Silence filled the room for a couple of seconds. I bit my lower lip harder, thinking of a reason to divert his attention.
“The painting!” I snapped. Gee! I wasn’t supposed to mouth it out loud.
“Um...the girl on the painting, she’s so beautiful. Who is she?” I asked then swallowed hard, praying he won’t remember what I had just said.
How could I be so stupid? One just doesn’t make comments expressing her admiration for such a dangerous person. How did I even say those words so easily? I scolded myself.
All I ever wanted was to know why he wanted to hide in the world when he has nothing to be ashamed of.
His expression looked annoyed. He stared at me with the questioning look then took a deep breath.
“I could fire you right away for being too nosy. What are you? Paparazzi? You got to be thankful, that information you have won’t make you a jobless newbie.”
Wow! I exclaimed mentally. Funny how he wanted so much to hide his identity but he’s got no control of keeping his itsy-bitsy arrogance.
“I think it’s the other way around. Be thankful because there’s this one person who knows about the information you needed. Unfortunately, that’s me. And you’re going to have to just deal with it,” I fired back, smirking. I shouldn’t be outwitted by his sex appeal.
I must admit, I was attracted to this beast. Probably because of his mysterious way of living, or he himself was a mystery. His presence alone was screaming of dominance, something I couldn’t help but admire. It’s a shame, he didn’t have good character.
He sighed. “You are one intriguing woman. Let’s get this done so I could—”
“—Go back to your room and lock yourself up in the world? Why are you even like that? Couldn’t we at least eat breakfast? I snapped.
Calm down, tackles lioness, I reminded myself.
He held up a hand on me. “Could you please stop your machine gun mouth and give this room a piece of silence?” he roared in irritation.
“I’m sorry. I know it’s none of my business. I was just very curious.”
“Curiosity kills the cat, ever heard of that? Now, let’s proceed to contract signing.”
My lips twitched in guilt, I swallowed hard.
“In a folder placed in front of you is your copy of the contract. I want you to read the contents carefully, any questions and objections shall be entertained after you read everything.”
“Oh!” I didn’t notice the folder earlier.
“And try to zip your mouth shut,” he added briskly.
I looked down on the folder lying on the table in front of me. I opened the first page then started reading.
Employment Contract dated this 15th Day of August 2018
Mr. Brandon Andre Katrakis Lucien
Grethe and Elga Enterprises
Miss Alayna G. Hart
Miss Hart will be full time employed as a Personal Chef to Brandon Andre E. Lucien, beginning of the 11th Day of August 2018 to the 11th day of August 2020
1. Miss Hart should provide all the information about Miss Annette Teller as a part of this contract, as and where permitted by Law.
2. Miss Alayna G. Hart must successfully complete (2) years beginning the commencement date to end, as and where permitted by Law.
3. Miss Hart will be paid her wage once a month. She will have her rightful benefits and bonuses twice a year.
4. Miss Hart is entitled to paid annual leave (sickness, vacation or maternity leave ranging from 15 to 30 days and (60 days for maternity leave)
5. Miss Hart is entitled to sickness allowance.
6. Mr. Lucien will have the right to terminate employment without any prior notice and compensation other than wages for hours of work already completed, as permitted by law if the employee violated the rules and regulations of her employer.
Brandon Andre A. Lucien
Chairman, Grethe and Elga Enterprises
I nodded slowly, trying to think of something to demand. I failed as expected.
“It seems fair enough. I think I don’t have any question.”
It was actually more than fair! I thought. He was unexpectedly generous. What more could I ask? He’s providing me bonuses and benefits. 15-30 days of vacation or sick leave was much surprising. It was more than the average benefit and employee could have when they are working with a different company…
Two years of the contract in exchange for a little information. What is life? I smirked.
“Good. Before I sign this Miss Hart, let me remind you of our deal. Are you one hundred percent sure of Annette’s whereabouts?”
“Absolutely one hundred percent. I promise. I wrote it down on my notes, including the recipe. Um, it’s in my room. Do you want me to get it for you?”
“I trust you.”
Trust me? My mind asked sarcastically. Now, that’s new.
“I am going to sign everything. I’ll give you time to review your copy. You can bring it in my study later.”
“I—uh, I’m allowed enter your study room?”
Miss Hart, let’s not pretend like you aren’t involved in my provide life. You asked for this, and I don’t think letting you in my study would make a difference,” he answered as he pressed his thumb on the ink pad in front of him.
I faked a cough. “Private life? Are you kidding? I don’t even know why you’re looking for Annette. You never even answered my questions. Oh, yes, you’re here in front of me, as the master without face to everyone. But let’s never forget you’re wearing a mask.”
He stopped then looked straight at me. Am I melting? I wish I’m not.
“Besides being nosy, you are certainly overreacting things, Miss Hart,” he commented. “Now that I’m not done with this contract, I’m thinking of changing my mind.”
Changing what? Oh my God! “Okay. Okay. Fine. I won’t say anything. Just sign my contract.”
As his thumbprints marked the contract, he finished everything with his signature. The cool kitchen started to feel humid. My dress doesn’t feel comfortable anymore.
“Now, always remember I could always terminate this contract if you are ever lying,” he warned coldly.
Chills ran down my spine. Act cool, lady, act cool. “Sure! May we have breakfast our now, Master? Because—” a weird sound stopped me, I felt a pang of pain in my stomach. I chuckled. “—because obviously, I’m starving.”
He checked his wristwatch, he didn’t seem to hear my stomach growled. “I’ll just call Oliver—”
“W-wait up! Sir Oliver? Oliver the Chef? He’s allowed to see you?” I continuously asked.
“Yes. He’s the only family I trust.”
“Oh! Madam Lennie said he’ll be here, uh…” I glanced at my wristwatch, “in ten minutes.” I didn’t notice we had been talking for fifty minutes already and Oliver was his cousin. Well, that slipped out of my mind.
“I noticed you’ve been very close to Oliver since the day you came here, Miss Hart,” he commented. I felt my forehead furrowed in confusion.
Oh, yeah. Of course, he knew I was talking to Oliver. His house was fully installed with CCTV, out of privacy, the employee’s rooms were an exception.
“Not that we’re that close. But, he’s helping me out and he’s the only normal person I could talk to in this house. How’d you know?” I asked, playing dumb, trying to make myself comfortable, even when his stares made me feel ill at ease.
“Acting stupid is not cute. You know how.”
“You know—Mr. Lucien, I mean Master, sorry, it’s pretty hard to call you ‘Master’—don’t you think it’s wrong to watch over people? Ever familiar with the word privacy?”
His expression darkened, my palm instantaneously got sweaty. “As certain as I remember, you studied as a food expert, not a professor. So why do you like lecturing me so much? Get rid of that style, you don’t need that while you work here,” he said hoarsely.
“Uh-huh? Well, my style made you come out from your hiding place,” I said sarcastically, raising up an eyebrow, he was taken aback.
“Can you keep your mouth shut for a second?”
“One,” I counted. “Can I talk now?”
He looked away with a hint of smile escaping his lips.
“Did you just smile?” I teased.
“Smile? No!” he denied with guilt. “Why would I smile?”
“Well, the side of your lips tells me otherwise,” I said smirking.
“Enough!” he said loudly then sighed sharply. “What kind of a woman are you? You aren’t normal.”
I faked a chuckle. Wow! He really wanted to talk about being normal, huh? I thought.
“And by that normal you mean just like you?” I asked unbelievably then rolled my eyes. “Fine, Master. Okay. For what it’s worth, I think you’re the serious type. Happy?”
Master Brandon smirked. I decided not to comment then pretended I didn’t notice. He was pretty hard to please. I couldn’t keep spoiling his mood.
“Should I call Sir Oliver now?” I asked.
“No need. I’m already here,” A cozy voice suddenly filled the room. “Good morning, Brandon, Alayna. Am I interrupting something?” he added as he walked towards us carrying a tray stuffed with The Master and I’s breakfast.
“Just in time, Ollie. We’re done with the contract signing,” Master Brandon answered.
Sir Oliver placed a plate with pancakes in front of me, followed by a fork and knife. “Heard you love pancakes,” he uttered then winked at me.
I chuckled. “Thanks, Sir,” I acknowledged.
“You’re very much welcome, pretty Miss,” he answered then grinned sweetly. Sir Oliver walked towards Master Brandon then put the same plate of breakfast in front of the Master.
“Enjoy your meal,” he said when he was finally done. “Call me if you need anything,” he reminded.
Master Brandon uttered his thanks at the same time I did.
“Jinx!” I squealed. Sir Oliver chuckled aloud.
“What?” Master Brandon asked in confusion, his forehead furrowed but the corner of his lips was twitched with what seemed to be a smile.
“Oh my God! I’m sorry!” I apologized then bow my head down. I bit my lower lip then looked around. Sir Oliver disappeared that fast?
My stomach once again demanded food. I looked up then stared down at my food. Pancakes! Where have you been all my life?
“Getting really dreamy, huh?” Master Brandon asked. He was slicing his own food while smirking.
“You like Oliver,” he pointed out. My eyes widened. What was he talking about?
“What do you mean? I mean, of course, who wouldn’t like Sir Oliver? He’s normal, he’s easy to be with and he smiles a lot. You know, someone not like you.” Someone not like you! I snapped in my head. What did I just say?
Master Brandon’s face went serious. “Well, it’s written all over your face,” he commented then stared at me. His gaze was piercing and delicate. He put down the fork and knife on both sides of his place. “Anyway, I’m going back to my room. Enjoy your breakfast.”