Chapter 90: Leopold

Miss Strider’s blood was exquisite. (The sounds she made when my fangs pierced the delicate flesh of her wrist: also exquisite.) Even Benedict’s favorite sugary plasma packs couldn’t compare to the sweetness.

I was uncertain as to how much assistance I could offer her with her culinary pursuits, or if a vampire could truly detect the subtlest notes and flavors in human blood. However, as her future devoted husband, I would deny her nothing.

In the meantime, I would go to my brother’s side. Now that Father had left us, I hoped we would bond as only twin brothers could.

“Took you long enough,” Benedict muttered. I hoped to get him to work on his enunciation during my time here.

I drew him into a brotherly hug; the act apparently caught him by surprise. “I’m here now, Benedict.”

“Don’t remind me,” he muttered yet again. “I hope you’ll be able to handle Mother. She’s not in her right mind.” He lowered his voice–unwise, considering the already compromised clarity of his words. “She goes dancing at night, Leopold. Dancing.”

Exercise was essential for both a sound body and mind, and I suspected the vigorous activity helped elevate her mood. Mother would most certainly fall into a deep depression if she ever lost her trim figure. “I see.”

“I also overheard her plotting to sell the house,” he continued, voice rising with his arms. “The house we’ve lived in all our lives! What could she possibly be thinking?”

“I ran my figures on the way here,” I said, “and it wouldn’t be especially cost-effective for Mother to maintain a four-bedroom house on a lot of this size. The property taxes on Fangs Island are quite obscene, regardless of the prime waterfront views.”

“Must you be–must you be such a butler?” Benedict sputtered. “Even at a time like this?”

“Of course,” I said, perplexed. “Isn’t that what Mother requires most?”

He sighed. “…The house isn’t the same,” he said. “Just to warn you. It’s…it can’t be the same, without him.”

“…Thank you.” My lip trembled, but only for a moment. My mother and brother needed me.

And they most certainly needed a butler. Despite the house’s proximity to the Academy, the level of cleanliness in Father’s absence was shameful.

Of particular concern was the dust buildup in the spaces formerly occupied by the refrigerator and stove; however, I was quickly able to address it to my satisfaction.

“Why are you bothering with that?” Benedict demanded, watching me from the bar. “Don’t you have more important things to do?”

“The cleanliness and organization of one’s surroundings can have a direct impact on one’s state of mind,” I informed him as I set an artificial fruit bowl back in place.

“Well,” he huffed, “if cleaning this place up makes Mother act less crazy, clean away.”

After that, I tended to Mother’s finances, which were in even more disarray than Master Straud’s. (Fortunately, she hadn’t changed her account details in decades.)

Perhaps Benedict was correct to be concerned about Mother selling the house; I’d need to discuss Father’s will and estate with his attorney before the redistribution of any major assets, though he likely left the house to Mother. I should compare the price per square foot to other recently sold houses in the area…

And then there was the matter of the Blackwell-Lyons Butler Academy and Finishing School. Grandfather Thaddeus had taken over the day-to-day management of the school immediately after Father’s passing, but Mother would probably want to sell it entirely.

There were a great many things that needed tending to in Father’s absence, such as feeding the birds…

Polishing the guest coffin…

And I could understand Mother’s concern with excessive clutter.

“What are you doing now?” my brother hissed.

“Have you come to help?” I noticed Benedict hadn’t been doing much productive lately, and the activity could help.

“Help get rid of Father’s things?

Again, his behavior was perplexing. “He has no further use for them.”

“You–you’re as heartless as Mother!”

“I’m afraid I don’t understand, Benedict…”

“Of course you don’t. You, Finn, Mother–none of you understands.”

I wish I knew how to best comfort my brother; I could tell he was handling our father’s death poorly. However, my many attempts to reach out to him throughout our lives had never gone well…

No doubt Miss Strider would have an easier time of it, with her sunny disposition. I couldn’t help but smile when I imagined her arms around me, commending me on a job well done and offering me words of encouragement…

Mother, at least, seemed to be in high spirits, though her embrace lasted longer than usual.

She was wearing her dressing gown and emerged rather late from her bedroom in the morning; two unusual occurrences, but not enough for me to find them as troubling as my brother apparently did.

“It’s so good to have you here, darling,” Mother said. “Your brother has been in the foulest mood, and I haven’t been home much. But the house is running quite smoothly with your help.”

“I’m glad to be of service, Mother.”

“Oh, Leopold, I finally feel so alive again,” she said. “So to speak. I don’t know what I’d do without–the dancing.” Perhaps she was taking ballroom dancing lessons–a waltz would suit her especially well, with her natural elegance.

“Do you suppose my intended might enjoy dancing with me as well?” I asked.

“I don’t see why not,” she said. “But you’ve gone and proposed without my approval?” She sounded as hurt as she looked.

I shook my head hastily. “Of course not, Mother, but I do plan to propose after an appropriate mourning period has passed. And I’m certain you’ll adore her as much as I do.”

“Well,” she said, “I do hope she’s an appropriate choice this time around, darling. But I can’t imagine you not having learned properly by now…”

No, I couldn’t understand Benedict’s dire warning about Mother’s behavior. I noticed nothing particularly worrying, and was glad to see her getting out of the house.

“Don’t wait up for me, Leopold,” she said, “and tell your brother not to wait either. I fully intend to dance the night away.”

“Have a lovely evening, Mother.”

I looked forward to my evenings the most as well, when I could retire to my room after a long day of hard work.

Once I had showered, brushed my fangs, and prepared for bed, I permitted myself a look at Miss Strider’s messages, of which there were usually many…

Strange; that didn’t resemble any restaurant I had ever seen. As a vampire, however, I rarely dined out.

Ah–my confusion was due to an error on her part. An “oopsie Daisy,” if you will. (Uncle Byron would approve of my wordplay.)

As much as I was glad to be of assistance to my mother and brother, I looked forward to seeing her again…

And I hoped she didn’t mind my saving the picture she had originally meant to send, though I would’ve preferred one that focused more on her lovely face than the restaurant.

Yes, Mother would most certainly approve of Miss Daisy Strider as her daughter-in-law… How could she not?

25 thoughts on “Chapter 90: Leopold

  1. Haha I just knew Leopoldo would understand his mother’s actions in a way Benny can’t. The lack of communication (and listening) is still driving me up a wall though haha I get why Benny’s upset, but all he does is lash out constantly (now toward Leo too!) instead of trying to rationally explain his concerns and actually listen to the explanations he receives. Benny would fit in well with the Rosebrooks right now 😂😂😂

    I loved seeing how caring and understanding Leo was toward his mother. And of course, how cute he still is with daisy (those texts though… the emojis… I think Daisy is one of the only people who can get away with using them so frequently LOL)

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Leopoldo, is that the Spanish version of Leopold? 😉

      Yeah, Benny’s behavior is enough to drive anyone crazy. He’s being a giant pain in the ass, while Leo is trying his best. Poor Leo, he just wants to help his mom and be close to his twin. 😦

      But at least Bianca appreciated Leo. And what, normal people don’t text like that? 😉

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Bennyyy, I just want you to love your brother 😭
    If I had a brother that willing to clean, I’d be his biggest fan sibling…

    He really is SUCH a butler, the way he thinks and talks is just beautiful! And Daisy, her texts made ME happy, which is an impressive feat at 6am! I really hope Bianca likes her! ❤ ❤

    Liked by 4 people

    1. Leo needs more love. 😦 And damn, I’d be his biggest fan too, LOL.

      Leo can’t contain the raging butleriness inside of him~ I had way too much fun with Daisy’s silly texts, so I’m glad they made you happy. ❤ ❤ And only Daisy would accidentally take a pic of a dog's nose and send it to someone.

      Liked by 3 people

  3. Poor Benny…his brother is just too practical to commiserate with him.

    Can I have a Leopold for my house? He’d sure come in handy. And oooh, Bianca, you naughty girl. You’re dancing in the sheets with Graham, no doubt. But clever way to hide your nefarious activities!

    So he’s going to properly ask Daisy to marry him. I can’t wait to see that. Those emojis Daisy uses are hilarious. And awww..he saved a pic of her. So cute! 😍

    I wonder if Benny will approve?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Benny’s the emotional side of the coin while Leo is the practical one. Very frustrating though, I know. 😦

      LOL, I remember when people didn’t like Leo much at all, and now he seems more popular than his brother! I know you love him, but Benny’s being a little shit.

      And hey, there are a lot of things Bianca could be doing with Graham, like actual dancing…!

      Leo’s proposal to Daisy is long overdue. ❤

      Liked by 3 people

  4. Much love to Lyanna’s fatass doggo first! And at least Leo isn’t too stuck in rational butlerdom to not appreciate Daisy’s text-emoji spam (and they’re too chaste for me to respond with just ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°) and leave it at that, SIGH)

    Liked by 5 people

  5. The contrast between Benny and Leo is crazy. Add Ophelia into the mix and it’s like they couldn’t possibly be related. Bianca is dancing with Graham I assume…

    At least Leo feels needed. And wouldn’t deny his intended anything. That’s what he does best, takes care of others.

    And oopsie Daisy! That was so awesome. All those emojis. So cute.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. The siblings are so wildly different! To be fair, Ophelia is an alien and can’t possibly be related to any mere earthling. And yes, Bianca is dancing with Graham. 😉

      Leo is a lot like his dad in that he feels best when taking care of others and handling major responsibilities. He was feeling pretty adrift like Benny, but this has been good for him. ❤

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Ahh, Leo; I remember the days of seeing you through your twin’s eyes only, and not being the biggest fan… perspective is everything! His desire to be accepted and cared for breaks my heart a little. I can only hope he and Benny will reconcile, eventually, and that he’ll get that twin-bond he craves.
    At the very least, it seems like there’s a good chance he’ll get some lovin’ from Miss Daisy ❤

    It warms my cockles to see Leo swoop in and sort everything out (at least the mundane things), Lysander would be so proud of him! He's such a quiet little hero, coming along, fixing all the things so that his mom and brother can flail and emote and do what they need to do to come to terms; Leo is like a rain coat in a downpour, or a big pair of sturdy boots when you have to walk through some mud!

    Also, he looks pretty nice in a tight t-shirt ❤

    Anyways, I'm happy to see a smile on Bianca's face, and it makes me feel better knowing that Leo is there taking care of everyone/thing!

    Daisy is the CUTEST texter on the planet (no one is surprised); normally I feel like that would annoy me, but coming from her, I just wouldn't have it any other way (she's like SUNSHINE ok), I've always said that Leo is a lucky, lucky man (but okay, I can see that Daisy is a lucky woman, too ❤ )

    Liked by 2 people

    1. ❤ ❤ This is what I love, changing people's minds about a character over time–or even just after getting into their heads for a bit. From Benny's perspective, Leo was The Villain, when really he's just as lonely if not more so than his twin, but with a more giving personality.

      We'll see about the twin-bond, but I'd say Daisy lovin' is a pretty sure bet. 😉

      Lysander really would be proud of Leo. Taking care of the house (and his family) can be a pretty thankless task, but Leo doesn't mind. LOL, glad you appreciate the t-shirt! Who knew he'd become so popular that way?

      ROFL, I think I'd get annoyed by anyone else texting like that too…Daisy has this amazing power to make the annoying endearing instead.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Aww, Benny…he’s not doing so great with his dad’s death (How long has it been now?)

    Daisy’s texting…too many emojis for me. XD Leo’s in contrast though. LOL

    Also, I don’t think Primrose is getting fat…I think she got puppies coming… (Please let that be the case!!!!)

    Liked by 2 people

    1. It’s been months but the pain and anger isn’t going away. 😦 Not that a parent’s death is easily gotten over, but his mom and siblings are definitely finding other ways to channel their emotions.

      Ultra formal vs. ultra enthusiastic and cutesy texts, LOL.

      As for Primrose’s weight…you’ll find out soon. 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  8. I am caught up! I am commenting in the present now! Hurray!

    I’m still lukewarm (Leowarm?) about Leopold, and I’m using to being ‘ugh Leo’ in his posts but I am assuredly ‘UGH BENNY’ right now. He’s taking the cake. Not just taking it, but hijacking it and driving it to Mexico.

    He’s kind of always seemed to have trouble considering pretty much anything from anyone else’s perspective and just tuned in to his own stuff, but ever since Lysander died, that’s just been cranked to 11 and auuuuuugh.

    I’d actually hoped Leo would be able to get some sense into him, but if anything, he’s seeming loosened up a bit while remaining practical (he sees the need to sell the house, for example, but hasn’t commented on Bianca’s new fashion flair).

    I wonder if he’s too distracted by Daisy to be totally uptight?

    So something I observed around the time everyone was running off for the Great Faerie Adventure and dumping their houses and pets and responsibilities on Daisy and Leo is that they really are the story’s dependable rocks. (Bas is possibly the sturdiest rock of them all, but Gal probably takes up the grand majority of that support.) When everything else is going to hell, Daisy and Leo can be trusted to still be doing them just fine. And to pretty much absorb the practical realities for everyone else as needed.

    So I guess I’m OK with the Daisy/Leo match-up. Daisy won’t let things get too boring (as if they could, with their families) and Leo won’t let them go bankrupt. But uh… he needs to let her know they’re engaged. She might like to know that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow, you binged so fast!! LOL, I was wondering if you’d warm up to Leo at all over time–I’ll take Leowarm. 😉

      Benny is pretty insufferable right now. Hamlet would’ve dumped his ass if they hadn’t broken up tbh–he wouldn’t have known how to deal with it and would’ve been super uncomfortable.

      Empathy is definitely something Benny struggles with, as does Bianca–they’re both the centers of their own little worlds, but Bianca makes the narcissism seem more charming somehow. Hopefully he pulls his head out of his ass soon!

      Leo is more than a little distracted by Daisy. 😉 She’s helping him loosen up a bit. But he was too distracted with the cleaning to notice Bianca’s outfit.

      That’s a great point about Daisy and Leo. (And Gal hogging Bas, lol.) And Leo really should speak up about the whole proposal thing…

      Thank you for bingeing this whole damn thing! ❤ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Pleasure was all mine! (No, really, there was no work involved, just happily jumping from chapter to chapter.) Thanks for writing! Happy to be caught up now, but unfortunately means I get to be impatient now. 😀

        Liked by 1 person

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