(Page 2 of 16)
With William's family currently on a mission trip, Daniel had invited his friend to spend Christmas vacation at his home. "I can't wait to see where you live, Daniel. I bet it's wonderful," said William.
Daniel sighed as he kept his gaze out the window into the night. "I suppose," he said as he spotted the gate. Parker tapped a remote button on the dash and the gate opened up enough for the Bentley to pass through and head down the tree lined drive that wound up to the main house. The wind had calmed down by now and the snow was falling in huge flakes that fell gently to the ground with the slightest crackling on impact.
The burgundy Bentley made its way up to the large manor house where the driveway terminated just beyond at a ten bay garage. Parker stopped at the stone steps that led to the large double doors. Another butler greeted the car wearing an overcoat and cap. The man opened the right rear passenger door.
"Evening, Master Daniel, sir," said the servant as Daniel stepped out of the car.
"Thank you, Aleister," replied Daniel as he stepped up onto the first step and waited for William.
"Evening, Master Harding," said Aleister as William scooted across the back seat and climbed out of the car to join Daniel. He grinned at Daniel, clearly impressed that the butler already knew his name.
Daniel pushed his wire rim glasses up on his nose and turned to lead the way up the walk to the house. Two identical stone griffins stood guard for the house on either side of the walkway; blankets of snow were piling up on each of their backs. Aleister took time to remove Daniel and William's luggage from the Bentley and then followed them into the house.
They stopped to remove their coats in the foyer where two glass doors stood between them and the rest of the house. Once inside, they came into a large open room that extended into a long hallway straight ahead and a curved staircase started at their left and went up to the upper level over the hallway.
Daniel led William into a large room to the right that contained a massive stone fireplace with a set of matching leather chairs and a sofa between them, all situated in front of the fireplace. A roaring blaze was contained within it and the mantle was tall enough that Daniel could almost have walked upright into the inferno had he wanted to.
Beyond the sofa and chairs, there was a very tall decorated Christmas tree situated near one of the room's cathedral like windows. Daniel went to one of the high back leather chairs and fell into it, placing his feet upon the matching ottoman. William walked over more slowly, taking in as much of the huge room as he could on his first inspection, and then he settled into the other chair across from Daniel.
"This place is great, Daniel! I can't believe it. You're so lucky to live here."
That was something that never had crossed Daniel's mind. Usually, it was only slightly better being at home and much lonelier.
"Where are your parents, Danny boy?"
Daniel stared at the fire.