The house

by Writ Bro

 When Harry gets an inheritance he could have never dreamed of, he quickly realises his life is about to change. But the true extent of the changes will truly blow his mind.

Added: Jan 2023 8,076 words 3,539 views 4.9 stars (12 votes)

H

Harry shook off the umbrella as he walked through the revolving door into the large lobby. He took a moment to breath as he composed himself, soaked through from the heavy rain.

He wasn’t ready for this. At just 21, being here was just a bit crazy.

As he wiped his glasses he saw he was in a large modern, marble space, with a large staircase at the centre leading up to the first floor. On the lefthand side the surface of the light brown marble wall was rough and water slowly trickled down it into a pool below. On the righthand side was the long desk of receptionists, with behind it in gilded letters *Slayer and June LLP*.

Harry felt somewhat out of his depth. He was just a barman from Leeds. But he had been summoned here by a peculiar letter that he had not expected, nor could make much sense of.

He pulled the letter out again, mostly just to triple check the person he had to ask for.

Dear Mr Williams,

I trust this letter finds you well. I am writing to you on the urgent matter of the estate of Lord Strongworth.

We at Slayer and June LLP have been responsible for the management of the Strongworth estate for many years and it is with great urgency that we must speak with you.

Please attend our offices, as per the address above, on 18 September at 11:00 so that we may discuss this matter with you.

Please confirm with my secretary on the number below that you are able to attend this appointment.

Yours sincerely,
Jacob Slayer,
Managing Partner

Harry had confirmed with Jacob’s secretary and there he was, drenched in rain. He had tried to research Lord Strongworth, but had no luck finding out anything about him. He had been able to find out that Slayer and June was London’s most elite law firm, and Mr Slayer was its head. Harry was nervous as he spoke to the receptionist.

“I’m here to see Mr Slayer,” he said politely, his voice trembling slightly.

“Of course. You must be Harry Williams?” the receptionist asked, clearly expecting him.

Harry simple nodded and the lady got up and came round from the desk. “If you follow me, please?”

They walked up the staircase, made of perfect glass, into a luxurious looking lounge. They walked straight through into a corridor of what appeared to be meeting rooms. At the end of the corridor, the receptionist opened a door into what turned out to be an even more decadently furnished room.

“Could I get you a drink?” she asked.

“Just a glass of water would be good,” he said shyly.

“No worries, I’ll be back in just a moment and Mr Slayer will be down shortly. Please do take a seat.”

Harry tried to smile as she walked out and closed the door. He looked around the room, which had two very comfortable-looking leather sofas, as well as a small table that could seat four. On the wall were beautiful paintings and a plush carpet clad the floor. It felt nothing like a corporate meeting room but rather a small, luxurious living room in some upscale apartment block.

He sat down on the sofa and looked out of the window, onto what was unmistakably the Bank of England. Even on the first floor, they had a view.

Harry was very aware he wasn’t dressed for this. He hadn’t been able to afford new trousers so was wearing his black jeans he wore at work, and a jacket he had borrowed off his friend Alistair. It was a bit big on his slender and short frame. At 5’10”, Harry wasn’t short, but he wasn’t very tall either. His shaggy blond hair hung in front of his eyes as he hadn’t had the chance to get it cut. He thought he looked cute in it anyhow, and it often got him some tips, along with his boyish charm.

After a few moments the door opened and a man walked in. Handsome and probably middle aged, clad in a perfectly cut black pinstripe suit and dark blue tie. He was carrying a glass of water and a leather folder. Harry automatically stood up.

“Mr Williams, I assume?” he said with a posh voice.

“Yes, you must be Mr Slayer.”

“Indeed. Please call me Jacob,” he said, putting the water glass down on the coffee table before shaking Harry’ hand.

“Please, have a seat.”

Harry sat down obediently, still feeling very much on edge.

Jacob, in contrast to himself so he realised, looked suave. His suit so trim, not a millimetre too big or too small, his glasses from some designer brand and the cufflinks must have been real silver.

“Mr Williams, let’s get right to it. You must wonder why we asked you to come here today.”

Harry just nodded.

“It has taken us quite a long time to find you. See—” . He pulled out a document from his leather folder. “—according to this will, you are the heir of the estate of Lord Strongworth.”

Harry was baffled. He wasn’t expecting this.

“I know that might seem odd, but it’s true. According to this will, the heir should be the only son, of the first daughter, of the second son of the grandfather of the current Lord.”

As he explained this, Jacob had traced a pen along a family tree in front of him, which put Harry right in that spot.

“This here is Lord Strongworth,” he said. Once again he pointed at the family tree, indicating the sheer distance between Harry and the unknown Lord.

“It may seem odd but this is a longstanding family tradition, and my firm has had the privilege of being the family lawyer for many decades. The late Lord Strongworth was also an only child, and he died having never married, nor having had any children.

“Mind you, you were the first in line, but there was a solution should your mother not have had a son. But I suppose luckily for you, she did.”

Harry didn’t know what to say. It was all a bit weird…

“I know this is a bit much and we should, I suppose, get to the matter at hand.”

He folded his hands. “The inheritance is not unsubstantial. The Lords Strongworth have always worked hard to stay out of the limelight, and indeed you should not be able to find out much about the family online. You can find some information about them in books about old English families but that ends at the start of the 19th Century. From then on, the Strongworths do everything to stay out of the news. You will have to do research in the house to figure out why, because we have never been privy to that information.

“Now—here is the key. The inheritance first of all comes with a title. It’s the rank of Earl, so you would be Earl of Lacert. In the 19th century the family forfeited their position in the House of Lords so you have no claim to that.

“Next comes the estate. The House is called Lacert Hall. You’re unlikely to have heard of this, even though it is one of the greatest country houses still occupied in England. It’s located in the Yorkshire Dales, in beautiful surroundings and far away from everything and everyone.

“There is also a London house—simply known as Strongworth House. It’s located on Pall Mall.

“Lastly, there is the family fortune. And here is the potentially the most overwhelming detail I’m afraid. Unless you want me to pause for a moment?” Jacob finally stopped speaking, realising he was potentially overwhelming Harry with the absolute flood of information.

“Uhm. It’s a lot to take in but just continue, please,” he said, his voice trembling with excitement and fear.

“Very well—the family fortune, besides the house and estate. There is a property company—” He pulled out another document from the folder. “—whose income you get. Their annual profit is currently 300 million pounds. This goes into a trust which you have full control over—worth over £2bn.”

Harry’s jaw dropped. He was suddenly a billionaire. That couldn’t be true.

“You’re kidding right? I’m suddenly a billionaire?”

“That’s correct, I’m afraid.” Harry could see a vague sense of compassion from the lawyer, who seemed to understand that this was a massive change in Harry’s personal circumstances—to say the least.

“I know that might seem mad, but it is true,” Jacob continued. Because the family, and ourselves by extension, have been so diligent in carefully hiding the paper trail, Lord Strongworth was never on any richest lists or any such nonsense. He paid all his taxes and probably more than most of the British upper classes—but he never socialised with them and stayed out of the limelight.

“Even the property company is managed from a distance. The CEO doesn’t know who its major shareholder is and he just thinks it’s held by a trust. And to make sure this somewhat more legitimate, 51% of its operating profits go to charity.”

“Okay. Well I suspect that should maybe go to two-thirds but I suppose I should get a good understanding of the financial situation first.”

“I would say so, before you take such decisions. The system was set up carefully to ensure the trust is protected and secured. That being said, London property prices have risen substantially over the last few years that the overall value of the trust has too, so there may be something to say for that approach. Of course, we are not the accountants—I can give you their details later.”

Harry just smiled. This was insane and too good to be true!

“What do I do next?” he said.

“Well, you don’t have to do anything to claim the title. So you are now the Earl of Lacert—your Lordship.” He added the last bit very seriously. Harry just smiled, not knowing what to say.

“The will indicates that your next step is to go to the house in Yorkshire. The staff have been kept on for your convenience and can keep managing the house. It is also the late Earl’s wish you adopt the family name Strongworth.”

“All right. I guess I will do that, then.”

“Great. I’ll prepare the paperwork for that. Do you want us to arrange your transport up to the Hall?”

“Sure, why not.”

“Great, give me one moment.” He got up and walked to the phone by the door, dialled an extension. “Please arrange travel for his Lordship to the Hall please.” With just that he hung up and walked back to Harry.

“You will need to sign a few documents, which includes transfer of the primary bank accounts etc.”

They sat for a moment and went through the documents, Harry constantly putting down his signature. “Do I have time to buy maybe a few new suits before I go?” he asked Jacob as they were finishing up.

“In theory, yes—but the access to the accounts will take a few days and I suggest you just wait. I know the immediate temptation is to buy things, but I suggest go to the house. You can always ask a tailor to come measure you there in a week or so.”

Harry nodded—yes, that made perfect sense. “I guess I just need to grab some food before the drive back up north.”

“Oh, don’t worry about that. The car will have plenty of refreshments.”

At that point the door opened and a lady stuck her head in. “The driver for His Lordship is here.”

“Thank you Stephanie. Shall we go?” he said, standing up.

Harry followed his lead and walked alongside Jacob through the long corridor, down the stairs and into the foyer.

“We’ll reach out to House Manager to set up a meeting in a few weeks’ time to just see how you are settling in and how we can be of assistance. I hope you have a safe trip Your Lordship.” At that point they shook hands and Harry walked out through the revolving doors where a deep navy blue Rolls Royce was waiting for him. The driver opened the passenger door and smiled.

“Your Lordship,” he said, tipping his hat slightly.

The drive up was calm and relaxed. Harry took the opportunity to read through some of the documents. What interested him most at this point in time, was the house.

There was no description, besides a note that it was designed by James Vanburgh, the very unknown brother of great English architect Sir John Vanburgh.

What information he could find was about the staff. There was a House Manager, as he had expected. According to the brief description he was responsible for the management of all the estate—not just the Hall. In fact, by the sounds of it, he did most of the work and the Earl reaped the benefits.

Of course, there was a butler, as well as a chef and kitchen assistant. There were a valet, head housekeeper, two footmen, and two maids. As well as a team of 10 gardeners and a chauffeur. And of course not to forget the maintenance staff responsible for keeping the old Hall in working order.

Harry was shocked—it seemed a big team for just himself. He would have to invite some of his friends to maybe join him. Although who could he trust… ?

Harry never had many close friends, always being a bit of an outsider. The most friends he had made were his gym friends. The guys who had seriously gotten him into lifting.

He was by no means a big guy (yet). He had only been lifting seriously himself for maybe two years. And at 21 there was still plenty of time to grow!

Not to say his work hadn’t paid off. But the guys he knew weren’t his close friends. They didn’t hang out, outside the gym. Although maybe this was a good reason to change that? Certainly there was no one from his high school days. He had just been bullied relentlessly. Of course it wasn’t his fault that he had strawberry blond hair and glasses. He looked like a real nerd (it was why he started lifting) but not a day had gone by where he had not been miserable.

He’d left school at 16 and never looked back. But now working as a barman was pretty crap. Thinking about that, he picked up his phone and texted his boss. “I quit,” he simply texted, with no explanation.

He smiled. He loved his customers in that gay bar, but his boss was a cunt, and so he was quite happy to see the back of him.

The gay bar was an odd place to work. Harry didn’t consider himself gay, but somehow the gay guys appreciated his look—calling him adorable. And it really allowed Harry’s radiant personality to shine through. He had even gone home with a customer once or twice—to test the waters so to speak. And with those rumours going his tips shot through the roof!

In fact, it was there he had managed to get the balls and ask a group of muscled gays if he could work out with them. They had welcomed him with open arms.

Harry thought about it all for a moment. Perhaps those gym buddies were better friends than he gave them credit for… They had been nicer to him than anyone else he had met in his life—besides his mother.

But she was gone now—died when he was just 14. He had been raised by his uncle—who was fine but had done little to support him or neglect him. He’d just done the bare minimum and otherwise left Harry alone. He wouldn’t miss him if he moved away from Leeds—he had moved out of the house a year ago and had barely spoken to his uncle since!

As he sat there in thought he noticed they were now driving along a narrow country lane. The driver was careful yet very apt at manoeuvring along the tight corners. Eventually they turned down another road, with a sign which read “Private”. After a few hundred metres they came to a wrought iron gate, which opened automatically as the car pulled up. Harry looked back just to see it close behind him.

The scene changed, and they were now driving along a long avenue lined with trees on either side. They drove at a good pace for another 10 minutes or so before turned the corner into a large, expansive area. There, they drove straight up to a grand house—what must be Lacert Hall. He tried to see the whole house, but it was so big, and they had turned the corner so last minute, that it was already impossible to see it all.

As they pulled around a grand fountain, a man came out of the front door dressed in a three piece black suit with black tie. The car stopped and before Harry even had a chance to open the door, the driver had done so for him.

Harry was even more speechless now. He stood up outside the Hall. And what a Hall it was…

In front of him were a grand set of steps leading up to a column flanked terras, with a grand wooden door in the middle. The four sandstone columns stood proud, reaching up two stories, with a third story (presumably the servants’ floor) visible above it. On either side of the platform, the Hall continued in similar splendid fashion—perhaps 10 metres in both directions.

On either side of the courtyard stood two additional wings, of similar height and grandeur. Around the roof of the house, and indeed at the centre of that grand fountain, stood a number of statues. Most of them seemed to evoke the Greek or Roman gods—but only the men. Their strong masculine features were somewhat withered by the centuries that had passed but Harry could see the great definition across their bodies—even though they all lacked the traditional, exposed penis.

“Lord Strongworth. Welcome to Lacert Hall,” the man in the suit said with a posh voice.

“Thank you,” Harry said, smiling.

“I am Evans. The butler, Your lordship. I am pleased to welcome you to your new home.”

“Thank you, Evans. That’s very kind and thank you for keeping the place running while they searched for me.”

Evans smiled, clearly pleased that the new Lord of the Hall seemed kind and generous.

“It’s our duty, my lord. Please, may I show you around?” With his right arm, he motioned towards the steps.

“Thank you, Evans, it would be my pleasure.”

Evans walked ahead and Harry smiled. He was a handsome man—perhaps in his early forties but clearly with a great body underneath his suit. His face was stunningly handsome really, a square jawline and high cheekbones—clearly kept clean shaven although Harry suspected he could grow a beard within a day.

Evans pushed the double doors open and they stepped into the entrance hall. Harry’s jaw dropped. It was gorgeous.

“This is the great hall,” Evans said, pleased to see that Harry was impressed.

Harry took a moment to take it all in. The hall took up the whole height of the building, the room filled with elegant paintings and murals. Around the room (if you can even call it that) were a number of chairs and benches that flanked several ornamental fire places made out of marble. Further statues of god-like figures were at the level of the upper floor, and a walk way overlooking the ground floor seemed to indicate a long hallway stretching out above.

On the right side of the hall was a grand staircase, which was made out of a beautiful hardwood, with a red runner covering most of it. Tall marble columns flanked both the left and right side of the hall, leading up to a beautifully domed ceiling.

“This way please, your lordship,” Evans said walking across the hall through the grand double doors at their opposite end.

“This is the garden room,” he said as they walked into another stunning space. It was largely empty, with just some benches on either side. Opposite the double doors was a vast array of windows looking out over the vast formal gardens. Clearly where it got its name from.

“This is typically used for large parties, your Lordship. Although we tend to keep it empty most of the time it is rather splendid when we do use it.”

Harry just looked in awe at the elaborately decorated space and followed the butler through a door in the corner of the room, to the next space, on the right of the garden room. Apparently a drawing room.

“This room is only used before dinner. Guests can then either go into the garden room, or in this direction…”

He opened the next set of doors and revealed a smaller and less elaborate dining room. “This is used on a day-to-day basis.”

Harry had to laugh. It may have been less grand than the garden room, it was still rather stunning. They continued on and Harry discovered two more rooms, a music room and another drawing room. “For after dinner,” the butler explained.

They had now come to the large right-hand wing of the House, which was apparently entirely filled with a great Gallery. “Used really only when balls are held. Which is rather rare at this house.”

All throughout Harry noticed the beautiful paintings, often rather suggestive, showing partially naked men of great stature. He also noticed there were very few women depicted.

They now walked back to the Great Hall.

“Now, on either side of the Great Hall here, are two rather important rooms,” the butler said, now looking a bit serious. He walked to the room to the right of the grand staircase.

“This is the morning room. This is where his lordship would receive visitors who came to see him and he would often spend his mornings enjoying the morning sunlight.

It was a lovely light room, and Harry could see why someone would want to have a nice quiet coffee there in the morning.

“And on this side…” the butler said as they walked back across the hall, “Is the library.”

Harry was delighted to see this. The beautiful wood-panelled room was packed with bookshelves on every wall, with a few paintings and other works of arts adorning the few empty spaces not covered in books. Opposite the windows was a beautiful fireplace, by which stood comfortable looking chairs to read in.

Alongside the wall opposite the doors stood a great oak desk.

“Usually this is where his lordship managed his affairs. His office, really.”

“Yeah, I can see this being a very nice office indeed,” Harry said with a smile.

Evans smiled too. “There are only a few rooms left that you should see right now.”

He followed Evans out and through the garden room they now turned to the left. They once again went through a drawing room—although this one was filled with leather sofas (that made four sitting rooms so far!), a mirror room, tapestry and finally a billiard room. All were just as magnificent as the last and Harry struggled to see how he could choose which room to use when, although he was sure there was etiquette.

“The rest of this corridor,” Evans said, “consists entirely of guest rooms. Feel free to explore when you have time. For now I will show you to your own apartment.”

They went back to the Great Hall and went upstairs. At the top, Harry briefly stopped to admire the view over the magnificent space, the muscled marble statues now more at eye height.

Along the main corridor, at the very centre of the great hall, was another set of large double doors. The butler pushed them open to reveal a large open room, about the same size (although the ceiling was much lower) as the garden room downstairs. It was laid out as both a sitting room and dining room.

“The last Lord remodelled the apartment so that he could generally live here rather than the large dining room downstairs for example. But you’re free to change it as you see fit.”

Harry smiled and nodded. He quite liked it.

On the right side of this living room was the bedroom. A giant four poster bed stood against the wall directly opposite the huge windows. The rest of the room was sparsely furnished, with no wardrobe or anything, just bedside tables and comfortable chairs.

Through the next door was a small bathroom. “For the comforts in the middle of the night,” Evans said, correctly interpreting Harry’s surprised look when he saw how small the space was.

On the other side of the living room was first a large dressing room, which had plenty of space for all the clothes he would probably have to get. And through another door was a huge marble bathroom.

“A relatively new addition, but I hope you find it to your liking,” Evans said with a big smile. Harry suspected he had helped the previous Earl put it in place.

The bathroom was mostly made out of marble, with a huge roll top bath at the very centre of the room. Along one wall was a double sink and on the opposite side a large walk-in shower. The toilet and bidet were near the window.

“I trust you find everything to your liking my lord?” Evans asked proudly.

“I certainly do. I can’t quite believe it, to be honest.”

“I can only imagine, Sir. But I promise you that the Earl had a busy life with plenty of affairs to manage. I am sure you will have to get settled in quite quickly.”

“I am sure of it too. When do I meet the house manager?”

“Well, Sir, I suggest not today. It’s quite late and perhaps you want some dinner?”

“Yes—that would be good.”

“Do you have any dietary requirements, or requests, Sir?”

“Not specifically. If the cook can come up with an idea and I can just okay it. Perhaps we should sit down at some point to discuss my general preferences, though?”

“I think he would greatly appreciate that, Sir. In the meantime, I would say take a few days to settle in, explore the house. If you’re happy for the house manager to keep running things as they have been I suggest we may even wait a week?”

“Yes, why not. In the meantime, maybe you can arrange for some information about what the estate and its business actually entail that would be great.”

“Certainly, Sir.”

And with that the butler bowed and left.

Harry took a moment to breath and looked out through the windows over the huge gardens. He couldn’t fathom that this was all his. And yet the paperwork didn’t lie.

A moment later the butler returned out of a door he had previously not seen. Presumably this was one of the servants’ doors.

“The cook could whip up a quick steak and chips if you would like something simple, or something more…” He took a moment trying to think of the word.

“Posh?” Harry asked.

“I suppose so. He suggested venison, Sir.”

“I will go with the steak tonight I think. Something simple after this rather complicated day would be good.”

With that Evans bowed again and left.

That evening Harry didn’t do much. He let the new house wash over him and spend most of his time in his apartment. He would have a proper rummage around the house tomorrow and would start meeting all the staff. It was all just quite a lot.

The next morning Harry woke up somewhat disorientated in his large bed. He had slept well, although he had been a bit restless. He pushed a small button next to the bed. The night before, just before turning in, Evans had explained that those buttons, located throughout the house, would summon one of the servants.

A few moments later, Evans appeared.

“I have to admit I didn’t expect you, Evans,” Harry said, surprised.

“I realise that, my lord, but I wanted to introduce the staff before they run to greet you first thing, Sir.”

Harry smiled. “Probably wise. Although I wouldn’t mind a cup of coffee and some breakfast first. Perhaps in the morning room?”

“Of course, Sir. What would you like for breakfast?”

“Just some porridge and fresh fruit would suit me fine, if possible?”

“Of course, Sir.”

And with that the butler disappeared and Harry got his day started. He had a quick shower and got dressed, although his old rags now felt, well, old. He would need to get something better sooner if this was to be his house.

He ate breakfast quietly at a small writing desk in the morning room, enjoying the view over the courtyard. After that he rang the bell and Evans came up.

“I would like to meet the staff now, I think,” he said.

“Of course, Sir. I will gather them in the Garden Room.”

A few minutes later Evans signalled they were ready and Harry followed him through, meeting the head housekeeper, his personal valet, the two footmen, the maids and the cook and his assistant, and the chauffeur. Much to Harry’s shock, all were men.

“We realise it’s unconventional, Sir,” the housekeeper, James Watson, said with a smile on his face. “But it suited the late Lord Strongworth well to have an all-male staff.”

“Very well. I certainly won’t dismiss anyone, just keep up the great work. It’s a beautiful house and clearly well looked after.”

“Mr Scott?” Harry asked of the handsome black man who had been introduced as his valet.

“Yes, your Lordship,” Scott asked.

“Could you please arrange for a tailors to help me get some new clothing? I feel rather out of place in these old rags.”

“Of course, Sir, it would be my pleasure.”

And with that the staff left again and went back to their duties.

“Evans, I am going to explore the house a bit better but ideally I would see the cook after lunch?”

“Certainly, Sir.”

And with that Harry went off. He had laid it all out quite well. First he would go through the vast array of rooms at the back, starting at the billiard room in the corner.

It was somewhat as he expected. The vast set of consecutively arranged rooms had relatively little of interest to be found. They were comfortable rooms to be in but were rarely used by his predecessors so their treasures were all visible, in plain sight.

He did enjoy the vast array of paintings, sculptures, and foreign artefacts. But most were not labelled, unlike in a museum, and so meant relatively little without their explanation.

The China room had some beautiful pieces of China in, and the first drawing room had a beautiful painting of an exceptionally handsome man over the fireplace. A number of stunning vases were located throughout the garden room, each depicting various Greek-style scenes with more muscled, almost naked men.

But by the time he had reached the music room he was a bit overwhelmed and decided to skip the Gallery for now. He decided to go and explore the library instead. There he found a number of fascinating documents pertaining to the house, its history, and the business. He would have to read those later.

He started to look at the books on the wall and discovered a section that was surprisingly not dusty. Many books looked as though they hadn’t been touched in quite a while but this one area, in the far corner of the room, furthest away from the window, was somewhat clean.

He started to look through the titles. Homosexuality in Ancient Greece, Male on Male Relationships in the Roman Empire, Muscle and Male Vitality in Mesopotamia. All the books were either about being gay or having muscle or being sporty.

Strange, Harry thought to himself.

He decided to pick up one of the books. It looked old and its spine was almost withered but he thought it read The Secret of Growing Muscle. As he tried to pull it off the shelf it got stuck. Or so he thought.

Because after a short delay, with a heavy creaking sound, the bookshelf started to slide back and then open, revealing a narrow passage and a set of stairs leading down into the darkness.

Now this was the sort of excitement Harry was looking for.

He pulled out his phone and turned on the flash to light his way. He could see the stairs were made out of thick stone—the same sandstone the whole Hall was built out of. As he descended down the stairs he realised it was going deeper under the house than he had expected.

To get to the front door, you would have to go up a set of steps. These stairs seemed to go through that ‘basement’ floor and then underground.

At the end of the staircase was a heavy looking, old-fashioned wooden door, that showed none of the elegance the rest of the house had done. Harry carefully turned the knob and pushed it open.

What he found surprised him. He had expected some sort of underground tunnel network that would enable him to go far into the gardens and perhaps beyond. Instead he found a dark basement room, but to his delight he found a light switch. He pushed it and a row of wall lights turned on, but the room still seemed relatively dark.

He turned the torch mode off and put his phone back into his pocket. The room was lined with more bookshelves along two walls. Along the others were paintings of what he assumed where his ancestors. Strange they’re down here, Harry thought to himself.

He continued to walk through the space, drawn towards the table in the very centre of the room. It was a large wooden table, again not elegant or pretty, but on top of it laid a thick heavy book, currently closed.

The Lords Strongworth and their issue

Intrigued, Harry opened the book. He had to take his phone back out again because the light was not bright enough to read by but as he once again shone the light of his phone he could see it was a beautiful, handwritten book.

He carefully started to read. This may explain more about this strange inheritance.

He learnt a few things from those first few pages. The first Earl Strongworth had been created by James I in 1621 and taken residence in what would have been a small hunting lodge. The third Earl, sometime in the early part of the 18th century, had started to build this Hall, which took almost 80 years to complete.

It talked of previous Earls, and that Harry was in fact the twelfth Earl Strongworth.

It all started to a be bit dull and he started to flick through the remaining pages. He discovered that at least the last half of the book was completely blank. He flicked back towards the front and picked up on a page where the first Earl had simply written his name in curly letters. Below it were a number of names, and Harry had no explanation as to who those people were—maybe his friends? He turned back a page and found a short paragraph outlining some instructions.

To the new Earl:

If you have just become Earl of Lacert, we ask that you write your name in this book. Then on the next morning, you will find its effects will have taken hold. Upon this, you may see this house differently, and enjoy life more. You will even see the art as it should be seen. You may wish to invite some men to join you, and you can include their names in the pages here.

Never move this book from its place so that upon your death, the new Earl can take their place. They will find it, just as you did.

Harry was confused and flicked through the next few pages. From the moment someone had lived in this place, his successors had written their name in this mysterious book.

Henry Strongworth, fifth Earl of Lacert, read one of the pages. Born 1730, Earl since 1752.

Harry turned to the first blank page, and looked around the book to find a pen. Obviously there wasn’t one just lying there. He looked around the room and to his surprise he found a quill, an ink pot, and some scrap paper. But surely the ink would’ve dried out by now?

He dabbed the quill into the pot and to his surprise a small line appeared as he tried to write on the scrap paper. It seemed his ancestors had done the same.

He dabbed the quill in again and started to write.

Harry Strongworth, Twelfth Earl of Lacert he wrote. Born 2001, Earl since 2022.

He felt a strange tingling sensation in his stomach and continued to have a look through the room, but found little evidence of anything else immediately exciting. Although he would have to have a proper look through the books there at some point.

Based on what he could see, they were the diaries of his predecessors, all neatly organised in date order, starting with the first Earl. Most diaries only encompassed a year or two, so there was an extraordinary amount of detail. There was one entire bookcase still empty, plenty for him to fill himself.

With that he looked at his watch. He had been down there for almost an hour and was getting hungry. He opened the door and walked back up the stairs. When he walked back into the library he found Evans waiting.

“I see you found the Earls’ Room, your lordship.”

“If that’s what it’s called, I suppose I have,” he said with a smile.

“Accordingly to the legends told to the butlers of Lacert Hall, it is usually discovered by the new Earl within the first week of residing here. Although—I’m not sure, but doing so this quickly may be a new record.”

“Well, it’s quite interesting and I must spend some time looking through those books. Have you ever been downstairs, Evans?”

“Certainly not, my lord. It’s the only room that we servants never enter—certainly not without permission of His Lordship.”

“And the previous Earl never let you enter?” Harry said, surprised.

“He did not, indeed. But it’s all right, I know what is down there, his Lordship has certainly explained.”

Harry just nodded, still surprised that even the butler hadn’t seen it.

“Lunch is ready when you are, Sir,” Evans added, clearly keen to move on the conversation.

“Oh, very well. I will eat in the dining room, if that’s not too extravagant?”

“Certainly not, Sir. It’s all laid out for you.”

He walked through the hallway, still in awe at its grandeur at every turn. Eating in the large dining room on his own was rather odd, but he did enjoy one of the handsome footmen serving him his three course meal.

After lunch, Harry first met with the cook to talk him through his food preferences. Harry had never had high-end food, but it became clear the cook had quite a range of skills.

“I’m probably happy to try whatever you cook up. I suppose avoid bitter, and I hate aubergines. I do prefer to eat more vegetarian food, though,” he said to the cook, who had joined him the library.

“Certainly, Sir. That should be no problem whatsoever. Do you wish to see a weekly menu or do you want to be surprised?”

“Let’s stick to surprises for now and we’ll see. I suspect you’ll be busier cooking for the staff than for me,” he said laughing.

“Hopefully not, Sir. Once you are settled it would be great to host some dinner parties. I love cooking an extravagant meal!”

“Well, I will have to remember that! I will certainly take you up on it.”

Once the cook had left, Harry decided to explore the rest of the house. He decided to go back to the large Gallery in the east wing, and had a long look through the other bedrooms.

By the time he had finished it was almost dinner time and decided to go back to his own apartment. He sat there for a brief moment until he rang for Evans.

He ended up speaking to the butler for quite a while and the agreed a daily schedule and certain procedures. Not that he expected to need much but he at least wanted to really work. It was odd no longer having to go the bar for work and indeed odd that his life was now taken care of.

When they eventually finished, he ate in the apartment. He had asked the cook for a simple meal tonight—he needed real comfort food.

The cook had happily obliged and made him a leak and blue cheese pie, which was delicious. Satisfied, he moved to the sofa as one of the footmen cleared the dining table.

There he sat for another few hours, reading through a stack of papers, trying to better understand the affairs of the house.

When 10 o’clock came he decided it was time for bed. He suddenly realised he was horny as hell. It was past the time that he agreed with Evans for bed and he knew he would no longer be interrupted that evening.

He undressed and sat on the huge bed and pulled out his phone, but somehow he didn’t automatically go to his usual sites or look at twitter… His cock started to harden as he tried to think of what he wanted to look.

“Oh, fuck it,” he said to himself, unable to think of anything. He put his phone down and looked at his dick, already wet with precum.

He started to jack off, just enjoying the feeling, his mind almost clear of any sexual fantasies. He had always been happy with his dick, at 8” it was one thing about him that was above average.

As he jacked off, he could feel the pleasure flowing through him. He wasn’t sure if it was the new bed, or just the knowledge he was now going to be completely fine but he felt incredibly relaxed and turned on—more than he had in months.

He wanted the feeling to last so he started to edge himself, sometimes speeding up and then slowing down. But after maybe ten minutes he couldn’t resist any more and with a few more forceful tugs he could feel his balls contract as his cock exploded and covered his chest.

Suddenly Harry felt rather odd and he stood up. His stomach grumbled as if he was suddenly starving.

He looked in the mirror, unsure why. But then suddenly it happened. An invisible blow to his stomach almost caused him to collapse but he recovered and stood up, the cum slowly dripping down his stomach. But the stomach was no longer a bit flabby, instead showing signs of a six-pack.

Suddenly, he realised he had an intense muscle ache, as if he had worked his abs too hard. The heat he felt started to radiate, first down to his legs. To his surprise, as he watched, his legs started to grow, first his thighs, immediately followed by his quads. At the same time, he could feel his gluts starting to expand, slowly at first but the growth didn’t seem to stop.

And then the most painful thing happened. It was if someone had put a knee on the middle of his back and pulled his shoulders back, trying to break his shoulder blades. But as the intense pain ebbed away he could see his shoulders started to widen, making space for more and more muscle as they did.

Harry now noticed his pecs had started to swell too, and the same heat he had felt in his legs was now moving to his arms. Within moments he could see and feel his biceps expanding, growing rapidly, as his triceps did the same.

When eventually the mist from his eyes cleared and the pain and heat had gone, Harry had the chance to look at himself in the mirror.

Fuck,” he said out loud, shocked.

His body was completely transformed. He was now huge, of bodybuilder size without a doubt, probably bigger. He started to flex. It felt incredible. He had never realised he wanted this. He had never jacked off to muscle porn, but this, this felt amazing.

And then the penny dropped.

He was able to transform his friends too when they visited.

He smiled and laughed. He was perhaps happier than he had been for a very long time.

In the meantime, his dick had gotten hard again and he eagerly started to jack off again. Within moments he felt himself coming close to the edge, his new body feeling just incredible. And without hesitating he shot his second load of the hour, this time covering the large standing mirror.

He smiled and laid down on the bed. He would clean up in just a moment. But before he had a chance to get up, he fell into a deep asleep.

 

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