She stood up like they hadn’t just been negotiating his life and held out her hand. “Okay, I don’t know much about Kept but I do know simple things like you need touch from your Keeper.”
He put his hand in hers and tried to hide his expression. Expressions. All of the feelings that wanted to move across his face, none of them really helpful in this situation and almost all of them involving the word confused.
“I’m pretty sure,” Sylviane commented dryly, “that I’m not supposed to know more about that than you do. First things first, I’m going to give you a tour of the house and grounds. And then we are going to negotiate with my father an hour a day where you hang out with him and I agree not to leave my room and to let you two put up appropriate shielding Workings – because apparently I can’t be trusted to shield myself. You don’t need to give me that look,” she added. “I’m fae and my father’s rich; of course I know basics of how to defend myself. I wouldn’t have been given my Name if I didn’t.”
He cleared his throat. “Ma’am, yes ma’am. Tour?”
“Tour. This way.” She squeezed his hand and gestured around. “This is my suite of rooms. This is where I do homework and hang out with people, bathroom’s there, bedroom is through those doors. The bed’s big enough for three, because my mother has sensible sensibilities.”
He snorted. He had a feeling he might find that one out eventually, and he had no idea how he felt about that. “And I-”
At some point she was going to remember he was a slave, or her father was, and it was going to get ugly. But since she seemed to want him to be a person, asking where he was going to sleep seemed reasonable.
“That’s up to you. Options include in my bed, on that sofa bed, which is actually pretty comfortable, or anywhere else within the leash that my father gave you…” She trailed off and studied him.
Leander shifted uncomfortably. ‘What?”
“Choices They make you uncomfortable.”
“Choices with a wrong answer make me uncomfortable,” he retorted.
“I promise you, there is no wrong answer. You don’t know me; if you don’t want to share a bed with me, that’s fine. If you do, that’s fine, too. It’s a very nice bed.”
He shifted again. “I can… uh. Decide tonight.”
“You can,” she agreed. “Okay, the rest of the house. There’s my father’s suite, and then we go downstairs and up again and get over to that part of the house,” she gestured. “That’s the guest suites. And then over there, that’s where the staff lives. We have live-in staff because my father is a snob,” she added casually, as if it was some sort of long-time joke. “Also, while I can cook, it’s not what you’d want to live on unless you had to. I was a Girl Scout,” she added. “I have all the badges. Cooking, housekeeping, car repair. I pretty much can do anything for myself except build an engine from scratch. Daisy Duke reruns,” she added, and then, grinning, “I know it was called Dukes of Hazzard. Daisy was the only one I cared about. Anyway. Staff there, down here we have the kitchen, the social areas, and my dad’s office. Then there’s the other stairway up, and there’s the gazebo in the backyard, and the pool and the outside social area and.. well, you get the point I don’t bring friends home a lot, and when Dad is entertaining, I usually go elsewhere pretty quickly, so you won’t have to know much of that. Gym in the basement -” she reached over and squeezed his bicep. “Unless that’s your Change, guess I’m going to be spending more time on the treadmill so you can maintain that.”
Leander’s smile shifted. He could feel the edges of it now, the sort of brittle plastic expression he’d worn in the shop and sometimes before that. “I’ll be sure to keep in shape on my own, ma’am.”