a Sultry Land

All Rights Reserved ©

Home Sweet Home

Four-

The lights were turned on all through the bungalow, so Meridian had to turn off all the light switches she set. The amber brass wall sconces lit, beautiful and the bungalow, very well fashioned. Through the wood floor living room, down a wide hall, laid a master bedroom large, furnished, sunny, and preserved in plastic wraps Meridian would unleash. She loved the tall Tiffany reading lamps, and would check out the attachment to the bedroom which had a rather modest closet for the room’s size. The room held a brass lined teak wood full length mirror.

Through that door, there was a lot of sunlight too. Across the bedroom, was a huge bathroom. It was oversized, and her large oval bathtub had Queen Ann legs, with a brass shower head, sat in the middle of the bathroom floor of black, and white mosaic, had plenty of cabinet space, and a standing sink, which ran clear water too. Meridian’s biggest problem would be dust. She knew there had to be a tiny opening through some window, or door, yet tood back, and thought, how nostalgic, loving the brass footstool connected to the base of the bathtub, and another wall led to a private toilet room.

A heavy linen chest was placed in one corner of the rather large bathroom, a chaise lounge, matching ottoman and floor lamp at another. The house had one full bathroom, one latrine in the hall with a sink, and the same at the pantry hall, leading to that base level she will discover. Meridian went back through the living room, and felt as if she was on a journey, and entered the other bedroom she thought she spotted earlier. It had a glass door at the opposite end, a small closet, much smaller than the one she would use, and the only thing basic in the entire house.

The room was painted a weird blue, but smartly furnished, and secluded in its own way with a nice serene view of outside. Meridian, thought to re-paint the open room a very pale color. She would make it a sun room since its door seemed to be where a garden was. Inside her home, and out, she could smell the nicely fragrant evergreens that surrounded her place, whipping through her space, and opening the windows before she went into town was a plus. When she got back, dust settled, and the entire place felt solid.

It was secure. The cottage was off the road, and worry free. All she had to do bucket after bucket of dusting, and cleaning, was to unravel fresh new bedding. She’d uncover the well kept mahogany, and teakwoods, edged in brass, furniture, and unpack her computer, and music, uncertain if a television was under the covered furniture or not. It was quiet around the house, and she sank again from the silence, and wished she and Max were in touch, sure he was unknown of the trauma she had, nor her new address, her name!

Ever finding Rebekah Derck again, as Meridian Michel would be almost impossible for Max. His assuming she died too in that fatal accident worried her. Max did not regard the associates of the Derck’s, but if he dug deep enough, because no one ever knew her birth name, Max would get answers, and find her. She never had his address. Things for her was better with music on. Meridian returned to the door off her bedroom, and into the space down a few steps off the landing. Wow! She walked down onto a spacious sort of reading room she discovered. It was lovely, sunny, held an identical chaise lounge.

It had a huge closet, and colored glass bottles lined up at the window’s sills in the elongated room could’ve been an office, or nursery. It had another locked door at the top of the landing of a few steps on the opposite wall joined by streaming sunlight, and would have to retrieve a key there. That night, Meridian turned on her amber wall sconces, heated up more barbecue in her mini microwave from school, and got lost in the music. She prayed, and cleaned the windows from the outside, and most of the insides, and ate again when she got tired.

On a full stomach, Meridian admired all the stained glass windows, and colored glass bottles. She’d redecorate the clear windows with the colored bottles in places, and the sun will shine through its beauty. Once the sun set, Meridian folded a sheet down across what she knew was a couch, it was leather, and new so she rested her eyes. She was more tired than she thought she’d be, though finally fell asleep. She woke hours later in the sunlight, and couldn’t believe she slept so well. She looked all around her as she laid, and decided what her next move would be.

Meridian dug fresh clothes out of her suitcase, made a hot cup of tea, and buttered raisin toast. She had a shower, and later stole a moment, peaked under sheets at furniture, and then sat with a warm cup of tea, back to hearth, staring out a bay window. Suddenly morning was right up her alley, with birds tweeting as the sun shone through her stained windows. It was early. Stripping walls of wall paper had not been as hard as she anticipated, so after that, she had enough strength to move on, and began a continuous job.

She washed, dusted, and cleaned everything from ceiling to floor, soaking dust off every light fixture, moldings, and the sturdy wooden floors of the house. Meridian experienced fresh air so soon in the season, and gained much more enthusiasm than she thought, after she walked off the plane. Now the end of another day, and only hours ago, she finished cleaning the baseboards corner to corner on her hands, and knees, and cleaned throughout the kitchen while music played, and left tarnished brass to polish for the end of the week.

Just as the day before, it took two tries to see the difference in the windows from the outside in. Meridian surveyed the tools she needed to finish her deeds, and would go out the next day to purchase in and outdoor trash cans, and liners, to stuff them mega full of dated wallpaper, and some of the tangle from outside the windows she uprooted too, as she smelled the tomato soup ready, but she’d not gotten hungry enough to eat it with a turkey sandwich. She went to her bedroom, and noticed how freshened the room became.

She worked super hard that day, elated with how much she accomplished, kept moving, and caught the din of overcast skies afar. She went to her car and brought the rest of her luggage inside, and as the sun settled quickly. Meridian unpacked the bed which sat on a platform, that smelled of lilacs and roses. It was new, firm, and matched the Victorian rose printed ceiling fan, and then Meridian uncovered the queen of a bed. The bed took two steps up, and was tired from working all those hours. Meridian looked around, and still felt slightly empty inside.

Towards that evening, she turned off the music, and turned on a movie on her computer, and saw how it would take her no time to settle in. She dunked herself deep into that fragrant bath, and soaked for a while. By that dark evening, Meridian began rolling dusty sheets off living room furniture, lamps, mirrors, and fell in love with what would always be hers. After she unrolled all the plastic off her bedding, the heavy woven bedspread had an olive leafy background of peach, roses, a very beautiful bed-skirt, and fluffy pillows. She had pillow shams of the same patterns, and she lit Tiffany lamps which also added to the room’s glow.

That room had an absolutely inviting, cozy feeling. She posted another lamp she found in her bedroom closet, in the kitchen, and the smaller lamps in the latrines, and marched back into her dusted, and clean bedroom, uncovering the sheets. Meridian uncovered the smoked wrought iron vanity settee in the corner of the bedroom by the window, well preserved, and loved the full length mobile oval mirror as well, and things were looking up.

In her bedroom, day or night, Meridian liked its warm cast, and beautiful glow. It felt like home, and then stopped, and took a moment. Her thought's, and love of the Derck’s love, and kindness she will always regard as her parents, and her love for them will never fade, and she sat up, and soaked a while more. Listening to the pirate movie playing, and thinking of who her biological parents were, she cried again, knowing she was in the house of her family home, and felt very confused. She splashed her face in the perfume of her oil bath.

The best part of the pirates movie was about to begin, and Meridian pulled back her sweet smelling bedspread after she unconsciously nibbled at her food, put it away, and before the next movie ended she fell asleep. The next morning, she took all the sheets to the old, small working washing machine that ran smoothly, and too bad the hose squirted her before sink insertion. That bit of a splash made her laugh, but hearing herself yelp, the first laugh she’d had in four days. The splash hit her robe, and face, but it was day three in her surroundings, and she’d become somewhat happy again, although very alone in a new place.

It was very chilly that morning in her new beautiful bedroom, and Meridian slept greatly. She would visit the furnace as soon as she ate breakfast, the top of her priority list, as she managed a hot cup of tea with lemon. She took a honey glazed doughnut, and went for the heating switch on the wall between the pantry, and back exit door, off the kitchen. The sounds of birds chirping welcomed her, and also reminded her to get out back to freshen the birdbath. In town, she would buy birdseed, paint brushes to paint. She took the sheets, and curtains out of the dryer, and walked the load onto her made up bed.

The sheets were greatly washed, so she folded, and stored the laundry in the linen closet hall, across the private toilet room. She reheated tea water, and took her teacup back into her bedroom. She brushed her teeth, splashed her face, twisted up her hair, put a barrette in it, lip glossed, and threw on the gray velour sweat suit. She went to retrieve the clothes she left on her vanity chair the night before, but again became sad, and then her teapot whistled. It was very little things that reminded her of the Derck’s, from the glow, yet loneliness of her surroundings.

Meridian felt that even though they were in heaven, they could not see the happiness in her sadness, and did not want them to know how alone she was, and still had not a clue as to who her biological parents were. She knew that the Derck’s would not want her to be sad, so in the oval mirror in her bedroom, she patted her face dry, kept a stiff upper lip, tied on her sneakers, and grabbed her sunglasses. Meridian looked into the vanity mirror again, and decided not to wear the stupid barrette after all.

She snatched the barrette out of her hair, tried on a baseball cap, and didn’t like that look either, it was too depressing. Meridian put the cap atop the vanity table, fluffed her hair, wisps her bangs, thought she looked more dignified, and sort of ready to face the world, meagerly opened the vanity drawer to toss the barrette, and sunglasses into it, and in plain sight, an old letter addressed to her finally, came visible, and with a script she had never known.

It read:

Our Dearest Meridian,

You are the center of our universe, and your mother and I hope you find the summer cottage suitable. We have not returned for a visit since after your birth, but this is the place we wanted you to know and grow. We married here, and hope you study college here as well, yet, as you now know, you were born in New York. The passing of your great grand-mother Surhai Michel’ changed things for us, and since you are her first great grandchild, she left this cottage to you, born with her dark hair also, and soft brown eyes.

She was very loved, and a great woman who held you when you were just born, and loved you ever so much as your mother, and I also. You can see your resemblance in her eyes? Her painting is in the lower room closet locked. Your mother and she were very close, and prayed you had already met Jonjoui Blue Ruby West, a cousin of yours, your age, and just a few hours younger than you are, they are family, and a photo of your grandpa.

Lovingly Always,

Your Father and Mother, Bernard and Gwendolyn Michel’.

Meridian lost her breath, became lightheaded, and almost fainted in disbelief seeing how long ago the note was written, and signed by her own father. Bernard made that move just after his grand-mother passed away, knowing trouble brewed, and starting moving some of their assets into the home. It was as if he knew all along they could not be there, but hopeful, and obvious Meridian meant to be where she landed. She is safe. Meridian thought, where in the world is this Jonjoui? She had to be alive, or so she wanted to believe.

In fact, in New York, they lived only 40 miles from each other their entire lives, but never crossed paths. Meridian was happy to think that soon their lives would meet. She felt there may be more to her existence, and ran to retrieve the key her father spoke, and unlocked the closet door to the subroom to discover a very large covered canvas of her great grandmother. She thought she was beautiful, gasped, and cried tears of joy. That painting must have sat over her headboard for years, the hook it sat on till there, and worth a shot to find her family.

Meridian searched, but to no avail, yet she knew her parents once loved her, with great gram, and with care, left her a home. Her life, and her parent’s lives, still a mystery, and everywhere she turned, she wanted to see the Derck’s as they were. Meridian had the death certificates of her biological parents when she retrieved the deeds to the cottage, but paid no attention to its contents, or dates so far. She would no longer be clueless of her family history, or existence. There had to be more to the sealed envelopes which held other certified documents sealed to fate.

Meridian was so grief stricken that, of course the money she inherited too, paled from the pain, and sorrow she felt and besides, the used Mazda she bought lifted her spirits, as she set Tuesday, the day she will send for her college transcripts, and still found nothing of her cousin Jonjoui’s location. They were practically twins. The Derck’s did not have many living relatives on either side of the family, nor any distinctive features. They had ruddy complexions, and Bethany had thick, straight light brown unbending hair she kept short.

She teamed with Darren’s deeper brown, thin, frizzy hair with red gold hues that did not make up Meridian (Rebekah). To compare them, Meridian would have been a beauty queen. Her healthy habits, brains, finesse, medium build, and beauty has always been an attractive feature. Meridian stands above average height for a woman, possesses a lovely slim, full shapely figure, has long, dark, thick wavy hair grown past the middle of her back, v-shaped, last trim. Meridian has light honey brownish green beautifully exotic shaped eyes.

Meridian’s eyes had deep green flecks that twinkled, and she, like most young women, kept up with fashion. Her style, retro Victorian, she owned a few comfortable pairs of laced leather Victorian boots, and looked great wearing short brimmed leather hats. Meridian wore hats, long soft flowing skirts, suede jackets, and purses. Without going overboard, Meridian’s trendy wardrobes made positive statements about herself, and her style the Derck’s loved. In the seclusion, and mild weather of the sultry land, the morning was yet too chilly for a swim at any beach.

Meridian took the day, and shopped for most of the tools, and cleaners she needed, and three hours later when she returned, noticed the charcoal wooden shingles, and red brick on the house. The trim on the frame, and shutters made the house look surreal in any season. The day warmed into something she’d consider spring. Outside with her new water hose, Meridian scrubbed and hosed the house and budding shrubberies. She loved indoors, as well as out, and her college major, reminded her that the hedges around the house needed cutting.

She had to loosen the tangle of time, with her rubber gloves, with that hedge cutter hanging up in the shed. Meridian had to gut the tangle, and drag it out on the curbside of her estate. Sheet after sheet of wallpaper stripped, finally all fit into the giant black lawn bags to take all the way to the curb, but the walk back uphill until the property leveled off, felt good. So each room was ready for her painting tasks. Meridian chose two tones of olive to color the interior, peach, pomegranate, and coordinates through the entire house, carefully wiping up drippings before they dried.

Working smartly she had less rubbing and scrubbing to do, and the colors she made flowed beautifully. The atmosphere Meridian created would make anyone, including her, happy. Knobs, handles, kick-plates, sconces, ceiling fixtures, and all brass on the furniture, she almost finished the polish. Now, her sconces glowed clear, and clean, amber, giving a lovely cast of color into the living room, bedrooms, and hallways. Meridian put a menagerie of colored glass bottles in clear windows, complimenting windows of stained glass, and out that day, purchased various wind chimes.

A few days later, Meridian stepped back, and very much liked what she saw. She returned to town, bought everything else she added to her list, and saw a beauty salon, and haggled if she wanted to take the time. She looked at her fingernails, and realized how banged up she had gotten them, knew she could use a shampoo, and decided to stop in, get a hair trim, and blow dry as well. Meridian liked the people, and so they talked her into a facial, and then could not resist having her eyebrows waxed.They shaped Meridian alluringly.

She decided she was in urgent need of acrylics, and a pedicure. Ending all the great services done that day took only three hours considering the amount of service she received, experiencing the people in town, and they relaxed her, eased her dilemma into thinking about all the possibilities there, life has to offer. She spent money wisely that day, and was even content enough to go home, and if she could stay up late enough, she looked forward to polishing the silver she found behind the pantry wall, and feeling very refreshed.

Her hair was shiny, bouncy, and trimmed just right. Meridian looked, and felt great. She already cooked food to last a few days, so still curious, when she got home, wanted to uncover what she gathered from behind the pantry wall. That main level painted olive trimmed in deep olive, into her softer shades blended, perfect, as she left the cottage ringing with music, and went home to the soothing smells of scented candles. Meridian, uncovering things she gathered, and saw no clues to her family existence, and soaked the china she found in the pantry too.

Meridian felt silly for being jealous, it was obvious her family knew one another, but not her, or them. Temporarily having the thought of her long lost cousin Jonjoui out of her head, and with no one to talk to, Meridian moved a random bookshelf, left in the pantry area, so she could sweep, but found a latch to a catch door in the thick as a plank, paneled wall. There, the shelving was empty, but behind the catch door a sealed note with another key inside of an envelope laid. Now, Meridian could see past the darkness, through that narrow door.

It must have been more private space, or even a large closet, and in the dark, she had to beware, and the paper note she’d been holding seemed thin with age.

It read:

My Dearest Meridian-

Take this key just as your father and I will discuss it. Know we love you very much. Be blessed, a beautiful one.

Affectionately,

-Mother.

The message was written the same day as the note in her vanity table, in her mother’s beautiful penmanship. Meridian had a sense she should be happy. She made it back to that place, a paradise, in her life, ran her fingers over the ink, slightly dispersed from the humidity over time, and felt the letter with both her hands pressed to her body. She held the letter close to her heart, where it pounded with what she thought for the first time in her life, and Meridian found a place inside her to breathe. With every breath, she was anxious.

Her fever started to lift, and she both laughed and cried tears of joy. Meridian’s skin flushed, and she blinked a few times, and gasped for air. Before she could put the two letters together, she stepped back into the pantry where she could see, and then went back again to find a light switch, and turned on the light. She had actually been standing again on a landing, a good thing she couldn’t see further than her nose, and searching for more light. Slowly, checking out the space, she walked down the few steps into a space with a corner.

It was a duplicate of the one off her bedroom, but without a closet, and it was clear of dust. Meridian came upon another door, way on the other side of the elongated room. It had a short hall, and that door was locked as well. She opened the first door she came to, and fumbled in the empty space for the light switch. She walked over to a wall, and pulled sheets off of canvas’ not realizing yet she’d uncovered her mother’s work. Gwen was a successful painter, and her daughter was now looking at versions of the painting, Fleur d’blum.

Behind it was a smaller canvas of who would have been her great grandfather. She traced her fingers along the ridges of the colorfully painted canvas, and discovered her mother’s signature on all the canvas works. They were works of art to Meridian’s eyes, and she felt proud to see two books written by her mother, Gwen-Michel’, and shifted through the paintings. She'd done portraits, flowers, windows, and cases well. Behind them she found where a massive wooden box sat. It resembled a treasure chest. In the dated wooden brass cornered chest, a large amount of jewelry in previous metals laid diamonds, rubies, and emeralds.

She found broaches, white gold bracelets, platinum earrings, gems, and pearls sat. Meridian grabbed gold watches, and a heap of necklaces, in which a great amount was antique.

“Oh,” she sort of giggled to herself, with her heart filled with love. Meridian felt something by it all, and frowned. She smiled to herself, and thought, there’s no one to thank. Wow! Meridian opened a white sealed envelope. It was filled with jewelry receipts, insurances, and another key, funny shaped, and flat.

The jewelry chest trimmed in brass, lined in velvet was a heavy timepiece, holding watches, and precious antiques. She could not estimate its value, but knew with the amount of weight she was able to live on for a long time. Meridian found antique picture frames close by, and a drawer in the back of the jewelry chest. There, she found photos of black, white, and colored prints, wrapped in beautifully laced handkerchiefs with the name Bernard Michel’ embroidered in a corner. Meridian smelled it, and caught the faintest air of her father’s scent.

Through the cloth she would carry with her for the rest of her life, with names, and dates written on the back of each photo, Meridian took a deep breath, anxious to see if her parents were in the photos, and found one in color, with both her parents. Bernard was holding Meridian who was only a few months old, and felt even then, she’d been a lucky baby. To her knees she collapsed, gasped, and held the dear picture to heart, and later, select a picture frame to put it, and other photos into, to display them on the hearth, emblazed by the photos she almost overlooked.

In her new surroundings, Meridian felt cherished. Her loneliness lifted in a way, as she touched the photos, and ran her fingers over them again, and again.She admired her mother’s fair beauty, and her father’s deep handsome ruggedness, and keen features and then Meridian felt a sense of her soul belonging. She didn’t know why, or even how they died, but assumed in a car crash long ago, just like the Derck’s. Now, Meridian knew her birth parents, saw herself in them, and felt her worth. Meridian was flush with love, and curiosity.

Lastly, inside the chest in the small room with a small window covered outside by brush, found instructions of the flat key. It’s a safety deposit box key. The bank the key belongs to is still standing in the same location, but changed its name. Meridian inherited more than she could dream of after Bernard’s grand-mother passed away, and back then, dreaded the threats upon their lives, so Bernard and Gwen took their precious belongings, and a plane, to the cottage in the sultry lands in a hurry, and began a plan, hoping things would not get brutal.

There, in Bernard’s grandmother’s house, they began securing assets in a home unknown. Stashing items in a home unknown was better than liquifying anything else in cash, since their monetary assets were embezzled. They stored a few items they could fall back on, and to provide Meridian’s future, and a safe haven for her in the midst of their demise, in case things went even more south for them. Meridian ripped through the photos closely, and explored down in the west wing, and had not discovered much else, and the long room from the pantry had another door.

It was locked Meridian stared at the photo of herself, and her biological parents, felt blessed with joy, and discovered she hadn’t properly read through her parents death certificates. Meridian needed to match up the time she recognized herself in the baby photos the Derck’s have of her, to realize how long her parents were gone, so that she would stop thinking, how much they didn’t want, care, or love her, so she gathered all the pictures, and frames of heavy silver and brass, and carried them to her bosom upstairs to get the frames cleaned, and untarnished.

She polished them to display on the hearth’s shelf, and placed her mother’s paintings in the halls of walls on the main floor. She cherished the cottage for what new, and precious life it gave, and then went back down to the sublevel uncovered, and unlocked the door. That room was empty too, elongated with two high windows, blocked as well with foliage, and the last locked door led into the sun room, off of her bedroom. The house delighted Meridian, and that night, she put lamps in the spaces she found, and admired what she saw.

She had not decided exactly what, or how she wanted to represent the space, but soon she will discover how the grounds work, and be able to open the doors opposite the private patio out back. Meridian could not fathom, nor dwelled on the time of her parents’ death yet, and just went with the moment, and hadn’t yet come across the year of her parent’s death, and the time the Derck’s signed adoption papers. There were mounds of documents, and since her parents wrote to her from the grave, Meridian felt that they actually cared about her.

From beginning to end she knew she was loved, and wondered what her life would have been if her parents lived, whether, or not she would have had siblings- but still equated, her life as full, and good with Daren, and Bethany Derck even as two weeks pass. March weather was warm, and on its way, and her college transcripts were on their way, and she finished all the gardening she could do. Meridian cleaned out the shed, and would faithfully mow the lawn every third week with the pushy thing that fascinated her, and a good reason to get outside.

Meridian found deeds, and blueprints to the house, and stored most of the jewels in the safety deposit box she bought, to split up her riches. With spring in the air, the trek to the beach, and pier, on moist, cut, raked grass gave her energy, and the sudden urgency to eat the fruits and vegetables that grew on her property. Meridian wanted to grow an array of things in her garden, and took a few extra dollars to get the cottage stunning, it was practically buried under heaps of foliage, and by every stroke, she uncovered its beauty.

The notes her parents left, dated over eighteen years, and knew that her personal bank accounts could dwindle. Calculating past what she was willing to work with aside from her inheritance, in the beautiful town she lived in was already starting to bloom, and considered steady work to maintain her assets. Underlyingly, she had not been ready to meet too many new faces, and thought to sit out a semester to have her assets analyzed, to know her worth, and had most of her jewelry, and trinkets appraised on another beautiful day

Driving errands, she gushed at more of the beautiful boutiques, and specialty shops in town, and even scoped a college she thought she might attend some day. Meridian stopped at the deli nearby for sliced turkey, cheese, and a pickle. Waiting for the clerk to get her order ready, she scoped around, and came across a post.

It read:

“Housekeeper Needed.”

Meridian thought about it, felt available to do the work, and asked the deli clerk where the housekeeper would be needed. He hymned, and hawed for a moment, and then finally came up with words.

“Oh, you don’t have too far to go,” the clerk said. He was clean, but dingy looking, with holes in his blue jeans, was monotoned, and then slapped the packaged turkey on the counter.

“Oh?”

“You can’t miss the old d’Anise place. You didn’t see it driving through town?” Perplexed, Meridian didn't know what to think.

“Well.... Well... I don’t know.”

“Besides,” he rushed loudly, “You don’t want to work for them folks. I heard the lady of the house is looney.” Meridian still wrote the address. She knew better than to go on hearsay, would make the call, and come to conclusions about the people once she met them. He pointed Meridian in the right direction, winked at her, as if she should be impressed, and they said good-bye.

The town had beautiful places, and homes to admire. When arrived she remembered admiring one of the grandest mansions in town. At night, you could see it’s well lit paths shone beautifully from distances on mega spacious grounds, and looked as if God lived there. It had three story greenhouses on either side, and the mansion was majestically breathtaking, with manicured lawns, long driveway, calm, peaceful, magnificent, and serene atmosphere. The enormous mansion set in a world of its own, trees so high made Meridian’s head spin, the closer she got to the house.

She was asked to use the driveway leading to the back of the huge three story structure, and she drove until she even reached the designated path. Enid Rae, the woman of the house, seemed hard of hearing, but was just not paying attention, and asked Meridian her name again, trying to speak over the music playing, and then introduced her ward Gordon, who was as friendly and pleasant as she was. He’d been blasting music unheard from the outside, and the act seemed odd for such a very grand manor. Fun, Meridian thought, welcomed the invitation for a tour.

As far as Enid Rae knew, Meridian was the first to answer the ad. She felt welcome, and even comfortable around her possible new employers. They needed housekeeping, and Miss Enid had a pleasant manor, and her voice was nice and personable. Gordon asked her name, and Meridian resisted the habit of saying Rebekah. Meridian noticed that sweet Miss Enid Rae was frazzled a time or two in her life.

Although concerned, Meridian overlooked her observations of Miss Enid stricken, and took in the mass of space from the servants entrance, and walked with Miss Enid, and Gordon across the spacious and marbled ground floor, into the main part of the mansion. She was impressed. She mentioned she recently came from the northeast region, and that winter compared to the sultry lands differed tremendously. Gordon was familiar with the winters’ in New York, and sympathized.

“Yes. There’s hardly anything like it, than here in the wintertime,” Gordon said when Meridian mentioned the cold.

“It gets so brutal up north,” Miss Enid added, and mentioned Gordon graduating college, and Meridian mentioned her college major in interior, exterior design, and business, and Miss Enid, and Gordon thought her designer goals were just what they might have needed. Miss Enid, and Gordon reflected on needing someone like her, and how her answering the ad, a coincidence. Meridian had not even thought as far as the qualifications of her they sought, and had not realized her potential.

Meridian was young, fresh, and Miss Enid Rae was thrilled, and liked Meridian, and she satisfied Gordon too, who she thought, a cool person. Miss Enid was pleasant, and Meridian sensed how much they could use the company, and felt she could too, and was open to say that she recently lost her parents.

“In a terrible car accident in the snow,” and in doing so, felt it very much for her to swallow. At that point, Meridian didn’t feel they, or even she needed to tour the entire structure at first sight. It was a massive fixture, and like snooping, in losing the Derck’s, Meridian tried to think she could yet get over it if she said it, but was all too wrong about that.

She, with those gentle people after all, could have been a killer. They had a good feeling about Meridian, and she, them. They seemed too open with the possessions the mansion possessed. With a lump in her throat over the Derck’s, she just wanted to know if she had the job. Gordon, and Miss Enid Rae also had a moment’s pause, and empathy for her loss, especially since they too, had a recent death in their family. Miss Enid Rae changed the subject, and mentioned with sorrow their old housekeeper resigning from old age, and how that much cheer Gordon added to the house since he’d come home.

Looking around, Meridian saw where the mansion was recently neglected. The housekeeper’s position would only be for a few days a week, but they would currently like her to begin working at least four days a week, and even more time if Meridian wanted it, which meant she was hired.

“We would like to put the manor back together again, and money is not a problem. We used to have a full staff, but Gordon, and I don’t need as much,” Their vibe was unanimous in that short span of time.

Miss Enid, and Gordon could tell Meridian could be trustworthy, and felt like she could surpass the present circumstances, and could be certain of her abilities giving her strengths. She did not need the job, she wanted it. They were confident Meridian could, and would do the job. The last thing they needed to employ was a flake, or a thief, given the circumstances, and state of the mansion, but for some reason, they felt secure in Meridian. She carried herself well, was well spoken, wore very nice clothes, smelled good, and wore her own tasteful jewelry head to toe.

Miss Enid asked, “Miss Meridian, would you be kind enough to join us?” They were impressed with one another, and Meridian was equally as enthused with the mansion. Its extraordinary dimensions were airy, beautiful, and had state of the art everything, with all the bells, whistles, all the amenities, and was completely gorgeous. The position of the two tearooms at the manor rests on opposite ends of the two, three story hot houses full of greenery, and as beautiful as the outdoor landscape.

Renovated, the mansion dated back more than one hundred years, owned by the same family who made extensions along the way. Her pay would probably increase unless she took the option to live in. Although an excellent opportunity if she had nowhere else to go, but Meridian declined the live-in offer. She wanted each day to return to her humble abode, felt that her pay was more than fair, and felt up to the task.

“It’s just Meridian, and yes. Thank you. I would love to join you here,” and accepted the offer of position.

The mansion only needed detailing, and regular upkeep, and Miss Enid asked if she would return on the next day if she wished.

“Well okay then,” Miss Enid said gleefully, and with Gordon standing by in approval, and then told her where to park.

“If you’d park your car at the service doors underneath the parking ports?” At eight o’clock in the morning Meridian would be there. Her starting time would be later when things got back into shape. Spring has almost reached full bloom, and the weather is humid, hot, and more hazy each day.

Meridian chose to work in cotton overalls since she could wear what she liked. In the humidity, cotton fabrics were cool, easy to clean, dry and wrinkle controlled. Meridian liked her work at the mansion and was complimented on how well she made a difference in its upkeep. The gloom in what seemed, Miss Enid’s persona, lifted, and Gordon would seem like a slob, but was extremely neat. He was also clean, and needed to just shake off a few pounds. Meridian found Gordon funny, and easy to get along with, for someone a few years her senior.

He was working out, and on things to better lives. Miss Enid, Meridian and Gordon’s lives were intertwined. They got along well, and Meridian didn’t feel as though she was on a job, or at work, and as little time passed, everything in the mansion changed into something better each day. No longer had Miss Enid, and Gordon suffered boredom, or ate snacks as heavily, that had become the better part of their exercise routines, while walking past the weight, and fitness room, causing health decline, and weight gain, and the more they saw Meridian, the more they had to look forward to.

They brought out the better parts of them, the better each of them felt. Work was good for Meridian’s morale, and before long, she, Miss Enid, and Gordon had become good, happy friends with different goals in mind. The mansion and its belongings had not all been lost, or too far gone, just a few blank spots where pictures, and trinkets were, and a few picture frames missing, and certainly three huge size paintings up the clear step stoned spiral staircases outer walls, off two landings, gone.

While Meridian, Miss Enid Rae, and sometimes Gordon spent their break times visiting one of the tearooms, eager to help Meridian, education was a subject of interest. In a short period of time, the mansion was successfully, recovered, without spending an outrageous amount of money, and quite a few new twists. Meridian recreating the atmosphere after repainting a few interior walls made all the difference, and they soon forgot the mansion was formerly oppressed; if the tea-rooms could talk…

Over the years, the walls in the manor could divulge a wealth of information, and in the three story green houses, if the green ivy could talk. Meridian could easily work in the mansion four days a week. They paid handsomely, and for all the money she’s been making, she looked into college tuition in the area if she really wanted to go. She couldn’t beat the cost of living in the sultry lands, it was much less expensive, than back east; loads. Meridian liked the different ways in which she could achieve her education, and her studies were not going to be as costly as she thought.

Knowing she would have to sustain herself in life on her own, close to completing her bachelor’s degree in business, Meridian’s best talents were in home decor and exterior designs. Those talents were something she could sell well, and topped all her classes. Meridian Michel’ had a knack, knew the right way to utilize color, space, and texture, and a passion for designs. She’d won various competitions, and wanted to start a company.

At the mansion, weeks after the main parlor was detailed, redesigned, and complete, Meridian made a schedule on how she would manage the great modern mansion with her time successfully, and things went well for everyone. All the rugs were delivered from the dry cleaners, all the draperies looked, and smelled as good as new. Meridian worked in the mansion with Enid a total of six weeks, and during that time, they paid her well.

She managed tasks previously overlooked, and it showed. Most of the windows of the manor were at least fifteen feet high, and Meridian saw to it all three levels of mansion windows washed. Meridian stepped off the clear walled elevator on the third floor, and came across the suites off alone more than the others. Her key opened one, even though it turned out, the wrong room, and she stepped inside. The entrance was neat, and smelled of a man who seemed to like to take care of himself.

The private open wood grained floored parlor was plush. The entryway had a maroon seating, leather bound with heavy studs, a telephone, and reading lamp as far as her eye could see without completely stepping inside. The room was well kept, and most recently used by a guest. Meridian figured the manor recently suffered a mass invitational party. Miss Enid sent Meridian to store some things on the third floor but told her to go right, in which she should have said left.

Miss Enid was standing in the wrong direction when she explained to Meridian where to go. Meridian felt sure, the room Enid mentioned was not that one, that door to the entryway was too private. The mansion had a veranda outside both top floors on the entire three story manor, the second floor is landscaped from the atrium, and a beautiful lush green sight to see. Both floors had benched seating spaces, barbecue grill pits, a putting green, and shuffleboard. It had a lovely view of the beautiful property beyond, and from afar, life around them remains serene.

If they are quiet, the faint sounds of the highway can be heard and you can see the night lights if you are tall enough, twinkle from a distance. People could see the lights of the manor at night off the highway twinkling through the thick bushes of the sway in the natural tall, hedged evergreens, sweeter than pine. Meridian roamed over the only unstained, even private room on the top floor, for a moment. The lingering fragrance was a man’s. Was that room mysteriously for Miss Enid’s husband, Meridian thought to herself?

Perhaps the room belonged to Miss Enid’s father, or who? It didn’t matter if a man once owned or rented one of the four spaces of the upper dwellings, it’s certainly attainable. She only wondered if the man she overheard them talking, deceased, and if the room he’d occupied needed looking after, afterall, Miss Enid, could have been married to the man, and she didn’t want to disturb the room, or her about it. All those weeks working there, Meridian hadn’t imagined a room as peaceful as that one exists.

She’d been careful of her assumption of Enid’s husband. Maybe it was the room of the man she overheard had died, and who is mourned, and why the mansion at first looked the way it had, and Miss Enid out of sorts. Meridian is unaware of the family’s history, but could tell they are of, or were of some importance if even many years ago, judging from the photos, contents, and ultra conditioning of the home. Nevertheless, what she saw, she had not expected, and respected what little she had, careful not to let a breath of the room out.

Her mind was prepared for tasks of the next few weeks, loving her work. Meridian unrealized the time, and was looking forward to doing it all over again. The main floor, tearooms, double door glass sided elevator, floors, and parlor level of the mansion, Meridian kept cleaned, polished, and detailed, on a daily basis, and doing extra each day, it all looked totally spit shined. “The cook keeps the kitchen, but we provide a detailing service twice a month, and once a week for all our bathrooms, which includes laundry service,” Gordon said.

“The cook comes four days a week, and keeps the kitchen, and floors decently.” Meridian topped the kitchen off, and made it better, but Gordon and Miss Enid didn’t want her to do the job, and apologized to her for any inconvenience they caused, and Meridian totally understood the plight. Grieving is a nasty business. Miss Enid asked Gordon immediately, to call the detail cleaning service, they’d used for years. They clean all the marbling on the kitchen walls, floors, every bathroom, including the elevator. In the following weeks, Miss Enid, and Meridian’s bed ensembles arrived after scouting each room on the second floor.

Meridian had people come in the week before to cut out all the pathways in the suites to marble. They had the carpets cleaned, and the floors looked great. She had them replaced with the gold, and white marbling of the oval landing ways, and had the carpets cleaned. They steam cleaned all the upholstery she asked in each suite, and visualized how to redesign each chamber so that the sun’s glow penetrated color out of each room. Each day Meridian came to work, she went to work with purpose, and hadn’t decided what she’d do about school yet.

A new semester was soon to begin, and as good as the mansion looked. Gordon was concerned she’d neglect her studies, and Meridian had to admit, the money for what she’d been doing was great. She spent what she had to survive, and banked the rest. With her home paid off, she had few bills. Miss Enid’s chambers are set off a slight hall on the second floor. Meridian chose forest, indigo, and blue for the left suites, off the left landing, and rust, orange, and battled over the color lilac, or violet for the last suite, and once again, the mansion was a sight for sore eyes.

Continue Reading Next Chapter

About Us

Inkitt is the world’s first reader-powered publisher, providing a platform to discover hidden talents and turn them into globally successful authors. Write captivating stories, read enchanting novels, and we’ll publish the books our readers love most on our sister app, GALATEA and other formats.