𝔖𝔦𝔠𝔨𝔢𝔫𝔢𝔡 𝔱𝔬 𝔱𝔥𝔢 ℭ𝔬𝔯𝔢

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Lord Sutherton's study was normally a quiet place.

That was how both Suthertons preferred every room in their home. Quiet. Peaceful. Still.

On those calm days, Lady Sutherton would tend to her drinking wine and reading, and Lord Sutherton to his work.

And that was the established order, before.

"Absurd! That is absurd!" Laughter excitedly spiraled out and bounced off the walls. "How can I have words for that?" Lady Sutherton placed her hand over her mouth, trying to contain the surge of laughter that flew out from her.

"Well, if that's mad," Ezra said, pausing, defensively holding up his hands. "I'm not sure if I should continue." He flashed the pearls of his teeth, a mischievous shimmer in his eyes.

She laughed harder; the happiness as contagious as her smile. "You are not going to tell me it gets worse."

His smile dissipated. Pausing, he looked down at the ground and adjusted the pristine white gloves on his hands.

There was a lingering moment of pause that gravitated the engrossed Lady Sutherton and the stark and grim Lord Sutherton.

"No, it wasn't worse." Ezra glanced up at an eager audience. "It was horrendous."

"It was horrendous?" She floated into a fit of penetrating laughter. "That's the same thing!" She smiled brightly, getting a glimpse of the window where the sun was sinking.

It was already almost evening and the blue sky was sinking into a yellow blaze of fire on the horizon that painted the soft blue into gradients of tangerine oranges and yellows. The day was going by. But neither Lady nor Lord Sutherton seemed to take notice of that in the presence of the young man who spoke music to their ears.

"I know, I know." He chuckled. "But yes, the circumstances were really a bit of a roll in the hills."

"A roll in the hills, you say?" She giggled with a snort. "I'm beginning to believe you were lucky to have made it one piece."

"Well?" He drew his eyes into memory, casually continuing. "I suppose that's why near-death experiences are an experience."

She could barely contain herself as her eyes grew to saucers. "This plot just thickens. Do I even dare to question what happened next?"

He cast his eyes to the side. "In all honesty, I can't say you should." Smiling, he crossed his legs and reached for his teacup seated on the table, and sipped leisurely.

The instant he set his cup down, Lady Sutherton would swiftly wave her wrist, motioning for a standby maid for a refill.

"Those words terrify me in inexplicable ways," she emphatically gushed with more laughter. "I mean, to think if such a thing happened to me, I would not be able to keep my head as you did."

"That's because, before that, she'd throw an anxious fit." Lord Sutherton craftily added with a sip of his tea.

She cast a glance at her husband. For a moment she contemplated before releasing her reply with caution. "Yes, I probably would have, but where would you have been? Fleeing like a boy? Sebastian was the brash and brave one, not you."

Lord Sutherton froze, his iron grimace piercing into her.

"Or? Hear me out, maybe not either." Ezra interrupted their raw stares. "The way I imagine it, if you, Lady Anya or Lord Davyid, as much uttered your names, anyone in their right mind wouldn't so much as attempt to try anything."

Lord Sutherton straightened his spine and settled his sight on Ezra.

Lady Sutherton leaned back into her seat. Likewise, her eyes landed on the same person.

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