As she put the flowers in the vase, she watched the closed bedroom door. He probably had a woman in there with him. Probably some socialite he met at one of those swanky parties or dinners he was always attending. She was getting sick and tired of it.
Granted, she was just his housekeeper and his personal life was none of her business but it bothered her more than it ought to have. And she knew that it had to do with the fact that she was in love with him which was very foolish of her. Nothing would ever come of it. When, if he decided to get married, it would be to a woman from his social background.
She finished putting the flowers in the vase and went back into the kitchen to check on the snap, crackle, crunch cookies. They were for her niece to take to her school’s bake sale. her mother was going to stop by for them before heading to the school.
She was in the kitchen putting the cookies on the counter to cool before putting them in a container when he walked in. He was wearing his silk maroon bathrobe. “Good morning,” he mumbled.
“Good morning. Your breakfast is in the oven. Would you like tea or coffee?”
“Coffee–strong and black, thank you.”
She placed his breakfast on the table as he sat down and poured the steaming hot coffee. “Are you coming home for lunch or should I pack something?”
“Neither. I’ll be having lunch with a client.”
“Will your lady friend be staying for breakfast”
He stared at her. “What lady friend?” he asked before biting into a slice of toast.
She glared at him before glancing at her watch. Her niece was going to be there at any minute. She set about putting the cookies in a large plastic container which would keep them fresh. “I left a couple for you,” she told him.
She turned on the radio so that he could listen to the news while he ate. She just finished putting the cookies away when the doorbell rang. “It’s my niece coming to pick these up,” she told him before she took up the container and hurried out of the kitchen.
When she returned he was just finishing his coffee. “Thanks for a great breakfast as usual,” he said. He got up from the table and was about to leave when he remembered something. “Oh, before I forget, I need you to see if you can get rid of a red stain on the rug in my room.”
“The Dead Red cleaner should be able to get it out.”
“In case, you’re wondering, the stain is Cabernet sauvignon.”
She glared at him. “I wasn’t,” she informed him tightly.
His lips twitched and he walked away. Was that jealousy he saw flashing in her eyes. He hoped so. He had been trying to get a rise out of her for ages. If he could make her jealous, then, it proved to him that she had feelings for him.
Twenty minutes later, he was dressed and after popping his head in the kitchen to say goodbye, he was on his way to the office. As soon as he was gone, she went to his room and opened the door. There wasn’t any sign that a woman had been there. On the bedside table was an empty glass and on the rug was the red stain. She couldn’t deny that she was relieved that he hadn’t brought a woman home last night. Maybe, he was getting tired of the casual relationships. She hoped so.
She busied herself making up the bed and cleaning up the room before setting about getting rid of the red stain on the rug. She managed to get it out. After she was done, she did the laundry and light dusting. The morning went very quickly. At twelve-thirty, she sat down at the kitchen table and had her lunch. In the background, Gospel music played.
As she ate her lunch she contemplated what to make for dinner. Then, she decided that a simple Pasta dish for dinner and a green salad would do very nicely. She would start it at four-thirty so that when he got home, it would be nice and hot. When she was finished having her lunch, she washed the wares and stacked them in the drainer.
The laundry was done. She folded the clothes and put them in the basket which she would take up to his room after she finished ironing his shirts and trousers. His suits she would take to the cleaners on her way home that afternoon.
She took up the hamper and went upstairs to his room. The door was slightly ajar so she used her body to push it open. She set the laundry basket down on the floor beside the chest of drawers and was about to open the top drawer when she heard a sound behind her.
Startled, she swung around, her heart racing. She gasped when she saw him standing there in the doorway, watching her. Hand pressed against her heaving bosom, she demanded, “What are you doing here?”
“I’m here because I need to talk to you.”
“You scared the living daylights out of me.” She went and sat down on the chair beside the window, still trembling. How was it that she hadn’t heard him come in? Perhaps it was because she had the radio turned on.
“I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to scare you.”
“What do you need to talk to me about?”
“Our current arrangement.”
“What do you mean? What’s wrong with it? Are you no longer satisfied with my work?”
“You’re an excellent housekeeper, Addie but I want something else.”
Her heart lurched. “What do you want?”
“I want you.”
She swallowed hard. “You want me?”
“Yes. I’ve wanted you since the first day you started working for me.”
“What about all those women you used to entertain here?” she demanded, rising from the chair.
“They meant nothing to me, Addie–“
“Of all, the chauvinistic, egotistical things to say–“
“I didn’t mean it the way you think I did. What I meant is that I didn’t have romantic feelings for them. I was attracted to them, yes and I enjoyed their company. We had some really great times together but I wasn’t in love with any of them.”
“But that didn’t stop you from sleeping with them, did it?”
“Addie, what sort of a man do you think I am?”
She glared at him. “Do you really want me to answer that?”
“Since I met you I haven’t slept with any woman.”
“You expect me to believe that?”
“It’s the truth. If you want me to swear on the Bible, I will.”
She studied him closely for several minutes and when she perceived that he was being honest with her, she said, “All right. I believe you. Now, let’s get one thing straight. I’m not going to sleep with you if that’s what you’re angling for. I’m a Christian woman who believes that sex should be between a husband and a wife.”
“Let’s get married, then.”
“I hope you’re not asking me to marry you because you’re that hard up to have sex with me.”
“No. I’m asking you to marry me because I love you.”
She stared up at him. “I do believe you’re telling me the truth,” she marveled.
“You’re a very suspicious woman, aren’t you?”
“I just want to be sure before I made up my mind.”
“And what have you decided?”
“Yes, I will marry you. And I’m not saying yes because I can’t wait to have sex with you. I’m saying yes because I love you too.”
Smiling, he took her in his arms and held her for a long time before he kissed her.