The Stranger In My Bed
The Morning After
A gentle shaking woke me from my sleep. I opened my eyes to see Thomas standing over me. His face seemed concerned. The sudden memory of what happened last night hit me. I tried to leap up, but he pressed me to the bed by my shoulders. A wave of fear filled me.
He must have seen the fear in my eyes because he raised one hand and put a finger to his lips, a signal for me to be silent. He pointed over my shoulder. It was at that moment I realized Mr. Weston was sleeping with his arm still around me.
Thomas leaned in close to me and whispered, “Try not to wake Mr. Weston unnecessarily when you get up. Consider this the beginning of your training. Come downstairs when you are dressed and ready, you have much to learn today.”
With that Thomas released my shoulders and quietly left. In the silence, I became all too clearly reminded of what had happened last night. Shame filled me. What was I thinking? I should have immediately woken Mr. Weston. If not by shaking, then by screaming or fighting or something. Would he remember when he woke? Did he even realize it had happened? How would I explain myself?
I could have spent the whole morning pondering these questions and more, but Thomas was right. I did have a lot of training today and needed to get ready. Luckily, Mr. Westons’s grip was much looser than last night and I was able to cautiously slide myself to the edge of the bed and out of his reach. I went to the closet to get ready.
Thomas had never mentioned a specific dress code, but the last thing I wanted was to give Mr. Weston the wrong impression. I was here to be a caretaker. Nothing more.
I chose a knee-length blue dress. It fit me well but was neither short nor showed off any unnecessary cleavage. Very “work-appropriate,” I thought. I was careful not to make any noise when exiting the closet and closed the door gently as I left the room. Thomas was waiting for me downstairs.
“Your first instruction is that Mr. Weston should never be woken,” he started. “He keeps his own schedule so it is not necessary, and doing so may worsen one of his episodes. Which, of course, will only make more work for you.
The next is that, as you have seen, we have no real staff here at Weston Manor. Considering how hard it is to find a caretaker you must surely understand how difficult it would be to find a regular staff. There is a team of housekeepers that come every Monday, Thursday, and Saturday. It is your job to inspect their work before allowing them to leave. The rooms must be dusted, the floors swept and vacuumed, and all animals fed. A group of gardeners will come the same days to care for the lawn and garden. There is a personal chef we hire from the town nearby. He will come at eight, noon, and six to prepare meals, but leaves immediately after. You are responsible for any light snacks Mr. Weston requests in between these times.
Besides this, you will be completely alone in the house with Mr. Weston. You are solely responsible for his health, safety, entertainment, and overall happiness. Do you have any questions?”
I stood there in a daze. It took me a long time to respond as I processed the wealth of information just given. Questions?
“What about groceries?” I asked finally.