It was supposed to be my day off when my boss, Brian, called and told me that Mr. Bluebeard had requested me, by name, to house sit for him. I had just started working at Mystic Sitters Security Service (MSSS) and was only in the training stage, so I wasn’t sure how or why I was chosen and neither did Brian. He only told me that Mr. Bluebeard needed someone urgently and I had to be there within the hour. That gave me enough time to throw on some clean clothes and hail a cab. Needless to say, I was nervous. Especially since Mr. Bluebeard was the CEO of MSSS.
I pulled my compact from my purse to check my hair and makeup. This was definitely not how I wanted to present myself to the CEO of the company but I didn’t exactly have a lot time to get ready.
I could see Brian standing on the curb as the cab pulled up. He threw some money to the driver and opened my door.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t have time to get dress up or-”
“Sarah. Relax. You are house sitting, not going in for an interview. Did you have time to pack a bag?” He asked, looking past me into the cab.
“No. My roommate is packing one for me and she will bring it to me tonight.”
“That won’t be necessary. I will pick it up and bring it to you,” he said, opening the door to the MSSS main office building, where Mr. Bluebeard lived on the top floor.
“Okay. I’ll text her to let her know.”
“Now. You are not to leave until Mr. Bluebeard returns, which is in ten days.”
“I can’t leave for ten days?” I asked with more attitude than I had intended.
“Yep. I’m afraid so. There are a lot of very valuable things in his home. One time he had some artwork stolen. The sitter was forced to let the burglar in at gunpoint after she left to get something to eat,” Brian explained as he called the elevator.
“Was she okay?” I asked, feeling even more nervous now.
“She was okay. But that’s why Mr. Bluebeard doesn’t want you leaving. It’s for your safety.”
“Is there anything else?” I asked as we stepped into the elevator.
“You have probably heard that he kinda goes through a lot of sitters. Either he fires them or they quit. So my advice would be to pay attention and do exactly what he asks you to do. Normally, I would brief you on everything, but he insists on doing the brief himself.”
“So, don’t fuck it up, is what you’re trying to tell me,” I said, now a complete mess of nerves.
A soft ding sounded and the elevator doors opened to reveal the marbled floor of the entryway.
“You will do fine. Just follow his instructions,” he said, motioning for me to exit.
I stepped off the elevator and turned back to see Brian still standing there.
“Are you not coming?” I asked.
“I will go get your bag,” he said as the doors slid closed.
“Great,” I muttered to myself. I sent my roommate a quick text to let her know that Brian would be on his way, then headed further into the apartment.
His apartment was pretty much like you’d expect from a bachelor who happened to have a few million dollars to his name. Color palette seemed very sexual with dark blue and purple walls and black marble floors with massive fur rugs scattered throughout. The exterior walls had floor to ceiling windows but they were mostly closed off by thick, gray curtains. I made my way through the entry area and found Mr. Bluebeard in the kitchen, casually standing behind the counter reviewing his tablet.
“Ah. Sarah. Thank you for coming on such short notice,” he said looking up at me.
“Of course sir,” I said, trying to sound confident.
I wasn’t sure if it was the lavishness of his home, or the black, tailored, Kiton suit he was wearing but he appeared almost god-like as he scanned me with his eyes. I had seen Mr. Bluebeard around the office a few times but we never had actually been introduced. He wasn’t much older than I was, thirty at the oldest, and very good looking.
“We have not been properly introduced. I’m Slate Bluebeard,” he said, offering out his hand to me. I shook it, suddenly aware of how warm his touch was, which sent tingles down to areas of my body I wished were not becoming present in the current situation.
“Sarah Marshall. Thank you for this opportunity,” I replied, gazing into his dark, mysterious eyes.
“I will need to be leaving soon, so the debrief will be fairly quick. Coffee?” he asked, gesturing to the coffee machine.
“No, thank you, Mr. Bluebeard.”
“Mr. Bluebeard,” he let out a soft chuckle at his own name. “That’s too formal. Please, call me Slate. Besides, Mr. Bluebeard is my father...a grumpy, stiff old fart if you asked me.”
I giggled, not expecting his candor.
“Well, help yourself anytime. I think you’ll find that most everything you need is already in the apartment. Including coffee when you want it,” he said, holding up his coffee mug.
Slate led me down the hall and briefly mentioned the multitude of closed doors. He focused my attention more on all the original artwork that was evenly spaced on the walls than the rooms themselves. Turns out the main reason he needed me there was to feed his fish and water his exotic plants. He had written instructions, so it looked like this was going to be an easy ten days.
We turned and headed back down the hall towards the kitchen when suddenly a loud creaking sound came from behind us. Curiously, I turned assuming Slate would have stopped, especially since I presumed no one else was in the apartment. However, he did not stop and instead ran right into me, his coffee spilling down the front of his suit. Somehow I managed to escape the collision spotless.
“Oh, my, God! I am so sorry,” I said as Slate frowned at the growing wet stain on his suit. I yanked the scarf from around my neck and began hopelessly dabbing at the stain.
“It’s-” he began.
“I can clean this,” I said, sinking to my knees, rubbing at the stain.
“Umm, Sarah-” he started to say, grabbing my wrists in an attempt to pull me off the floor.
“I’m so sorry, sir. I..I-,” I rambled out.
“Really, Sarah,” he said again, and began to step back
“I don’t know much about stains,” I said, continuing to ramble and rub at his crotch.
Once I noticed the bulge, it dawned on me and I quickly stood up in horror. I could feel my cheeks blush with embarrassment. Not only had I spilled coffee on the CEO’s thousand dollar suit but I also managed to give him a boner. I couldn’t make this up if I wanted to. So much for an easy week. I’d be lucky to not get fired for sexual harassment.
“Oh my God, I...I’m-”
“It’s okay,” Slate said as he slid his suit jacket off and held it so that it covered the sizable bulge in his pants. “I can take care of this from here.”
I bit down on my tongue to keep myself from asking which part he was going to take care of.
“I need to take this suit to the cleaners anyway so I’m sure they can get the stain out without a problem,” he continued. “I appreciate your, umm, thoroughness?”
I blushed even more and he chuckled.
“I’m sorry to make you late for your flight,” I said.
“They’ll wait,” he laughed again. “The perks of owning a private jet. I’d just prefer not to make my pilot wait too long. He has a life too.”
Duh, I thought to myself. Of course he’d have a private plane.
“Anyways,” Slate said, turning to head down the hall. “If you’ll follow me, we can go over the schedule in my room while I change. As long as you are comfortable with that. I wouldn’t want HR to get the wrong idea.”
“Not at all,” I said with a smile, hoping my charm would keep him from firing me. I decided I’d show him how well I had paid attention during the tour and strut past him toward one of the bedroom doors I remembered him mentioning was his.
Slate seemed to watch me with humor and remained where he was standing.
“Is something wrong?” I asked innocently.
“That’s a bathroom,” he chuckled. I glanced into the room I had just opened and sure enough, a toilet, tub, and sink displayed themselves mockingly; if that was even possible.
“Oh,” I said, feeling deflated. He didn’t seem to notice though as he reached toward the door across from the bathroom and walked into it. I hesitated for a moment, not sure if I was going to follow.
“It would be easier if you came in here so we could talk,” he said from inside. “I’m going to be in the bathroom anyway; my bathroom that is.”
“Right,” I said as I walked in. I was expecting Kleenex and lotion on the bedside table, underwear on the floor, maybe even some magazines peeking out from under the bed but his room was spotless. Of course, I thought. This is a man that wears high end suits just to ride in his own plane, he wouldn’t hide his Playboy magazines under his bed like a teenager.
“Basically, you need to stay in the apartment at all times.” Slate said from the bathroom. “In the past, I’ve had several break-ins, mostly because people can easily watch the paper and see when I’m expected to be out of town. It’s sort of the curse of being a businessman, I suppose.”
“Or, the curse of being a hot bachelor,” I muttered to myself.
“I’m sorry?” He poked his head around the doorway to look at me.
“Nothing,” I said. “I was just...admiring the artwork.” I randomly pointed at another painting without really looking at it and blushed quickly as I realized the artwork I had selected was a painting of a naked woman receiving oral from….was that an octopus?
“Are you a fan of Katsushika Hokusai?” He said, stepping out of the bathroom to admire the painting. I blushed harder as I realized he was shirtless, the band of his Calvin Klein boxers peeked out from the top of his new pair of pants. As if he didn’t already look like a god when he was wearing a suit, he looked even more heavenly without it.
“Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife?” He said again and I became aware that I’d just been standing there ogling his toned pecs. He’d been talking and I hadn’t heard a single word.
“I’m sorry?” I said stupidly.
“I guess not.” He laughed before heading back into the bathroom. Then, he peeked back around the doorway before tossing something at me. It jingled in the air and I surprised myself by catching it. “Anyways, here are the keys to the building. Since I haven’t made copies of the new locks, I’m going to just leave you with the full set just in case you need them.”
He walked back into the room as he began working on the buttons of a light blue shirt. “These are the master keys to every room on this floor. I hope I can trust you.”
“Of course you can,” I said eagerly and realized my tone might have come across as so.
“Now, you’re welcome to hang out in any area of the house that I’ve shown you,” he said, appearing to have ignored me. “I’d prefer if you stayed away from the three rooms in the back that I mentioned before. There isn’t much back there but I wouldn’t want you to get hurt.”
“Not a problem,” I said calmly, trying not to stare.
“Good,” he said. He pulled on a new suit jacket and motioned for me to follow him out of the room. Once we made it into the kitchen, he grabbed a bag from the counter and headed around the corner towards the elevator.
The elevator let out a soft ding as the doors slid open and he stepped inside. “Of course, if you need anything, please call. My cell phone is on a piece of paper on the counter along with some other numbers if you need them.”
“Sounds good,” I said. “Enjoy your trip.”
“Don’t do anything I would do,” he said with a laugh as the doors of the elevator slid closed behind him.