The Butler, Lover

Ciella is engaged to Alois Trancy and he seems great at first, but when a mysterious fire kills her parents and she's forced to live in the Trancy Estate, she realizes her fiancé isn't as great as she thought. When things take a turn from the worst, will a certain demon butler be able to save her?

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3. Awakened with Unpleasant News

Something cool touched her forehead and Ciella stirred. Her eyes opened and judging by the decor, she guessed she was in the Trancy Estate. A slight movement to her right made her look over there. It was Sebastian. "Good, you are awake," he said. "How are you feeling?"
"I feel awful," she said, her voice weak and raspy. Hearing her voice, he poured a glass of water. He helped her sit up and held the glass as she drank. As he laid her gently back down, she said, "Thank you."
He set the glass down and said, "My young master shall be pleased to know you are awake. He's been quite worried about you."
"How long has it been?"
"Today is the third day," he said.
Three days. Three days since the mansion was on fire. Three days since her parents... She sighed. "What has happened? Have they held a...a funeral?"
"No. They have been waiting for you. Your butler Tanaka has taken care of the planning. As for the other servants, they have all decided to leave except for your maid, Abigail. She has decided to stay with you here in the estate," he told me. An overwhelming sense of loneliness washed over her. She didn't have anyone but Abigail and Tanaka now. Then Sebastian said, "While they were looking through the remains, this was found. I assumed you would want it." He held out his hand and showed the Phantomhive ring.
She took it and stared at it, trying not to cry with little success. "My father's ring. It's been passed down generation to generation of the heads of the Phantomhive family. I guess that's me now," she said with a sniff. She slid the ring on her thumb slowly and just looked at it for a moment before she turned back to Sebastian. "Thank you," she said, her voice cracking slightly.
He bowed. "A Trancy butler who cannot do at least this much is not worth his salt," he said with a sly grin. As he was heading to the door, he said, "I shall inform my young master you are awake."
"No!" she snapped quickly. He looked back at her, shocked. She tried to calm herself as she said, "I mean, I want to surprise him."
She could tell he didn't believe her but he did it say anything other than, "As you wish, my lady. And I shall send Abigail in to help you dress." He bowed again and left her alone.
Ciella let out a huge breath and near the end of her exhale, it turned into a sob. She put a hand over her mouth as she felt more coming. Tears pricked her eyes and started to fall, despite her efforts to hold them back. Her parents were gone, her home was gone, and so were most of the people she had grown up around. What was to become of her now? Where would she live?
She wiped away her tears angrily. "Abigail shall be here any minute. She doesn't need to see me in such a state," she mumbled to herself. When she was certain her eyes were dry for the time being, she propped herself up into a sitting position using pillows.
The door opened and Abigail hurried in, looking like she had been crying herself. She ran over to the bed and immediately took Ciella's hand. "Oh my lady! Thank goodness you're all right!" the maid cried. "I've been so worried!"
Ciella squeezed back but she doubted Abigail felt it because it was so feeble. Was she really so weak right now? "I'm fine, Abby. You shouldn't worry yourself so much. You'll get sick," she said.
Abigail suddenly turned mad. She scolded, "If you don't mind me saying, you're one to talk, miss! Running into a burning building like that! It was completely reckless!"
"I know," Ciella said, looking sad.
Abigail's temper fizzled instantly and she hugged the frail girl gently. She said, "I just don't know what I would've done if anything had happened to you, miss."
Ciella felt tears coming back and she pulled back from the hug before she could start crying again. She said, "Well I suppose I should get dressed so I can see Alois." Just saying that made her feel dread. She wasn't ready to deal with her fiancé and his wild moods.
Abigail patted her hand before letting it go. "Sebastian said they have some dresses in here for you," she said, opening the wardrobe to reveal them. "Lord Trancy bought them in case you ever decided to stay here."
"Of course he did," she murmured too low for Abigail to hear. It seemed a bit too fishy for her to believe but she knew no one would listen to her. Lord Trancy seemed a perfect gentleman to everyone except Ciella.
After helping her up and putting her corset on, Abigail slid a dark violet dress with black lace embroidery on the skirt, sleeves, and top and a black bow also on the top over Ciella. They were both shocked to find it fit perfectly. Abigail said, "Well, at least we won't have to tailor any of them." She gave a nervous chuckle but Ciella was not amused. She was too busy wondering how Alois could've possibly known what size dress she wore and what other things he could know about her.
Sebastian came in when Abigail was brushing Ciella's long hair. He said, "The Earl is in the dining room having his morning breakfast if you would care to join him, my lady."
"Breakfast sounds lovely, thank you," she said with a little smile. Abigail stopped brushing her hair and let her stand. Ciella went over to Sebastian and as he escorted her to the dining room, Ciella suddenly started to feel nauseous and slightly dizzy. She pushed the feelings aside. She was not about to spend another day in bed when there were things she had to take care of. She thought she saw Sebastian look at her with something resembling concern out of the corner of his eye, but she told herself she was just imagining it.
He opened the door for her and let her go in first. Alois was sitting at the head of the table with three identical butlers behind him. He looked up when he heard the door close behind Sebastian and his eyes settled on her. "Ciella!" He stood up quickly and went over to her, enveloping her into a hug. It completely threw her off. He didn't seem the type to hug. "Thank goodness you're awake and all right," he said, pulling back and looking at her. "I was starting to fear you'd never wake up at this rate."
"I'm sorry to have worried you," she said respectfully, looking down. He put a finger under her chin and made her look back up, giving her a smile. He helped her into the chair to his right before sitting back down in his own chair. Sebastian came over with a tray full of food and tea. As he set everything in front of her he said, "Today's breakfast is a poached salmon, mint salad, and a choice of either toast or scones. Which would you like, my lady?"
"Toast, please," she said.
"Of course. And would you care for some tea?" he asked, setting out the toast.
"Yes, please." He poured the tea and set it with the food before bowing to them and leaving the room with his tray. Ciella began eating slowly, very aware of Alois' eyes on her. When she had finished a bite, she asked, "What has happened since..." She found it hard to finish that sentence.
Alois said in a business like voice, "As you know, the mansion has completely burned down. We've been waiting for you to wake so you can decide whether you want to rebuild it or not. Until it is rebuilt, if you decide to do that, I have made arrangements for you to stay here with me."
Ciella felt her blood turn cold. "Stay...here?" she stuttered.
He nodded and looked at her, measuring her reaction. He said, "Yes. Is there a problem?"
"No, I was only thinking of the scandal it might cause, since we are not married," she said, trying to regain her composure.
"Yet," he added. "It shall not cause a scandal. I would not suggest anything that would stain your name. You shall have your own room and everything, so there should be no reason for you or anyone else to worry."
Ciella forced out, "That is very kind of you."
Alois smirked yet again, as if sensing her discomfort. he continued, "That butler of yours, Tanaka, has been taking care of most of the funeral planning and all that. He's scheduled it for Sunday, assuming you would be awake by then which you are so everything works out. It won't be open casket due to the state the bodies are in. The undertaker tried to make them look nice again but it just wasn't possible. The fire had burnt their skin to a crisp. I'm surprised its still on their bones-"
Ciella stood up quickly, nearly knocking over the table and ran out of the room with her hand over her mouth. She ran blindly outside to the garden and vomited behind some flowers. Eventually it turned to just dry heaving, since she hadn't had much food lately. When she was done, she moved away from the vomit and sat on the ground, crying.
Sebastian was the one to find her. Tears were still leaking from her eyes but she was just sitting there staring at the ground. She didn't make any move to wipe them away or acknowledge Sebastian's presence. She just sat there. He said, "We should get you inside, my lady. You need rest."
"I don't need rest. I've been resting for days," she said quietly, her voice cracking slightly. Then, stronger and louder, she said, "I need answers."
He surprised her by kneeling next to her and taking her face in his hands. "I have no doubt you will find your answers, but for now, you need rest," he said firmly, eyes staring into hers. She had to look away from those eyes. She could feel her face heating up because of him. He handed her a handkerchief from his jacket and she took it with a small thank you. She dabbed at her eyes and was suddenly lifted into the air. Sebastian had easily lifted her into his arms and was carrying her back to the mansion.
Her face was as red as a tomato now and she demanded, "What are you doing?"
"Taking you to your room. We wouldn't want you to faint again on the way there, now would we?" he said. Ciella swore she saw him smirk.
Ciella frowned. "I am perfectly able to walk there on my own."
He appeared to be ignoring her but she knew better. She crossed her arms in front of her chest, grumbling to herself. The only time her upset expression changed was when they passed the dining room. The door was slightly cracked and Ciella cowered into Sebastian to avoid being seen. It might've been her imagination, but she though his grip on her tightened slightly. Luckily, it seemed Alois was too busy yelling at someone else to notice them pass.
In her room, he set her gingerly on the bed and pulled the blankets up halfway. He bowed and said, "I shall send for Abigail to help you with your dress."
She nodded and he started to leave. Before he could, she quickly said, "Sebastian." He turned back to her. She felt herself blush again when their eyes met and she lowered her gaze. "Thank you," she murmured, just loud enough for him to hear.
He was quiet for a moment. She was sure her thanks caught him off guard. Then he said, "You are very welcome, my lady. If there is anything else you need, don't hesitate to ask."

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