Chapter 2 - Your Mistress is Not Me
Aunt Marcella’s house can be called a boast if you ask me. The big - no - huge fancy house looks just like those you normally see in Beverly Hills complete with a swimming pool. This one however has a touch of old Renaissance taste, all elements of it including the building, the main facade, and the interior. They were all designed into perfection. The marbled floors, the high ceilings, even the furniture were eye-popping. It doesn’t fail to surprise me though considering that her late husband, my Uncle, was a filthy rich man.
When I visited here for the first time, I remembered playing house on my own, treating myself as a princess inside a big castle. I enjoyed it very much, especially when my Auntie plays with me, acting like the queen of the castle. They also had a ranch located a kilometer away from the main house. This was where I learned to ride a horse, taught by Uncle Michael Winner himself.
By the time Aunt Marcella saw me in the foyer, she immediately fell in tears.
Gods, such a theater drama queen.
I did mention she acts as an eccentric right? But eccentric in a good way. She wears mostly flashy clothes - ones that involve neon colors and sequins - but at least on my arrival, she has tuned it down a bit, wearing just maroon flare pants and a bolero knitted blouse.
“Oh, Andrea! It is so nice to see you again!” she exclaimed, giving me her famous well-endowed embrace. Yeah. For a fifty-eight-year-old woman, she sure looks younger - I guess from using Botox cream?
“Auntie! How have you been?” I asked, resigning myself to be embraced tighter.
Once satisfied, she dabbed the small water beads in her eyes with a handkerchief and stared cheerfully at me.
“I’m good! A bit bored but I’m good!” she replied.
Yeah. Bored-my-ass Aunt Marcella. I know you won’t be when you have a freak’n hot butler near you always! That’s what my crazy little side was saying. I lightly shook my head, dismissing the thought away.
Speaking of butler, I happen to glance at that particular man-in-suit crossing our way towards an awaiting young woman wearing a French maid outfit. He handed my stuffed bag to her to which she dutifully accepted. When he whirled around to face us, I was already smothered by my Aunt’s second embrace. I noticed, was it just my imagination, or was he really directing his eyes only on me?
“Come, Andi, let’s head to the dining room. I’m sure you’re hungry. Oh! I get the chef to cook your favorite carbonara spaghetti a la Marcella!” she squealed delightfully, then hooked her arms in mine, pulling me to where the dining room stood. I smiled again, happy to see her rambunctious personality. It felt good to know that she has finally accepted her husband’s untimely death due to pneumonia.
Yes. You could say that I am very much famished. I was actually ready to devour what awesome feast readied for me, but before we stepped inside the dining room, my Aunt unexpectedly paused, her face showed a slight frown as if she had forgotten something. Her head turned to where Mr. Hot Butler stood and ordered, “Oh Eriol! Could you get it in my room, please? I forgot to bring it with me.”
My brows rose. I am totally not sure what it meant, but it did make me curious. I glanced fleetingly at him and saw that he was already climbing up the staircase towards the second floor exactly like an obedient lapdog would do.
“You seriously have a butler Auntie?” I commented as we headed our way to the table.
“Oh, he had already introduced himself to you it seems,” she replied.
I took a seat right next to her where there was already a dining set readied. She glanced at me and smiled some more. “Butlers are in nowadays. All of my friends have one in their houses although not as young as Eriol. I am even surprised he is an elite butler who graduated with high honors in the International Academy for Butlers in Sardinia, Italy.”
“Seriously?” I batted my eyelashes many times. “How old is he anyway?”
I hope I didn’t sound too intrigued about him, and I hope my Auntie failed to notice it if I did.
“He’s twenty-eight, Andi. Handsome right? I was actually surprised when he applied for the job when I posted an ad in the newspaper. I never thought that he is a butler. Being a model is what suits him more.”
“And you actually accepted him then,” I said. I made a sign of the cross in my chest before ravaging the food in the table.
“Of course I would! Mainly because I seriously needed additional manpower on the refurbishment of the west wing rooms. You know in my old age now, Andi. I can’t possibly run everything around here without my back aching,” she said, running her hand up and down her waist at the same time as if to prove her point.
“I see,” I nodded in agreement, but suddenly dipped my eyes in my full plate, remembering a certain someone. “Uhm, what about Lorde, Auntie? He hasn’t returned yet since that...” I trailed off. Reminiscing the memories with my Auntie’s step-son just wasn’t in my vacation plan, but since I hadn’t seen him since I arrived in the house, it made me wonder. Although being a few years older than me, Lorde and I are good childhood friends mainly because we share a love for horses among other things.
“He is in Mexico, Andi, still busy with his business,” Aunt Marcella answered with a fleeting sad spark in her eyes. “But well, uhm, the last time we spoke he expressed that he is looking forward to meeting you again. He said he would try to fix his schedule so that he can come back home while you are still staying here.”
“Oh, how-how kind of him to do that,” I said, suddenly feeling a slight anxiety inside me. That would have persisted if not for Auntie’s abrupt intentional change of better and happier subject discussions.
Our chit-chat was off the hook. We had so many things to update about ourselves and our family that we didn’t notice the time passing away. I didn’t even notice that I haven’t filled my stomach thoroughly yet.
By the time Eriol arrived in the dining area, I was already halfway from finishing my plate. I happen to have the pasta’s white sauce smeared in the corner of my mouth so I intentionally licked it. He eyed me for a second before handling the rectangular box to my Aunt and I swear I saw him hide a smirk. This made me frown in response. Just what is up with this Lapdog anyway?
“Andi dear,” Aunt Marcella called my attention. I gave her a smile quickly. She has been accustomed to calling me that since I was young. I wasn’t bothered by the nickname though. I do think it cute.
She reached across the table and handed me the rectangular box. I eyed it for a second, confused about her gesture. “Take it, it is my welcome gift to you,” she said with pleased eyes. The gift was wrapped in silk paper, tied with a red ribbon. I immediately wondered what it held.
“Thanks, Auntie,” I expressed and then unwrapped the box carefully, already seeing the hint of excitement in her face.
I almost choked on the corn kernels I was chewing when I stared, awestruck, on two rather lacy, sexy, provocative, ultimately revealing apparels inside the box - a lingerie set - winking in welcome at me. This is a welcome gift alright - that much my Aunt is right. I suddenly felt hot, exactly similar to what I felt when I woke up from that particular dream.
“Huh, tha-thanks Auntie,” I uttered, trying to hide my most awkward virginal smile.
I didn’t need to raise the items for a closer inspection. Nope. I am not giving Mr. Wannabe here a chance to ogle on the lingerie. Not a chance. Anyway, just by looking at them this way, I could already see how sheer they were. I wonder what has gotten in her mind why she gave me this. She knows I am without any boyfriend. The only and last one I had was my childhood friend who was away...so far away from Luxembourg.
“You’re welcome, Andi. I expect you to wear that on your first night with your husband.”
Again, I nearly choked. Seriously?!!
“Well, uhm...that sounds weird coming from you Auntie. You know I am not into that kind of relationship right now,” I stressed out, already beads of sweat slowly trickled down my nape.
“That’s fine, but sooner or later you will, and I will be rooting on that. You are a beautiful woman. You really should consider settling down already.”
“You mean to say you want my children running around your house, right Aunt?” I countered teasingly. This was a bulls-eye because I saw her clear her throat in response.
After a moment of silence, we then both broke into a silly laugh, exactly like we used to after a continuous tickling in the ribs.
Eriol just stood a few feet from the dining table looking blank.
I don’t know. It was either he was oblivious of our cherished moments or he was just plain unfeeling of our happiness. Maybe, butlers were supposed to pose like that; never really showing any hint of emotion in front of their master and their guests.***
Once again, I should say that the house looked huge. It was already accepted that it contained numerous guest rooms. Aunt Marcella had informed me that I am now assigned to a bedroom that befitted my age. The last room I had was in the south wing of the house, namely the pink room. It was stylishly designed for teens and considering that I am no teen now meant that she had to consider putting me in a much chic room. Of course, with that in mind, she specifically ordered Eriol to guide me to it for I did not know where it was located.
My room was apparently one of the specialty guest rooms at the north wing, together with the master’s chamber which my Aunt uses.
Silence presented itself again as we both strolled in the corridor of the second floor; my arms embracing my coat and the disquieting gift box. He didn’t initiate any conversation, so normally I didn’t. I was trailing behind him - an advantageous position it seems because I am able to view his wide back without being wary of his gaze.
Goodness. He really is a lip-smacking man. I bet, in the past, he was asked by an agent to model Guess, Gucci, Cartier, Armani, Boss, and many other famous brands. I wonder why he ended up being a butler.
We finally stopped in front of a wide mahogany door. It was located at the farthest part of the corridor; the edge of it boasted a small balcony. He gestured his hand onto the closed door looking at me with dark eyes.
I felt my skin hairs raise when our eyes met. Is this a butler’s style too? Looking at their guests like he was stripping them naked? Then I noticed his eyes dipped briefly down. Enough experiences with men made me realize that he was checking out the lift of my breasts. I immediately felt conscious then with the blouse I was wearing.
“Your bedroom, Milady Andrea,” he said, super formally.
I raised the box higher to cover my cleavage, frowning. “Please don’t address me like that,” I requested. “We are not in the Middle Ages you know.”
“I know,” he agreed, but without showing any hint of concern. “But still, I love to call you that. You are after all my Mistress.”
My mouth fell open. For whatever reason, I felt a cold chill run down my bones. This man. THIS MAN was certainly toying with me, ridiculously calling me a Mistress?!
“No, your Mistress is my Aunt, not me,” I innocently corrected before I stepped to open the door of my room. Before I could twist the knob though, I felt his hand on my waist. I immediately stiffened.
Warm was his breath next to my ear when he drawled, “Very well then, An-dre-ahhh... Have sweet dreams tonight.”
I whirled around to shot him a scornful look, but he was quick to walk leaving me in the corridor tongue-tied.