(Please be aware this story contains adult sexual content.)
Unhappily, I followed Raven out of the living room and into the front hallway. A cold breeze was now circling the house, causing more smells to mingle in the air; old leather, wood vanish, dusty fabric and a faint hit of cinnamon. A door somewhere was creaking above us and something else was rattling gently.
Beside the front door, two of the moving men were bent down, picking up pans and other kitchen things. The plastic box the items had scattered from had been dropped to one side. The men were rudely shoving things back in.
‘Did anything break?’ Raven called, striding over.
‘Not sure,’ came a mumbled voice.
I sighed and tried to quieten my growing anger.
‘It’s fine, love, we got it,’ one of them said as Raven tried to help.
She ignored them and began stacking things back in right. They tried hard not to watch her, but I saw them. I stood guard, eyeing the men like a guard dog until they give up and left Raven to it.
‘It’s fine,’ she announced.
Flicking her hair over her shoulder, she shot me a smile.
It did little to cool my anger though. I picked up the box and carried it around the grand staircase and into the kitchen at the back.
The original kitchen had been build for the bustle of six or more servants. It was a vast rectangle space with a large fireplace in the far corner which was home to a monster of an aga. To the left of which was a small door for the servants to use. Ahead was a large table and chairs. Boxes were all ready taking up most of the room upon it.
Along the walls on either side of us and the right one were blue and grey granite worktops and cupboards. Black and grey modern appliances including a gas cooker and oven were slotted in or on them. Two more doors were in the corner, one was the back door and I think the other led into a utilities room.
I walked in and placed my box by the double metal sink with work tops either side and a window above. The blinds were drawn and I opened them to give more light and also to see the view outside. A long strip of grass framed by tall hedges was all I could see but I knew beyond it there were acres of land and also something else…
‘I got another surprise for you, Raven,’ I spoke softly.
‘Oh?’ she asked and looked up from a box she had been sorting through.
‘Do you have the key for the back door?’ I asked.
She looked down at the ring of keys she had placed on the table. She pressed her lips together and almost went to pick them up.
‘Can it wait till after? I want to make sure nothing else gets dropped,’ Raven said in a quiet voice.
From the hallway we heard the loud voices of the moving men again and the rustle of them bring more stuff in.
I nodded and turned away, so I could hide my disappointment. How many years had I been planning this moment and now it was ruined by moving men! I had wanted this to be as special as our wedding…
Raven wrapped her arms around me and pressed her head into the back of my shoulder.
‘What is it?’ she breathed in my ear.
‘Nothing,’ I responded.
‘Tell,’ she pressed.
She reached up on tip toes and lend into me. I felt her breath, brush of her lips and nip of her teeth in my ear lope.
‘No,’ I half moaned, half hissed.
She bit harder, ‘Crow,’ she growled.
‘I swear,’ I squeezed out through gritted teeth.
Raven’s biting was passing from pleasurable to painful.
She let go and dropped back down. I turned and wrapped my arms around her, trying to keep composed. My wife knew better though. She pressed into me, fixing me with a hard glare.
‘It’s just,’ I began, ‘I wanted this to be special.’
Shrugging, I looked over her shoulder as I saw movement in the hallway.
One of the moving men barged in, dropped a box on the floor and left again.
Raven patted me.
‘They’ll be gone soon enough,’ she whispered.
The moving men couldn’t have left any faster if they had tried. They seemed to carry on forever with their loud voices and banging. Luckily, they didn’t drop anything but they noise echoed through the house anyway.
Raven and I busied ourselves with emptying the hearse and setting up the master bedroom she had picked to be ours. I helped her make the bed but then stayed clear of it, because the urges to have some fun were too strong. I put clothes away in the wardrobes and drawers. The furniture was old maybe a close to a hundred years and though it all fitted the room it was not originals.
The room was huge, three times the size our’s had been in the apartment we had rented. A wooden four poster bed, complete with dark red velvet canopy and curtains dominated the room. On either side were dark oak bedside tables, which had lamps in an old fashioned style on them. A fire place took up the middle of the left wall, but it had been converted into ornamental then working. Then there were wardrobes and drawers on the left. Lastly, large windows were in the far wall and they looked over the driveway and front garden.
Closing the wardrobe, I drifted about as Raven placed more things away. I went to the window and looked out. The afternoon was still clear, but it was beginning to switch to evening. Time was running out for my other surprise.
‘I’m going to see how the men are doing,’ I spoke, ‘you coming?’
‘Sure,’ Raven answered and she closed the lid of the large bedding box at the foot of the bed.
We headed down the corridor and stairs together. The moving men were gathered in the hallway as if they were waiting for us. Just like servants presenting themselves to the master and Mrs. Finally it seemed they had finished.
‘Just need you to sign off, Chief,’ the leader called me over.
I gladly went and signed a receipt on a clipboard. They give me a copy then wishing us all the best, left. I closed and locked the door behind them.
‘So,’ Raven purred as she came over and wrapped her arms around me, ‘what did you want to show me?’
I hugged her and kissed her hair. I had her all to myself now.
‘Crow?’ she asked and kissed me on the cheek.
‘You got the keys?’ I asked.
She nodded and jiggled the bunch.
I took her hand and led her to the kitchen. Through the mass of boxes we went and to the back door.
‘Which key?’ she wondered.
‘Just use the skeleton one,’ I suggested and pointed out the biggest key.
She used it and the back door opened. We walked out into the early evening. I closed the door behind us and then tugging her, broke into a jog. Raven laughed, her grip on my hand tightening as I raced for the gap in the hedges. Branches scratched at us as we pushed through then without pause, even though I heard Raven gasp at the sight of the gardens spreading before us, I rushed to the left and took her along the hedge.
A few minutes of running and I had to slow down to catch my breath. Raven bumped into me, laughing and also breathing hard.
‘Where are we going?’ she cried out.
‘To there,’ I said and pointed to a hill in the distance.
Raven looked hard, but all we could see was the outline of a fence.
‘How much of this land do we own?’ she asked.
‘Lots of it,’ I said, ‘it’s in the contract somewhere.’
Raven pouted thoughtfully.
I started walking again, seeing that the sky above was dusky but also overcast. Raven slipped her hand into mine and we fell silent.
We went through a patchwork of gardens and plots. Most were boarded by tall hedges or bushes, making each area private. We came to an open stretch and the hill was just off to our right. I took Raven up, along a half hidden pathway, to a set of small black gates.
‘Oh!’ she cried, spotting the headstones behind the fence.
Her face lit up and just as she had done on first seeing the house, she pressed herself to the fence and looked excitedly across.
I slipped the keys from her and unlocked the gate.
‘They came with the house,’ I explained.
I opened the gate and Raven hurried in. She darted around the headstones and went to the family mausoleum at the back. The square squat building with its black glossy stone walls, stood out. I followed her, knowing to keep my distance, Raven hated being disturbed whilst she was looking around graveyards and cemeteries.
She came back and threw her arms around me in a suffocating hug.
‘This is a amazing!’ she shouted.
I laughed and squeezed back.
‘There’s also a pet graveyard in the woods just through there. I don’t know how much of the woods we own though…There’s also a little church too, further that way….You can just see the steeple…’ I pointed.
We both looked together, through the tall trees we could make out an iron cross.
‘What more could we have asked for?’ Raven breathed.
I shrugged and added, ‘there’s an ice house way way back, double garage close by the house and stables a bit further back too. We only own one of the small cottages though.’
Raven looked at me with big eyes and waited for me to go on.
I searched my mind, trying hard to remember what the agent had told me. ‘The cottages were built for the servants and their families, early nineteen hundreds. I think. They were sold off sometime ago or given to the families. They have the little plot of land around their houses too. There’s maybe ten cottages, dotted around at the edges of our land. We own the first one; the grounds keeper’s.’
Raven sighed and kissed me, ‘you did a lot of hard work, getting this didn’t you?’
‘Yes. It’s worth it though seeing your face,’ I stated.
I gently angled Raven’s face up to mine and kissed her hard on the lips.
‘Let’s go back to the house,’ she said huskily.
All other thoughts went out of my head.
To Be Continued….