Slave for You

Sebastian Francis Wethermere the third stood, delicate silver platter in hand, offering a delicious range of pastries to the old lady nestled in her armchair. Her pale white hair was curled into the exact shape of a cumulonimbus cloud, which she stroked a hand over quickly. Romana Silverstone, such a beautiful lady, even time could not snatch any radiance from her. She surveyed the shining platter with brown eyes, taking in the delicious decoration of the smooth pink iced doughnuts and pretty little fairy cakes. She reached a delicate gloved hand over to the tray and picked out a fairy cake.

"Is everything to your liking m'am?" Sebastian asked, desperate to seek his white goddess' approval. She graced him with a smile and took a bite from the cake, licking the icing off her fading pink lips.

"Yes, it was all perfect, well done Sebastian. What would I do without you?" She asked, as she was accustomed to every time Sebastian asked such a question. She always requested for him to be less formal with her, after all he was not just his butler, he was her best friend. Friend... that word was a knife to his heart, worse than any punishment hell could ever have in store. He loved her with all his being, with all he was, with all his heart, but did she didn't return his love. He was her "dearest friend", but never more, never anything more.

"Thank you m'am," he replied, bowing his very lowest of bows before leaving the room quickly. "No Romana my dear, what would I do without you?" He added in his head. His feet glided over the soft red carpet, leading him to his room, it was glamorous, for a butler's room, yet it held no comfort to him. He didn't want his own room, he wanted to stay with her in her room. He reached into his bottom drawer and pushed aside his neatly folded waistcoats and pulled out a small picture. He looked at it, a feeling of warmth spreading through him, his Romana. It was a picture of her when she was young, those had been some good times, she had been so young and free then. She was still beautiful, but she no longer had the strong youthful glow that had once surrounded her like an aura.

It made his heart tighten to see how much she had looked like Lumina, were it not for Romana's slightly more outstanding nose, they could have been twins. Watching Lumina filled him with memories of this Romana, when he had met her and first become her humble butler. She had been slightly older than Lumina then, starting out with her own house from her father's fortune. He smiled at the memory, it had been love at first sight, he had adored her proper ways and her elegance. He had been quite young himself, first starting out as a butler, he could never have guessed he would spend his entire life with this woman. That was what he had always wanted, to spend his life with this woman.

Things never went as planned though, he had spend his years as her servant, not as her husband, not like he wanted. He had watched her and had been there for her, every step of the way. He'd watched as she met her husband, Lumina's uncle, and heard her speak of him like he was god's gift. He'd watched with a heavy heart as she'd fallen in love and married and eventually started a family together. He loved Lumina and he had loved her mother, but they were not his family, not as he would have liked them to be. He'd watched Romana's sorrow when Alfonzo had died and listened to her as she'd told him she no longer wanted to live. He had loved her, ever since the day they had met.

He ran a wrinkled finger across the black and white photograph and remembered the spirited woman with glossy golden chestnut hair and sparkling brown eyes that were lit with the fire of courage. She was the most courageous woman he'd ever met and he wished he could tell her that, he wished he could open up his heart and show her what was inside. He hesitated, why didn't he tell her? Alfonzo had been dead for so long, surely she could find a small space in her heart to squeeze him in. His mind made up he stood quickly and walked into Romana's bedroom.

He was in such a hurry that he forgot to knock, but with the door open he spotted Romana gazing sadly at a picture of Alfonzo.

"Excuse me m'am, but I forgot to knock. Might I seek a word with you?" He asked hopefully, his blue eyes twinkling. She glanced up at him, a sorrowful look in her eyes.

"I still miss him, I don't think I could have ever loved anyone more..." She sighed, shaking away the sadness, the frown disappearing from her wrinkled face. "What was it you wanted to ask?"

Sebastian smiled bitterly, she'd unwittingly given him every answer he needed. "It's nothing m'am, nothing at all... would you like to visit Alfonzo's grave and place some roses this afternoon?"

Romana shook her head sadly and let out a cough. "No... my old heart can't take the pain."

Sebastian nodded, yes, that was a good reason for not telling her how he felt. His old heart couldn't take it.

"But I suppose it is decidedly better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, is that not right Sebastian... my memory is bad?" She questioned, her brown eyes twinkling.

"I wouldn't know m'am..." He began, but he stopped, of course he had loved and lost. He had loved and lost all his life with the same woman. Was that really less painful than never to have loved at all? Yes, he would rather love Romana and never have her know than not love her like he did. His love for her was what kept him smiling, and what stopped him giving up. "You're right... of course m'am."

She smiled at him and watched as he bowed and walked away. Her butler he was, her butler he had always been and her butler he would remain. Even if he was no longer officially a butler to the family he would still be a servant... no he was a slave, he was a slave to his heart. He was a slave for her and she could never know.

-lapizlazuli-