18 Subtle looks

Vincent stared at the woman, and the smile on his face disappeared. He heard a pair of footsteps.

The maid, who had left earlier to fetch the guard, returned with a buff-looking man. She noticed both Mrs. Moriarty and the young woman were missing from the corridor. A little confused, she looked back and forth.

"What are you doing there standing like a confused little duck?" Upon hearing Vincent's question, the maid's body turned stiff.

"T-that, M-Master Vincent. Lady Annalise ordered to fetch Gorron—"

"I have other work for Gorron. Go back to your tasks," Vincent ordered the maid, who quickly bowed and turned on her heel to step far, far away from the not so young Master Moriarty. Vincent turned to the guard and ordered, "Make sure no one kicks the new governess out of the mansion."

"Yes, Master Vincent!" The guard was quick to obey.

Upon reaching the piano room, which was empty, Eve looked around the room before pouring herself water into the glass, and she gulped it all down. A sigh escaped from her lips. Rich people had rich problems, she thought to herself.

In the beginning, she had found it odd that neither Mr. nor Mrs. Moriarty had silver hair. And it was only later did she realize that the woman she had met in the hallways was Vincent's stepmother. Thinking about the situation she had been placed in earlier, goosebumps appeared on her skin.

"Good morning, Miss Barlow. It is good to see you here," It was Moriarty's butler who arrived at the door with the little girl whom she was supposed to tutor.

The little girl bowed her head in greeting, but no word came out of her lips.

Eve smiled at the little girl and offered a slight bow, "Good morning, Miss Allie, and Alfie."

"We were worried that Miss Allie would be late as she was still finishing her breakfast. The young miss is not used to waking up early," the butler explained, while the little girl walked to the table and sat down.

"That is fine. There's no need to rush as breakfast and sleep are important," replied Eve,  watching the little girl obediently take a seat.

"How has your day been, Miss Barlow?" Alfie inquired politely.

"An exciting morning," replied Eve. She wondered what happened after she left the hallway. She hoped to not cross paths with Mrs. Moriarty again, which was impossible as the woman lived here. "How about you, Alfie? How long have you been working here?"

"Very well, milady. Thank you for asking me. Since I was a young boy, Miss Barlow," the butler bowed and said, "I will come to fetch Miss Allie later," and he left the room.

To Eve's relief, no one came to kick her out of the mansion or interrupt them. She spent the first two hours teaching the little girl from basics as it seemed like Allie's basic foundation was weak. And during that time, the only response she received from Allie was the little girl nodding or shaking her head.

The little girl listened to Eve, and though she didn't speak, when Eve praised her for getting an answer right, her hands clenched out of happiness.

Eve gave the little girl time to revise what they had gone through an hour ago. She took her time to familiarize the names of the books on the shelves. When noon arrived, the butler arrived at the door, knocking on the wooden surface, "Sorry for interrupting the class, but it is time for Miss Allie to have her lunch."

"Yes, we are almost done with the subject. We can take an hour break to relax our minds," Eve informed the butler while looking at the little girl. "Yes?"

Allie nodded and stood up, making her way towards the door. But before they left the room, the little girl stared at the butler, whose eyes met hers.

The butler looked at Eve, who was now picking up the books from the table. He said to her, "Miss Barlow, lunch will be served in the room that comes on the left corridor, which is next to the kitchen. The cook makes good food. I can take you there."

"You don't have to trouble yourself with it," replied Eve, and she turned to look at him. She walked to one side of the room and picked up her lunch box. Patting the side of the box with her other hand, she said, "I brought lunch from my home."

The butler bowed his head, "Please enjoy your lunch."

As the little girl stepped out of the room, the expression of her face stayed blank. But her hands were clenched at her sides, and this time it wasn't because of happiness.

The butler and Miss Allie walked through the corridors in silence. Before they could reach the magnificent dining room of the Moriarty family, where lunch would be served, the little girl turned to look at the butler once again.

"Will she be alright?" The little girl asked the butler.

Earlier, when Allie had turned to look at the butler, it wasn't because she wanted to have lunch with her new governess. Though young, she was aware of differences in social status and how her family functioned.

Alfie pursed his lips before he answered in a low voice, "Let us hope she will be, Miss Allie."

Allie continued to clench her hands, and she asked, "Where is brother Vince?"

"He must be in the dining room with the others. If he isn't there, I will go look for him, milady," the butler assured her. "We shouldn't keep the others waiting."

The little girl nodded and walked with the butler towards the dining room. The double doors to the dining room were made of brown mahogany wood. The doors were carved to have a leafless tree with only branches.

The butler pushed the door and opened it for the young miss. Her parents were already seated. Her father sat at the head of the table, and her mother sat right next to him.

Allie quickly bowed her head at her parents, and her mother questioned,

"Has the governess started to swindle unnecessary stories or is she even useful?"

At the mention of the word governess, Mr. Moriarty raised his eyebrows. He remarked, "That was quite quick of you to appoint a new governess, Annalise."

"It wasn't I, who hired the governess," came the curt reply from Lady Annalise. She placed her hand on her husband's hand, which was resting on the arm of his chair. She expressed her worries with a soft voice, "The governess belongs to a status far below us. Not to mention, when I spoke to her it didn't look like she has proper etiquettes. I worry that this will negatively impact Allie's upbringing." A slight frown rested on her forehead.

"Then fire the governess from the job. It isn't that hard," Mr. Moriarty responded in a nonchalant tone.

"I wanted to, but it is Vincent, who hired her," Lady Annalise's voice hardened.

Mr. Moriarty turned further surprised, and he asked, "He did? He must have finally decided to look after Allie. That is wonderful, isn't it?"

Lady Annalise's eyes widened, and she said, "Did you not hear that she comes from a lowly family? You cannot expect me to sit quietly when a person like that associates with our daughter."

A slight frown appeared on Mr. Moriarty's face, and before it could deepen further, Vincent stepped inside the dining room. He had a relaxed expression on his face and walked to the side where Allie was sitting.

"What is this that I am hearing about you hiring a governess of no proper background?" Mr. Moriarty questioned his son. "You should already know, Vincent, that we don't mix with people who aren't of our status or kind."

Before the servant could pull a chair for Vincent to sit, his hand reached for the chair, and he dragged it in a way where the legs of the chair made a harsh sound against the floor. Lady Annalise closed her eyes, her face flinching before she opened them in slight irritation.

"My apologies, I didn't expect that," Vincent's words sounded sincere, but the people in the room were fully aware that it was far from it. He took his seat and turned to look at his father. "I don't know which old crow told you what, but the governess whom I hired for Allie is an excellent one. Her aunt was a former governess to the Countess of Bladorm."

Lady Annalise didn't like Vincent's remark, and before she could retort, her husband placed his hand on her hand. Mr. Moriarty asked his son,

"I am proud of you, that you are taking care of your little sister, Vincent. But that doesn't lower the importance that the Moriarty's always pick refined men and women, even if it means the person is a governess."

"That was my intention, father. To make you and mother proud. Mother must be proud in Heaven, isn't it?" Questioned Vincent, and both Mr. and Mrs. Moriarty, who had for a moment come to believe that his words were meant for Lady Annalise, the woman's face fell.

"Vincent," Mr. Moriarty lightly warned his son.

"Geez, relax. People here don't know how to take a joke," remarked Vincent, stretching his hand to one of the berries he popped into his mouth. "You should already know that I don't like meretricious things. Now, why would I pick something that I don't like?"

"Joke is what you will make out of us, by hiring a governess who comes from who knows where?" replied Lady Annalise, her eyes narrowing at Vincent.

"Meadow," Vincent replied, and Lady Annalise's mouth suddenly hung open. Hearing the town's name, Mr. Moriarty turned displeased too.

"Are you sure she is qualified to be a governess? Women from that town do not immerse or involve themselves in such types of jobs," stated Mr. Moriarty, and Vincent nodded.

"As this involved my dear sister Allie, I personally checked her background. She is a governess and, if I am not wrong, one that will suit Allie very well," stated Vincent, leaning his back against the chair. Lady Annalise fixed her shocked expression, as a moment ago, she looked as if a moving cart had splattered mud on her. She placed her hand on her temple and muttered to herself in horror,

"People are going to think that we aren't able to afford a decent governess to our young daughter and laugh at us. I will not accept it," the woman's words were firm. "I will find a suitable governess."

"And like I said earlier, this isn't up for discussion," came the blunt response from Vincent. "And you already chose the previous one, and look at what happened," he clicked his tongue before smiling at her.

The woman gritted her teeth because she had no reply to this.

Lady Annalise found it hard to believe because she knew underneath her stepson's calm and poised appearance, a demon resided behind it. He was doing this only to annoy her, and she quietly glared at him. If Vincent wasn't going to comply to her, she knew other ways to solve this little hiccup.

Away from the dining room, holding her lunch box, Eve stepped out of the piano room and started walking through the corridors. Her lunch box moved back and forth with every step she took. Instead of sitting in the room, she decided to sit in the garden and have her lunch.

Next chapter