Chapter 33: Benedict

Despite Leopold’s many warnings over the years, professional butler work wasn’t nearly as grueling as I feared. Mr. Bingham-Long had a list of tasks for me to perform in my employer’s absence.

Washing dishes certainly wasn’t difficult, not with a state-of-the-art dishwasher.

But since Mr. Bingham-Long left me to perform my duties alone, my thoughts often wandered more than a butler’s should.

This kitchen could be the very same one that the master of the house ventured into for a glass of water…

Scrubbing the bathtub wasn’t difficult either, especially since it was already nearly pristine.

The master of the house undoubtedly soaked in the very same tub…

And then there was making the bed, a very simple matter when the sheets and covers were barely disturbed.

The master of the house surely slept in the very same bed. Most likely nude, due to the heat and humidity in Starlight Shores.

I wasn’t sure what the room at the very top of the manse was intended for.

Maybe the master of the house danced in the very same room…in the nude, for ease of movement.

But it was lonely, working by myself, without either an employer or other household staff to speak with. All of my orders came in the form of notes from Mr. Bingham-Long. It was almost as though I was the only one who ever entered the manse.

It was different next door, where I could see the butler (blurrily, thanks to my weaker vision) constantly interacting with others.

After I’d first been hired, I felt honored when my predecessor awarded me such nice personal butler quarters…

I really couldn’t have asked for anything nicer.

And yet…

Why did the master of the house require a live-in butler when he seemed to live somewhere else entirely?

Maybe he was shooting on location somewhere far away, but he’d be back soon.

But until then, I felt confused, and anxious, and…more than a little lonely. But at least now I had a chance to meet Leonidas again. And I’d finally revealed the truth I’d denied all along.

Sebastian Strider–the detective I’d hired–seemed very dedicated to my case, and I called for multiple status updates throughout the day.

He sounded very apologetic when there was no progress.

I’d tell him there was no rush, even though I desperately wanted to be reunited with Leonidas, and promised to give him more time between calls.

But he never sounded annoyed or impatient, and promised me that his best guys were on the case.

I thought about calling Father and asking him what it was like to work alone, without any customer or co-worker interaction. I never thought I’d miss all of my terrible customers, or even the inoffensive and boring ones, but to go day after day without ever speaking to anyone…

I definitely could never ask Leopold about anything–he’d tell me I lacked the proper temperament for a butler.

So I sought out my other sibling instead.

“Benny!” She sounded so excited to see me, abandoning the counter to talk to me instead. “A new TV show is going to be filming here–maybe the Fallen Star Funeral Parlor will be famous soon. Or maybe they’ll use Batty as an extra, and he’ll be famous.”

So it was the news that was exciting, not the company. “…Is that even legal, Ophelia? There should be some sort of privacy laws, not to mention the matter of hygiene…”

“Batty licks his evil little butt and I still give him kisses,” she said with a shrug. “I guess it’s not much different.” She pulled me over to a sofa that was intended for grieving customers rather than visiting brothers. “I want to hear about the butler work. Do you love it? Are you filled with simmering passion?”

“It’s a job…” I cleared my throat. “I perform it to the best of my ability, as any Lyons butler would.” Though my abilities probably couldn’t match up to Father’s or Leopold’s. Ophelia didn’t know the first thing about being a butler, so it was a safe subject with her.

“You should have a torrid affair with the master of the house,” she said gleefully.

I was saved from having to answer right away by the arrival of Count von Batstein III–or as my sister called him, Batty–who I went over to say hi to–and who said hi back.

He did that every time he wanted me to pick him up, so I did.

When I sat down, tiny dog in my arms, I tried to maintain a neutral tone and expression. It was no use changing the subject–once Ophelia found one she liked, she never let go. “Don’t you mean mistress of the house…?”

“But you like masters, Benny. Not mistresses. Don’t you?”

“…You knew?” For some reason, I felt relief, not embarrassment or fear. There was no reproach in her voice, no judgment at all–or any real curiosity. How long had she known?

“Of course. My knowledge of dark, terrible romance is second to none.”

I had to have a romance in the first place for it to be dark or terrible–or anything else. “Please don’t tell Mother and Father.”

She gave me a puzzled look. “Don’t you want them to know?”

“Mother would talk about curses again,” I said. “And Father…I feel like this is yet another way I’ll be a disappointment to him next to Leopold.”

“But you’re Mother’s favorite. And Father would never say anything to upset her–or me. He knows better.” She frowned. “But I still don’t think he’d say anything bad anyway…”

Me, Mother’s favorite? Ha. And it was easy for her to say that about Father, when she could do no wrong in his eyes. I’d always felt the weight of his disappointment–from falling so far behind Leopold in every aspect of my existence to repeatedly failing the academy’s entrance exam. This would be yet another way I’d be forever set apart from my twin.

“Please,” I said. “I’ll tell them. But not yet.”

“Your secrets are always safe with me, Benny.” She gave me a sidelong glance. “That reminds me, Finn wants to see you.”

From one uncomfortable subject to another… Ophelia had a talent, and it wasn’t writing.

“…Did he say that?”

“He doesn’t have to.” She tapped the left side of her chest lightly with one finger. “I can read hearts. It’s one of the ways I channel my dark energies.”

I sighed. “…Please keep your dark energies to yourself.”

But still, it was a pleasant thought, even if it was a lie. I’d sooner believe that Leonidas wanted to see me. He had to.

But until our reunion, I could spend a little time in my sister’s company.

Maybe it was her relieving me of a long-held secret, or maybe it was the warmth of the small, furry dog I cuddled to my chest, but I felt my loneliness ease there in the funeral parlor.

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28 thoughts on “Chapter 33: Benedict

  1. Bae finally gets some action! 😍 LOL

    Okay seriously though this was a really sweet chapter for Benny and Ophelia! For someone with so much “darkness” within her, she certainly has a very caring heart 🙂

    Can’t wait to unravel the mystery of Benny’s employer! Part of me is wondering whether he’s unwittingly part of every me weird reality show 😂 “The Lonely Butler”

    Liked by 2 people

    1. “The Lonely Butler”…Benny would totally watch that show. 😉 Well, he’d hope for partial nudity, at least–and a hot butler.

      HGR x Benny’s foot, OTP.

      And Ophelia really does want her big bro to be happy. ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  2. BENNY!!!!!!!!!

    OMG…his fantasies! If only they were correct. He’s going to be VERY disappointed when Graham shows up–it’s like having that bad, weird stepfather, breathing down your neck. He will be so UPSET he’s not his glorious Leonidas! (Who is sooooo fine, btw.)

    Ophelia greets Benny the way I would!!! Hee hee! And I love her dark, terrible mind for romance. And aww…she sniffed out Benny’s secret! I wish he wouldn’t always compare himself and feel lower than Leopold. His parents adore him and Ophelia is right. He is his mother’s favorite. That’s why she fusses over him so much.

    I feel bad that Benny is so lonely in that ridiculously huge house. That would be horrible to work all day without anyone to talk to. Here’s hoping Bas finds his Leonidas! Or better yet, maybe Benny will finally make amends with Finn! Binny forever and ever!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. LOL, Benny meeting Graham at the house would be so hilarious. Okay, sad, but also hilarious.

      It’s a shame that Benny keeps comparing himself to Leopold, especially when Leopold just wants to encourage and inspire him rather than bring him down. And Ophelia’s definitely right about Bianca–she likes fussing over Benny for a reason. 😉 She needs a project after Byron is living on his own!

      The loneliness is really getting to Benny, but maybe he won’t be lonely for long…

      Like

  3. Dark WitcHazard: Benedict and Galetea chapters can do no wrong! Suffering Benny is good for my immune system!

    Lover WitcHazard: This family and fantasies is priceless! I’m glad he’s accepting that part of himself because if he was trying it wasn’t fooling anybody especially after seeing that game he was playing!

    Emotional WitcHazard: Where’s my cute doggy that humps people as a greeting I want one!😭 That aside the loneliness part kinda makes me feel like it’s Finn since he himself complained about the size and it’s vast emptiness but at the same tim I kinda want it to be someone else whose totally bizarre and borderline criminal advances push him in closer to Finn!

    Lover WitcHazard: #Binny4Life

    Dark WitcHazard: Still get a kick out of Ophelia working at a funeral parlor! She wants to be undead so bad!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ROFL, good to know that there’s enough schadenfreude to go around for Dark in Benny and Gal chapters…

      And it seems like there’s fun for the whole family in this one, since Lover enjoyed the fantasies at least!

      Everyone deserves a cute hump-y doggy. And I guess Emotional and Lover are both on Team Binny along with Pammie. 😉

      Like

  4. “Maybe the master of the house danced in the very same room…in the nude, for ease of movement.” Sure, and not for the ease of your sexytime fantasies Benny 😜 I really love Ophelia, she is so sweet. Thanks for another great chapter!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ophelia seems dreamful in some ways, but there are others that prove she isn’t completely out of this world. Maybe she’s right about her “feeling for dark romance”? xD At least it’s true on Benny and Leonidas

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Ophelia needs to make it as a writer for sure. She’s got way too much energy not to spend her evenings writing. … Although she seems to think she needs first hand experience first to write. Which is totally not true. I think she and Daisy would go together perfectly! As friends sadly I think. I haven’t gotten the sense either swing that way.

    Liked by 1 person

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