Chapter 21

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Sebastian was well-fed come dinner time. He was patting his stomach when the servants came in with a tub and his clean clothes. He raised an eyebrow at the one hobbling under his clothes. The poor guy was sporting a sling, a black eye, and a serious limp. Must have been the guy who had copped a feel.

He wiped off his hands and casually pushed the plate off the bed. It flew into the path of the banged-up servant. Sebastian watched with a grin as the guy tripped on it and went down hard. His clothes fell around the poor guy in disarray like fall leaves drifting off their tree before winter.

“Hey there, short stuff, my clothes are getting wrinkled,” Sebastian chortled from the bed.

The other servants worked to pick up the clothing and refold it. He noticed no one was helping the guy on his floor. The guy would probably have a worse limp now, served him right. One of the women walked over to him and bowed, staying well out of grasp as she did so.

“Your bath is ready. The lady requested you be prepared for her.”

Sebastian looked over to where three girls stood ready by the tub. It looked like a human equivalent of a car wash. He nodded and got up to walk over to them.

He stopped, sighed and leaned over grabbing the floor mess by the scruff of the collar and hauling him upright. He didn’t bother to say anything while he set the guy on his feet. Sebastian told himself he only did it because otherwise the guy would be on his floor all night.

“You girls going to wash and wax me?” Sebastian joked as he started stripping.

A couple girls suddenly looked frightened as one exclaimed, “We didn’t know about a waxing…”

            “Relax, it was a joke.” Sebastian tossed his borrowed clothes away from the water line of the tub and climbed in. “Ah,” he sighed as the hot water covered him.

            He also hadn’t failed to notice the same two girls exchanging nervous looks as he’d slid into the water. Apparently, they were having second thoughts about having to wash him too. Their glances continued.

            “Shoo, I’m capable of bathing myself.”

            The two took off in a hurry and he smirked. The other remained, staring him down with a look that could have stripped paint off a Buick. He stared right back as he grabbed the soap and began working it across his body. Why in the hell was she still staring?

            “My lady requested that you be properly prepared, sir.”

            “I was told that already,” Sebastian interrupted and watched as this girl nodded to the others.

            They all exited the room with a bang and she stared back down at him. Wait, had she said her lady?

            “My lady asked me to do certain duties to make sure you are prepared for your adventure tonight.”

            “Um, sure,” he answered a little nervous now.

            The woman grabbed the soap back from him and proceeded to scour him. She might as well have used steel wool for all the gentleness she was showing. Sebastian watched her closely when she began to lean over the tub. Something plopped into the water from her apron pocket.

            “Silly me, I seem to have dropped the washcloth.”

            It wasn’t a washcloth she’d dropped and he knew it. Obviously the conversation was for people listening in. His hands groped around the bottom of the steel tub until his fingers closed around a cloth. He pulled it to the surface, noting that it was more solid than cloth had a right to be. Sebastian merely arched a brow at the girl.

            “You hang on to that one, I’ve got plenty,” she said, continuing to scrub him.

            He took a big breath and gave a large sigh. As he did so, he noticed the soap had a strange aroma to it now. It basically stunk to high heaven and he fought not to plug his nose. What in the world was the woman doing to him? Was he sure Elizabeth had ordered all this?

            Curiosity got the better of him and he unfolded the cloth under the water. Metal glinted in the light and he smiled as he palmed the dagger. A weapon, perfect. The wet cloth he arranged artfully over his manly goods. He wasn’t going to have the scouring pad treatment there. He cringed at the thought.

            “Take this soap and scrub down there while I wash your hair,” the girl whispered, dropping the soap into the water.

            “I got that,” he said loudly and dug for the soap.

            Her fingers latched into his hair and the same time and Sebastian bit his tongue to keep from calling out. More nasty smelling goo was smeared into his short hair and he closed his eyes in case the suds were dangerous. He carefully soaped himself under the water while her fingers scarred his scalp. This was by far the worst bath he’d ever received and he’d been in places that considered mud pits bathing.

            A low whisper coiled within his ear, so low a normal human wouldn’t have heard it and he knew it had to be from the girl doing the washing.

            “The scent of the soaps hides you from the vampires. It also has an ingredient that will make them sick if they bite you.”

            He took the warning to heart and scrubbed his little angel a little more thoroughly. Would serve all the vampire bitches right if they locked down on him again. Sebastian smiled, taking the cloth and tying what was left of the soap artfully around his ankle. A person never knew when poison would come in handy.

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