The Fox and the Hound
The Jennings estate was expansive and beautiful. With a grand home made for the owner of a profitable steel business, Mister Jennings was always eager to show it off. Hence why he allowed the man he barely knew to come for a visit. He was all too pleased to invite him on a coach pulled by pure white Arabians with the coach of a just as brilliant white with gold accents. What was the point of money if you couldn't gloat a bit?

The way down the long lawns was lined with pink rose buses and a matching sculpted marble fountain on each side with a koi spitting water to the heavens. Inside, he checked his watch, certain that no one would ever be late for a meeting with someone such as himself. The older man kissed the foreheads of his eight year old son, Jacob, and his 10 year old daughter, Emma. He sent them to go play or have lessons with their governess, the lovely Sarah, whom he'd gotten to know very well during her stay there.

Walking towards the entrance, he stood halfway down the large staircase, and leaned against one of the mahogany railings as he had seen his guest approaching. He twirled his perfectly manicured mustache for a moment and his eyes sparkled in enjoyment at the idea of getting to speak with the man who seemed of great stock like himself. One of his footmen had arrived to open the door at the perfect moment as it would look terrible to make the man wait or heaven forbid, knock!

"I think perhaps I should invite him to go hunting or fishing. That is always great fun, don't you agree? " He said to the man as he put a pipe to his lips and puffed a few plumes of smoke out while his eyes remained fixed on the door. He hadn't told his wife about the visitor, but then he'd told only those that it mattered to. His governess knew he was having a guest so as to keep his kids out of the way, and his maids knew to keep the house perfectly clean and a room prepared encase the man wanted to stay the night or a few.
Ah, my pretty bird, my sweet little cousin, you have found a pretty nest in which to hide yourself this time, ey? Alex’s eyes took in the beautiful surroundings as the sumptuous coach took him the last leg of the journey up to the grand house. The place seemed truly fit for a king – a king of steel, he supposed, with a slight sneer – the nobleman’s contempt for the nouveau riche ingrained into his core. But no matter. A gilded cage or one old and rusted, I have you trapped, again! And this time, you will not escape!

With such pleasant thoughts, Alex smiled to himself, until the coach came to a stop before the steps of the gracious looking home. A footman greeted him by opening the door to the coach, from which he descended. And another opened the grand front doors of the mansion to him, whereupon he saw his host, standing there ready to greet him. He dipped into a half bow.

”Mr. Jennings. I must congratulate you sir! If your house is even half as beautiful as your grounds, you are living in a palace indeed!” Alex flashed the man one of his most charming smiles, as they shook hands.
"Oh it is! It is! Nothing but the best that money can buy, I assure you!" The man gave a low bellowed laugh as he welcomed the man, immediately grasping his hand in a strong hand shake. He pulled him along and patted his back, insistent on giving him a tour of the expansive place.

"As you can see, this place was built only about ten years ago. First big investment I made outside of my business you see. Had my first one born just as it was finished. So it was perfect timing, but that's me! Always good with timing and organization. I like things neat and in their place."

He walked along, past portraits in oil of him and his family, towards a long corridor. The left side lead to a parlor for intimate meetings with dark greens and easily shuttered but large windows. Up ahead opened to a conservatory. The dark iron used for the walls to hold up the thick slightly tinted glass. The room was lined with plants of all sorts of varieties and the man happily walked down the path that led to another small fountain with marble benches around. The floor beneath them was checkered with black and white porcelain.

Nearby there was a small child like giggle. A boy had been going down the hallway followed close by his sister. They had been playing some sort of game when they'd wandered too close to their guests. Their arms were caught by the governess who'd rushed to catch up. As they glanced around to see if they disturbed the lord of the house or his guest, the woman caught sight of the guest. Her eyes widened as she silently pulled them back to guide them to the nursery to continue whatever quiet game she'd had in mind. She hoped no one saw them, or at the very least, her.

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