PROMISE TOMORROW (Eiba Family Saga Book 2)
“You shouldn’t argue so fiercely with your parents.”
“And you don’t talk except I ask your opinion!”
They were on the way to her house. He had offered to drive and she had reluctantly agreed. If he was to be her aide, then she might as well know his driving ability. She just felt intrigued by him. She hated being driven. She had, since she was eighteen. It was no longer a family secret she was the ‘Miss Independence’ of the family.
She glanced at the rigid human being driving her. Just to snub him, she had sat behind, in the ‘owner’s corner’, but it now gave her an added advantage to study him. Her hair was just as low as his. She knew that had shocked him, delighted her. She loved to shock people, especially strangers.
His muscles looked strong and firm, like an athlete’s but then as a trained bodyguard, he was supposed to have this look. He seemed so confident.
“What is your qualification?” she said crisply.
Though his file was there beside her in the car, she wanted to rattle him a little and also hear that gruff voice of his. How do men end up with such a wrong voice? His voice was an amateur remix of Sylvester Stallone and Nick Cage’s – low, rough, contorted. Jude had such a delightful voice. A singing….
“It’s all in my file.”
“Hey mister, don’t I know that. Answer me!”
“Diploma in martial arts!” He looked at her briefly through the rear view mirror. Their eyes met but she looked away before he did. “We can be friends you know.”
She was dumbstruck for a moment. What audaciousness! Didn’t he want this job? Quickly, she pulled herself together.
She kept her voice low to hide her nerves. “You are my employee. I am your boss! I dictate the pace of this relationship. You got that?”
She had never been a lady-boss to anyone before, directly, that is. Jude had handled all her personal staff except Toro, and Toro no longer was staff to her. They were like sisters. Toro had joined her from her parents’ home as a house help but the two had so much in common it hardly mattered who was boss. And they understood themselves well.
“Yes, my lady.” He had laughter in his guttural voice.
There was silence through the rest of the journey to her Aja home, except for a brief description of her address. The weather that morning was bright and sunny. Modele had hoped she would begin to settle down with the new people in her employment and with the new arrangement, she could. After today, no new person was coming in.
As they drove into her compound, she felt so proud of her little haven. She had had the house built two years earlier in protest to her having to wait so long for Jude. What she had expected was for her to move to Jude’s house from her parents’ but when he’d continued being stubborn, she had decided to live independently. Now, she thanked her stars for taking that decision. She couldn’t imagine herself being stuck at her parents’ under the present circumstances. As it was, they were imposing.
“Toro!” She came down from her sleek Corolla LE 2012 Model, in the year 2011. The car was her pet.
Toro, a slender girl about her age met her in the lobby. She wore a maid’s uniform.
“Please, assemble everyone in this house right now in the garden by the patio,” she snapped, “including the guy who brought me now.”
She walked to the bar and poured a chilled glass of juice which she carried with her to the patio, to meet with her staff.
Less than ten minutes later, everyone was assembled.
She sat at one of the tables and looked at all of them. “I want to say two things.” She finished her juice and placed the glass down before she continued. “And I want you all to listen carefully.” Seven people all in uniform, except for Buki George and the new PA, stood at attention.
“First, I will be dismissing four of you, effective now, from working in this house. You’ll report back to whoever sent you here.” A low murmur went round. “You are not being fired. You are just being relieved of your duties to me. I can’t imagine having so many people around the house. Secondly, I want to introduce a new person to us. Well, only those staying need know him…”
“That means he’s staying,” the PA said stiffly.
“Exactly. He’s Mr. Buki George.” Modele waved at him, or rather, waved him off. It was a derogatory gesticulation. “He’s going to act as my new gardener, and day watch, and PA. That means those occupying those posts will not be needed.” She looked at him. His head towered above the others conveniently. She’d not told him she was changing his job description. She didn’t care either. He could resign if he wanted, it wouldn’t make much of a difference to her.
“Well, bad news for us,” the PA said.
“My father has assured me no one loses his job. I give you my word.”
Buki stared hard at her, but she refused to be fazed.
“Congratulations then, Mr. George.” The forward PA patted his back and others followed suit.
“I will also not need two house keepers… Toro will do. That leaves me with Toro, Buki and Ema, who mans the gate. I wish you all the very best. Thank you.” She stepped into the house and then stopped, turning round abruptly as the dispersing staff murmured.
“Mr. George, Toro, let’s see in here please.”
Modele sat delicately on one of the single settees of her private sitting room. She’d had the leather upholstery changed and a complete overhaul of the furniture in the whole house following her broken courtship. She needed to do that just to get a little more of Jude out. Ironically, as much as Jude had protested her moving into the house, he had been completely involved in the finishing and furnishing. A lot of things still held his memory.
“Please take your seats.” She waved at the duo. “Since we would be the ones living in this house, I feel we should interact,” she said stiffly, pausing to take a brief sip from her freshly poured juice. “Toro has been the one in charge of keeping the house clean and doing all the cooking, except sometimes when I do, and that of course should continue.”
She carefully averted her gaze away from him. His presence was almost tangible, and she wondered why it seemed as if his eyes were creeping all over her. He opened his mouth to speak and then shut it right back. From her blind sight she noticed and turned to him.
“You want to say something?”
“You do chores?”
There was a pause.
“As I mentioned, you’ll be in charge of the garden. From your file, I noticed you did a little bit of horticulture sometime so I expect the garden to have a touch of professionalism.” She hardly opened her mouth as she spoke. Her back straightened. She tense all over. “You’ll be given a work kit. That includes a cell phone, some gardening tools and a uniform, and you’ll have a room in the servants’ quarters. Toro, please show him around the house and the grounds… Ur mm, do you have any question?”
He opened his mouth again. “Und…”
“Toro will answer all your questions. Toro, anything to say?” she cut in abruptly.
“The second en-suite room in the servants’ quarters is not yet ready for use,” Toro said.
“Is that so?” She frowned. “What’s the condition?” Her voice was high-strung, bordering on pain.
“There’s no furniture, and I think there’s some old junk left. Uncle Jude did not have work done as he intended…”
“Before cutting the chase!”
“I think some plumbing work needs to be done too,” Toro said softly.
“Wow, well. Ur mm.” She bit her lower lip.
“I can clear out the place and manage till—” Buki said.
“Mr. George can stay in the main house till his room is ready.” She stood and looked at Toro. “Let him stay in the room beside the guest room.” She began to walk away. “And make sure you get maintenance to come and look the place up. Today!”
“I’ll call at once,” Toro said.
“Good, thanks.” She exited, leaving the two behind.
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