A Butterfly's Birthday
Alois yawned and opened his eyes. Sun shone through his bedroom curtains, and a certain butler entered the boy's room, carrying a fresh change of clothes. Alois sat up and swung his legs over his bed. He smiled as Claude began to button his shirt. A new day had officially begun in the Trancy Mansion. However, it wasn't just any ordinary day. It was November 5th—Alois' birthday. Alois had been looking forward to it for weeks—and he had mentioned to Claude at least a dozen times on what he planned on doing that day. And of course, Claude, being Alois' demon servant, would carry out the task of making sure his master was pleased with the way his special day turned out.
''Claude,'' the boy began as the two walked downstairs into the main room, ''you know what today is, don't you?''
''Of course,'' Claude replied, in his usual monotone fashion.
Alois smiled. ''And I'm sure you're looking forward today's events.''
''Good,'' Alois stammered. ''Then we won't run into any problems today.'' However, just as the words left his mouth, he spotted his maid, Hannah, walking up behind Claude. She was carrying a large vase that was full of water.
''Master,'' Hannah said to Alois, ''where would you like me to put-''
''I don't care.'' Alois said, cutting her off. ''Just get out of this room.'' Slightly taken aback by her master's tone, Hannah scurried out of the room, leaving Alois and Claude alone again.
Alois put his hands on his hips and frowned. ''Claude, make sure Hannah stays out of my sight. I don't want her ruining this day.''
Claude bowed, a slight smirk on his lips. ''Yes, your highness.''
A little while later, Alois strolled out to the garden where he had Claude set up a little table with drinks and sweets. Plants and flowers surrounded it, giving the whole set up an enchanted look. Pleased with the visual, Alois walked up to the table and as the Triplets pull out a chair for him. Alois sat down and waited for Claude, who was walking towards him holding a very tall chocolate cake. It was decorated with purple flowers, and had a faux butterfly on the top.
''Here is the cake you requested.'' Claude said, carefully down setting platter down in front of the boy.
Alois smiled. ''Excellent. Cut me a piece.''
Claude nodded and took out a golden knife from his pocket. He sliced into the cake, and put a piece on a plate for Alois. But when he looked up, he saw that his master wasn't sitting in his seat anymore—he was standing on it.
''Be careful, your highness,'' Claude said, eyeing Alois tactfully as the boy extended his arm over the cake, balancing on the tips of his toes.
''Don't worry Claude, I'm fine.'' Alois exclaimed. ''I just wanted to get a taste from the top first.'' Alois swiped his finger across the surface of the cake, and then licked the icing off of his finger. It tastes wonderful, Alois thought to himself. Just as I imagined it would. However, his cheerful attitude quickly darkened when he caught site of Hannah on the opposite side of the garden. She was bent over, and appeared to be picking some bluebell flowers. Alois stepped off of the chair and turned towards Claude.
''Why is Hannah in the garden?'' he asked, pointing to where he had seen her.
Claude looked off into the distance and adjusted his glassed. ''I'm not quite sure,'' he replied. ''But if she's bothering you, I'll tell her to leave.''
Alois pouted and slumped back into his seat. ''I guess she's alright.'' he mused. ''She just better stay away from me while I eat my cake.''
After Alois finished eating, he walked into the parlor room with Claude and sat down on a sofa. The Triplets were set up in a triangle formation in front of Alois, each of them standing perfectly still. A brief silence filled the room-that is, until Claude snapped his fingers. All at once, music started playing, and The Triplets began throwing one another up in the air. They did back flips, cartwheels, and many other acrobatic tricks that, to an ordinary human, would seem impossible do. However, Alois was not impressed. They do things like that all the time, he thought. Couldn't they have thought of something else for their act? And as if reading the boy's mind, the Triplets scattered about and went into a new formation. Intrigued, Alois watched as Canterbury and Thompson threw Timber up in the air. Timber hugged his knees and started doing somersaults, making himself ascend over ten feet in the air. Just as Timber reached his peak height, Canterbury and Thompson stood on their hands, and straightened their legs. Then Timber came out of his somersault position, and landed right on top of Canterbury and Thompson's feet. Alois started clapping as The Triplets got out of their pose. The servants stepped forward and took a bow, before dispersing out the room. I suppose that was good, Alois thought. But now the best part of this day is about to come.
''Alright Claude,'' Alois said, ''The Triplet's act is done, so I'm ready to receive a surprise from you now.''
Claude raised an eyebrow. ''Pardon, your highness?''
Alois smirked. ''You know, a surprise. Something I wasn't expecting…a gift, perhaps?''
Claude looked down at his master in an uncertain manner, not quite sure how he was going to approach the subject with the boy. ''Well,'' he began, ''I didn't have any surprise planned. As your butler, I simply followed your orders and did everything like you wanted me to. I don't believe you specified for me to give you any sort of surprise.'' He paused before adding, ''Unless, you're ordering me to give you one right now.''
Alois frowned. What does he mean he doesn't have a gift for me? he thought. Doesn't Claude know people give gifts on birthdays? Alois was just about to explain to Claude what he meant, when suddenly he realized something: Claude had followed all of orders. Exactly the way he had wanted. Was it possible that Claude didn't have a gift for him, simply because he wasn't ordered to give one? That can't be it. Alois thought. Claude likes me…he enjoys celebrating my birthday with me. Maybe he'll give me something later…I'll just wait and see.
''Let's…continue celebrating.'' Alois said, a little hesitantly. ''I don't want to run out of time and not be able to do everything I had planned.''
''Very well, your highness.'' Claude said, bowing slightly.
So Alois spent the rest of the day with Claude. He got Claude to tap dance for him, take a stroll through the garden with him, and even give him piggy backs around the mansion. But even though Alois enjoyed spending time with Claude, he still couldn't shake that feeling that something was…off. Alois pondered over what it as all day, up until the moment Claude got him dressed for bed that night.
''Did today's events meet your expectations?'' Claude asked, as he took Alois' boots off and set the boy down in bed.
Alois bit his lip. Everything had met his expectations, but for some reason, not receiving a gift from Claude had…hurt. Maybe I should tell Claude what I really think, he thought to himself. But then again, Claude made this day go so perfectly…he did everything I asked him to. Nothing went wrong.
''Yes, it was a good day.'' Alois responded, looking away.
''I'm glad.'' Claude replied, as he turned to exit the room. ''Good night, your highness.''
Alois sat down on his bed and gave his butler a weak smile. Claude closed the bedroom door, and Alois laid down and closed his eyes. His head had barely touched the pillow, when all of a sudden, he sprang back up and opened his eyes. There was a lump underneath it. Who would have put something on my pillow? he thought, frustrated. He stuck his hand under the pillow, and pulled out the mysterious object. His irritation quickly turned into surprise when he realized that the thing (or rather, things) that were left on his pillow was three, bluebell flowers. Alois brought them closer to his face, letting some of the petals drop onto the bed. Why would these be here? he thought. I didn't ask Claude to pick them! He was just about the throw them on the ground, when he noticed a piece of paper tucked in between his pillow and the mattress. He unfolded it, his mouth dropping open when he saw what it was. It read:
Happy Birthday, Alois
A tear rolled down his cheek. Alois found that the only thing he could do was stare at the paper—because he realized that Hannah had given him the thing he wanted from Claude all along: love.