I managed to get everything dusted and the windows cleaned before Fran returned to get me for lunch. I needed a break and some food. Her frowning face was a welcome sight. She moved her gaze around the room and nodded before leading me back down the same path I'd taken this morning in silence. The smell of fresh baked bread hit me as we rounded the corner and stepped into the large bright kitchen. Ms. Mary stood over the stove pointing to a younger lady who wore her hair in a bun covered with a hair net just like Ms. Mary.
"Smells good, Henrietta. I believe you've got it. We will test this batch out on the help today, and if everyone likes it, you can take over the bread baking for the family's meals." Ms. Mary turned, wiping her hands on her apron "Ah, here is our new employee now. How are things going?" Ms. Fran nodded and said, "Fine." Either this lady didn't smile much or she just didn't like me.
"Sit, sit, we have much to get done before the family arrives." I sat down after Fran did, and Ms. Mary sat trays of food in front of us. I must be doing something right since Fran directed her words in my direction. "Al the help eat at this table. We all come at different shifts for lunch. You may choose what you want to eat." I nodded and reached for the tray of sandwiches and took one. I took some fresh fruit from a platter.
"The drinks are over there on the bar. You may go choose what's there or fix something yourself." I went over and poured some lemonade. I ate in silence while I listened to Ms. Mary direct the lady she called Henrietta. They seemed to be making bread for tonight's meal. Neither Fran nor I made any attempt at conversation.
After we were done, I followed Fran to the sink where we rinsed our plates and loaded them into the large dishwasher ourselves. Just as silent, we returned to the library. I was a little less nervous now and more interested in my surroundings. I noticed the portraits as we walked down the hall way. There were portraits of two very cute little boys. The further I walked, the older they seemed to get. Toward the large opening we would cross going to the library, an oddly familiar face smiled down at me from a life size painting. A face I'd seen many times on television and in magazines. Just last night during dinner, he had been on television. Jessica watched Entertainment Daily during our meal. Teen rocker and heartthrob Jax Stone was one of their favorite topics. Last night he'd been on the arm of a girl rumored to be in his new music video. Fran stopped behind me. I turned to her, and she seemed focused on the portrait.
"This is his summer home. He will be arriving with his parents and brother any day. Can you handle this?" I simply nodded, unable to form words from the shock of seeing Jax Stone's face on the wall. Fran moved again, and I followed her into the library "He's the reason teenagers are not hired. This is a private escape for him. When he was younger, his parents insisted he take a break each summer and spend time with them away from the bright lights of Hollywood. Now he's older and still comes here for the summer. He leaves now and then to go to different events, but for the most part, this is his getaway. He brings his family with him since they don't see each other much during the year. If you can't handle it, you wil be fired immediately. His privacy is of utmost importance. It's why this is such a high paying job." I straightened and grabbed the bucket I'd been using. "I can handle anything. This job is more important to me than a teenage rock star." Fran nodded, but from her frown, I could see she didn't believe me. I focused more energy into my work. At the end of a long day, I listened while the quiet, frowning Fran reported to Ms. Mary. She believed I would be a good worker and I should be given a chance. I thanked her and Ms. Mary. I should be able to save enough money for the fall when my mom would have the baby, not work, and I would be back in school. I could do this.
Yes, Jax Stone was famous, and his incredible steel blue eyes made my heart flutter. I made myself admit that much. However, it wasn't just because he happened to be one of the most beautiful creations known to man. Everyone knew beauty ran only skin deep. I assumed the shallowness leaking out his veins would be so revolting I wouldn't care if I cleaned his house and passed him in the halls.
Besides, guys were a species I knew nothing about. I never took time to talk to one even when they did their best to talk to me. I've always had bigger problems in life, like making sure we ate and my mom remembered to pay our bill s. When I think of all the money I'd wasted on the condoms I shoved in her hands and purses before she went out with the countless men who flocked to her, I real y had a hard time not getting angry with her. Even in thrift store clothing, she looked gorgeous. One of her many disgusting men told me I inherited the cursed looks. From her blond curly hair to her clear blue eyes and heavy black lashes, I somehow managed to get it all. However, I lacked the one thing I knew would save me from certain disaster, I actual y appeared rather dull. Something my mother loved to remind me of, yet instead of being upset by it, I held onto it for dear life. What she thought would be a downfall to my character; I liked to think of as my lifeline. I didn't want to be like her. If having a dull personality kept me from following in her footsteps, then I would embrace it.
The apartment we lived in for almost five hundred a month sat underneath a huge, old house. I walked in to find she wasn't inside. With only four rooms, Jessica couldn't have gotten far.
"Mom?" I got no answer. The sun was setting so I stepped out onto what Jessica referred to as a patio. If you asked me, it was real y more like a small piece of slab. She stood out in the yard with her increasing stomach on view for all to see, in a bikini I'd bought at a thrift store a few weeks ago. She turned and smiled. The sick façade from this morning no longer appeared on her face. Instead, she seemed to be glowing.