Behind Green Eyes Ch. 04byElenia26©
Jenna sent one of the servants to pack my things as we went into the dining room to have lunch. I was quiet most of the time during lunch, but I needn't have worried because Jenna was playing the effervescent hostess marvelously. I watched him through my eyelashes, wondering why he'd invited me.
He would have known Jenna could not be able to come, being who she was and her position in society. So he'd asked expecting her to say no...which meant it was me he really wanted to see.
He drew me into the conversation every now and then, but I could tell he was biding his time and would wait until we were alone. He gave Jenna his full attention but occasionally glanced at me with those wickedly sexy green eyes.
I wondered....if he actually tried something, would I stop him? Or would I go along with it? I was certainly old enough now, if I wanted to, as long as I was careful. The thought made heat rise between my legs, and as I glanced up at him I noticed he was looking directly back at me. Jenna's attention was momentarily distracted.
He winked, lazily and slowly, just like at the party. And instead of looking away, I smiled back at him sweetly.
By two o'clock we were ready to go. My things had been placed near the door, and the stable boy stables with my horse and his. I hugged Jenna tightly as we said good-bye.
"Please visit more often, Elenia. I miss you so." She whispered into my ear.
"I will, my dear. Be good, and write me back, and mind your caretakers. Write me everything that happens."
I kissed her cheek gently and wiped away the tear I found there. My own eyes weren't dry, either. I had missed her dreadfully in the last two years, and resolved to visit much more often.
I stepped back and felt a light hand on the small of my back. I turned to look up at him, but he was smiling at Jenna and extending his other hand.
"Farewell, my lady. I shall see you soon. Perhaps you may come to a gathering at my house."
"I would love to, Tiradon. Take care of Elenia."
"Do not worry. I shall."
I walked out with him, surreptitiously wiping my eyes as I climbed onto my horse. He helped me on, holding the reins and holding my hand. It was only after I was in the saddle that I realized what dress I was wearing. I'm sure I gave him quite a view. I smiled down at him, embarrassed.
He reached up, and surprisingly tenderly, touched my cheek. His finger came away wet. I looked embarrassed again.
He smiled. "I'm sorry to take you away from your friend. I promise I will try to make up for it."
"No, that's all right, you don't need to—".
"Shh. I promise." He squeezed my hand, and vaulted onto his horse. He rode a fine Arabian, black as night. My poor mare was decidedly intimidated and stayed out of his way. I imagined what it must be like to ride an animal like his, then I realized the double meaning of what I had just said and chuckled softly to myself.
We rode side by side to the griffon place, not speaking. As I rode I glanced around the city. It looked different now. Before I left Jenna had insisted on sending a servant to get the thousand gold that was under my name at the bank, "just in case you need money," and I couldn't disagree with her. I was conscious of it, divvied up neatly between my pouch belt and backpack.
I watched him ride. He was a wonderful rider, and sat easy on the horse.
We rode quietly to the griffon yards, and the gate guard let us in. We went to a private stable, and just outside was waiting a fine silver griffon, with house colors on it.
I looked up at him in surprise. "This is your griffon?" He chuckled. "Actually, it really belongs to my father. I happened to be in town when Jenna's invitation came, and my father insisted on sending me in style." So saying, he dismounted and came over to my horse. "Let me help you."
I reached down to take his hands, but instead his hands closed gently around my waist and bodily lifted me off the horse. He set me lightly on the ground, and smiled.
I was taken aback, and too breathless to say anything. His hands lingered for a second, then he turned to my horse. "What's her name?"
"Shadow," I said softly. He chucked to the horse softly, and led her toward the griffon. I followed.
The griffon immediately peered down and stuck his face almost in mine. Strangely enough, it didn't seem angry, only curious. It uttered a questioning squawk.
"Now, now, Simon. She's a friend. Don't pester her."
"Simon. Is that his name? Hello, Simon." The griffon was now gently preening my hair. I laughed, and reached up and petted him.
He watched me with a smile on his face for a minute, then instructed the stableboys to get everything loaded. Then he came over to me. "Ready?"
I nodded. "Let me help you up, " he said. I swallowed, and nodded. I stepped over next to the griffon and looked up. There was a rope ladder slung over the side. I stepped up onto it and started climbing until I realized what a view I must be giving him. I hesitated, and then I felt his hands on my waist again, lifting me up.
I don't know what was in that feeling that left me wanting more. I had never been held by a man, so I suppose that was part of it. I climbed into one of the seats, and pulled the straps around me s(so I wouldn't fly off the griffon) and shook my hair into my face so he wouldn't see the flush that had arisen.
He sat towards the front of the griffon and I was surprised to see him take the reins. He called back over his shoulder, "I like to drive my own griffon. I hope you don't mind. It's about a four-hour trip, so just relax."
"All right," I called back. I made sure Jasper was safely in his basket, and I sat back, stroking the griffon feathers under my fingers.
We launched into the air, and I curled up to take a nap.
When I awoke, we were dipping down, and the sun was just setting. I sat up and stretched, and admired the beautiful view. I looked down, and saw we were descending into the courtyard of a fairly large keep. In the distance to the east, I could see what looked like a small town. It couldn't be more than a half-day's journey.
We landed lightly. He was an excellent griffon driver. He turned to me when it came to a halt.
"Welcome to Brightblade Manor, my lady." And he gestured around the courtyard.
"Thank you," I said, and looked around. Servants were already coming from around the keep. He told them to unload the things, and I jumped down from the griffon. I heard him telling the servants to put my things in one of the rooms, the "lilac room" he called it, and then he returned to my side.
"Let me show you to your room. You can get changed if you like, and then we'll have dinner. "
"How should I dress for dinner?"
"As you wish. It isn't very formal, but my father will join us then, so just something nice." So saying, he put his hand on the small of my back, and guided me toward the door.
"After dinner if you like I'll take you on a tour of the place."
We stepped inside the large double doors, and I gasped. Jenna's house was large, but this was a true keep. In front of me was a large foyer style area, with several large double doors leading off of it. They were all open.
One of them led into a large dining hall. Through another one I saw a grand piano, and yet another one was filled with plants. And through the last door, straight ahead, I glimpsed a ballroom.
I hadn't realized I'd been transfixed until I heard him gently chuckle. "Do you like it?" he whispered softly. His voice was right by my ear, and I turned in surprise to find his face inches from mine.
I was once again surprised by his beauty. The scar on his cheek only added character. We stood for a moment, and I thought for sure he was going to try to kiss me. Instead, he spoke.
"You are very beautiful, you know."
I blinked in surprise, and then lowered my eyes. "Oh...thank you. I think Jenna's prettier than me, though." He simply smiled.
"It's you I invited here, though."
I looked up into his eyes. "Why did you invite me here?"
He started to say something, hesitated, and the chuckled and shook his head. "Why don't you wait and find out?" He took my hand. "Come. Your room is upstairs."
He gently led me upstairs and I followed obediently. We stopped at the top of the stairs and he pointed left. "That is the West Wing. My rooms are down there, as well as my father's."
"Where is your father now?"
"Probably in his workshop. You'll meet him at dinner. You must forgive him. I didn't write and tell him you were coming."
"Will he mind?
"Not at all." He started walking down the hall to the right. "This is the East Wing. Your room is down this way."
He went past several doors and opened the fifth one. I gasped.
It truly was a "lilac room". The whole thing was decorated in different shades of lilac. The bed, the curtains, everything. What was surprising was the profusion of flowerpots with lilacs growing out of them! The room had a heady, beautiful scent.
I turned to him. "This is my room? It's so nice!" He smiled. "Dinner is at 8 pm. It's 6 now, so you may want to take a bath. Just ring the bell if you need anything and a servant will come quickly."
I nodded. He bowed, and continued, "If you need me for anything just ask the servants. And make yourself at home. I will return to my quarters now."
"Thank you. I'll see you at dinner."
He turned, and walked down the hall. I was tempted to watch him, but instead I went in the room and closed the door.
My things were already neatly stacked in a corner of the room. I wandered around, touching the flowers, and the soft bedspread until I realized I had only some time. I went into another room, thinking it was the bathroom. It was a walk-in closet—filled with female dresses.
I wasn't surprised that the guest room would have them. Jenna's house also had a female and male guest room filled with clothes in case someone were visiting who didn't have appropriate attire.
I opened another door and this time found the bathroom. The tub was huge, at least eight feet wide. I laughed like a child; there was already water in it and it looked so inviting. I stripped, dropping my dress on the floor and my panties on top. I kicked my sandals off and waded in.
The water was steaming hot and oh so nice. I let my hair down, and relaxed. It was three feet deep, and as I looked around I saw a marvelous assortment of bath oils, bath soaps, and shampoos. In addition there were lilac flowers floating in the water. Very sensuous, and very nice.
I bathed, washing myself with the soaps and then with the oils. I felt very womanly, and lounged in the pool until almost seven.
I got out finally, and dried myself off. Still naked, I went out in the main room and padded barefoot into the dressing room. I didn't own anything nice enough for this grand keep, and I thought I had better pick something out.
I selected a simple but elegant green dress. It had straps, and hung prettily below my waist before flaring out into a little girl type skirt. It came with stockings, and I gently slid them up my legs. My whole body smelled like lilacs, and I knew I looked pretty.
I went to the mirror and combed out my long hair. I couldn't help but think of what he had said at the door, and the tone he had said it in. I had to admit, he kept me on my toes...I never knew what he was going to say next.
I also had to admit I liked it.
I left my hair down so I wouldn't look overdressed. Next went on a pair of green high heels, matching the dress. I was surprised to find they fit me easily.
I waited until 7:45, and then rang the bell for a servant. One was there in less than five minutes, and he bowed. "This way to the dining hall, my lady." He walked ahead of me, and I followed, admiring everything.
He took me down the large stairs, back into the foyer, and then on into the dining room. Tiradon was already there, as well as another, older man, who I didn't recognize. They both rose at my entrance. I curtsied.
"Ah, Elenia. So good of you to join us. Father, this is our guest, Elenia. Elenia, this is my father, Lord Mekorig Brightblade."
Lord Brightblade came forwards. I curtsied again. I felt almost as if I were in the presence of royalty!
To my surprise, he put his hand under my chin gently and raised my face until I was looking at him. It was easy to see where Tiradon had gotten his looks. Father and son were equally handsome. The elder Lord Brightblade had blue eyes instead of his son's green ones, and there were a few wrinkles around his eyes, but he was still very young-looking.
"She's very pretty, my son. Just as you said." I darted a look at Tiradon, but his face was unreadable. "Welcome to the Brightblade keep, my lady. Please, come sit."
He escorted me to his left hand and pulled out my chair for me. Tiradon sat across from me at his father's right hand. "You look lovely, Elenia."
Dinner was served, and as we ate, his father kept up a running commentary about the keep and the lands. I listened, fascinated. Dinner was wonderful.
When we were almost through, a servant came in and handed Lord Mekorig a note. He excused himself, and read the note.
"Tiradon," he said, and handed him the note. Tiradon read it, and looked up. "Tonight, Father?" He nodded, gravely, and turned to me.
"My dear child, I am afraid I will not be able to spend any time with you. The village would like my advice on something. A dispute between two landowners, it seems. Normally the village governs themselves, but when it comes to the council members themselves they call upon us. I'm afraid I will need Tiradon to drop me off, as it will take more than a week, and I do not wish to tie up our carriage for so long."
Tiradon spoke up. "I am sorry Elenia. I so wanted to show you around." I demurred politely, and he continued, "I will be back by early morning at the latest. Please feel free to explore to your heart's content. You will be perfectly safe."
I opened my mouth to say it was not necessary, that I could just leave, but the look on his face stopped me. For the first time, he actually looked worried, hoping I wouldn't leave.
No one outside of Jenna's family had ever even given a damn about me, and if he wanted me to stay, why should I? "I don't mind," I answered smiling, and he looked relieved. "I can entertain myself."
"Thank you very much, Elenia. I promise I won't be long."
We finished our dinner, and then they left to change into traveling clothes. A servant told me that if I liked, I could wait in the dining hall to say goodbye.
I was looking at a picture on the wall when I heard a step behind me, and then hands on my shoulders. I was still wearing the dress from dinner, which only had thin little straps, so his fingers burned into my bare skin. I composed myself somewhat, and then turned my head to look up into his face.
He was smiling down at me, and for a moment my heart literally stopped—with fear, this time. For a moment it seemed to me that he could and was about to do whatever he wanted to me and I wouldn't be able to stop him. Then the moment passed, and he was just looking at me with a slightly sorrowful look.
"I am so sorry to leave you behind, Elenia. You will forgive me?"
I nodded, and gently slipped out from under his hands. I thought I saw a flash of amusement cross his face, but I wasn't sure. "Be careful," I said, "and don't worry about me. I'll be fine." He bowed over my hand, and then kissed it, softly.
I bid them both adieux at the door. Soon as I saw them both leave, I hurried up to my room, changed, and set about exploring the house and the grounds.