Calumbra 23: The Maid

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To Bathe A Boy

Delaware was pushing a cart down the hallway toward Dominick's room when she saw someone out of the corner of her eye fall in step with her. She looked over and saw Tavit walking with her, watching her feet.
"Hello, young master, is there something I can do for you?"
"You going to papa's room?"
"Can I have a roll?" he asked, looking at the car she was pushing.
Delaware looked down at him as he eyed the bread. She shrugged and handed him the roll. He brightened when she heard Angelica yelling from down the hall.
"Young master Tavit! Please! You must take a bath!"
Tavit flashed Delaware a wicked grin and dashed down the hallway as Angelica stopped running, catching her breath.
"Ms. Tate… Tavit went by here, yes?"
"Yes? What's going on?"
"It's a pain to catch the young master to get his bath. He detests it completely and it's such a hassle. Excuse me please…"
Angelica ran off after Tavit and Delaware shook her head, pushing the cart to Dominick's room.
She rapped on the door and was given permission to come in.
"Your snack, sir." She said, settling the cart next to Dominick's desk.
Dominick nodded and Delaware jumped when she saw that he had been speaking to another person on the couch of his study.
"Oh! Forgive me, sir, I did not know you were here. Would you like some tea, sir?"
The man fiddled with his mustache and then shook his head.
"No thank you. A roll with jam would be nice though."
Delaware nodded and fixed him a roll with jam and then handed the tea to Dominick along with his roll.
"That will be all, Ms. Tate."
She curtsied but the man on the couch stood up and scrutinized her.
"Tate, huh? I've seen you before or at least heard of you from somewhere."
"It's a common name. Milord…" she said again and left the room.
As she headed down the hallway she ran into Angelica again.
"Are you still looking for the young master?"
"He's gone off and hid himself, the heathen!" she growled, tears in her eyes.
Delaware smirked. "Do you want some help?"
Delaware wanted to laugh at the peculiarity of the woman who so desperately wanted the boy to bathe and pushed past her to go toward her garden house.

As she suspected, she found both Blackwood boys in her little house and stood in the doorway, giving them a look.
"You are in trouble, young master." She said as Tavit looked at her.
"I don't like baths."
"You may not but it's essential that you have one."
"I don't want one!" he yelled, throwing something he had been holding. "They are dumb!"
"They make you clean."
"They are dumb."
Delaware put her hands on her hips in exasperation and looked at Trinidad, who was drawing something on a piece of paper. He looked back at her and then got up to give her the drawing.
"Thank you…" she said sweetly when she saw what it was a picture of. "Clever…"
Trinidad smiled a little as Delaware knelt next to Tavit.
"Young master, why don't you come with me?"
"Nuh uh! You'll make me take a bath!"
"Why don't you like them? Are you afraid of them?"
"No… They're for dumb people… And Angelica rubs too hard!"
"Does she?"
"Yes… It hurts."
"I see… How about if I washed you."
Tavit looked at her and turned his head a little, wondering if he should trust her or not.
"Unless you want me to ask Sully to do it-"
"No! He drowns me!"
Delaware laughed. "I'm sure you're pretty rambunctious in the tub. The water will be cold if you don't hurry."
Tavit looked at Trinidad who blinked at him.
"So… you- you'll do it?"
"If you like."
He nodded and she smiled, holding out her hand to him.
"Come along then, youngin… You coming, Little One?" she asked over her shoulder to Trinidad.
Trinidad got up and followed her into the house.
Once they reached the door of the house Angelica saw them and made some sort of exasperated and yet relief sounding wail and ran to Delaware.
"Young master Tavit! Where have you been?! Please, you must come and get a bath."
"I don't want you to do it. Delaware's gonna do it."
Angelica pulled back a little and then her eyes sparkled a little.
"Is she?"
"Alright then… Good, good… I'll be in the kitchen helping them then."
Delaware turned her head at the maid as she went down the hallway and she could have sworn she heard her start to laugh when she turned the corner. She looked down at Trinidad who was smiling a little. She bumped him with her foot and he looked up at her.
"What have I gotten myself into, Little One?" she asked.
Trinidad only flashed her a brilliant smile as they heard Dominick and his guest coming out of his room. They shook hands and Dominick looked down the corridor.
"Ms. Tate… Tavit, why are you not bathed yet?" he asked as he got closer.
"Delaware's going to do it." Tavit pouted, holding onto Delaware's arm.
Dominick looked at her and she shrugged. He put his hand over his mouth to try and hide a smile and Delaware frowned.
"May I be informed as to why washing the young master is funny?"
"You'll see… Good luck."
Delaware frowned even more and pulled Tavit along to the bathing room.

After an hour and a half of pulling Tavit back into the tub almost a million times and threatening him various other times, Delaware had finally had enough and popped his leg with her hand. Tavit was stunned and sat in the tub, holding his thigh.
"Now quit!" Delaware yelled. "Must you be such a little nuisance? Your water is now cold and you're not even close to being cleaned."
Trinidad sat beside her, wrapped up in a towel from where he had already gotten his bath in the other tub beside them. Tavit's lower lip began to tremble as Delaware took the soap and rubbed it on the rag she was using.
"Now you brought this upon yourself, young master." She answered to his pouting lip. "Little boys who don't behave won't get supper."
"You can't do that!"
"I can." She said, looking at the child seriously. "You are to become a lord when you grow up and no one likes a young man who does not know his limits. There are worse things than a little smack on the leg."
"But it hurt!" he said, tears finally brimming his blue gray eyes. "I will tell father on you and get you to go away!"
Delaware gave him a wicked smile and stared into his eyes.
"Little boy, I don't die. I live forever. If you send me away, I will always come back. I always return. Maybe not within the week, the month, or the year, but eventually, I will be right back where I belong and that is serving the Blackwoods. I'm not disposable like the other maids."
Tavit seemed unhappy about that and crossed his arms as she washed his face.

Delaware dressed the two boys for bed and carried Tavit to his bed (he fell asleep from all his excitement it he tub) and tucked him in. She blew out the candle to their room and was walking out the door when she felt that little presence again. She turned around to find Trinidad following her.
"Yes? What is it?"
Trinidad grabbed her hand and started walking toward the garden house.
"What are you doing? Young master, you have to sleep in your bed."
"Don't like it there."
"Why is that?"
"No noises."
"What do you mean? You mean from the forest?" He nodded. "Do you like the noises that they make?"
He nodded and Delaware took over in leading them down the hallway to the garden house.
"Why do you want to be with me, Trinidad?"
Trinidad looked at her with surprise. It was the first time anyone other than his brother or his father had ever called him by his first name without the words 'young master' in front of them. And the first time Delaware hadn't called him 'little one'.
He shrugged. "I just do. Do I make you mad?"
Delaware chuckled. "No, you just confuse me. There's no reason you should want to be with me. I don't do anything exciting."
"You live forever."
"But you can't just watch that happen unless you live as well. It's not like a clock that ticks and you watch the hands you know."
They entered the garden house just as a mutant from the forest made a horrific noise that made both of them jump in surprise.
"I haven't heard that sound in ages!" Delaware said, a little shaken and a little excited.
"You're weird." Trinidad said as he crawled up into her bed and snuggled under her covers. "They sometimes get out about this time…" he mumbled and laid down.
Delaware snapped her head to him but sighed when she saw that he was asleep. The mutants must have gotten bolder since I last saw them… she thought. She hoped everyone in this manor would be alright.
With that, she changed her clothes and got in the bed

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