Fallen grace, p.3
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       Fallen Grace, p.3

           Jessica Cartwright
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  I took a goblet from the table and drained it in one sip. I replaced the goblet on the silver tray and sat back on the lounge. Lucas rose from his chair and went to a cupboard on the sideboard near the door. Lucas opened the door to reveal a small fridge from which he retrieved a pitcher filled with crimson liquid. He returned to where Katherine and I were sitting and refilled my glass. I again sipped from my glass with gusto. Talk of the Acelades and the uncertainty of my new task had intensified my thirst. I felt the need to be as strong as possible to meet any of the challenges this new assignment might bring. I could feel the blood flowing through my body recharging me after what had been a long and arduous assignment. Finally, after three more glasses I was ready to talk.

  I turned to Katherine and Lucas who were looking at me curiously. I smiled at them and replaced my goblet on the table. “It’s been a while since I had a constant food source,” I explained sheepishly. “It’s not exactly like we have storage services when we are on duty.”

  “I am sure we cannot even begin to understand,” Lucas stated graciously “We have long become accustomed to our luxuries and forget what it can be like for others.”

  “I am still not completely sure I understand. How is it that you have been able to keep our way of life a secret from Alex for so long?” I asked.

  “It is not that difficult really. We have always kept our home filled with food and kept our hours like most humans do. Stephan works in finance and earns a good living so Alex has never questioned where our money comes from. I have made a home for Alex attending his school, throwing him birthday parties. It was a chance for all of us to be human and I relished the normalcy of his life,” Katherine explained.

  “But has he never questioned that you don’t age?” I asked.

  “Grace, Alex is only 17 years old. I am sure as he gets older he will have questions for Katherine and Stephan. But for now, he lives in blissful human ignorance,” Lucas said.

  “It seems unlikely but I trust that you believe Alex knows no different. That being said, we need to organise how we are going to explain my presence to Alex. I am sure he will have questions when he suddenly has another person living in his house,” I stated.

  “And his school,” Katherine chimed in. “You need to be with him as much as possible and he spends most of his days at school.”

  I looked at Katherine and she smiled at me helplessly. Of course I would have to attend his school. The thought of returning to school sent shivers down my spine. I did not enjoy attending lessons with my tutor when I was alive, I could not imagine that it would be any better now.

  “I have given some thought to this,” Lucas entered the conversation “One of the benefits of having you on this assignment Grace is that you look to anyone on the outside to be the same age as Alex so it will be easy for you to attend his school. I have taken the liberty of enrolling you in Creswick Academy and you will begin on Monday. I was able to organise for you and Alex to be in many of the same classes so you will be able to spend a great deal of time watching him. You will find that school uniforms have been purchased on your behalf and tailored to your measurements. I have also purchased the necessary school books and other items for you and I will have all of these brought up to your room tonight. As for explaining why you are living in our home, I have an idea for that too,” Lucas paused.

  Katherine and I nodded for him to continue. The sooner we decided on a story the sooner I could begin doing a proper survey on the house and its residents.

  “Alex is well aware that I frequently travel to Europe for business and to visit friends. I have often visited him during these trips whilst he was living London. To explain your presence we could merely tell Alex that you are the granddaughter of a dear family friend who is your guardian since your parents died. He called last week and said that you had been accepted into Creswick Academy and asked if I would be willing to have you stay at my home while you attended the school. Given that Alex, Katherine and Stephan were now living here I thought it would provide him with a good source of company and a study companion, so I said yes and here you are.” Lucas finished obviously quite pleased with himself for concocting this story.

  “Do you really think that Alex will believe that story, especially when he has heard nothing about my coming here and I just turn up at what, breakfast tomorrow? I am assuming that you go through the motions of eating these meals to protect Alex from finding out the truth?” I asked.

  “I think you overestimate my son,” Katherine said kindly “He has been moping around the house since we arrived thinking his life will end because we have taken him away from Olivia. I doubt it will even occur to him that he didn’t know you were coming and he will likely forget the story we give him soon after he has been told.”

  “Who is Olivia?” I queried

  “Olivia was his girlfriend back in London. They had been dating only two months when we moved but you know how it is at that age, every relationship is like Romeo and Juliet.” Katherine laughed.

  “I wouldn’t know,” I replied darkly, “I was only just older than Alex when I was turned and I had yet to meet any suitable men.”

  “Oh,” Katherine shifted uncomfortably in her chair, “I’m sorry Grace. That was inconsiderate of me. I should have known better knowing your history.”

  I could see from the look on Katherine’s face that she deeply regretted her flippant remarks. “It’s ok Katherine, I know you didn’t mean anything by it and I am sure that I would have been just as bad as Alex if I had been meeting suitors at his age. You will have to forgive my snappiness. Clearly I’ve forgotten my social graces.”

  “You are forgiven Grace. I can only imagine how exhausting your duties must be. In any event, I don’t think that we will have any trouble convincing Alex of our story. The goings on of the people in this house are of little concern to Alex. His mind is firmly fixed in London,” Katherine assured me.

  “Ok. So now that is decided, if you don’t mind Lucas, I would like to check out the manor and the estate grounds to gain the lay of the land and of course I will need to look into all of your staff to make sure you don’t have another incident like the one with Mischa.” I stated this with my mind now solely focused on the assignment ahead.

  “Of course Grace, whatever you feel is best. We will completely defer to you in this matter. Anything you need or you feel we need to change we will do to the best of our ability,” Lucas answered me seriously.

  “Well, obviously, my first suggestion would be for you to tell Alex everything but as I am sure that this isn’t going to happen I would like to meet with you both tomorrow night after I have had time to make a list,” I replied.

  “You’re right telling Alex is not an option,” Katherine responded lightly.

  I took my leave from Lucas and Katherine and left the library. Leaning against the wall outside the library, I let the events of the night replay in my mind. There was no way that I could have anticipated this assignment. I felt very unsure about how I would complete it. The assessment of the property and surveillance would be easy. I had done this many times. But protecting a mark who was human was something I had never done before. My duties normally involved search and destroy, eliminating threats or short term security for Council events.

  Shaking my head I tried to focus on the job at hand. I knew that I could start the basics that were the same for any job and I would work out the rest as it came to me. I was sure Lucas would not have requested me if he did not think I was more than capable of completing this assignment. Taking a deep breath I stepped away from the wall and started down the hall making a mental checklist of all the things I needed to complete for my initial assessment.

  My mind was now in the right frame I could feel my body responding. My senses were more alert taking in everything in my surroundings. The first task would be to make a thorough inspection of the manor. I remembered the house from my last visit however, I now looked at the house from a different perspective. My l
ast time at the manor had been to serve as a type of security for a Council ball. On that occasion it had only been necessary to secure the ballroom and adjoining sitting rooms. There were now three floors and over 50 rooms to secure and significantly less security detail. I started on the top floor which consisted mostly of the servants’ rooms. There were twelve bedrooms, two bathrooms and a large sitting room. After a quick inspection, I noted that there was little I could do to improve security on this floor. All of the windows had security alarms and motion sensors to detect the slightest movement.

  The second floor was much the same with regards to security. All of the windows and exterior doors had ultra sensitive alarmed motion detectors. The rooms were all fitted with surveillance cameras which automatically switched on whenever the resident left the room. I had inspected 7 of the 8 bedrooms, their adjoining bathrooms and the 2 sitting rooms when I reached what I could only presume must be Alex’s room. I noted the subtle differences immediately from the reinforced steel door designed to look exactly like the other doors, to the surveillance camera hidden in the light fixture above the door. I did not feel up to the challenge of convincing a 17 year old pining teenager of a story about why I had suddenly appeared at his grandfather’s home. I decided that this room could wait until tomorrow when Alex would hopefully be moping somewhere else in the house.

  The ground floor was the easiest of all to profile. I had already done a thorough assessment for the last function and despite Lucas’s significant renovations the main structure of the house remained the same. As with all of the other floors, the windows and doors were alarmed and the floors had surveillance cameras fitted monitoring the rooms that were currently unoccupied. I made a mental note to ask Lucas where the tapes were recorded. I made my way to the cellar and answered my own questions. I found a sophisticated monitoring system set up in a room behind the wine cellar which hosted an extensive collection of vintage wines and cognacs. I smiled at Lucas’s over the top security measures. I could only imagine that these measures would extend to the estate grounds. I could already tell from the security monitors that the grounds had been fitted with surveillance cameras.

  I walked through the kitchen and out into the night air. The air was cool and damp against my skin. Taking a deep breath, I walked out into the gardens. Making my way through kitchen gardens I was amused by the sheer volume of fruits and vegetables being grown both here and in the orchards. Lucas had clearly put a lot of time into the gardens. They were perfectly manicured and in full bloom adding to the stately presence of the manor. The central manor grounds were surrounded by a 2 meter high wall. I jumped lightly onto the top of the wall and inspected the security measures. The wall had weight sensors fitted to detect changes in pressure and alert surveillance cameras.

  The stables and garage were also fitted with security measures to protect not only Alex but the vast array of collectibles including suits of armour from the crusades, discarded experiments from Da Vinci, Mozart’s violin, and a shield from Henry the VII. The garage also housed Lucas’ cars. The stables housed his livestock. He had clearly taken great care to cover all areas contained within the estate walls. I now had only one place left to check, outside the estate walls. I had left this area to last hoping that my mind would be so focused on checking the security measures I would be able to block the memories of what had happened outside those walls.

  Outside of the wall, the estate led into rambling bushes and a thick forest. The driveway outside of the fences, like that inside, was lined with cherry and apple blossom trees that were swaying slightly in the breeze. Compared to inside the walls, the outside gardens appeared wild and untamed but retained the same beauty of the polished gardens. I walked through wrought iron gates that separated the driveway in two. Taking a deep breath, I walked past the apple and cherry blossom trees and onto the lawn that led to the forest. I could feel my pulse quicken with each step I took. My body was tingling all over and my senses were on high alert. Rationally I knew that there would be nothing waiting in the forest for me but my body remembered the last time I had come here. Fear began to build in my stomach. I swallowed hard and walked into the forest.

  I immediately began to search my surroundings. There was a full moon out providing some light in the forest. My vampire sight did the rest. I walked purposefully deeper into the forest. I knew that I had to go to that place again to quiet the fear that was threatening to explode from within my body. Each step I took intensified the alarms that were deafening my brain. I finally reached the clearing where I had found William after the Acelades were finished with him. He was no longer there, he hadn’t been for almost 80 years, but I could still remember clearly how his body looked when I found him. I had not returned here since that day. Even years later when I came for the Council ball I had avoided the area like the plague. The fear in my stomach began to recede and I could begin to hear the sounds of the forest again. I stood in the clearing until my heartbeat returned to normal and my breathing was no longer rapid. Finally, I turned my back on the clearing and began to make my way back to the manor.

  The manor still retained the mystery and presence that it had the first time I had come almost two hundred years ago. Much of the inside was different, but from the outside, the Manor was forever set in the 1700’s. The manor was really a massive cotton plantation home. Lucas had been inspired by the large estate homes of England and Ireland when he built this property and it was the talk of Fredrick County West Virginia when first built. None of the town folk were quite sure how they felt about a European building the largest home in the county. Lucas won them over however, through hosting many gala events in the home and donating a large amount of money to the county to rebuild the town hall after it was burnt down in 1737.

  I had stayed with Lucas for almost two years after finding William. It was here that William and I learnt about our history, the Vampire Council, what protectors do and the feud between the Sempres and the Acelades. It was here that I decided that that I wanted to become a protector. The manor felt as much like a home to me as my family home in Ireland. The rooms were filled with memories of William and I together learning about what we were and who we could become. It was here that William and I made a vow to avenge our parent’s murder. We did not realise then how much that vow would cost us, cost me.

  I returned to the manor feeling confident in the security measures that Lucas had put into place. He had obviously paid more attention than I remembered the last time I was present at his home and had implemented many of the measures we used for the Council ball to protect the entire house. As I climbed the steps to the front of the manor, I felt a complete feeling of exhaustion. Tonight’s events, combined with my residual weariness from my last assignment had depleted any energy I had gained from my feeding. I decided that profiling the servants would need to wait until tomorrow after I had had the opportunity to feed properly from one of the many food sources available on the estate. I climbed the stairs to the second floor and stopped briefly outside of Alex’s room. I could hear what sounded like computerised gun fire and deduced he was playing a video game of some description most likely depicting the Second World War from the sounds of the troop movements. I continued to my room and began to undress taking one more goblet full of blood and walking to the wardrobe to review the school uniforms that had arrived in my absence. I was not ready to deal with the idea of having to go to school yet so I dressed in my nightgown and slipped into bed. It was not long before I felt myself slipping into a deep and comfortable sleep.

  I rose early, my sleep had been undisturbed and I could feel the benefits in my body already. My muscles ached less and my head felt clearer, sharper. I quickly got dressed in a black running suit and trainers and made my way down stairs noting that all of the residents of my floor were still sleeping soundly. On the ground floor I could hear the servants preparing breakfast and beginning the day’s chores. I walked through the foyer and out of the large wooden doors at the front of the manor.

  Outside the air was crisp. The sun was only just beginning to rise and the estate grounds were still covered in a light fog. The lawns were coated in thick dew which displayed the evidence of my path as I made my way across the lawn and into the back fields of the estate. I went through the side gate in the wall and was immediately in the forest. I stopped for a moment to gain my surroundings and began my hunt. I could smell deer, bears and birds in the forest. Given the sheer size of my hunger, I decided that a bear would be the best creature to hunt. I slowly began to stalk the animal in the forest following its scent to a cave about five minutes into the forest. I picked up a stone from the clearing outside the cave and threw it into the opening. I heard the rock slam into the side of the cave and bounce along the floor making a loud noise in the relative quiet of the predawn forest.

  I threw another rock into the cave and this time I heard the bear stir. It began to make its way out of the cave and I took my place on the ledge above the opening ready to strike. The disgruntled bear walked out of the cave and I launched myself off the ledge landing on its back. I sunk my teeth into its neck quickly bringing it down. I fed ravenously until I could feel the end drawing near and I finished the task. The blood pulsed through my body making me feel light headed for a brief moment. The power surge in my body was noticeable and I felt myself returning to full strength. The burning sensation in my stomach was completely quenched and I was feeling satisfied. I quickly tidied myself in case I ran into Alex on my return to the house, although I doubted that he was yet conscious, and made my way back to the manor.

  Most vampires did not keep the same eating habits as me, preferring the blood of humans over that of animals but I could never come to terms with taking the blood of a human the way my families and mine had been taken. Of course, nowadays, many vampires from the Sempre family consumed blood siphoned from the blood banks they owned. The Acelades family however, still enjoyed the hunt for human blood as I well remembered. Most vampires, especially those in my line of work, could not understand my decision to feed only on the blood of animals but nonetheless I had fed this way since my transformation. The downside to this was that I needed to feed more often than most vampires often leaving me exposed when on assignment. I looked forward to having a constant easy supply of food while I was here.

  My return to the manor showed me my assumption was correct and all of the manor’s residents remained asleep. I again took the luxury of a long hot shower allowing the water and fragrant soaps to wash over my body. I wrapped myself in the Egyptian cotton bath robe that was hanging on the stand in the bathroom and made my way to the wardrobe. I decided to again dress in clothes that Lucas had purchased for me assuming that my all black wardrobe would be neither appreciated nor appropriate for my first meeting with Alex. I selected a deep, emerald green blouse with matching scarf and ivory cardigan and dark hipster denims. Moving to the shoe rack, I selected a pair of matching green kitten heels. I returned to the bathroom to apply my makeup and fix my hair. I pinned my hair back from my face allowing the layers to form soft curls down my back. I kept my make up light and as I applied my mascara I noticed my eyes were slightly less hollow. Perhaps facing William’s final resting place had given me some closure. I took a final look in the mirror checking my overall appearance hoping that it said 17 year old Irish student. The sun coming in from the bathroom windows caught the stones in my necklace and cast a cascade of coloured lights across the room. I raised my hand to the necklace, holding it lightly between my fingers. It was a diamond incrusted cross my father had given me on my 16th birthday. I could not remember the last time it had seen the sun and been allowed to cast colourful lights. I stood for a few moments and appreciated its beauty. Finally, I turned and left taking the light show with me.

  I retrieved my laptop from my bag and sat on the sofa. I typed Creswick Academy into my search engine and was soon confronted with a list of sites referring to the prestigious school. I spent the next few hours researching Creswick including its history, the courses available, clubs, sports teams and the lay out of the school grounds. Once I felt confident that I would be able to at least display a disinterested knowledge in the school that I was about to attend, I turned my search efforts to a different venture. If I was going to pass for a 17 year old I needed to at least have some idea of what a typical 17 year old was like. Thankfully, I was up to date with technology as a by product of the job however, that was where my insight into the teenage life stopped. I searched through online magazines, music sites, movie trailers and fashion stores until I felt that I had at least a basic grip on what was happening in the world today.

  I closed the lid to my laptop and looked at the clock. It was 8:00am and I was sure by the sounds in the hall that breakfast would soon be served. A nervous sensation began to build in my stomach and work its way through my body. I was feeling under-prepared and uncertain about playing the role of a 17 year old and was sure it would take Alex about 30 seconds to realise I was a fake. I stopped myself from going any further. If what Katherine had said last night was correct, there was a high chance that Alex would not even notice that I was at breakfast this morning and it was even more unlikely that he would decide to give me a pop quiz on my favourite music and movies. I only hoped that the other students at Creswick would show me the same disinterest when I started tomorrow. The less impact my arrival caused the better.

  Leaving my room, I hesitated briefly before Alex’s room. I could hear no noises from within so quickly pushed open the door and surveyed the room. It had the same security measures as the rest of the home with increased density. I wondered how Alex had not noticed these, even though Lucas had attempted to conceal them almost totally within the walls and ceiling. I began to think that Katherine’s assessment of Alex’s observation skills may have been correct.

  Taking the stairs down to the ground floor, I could hear the other residents already seating themselves at the table for breakfast. Hesitating briefly, I pushed open the door to the dining room and entered. Lucas, Katherine and a young man who I could only presume to be Alex were already seated at the table which was set for four people. Immediately feeling uneasy, I looked at Lucas who caught my eyes beckoning me forward. I was sure that I was supposed to come to breakfast but now it appeared that a place had not been set for me. It appeared the family Lucas, Katherine, Stephan and Alex, were going to eat together. I walked towards the table taking in the buzz of activity going on in the room. Servants were laying out breakfast on the sideboard including eggs, bacon, hash browns and sausages, pouring coffee and juice into cups and glasses on the table and ensuring that every condiment imaginable was available to complement breakfast.

  I arrived at the table standing behind the chair next to Katherine and opposite Alex who appeared engrossed in a book of some description and had yet to even acknowledge that I had entered the room.

  “Good morning Grace,” Lucas welcomed. “I trust you slept well and found your room comfortable.”

  “Yes very well thank you Lucas. After the long flight I was quite sure that I could have slept anywhere but the room is magnificent,” I replied playing along with the story.

  “Please sit down Grace.” Katherine joined the conversation briefly looking from Alex to me “I am afraid my husband has been called away on urgent business and could not be here to meet you this morning.”

  The mystery of the four place settings made sense now however, Stephan’s absence seemed strange given the threat that his son was facing. How odd that he would chose to attend to an insignificant business matter. I took my seat and eyed Alex. His scent was strong, stronger than any other I had encountered before. It was heady and musky as it circled me. The blood lust was brewing in my stomach but I swallowed hard and refocused. Alex was still absorbed in his book and did not appear to be aware of anything occurring around him. On closer inspection I saw the book he was reading was ‘The Portrait of Dorian Grey’, a favourite of mine in a different time. I looked from Kathe
rine to Lucas unsure of how they wanted me to proceed.

  “Alex please put your book away while we are at the table. We have company,” Katherine chastised. Alex sighed heavily and closed his book pushing it away. “Thank you.”

  “Grace is starting Creswick tomorrow with you Alex,” Lucas explained. “She has been lucky enough to receive a scholarship and will be staying with us while she is here.” Alex finally raised his head and his eyes met mine. I struggled to strangle a gasp that threatened to escape. Alex had startling emerald green eyes that matched the colour of my shirt. He was the image of John with sandy blond hair that fell into his eyes carelessly, a strong square chin and a tanned complexion.

  “Hi,” I said “It’s nice to meet you.”

  “Yeah,” Alex replied “where are you from?”

  “Ireland,” I returned. Alex did not appear to have any other questions for me and walked over to the sideboard and started filling his plate. I looked from Katherine to Lucas with disbelief. Lucas nodded but I could not understand how Alex could look so much like John the protector who had trained me. John had been assassinated by the Acelades almost 20 years ago. Alex returned to the table so these questions would have to wait.

  Alex looked at us and questioned “Aren’t you going to eat?”

  “Of course,” Katherine replied flustered. We all rose and went to the buffet placing food on our plates. I selected two slices of toast hoping I could swallow them. Returning to the table, I tried to re-engage Alex in conversation to refocus my mind.

  “Are you reading ‘The Portrait of Dorian Grey’ for school?”


  “Oh.” Determined not to be deterred, I continued, “What classes are you taking at school?”

  “The usual.”

  “Do you like Creswick?”

  “Not really.”

  “Any reason?”

  “Because it’s here and I would rather be in London but you can thank her for that!” Alex shot a dark look in Katherine’s direction.

  “Alex,” Katherine interrupted, “Now is not the time.”

  “Whatever,” Alex replied.

  The rest of breakfast continued in silence. I managed to force down one slice of toast before excusing myself from the table and leaving the room. Once outside, my stomach lurched and running to the bathroom I expelled all the toast. Leaning on the vanity I ran my hands under the cool water allowing my body to calm. I was not looking forward to having to perform this task after every meal. Finally, feeling only slightly more composed, I decided it was time to speak with Lucas. I entered the library and saw that Lucas and Katherine were already waiting for me.

  “How is this possible?” I asked “He looks exactly like John.”

  “I should have told you last night,” Katherine conceded. “You know that John and I were in a relationship when he trained you. We moved to London to escape the scrutiny of the Council and whilst we were there I fell pregnant. Before I could give birth John was killed and Stephan came to inform me of the news. Stephan was a friend of John’s and he supported me after John was killed. Our friendship grew into companionship, then love and we decided to get married. Stephan is the only father that Alex has ever known and he believes that Stephan is his father.”

  “How could you do this?” I asked Katherine. “And you how could you permit it?” I levelled my second question at Lucas.

  “You don’t understand what it was like Grace. I was 7 months pregnant and my other half had just been killed. I didn’t intentionally mean for this to happen but as Alex grew up, he and Stephan had such a close relationship I did not feel that Alex should be punished by not having a father for something that was beyond his control.” Katherine attempted to explain, but I did not want to hear it.

  “What about John? Your so called other half who was supposed to be the love of your life, your soul mate. Don’t you think he deserves to have his son know the truth? That man gave his life for our kind and you swept him under the carpet like he never existed!” I retorted.

  “I did what I thought was best to protect Alex. That is what John would have wanted. Then when we got the package, I realised that maybe someone knew about John and so we came here. I have never stopped loving John but we both knew the risks when we got involved. We knew it wasn’t allowed, but we didn’t care,” Katherine responded.

  “I don’t agree with what you’ve done here.”

  “I know that you and John were close Grace, he trained you to be what you are and that is why we knew that you were the best. Please believe that Katherine did not make this decision lightly and neither did I. The safety of Alex needed to be made our top priority. John would have wanted Alex to be safe and he understood the dangers of his work.” Lucas interceded.

  “I don’t want any more surprises. If I am going to do this assignment, you both need to be honest with me,” I stated firmly.

  “I promise you there is nothing else,” Lucas responded. “It was poorly advised of me not to tell you of this last night. I should have known that you would recognise John as soon as you saw Alex.”

  “Yes you should have,” I was ready to move on. I could not believe that they had done this, but their family matters were no concern of mine. “I took a tour of the manor and estate grounds last night and I must say, Lucas, I’m impressed with the security measures you have in place.”

  “Thank you.” Lucas accepted the compliment. “Did you visit the entire grounds?”

  “Yes,” I responded, understanding the meaning of Lucas’s comment. “I was able to get everywhere I needed.”

  Katherine looked from Lucas to me obviously unsure of the meaning of our conversation but not willing to ask questions. “I plan on spending today speaking with the staff and developing a profile to identify any possible threats if that is acceptable to you?” I asked Lucas.

  “Of course. I have already informed my staff that they are to make themselves available to you upon request. I have also gathered their employee files including a basic background check that we conducted which might be helpful to you as a starting point.” Lucas handed me a stack of files, each with an employee’s name written on the cover. I took the files from Lucas and noted there were seven in all. Profiling would be the most important task to ensure the safety of Alex. I needed to make sure that there were no Acelades members working in the manor. I took my leave from Lucas and Katherine and turned to leave the library when Katherine called me back.

  “Grace, I just wanted to make sure that you understand why we are keeping Alex in the dark about his father and our way of life. It is for his benefit. It’s too much for a child to grow up with and I wanted him to have a chance at a human life before he enters our world.”

  I turned to look at Katherine. “I don’t understand why you have made these choices Katherine, but they are your choices to make. I will fulfil your wishes and I won’t tell Alex about John or what we are unless there is no other option to keep him safe. That is the best I can promise, you know that my duties come first and I will do anything to keep my charge safe.”

  “That is the most I could ask of you Grace. Thank you,” Katherine replied. With that, I left the library with the employee files in my hand and my head swimming with the morning’s revelations.

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