tagRomanceBrighton Manor Ch. 01

Brighton Manor Ch. 01

bySubmissioness©

Chapter 1

An exploration of a love-hate relationship


That old manor was no place for a city girl like Stella. Perhaps if she'd been born in this country and her parents hadn't decided to move to America when they tuned 18, she might feel more comfortable running this big mansion. She would have been living here all along if her mother hadn't passed this house on to her younger sister when their parents died.

Now that Stella's aunt had died a lonely, some say crazy, maid at 45, her mother was once again heir to the old English manor.

Stella was never sure why her mother refused to stay in a mansion in England with a large inheritance and servants. But she did now. The house had nearly 30 rooms, many locked and crammed with old forgotten furniture and antiques. Apparently when her aunt Delores moved in and took over 25 years ago she let it run into the ground. She didn't want to pay the original grounds keeper or the landscapers anymore. She cut the wait staff down to just one little old lady and a young hand maiden.

Apparently, Delores was hoarding the small fortune, leaving it nearly untouched for fear of losing everything she owned.

Aunt Deloris was a very strange woman. Well, from what she could remember anyway. The last time Stella saw her for herself was at her 10th birthday party 15 years ago.

At any rate, the mansion was hers now as the eldest of two, other than her mother, in the original Brighton bloodline.

As she walked up to the steps of the old mansion that first night, the old woman greeted her and opened the tall wooden double doors. In the foyer stood the young woman. Both of the ladies wore ragged uniforms; they probably hadn't been replaced since her grandparents had died. They seemed very nervous which in turn made her even more uncomfortable to be there.

"Hello! Welcome to Brighton Manor. Miss Brighton," the eldest lady said with manufactured zeal.

"This is Victoria, she will carry your things and I will give her a brief tour of the house." The young girl waved as she struggled to pick up one of Stella's bags. Stella only nodded the entire time. She felt as though she'd stepped into a time machine that took her back a hundred years. "My name is Mary, I am the head maid. You will have to excuse us. There is one more but he ran an errand. You came sooner than we expected. But Mouse should be back very soon."

Mouse, she thought to herself. What kind of name is that?

"Right this way to the kitchen," the old woman said and led her away toward the left of the house. As Mary led her through the most important rooms of the Mansion, her mouth was quiet but her mind was flooded with thought. Her eyes and ears were like sponges soaking in the sights and information that Mary shared with her. As it turned out, her grandparents kept the manor up quite well. They were always entertaining guests but you'd never guess it by the looks of it now. For just a moment, Stella thought it would be exciting to revamp the old place and bring it back to its old heyday appeal. But she knew she couldn't afford to pay to have all that work done.

If mother knew what has happened to this old place she'd be devastated. She would surely feel guilty for passing the entire estate on to her sister just so she could stay in America.

"Mouse!" Mary called. A figure of a young man passed the dark doorway of the grand hall. The man ignored her completely. "Excuse him, ma'am. He isn't keen on strangers. He keeps to himself mostly."

"Is he dangerous?" Stella said mildly alarmed.

"Oh, no, he's quite harmless. He just keeps to the lawn best he can and stays out of the way. You'll have to give him time. He'll come around.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Stella and Mary caught up with Victoria in Stella's new bedroom.

"I didn't suppose you'd want your late aunt's old room so I thought I would prepare your mother's old room."

"No, that's awesome. It's absolutely gorgeous!" Stella looked around the lavishly decorated room. It was so delicately furnished and decorated with rich cherry wood and white lace. The bed was on a platform to elevate it from the floor and there were high bedposts at each corner draped by a beautiful white lace canopy.

"We took great care in cleaning up your room, Miss Brighton. I hope you find it satisfactory," Mary said. "This room hasn't been occupied since your mother left in 1971."

"It's very classic. Timeless beauty. I love it."

"Wonderful. Are you hungry, ma'am? I know it's late but I could prepare you something."

"No, that won't be necessary. I'm not hungry," Stella said as she opened the closet door scoping it out.

"What time shall I wake you tomorrow?"

"Oh, please don't. I'd really like to sleep in tomorrow."

"As you wish. Do you need any other assistance this evening?"

"No, thank you very much," she replied. She really just wanted to be alone.

"Come along, Victoria," Mary said to the young girl.

Stella knew she should get some rest but she wasn't sleepy. She had a meeting tomorrow afternoon with the lawyers. Among other matters of the estate she was going to find out exactly how much of her grandparents inheritance money was left.

She took a bath in the beautiful porcelain claw foot tub in the bathroom connected to her bedroom then she crawled into the huge bed to try to get some sleep. She lay restless, however. Nervous, perhaps. It was such a strange and different environment.

After laying there sleeplessly for over an hour she decided to go to the kitchen for a glass of milk-if she could find it.

Stella donned her robe and made way quietly down the hall. It was very dark; everyone must have gone to bed. Gratefully, it wasn't as difficult as she thought to find the kitchen.

After quietly finding the cabinet with the glasses in it, she poured her milk and drank it down. As she rinsed the glass out in the sink she noticed a light coming from under a doorway down the hall.

That isn't where the servants' quarters are, she thought curiously. Part of her wanted to go see who was up but another part felt like it was disrespectful to snoop. Well, it's almost my house now. And they are almost my employees so I shouldn't feel guilty about it, right? Stella rationalized.

She tip-toed down the short hallway and peeked through the crack in the door. She saw Mouse. He was undressing for bed.

He sure doesn't look like a mouse, Stella thought. He was built like a god from working outside all day every day.

Mouse reached over and turned on the lamp to scour his dresser for bed clothes. When he turned toward the door she was shocked at what she saw. He was a handsome young man, maybe 30, with dirty, medium length dirty blond hair that had just a bit of curl to it. And then she saw them, but only for a brief moment before he put his clean shirt on. They looked like small round burn marks, possibly self-inflicted. When she saw them she gasped slightly. She couldn't tell if he had heard her or not. He put on his shirt and turned and shut the door.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

"Hello."

"Mother!" Stella shouted at her mother on her cell. "Why didn't you tell me about all this inheritance stuff?!" The cab driver glanced back at her in the rear view mirror.

"Well, I never really cared much for living out at that old place, you know that. I never really kept up with it all. Sort of forgot about it, really. Your father and I make more than enough money to take care of ourselves anyway."

"You really have no idea what's going on here do you?" Stella exclaimed, stunned at her mother's willful ignorance.

"Honey, I made my choices a long time ago and knowing 'what's going on' over there was something I chose not to involve myself in."

"Grand dad invested in things, do you remember that?"

"Well, yes," she replied.

"And you've heard of Apple? And Toshiba? And Coppertone? He has stock in all of those! And he apparently owns part of a soccer team..."

"Football," her mother corrected.

"Whatever. The other owners had talked to the lawyers and want to buy his share. He also owns stock in countless other businesses. Most I've never heard of, but Apple? Seriously?!"

"Well, honey, I know you'll do what's best of the family."

"We're talking hundreds of millions of dollars, mother!" Stella said sternly amazed that her mother was so disinterested in such an astonishing inheritance. Even the cabbie's eyebrows raised at the amount.

"It is more than I expected but like I said, it's yours now. Just make me proud. You still have Mr. Montgomery there looking after the finances, right?"

"Mom, Delores fired Mr. Montgomery in the 90's. He was there though, wanting to do it again. Apparently we paid him quite well and he was close friends with grand dad."

"Well, you should let him. Your grand dad trusted him with his life. And you're lucky he was there."

"Alright. Thanks, mom," she said with a sigh. "We're about to be in the dead zone. Mary said that there is zero reception anywhere around the estate."

"Mary is still there?" her mother exclaimed.

"Yeah, she's the head maid."

"She was my mothers hand maiden when I was young. She begged me not to leave. Tell her I said hello."

"Sure, mom. I'll talk to you later."

"Love you. Make me proud."

"Love you, too, mom."

Stella placed the phone in her purse and pulled out some cash for the cab driver. "I would give you a bigger tip but I don't exactly have my inheritance yet," she said.

He only gave an understanding nod. She could tell he was thinking it.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Dinner was wonderful, her bath was relaxing and she was exhausted. The house and assets were almost officially hers. When she found out how much it was all worth she nearly fell out of her chair. She cried uncontrollably for almost half an hour in the bathroom at the lawyers office before she could collect herself enough to call her mom Her first thought was that she never had to work another day in her life. The second, naturally, was that she was going shopping in Paris, but she couldn't help that thought.

"Make me proud," he mother had said.

Stella sighed.I guess I know what I have to do.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Later that night Stella was contemplating the fate of the manor. She had decided to hire temporary staff and landscapers and such. She knew she wanted to purchase new uniforms; those rags they've been wearing looked decades old.

Then she thought of Mouse. Stella looked at the clock: 10 PM. Everyone should be in bed by now, she thought. She again crept down to the kitchen. And again she saw a dim light coming from the cracked door down the short hall. She walked slowly toward the door and peeked through the crack.

Stella didn't see anything for a moment but then he walked into her narrow view. He must have just gotten out of the tub because his hair was wet and curly and water droplets covered his back and shoulders. He had a big white towel wrapped low around his waist. She was hoping that he would go ahead and remove the towel so she could see the rest of his immaculate physique. But instead he took a few stops back and closed the door.

Damn! she thought to herself. Where do I put the quarter for another peep show? She let out a single giggle and slapped her hand over her mouth.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

"I think Mouse is avoiding me. I haven't seen him face to face in the two days I've been here." Stella said to Mary over breakfast.

"I told you, dear, he keeps to himself. I wouldn't be surprised if he didn't speak a word for the first few weeks.

Just then Mouse emerged from the short hallway. "Here's a word for you if you must have one," he said walking past the two ladies sitting at the table, "good day," he snapped and just as quickly as he entered, he left.

"That's two words you sour puss," Mary called after him.

"Why does he always wear long sleeved shirts?" Stella inquired softly. She already knew it was because of the burns but wasn't sure how they had gotten there.

"Oh." She seemed surprised by the question and desperate for something to say without telling the truth. "Well, he was in an accident. Nasty scars and such," she said with averted eyes.

Stella decided to let it lie and not push anymore for the time being.

"Why does he go by 'Mouse'?"

"When your aunt hired him, he was just a young scrappy orphan lad of 15. Nothing much to him, really. And he kept to himself, much like he does now. Always very quiet. Anyway, so she started calling him that and he liked it. Or maybe he just appreciated not being called by his real name. Hunh," Mary said, "I can't for the life of me even remember what it was."

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Stella sat on the porch sipping Mary's homemade lemonade, listening to her iPod...well, maybe she had her eye on Mouse, too. Her naughty side got the best of her on this day and she broke out the bikini to "get a tan."

She had her large dark shades on so she could watch him without him knowing. Yeah, it was a little obsessive, she knew. But she was bored and he intrigued her. Now and again he looked over at her propped up in her lawn chair. It was a struggle for her not to smile.

Wonder how long it's been since he's gotten laid," she thought and smirked. She knew it had been a little while for herself.

Stella made a habit of keeping her eye on the mysterious and quiet servant. He seemed to always be outside working on the lawns and gardens of the manor. He was so strange to her. He seemed so hard and cross, and yet she would often find him singing to himself as he worked. But he stopped the two occasions that he had caught her watching.

Stella also made a habit of checking every night to see if his door was left cracked open as he readied for bed. All five nights that she'd stayed at the mansion up until this point he'd left the door cracked. Why didn't he just close it all the way to begin with? Was the door broken? It wasn't like he knew she was coming.

Mouse walked right past her and into the house, not even looking at her as he passed. Moments later he reemerged with a glass of lemonade and his own dark shades. After he chugged the drink he set back to work weeding what used to be the back flower garden. She knew exactly why he got his shades; he didn't want her to know when he was checking her out!

Stella stood up and walked over to him. "I have landscapers coming out tomorrow to discuss plans for the lawns and gardens. Once they get started they'll take care of all those weeds, I'm sure. You can take the rest of the day off if you want," she said. "You're hot. I mean, it's hot out here you must be hot. Temperature," she stammered.

"I know what you meant," he said softly, still crouched in the flower bed. "And just what do you expect I should do instead of working?"

Stella didn't know what to say. This wasn't going the way she wanted.

"Listen, boss, if you're trying to get rid of me, don't dance around it, alright?" he said calmly.

"No! I'm not trying to fire you. I just want this place to get back to the way it used to be and I can't or wouldn't expect you to do it all by yourself, that's all!"

"You don't have to get defensive," he said.

"And you don't have to avoid me like the plague. And yeah, I've noticed," she shouted at him.

"And you,"he said as he stood, "don't have to spy on me." He began to walk away but he stopped and added, "and yeah, I've noticed."

"You..." she started but again had nothing worth while to say. "Well, you're the one that keeps leaving your door cracked at night!"

"You know," he said turning back around. "That wasn't even what I was talking about but thanks anyway, you've now confirmed my suspicions."

Stella's eyes widened dramatically and she became beet red as she realized she'd confessed more than he'd even accused her of.

"And maybe I like the attention just as much as you do," he said pointing at her bikini.

Stella just stomped away furiously. "How dare you suggest I wore this for you!"

Mouse threw his hands up in the air as if to challenge her to prove him otherwise.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

That night she debated on whether to sneak down to his room or not. Wouldn't he expect me? Surely he wouldn't expect me to go tonight after the fight we had. But she had to know, at least, if he had left the door cracked. She had to know!

So once again she sneaked down to the kitchen but she saw him standing there in front of the sink rinsing out a glass. She pulled back hoping he didn't see her. Then she saw him walk off into his little hall. She waited a moment before she followed.

Stella inched toward the hall and peeked around the corner. As usual, his door was cracked and dim light shone through.

Oh my gosh! What does this mean? Does he want me to come back? I should just go back to my own room.

Her thoughts were interrupted by the sounds of bed springs being depressed. He just got into bed. I can just go peek.

Stella tip-toed toward the door. She peeked through the crack in the door and saw by the light of a single low watt lamp, Mouse laying in his bed under a thin white sheet. But only his torso was illuminated so she couldn't see his face.

He was laying still for a moment but then she saw some rustling underneath the sheets. What is he doing Then he released a soft moan. Oh my god! He's masturbating!

Stella watched in awe as she saw him fondle himself, wishing he would tear off that sheet and let her see it all. But he never did. He kept as he was, laying on his back, stroking himself. As his pace increased so did his moans.

Stella couldn't believe her eyes. After several minutes he was stroking fast and hard. His breath had become irregular and his groans more deep and husky.

When he came she swore it was the hottest thing she'd ever seen in her life.

He began to shift like he was getting up and she knew she had to get out of there fast just in case he wanted to come out. She hurried off to her room and jumped in bed. Then she reached under her mattress for her vibrator. She raised up her night dress and stripped her panties off.

Stella turned on her vibe and slipped it inside of her to get it wet. Then she moved it over her folds teasing herself to start out with. She began to imagine Mouse masturbating in her mind, watching him stroking himself to completion again. Except this time, she tried to imagine it without the sheet. With her vibrator buzzing at max speed and doctored memories of the handsome hunk filling her brain it was mere minutes until she reached her peak. Stella moaned softly as she finished. And as her hormone levels settled she realized that she should never have gone down there that night. She had a terrible feeling that he knew.

*~~~~~*~~~~~*~~~~~*

Today was the day. The landscapers were coming to discuss the plans for the lawns and gardens. A few temporary staff members will be interviewed and new uniforms will be selected. The current staff will probably suffice as she didn't actually need someone to wait on her personally for every whim. She will Mary and Victoria helping her with delegating the jobs for the temps as they clear out the other, unused rooms in the house.

It was lunch time. The landscapers were almost there and Stella hadn't seen Mouse anywhere, as usual. She had wanted his consult for the plans. But in the back of her mind, she was glad that she hadn't seen him yet.

Stella finished her lunch and Mary took her plate. Just then the front door opened. She walked into the foyer to see who it was and she saw a landscaping team walk in through the door that was held open by Mouse. She was taken aback at how nice he looked. He wore black pinstriped dress slacks and a long sleeved blue dress shirt that made his blue-gray eyes really pop.

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