I was giddy with excitement bursting from within me and anticipation of finally getting my own bedroom was setting in. I had told myself it was one of the perks of my family's new arrangement. My grandma was successful in securing a live-in maid job for some ridiculously rich people, at least that was what my grandpa had told me.
At first, I was a little upset at what our lives had turned into. We always had too little for ourselves, but it was enough for my family to live our life. We were happy with what little we had, at least I was. My mother was a different case.
She never settled for else, she wanted more from her life. A lot more than what her parents wanted her to have and her reckless attitude had gotten herself pregnant with me by a guy that wanted nothing more than a whore for himself.
Since childhood, my mother had made it clear to me what an asshole my sperm-donor was, at least that was how she dubbed him to be. He was a heartless, filthy rich prick who left at first sign of her pregnancy. He didn't want a whore to be the mother of his child, and in his defence, my mother was a little free in her youth.
Still, she was a human with feelings, abandoned by someone whom she loved so much. How did she retaliate in return? My turning into an whore--or an escort, in her words.
Hayley Emerson retaliated in the most cunning way possible. By turning into an expensive escort, climbing her way up the social ladder and crawling her way to the same elite social circle as my sperm-donor of a father. Being accompanied by his business associates, friends and even coming close to getting a marriage proposal from his own father.
She did that all get a rise out of him, to have him on his knees in front of her. She didn't get what she wanted. My father married a regal woman who matched his social standard right in front of her eyes. Well, that's what you get for accompanying my 'grandfather' to his son's wedding.
I still remember her breakdown vividly. She couldn't handle the pain so she took her life. I was five at that time with no one to help me. I didn't even know she had died from overdose, I thought she was taking one of her long naps.
We were found two days later and by some miracle my grandparents found me before I was handed over to the system.
I love my grandparents, I hate parents. They were selfish, neglectful and honestly terrible people. I don't care much for my sperm-donor, but my mama was no good. She could have done so many things differently, could've made something out of life yet she had fallen prey to love.
I hated male species except my grandfather.
Everything apart, my grandparents were simple, honest people from Texas. They loved me to absolute pieces and I loved them back. We had little, but we were happy until one day, a tornado swept away our livelihood. We lost our cattle, farm and our quaint house.
That resulted in our new arrangement. To become a full time live-in maid for Mrs. Trent. Eva Trent had taken pity to our condition and given my grandparents a fulfilling job. My grandma is to work as the head of her housekeeping staff while grandfather will look after their twelve thousand acres land. He will have help too.
And as a bonus, we will have our own home on their land which would mean I would have my own bedroom and not a makeshift one.
Life was perfect.
"Eva is such a kind lady to let our biscuit attend a private prep school." I heard my grandpa, Callan Emerson, speak. "I never thought something good would come out from this, Paige." He sighed, steering the wheel to the left.
"This is a great opportunity for all of us, Cal." My grandma, Paige, caressed grandpa's arm. "Eva will treat us like humans not servants, after all no work is degrading."
"Yes, when it comes with amazing perks. I'll finally get my braces," I added to the sentence. "I can get decent teeth, papa." I flashed him a smile in the rear view mirror.
I always acted as a mediator whenever grandpa started to slip in a pensive mood. Or start an argument with grandma.
I plugged in my earphones for the rest of the drive. I loved bopping to the anime soundtrack more than anything. My classmates back in Texas used to tease me and label me as a freak because I loved watching anime, manga and doing things they didn't like.
I hope this time I'd get to be my own person without any unnecessary trouble.
Two hours, we finally pull up in front of huge iron gates. I stared at it absolutely struck. They looked so grand and even my previous school didn't have gates like these.
Grandpa got out of the car to talk to the security guard. I think there was some confusion regarding the gate code going on, but my head was too focused on these gates.
I wondered whether people living in this neighbourhood had grand homes like some of the celebrities do. I immediately grew more excited to see what kind of a house my grandparent's new employer lived in.
Soon we were driving inside the neighbourhood. I pushed my glasses up to look more carefully at my surroundings, but I couldn't spot a single house.
After what felt like 20 minutes, we pulled in front of even more grand gates than the one we bypassed. What was this place?
My eyes widened further when I saw the hou-- the palace for the first time. It was a place suitable for Mina Tepes, a popular manga character, to live in. I didn't even have enough words in my vocabulary to describe how magnificent this place looked.
I was amazed.
"Come, biscuit," grandpa said. "Help your old man unload stuff while your grandma talks with Mrs.Trent."
I felt as if I was standing outside the driveway of a luxurious resort. My eyes wandered everywhere and everywhere I looked, I wanted to keep staring at it. It was fancy.
"Callan Emerson?" A huge man approached grandpa.
"That will be me." Grandpa straightened out his plain blue shirt.
"I am Jeffrey Pones. I am the security head of this estate." The man, Jeffrey, extended his hand and grandpa shook it. "Let's get you to the guest house and then I can introduce you to the rest of the staff."
Our luggage was loaded on a golf cart. I stood at the back of the cart to make sure nothing would fall in the middle of the drive.
"You're lucky that she's giving you the guest house to stay. It's small, but beautiful."
"Is it? I am glad she was kind enough to let us stay on her land."
I had turned the volume of my ipod down to eavesdrop on grandpa's conversation.
Jeffrey nodded and told,"Eva is kind all right, but her boy is a goddamn terror."
"He can't be that bad. Isn't he like five years old?" Grandpa asked.
"That boy is almost 13 and a piece of advice, you should probably tell your granddaughter to steer clear of him. He can be a bully at times."
"No one can get away from causing trouble to my granddaughter and not having to deal with the consequences. Employer's son or not, I will beat his ass if he messes with my granddaughter."
I smiled to myself. My grandpa was fiercely protective of me. Sometimes I think it had something to do with my mom.
"That's my man." Jeffrey patted grandpa's arm. "You're in luck that he's gone the entire summer. At least you can adjust well in this place without having to deal with his big boy tantrum."
"I am actually looking forward to meeting that son of a bitch. I want to see whether he lives up to expectations."
I turned up the volume of my ipod before hearing my grandpa's voice.
A week later, we were tucked and adjusted perfectly in our new home. It was everything I could ever imagine, plus my new bedroom had purple walls and I loved the color purple.
Life couldn't have been more perfect. Until one unfortunate day, I stayed back in the mansion to help out my grandma with her chores.
"I don't like you doing this work, biscuit." My displeased grandma tried her best to shoo me away, but I felt bad for not being any use to her.
I pushed back my glasses and helped her chop some vegetables. Mrs. Trent had grown to love grandma's cooking a lot, she had asked grandma to make grilled chicken breast with sautéed vegetables and pea custard for dinner tonight.
I didn't understand how people loved to eat savory custard, but was fascinated to learn why.
"Should I preheat the oven?" I asked grandma.
She was conflicted whether to let me continue to help her or not. I gave her reassuring smile which silently told her that it was okay.
Grandma nodded and I switched it on to preheat.
"I need a favour from you." I heard grandma murmur. "I don't know where Paula has wandered off and I need to send this tea to Mr. Trent. Can you go find that airhead for me?"
"I will," I said. "If it's urgent then I can take the tray to him," I volunteered.
"Absolutely not," she said, firmly. "Just check on the second floor pool house. I think she was supposed to clean it."
I nodded and raced to the second floor. The staircase appeared very perplexing to me as they were all white in color sometimes my brain had a tough time comprehending which was the next step.
Upon reaching the second floor, I passed an intimidating door, but stopped still in my trance when I heard shouting coming from within the doors.
"I am fed of his stupid antics, Eva. That son of a bitch is testing my patience."
"Really, Blake? I feel like you're indirectly blaming me for his behaviour. You're his father. You should be the one to discipline him."
"Like you will let anyone touch your overgrown baby. If he continues with his behaviour, I'll send him to boarding school."
"Over my dead body."
I figured the voices belonged to Mr and Mrs. Trent and they were undoubtedly talking about their son. I remembered someone telling my grandpa, what a havoc their son could be at times
Better stay away from him, Astoria.
"Curious, much." A voice came from behind me, I halted in my trance. I was too frightened to move.
Shit. I was caught eavesdropping on a private conversation between my grandparents' employers, no less.
"Turn around, loser." A hand came to my shoulder, pulling me.
I shrieked, not too loud to make my presence known to anyone other than the boy standing behind me, pulling me all too roughly to face him.
I come face to chest, but quickly tilt my face slightly to meet the person who caught me eavesdropping.
Mischievousness written in his icy blue eyes and a nonchalant expression plastered on his face. He was enjoying making me shrink under his presence.
I knew who he was, I had seen his portraits in this place. He was Axel Trent. Son of my grandparent's employers.
"A new face." He still held my shoulder under his grip. "An ugly one, especially with those glasses."
He reached to grab my glasses, but I shoved his hands away from me and took a step back.
His stance was relaxed and in turn made me uneasy. I didn't want to cause any problems for my grandparents so I'll let his ugly comment side, this time.
"What's your name?" he asked. "And what are you doing here?"
"I am Astoria. I didn't mean to listen to your parent's conversation--"
"Yet you were," he interjected.
"I am sorry. I was looking for someone--"
Again, he didn't let me finish my sentence. "Looking for someone in my own house. Interesting. I will know if someone is in my house without my permission. Now tell me who do you think you're to roam freely in my mansion."
"I was helping my grandmother in the kitchen and she sent me to find Paula, her kitchen staff, I didn't mean to--"
He cocked an eyebrow. "Wait. You are the help's granddaughter?"
It stung when he referred to me as 'help's granddaughter.' There wasn't anything wrong with working as a housekeeper when you're doing your work with dignity and not ashamed of it.
I didn't say anything. I just wanted to punch his cocky face.
"I can't believe I was talking with the help. Scram." He snapped his fingers to dismiss me, but I remained rooted in my spot.
"My grandma does her work without being ashamed. She's earning honest money. You should be grateful of her or else there will be no one to feed you tonight."
I think my mouth has a brain of its because sometimes I have no control on my words. Read the room, Astoria.
"You're going to regret saying that to me." His icy blue eyes mirrored my anger.
My fight or flight mode was activated because, my legs moved on it's own accord before I could realize I was running away from that stupid boy.
"Stupid, help. Stop." I heard him yell out for me. "I said stop."
Shit. He was running after me. Before I could comprehend what had happened, Axel had caught up with my pace and had his fist tightly wrapped around my braid.
I yelped as pain shot at the forceful tugging of my hair.
"Let go of me." My hands reached out to grab his fist, wanting to free my hair. "You idiot."
Suddenly, I was pinned down on the carpeted floor with Axel sitting on top of my stomach. His weight pressed on my body.
"Repeat what you just told me." He looked down at me as if I was a nuisance. "Fast."
"You're hurting me. I swear, you have an ego more fragile than a five year old girl." I was not in a position to make any further comments that would get me in more trouble than I already was.
He raised his hand to slap me. "You bloody--" I braced myself for the forceful impact, but it never came and I could no longer feel him sitting on top of me.
"Axel!" A rough voice shouted. "What do you think you're doing."
"Oh, poor you." Gentle hands helped me stand. "I am so sorry for my son's behaviour."
"This is what I was talking about, Eva. This son of a bitch has no control on his actions. He has no regard for consequences."
I was held close to Mrs. Trent's body. She caressed me and whispered ample of 'are you fine' and 'sorries'. I couldn't concentrate on anything other than his scowling face.
He was crazy.
"Tell her sorry, Axel. Now." There was no sign of leniency in Mr. Trent's voice. He had turned scary and was ready to smack Axel.
"I am sorry." Axel stared down with his fist clenched and I feared whether he would retaliate later, when his parents won't be around.
"Eva, take the girl away."
Mrs. Trent pulled me away from the scene and into the study. She realized I was shaken up by the events and leaned in to hug me.
"I am so sorry...?"
"Astoria," I said.
"Right. Astoria, this won't happen again, I promise and if it does you come straight to me, okay?" I could only nod at her words. "And please keep this between us. Don't let your grandparents know about this. I don't want them to worry about nothing."
It wasn't nothing, she knew, I knew it. Yet, I remained silent. I didn't tell them what happened to me because the next time it does happen again, I will punch that idiot.