Synopsis: A fast-paced story about a youngster who loses everything and everyone he holds dear. Through the only family that still remains with him, his uncle, he gets to choose to dedicate his focus and attention to blacksmithing rather than to fall into depression and street life...
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It took a month to finish the purchase of the Domus House. Part of it was in how much time it took for the bank to forward payment. The rest was waiting for a variety of bureaucratic procedures to fall through.
Despite how long it took to finally own the house, Adam was extremely happy. He had managed to haggle the price for the Domus down to three and a half Gold! He leveraged the age of the listing, the condition of the lot and house, and the fact that he would have to pay to make an entrance to the house from the road as methods to lower the price.
Adam doubted the one Gold and a half he had left in the bank would be able to get the Domus back to its former glory, but that was fine. He had some savings from working with the Silver Saviors that he would get from Madame’s when he was sixteen as well as the stipend they would give. Vivienne also had some coin she could contribute. It might take a while, but they would definitely be able to get the Domus back into shape.
Nobody at Madame’s yet knew Adam had purchased a house. They definitely knew they were looking and Jannette was even pushing them to finally choose. Despite being friends with Vivienne, the two of them now had a means with which to live on their own. To be fair, she had to try and push them to make room for more orphans who needed the space more.
It was finally time, though. Adam had a plan for the reveal and he was determined to enact it!
Adam arrived at the Tavern part of Madame’s, looking to pick up Helen as her shift ended. He quickly found her with his Spirit Sight. He also found that she was dealing with a rather stubborn rich client in one of the private booths on the second floor.
The man was portly and his Aura seemed… greasy to Adam. Adam inwardly groaned. The man’s name was Big Poe and he was a little infamous at Madames. Adam walked swiftly up to the second floor while the two talked.
Big Poe spoke with a sly smile and a hint of lust in his eyes: “Helen, I’d heard that you are going to be turning sixteen next month. I’d pay quite handsomely if you’d give me your first night.”
Helen’s face scrunched slightly, but she maintained a modicum of decorum as she spoke: “Sorry sir, but no.”
Big Poe continued, unabated by her refusal: “It’s fine to be reluctant. I hear you have a boyfriend. Maybe you’re saving yourself for him or the two of you have already done the deed and I will have missed your first night. Still, I’m more than willing to show you how a real man can perform.”
Helen was quickly losing her composer. “The answer is still no, sir. Now, if you’ll excuse me, your time is up and my shift is over.”
As Helen made to leave, Big Poe grabbed her arm. He spoke with more insistence: “Come now, we haven’t even spoken of how much I could pay you!”
Adam took this moment to step in. He spoke: “She’s already said no multiple times, sir. Unless you’d like to speak with one of our bouncers, I’d recommend you remove your hand from Helen’s arm.”
Big Poe gave Adam a brief dour look as he slowly removed his hand. He returned his attention to Helen and continued to press: “The blind musician coming to rescue his girl, ha! Trust me, girl, I could give you a pleasurable time uncomparable to him. While he would be failing around in the dark looking for the right hole, I would be sensuous.”
Adam’s disgust for the man was plainly evident on his face as Helen quickly backed up behind him. Adam spoke: “Would you just shut up? Nobody wants to listen to that!”
“You don’t even know who you’re talking to, do you, boy? You think you’re some kind of knight in shining armor for Helen? I could put you down any day of the week! Now out of my way, I was talking to Helen.”
It was Adam’s turn for a dour look to come across his face. Adam reached out with a sour song in his mind and touched the Spirit Essence swirling around Madame’s. In a moment, a pervasive presence seemed to weigh down on the souls of those around Adam! Big Poe’s face went pale as he finally started paying some attention to Adam, like the fact Adam was directly looking at him even though he was blind!
Adam spoke coldly: “You think you could put down a Spiritualist like me any day? Not even a dragon was able to kill me, or hadn’t you heard about how I helped the Silver Saviors with that?”
Adam then let up the pressure he was applying. Helen took a deep breath behind him when he did. She, unfortunately, felt the same thing Big Poe had. Adam still had to work on discerning targets whenever he used that particular trick.
Adam gave the cowering Big Poe one last look before turning away with Helen. Hansen and another bouncer appeared as they turned. Hansen asked: “Trouble?”
Adam shook his head: “Just Big Poe being insistent again. It got on my nerves, sorry.”
Hansen gave Adam a nod before stepping into the booth: “If you’re done, get out! Others are waiting for a booth!”
Big Poe quickly sped out of the booth with tears in his eyes. As he went past Helen and Adam, they heard him say: “All I wanted was a good time!”
Adam heaved a sigh. It was hard to stay truly angry at Big Poe. For all that he was a grown man, he was just a spoiled child of a rich family that still lived with his parents. No one really liked him, except maybe Susan and the other ‘Ladies’ that formed Madame’s Brothel. Still, nobody truly hated him either.
Helen spoke beside Adam while rubbing her temples: “Did you have to do that pressure thing?”
“Sorry, it was they only he would listen besides punching him. But, that would have led to an incident.”
Helen could only shake her head while muttering: “I almost wish you had.”
She cast a brief glance towards where Big Poe had run before giving a heavy sigh of her own.
Adam spoke: “Come on. It’s date night and you definitely need an unwind after that!”
The rest of the evening was pleasant for the two. Like usual, they ended up in the Hill Garden by the end. Unlike normal, however, Adam was guiding Helen away from their special spot and over to the opposite side of the park.
Helen jokingly asked: “Did you get lost, Adam?”
Adam gave a sly smile in response: “No, I wanted to show you something.”
“You’ll just have to wait and see.”
Holding hands the two walked through areas of the park the rarely went. It was a nice change of pace. There were a few flower beds along the path that held flowers they hadn’t seen before. Mostly though, one part of the park looked much the same as the next. Helen’s anticipation began to grow as she came up with imaginative ideas on just what Adam was up to. Some of those thoughts left her beet red in the face.
As they got closer and closer to his target, Adam’s heart began to beat faster and faster. He mentally fought as his mind began to lock up.
‘Come on Adam, you’ve gone through this in your head a hundred times! You can do this, deep breathes.’
Along the park path, the two came to bench. Here, Adam took a turn off the path into a denser part of the Hill Garden. He turned back to Helen and barely managed to say in a level tone: “Just a little farther.”
Broken from her own revery Helen beamed him a shy smile as her anticipation built further. Leading Helen deeper into the thicket, they came to spot that had been recently cut. Adam held a few stray branches that still remained on the bushes to help Helen past.
Arriving on the other side, Helen drew a gasp!
“What is this Adam?”
They had come up the backside of the Domus lot. Adam had been through here earlier with a few workers to show them which parts of the wall to the front of the house should be removed to make an entrance.
Adam was pleased to see Helen’s shock. Now came the part that he was having surprising trouble with.
“This… This is my house! I uh, just finished with purchasing it. It doesn’t look like much right now, it still needs a little fixing and uh… you know how you’re turning sixteen next month and I won’t be too far either… I just thought maybe this could be your house too, you know if you wanted.”
Adam inwardly cringed: ‘You just screwed it up! This wasn’t how you planned it!”
It was then that a beautiful peal of heartfelt laughter assaulted Adam’s ears! His heart stopped for a moment at the sight of Helen’s blooming Aura. With a wild grin, she stepped in and gave Adam a hug as she spoke: “You big goof, of course I’ll marry you!”
Adam couldn’t help laughing as he gave her a fierce hug back before spinning her around. He pulled back a little and asked: “Was it bad?”
Helen nodded with a mock serious look: “Terrible.”
Adam gave a dramatic sigh: “Can we tell everyone I said it perfectly?”
“…Will you marry me?”
Helen gave Adam a kiss: “Sure, but I’ll use it as blackmail if I need to.”
Adam grinned in response: “Let me show you around. Careful, though, the house hasn’t been cleaned out yet.”
Holding hands, the two dreamily went through the house as Adam pointed things out. Adam first showed Helen where the entrance was going to be placed, which was currently overgrown by bushes and a tree. The original stone cobble path leading to the house was covered by thick weeds. A few were damaged, but many appeared to be salvageable.
Adam then showed off the Atrium. As soon as they walked in, Helen exclaimed: “Is that a pond!?”
Adam chuckled: “This part of the house is built around this water feature. See those holes up above it in the ceiling? They are actually drains that siphon rainwater down!”
The ‘pond’, as Helen put it, was a recessed square in the stone floor. It held sand at its bottom to filter any water collects into the pond before it begins to collect into a cistern that could be drawn from for use in the house! The rest of the Atrium was also crafted from stone with wood moldings as accents. Unfortunately, the wood was actually molding! Helen gave Adam a mock slap when he used that pun on her.
There were two doorways to either side of the Atrium. They were double-door sized, but the doors were missing. One led to a room where guests could be entertained, while the other was a large guest bedroom that could fit several beds and held an adjoining bathroom. There were fireplaces in both the rooms to warm them up during winter and the Atrium had four stone braziers in each of its corners. It would be a bit costly to heat, but Adam planned on getting some rugs down so the floor wasn’t so cold and reduce the need to heat.
Even wider and taller than the doorways, an opening at the back of the Atrium marked the entrance to the Pars-Rustica. It was built around an open courtyard the size of a small yard, replete with a tree and a pond at its center with plenty of room around them.
As the center of the courtyard turned from lawn back into stone, rooms were arranged around it. Down one side of the Pars-Rustica were a series of bedrooms. There was one big master room with an attached bathroom and four regular bedrooms that shared a separate bathroom. Down another length was the large kitchen and a huge dining room. Finally, the back held series of segmented living rooms that opened onto a porch off the back side of the Domus.
Helen could scarcely believe it all. Adam had somehow come to own such a grand home, even if it was run down, inside the Hill Garden! Her mind raced for what was to come. Not just to see this house become grand once again, but that future she had just promised with Adam.
As they were looking at the rooms, Adam said: “There’s plenty of room for us, my mom… and kids.”
The two held each other closer. The more they explored the house, the more the two felt sure of what was to come. It wouldn’t be tomorrow. It wouldn’t even be a few months from now. It might take a couple of years before it truly happened, but they would start a family together in this house.