Drake (Book 1)

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[10]-Barbastella

Hampshire

8:15 the next evening

Chaos. That’s the first thing that came to Godfrey’s mind when he saw the look on Lyn’s face as she tiptoed down the grand stairway to the lobby. But he had to admit, damn did she look lovely tonight. She wore a thin dress black dress that coiled around her body tightly and stopped above the knees. The black pearls resting on her neck matched with perfection along with her heels and earrings. She greeted the guests at tonight’s in Drake’s place, giving them her sincere apologies. Sort of…

Godfrey returned to the kitchen where he conducted the servants and cooks with absolute authority. Despite the calamity, Godfrey remained the central pillar that supported Drake’s grand estate to include the kitchen and parties. With his guidance, food and drinks were delivered in a timely manner. The staff and crew moved with urgency and a few lazy chefs were fired on the spot. Godfrey undid the first few buttons of his shirt and untied his bowtie from the blooming sweat on his neck.

Being Drake’s butler was no simple task. Though Godfrey had never seen combat or anything to that nature, he compared serving tea to the lady’s dining room near the greenhouse and observatory the next closest thing. He couldn’t help but chuckle every time he explained that to someone. ‘Those women are vicious,’ he would say.

A band played classical music that roamed through the lobby, reaching every corner of the mansion. England’s wealthy and elites attend in glamorous tuxedos and dresses to include the noble banking clan, the Rothschilds. They served as Drake’s primary sponsors, led by none other than Ulysses himself. Though Drake had a seat on the executive board, Lyn or Godfrey often attended in his place.

Once Godfrey decided the kitchen was in order, he checked on Lyn. He found her over on the edge of the east gallery looming over the crowd below. She slipped off the black sleeves that covered her arms and tossed them on the ground. She released an exasperated sigh.

“Is everything alright, milady?” Godfrey inquired.

Lyn glanced over her shoulder. She wore a baleful expression, but once she realized his presence, her face softened. “Just kind of irritated…”

“Is it master Drake?”

She nodded. Of course it was.

Godfrey inhaled deeply. He knew to tread his words carefully. “You have every right to be. But please try to understand. Everything he does is for the good of this house and everyone beneath it. I’ve known the man since he was an infant after all.” He gave her an assuring smile.

Lyn returned a smile. Usually, by now, she would have tossed something at him. Instead, she turned her gaze below again. “Thank you, Godfrey…”

Godfrey bowed and excused himself. This evening would be perfect or he would die trying.

8:40 p.m.

The nerve of the man. Drake was lucky looks couldn’t kill or he would be six feet under by now. She tapped her nails against the stone balcony as the party continued below. Everyone appeared satisfied with their filled glasses and bellies. They laughed and conversed without a worry in the world. A general in a fine red uniform with blue trousers and medals displayed his prized hunting rifle used on an African safari. Balls clashed in the pool table in the billiards room and fumes of smoke from fine tobacco floated in the air.

Though, in reality, it was really just a farce. Lyn knew it took little to impress the wealthy. She hated them. It killed her when she wore her poker face to greet them and pretend they were her friends. It went against her very nature. But Drake had it figured out, and he played the game well. Politics was just a game, after all. She would have continued to pout the night away if it wasn’t for the woman with the pink hair.

“What the fuck?” She leaned over the balcony, gazing deep into the crowd.

And as quick as a fox, she hopped over the balcony, landing on the floor below. She startled a few guests but ignored them as she pushed through the crowd. Courtesy was a luxury she didn’t have right now. She reached the pink-haired woman talking to a Parliament member at the base of the grand stairs by the Athenian statues. Lyn grabbed the man by the shoulder and pulled him away.

He scoffed, and before he could confront her; she gave him a threatening leer. Anyone with half a brain knew better than to slight Drake’s mistress. The man raised his arms to deescalate the situation and walked away. Lyn turned her attention to the strange woman.

“I don’t recall you being on the guest list,” Lyn said.

The woman wore a sardonic smile. She reached into her purse and pulled out an envelope. You have been cordially invited to spend an evening at Drake’s grand country-estate- The words didn’t lie. But who in their right mind would have sent her an invitation of all people? Godfrey. Damn that butler, he was too good at his job.

“What are you doing here, Rain?”

Rain giggled. “I came here to check on my little pet,” she replied. “My, you’ve grown to be so beautiful.” She rubbed Lyn’s cheek.

“Don’t touch me…” Lyn said, swatting away her hand. “Whatever business you have here is with me. Not with Drake. Not with anyone here-”

“Then you’re welcome to explain the situation to them…”

Lyn stifled a gasp. Trepidation filled her heart going up to her throat. Rain looked harmless. Just another enticing woman with twin braids of pink hair and Indigo eyes. She was slim, with fair skin and a perfectly symmetrical face. And also an apex predator…

Lyn rushed to the large table near the Atlas statue that housed a majority of the wine and spirits. She reached a glass and tapped it with a spoon. “Excuse me everyone, there’s something I’d like to say!”

The crowd turned their attention to her. Silence filled the estate. Some guests watched from the balconies of the east and west gallery on the second floor. Godfrey, having just served a tray of gourmet cheese, stopped in his tracks. The guests smiled at the birthday girl, waiting for her to thank them for showing up. The narcissists…

She raised a glass. Godfrey smiled. “I’d like to thank everyone for coming out tonight for my birthday, and for drinking all my booze-” she said sluggishly, though very exaggerated. The crowd guffawed. “-but seriously, you can all go now…”

Godfrey tore through the crowd like a man on fire. He grabbed her arm. “Lady Lyn, what are you doing?” he gritted.

She pulled her arm away and gave him that tiger-like look again. Godfrey backed away, his face was wounded.

“Seriously, get out, all of you,” she said, gulping her glass and smashing it on the floor. The crowd didn’t move. Whispers spread like wildfire. Desperate times called for desperate measures. “GET THE FUCK OUT, EVERYONE!”

The guests formed a scowl and headed towards the estate’s main doors to the front courtyard. They cursed and muttered insults to their breath as they departed to include the staff. She waited until they were all gone and turned to Godfrey. “Godfrey, get out of here. I’ll explain later,” she said, her voice soft.

Godfrey nodded as he rushed to the kitchen to make sure no one else remained. Lyn turned to Rain, still wearing the same sardonic smile as usual. “That was quite a show,” she said.

Lyn ripped the pearls from her neck. “That was nothing compared to what’s gonna happen next…”

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