Violet could sense Bug tensing up as soon as they moved into the cavernous foyer. She squeezed his hand as he looked around. She could tell without asking that painful memories assailed him like evil, flying monkeys.
“Holy Mother,” John muttered from behind them, his eyes following the three story windows to the floating cherub-and-cloud-painted ceiling.
“You actually lived here?” Rick asked stupidly.
“Sure this isn’t a museum?” Elian asked, spotting a Picasso and frowning at the asymmetrical face it represented.
Sophie smacked him on the arm. “Be nice,” she growled through clenched teeth.
“That was being nice,” he replied. “This doesn’t look like any home I’ve ever been in.”
“Then you’d be right,” Bug said, grimly. “It ceased being home when my mother died.”
The guys exchanged surprised looks, but said nothing more.
Bug braced himself before proceeding further into the room and just then, like an apparition walking through the wall, the butler emerged from a dark, book-lined room to the left. He bowed slightly and started to escort them through the house.
“This way to the veranda, if you please, Master Laurence,” he said, leading the way.
“Mr. Jeffries, I do remember where the veranda is,” Bug said, rolling his eyes.