Coal marched Blaire back to her room under the pretense that if he abandoned her outside of his bedroom, she’d lose herself searching for her own.
He was right but he was also running. If they talked any longer, Blaire would have remembered the questions she wanted to ask, and Coal may have known that.
Blaire was so immersed in her thoughts of Coal that she hadn’t noticed any detail of their surroundings, including the gray phantom, until it was too late.
Blaire fell back in surprise, stepping on the hem of her ivory auction gown. Coal smoothly caught her with his arm, though she doubted he would have cared if she fell, and helped her stand again.
“Blaire, this is Pima,” Coal introduced coolly.
The gray phantom, upon closer and calmer inspection, is a twenty-something-year-old servant with brown hair whipped in a strict bun and a plain-though not as plain as Blaire’s-light black dress.
“Your servant,” Coal added.
The surprise of the new demon was forgotten by Coal’s comment and Blaire’s head shot up at him in disbelief. “Why do I have a servant?”
“Everyone in this family has a servant.”
Blaire hissed, “But I’m not in this family.”
Not eager to start an argument, Coal turned his head to Pima and said, “Give her what she wants, but have her prepared her for dinner."
Pima stared numbly.
“Ah, I’ll walk her there for tonight,” Coal added.
“Don’t I get any say in this?” Blaire hollered after Coal as he strode away.
She glanced back and saw Pima had opened a door to her bedroom; another detail that she hadn’t noticed. Blaire contemplated running after Coal but saw only snakes when she looked in his direction.
Irked, Blaire stormed past Pima into her room.
“I don’t need a servant,” she growled in Pima’s direction. “I don’t want a servant. So leave and close the door behind you.”
The door shut obediently and Blaire looked over her shoulder in surprise. But of course it wouldn’t be that easy. Pima may be her servant, but she was a snake demon. She followed Blaire’s enemies before she followed Blaire.
Pima remained stone still before the door, awaiting more futile orders and whining.
“Do you talk?” Blaire asked.
The servant nodded. “I speak when ordered to, Mistress.”
Blaire shivered. Mistress.
“Please just call me Blaire. Please.”
“Yes,” Pima nodded then, noticing Blaire’s expectation, added, “Blaire.”
Blaire tilted her head.
Pima didn’t look particularly special. She didn’t emit an aura that screamed power like Coal and Death. Aside from her eyes she appeared human. Harmless. Even a bit intimidated.
Because of me? No way.
“So what does a servant here do?” Blaire asked, truly curious.
“My main objective is to tend to your needs and make you feel comfortable.”
Blaire scoffed. “That’ll never happen.”
She glanced to the king-sized bed she recently woke in, smoothed into an appearance as if it had never been used.
“Did you make my bed?”
“Yes. Only I am responsible for you.”
Blaire’s attention drifted around the room.
There was much to see and much to care for. It was a lot of work for one servant; even a demon.
“Would you like to rest?” Pima offered.
“I’ve had enough sleeping,” Blaire answered, distracted.
“What’s in here?” Blaire opened a dresser presented with folded undergarments and lingerie that made her blush.
Blaire quickly slammed the first drawer shut and shuffled from that piece of furniture to closed double doors against the wall.
Pima beat Blaire to the handle of the nearest door. “This is the closet.”
Blaire gaped before the open tunnel. Lined up on each side were dresses organized by color and length.
Blaire raced through the closet and found a spotless mirror and jewelry vanity at the end. There wasn’t a single casual shirt in sight.
If Blaire was her mother, she would storm out of the room and rampage about women’s rights and privileges but, frankly, Blaire would never turn down a gorgeous dress. She’d never been able to afford one.
Comfort and beauty, she learned, rarely coincide. But as Blaire stepped towards the black dresses, she realized that she was willing to handle a bit of pain.