The man sitting opposite William put the heavy tumbler on the table.
The expensive piece of furniture was conveniently placed next to the richly decorated sofa his companion was almost lying in.
He was dressed in a dark, well-tailored suit which most likely cost William’s pay for the entire year.
Judging by his speech, he was someone from the upper classes, yet the nobleman’s behavior didn’t match his noble origin in the least.
He’d untied his black cravat, spoke of books idly, and didn’t seem to be interested in the game they were playing at all.
The man hadn’t introduced himself when they’d met earlier and he hadn’t been accompanied by a servant or another nobleman.
William was sure the place they were at wasn’t even the man’s main house.
This was more like an apartment where the nobleman invited his private guests; it was likely he didn’t keep a regular household, as they were just the two of them and he hadn’t seen a maid around.
William knew some men from the upper classes had the habit of privately renting a place, where they could invite whomever they pleased, far and free from the class norms their noble origin required them to comply with.
“Cigarette? ” The nobleman offered and took one out from an intricately crafted box.
William saw letters he couldn’t recognize written on it and assumed it had probably been imported from God knew where.
“Uhh no, thank you.” He looked back at the cards he was holding and tried to find a way to feign indifference to what he was seeing.
And that was he had zero winning cards. William had no idea how that was possible.
“More whisky, then?”
A slow smile spread on the nobleman’s handsome face.
This person was enough of a distraction as it was, he didn’t need to try and talk to William right now.
His bright red hair made his cold blue eyes even more outstanding and attractive. And intimidating at the same time.
William was painfully aware he was being observed and that alone was enough to make him feel nervous.
“No, no. Thank you.” He stuttered.
“Ah, I see there isn’t much you want, then. Besides winning the money on the table, that is.”
The gentleman gestured at the four cards on the table with the pile of money and a few jewels next to it. He leaned forward then and said lazily
“I know you don’t have anything besides those two sevens and from what I’ve counted so far, those are your strongest ones.” He took a sip from his glass and folded his own cards.
“How...?” William’s hands began visibly shaking.
“You seem tense. This is only a game, after all?” the question hung in the air and the man leaned back again.
“I... this was my last money. If I lose them...”
The blue eyes lingered on William’s face, then the man said
“Then, perhaps, we could settle the...this inconvenience in a different way. Because you very well know you can’t just run away.”
He had the upper hand and he knew it. More - he seemed to be taking pleasure in it.
“I... what other way?”
The red-haired nobleman smiled, this time it was almost viciously.