C5 The King's Mansion
"We're here." Matthew informed as the car carrying us came to a halt in front of a huge steel gate. The driver said something in the intercom, and the gate opened with a beeping sound. The ride started again through a paved road, around a stone carved water fountain and stopped.
After Matthew hopped out, I followed behind, my jaw almost dropping to the floor. The huge four-storied white building looked like something out of the magazines. A mellowy fragrance seized my attention to the sides, neatly trimmed rose bushes ornated the garden around as the evening sky ablazed with the last rays of the setting sun casted a warm, orangish glow over it.
"I think I saw a fly flying in your mouth," Matt whispered, breaking me from my trance.
I looked at him, my mouth still hanging open. "It's so beautiful," I gushed.
He smiled. "Welcome to the Kings Mansion, Mrs. King!"
The new name hit me in the gut like a punch, breaking my rapture and reminding me of the reality. No matter how beautiful this place was, the dwellers inside only reminded me of monsters from nightmares.
On approaching the porch, a woman standing at the huge wooden double door, greeted us with a warm smile dwelling on her roundish freckled face.
"Welcome, ma'am." She stepped aside to let us in.
"Thank you." I frowned. Ma'am?
"I am Donna, head of the maids here."
"Please call me Ember," I said, returning her smile. She seemed like a nice lady. I didn't want her to call me ma'am since she was older than me. It felt weird.
I stepped inside and looked around. This time I tried my best not to let my mouth hang open and look crazy.
"Struggling sunshine?" Matthew whispered from behind earning a playful blow from my elbow. I smirked satisfied as a groan was heard.
The spacious foyer consisted of two grand staircases with glass railings in the middle. A gorgeous chandelier hung from the ceiling. The marble tiled floor was so clear one could see their faces in it, and the white walls were a beautiful combination of dark golden and black decorations.
A bark pulled me out of my gawking trance. I turned my gaze to the direction the sound came from, and there were two Siberian huskies up on the steps.
Doggos! Waves of excitement rushed through my veins making all the worries vaporize. But my happiness died, and fear took over my heart as soon as those two started running towards me, barking. Closing my eyes I braced myself for a bite or something... but none came.
"Buddies!" someone squealed, then came a thud. "Ouch!"
I opened my eyes to see Matt on the floor with the dogs on top, licking him excitedly. Awh! I was relieved and jealous at the same time. I wanted doggos to love me like that too!
"Boomer! Doser! Didn't I just put you two to sleep?" Donna pulled them off of Matt. "They belong to young sir," she told me and called another maid to take them to their room. Young sir? Did she mean Hunter?
The dogs didn't even look at me as they left. Now I was confirmed they belonged to Hunter. Like owner, like pets, and that stung.
That very moment I took another vow to befriend those fluffy fluffers one day.
"Come on, dear! The Kings family is waiting for you." Donna motioned another maid to take away my suitcases. After saying goodbyes to Matthew, I followed Donna down the hall. We entered a room where three people were sitting on a large sectional sofa talking, apart from Hunter, of course.
"Ah, Ember, finally you are here. I have gotten tired of waiting." Mrs. King was the first one to talk upon seeing me. She waved her hand back and forth over her face even though goosebumps rose on my body from the cool atmosphere in the room, and the feline sitting on her lap gave out a lazy yawn.
Let's just say fondness wasn't what I felt towards her since Mr. King introduced us.
"It's only been 5 minutes, Julie!" grandma retorted, glaring at her daughter-in-law.
"Mother, you should go to bed. It's late," Mr. King stepped in. "Ember, you must be tired. Go, get some rest. Donna will show you to your room."
I nodded. That moment, no matter how much I disliked Mr. King, I couldn't be more thankful. Family meetings could wait till morning. Resting was the necessity of the moment. Boy, was I exhausted.
"Ember, please follow me."
I climbed the flight of stairs after Donna. After reaching the second floor, we entered a spacious hallway with four doors situated on either side of it.
I turned around to see grandma approaching me, her eyes holding a sparkle in them. I relaxed since she wasn't anything like Mrs. King.
"Granny?" Stopping, she inclined her head from side to side. "Who's granny? Do you see any granny here, Donna?"
I eyed Donna, my mouth pursed, not fathoming what to say. Um...
"Karen, honey, call me Karen. I am far too young to be called a granny," She patted her imaginary muscles.
Realization hit me, and I bursted out laughing. "Right, sorry. My bad, Karen."
She grabbed my hand and led me further down the hall. "I'm so glad there's a new female in this household. I have gotten so tired of this all-time-complaining plastic bitch. Now that you are here..." a grin appeared on her tanned face, "oh, we are gonna have so much fun!"
A ray of sunshine peeked through the thick layer of cloud dangling over my head. I wasn't the only one who thought of Julia as a plastic. At least, someone was here I could get along with. "Yeah, we will get along just fine I can say."
"Welcome to the Kings family!" she squealed, embracing me in a tight hug. As she pulled out, her lips were stretched from ear to ear, and she wished me goodnight, then left.
Donna opened the last door at the end of the hallway. "This is your room, dear."
Entering, I drove my eyes about. It was just as beautiful as the rest of the house with the same color combination, a king-sized bed in the middle, and other furniture occupying around. It was like a palace with modern touches.
Donna gestured at the two other doors at the other side. "This one is the bathroom and this, the closet. Do you want me to send someone to unpack the bags now, or do you wanna do it in the morning?"
I sent her a tight-lipped pout. "In the morning, please."
"When will Hunter be back?" I asked the dreaded question. I didn't know how I'd stay in the same room with him.
"He is already home, in his room."
My brows puckered like a slept-in shirt. "We're staying in different rooms?"
"Er... well, dear, Hunter doesn't let anyone in his room."
I nodded as a series of relief rippled through me. "I totally understand."
"Rest now, dear. I'll wake you up in the morning before breakfast," saying that she left.
Glowering at the disappointed part of me, I sighed. Even though married couples were supposed to stay together in a room, I was happy I wouldn't have to. I couldn't be near a man who blackmailed me into marriage and had no sense of respect in him.
Changing into my pajamas, I laid down on the bed, the muscles in every corner of my body hurt from exhaustion. A sigh left my mouth as my mind wandered back to my old room. It was small yet welcoming and comfortable unlike this room, it was too big and lonely. A tug at my heart reminded me of my parents. Closing my eyes, I let a tear roll down my cheek as my mother's angelic face surfaced in my mind's eye. I missed them already. Suddenly a pair of piercing sea-green orbs replaced my mother's soft blue ones making my eyes snap open. No. Why was I thinking of him? He is an insufferable bastard who deserves a kick in the shin. He...he... Soon my eyelids started drooping, and I lost into darkness.
"Ma'am, wake up! Ma'am! You'll be late for breakfast. Please, wake up!" A soft voice lightly shook my body.
I groaned. "A lil more, momh..."
"Ma'am, wake up, please." Ma'am? I opened my eyes and winced. The bright light peeking through the curtains almost blinded me. I sat up, shielding my eyes with the blanket. A blue-eyed blonde stood by the bed, her eyes widened and lips parted.
"Ah... ma'am, it's 7:15. Y-you've to be at the breakfast table by 8," she informed and scurried away before I could ask for her name. Weird! What was she so scared of?
I stretched, did my five-minutes yoga poses in bed and got up. Entering the bathroom, I took my brush and looked in the mirror.
A yelp left my mouth as the brush in my hand went flying to the mirror.
There was a ghost in the mirror, mimicking my actions.
What the! Squinting my eyes, I lifted my hand and touched my cheek. Another yelp left my mouth.
The ghost is me.
Last night I was too tired to take a shower or even wash the make-up off. Now I looked like a horrific ghost with the eyeliner smeared around my eyes and red lipstick smudged around my lips. Don't even get me started on my crow nest of a hair.
Fantastic! Now that will take time.
After showering, I got out of the bathroom and got dressed. I curled my hair in an inhuman speed and looked at the clock.
Shit! I am late.
Descending the stairs, I ran through the hallway when a wall appeared on my way, knocking me on the floor. I groaned, looking up and rubbing my forehead. Hunter stood there with his default frown set between his brows.
"Watch where you're going," he snapped, walking past me.
I glared at his back. What crawled up his ass and died in the morning?
After asking a maid, I found the dining room. It was huge with a majestic-looking dining table in the middle, two crystal chandeliers hanging above it. In one of the walls hung a sophisticated painting in golden frames. Through the large window occupying the south wall, I could get a beautiful view of the flower garden outside. The two head chairs on each end of the table were occupied by Mr. senior asshole and Mr. junior asshole. Everyone already started eating. Hearing me approach they looked up, making my stomach churn at the attention.
"Late as always, Ember." Julia stabbed her food with a fork, her fake platinum blonde hair falling freely around her gorgeous heart-shaped face. She could be a model and would be in my favorite's list, only if she didn't have such a witchy attitude.
I mumbled a sorry and sat beside Karen.
"Oh, let it be, Julie. It's her first day here. On your first day you weren't even on the table until twelve," Karen jeered.
I bit my lip to stop the laughter from coming out. Had I said that Karen was the coolest grandma ever?
"Good morning, Ember." As always Mr. King stepped in before an atom blasted in the dining room.
"Good morning," I said politely.
Donna wished me morning and served breakfast. Mumbling a thanks I dug in, my stomach growling from hunger. The whole time Hunter didn't even bother looking up while I kept stealing glances of him.
"After breakfast Donna will give you a tour of the Mansion, Ember," Mr. King announced, sipping on his juice.
I nodded, my mouth curving into a smile. That sounded fun.
My eyes almost bulged out and mouth hung open, again. I squealed, standing in the middle of the library, taking in the look of absolute heaven. The room itself was larger than the one back in my college. Every inch of the walls were occupied with glazing wooden shelves and in those, from top to bottom were organized various books with colorful covers. My fingers itched to grab the books and lock myself in the room till each and every page had been turned.
I had set on an adventure to explore the mansion with Bella, the girl who woke me up in the morning. Donna was busy with work for which she introduced me to her. Bella was my age and seemed quite nice. So, we got along pretty well.
"Ember, wanna check out the roof? The view from there is something to die for."
Yes!" I exclaimed with joy. The adventure of the Kings Mansion had me jumping up and down like a kid. I had discovered two big indoor and outdoor pools, a gaming room, music room, home theater with its own popcorn machine, private gym, salon with a spa, and so much more I had yet to explore. You could walk the whole day, and still the journey wouldn't end.
Our footsteps bounced on the tiled ground as we padded through the fourth floor of the mansion, giggling at silly jokes I learned from my dad. I was in an excellent mood. Something blueish passed by my peripheral vision halting me on my heels. Taking two steps back, I found myself in front of a beautiful blue door with delicate golden patterns adorning it. My hand went forward and twisted the knob.
"Oh, no, no, Ember! Let's go from here. It's a forbidden zone." Bella started tugging me away from the door.
"What?" I frowned.
"Yes, no one's allowed near that door. Even the Kings don't open it."
"Why? What's behind it?" My curiosity perked high above the clouds. A mysterious door in the King's mansion?
"No one knows. Well, except the Kings, of course. But they never talk about it... Oh, look! We're here. Isn't the view wonderful from up here?"
I nodded not knowing when we reached the rooftop, for my mind was somewhere else, stuck at a certain blue door.
What secrets are you hiding behind that door, Kings?