A/N: Hi everyone, long time no see, old readers (if there are any left...). I just want to apologize first for disappearing and never writing the new story that I promised...it just got busy and then when I turned around, it was already more than 2 years...I'm sure you all stopped waiting for me, but for those impossibly patient readers who might still be waiting...sorry I made you wait this long. Amazing how time passes you by when you get old huh? *sheepish laugh* I stopped writing since I got a job, but suddenly felt nostalgic tonight and figured I'll write a little background special...the first half might be a bit boring since it's just background context, but I promise the ending and final revelation will be worth it!

10 years ago

"Sir, the young master still hasn't come out of his room."

Mr. Vanderbilt did not respond. He simply continued reading through the seemingly endless piles of documents on his desk. If he heard me, he did not show the slightest hint of it.

Our young master had always been introverted, or rather, wary of outsiders even though one would think that he would have adapted to all the attention he receives wherever he goes. I guess too much attention being showered on a young child can be emotionally taxing. It does not help that his mother, our former lady, had just left the house for good. Divorce is emotionally traumatizing to a child.

"He must really miss lady-" I started but stopped immediately. Though Mr. Vanderbilt did not show any obvious reaction, there was a slight change in his eyes and a small crinkle his document.

"I'm afraid the longer he shuts himself in, the harder it will be to bring him back out. The only person he still talks to is Mr. Daniel DuBois" I quickly changed the topic.

Still silence.

"Sir-" I tried again, wondering if he had been listening to me at all.

"Make a call to the DuBois, ask permission to have Blake visit them tomorrow" he said in his usual even tone, without any noticeable emotion in it.

Due to Mr. Vanderbilt's busy schedule, he rarely spends any time with his son. Now the divorce…they had not spent any time together for almost a month, ever since the former lady left.

I cannot bear to see this any longer. What would become of them?

I closed my eyes and took a deep breath, knowing full well that my request would be rejected.

"Sir, you have a day off tomorrow. Would you like to accompany the young master for the visit?" I asked timidly.


That's unexpected. He didn't immediately strike down the suggestion.

I cautiously opened my eyes. He was still looking at his documents. Perhaps he didn't hear me?

Just when I was about to retreat and excuse myself to make the call, he spoke.

"Very well, then."

I blinked. Did I mishear him? Or perhaps I am misinterpreting him? No, he is a straight-forward man with strong resolute. He will not phrase his words in an ambivalent way or say what he does not mean. He means to go, and he will.

The next day, I prepared the young master for the visit to the DuBois. I especially requested Mr. Daniel DuBois to call our young master to personally invite him over to play. Mr. Daniel DuBois may only be 6, but his maturity and tact is no less than a young adult's. It was no easy feat to convince our young master, but his fondness for his best friend won him over.

Mr. Vanderbilt and the young master sat at arm's length away from each other in the car, but their emotional distance felt like an ocean apart. Neither spoke a single word during the whole ride.

As we drove into the DuBois residence, I noticed two gardeners tending to the shrubs on the side of the building. However, they weren't the ones who caught my eye. It was the young girl with them. She looked about the same age as Mr. Daniel and our young master, maybe a bit younger. Why is such a young girl doing gardening work?

I couldn't contain my curiosity. I asked one of the house staff, who informed me that the young girl's parents are temporary gardeners filling in for the regulars who could not make it, but they had no one to leave their daughter with, so Mrs. DuBois made an exception and allowed the parents to bring their daughter along. However, the child insisted on working alongside her parents rather than sitting idly or going to play. What a sweet child.

The day passed uneventfully. Mr. Vanderbilt chatted with the older DuBoises while their children played…or rather, the young master played half-heartedly with some toys, while his best friend quietly kept him company. They did not verbally communicate but seemed to understand each other. It was quite odd to see this kind of interaction and connection in children their age.

As we were getting ready to leave, I heard some muffled speech around the corner.

"We're sorry, love, but we cannot keep bringing you to work. Not all employers are nice like this family. We'll have to leave you with one of your uncle or aunts again, but they're very nice, don't you worry," coaxed a male voice.

"Please don't leave me. I promise I'll be good. I'll work hard and make money, too. I can feed myself. Please, daddy, don't leave me behind…mommy, please?" whimpered a small girl's voice.

Out of curiosity, I excused myself and went over for a look. It was the temporary gardeners and their young daughter.

"Oh sweetie, it just won't work out. We hate to be separated from you, too. But it won't be long, just until we find a stable job," replied a gentle female voice.

"You say that all the time…you're liars!" the small girl screamed and ran.

The parents ran after her, but the mother tripped and sprained her ankle, unable to get up. "Don't worry, she will not be able to leave this place with all the security around. We'll go get her later, let's treat your ankle first," the father said.

I felt a mix of pity for the girl and anger for the parents. I decided to go after the girl, but a familiarly stone-like voice stopped me. "Jennifer…that's not your responsibility," Mr. Vanderbilt reminded me.

I clenched my fists but knew he was right, what could I do even if I find the girl?

My main priority is the Vanderbilt family, and especially in this time of turmoil for our young master, my prime focus should be on him. Speaking of young master…where did he go off to? He was just here a moment ago!

"Sir, the young master!" I'm just about to panic.

Mr. Vanderbilt looked towards the direction that the girl had ran off to. We walked over, or rather, Mr. Vanderbilt walked while I practically ran towards the direction.

One of the guest room's door was slightly open. I was about to charge in when another familiar voice stopped me.

"Come out." It was a command. The voice came from inside the room and was small, but it was unmistakably our young master's. I had not heard his voice in what felt like forever, ever since the former lady left. I stopped in my tracks and stood outside the door, listening silently as my heart thumped away. It was the first time our young master initiated a conversation with a female aside from his mother.

There was some quiet sobbing. I peeked inside the room. The young master was facing a closed closet, one hand on his left abdomen. Is he having a stomachache?

"I said come out. I'm not going in," he said, getting a little impatient.

"No one told you to come in! Go away you brat!" shouted the girl's voice from inside the closet.

The young master looked stunned and then visibly irritated. No one has ever spoken to him in that way.

He yanked the closet door open.

"Stop crying," he demanded. I sighed. He really has no tact and no idea how to treat a lady.

The girl had been hugging her knees and sobbing with her face down. She pushed him away, then quickly covered her face and tried to stop her sobs, embarrassed that she had been discovered.

He fell on his bottom, stunned for a few moments. I was also stunned. Before I can react, he quickly got up and tried to yank her hand away but she was a lot stronger than her frail little body looked. He gave up after a few unsuccessful tugs. My knees almost buckled. It was the first time he ever willing touched a girl aside from his mother. What is it about this particular girl?

"Why are you hiding in the closet, it's so dark," young master commented. "I don't know…" the girl replied, still trying to stop crying.

"Why are you crying?" young master asked. "I don't know, go away" the girl whined.

"Well, what do you know then?" the young master asked with a sigh. I didn't even know 6 years olds knew how to sigh.

"I don't know! Leave me alone!" the girl shouted and burst into tears again. The young master clenched his abdomen tighter.

"You want to know how to stop crying, then?" he asked suddenly.

The girl stopped mid-sob and looked up at him.

"You don't need them. If you don't need them, they can't hurt you" he said without any emotion in his voice. My heart clenched. Is that what he's been telling himself? His tone of voice is starting to remind me of someone very familiar…

"B-but I do need them!"

"Why?' young master asked.

"B-because…they're my mommy and daddy! I love them a little less right now, but they're still mommy and daddy!" the girl shouted.

"Parents are only there to give you food, house, and money. Your parents throw you away. They don't do their job right, so you don't need them," the young master said as if it was the simplest thing in the world.

My jaw dropped. When did our young master get so cynical?

The young girl was also speechless.

"If you need those things, get them yourself, then you won't need them and you won't get hurt," he continued.

"But I'm just a kid! I don't know how to get these things without help!" the girl replied.

"Then find someone who can give you those things and who won't run out of those things. If they won't run out of things, they won't need to throw you away…Find someone rich," the young master concluded.

The girl looked at him silently. "Like you?" she whispered after some thought.

Oh for the love of saints, he's brainwashing her. I must stop this.

Just as I took a step, I heard a chuckle. I turned around sharply and saw Mr. Vanderbilt standing behind me. I was a bit stunned. I had not seen any trace of even the slightest smile on his face since forever.

How long has this man been there? Is he a ghost?! How does a human not many any sounds at all?!

That's not important, I must stop the kids from getting anymore twisted ideas.

"Young master, we've been looking for you. And miss, I'm sure your parents are worried sick about you. Let's go back to them," I said gently and held each of their small hands, leading them out.

"Jenn…I like this one. Let's keep her," young master suggested. I stopped in my tracks and stared at him. He looked completely serious. I seriously do not know how to respond.

"You want to?" Mr. Vanderbilt asked. I stared at him incredulously. Why would he say something that he doesn't mean?! He never does that!

"Sir! Young master!" I exclaimed. "The little miss has her own family, she's not a pet!" I am on the brink of sanity dealing with this whimsical father-son duo.

We finally reached the girl's parents, who eagerly came towards us.

"I won't ever throw you away," the young master suddenly said. It took me awhile to realize he still hasn't given up trying to keep her.

"You only need me," he added. The young girl stared at him, looked towards her parents, who were only a few steps away, and looked back at him. Her resolute to stay with her parents was seemingly stirred by his words.

"I'm rich." he added in a final attempt to lure her to him.

The girl's parents approached us, thanked us profusely and embraced her in their arms, then carried her off. She stared at the young master as her parents carried her further away, and lifted her hand ever so slightly, as if trying to reach for our young master.

He raised his arm and took a step forward, as if ready to chase after her.

"You lied, son. You're not rich. Your father is," Mr. Vanderbilt said, but his voice was not emotionless like usual. It had a hint of humor in it.

The young master's arm fell back at his side. Even at the tender age of 6, he understood that his family's fortune belonged to his father; even though he is the only heir and allowed to use whatever he needed, it was not really his until he had inherited it.

I suddenly remembered something.

"Young master, how is your stomachache?" I asked worriedly. He stared at me blankly. "You were holding onto your stomach before, are you not feeling well?"

He shook his head and pointed in the direction that the young girl had disappeared to.

"It was her fault. It started hurting when she was crying, so I wanted her to stop. It feels all better after she stopped," he said.

So he approached her simply because he wanted to get rid of his stomachache that he thought was caused by her? Was it really because of her?

This incident left a deep impression on me, and I had not been able to forget about it.

The young master stopped shutting himself in after that day, though he is still willful, whimsical and borderline misogynistic. His relationship with his father did not seem to improve, and he was also growing emotionally distant with his mother, who had eventually started her new family abroad. I have never stopped worrying about our poor young master, but it seems there is nothing I can do.

Even after 10 years, I still think back to that incident.

One day, as I was making sure Mr. Vanderbilt's study was in order, I noticed a picture of a young girl, about young master's age, on the desk. She looked a bit familiar. Is she one of the future daughter-in-law candidates that Mr. Vanderbilt had been picking out for our young master?

However, I noticed another piece of paper next to her picture. It was a student application with a smaller picture of the same girl on it and a big red stamp that says "Special Acceptance." Only the principle of the school is allowed to use that stamp, which grants acceptance to applicants who are neither rich, gifted nor talented into the school. Mr. Vanderbilt had never used that stamp before, I was starting to wonder why he even made that stamp.

My curiosity grew. "Alice Fairhaven…." I whispered. What is so special about this girl? As I stared at her picture longer, I suddenly remembered the young girl from 10 years ago.

It can't be-!

But the answer is crystal clear.

I felt a shiver run up my back.

What is this breathless feeling? I feel like something very, very big is about to happen, and it can potentially change the lives of several people.

Somehow, I can't wait.

Perhaps, she was meant to join the family after all. After a whole decade, our young master might just get what he asked for. A smile tugged at the side of my lips.

"Welcome back, Alice."

A/N: Yes, the brat was the one who corrupted Alice and turned her into a gold-digger! Bwahahaa~ Hope you enjoyed this special, even though the brat and Alice didn't really have a big part. I'm thinking about another special which continues from where they left off in the last chapter since I love this couple so much...but please don't kill me if I don't update!