I got out of the carriage, slinging my bag over my shoulder and taking a deep breath I walked over to my Grams and gave her the general awkward hug you give a relative you’re unwilling to see. Rao padded up the porch steps nodding his head in respect “Delphine, great to see you again. I believe you met Rafe sometime ago.”
Her weather beaten face turned and looked towards Rafe appraising his appearance; her clouded eyes cleared for a flash moment revealing pale, ice blue eyes piercing his, she frowned. “Hello dear, ah and Cassandra my favourite client.” Her frown disappeared and she smiled a tight grin at the vampire who happened to be glaring at me. I glared equally back as Grams led the way indoors, letting Cassandra enter before me out of ‘courtesy’ and totally not fear that she would stab me, or bite me while my back was turned. I noticed Cassandra take a longing look at Rafe before I led Rafe and Rao the way into to the old familiarity.
Entering the hall brought back nostalgic memories of causing mischief and generally having fun with old and young relatives that have come and gone. It was dark and dusty, smelling of lavender oils and spices that are supposed to help relax and enhance abilities, similar crystals to the ones I bought only today were dotted around.
The walls were almost carpeted in cobwebs and the little tapestries were looking dark and dingier than usual. I suppose my Grams never managed to manipulate another relative to keep the house in pristine order like I used to. Though that was only because of my slight tendency to get OCD over the littlest thing being wrong or you know that odd sized book in the middle of a bookcase that has no home but is in the middle of a series, hard times right?
My Grams stops in the hallway “If you and your friends would go sit in the day room, or at least keep yourselves occupied,” she gives me a pointed look making me blush in embarrassment, I like to think I’ve matured recently enough not to prank Cassandra again. Maybe. “I shall see you all later after my clients. “ She totters off, Cassandra following with a small snarl at me, into the dark, back room that plays host to readings and mysterious happenings that I’m not allowed to know about yet.
I open the door to my left, entering a brightly coloured, yellow and flowery room. A bookcase lined one wall I nearly died a little bit inside as I saw books had been left in careless piles all over the floor rather than being put away neatly. Rafe walked into me “You going in then?” he smirks at me and I turn and mock glare at him as I stumble the rest of the way, tripping over books to sit in a plush arm chair.
Rao walked in cautiously making sure not to step on books as he caught my gaze stalking his feet for where he trod. He hopped up onto a wicker chair; Rafe sitting in the centre of a two-seater sofa that he sank into it had that many cushions on it. I smiled apologetically at both of them, “Ta-da!” I laughed nervously.
“You two should probably do some cleaning or something.” Raoul suggested lazily and I raised my eyebrows at him, Rafe looked slightly startled. “Well I have some other business to attend to with another relative of yours; I believe she’s staying in the house for a while. I shall catch up with you later.” I looked at him questioningly as he left the room and sighed shaking my head.
Getting up I glanced quickly at Rafe his eyes closed as he rested back in the sofa, his features were lighter especially in the brightness of the room, shadows now cowered away from him rather than grasping at him and I noticed the slight glint of the tourmaline in his hand. Small butterfly’s fluttered in my stomach, I remembered the moment in the carriage and my lips tingled at the thought of how close we came to a kiss.
“What are you thinking about? Your cheeks are red.” I jump, cheeks burning even redder, feeling his presence behind me. “Oh nothing, just erm, well these books are a mess. It’s killing me.” I mumble a quick response; it was the truth in some ways.
He smiles at me, raising a handsome eyebrow, not sure whether or not he believed me exactly I sat on the floor to sort out the books into piles. “If you want you can help?” I look over my shoulder up at him “They go by author and category, and then we sort of sort them out by colour and size.” He looks at me a little bit like I’m crazy but shakes his head and joins me on the floor.
An hour ticks by in comfortable silence and our hands touch on occasions as we pass each other books. Little secret smiles playing on our lips as a small tension built, the anticipation reached its limit when the last book was going on the bookcase and I just couldn’t reach on my tiptoes. Rafe came up behind me, “Do you need some help?” his voice was low, making me freeze and shiver slightly.
He takes the book, my hand still holding it and reaches upwards his body unbelievably close to mine as he slides the book onto the shelf. My breathing hitches slightly as he still holds my hand. “Thank you.” I gasped and he spun me around so we were face to face. “My Pleasure.” He smirks and I look away from his gaze, cheeks reddening.
“Do you want to help me tidy the rest of the house? I think it seems to be our way of passing time.” He leans his head on top of mine and I swear my heart was going as fast as a humming bird but then he steps back and I can’t help but let out a sigh, of relief or frustration I can’t be too sure. “I’ll follow you anywhere, crazy Dee.” He chuckles under his breath and we spend the next hours dusting and giving a clear out of the Arcana house, by the time we’d finished my Grams had seen five ‘clients’ and darkness was drawing in.
Rao had visited us every now and again before disappearing to another part of the house, who to see I wasn’t sure. Eventually we collapsed back in the day room. Curtains closed now and old fashioned gas lights flared to life as Grams and Rao entered the room together. “It is time.” My pulse quickened and I stood up, now was my chance to do something properly with my prophecy.