πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️ Allure Of The Night Chapter 26 - 30 Full Chapters πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️πŸ–Š️



Chapter 26

Music Recommendation: Mrs. Elton Arrives at Hartfield- Isobel Waller

During that week and one of the mornings, when Eve neared the entrance of the Moriarty’s mansion, she caught sight of Lady Marceline standing outside with the guardsman.

“Such a simple rule and you forgot to follow it?” Questioned Lady Marceline while glaring down at the maid, who held fear in her eyes and bowed her head.

“Forgive me, Lady Marceline! I swear on my children to not repeat it again,” the maid’s words came out rushed, hoping her apology would be accepted and the young miss would not punish her.

When the maid looked up to meet Marceline’s eyes, the young miss sent a glare which was filled with anger. This made the maid quickly look at the ground, her shoulders slouched in fear and worry.

“Did you think you could use the passage that is not for lowly humans like yourself as you please?” Marceline questioned the maid, looking down at the woman, who belonged to the lowest of the low status.

“Please don’t kick me out. I have little children to feed,” the maid beseeched to Marceline, and she fell on her knees.

Marceline was going to say something when she heard footsteps not too far from where she stood. She turned and noticed it was the new governess.

When Eve’s eyes met Marceline, she offered a polite bow, and in return, the young miss of the mansion offered her a polite smile. Eve greeted her,

“Good morning, Lady Marceline.”

“Good morning, Miss Barlow,” Marceline chimed, and her eyes fell on the hideous looking umbrella that Eve held in her hand. “It is good to see you before time. I was doubtful if you would be showing up today.”

Eve turned slightly confused and asked, “Doubtful?”

“Yes. Because of the door that you chipped,” replied Marceline, her chin tilting up. Eve’s face turned slightly pale at the mention of the mishap that had taken place. She wondered if she would end up in debt where instead of earning, she would have to pay the Moriarty for the damage that she was possibly going to cause in the future.

The young miss then smiled, “Do not fret, Miss Barlow. I am a kind woman, and would not tattle-tale about it to anyone. After all, you didn’t do it out of purpose.”

Yet, Marceline had brought it up to remind her. Eve didn’t know if she was supposed to be wary or grateful.

Eve let out an internal sigh of relief, and she bowed in appreciation, “Thank you for your kindness, Lady Marceline.” At least she didn’t have to worry about losing her wage.

Marceline held a sweet smile on her lips. When Eve’s eyes fell on the maid, who knelt on the ground, Marceline’s eyebrows slightly rose before she ordered the guard, “Take the maid from here.” And she joined Eve by walking through the front entrance. “Did you have your breakfast?” She inquired while subtly eyeing the umbrella.

“I have, Lady Marceline. How about yourself?”

“I haven’t. I was hoping you could offer me your company at the dining table, but it looks like I will be eating by myself,” hummed Marceline, with a pleasant smile still stuck to her lips. She then commented, “It seems like you are scared of the rain.”

Hearing this, Eve gripped her umbrella, but her composed expression didn’t change, and she asked, “I love the rain, milady. Why do you say that?”

“You have been carrying your umbrella with you everyday, when there’s not a single sign of the rain,” responded Marceline.

“I guess it is a habit. When I was little, I used to fall sick quite often whenever I got drenched in the rain,” Eve explained to the young woman who accompanied her through the corridors.

“That must have been bothersome,” Marceline replied with concern and then she said, “I heard your aunt was a former governess to a Countess? You must feel very fortunate, being a step ahead of most governesses. Did you always want to be a governess?”

Eve smiled because where she had found fortune, she had been gifted with clumsiness to balance it.

“I think so. Aunt Aubrey has been someone I have looked up to as I grew up. I think it is a noble job to be a governess. To be able to shape children who are our future,” replied Eve. She wondered what kind of governesses did the Moriarty’s siblings have. Surely two different ones; while Marceline was polite, Vincent was arrogant, and the youngest girl was sweet. Before Marceline could question about her parents, Eve asked,

“Lady Marceline, did the previous governess and Miss Allie not get along?”

A soft chuckle escaped from Marceline’s lips, and she replied, “Why would you think that? Allie has been an utter doll to all her governesses until now.”

“I was hoping to understand what approach would be suitable to Miss Allie and what the previous governess used,” said Eve, and Marceline’s lips parted.

As they walked in the deserted corridor, Marceline then said,

“If you truly want to know, then I guess there’s no harm. Instead of teaching, the previous governess spent hours idly with just chit chat and didn’t understand how to draw line with Allie. Just because one is governess, one shouldn’t dare to think they can do what they please. The governess was fired from the job, to never return to work here again.”

Eve frowned at Lady Marceline’s words.

Outside the mansion, the guard had pulled the maid and pushed her outside the mansion’s gates. He said, “Don’t show up here again.”

“No!” The maid’s eyes turned wide, and tears filled in her eyes. Standing on the other side of the gate, she folded her hands and begged, “Please, I won’t repeat my mistake. I will not enter the mansion from the front side, please don’t fire me!”

“Create commotion, and you will not see the sunrise again,” glared the man. The guard turned around and walked away, leaving the maid there, who continued to cry.

Back in the mansion’s corridors, Marceline accompanied Eve until Vincent showed up with the mansion’s butler, Alfie, following behind him.

“Looks like the sun rose from the West today, Alfie,” remarked Vincent with astonishment on his face, which he didn’t mean as his lips soon curled.

The butler bowed at the two women in the corridor.

“Don’t tell me that you find it to be wrong, me walking with our governess,” Marceline retorted at her brother’s sarcastic words.

“How could I, it is only right that you walk with her as you are her new student along with Allie. I never knew you would heed to my words this quickly,” commented Vincent, and the sweet appearance that Marceline carried slightly cracked.

Marceline smiled and said, “I was only walking with Miss Barlow as I was going in the same direction.”

“To the piano room?” Vincent raised one of his eyebrows.

“No, to get a book from the library that is situated on the same floor. But I just remembered I have something else to do. And not to forget, brother, I have already finished my time with the governess,” replied Marceline, gritting her teeth. The young woman then added, “Maybe it would benefit you more.”

It seemed like Vincent didn’t even spare his sister when it came to pushing people’s buttons for his amusement, thought Eve.

“Are you sure about it?” Hummed Vincent. Then he said, “The last time I checked, spending hours with the governesses wasn’t of much help to you. My adorable slow sister.”

Marceline glared at Vincent but didn’t stop smiling. She said, “Maybe if you attended the classes you would have known. But you were never there. I have other things to do that feed your entertainment.” She then turned to look at Eve and, with a smile, said, “I will see you later, Miss Barlow.”

Eve nodded, watching the woman walk away from there.

“Make sure Marceline reaches her room safely, Alfie I don’t want her getting lost,” Vincent ordered the butler, who was quick to comply and leave his master alone with the governess. He then explained to Eve, “I have only two sisters and I cannot help but worry about them.”

But something told Eve that this was not entirely true, at least not by the expression on Vincent’s face.
Chapter 27

The sound of footsteps disappeared, and silence filled the corridor, one that still held the awkwardness that Eve had felt a couple of seconds ago.

Her eyes now shifted from one end of the corridor to look at Vincent, who looked in the direction of where the butler had disappeared. His eyes suddenly snapped to meet her eyes.

“Stare more and I will believe that you have unrequited feelings for me,” stated Vincent, the coppery red colour in his eyes more distinct today compared to the last time she had seen.

Eve wasn’t amused by his words, and she asked him, “Are you always like this?”

“Like what?” Vincent subtly yet unconsciously ran his tongue across his canine.

“As if you woke up on the wrong side of the bed,” replied Eve, staring back at him.

Vincent took a step towards her, and Eve instantly took one backwards. Her reaction brought mirth to his eyes, and he smiled, that revealed his perfectly aligned teeth. He leaned his upper body very subtly and answered her,

“I always wake up on that side of the bed. Because that is the only right side.” He then questioned, “What were you and my lovely sister talking about?”

“Nothing in particular. Just the general things,” answered Eve, noticing his eyes slightly narrow at her.

“And that is?” His voice drawled, waiting for her to explain. He sighed, “It must be a curse to be born smart while the rest are slow.”

Did he just call her dumb? Eve asked in her mind and sent a small glare his way.

All traces of smile on Vincent’s face had disappeared, and he tilted his head before asking her,

“Miss Barlow, did you just glare at your employer? It seems like you are in need of a little punishment for your disobedience.”

Eve nervously smiled and shook her head, “I wouldn’t dare, Master Vincent.”

He stared at her for two seconds before questioning, “So what were you two women talking about?”

She wondered why he was so intent on wanting to know about their conversation. She replied, “It was about my aunt being a former governess and then about the last governess. Why?”

Vincent’s lips twisted, and so did the look in his eyes. A soft chuckle escaped from his sinful full lips that had her feeling confused.

“Why? Let us just say that Marceline is bad news.”

Eve gave him an apprehensive look, unsure if this was some sort of test for her, “You are her brother.”

“Which is precisely why I am warning you. The farther you stay away from the members of this family and concentrate only on your work, it would be that much better for you. Do you understand my words, little girl?”

The term little girl had a nerve pop on Eve’s forehead. It reminded her of the rainy evening when she had met Vincent for the first time.

“I am here as Miss Allie’s governess and am not interested in anything more than that,” Eve stood her ground without blinking away from him.

Vincent clicked his tongue and offered a charming snake-like smile, “That’s good to know. Also it seems like you find it hard not to poke your nose where it’s not needed.”

“What do you mean?” Questioned Eve, and she found Vincent staring into her eyes as if looking for something.

“Let me give you a little advice. Try not to get into trouble and stick to your work. Aye?” Vincent slipped his hands into his trousers pockets.

Eve opened her mouth, ready to argue, but then she closed it. It was just a piece of simple advice, and as simple as it was, it was hard for her to follow.

“Also, it might be wise to avoid crossing paths with Charles. He isn’t too pleased with how you shared your lunch with him a few days ago,” stated Vincent, and he brought his hand to check his nails.

Eve felt dread crawl up her spine. She had been trying to avoid running into any of the Moriarty family members, especially Charles. Of course, her luck wasn’t good enough to avoid Allie’s mother, who glared at her when she noticed Eve in the corridor.

“Yes, Master Vincent,” Eve bowed her head.

“What did dear Marceline tell you about the previous governess?” Vincent questioned her, dropping his hand back to his side.

“That… the previous governess didn’t treat Miss Allie well and was fired from here,” replied Eve, and Vincent, who heard it laughed as if he was amused by what she said.

“Is it not true?” confused, Eve asked him, and Vincent shook his head.

“Oh, it is very true. Truer than it could be,” there was a smile of mischief on Vincent’s lips and humour on his face. He said, “You should get to work. I don’t like tardiness.”

Eve agreed, and after a second of an awkward pause, she hurried herself to the piano room.

The little girl was a delight compared to her other family members, making Eve wonder how Allie turned out to be so well behaved. Even though Vincent was not Lady Annalise’s biological son, it felt like they belonged to the same flock of feathers.

Two hours passed, and Allie pushed the notebook she had been writing.

Eve stared at the writing, trying to understand what was written as it was a mess. Allie, who noticed this, her shoulders drooped.

“Do not be disheartened, Miss Allie. In time, you will be able to improve your handwriting. I was once told that messy handwriting is the one that holds the most intelligence,” Eve tried to cheer up Allie.

But Allie wasn’t a human child to blindly follow Eve’s words. At the same time, the little girl who was turning fond of Eve half-believed her governess’s words to be true.

“Good job getting most of the answers right,” Eve praised the little girl and then added, “Let us work on the ones you got wrong answers.”

Allie nodded.

And while the little one continued to study, Eve couldn’t get Vincent’s amused look out of her mind.

When her working hours as governess came to an end, Eve closed the books. The little girl had continued to stay in the room. Allie hadn’t tried to follow Eve again like what had happened the second day of her work. She looked at the girl who was watching her.

“I think it is very sweet of you, Miss Allie. To want to spend your time here,” said Eve, and Allie lowered her eyes. Eve didn’t know if it was because the girl was shy or if there was something that had upset her. “I am sorry about what happened…” Her words were vague, “You must miss the governess.”

Allie looked up from the ground, and she blinked at Eve.

The little girl then picked up her book and started to scribble something. Curious, Eve took a few steps closer to see what the girl was upto. Allie had drawn a stick woman.

“That’s uh—fascinating drawing,” remarked Eve, and Allie shook her head.

The little girl pointed her finger at Eve. “This is me?” Eve asked again, but the girl only shook. “Well, it looks like a woman…”

Eve rubbed the back of her neck and, after a few seconds, asked, “Governess? The previous governess?” And Allie nodded.

The little girl then put a little ‘x’ on the stick

Chapter 28

Music Recommendation: Mrs. Elton Arrives at Hartfield- Isobel Waller

Eve stared at the drawing of the stick figure and watched the little girl draw another ‘x’ on the other eye of the woman. One of these days, one of the Moriarty family members was going to kill her, thought Eve.

“Miss Allie, is the governess dead?”

The little girl stopped making the repeated cross mark and looked up at Eve. To Eve’s distress, the little girl nodded, and Eve took a sharp breath.

Of course, she was aware of this, at least deep in her mind. As eager as one would be to work in the family who belonged to higher society, it came with pros and cons.

This is why Vincent had laughed as if he enjoyed the little joke his sister Marceline had told her. The previous governess was killed because she didn’t do her job right. How could anyone kill a person for a small reason like that?

“Is that why you followed me?” Eve asked Allie, who stared at her for a few seconds before slowly nodding.

Eve then watched Allie draw another stick figure, and next to it was another small stick figure where the two stick figures held hands. The little girl looked up and pointed at Eve and then at her.

“That is comforting,” Eve replied with nervousness in her voice.

Eve noticed that Allie wasn’t upset with the information she had shared, and something told her that the little girl knew who had killed the previous governess. But she didn’t dare to ask who had murdered the governess.

“I will see you tomorrow, Miss Allie,” said Eve, offering her a smile and bow. The little girl did the same, learning manners from her new governess.

Eve picked up her umbrella and her lunch box, heading towards the door and was ready to leave—

“I love your umbrella.”

The sudden voice startled Eve, making her heart jump, and she turned and noticed it was Allie who had spoken. “Thank you, it is my favourite,” replied Eve with a smile. “You have a lovely voice, Miss Allie. You should speak more.”

Allie only nodded as if she had gone back to being mute. The smile collapsed from Eve’s lips when she stepped out and started to walk alone in the corridor.

Her thoughts were consumed by what the little girl revealed, and as she walked, she heard footsteps approach from the opposite side of the corridor.

When her gaze raised, she felt her heart pause on noticing it was the man with the scar on his face. Scar that looked deep and unfading even after the years that had passed.

He was partly the reason why she had taken up the job here. With every step they took forward, they got nearer, and the man’s eyes briefly looked at Eve, and so did she. His eyes were black, and so was his hair. His clothes were expensive, and the air around him was enough to make one know what company he kept near him.

The man walked past Eve, and she released the breath that she had been holding until now.

Eve was taken back to the time where her little feet tried to run while her mother desperately screamed for her to escape.

‘Run, Eve! Run!’

Her mother’s cries haunted her in the darkness, which was filled with pain and agony. Eve wanted to help her mother, to make it stop, but it never did because there was nothing she could fix about the past.

When Eve turned, the man had disappeared from the corridor. Her jaw clenched, and her hand tightened around the umbrella.

Seeing someone related to her mother, logic left her mind, and emotions took over her.

Her feet had a mind of its own, which started to walk back in the direction where she had come from while her eyes searched for the scarred man. She spotted the man take another corridor, and she followed him without being noticed. She placed her lunchbox in one corner while keeping her umbrella close to her chest.

The Moriarty’s mansion was huge, with more corridors and space that one couldn’t fathom from outside. After a minute, Eve lost sight of the person, and her eyes searched for him. He was right in front of her. Where did he go? She could hear her heartbeat loud in her ears.

“What do you think you are doing here?”

Eve turned, and her eyes fell on Lady Annalise.

“Don’t you know that most parts of the mansion is restricted only to the family members or the servants who clean,” Lady Annalise’s words dripped with superiority.

Eve offered a deep bow while trying to calm her heart and closed her eyes to take a moment to gather her thoughts. When she lifted her head, she noticed the woman had taken a step closer to her.

“My sincerest apology, milady. As it is my beginning days here, I lost my way and ended up on this side of the mansion,” Eve gave the woman a believable reason.

But with Eve, who was standing under the roof of Lady Annalise, no matter how genuine the reasoning was, the woman had been waiting to fix the wrinkle her stepson had caused.

“How convenient that you were able to get lost, when the way to the entrance from the piano room isn’t complicated. But that is understandable,” Lady Annalise clicked her tongue, “For a woman like you who comes from such a low background, you wouldn’t know what it means to live in a place like this. You must be living in a house with a broken roof and one room?” The woman mockingly laughed at Eve.

But to the rich woman’s annoyance, Eve only smiled. She replied, “If you take a look at the history of our lands, there have been many men who have changed their fate from being poor to ones in power.”

“That was history, girl. Look at the present, the world that was written and the world that we live in present are two different things,” Lady Annalise scoffed at the human’s ignorance. “If you think you can climb the social ladder by being a governess, think again. Look at yourself. Your family had a former governess, so you are a governess. A maid’s daughter will turn into a maid, a cobbler’s son will turn into a cobbler, that is how it is.”

Lady Annalise was intent on showing the human where she belonged.

The only thing Lady Annalise was unaware was that Eve was far too comfortable with who she was. Eve had people who cared and loved her. There had never been a shortage of food on her plate or clothes to wear.

“I was talking about the space of the mansion, milady. Not the status,” replied Eve.

“You didn’t, but it is never too late to remind a person especially for the impudence,” stated Lady Annalise. She continued, “How about we come to an agreement? I will give you a year’s worth of wage. In fact more than that. Quit the job here and never show your face again.”

A year’s worth of wage? Eve couldn’t lie to herself, but the offer was tempting. It would be a lot of gold coins and silver…

Lady Annalise smiled, waiting to hear the woman agree and see the human finally quit.

“No,” responded Eve.

Chapter 29

Lady Annalise hadn’t expected this human to be greedier. If Vincent wasn’t the one to hire the governess, she would have drained the woman’s blood out of her body and let it rot in the forest.

“You are cleverer than I thought you to be,” Lady Annalise held a strong distaste in her mouth because she wasn’t someone who bothered herself with the poor class, lest talk to them. “I will double the sum of money,” smirked the woman.

Eve stared at the woman, who stared right back at her.

“I appreciate your generous offer, but I am a governess you cannot afford,” Eve’s words were nothing less than a verbal slap to the wealthy woman, where the earlier smirk fell from her face, and it was replaced by anger.

Eve had other motives, which didn’t solely concern money. But Eve’s refusal only made Lady Annalise believe that the human had stepped into the mansion with ulterior motives of gaining more wealth.

Lady Annalise stepped in front of Eve and warned in a low voice, “Heed my words and quit the job before it is too late. Else you won’t like the outcome of what happens to the people you care about.”

Eve didn’t like that the woman threatened the lives of the only two people who were her family. As if finding her weakness, Lady Annalise smiled.

Hurried footsteps appeared in the corridor that belonged to Alfie, who held Eve’s lunch box in his hand as if he was looking for her.

Lady Annalise took a step to the side to stand next to Eve but in the opposite direction, and she said, “Give it a thought.”

When Eve turned to meet Lady Annalise’s eyes, she noticed the woman’s eyes had changed to red. When the woman smiled, fangs peeked from her lips.

The Moriarty family were vampires…

Lady Annalise walked away, disappearing from the corridor, while the butler quickly came to where Eve stood.

Alfie asked, in concern, “Are you alright, Miss Barlow? I saw your lunchbox lying in the corner of the hallways and became worried.”

“Miss?” The butler once again called her when she didn’t respond.

“Yes, I am fine,” replied Eve, and her eyes briefly looked at the butler, who only appeared confused when in truth, he was a vampire too.

It wasn’t like Eve hadn’t already taken into consideration that there would be a possibility that she would end up working for a family of vampires or werewolves. But now that she was certain, she would have to be careful.

“Thank you for bringing my lunch box to me, Alfie,” Eve offered a bow to the butler for being thoughtful about it.

“Of course, milady,” replied the butler, who held an apprehensive look of doubt. “Let me see you at the entrance door.”

Eve didn’t refuse, and the butler walked her to the mansion entrance. A lot of things occupied her mind, but it was mostly the safety of her family that worried her. The world where they lived in was unfair, but the people from the low status, especially humans, couldn’t cry about it.

That evening when Eve reached her home, she saw Aunt Aubrey working on her woollen scarf while peering through the framed glasses in great concentration.

“Welcome back home, Eve. How was your day at the Moriarty mansion?” Inquired Aunt Aubrey. The woman tried to push the thread of wool into the needle and had been stubborn not to take Eugene’s help.

Eve let her umbrella rest on the stand and handed the lunchbox to Eugene, who took it to the kitchen. She then walked behind the older woman and put her arms around her aunt.

Lady Aubrey was taken aback by the affection, but she didn’t refuse it. Dropping the wool and thread to the side, she placed her hand on the young woman’s hand.

“Did you have a hard day?” Asked Aunt Aubrey, and Eve smiled.

“Not too hard, I think I managed it fine,” replied Eve, the side of her cheek pressing the woman’s cheek.

Eugene, who had stepped out of the kitchen, went back to the kitchen as if he had forgotten something, leaving the two women in the living room.

“Come, sit next to me,” said Lady Aubrey, patting the space next to her on the couch, and Eve let go of the woman before walking around.

Eve took a seat next to Aunt Aubrey, and the woman took Eve’s hand before enclasping it in both her hands. Aunt Aubrey said, “There is nothing I haven’t seen or heard when it comes to being a governess. Did you break something valuable in the mansion?” The older woman gave a look. “It is fine if they have fired you. That would be an experience for you to add.”

“I wasn’t fired from the job, auntie,” Eve smiled before shaking her head.

“What? That is always something I worry that might cost you your job,” responded Aunt Aubrey with her eyebrows knitted together. “What has gotten you so quiet today then?”

Eve didn’t mean to hide by keeping things away from them, from what she had heard. But she needed to ponder a little more on it before she would bring it to her lips.

“I just heard something in the mansion, and it has been there on my mind since then,” replied Eve, and she slid from her seat and placed her head on the woman’s shoulder.

Even though Lady Aubrey couldn’t take the place of her mother, she was there as a guide for Eve, who took care of her. And over the years, Eve turned to be part of Lady Aubrey and Eugene’s life.

After resting there for a while, Eve finally gave out the information, “The Moriarty’s are vampires.”

“I think somewhere we all expected it,” Lady Aubrey murmured, who didn’t look too shocked by the news. “How do you feel about it?”

“I am letting it sink in,” replied Eve, staring at the cold fireplace, which was yet to be lit with logs of wood. “I just have to make sure no one tastes my blood.” One drop and things would go downhill, she was aware about it.

Pushing herself to sit straight, she turned to Lady Aubrey and kissed her cheek, “I will be going to the river.”

Lady Aubrey watched Eve climb up the stairs and advised, “Don’t go too far and stay away from trouble.”

“Yes, Aunt Aubrey,” replied Eve and entered her room.

Eve picked up a dress from her dressing drawer, putting it in a small bag, along with a little container that had the mixture of salts. It wasn’t much, but enough to rub it on her legs. When she stepped out of the house, the sky had turned dark, pulled over by the blanket of stars.

The gate’s latch creaked. She could hear the sound of the crickets in the surrounding area. There was a light chatter in the air as there were still people walking up and down the streets. Lanterns hung outside each house in the town, the flames dimly burning as the families had to drag the flame and oil for the rest of the night.

Chapter 30

Eve walked through the streets of the town of Meadow. Unlike many other times, she didn’t carry her umbrella with her right now.

On her way, Eve met one of her fellow townswomen.

“Good evening, Genevieve. Out to get something?”

Eve smiled, “I am, Mrs. Gardiner. Did you go to visit the centre of the town to help Mr. Gardiner?”

“I did,” replied the woman, rubbing her hands before saying, “See you tomorrow.”

“You too, Mrs. Gardiner,” Eve waved at the woman, who seemed to be in a hurry to return to the warmth of her home.

Eve continued to walk away from the town and entered the forest that partly surrounded their town. Her feet softly pressed on the grassy ground away from the sound of carriage and people’s eyes and words. The frogs softly croaked, and the crickets continued rubbing their wings, chirping all across the forest and beyond it.

Coming to the river bank, Eve looked around to make sure she was all alone. When she noticed it was clear, she started to undress. Her dress loosened and pooled near her feet.

She pulled the ribbon that kept her hair tied, which unravelled to let her golden blonde hair cascade down her shoulders and on her back. The ribbon gently wavered to join with the pile of her clothes.

Walking towards the bank of the river under the moonlight, Eve dived into the deeper side of the water. This was something she liked to do, to be surrounded by water. To swim against the current of water or with it playfully until her mind felt at peace. After spending a little more time, she swam to the side of the river where no one ever came. It was her very own private sanctuary.

Eve pushed herself up, sitting on the edge before pulling out the little container holding salts. She rubbed the salts all over her legs until they dissolved, and she was left with watery hands.

Over the years, she had tried to understand more about her body, and this time was more suitable as every person would have gone home. Even if someone was walking nearby, thanks to the darkness, one wouldn’t be able to see her in the water.

She slipped back into the water, swimming close to the river’s bed. The little fishes in the river were quick to give way to her.

Eve wondered if Lady Annalise’s threat held any weight or if it was only empty words. The woman was a vampiress, and if she could, she would have snapped her neck. But she hadn’t, which somewhere meant that the woman was scared of her step-son, thought Eve. Not to mention, the lifespan of a governess in the Moriarty mansion didn’t seem to look bright.

The river was quite far from the town, and as it was night, people avoided getting lost in the forest. There were rumours about people being abducted in the middle of the night by witches, all thanks to Eugene, who had spread the rumour among people.

Eve gathered water with both her hands and splashed it on her face. Staying a little longer in the water, she finally came out.

Walking behind the tree where her clothes were placed, she bent down to pick up the towel and started to wipe the water droplets. Softly humming as she finished with it.

“Seems like water ran out in some people’s houses.”

Eve’s eyes turned as wide as saucers, and she shrieked, “AHHHH!!!” Her scream echoed through the forest, which had some of the birds that had perched on the branches of the trees fly away.

Vincent stood on the other side of the tree, his hands raised where he plugged his index fingers into his ears.

“God, do you scream loud,” remarked Vincent, his face slightly scrunched before plugging out his fingers.

On the other hand, Eve turned bright red in embarrassment, and she held her clothes close to her front. She whispered in utter mortification, “Kill me! Kill me! No.. bury me!!”

How could this happen!? She had been coming here for years, and no one, not a single soul, ever came on this side of the forest as this side of the forest turned darker. So how did Vincent Moriarty end up here!

“You are too young to die. It would be better if you die after five years, this way I don’t have to put up with an annoying governess again,” came the calm words from Vincent as if he hadn’t seen her naked back a few seconds ago!

“Y-you pervert!!” Eve quickly pointed her finger from behind the tree. “Stay right there! Don’t you dare move!”

Vincent rolled his eyes, “Don’t be embarrassed, it isn’t something I am unfamiliar with.” Eve gritted her teeth, half embarrassed and half furious. “I didn’t come here knowing I would find you. And who even dips in the river naked. In fact, it would be more right to say that you are the perverted one here.”

“What?” Eve snapped at him. She glared at his back, “I didn’t know you took baths with your clothes on.”

“When I am in the mood, sure,” Vincent shrugged his shoulders, and Eve quickly took a peek at where he was. She noticed he had his back facing her.

Her hands shook as she tried to wear her clothes the fastest way possible right now. Her hair was still dripping wet, which had drenched some parts of her fresh and dry clothes.

This was the worst thing that could happen to her! To be seen naked by a man who was her employer! Lady Annalise’s offer didn’t look too bad right now. After all, who could refuse free money?

“When you see a naked woman, you turn away and walk away like a gentleman. And not wait to comment!” came the rushed words from Eve, and she pulled down her dress before making it proper.

Vincent chuckled sarcastically, “If you think men function like that, you are sorely mistaken, Miss Barlow. And frankly when I saw you, I thought it was a little girl,” he remarked, and the clothes in Eve’s hands crumpled.