The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Two
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part One
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Two
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Three
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Four
- The Secrets Of Covingport Manor: Part Five
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part Six
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor – Part Seven
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part Eight
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part Nine
- The Secrets of Covingport Manor: Part 10
“I do believe I am allowed to tour my own property.”
Michael stood up so fast his chair rolled across the room and slammed into the wall. I tried to hold back a smile at the look of embarrassment on his face. “Ms. Covingport! I’m so sorry!” he said, getting frantic. He searched through his desk until he found a set of keys. “Forgive me. We’ve been expecting you.”
He hit a button that opened the gates before stepping out of the guard post. “Shall I take your things and drive you up to the manor?”
“I’d appreciate it.” I paid my taxi driver while Michael unloaded my things from the trunk into a black car he had parked inside the gates.
When the gates were closed and the taxi driver drove off, Michael opened the back door of the car for me. He moved stiffly, and I felt torn between being amused and feeling awkward at the grand treatment.
Michael shut my door when I had settled inside before getting in the driver’s seat. “You’re going to love it here!” he told me with excitement. The sound of the gravel crunching under the tires filled the silence the rest of the drive up.
“We might be a small group of staff, but I promise we’re great! Anything you need, don’t hesitate to ask!”
I let Michael talk animatedly as I gazed out the tinted windows. When the gravel drive opened up beyond the tree line, I was excited to see the large body of water. It was a dark blue but still glittered in the sunlight.
There was a gazebo attached to a dock. Further down the side of the lake, there was a large greenhouse. A gravel path led from the house to the gazebo, to the greenhouse, and one leading into the back tree line. I didn’t have a chance to ask Michael about it as we pulled up to the large entrance where a lady not much older than me and an older gentleman stood waiting by the front doors.
The end of the drive was a roundabout. A fountain sat in the middle. It was three-tier and empty of water. Instead, dirt and dead leaves filled the inside. The double-story archway was even grander up close than from the gates. The high windows allowed me to peak into the entry and see the grand staircase.
Michael put the car in park. He came around to stand by the other staff members as the older gentlemen opened the door for me.
“Ms. Covingport, we’re excited to finally meet you! I’m Elaina, your housekeeper. And this is Frank, your chef.”
Frank bowed slightly. “At your service, Miss. I’m here to prepare anything you’d like. I’m not always in the kitchen, sometimes I help Miss Elaina. But I’m not hard to find in my old age,” He joked.
“It’s nice to meet you all,” I said truthfully. It was still hard to believe that I now had a staff that would help me around the house.
“I want to be blunt with you from the start,” I said, as my fingers began fidgeting. “I’m not quite sure what to do with this place,” I told the three of them with honesty. “Aunt Blair wished me to keep the manor and not sell it. But it’s a massive home for me. I just want to be honest with you because I know what I choose also involves your jobs.”
“Thank you,” Elaina said, shooting Frank a knowing look as she fumbled with her hands, too. “We were all unsure what would happen. We’ve worked for Miss Blaire for so long, none of us knew what to do. We’ve just been cleaning and walking around waiting for you.”
It seemed we were all in the same situation of helplessness as we stood in a circle outside. I felt I couldn’t just abandon these three, but the upkeep of this place would cost a fortune. I had the money, my family had left a lot of inheritance money, but I was still a student working on my degree. I didn’t have a career yet to continue profiting the family’s money. If I stayed, I would only deplete it.
“My aunt’s attorney didn’t mention a groundskeeper. Is there one?” I asked them.
“No Miss,” Frank said. “Miss Blair fired him after she caught him spying on her through the bedroom window. Young Michael here could do it, he’s a young enough lad.”
“No offense, old man, but keeping the children off the property is hard enough work without adding a second duty.” He said playfully.
“Are there a lot of kids who sneak in?” I asked.
“Well yeah, all the kids around here want to see the-” He was cut off by Elaina hitting him in the chest so hard it made even me cringe. Michael gasped as the breath was knocked out of him.
“There’s no need to go around telling rumors to Miss Hannah.” Elaina could barely be heard over Michael’s coughing.
I was comforted yet uneasy with how comfortable the three of them were together. I felt like an outsider intruding in their home.
“You can just call me Hannah. Please.” It was weird to be called Miss Hannah. I wasn’t some kind of royalty. I was just… well, me.
“What rumors?” I wanted to know everything I could about this place. It was my family home, and it had so much history that I was never taught. It made my heart ache to have never heard stories about this place from my parents.
“Covingport Manor is haunted by ghosts,” Michael shouted. He yelped as he dodged Elaina’s next hit to the chest. She just barely missed up, and he smirked tauntingly at her.
“It’s nothing to be frightened of,” she reassured. “This place is big and old. It makes a lot of noise. Rumors like that are just meant to scare people away.”
“I don’t believe in ghosts. They’re simply make-believe legends that people tell themselves to help them grieve loved ones,” I told them. “Will you show me around? I’ll be staying here for a while until I get the place cleaned up.”
“I assure you I keep the place dust free.” Elaina almost sounded offended.
“I meant the yard mainly,” I quickly corrected. “As I said, I’m not sure what I’m going to do with this place yet. But whether or not I keep it, it needs to be kept up. I’ll look into hiring a groundskeeper and an inspector to make sure everything is up to date and working properly.”
“The lights flicker a lot, but that could just be the ghost,” Michael told me.
Elaina reached over and hit him again.
He laughed, and the sound seemed to cause both Elaina and Frank’s faces. “I’m kidding! I’m kidding. Stop hitting me, you crazy woman!”
I laughed at them. Frank rolled his eyes before motioning for me to enter the manor. He held the door open as I became awed by the sight of the entryway.
All the doors were deep mahogany. The floor and staircase were marble, with gold-painted railings. The walls rose high above with a cream color paint. The ceiling had a massive crystal chandelier with what looked like updated electric lighting. Past the chandelier was a fading mural.
“The dining room is to your left,” Frank began. “The kitchen is through the other side, or you can use the service entrance under the stairs. To your right is the living room and through the other end is the study. There are two doors that lead to the greenhouse in the back, one in the study and the other in the kitchen.”
“There are two greenhouses?” I asked.
He smiled. “Yes. The one by the lake is the original greenhouse built at the same time the mansion was. It is in its original condition. The one at the back of the house was originally a surgical room belonging to the original Mr. Covingport. It was transitioned into a greenhouse over a hundred years ago by one of the Covingport women who believed his methods were not so moral.”
“You have me curious, Frank. What type of medicine was he doing?”
“There are detailed ledgers in the library. Everything written by or about the Covingport family is in there. There are many secrets here at the Manor. But I must warn you, his ledgers are not for light reading.” Frank got a faraway look on his face as he thought. I wondered if he had read the ledgers and if the horrors written inside them are what caused his sudden silence, or if it was something else.
I looked around to distract him. “What’s through that door?”
He became alert as he followed my gaze. “Ah, the door under the right side of the stairs is the coat closet, quite massive. Miss Blair used it for storage, mostly. And the big double doors under the grand staircase is the ballroom.”
“The ballroom is one room Miss Blair never let me clean,” Elaina said from behind us.
I nearly jumped out of my skin. She and Michael had been quiet this whole time, and I had forgotten they followed us inside. “It’s locked. She never had any reason to use it. I don’t know where she kept the key. The last time I was in there was when I closed the curtains and covered the tables and chairs. It’s quite beautiful,” she said dreamily.
“It’s a shame it never got used,” Frank agreed, as he crossed his hands behind his back. “This place use to once host the most wonderful of balls.”
“And how would you know?” Michael asked. He was leaning on the staircase, waiting patiently for us. “Were you around to attend some of them?”
Frank turned to him with a smile. “In fact, I was. I was a young lad, not even ten years old. This was before Miss Blair inherited the manor. My mother and father worked for the previous Covingports.”
“I knew you were old, old man.”
“You just wish you were around to see beautiful women in their prime. In fancy, low cut, and revealing dresses,” Elaina stated.
“You’re damn right. Beats sitting around here all day staring at Frank.”
“What happened to the previous Covingports? Would it have been my grandparents?” I asked.
The three of them stayed silent and exchanged looks with each other. Odd.
“No, my dear,” Frank said diligently. “It would have been your great-great-great-grandparents.”
Jeesh. Exactly how old was Frank?
“We don’t want to frighten you,” Elaina started. She glanced nervously between the two men. They shared knowing looks before seeming to come to a silent agreement together.
“Until Blair Covingport,” Frank continued, standing to his full height as if bracing himself for what he was about to say. “There hadn’t been a member of the Covingport family living in the manor since the murder.”