It hits the fan
After an hour Riley was back in the swing of dancing and the guys were deciding which dance they wanted to do with Riley. Riley was able to sneak out for a moment by taking the tray back. She pushed it back to the kitchen when she heard an odd sound coming from her room. Riley turned around and opened the door. Her sister was sitting on the bed crying.
“Liz, what happened?” Riley asked wrapping her arms around Liz.
“Nothing, Riley,” Liz said pushing her sister away. Liz got up and took the dress off and gently took off the shoes.
“Liz, what happened?” Riley asked again as she watched Liz put the black maids uniform back on.
“Mr. Jameson wasn’t happy to see me in the dress. He said it wasn’t what he wanted and he didn’t like the guys dressing you in those dresses either,” Liz said after taking a big breath, “Riley I don’t know. I just don’t know what to do…”
“Why don’t you leave?” Riley asked, “You don’t seem happy here.”
“Ugh! I wish I could! I love him, Riley. I am so madly in love with Nick and he could care less about me,” Liz said looking at Riley with tears in her eyes, “I’ve loved him for years and I keep hoping that one day he’ll wake up and see that I won’t leave him like his wife did.”
“Liz, how long have you been here?” Riley asked.
“Six years,” Liz said with a sigh.
“Well let’s face it, Liz. He isn’t worth it. Seriously, he doesn’t treat you like he cares about you at all,” Riley said, “Just think about leaving. Maybe we could get an apartment together and go to college together.”
“No, I’m too old for college,” Liz said.
“Liz, you’re never too old to learn,” Riley said.
“I’ll think about it, Riley,” Liz said leaving the room. Riley frowned and debated putting the uniform on in protest, but then she remembered that she didn’t have one anymore. Riley looked down at her hands and wished there was something she could do to help her sister. She left the room to go back to the guys but her heart was heavy. What would Chris do if she just told him that Liz was her sister? Syd said to wait, but Chris couldn’t possibly be that shallow, could he?
Riley went and helped Mrs. White make put the mini quiches on the cart. She snagged one and popped it in her mouth. Mrs. White put her hands on her hips and shook her head. Riley laughed as she pushed the cart out of the room. The guys were sitting around joking. Riley smiled sadly and handed them their plates.
“You seem sad all of the sudden, Princess,” Rex said taking his plate, “Did something happen?”
“Oh, I just let my sister borrow a dress and the boss got mad,” Riley whispered, “It’s just not fair.”
“Life’s not fair,” Rex said, “Sorry.”
“That’s okay,” Riley said rubbing his head, “You didn’t do it.”
“You have a sister?” Chris asked and the room went silent. Riley looked up at him surprised, she didn’t think he was listening.
“Yes, I have an older sister,” Riley replied smiling.
“That’s nice that you let her borrow a dress,” Chris said smiling at her, “She should be thankful to have such a kind sister.”
“Thank you, Chris,” Riley said smiling. She picked up her plate and sat next to him. Riley smiled looking into his deep blue eyes. She fed him one of the mini quiches and laughed when he almost bit her finger. They ate quietly and when they finished Evan pulled her away from Chris and started waltzing with her. Riley smiled looking into his warm brown eyes as he spun her around the floor. The music and the movement taking her mind off her worries. His warm hand holding hers, Riley laughed when he dipped her with his face only inches from hers.
“My turn!” Chris shouted a little too loud. Evan pulled her back up and blushed. Riley looked at Chris questionably. If some of them didn’t know that they were dating they would soon enough with the way Chris was acting all jealous. Chris grabbed Riley’s hand and swept her up into a Tango. He grabbed a rose from the vase on the table and put it between his teeth. Riley laughed as they moved around the open floor. Chris expertly avoided the furniture and when the song was over he dipped her and Riley took the rose into her mouth. Syd clapped laughing at the two of them. Damon got up smiling.
“I’ll show you how it’s done,” Damon said taking her hand from Chris and wiggling his eyebrows, “I like the Tango, too.”
Damon held her close as he moved back and forth along the floor. Damon didn’t take his clear blue eyes off of her green ones as he easily lifted her and spun her around. Instead of dipping her he ended with her on a lounge chair and Damon right on top of her. Damon’s lips grazed hers as he took the rose into his mouth.
“Damon! That’s not allowed and you know it!” Chris said angrily.
“What are you jealous?” Damon asked taking the rose out and glaring at Chris.
“No, you know you’re not allowed to make Princess Rose uncomfortable! You don’t want her to leave now, do you?” Chris asked.
“Riley wouldn’t leave because I can dance better than you,” Damon said shaking his head, “Would you Riley?”
“Uhm… no comment,” Riley replied with wide eyes. She knew that was a trick question. If she said yes then Damon would know there was something going on, and if she said no she basically said Damon was better than Chris. Riley sighed knowing that Damon was trying to compete with Chris. She knew Damon didn’t know about her and Chris. She looked at Evan who was watching her. Evan probably figured it out since he spent the most time with the two of them. Evan smiled at her and Riley smiled back.
“I’m going to get some water, do you want anything?” Riley asked purposely avoiding the two guys arguing.
“Yeah, I’ll take a water,” Evan replied looking away. That was odd; did Evan like her, too? Riley shrugged and turned to Rex who nodded and then Syd.
“You might as well bring us all water,” Syd said with a laugh. Riley walked out to the kitchen and saw Mrs. White. She went to the pantry and took out a six pack of water bottles.
“Mr. Jameson is in a mood today, Riley,” Mrs. White said, “I think Liz got into it with him and now he’s taking it out on everyone. Be careful and try to avoid him today, okay?”
“Alright, Mrs. White thanks for the warning,” Riley said smiling and heading back to the room. She handed everyone a water bottle and then took a long drink of hers. She almost drank half of it in that gulp.
“Man, all this dancing makes me thirsty,” Riley said wiping her brow with her arm.
“Yes, it’s surprisingly good exercise,” Rex said taking her hand and pulling her to the open floor, “I like to waltz.”
Rex pulled her into a waltz gliding around the floor with her in his arms. Riley liked feeling like a princess as these gorgeous guys danced around the floor with her, but she couldn’t wait to dance with Chris again. It helped her to imagine the others as Chris, but it made Chris jealous of how she looked at the others. He continued to dance with her in between the others dances. Damon looked at Evan and whispered something to him. Evan nodded looking at Riley and Chris dancing again. Chris claimed it was because he couldn’t decide between a Tango and a Waltz, but Damon and Evan could see there was something going on between the two. Before she knew it she had danced the afternoon away.
“Let’s break and get cleaned up for dinner,” Syd said smiling.
“Oh, thank you, Syd,” Riley said smiling and picking up her shoes on her way out.
“You’ll have to wear the heels tomorrow,” Syd called to her as she walked down the hall.
Riley put the heels on as she walked into the kitchen.
“Riley, quickly, go change into the other maid outfit and shoes before you serve dinner tonight,” Liz said with a frown. She pushed Riley towards the bedroom they shared. Riley shrugged and saw the black maid dress on her bed. Riley took the purple dress off and threw the shoes into the closet. Then she slipped into the maid uniform and slid her feet into the much more comfortable loafers. Her heart raced as she thought about the fear in Liz's voice. Liz was afraid of something. Riley walked back to the kitchen and Mrs. White sadly smiled at her. Riley took the cart and pushed it into the dining room.
Mr. Jameson sat at his usual seat with a frown on his face, his eyebrow was furrowed. He glared at Riley as she put a plate in front of each of the men. When she put a plate in front of Mr. Jameson he grabbed her arm before she could leave.
“It has been brought to my attention that the staff does not like your individuality. The dresses need to stop boys,” Mr. Jameson practically bellowed.
“But, dad, we haven’t decided who won this week,” Chris said frowning, "I haven't even gotten my turn yet."
“No more!” Mr. Jameson yelled, “Her sister tried wearing one today and I will not have that spreading throughout the house!”
“Her sister works here?” Chris asked surprised. Mr. Jameson looked at Chris curiously. Rex glanced over at Syd with his eyes wide.
“Her sister, Elizabeth,” Mr. Jameson said raising his eyebrows, “Did no one tell you?”
Chris looked shocked and then looked at Riley. Riley couldn’t even look at him. She knew he would be glaring daggers at her. She looked down at the floor. The tension in the room rose as Mr. Jameson glared at her.
“Remember your place, Riley,” Mr. Jameson said letting go of her arm. Riley could feel the tears gliding down her cheeks. She turned away so the others wouldn’t see them and wiped them away quickly. She finished putting the plates down and pushed the cart to the kitchen. She glanced at Chris before she left and could see nothing but hatred in his eyes. Mrs. White looked up at her and put her arms around Riley. Riley broke down and cried in her arms. Liz came around on her other side and held her close. Liz took the cart back into the dining room, leaving Riley to Mrs. White. Riley took a deep breath and then stood up and went to the sink. Without a word she started doing the dishes. Mrs. White rubbed her back and then left leaving Riley to her thoughts.
Riley was afraid of what Chris would say to her. All she could think about was the look of hatred he had given her, like she was the devil himself. Riley wiped a tear off her cheek onto her shoulder. Liz brought the cart back in and put the empty dishes next to Riley. Riley gave Liz a weary smile and did the rest of the dishes. Liz touched her back as she went to their room. Riley could feel when he entered the kitchen. It was like the hatred radiated of of him. She straightened her back, getting herself ready to hear his inevitable yell. She kept looking forward as he came up behind her.
“Why didn’t you tell me before, servant?” Chris asked. Riley turned to look at him and didn’t see any love in his eyes. He was glaring at her still, his arms crossed and jaw clenched. She could tell he was not only angry, but hurt. She wanted to reach out and talk to him, to explain.
“Would it have made a difference?” Riley asked. She could tell in his anger he was not going to listen, no matter what she said.
“You betrayed me, Riley! You are the enemy’s family! You are just the same as her! I bet you only dated me for my money, too,” Chris said seething, “You can forget it! I don’t want some gold-digger slut in my life!”
“Chris-,” Riley started.
“Remember your place, servant! You will refer to me as master!” Chris said practically spitting venom on the last part. He stormed out of the room, and Riley couldn’t stop the tears from stinging her eyes. She couldn’t help but sob as her tears mixed with the dish water. Riley finished cleaning the dishes and then sat down on the kitchen floor crying into her hands. What had Liz ever done to him to make him this angry? Why was he acting like this? She took shallow breaths sobbing when she felt a hand on her back. Riley looked up and saw Evan. He had tears in his warm brown eyes as he wrapped his arms around her.
“I’m sorry, Riley,” Evan said softly, sitting down next to her. He held her close and kissed the top of her head. Riley shook her head.
“It’s not your fault,” Riley whispered leaning into his embrace, “I should have known he would never like a sister of his sworn enemy. I should have listened to Syd's warning.”
Evan sat on the floor with her and held her while she cried. He rubbed her back and she could feel his tears on her head.
“Why are you crying?” Riley asked looking at him.
“It wasn’t that long ago that you were doing this for me. It still hurts to think about her,” Evan said pulling Riley’s head back to his chest. Riley sighed and just sat there thinking about the way Chris had called her a servant, as though she was worth nothing more than a slave. As if she could be easily replaced. Evan kissed the top of her head and just sat there on the floor of the kitchen with her for hours, just holding her. Riley didn’t even realize when she fell asleep.