Mr. Arden put his hands on his son’s shoulders. “I know you are nervous, James. But if you are to replace me as this family’s butler some day, you must not let them see. Never let the Farlingtons see what you are thinking or what you are feeling. You must always be calm and steady. Push your fears down. Do not let any member of the Farlington family see your fears. Show them no weakness. Only calm and steady strength. Do you understand me?”
“I do, sir.”
“Always carry yourself with pride and dignity. Remember who you are. You may only be a butler, but you are a butler for the Farlington family. Everything you say and do and wear reflects on them. It will effect how their friends and family and acquaintances perceive them. You must do nothing to damage their reputation.”
James thought about May Rose Farlington.
“Do you understand me, James?”
He held his head a little higher. “Yes, sir. I do, sir.”
Raven held his head a little higher as they entered the church.
His pupils widened.
The church was dark and quiet with only the sanctuary lamp lit, casting a flickering red glow. The scent of candle wax and lingering incense trailed through the air.
He sat down in the very last pew. Missy sat beside him.
It was so quiet.
But not the quiet of an abandoned building.
It was the quiet between two people waiting for the other to speak.
Raven went down on his knees and he spoke in a softest whisper. “Lord. My Lord. I barely know what to say. It has been such a long time. I do not know when I stopped. I cannot remember.”
He looked straight ahead at the tabernacle shrouded in darkness. He felt the need to say more. “The last time must have been when Miss Farlington became Mrs. Vansing. It hurt. I hurt. I was angry. I believed the entire affair to be all Your fault. You placed that love in my heart, yet put me in a position where it was impossible for me to share it with Miss Farlington.”
He fell silent as if waiting for a response.
“I am sorry. I am sorry that it has taken me this long to speak to You again. I should not ask anything of You. I do not deserve any favors. Yet. My Lord, I have but one request. One that I cannot refrain from asking. Please. If You will, please help me. Let Father Landover see me as something better than just a vampire. If there is any goodness within me, let him see it.”
He covered his face with his hands and bowed his head.
Please, my Lord.