Dante paced nervously inside the safety of his bedroom. He’d considered taking Beth to a restaurant but realised almost immediately as he’d had that thought that he didn’t want to be around other people, having their chatter intruding on his evening with her. Plus he figured with Jarvis there to provide disapproving looks in his direction he would be safe. He would be safe?
“Ha,” Dante mocked himself.
He ran a hand over his face and then through his hair messing up his hair for the second time that evening. Grabbing his comb from his dresser he pulled it through his blond hair smoothing down the spiky bits before dropping the comb back on to the top. Rubbing his hands down his black trousers he walked over to his wardrobe and pulled out his jacket and pulled that on over his pristine white shirt. He straightened his cuffs checking the golden cuff links in his sleeves. They were the family crest, a rampant lion with a raised foot resting on a smooth round ball. He’d long since forgotten what the crest meant and had all but forgotten being part of the De’allango family until Jarvis had presented these to him one day, explaining that it was customary to present such a gift on the occasion of a birthday.
Walking out of his room and silently moving down the stairs he caught scent of roses and paused for a moment wondering where it was coming from. Dismissing it with a shake of his head he moved through the long hallway and into the dining room. There he stopped and surveyed the scene.
“Is there something you wish to tell me Jarvis?” He asked loudly.
“Sir,” Jarvis mumbled from the other side of the room where he was fussing with the long velvet drapery, checking that it was in place to cut out the last of the sun’s rays.
“Let me guess, you have no idea what I mean? Is that the way you say it?”
Jarvis straightened and shot Dante a look before lowering his eyes just slightly.
“Sir, you requested a formal meal and I believe that I have complied.”
“So I see,” Dante grinned suddenly, “Perhaps we could have a few less candles though, I wouldn’t want my …. date … to roast.”
Jarvis glanced around the room seeing the tall silver candlestick in the centre of the table with five tall red candles in, their soft flickering flames adding light and shade to the room, then to the side where he’d lit another number of tall church candles and placed them along the mantelpiece interspersed with a number of smaller candles. The two places were set at one end of the table. He’d taken the liberty of using the Spode dining set and again used his master’s best silver cutlery. More candles resided on the antique dresser the other side of the room along with a bouquet of heavy scented roses.
“Sir,” Jarvis looked around the room and sighed. His plan had been to switch off the main light and just allow candles to illuminate the room.
“Fine,” Dante waved his hand in Jarvis’s general direction before looking again round the room. He realised he was being over critical and removed himself, heading along the hallway and into his study. Spotting the decanter of whiskey to the side he strode over to it and poured out a large glassful.
“Sir, the car has arrived.” Jarvis called out just as he was about to drink. His hand shook and the amber liquid cyclone-d in the glass and over the side drenching his fingers and more importantly spilling down himself. He frowned at the growing stain before cursing under his breath.
“Stall her,” he ordered and slammed the glass down with enough force to shatter it before spinning around and racing up the stairs.
Jarvis heard the words and felt the draft of Dante running past him almost at the same time he saw the glass disintegrating on the side table. Hiding his smile at the uncharacteristic actions from his master Jarvis moved towards the door. He waited a heartbeat schooling his features into an impeccable mask before reaching for the large brass doorknob and turning it. The door swung open without a sound and he stood there feeling his words of greeting stall on his lips as he first saw ‘Beth’. Her long hair curled around a perfect heart shaped face. She had dark sapphire blue eyes with golden specks in and a perfect cupid bow mouth. The pale complexion completed the look.
“Hello,” she said nervously, her voice of course, Jarvis noted, musical. No wonder his master was smitten, she was quite lovely.
“Madam, please come in,” he invited formally taking a step back and bowing his head. His gaze was downwards giving him a view of her dainty feet as she stepped on to the checked floor of the hallway. He waited until she was fully inside before he closed the door behind her. “I’m Jarvis, the butler,” he introduced himself leaving out the complicated titles of his master that were always a mouthful to pronounce. “Allow me to show you into the lounge,” he murmured formally leading the way before opening the door for her to precede him into the room. He watched the way she fiddled with the belt of her jacket and the fussed with the neckline of her dress before touching her fingers to the delicate silver cross at her neck.
He waited a moment allowing her to acclimatise with her surroundings before he began to speak again. “May I take your jacket?”
Beth nodded and fiddled once more with the belt at the waist, undoing that before her fingers moved to the buttons and she slipped it from her arms handing it over to him. She kept hold of a small clutch bag her fingers pressing into the satin material.
“Thanks,” she murmured timidly.
“Can I get you a drink while you wait?”
“Sure, do you think, well,” Beth stopped and sucked in a breath before releasing it slowly, “Could I get a glass of diet coke?”
Jarvis looked startled before he slowly smiled.
“Yes Ma’am,” he murmured and eased out of the room, her coat residing over his arm. As he reached for a coat hanger from the hall closet on which to place the garment he heard muffled swearing inside his head followed by ‘Jarvis for goodness sake get here now,” The words were so sudden and unexpected that he almost dropped the jacket from his hands rescuing it at the last minute to hang it up before closing the cupboard door and racing up the stairs two at a time. “Sir?” he muttered breathing heavily as he walked into his master’s bedroom.
Dante stood by his dresser, wearing just his black boxer shorts and smooth knit socks. The stained shirt hanging off one arm as Dante struggled with the cufflink.
“Sir,” Jarvis said again walking over to him.
“She’s beautiful isn’t she?” Dante said softly.
“She is Sir, more lovely than you described.”
Dante pinned him with his intense gaze, “I was never any good with poetry,” he said quietly.
“There Sir, and Sir, please don’t do that at dinner as I believe she is nervous enough.” Jarvis admonished gently as he freed Dante from his shirt.
Dante looked at him and then looked over at the bed where he’d laid out another Italian made designer suit, with silk tie.
“Got it Jarvis, I won’t mojo you at dinner, please feel free to resume what you were doing before I ‘called’ you,” Dante said slowly pacing over to the wardrobe and pulling out a pair of black trousers and putting them on not noticing as Jarvis nodded before easing out of the room. He added a black cashmere jumper and then removed it before selecting a 100% black Italian silk shirt. Tucking it into his trousers he grabbed his belt from earlier and slid it through the loops before doing it up as he put his shoes back on. Finally satisfied he walked out of his bedroom and down the stairs. To meet his fate.