and she didn’t remember who it was. She had no recollection of the name or the face. Everything from that memory had been wiped only to be filled with the blood that belonged to her mother. Her heart clenched.

Next morning when the sun rose in the sky, the streets of the Meadow town were back to their usual hustle and bustle. Eugene stepped out of the humble house, ready to go to the market to fetch milk and newspaper when he heard footsteps approaching from behind him.

“Lady Eve, good morning. Do you have another interview today?” He inquired, but the lady hadn’t been dressed like yesterday.

“Good morning, Eugene. If only that was the case, but no,” replied Eve, and she closed the main door behind her. “I am going to accompany you to the market.”

Eugene nodded, “Very well then.”

Some of the town folks offered them their morning greetings by slightly bowing their heads, and Eve and Eugene returned it by doing the same.

“Achoo!” Eugene sneezed into his handkerchief.

“Bless you. Did you catch a cold?” Asked Eve, turning her head, she saw Eugene scrunch his nose and shake his head.

“I hope not, milady. I have to take Lady Aubrey and you to Grandmore’s house this afternoon, as the Grandmore’s have invited you both for lunch,” answered Eugene, blinking his eyes a couple of times. “I am glad that you didn’t catch a fever.”

“I don’t remember when was the last time I caught a cold,” replied Eve with a subtle frown on her face.

“Oh, I do. When you were little, you,” Eugene paused for a moment before sneezing again, and he continued, “You fell severely ill, and the physician who came to look at you told us that you were on the verge of your death. It had Lady Aubrey very worried, of course, I was very worried too. You were so little,” he gestured with his hand to show how small she was. “So sweet and adorable.”

Eve chuckled, seeing Eugene remember the first time she had come to live in Dawson’s residence. While Lady Aubrey was the one who taught Eve the etiquettes of society, Eugene had become Eve’s friend.

“Once we return home, I will make you a warm chamomile tea and you will feel better soon,” said Eve because the man had always been susceptible to cold.

“That is very kind of you, Lady Eve,” Eugene was touched by just Eve’s thought.

On noticing the newspaper stall, Eve quickly walked up to the vendor and handed five shillings to him.

“Have a good day, milady,” wished the man, handing the newspaper, and Eve nodded before she muttered to herself,

“I can only hope for one.”

Eve went through the front page, the next page, and the one after that until she reached the last page while her eyes scanned the headlines of every news. A relieved sigh escaped from her lips. There was not a whisper written about her slapping Mr. Walsh, and she raised both her arms towards the sky.

“Yes!” Her happiness startled an older woman walking past the stall, who passed her a glare as if Eve had tried to give her a heart attack.

Eve turned to the vendor and said, “A very good day to you too, Sir!”

“It seems like the wealthy family decided to hush the matter without wanting anyone to know what happened,” remarked Eugene. “That doesn’t mean word hasn’t reached people, milady.”

That was true, thought Eve to herself. Instead of blowing up everywhere, the matter was handled better than she thought it would be, where she could have turned infamous overnight. Though by Mr. Walsh’s words, she should have known that he wouldn’t want anyone questioning why he was slapped.

“Hopefully people will forget it, once they hear another scandalous news. And then I can go back to visiting houses for the job,” Eve hadn’t brought her purple umbrella as she believed it wouldn’t rain this morning. “Look, we already have one here.”

“What does it say, milady?” Asked Eugene as they continued to walk.

Eve held the paper in both her hands and read, “It is found that Mrs. Lawnder, who has been actively looking for a bride for her bachelor son, isn’t so bachelor. Her son fathered a boy with their maid, who was sent to live in the countryside.”

“Poor maid,” Eugene pitted the woman. “I guess that does overshadow what happened with you and the person.”

A few days passed, and in those days, Eve received two letters from the families. It were letters that were sugar coated on how they had found their governess and wouldn’t be needing her to come pay them a visit. The people in the Dawson’s residence could only come to conclude that the families had heard about what Eve did in Skellington town.

One late morning, Eugene was watering the plants at the front of the house. Humming and singing to himself, when Lady Aubrey stepped out of the house and asked him,

“Eugene, do you remember where the ribbons have been placed? We need to wrap a present.”

“It should be in the back drawers, milady,” replied Eugene.

“It isn’t there. I think we ran out of ribbons,” said Eve, who stepped out of the house and stood next to Lady Aubrey.

“I am sure I saw the blue one last week. Please, let me take a look,” Eugene placed the water can on the ground and stepped inside with Lady Aubrey.

Eve walked to where the water can was, ready to water the plants, when someone clinked the gate’s latch. It was the mailman who had arrived at the front of the gate.

She signed and took the letter from the man, wondering if it was for Lady Aubrey. But it was addressed to her. Turning the letter in her hand, she read who it was from.

“Moriarty?” She didn’t remember applying to be governess to this family.


Chapter 14

Music Recommendation: One Last Dance- Kris Bowers

If Lady Aubrey didn’t have to send a gift to one of her friends, or if there had been a ribbon to tie the gift, maybe Eugene would have been the one to receive the letter. And if he did receive the letter, perhaps he would have checked the background of the sender’s family. It would have been discussed with Lady Aubrey before the letter would have been discarded, with the thought that it wasn’t safe for Eve to be working for the family.

But with Eugene, who had already stepped inside the house, it had left Eve to receive the mail sent to her like a ray of hope.

Eve opened the letter and read the content inside it—

‘To Miss Genevieve Barlow,

We hope this letter finds you in good health. One of our close acquaintances shared your educational qualification details, and we are pleased to inform you that we would like you to come and apply for the position of governess in our mansion.

The job would require you to work from morning until four in the evening unless told otherwise. You will be receiving one gold coin and two silver coins as your monthly wage. Further details shall be shared once you are approved for the job.

From the Moriarty House.’

The letter had been sent from Skellington town.

For the first time, a family had invited her to come to apply, and it wasn’t the other way round. A wide smile appeared on Eve’s lips, and she walked inside the house.

Eugene, who was ready to go to the market and fetch the ribbon, was stopped by Eve, “Let me go and get it. The weather is bright today.”

While watching the young lady leaving the house, Eugene turned to look at Lady Aubrey and said, “I think Lady Eve is trying to take the rejections positively.”

Lady Aubrey only stared in the direction where Eve had left before she said, “I don’t think being discouraged would do any good. The position of governess will open again in some house again, and we can only hope that when it does, she doesn’t cause any catastrophe.”

“… I think that is hard to avoid when the young miss is involved,” murmured Eugene.

When the following day arrived, Eve woke up early and dressed suitably. She brushed the ends of her golden blonde hair with her comb, which was tied up into a ponytail and took a final look at herself in the small mirror.

“No breaking vases. No pouring tea on someone. No slapping,” Eve told it to herself, hoping she wouldn’t cause any more mishaps. “Today is the day where I shall be offered a job. They will give me the job,” she muttered to herself, trying to manifest positive energy around her.

Leaving the house with the umbrella in her hand, she headed towards the local carriage and sat down.

“Where are you going, Miss?” the coachman inquired, and Eve dropped two shilling in his hand.

“Skellington town,” replied Eve, and the coachman gave her a short nod, slipping the coins into the pocket of his jacket. Not soon, the carriage started to move.

“One more job, Genevieve?” Questioned one of the fellow passengers, a young woman of her same age. But the woman was married to a notable man from the same town, a clerk to one of the Viscounts. And to tell the woman wasn’t proud about it would be an understatement.

“Good morning to you too, Heather,” Eve offered a slight bow to the woman named Heather. “Yes, the last one.”

“Did you not say the same thing the last time we met? As I thought, a woman finding work in this society is hard,” Heather shook her head, giving a look to Eve. “There are still a few decent men in our town, who I am sure would like to marry you. And you should do it before you scare them with another outrageous news of yours,” the woman laughed in the end.

Eve laughed along with Heather and then commented, “I must agree. The men in our town scare easy by listening to such simple things Makes you wonder if they are brave at all.”

There were three women and three men travelling in the carriage. One of the men turned to stare at Eve, and Eve gave him a sheepish smile. But the person turned his gaze to look outside the window.

Heather lightly hit Eve’s arm and said, “Trust me and find a suitable man as soon as possible, instead of looking for a job.” As they were sitting next to each other, the young woman leaned toward her and whispered, “How long are you going to wear those worn out shoes? Especially in clothes that people are tired of looking at. Look at me, I married a man who works for a Viscount and he earns better than most men in our town. It was only last week that he bought me a pearl necklace.”

“It seems like you found a man you wanted. Especially considering you stole the man who was engaged to another woman,” remarked Eve, and the smile on Heather’s lips faltered.

Heather hid her embarrassment with a chuckle and said, “What can I say, my husband found me to be more suitable for him, than Ms. Fleming.”

The passengers in the carriage, who were mildly eavesdropping, looked at the woman for a brief moment, and Heather’s cheeks turned red, which was caused by Eve. In a low voice, she warned,

“You should be careful with your words, Genevieve. You do not want to upset someone whose husband has connections with higher social standing families. One word and you might never be able to work anywhere.”

One of Lady Aubrey’s teaching to Eve was—Unless you are in a higher social position than the other, do not involve yourself in petty fights with the person. Because it will only break the rung of the ladder.

As much as Eve wanted to reply with ‘Go ahead’, she knew there was no point in arguing with this woman, who liked to play foul.

“My apologies. I didn’t intend to hurt you,” the woman accepted Eve’s apology with her nose up high but half-heartedly. “I meant to say you are an intelligent and beautiful woman, Heather.” A cunning one added Eve with a smile.

“That I am,” replied Heather, “Maybe when I have children, that will be soon, I will hire you to be their governess. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?”

Maybe that would be the day she would quit being governess, thought Eve. During the remaining journey, the women didn’t attempt to speak again to each other, letting each other be.

When Eve stepped down from the carriage, the people sitting in the carriage couldn’t help but take a peek at Skellington town, which appeared far superior to the other towns. She walked slowly and elegantly, without being hasty with her footsteps as it would attract more attention to her than the few people recognising to be the same person who had caused the little commotion in here a few days ago.

The Moriarty mansion was located quite far from where she had gotten down from the carriage. It took Eve more than fifteen minutes by foot before she arrived at the mansion’s entrance gate.

“This place is bigger than I thought,” Eve murmured to herself, slightly daunted by the size of the mansion.

When she had started to read the letter the previous day, she had come to believe it was from a middle-class family. But after finding it came from Skellington town, it made her believe that it was possibly from a ‘poorer’ family compared to the rest of the families in the town. The last eight families she had met were mostly wealthy, but none could compare to what she stood in front of right now.

At the moment, two maids were working outside the mansion, tending to the garden.

She took a deep breath and finally made her way toward the mansion’s entrance.

Before she could walk a few steps more, she noticed the servant in butler’s uniform making his way towards her, and they bowed at each other. The man smiled at her politely. His blonde hair was combed to the side, and he appeared to be a few years older than her.

“Good morning. I am Alfie, the butler of the Moriarty family,” the butler introduced himself, “Miss….?”

“Miss Barlow,” replied Eve, noticing the butler quickly skimming her appearance, but the expression on his face didn’t change. “Genevieve Barlow. I was sent an invitation—” she pulled the letter from her dress pocket “—to come to apply for the job of governess.”

The butler took a look at the letter, reading it before he said, “Let me lead you to Miss Allie’s piano room. Please, follow me.”

As they walked through the expansive corridors inside the mansion, Eve asked the butler, “Will I be speaking to Mrs. Moriarty or Mr…?” her voice trailed, remembering her previous job interview.

The butler took a second before he replied, “Your job will be approved depending on your interaction with Miss Allie. If she likes you, the job is yours to keep, Miss Barlow.”

“The parent’s wouldn’t mind it?” Asked Eve, and the butler smiled.

“Mr. and Mrs. Moriarty are occupied today with work. This way please,” the butler guided the way for her, taking her up the stairs.

The pillars and the ceilings inside the mansion had been intricately carved. There were plenty of candle stands placed near the walls to brighten the place. The more she walked, the more it seemed like a castle than a mansion.

“I hope it wasn’t too hard for you to find your way here to the mansion,” said the butler, and Eve shook her head.

“Not at all. How old is Miss Allie?” Eve thought it was better to know a little about the girl, she would be a governess.

“Miss Allie is nine years old,” answered the butler, and after walking a little more, they finally came to stand in front of a large double door. The butler turned the knob and opened it for her “Miss Alli—” his words were interrupted by the harsh blare of the piano keys pressed together.

A grand piano was placed at the centre of the big room, and a young girl with brunette hair sat on the bench, who didn’t bother to look up and meet their eyes. Eve took a quick look around the room, which held book racks against the wall. It seemed like the study room of the young girl. And then her eyes fell on the mirror on the wall of the other side of the room.

The butler quickly said, “Miss Barlow, why don’t you and Miss Allie spend some time getting to know each other. I will be back in a moment with refreshments.” And like a whirlwind, the butler disappeared behind the door that he closed on his way out, leaving Eve alone with the girl, who didn’t bother to acknowledge her.

Eve was used to being questioned by the parents and discussing their children before meeting them. Even though she had been rejected several times before, she had never felt the air to be this thick.

While Eve contemplated how to approach the little girl, Alfie, the butler, made his way to another room in the mansion. He knocked on the door and, upon permission to enter, stepped inside the room. Bowing his head, he informed,

“Master Vincent, the governess who slapped Mr. Walsh is here.”

“Is she now,” one side of Vincent’s lips curled.


Chapter 15

Eve looked at the girl, who continued to sit there in front of the grand piano, her small hands hovering above the piano keys. She was a little girl, and all she would have to do was get to know her, Eve thought to herself.

When she took two steps toward the girl, the girl pressed the piano keys again, and the harsh sound made Eve halt her feet. She turned to look at the door, wondering if she should perhaps wait for the butler. She turned back to look at the girl.

The little girl wore a black dress that stopped right below her knees. She wore a braid over the top of her head while the rest of her hair was let down to fall below her shoulders. She took a closer look at the girl, noticing the girl’s posture was stiff as if ready to dart out of the room.

“My name is Genevieve Barlow. Some find my name to be a mouthful and prefer to call me Eve,” Eve introduced herself to the girl, but the girl continued to ignore her. “If you do not mind, may I come take a look at the piano, Miss Allie?”

But the girl didn’t respond again. This was harder than she thought it would be, Eve thought to herself. Children from wealthy families were often spoiled and didn’t like to listen to anyone. It was also one of the reasons why most families hired governesses to discipline the children.

Eve took the liberty to speak again, “Do you hate the thought of having a governess. I can understand that with your free time that is now going to be replaced with someone managing it, you must feel uncomfortable. But I can assure you that learning isn’t all bad, and it is quite fun if done in the right way. It helps in shaping your future, and if possible, be the smartest one in the room.”

The girl finally seemed like she had decided to turn to look at Eve for the very first time. Compared to the girl’s previous actions, her face seemed relatively innocent. The little girl continued to stare at her.

“I come from the town of Meadow. Have you ever been there?” Eve questioned the little girl, which was a dumb question. Because no wealthy family would step into a lowly town like Meadow, lest bring their children there.

In response to Eve’s question, Allie shook her head.

“It is a bustling town. Very rarely peaceful. We have music there on Thursday evenings in some of the inns. They play the piano,” and on Eve’s words, the little girl slid to the side, giving Eve space with a blank expression on her face.

Eve’s gaze fell on the space of the bench, slightly surprised.

“Would you like me to play the piano?” At Eve’s question, the girl nodded, and without hesitation, Eve walked towards the grand piano and took a seat right next to the small girl. “Hm, what do I play?”

Eve’s fingers started playing the black and white piano keys. The music was simple, something that was often played at the inn. She paused after a minute, turning to look at the girl, and said, “I would love to hear you play, that is if you have started learning it. Else it is perfectly fine, after all, we all start from the beginning,” she added, wanting to befriend her.

The little girl turned hesitant, her body stiff. But as if obedient to the request, she started to play. Eve was surprised by the little girl’s talent because the song that she chose wasn’t easy. As if sensing Eve’s stunned gaze, the girl turned suddenly aware and pressed the keys together before she stopped playing.

“I don’t think I have ever heard any young girl playing as beautiful as you have. Your parents must be very proud of you,” Eve praised the girl.

But the girl didn’t seem happy with what she played with, and she brought her hands to place it on her lap. For a moment, Eve wondered if the girl was dumb. She then said,

“You shouldn’t feel disappointed. You have plenty of time to practice and to improve,” saying this, Eve picked the same song that Allie had played a minute ago.

The little girl looked surprised, staring at the woman.

“When I was of your age, I was terrible at playing piano. I made so many mistakes that my aunt believed it was better if I didn’t touch the piano anymore. But you are far ahead of me,” Eve encouraged the little girl, who looked slightly hopeful.

Curious, Eve asked the girl, “Did you have a governess before?” Allie nodded. “Did she quit?”

“Since when did governesses start to be nosey?”

Eve’s eyes snapped to look at the door and caught sight of the familiar man with darkened silver hair. The peaceful look on her face was quick to turn sour.

“What are you doing here?” Eve demanded, getting up from the bench and glaring at the rude man.

Apart from the black trousers and a grey vest with a white shirt, the man wore a subtle smirk on his lips. Even though she didn’t feel his eyes move, she could tell he had scanned her. Her cheeks turned slightly red, remembering his last words to her.

Stepping inside the room, he said, “This is my house.”

“That cannot be true,” Eve spoke her thoughts out loud. The man gave her a solemn look before nodding. A look of horror appeared on Eve’s face. This was her employer?! “I-Is this your—” 

“My sister,” replied the man. He walked inside the room and came to stand next to the little girl. “To think you are a governess. Are you sure you hold ‘all’ the qualification that has been mentioned in your records?” he clicked his tongue.

The little girl’s eyes only moved from the man to the woman and then back to the man.

“Of course, I do,” Eve replied confidently, staring back at him. There was no way he knew what she had done in the past. The rude man was bluffing, thought Eve.

Eve and the man with hazel eyes stared at each other, and as seconds passed, the man finally asked, “You seem to have finished your schooling from a fine place, Miss Barlow. Especially one that doesn’t allow children lower than middle class to enroll in it. Aren’t you a little too young for the job? How old are you again?”

“Twenty-four years old,” answered Eve. She couldn’t believe that out of all the houses, she had ended up in this man’s house.

“You barely appear to be more than twenty. You must have very good genes,” the man’s voice drawled, and Eve’s body stiffened at his words.

“Yes, I have been told that often,” replied Eve, and then she said, “My aunt, Lady Aubrey Dawson was a former governess. She used her connections to help me to get into the institute. I am glad that you have arrived. Is there anything that you would like to know about me? I am very good with children an—”

“How’s your bottom?” Her eyes turned wide like saucers. “Going by your anger that day, it seemed like you fell pretty hard.” The man asked her with a straight face, that Eve was dumbfounded by his inappropriate question.

Before things could get more awkward in the room, she corrected him, “I meant to ask questions about me as the governess to Miss Allie.”

“What a shame,” hummed the man, his eyes lingering on her face.

Something gnawed her mind with the way he looked at her with curled lips and arrogance in his eyes. She took in his features without being too obvious—strong jaw, sharp nose, and full lips. His silver hair was unkempt, as if he couldn’t bother himself to comb it.

Right on time, Alfie, the butler of the mansion, arrived in the room with a tray of biscuits and hot teacups in it. The butler bowed and announced,

“How many cubes of sugar would you like to take in your tea, Miss Barlow?”

“None. I would like to be excused,” Eve quickly offered a bow, “Thank you for having me here.”

She doubted she would be able to work under the same roof where this man was. This was the first time she would not take the job even if she were to be offered. The man was not only rude, but also he had not an ounce of shame by asking about her bottom!

“Quitting already? That was faster than I thought,” remarked Mr. Moriarty.

“I am not quitting,” Eve was careful with her words.

“Of course, that is because you are still unemployed,” he reminded her. “I wonder how that feels.”

“I think I would willingly choose to stay unemployed, than being hired by a man like yourself,” she had met a fair amount of people before, but she had never met a man as rude as this one.

“A man like myself?” Mr. Moriarty chuckled. “Was it my question about your bottom being in pain?” This time it wasn’t just Eve, but even the mansion’s butler turned startled and decided to stare at the wall as if he hadn’t heard a word. “You speak as if it was caused by me.”

“If it weren’t for y—”Eve stopped mid-sentence before their conversation could be misinterpreted. She noticed the crooked smile on his face. She spoke to the man lowly, “You… don’t you feel ashamed for saying such things in front of a little girl?”

“The people in this world took so much shame with them, that they barely left any for me,” he replied. “Maybe you can share some with me?”

“I hope you find some then,” and she dashed out of the room without sparing another word.

Alfie cleared his throat. Though he had spent quite a few years with Master Vincent, still he wasn’t getting used to the unfiltered words from his master.

But it was the little girl who broke the silence by tugging on Vincent’s vest.

“Please, ask her to stay,” the little girl pleaded with her small voice, and Vincent cocked his head to the side.

Eve climbed down the flight of stairs, not looking behind as she tried to remember where the entrance of the mansion was located.

“Miss Barlow,” she heard the deep male voice behind her, and she paused, but without turning back to look at Mr. Moriarty.

“Thank you for the invitation letter but I will have to refuse the opportunity. I just remembered I have something else to do and need to get back home,” replied Eve, without meeting his eyes when he came to stand next to her.

“Are you sure that is what you really want?” He asked her, and Eve nodded. “I don’t think families would be pleased to find out that you fooled the administration and didn’t take quite a few mentioned subjects as written on your file.”

Eve’s eyes widened. She didn’t agree with his words, which would only confirm what she had done.

He smiled at her like a saint, “I am sure you will find this place quite pleasing, considering not everyone pays a governess handsomely. And your little secret will be safe with me.”

Eve’s hands clenched into fists. Until now, no one out of Dawson’s house knew about it, and it had been more than five years since she had finished her schooling. She felt a trickle of fear run down her spine. How did he find out…?

Before either of them could say something, two men with expensive clothing appeared in the corridor, walking not too far from them. One man appeared to be related to Mr. Moriarty because of their similar looks, and when Eve’s eyes fell on the other person, who wore a scar on his face, it brought bad memories back to her mind.

“W-who is that?” Eve whispered.

For years, she had tried to remember the person’s face, but the monster’s face who had killed her mother had faded over time. Could this be the same person?

Vincent’s eyes lazily shifted to look at the men before looking back at Eve. The look on her face had changed as if the curtain had dropped, and he noticed the anxiousness in her eyes. How interesting, he thought.

“The one on the left is my father Eduard Moriarty. And the other one is Lennon Morris. Saw something interesting?” He questioned her, and Eve quickly looked back to meet his eyes. He then said, “My sister seems to have taken a slight liking towards you and would like you to be her governess.”

When Eve didn’t respond, he said, “I am sure Allie will understand your reasons.” He turned, taking three steps forward when she stopped him,


With his back facing her, Eve failed to notice the wicked smile on his face.

“I… I will take the job.”

“Are you sure?” And Vincent turned his head to meet her blue eyes. Eve nodded. “You are hired then. Cannot wait to see you start working here,” he smiled while she failed to notice the underlying meaning of the words.

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