I woke up depressed.
I hadn’t woken up feeling like that since my mother had died... and since Adam had walked in my life, turning it upside down and inside out.
The sunlight illuminated my room, and I knew it was time to get up and get back to working as a maid. But that wasn’t the worse. The worst was yet to come, which was facing all of the maids... and Mr. Cooper.
But I was already waiting for the gossips, the looks, the lectures and the penalties. I would get everything I deserved for having fallen for a man I couldn’t even dream of.
I wiped off the few tears that fell down my eyes and got up to get ready. If anything, I felt recharged. I also felt a little morning sickness, but that was just a side-effect from the morning-after-pill I’d taken last night, after coming back with Adam to his house.
Sighing, and already dressed, I did the stupid braid and went to the bathroom to wash my face and brush my teeth. Then, I looked at my reflection in the mirror. I looked like I hadn’t had a good night of sleep in weeks, which wasn’t the case. I’d slept very well last night and the night before, regardless of everything that bothered me.
I looked awful. Everyone would notice how bad I looked, and everyone would know why. However, I had to move on, right? Otherwise I wouldn’t have told Adam that I didn’t want him to come to my room ever again.
When I got out of my room and went downstairs, I wondered about that. How would Adam look at me? If he’d even look. Would he call me Eva or kid, or would he just pretend he didn’t know my name? Would he force me to treat him by sir or Mr. Cooper? If his father punished me like he’d punished me last time... would Adam help me?
Taking a deep breath, I realized that all I could do now was to wait and see how Adam would react when he’d stand in front of me. I knew anxiety would eat me up inside, but oh well...
The moment I reached the kitchen, not all maids were there. I guess I’d gotten up earlier than the usual. Well, at least I wouldn’t be confronted with all of their eyes all at once. I didn’t deserve it. But they didn’t care about it.
“Good morning.” I said, once I sat down on my usual place and started serving myself some light breakfast. I wasn’t hungry at all.
“Good morning.” They grumbled under their breaths.
I noticed Rita and Linda looking at me and whispering between the two. I knew I’d have to face that along the day, if not for days or even weeks. I’d been the maid who had managed to get Adam’s attention and for that, I’d get the attention and gossips I deserved, even if I didn’t like it.
As more maids arrived, they all noticed I was there. They all pretended they hadn’t seen me, but I knew they were just as surprised as my aunt Deena had been last night when Adam had brought me back.
When Becca appeared and saw me, she was actually the only one who grinned at me and came to sit down beside me. “Eva! You’re back!”
“I am.” I said, with a tight-lipped smile. Because I didn’t have anywhere else to go, as I thought I had.
“I was so worried about you! I mean, you were gone for like, almost a week! I thought you wouldn’t come back after...” She paused, not really sure if she should continue. “...you know.”
“Yeah, well, I had to come back. I didn’t have anywhere to go.” The money I had left wouldn’t be enough to stay at the motel while I looked for a job. My friends would probably help me, but... Well, like Adam had said, what I’d been considering was too unrealistic.
“When did you come back?” She asked, biting the toast she had on her hands.
“Last night. You were all sleeping already.” I cleared my throat, and then I changed the issue of our conversation, “How are things around here? Too different since I... ran away?” There was no point in saying it differently. They had all assisted the scandal on Mr. Cooper’s birthday party. They knew I’d run away.
“Everyone’s been really quiet since Mr. Cooper’s birthday. The atmosphere is awful, especially when any of the Coopers are in the same room than any of us.” She explained, “And Mr. Cooper’s father hasn’t left yet.”
“Adam’s grandfather?” What was he still doing here? I’d only seen him once, but I hadn’t liked him. If I thought Adam and Mr. Cooper looked arrogant, and heartless, well, that man seemed much, much worse than his son and grandson. What was up with the Coopers looking like they’re bad?
“Yeah. I don’t know if you’ve already spoken to your aunt, or if she’s told you about this, but Mr. Cooper’s father has been asking every one of us about you and your relation with Adam.” Becca revealed, now watching my surprised expression.
“Are you serious?” Why did he do that? I’m sure Mr. Cooper already knew everything, so why not ask his son himself? Or his grandson? “Why would he do that? I mean, what sort of questions has he been asking?”
Becca shrugged, “I have no idea why he’s been doing that. The man gives me the creeps. But he’s been asking stuff like, for example, if any of us caught you two involved, if we knew what kind of relation you both had... He also asked if we knew for sure that you liked him, if we had seen any change in Adam since you appeared... Stuff like that.”
What the hell...? The man had no right! Not even Mr. Cooper himself did that! For god’s sake, who the hell would question every single maid in the house about the relationship Adam and I had?
“And what did you say when he questioned you?” I gazed into Becca’s pretty eyes. From all the maids in the house, aside from my aunt, Becca was the only one I trusted. Yet, she didn’t know half the story about me and Adam.
Her expression was a kind one. “I knew there was something between you two, but I lied to him, of course. I made myself look like a fool and say I’d never actually noticed you and Adam had something going on.” Then, her face changed and her eyes narrowed as she turned to look at someone else. I followed her line of sight and my eyes caught Linda and Rita still looking at us. “Unfortunately, I can’t say the same about others.”
I said nothing. I’m sure most of the maids had answer truthfully to Mr. Cooper’s father’s questions, but I was certain those two had exaggerated, just for the pleasure to see me screwed. After all, I’d been the only one that had broken the unbreakable Adam Cooper.
We spent some time eating in silence, but then... I just had to say, “I didn’t mean for any of this to happen, Becca.”
The girl silently laughed, “I think you were never conscious of what you were doing. I’m starting to believe Adam had a point in calling you a kid.” Becca looked at me and smiled. What she said was supposed to be a joke, but there was nothing fun in it. At least for me.
I looked away from her, and closed my eyes at the same time I lowered my head. I’d never have Adam calling me kid ever again, even if it was in a tone that reprehended me. I hated it, but I loved it the same.
I pushed back the tears and decided this really wasn’t the right moment to show myself weak. Those bitches were all there and giving them the pleasure of watching me like this was something I didn’t want to do. So, I held my head up high and smiled at Becca, “Yeah, maybe he did have. But whatever he thought of me, I don’t want to know anymore.”
Liar, my consciousness told me.
Becca wasn’t comfortable in stepping into a territory she didn’t know how to play on, so she just nodded and kept eating, not making a conversation anymore. I thanked for that. If she’d keep talking about Adam and other issues that had to do with him, it would drive me crazy.
When we had all finished having dinner, Glenda started to deliver out the chores for the morning.
Lucky me, I was handed one where I had to be on the other side of the mansion – opposed to Adam’s room. The last thing I wanted was to face him right now. Not to mention Glenda had said I’d be able to do it by myself, which meant I had no one to talk to. I actually thanked her for that. I just wanted to drown myself in my thoughts.
After I got everything I needed to clean up some guest rooms, I started the chore. While I did it, I kept visualizing me in bed with Adam. Yes, it hurt, but holding onto those memories... it was everything I now had from him. Alone, I shed the tears I’d been holding since breakfast.
Why couldn’t I just stop crying? It’s not like it would make everything get back to normal! It never would! Everyone would constantly stare at me sideways, never being able to befriend me. At least, not with the maid that had crossed the limit. With both Adam and Mr. Cooper.
I wondered what awaited me when Mr. Cooper would call me to see him. Would he severely lecture me? Or he’d understand me? What kind of punishment would he give me? Would Mr. Cooper’s father assist it? Would Adam come to my rescue lest I needed?
Those thoughts filled my mind until the moment I was called to set the table, and serve the Coopers their breakfast. Glenda just couldn’t be any worse. I knew I was always there when they ate, but come on... she knew what had happened.
“Can’t I do something else?” I’d asked her when everyone had left the kitchen.
“No.” She said with her chilly tone of voice. “You still work here, don’t you? So you’re back to your usual chores. Nothing’s changed.” She’d told me. But she was wrong, and she knew it. Everything had changed, but she just wanted to see me suffer.
“I don’t want to see them.” I’d given up easily. “I don’t want to face the Coopers. I don’t... I don’t want to see Adam.”
Avoiding my pleading dark blue eyes, Glenda had simply said, “Then I suggest you leave this house immediately. It’s the best thing you’ll ever do for your life right now.”
Adam had said the exact opposite. But selfish Adam wanted me here, even knowing we couldn’t have each other. It just made me feel worse. “And who are you to tell me that is the best I should do?”
In that moment, Glenda had looked straight into my eyes, and her thin and aged lips had curved, “I’m the one who’s seen this story happen once. And believe me when I say, child, you’ll destroy your life over someone who will not fight for you.”
She’d stabbed me right in the heart. Glenda wasn’t stupid. Still, I had been weak and dumb enough to contest her, “You don’t know anything about me and Adam.”
“I know the father he has. Shouldn’t that be enough, child?”
“Adam has nothing to do with his father.”
Her eyes had suddenly narrowed and I’d suddenly felt like I was suffocating. “Of course not. Adam’s much worse.”
And right now, while I was setting up the table, Glenda’s words still echoed in my mind.
How could she say that when she knew it wasn’t true? Adam had nothing to do with Mr. Cooper! He was in no way worse than his father! It had felt like an insult to me! If we compared Adam to his own father, without excluding anything, Adam was a much better man than his father.
Although I admitted a couple of things they surely had in common.
They were heartless, arrogant... and bitter.
All I could listen to was the sound of the maids’ hands placing everything down on the table. I was with Rita, Becca and Linda, and I was waiting for any of those two – Linda or Rita, to open their mouths and say something. Anything.
From what I knew of Rita, the red haired was probably tearing herself up inside for not saying something cruel to me. And that made me wonder. Why was she acting like that?
When they both left to fetch the food, I was alone with Becca. At first, I decided not to say anything, after all, the less I bothered her about this, the better. Yet, my curiosity pulled me towards it. I bit my tongue. Screw it.
“I have a question, Becca.” I said, stepping backwards, and eyeing the door. The girl grumbled, and I proceeded, “I was waiting for... you know, some of the maids to actually come to me and say something. I was surely expecting Rita to be the first, but she hasn’t. And she just isn’t like that. Is there anything else I should know about?”
The girl sighed, “Mr. Cooper’s father forbade us to talk about you and Adam. He prohibited us to even talk to you about it when you’d come back.” Like if he’d be paying attention to every single one of them. Still, Becca added, “If any of us break the rule, he’ll fire us.”
I gasped. “Are you serious?”
Becca nodded, “As I said, the man gives me the creeps.”
It sounded like something Mr. Cooper himself would do, but... something didn’t quite fit here.
I wasn’t able to reason much, since Linda and Rita soon came back with food, followed by the Coopers by short seconds. Now, it was the moment. I’d face them all.
The first to walk in was Mrs. Cooper. Then, Brad. The both noticed me, but only stared for a few seconds. They might be rich, but even staring at maids wasn’t correct. Especially me.
For the second time ever, I saw Mr. Cooper’s father. John Cooper. The man screamed ice all over the place. I’d even felt a shiver when his bright blue eyes gazed at me, slicing me in two perfect halves. The man shared Mr. Cooper’s structure, but he was taller than Mr. Cooper from what I recalled. Now Adam equaled him in height. Or maybe, he was even taller. Finally, the man of the house came in.
“Good morning.” He said, in his usual disinterested tone of voice.
“Good morning,” We all said. I even lowered my head, but the moment I’d lifted it up and saw Mr. Cooper sat on his usual place, his frosty blue eyes were on me.
What most amazed me was the fact that there was no anger, fury, or even frustration in his eyes. I was waiting for all of it and much more. Much worse.
The atmosphere in the room was breath-taking.
And it became even worse when I heard a familiar voice, “Good morning.”
My eyes immediately jumped from Mr. Cooper to his oldest son, to his flawless creation, and my weakness. Oh, Adam was beautiful. Perfectly luring me, yet repelling me with a passion. What broke my heart was that he didn’t even look at me for a nanosecond.
Pure ice. That was what he was when he clearly wanted.
"Adam has nothing to do with his father.”
"Of course not. Adam’s much worse.” Glenda’s words echoed in my mind. I refused to believe that. Everything I’d seen of Adam had nothing to do with Mr. Cooper.
Everyone started serving the Coopers except me. I just couldn’t move. I didn’t want to, afraid I’d let my emotions speak higher. Someone cleared her throat. I lifted my eyes and saw Becca. Shaking those thoughts away, I approached the table.
I regretted it the second I smelled something. Something awful. Disgusting. Hot milk, orange juice, toasts... My stomach twisted. And then I felt a horrible taste in my mouth.
“Oh god,” I mumbled, taking my hand to my mouth, and running out of the dining room into the nearest bathroom.
Falling on my knees, I started throwing up.
I didn’t know how much time I longed there, emptying my stomach of that appalling medley that tasted terribly. I didn’t notice I was crying until I tasted the salty tears on my mouth. I didn’t become aware of the people behind me until I actually sat on the floor of the bathroom, and looked over my shoulder.
Everyone was there, except for three persons – Mr. Cooper’s father, Brad... and Adam. Of course.
“I’m sorry.” I was able to say when I looked at Mr. Cooper. “When I smelled all of those things on the table, I-”
“There’s no need for excuses.” He cut me off. “Take your time. After I’m finished when my breakfast – and when you’re feeling better, come see me at my office.” With an undecipherable – but yet kind look on his face, Mr. Cooper turned around and left.
Mrs. Cooper stood in his place, her hand on her chest, worried eyes on me. “Is there anything I can do for you, my dear?”
Before I could say something, Glenda hurried, “its ok, ma’am, we’ll take it from here. Go and finish your breakfast with Mr. Cooper. Eva will be ready in a moment.” Kindly smiling at me, Mrs. Cooper turned around at Glenda’s dismissal. Then, Glenda looked at me with severe eyes, “Get up, child. I’ll prepare you some tea.”
“I don’t need-”
“Yes, you need.” Next, she turned at the maids that had gathered outside and spoke, “All of you back to your chores! Becca, go find Deena and tell her to meet us in the kitchen. Then go back to the dining room.”
Nodding, Becca turned around and left us. As for me, I got up with Glenda’s help and followed her to the kitchen. I didn’t say one word on our way there. And the thought of drinking any type of tea now, just make me want to throw up again. But I knew Glenda would surely force me to drink. And so would my aunt.
The moment I reached the kitchen behind Glenda, and my aunt put her eyes on me, I heard her, “Oh, Eva! You look awful!” Then she walked towards me and framed my face with both of her hands.
“Give her some space, Deena.” Glenda said, disapproving of my aunt’s action.
Stepping back, my aunt said, “Sit down. Glenda’s preparing the tea already.” And I was so glad about it. “How are you feeling?”
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly, “Like I’ll throw up when I taste that tea.”
Glenda threw me a look over her shoulder, “I take it you’re feeling better?” I didn’t answer, and she didn’t stop preparing the tea. But of course I was better.
Yeah, I’d thrown up, so what? It wasn’t a big deal. And I was still stunned by Mr. Cooper’s so understandable attitude. All about the way he looked, talked and acted towards me seemed wrong. Very wrong. What had my aunt – or Adam, said to him before my arrival? That wasn’t the heartless man I knew.
“You should rest today.” My aunt said, looking at Glenda’s back. “I’ll talk to Arthur and-”
“No, you won’t.” I cut her off. “I just threw up. I didn’t seriously injure myself, aunt. I’m perfectly able to work!” If my aunt talked to Adam’s father, the maids would even speak worse of me. I’m sure they were now saying I deserved this and even worse.
She didn’t answer. Didn’t deny or affirm she’d talk to him. It didn’t matter what she’d do. I’d work. It distracted me most of the times.
Minutes later, I was drinking the tea Glenda had prepared for me. Its smell didn’t make throw up, and that was a good sign. When I drank a little, I didn’t feel like running to the nearest bathroom. It wasn’t bad, but eating or drinking anything was something I had no will to do at the time. But what choice did I have with those two women looking at me with threatening eyes?
And looking at Glenda made me realize the woman was acting differently towards me than before. I didn’t know what was different, or what had changed her, but there was something that gave me the impression she understood my situation, and therefore, was nicer. I wondered if my aunt had something to do with it.
The exact moment I finished drinking the whole cup of tea, I heard a familiar voice behind, “Mr. Cooper told me to say that he’ll be in his office. When she,” I looked behind me and watched Rita pointing at me with a disdainful look, “Is ready, she can go to him.”
When I’m ready? I think I was enjoying this new Mr. Cooper. I just hoped his kindness continued beyond the moment I’d walk in his office.
“I’m ready now.” I said immediately as I got up. I had to face him sooner or later.
Without looking back at the two older women behind me, I passed by Rita and headed towards Mr. Cooper’s office. On my way, I tried to breathe slowly. I was freaking nervous and weak, but I didn’t want to show him that. I was strong. I really was. Otherwise I wouldn’t be here. Or maybe it was the other way around.
I shook my head when I got there. I shouldn’t be having those thoughts. Think positive, don’t angry him and don’t say more than what he asked you, I thought, now knock! And I did. I also had an answer straight away. “Come in.”
I closed my eyes for a moment while grabbing the doorknob. Please don’t be that mean to me this time, I prayed. And then, I dared to step in, and let the lion have me.
What I hadn’t really predicted was that there would be another lion in that cave. What was Mr. Cooper’s father doing here as well? Adam should be replacing him!
After I closed the door, I stood there, motionless, facing two pair of eyes that could kill me if each of them wanted. The only difference was that one look was fierce, and the other was worn-out, incapable of doing anything now.
I pursed my lips when Mr. Cooper shifted behind his wooden desk and narrowed his eyes at me. “Do you know why you’re here, Eva?”
“Yes, I do, sir.”
“I take it you know you deserve to be fired.”
Don’t despair. “Yes, I know.”
“However, I’m sure someone has already warned you I’ve decided to not do it.” And for how much I wondered why – even if Adam had pleaded, I couldn’t reach a conclusion that told me why Mr. Cooper had decided to do so.
Mr. Cooper’s father suddenly grumbled something inaudible. Yet, he remained motionless in the divan at the corner of his son’s office. Mr. Cooper didn’t pay attention to his own father, and kept going. “Nevertheless, if this happens again-”
“It won’t.” I suddenly heard myself with misery on my voice. “I swear it won’t happen again, Mr. Cooper.” It couldn’t happen ever again. I couldn’t afford losing the shelter and the money they granted me.
“If this happens again,” He continued on where he’d left off, “I’ll be forced to fire you, Eva. Your involvement with Adam is unacceptable. What you both did, what can happen if you’re...” He lost his words as he lowered his head and closed his eyes. I wondered what he meant with that unfinished sentence.
Unexpectedly, I heard his father’s voice, “You’re making a mistake, Arthur.”
“I can handle this.” Mr. Cooper still didn’t lift his head. “This is my son, my house, my rules.”
“And yet, you let your son make the same mistake you did.” Adam’s grandfather looked at me with disgust clearly visible on his predatory eyes. “And it will get worse if you don’t fire her!”
“Adam is not like me.” And if Glenda was right, Adam was worse than his father, which I still doubted, even if what I believe didn’t feel right. Mr. Cooper finally gazed at me, though when he spoke it was directed to his father, “And I’m not you. I won’t fire her. I won’t let her go through-”
“Why? Why not?” Mr. Cooper’s father’s voice swiftly rose and he held both his hands in the air, slightly shaking them. His little patience seemed to be over, “Tell me why! Do you see Allison in her? Is that it? You catch yourself imagining you and her again now that Adam and that maid remind you of her?”
“You have a beautiful wife! One that surely loves you and-”
“Allison loved me as well and you didn’t take that in account, did you?” Mr. Cooper shouted at his father, but thought wrong if that would shut him up.
“Did you take in account when your son said he wasn’t ready to marry Rachel and yet you practically forced him to?” Something in Mr. Cooper’s eyes flickered. I didn’t know what the hell they were talking about – or if they were aware I was still there, but what Adam’s grandfather had lastly said was right. “Parents just want what’s always best for their children! I’m not saying you did wrong, but that’s what you thought it was best for Adam, right?”
Mr. Cooper got up and I noticed his fists were clenched. He was about to burst. And I didn’t want to be there when that would happen. “Apparently, father, forcing me or Adam to do anything didn’t work, did it?”
Adam’s grandfather cut him off, “You were always weak! You-”
All of a sudden, I cleared my throat. Both raged man stared at me and I felt they could kill me with those deadly glances. “Maybe I should... get back to work.”
“Unfortunately.” The Senior Cooper said.
I still said, “I... I just want to know what my punishment will be.” I bit my lower lip. Maybe this had been a bad move. Maybe I should have just walked out of there when they were still arguing. They probably wouldn’t notice my absence there anyway.
“Oh...” Mr. Cooper’s voice softened and he turned to be face-to-face with me. I watched him taking a deep breath and let it out slowly. “I think what you went through the moment after Adam asked Rachel to marry her was enough.”
My eyes widened and my jaw fell open at what Mr. Cooper had just finished saying. He wasn’t going to punish me? I wasn’t the only one having this reaction since his father was also looking at my boss with a stunned – and furious look on his face. “You-”
Mr. Cooper lifted his hand at him to shut up, though he kept looking at me. “My decision’s made, Eva. Unless you want me to change my mind, I suggest you get out of here.” That was an order... and a warning.
I did not want to be in that room when they’d start arguing again. By the way Mr. Cooper’s father eyed his son... Oh, being out of there seemed one hell of a great idea to me. So, I just nodded, thanked, and turned around.
I forced myself to walk at a calm pace from the moment I reached the door, until the moment I gave my first steps out of that office, and saw everyone staring at me from the stairs.
Oh, if Adam saw all of these people eavesdropping on that particular conversation...
Even Glenda was there among the maids. My aunt stood beside her, both waiting for me to say a word about both the non-existents lecture and punishment Mr. Cooper was supposed to give me. Still, when I spoke, it was a question, “Can any of you tell me who is Allison?”
Color drained out of my aunt’s face. Glenda gasped. Two more maids exchanged alarming looks between them. As for the rest of the maids, they just looked at me with innocent curiosity stamped on their eyes.
I waited. No one said anything. I asked again, folding my arms over my chest. “Can any of you answer me?”
I had a reason to be this curious about that name. Not only because of what I’d heard inside Mr. Cooper’s office, but because the name Allison rang a bell in my head. The only problem was that I didn’t remember where the hell I’d heard it.
Glenda suddenly turned around to the crowd behind her and started shaking them off, “Go on! Back to work! You don’t want to be caught by Mr. Cooper when he gets out of his office unless you want to be fired!”
Whispering between them, the maids started dispersing. I glanced at Becca for a moment, but she didn’t see me. She was going downstairs, surrounded by Linda and Rita.
Afterwards, my aunt and Glenda came to me and each put a hand on my shoulder, starting to drag me to the closest empty room they could find. Once we reached one, my aunt made sure no one was outside to listen to us, while Glenda’s eyes seemed glassy and thoughtful. I wondered why they’d acted like that once I questioned them about a woman named Allison.
“What did Mr. Cooper tell you, Eva?” My aunt was the first to speak, standing motionless in front of me. I’d never seen her this serious. “Tell us!”
“Ok, ok!” I suddenly said when she raised her tone. “He didn’t say much! He just said he wouldn’t fire me, but warned me that if something ever happened between me and Adam again, he wouldn’t think twice about it.” In plain words, that was exactly what he’d said. “Oh, and I won’t be punished.”
“Why not?” Despite being as serious as my aunt, Glenda seemed calmer.
I lowered my head to avoid their eyes when I replied, “Because... he said that what I’d gone through when Adam had... asked Rachel to marry him... had been enough.” And it was. Those days... were awful.
“That was it? He didn’t say anything else?” My aunt asked. “He must have said something else, Eva, otherwise you wouldn’t walk out of his office asking who was Allison.”
And then, I told them all about the fight Mr. Cooper and his father had had in front of me. Every sentence I said caused them to gasp and exchange looks I couldn’t decipher. “And that’s about everything they said.” Once again, I waited. All they did was to stare at me. “So, who is Allison? Judging from what Mr. Cooper’s father said, I wonder what Mr. Cooper sees in me or in Adam that made him remember that woman. I’m guessing his father didn’t like them together...?”
My aunt laughed bitterly, “Oh, it was more than that, Eva.”
“And it’s none of your business, child.” Glenda said with an authoritarian voice.
“Everything Adam’s grandfather said about that woman and Mr. Cooper was related to me and Adam. I think I have the right to know.”
“No, you don’t, Eva.” My aunt came to me and placed her hands on my shoulders. “Forget you heard that name. Don’t ever say it again. Don’t dare to ask around who is Allison. If you do it, you’ll regret it. And neither me, Glenda, nor even Adam can help you. Especially with John Cooper around, understood?”
I watched Glenda approach me and pierce me with her somewhat preoccupied and undecipherable look. When she spoke, it sounded like a warning. “Don’t dig up the past unless you’re willing to suffer the consequences, child.”
I immediately opened my mouth to question her about what she’d mysteriously said, but Glenda just turned her back on me and said, “Now go back to work. Mr. Cooper didn’t fire you, did he? I’m sure you don’t want to angry him any more than what he already is while stuck in that room with his own father.”
Next, Glenda just opened the door, looked around and got out.
I looked back at my aunt again, and just like Glenda, she seemed worried. “Promise you won’t ask around about any of this, ok? The fact that Mr. Cooper didn’t fire you already... it was from sheer luck you’re not out of the house.”
I just nodded. That was all I could do. Sighing, my aunt faintly smiled at me, and walked out of the room. I followed her, unable to speak at all. All I felt was this swirl of emotions inside me.
Allison... God, I’d heard that name! But where? Or who had said it?
Despite my deadly curiosity, I wouldn’t ask around about any of this. I wanted my job for everything it granted me. And I didn’t want to lose it for something that had nothing to do with me.
Well... technically, it had.
I shook my head, hoping those thoughts would vanish. I just had to focus on doing my chores and staying away from any of the Coopers. That was the best I’d do for my life, even if every part of me screamed otherwise.
The day passed slowly. Maybe it was because I did all of my chores alone – and gladly alone. I’d been excused from serving the Coopers lunch and dinner. Glenda had been nice this time. Or maybe she simply wanted to avoid any possible fights that would exist if I was there.
After I helped cleaning everything, I was dismissed around 11 PM.
When I went to my room, I decided to take a nice and long bath. After I stripped in the bathroom and after the bathtub was full of hot water, I got in and there I stayed until my fingers wrinkled. It was relaxing. I didn’t cry or sobbed. I just... stayed there, with my eyes closing. Worthless to say, I thought of Adam almost the whole time. And when I said almost the whole time, I meant that a considerable amount of time had been spent thinking about everything I’d heard today. Everything I’d heard Mr. Cooper, his father, my aunt and Glenda saying.
I still couldn’t believe I’d assist that argument between father and son. They’d been so into that argument, they’d totally forgotten I was there! And I still couldn’t remember where I’d heard the name Allison, because it really rang a bell in my head! And it annoyed me not to know here the hell I’d heard it!
Two hours later, I got off the bathtub and dried my body and hair. After I got dressed with a plain shirt and shorts, it took me a while to actually comb my hair, but that was the price I had to pay for having inherited such wild hair.
All washed up and cleaned; I stood in the center of my room, motionless. I didn’t feel like sleeping. I didn’t feel like reading. I didn’t feel like thinking.
I felt like being with Adam. I already missed his touches, his caresses, his words... But I had to be stronger and fight the temptation that grew inside me now that I was imagining the last time I’d had him just for me.
He’d been mine that night, I thought. And hell I wanted him to be mine again. No, Eva! I said to myself. You decided this way! This way it should be! So just do something and stop imagining such X-rated scenes!
I shook my head, and in that moment I decided it was better if I went downstairs and got something to eat.
I motioned towards the way out of my room and downstairs, but before I actually reached the kitchen, I heard someone’s heavy breath inside it and some unusual noises.
As I stopped breathing and slowly stepped towards the kitchen, I carefully leaned in and took a peek inside it. Someone was sat, doing something over the table, with his back turned at the door. Judging by the height, hair and clothes... Judging by the fact that no one was up at this hour of the night other than me and him, it just had to be him.
I walked in, and he still didn’t notice. I approached him and looked over his shoulder, and I gasped in shock. His hands!
Adam suddenly turned his head around and his eyes widened in surprise as soon as he saw me standing just behind him. Then, he hid the surprised look and showed me a furious one. “What the hell are you doing here?”
“I was just-”
“Did you follow me?” He questioned me, while he was doing something over the table that I wasn’t seeing. I felt a déjà vu. It felt as if we’d gone through this before. And in some way, we had. Right in the beginning.
“No,” I shook my head, focusing my attention on him. “I just came here to grab something to eat. I didn’t know you’d be here, ok?” And I was telling the truth.
Adam sighed, painfully, actually, and then said, “Just go back to your room.”
I didn’t. “What are you doing?”
“It’s none of your business.” Adam said with his heavy breath. I’d only seen him like this when he’d gotten out of control. Knowing I was curious to see what he was doing, Adam moved his hands and whatever was over the table was now out of my sight. I looked back at his eyes. He was in pain. It was so clearly visible on his beautiful face... “Go away, Eva. Please.” He was practically pleading. What didn’t he want me to see?
“Not until you tell me what you’re doing... and after I help you.” I said when I started walking at a snail’s place around the table.
“Someone might come here and we’ll get caught. You can’t get caught with me at this hour of the night.” I can’t get caught with you at any time of the day.
“Why not? I just came to the kitchen to eat something, and you happened to be here,” Doing something you don’t want me to see. I gazed at his eyes for some seconds, and noticed they were a little puffy. Had he been crying or something?
“You know no one’s going to believe in that.”
“They should. It’s the truth.”
Taking a deep breath, and letting it out slowly, Adam pierced through me when he fixed his icy blue eyes on me, “I won’t say this again. Get out of here. What I’m doing is none of your business, maid.”
The emphasis on that word was like a knife stabbed behind my back. But I didn’t respond to his attack. I swallowed hard and then, I made a sudden move a little to my left, but before I could actually see something, Adam lifted his arm and stopped from leaning and seeing more.
All I had to do was to look down and see the blood on his hand.
I didn’t need to say anything. None of us did. I just grabbed his hand carefully and took a good look at it. The knuckles were bloody and the skin was... even the flesh... it was awful. It was worse than when I’d treated him back at the hotel.
I lifted my head and stared at him. “You got out of control again.”
Adam ran away from my eyes and begged, “Leave me alone, Eva... please.”
“Why?” I questioned him, “What happened? Did you father say something to you again? Was it your grandfather or something? Tell me, Adam. I hate to see you like this.”
Adam suddenly pulled his hand back, and answered, “No one said anything to me.”
“I’ll only hear her tomorrow. She’s on a trip with her parents.”
“Just shut up, Eva!” Adam got up and I finally saw what was over the table – a first aid kit. “Is it so hard for you to understand I got out of control because of you?”
My eyes narrowed, “Me? But I didn’t do anything!”
“You don’t need to!” He replied with his slightly husky voice and high tone. “It’s enough for me to start thinking of you that, I just...” He paused, and then shook his head. I waited, feeling once again guilty. I didn’t even dare to look at his frosty eyes. “Look, if you’re not going to leave me alone... just sit down and help me.” Adam finally said, defeated.
I tried not to smile. I knew it would only infuriate him more. And that was something I didn’t want. So I just sat across him, and he gave me his hands. I couldn’t help but to say, “If you keep on doing this... you’ll have scars sooner or later on your hands.” If he wouldn’t already keep some... He didn’t answer to me. Being a doctor, I guess Adam knew what would happen if he didn’t stop.
We stayed in silence while I treated his hands. I couldn’t think of anything to say, and I was guessing that, whatever I’d say, would surely not relief the pressure around both.
“How have you been doing?” Adam suddenly asked me, when I was already treating the other hand.
“Fine,” I shrugged.
“Did you throw up again, after...?”
I shook my head, “No, I didn’t.” And thank god for it. But in fact, I was feeling much better. Maybe it had been Glenda’s tea or something. I sure hoped it was, because if I get sick again, I’ll ask her to prepare me that tea. “Your father was really nice on coming to check on me when I felt sick.”
Adam suddenly stared at me and heard my unspoken words. While you didn’t come. And even now, he didn’t say a thing about it. Selfish bastard.
“I heard my father didn’t punish you.” He managed to change the conversation.
“Yeah,” And now, I had the chance to ask him, “You had something to do with it?”
Adam shook his head, “No, I didn’t do anything. My father decided that for himself. And I still don’t know what his reason was. I mean, remember when he punished you? I had to help you and all?” Oh yeah, I remembered that pretty well. If it hadn’t been for Adam, I wouldn’t be here. Maybe... maybe it would have been better for all of us if I’d been fired at the time. “Well, what we did this time was worse... and he didn’t do anything. Anything at all. That surprises me and makes me wonder.”
“You’re not the only one who wonders.” I said. Well, now I was sure Adam had nothing to do with it. Neither my aunt nor Glenda had said something to Mr. Cooper. So was his reason to change? “Your father had a huge fight with his father, did they tell you?”
“No. But that doesn’t amaze me. They spend their whole time arguing.” Adam then smirked, and that was a sign his mood had gotten better. “And I thought I had a bad relation with my father.” I actually thought he had, but if that was his way of saying Mr. Cooper’s relation with his father was worse than his... well... did they spend their whole time arguing or something?
I didn’t say or asked anything else. I was being so freaking weak. I’d told him I wanted a certain type of relation with him so that we wouldn’t be this close and he wouldn’t tempt me, but here I was... not being able to turn my back on him.
As soon as I was finished with his other hand, I got up immediately. I wanted to go away, I didn’t want to look at his eyes and feel him pulling me to him when all I knew he wanted was to get over me and move on with his life. So all I did was to say, “Well, try not to freak out again, ok, Adam? It hurts me to see you like this, and I’m serious. If you feel this will happen again, just go out with Alexis, Vince or Rachel... just don’t... hurt yourself.”
And then, I headed for the way out, but before I reached it, Adam was able to grab me from behind, even when his hands were surely hurting like hell.
I looked up at him, and my heart broke. God, I so wanted him to engulf me with his arms, to kiss me, to make love to me... “Adam,” I whispered, “Let me go... please.”
He seemed just as tempted as I did, to tell the truth. But giving in to temptation would only make things worse. “Kid, I...” His hand slipped down my arm and he was able to entwine my fingers with his. Despite the bandages, I could feel the heat.
I wanted to move away, I want to run away from him, from his grip, from his addicting heat, from everything! But as Adam started to pull me in a slight way towards him... “Just hug me... That’s all I’m asking, kid.” He pleaded. Oh, forgive me for my weakness, but I just turned around and went to him.
My arms wrapped around his back and Adam engulfed me with his. I immediately felt warm when I squeezed my body against his. I leaned my head on his chest and allowed myself to linger there, until Adam’s hands moved up and obliged me to look into his eyes.
They were shining. Was he about to cry? He leaned down a little, making forget about his eyes. His lips parted and so did mine. His face was still inches away from mine, but Adam was taking care of it by covering them lazily.
No, no, no! This was not what you wanted last night, Eva! You wanted to move on, remember? You wanted to forget him! My eyes moved from his lips to his eyes. He was gazing at me, slicing me in two so easily with such frost on his eyes, yet attracting me like if there wasn’t anything else in the world. Move, Eva! Don’t ruin your life! You’ll lose your job and he won’t do a damn thing about it! He’ll stay with Rachel, like he always has!
His lips touched mine, and I woke up to reality.
I pushed him away, and shook my head. “I hate you, Adam. I really do.”
And then, I turned around and succeeded in running away from him.
Adam was just as weak as I was. Last night he’d left me thinking he’d be just as cruel to me as he was to the rest of the maids. When I’d served him, he’d been cruel by not even look at me. Now... he’d been cruel as well, especially when he’d called me maid. But then... he changed, gradually. He turned nicer, and like me, he also couldn’t stand being with me without giving in to temptation for just one second.
Gasping for air, I finally reached my bedroom. I opened the door and walked in.
But before I could even step forward, someone grabbed me from behind and covered my mouth. “Don’t yell. Don’t talk.”
No... What the hell was Mr. Cooper’s father doing here? And why was he grabbing me and covering my mouth?
Slowly but surely, the man started to let go of me, and stepped forward, turning around right away to face me. “What are you doing in my bedroom?” Memories of Brad coming to my room dashed on my mind.
“Watch your mouth, maid.” He said cruelly.
“You have no right of being here!”
“I don’t? This is my son’s house. And after what’s happened, you shouldn’t have the right of being here as well. And that is the issue that brings me here.” Despite his rude education, I knew this would end up badly, especially when the issue that brought him here was related to his grandson.
“What do you want?” He could be Mr. Cooper’s father, but being in my room at unthinkable hours of the night, made me forget all the education I owed him.
“I know you were with Adam right now.” In the darkness, those bright blue eyes scared the hell out of me. He surely didn’t have the intentions Brad once had, but he frightened me with his presence here.
“So what?” I swallowed hard, “I was helping him. He hurt his hands and I, being there at the time, just had to help him.”
“Of course, of course.” The man didn’t believe me at all.
All of a sudden, he stretched his arm towards me and slapped me across the face with so much strength I fell behind... and tasted blood on my mouth. Tears of pain filled my eyes. And then I heard him again, “Don’t lie to me when I know you did more than just help him, you little slut.”
I didn’t say anything. I didn’t dare getting up.
Mr. Cooper’s father knelt beside me, and said, “If you think you’ll do the same some other bitch did to my son, you’re very, very wrong.”
“But I won’t do anything!” I said with despair on my voice, afraid he’d hit me again.
“That’s what you all say.” He approached my face and whispered, “But you always get what you want, amazingly. That bitch Allison ruined my son’s life, but this time I won’t make the same mistake again. I won’t let one of you have any of my boys again.”
“Adam and I don’t have anything.” I dared to say, “We had, but now... you don’t have to worry.”
“Of course,” He said sarcastically, suddenly grabbing my hair and pulling it to the point that it hurt, “Until you try to approach him again under our noses. But you won’t fool me again.”
“And if you think being pregnant of Adam will save you from everything,” He paused, watching the confusion and terror settle on my face, as well as the blood draining from my lower lip. “You’re very, very wrong.” He repeated.
Once again, I remained silent, though confused. I wasn’t pregnant! We’d both avoided that! “I might have let that bitch slip away from my hands before I could do anything, but you, and whatever grows in your belly, won’t get away from me. Adam was an exception. Regardless of his mother... I love my grandson. And you won’t take his life away like Allison did to Arthur.”
It was worthless to try to defend myself. And if I did... he might do more than just a slap across my face.
At last, Mr. Cooper’s father let go of me and got up. Cruelly smiling, he said, “This was my first... and last warning. If I catch you again with Adam, you’ll regret it. And I won’t care about my son and grandson’s reaction, because they won’t ever find out about what I did to you.”
I stopped breathing as I heard such warning. I didn’t have the courage to look up at him. Right now, I just wanted to run away and hide from everyone.
“And if I were you,” Adam’s grandfather put his hand on the doorknob and I crawled away from him. He laughed at my fear and then added, “I’d pray to not be pregnant.”
And then, he left me alone and slammed shut the door.
In spite of the fact that he was gone, I didn’t dare to move. I was too scared and frightened to do anything at all. I didn’t even get up to check on the wound I had on my lip. And that made me think... I’d have to arrange an excuse. I couldn’t say it had been him. No one would believe me anyway.
I wrapped my arms around my knees and allowed myself to cry... and reasoned as I joined the pieces of information I’d been given today, as images of the sudden encounter kept being played in my mind.
Anyway, Allison was the key to everything.
Allison, Allison, Allison... Who are you?
I leaned my head down on knees and suddenly heard my aunt’s voice on my head. My aunt’s story about a man and a woman whose love was forbidden because the man’s father didn’t want his son get married to... to... to a maid! But the woman had ended up pregnant...
Everything was suddenly falling into place.
My aunt worked for the Coopers since she was really young... Young enough to be here... in case that had been the story Mr. Cooper had gone through years ago...?
My aunt called the woman Al, but she never said the man’s name. Was Al short for... Allison? It had to be. If it was... Mr. Cooper was the man!
But then... what had happened to their baby?
Another memory flashed through my mind.
Adam and I having dinner alone in the middle of nowhere, after he’d kissed me for the first time in order to get rid of Rick. We’d started talking about our dramas... And Adam spoke about his.
He’d handed me a picture with an attractive woman on it.
"Who is she? She’s beautiful.”
"She’s my drama, kid. She was my mother. The only person I wished to have known and the only person I really don’t know anything about, other than her name, Allison.”
If anyone would be there looking at me, they’d have said I’d seen a ghost. But this was worse.
I mentally reviewed everything I’d heard today from Mr. Cooper and his father during the argument and moments ago when Cooper Senior had shown up in my room. And once again, I listened to my aunt’s voice in my head, saying excerpts of the conversation we’d had last night.
And the conclusion I was getting to wasn’t very appealing.
"I thought Adam would grow and differ from his father, but I was wrong.”
"I can’t believe the same story’s repeating itself! What is wrong with these men?”
"I’m sorry to say, like father, like son. The boy has grown to become the same man is father is.”
Tasting blood in my mouth and settling down the conclusion I’d taken from everything I’d heard yesterday and today, I listened to Glenda’s words in my head and I remembered the way she’d said them.
It had sounded like a warning.
And a warning it was.
"Don’t dig up the past unless you’re ready to suffer the consequences, child.”
No, it was impossible.