It was now official. Tia and Naomi were in England. Tia folded the corner of her page and closed her romance novel. Naomi glanced at Tia and grinned widely. They both took in the majesty of being in a totally different country in a totally new continent. It was amazing, they thought, letting their minds run wild with possible new adventures and ideas. They would be here for a few months. It had always been one of their dreams to travel somewhere together. Now it was a reality and everything seemed so surreal to both of them. Almost everything...except the tiredness and the necessity to find another source of transport to find the manor where they were supposed to settle down.
" Ugh. I'm too tired..." Naomi leaned against Tia once they were outside the London Heathrow airport. They were both staring at the unending traffic of London.
" Naomi, stop." Tia pushed Naomi off of her and looked around. " We've got to find the Everett Manor employee."
" Fine. I'll handle it." Naomi let out an exasperated sigh and she took out her Blackberry cellphone. She fiddled around, " Okay, so I reserved us two rooms in Everett Manor in Grayson. Its just outside of London in the country. I talked to the owner and he said he would send us someone tall and skinny with red hair to pick us up. He said his name would be Owen...."
Naomi stood up on her toes, overlooking the crowd. Tia rolled her eyes, and began to look around, past the rushing crowds of strangers.
"Where is that man?" Naomi muttered to herself, tired and frustrated.
" Just hold on, Nay." Tia used Naomi's nickname, to calm her down. She felt like she was usually the stable and patient factor in their friendship. Now was the perfect time to utilize her skills. They were in a new continent, in a new, exciting country and Naomi could be frustrating.
Suddenly a noticeable and extremely flashy yellow mustang camaro pulled up as soon as a taxi left an open space. It seemed like everyone stopped what they were doing to stop and stare, in hopes of seeing someone special. Instead of a celebrity, or a pop culture icon, a dark haired handsome man with an open and flirtatious grin climbed out. He stood in front of his car " Is there a--" The sound of his strong British accent was interrupted when he took a piece a paper out of his pocket and read it. " Sorry, is there a Miss Naomi Castillo and a Tia Claybourne?"
The crowd sighed at his handsomeness and kept moving. As Naomi and Tia moved through the crowd towards the man, women were giggling like teenagers and making snide comments. Naomi marched through the crowd, ahead of Tia.
When Tia finally caught up, hauling some of her suitcases, she found Naomi being sarcastically crude towards the positive attitude of the new man. He stopped arguing with Naomi and smiled brightly at Tia. Tia felt herself flush with the sudden attention.
" Hello, there." His eyes danced with light. Tia noticed that his eyes went from a soft gold to a bright almost emerald green color. " Am I to assume that you are Miss Tia Claybourne?"
Tia smiled shyly, " Yes, I am." she glanced at Naomi. " You've met my friend, Naomi."
Naomi jumped in at this point. " Yes, Tia, we've met. I think its time we left. I'm extremely tired."
" Alright. Lets go." The man nodded and clicked a button on his key chain that lead to the trunk opening. He swiped up Tia's two suitcases and put them in the trunk. Then he swiped up Naomi's bags and did the same. " Shall we leave then?" he asked with a crooked grin as he opened the car door.
" You don't seem to fit the description we have of a man named Owen that was supposed to pick us up." Tia commented looking into the Camaro as Naomi pulled the seat back and jumped in the back.
" I'm Blake Everett." He held out his hand. Tia blinked as she automatically took it. She looked up into the deep green color of his eyes and felt him shake her her hand. She grinned and pulled back, feeling her heart thump loudly and her body respond in nervousness towards Blake. She wasn't a terminally shy mouse but she wasn't as outgoing and moody as Naomi.
Blake moved aside, noticing the light blush of pink on Tia's face. She grinned quietly and took the passenger seat. He closed the door and went around.
" Me and my older brother are so excited to have foreign visitors at Everett Manor. Well I am at least." He grinned to himself thinking about Grants serious and business-like persona. Grant had ordered that the rooms be prepared, he'd calculated the time and costs of their stay, informed the staff and had gone off to his study to do whatever he usually did.
" Is your brother Grant Michael Winston Everett?" Naomi inquired lazily, from the back.
" Yeah. He's the one in charge of the manor and all of its responsibilities." Blake grinned as he said this, realizing Naomi hadn't seen an image of her brother. Otherwise she would've been confused.
Naomi watched as the city drifted by slowly melding into a series of never ending rolling green hills. She listened in silence to the muted british rock Blake had turned down. Soon she noticed the growing of forestry. Blake turned at an opened gate and they followed a curvy road with forest on both sides. The road lead to a grand mansion-like home. It was an intimidating older brick home that demanded respect yet offered luxury and comfort.
" Home sweet home, as you Americans would say." Blake turned off the engine and swept out to open our doors and the trunk for our suitcases. The old wooden double doors swung open and to an older man in a butlers suit. He had a beard, clear blue eyes and a dependable prompt aura. " Oh, hello there Russell. These are the guests Grant has been preparing for." He put down Naomi's bags and walked over to the girls. " Tia Claybourne, Naomi Castillo, this is Everett Manor's most beloved and amusing butler Russell Wynnters."
Russell took the hands of the ladies one by one and brushed his lips lightly over the top of their offered hands. Blake rolled his eyes and chuckled under his breath. Naomi grinned, amused and charmed, while Tia flushed with embarrassment at the unusual greeting. Russell grinned under his short beard and stepped back. " That, sir, is how you treat ladies." He pointed out before bowing slightly and moving over to fetch their suitcases.
" I'll keep that in mind, Casanova." Blake responded, taking Tia's elbow and leading the girls into the Manor. At the marble tiled entrance, they met an older and a younger woman. They were both in maid dressings. The older one looked nice enough, but the younger woman was young and pretty but had ice cold blue eyes that were aimed to freeze. She was staring coldly and disapprovingly at Naomi and Tia. The older woman stepped up, the young woman following right behind her.
Blake introduced them to Beth and the younger woman was her niece, named Hannah. Both Beth and Hannah nodded in respect but did not offer their hands.
" Mr. Grant told me to inform you that he will be down for dinner to greet the guests. He has gone away on business concerning the representative who wants to buy Yellowknot." Beth informed promptly.
" All right. Thank you both." Blake nodded, dismissing them and lead the ladies to the classic curving staircase. He took them to their rooms. Tia's room was across from Naomi's, all the way at the end of the hall. Russ will bring your suitcases up in a second. I'll let you two recover from the journey, and I'll see you at dinner with my brother."
" Thankyou Mr. Everett." Tia smiled as Naomi lagged to her door and stood waiting for him to leave so she could go inside and sleep.
" Call me Blake." He corrected and glanced at Naomi, noticing the impatience in her deep brown almond eyes. He grinned at Tia. " I'll just leave before your friend collapses." with those words, he walked back down the hall, passing Russell as he lead another man with all 4 of their suitcases. Tia and Naomi opened their doors and allowed the men to put the suitcases inside.
Once they were gone, Naomi sighed in exasperation and happiness. " Finally!" she breathed and closed the door, leaving Tia to herself for a few hours. Tia glanced at the hallway clock as she closed her door. She couldn't wait for dinner..No, she thought..she couldn't wait to see Blake again.