How the hell did I end up here? I asked myself, when I opened my eyes and realized I was in my bedroom, even though I’d actually fallen asleep in the backyard, after finding out they’d locked up the door that led to the inside of the house.
As I considered the possibilities, I got up and noticed it was almost 7 Am.
Why the hell had I awoken so early if I’d fallen asleep so late when I came back from the stable? As I reasoned, I remembered I’d found the door locked, and since there was a chair there, I’d decided to sit down... and then... dreamt of Adam carrying me back to the house, in his arms all the way up here...
Of course it had been a dream. That heartless bastard would never have done that. And I still hadn’t forgotten what he’d told me last night. He’d apologized, but for what was the point if he’d meant everything he’d said?
Maybe it had been Simon. My aunt had talked about him. Or it could have been one of the butlers. I’m sure none of them would be arrogant enough to leave me freezing outside.
I went to the bathroom as I put all thoughts aside. In that exact moment, someone knocked on the door. “Come in!”
I heard the door open, and I immediately recognized the voice when the person spoke. “Good morning, Eva!”
“Good morning, auntie!” I shouted from the bathroom.
“Look, today is my day off so you’ll be all by yourself today.” What? All by myself? That meant I’d have to put up with that Glenda witch the whole day without any backup from my aunt! “But if you need anything, you can ask Becca, ok? She knows you’re new and how much you’re still nervous so she’ll help you if you need it!”
“Don’t worry, aunt, I’ll be fine.” I doubted myself. Who knew what I’d do today? And who knew whether or not Glenda would obligate me to do another humiliating chore like yesterday?
“Still, if you need anything, call me, ok Eva?” I wondered where she’d go. She barely visited me and my mother on her days off.
In fact, that raised a question in my mind, “Just one thing.” I started asking before brushing my teeth. “When do I have my day off?”
“I’m not sure, Eva, but I think it’s on Thursday. Talk to Glenda and she’ll tell you, ok? She’s the one who manages our days off.” Oh damn. The woman probably didn’t like me so who guaranteed me she’d even give me a day off? Anyway, I was glad to know I’d have my day off in three days since it was Monday today. “Well, have a nice day and watch where you walk, Eva.”
“Bye, aunt.” I said, sighing. She didn’t need to warn me about it. I was well aware I had to pay more attention to my moves. “Have a nice day off.” Because I was surely longing for mine, which I’d take advantage to visit my mother’s grave... and when I’d come back, I’d do some cleaning around here, which made me think I’d really have to clean the bathtub if I wanted to take a shower today.
When my aunt got out of my room, I was officially alone in this freaking mansion. Oh! I could have asked her if any of the men had taken me back inside last night! Oh well, I’ll ask her when she comes back.
After I brushed my teeth and washed my face, I exchanged clothes again. I hated that stupid maid uniform. I did the goddamn braid, and while on it, I remembered what Adam had said about my hair. How he said I looked ugly with the braid, and liked my hair when it was loose.
When I was ready, I hurried downstairs, and noticed most of the maids were already in the kitchen, having breakfast. I joined them when I spotted Becca and sat near her, “Good morning!”
“Oh, hello, Eva. Did you sleep well?”
“Like a baby.” I smiled at her. It was true. I didn’t even remember how I’d gotten back inside. The last thing I remembered of last night was falling asleep on a chair in the backyard.
She pointed at the table filled with toast, cereal, milk, juice and other goodies. “Eat something.”
Since I was hungry, I gladly accepted her command. I grabbed a piece of toast, spread some butter over it, and pulled a glass and milk toward me. I silently ate while I watched all the other maids. Most of them were in their thirties and forties, like my aunt, but there were four or five that seemed to be in their twenties, like Becca. Hum, I wondered if I was the youngest of them.
All of a sudden, Glenda started talking. “Ok, people, for now, this is all we have to do.” She held a paper on her thick and little fingers, and started explaining, “Because the Coopers are still sleeping, we’ll wash the house’s floor now, since we were all too tired and busy to do it yesterday. As most of you can see, the floor is completely dirty, and we all know how Mrs. Cooper hates that. Then, when they wake up, Becca, Linda, Rita and Eva will set the table and serve them breakfast.”
Me? Serve the Coopers breakfast? Oh, not only was it shameful, but I was screwed. Lowering my head, I only prayed I wouldn’t spill something over Adam or any of the Coopers.
“Then, each of you will be assigned a room to clean. I noticed most of the guests were inside of the house and some rooms’ floors are simply horrible. So, I’ll have Mr. and Mrs. Cooper’s room, Cat will have office 1, Mary will have the gym...” She kept naming the girls that would have the rooms. It was boring to listen to her, but at least I was eating while at it. I thought she wouldn’t give me any room, but I was mistaken when I finally heard my name, “...and Eva will clean Adam’s room again.”
I received some looks that I completely ignored. “As the day goes on, I’ll put you in charge of more chores. You’re all dismissed to start your work.”
Everybody started to disperse once Glenda dramatically allowed us to go. I touched Becca’s arm and asked, “We do this every single day?”
“Yes, you better get used to it, Eva.” Then, she was the one that grabbed my arm, “Come on, let’s grab some mops and buckets and clean the floor from the second story’s corridor.”
Since I didn’t wish to clean the floor with someone else I’d never talked to, I followed Becca to grab the stuff we’d need to do our job. After we carried the things and reached the second floor, we started the chore.
“Tell me,” I had to start a conversation. I couldn’t just clean up the floor with her, in silence. “Why do you work as a maid when you’re so pretty?” Maybe it hadn’t been the right question to start a conversation, but oh well; I did have an awful timing. Who cared?
“A person needs to be ugly to be a maid? If things worked like that, you wouldn’t be here as well.” She laughed, and I smiled at her compliment.
“Yeah, but you could work as a model!” I said right away. It was true; Becca had everything she needed to be a model: beauty. I wondered why someone hadn’t approached her yet.
“I’ll take that as a compliment, Eva, but no thanks. It’s important for me to have a serious job. I have a family that counts on me to send them some money every month.” Ok, so she’d said more than I’d asked for.
“You could have a bigger pay-check as a model.”
She laughed bitterly, “I can so see you’re just eighteen, Eva... This is the real world. People don’t get hired to work as a model just like that, sweetie.”
Unfortunately, I thought, but since everyone seems to think of me as a kid, I don’t think anyone will blame me for thinking as one sometimes.
I didn’t insist on that issue anymore. I had no business with what other people made of their lives. I should just care about mine, thought I could still share my opinions, right? If they were welcomed, of course.
I spent some time quiet, but as soon as I thought about the dream I’d had with Adam, I remembered I’d referred to Mrs. Cooper as his mother, and Adam had not understood I was referring to his mother. Besides, at the party, I’d heard him treat Mrs. Cooper by Gabi, and not by mother.
“You know, I have a question about the Coopers.”
Becca eyed me carefully. “Shoot it.”
“Is Mrs. Cooper Adam’s mother?”
“Oh, that.” Her lips curved into a half-smile. “I asked that same question to your aunt when I started working here one year ago. No, Mrs. Cooper isn’t Adam’s mother. She’s Brad’s, but not Adam’s. His mother died when he was only a year old, I think.” By the way she’d said that, she didn’t seem sure of it. “I never heard any of them, or even the maids, talk about the previous Mrs. Cooper so, like you, I know nothing about Mr. Cooper’s first wife.”
“I see.” God, it must have been awful for Adam to not know his mother. I’d least I’d known mine... But, while Adam had his father, I’d never met mine.
I stayed the whole time thinking of me in Adam’s place. God, I would have gone crazy without having a mother to talk about stuff. Not only normal stuff, but girly stuff as well! I couldn’t talk about things like my period or sex with my father! Not only would it be embarrassing for me, but for him as well, I was sure!
Time passed as my mind was too busy reflecting about the pros and cons of having a father, along with my mother, and without her as well. It was the first time I didn’t feel like crying immediately while thinking of her. It made me feel good.
It was almost 10 Am when a maid - I think it was Rita, appeared in front of us when we’d just finished with our chore. “Glenda’s calling us. She wants us to start setting up the table because the Coopers have already awakened.”
I doubted Adam was already up. I wondered if he’d come back much, much later than me. Maybe I wasn’t even there when he’d come back. Perhaps he’d been the one that had called someone to carry me to my room... I shook my head unconsciously. I doubted it.
After putting everything back in its place, though I knew I’d need everything again to clean Adam’s room, Becca, Rita, another maid - Linda, I think, and I went to the kitchen to grab everything we needed to set the table in the dining room.
When we got to the dining room, I looked at Rita. She’d been the one that had sent me those deadly glances, among others I didn’t remember now. I actually didn’t like her. I knew I shouldn’t judge a person based on first impressions, but there was something in her that bothered me. She was actually pretty. Not as good-looking as Becca - for me, Becca was the prettiest, more attractive than me. Not that I considered myself a very good-looking girl. I considered myself an average girl. Either way, I wasn’t very good at giving myself a ranking note for my physical assets. I didn’t have a very high self-esteem.
Anyway, Rita had everything she needed to have the brothers’ attention on her. I’m sure the younger maids all dreamed of Adam and Brad, even knowing Adam had a girlfriend - that could possibly turn into his fiancée, but I’m sure that wouldn’t stop them from wagging their asses like dog tails to the brothers.
Still, Rita seemed the type of girl that was capable of having their attention on her. She had an hourglass figure, milky skin like Adam, medium red hair that was now pushed back on a ponytail, and bright green eyes. As for her height, I envied her. She was tall.
The moment we finished setting up the table, Mr. Cooper walked in, looking at his watch. “Good morning.” He was polite enough to talk to the maids and seemed different from the arrogant man I’d met two days ago - less bitter and angry.
Then, Mrs. Cooper came in straight away, followed by Brad. And that make me think again. Did Adam treat his brother differently, just because they only shared the father?
Becca must have noticed I was drowned in my thoughts, because she elbowed me, and whispered in my ear, “Start pouring some juice, milk or coffee, Eva.”
I nodded, hurrying to the table, and questioning the Coopers about what they wanted to drink. No one was arrogant to me, and I felt more than glad about it.
After that, Linda, Becca and I stood in the corner of the room, looking at them eating quietly. I knew why we were here, in a corner, so quiet. I’d seen this in movies. Maids had to be ready to receive a straight order from their bosses while they ate.
When Rita finished serving Mr. Cooper, she walked towards us.
“Where’s Adam?” I heard Mr. Cooper’s voice.
“We don’t know, sir.” Becca replied, “He’s probably sleeping.”
“He must have gone to check out his horses last night, like he always does. That’s probably why he’s still in bed, honey.” Mrs. Cooper spoke calmly, and smiling. “You know he always goes to bed late and never eats breakfast with us because of those animals.”
“Yes, but he must stop behaving like that. When he marries, will he leave his wife alone for breakfast?” Did Mr. Cooper talk about Adam’s future as a husband often? This was only the first time I’d publicly heard him speak of Adam and marriage, but who knew? I was new here.
“When he marries, he’ll have the time to adjust to his new life.” Mrs. Cooper said nicely. I saw her placing her skinny hand over Mr. Cooper’s. “You weren’t the perfect husband when we married, darling. I can still remember those times pretty well.”
Mr. Cooper didn’t comment. Instead, he instructed coldly, “Whoever goes to clean Adam’s room, make sure to wake him up.”
Guilty. That was for me. And I was so screwed with Adam again...
Suddenly, all of them looked at me.
What? Wasn’t I responsible for Adam’s room? Wasn’t I supposed to say something?
Mr. Cooper opened his mouth to speak at me, “I see you’ve managed to tame that wild hair of yours. If you hadn’t done it, I’d have ordered Glenda to cut your hair short. A hair like yours must be tamed at all costs.”
I was just too shocked to even think of an answer. Why the hell had he started talking about my hair? I hadn’t even given him a reason to say such a thing! The only time he’d seen me without the braid, had been when I’d first stepped in this house! Still, I decided it was better to not angry the boss and not say something I’d later regret. I just let Mrs. Cooper babble about my hair, and thank god, she drifted off to some other issue.
As for me, I was almost sleeping while standing there and only woke up when I noticed the family was getting up. As soon as they got out of the dining room, without laying one respectful eye on any of us, we started cleaning up the table.
It took us about half an hour to leave the room just like it was before we’d walked in. When we were walking away, Glenda appeared in front of us. “Are you done with the-”
“Yes.” They answered in unison before Glenda finished the question.
“Good. You may now move on to the rooms I told you to clean.”
We were all ready to turn around when Rita spoke. “I have a question, Glenda. Will Deena’s niece continue to be in charge of Adam’s room for the rest of the week?”
My eyebrow rose automatically. What did she have to do with it?
“Probably,” Glenda looked at Rita’s bright green eyes, “She’s new and Adam’s bedroom’s the best to get started as a maid. Why?”
“Just curious. I mean, I was always in charge of Adam’s room and I was wondering when I’d have it back.” She grinned at Glenda, though it had no effect on the old woman. Still, it had sounded like a question, and Glenda replied.
“Maybe next week.” She looked away from the girl, “Anyway, back to work, girls!” Then, she left us, and Becca, Linda and I followed a different path from Rita.
When we were far enough from her, towards our way to fetch the stuff we needed, I asked, still surprise, “What was that all about?”
It wasn’t Becca the one who answered. It was the black haired girl, Linda, “Oh, don’t worry about Rita. She has had a crush on Adam since she started working here and she’s always been in charge of his room, until you came.”
“Even though Glenda only put you in charge of that room for like a week and because you’re new, Rita doesn’t like it. In fact, she hates it. Like Linda said, she has a crush on Adam.” I knew some of them had to be in love with him!
“So that means each maid is in charge of a room?”
“Yes,” Once again, Linda explained. I looked at her, and noticed she had beautiful grey eyes. Grey eyes that reminded me of Vince, Adam’s attractive friend. “I am in charge of an office, Becca is in charge of Brad’s room, Glenda is in charge of Mr. and Mrs. Cooper’s room, your aunt Deena is in charge of another office for the moment, and you’re temporarily in charge of Adam’s room.”
“I see.” That was a very effective way of keeping things organized.
After we got everything we needed, the three of us followed separate ways.
Oh, there I was again, ready to walk in the lion’s cave the moment I arrived at Adam’s room. I just stood there silently. I heard he was sleeping, but like a maid, I knocked on the door first.
I knocked again.
I knocked harder and for a longer period of time.
This time, I got an answer, “Come in...” Man, what a sleepy voice.
Anyway, I opened the door and walked in the dark bedroom. Since Adam couldn’t see me, he asked, “Who is it?”
I turned on the lights, and then answered, “Me.”
As soon as he saw me, his reaction was to cover his face with a pillow, and complain, “No, not you again!”
I couldn’t help but to laugh silently. “I am sorry, but I’m temporarily in charge of your room.”
Adam complained again, “I am going to kill Glenda!”
“I see you prefer Rita then.” I said, closing the door behind me, and then walked to the center of his room.
“Who?” Adam asked, shifting under the gray sheet. Didn’t he know the maid in charge of his bedroom? He was really mean. I was going to explain who she was, but then he remembered. “Oh yeah, the red haired.” He still added, “I don’t prefer any of them.”
“Then why did you have such a bad reaction when you saw it was me?”
“For a maid, you talk too much.”
Asshole. “Fine, you won’t hear me anymore.” Silently and cruelly, I walked towards the balcony, pushed the curtains aside, and the shades up.
“Oh, don’t do that, kid, please.” Adam protested yet again. God, couldn’t he stop whining? Spoiled brat.
Still, I didn’t speak. Instead, I turned off the lights and came back to the center of the room, looking around and thinking about what I should start cleaning. One thing I was sure: I couldn’t touch his photos. So maybe I’d start with the other tables.
I’m sure his room must have a lot of dust since the last time I cleaned, which was yesterday, I thought sarcastically. This was so stupid... to clean every room, every day. I couldn’t see anything that needed a daily clean-up, other than the bathroom and the floor.
“Can you please pull the window shades down?”
My mouth didn’t open.
“You’re supposed to answer me.”
No words were heard.
“Fine. I admit I had a bad reaction.” He started, “But it’s not because I prefer Rita. She’s just another maid for me, but unlike you, ever since you arrived, you’ve been in my way!”
Glad to know he distinguishes me. Another sarcastic thought. I couldn’t care less about what he thought of me.
“I’ve answered you, are you capable of doing the same now?”
No, I can’t. I’m just a maid. Just like he’d said.
“Oh my god...” I heard him, still under the gray sheets. “I cannot believe you sulked because I said you talked too much for a maid...”
I nodded my head, and tsk-ed, “So much time to get to that conclusion...”
“Oh, shut up, kid.”
“The name is Eva.” I corrected him. “I’m getting confused. Do you want me to shut up or do you give me permission to talk?”
I turned around and walked up to the first table as my hands were now grabbing some cleaning products. From the corner of my eye, I saw him taking the sheet off his head. “You can talk when I ask you stuff.”
“Your father told me to wake you up.”
“Really?” He asked with a boring tone of voice. He didn’t seem surprised at all. “That was why you knocked on the door so many times?”
“No.” I started taking the laptop over the table I was preparing to clean. “I knocked on the door three times because Glenda told me to clean your room now. Besides, I knew it would indirectly wake you up.”
“Well, I didn’t want to wake you up, though. I mean, because of what you said to me last night.” About him thinking I was a maid because I was dumb when I really had lost my mother and had been forced to live and work here. I shrugged, “It’s ok, anyway. I’m sure I’ll hear plenty of it. You seem arrogant enough to say those things whenever you feel like.”
Suddenly, I had the conscious I’d spoken too much. I spun over my heels and gazed at him to watch his reaction. He didn’t seem either surprised or shocked. “Oh yeah, I’d forgotten you think of me as a mean, arrogant, idiotic person.”
“What?” I hadn’t said any of it to him. I might have said he was arrogant, like now, but other than that... “I didn’t-”
“Has anyone told you that you talk a lot when you’re between the line of being awake and sleeping?” I didn’t answer straight away. I let my mind reason for a couple of seconds. No. It couldn’t. I was sure it had been just a dream. “Thinking it was all a dream? Well, it wasn’t, kid. I really carried you to your room on the last floor. I’m not as mean and arrogant as you seem to think.”
Damn. I should have realized it! After all, Adam had a heart. Even if a little bit - big - stone-hearted, he had one.
Adam suddenly got up from his bed, but I was still too chocked to look away. He was just wearing some black shorts, which of course let me see almost every part of his perfectly tamed body. Well, I shouldn’t be this surprise. They had a gym. It was normal if his body was this sculpted. His abs... Oh, they were perfectly defined... even his legs...
“You shouldn’t be staring, kid. This is too much for your age.”
There he was again... “I am eighteen!” He couldn’t be any cockier! And he was just four or five years older than me! I remembered he’d talked about it on my supposed dream that hadn’t really been a dream. “I’m a grownup!”
“I’m sure you are.” Laughing and shaking his head, Adam went to the bathroom. At least I’d seen him laughing. It was the first time, though.
“I’m probably going to spend the day away, but I’ll come back around dinner time, I think.”
“Why are you saying that to me?” I shouted, just like he’d shouted from the bathroom.
“Because when I come back, I don’t want to be pissed off at you again for having touched my photos. So be sure to clean just the tables that have no photos, otherwise, I’ll make sure you’ll get fired.”
Blah, blah, blah.
“Don’t worry.” I rolled my eyes. I wondered that, maybe, he had some kind of obsession related to his photos. Anyway, I couldn’t care less.
I started cleaning the table, and I got so distracted with it that I really didn’t noticed Adam clearing his throat on purpose, until he did it a second time to call my attention. He was half dressed already and was now putting on a white shirt. “Remember, I’m out until dinner. I don’t want to get home and see someone has touched my photos.”
“Don’t worry, Adam.” I suddenly raised my eyebrow. It was the first time I actually pronounced his name while talking to him. “I mean, I may call you Adam, right?” Maybe I was being naive, I didn’t know, but he might want the maids to treat him more formally.
“Usually, maids call me Mr. Cooper or sir, but since you’re just a kid, you may call me Adam.” He then grabbed his wallet that was on one of the three shelves over his bed, and put it in his pocket. “Have a nice day, kid.”
Afterwards, Adam turned around and left me alone to clean his room while my mind busied itself thinking. Was he really serious when he’d said other maids treated him by Mr. Cooper or sir? I mean, he was just a few years older... In my opinion, he was too young to be treated so formally, even if it was just for the maids.
With that and other things on my mind, I cleaned his entire bedroom, and like Adam had commanded, I didn’t touch any of his photos. When I was done with his room, I went to Glenda, and she told me to take care of my laundry, hers, Deena’s and of two more maids that weren’t Becca’s, Linda’s or Rita’s laundry. I was glad she’d asked me to do that; after all, I needed to take care of some clothes I had spread around the room.
After that, the rest of the day was pretty quiet for me. We had lunch in the kitchen, just like we had had breakfast, spent some time talking - I mean, they spent some time talking, and then Glenda told us to clean some bathrooms of the house, including the ones on the maids’ floor. Thank god she’d asked us that! I seriously needed to clean mine, so I just took advantage of that little chore. Since my bathroom was really dirty, it took me quite a while to take care of it. I was sure no one had used that room in years. Anyway, when I was done with it, I decided to take a quick shower. I thought Glenda would act picky on me because I’d decided to clean my bathroom - and take a shower, but no. She didn’t even say a word about it.
By the time it was 7 Pm, Glenda called me, Becca, Linda and an older made to set the table for dinner, though we had to add three extra plates. It seemed the Coopers had guests tonight.
I didn’t ask who they were, but Linda did, and when Glenda answered her, I heard it. It seemed that Rachel - Adam’s girlfriend, and her parents were coming to have dinner with the Coopers.
I didn’t comment, but while we made our way to the dining room, Linda started gossiping, “I so know why they are coming!”
“Why...?” The older maid asked.
“I heard Mr. and Mrs. Cooper talking about Adam and Rachel, and from what I understood, I think Mr. Cooper wants Adam to ask Rachel to marry him!”
Even Becca gasped. “No... Are you serious? Is he going to ask her to marry him today?” She asked. I was seriously uncertain about it. I may not know Adam like they knew, but I doubted he’d changed his mind since yesterday. Or so it seemed.
“No, Mr. Cooper said he’d loathed the idea, but they planned on talking about it during dinner, you know, make it an issue of conversation between them.” Linda giggled, “I guess Adam will be stuck in that dinner when they start talking about marriage.”
That was just mean. It was a trap, and Mr. Cooper had been the one to orchestrate it! Adam was his son!
“Well, they have been dating for a year and they have both finished college. They’re rich, beautiful, Adam will be stupid if he doesn’t ask her to marry him soon.”
Now I couldn’t help but to say, “So just because of those reasons, Adam’s supposed to marry her right now? What about asking them if they actually want each other? Love each other?”
Linda replied the moment we reached the dining room, “Eva, Adam’s every woman’s dream. He could have any woman he wanted, but no. He’s been with Rachel for over a year now. That must say he loves her, don’t you think?”
I had to agree on this one. “Yes, but he’s still young! He shouldn’t waste his life already!”
Rolling her eyes and visibly running out of patience for me already, Linda asked, “Answer me honestly. If a guy like Adam appeared in your life and wanted to marry you, would you say no just because you’re too young and don’t love him enough?”
With the experience I’d had, I’d learned it was much better to not force things to happen if we deeply didn’t want them. “Yeah, I’d say no.”
Linda and the other maid stared at me, but at least someone agreed with me, “I share Eva’s opinion. I guess we’re not gold diggers and neither would we have the courage to marry a guy just because he’s cute.”
Linda and the other maid smirked. They sincerely annoyed me. And Becca seemed to feel the same way I did. What was wrong in what we’d both said? Oh well, maids were equals to the ones in the movies - gossipers and dreamers.
I tried to forget all of that as I set the table with them. When we were finishing, Glenda appeared to check on us, since they wanted to have dinner now. Apparently, the Coopers were in a rush today.
We hurried to finish setting the table and when we started getting out, to fetch the food, the Coopers and their guests started to walk in the dining room. “I don’t know why he doesn’t pick up the phone.” I heard Rachel saying, “He called me this morning saying he’d spend the day away, but I thought he knew about the dinner.”
“I forgot to tell him.” Mr. Cooper revealed. “It’s my fault, Rachel. But don’t worry, he’ll arrive soon. You know he’s always late for dinner.”
Suddenly, I heard a voice I didn’t recognize, “That is very true, Arthur!” It was male voice so I supposed it was Rachel’s father. “When Rachel invites him to have dinner with us, I don’t know why, but he always arrives late.”
“Oh, but Adam...” Mrs. Cooper’s voice started to fade away as we were now further away from the dining room and closer to the kitchen.
This time, because the Coopers had three guests tonight, two more maids came back with us, as if four maids weren’t enough to handle the thing. Anyway, I was glad I’d just been in the kitchen to fetch the food, because Glenda seemed a little impatient now.
When we walked in the dining room again, we all noticed Adam’s place was still empty. Hum, he said he’d come back by the end of the day, by dinner’s time, right? Oh well, it was none of my business so I just started placing the food on the table and serving the drinks.
Rachel seemed to be talking with Brad - I couldn’t forget he’d said she wasn’t his style, and had practically called her a slut, while the parents seemed to be drowned in a conversation about business.
But then, we all heard him, “Rachel? Sophie? Joseph?” I looked behind and saw Adam standing at the entrance. He couldn’t take his icy blue eyes off his father now. “Nobody told me they were having dinner with us.”
Mr. Cooper got up, and pointed at Adam’s seat, smiling, “It’s my fault, Adam. I forgot to warn you, but I called Rachel and her parents this morning, and asked them to have dinner with us tonight. Join us, please.”
Adam was dangerously gazing at his father, clenching his jaw. Since I’d heard that conversation last night, I was almost sure Adam probably knew father had planned this. Unfortunately, he thought right.
He walked towards his seat - passing me, though he didn’t lay one eye on me - and sat next to Rachel. Because she was in Brad’s place, Adam’s younger brother was seated next to her, while her parents were on Mrs. Cooper’s side. I could see where Rachel had gotten her beauty from. Sophie looked just like her daughter. As for her father, I couldn’t say quite the same, unfortunately.
Adam started serving himself and said, “How are you, baby?”
“I’m fine,” She replied, a little bad-humored. “Where have you been? I tried to call you all day!”
“I’m sorry, I went to see some horses and got distracted.”
“Don’t tell me you want to buy more horses, Adam! Six aren’t enough?” Mrs. Cooper asked. Not with an angry or frustrated tone, though. She seemed interested, but surprised at the same time.
“What can I say,” Adam shrugged and laughed a little, “Horses are my passion.”
And then, Mr. Cooper ruined whatever little good-humor Adam had, by saying, “Yes, but once you get married you’ll have to start paying less attention to your horses.”
Adam slightly turned his head at his father, probably eyeing him with a chilly and silent fury. “Horses are like... my children. I’d never stop paying attention to them. Besides, it will still take me a long time to get married.”
“Oh, but Adam, I’m sure a girl like Rachel has already received numerous proposals. After all, she’s a beautiful young woman.”
Rachel suddenly started, “Oh, no, I-”
“Yes, I must say that’s true! My daughter is too naive to admit it.” Rachel’s mother cut in, giggling, as she softly pressed a napkin over her lips. “My husband can prove it. Some of his partners at his company have young sons, Adam’s age, I think, and they have made some interesting proposals to Joseph when it comes to Rachel’s future life.” When she grinned, her face was too wrinkled.
“It’s true.” Sophie continued, ignoring her own daughter. “You’re young, beautiful and rich. I’m sure Adam isn’t surprised about this.”
Oh, this dinner had been all rehearsed...
“If Rachel loves me, she’ll wait for me to be ready for it.” He didn’t bother to look at his possible future mother-in-law.
“Women have very little patience,” Mr. Cooper said, “Gabi is the living prove of it.”
“Oh, Arthur...” She pretended to be embarrassed. Oh god, this rich people’s dinner was so freaking boring...
“If I were you,” Now it was Brad’s voice, “I’d ask Rachel to marry me. She’s everything a guy wants, she’s perfect!” Right. Brad hadn’t even called her a whore or anything. Adam didn’t even answer him.
“Seriously, son, are you going to ask Rachel to marry you?” Mr. Cooper asked, his eyes fixed on Adam, though his son handled the pressure pretty well.
“Some day.” I sensed some impatience on his tone of voice. If I were in his place, I’d already be sick of that rehearsed conversation. He had only started to have dinner minutes ago and he had already been bombarded with lots of comments regarding a future marriage with Rachel!
“I think you should hurry, Adam.” Joseph spoke, placing down the fork, “I don’t want my daughter to wait her entire life for a marriage when she has had very good proposals.”
Adam turned his head at Rachel, “Is that true?”
“Yes, but you know I’d never choose any of them, baby.”
“I’m sure what Rachel’s trying to say is that she won’t chose any of them because she’s waiting for you to marry her!” Like Adam, Mr. Cooper seemed to be running out of patience as well. I then caught him looking at me, “Bring me more wine, please.”
I nervously walked towards the table and stopped behind Adam to fill Mr. Cooper’s glass. “I hope that with this conversation and comments, you will think better about asking Rachel to marry you soon, right?”
Oh, I just had to be in the wrong place, at the wrong time...
Adam’s patience reached its end. He suddenly got up, pushing the chair back and hitting me. Not waiting for it to come, I startled and let the bottle of wine fall.
“I’m sick of this!” He yelled, “I will ask her to marry me when I think I, she, we are ready! Understood?”
Then, all of a sudden, Adam turned around with that gigantic body of his and since I hadn’t moved, the impact with his huge and heavy body made me lose my balance, and I fell onto the floor, crying out in the pain the second after when my hands touched the floor loaded with broken and sharp glass pieces.
My hands suddenly started hurting like hell. When I took a look at them, they were all red wet. Blood.
Still gazing at my bloody hands, and in shock, I still heard, “Damn it, kid! Why do you always have to be in my way?”
I looked up and saw a furious Adam piercing through me with his icy blue eyes as his fury froze the entire dining room. That gaze didn’t take long, thank god, because Adam then turned around right away and left us all.
I was speechless, and in shock as I once more looked at my bloody hands. Mr. Cooper got up the moment Adam and Linda came to aid me. “I’m sorry you had to assist this.” He was talking to Rachel and her parents.
“I better go see him.” Rachel was going to get up, but Mr. Cooper waved negatively at her.
“Leave him alone, Rachel. He needs to think for himself and understand you won’t wait forever.” Forever? They’d just dated for a year, for god’s sake!
“I agree with Arthur.” Her father said.
Then, Mr. Cooper looked down at me, “I’m sorry about this. Rebecca take Eva out of here and treat her hands.” He paused, “You’ll be dismissed for the rest of the night.”
I nodded as Becca helped me and we both walked out of there. Once we were near the stairs, Becca said, “That idiot... Look at your hands!” God, I so didn’t want to look at them. “You need to wash them before we can treat it.”
“Ok...” I just said. I was still astonished with Adam’s overreaction.
“Look,” Becca stopped before we actually started going upstairs, “Let me fetch the first aid kit while you clean your hands, ok? From what I can see, I think the worse is the palm of your left hand, but with all the blood, I’m not sure. It can even be worse. Let’s just pray you don’t have any piece of the broken bottle, otherwise... I think we’ll have to take you to the hospital.”
“My hands hurt, but, I mean, I don’t think I have any piece... I don’t feel anything.” I explained. If I had a piece of the broken bottle on my hand, I’d feel it, right?
Becca said nothing. Instead of turning around to fetch the first aid kit, she actually started pulling me forward. Sighing, I did what she was silently commanding. I went upstairs. When I got to my room, I tried to open the door without staining the doorknob with blood, but such was impossible.
Once I got in, I immediately went to the bathroom. The first thing I did was to wash my hands in the clean and fresh water. It burned a little, but if I wanted to stop staining everything with that much blood, it was better this way, I thought.
When I was done with it, I walked out of the bathroom and found Becca sitting at the edge of my bed. Hadn’t she knocked? Probably not, or I’d have heard it. Anyway, I was glad she was already here. I couldn’t stop feeling this burning sensation on the both palm of my hands.
“Come and give me your hands, Eva.” She eyed my bed, and I sat at her side, stretching my arms towards her. She spent some time looking at it, and then, I heard her verdict, “Hum... you’re lucky. From what I can see, you don’t have any pieces of glass in your cuts...” As for the cuts themselves we saw I just had one my right hand - thank god, because that was the hand I mostly used to do everything, and three on my left. They were worse, but treatable without going to the hospital. “Well, let’s treat this.”
She opened the first aid kit and started taking care of my wounds. She seemed to understand every little move she was doing, not to mention she was more than gentle and calm. Thank god for that, since I was already freaked out. Didn’t need someone to make me company.
“You know,” She began commenting, “I cannot believe he still had the nerve to say you were in his way! I mean, he’s the one to blame for the cuts on your hands! God, he’s such an asshole.”
“He didn’t know I was behind him.” Note, I wasn’t apologizing for what he’d done. Truth was, he really didn’t know I was there. But... yeah, he could have been nicer, instead of having such an overreaction. “But let’s not talk about it. I don’t want to think about it.” I was still too shocked about the way he’d yelled at me, like if I’d had any fault for what had happened. I know I shouldn’t have been behind him, but come on... It didn’t hurt him to say he was sorry!
“At least you’re dismissed for the rest of the night. I still have to get back at the dinner, which, by the way, has an awful atmosphere because of what happened.” Becca said when she finished cleaning my right hand’s cut and placed a bandage over it. “But I mostly think it was Mr. Cooper’s fault. Knowing Adam like he does, he should have just stopped talking about it. Adam is the type of man that doesn’t have a lot of patience regarding people putting their nose where they’re not supposed to.”
“I think he doesn’t have any patience at all.”
“He’s kind of nice when he’s in a good mood, you know?” She moved on to my left hand now.
“I haven’t seen him in a good mood since I’ve first met him.” I rolled my eyes. I wondered why he was that way. Even I didn’t have any reason to be in a good mood and I probably outdid him there.
“Yeah, and to be honest with you, his good mood isn’t much different from his bad mood, so... I think he’s a bitter man, you know? I don’t know why I think this about him, but from the beginning of when I first started working here, Adam seems so... bitter inside.” Now, she just seemed like Linda gossiping, though I knew Becca’s intention wasn’t that one.
I stayed silent and immobile while Becca took care of my left hand and babbled about the times when Adam had been nice - and bad, to her. None of it mattered to me right now, though I pretended I was paying attention to her. I knew I was being rude, but right now, all I wanted to do was to lie down and let my hand rest a little.
When she was finished with my hand, I said, “If you see my aunt when she comes back, tell her I fell asleep right after you left, because... I was too tired or something, ok? It’s just that... I don’t feel like talking or explaining everything to anyone. Can you do that for me, Becca?”
“Sure.” She put everything back on the first aid kit. “But you know she’ll question you about it tomorrow.”
“Yeah, but I’ll have more patience tomorrow.” I just wanted to be alone, on my bed. I wouldn’t cry. I’d just take advantage of my dismissal and rest. Not to mention I just wanted to forget that little scene that had happened around half an hour ago.
“Ok, well... relax and get some sleep. You’re lucky you’ve been dismissed.” She laughed. Well, at least something good had come out of it. “Have a good night, Eva.”
“I will.” I smiled and then, she left my room.
The first thing I did was undo my braid and change clothes. My uniform was stained with blood. Damn, I’d have to take care of my laundry tomorrow again.
Again, I put on a t-shirt and some shorts. Then, I lay down in my bed. Thank god my hands didn’t hurt as much as I thought it would. I was sure tomorrow I’d be more than fine to get back to work... unfortunately.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly the moment I closed my dark blue eyes and shifted my body to a more comfortable position in my bed. All I wanted was to relax.
And I managed to do so. I lost track of time when I spent a huge amount of time without opening my dark blue eyes and see how dark my room already was.
The one thing I spent quite a while wondering about was Adam. I mean, he’d clearly seen the blood in my hands. And still... how could he speak like that to me when he’d been the one that had done something to me, and not the other way around?
I sighed. He definitely had a problem.
In spite of everything, I just emptied my mind and let go of any worries and pressures, letting time pass. I was capable of spending hours like this - alone, in bed, thinking and resting.
All of a sudden - and unfortunately, someone knocked on my door. Oh man... I told Becca to not let my aunt come here!
Sighing, I said with the most boring tone of voice, “Come in...”
It was worthless to pretend I was sleeping, because my aunt would get in either way. Damn, I really didn’t feel like talking about what had happened. In fact, there was nothing to talk about! She couldn’t do anything even if she wanted! She was just a maid like me!
When I heard the door opening and closing, I asked, not bothering to look at her, “How was your day, aunt Deena?”
“I wouldn’t know,” I heard him, “I’m not your aunt.”
For the second time that day, I was more than shocked.
What the hell was he doing here... on my room?