Senga looked around. The place was not as bad as she’d expected. It was dusty, but the broken furniture had been moved. The grand ballroom stood open and bare of furniture, one of the two wide staircases blocked off. There were no bloodstains, no place on the wall where – where – her grandmother’s portrait was gone, which was not surprising, but one of her mother had replaced it, which was far more startling. She had never seen her mother looking so formal, so comfortably formal, even when the ballroom had been open with the giant parties her parents had thrown.
She turned in a slow circle. She remembered the way that corner had seemed so small, so cozy and hidden, even if you could see right into it from the front door. She’d sat there when there were parties, long past her bedtime. And over there, they’d laid out vast spreads of food, back when this house had bragged a staff second to none.
Behind her, the rest of her crew had opened the grand front double doors but were waiting. She understood. “Enter Monmartin Manor, and make it yours. As Crew, this house is every bit as much your home as it is mine. As family, you can hold this home with me.”
Chitter gasped softly. Allayne squeezed Senga’s hand. “You know you didn’t have to go that far.” Continue reading