Sweet Little Thing(6)

By: Abbi Glines


To add to the mayhem, the four boys had multiplied. As the music had gotten louder, the pool area and pool house got busier. The back of the house was alive and overrun with the guests Jasper had over.

I had been running in and out of the main house, keeping ice buckets filled with fresh ice, making sure beer was available, and that the bar was stocked with supplies for mixed drinks. When some blonde who looked like she could use a cheeseburger asked me to fetch her a glass of sparkling water and make sure the bubbles were tiny, I almost shoved her into the pool.

How was one supposed to make bubbles tiny? Did I blow on it a specific way? Or possibly spit in it? Because I liked the idea of spitting in it.

Hurrying back inside, I almost ran into Portia who once again had a glass of whiskey in her hand. It was just after two o’clock in the afternoon. I wasn’t judging, but I wondered if this visit was going to drive her to alcoholism.

“You can go tomorrow. Not all day of course. But for a few hours,” Portia said to me apologetically.

I paused. Then I looked at her and nodded my understanding. “Thank you.” She knew I was upset and she knew why. Another reason I felt Portia wasn’t all bad.

She grimaced. “Don’t. I’m just saying you can go for a few hours. They’ll call if you don’t visit. I would rather not deal with the drama.” With a flounce of her skirt, she walked away. The way her blonde hair floated as she moved reminded me of my mother. I missed my mother. She was nothing like Portia, but that one movement made me remember a happier time. Even if it was Portia that reminded me.

The ache in my chest eased knowing I would see Heidi tomorrow. I could take cupcakes—she loved them. That wouldn’t make up for today, but at least it would make her happy and she’d feel special and loved. I never wanted her to feel forgotten. Momma had never made her feel any different than other kids. I knew the home she lived in made her feel different now. But there was no other choice. Portia didn’t want her at her house.

“Do you know the difference in sparkling waters?” a deep voice asked me. Startled, I turned to see Winston standing there shirtless. He was wearing a pair of shorts that hung on his hips showing off a muscular build that was hard not to stare at. But I disliked him enough to ignore it.

“Why?” I asked him as I walked away.

He didn’t respond and I kept walking. He wasn’t my boss. He was the rude friend. I didn’t feel the need to listen to him make fun of my lack of sparkling water knowledge.

I could feel him following behind me. I wished he wouldn’t, but other than turning to tell him to go the hell away I was stuck with him. And Jasper didn’t care for me. At least, that was my guess. He wanted Ms. Charlotte and I wasn’t her. Making his friends angry wouldn’t help me keep this job. I needed to make this guy like me or at least approve of me.

Opening the fridge that contained ridiculous amounts of different waters—sparkling, mineral, and spring—I reached for the Perrier because differentiating bubble size made no sense.

“La Croix, not the Perrier,” Winston said from where he was watching behind me. “Smaller bubbles. It’s a fresher taste. Not that I think Isla knows the difference.”

I wanted to ignore him, but I didn’t want to deal with this Isla if I got her the wrong water, so I put the Perrier back and grabbed the La Croix. “Thanks,” I said begrudgingly, and then turned to head back outside.

“You’ll need a glass of ice to give her with that.”

He was right. I should have thought of that, but his presence was annoying me so it escaped me. Without looking at him, I went back into the kitchen and got the glass and ice while he stood there. Was he waiting to see if there was something else he could correct for me?

Before I exited the kitchen again, he spoke up. “He’ll start to flirt with you. He won’t mean it. It’s Jasper. But when you flirt back, you’ll be gone. You’re the help.”

I wanted to say a lot of things at that moment. I wanted to throw the glass of ice I was holding in his face. I wanted to tell him to kiss my ass. I wanted to tell him I didn’t flirt with guys like them. But I bit my tongue because tomorrow I had plans. I had someone in my life and that was more important than all the harsh words I could say to him.

I started to walk away again. I hoped to scuttle off without hearing his deep southern drawl speaking more demeaning words that were delivered with what would be an attractive sound.

“I didn’t mean to offend you. But girls like you get that look in your eyes. You see a fairy tale. One this life doesn’t have for you. I thought I’d stop it before you made a mistake.”

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