The clock struck noon before Alexandra finally looked up from her preparation of the guest building on the estate. This was a one-storey house-in-miniature on the outskirts of the forest, completely furnished and with a privy bathroom off the bedroom. Guests always ate dinner with their hosts.
The guesthouse was made of the same red rough rock as the main house, to give a feel of unity between the two, distantly-spaced places, but the wall’s facets had not been smoothen down, leaving jagged marks across the entire surface. The roof was slate, but it was flat, not bridged up as the main house was, and when rain fell, as well as leaving weathering marks on the stone, the percussive sound could be heard by all who’d entered the small building.
On the other hand, today though, the room was set up like a glamorous city dining room, the four-poster bed concealed by a thick, black net-curtain; a dining table made of a wood that Alexandra, although no expert, had an inkling was a base red mahogany, had been placed fully in the centre. Everything was set up just like a stage production.
To help combine the reality of the bedroom into the fantasy of the set-up, a glass-bead screen was placed in one corner, ready to be moved into position to hide part of the window in case it became too bright during times of the act. As Alexandra tugged it across, she observed its beauty; it was one of the mistress’, and Alexandra had always liked it. Very ‘part of the times’, thousands of tiny, intricate beads had been arranged in the short upper and longer lower panels of the screen, so that they formed the images of two suns, oval-shaped, their long fingers of the burning rayed light spreading the colour out to the entire screen. The red sunset background, now lighted from the morning blue outside, cast its glow around, not warm and comforting, but yet, to call the glow one draped in eeriness was probably going too far.
As she looked around the room, having finished the entirety of the morning’s work, Alexandra noticed that certain objects caught in the light of the jewel, little things like that silver-coated cutlery or those beads of colour hanging from the gold and ruby lampshades, gave the room a giddy glow; even the thick red carpet seemed to shimmer, shine and sparkle. It made Alexandra feel slightly sick with irony; there lay, behind that black cloth that would hide even the night, the cane that would have glittered if even the tiniest glint of light came upon it, if not for the darkness standing between them.
Also behind the veil lay Christophe. He was there making sure no trouble would befall the cane; making sure it wasn’t in full view of anyone who would have to ‘disappear’ suddenly.
After all, that would be the entertainment…
“It’s wrapped up tight in a fold of the veil of night.” Christophe spoke, poetically, as he appeared from the frame of the satin-sheet, and hidden, double bed.
“Good, we’re just in time too.”
She pointed to the mantelshelf behind herself, where an ornate, rectangular timepiece stood.
“Midday. They will arrive soon…the guests, I mean.”
“Surely, knowing some of them-” (though Christophe couldn’t have meant exactly this as he hadn’t seen the guest-list, and Alexandra doubted that he would have known any of those coming by their names. Thinking about it, Alexandra wondered whether any of them had been invited to the estate on many occasions either.) “-a few guests could be arriving early?”
Alexandra tilted her head to one side and squinted at him in a teasing way.
“Then shouldn’t we be walking to the front gate?”
Christophe flashed a sparkling white grin at the girl.
“Well then, Alexandra.” He extended an arm, which the maid took. “We’d better make our way.”