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Pen Your Pride

I waved the ebony duvet until it ballooned with air. Tucking the corners of the duvet tightly over the mattress I stepped back to admire my work before dashing forward to plump a pillow. I'd vowed when I'd woken up that morning that I'd do nothing to aggravate my already bumpy relationship with Ashley which meant completing each of my jobs to perfection.

"Morning, Elizabeth." Ashley nodded.

He brought the scent of shampoo out of the bathroom with him as he rubbed a towel through his wet hair.

"Good morning Sir." I was flushed from making his large bed.

The sunlight streamed through his window and hit Ashley's face making his blond hair look white in the bright light. He squinted and flinched away from it, plunging himself back into the cool shadows of his wardrobe. Were vampires actually afraid of the sunlight?

"I can close the window?" I told him, phrasing it as a question.

Following his brief nod I pulled the velvety curtains over the arched window reducing the room to dim darkness. The only light came from the elegant red candles that I'd lit earlier. When I faced Ashley again he was stretched out on his bed with the sketch book open on his lap. His hand was poised above the paper but he seemed to have forgotten what he was going to draw. He was staring at me, or more like through me, as if he was daydreaming. I moved out of his vision and his eyes regained focus as he began to move his hand over the paper.

I was intrigued to see what he was sketching but busied myself with collecting his towel and mopping up the water in the bathroom. I couldn't help but glance at him every now and again. His pencil was tickling the paper and for once the harsh look had faded from his face to be replaced by a serene look of contentedness.

I stood looking at him for a few seconds, unable to help myself. His ivory skin had taken on a glow in the candle light. His alarmingly green eyes glanced up at me. Embarrassed that he's seen me looking at him I hastily gathered up the sodden towels and hurried to take them down to the laundry room.

"Will you get me some breakfast?" Ashley asked as I was closing the door.

I smiled slightly when I realised that this was the first time he's ever asked me to do something rather than instructing me to.

Ashley closed his book as I pushed open the door awkwardly with my hands full with a plate of pancakes and a cup of orange juice. Luckily Abriella had been in the kitchen so I hadn't had to improvise with my poor cooking skills. She'd also let me eat the brownies left over from yesterday ("You is hungry? No?")Before the holly green cover shut completely I managed to catch a glimpse of a lightly drawn picture but from the doorway I couldn't tell what it was.

I handed Ashley his food and without thinking lowered myself onto the edge of his bed, crossing my legs. It was only when he shot me a shocked look that I realised maids didn't generally make themselves at home on the bed of their Master. I jumped off the bed as if I'd been electrocuted but the trace of a smile played on his lips.

"It's okay, you can sit down."

His voice, low and musical caused me to shiver but it had little to do with fear. I sunk cross-legged into the firm mattress as Ashley ate his food. As he chewed his hard jaw line moved entrancingly.

"Can I ask you something?" I asked timidly.

Ashley swallowed, his Adam's apple bobbing in his neck, and nodded hesitantly.

"Why are you so much more... merciful than your father?" I struggled to find the word.

"Merciful?" He asked with evident confusion.

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