Home > Je Suis à Toi (Monsters in the Dark #3.5)(13)

Je Suis à Toi (Monsters in the Dark #3.5)(13)
Author: Pepper Winters

Tess sat opposite me in a gown I’d never seen. We had a seamstress and suit maker on our books, so it didn’t surprise me that the gold silk clung to her figure with skilful precision.

Suzette and Angelique sat beside her at the large banquet table while Franco and Frederick sat on my side. The six of us had indulged in a decadent meal of pumpkin soup for a starter, pheasant and roasted vegetables for a main, and finished with a decadent tiramisu for dessert.

Since we’d arrived, everything had been relaxing and calm. Our room overlooked the aqueduct flowing into the valley below, and our bed was even bigger than our one at home with the convenience of a four-poster with thick swaddling curtains to cocoon us. The giant fireplace roared and was kept stoked by attentive servants, and the large claw-foot bath by the balcony would be used at some point during our stay.

The castle was quiet and straddled modern and history with seamless charm. We hadn’t explored much, but there was always tomorrow.

Sipping on a fine glass of aged whiskey, I chuckled as Franco acted out the bumpy landing they’d endured in the helicopter before we’d arrived. I wasn’t surprised. The valley here would’ve been havoc with wind thermals.

Tess and I remained quiet, letting the others do the entertaining.

The staff cleared the table, appearing and disappearing effortlessly. It felt as if we were alone and in a private sanctuary rather than a cavernous castle.

Finishing his wine, Frederick stood up, helping Angelique to her feet with a doting smile. They made a handsome couple with their svelte frames and similar features. I didn’t have many close friends, but those I did, I cherished.

“Let’s play a few parlour games. What do you say?” Frederick clapped his hands, encouraging us to stand.

Tess rolled her eyes as Franco plucked Suzette from her chair.

“I don’t think monopoly or scrabble are what most of us have in mind tonight.” Tess murmured too low for anyone but me to hear as she came toward my side.

Wrapping an arm around her waist, it came off as kind and loving, but the fierce way I glued her to my side spoke of domination and desire. “Shall we retire and find our own entertainment?” I whispered in her ear.

She smiled coyly. “I think that’s a—”

“Come on. No excuses. A few games together and then we’ll head to bed.” Frederick in his bossiness didn’t let us say no.

With a mixture of grumbles and half-hearted hesitation, he ferried us into the room attached to the great hall and motioned us to sit in the mismatch velour love-seats and wingbacks grouped together around a low coffee table. Nestled by the chairs were a whiteboard, markers, and other paraphernalia.

“What the hell are you planning, mon ami?” I asked, reluctantly letting Tess pull me onto a love-seat with her.

Angelique answered for him, tugging her long dark hair over her shoulder. “Well, we’re in a castle. We thought it would be fun to play some of the parlour games that would’ve been their entertainment back in the day.”

I groaned dramatically. “I’d much rather drink.” I pinched Tess beside me, hissing in her ear. “And then play with you.”

She swatted my hand, fighting a smile. “Behave.”

Franco hopped up, grabbing a top card from some moth-eaten time-stained deck on the coffee table. “Great, I’ll start.” He read the script on the chosen paper, his forehead furrowing. “There’s a game called Wink Murder.” Glancing at us, he added, “But I don’t think we can play it with so few numbers.”

“How does it go?” Suzette asked, smoothing her pale blue dress with silver lace in the panels around her chest. I loved seeing her so normal and content. I never asked her to wear a uniform while working at the chateau, yet she did.

I supposed it might seem odd to be fast friends with my housekeeper, but I found it perfect. She knew my secrets just by living under my roof. What better way to keep those secrets hidden than by befriending her and her partner?

Besides, Franco would give his life to keep me safe. And I would do the same for him, even if it wasn’t in my job description. His friendship was what bought me his loyalty, not his paid service.

“One of us is assigned the role as a murderer and can kill others by winking at them. If they’re spotted winking, they lose. But if they don’t, and people keep dying, they can win by killing off everyone before they’re caught.”

I looked at our small group. “I hardly think six will work. Next.”

Slapping the card onto the table, Franco picked up another. He put it straight back down again. “The Minister’s Cat. I don’t get the rules. I’ve had too much to drink.” He laughed. “Brain cells are on holiday.”

Suzette plucked one from the deck, pursing her lips. “This might be fun? Consequences. We each have to name an adjective, a verb, and—”

“Sounds like homework. Next.” Frederick chuckled. It was his turn to grab a card. “No, not this one, either. Way too complicated.”

Seemed like historical games were a lot more tricky than the games of today. Or we were just less intelligent.

Or drunk.

I’d go with the drunk option. And was perfectly fine with that.

Taking another sip, I let them decide our fate.

All I needed was Tess beside me and the expensive whiskey in my glass. My evening was complete.

“Oh, this one sounds good.” Suzette held up her selection. “Charades.”

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