Chapter Two

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The nest day, Snow arrived home to find the house very quiet and very empty. She strolled through each room, talking aloud thinking her father was there, only to discover his workshop all tidied up. Not one single piece of paper in sight. No journals, no plans, no equations, not an iota of evidence he had been working there for two years non-stop; everything was gone, even Edison.

A loud knock on the front door startled her out of confusion and into great concern. She ran into the parlour, swung open the door and braced herself for the worst news possible.

'My father, is he ok? Where is he, please I must find him,' she prattled on before she even looked to see who was standing there. When she looked up, clear blue eyes stunned her into silence. Standing before her stood a lanky, young stranger, hair sticking up all over the place, with one hand raised in the air where the door should have been. He looked on Snow with as much shock on his face as hers.

Then a small, shaggy mountain barged its way though the opened door, bowling Snow over and dragging the handsome stranger into the home.

'Oooophf!' she exclaimed as doggy drool lathered her face. 'Edison, Edison, stop, please stop!' and the warm tongue ceased its licking.

'Oh my apologies, please, I beg your pardon, Miss.'

Once she had managed to set herself on her own two feet again, and removed much of the doggy saliva from her brow, Snow had in her mind to tell this home invader exactly what she thought of him.

'How dare you come into my home...'

'Please Miss Peto, let me explain. I am Hunter, your father's new assistant. I've been out walking Edison, and I didn't mean to frighten you,' he said very quickly. 'We have just been down at the park, chasing squirrels, er, well, Edison has been chasing squirrels, I've been chasing Edison.' he continued with a smirk. 'Your dog is a very big dog, huge in fact.' and with that, the dog stood up on his hind legs, placed both his front paws on Hunter's shoulders and licked his face.

'Edison, down, stop that at once,' she jumped forward, mortified, and took the dog's collar and pulled him down and away from the parlour, through the kitchen and out through the back door. Closing the door, she took a deep breath and turned around.

'My father, where is he?' remembering again, all at once.

'He is fine, Miss Peto,' he interrupted her. 'He is in his new workshop setting things up and is finalising details with the Baroness on his work.'

'The Baroness?' she slumped into a kitchen chair rubbing her forehead with a gloved finger. 'Ah yes, the Baroness who is funding his project. Quite right.'

She looked at him again and straightened up in the chair.

'And you took Edison to chase squirrels? Are you insane? You could have lost him!'

The smirk was back on Hunter's face again. 'I was not named 'Hunter' for nothing, I would have found him. Eventually.' He waved a hand through the air indicated it did not concern him.

Snow watched as his eyebrows lifted in arrogance. He didn't look a year over her 13 years, but he seemed to hold himself with the air of a prince.

'Your Father will home for his evening meal. Would you care for my company until he arrives?' he asked interrupting her train of thought.

'Oh, no, I'm quite capable of taking care of things here, and it wouldn't not appear seemly nor appropriate for your company to be found in this home without a chaperone.' She stood up, brushed her hands down her silk skirts and turned towards the parlour. When the young man in her home didn't follow her to the front door, she did something that no self-respecting young woman would do. She pull off a kid glove from one hand and placed two fingers in her mouth and blew.

The whistle sounded through out the house, a high pitch sound that set Edison barking loudly at the back kitchen door. Snow managed to get her glove back on her hand as Hunter rounded the corner of the hallway in rather a hurry, watching over his shoulder for the great beast to storm the building. She tried very hard to keep the humour off her face, but managed to cover it up with a polite little cough into her hand.

'Please tell my father dinner will be at eight. Good day, Mr Hunter.' She was being rude, she knew, but should wouldn't let decorum be waylaid any further in their household, any more than it already had.

Hunter stepped through the door she had opened for him, then turned to talk with her. She nodded and closed the door before he had a change to complete his salutations. She needed to talk to her father.

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