Chapter 69: Leopold

“The man died doing what he loved: his beautiful wife.”

Mother’s friend continued with some anecdote about wanting to abduct Father upon meeting him for reasons that remained unclear, and spoke about how an unlikely friendship developed between them over the years. The man was gone much too soon, he said…

Though it was Father who lay in the coffin, it felt more as though we were the corpses, still and empty: his children, his father and in-laws, his sister and nieces…

Also present were my employer, to my surprise, and an old friend of Benedict’s.

Mother did her best to properly eulogize the life of the father of her children and the only butler she would ever love (with the exception of her aforementioned children). Theirs was a fated love, one that death so cruelly stole from them…

She broke down shortly after “death” left her lips, but her friend prevented her from tumbling to the ground. I was long accustomed to Mother’s hysterics, but only now did they feel truly justified.

The funeral passed in a blur, and I couldn’t recall the order of events, or all the words of condolences.

“My babies,” Mother sobbed, drawing Benedict and me into a vice-like embrace. “You’ll never leave me, not like your father. My darling, handsome butlers…”

I was grateful that Benedict’s friend appeared to be comforting Ophelia as Mother fussed over her sons.

“How could he do this to me, without any notice whatsoever?” Mother demanded. “How could he simply die?”

It was always important to be calm and reasonable in the face of Mother’s heightened emotions; the duty had usually fallen to Father, but with him gone, it was my sole domain. “All humans die, Mother…”

“Well, they shouldn’t. Not when they can live forever… He must not have loved me enough, Leopold.”

I had no adequate response for that, even though I knew my father had loved my mother like no other. He could’ve become a vampire and prevented her pain entirely–and everyone else’s.

Not only did a wife lose a husband, and children their father, but a sister lost a brother and a father a son…

“I’m sorry for your loss,” Master Straud murmured, when my mother was otherwise occupied.

“Thank you for coming, Master Straud,” I said gratefully. “I didn’t expect an actor to care so deeply for one of his employees.” I almost wished I could’ve invited Miss Strider as well, but I hadn’t wanted her to meet my parents when one of them was in a casket (and not one meant for vampires).

He gave me an encouraging pat. “Ah, well…you’re the best butler I’ve had in years. Good help is hard to find, you know.”

“You’re too kind, Master Straud.” It was the first time I’d smiled since my father’s death.

Even Ophelia’s dog paid his respects to Lysander Lyons.

…Respects I’d have to clean up later.

Benedict and I found some time together as well. I’d wanted to speak to my twin, but not under these circumstances…

“One of us should stay with Mother for the foreseeable future,” I said. “To help her tend to matters of the estate, as well as her grief–”

“I’ll go,” he said.

“But Benedict–” Clearly I would be the more appropriate choice, though Master Straud would likely be displeased to be without a butler for some time.

He abruptly stood. “I’m her favorite.”

Yes, Benedict was Mother’s favorite.

And Ophelia was Father’s. I found her crying in the hall; strange, when she’d always delighted in pain and tragedy in her stories. Why had we never been close, as she and Benedict were? Was it all of my forced etiquette lessons when she was a child…?

“I can’t live here anymore, Leo. Not after Father…”

“I’d offer the use of my butler quarters,” I said, “if they were mine to offer.”

Master Straud coughed politely nearby. “My mansion is mine to offer, and I’d gladly offer your sister a room until she can secure more appropriate housing. The two of you would be able to rely on one another during this difficult time…”

I truly had never suspected Master Straud of being such a kind-hearted employer, not after all the times he’d dramatically flung his coffee cup against the wall (and I’d had to tend to the spills).

“Are you sure…?” Ophelia said. She didn’t sound like herself; she’d never hesitate to impose on someone else, but now she sounded lost, uncertain.

I knew the feeling.

“It would be far too much to ask of my employer,” I interjected. “Though we appreciate the generous offer, Master Straud.” Ophelia could be…eccentric, even to her own family, and Master Straud likely had no idea what he might invite into his house.

“Nonsense,” he said. “If you’re both amenable…she’s more than welcome. I care about my employees and my fellow castmates.”

Well, that was one matter settled, though part of me feared how much my duties might increase between Ophelia, Lady Dru, and Miss Strider…

But I welcomed the distraction.

After all, Father was gone…

He was my mentor, the butler I both admired and aspired to be. Everything I knew, I learned from him.

And he was a good man as well, the best I had ever known: morally upright and attentive to his family, as I planned to be with Miss Strider and our future children.

Future children–Father’s grandchildren–he would never know.

“Goodbye, Father…” My cheeks were dry as I gazed down into the casket; the time for tears was finished. I had to be strong, for Mother and Ophelia. I would become a man worthy of his memory.

Goodbye.

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25 thoughts on “Chapter 69: Leopold

  1. (“My chapter 69 is a special one” You are a Brat x2! 😂 )

    😭😭😭😭😭😭 R.I.P. Sweet Lysander 😢 What a legacy you leave behind!

    I felt so bad for everyone (obviously haha) but I love that you did this from Leo’s POV. He looked up to his dad so much… I’m sure he will make him proud!

    Proud of Graham for not making a move quite yet haha And then there’s Rhys… hmm… I want to believe that he’s just offering Ophelia a place to stay out of the genuine kindness of his heart, but… well, a fortunate opportunity presented itself 😂

    Oh, and I have a bad feeling about Bianca :-/ Telling herself Lysander didn’t love her enough… everyone knows that isn’t true. Including her! Hopefully she can see things more clearly after her initial grief has passed… but this IS Bianca we’re talking about…

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The special-est…!

      I’m glad you approve of the Leo PoV–I knew the funeral had to be from his eyes, especially since he’s the one most able to hold it together (outwardly, at least). He really does admire his dad so much and always will.

      Ha, everyone thinking Graham would make a move before Lysander is even cold…well, I can’t say I blame them. 😉 He’s Graham but he’s not that Graham…!

      As for Rhys, well, offering Ophelia a place to stay for his own selfish purposes would make him a lot like his dad, huh? We’ll see, though…

      You’re right about Bianca–she knows better. But grief is ugly. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha that’s exactly why I thought that about Rhys! I actually really like Rhys (and I believe he is a kind and loving guy for sure) BUT… he’s still a Straud? 😛

        And yes, Graham has matured a lot since we first met him! His growth has been so fun to see (especially in this gen with him as a father!) I am proud of him 😛

        Liked by 1 person

  2. 😭😭😭😭😭 It’s going to be so weird with Lysander and Bianca’s bathroom loving. The vision Leo had of his future with Daisy….those kids….OMG! HGR – Ophelia brought him…and he peed on poor Lysanders casket. Of course Leo will clean it up. Graham behaving and Rhys jumping on the opportunity to get closer to Ophelia. So much going on….But that very last picture broke my heart into…💔💔💔💔

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Bathrooms are forever tarnished. 😦

      Funny thing about those kids–I generated them in CAS and the one with the human skin tone is a vampire and the vampire-toned one is human!

      HGR was just paying his respects, okay…! He was all dressed up in black and everything.

      There’s a lot going on, but such is the way of funerals and sudden passings. 😦 That last picture… 😭

      Liked by 1 person

  3. 😭😭😭😭😭😭🤯🤯😭😭😭😭😭🤧🤧🤧🤧🤧

    RIP, our dearest butler who made us care about the kind of cleaners we used in our kitchens and sex toys in our bathrooms! You will be forever missed!

    Thankfully, Graham lightened the mood. I was grateful to him.

    Lysander still looked his handsome devil self in death. Poor Bee…what will she dooooo? Sigh…I think Graham might have a few ideas. 😏

    Ophelia looked so distraught, but like his father, Rhys is going to make sacrifices for the fairest of the Lyonses.

    And so Benny will be with Bianca…hmm..I wonder how he’ll take Graham buzzing around. I bet he’ll need some bug spray!

    I counted NINE vampires in attendance! Wow!

    Liked by 4 people

    1. ROFL, a beautiful epitaph! Thank you for that. ❤ ❤ ❤ I know you know firsthand how hard it is to kill off a major character, especially one you love. 😦

      Graham won't ever let an event get too sad, that's for sure. It's interesting how (at least in my experience) funerals, and eulogies in particular, can end up being pretty lighthearted events.

      My mom's little brother and my little brother both broke down while trying to give a eulogy for her, and I hadn’t even planned to give one, but I’m the oldest kid and went up to speak because someone had to, and had everyone laughing and smiling by the end. Because people want to remember the person fondly, right?

      LOL, Graham probably does have a few ideas, shh…but whether he acts on them is another matter. And Rhys–totally making sacrifices. 😉

      One coffin, nine vampires…the next Graham Straud production?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. Awww…I’m crying again. 😭 I love the image of you lightening the mood at your mother’s funeral. Such a sweet scene.

        Yes…It’s Graham’s dream to have so many vampires in one room. I was amazed at all the bloodless faces, we don’t normally get all of the characters in one place.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Awwwww! ❤ ❤ I had all these people come up to me after the funeral who just appreciated it so much–one lady who didn't know my mom said the way I described her reminded her of her husband who also had MS and passed early, and it made her really happy. My mom had a great sense of humor, so I knew she'd want a mood like that.

        LOL, the screenshot with the letterboxing and the whole vampire family in attendance was because there was major, awful hand clipping that I decided to crop out. I had other shots from other angles (as always…!) that didn't have everyone in the shot, but I was like, I herded all these cats into their chairs, damn it, and the world will see them all together.

        Liked by 2 people

  4. That was really heartbreaking! I’m not exactly surprised that both Rhys and Graham took advantage of the situation and tried to get somewhat closer to their dream girls. I know they probably mean no harm, but such selfish behavior seems kind of inappropriate to me. Moreover, Bianca’s final conclusion about Lysander was really sad – the saddest! (“He must not have loved me enough.”) Now that Lysander is gone, I wonder if Bianca is going to turn Ophelia. If she doesn’t, Ophelia is doomed to die, too. 😦

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Yeah, Graham and Rhys taking advantage, if that’s what they’re doing, would definitely be in very poor taste…we’ll see more of them later on though!! I think 90% of the Fangs cast is inappropriate in some way at this point though, whoops.

      Hopefully Bianca doesn’t actually believe what she said. 😦 Then again, denial has always been her closest companion. That’s a very, very good question about Ophelia, though–and Lysander was the main reason she wasn’t turned. (Though Finn discouraged Graham from ever turning her too.)

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Spray bottles, a shirtless picture, boys in butler uniforms, and wailing wives. This was a funeral that Lysander would be proud of!

    Rest well, sweet prince. I’m quite sure Bianca will be well-taken-care-of. *Sidelong glance at Graham*

    Liked by 2 people

    1. A Very Fangs Funeral. 😉 Lysander would’ve wanted more cleaning supplies though, and he’d be pretty sure he spotted some dust on the windowsill.

      Bianca needs time to grieve, but we’ll see what happens after that…

      Liked by 1 person

  6. What a chapter… Even with everyone hurting so much, I can’t help but think of Ophelia…she must be thinking of her own mortality right now. And thinking of it right now, it seems cruel, that when she doesn’t have to she will none the less be forced, one day, to grow old and die. Then again, Lysander was the one who was opposed to her becoming a vampire.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You’re absolutely right about Lysander being the main obstacle–but will Ophelia respect her father’s wishes or choose her own happiness and wants in the end…? That’s a choice that will have to come up eventually.

      Regardless, she’s the lone human in a family of vampires now, her one human parent gone forever. 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  7. That was a funny, sweet and beautiful tribute! I like how this chapter accomplishes so much (character development, retrospective , reminders of genealogy and family connections, plot setup and advancement , humor ), while still staying within the POV. Of course , all your chapters do that! Really skillful !

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Thank you so much! ❤ ❤ I know I have an enormous cast, and it can be hard to keep everyone straight, so I tried to do that as naturally as possible. So happy you approve. ❤

      And I don't want any chapter to be too gloomy in a comedy, even if this gen isn't as comedic as the last. It's still about a bunch of funny weirdos…!

      Liked by 2 people

  8. I love that this was 69; Bathroom Lysander would approve! 😎

    Everyone was in rare form (especially Graham?), good for him, keeping it (relatively) classy… It’s actually very sweet that they’d become friends over the years 😭

    Bianca looked impeccable in her mourning veil, I felt for her so much when she was hugging her children and bemoaning mortality 🤧

    Can’t tell if Rhys is being sweet or sly (probably both?) but I enjoyed hearing from poor Leo.
    He seemed so clueless and left out a bit though? But eee, his little family fantasy! ❤️❤️❤️

    Farewell Lysander 😢

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I try to make sure my chapter 69 is special every time. ❤

      Graham, Lysander and Bianca all did become good friends, surprisingly–Graham lived on his houseboat close by even after Gal and Finn stopped hanging out with the Lyons kids during all those summers.

      Bianca would say she makes anything look great. ❤ I don't think she'd be able to handle Benny not being a vampire–luckily, she doesn't have to. Even Ophelia, her odd duck child, though… 😦

      Leo is always kind of clueless and a bit left out, poor dude. He did make beautiful fantasy kids with Daisy though. ❤ I think I have screenshots of them as adults somewhere…!

      Like

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