Vault of Bones Extra
Two is Worse than One
"I'm so glad you invited me here, Ciel~" Anais sang cheerfully.
She and the Earl Phantomhive were in the greenhouse, sipping tea as Sebastian and Carlisle stood nearby their master's side. Snake the footman was also there, silently basking in the warmth of the place. His snake companion for the day, Emily and Webster, hissed lightly.
Anais received an invitation from Ciel yesterday, claiming that the boy wanted her to visit him in his mansion. To this, Anais was excited all of a sudden that she finished her written reports for the company as soon as possible. She even bothered to bring pastry for him, which they were both eating now.
"Now that your work for Her Majesty is over," Ciel's voice came, "what are you planning to do now?"
"Run the family company, I guess," she shrugged. "We've been having these clients lately."
"I see," Ciel slowly nodded. "You're actually doing a good job with it."
"That's good to hear," Anais smiled. She sipped on her tea. "Anyway, what's up that you invited me here all of a sudden?"
Ciel looked at her, suddenly looking business-like. "You're here under the request of Lau," he said.
"Lau?" she blinked. "You mean that Chinese friend of yours?"
"He's not my friend!"
"Okay~ if you say so," she smiled. "So, what about him?"
"He said he wanted to give you this dress," Ciel said. Sebastian stepped forward and placed a briefcase on the table. Both nobles, including Carlisle and Snake, watched as the black-clad butler opened it. Sebastian held out a dress, purple with black skirt and a pair of boots. It was the perfect replica of Ran Mao's dress.
"How thoughtful," she said. "But why would he give it to me?"
"How should I know?" shrugged Ciel. "That man has been annoying me since the other day. He said he really wanted to give you the dress."
Sebastian handed the dress over to her.
"Tell him I said thanks, okay~?" Anais told the boy.
"Aren't you going to try it on, Lady Wolvercote?" came a sly voice behind Ciel. The boy jerked up in surprise. The Chinese man in question suddenly came out of nowhere, his hands hidden underneath his long sleeves.
"Lau, you idiot!" Ciel growled. His teeth were gritted to emphasize his irritation. "I thought you already left?!"
"Not yet, earl," the Chinese said and turned to Anais. "Aren't you going to see if it fits?"
Anais shook her head and stood. "Maybe I should see," she said.
Sebastian and Carlisle escorted her into a room. Mey-Rin was also sent to help Anais. The Chinese dress was short, very short. After a few minutes, Anais was dressed in the same way Ran Mao was. Her hair was left to hang in the middle of her back; a little yellow flower adorned the top of her head. If someone didn't know her, that person would definitely assume that she was a Chinese woman.
Mey-Rin smiled at her work and adorned the lady who wore the dress.
"Oh, my lady!" Mey-Rin exclaimed in excitement. "You look just like a doll~"
Doll face? Damn, she remembered Grey.
"Y-You really think so?" Anais tried to sound ecstatic. She pulled her skirt lower since it exposed her thighs. A proper Englishwoman should never let her legs be exposed.
Before she knew it, Mey-Rin opened the door. Out of curiosity, Sebastian and Carlisle poked their heads comically to see how she looked like.
"You look wonderful, mistress," clapped Carlisle. "Although your do legs worry me."
"Indeed," nodded Sebastian. "Ladies shouldn't show their skin." He stifled a small laugh; that phrase remembered him of Edward Midford.
"Tell me something I don't know," grumbled Anais as she was led back into the greenhouse.
Back in the said place, Ciel and Lau were accompanied by a newcomer. From what Anais could make out, it was a lady with brunette hair. Ciel turned around to greet his servants and the newly-dressed Anais. She cowered behind Carlisle and pulled his sleeves tightly. Lau smiled and clapped his hands.
"Perfection," the Chinese man said.
Ciel's lady visitor poked her head to the side. At the sight of Anais, she squealed in delight.
"Oh~ Lady Wolvercote~!" the lady sang as she ran towards her.
"M-Madam Hopkins!" Anais blurted out.
Anais was grabbed away from her butler and was trapped in a bone-crushing hug. Nina Hopkins was scheduled to take measurements from Ciel's new set of clothes. Nina rubbed her cheek against Anais' cheek and hugged her tightly.
"You look so cute~~!" Nina cooed. "So this is what teenage girls are all about~?"
Nina cupper Anais' cheek and pulled the Wolvercote closer to her. Anais felt uncomfortable as Nina continued to examine her.
"Say, your skin is so soft~ how do you maintain it? And you've gotten sexier, my lady~! Earl Grey is really taking care of you, isn't he~?" Nina ecstatically teased.
Anais blushed furiously. How did Nina know about her and Grey?
"Please, Miss Hopkins!" Anais struggled. "…C-Carlisle! Mayday!"
In a flash, the butler of hers went in between the two ladies. Carlisle gently placed his white gloved-hands between the ladies and carefully set his young mistress aside. He then put his right hand across his chest and bowed. Nina was a little taken aback and then pouted to herself.
"My apologies, Madam, but my young mistress is fragile," Carlisle smiled.
Fragile, he says, Anais thought as she dusted her dress.
"Oh, but she's really cute in a Chinese dress~" Nina muttered to herself. "Oh, I know! From now on, I'll make you cute Chinese dresses. They will be colorful and sexy~"
"I'd prefer not," Anais insisted.
The brawl was interrupted when Lau stood up abruptly and grabbed Anais' arm. She was surprised and let herself be taken back into the long table. As Lau sat on the chair, he pulled Anais so that she would sit on top of his lap, in the same fashion Ran Mao usually did. Everyone heard Lau sigh in satisfaction.
And everyone shouted in shock.
"What the hell do you think you're doing with her?!" Ciel abruptly stood up and pounded the table.
"Get me away from here!" Anais yelped as she struggled to stand up. Fortunately, Lau didn't stop her.
Carlisle and Sebastian went over to her side and assisted her from getting off the man's lap. Sebastian pulled her away from the Chinese and Anais cowered behind Carlisle and trembled.
"You bastard! What was that all about?!" Ciel continued shouting. "How dare you touch her like that!"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Lau said sheepishly. "It's just that I feel incomplete without Ran Mao."
"What's that?!" Ciel's shout came again.
"I accidentally gave Ran Mao a day-off," Lau said and shook his head. "I feel really incomplete so I thought I'd get a substitute for her."
"So, I'm the substitute?!" Anais blurted behind her butler. "You're insane!"
"Oops. Sorry, Lady Wolvercote," Lau continued. "With you dark hair and pale skin, you looked somewhat like Ran Mao."
Ciel growled and stood up. He approached Anais. "Sorry about that," he sincerely said. "If I had known, I wouldn't have asked you to come. Please accept my apologies." Ciel bowed a little before her.
For a second, she was soothed by Ciel's comfort. Anais smiled and patted his head.
"It's okay, Ciel~" Anais cooed.
Lau also went in front of her and bowed like Ciel.
"Please accept my apologies, too," the Chinese man said.
"You've already done enough, Lau!" Ciel shouted once more.
Anais sighed. After that little misunderstanding in the Phantomhive mansion, she left. Ciel didn't stop her to leave and his servants even waved goodbye to her. Lau was still disappointed without having Ran Mao. Nina Hopkins went into her business and took measurements of Ciel. It was 3 o'clock in the afternoon when they finally reached London. At times like this, she wished she took Pluto along with her. Then the carriage stopped. She looked out of the window; there was a line of several carriages up ahead. It's going to have traffic. Sighing to herself, Anais decided to take a nap when a little irritating sound came.
It was her stomach, and it was grumbling. Now she remembered, she didn't get to eat that much in the mansion. Anais crawled over in front and knocked.
"Hey, Carlisle…" she called out, whining like a child. "I'm hungry. Can't we make a stop to eat in a cafe or something?"
"Yes, of course, mistress," Carlisle replied and turned the carriage around.
They stopped when they reached a nearby cafe. Anais immediately sprinted out of the carriage and went inside. Carlisle did the honor of ordering her food while she waited at the table outside. In weekdays, London was quite busy; no wonder the streets were crowded. After a few minutes, Carlisle returned and Anais went on to eat.
"Goodness, mistress," Carlisle remarked. "Pardon me for asking, but why am I sitting in the same table as you?"
Indeed, Carlisle sat in front of Anais whilst they share the same table. As a mere butler, he shouldn't be sharing the same table with his mistress.
"That's okay," Anais replied. "And why aren't you touching your cake? Don't you like chocolate?" Anais gestured at the untouched chocolate cake in front of her butler.
"Oh, I didn't know it was for me," Carlisle murmured and started to eat. "I am very grateful, my lady."
Anais only smiled and continued on eating. Thirty minutes came by and they finished everything they ordered. Carlisle asked Anais to wait for him there as he readied the carriage which was parked on the other street. As Carlisle left, Anais was approached by another man.
She looked up to him with a confused look. The man was young, probably around her age or younger, with dark hair and dark eyes. He wore a black suit and a red tie.
"Can I help you?" Anais finally asked when she figured that the strange man before her wouldn't speak.
"Y-You are b-beautiful," the man stammered.
The man closed his eyes and blurted out, "Will you marry me?!"
"What?!" Anais was so taken aback that she stood up. Oh great. Another potato comes in.
"Please! It's you, the lady I am fated with!" the man continued.
"A-Are you alright? Are you sure you're not mistaking me for someone else?" Anais exclaimed and hoped he was wrong.
The man shook his head. "My name is Adrian Avery and a fortune-teller told me that I will meet the future wife today. She has black hair and wears a pale green dress. It's you!"
"You wasted your money on a fortune-teller. I am not your future wife!" Anais said candidly. Who the hell believes a fortune-teller and these nonsensical futuristic things? "Go home, junior," she added.
"But I'm positive that it's you!" Adrian argued. "Please tell me your name!"
"Not on your life!"
Her eyebrow twitched. This man was pushing her to the edge of her patience. She needed a distraction, an excuse, or more effectively, a lie. As Adrian continued with his monologue of finding a wife and future heiress of some business company his family worked on, Anais drifted off to think of a lie. She needed something that wouldn't offend the boy too much, or something that would instantly stop him from annoying her. Then it hit her.
"Actually!" she snapped. Adrian stopped for a moment. She suppressed a blush coming. "I am engaged."
Wrong idea. Just plain, utterly wrong. Wrong in so many levels.
"E-Engaged?" Adrian echoed; she nodded. "But to whom? That's impossible!"
"I am already engaged so back off!" Anais snapped again. She began to gather his things, pouch and all, and pleaded to the heavens that Carlisle would return as soon as possible.
"But you don't have an engagement ring!" The boy insisted again. His voice was high-pitched and his hair was a mess. His nose was sprinkled with light freckles and he had light eyeglasses to support his poor eyesight. On his black suit, a coat of arms of his family was pinned. Anais eyed it curiously for a second before going back to the problem at hand.
She stiffened. He was right; she didn't have an engagement ring with her. Damn it.
"Well, I, uh, left it at home," Anais murmured. "I didn't want it to get lost so I left it."
"Are you really engaged?" Adrian asked sadly. Good, he was starting to buy it.
"Of course," Anais exclaimed proudly.
"Don't tell me you're engaged to your butler!" Adrian insisted again. His raised voice sent curios glances from passers-by and Anais was getting embarrassed. And again, she stiffened. Her plan was actually to introduce Carlisle as her fiancé. Damn, the boy was sharp.
"What? Of course not!" she nervously laughed. "My fiancé is someone else." She was trembling; she was about to get caught. No, as long as she lied, everything would turn out fine.
"Tell me who your fiancé is," Adrian continued.
This is starting to get out of hand, she thought. Carlisle is not an option now. And I don't know someone else! Let's see… there's Ciel… but he's just a child and he's more like a little brother! Sebastian might do, but this man would probably suspect him as a butler. I need someone well-known, someone who is a nobleman… I've got it! Edward is the best bet!
"Hi sweetheart~!" came a cheeky voice from behind them.
Adrian and Anais turned to see who it was.
The white-haired man approached them and snaked an arm around her waist, pulling her closer to him. Anais gaped at his sudden appearance and Charles only winked at her. He then turned to Adrian with a smirk.
"I am Earl Charles Grey," the newcomer introduced himself, emphasizing his title. Anais felt an urge to roll her eyes. "And I am Lady Wolvercote's fiancé."
She blinked and looked up to him.
"You are?" she asked.
"Yes, I am, love~" he smiled and kissed her forehead. Charles turned back to the man again. "Is there a problem here?"
"No, I'm afraid not," Adrian whispered and sighed deeply. He looked disappointed and Anais felt a little sorry for him. "It's nice to meet you, Lady Wolvercote. I'm going off now."
Charles and Anais watched him to leave. Once he was out of sight, Anais removed Charles' arm around her.
"What are you doing here?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"What do you mean what am I doing here? What are you doing here?" Charles grinned as he sat on the chair.
"Have you been following us?" she narrowed her eyes at him.
"What? 'Course not! I happened to be right around the corner when I saw you," he smiled. "So, what are you doing here?"
Anais sat and leaned her chin on her right hand. "Oh nothing. Carlisle and I went to eat here," she sighed.
Charles felt unusually quiet all of a sudden. Anais stared at him in confusion and he gave her a sly grin in return. He leaned on the table and brought his face closer to hers.
"So, fiancé, huh?" he teased.
"Shut up! I was thinking of Edward instead of you!" Anais blushed and leaned back on the chair.
"Is that so?" Charles laughed. "I don't mind being your fiancé~" He winked at her.
"Don't you ever get tired of that?" she asked coldly.
"For you, doll face, I would never."
And with that, he winked again.