"This will be your room here," the red headed maid that Delaware had
learned was named Angelica said, as she opened the door. "Sorry that
it's out here in the garden house but all the servants quarters have
been taken up. Not to be mean, Ms. Tate, but I don't understand why Lord
Blackwood even let you stay here. Considering that he has all the
servants he needs…"
Delaware smiled and looked back at Angelica. "The garden house is just darling. And why he allowed me to be here is really none of your business, ma'am."
Angelica wasn't exactly happy about the curt attitude Delaware was giving her but curtsied lightly and closed the door.
Delaware smiled and put her bags down, looking over the garden house. It had been a long time since she'd seen Blackwood Manor; almost one hundred years from the last time she had seen it. She was there when the great grandfather of the current lord was just a boy; she remembered how much she loved the place and the people and the acceptance they all gave her. She also remembered the horrid fire that almost took the life of the young lord, making him disfigured and she thought for sure that there would be no more Blackwoods to reside in this place. But everything worked out and they are still here… she thought as she unpacked her small brown suitcase.
Over the years she had learned to only carry that which was most important to her. Clothes, of course, but nothing that would draw too much attention to herself. A maids outfit, something to sleep in, breaches (in case she needed a disguise), a hat, and underclothes. She also carried special trinkets from the houses she served under, the people she loved.
Delaware looked around again and smiled at the string of climbing roses that had made their way into the house and then jumped back onto the bed. It was good to be back in service with the Blackwoods, for Delaware missed not only the manor but also the infamous Werewood Forest that resided behind the hauntingly enchanted manor. It was full of creatures that could make even the bravest of men not venture into it and Delaware loved to watch it at night as the mysterious forest came to life. The creatures inside would talk and howl and make god-awful noises, bashing trees and fighting in all hours of the night. Delaware smiled at the thrilling memory and began to put her stuff away.
As she began to put her things away she thought she heard her door open. She whipped around to see half a face peeking at her from the crack in the door. She turned her head at the face and waited for the little person to reveal who they were. Eventually, the staring contest she was having was piquing her curiosity but also making her nervous.
"If you're going to come and say hello, please hurry. Staring at me is making me nervous."
Slowly but surely, a little boy about the age of eight slunk from behind the door followed by another boy that Delaware hadn't even realized was there. They were brothers, she could tell, both having black hair that tossled in curly locks for both of them. Yet there was something different about the older boy's eyes that made her question the relationship.
"Hello." She said sweetly. "Are you lost?"
"I'm Tavit! I'm five!" the smallest boy said, pointing to himself proudly.
"Hello, Tavit. It's nice to meet you… Are you a Blackwood?"
"Yes! This is Trinidad, my big brother!" Delaware looked at the golden eyed boy as he waved shyly at her. "He don't talk much."
"Who are you? You took our playhouse."
"I'm sorry." Delaware said with a pout. She bent down to their level. "I didn't mean to inconvenience you. How would you like it if I said that you could visit any time you liked?"
Trinidad smiled brightly and Tavit grinned, his one front tooth missing.
Delaware smiled and rustled Tavit's hair. "It was nice to meet you. My name is Delaware Tate, but you can call me just Delaware."
"That's a funny name." Trinidad said softly, almost barely being about to be heard.
"No different than you or your brother's names… May I ask why your eyes are so different in color?"
"Papa says it's because Trin's mama died and so he married my mama. But she died too…" Tavit said, looking down.
"Oh, I'm so sorry… Has your father been seeing anyone else?"
"Young masters!" a voice yelled. A young man ran in and finally stopped, bending over and breathing hard. "Your father is calling for you. Why are you out here?"
"Meeting the maid." Trinidad said as he left.
Tavit skipped after him and the boy looked up at Delaware, a blush forming quickly.
"G-Good evening, ma'am."
"Hello. And you are?"
"Oh! Uh… name's Sullivan but most people just call me Sully."
Delaware looked the young boy over and saw that he was barely older than the two boys he rushed away, about fifteen or sixteen at the most.
"Milady, Lord Blackwood would like to speak with you also. He told me to find the young masters and also to find the maid in the garden house."
"Of course. I'll be right there."
He bowed awkwardly out of the house and closed the door behind him.
Delaware chuckled at him as she freshened herself up.
"You called for me, Milord?"
"Yes, I wanted to speak with you for a moment."
Dominick paced in front of her and finally looked back at her.
"Sullivan told me that you talked to my sons."
"Yes, they were adorable."
"Well, as adorable as they are, they are both victims of tragedies. Luckily Tavit didn't get to know his mother before she died but it's been hard for Trinidad. His mother died from infection not long after he was born and I met Tavit's mother soon after. She had a good relationship with Trinidad and he thought of her as his mother. She died about a year after Tavit was born from unknown circumstances. Ever since then, Trinidad doesn't speak too often to people he doesn't know and I'm worried about his wellbeing."
"From what I discerned, sir, I think he'll do just fine whether he speaks or not."
"I have no doubt he can hold his own but I'm more worried about his social life more than his personal life. The fact that he went to find you makes me hopeful in that he may confide in you."
"I don't think one encounter is going to make us the best of friends, Milord."
Dominick cut her an icy glare from his blue eyes and Delaware decided that maybe she shouldn't voice her opinions at the moment.
"I know that it's sudden and strange of me to ask of you as you just got here, but I haven't seen him that excited to meet someone since I met Tavit's mother. To see some sort of smirk on his face made my heart leap with excitement. Since Sullivan said that he spoke when you were there, that means that he trusts you, Ms. Tate."
Delaware laughed a little. "I don't know how he could discern that from a first glance… Better yet, he hadn't even seen me until he peaked around the door of the garden house."
"Children have a good judge of character. Most of them at least."
"But Trinidad doesn't get too excited about many things so when he smiled… I don't want you to be a councilor or anything, I just would like you to be cognizant of his presence. He likes to sneak around because he's so quiet."
"I figured that out. As for your suggestion, I can only do so much for him and with him. The boy has to come to me first. I won't scare him by being too forward and personal."
"That's fine… Now, you'll start your work tomorrow. Angelica will give you the instructions on how to do everything and what exactly will need to be done."
"Have you changed the layout of the mansion since it was burned down some time ago?"
"The big fire of 1789?"
"Well, only half of the manor was burnt down and we still had the original layouts of the buildings so… I guess it's the same. Why?"
"I was hungry and was going to head straight to the kitchen but I didn't want to end up in a bedroom of some sort."
Delaware nodded and stood to leave, contemplating the task she had been given by Dominick. She'd never had very much interaction with children but she figured if she put her long years of patience to work, she would be able to get through to this lost boy.