The Way It Is

Chapter Three: Knight Mansion

I wake up to the sound of Stacee's annoying voice, "But why?"

"Because she's asleep." Aiden explains quietly, "I would do the same if it were you or Amber."

"But you made me wake up Amber." She pouts.

I groan softly, rubbing my cheek against the hard fabric that's under it before lifting my head up, eyes widening.

I'm on Aiden's back, my arms draped lifelessly over his shoulders and simply dangling against his chest. The "hard fabric" my cheek had been resting against was his shoulder blade, only a thin stretch of white fabric covering it.

"Good morning." He smirks.

"Er, morning." I mumble, feeling extremely uncomfortable, "Can you let me down now?"

He chuckles and blends down, letting me down as gently as he can. My slippers hit the black pavement with a light tap and I move away from him a little, shoving my hands in my jacket pockets.

A guy around my age suddenly appears in front of us, bowing lowly with his right arm straight across his abdomen, the other lying straight at his side, "Welcome back, Mr. Knight. You called for me?"

"Yes. Since Evelyn is out shopping, I need you to help Circe's with her bag and show her to her room." Aiden says formally.

"Of course." The guy says, straightening up.

I blink, a little surprised.

In my Social Class, most of the lessons were based around the staff of a rich home. Constantine Home prided themselves in the "vast" knowledge their students had of the way things worked in a high class house. The butler, as was repeated several times, is usually in charge of the dining room, wine cellar, and pantry, as well as most of the male servants. While he may or may not be given extra privileges, he's always dressed in some variation of a silk uniform with the family's crest printed on his left breast to show his importance. Besides him, there are only two other people in the house that are allowed the family crest besides the family member themselves: the housekeeper and the spouses.

But, almost always, the butler is older, ranging in age anywhere from 40-60 years old.

Which is why I'm confused.

The boy in front of me can't be any older than Aiden. His brown hair is short, bangs barely covering his forehead as they branch out around his pretty, pale blue eyes. The serious expression doesn't fit his cute face, either, his sharp lips set into a professional line, emphasizing his low cheekbones.

He's wearing a black, cotton tail coat, opened enough to show the white, button-up underneath a silk, grey sweater vest with black buttons and a black silk tie tucked in between the vest and shirt. His black pants appear to be silk as well, along with the white gloves covering his slender fingers.

"By the way, Madam has returned and she has been calling for you all morning." He says, his hands behind his back.

"Did you tell her where I went?" He asks lightly, though for some reason, the question seems very tense.

The guy shakes his head, "No, sire. I told her you wanted to visit the states for a few hours, but that I did not know where or what you were planning on doing."

"Very good." He says, heading down the stone path. He glances back at me, smirking, "Make yourself at home, Circe. I'll see you at breakfast." He looks at the guy sternly, "Take care of Circe, Dalton. And make sure everyone but Grandmother knows who she is."

"As you wish, sire." The boy, Dalton, bows.

I refuse to say anything in return and instead walk with the butler to the limousine.

When did we switch from the plane to a limo? And how did I not notice it?

Better yet, how close was I to Aiden the entire time?

I groan outwardly, not paying attention to the adorable boy watching me as I grab my duffle bag.

"I can carry that for you, ma'am." He says, sounding confused.

"Circe. You can call me Circe." I correct, trying not to sound exasperated, "And that's okay. It's only one bag; I'm sure I can handle it."

"But Miss-"

"Circe." I interrupt, looking at him, "Say it with me. Cir-ce."

His lips turn up into a small smile, "If I address you as Circe, the young master will no doubt scold me."

I roll my eyes, "Tell the "young master" that I told you to. And if makes you feel any better, when you're with him, you can call me Ma'am or Miss or bitch for all I care, but when you're with me, just call me Circe. Or bitch, I guess, if that's how you feel."

His smile is more pronounced now, showing cute dimples on both cheeks, and he chuckles lightly, "I could never call you a bitch, mistress."

"You never know." I say, returning the smile, "I'm probably not the nicest person here at the moment."

"I doubt that, Circe." He says lightly, tasting my name on his tongue.

I put my duffle bag on the ground and smile, holding out my hand, "Nice to meet you, Dalton."

He blinks at my hand, taken by surprise.

"You're supposed to shake it." I whisper.

His face reddens and he takes my hand, what seems like a pout setting on his face, "I-I knew that. I was just surprised."

I chuckle and pick my bag back up, "I bet you did."

I look up and my eyes widen, mouth definitely hanging open.

Out of the corner of my eye, I can see Dalton's smug smile as he bows down almost mockingly, "Welcome to Knight Mansion, Lady Circe."

An iron gate is towering in front of me, black metal vines curling along the outline of it instead of the usual straight edged bars. Supporting it, about eight or so feet apart, are two white Tuscan pillars on either side, black, Victorian lamps hanging from another curl of black metal.

I run my fingers along the black gate, a little surprised to feel how smooth and cool the metal is, before moving to the white, concrete walls towering at least two feet above my already 5' 6" next to the pillars.

"The entire mansion is surrounded with this wall." Dalton says, watching me with entertainment, "Wait till you see the inside."

Bolted inconspicuously on the pillar to my left is a thin sheet of smooth and shiny light grey metal, a black screen the size of two credit cards stacked on top of each other placed directly in the middle with a small keypad under it.

Dalton punches in a few numbers and suddenly, the giant gate opens inward, allowing us to pass through.

The diagonal herringbone walkway is done in various colors of concrete brick, ranging anywhere from ash grey to a smoky white. Along the walkway are short, perfectly trimmed, green bushes. Farther down, the walkway branches leading to, what I'm guess is, the conservatory, but in front of me, near the gorgeous double doors, the walkway seems to inflate like a balloon, wrapping into a giant circle around an ivory French fountain.

"It's huge!" I say in utter awe, "How much land does the Knight Family own, anyway?"

"All together, they own about six acres. Three acres wide and three and a half acres long." He states, "So, in other words, most of the property you can see with your eyes is owned by the Knight Family."

"Well, why don't you go all Lion King on me?" I mutter, staring at the European mansion.

He blinks, "Lion King?"

I shake my head, "Never mind."

We head up three, long, granite steps and come face-to-face with pretty glass doors. A huge, granite arch is shaped around them, black swirls lacing on the light concrete that matches the intricate pattern in the glass, making it look as if the swirls sprout out from the door and onto the arch.

Dalton makes it a point to open the both doors for me, allowing me to see the foyer.

I let out a low whistle, "Are you sure I won't break the floor?" I ask, looking down at the polished ceramic tile.

I could practically see my reflection in the shiny beige!

He chuckles, "There's no chance of you damaging it. This is handcrafted tile; almost indestructible."

Huh. Who knew tile could be indestructible?

Setting that aside, even the foyer looks huge in comparison to my room. With it's size, I could probably fit six of my room back at Constantine Home in this one room. In front of me, maybe ten feet from the door, are two more white marble, ivory Tuscan pillars spaced a symmetrical amount away from each other, ginormous matching, ivory staircases leading up to another floor in a half-circular design. A golden railing trails up the stair case on the outside, black outlining the top handle and bottom lining. Straight in front of me, in between the grand staircases, is an ivory archway, a dark oak, deep reddish brown, double door just beyond it. Unlike the door we entered, this one has a rounded top, curving to the shape of the archway pretty well.

"Follow me." Dalton instructs politely, taking the lead up the left staircase.

I do as I'm told and follow closely behind him, feeling as I should be dressed in a long, flowing satin dress like those princesses in the movies rather than my pajamas.

As soon as we get to the top, on my right, we're faced with yet another large room (surprise, surprise) full of nothing but books.

"Now this is what I call Heaven." I smile, walking past the butler to examine the old shelves.

The entire west wall is covered with nothing but Tiete rosewood shelves full of books. The north wall, in front of me, has an arch of books, shaped to curve around the Victorian fireplace, who's broad white outline looks surprising spotless despite the black soot that has to flare around on occasion. In front of the fireplace, sat diagonally to it, are two golden lounge chairs with black lace running along them. Against the east wall is a white, J'adore chaise lounge chair with an old-bounded book already lying in the middle next to the silk cylinder pillow.

"This is the house library." Dalton says, "The young masters come here from time to time to study."

"Masters?" I repeat, looking at him.

He nods, "Master Aiden is the youngest of four sons."

I blink, "But Syrian said that he was next in line for his family business."

Usually, it's the eldest son that inherits his family fortunes and the business. Rarely, the father can assign it to other members, but that only happens if the eldest does something intolerable and the family disowns him and even then, it's handed to the second born.

"The Master is a very picky man." Dalton informs me, a hint of something in his eyes. Fear, maybe? "Despite the laws, he would only accept the most… logical choice to be head of the family and in his eyes, Master Aiden was that choice."

"Do you know why?" I ask, curiosity getting the best of me.

He stops, seeming to muster over the answer in his head, "No. I don't." He says finally, "This way. I'll show you to your room."

Unsatisfied, I let out a huff and follow him down a long, thick hallway.

"This is the young master's study." He says, stopping only long enough to let me get a glance of the room to my left.

As expected, it's huge. Even the auburn archway in place of the door is twice my height. The wall straight in front of me is nothing but glass window, letting in the bright morning sun and lighting the room very well. Against the window is a black leather lounge chair with golden accents pushed up against a fairly large, dark oak desk that looks like it should belong in the President's White House instead of this massive study. A nice Areca Palm sitting in the left corner of the room, a Money plant on the other side. Other than that and another large bookcase full of official looking documents, there isn't much to the room.

As we continue down the nicely wide hallway, I notice two more doors. These, however, aren't as fancy or intricate as the others. Instead, they're plain. Simple slabs of white doors pressed against dark golden floral-painted walls.

"Those are Aiden's mistresses' room." Dalton explains, "The one on the right is Lady Stacee's and the one a few feet down on the left is Lady Amber's."

"Terrific." I mutter, already feeling the headache from their annoying, high-pitched voices.

"That is the deck." He says, nodding towards the glass door at the end of the hallway, "And this," he announces, grabbing the door handle of a white door with black vines looping on the top end of it that's a few feet away from the deck's door, "is your room."

My eyes widen and I faintly hear my duffle bag drop to the floor, mouth gaping as I take in the gorgeous room.

The room, in itself, is big and spacious with nice, tall, white walls. The high ceiling has a glass chandelier hanging in the middle of the floor, a black, squared shag rug lying directly below it on top of a pearly white carpet. Past that is a gorgeous, tented king bed with a white comforter, gold and black vines laced all throughout it. A long, white body pillow rests under a two black pillows, each covered with a smaller golden pillow. On top of it, like most tented beds, there's a sexy white sheet suspended from the ceiling that's so big, it covers the bed like a see-through tent (note the name "tented bed"). On either side of the bed are white Victorian end tables with a black curling pattern hanging off of the edges. One of them has a small lamp on it and the other is clear of anything.

On my right, there's a fairly big window, white satin, see-through curtains covering it. Against the window is another French, J'adore chaise lounge chair. This one, however, is white with black and gold accents along the wood, a black, squared pillow setting against a curling arm. To the right of the window is a vanity desk with a crystal clear mirror mounted on the back of it. Tucked in the drawers, I suspect, is tone of designer-brand make up and other fancy face paint that Thing 1 and Thing 2 – I mean, Amber and Stacee – probably use daily. To the left of the window is a decent-sized bookshelf, stacked with encyclopedias and what seem to be instruction manuals for something.


On the left of the room, opposite of the wide window, are two doors.

Dalton, noticing me eyeing the doors, steps over to them, opening the door closest to me, "This is your closet. Our tailor will come by in a few hours to get your measurements and we'll get you some new clothes."

"And the other?" I question.

He steps over to it and waits until I'm standing next to him before he opens it.

"This is your bathroom."

My eyes widen and I smile widely.

The floor is white-tiled with small golden flecks sprinkled on, making it look as if gold glitter is shining on the floor. In the far right-hand corner is a single person, Acrylic message bathtub, complete with the single, black headrest. Across from it, in the left-hand corner, is a glass shower with a swinging shower door and a sparkling silver shower head. To my left, almost as soon as you walk in the room, there's a granite counter, about two counters wide, with a porcelain sink in the middle, a nice, long mirror above it. Across from it, of course, is the porcelain toilet.

"Awesome." I breathe, excited to tryout the Acrylic bathtub.

"I'm glad you like it." He says, holding back a chuckle, "I'm afraid you'll have to stay in here for a little while. I'll send a maid up to put your things away and help you get ready for breathfast."

"I can do that-"

He shakes his head, stopping me midsentence, "I'm sorry, Circe, but Master Aiden would definitely throw a fit if we didn't help you out with something."


"Glad you understand." He smiles, cutting me off again, "There's a small, white button by the bed and another on top of the left end table. If you need anything, feel free to press the button and someone will be up to help you."

And then he's gone. Leaving me by myself in the vast room.

I grumble incoherently under my breath, agitated that I'm left alone to think.

With a huff, I ignore Dalton's words and start hanging up my clothes, trying not to simply throw them in the closet so the poor maid that's sent up here to deal with me won't have much to do. When that's done, I wonder to the window, checking out the vast yard the Knight Family.

Valery would love it here.

That thought has me sighing, homesick. Needing to get my mind off of it, I head out of the room, opening the door and stepping into the hallway.

And ramming into someone.

My forehead hits something solid, knocking me back a few inches.

Rubbing my head, I look up to a fairly confused, rather good looking guy. His dark hair is straight and tame, patted down around his ears and hairline. It's fairly short, barely covering his forehead and ears, but it looks good on him, revealing his angular jaw and sharp nose. He's wearing a nicely tailored black suit, I noticed, with golden stitching along the shoulders, cuffs, and buttons, with the jacket opened, showing a silk gold tie and white button-up shirt.

"Sorry." I mumble, "I didn't see you there."

"It's quite all right." He says formally, eyeing me with both concern and curiosity swimming in his brown eyes as he straightens his tie, "You are?"

"Circe." I mutter, straightening up.

"Well, Lady Circe-"

"Argh!" I groan, hitting my forehead with the heel of my palm, "Seriously, how many times do I have to say it? My name's just Circe. No "lady", no "ma'am", just Circe."

He's caught off guard, I can tell by the slight surprise on his face, but it's quickly gone as he chuckles, "I am so sorry, Circe. Are you the new maid?"

"Ha!" I scoff, crossing my arms, "I wish. Actually, I'm "Master Aiden's" new wife."

He blinks, once again surprised, "You're his new wife?"

My eyes narrow, my mind automatically bouncing to the blue strands falling down to my lower back, "Something you wanna say?"

He shakes his head quickly, "No. I'm just surprised. You're nothing like the other two."

"I'm taking that as a compliment." I state, "Thing 1 and Thing 2 are two people I definitely do not want to be compared to."

He chuckles, "I see."

I smile a little. I like this guy's laugh. It lightens the tight expression on his face and cuts out the annoyingly serious expression he has on a few minutes ago.

Suddenly, my stomach rumbles and I look down, putting a hand instinctively over it.

"I've got to go." I say, looking back up at the handsome man, "See you around."

"Bye, Circe."

There's a hint of amusement in his goodbye, but I shrug it off and continue on down the hallway.