The Man in The Mansion

All Rights Reserved ©

Best Boy

WARNING: MENTIONS OF SUICIDE.

Ava and Edmund pulled up to the house and as Edmund began unloading groceries, Ava went inside to ask the kids to help unload. When she opened the door, the kids scrambled to hide something before proceeding to act like nothing happened.

“Did you kids break something?” Ava asked hanging the keys up.

“No, not today.” Jo answered.

“Then what’re you hiding?” Ava asked looking behind them. All of the kids moved in front of whatever it was.

“Nothing.” Katie said quickly. They were definitely hiding something. Edmund came in the house holding groceries and as soon as he looked at the kids, he sighed and dropped the bags on the table.

“Children, do you want to explain why you have a dog in the house and where exactly it came from?” he asked crossing his arms.

“A dog?!?” Ava exclaimed. How the fuck did he know they had a dog? Even she hadn’t seen any signs of a dog. The kids moved aside, and Jo pulled the towel off to reveal a partially dried westie.

“A west highland terrier. Where exactly did you find it?”

“He was sitting on the front porch when me and Katie went to play outside. He was really dirty, so we gave him a bath.” Ben explained.

“He’s 2 years old, most likely born towards the end of August. He didn’t have a collar so he may not belong to anyone.” Katie said. The dog wagged his tail and yipped at Edmund.

“He used to belong to someone. The owners moved and left him behind.” Edmund said looking at the dog.

“Bastards, who leaves a pup behind.” Ava mumbled as she scratched behind his ear.

“Can we keep him please??” Jo begged. The others chimed in.

“I’m sorry, children but we are not keeping the dog.” Edmund said sternly.

“Come on, Ed. I think it’s a good idea. The kids are more than capable of taking care of a dog. Besides, look at his cute little face.” Ava said cupping the dog’s face and scratching the side of his face; his tongue flopped out of his mouth as his tail wagged so fast, it created a breeze.

“A-Alright, fine. I suppose you children are responsible enough for a dog. As long as you all promise to take good care of him.” Edmund said sighing. The kids are tackled their dad in a hug.

“Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!” They all exclaimed, crushing their dad in a hug. Ava chuckled. The dog yipped happily. After they finished hugging their dad, they attacked Ava, knocking her to the ground.

“Thank you!!” they yelled. Ava laughed and hugged all 4 kids.

“You’re welcome. Now go help unload the car.” Ava chuckled. The kids nodded and ran to go unload the car. Edmund held out his hand and helped Ava up.

“Are you alright?” He asked.

“I’m fine, thanks.” She said wiping off her pants. “Have you ever had a dog?”

“No, I’m not very fond of animals.” He said picking the wet towel up. “What about you?”

“Cats are assholes so I’m more of a dog person. Growing up, I had a bulldog named Lola. She was the sweetest dog I’ve ever met; it broke my little heart when she ran away.” Ava said as she began to put groceries away.

“I’m sorry to hear that. My brother and I didn’t have the time nor the money to own a dog, so I never had a childhood pet. Not that it bothered me much, as I said I’m not very fond of animals.”

“Well, I’m sure this little guy will wiggle his way into your heart. He already seems to like you.” Ava said chuckling as the dog sat at Edmund’s feet and stared at him with a smile.

“Well, I’m sorry to inform you, little pup, you and I are merely acquaintances.” Edmund said to the pup. Ava softly snickered.

After the groceries were put away, the family sat in the living room and discussed what to name the pup. So far, there was 3 for Fluffers and 2 for the name Westly.

“Fluffers is such a basic name, Katie. Meanwhile Westly the westie sounds super cool.” Jo argued.

“Fluffers is cute name which is what he is! He’s fluffy and he’s cute. Westly sounds boring.” Katie argued back.

“Just because it’s basic doesn’t mean it’s not cute, Jo. It’s better than Westly.” Danny said siding with his sister.

“I happened to think Westly is a very dignified name. A proper name for a proper pup.” Edmund added.

“What do you think we should name him, Ava?” Ben asked looking up at Ava, whose lap he was sitting in.

“I like Fluffers. While it may be basic name, it’s cute and I think it fits him.” She said patting the pup’s head.

“Yes! 4 to 2, so his name shall be Fluffers!!” Katie said hopping up. Fluffers woofed in excitement.

“Ugh, fine. I still think Westly would’ve been cooler. Welcome to the Lucilius family, Fluffers.” Jo said petting him. Fluffers wagged his tail and licked her hand.

“I will make an appointment for a checkup on Friday and as for the necessities, we can pick them up after Danny’s lesson.” Edmund said standing up

“Ugh, I forgot that it was Monday.” Danny scoffed before heading upstairs with Edmund following after. Ava decided to sit down and read until the boys were finished and since the library was in use, she knew exactly where she was going to read. Besides, she had told Edmund that she would read his books and she fully intended to keep her word. As she walked into his study, which to her surprise was unlocked, she noticed Illusions of Yesterday sitting in the armchair. She picked the book up and sat it on the tea table next to the chair. She would reread it later, but she had some children’s books to read first. She skimmed through all of the books to find his name but alas, she found none. A few of the books were stories such as Little Women and The Great Gatsby but most of the stories were written by Estelle. Maybe he had his own stories somewhere else. For the time being, she grabbed a few of Estelle’s books and sat in the chair. She noticed some of the books belonged to a series, starting with The Adventures of Mr. Hoppington. Ironically, the rabbit in the series looked similar to Katie’s stuffed bunny. She found it cute that she named her stuffie after the bunny in the series. She wondered why Estelle decided to branch out to murder/mystery after doing so many children’s books. Not that someone couldn’t branch off their usual genre, Ava only wondered what gave her the inspiration to make such a bold jump. She had so many questions to ask Estelle. What gave her the inspiration to write Illusions of Yesterday? If she were given the chance to write a sequel, would she take it? Would she ever consider writing similar stories? How did she feel now that she had a fan of Illusions of Yesterday? Why did she give her only copy to Edmund? The last question didn’t really have much to do with the book, but she was genuinely curious as to why she would give the book she hated more than any of her other works to a random author. Even if they were more than just colleagues, she had to wonder.

Maybe they had something going on?

Not that it mattered to Ava, of course. After all, he was a single man who could do whatever he wants with whoever he wants. Besides, Ava had only known him for a week and just because he had been nothing but kind to her and took care of her yesterday when he genuinely didn’t have to didn’t mean he was interested in her, and that was perfectly fine. She didn’t even know much about him. All she really knew was his birthday, occupation and that he had a twin brother; that wasn’t much. She shook her head and continued to read.

Later that day, after they returned from the pet store, Ava made her way to the roof through the window in her room. She took a seat and leaned back; ever since she was a kid, she loved to sit on the roof, despite it giving her mother a heart attack. Ironically, she felt safe up there, like her problems couldn’t get to her. She had the same mindset, even as an adult. Student loans couldn’t get her, she was too high up. She heard some noises from her open window and glanced over to see Edmund pop his head out and frantically look around. Once he saw her, he gave a sigh of relief.

“You gave me quite a scare, Ava.” Edmund said climbing out to join her.

“Thought I jumped?” Ava asked.

“Forgive me, but you had a depressive yesterday and then I see the window open in your bedroom on the second floor of a mansion, it can give a man quite the scare.” He said sitting beside her.

“Don’t worry, Ed. I’m not gonna jump off the roof. If I were gonna punch my own ticket, I’d do it in a more interesting manner. Off the dam, Javert style.” Ava said chuckling. Edmund gave a nervous and uneasy chuckle, making Ava realize that she probably shouldn’t joke about committing suicide around him, considering he knows her mindset is fucked.

“Ava, may I ask you a personal question?” Edmund asked, his usual expression replaced with a worried expression.

“Uh yeah, go ahead, Ed.”

“Have you ever had thoughts? About taking your own life?” he asked. “You don’t have to answer, I know it’s none of my business and if it’s not something you’d like to discuss, I will completely understand.”

“Ed, it’s fine.” Ava laughed, stopping his nervous rambling. “Yeah. I have, but I’ve never actually tried to do it. I couldn’t do that to my family, and that includes you and the kids”

“You consider us part of your family?” Edmund asked.

“Yeah. If someone is willing to take care of my sorry ass during my depressive episodes, I would definitely call them my family.” Ava said smiling at him.

“Even if you decide to go home next week, I will gladly come to your apartment to care for you.” He said offering a small smile.

“Careful, you come over too often and Ms. Simmons is gonna think you’re either my boyfriend or my sugar daddy and you’re not my sugar daddy until I suck your dick for Versace.” Ava said trying not to laugh. Edmund went from highly embarrassed to highly embarrassed while trying not to laugh,

“Ava, that’s highly inappropriate.”

“Inappropriate but funny.” Ava said nudging his arm.

“You know, Ava, I don’t think I’ve ever met a woman as remarkably interesting such as yourself.” Edmund said with a smile. She smiled and looked away.

“That’s one hell of a pickup line, Ed.” She said, still not looking at him. Once again, he became a stuttering mess before clearing his throat.

“If you’d like to perceive that as a pickup line, then thank you. I was merely speaking the truth.” he said after a moment.

“You must be one hell of a lady’s man with words like those.” Ava said smiling slightly.

“On the contrary, I don’t speak with many women other than Amelia and Guinevere, my sister-in-law. I do talk with Evelynn from time to time but not as much as I talk with Amelia.” Edmund explained.

“Your brother’s married?” Ava asked.

“Indeed. He got married to Guinevere 2 years ago, I believe.”

“Sorry for sounding so shocked, I just figured from the way you and the kids talk about him that you’d be the first out of the two of you to get married.”

“It’s quite alright, I myself am still shocked that he got married before I did, but he is luckier than I am as far as finding love. Believe or not, I haven’t had many relationships.”

“Really?”

“As I said last week, I was a bit of a workaholic before the children came into my life. I didn’t have the time or the interest to try and find a partner.”

“What about now?” Ava asked involuntarily. “S-Sorry, I didn’t mean to ask that I-“

“It’s quite alright. I suppose if the right woman were to come into my life, I would be open to it.” Edmund said glancing down at Ava. Ava didn’t say anything for a moment as she tried to push down every single emotion in her body that was demanding to show through.

“What about you?” he asked breaking the silence

“Me?”

“Yes. Have you had many relationships?” he asked. “If you’re comfortable with telling me, of course.”

“Yeah, I have had a good few but none that are worth talking about. None of them were okay with the emotional baggage that comes with the package.” Ava explained pointing to her head.

“Then none of them were worth your time. In order to have a functional relationship, you have to learn to love and accept every aspect of the one you are with or it will be a disaster.” Edmund said looking off into the distance. Ava could tell he’d been through a disastrous relationship and she could relate. She stared for a moment before her train of thought was derailed by a very confused Jo.

“What the absolute SHIT are you two doing on the fucking roof?” Jo yelled from the garden.

“Language!” he said before helping Ava up. She followed him to the window and as she went to climb back through the window, Edmund picked her up bridal style and put her on the ground. She stood there for a second in shock before Edmund began to stutter and she swore she saw him crash for a moment.

“I’m sorry, I didn’t want you to get hurt so I figured I would help you down and my first instinct was to pick you up, I’m so sorry.” Edmund rambled.

“It’s-uh-It’s fine, Ed. I’m not upset; I just didn’t expect you to pick me up, that’s all.” Ava stuttered.

“Alright, well I’m going to go start on dinner.” Edmund said before walking out of the room. Ava stood there for a moment before laying down on her bed and burying herself back into Illusions of Yesterday.

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