The Gentleman's Code/C5 Chapter Four
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The Gentleman's Code/C5 Chapter Four
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C5 Chapter Four

Callum had the worst hangover he'd had in a while.

And that said a lot, considering he had a pretty solid experience with port and whisky.

He looked around the dark room and saw his clothes from last night all over the floor.

Callum had no memory of how he'd gotten back to the mansion, but at least he was in his nightgown.

He got dressed. By himself. He'd had a valet only once years ago and never allowed a servant to help him get dressed from then on.

Callum was just finishing the tying of his black cravat.

It was in very strong contrast with his white shirt, but when he added the black coat he decided it wasn't shockingly bad or dark enough.

There was a knock on the door as he was trying to put his hair in order. It had overgrown a bit and he knew how inappropriate that was, so decided to just leave it the way it was.

"Yes?" he called. It was Thomas.

God, the morning was bad enough already, he didn't need the old knacker on his heels right now.

"You're expected in the study, My Lord."

"Oh, was it today Father wanted to speak to me?"

Callum sometimes did all of this on purpose just to see the older man's composure crumble. He was never successful.

Thomas only nodded.

"Yes, Sir."

"I'll be there right away." When the butler remained standing at the door, Callum said

"I think I can find my way, thank you."

"Of course."

The man left and Callum decided he had nowhere to rush.

His head was beginning to pound even harder while he was walking towards the study thirty minutes later, the maids smiling at him on his way to his father's cabinet.

When he opened the door the first thing he saw was the Lord standing by the window. The next that caught his attention was a huge man with his back to him, standing in the corner of the room.

The man turned abruptly when he heard the door open and Callum's whole world tilted on its axis.

He froze for a second, standing at the entrance.

"Good morning, Callum. Thank you for finally gracing us with your presence." His father said.

The big man smiled and Callum decided he could just leave.

"Good morning, Lord Fernsby. "

The stranger had a deep, silky voice which made Callum almost shiver.

His light hazel eyes looked warm, complementing the dark black hair, neatly cut short. Callum almost draped himself over the nearest armchair.

"You wanted to speak to me."

He glanced at the taller man who- even if he was shocked by the behavior- didn't show it or acknowledge it in any way.

"Yes. " Tennyson turned to the other man "Oliver, thank you. The housekeeper will help you with the accommodation."


"Thank you, Sir." The man headed for the door and Callum looked away when the tall man smiled at him.

Oliver closed the door and felt completely lost. He tried not to think about the young lord. The man had the brightest red hair he'd ever seen, and he had to admit - he really was way too handsome and he was very well aware of it.

What other thing Oliver knew was he couldn't allow himself such distractions and walked the big corridors in search of the housemaid.

Passing by one of the windows he looked out. There was, as he'd assumed correctly, a huge garden in the back of the house.

The Irish hounds of the manor were running around and a man almost his age was talking to an older one. Oliver decided the gentry really did nothing much outside talking to other members of the upper classes over afternoon tea or walks in the garden.

He looked closer as the younger one was passing something to his companion when a voice cleared from behind him.

"Ahem, Mr. Abram."

He turned.

A woman in her forties was standing behind him, hands crossed.

"I am the housekeeper, Mrs. Adelia and I'm to help you accommodate and explain the house rules."

She paused, then smiled "Although I'm sure Thomas has already made sure to advise the main ones. He wouldn't miss the opportunity."

Oliver liked the woman already.

"Indeed. He was...he was very diligent."

Two younger women in maids' uniforms passed, giggling. They looked him up and down when one of them said something, Adelia barged in.

"Hurry up and enough gossips, there's a ball coming and the Ballroom needs another airing."

"Yes, Mrs. Adelia." One of the girls said and stole a glance in Oliver's direction.

"Come on, young man. Let's take you to your room and welcome to the Fernsby Manor.

Oliver was taken to another part of the house. He was trying to take mental notes on what was where, but the place was ridiculously huge.

If he'd thought the rest of the house was rich, what he was seeing was beyond his imagination.

They reached another tall, heavy wooden door. Oliver could be at least grateful for one thing- high ceilings didn't require him bowing his head to enter the room as it was the case in the attics he'd inhabited before.

"Those are is Lord Callum's private chambers."

The room was spacious with a window from the ceiling to the floor and heavy curtains in red.

He stepped in and again his feet sank in the soft dark burgundy carpet. The bed was covered with a heavy red and gold quilt and there were a table and chair opposite it.

The fireplace was smaller and there was the most comfortable upholstered armchair Oliver could imagine, placed in front of it.

Books were scattered on the floor nearby and he noted the furniture, in fact, wasn't that lavish and excessive as the one in the hallway or Tennyson's study; the way everything else in the house was excessive, from what he'd seen so far.

There was a smaller door to his right. Adelia saw him glance towards it.

"This is the dressing room, and you'll not be responsible for keeping everything in order. The maids do, but you'll be expected to attend to Lord Callum's needs. "

They exited the room and she led him down the long corridor. They reached a smaller door, which she unlocked. "Lord Callum does not keep attendants, but as the Lord's valet, you'll be close enough to him for his convenience. This is where you'll be. "

His room was smaller, with a bed and a nightstand. It was still the best Oliver has ever had. The housekeeper explained the basics of the household and where to find the things he might need.

"Thank you," he said, once she'd finished explaining.

"If you need anything, I'll be at your disposal." She looked at him and after a pause said "Good luck, Mr. Abram. "

I will need it, Oliver thought and got in his room.


It was after ten in the evening when his master came back.

Oliver had been given the basic instructions on what was where earlier, but the young master had gone out without Oliver even noticing him and the Lord hadn’t requested for his help with the preparation of his attire for wherever he had been going.

Oliver was talking to one of the maids in the kitchen- Jenny- when lord Callum came in from the servant's entrance.

They both almost jumped.

"Good evening." the lord only smiled, took his hat off, and quickly disappeared through the door leading to the rest of the house, moving swiftly at the same time gracefully like a dark shadow.

Oliver looked at Jenny "Why does he use this way?"

"He sometimes does. There's dinner upstairs and he probably lied to everyone he doesn't feel well and went out."

"Does he really do that?" Oliver asked and they both sat back down.

"Sometimes. " Jenny picked an apple from the bowl on the table and started peeling it. "He sometimes disappears for the whole night. "

"Where does he go?" She passed him a piece and he took it.

"No idea, but... " she leaned closer and Oliver followed "He never touches any of us. None of them does, so he probably has a mistress. Maybe a prostitute, since...."

“A what?”

“Well, you know- if he goes out at night, and doesn’t come back at all “ she looked at him pointedly, “no decent lady would meet him at that time, right?”

“He might be …”


The maid looked at him and Oliver wanted to say something to that, or argue, but Jenny was most likely right. “No, nothing. I guess you’re right. “

“Besides, the laundry maids say his clothes always smell of those cheap perfumes they wear in, you know…”

Oliver didn’t and frowned.

“ those places.”

She said and somehow managed to sound both conspirational, and at the same time like someone who’d never been to such a place, and didn’t have any first-hand experience with cheap brothels.

Of course she didn’t frequent such places, Oliver thought and shook his head.

“Well, he knows best, maybe?”

"Are you gossiping again?"

Thomas's voice traveled. Oliver could swear he hadn't heard the man come. "Mr. Abram, you haven't even been here for a whole week, and you're already...spending your time in chit-chatting. "

Oliver didn't answer and Jenny quickly got up, leaving the apple on the table, and fixed her skirts. "Apologies, Sir."

"Don’t apologize, but rather you should get back to work. The guests will head to the drawing-room soon after the diner's finished."

"Yes, Sir."

She picked up the peels hastily and hurried out. Thomas gave Oliver a look and said "Perhaps you should find something to do as well, the young lord just got back home. "

“Of course, yes. “

Oliver hurried upstairs.

But once he had passed the numerous stairs and corridors to the Lord’s room, he discovered it was completely dark.

Libre Baskerville
Gentium Book Basic
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