The Rules (Part 1)

The rules, the rules!

You are my servant not a martinet.

An old grandfather clock stood at the corner of her enormous room, a pendulum swinging back and forth, a muffled ticking sound was only heard other than the faint sounds of their even breathes.

 She was staring at her own countenance on the rounded mirror, a timid maid was carefully combing her curly hair. She was deep in thought.

Will there be a day that her mother would comb her hair? She would be looking forward to that day.

Tomorrow Ms. Swann will be teaching her waltz, oh how she hated waltz, but the Marchioness said there would be some dancing on her birthday. Waltz shall be her specialty. If only she had the guts to tell her mother she hated dancin

“Margaret, do you have children?” Hime asked, startling the maid.

“I don’t have one, Young Lady.” Margaret was surprised since it was the first time the lady had talked to her.

 “Younger siblings?” She was looking at Margaret’s reflection in the mirror, her eyes inquiring.

“Only one, milady. A girl.” Her answer was polite, she was feeling unease at the lady’s inquisitive eyes that was reflected in the mirror.

“How old is she then?” Her tone was cute, but has a pitch that was sometimes irritating.

“Turning eight by next month, Young Lady.”

“Oh,” she breathed.

Then she turned around to look directly at Margaret.

“Does she know waltz at her age?”

Margaret choked her own saliva at that, then she found a hard time to restrain her laugh. “Servants know only how to serve their masters, milady. To serve masters is in our blood, we don’t find dancing a necessary. My sister has no exception.”

Hime’s brows almost meet. She was contemplating.

“Well,” she shrugged her shoulders.

“She should not even try. I saw some nobles dancing waltz before. I find the steps hard especially for a small girl like me, and I particularly dislike the heel clicks!”

“I’ve heard, Young Lady, that it is an easy dance.” The maid said as she continued to comb her hair.

“You just heard it, Isawit!” Hime squeaked.

Margaret went silent as her face went apologetic.

Momentarily, there was a knock on the door.

“Who is it? At this very hour?”

“It is I, Stephan.” Stephan answered behind the exceptionally huge door.

"Uncle Stephan!” She shrilled, standing up. She looked up at Margaret, her eyes demanding, “Open it Margaret! Quickly!”

 “Yes, milady.” The maid shivered as she quickly went to open the door. She bowed as the young earl had his way to Hime’s room.

 “Leave us for awhile, Margaret.”

The servant nodded and before she exited the room, Hime directed, “It is okay not to come back, Margaret. Have a nice sleep.”

The maid just smiled as she bowed.

“You got her name right this time, last time you called her Bracey.” Stephan noticed as he sauntered towards his niece.

“She has braces, it is a name I use to call her.”

Stephan narrowed his eyes while Hime swirled around her uncle before sitting down on her soft bed. “Used to, I mean.” She restated.

Stephan sat on the chair where Hime had just seated on, then resting his ebony cane on his side, glancing once at the mirror to give a hasty look of himself.

“Are you staying here tonight, Uncle Stephan?” She asked, waggling her feet up and down.

He looked at her reflection in the mirror, he saw her eyes were pleading him to stay.

“Nay. This is why I am here, in your room, to bid you goodbye before I leave.” Hime looked disappointed, very disappointed at his reply.

“At this hour?” She took a glimpse outside the colossal windows. “The weather is not good either, Uncle Stephan.”

“I have to fix some things in Skenfrith, my lovely niece. I have a three days appointment with the Duke of York. I must leave now if I wanted to be present on your birthday, it takes a day from here to Skenfrith by carriage, you know that don’t you?” He said as he stood up, noticing how sad Hime had become, he walked closer to her.

"If it is very important then please do not worry about my birthday, Uncle Stephan.”  As much as possible, she doesn’t want to become a burden to her uncle.

Stephan sighed, standing now in front of her, he kneeled.

He cupped her chin up to make her face him, even though he was kneeling already, Hime’s height was no match to his.

“Why such a sad face? I will be here on your birthday. I promise.”

Her expression has lightened up, she held his hand, “Really promise?”

He smiled, leaning his forehead to hers, he uttered softly, “I promise. Nothing is as important as you are, Lil Hime. Besides, since when did I not attend your birthdays? I was always present.”

There was a wide smile on her lips.

“Do not forget my gift, okay? And…and,” she was now curling her bangs with her thumb, a habit she was unconscious about. “You should see me dancing!”

“Oh really, that is great. What dance?” Stephan quirked a brow, interestingly.

“Waltz.” She whispered very shyly.

“Waltz? Interesting ey!” He squeezed Hime’s cheeks, very lightly of course.

“I have a very big reason not to miss your birthday!”

“I will do it right.” She said.

There was then a soft knock, and Hime wore a displeasing face, disliking the sudden interruption.

 “Come in.” Stephan uttered. The door ejected the Moorefield’s butler, Mr. Charles.

He was forty-five years old and he already has white hairs all over his head. He was all in black suit with white gloves. And he was even taller than the earl. Hime knew Mr. Charles ever since she started to talk, he was her parent’s butler.

“Pardon me, Earl Stephan. But the Marchioness has instructed me to remind you about the time. The lady has an appointment with Ms. Swann tomorrow morning, she needs enough rest, and the Marchioness also said that you should be leaving before ten, or else you will have to stay here tonight.”

“I understand, Mr. Charles. Thank you.” Stephan grasped, getting now on his feet.

He patted her head. “Hime, the next time I go back to Skenfrith, which is actually the day after your birthday, you will come with me. You will be under my care while your mother is on a long business trip.”

Hime shook her head as a gesture of her big yes. “Cain, too.”

He just nodded.  Even though he disliked the idea of taking the boy.

“I must leave now.” He kissed her on the forehead.

 “Good night, my little Himeliariz.”

 “Be safe, Uncle Stephan.”

The End

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