Disclaimer: I own the OC's. I also own the story. :D That's it.
Author's Note: I know that I'm not the only Lara/Alex fan here- I have listened to what you guys have said! :) Always said I was going to publish another one, and here it is. :D Enjoy, fellow readers and writers.
Up at 6 AM. Asleep at midnight.
Do research, attend boring business meeting, have tea with a grumpy aunt.
Lady Lara Evangeline Croft was no stranger to strong routines. She had had the same one for the last two years since she had graduated from her university with her double major in archeology and history.
And, quite frankly, she was growing bored of it.
Ever since her 23rd birthday, when she received her full inheritance and title, so much had been expected of her. To be responsible and charming, polite and social, ladylike and brilliant.
And put aside her dreams of becoming a world-famous explorer strictly to maintain her family's image.
The illusion that she was a prim-and-proper heiress was growing thin and annoying, yet she knew that she had to uphold it.
She just wished that, for a change, she could be a princess and have a knight in shining armor rescue her.
Knight-in-shining-armor, or adventure that can't be resisted. That just screams, "follow your dreams!" and pushes you to go after them. Lara thought glumly, her chin resting in the palm of her hand as she studied the- very boring- estate responsibilities in front of her.
"I don't even know what this means!" Lara told her lawyer in exasperation. She wasn't even sure what he was doing there; she didn't remember calling him. "Is it good, is it bad? It is purple with green llamas on it? I don't know!" At that point, she ducked her head and pulled her hair. "Auggggh! I hate this." she mumbled to herself.
Her lawyer, a sour man who had been her father's lawyer, sighed in annoyance. "Lady Croft, I will explain." he said in a tone that implied that he was displeased with her. "If you will look at column one-"
Lara stood up. She wasn't sitting through another... Another... Snooze-fest!
"Ah, now I remember." She lied, her face cold. "I will not need a refresher."
Her lawyer glared at her as she gathered up the paperwork and put it back into its folder. "Your father said that you were a responsible young lady who would maintain the family estate's like he would have." he stated simply.
Lara's mouth twitched, doubting every word he had said. "Ah... Right... Did he now? Well, if that's the case..."
Hilary and Bryce had noticed that Lara's annoyance over another meeting involving her family's estates was greater that day than before, but they both had waved it off as just because she had made other plans for the day.
Therefore, they were equally shocked when they heard shouting from the second floor, followed by Lara's lawyer stomp down the stairs, Lara staying on the landing to watch him go.
"Your father would be most disappointed, Lady Croft!" The man tossed over his shoulder as he paused to don his coat. "He was a loyal client of ours and-"
Lara rolled her eyes and placed her hand on her hips. "Yes, he was a loyal client of yours. He thought your law firm was the cream of the crop and that you all were more of a family to him than I or my mother ever was." She paused to brush her straight brown hair out of her face before continuing. "So, to sum up my entire thoughts on the situation: You're very rude and too stuck on your own opinion. Also, you're fired. Hilary, see to it that he is escorted off of the estate."
There was a moment of stunned silence as everyone stared at her. Then, Bryce burst into laughter.
Hilary turned red-faced and started forward with a clipped, "Yes, ma'am." as the lawyer fumed and marched towards the front door, yelling about how Lara was a disgrace to the Croft Family name and legacy.
Lara shook her head as the man retreated, Bryce's uncontrollable laughter echoing throughout the cavernous manor.
While Lara was proud that she had actually had the courage to fire her father's lawyer, she almost immediately regretted the result the next day when Hilary dropped a stack of letters on her desk, each with the details of a new law firm clamoring for her business.
Lara looked up from her arms, where she had been resting her head. She looked at the stack, then at Hilary. "Is that all of them, Hilary? Or just the first batch?"
"Just the first batch, Lady Croft." Hilary responded calmly. "The couriers have been at the door all morning with new letters. Bryce has strict instructions to collect the letters, tip them, and then email the firms that only one letter is needed to alert you to their existence."
The young heiress groaned and dropped her head back on her arms. "Thank you, Hilary."
The butler folded his hands in front of him and waited a moment before speaking again. "Is there anything I can get you?"
She shook her head, causing Hilary to frown.
"All right." he said, turning to go. "I will be in the kitchen then."
When only a miserable sigh responded to his remark, he stopped.
"Forgive me if I am speaking out of place here, Lady Croft, but I think none of these lawyers will work out. None of them seem to understand just how different you are from your father and, as such, do not appreciate your unique personality. I think you would be best suited hiring a young, new lawyer who doesn't have an agenda and doesn't rub elbows with the rest of the batch." He said, turning slightly to look at Lara once more.
Lara thought his words over for a moment, quickly realizing that he was right. "Thanks, Hilary. You're right." Lara said, smiling weakly at him.
Hilary nodded and turned, reaching for the doorknob.
He turned and looked at her. "Yes, Lady Croft?"
"Coffee, with this much coffee, and that much cream," she said, using her hands to indicate that she wanted really only coffee with a tiny amount of cream in it. "I'm going to do my own research to find this lawyer."
Hilary smiled and nodded. He was glad she was, at least a little bit, behaving like herself.
He had no idea what he was doing there.
It was two in the morning. He wanted ice cream. He was new to the city.
How had he ended up at the front gates of a... A...
Museum? Alex mused as he stared at the imposing manor.
He knew he should just turn around, that no one was most likely there, but the security camera was moving far too rapidly to just be automated.
So, he rolled down his car window and stuck his head out. "Hello?" he spoke up to the camera.
It snapped in his direction and stared.
Yep. Someone's here. he thought wryly. "I'm lost. I'm just trying to find the grocery market. Could you point me in the right direction?"
The camera didn't move for several moments. Then, he could hear it, it zoomed in. Or out. He wasn't sure which. Then, as if the controller was bored, it began moving in a slow, mechanical fashion. It was back on its automated system.
Alex leaned back in his seat and sighed. Ok. So, "no". Guess they don't...
He stopped his line of thought when the gates began opening, albeit slowly.
The American wasn't sure what was going on.
"Better than driving around in the dark just trying to find a store." he muttered as he put the car back in "drive" and started forward at a crawl.
As he began creeping around the loop in front of the main doors, the doors opened and a man stepped out.
Alex couldn't look at the person until he had put the car in "park" again and was surprised to find that the man was wearing a bath robe.
"Hi, sorry..." Alex apologized with. He was starting to wonder if maybe it was someone's estate instead.
"Hello, and welcome to Croft Manor." The man said in a rehearsed, yet tired, tone. "My name is Hilary. I heard that you are lost." he stated simply.
Alex nodded, leaning on the open window. "Yeah." he said with a weak smile, studying the manor behind the man. Whoever the "Croft" who lives here is... Wow.
Hilary nodded and stepped forward, offering Alex a map. Alex took it as Hilary pointed in a different direction. "Take the first right on Lyleton Avenue and then the second left. Keep going and soon you'll find yourself at a 24-hour market. They'll have everything you need."
Alex nodded, a little surprised. "Thanks." he was grateful for Hilary's help.
Hilary nodded, stepped back, and then paused. "If I may ask, who are you?"
The blond thought about that for a moment. Who was he these days?
"Alex West." He finally said, plunking the map down on the seat next to him. "Lawyer."
The look that crossed Hilary's face- one of amazement- was not seen by Alex. By the time Alex looked up again, in fact, Hilary was grinning like the Cheshire Cat.
"Will you be staying in town for a while?" Hilary asked carefully, much to Alex's surprise.
"Yeah. I'm working with a friend..." Alex didn't get any further than that.
"Wonderful! The lady of the manor needs a lawyer. Would you be available to stop by again in, oh..." Hilary stared into space for a moment, not seeing Alex's confused expression. "...15 days?"
Alex blinked twice as he considered he answer very carefully.
Was he… Being offered a job?
"Uh… I might be able to. I think I am." He answered, really not sure what to say or if he was even free that day for an… Interview.
Is that was this is about? You sure this isn't just a dream and you're sitting in a window at your apartment, leaning out it like a moron? Alex wondered to himself. He hoped that, if that was the case, no one saw him.
"Good. I will call your office- do you have a card?- and let you know when Lady Croft will be expecting you." Hilary said in a tone that indicated he had had coffee earlier in the night.
Alex, in a bit of a daze, fished a card out of his wallet and handed it over to Hilary, who nodded and folded his hands in front of him, the card in his grasp. "Thank you sir, and have a good evening." He said, resuming his calm butler façade.
"You too…" Alex said, though his own voice sounded like it was coming from a phone with a bad signal.
He seriously had no idea what had just happened.
There's always one or two fics every few months where I write them to be oneshots and they end up longer than I expected. Lol ah well, it could be worse.
Chapter 2 will be out as soon as I complete it. Which is hopefully very soon.
Reviews are lovely, like cake! ^_^ Just look for Proto- she's my secretary, for those of you who don't know- and she'll give you a slice of cake to say "thanks".
Any flames will be put in the recycling bin and ignored.