“OH MY GEISHAS!! Elise! Mark! Look!” Cara’s excitement was obvious and contagious when she spied the shiny new coffee machine on the counter. It was exactly like the higher-end one in her own tiny kitchen, and it hadn’t been there last evening. Neither had the brand new extra-large coffee cups clustered near it. Neither had the several different boxes of the coffee “cups” for use only in that type of coffee machine. They were even her particular favorite blends!
Mark and Elise had picked her up a little after 1:00 pm, and shopping had taken forever…it was after 4:00 pm already, which was way too many hours without a cup of coffee in Cara’s opinion.
It took her about a minute to set up the coffee machine. Less than three minutes later she had in her very happy hands a fresh cup of her favorite coffee, served light beige in a (quickly washed) perfectly-sized coffee cup. Bliss.
She secretly suspected who the party responsible for this gift was, but since there were no actual clues, she couldn’t be much more than 99% sure. Still, it was an extremely thoughtful, appropriate, and muchly appreciated gift.
Maybe she might consider letting bygones be bygone sooner than she’d thought likely? Bribery was insulting, but thoughtful bribery…she might fall for that. Some. Or more than some. She’d consider the ramifications later. Besides, there was an SUV-load of groceries to put up.
“Get outta the way, Mark. Lemme do my thing already!” Cara laughed ten minutes later. Mark solemnly bowed then stepped ten feet away so he could claim to technically be in the den. Then he went out to grab more bags.
Elise laughed at them and continued unpacking the bags full of groceries that the day man, Beck Bailey, was hauling into the kitchen. According to all the food entering the house, the Weres would not be going hungry anytime soon.
“I can’t believe all these bags came from just two grocery stores,” commented the somewhat out of breath day man.
“Thank you for helping, Mr. Bailey,” Cara thanked the man. The pleasant, slightly portly, older man was waiting for them when they arrived from their shopping expedition, and immediately started helping them unload the SUV. “I figure it won’t be long till I have to go grocery shopping again, either, considering I’ll be feeding six or so hungry Weres two meals a day.”
“Please, just call me Beck, and I don’t mind a bit. As soon as you have a moment, though, I do need borrow some of your time.”
Cara nodded and went back to putting the cold items in the refrigerator. Considering all the cold and frozen edibles and imbibeables she’d managed to corral into her carts, that part alone might take a while.
“Why don’t you let me put those things up so you can see what he needs?” Elise kindly suggested. Cara nodded gratefully and followed Beck to a small office just past Godric’s and gladly took the seat he offered. Shopping was hard work!
“Mr. Godric wanted me to finalize your working contract, complete the usual employment forms, and then there are a few things he wanted me to give you.” Cara stared in dismay at the paperwork piling up in front of her. Beck laughed.
“I understand your feelings completely, but the contract is actually not very complicated. This section,” he pointed to a section, “is a simple confidentiality agreement. Basically, tell no one what you do, see, hear, or encounter during your work here.” Cara briefly read over that section, and whaddya know, that’s exactly what it said, but just with more (useless) words.
“This next section simply details your working days and hours of Monday through Friday, with the hours classified as “the hours necessary to complete the tasks of preparing and cleaning up for two meals each day”, with those being lunch and dinner,” he clarified for no reason that Cara could see, “”for a group of no larger than six individuals unless further assistance is provided for you, and that you will be responsible for purchasing whatever you deem necessary to comfortably complete your duties”. It also reads that you are to consider the hours between the preparation and clean-up of lunch until the preparation of dinner your own time to spend as you wish unless you need to shop for supplies or run errands.” He slid the contract over so she could read what he’d basically just read to her. She nodded, actually rather glad of his consideration, and returned the contract back to him.
Annnnnd…there was more. “This section states that you are to be compensated $2,000 a week for your time and efforts. You are given the entirety of Saturdays and Sundays off, but that you are to consider yourself permanently welcome here. If you should decide to provide any sort of assistance during your weekends, you will be generously compensated for such. A vehicle and driver are at your disposal,” he looked up, “I assume that would be your guard?” She nodded.
He continued, “…at your disposal for any excursions whether or not they are related to your employment responsibilities.” Poor Beck was obviously getting tired of reading all the legal mumbo-jumbo. He paused to sip what she guessed was tea, then…continued.
“This section down here details your inclusion in the employee health plan, the employee life-insurance plan, the employee retirement plan, and your invitation to use any of the facilities on the property, including the gardens, the pool…etc…” Finally he wound down.
Cara perused the entire contract for a bit, then bit the proverbial bullet and signed the damn thing.
Next up, the employment forms. Piece of cake, she thought, rather glad dear Beck didn’t feel called upon to read those to her as well.
Both were relieved when the paperwork portion of the afternoon finally ended. He reached into his desk and pulled out a key ring complete with several keys and a small card. “These are the keys to the front, side, and back doors, and these are the security access codes you’ll need to enter before you insert the keys, and after you enter the residence.” Beck’s tone and demeanor alerted Cara to the true seriousness of this part of the afternoon’s transactions.
She hesitated briefly before accepting the responsibility for the home’s security. “Why is he giving me this? Wouldn’t it be safer to have you meet me here every day at around 11:00 am and let me in? I mean, I’m technically just a very new employee.”
“Yes, honestly, it would be safer, but what about when you have to run errands or buy groceries? What if I’m kept away by my own assignments?” Beck thought even more kindly of the young woman for worrying about such things.
“True. That makes sense. It’s just that I’m not certain how comfortable I am with this level of responsibility.”
“Mr. Godric doesn’t trust at all lightly, but he apparently trusts you, Cara, so don’t worry about that. He obviously thinks very highly of you. And, on that note, he wanted me to give you this.” Beck rolled his chair around and picked up the vase of stunningly gorgeous flowers she had noticed sitting on the other portion of his huge desk.
They were beautiful, and smelled incredible. A huge bouquet of purple hyacinths, pink roses and Calla lilies was beautifully filled out with lots of greenery and baby’s breath. “They’re gorgeous!” She exclaimed happily. “Oh, and there’s a card, too!”
She opened the florist’s card, and grinned.
“My angel, my imp,
Please forgive me.
Thank you for your lovely presence in my unlife.
I look forward to healing any breach that may part us.
Be at ease in my home.
Cara couldn’t help the pleased blush that flooded her face or the delighted, secretive grin that teased her lips as she remembered him calling her alternately “my angel” and “my imp” during his visit to her apartment. It was very gratifying to know that he held such fond memories of that evening as well. They’d had so much fun, laughing, joking around. That eyebrow of his had certainly gotten a nice workout that night.
“Thank you, Beck. Well, let’s go play with groceries now.” Under Beck’s benevolent gaze, Cara stuffed the keys and code card into her pocket, picked up the heavy vase carefully, and headed back to the kitchen. Supper wasn’t trained to fix itself, and it was already beginning to get later.
She glanced at the clock on the kitchen wall…yup, it was already fifteen till five and she wanted the Weres to get used to having dinner at 6:00 pm, so she needed to get started. Her spine tingled a bit as she noticed that it wouldn’t be too awfully long until the sun started to set. These late fall days in Greensboro, NC, sure seemed to end earlier and earlier.
At 4:00 pm, Godric activated the live-feed from both the internal and external surveillance systems covering the entire estate. The rarely-used control center was conveniently located in a hidden room behind the office in his private quarters and was outfitted with a vast array of all things related to undetected recon.
He wanted to inspect the new guards to ensure they were performing their duties adequately, and they were. So far even that damn Anderson seemed to know what he was doing as he was hidden with an excellent vantage point overlooking the front of the house. The Were Chad, the one with the girlfriend Sarah he was to meet this night, was hidden with an excellent vantage point overseeing the gardens and pool areas. Rio was briefly glimpsed patrolling the long drive from the road to the house, and Cade was monitoring the tree line on the other side of the outbuildings. Their proper placement and focus reassured him of their purported competence.
He then brought up the live feed from the internal systems. The cameras and voice transmitters had been placed for maximum coverage of the foyer, den, his own office, Beck’s office, the underling’s offices, the kitchen, dining room… In fact, every room on the estate, except for the restrooms, bedrooms, and basement, had sufficient surveillance devices installed at different angles for full coverage of any given area.
Even his own private quarters were under optional scrutiny. If he felt the need, he could remote activate the cameras and listening devices, as well as several other devious little tricks the systems installer had provided. He could also activate the emergency light-tight shutters installed over every window in the house.
Leaning back in his comfortable desk chair, Godric was satisfied that he would not yet have to reveal his talent for early rising. He could watch Cara…the Weres’ interactions with Cara from afar to ensure they treated her with respect. He would monitor all situations to ensure her safety and comfort.
A bit later, commotion in the foyer drew his attention. Cara had returned, and her guards were helping to carry an increasing number of bags into the house. Good, Beck was helping as well. He really wanted Cara and Beck to get along, but it was not strictly necessary. Although trustworthy, reliable day men were not easy to replace, it was definitely possible. Replacing Cara was…not.
Godric was pleased to note how very well the cameras in the kitchen area were positioned for maximum coverage. Ah! She found the coffee machine! Her whole face lit up with radiant surprise! She was stunningly beautiful in her elation, her glorious flush of pleasure so enticing, the delighted sparkle in her eyes so entrancing!
The heavenly smile on her soft pink lips nearly brought him out of hiding. Oh, to have her gazing into his eyes with such a look on her sweet face…to crush her lips with his…
The privacy of this secret chamber was indeed convenient considering the bulge rising once again in his loose pants. He never quite stopped aching for her, but was hopeful he could start better controlling such reactions. Eventually.
In both of his youths he had lacked much restraint when it came to pleasures of the flesh, but as time passed, such things were less and less of an urgent problem. After several centuries, his self-control had slowly extended to include his sexual relations. While slightly less controlled by his urges, and certainly more selective, than his male child, he had nevertheless remained quite active until the last several centuries. Then, other things slowly became more important until sex was just a normal but generic part of feeding.
Until Cara. Now he seemed destined to walk around with a semi-permanent erection no matter how often he attempted to solve the problem himself.
The serene, soulful contentment she exuded from her first sip of coffee captivated his attention. The serenity of the moment would have stolen his breath had he still breathed. That something so incredibly mundane as a cup of coffee could bring her such peace, such contentment, simply amazed him. Incredible! How often that word applied to her was also…incredible. Also beautiful. Stunning. Sweet.
He was surprisingly grateful to the universe that his gift had brought her such joy.
His sense of satisfaction ended abruptly with a low growl as he noticed Mark’s overt familiarity toward the object of his desire. Mayhap the Were Chad would be a better guard, he fumed. He at least had a girlfriend. Godric carefully monitored their interactions as he intended to have words with DesChamps. He was pleased to note, however, that at least Elise was working out well.
Soon, Beck led Cara to his office. Ha! Apparently his Cara cared as much for paperwork as he did, although he was pleased to see her read through the contract before she signed it. Now for the employment paperwork…and the keys and access codes.
Her reluctance to accept the keys and codes spoke well of her understanding of the serious responsibility possession of such items entailed. Although he certainly trusted Cara, her hesitance only strengthened his faith in her. He must give Beck a raise. His handling of that delicate procedure was exceptional.
Now…for the flowers. Brava! Her reaction did not disappoint! He sincerely hoped she understood his reference to that most pleasant time he had spent with her in her home. If not, he wanted to remind her of how very naturally they had gotten along.
She was definitely his angel, and she was definitely his imp! If she did not know the language of flowers, he would certainly enjoy teaching her of such things…
Ah, that sweet, secret smile dancing on her lips. That smile would soothe him into his day rest for many, many mornings to come.
*Love it? Hate it? Let me know! Reviews are like crack to this writer!*