Sweet Little Thing(3)

By: Abbi Glines

“My mother doesn’t eat, but she knew I was coming so there should be something. Help yourselves, but if there is some of Ms. Charlotte’s peanut butter pie in here it’s mine.” He was addressing the group walking with him into the kitchen.

I had seen family photos around the house. I knew Jasper Van Allen was handsome. However, seeing him in person—his blonde hair messy as if he had just run his hand through it, and the way his clothes fit his tall, lean but muscular build—was a sight to see.

He turned from the people who were following him, saw me and paused. His gaze slowly took me in and I felt nervous. I didn’t like to be studied. And I had no idea what to say to him. I hadn’t made eye contact yet, but there were three guys behind him. I could see their bodies but I wasn’t looking at them.

“You’re not Ms. Charlotte,” were the words he spoke that finally broke the sudden and awkward silence.

No, I wasn’t. I was her replacement. She’d retired and moved to Florida with her granddaughter.

I was about to tell him that when he let out a short, unamused laugh. “Guess I won’t be getting that peanut butter pie.”

“If you’d like breakfast, I could make you something,” I said, hoping he would take the hint that I didn’t want to cook for them and would leave.

“Who the hell are you?” he asked with disgust. “Portia isn’t one to hire hot young girls that don’t know how to do shit.”

I had thought he was attractive. For a moment. That moment was now gone.

“Beulah Edwards. I took Ms. Charlotte’s place when she retired.” I wanted to say more—to inform his elitist cocky ass I was as good as Ms. Charlotte. But I wasn’t sure that was a true statement, so I just held my tongue.

“Seriously? Jesus, is my mother hitting the fucking bourbon again?”

The boys behind him laughed like what he’d said was hilarious. I hadn’t looked at the others yet. Straightening up and holding my shoulders back, I turned with my now angry glare to look at the rest of them. They were the same. Tall, athletic, wealthy and their arrogance hung on them like a gilded chain. They knew nothing of work or hunger. They knew no fear. They knew nothing but easy living. I didn’t normally hate anyone for those reasons, but this bunch was making me think being elite was a disease.

I noticed one of them wasn’t laughing. He looked like them and dressed like them. He was better looking than was fair like them. But he was different. Instead of a wearing a look of amusement, he appeared bored. As if he was honoring everyone else with his presence was a waste of his time. In a way, his expression was more demeaning than the laughter.

“Just merlot. Nightly. Three to four glasses depending on her mood.” I wanted to appear as bored as the dark-haired boy. As unaffected and as if this conversation was a waste of my time. Because it was.

Jasper Van Allen smirked then. “Well, Beulah, can you make omelets? Bacon? Or is there any of that in this house?”

Portia had sent me to the grocery store yesterday with an extensive list of items for the kitchen. “Yes, to both. And yes, we have those things.”

“Portia must have had food delivered then,” he said turning to look back at the guys with him. “We can take our shit to the pool house.”

The pool house was not where Portia was expecting Jasper to stay. Nor was she expecting him to arrive with guests. I didn’t expect either of those things would make her very happy. She’d be popping one or more of the little white pills she ate like candy once she found out about Jasper’s plans.

“The pool house hasn’t been prepared. Your mother expected you to stay in your room.” Not that his room was prepared either since he had arrived early.

Jasper paused from his retreat and turned back to look at me. I didn’t like the smirk on his face, or the gleam of amusement with a touch of pity in his eyes. “Portia doesn’t own this house, so I’d say that it doesn’t matter what she expects.”

He didn’t enlighten me any further. He just turned and left the room. The others followed. I stood there wondering what exactly he had meant by that because Heidi’s safety was resting on Portia’s shoulders.

WHILE MAKING THE OMELETS AND bacon, I tried to figure out what he meant when he said that Portia didn’t own the house. Who else would own it? Was she in financial trouble? That was my main concern because I needed her. Heidi and I needed her.

“How many are here?” Portia asked as she swept into the kitchen dressed as if she were about to do a fashion shoot for a magazine.