At the Greek Tycoon's Bidding(5)

By: Cathy Williams

Not wanting to encourage this line of conversation, and seriously concerned that getting rid of the girl might prove more difficult than he had anticipated, Theo adroitly changed the subject.

‘I can’t have you collapsing on my premises.’ He walked over to her and looked down at the discreet name label pinned to the front of her overall. Distantly he registered that she certainly was on the plump side. Her breasts, pushing against the unyielding fabric, appeared to be voluminous. In every respect she was physically the antithesis of the women he dated, who were always leggy, brunette, flat chested and ultra-glamorous. ‘Hills Cleaning Services,’ he murmured to himself. ‘What’s the telephone number?’

Heather reluctantly provided him with the information and waited with a sinking heart as he called and explained the situation to her employer at the other end of the line.

‘I’ve been sacked, haven’t I?’ she asked gloomily, the minute he was off the phone.

‘Apparently there have been two incidents recently…?’

‘Oh, not fainting incidents,’ Heather expanded quickly, just in case he began thinking that she was one of those pathetic women who couldn’t take care of themselves. ‘You haven’t told me what they said…’

‘I thought I just had. In a roundabout way.’ Unusual for him to say anything in a roundabout way, but he was reluctantly beginning to feel sorry for the woman. Overweight, insecure, and clearly ill equipped to do any other job. Thanks to him, she would now have to find alternative employment. He felt an uncustomary twinge of guilt. ‘They seem to think that you’re a liability…’

‘That’s silly,’ Heather said miserably. ‘I’m not a liability. I admit a couple of times I got home from work and fell asleep. I just meant to put my feet up for five minutes with a cup of tea, but you know how it is. I nodded off, and by the time I woke up it was too late to do the cleaning job…’

‘You do two jobs…?’ Theo asked in astonishment.

‘I’m sorry. I know you thought you were doing the right thing, and I know you mightn’t have wanted me around just in case I fainted again—which I wouldn’t have, by the way—but thanks to you I’m now out of pocket. They probably won’t even pay me for the hour and a half I’ve been here.’ She stared despondently into the abyss of imminent poverty. Of course there were other night jobs. She could always do that bar one at the local pub. Tom would have her in a minute. But bar work was gruelling and exhausting. At least with the cleaning job she could switch to automatic and get through her work with her mind pleasantly drifting off to a comforting fantasy land in which she actually completed the illustration course she wanted and became famous designing the covers for children’s books.

‘What’s the day job?’ Theo asked curiously. She was now strong enough to sit up. He wasn’t really interested in hearing the ins and outs of her life, but a few minutes’ chat wouldn’t kill him, and it would give her a bit more time to gather her resources. Her hands rested limply on her lap and she was staring into the distance, no doubt contemplating the horror of not earning minimum wages by doing a job that was draining her of all her energy. Thus far, only two women he had dated had held down jobs, and neither had actually seen their jobs as anything more than an interruption of their leisure time—something to do as an amusing distraction from the daily grind of shopping, self-pampering and lunches with their friends.

‘Oh. Day job.’ Heather refocused on the man looking at her and was hit by the realisation that this would probably be the last time she had the pleasure of seeing him. She felt an uncomfortable little void open up in the pit of her stomach. ‘I’m an assistant teacher at the school just around the corner from me,’ she said dully.

‘You’re an assistant teacher?’

His shocked tone managed to raise a smile from her. She could easily have been offended by the implied insult, but she knew that from the Olympian summits which he occupied he would simply have assumed that, as a cleaner, she would be incapable of achieving much else—just as he had assumed that her fainting fit had been brought on by pregnancy.

‘I know. Incredible, isn’t it?’ she replied, grinning, regaining some of her lost spirit. Now she just wanted to drag the conversation out for as long as possible, bearing in mind that she wouldn’t be clapping eyes on him again.

‘Why do you clean offices if you have a perfectly viable daytime job?’