"Miss White, can we see your bag please," one of them said rather than asked, while the other one took it off my shoulder. I swallowed and fought the urge to shudder.
They were intimidating, big, and didn't appear to trust me. I wondered if I seemed dangerous to them, al five feet six inches of me. I glanced down at my skimpy white shorts and purple tank top and wondered if they considered the fact it would be impossible to hide weapons in this outfit. I thought it somewhat strange the two big guys were reluctant to let me in. Even if I happened to be a threat, I do believe any one of them could have taken me blindfolded with their hands tied behind their back.
The image popped into my mind and made me want to laugh. I bit my bottom lip and waited to see if dangerous little me would be al owed entrance into the bigger than life iron gates.
"You're free to go, Miss White. Please take the servants entrance to the left of the stone wall and report to the kitchen where you will be instructed how to proceed."
Who were these people who needed two men the size of Goliath to guard their entrances? I got back on my bike and rode into the now open gates. Once I made it around the corner of lush palm trees and tropical gardens, I saw the house. It reminded me of houses on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous. I would've never guess houses like this even existed in Alabama. I'd been to Nashville once and seen houses similar in size, but nothing quite this spectacular.
I composed myself, pushed my bike around the corner trying to not stop, and stare at the massive size of everything. I leaned my bike against a wall out of sight. The doorway for the servants was designed to impress. At least twelve feet tall, a beautiful y engraved letter S adorned it. Not just tall, the door was real y heavy, causing me to use all my strength to pull it open. I peeked inside the large entry hall and stepped into a small area with three different arched doorways to choose from ahead of me.
Since I'd never been here before, I didn't know where the kitchen might be located. I walked up to the first door on the right and looked through the opening. It appeared to be a large gathering room but nothing fancy and no kitchen appliances, so I moved on to door number two, peeked inside, and found a large round table with people sitting around it. A large older lady stood in front of a stove unlike any I'd ever seen in a house. It was something you'd find in a restaurant. This had to be the place. I stepped inside the arched opening. The lady standing noticed me and frowned. "Can I help you?" she asked in a sharp authoritative tone even though she kind of reminded me of Aunt Bea from the Andy Griffith show.
I smiled, and the heat rose, threatening to spike out the top of my head as I watched all the people in the room turn to face me. I hated attention and did whatever I could to draw little to myself. Even though it seemed to be getting harder the older I got.
Anything which encouraged people to speak, I wanted to avoid the possibility if I could. It's not that I'm a recluse; it's just the fact I have a lot of responsibility. I figured out early in life friendships would never work for me. I'm too busy taking care of my mom. So, I perfected the art of being uninteresting.
"Um, uh, yes, I was told to report to the kitchen for further instructions." I quietly cleared my voice and waited. I didn't like the once over the lady shot me, but since I was here, I had no choice but to stay. "I know I sure didn't hire you. Who told you to come here?" I hated all those eyes on me and wished Jessica hadn't been so stubborn. I needed her here, at least for today. Why did she always do these things to me?
"I am Sadie White, Jessica White's daughter. She...uh...wasn't well today so I am here to work for her. I'm...uh...supposed to be working with her this summer." I wished I didn't sound so nervous, but the people stared. The lady up front frowned much like the way Aunt Bea looked when someone made her angry. It was tempting to turn and run. "Jessica didn't ask about you helping her this summer, and I don't hire kids. It is not a good idea with the family comin' down for the summer. Maybe during the fall when they leave, we can give you a try."
My nervousness from being the center of attention immediately disappeared, and I panicked at the thought of my mom losing this income we so desperately needed. If she found out I couldn't work for her, she would quit. I pulled my grown up voice out of the closet and decided I needed to show this lady I could do the job better than anyone else. "I can understand your concern. However, if you would give me a chance, I can and will show you I am an asset. I will never be late to work and will always complete the jobs assigned to me. Please, just a chance."
The lady glanced down at someone at the table as if to get an opinion. She moved her eyes back up at me, and I could see I broke through her resolve.
"Ok, Sadie White, your chance starts now. I'm going to team you up with Fran here who has been working at this home as long as I have. She'll instruct you and report back to me. I will have you an answer at the end of the day. Here is your trial, Miss White; I suggest you don't blow it." I nodded and smiled over at the now standing Fran. "Follow me," the tall, skinny redhead who appeared to be at least sixty-five years old said before she turned and left the room.
I did as instructed and didn't make eye contact with any of the others in the room. I had a job to save. Fran walked me down a hall way and past several doors. We stopped, opened one, and stepped inside. The room contained shelves of books from the floor to the ceiling. Large, dark brown leather chairs were scattered around the room. None faced each other or looked to be used for any type of visiting or socializing. The room was clearly set up to be a library. A place where someone could come, find a book, and lose themselves in one of the large cushy chairs. Fran swung her arm out in front of her gesturing to the room with a bit of flair. It surprised me coming from the older lady. "This is Mrs. Stone's favorite spot. It's been closed off all year. You will dust the books and shelves, clean the leather with the special cleaner, and Windex the windows. Vacuum the drapes, clean, and wax the hard woods. This room must shine. Mrs. Stone likes things perfect for her sanctuary. I will come get you at lunchtime, and we will dine in the kitchen." She walked to the door, and I heard her thank someone. She stepped back inside pulling a cart full of cleaning supplies. "This will have everything you need. Be careful with al framed artwork and pieces of art. I warn you everything in this house is very valuable and must be treated with utmost care. Now, I expect you to work hard and not waste any time with foolishness." The tight-faced Ms. Fran left the room. I circled around, taking in the extravagance of my surroundings. The room wasn't real y big; it just seemed full. I could clean this. I hadn't been asked to do anything impossible. I went for the dusting supplies and headed for the ladder connected to the bookshelves. I might as well start at the top, since dust falls.