With a green face, Lily got out of the vehicle as she held a sick bag in hand. She'd been more than a little annoyed when Rowan had given her the sick bag. But Severus and Rowan's grave expressions told her to take the bag. Now, she was must grateful having understood, what the twins meant about hellish drives.
Lily feels cool long finger gently pat her back in smoothing circles. "Try to breathe through your nose, it will soon pass," Severus worriedly said as Rowan weakly leaned against the vehicle door to regain her land legs again.
Lily nods her head and begins to deeply breathe until the earth cease to move. "Thanks, I feel a lot better now," Lily said as she opened her eyes to only end up gawking at the castle-like manor. "It's huge!"
"Naturally," Reginald beamed in reply as he opened the car trunk. "Only the best for the Prince's!"
"Don't brag grandfather," Rowan huffed as she steadily straightened up with a slight pallor still left on her face.
"Leave the bag on the ground," Rowan instructed, "Dawn will see to that it is disposed of." Lily glances around as Severus nods at her do as she is told.
Lily gingerly, but carefully places the bag on the ground as Rowan says, "C'mon now. We best getting inside."
Climbing up the glistening marble steps, Lily steps into the grand carpeted hallway and gapes at the elegant, lavish decorations. Lily blinks to see a sturdy elderly woman with somewhat cold eyes and a polite smile. "Welcome Miss Evans to the Prince family manor. I am Sirsa Prince, grandmother of Severus and Rowan. I do hope you enjoy your stay."
"No, thank you for having me!" Lily stammered with nerves.
Sirsa nods her head as a much taller, slender woman with swept hair like raven's wings takes a step forward. The woman stares down her nose at Lily causing Lily to take a hesitant step back. "See to it that you won't be too much trouble," the woman huffed, before rudely striding away.
Lily flushes with mixed emotions as Sirsa sighs and says, "That is Georgine, my sister-in-law. Please do not mind her rudeness, that is simply who she is." Severus and Rowan both nod their heads in the background confirming the statement. Lily sighs a bit relief and makes a note to herself to avoid said figure.
"Now, I'm sure you're all starving," Sirsa kindly said. "Children why don't you lead your guest to the dining table. Dawn has prepared a nice light meal for you after today's trip."
"C'mon Lily," Severus eagerly said as he grasped Lily by the hand and led her away.
Rowan hides as a smile and nods approvingly at her twin's actions as she follows behind. Who knows maybe Severus has a fighting chance? Rowan pauses in the dining doorway as she notes Lily's lack of embarrassment at Severus holding her hand. Then again, maybe it's too late. Sev's been friend-zoned.
Rowan takes a seat next to Severus with Severus being the middle and Lily on his other side. Lily wondrously studies the chandeliers, before staring at the table filled with delicious snacks. Mouthwatering Lily says, "This is a light meal?"
"Well, it's no more than usual," Severus hastily explained. "It's just that that sometimes Dawn cooks' heavier meals."
"It's not as though you're not used to it, Lily," Rowan mumbled as she severed herself food. "It's more or less like Hogwarts without the enchanted house tables."
"You're right," Lily said as she began to dig into the food. With a mouthful, Lily glances around and mumbles, "Aren't your grandparents going to join us?"
"No, they're being nice and giving us some time alone," Severus quickly replied. "They'll typically join us for lunch or dinner tomorrow."
"Why not brunch?" Lily asked with curiosity.
"The Princes are not morning people," Rowan honestly said as she stabbed a meatball with her fork. Lily chuckles at the statement as Severus flushes in embarrassment and glares at his sister. The rest of the meal is quiet except for the sound of chewing and silverware clinking.
Full Lily leans back against the back of her chair and pats her bulging belly. "I feel as though I'm bursting at the seams," Lily sighed.
"I'm surprised you aren't," Rowan drily commented at having seen the amount of food Lily consumed.
This earned Rowan another glare from Severus, who went to his princess's rescue. "We just need to move around a bit, that's all."
And as if on cue, a female house-elf in a cute little dress with matching apron and large droopy ears appears before them. Dawn smiles and says, "Is the young master and mistress, and guest finished?"
"Yes, Dawn, we are," Rowan said as she rose to her feet. "It was delicious as usual. But first, would you lead us to the guest room?"
"Please follow, Dawn, this way, young master and mistress, and guest!" Dawn happily squeaked.
The three of them follow Dawn as Lily with fascination studies the female house elf. Leaning over towards Severus, she softly asks, "Is she your family's house elf?"
Overhearing the question, Dawn proudly answers, "Yes, Miss Evans! Dawn has been a Prince family elf since birth!"
"Isn't that a bit like slavery?" Lily hesitantly said, reminding Rowan too much of a certain bushy-haired witch of the future.
"No, Miss Evans!" Dawn shrieked in horror as she fiercely shook her head causing her ears to flap in distress. "Dawn is proud and most honored to serve the Prince family!"
"Oh, I'm sorry," Lily hastily said. "It's just that house elves don't seem to be very happy at times from what is written in the books at least."
"It is okay, Miss Evans, Dawn understands Miss Evans means well. Dawn is lucky to serve in happy wizarding home where Dawn is treated well. But other house elves are not so lucky, they are treated very poorly, "Dawn truthfully explained.
"Oh yes, Dawn knows there are terrible, mean wizards who do most wretched things to happy serving elves. Dawn's hubby, Tadbey, very much understands. But Hubby was smart and tricked bad masters into giving Hubby clothes. Hubby was suddenly free, but all alone in the wizarding world. But Hubby found Prince manor and Hubby fell in love with Dawn."
Dawn giggled happily as she smiled. "But Hubby was very afraid of Prince masters. But Master is most wise and said, Hubby can stay as a free elf, but Hubby must swear an oath of loyalty and protection to the Prince family. Dawn is most proud of Hubby as he is a free elf and is paid wages every week. For master promised that when Dawn has tiny house elf babies that if tiny babies want to be more than house elf, house elf babies can have a choice."
Dawn pauses and exclaims, "Here we are Miss Evans, the guest room!" Dawn proudly opens the door to real a lovely girl's room in tasteful pastel colors. Lily eagerly steps into the bedroom as Severus peeks through the doorway at the well-furnished guest room including a full-length mirror.
A small smile had appeared on Rowan's face as she heard the story. Although not very grand in the scheme of things, it proved that a house elf could be something more. And by the looks of it, Tadbey, the free elf was quite interesting to say the least.
Lily turns around to face Dawn and says, "Thank you, Dawn, the room is very beautiful. And thank you for explaining things to me, but please call me, Lily."
"Thank you, Miss Evans. But Miss Evans is a guest and decorum must be kept," Dawn properly declared.
"Of course," Lily said with a giggle, before turning to Severus and Rowan. "Now show me your rooms?"
"Mine first," Severus eagerly said as he grabbed Lily by the hand and dragged her away to his bedroom further down the hallway.
"Thank you, Dawn, that was quite nice of you to reveal your life's story to our guest," Rowan said.
"It was no trouble at all, young mistress," Dawn said with a beaming smile.
"I don't know if it would be possible, Dawn, but might I trouble you to introduce, your husband?" Rowan sincerely asked.
"No trouble at all, young mistress!" Dawn eagerly said as she flapped her ears in excitement. "This is the first time; Dawn will be introducing hubby! Dawn is most excited!"
Rowan blinks in confusion as suddenly she hears a familiar pop behind her and turns to glance into Lily's room. A rather solemn house elf in perfectly ironed, blue overalls and white starched shirt stares at her. Calmly adjusting his spectacles, the dark eyes blink at her as in a rather sarcastic voice, Tadbey says, "Yes, young mistress, you called?"
A slow steady grin appears on Rowan's face as she takes a step forward and offers her hand. "Rowan Prince, it is nice to finally meet you, Tadbey. I've heard so much about you that I just had to request an introduction," Rowan genuinely said.
Tadbey eyes the tall, slender human girl before him that he had been studying for some time. Strange and quiet at times, then warm and loving, while cold and unfeeling at others. But overall, a good child, and most importantly a decent witch. Taking her hand, Tadbey firmly shakes and says, "Tadbey at your service."
"Rowan, where are you!" Severus's shouted causing Rowan to sigh.
"Sorry," Rowan apologetically said as she released his hand. "I hope you don't mind if I summon you to converse another time?"
"If I am not busy, I will come," Tadbey firmly declared.
"Of course, I wouldn't have it any other way," Rowan said with a smile. "Thank you, Dawn, and I will be seeing you later Tadbey," before walking out and heading towards her bedroom lest Severus try to break down the door.
Tadbey raises an eyebrow and says, "I've been watching that girl and she is just as strange as the rest of this family."
Dawn giggles and presses a kiss to her husband's face. "Dawn is so lucky to have such good masters," Dawn squeaked.
Tadbey sighs and corrects his wife, "They are employers, not masters."
"Hubby says, TOE-MAY-TOE, while Dawn says, Toe-MA-Toe. Though it sounds different it is still the same thing," Dawn wisely said.
Tadbey reaches over and gently places a kiss on his wife's lips. The two are still for a bit before Tadbey unhappily withdraws. "I best get back to work, I have to finish running an errand," Tadbey sighed.
"Dawn will then keep the food warm until hubby returns," Dawn lovingly said as she placed one last kiss on her husband's cheek, before apparating away to the dining room to clean up. Tadbey sheepishly reaches up to touch his cheek before apparating away with a lopsided grin on his face. Ah, to be young and so very much in love.