Chapter 3:

There's No Place Like Home

Tempest and Temptation


"I have had it! I cannot take this anymore!" Deep shouts bounced off the walls. It was loud enough to burst every glass pane and window in the grandly decorated manor. Sir Reynolds had become an unstable, enraged man, his bare feet hammering against the floors with violent haste.

What was propelling the furious man forward was something Lady Sutherton was keenly aware of but hadn't expected such speed in the development. It had only been two days since her daughter’s arrival.

"Sir Reynolds! Please wait!" She was in eager pursuit of the boiling man. "Sir Reynolds!" Sweat pooled down her flustered face, which was wrought with a haggard and ghastly appearance.

Despite her frantic protests, he made no attempt to slow down. Rather, he moved so fervently that his sloppily packed bags were spilling out personal effects; Out leaked a trail of socks, ties, and shirts from ajar bags. With every progressive stomp of his naked feet, he grew angrier, crashing and heaving as he tore past lavishly decorated halls and extravagant sparkling rooms.

"Sir Reynolds!" she shouted, nearly clawing at his hurrying figure. "Sir Reynolds!"

He was a tornado demanding its escape from the Sutherton manor, that had become akin to home for the mad.

Lady Sutherton knew what was to expect the moment her daughter returned. But even so, the outcome was far too unfavorable.

"Sir Reynolds!" she screeched at him. In a restless cry, she grabbed his shoulder, hoping to stall him.

The split second of pause allowed her to bounce in front of him, blocking his path. "As I've said before," she said, in a frenzied pant. "I am sure we can work something out. You know we're willing to pay whatever you'd like. How does double your current salary sound?"

"Lady Sutherton!" He shook her off, huffing in exasperation. "I am terribly sorry, but I can't stay here a second longer! There is nothing you can pay me to endure that treatment!" He pushed past her, nearly knocking the pleading woman over.

"Wait, hold on, Sir Reynolds!"

Her pleas only prompted his resolve even further. He picked up the pace and thrust onwards, leaving behind another wave of his belongings tumbling to the floor.

"Triple? Quadruple? Quintuple? Sir Reynolds!" Her eyes bulged as she hurried behind him with a wild quickening of her steps.

"Please do not try to stop me, Lady Sutherton!" he puffed, a tighter line denting an already constricted face.

"Sir Reynolds, please!" Her head was bobbing like a chicken. "Please slow down! Let's talk this out! You don't have to quit this way!" She sputtered out fragmented words, desperately trying to keep up.

"Lady Sutherton. Let me state this firmly and clearly. You know well that I come from a long line of prestigious domestic workers, and yet the treatment I experienced? For the highest among us, Magnificent One's sake, look at my feet!" He tossed his hands to his starkly bare feet. "She had all of my shoes discarded, and I only had two!"

"Well?" She gulped hard, brushing away nonexistent stray hairs. "How are you certain it was her?"

"She was looking at me dead in the eyes as she committed her atrocity!" he deadpanned.

"Oh." Her eyes fluttered. "W-well, that's only a few shoes. You know we can compensate you."

"Lady Sutherton, you know as well as I, that is not all." He pointed to the tar on his clothes and swatted at his head, bringing attention to bald and grey patches of hair. "Look at me! That wicked daughter of yours did this!"

She peered at his balding, patchy hair, the words coming out before she considered them. "W-Well, what do you want me to say about your balding? At your age, isn't that only a sign of it?"

His face was a fuming puffy red that melted into an unstoppable simmering bath of rage. He nearly choked on his frustrations as he puffed. "There was a bucket of warmed tar seated at the top of my room door, and the moment I went in, I was tarred! Do you know how insulting it is for that woman to treat a man of my expertise and skills---and I'm only 32!"

"Oh..." She deflated with a pained wince. "Alright. Okay." She jittered on her toes. "W-well, if it's any consolation, I couldn't even tell you were 32!” She tried to salvage whatever was left of the losing battle.

"Could never tell?" His face contorted into horror. He was utterly offended at the statement. “I must take my leave, Lady Sutherton!” He whipped away the slamming of his feet and agitated steps were growing in intensity.

"O-oh heaven, oh my." She was tripping over her words. "W-wait, wait! Sir Reynolds!" Her eyes widened. "No, don't take it that way! I meant that in a good way! I know many women who would love to look like you do!" She nervously added with a stretched smile.

He glanced back at her with another deeply insulted look burning into his face. Once more, he picked up speed, his bags flying around.

"That came out wrong! I mean age like you do!" She swallowed again, her smile faltering.

He continued speeding on, anything left in his spilling bags becoming emptier with each stomp.

"Hold on! Wait, wait, wait! Let's talk about this! If you don't want a raise, we can consider other options! We can compensate you! We can get anything you want if you just stay a little longer!"

Her anxious bargains were of no use to him.

"Lady Sutherton, I mean no disrespect to you or the honorable Sutherton family, but that daughter of yours is nothing short of impossible. Her behavior is repugnant! Such unladylike mannerism is devoid of any proper upbringing! Lord Sutherton ought to send that awful incarnate far away lest she insults your family name anymore!" He pushed onwards, leaving a shaken Lady Sutherton behind.

"Sir Reynolds—-!"

BAM!

The doors slammed shut in her face.

For a few moments, she stared at the rich color of the doors, the resounding sound of silence and permeating defeat.

It all dawned on her.

What was seemingly perfect was no longer perfect, and they were, in fact, and indeed, screwed.

Reynolds had just been hired as a temporary caretaker and head butler only a mere few days ago. But with her daughter in the home, she had a hunch that he certainly wouldn't be the last to go.

Swallowing a boulder, she spun on her heels. She hurried through the long, winding corridors and ran to the main house servants' quarters, making a beeline for her daughter. With a flustered frown, she rushed to the room where all the commotion had started.

"Erina!" She almost fell as she skidded on her heels to the doorframe of a wide-open room.

It was Reynold's quarters, and it was once a modest room curated with carefully selected wooden furniture, occasional gold splashes, muted color scheme, and earthy tones. Bookshelves were lined from floor to wall for reading.

Once it was a neat and cozy room meant to be enjoyed. But its present state was an absolute disaster. Patches of oil black waxy blotches stained the carpeted floors leading into the room. Clothes were thrown about the place, and furniture was flipped over damaged, or broken beyond repair. A few maids were on the floor working tirelessly to remove the black stains splattered on the floors and walls before they became permanent.

At the origin of the fiasco was her: She was a dainty girl who always tethered a line of delicate fragility, but somehow she was overflowing tall with spite. She seemed like a sculpture of beauty with neatly molded features of youth, black pearly eyes, smooth umber brown skin, and short, coiled hair. She even had a smile bright like the sun---a smile rarely used to spread warmth, but instead to blight, and her doe eyes suggested innocence, but they were always shimmering like the glare of a sword.

Everyone in the manor recognized her as the Erina Sutherton.

"Erina!" her mother shouted, viewing with intense fear as her daughter stood with backside to her by the room's 4-story ajar window.

“Erin, I am speaking to you!” her mother snapped again.

Erin rotated around with a wad of ties and shirts in her claws. "Mother." Her smile was slow to rise.

"W-what are you doing?" she stuttered with a knotted tongue.

"What does it look like I'm doing?" she replied, chucking an article of men's clothing out the window.

"Are you---." She could barely formulate the words without welling up with frustration. "Are you throwing out Sir Reynold's personals?"

With ease, Erin hurled out a pair of pants and a journal out the bedroom window. "That's correct."

"Why?" She rubbed her temples. "Why are you doing this?"

"That fat aged man, Raymond or Raynes or whatever---."

"---Sir Reynolds," she stressed.

"Yes, yes, him." Erin turned away from her mother to toss another item out the window, which landed with a crack. "I have finally returned home after so long and I was, at one point, so happy to be here. But then suddenly, I saw that fat potbellied man---a stranger, in my home. How could I get comfortable when that man was all over me, drooling and praising me like a dog wags its tail? It. Was. Sickening." She turned back to glance at her mother. “Sickening.”

Lady Sutherton’s face twisted in writhing pain as her daughter continued speaking with emphatic animation.

"I just couldn't do it, Mother. I absolutely couldn't stand his desperate bootlicking. He kept asking me about Father, our estate, and subtle questions about our money. By the heavens, it was annoying. Obviously, it was a bit hard to stand him or it. So?"

She sent another item flying out the window. "I informed him he must leave this estate within the next hour, or I would make him leave. He didn't believe it, and well? Here we are, a Sutherton never breaks their vow." Momentarily, she paused, peering at her mother. "Or at least some of us don't."

"Erin." Her mother wore a stone frown. "Reynolds was supposed to---."

"---Too late for any of that now, the man left running with his tail between his legs, whining and fussing like a child."

THUD!

She sent another object out and it smashed to the ground outside. "So much for someone who's from a ‘long line of renowned domestic workers'. He could barely contain his anger and, well?" She was intoxicated with amusement. "You've seen the results, mother."

"Erin." Her lips were trembling. "You can't just do that. Things were perfectly fine and calm before you---."

"----Before I what?"

CRASH!

There was another loud crash.

“Before you did all of this!” Her mother threw her hands around.

"This?” She raised her brow. “You mean before I,” she said, placing her hand on her chest, “---settled myself back home and successfully got a stranger to leave our estate?"

“That is not what I’m saying, Erin.”

SLAM!

Another item went flying out the window.

“Then I don’t know what you are saying.” She shrugged, batting her lashes before snatching up another piece of Reynold’s leftover belongings, a leather book. “Oh, goodies! A diary!” She examined the leather book with childlike glee.

"Erina, you know, when I told you to get settled in, I didn't mean do all of this." She scanned the disorganized room, her voice sinking into exhaustion. "Plus, Reynolds was not a stranger he was---."

"---To me, he wasn't,” she sang, skimming through the pages of the diary. “Oh? What do we have here?” She was reading the contents with a smile.

"Erina, I understand you might be mad and frustrated about things, but please, don't cause a scene the moment you get back. We don't need getting your father getting angry while he's handling such important business."

"Mad?" She cast a side-eye at her mother. "I'm not mad, mother. I'm acting normal as you asked me to."

Her mother pressed her lips together, struggling to remain calm. “But you are causing a commotion. A mess.”

“My dearest love, Batesy,” she began to read the diary out loud, purposively ignoring her mother. “Oh, how I vie to see you once I return. I am heartbroken to travel so far from you. But once---.”

“--Erin.”

“--Once I am finished with my business in the countryside doing work for---.”

“--Erina.”

“--the Great Suthertons, I promise to make my way back you---.”

“--Erina!” she shouted but received no reaction.

“----For I long to hold you in my arms and cups my hands around your supple---.” Her eyes widened. “Well, how scandalous.” She shut the diary closed. “Seems like the old bugger wasn’t that old.” She scoffed, before chucking the book out of the window

THUD!

It landed and unsatisfied, she went searching for more things to throw, only causing her cooking mother to burn.

"Erina, you are not listening to me! Stop all of this right now! Doing things like this, you're disturbing the peace!"

"Disturbing the peace?" She wrapped her claws around a lamp, haughtily scoffing. "Don't you know? There exists no peace without its contrary."

Her mother swallowed thick air. "That is no excuse to create discord!"

"Sure." She laughed, tossing the lamp out as if were weightless like a feather.

"Erina!"

"Mother?" she tauntingly parroted back.

"Stop this right now!" Her bellow nearly rumbled the walls.

Erin stopped, and locked eyes with the shrieking woman. "Oh, Lady Sutherton, do you not have any sympathy? Look how you're scaring the service workers.” She lowered her voice, fabricated concern welling in her eyes as she cast her sight to look down upon the maids. "They're just trying to do their jobs here and you're yelling bloody murder."

The mass of maids cleaning up the chaotic mess worked diligently to remove persistent stains and damaged furniture. But the constant dedicated sounds of scrubbing, dusting, and wiping barely could mask their mixed emotions and anxiety.

Erin surveyed them. Every millisecond her eyes landed, it weighed on the unfortunate recipient like a boulder. She could see the panicked and nervous glances, the jitter in their arms, and the fret in their worried faces. She knew their concentration wavered and waned as she scintillatingly stared down upon them.

She knew, and so her smile grew.

Clenching her jaw, Lady Sutherton briefly glanced around before settling her eyes back to her daughter. "I don't mean to get so heated, but I need you to stop this. Please."

For a moment, frozen in time, the two shared stifling stares.

After a short time of silence, Erin folded her arms over her chest and sighed. "Fine. I'll stop."

"Thank you." She released a deep breath of relief.

"Of course, mother.” She smiled, unfolded her arms, picked up a small ottoman foot chair, and flung it out the window with all of her might.

BAM!

"Good thing I've just finished."

The frown dented her mother's face.

Dusting her hands off with a satisfied challenging stare, she grinned and walked toward her mother. "You know, I haven't been feeling like myself these past few weeks. But coming back home, I think I'm feeling more like myself again. Isn't that a beautiful thing?"

Lady Sutherton swallowed down hard, finding no words left on her dry tongue. She watched quietly as her daughter sauntered into the hall with a pompous sway.

"I think it really is true as they say. It's good to be home!" Erin shouted, letting her voice be known throughout the house.

𝕾𝖍𝖆𝖑𝖑 𝖜𝖊 𝖈𝖔𝖓𝖙𝖎𝖓𝖚𝖊?

Hungry Sheep
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