“Adam...” I whispered his name, trying to make him understand that it was still midday and that we were only supposed to be together at night, but I wasn’t strong enough for that. No, not when he was kissing me so eagerly.
We were in some guest room on the first floor, using the bed. I’d been cleaning up the floor, but when I saw Adam approaching with alight hunger in his eyes, I knew he’d try to satisfy that need, so I wasn’t too surprised when he just grabbed me and dragged me into the guest room, locking the door, and pinning me to the bed with his hands.
I knew we’d been there for just a couple of minutes, but he knew damn well we couldn’t afford getting caught. Still, it was hard to think that clearly when he was all over me, kissing me and warming me with the heat from his body and the desire he woke up in me.
“Seriously...” I tried to say, turning my face away from his. “We need to stop, Adam... You... I... I need to get back to my chores and...”
“Just one more minute, Eva.” He replied, looking up at me, struggling for breath. I knew that if we kept going, Adam wouldn’t be able to ignore that desire.
“We have all night, Adam.” We’d had all nights ever since I’d talked to Adam at the hotel, claiming I wouldn’t stop fighting for him. “If someone catches us, I... God, Adam, stop!” I said, straining to be serious, but I couldn’t. Not when his tongue was sliding down my neck...
“You really want me stop?” He asked after some moments, gazing at me with his icy blue eyes. He was smiling now, and I knew he’d stop, no matter what I’d answer.
“No, I don’t, but we have to!” I said, shoving him away from me. Since he knew we really needed to stop, he didn’t resist. I immediately ran away from his grip and straightened my uniform and my hair. While at it, Adam remained in bed, still catching his breath. “The stable, your bedroom, or mine, tonight?”
He pushed himself up on his elbows, and replied, “Meet me at the stable. I need to groom the horses tonight. They’ve been a little neglected ever since...” He didn’t finish the sentence, but I knew what he wanted to say. Ever since I’d talked to him, and had told him I’d decided to fight for him.
We were halfway through September, which meant two weeks and a half had passed ever since I’d had the guts to talk to Adam and tell him I wouldn’t let him go. He’d said no at first, but when I’d almost pleaded... when he realized he had the chance to be with me again since I’d given him the possibility to really think which of us he wanted, he didn’t refuse my challenge. I’d longed for an answer ever since, but I knew I shouldn’t pressure him. Still, he was just a few weeks away from opening his clinic, and I wanted him to decide before that, because I knew he’d be too busy after.
“Are you going to be with Rachel today?” I tried to keep it casual, but whenever Rachel was mentioned, we’d both stiffen, as if pronouncing her name between us was a curse now.
“Maybe. Alexis coming by and then I don’t know. We’ll see.” He said, finally getting off bed. He always evaded the conversation whenever it had to do with Rachel, but I guess he was in his right to do that. I didn’t know if his relationship with Rachel was going just fine or the other way around. All I knew was that I always had him with me at night, and we not always had sex. Sometimes we’d just talk. I wondered if those days were the days he had sex with Rachel.
“Hum, ok. Anyway, I need to go, Adam.” I told him, walking up to the door. He drew nearer and wrapped his arms around my waistline, smiling down at me. I loved when he just did that. I knew he was probably pondering which one he ought to choose at any time, but when he looked at me like that... I felt I could really have him just for me.
“Yeah, I know. Tomorrow’s your day off, right?” He asked me, tucking my wild air behind my ears. I nodded, and he asked, “Want to visit your hometown or go shopping? Or... we could always spend our day at a hotel or something. Or at the stable, if you don’t feel like getting out of here.”
I shrugged, not really knowing what to do. “We’ll decide tomorrow, ok?”
“No problem, kid.” He then kissed my forehead, and made a face. “You’re only getting that because you didn’t stay with me here for just two more minutes.”
Eyes wide-open, I stared at him. “Asshole!” Before I could say anything else, Adam just opened the door and darted outside. I sighed, and with a smile on my face, I went outside as well, and resumed my chore while Adam probably went to his room and restarted talking on the phone with people he was still hiring for the clinic.
I had to admit, Adam’s mood had improved a lot ever since we’d talked. I liked to think it was because we were... somehow together, I guess we could say it like that, but I wasn’t sure. I wasn’t sure of anything. When he was with me, everything was perfect, but then again, when I watched him with Rachel sometimes... they seemed just as perfect. It saddened me, because the possibility of him choosing her over me was probably bigger than the opposite. I hated to think about that, because it hurt like hell, but it was the plain truth.
After our conversation at the hotel, everyone noticed the change in Adam’s mood, and it didn’t surprise me when people questioned me about it. Useless to say those persons had been my aunt Deena, Glenda, and even Mr. Cooper himself. Thankfully, Cooper Senior didn’t. He was once more spending a couple of days here, which meant Adam and I had to be even more careful about it. Anyway, Mr. Cooper most certainly questioned me himself, because he didn’t want his father to be near me. He knew his father had hit me, and he was probably trying to keep him away from me, before he could make another move, even if for now no one was really suspicious about me and Adam.
By the time I was done with that chore, it was past 1 PM, which meant the Coopers were having lunch and I hadn’t been called to serve them. I felt relieved, honestly. I couldn’t handle the way Cooper Sr. Stared at me, always so vigilant and suspicious.
I dashed for the kitchen, and joined a couple of maids that were having lunch. I sat alone, because Becca wasn’t there, anymore. She’d accepted the job offer she’d talked about one week ago, which meant I’d lost the only maid I’d befriended. If Adam and I hadn’t been secretly seeing each other ever since, I’d be really miserable now, and that was what made me think that... if Adam didn’t choose me in the end... I’d really get the hell out of here.
By the time I’d almost finished having lunch, my aunt approached me and sat by my side. “You’ll be cleaning the living room later – Glenda’s orders.” I nodded, accepting it. My aunt didn’t move away. Instead, she added in a whisper, “Al wants to see you.”
“Why?” I pretended to be surprised, though I honestly wasn’t. I was sure Adam’s mother just wanted to ask me how things were doing. I’d asked my aunt for her phone number, and she’d given it to me with a suspicious look I pretended I hadn’t seen. When I called Allison, I told her all about the plan Alexis and I had come up and that Adam had accepted it.
My aunt shrugged. “I wouldn’t know. She has your number; I have no idea why she won’t call you instead.” Because maybe she wanted me to tell her all about how Adam and I were doing, face to face. “Anyway, I was thinking about paying her a visit tomorrow, since it’s your day off. I can talk to Glenda to go with you.”
“Oh, I can’t!” I immediately said, swallowing the piece of meat I’d been chewing. My aunt narrowed her eyes, and I read the question in them. “I... I’ve talked to my friends and I promised I’d visit them tomorrow! I haven’t seen them since... I don’t know since when!” It was true, actually. My last day off had been spent with Adam... again.
“Why won’t you go next time?”
“Because I can’t.” Because I want to be with Adam. My days off were the only days I could get away from this house and be with Adam without worrying! “Why won’t we go on your day off? If you can ask Glenda to go visit Allison with me tomorrow, you can make the otherwise happen.”
“I guess... Al can wait another couple of days.” My aunt said, getting up. However, before she went away, she questioned me, “You really have no idea why she wants to talk to you?” I shook my head, lying. She leaned her head towards me, and whispered, “You don’t know if it’s about Adam?”
“Why would it even be about Adam?”
She folded her arms over her chest, and glared at me. “You tell me, niece.”
“How many times do I need to tell you that nothing’s going on between me and Adam?” I rolled my eyes, and this time I didn’t pretend I was annoyed. I really was. Something was going on, but that didn’t mean I wasn’t irritated whenever my aunt asked me about that. She had reasons to suspect, yes, but this time, both Adam and I had been careful to hide the signs that before had handed us in. Unfortunately, Adam just couldn’t hide his mood’s improvement, which had made people wonder.
“Not the enough.” She whispered, as if she was certain something was going on. But I guess I couldn’t hide everything, could I? After her experience with Adam’s father and mother, it was as if she could almost see through us.
Not waiting for an answer, my aunt spun around and strolled away. At that point, I was finished with my lunch, and cleaned my part of the table, at the same time I tried to forget about the conversation I’d just had with my aunt.
I went to gather up all the things I needed for my next chore, and after it, off I went to clean the living room. Lucky me, no one was there. Mrs. Cooper usually spent a lot of time there, but ever since September had started, she’d now go out a lot more. As for Mr. Cooper, he was mostly busy with his meetings concerning his work, but seldom did he leave the house for a long time. After those meetings, he’d always lock himself in his office and sometimes we could listen to him on the phone, just like Adam.
It took me practically two hours to clean the wide living room, but since I was absorbed in my thoughts, I didn’t notice time passing.
However, my thoughts this time concerned my life, and lately, ever since Adam and I had been together, I couldn’t stop thinking about some... not so minor details. It was about what I’d do... in case Adam actually chose to be with me in the end. Or... in case he didn’t.
What would I do? Would I... keep working here? Would Adam even want that? And if I remained here, how would the maids treat me? Would they be even worse, or would they be more careful, given that I was officially Adam’s... girlfriend? But what if the best was to quit working as a maid? Where would I live and work? I was sure it wouldn’t be easy to get a job, as much as I’d thought it was when things between Adam and I worsened, after his father’s birthday party. I didn’t want to live here and use Adam’s money if I hadn’t earned it at all. But... I guess I should really start thinking about that, shouldn’t I? After all, if Adam decided to stay with Rachel... I had to leave this house, anyway. I was determined to do that, regardless of every argument Adam could use to convince me of otherwise.
“Well, well,” A familiar voice said behind me, “Busy day, today?”
When I turned around, my stern expression lit up when I saw Alexis standing right in front of me with a grin on her face. “Alexis!” I exclaimed, forgetting about my chore. “I haven’t seen you in days!”
“I know,” She said, coming closer, “But I haven’t had the time to pay you or Adam a visit.”
“You’re here now, so everything’s ok!” I said, grinning as well. I hadn’t seen Alexis in two weeks and had so many things to tell her! I’m sure Adam had probably called her already, just like I could’ve called her, but I wanted to talk to her in person. “I’ve practically finished this chore, so... I’m sure the maids won’t notice if I take a break or something. Come on, I’ll accompany you to Adam’s room. But, just a minute, ok? I have to return these to its place.” I said, pointing at the things I’d used to clean the living room.
Alexis nodded, and so I darted out of the living room, carrying everything I’d needed to do my chore. Then, I came back, avoiding all the maids. When Alexis and I began walking towards the stairs, she finally questioned me, “So... how are things between you and Adam?”
“Hasn’t he told you anything about it?”
“Yes, he has,” She disclosed, but then she looked sideways at me, through narrowed eyes, but always with a faint smile. “But there are always two sides of the story, isn’t there?”
“I guess,” I shrugged. “Things have been going just fine, really. I mean, I haven’t pressured him about his choice, but I really don’t need to. I can see it in his eyes that he spends most of his time pondering which one is the right for him.”
“I know you are the right one, and although I’ve been friends with Rachel for a long time, I can see Adam has never been in love with her the way he is with you.” She revealed, and I couldn’t feel happier about it. It was a good sign, wasn’t it? Especially if it came from Alexis, the person who knew Adam better than anyone I knew. “Unfortunately, he hasn’t yet seen that. Anyway, tell me how things are going between the two of you!”
When we reached the stairs, I told her how our relationship was going. I told her everything about our late meetings and secret encounters during the day. I talked about the impact it’d had on Adam after we’d had that conversation at the hotel, and how everyone had noticed the change in his mood.
At some point I talked about Rachel, and then I caught myself slowing down, and thinking about her. Alexis was her friend... for a long time, she’d said. “Don’t you... feel bad for backstabbing Rachel? I mean, you’re her friend, yet you’re helping me.”
“I’m helping you, because that’s what makes Adam happy, Eva.” Alexis replied straight away, not even thinking about it. “Whenever I talk to him right after or before he’s with you... he changes, you know? He’s not just that empty person, damaged and problematic. It’s like you’ve become this light in his path that he needs to hold onto.”
“Yet, he’s still considering throwing me away.” I uttered sadly, letting my head fall. “I just don’t get why he won’t chose me.”
“He will choose you in the end, Eva, I’m sure of it.”
“Oh, really? How?”
“Like I said, he changes because of you.” She repeated again, as soon as we reached the corridor where Adam’s room was. “Besides, Rachel has been talking to me, and she’s worried about Adam.”
“Why?” Suddenly interested in that topic, I looked up at Alexis, hopeful.
“She says that Adam looks as if he’s distancing himself more and more of her, and she has no clue why.” Alexis told her, and then looked down to watch my reaction.
“Really?” My eyes widened in surprise straight away, as my grin lit up my face. That was more than a good sign! “Do you know why she says that?”
“Apparently, Adam’s been avoiding her, giving the excuse that he’s been busy with the clinic.” Well, that was... a valid reason. Adam really was that busy with the clinic. Noticing my disappointed expression, Alexis added, “He’s never tried not to be with her, because of the clinic. I know he’s busier now, but before you appeared, Rachel would always keep him company whenever he was planning something for the clinic.”
“Oh... I take that it still is a good sign, then?”
“Oh yeah, but it’s not only that.” Alexis said as we were brought to halt, given that we’d finally reached Adam’s bedroom. She didn’t come in. Instead, she faced me. “She’s also been saying that he’s been avoiding her when it comes to... sex.”
I immediately blushed when Alexis mentioned that. “Another good sign, I hope?”
“Oh, yeah, wouldn’t you agree? She told me that whenever they have a chance to do it, Adam whether comes up with a lie to not do it, or he does it and... looks as if he was away, as if he’s thinking about something... or someone.” I really couldn’t help but to smile at that. Seriously. That was also a good sign! Adam wasn’t like that when he did it with me. In fact, he was everything but that! “Even when they talk, Rachel says their conversations die really fast, lately. She’s the one who has to come up with something, because Adam barely does an effort to talk to her.”
I found myself sighing, then. That didn’t also happen between him and I. With all of these signs... why hadn’t he chosen me already? I knew it was helpless to ask Alexis why, because she didn’t know the answer either. It really frustrated me to know he’d changed towards Rachel, and yet wouldn’t make his choice. Didn’t he see that when he was with me, he became a different person? A person no one else besides me and Alexis knew?
“I’d expect him to hide that something had changed. At least, with Rachel, you know?” Alexis continued, smiling down at me. Well, he hid it, I guess, but only when they weren’t alone. Whenever I saw them, they looked happy enough, but only in the company of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper. It was normal if Adam tried to hide that their relation was everything but ok near his father. “Well, I need to see him to assess his side of the story.”
“Oh, ok.” I said, acknowledging Alexis was clearly dismissing me. “I’ll see you some other time, then.” Alexis nodded, and I smiled back at her. Then, when she knocked on Adam’s door, I walked away, a tad bit happy that I’d spoken to Alexis.
I went to search for Glenda, which gave me new chores as soon as I encountered her wondering around the maids’ floor. Afterwards, I went fetching for everything I’d need for my chores for the rest of the afternoon. Given that she’d warned I wouldn’t be serving dinner to the Coopers tonight, she’d given me addition chores. I preferred to spend my time cleaning something or boring myself up with a chore, rather than standing in the dining room for quite a while, at the same time Cooper Senior glared at me.
So, working for the rest of the day, I spent most of my time thinking about what Alexis had revealed to me about the man I loved and the woman he still claimed to love.
Maybe... Maybe I should talk to Adam about it. Not about Rachel, but about his reasons to go for her, other than me. I knew his father was against our relationship, but Mr. Cooper wasn’t like his father. Maybe in the beginning I might have thought he could be like Cooper Sr., but he wasn’t. He understood what Adam and I went through, because he’d gone through the same with Allison.
If Adam and I both stood our ground in front of him... would he allow us to be together? Would Adam even try to do that if I asked that of him? I really didn’t know what was going on in Adam’s head, and even though Alexis had cheered me up a little with our small conversation, I knew that Rachel could still be Adam’s choice. What annoyed me was that I had no clue why. After all, Adam did change for better whenever he was with me!
The rest of my day was pretty calm. I did all the chores I’d been given and around 10 PM, I was dismissed.
I went to my room, and the first thing I did was to get rid of the braid and the uniform, and take a long bath before meeting with Adam in a couple of hours. Naked, I slipped into the bathtub, and remained there for quite a while, resting, and pondering everything I’d heard from Alexis today and everything I’d seen from Adam for the last couple of weeks, wondering if I should – or shouldn’t – talk to him tonight about his reasons to choose Rachel.
Around 1 PM, I was ready to meet Adam. I’d been in my private balcony, waiting to see him walking to the stable, and when that happened and he saw me, he signaled for me to come.
I slipped into my flip flops and off I went.
Unfortunately, when I reached the first floor, I wasn’t careful enough to look at the corridors and see that I wasn’t the only one wandering at that time of the night. However, I didn’t know if I should – or not - be thankful that it had been Mr. Cooper himself to see me.
“Eva?” He called me when he reached the stairs. Feeling my heart in my throat, I spun over my heels and looked up. “Where are you going?”
I pursed my lips, thinking of an answer. The only time he’d seen me during the night was when he’d caught Adam and I together. This time, I wasn’t with Adam, but I was about to go to him. Still, I was sure he was just as suspicious. Anyway, I didn’t know what else to say other than, “I was just... going to snatch a snack from the kitchen.”
A faint smile curled in Mr. Cooper’s lips. “Mind if I join you?”
“What?” I blurted out, but watching the quick change in Mr. Cooper’s expression, I rushed to add, “I mean, sure! It’s just that I... wasn’t expecting to...” catch you here and slow me down.
“Have some company?” He somewhat completed my sentence, at the same time he approached me. “Don’t worry, I won’t bother you, if that’s what you’re fearing.”
I tried to smile, “It’s ok, really.”
“Shall we go, then?” And just like that, Adam’s father jerked his hand towards the corridor and off we went to the kitchen.
It was... more than awkward, honestly. I mean, we didn’t talk at all, and even if the distance to the kitchen was little, it didn’t mean it was less uncomfortable, because it wasn’t. This had never happened before and I couldn’t pretend Mr. Cooper wasn’t Mr. Cooper, like he apparently had ignored who I was and what I’d done. In addition to that, I felt embarrassed because of the way we both were dressed. I was in my pajamas, and Mr. Cooper was wearing a plain shirt and shorts.
“So, you woke up hungry?” He asked when he both reached the kitchen.
“Oh, no, I just... couldn’t sleep and... thought that maybe... eating something would... I don’t know.” I stammered, looking around the kitchen to avoid his penetrating gaze.
“The same happened to me.” He admitted, offering me a tight-lipped smile, and then moving towards the fridge. While he rummaged for something inside it, I sat the furthest away, nervously drumming my fingers on the table. I didn’t know what to do or say. The only thing I hoped was that Adam wouldn’t come looking for me if this encounter delayed me too much. “What are you up for?”
“Excuse me?” I glanced over at Mr. Cooper, with things on his hands.
“I’m preparing myself a sandwich, what about you?” He stretched out the things towards me, but didn’t smile. He looked puzzled. It then hit me.
“Oh! You want me to prepare a sandwich for you?” I immediately slid off the chair and walked towards Mr. Cooper.
He laughed quietly, and then shook his head. “I was actually asking you the exact opposite.”
“Oh!” Seriously? He was asking if I wanted a sandwich, so that he’d do it for me? Really? “No, its ok, Mr. Cooper, I’ll do it for the both of us, I-”
“Don’t fret about it, Eva.” He said, turning around to the counter. “I might be your boss and you might be a maid that works for me, but I really don’t mind preparing sandwiches for the both of us.”
I bit my lower lip, not really knowing what to say now. Should I insist that I should be the one preparing the snack, or... should I let him continue, and take advantage of his sudden relaxed mood? Well... it didn’t harm any of us to exchange parts, right? Going back to my seat, I said, “Thanks.”
Then, silence settled down, and I felt gauche. What the hell was I supposed to say in a situation like this? Or should I just stay put and let him continue what he was doing, if he was willingly doing it? He didn’t feel the need to talk while he was at it, and I was frankly thankful for that. What if this suddenly turned into an inquiry? What if he knew about Adam and I, and this was just a maneuver to catch us together?
“Here,” Mr. Cooper finally spoke, after some minutes. He turned around and offered me the sandwich he’d prepared himself. I took it, and thanked. While he started eating, I just looked at it. I wasn’t hungry at all, really. He noticed I wasn’t eating, so he asked, “You don’t like it?”
“Oh, yes... I... it’s just... I was just thinking, that’s all.” I stammered again, too nervous. Mr. Cooper shook his head with a smile on his face. “I just... I’m not used to... being here...” How should I tell him that I wasn’t comfortable being there with him? That, though he was being nice, this was still awkward?
“If you don’t feel comfortable, I don’t mind if you go back to your room.” He said, and I immediately shook my head. That couldn’t happen. I had to be here until he was gone, so that I could finally rendezvous with Adam at his stable.
“It’s ok.” I shrugged a shoulder. “I admit I’m a bit uncomfortable.”
His tight-lipped smile didn’t vanish. After he swallowed what he’d been chewing, he asked, “Why couldn’t you sleep?”
Because I was supposed to meet your son, so I forced myself to stay awake. “I don’t know.” Then, I looked directly at him, wanting to ask the same, but of course such would be rude, so I just looked down at my sandwich again, and took a bite.
We ate silently for a while, until I caught Mr. Cooper regarding me intently. With an eyebrow arched up, I stared back at him. There was a question in my eyes and he knew it. “You remind me of someone.” He revealed, not avoiding my probing gaze.
“Oh, really? Who?” I had an idea who. He’d once confused me with Allison at his birthday party, but when he’d taken a closer look, he saw it was just his maid.
He shook his head, “Someone I met long ago.”
I wanted to ask if it was Allison that I made him remember, but I guess I shouldn’t do it. I guess I should ignore that feeling that told me to say it. How would he react if I revealed I knew everything about him and Allison? Would he freak out? Would he unleash his fury if I told him my aunt had revealed his most well-kept secret?
“Like who?” I decided to insist. “Someone special?” Honestly, I was curious to see his reaction. If he knew I knew all about Adam’s mother... would he somehow alter his opinion of me? Would he... change his view over the relationship I wished to have with Adam? The thought of that... made me want to risk.
“I guess we could say so.” He said with a blank expression.
Nothing ventured, nothing gained, right? That had been my thought when I’d found out about Adam’s mother and longed to know more. But, to know more, I’d had to reveal my aunt that I’d dug up something that had been long buried by the people involved. But, in the end, it had paid off, hadn’t it? I’d even met her.
Equally determined, curious and frightened, I took the risk. “Someone like... Allison?”
Mr. Cooper suddenly choked on his sandwich and started coughing like a mad man. He started poking his own chest as if he couldn’t breathe. I looked at his both questioning and distressed expression. The color in his face changed. Was he really... choking?
Suddenly distressed as well, I dashed for Mr. Cooper and starting hitting his back. “Oh my god, Mr. Cooper, I’m so sorry!” I started apologizing; at the same time I tried to help him. I kept hitting him in the back, not too hard, not too gently. Should I call Adam? Should I call 911 and wake up the entire house?
“Eva...” I heard his faint voice, but I didn’t pay attention. “Eva!”
When he yelled, gasping for air, I stopped. I motioned to face him, and asked, “Are you ok? I... I’m so sorry, Mr. Cooper, I wasn’t expecting you... I... I’m sorry!” I didn’t know what else to say, really. I just backed away, suddenly thinking that maybe I shouldn’t have opened my mouth about Allison. Biting my lower lip, I silently walked back to my chair and sit down, not daring to face Adam’s father.
Pulling himself together, Mr. Cooper then stared back at me, the color returning to his face. He cleared his throat, and then spoke. “You know who Allison is?” I nodded nervously, having lost all of my courage. “Who told you?”
He looked suspicious. “She told you... just like that? I don’t believe it. Deena wouldn’t have said anything about that unless it was really needed.”
“Well... I pulled all the pieces together.” I said, feeling guilty now. “After everything my aunt said about a man and a woman that she’d met and had gone through the same Adam and I went through... After the arguments I heard you and your father having... Then, the fact that Adam knew nothing more than his mother’s name, I considered that, maybe, no one wanted him to know Allison was his mother because she was maid. Of course... I only realized all of this when... when your father paid me a visit one night.”
There was no surprise in Mr. Cooper’s eyes. “It was the night he hit you?”
I nodded. I guess it didn’t surprise me the fact that he knew. After all, Cooper Senior had done the same to Allison, and I guess my aunt must’ve talked to Mr. Cooper about it. “It all made sense. I couldn’t think of anything else, and when I confronted my aunt about it... she really couldn’t deny it, anymore. But of course nothing prepared me to what she told me next. I mean... that Allison was still alive.”
At that point, Mr. Cooper no longer held my gaze. He let his head fall, and remained silent for quite a while. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if I should even bring up my relationship with Adam. “I met her, you know?” I found myself saying, before I was even aware I’d spoken. Mr. Cooper looked at me with eyes wide-open, shocked.
“You’ve been with... her? Deena took you... to her? How... how is she? Did she... Is she ok?”
I smiled at his preoccupation with Allison. Then, I answered the probable questions that were on his mind. “Yeah, I think she’s doing just fine. She asked my aunt to introduce me to her. She wanted to meet me and... tell me all about her story.” Something flickered in his eyes, but just like Adam, it didn’t show in his face anymore. I bit my lower lip and dared to say. “She still loves you, Mr. Cooper.”
Adam’s father immediately looked away from me. It still hurts him, because he probably loves her just as much. At that point, I couldn’t keep my mouth shut. “After all that happened to her... she still loves you, and it still hurts her the fact that you didn’t fight for her.”
“She really told you... everything?” I heard him asking, though he still wouldn’t look at me. I guess he felt ashamed of what he’d let go, because he wouldn’t have the courage to stand his ground before his father.
“Yes,” I said, not holding anything back. “And it hurts me to know that my relationship with Adam is going down the same way, because... some people just don’t want us together, just because I’m a maid.”
“I just... I didn’t... You and Adam-”
“When I was alone with her, she made promise one thing.” Should I really... reveal what Allison had made me promise? Wouldn’t that somehow jeopardize everything I now had with Adam? Oh well, to hell with that. I’d said plenty so far, and Mr. Cooper hadn’t once gotten mad at me. “She made me promise that... I wouldn’t allow the same to happen to Adam. Allison forced me to promise that I wouldn’t let Adam do the same mistakes you did.”
“Al really... said all of that?”
I nodded. “Yes. She made me promise I wouldn’t allow us to let the story repeat itself again, in spite of everything and everyone wanting us to back away from each other.” My god, I couldn’t believe I’d just told Mr. Cooper about what I’d talked with Allison. I couldn’t believe he hadn’t yet freaked out.
“When you say everyone... you mean... me, and my father?”
“Yes. And my aunt, as well, but she doesn’t want me to fight for Adam, because she doesn’t want me go through what Allison went through. I... I love Adam, Mr. Cooper, and he says he loves me too, but he won’t ever choose me over Rachel, and I think his major reason for that is you.” There, I’d said, and I was in awe. I mean, I’d just told Mr. Cooper what I’d been holding inside myself almost ever since I’d realized I’d fallen for Adam!
I anxiously gazed at Mr. Cooper, not really knowing what reaction to expect now. I’d just finished accusing him of being the one that torn Adam and I apart, yet he just sat there, looking at nothing in particular. Would he think Adam and I still had something going on after this conversation? Would he try to separate us again? Or being this quiet and thoughtful... meant he’d maybe changed his mind? I yearned for the last possibility, though I reckoned it was quite impossible, too.
At last, Mr. Cooper showed signs that he wasn’t dead with the shock of everything I’d told him. He sighed tiredly, and then stated, “Adam could have chosen you, Eva, but he didn’t.”
My heart suddenly skipped several beats. I couldn’t even breathe. Had Mr. Cooper said... what I thought he’d said? Had he just told me that... Adam could have chosen me? Was he saying that... he wasn’t against it? I tried to remain under control, but I couldn’t help but to trip over my tongue when I spoke, “A-are you s-saying... Adam could have... chosen m-me? Are you telling me y-you wouldn’t be against it?”
My Cooper sighed once more, and then revealed, “I never threatened him like my father threatened me or Allison, Eva.” But he’d threatened me, and if I recalled right, he’d been pretty scary, even if he hadn’t hit me like his father had! “I may have overreacted in the beginning, but you must understand that when I realized my son’s attitude had changed because of you... it scared me. Why? Because the possibility of him going through what I went through suddenly existed. I wanted to spare him from that. I didn’t want him to fall for a maid, like I did. Not because you were a maid, but because falling for someone like you... only brought problems... and my father.”
“Yet, you ended up doing the same thing your father did years ago.” I said, my temper flaring at that.
“Yes, but I stopped telling him he should be with Rachel instead of you, when I realized he was just as in love with you as I’d been with Allison. I might have followed my father’s footsteps for a while, but I stopped when I became aware that I didn’t want my son to turn into the same man I am. If he’d come to me, claiming he wanted you, I might have tried to fight against it, but now...” He paused, and lifted his head. I caught myself seeing Adam in Mr. Cooper, when he looked at me in that pleading way, begging for forgiveness. “I don’t want him to suffer like I did all these years, because I wasn’t man enough to stand for what I wanted. If Adam wants to be with you... I accept that now, because I want him to be happy.”
I was utterly gob smacked.
I didn’t know what to say. Was I really awake? Hadn’t I fallen asleep in my bed, after I’d taken a bath? Mr. Cooper couldn’t possibly be in the kitchen with me, claiming he allowed his son to choose me. However, he really was. He was sat right across the table, staring at me. He wasn’t smiling, but his expression wasn’t an angry one. It was caring, and in that moment... I knew for sure that a future with Adam was possible.
“Maybe...” I started, slowly. “Maybe you just need to let him know that.” Perhaps... that was all Adam really needed to decide – his father’s permission.
“Hum, maybe I should really tell him I’m ok if... he wants to be with you.” Mr. Cooper uttered, and I suddenly couldn’t help but to grin. Mr. Cooper himself was going to talk to Adam! And Adam would know that there wasn’t really anything that stopped me from being with him! We could finally be together!
Jumping out of happiness, I got up and approached Mr. Cooper. “I’m sorry if this is unusual, but... I love you, Mr. Cooper. You just changed my life.” And before he could say something, I leaned forward and hugged him. His body stiffened immediately, but I heard him laughing, though.
However, I didn’t exaggerate, and after a few seconds, I stepped back, still smiling. Nothing, nothing, would make my smile vanish. After all, Mr. Cooper would be having a conversation with Adam, and would say he’d hold no grudge against him if wanted to be with me!
“Just tell me something, Eva, and I’d appreciate if you didn’t lie.” Although the way he spoke sounded serious, his faint smile told me nothing had changed. “You’ve still been seeing Adam, haven’t you?”
Guilt crept up my spine as I avoided his blue eyes. Should I really tell him the truth? I mean... I’d come this far and not once I’d lied. Mr. Cooper really didn’t deserve it. “Yes... We’ve been together again. I know we shouldn’t but... it’s stronger than the both of us, you know? As hard as we try to stay away from each other, we just can’t ignore that feeling.”
Narrowing his eyes, but still smiling, he questioned me, “You really weren’t coming to snatch a snack, were you?” I shook my head, aware that I’d been caught. However, Mr. Cooper just laughed quietly. “I knew it. You’re going to meet him, aren’t you?”
“Oh yes, and... would you mind if I leave now, sir? I mean... I’m sure he’s thinking where the hell am I...” I really, really couldn’t believe I was saying that.
“Oh, it’s ok!” He said, dismissing me with his hand. I smiled, and stepped backwards, towards the way out. “Hum... just don’t tell Adam we’ve talked, ok, Eva? Let me tell him tomorrow that... he can be with you if chooses so.”
I nodded, happier than I’d ever been in my whole life. “Have a good night, Mr. Cooper.” Then, I turned around, and walked up to the door. However, I stopped before I actually got out. Something had come up to me, and since Mr. Cooper was going to help me... maybe I could tell him something useful, as well. “Do you love Allison, Mr. Cooper? I mean, after all these years, and after everything you went through... do you still love her as much as she loves you?”
Mr. Cooper’s expression turned stern, but I found myself not fearing him. “Yes.”
I smiled sympathetically. “Then... don’t you think it’s time you should finally start fighting for her?”
Surprise showed on his face, but just for a second. Before I could actually be sure the surprise and the hope had been there, he’d hidden it immediately, under that grim layer and glacial stare. “It’s not that easy, Eva.”
“But it’s not impossible.” And causing the impact I wanted, I turned and strolled away.
Completely dominated by happiness, I ran the fastest I could towards Adam’s stable. After the honest conversation I’d had with Mr. Cooper, all I wanted was to get to Adam and kiss him, caress him, make love to him. I felt ecstatic, and I yearned for Adam.
Mr. Cooper would talk to Adam tomorrow. He’d tell him he was ok with our relationship. After that, I believed there wasn’t anything else that could tear us apart. Sure, he’d have to deal with everything that came with his breakup with Rachel, but it all paid off, because I wouldn’t have to share him with her, anymore.
He’d be mine and I’d be his, with no one in between.
I wondered if having this conversation with Mr. Cooper earlier would have had the same impact it had on both of us. Would he react the same way, or would he unleash his wrath at me for probing into his business regarding Allison, and for still being with Adam? Well, I didn’t care about that. At least, not anymore. We’d talked, and Mr. Cooper wouldn’t fight against us anymore. Not like Cooper Senior had fought him and Allison. I doubted he’d let us be together without some fighting, but with Mr. Cooper’s consent, I doubted Adam allowed his own grandfather to be an obstacle.
When I reached the stable, I was struggling for breath.
Adam was washing something when I stepped inside the stable, but when he became aware I’d finally arrived, he stopped doing everything, and turned to see me. He smiled, but I could see he was a tad bit annoyed. “What took you so long, kid? I was already thinking of going back to the house to see if everything was ok, because...”
Adam trailed off when he saw me running towards him and then jumping to his arms. I wrapped my legs and arms around him and kissed him with the same hunger he’d had earlier that day. I just wanted to be the closest I could get to him and tell him I loved him more than he could imagine. I wanted to lay down and I wanted to make love to him.
“Eva...” He tried to say between my greedy kisses. “Calm down! We have all night!”
I stopped, just because I desperately needed to breathe. “I... I know but... I want you, Adam. I... I love you.”
He smiled faintly, and ran a hand through my hair at the same time I slid down to the floor. “I know, kid.”
“Do you love me as much as I love you?”
His eyebrow quirked up a little, but his smile didn’t disappear. “Of course. In spite of everything... I really love you, kid.”
I tried to smile, still gasping for air. My hands slithered up from his chest to his neck and I wrapped my arms around his neck once more. “Then make love to me, tonight. Right now. And say you love me, again.”
I knew I had what I wanted when Adam forced me to move towards the hay. “Why are you in such a hurry? Something happened?”
“Yes.” I told him, wanting to kiss his neck and his lips, but unfortunately he was just too tall and I had to wait until he was down. “I realized you’re the love of my life. I realized that... I won’t ever let you go.”
He looked down at me intently, and framed my face with his two hands. When he stopped walking, I knew we’d reached the hay, but we hadn’t yet lain down. Adam just stared at me with his icy blue eyes, and once more, I knew the decision of whom he should choose ruled his mind in those few seconds he could think.
Fortunately, tomorrow, his own father would put an end to all of those doubts, and Adam would be free to choose me.
“Say you love me, Adam.” I begged again, craving for the feel of his body against mine.
“I love you, Eva. More than anything in the world... Hell, I love you.” And before I knew it, Adam was the one who’d lost his head again.