Oh man, I was so screwed! Literally!
I was about to let go of Adam, before he turned around so that Mr. Cooper could finally look at my face, but Adam’s grip tightened around my thighs. And then, I heard him whispering, “Pretend you’re sleeping.”
I closed my eyes entirely, understanding Adam’s message, though I didn’t know what he wanted to do.
The handsome of the brothers turned around to face his father. Mr. Cooper repeated the question with a sharp tone, “What are you doing?”
“I’m taking Eva to her room.”
“Why would you be doing that?”
“Well, she followed me to the stable and-”
“What?” God, it was practically 3 AM, couldn’t Mr. Cooper do his damned questions when I’d be up? I was awake now, but Adam had probably thought it was better if I pretended I was asleep. And since he knew his father’s reaction better than me, I did what I was told. “Why?”
“She was curious to see the horses and I guess one of the maids told her they were mine. I let her stay with me tonight in the stable, but when we came back, she was too tired to walk so I offered myself to carry her.”
Silence. Mr. Cooper was probably stunned – like everyone else in the house was every time I told them about something Adam had done or said. But then, I heard him. And in his voice I sensed the surprise, ”You offered to carry her?”
“What can I say, I still feel guilty for her hands.”
“Yes.” Adam said, just as sharply as his father, though much, much calmer.
“You didn’t seem that guilty when you talked to me in unacceptable ways, also embarrassing me in front of Rachel’s parents, who were very angry at you when you simply left us alone during the dinner and never actually apologized to them.” And if I was right, he still wouldn’t.
“You expect me to still say I’m sorry for what I did?” The handsome man that carried me laughed bitterly. “You have got to be kidding me. The moment I sat down to have dinner, you and everyone else didn’t stop throwing up stupid comments and questions about marriage!” If they had talked about something else, I’m sure my hands wouldn’t have any cuts by now.
His father didn’t really pay attention to what Adam said, because he just bothered to say, “I’m going to invite Rachel’s parents again soon. And you will apologize to them.”
Adam smirked as he turned around and said, “Keep waiting for that.”
“Don’t you dare turning you back on me, Adam!” Mr. Cooper nearly yelled.
Adam looked over his shoulder - the one I wasn’t using – and shot back, “You can keep yelling, you know. I’m not Brad. Besides, if I apologize, it will because of Rachel and not because you want me to.”
It took Mr. Cooper some moments to say something. “You’re lucky it’s 3 AM. I’ll talk to you and that maid tomorrow. I’m wondering if she followed you just because of the horses. Maids are supposed to spend their day doing chores around the house and resting at night to be prepared for another work day.” Oh god, oh god, oh god. I’m in such trouble.
“Do what you want. I have other things to do. Goodnight, dad.” Adam said with an I-couldn’t-care-less tone on his voice. And just like that, Adam headed for my bedroom, without saying anything to me, probably knowing his father was still there, looking at him, carrying a maid to her bedroom.
When he finally reached my room and we got in, Adam let go of me. I immediately motioned to be face to face with him. “I’m... I’m screwed, am I not?”
“I’m not going to lie to you, kid. Yes, you are screwed.” He rubbed the back of his head, while still saying, “But don’t worry. He’s not going to fire you or something. It’s just that my dad hates when maids don’t do what they’re supposed to.”
“He’s kind of right, you know....” I slightly dropped my head, and added with a lower tone, “I’m not supposed to follow you.”
“Yeah, well... don’t worry about it, kid, seriously.” Adam’s fingers touched my chin and obliged me to look at him. “He’ll just lecture you about it, I’m sure. Just like he’ll lecture me as well, after all, you’re not alone in this.” His lips curved into a faint smile, and his hands moved up and petted me.
Smiling, I shook my head away from his hands and tossed back my curly black hair. “Thanks for carrying me all the way up here. I was really tired. And still am.”
“You’re a kid, which means you don’t have much resistance.” He made me a face, and before I could defend my honor, Adam hastened to say, “Well, I have to go to bed too.”
“Has you father ever found out your brother slept – and still sleeps – with some of the maids?” I questioned him.
Adam’s eyebrow arched. “No, they’ve never been caught, though I’m sure he’s suspicious about it. Why?”
“Nothing,” I shrugged, feeling depressed already, “I just wanted to see what kind of reaction I’d get from him.” And I knew I’d probably get a really bad one. I closed my eyes and thought, I am so freaking screwed...
“Eva,” Adam spoke my name with his cultured voice, placing his hands on my shoulders, “You were just caught coming back from the stable with me. Nothing more. It’s not like he caught you kissing me or something. So I say it again, don’t worry.” I didn’t want to worry, but I knew it was inevitable. And Mr. Cooper had seemed pretty angry...
I just sighed. “Ok, well... goodnight, Adam.”
Smiling, and eyeing me one last time with his icy – but warm – eyes, he said, “You too, kid.” And then, he turned around and walked out of my room. As for me, I slid my feet off the flip flops, and lay down in bed, pulling a thin sheet to cover my body.
And when I closed my eyes, the last thing I thought before falling asleep, was everything I’d have to hear from everyone tomorrow... just because I’d been seen with Adam at night.
My first hours of the morning, were spent like every others. I did my morning ritual – got up at 7 AM, got dressed, did my braid, washed my face, brushed my teeth, and was then off to the kitchen to eat something.
After that, I spent some time cleaning the offices with Becca. At least Glenda had put me to work with someone I liked, though I really didn’t feel like talking about anything. I was a rather worried about the conversation I’d have with Mr. Cooper.
Around 10 AM, my aunt came to call me and Becca to set the table and serve the Coopers breakfast. This time, my aunt Deena and another older maid joined us both. I hated this work.
As the time to face Mr. Cooper drew closer, I noticed my hands had begun to shake. My aunt, who was at my side, noticed it and pointed at my still wounded hands. “Are they hurting, Eva?”
“Yes,” I lied, “But I can handle it.”
“If you want, I can call someone to replace you. We don’t want any more accidents while serving them.” I knew what my aunt meant. I was already clumsy, but with shaking hands, I could be worse. With that on my mind, I remembered when I’d spilled wine over Adam’s clothes on the day of his graduation party. I had never felt so embarrassed.
Thinking about that day, I reminded myself that today made exactly one week that I’d come here, so it meant this was the last day I’d be cleaning Adam’s room. Only one week, and I’d already arranged a private conversation with the boss. I’m good. Or not.
Suddenly, we heard the Coopers coming from outside. We immediately stood still and watched the Coopers – one by one – walking in the dining room to have breakfast. “Good Morning.” We all said.
Only Mrs. Cooper replied back. This time, Mr. Cooper seemed too drowned in his thoughts to say something. I honestly didn’t expect any of them to reply to us. Even Mrs. Cooper. Well, there was someone I knew that didn’t speak once other when talking to his family. Adam.
They all sat down and started their usual morning conversation, which was boring, by the way. I didn’t need to pretend I wasn’t listening to them, because I really wasn’t. I was just thinking about when Mr. Cooper would call me to speak to him. And I was actually amazed he hadn’t said anything yet.
Five minutes later, Adam appeared. He was fully dressed and not looking sleepy at all, so I supposed he was up for quite a while now. I wondered if Mr. Cooper had already spoken to him... Despite being distracted with my thoughts, I still noticed Adam looking at me before he sat down next to his father to have breakfast with his family.
My face dropped immediately and I avoided looking at anyone.
“Do you have anything to do today, Adam?” I heard Brad’s voice. “You want to play tennis this afternoon with me?”
“Sorry, but I already have things to do. Alexis’ coming to visit me.” The moment I heard that name, I remembered a friend of mine that shared the same name. And she was quite a wild girl. So, I wondered who the girl was. I hadn’t met any girl named Alexis on his graduation party.
“Oh, ok.” Brad seemed disappointed, and Adam said nothing else. So they kept eating in silence.
I couldn’t stand being there. I was getting anxious, wondering when Mr. Cooper would say he wanted to talk to me. So I just clenched my fists, hoping no one would notice how bad I was shaking, and looked around the room, becoming aware of stupid things that decorated the dining room of the Coopers.
At last, they all started to get up. One by one, they walked out of the room.
Unfortunately, Mr. Cooper remembered me in that exact instant. Adam’s father stopped before he walked out, and pointed at me. “Eva. I want to speak to you.” I definitely wasn’t waiting for him to call me in front of all everyone. Was that a bad sign? I could feel all of the maids’ eyes on my back. “Now.”
“Yes, sir.” I let my head down and followed him out of the dining room to the office, where I’d heard him and Adam speaking, for the first time, about Adam getting married to his girlfriend.
We walked in silently and I stopped in front of the huge desk, piled up with papers, all written and signed by what it seemed Mr. Cooper’s true signature, while Adam’s father went around the desk and sat down, looking straight into my eyes.
“Where were you last night, Eva?”
Well, he already knew where I’d been, so there was no point in lying to him now. “I was in the stable with Adam, sir.” It looked like I was in the military, looking at my superior while standing proudly straight.
“Why did you follow my older son?”
“I was curious to see the horses, sir.”
“Oh really? You’d never seen horses that close?”
“No, I never had the chance to.” Then, I started saying what Adam had told him last night. “I heard some maids commenting that the horses belonged to Adam, so I thought about following him.”
Mr. Cooper leaned back on his black leather chair. “Was this the only time you followed my son?” I bit my lower lip and he noticed. “There’s no point in lying, Eva. I’ve talked to Adam before breakfast. I know all of it.”
Had Adam told him I’d already followed him once? No. Adam wouldn’t get me into more troubles. Praying, I replied, “Yes, sir. This was the only time I followed him.”
No change in his blank expression. “You do know you’re a maid.”
“You know you went after my son, in the middle of the night, when everyone was sleeping.”
I nodded once more.
“Eva, are you conscious that Adam, my heir to my fortune, will be getting married soon?” I wasn’t certain of anything he’d said, though I seriously doubted Adam would be getting married soon. He’d clearly stated he didn’t want to marry.
“The fact that you followed my son makes me wonder if you have second intentions. As a young maid, I’m sure your head is full of dreams about Adam.”
In that instant, I couldn’t help but to speak, “No, sir, I’m not like that! I didn’t have any second thoughts when I followed Adam!” I really hadn’t had any! “I have the conscious of who I am, I would never think about doing something that would disturb your family!”
Mr. Cooper looked he hadn’t really paid attention to what I’d just said. He just leaned forward, and looking straight into my eyes, he spoke, “Here’s what I have to say to you. If you ever, ever, follow my son again or if I catch you and Adam alone, during the night or any other circumstances that will lead me to any disapproving conclusion, I will fire you, do you understand me?”
My jaw dropped. I was completely amazed with such hidden anger and fury under that calm voice. Adam had said he’d just lecture me, but... he’d just finished threatening me!
"Do you understand me?” His voice pressured me.
“Yes... I-I understand, sir.” I stuttered, somehow afraid.
“As for your punishment-”
My eyes widened in sheer shock. “My what?”
“Yes, Eva. You expected getting out of here without some punishment?” Now, he just seemed amused. Too shocked to react, I let him continue, “You will clean, all by yourself, the entire garden, backyard and garages, by Friday, on your free time. If I ever see someone helping you, that person will be fired, no matter who it is. If you don’t manage to carry out the punishment until the deadline I’ve established, you will be fired.”
I was completely frozen in time.
Clean the entire backyard, garden and the garages, all by myself in my free time, by Friday, without any help at all? He wanted me to die from exhaustion? Because I was sure as hell I’d definitely die! I wouldn’t have any sleep until Friday, since I had to do it on my spare time, which is when I’m not working! Did Adam’s father have the conscious of how big his garden was, how dirty and huge his backyard could be and how stuffed the garages were? And he still said I’d get fired if I didn’t do it until Friday? I’d die before that day!
“You can go, now.”
It took me some seconds to realize he’d finally dismissed me, after stating my death sentence.
I spun over my heels, and strolled out of his office, closing the door behind me. I was so damned stunned... furious and angry that, I didn’t even notice that my aunt, Becca, Linda, Rita and two more maids were on the stairs. They probably had been eavesdropping on the whole conversation. Or so their astonished expressions told me so.
I walked towards them, and looked only at my aunt. “Oh, Eva...”
“Don’t say anything.” I said. The last thing I needed now was someone’s pity. I knew I shouldn’t have followed Adam. I just passed by her and went downstairs, wishing to be alone. Unfortunately, I found Glenda on my way.
“You have to clean Adam’s room one last time.” She paused, and looked down at me. She must have known what Mr. Cooper said, because she continued, “That is the prize you pay for fooling around with his oldest son at night.”
“You knew about this?”
“Of course. Mr. and Mrs. Cooper tell me everything related to everyone.” Glenda also pointed at the maids behind me and her. “This is what happens to someone who dares to get too close to his sons, especially Adam.” Why? Because Adam was his prodigal son or something? What about Brad?
“I can’t believe you didn’t tell me he was going to do this.” It was my aunt’s voice. I heard her approaching behind me and resting her hand on my shoulder. “She’s my niece, Glenda. I think I deserved to know what she did.”
“You know now.” Glenda looked at me with disdain in her eyes. “Besides, if you controlled her better, none of this would have happened. Now, it’s too late! Well Eva, grab everything you need and go back to your chores.”
And just like that, I was allowed to go again. I hurried the fastest I could towards the little room where the cleaning stuff were and almost ran towards Adam’s room, passing by everyone again, but not courageous enough to look them in the eyes. Everyone was just too astonished to say anything to me. Even my aunt.
I knew Glenda was a pain in the ass, but why was she so mean to me? God, it’s not like I wanted to hit on Adam or something! Why didn’t they believe me?
Reaching Adam’s room, I took a deep breath and knocked on the door.
“Come in!” I heard from the inside.
I opened the door and got in without saying one word.
“Yes.” I looked around and didn’t see him there. But then I saw him getting out of the bathroom. He looked at me, waiting for me to say something to him. Well, I was still too surprised to talk about the conversation I’d had with the devil – his father.
“So?” I was speechless as I just looked at his beautiful face... and thought of the punishment I’d gotten just because I’d been with him. “I know he didn’t fire you, otherwise you wouldn’t be here. What did he say, Eva? Did he do something?”
“You father... he... told me that if he ever finds us together at night or under any conditions that will lead him to some bad conclusions ever again, he’ll immediately fire me.” I revealed.
He smirked while both of his eyebrows rose. “Just that? I thought it would be much worse.”
And then I suddenly caught myself lashing out at him. “No, it wasn’t just that, Adam! He gave me some freaking punishment! You want to know what I’ll have to do just because I followed you?” I was so angry at him, blaming him for this that, I just shouted at him without thinking, “I have to clean the entire garden, backyard and garages by Friday! I have to do it off my working hours on the house, which means I won’t be getting any sleep until I have it all cleaned! To get worse, no one can really help me, because your father will fire that person! And, to add that special cherry on top, he’ll fire me if I don’t have it all done by Friday! How cool is that?”
I was desperately gasping for air now, but I had to get everything out of me. “All of this because I followed you, Adam! I wondered what he would do if he knew I’ve followed you twice already! Are you so precious to him that he doesn’t want any of us to get that close to you? I didn’t hit on you, I never touched you in any way that meant something else, I never tried to take advantage of you-”
"Eva.” Adam said my name, cutting me off. I honestly thought I was about to cry. He placed his hands on my shoulders and slightly shook me. I thought he’d say something like, “Oh, you shouldn’t be yelling at me like that, it’s not my fault, besides I’m your boss, bla, bla bla.” But no. He didn’t say anything like that.
“Calm down.” His hands moved from my shoulders to my tanned face. “Just calm down. I’ll talk to him. What he wants you to do is too much. All of this because you followed me?” Adam just smirked.
“I don’t want you to talk to him, Adam!” I felt like crying. Now, I was really acting like the kid Adam spent his time saying I was. “That will only make him think I told you this because I wanted you to do something about it!”
“But he clearly exaggerated! I mean, you did nothing wrong!” Now, Adam was yelling as well. “You followed me out of sheer curiosity! Does he want to drain you out to death or something? Does he know what he asked you to do?”
“Adam, it’s not worth it! Your father won’t change his mind! I’m just a maid!” I let my head fell and clenched my fists. “He hates me.”
“Just because of this? Bullshit!” Adam turned around violently. I think I hadn’t seen him this angry since that dinner. “A lot of maids do things a lot worse and he closes his eyes and lets Gabi resolve the issue, but now that it suddenly involves you and me, he just... punishes you?”
“Adam.” It was my turn to calm him down. I pronounced his name with a soothing tone and approaching from behind. I placed my hands on his back, and said, “You’re the one who needs to settle down now. You’re just making me stress much more.”
And just that was enough. He turned around and I realized I’d never been this close to him, other when Adam had carried me. His body was touching my petite one. I was just speechless as I lifted my head and gazed into his arctic eyes. Placing one hand on my cheek, Adam apologized. “I’m sorry. It’s just that it annoys me. He had no right to... punish you.”
“Forget about it, Adam. I’ll do it. I’ll get it down by Friday.”
“I’m sure he thinks you’re not going to make it, kid.”
I laughed, “Well, like father, like son, he thinks of me as a kid, too.” I felt his fingers gently stroking my cheek. I closed my eyes, and pushed back the tears that had almost fallen, thanks to the anxiety I’d felt.
“Everyone can perfectly see you’re still a kid. But my father’s taking advantage of it.”
“I’ll prove him and you wrong.” I stepped back slowly. “Well, I have to start cleaning your room, you know. It will be my last time here, so I want to do a good job so that Rita won’t babble about it tomorrow.”
I turned around, running away from his eyes, and thinking about where I should start as Adam realized, “Oh yeah... I totally forgot this was your last day.”
I didn’t answer. There was nothing to say. It was probably better this way. I wouldn’t get involved with him anymore – not in the full sense of the world involved, like in... lovers, though. I think that if I ever got involved with Adam, Mr. Cooper would hang me. And I just couldn’t have myself fired over such handsome rich guy.
As I started cleaning, Adam told me all about the conversation he’d had with his father. They’d talked just before breakfast – and that was why Adam hadn’t been able to talk to me right after it. He also revealed his father had lectured him about the fact that he shouldn’t be with me because I was just a maid and whatnot. Bla, bla, bla. Mr. Cooper was really short-sighted. Nobody said those things anymore!
By the time Adam reached the end of what he was telling me, someone knocked on the door. “Come in!” Adam said. At first, I thought it would be Mr. Cooper. He could have decided to come here so that he could check on me and Adam, but I was wrong when I heard Adam, “Alexis! Finally!”
Curious, I spun over my heels to check out the woman. And my jaw just dropped when I saw the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen in my life. She just had to be a model. I mean, she was really pretty! The woman had straight blond hair, same length than mine that just shone in the light. Her skin was really tanned, which I usually hated in blonde women, but in her case, it perfectly matched her blonde colour. Her face was heart-shaped, and her eyes had both blue and green mixed. The white summer dress that she was wearing hugged her hourglass figure flawlessly.
“How was Italy?” Adam’s voice called me to reality, and I found myself looking at Adam hugging the woman.
“Great as always! What about you? I think you have plenty to tell me. I met Vince last night and he told me something about... marriage?”
“I’ll tell you everything in minutes.” Adam then turned around and faced me. Ok, or Adam was cheating on Rachel with that woman, or he was definitely gay. How could he be with Rachel if he had a perfect woman like Alexis? Did he love Rachel that much that he didn’t cheat on her with Alexis? “Eva, this is my best friend, Alexis.”
Not wanting to be rude, but why was he introducing me to her? He hadn’t done any of it on his graduation party, had he? Nevertheless, I nodded and smiled, “Hi.” I felt my face hot.
“Hello, Eva. I’m Alexis.” The woman grinned at me with curiosity stamped on her face. She was amused. Her blue eyes mixed with green leaped from me to Adam, though when she spoke, it was for me. “Don’t take me wrong with what I’m about to say Eva, but Adam... why are you introducing me to a maid? Aren’t you a cold-hearted son of a bitch that loathes maids?”
Adam shrugged and gesticulated at me. “Yeah, but... she’s nice.”
“I see.” She smiled in a way I could not decipher, but Adam could... and did.
“Oh, stop thinking that.” He poked her arm in a tender way. “I’m not my brother, you know that. Besides, I’d never cheat on Rachel.” There. I had my confirmation.
“And talking about Rachel... tell me everything that happened while I was in Italy.”
“Sure.” He nodded, and his next words were for me. “I’m going to spend my day away, Eva. I’ll see you at night. Bye!” And then, he just turned around and left me alone in his bedroom to be with that perfect woman.
Was it really possible a guy that was handsome like Adam have a beautiful best friend like Alexis? Well... it was possible. I was Chris’ best friend. But then again, I wasn’t that beautiful and Chris was gay. But Adam seemed a guy who had his thoughts on their place. Or so I thought so. At any rate, I shook my head off those thoughts, trying to forget all about it. I kept on cleaning Adam’s bedroom. I tried to be the slowest I could, but since Adam’s room was always too spotless, there wasn’t really anything much I could do.
It was 1 PM when I finally walked in the kitchen. Everyone was finishing their lunch and talking, but as soon as they saw me entering the kitchen, they all shut up and fixed their eyes on me. Had I done something so wrong?
I sat down on my usual place, next to Becca. I felt so uncomfortable with everyone’s gaze on me that, I simply avoided every set of eyes as I served myself some food. Lucky me, my good aunt started talking again, drawing everyone’s attention to her. At first, only a few looked away, but when those restarted their tête-à-tête, the others did the same. Only Becca and I didn’t join the conversation.
Nevertheless, I noticed Rita and Linda didn’t take their eyes off me. Especially Rita. Linda just leaned towards her friend and whispered something. I couldn’t care less about what they were gossiping.
“How are you?” Becca murmured in my direction.
“Fine.” I lied. Well, to be honest, I was a little better now that I wasn’t feeling so anxious. But every time I thought of what I had to do at night, after working throughout the whole day... Maybe Mr. Cooper should have just flat-out fired me.
“I would help you, but you know-”
“I know, Becca, I know. Just don’t say that.” I didn’t want their pity or their sympathetic words. Those wouldn’t help me, would they? “I know you’d help me if you could. But don’t worry about it. Don’t even think about watching me or distracting me while I’m at it. Mr. Cooper might fire you just because you were at my side.”
“I think he exaggerated.” Becca murmured again, comprehending what I’d said.
“Well, Adam and I agree with you.” As soon as I pronounced Adam’s name, Becca’s eyes widened. “What?”
“You’ve been with him? You’ve talked to him about what his own father said to you? What did he say?” Now, she seemed excited – and afraid - about it, though her voice was still a murmur.
“Yes, I had to clean his room, remember? I talked to him, yes. He knew his father was going to talk to me about it and he asked what he’d said. I told him everything and he was pretty much annoyed. He also thinks his father exaggerated.” I paused, and looked around the kitchen, trying to see if someone was listening to our dialogue. But everyone was too busy eating or talking to others. “I mean, it was just one time! I followed him just because I was curious! I didn’t and don’t have any second intentions! I know I’m just a maid, but I’m also aware he has a beautiful girlfriend that’s everything he wants and surely deserves. So why would he even bother to look at me? I’m a kid! Just like he says I am!” Although I looked – and was – angry, I managed to retain myself under control.
“You shouldn’t have followed him, anyway, Eva.”
“Really...” I said sarcastically, rolling my eyes. “I know that now.”
“It’s like, Mr. Cooper is a very overprotective father, you know? When it comes to us being with his boys... He hates it. But yeah, I have to say he exaggerated when it comes to Adam, though nobody knows why.” Becca answered my question before I even asked it: why? At any rate, I’d control my curiosity from now on. I had to.
Ten minutes later, we all got up, cleaned everything, and go back to the chores of the day. On my way to the first floor, my aunt caught me alone, and controlled me. She asked Becca’s exact questions and I gave her the precise answers.
But, in the end, my aunt reprehended me. “You shouldn’t have gone to the stable, Eva! Adam is out of your league! And Mr. Cooper doesn’t forget or forgives us when any of us has second thoughts regarding Adam, do you understand me?”
“Yes, aunt.” I damned well knew Adam was out of my league! God, I was just curious, nothing less, nothing more! Why couldn’t anyone understand that?
“You will not get close to Adam, understood?”
“I never got close to him, anyway!” In that moment, I caught myself pausing and controlling my voice. Straightening myself, I spoke again. “I only followed him to the stable to see the horses! I’m not a slut, aunt! Do you think I’d hit on Adam, just because he’s rich and handsome? You know me well better than that! Oh no, wait! No, you don’t know me better than this! My mother was the one who knew me better than every single person in this world! The only problem is that she’s dead!”
I shocked myself when I realized what I’d just finished saying. As my eyes gazed at my aunt’s face – hurt and angry – I was incapable of saying anything else. I felt the most shameful person in this world. I mean, my aunt had managed to get me a house and a job – even if I didn’t like any – and I’d just lashed out at her in a cruel way.
At last, my aunt spoke, and I heard her arctic tone. “I’m sorry if this is not the life you had or wanted, but it was the best I could offer you. Did you prefer to live under a bridge or something? You’re eighteen, Eva, you’re not a kid, anymore, you wouldn’t have someone taking you to an orphanage and arrange you some nice rich family to take care of you. This is what you have now. This is what you’ll have to live with. So make sure you don’t ruin it.” Then, she just took off and left me alone.
Alone, I stared at the bright floor. I should have just kept my mouth shut. Now I had tears on my eyes, ready to fall, because I’d shown my aunt how ungrateful I was. I knew it wasn’t worth to say I was sorry. I knew my aunt well enough to know she wouldn’t accept any type of apologizes now.
I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. It was in times like this when I just had to be strong and hold on to my old memories because those... those were the ones that made me keep going in this unfair world.
Tidying up myself, I let go of everything that was disturbing my mind at the moment and started working, knowing I’d still have to work after the day ended.
The afternoon was pretty quiet. Nobody talked to me. They just dared to look, nothing more. I knew they were whispering things about me behind my back, probably saying I wanted to sleep with Adam, but I ignored all of it and did my job silently.
Becca was the only one that tried to speak to me normally, but I knew what she thought. She didn’t think exactly like Rita or Linda, though. Those probably thought I’d taken advantage of these last seven days cleaning Adam’s room to get Adam himself. At dinner, I spoke with no one, other than Becca again. This time, they all spoke louder, if on purpose or not, I didn’t know, but I clearly heard the envious and tainted gossips.
“How could she have the guts to follow him to the stable?”
“How did Adam let her stay there?”
“Mr. Cooper did well in punishing her.”
“I think he should have just fired her!”
I couldn’t take it anymore so I just ate the fastest I could, got out of the kitchen that retained that stark atmosphere, and got back to the things I had to do before I could call it a day. I was anxious to get everything down and start working on the places Mr. Cooper had said. Gladly, Glenda discharged me of watching over the Coopers at dinner, though I later heard Adam hadn’t come to have dinner, and somehow, the maids blamed me for it. Or so I’d heard some of them saying. It was plain stupid! He’d gone out with Alexis for god’s sake! How could they talk about something they really didn’t have a clue? Why couldn’t they just shut the hell up and mind their own freaking business?
Wanting to send everyone to hell, I decided to start with the garages when I was done with the chores Glenda had wanted me to take care of. I went to fetch everything I needed to clean the garages, and when I first stepped outside, I sighted my aunt talking to a man – I think it was Simon. Yes, it was definitely Simon. He waved at me, but my aunt didn’t even bother to do the same or to even smile out of pity. I couldn’t care less. I’d do this without thinking about any of them.
There were four garages. When I opened the first one... my eyes widened. It was huge... and stuffed. The walls had plenty of shelves for me to clean and each was crammed with so much little and useless things that I felt worn-out just by looking at it. Well, at least this one didn’t have a car stalling me.
I looked at my watch – 11 PM. Oh well, I knew I wouldn’t get this done tonight, but I could wake up early tomorrow and come here to clean this for an hour or so, at least. I knew that if no effort would be done, I wouldn’t have everything cleaned by Friday.
Inhaling heavily, I began cleaning.
As time passed and I cleaned some shelves, I noticed it was mostly old stuff. Maybe the person who owned them couldn’t get rid of anything. I comprehended the decision of not throwing it all away, but I also hated it.
Feeling bored, tired, and miserable, I had a little a little surprise around half past 1 AM.
I heard and watched the red Porsche approaching the garages, but parking on one where I wasn’t. Moments later, Adam appeared in person. “Hey, kid.” He said behind me. I spun over my heels and faced him. “I see you’ve started working.”
“Well, I have to, don’t I? I don’t want to lose my job.” I said, tossing my hair back.
“I’m sure you don’t.” He stood there, with his arms folded over his chest and eyeing me with sheer interest on his icy blue eyes. “Need some help?”
I rolled my eyes. I’d already explained this to him. “Nobody can help me, otherwise they’ll get-”
“Fired?” Adam cut in, smirking. “My dad can’t fire me, kid. I don’t even work for him. I’m his son.”
I knew that, I just hadn’t thought clearly. I bit my lower lip. “Adam, you don’t need to do this. If your father finds out, you’ll get me fired... for once and for all.”
“Oh, shut up, kid.” And without saying anything else, Adam just turned around, and I lost him out of sight. I waited some moments, but he didn’t come back. I sighed. It was better this way, right? If Mr. Cooper caught Adam helping me, he’d really hang me, that’s for sure.
I got back to what I was doing, and tried to stop thinking about Adam, when all I pictured on my mind was his image. But ten minutes later, when I heard his steps and his voice, I should’ve known better. I should’ve known Adam wouldn’t just leave me like that.
“I bet you thought I’d left you here.” I heard him, drawing in closer.
“I actually thought that.” I revealed, turning around again to see him just a few steps away from me.
“I just went to change clothes, kid.”
I wanted his help that bad, but hell, I knew what I’d lose if someone found us together. So I tried again. “I repeated what I said moments ago, Adam. Your father will fire me if he catches you here with-”
“Shut up.” Adam just said, when he now stood beside me. Oh, he seriously wanted me to get fired. “We won’t get caught. My father’s sleeping. I went to check on him before I came back here. You don’t have to worry about him.”
Adam looked around, and when he grabbed a broom I’d brought with me, he commented, “I see we have a lot to do for the next five days.”
“You don’t need to do this.” I sighed. I knew he shouldn’t, but hell I wanted him to help me! I wanted someone to help me! I was aware that I couldn’t make it by myself until Friday, unless someone good enough cared about me and wasn’t afraid of being fired. Adam didn’t exactly fit those conditions, but... he was fit for the job, I guess.
“Yes, I do, kid. It’s because of me that you’re not in bed already.” Oh well, if his father hadn’t found out about me following his son, and if Adam had gone to the stable tonight again... I probably wouldn’t be in bed. I almost certainly would be following Adam again, fearing nothing but what Adam could say to me.
“What about the horses?” I remembered.
Adam shrugged his shoulders. “They can manage to survive without me for the next couple of days, kid. Horses are pretty independent, you know. You don’t need to worry about them.”
I smiled tiredly. “Thanks, Adam.”
“No need to thank me, kid. I know you’re in this situation because of... how can I say this...” Adam pretended he was thinking, and then added with a sarcastic and mocking tone, “Because of the curiosity I made you feel about me.” The mysterious and jokey smile handed him over. I’d never seen this playful side of him!
“Oh, don’t get cocky!” I said, poking him in the arm.
“Yeah, yeah.” Adam laughed. “Let’s just start doing this. We have a deadline to accomplish.”
And I found myself thinking that I liked the “we” part.
I also liked the fact that Adam was nice enough to understand I seriously needed some help despite my weak attempts to stop him from doing so. I liked that he didn’t make me take the blame for everything, even when we both knew it really was my entire fault. I liked him when he distracted me from the exhaustion I started feeling, after another hour of cleaning that garage.
What else could I say? I liked having him there... with me.
So after Adam spent some time helping me clean that garage, I finally felt I somehow wasn’t that alone.