a Sultry Land

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Sunset

Nine-

At the end of the day, the sweet smell of green grass, plants, and exotic flowers Meridian planted at her place, blooming, peeking colors, as she drove up the drive to her cottage- they awaited her arrival, and it felt like home. She times the sprinklers to run at the setting of the sun every other day, and as clockwork, another exciting new day was coming to an end, welcoming her in as much as it is a delight to walk the cobblestones let into her villa. She has entered through the kitchen since she carried home with her fresh carrots, potatoes, and onions.

Meridian, and Miss Enid picked them from the garden trails, way out back in the woodsy area of the mansion grounds, where they also picked the freshest fruit, and herbs from the mansion’s green houses. Driving up to her home that late afternoon, through the brush of the tall oak, weeping willow, and evergreens, she could see the two other cabins, one upwards, the other far off below. She stared off a bit, and decided she would catch a quick bath, and thought about the college inquiries she, and Gordon mailed inquiries to various colleges in the area.

They decided it mattered not which college she went to, as long as she finished her education. By comuter, she would not have to meet new faces, and keep her job working at the d’Anise’, still unmentioned as housekeeper. Enid, and Gordon might have thought that she, and Dane had run into each other by then. Dane was thankful to whoever got his home back in order, and knew Enid must have hired a crew of interior designers. The outcome of his home soothed his soul, he felt like his parents would turn in their graves at the sight of their home looted by relatives.

Dane only knew most of his relatives through photographs. Nonetheless, he hadn’t seen them in too many years for clemency of anything, since they did not contribute to his fathers’ success. Ruben kept his eyes peeled for the sake of the d’Anise relics dis-appearing. Dane had not known the young woman unmentioned who seemed to lighten the spirits of Gordon, and Enid. He went by the faint scent of Jasmine he liked, looking at the painting of his parents Ruben kept an eye since the golden framed 6ft. x 9ft. painting could have been taken out of the house.

After uncle Nathan’s funeral, Dane assumed they had another housekeeper who didn’t live there, and that perhaps Enid hired temporary help, or a particular company, but when Dane finally laid eyes on Meridian who was already leery of him, he was fascinated. They were not flirtatious, but aside from her beauty, Dane was not sure why he felt the way he did about Meridian. Dane was attracted to her, and if confirmed she had an ounce of intellect, it would be all he needed to know. If she could carry a conversation, he’d be hooked. Meridian’s level of maturity surpassed most people her age.

Gordon even had respect for Meridian, and even looked up to her in certain instances. He was more than willing to get Meridian to finish her education, and felt good to him, if she used him as someone to lean on. Dane’s return was happier than when he left, and in reality, Gordon could seek his dream for the rest of his life, and it would not matter. His dowry he couldn’t spend in a lifetime, and Enid wanted to see him well content, and wanted Gordon to pursue a life lasting creative interest. Dane truly believes Gordon has no recoil of his unfortunate incident as a child.

Nor had Gordon the luxury of his mother even when she was alive, she was most interested in her torrid lifestyle than in the infant she bore, and went back to her old tricks, using heavy drugs, prostituting her efforts, and had no use for her child. Gordon was dropped off anywhere, with anyone who would take care of him for the money, and luckily, he was never harmed, and unusually at the house with his mother the night she died. Life for Gordon was interesting as he got older. He had a handful of good friends in school, who visited with him at the manor.

Gordon faced adverse bullies, but he fared well. They teased him, and punched him because of his height, and weight, so he preferred to stay secluded within his circle. To his friends, Gordon was a fun, interesting, and scholastically above average person who was true, and rightfully did not like to be in large crowds. Of course as a child, loud sounds made Gordon panic, so Enid Rae was sure to include clowns, and puppet acts at his birthday parties. They excluded balloons, and other loud noises at Gordon’s celebrations, because for a while, they made him too nervous.

They placed ballooned decorations high, and Gordon had the pleasure of ponies, magicians, super heros, and the like at his birthday parties, and was never questioned why he lived with the d’Anise all his life, and practically protected from the world? Gordon was provided just as much comfort as anyone else’s, and he was as if the child Enid could never have had. Gordon was as young to Dane, as Dane to Denim, and a sweet child, whom Dane loved as much as Denim loved him. Gordon was as content with Enid Rae, as much as the d’Anise were very content with both of them.

Dane was polite to Meridian upon their first meeting through Enid. He did not question her position with his family, or her visits, yet asked himself, why was she there? He thought her beautiful, and the woman who matched the Jasmine scent in his mansion that lingered, and Enid, and Gordon revered, and he still didn’t know she worked in his home. To Meridian, Dane was huge, handsome, dressed stylishly, and seemed the mountain man type. He hadn’t made any gruffness about her having tea with Enid, or listening to loud music with Gordon.

Dane was rarely there, but left a positive impact on almost everyone, and was happy as long as everyone else was happy. Now Meridian understood why Dane carried himself as if the mansion was his home, and castle, but kept his life busy in travel, discovering Dane did sleep in the house was strange. In fact, as a rule, the d’Anise made it their business to stay out of the help’s way, so at the same time Meridian discovered that the delivery man had truly been the master of the mansion, and its domain, and just nodded her head hello upon meeting him.

Meridian stayed reluctant to make any unnecessary appearances. Meridian kept herself busy all that time with Enid, clearing ornate spacious rooms of spills, and fingerprints all over the furniture. Bronze handrails, and kick plates overrun with smears, and smudges. Meridian cleaned, and shined all the precious metals, and they cleared random wine glasses, and encrusted dinner plates, forks, table napkins, spoons, and knives. Dane’s house was fully equipt with wet bars, and smoking chests, the owner of the mansion did not smoke.

Meridian discovered the Master. He was an expert shooter, or at least, a marksman. His trophies, guns, and rifles were as elaborate as the cabinets they were encased. Meridian detailed every speck of dust in the mansion, and it was clean. With the curtains and draperies of the main floor of the parlor rooms were washed and dry cleaned, it alleviated smug odors recently penetrated. Meridian dusted, cleaned and waxed the floors of the weight room as well. They found a used cigar in the towel room closet, liquor glasses in the showers, and winced. The mansion gave them a lot to do.

Slowly won the race, but surely she with the help, or company of Miss Enid Rae, helped in her own way. They put the manor back together again, in the time Meridian spent with them.She stepped back, and saw the mansion, a place a person could stay for a while. In parts of the modern mansion, there were places where a person may never come in contact with anyone else, ever. When Meridian first arrived, on the first floor, she and Miss Enid worked on the six bedroom, four bathroom suites together, and at first it was overwhelming, but Meridian got a hang of the routine, it worked.

She, and Enid cleaned, and decorated the rooms into separate, coordinating palates. The colors flowed from room to room cascading from the left wing in colors of white, rose, peach, green, indigo, black, and every bathroom was duplicated in Victorian motifs of black, white, and beautifully elegant. Meridian replaced things, and worked diligently as best she could with haste, and made quite a few changes since uncle Nathan’s death, which she knew nothing about, and cleaned everything spotless for them, no matter the reason.

She thought they deserved a decent, clean, place to live, and Meridian whistled while she worked, until the extensions off the main floor looked divinely behind the wall of the halls, and the one room, an elaborate guest’s nursery, she took special care of. Other guest rooms were silver framed pictures atop fireplace mantles of old friendships, and important people of the grand mansion’s past. In photo frames, she paid little attention to the faces, but they seemed happy. Meridian just cleaned the glass, and the frames, and added leafy green plants to those sunny rooms.

Meridian made each room’s atmosphere a serene paradise. Other doors led into the western parlor rooms, but were locked. Guests from Nathan’s funeral had to use the hallway to enter into the main areas of the first floor, Enid never mentioned. Those rooms were Dane’s father, and grandfather’s offices, and storage no one cared about. The manor had two living rooms on opposite sides of it, two grand dining rooms, with photos in elaborate curio cabinets. Neither woman had housekeeping training, but had succeeded well.

Each room they finished Enid deemed off limits. Once a week Meridian went to the completed suites to water all the plants added to the finished rooms, let in fresh air, and lightly dusted until she figured out how often the rooms needed attention. She, and Gordon listened to music where, and whenever they wanted, loudly, and happily spoke at the top of their lungs. Later in life, Dane walked in, and didn’t know what to make of it, and they wouldn’t even know he was there. None of them knew it at the time, but it was a happy beginning to the end of many sorrows, for all in favor.

They did a good deed each day, right before their eyes, and at the end, the mansion was not as bad as Meridian thought it could be. It seemed to her they only had a monster mansion party, and just needed to whip the manor back into shape, and Enid was smart to hire help. The entire house needed to be like new, and they achieved it. She found the linen sheets kept in the washroom, and persisted in Gordon, and Enid’s rooms. Part of the truth about the old housekeeper retiring is that she too went for grabs after Nathan’s funeral. Enid caught her stealing during the time of grief.

By telephone, Gordon made Enid dismiss her. He returned home to the sultry lands, anguished at the sight of the manor too, for the first time. The mansion, after four days, was left in shambles. Distant relatives used the manor as a playground, and some even took out their hate for uncle Nathan. Some started to abuse the house, but it had not been his. After that, Meridian and Enid worked in one, or two rooms at a time. They replaced linens, and also restored new, fresh up to date curtains in the bedrooms, living rooms, and adjoining baths, and made the first floor beautiful.

After a cleaning staff detailed the first, and second floor again, with great spirit, and energy, Meridian motivated Enid into innocent conversations. They detailed cleaning, getting ready those rooms, and bathrooms in the suites on the second floor for new bedding ensembles, and Meridian went to clean the windows, and sills first. She polished furniture, mirrors, floors, and sent all the rugs out for cleaning. She got a head start on things. Meridian was a good self starter, and quite eager to help. She filled her days with work, and her nights completing admission applications for school.

The main house of the mansion only needed tender, love and care when finally, Meridian met the gardener. The gentleman was getting up in age too, he’d cared for the grounds for many years, and attended to the green houses too. Meridian kept Enid Rae in good company., and sometimes accompanied her in her free time picking herbs. with her. Meridian, and Enid picked the vegetables Cook makes ready to zest, for his delicious cuisines. He, Enid, and now Meridian, shared each other’s company, and loved to talk, and make the Frugal Gourmet’s lamb recipes.

Meridian checks on Miss Enid, and lately, she seemed too tired. Enid carried saggy dark bags under her eyes, worsened in depth, and she started having a hard time healthwise, causing Meridian to care for her during tea times as well, and thought Enid should get out more. She needed too, to stimulate her mind, or go perhaps, see the city, but Enid knew the city. Hauntingly, every way she turns, she thinks she sees Denim, but since Gordon is back, and Meridian’s personality, and aid, Entering middle age, Enid gets out, if even just from her quarters, grateful for Gordon’s chipper presence.

She spent a lot of time alone in the manor’s spaciousness while Gordon was away, vacant people, besides the help. Meridian’s employers paid well, and asked for nothing. Her salary was well sufficient, and at any time, and so far, Enid Rae d’Anise, and Gordon Miller-d’Anise, were very nice people, who she would go above, and beyond if she had to.

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