The Stranger in My Bed
It was the longest lunch of my life. We sat silently as we ate. Despite the food being delicious I can’t say I had much of an appetite. It had been less than twenty-four hours since I arrived at Weston Manor and so far I had already:
1) Allowed my boss to physically stimulate me to orgasm while he slept
2) Walked in on him masturbating in the bathroom.
If there was a way to have a worse first day at work, I’d like to know it. Mr. Weston and I actively avoided eye contact with each other. Thomas sat across from us, completely unaware of everything that had happened. We had been forcing conversation with him for hours after lunch, refusing to be alone.
“So, Ms. Walton. You have had the fortune to catch Mr. Weston on a good day, but how do you find caring for him so far?” Thomas asked, smiling.
Humiliating and shame-inducing, but I couldn’t say that. I thought of my words carefully.
“Mr. Weston is a very… honest man and an… interesting companion,” I said finally.
“I agree,” Thomas said cheerfully. “So, what did you two do today?”
Mr. Weston choked on his water and started coughing.
“Are you alright, sir?” Thomas asked.
“Fine, Thomas,” he answered, still faintly coughing. “Just went down the wrong pipe, that’s all.”
I felt bad. I didn’t mean to make every interaction between us so awkward. It seemed Mr. Weston was just as desperate to keep our “activities” silent as I was.
“Well, Thomas, we had an interesting day,” I said. I saw Mr. Weston shoot me a worried glance. “We… had a long conversation here in the dining room, then we went to the garden and… talked some about our dreams, then I drew Mr. Weston a bath, and then we came to lunch.”
Thomas smiled. “I’m glad you two seem to get along so well. What did you talk about?”
Mr. Weston cleared his throat. “Many things, Thomas, but that’s between me and Ms. Walton.”
Thomas nodded in understanding. I was glad he didn’t want to press the issue. We sat in silence again. Why did this day have to be so long? After a while, Thomas stood.
“Well then, sir. If all is well, I will leave you and Ms. Walton now and see you for dinner,” he said, bowing slightly.
“Of course, Thomas,” Mr. Weston said, nodding.
As he left I felt my sanity chasing after him, begging him to come back. How many awkward conversations would I be expected to have with this man today? I didn’t think I could handle another. However, we sat in silence for a long time, neither of us daring to move or begin a conversation. 1
“An-,” he cut himself off, “Ms. Walton. I’m sure you’re just as… uncomfortable with this situation as I am, but perhaps it would be better to clear the air now before this becomes a larger issue.”
I blushed. “I’m very sorry, sir. I tried knocking and calling out to you, but when you didn’t answer I worried something might have happened. It’s my job to care for you, after all. I had no idea you were… preoccupied.
The Stranger in My Bed
He turned bright red at the word and buried his face in his hands. “Of course you didn’t. There was no way for you to know, and you were properly fulfilling your duties as my caretaker. I guarantee Thomas would have done the exact same in your situation. Yet again, it seems I’ve done something inappropriate and put you in an awkward position, Ms. Walton.”
“No, no, sir!” I said quickly. “There was nothing inappropriate about it. It’s quite a natural… human occurrence, and I should have tried calling out from the entrance before fully entering the bathroom. Really, it’s my fault.”
“I don’t agree with that,” he sighed, “but your fault for entering too far or mine for not listening to my surroundings doesn’t matter. The fact is that my actions, if I may so underwhelmingly call them, have resulted in another awkward encounter between us.”
He laid his head on the table. He was silent for a while. After a minute he picked up his to glance at me. He looked tired.
“Tell me, Ms. Walton, is there a reason I can’t control my body around you?” He asked. “A reason that just being near you is enough to affect my very nature? That I always seem to choose the very worst option in a situation with many alternatives? Are you truly a siren come to life to bring my body and soul ruin? Or am I just a man enslaved by his animalistic desires, unworthy to even have such a woman by his side?
I ask these rhetorically, of course, but if you honestly have an answer I’d be happy to hear it. Tell me, Ms. Walton. What’s wrong with me?”
Of all the questions he asked, that was the one I hated most. There was nothing wrong with him. He was condemning himself for actions and feelings I was guilty of myself. Had he left his bath just a few minutes sooner, I dare say I would have been the one in a morally compromising situation.
Would he feel more comforted if I told him that? If I told him the truth about everything? How could I though? I was here to be his caretaker. How could I be expected to do that when lustful urges filled every moment I spent with him? In my heart, I knew I couldn’t.
“Mr. Weston, the only thing wrong with you is that you have the unfortunate luck of being human,” I sighed. “All humans have their urges and desires. It’s not anything we can control, and leads us to do some rather questionable things.”
He turned to me. A smile of relief filled his face. The last thing I wanted was to hurt him, but I knew what I had to do.
“For these reasons, Mr. Weston, I’m sorry to say I don’t think I will be able to stay on as your caretaker. I hope you and Thomas will soon find someone qualified for the position,” I said as professionally as I could.
His face turned to one of shocked horror. I stood and walked out before he had a chance to speak. My will to do this was already weak, and I didn’t need him blaming himself, making promises, or begging me to stay. I needed this job, sure, but Thomas was right. In the short time I’d been here, I’d started to care for Mr. Weston. To the point where I cared more about his well-being than mine. I wanted what was best for him, and I didn’t think it was me.
I went upstairs to the room. I would pack only necessities and ask Thomas to send the rest to me later. I grabbed a suitcase of mine and began packing. I had only packed a few items when Mr. Weston burst through the door. He had a wild look in his eyes, but they held far more fear than they did anger.
“What are you doing?” He asked sharply.
I didn’t look at him and continued packing. “As I said, I’m leaving, sir.”
“You can’t leave!” He shouted.
“You’re my employer, not my jailer, Mr. Weston,” I said stiffly. “I’m free to leave when I please.”
He walked over and slammed the lid on my suitcase. I let out a sigh. This was already difficult for me. Did he really need to make it any harder?
The Stranger in My Bed
“If you don’t mind me saying, aren’t you behaving a little childishly?” I grumbled.
“I don’t care. You’re not leaving,” he said bluntly.
“Thomas has found applicants before, he’ll find them again.”
I went to open the lid again but he slammed it immediately.
“Damn the other applicants,” he hissed. “I don’t want any more applicants. I want you to stay!”
His words were sweet, desperate, but it only made me more desperate to leave. I stood and yanked the suitcase from his grasp. I turned away and began throwing items in at random, not bothering to fold them anymore. I felt strong arms wrap around my waist and lift me from the ground. I struggled against them.
“Get your hands off of me! Put me down!” I shouted, struggling.
“I won’t let you leave, not like this,” he said, tightening his grip. “Tell me the real reason. Why won’t you stay?”
“I’m not qualified,” I answered.
“Neither was Thomas. You’ll learn,” he responded.
“I have better things to do with my life!” I grunted.
“What better things do you think await you with an eviction notice at your apartment and an overdrawn bank account?” He asked angrily.
I stopped struggling. How had he learned all that? He scoffed a bit as if reading my mind.
“Did you really think we’d just take any person off the street without performing an extensive background check?” He said, giving a dry laugh. “I know everything about you, Anna. Your debts, your job history, even your family.”
Rage suddenly filled me. I swung my elbow back into his throat. He immediately released me and fell to the ground, coughing.
Too far. He went too far. He could say anything he wanted about me, but I would not sit around and be reminded of them. Know them? No way in hell he really did.
I snapped the lid shut on my suitcase and turned to leave. I felt a weak tugging on the back of my skirt. I looked back, he was holding on with whatever strength I hadn’t knocked from him.
“I’m… sorry…,” he gasped between breaths,” I said… too much, but… please. Don’t leave. Please… don’t leave me.”
His grip was so weak I could have easily tugged from it, but I didn’t. I tried to keep my icy stare on him, but it was quickly melting. His desperate attempts at pleading and holding me back, the tears forming in his eyes. He looked like a lost child.
“Mr. Weston, of all the things that have occurred over the past twenty-four hours that was by far the most damaging thing you’ve done to me,” I said coldly.
Guilt and desperation filled his face. He gripped my skirt closer to his body as if it would somehow keep me from running away.
“Please, just tell me what I did wrong so I can fix it,” he begged. “I know none of those things were true, I can see it in your eyes. They’re all excuses. What’s the real reason you won’t stay? If I can fix it I will do so immediately. Or… Is the problem me?”
Guilt overtook my anger and reason. I couldn’t stand it anymore. I let out a frustrated sigh and tugged my skirt from him.
“The problem isn’t you Mr. Weston, I’m the problem,” I admitted.
“What do you mean?” He asked.
I didn’t care if he knew anymore. I wouldn’t be staying here anyway so why did it matter? At least I could put his mind at ease. I dropped my suitcase and turned to him.
“The truth is, Mr. Weston, that while you are partly responsible for the inappropriate events that have been occurring, I am equally as responsible. I didn’t lie to you earlier today, but I didn’t tell you the whole truth about what happened last night either,” I said, sighing. “I was woken by you holding me tightly and calling my name, but what I didn’t mention is the way you were touching my body. You touched my breasts and between my legs.”
Shock filled his face. He didn’t seem to know how to respond.
“Yes, sir, those ‘vivid sensations’ you felt were real,” I continued. “In fact, short of penetration, I’d say you actually did everything you dreamed of doing to me. However, the sounds you heard were also real. I could have thrown you off, perhaps given you an elbow to the throat as I just did, but I got too swept away by the ‘sensations’ myself. I let you do as you pleased with my body without hesitation.
However, that’s not the worst part. No, the worst part was when I drew your bath earlier.”
He looked away in shame. I shook my head.
“No, sir. I’m not referring to the ‘incident’ with the bath. Instead, I’m referring to an event you know nothing about that happened just before. After your apology and hearing, in detail, your dream of me I became overwhelmingly aroused,” I admitted, blushing. “By the time you got in your bath, I was already so filled with desire that I threw myself on the bed and began touching myself.
It was no good though. All I could think of was how I ached for your touch, Mr. Weston. Had the chef not paged us for lunch I dare say you would have found me in an ‘inappropriate situation.’ That’s the truth.”
He stared at me with a face of shock, confusion, and disbelief. He kept opening and closing his mouth as if he wanted to say something but couldn’t find the words. I raised my hand to stop him.
“So you see, sir. My leaving has nothing to do with you and everything to do with me. It’s actually me that can’t control myself around you. I’m afraid if I stay here my desires will prevent me from properly doing my job, that I might take advantage of you or your condition. It’s-it’s just better if I leave,” I said sadly.
There. I said it all. He knew everything and I could leave with a clear conscience. I reached for my suitcase. Suddenly, he grabbed my wrist. He stood and looked at me intensely. I prepared myself for anything he might have to say on the matter.
I wasn’t prepared when he kissed me.
It was rough and sudden, but still surprisingly gentle. He wrapped his arms around me and held me close. His kiss was passionate and desperate as if he were trying to use it in place of all the words he couldn’t say to me. I couldn’t move, I couldn’t breathe. My head was swimming. How did I get here? We argued, I hit him, I confessed my perverted desires, and now we were kissing. What would happen next?
He pulled his lips from mine slowly and traced my cheek with the tips of his fingers.
“I’m so relieved,” he said softly, “I thought my desire for you was one-sided. That I was forcing you to bear witness to my uncensored passions. I thought I was pushing you away.”
He held me close to him and stroked my hair. I felt his lips against my neck. I couldn’t tell if the racing heartbeat I felt was mine or his.
“Anna,” he called my name gently, “from the first moment I saw you walk into my garden, framed by sunset and the scent of roses, you were all I wanted. To hold you close, keep you as my own. When you said you were here to be my caretaker I couldn’t believe it. To come into my room and find you sleeping so peacefully on my bed was a fantasy come to life. To have you actually stay with me and share my bed was a dream, but now? To have you confess you’re so afraid of your desire for me that you would run away? I must be in heaven. Anna, please. Stay with me.”
His words were like heroin. The more I received the more I desired. They left me in a high I couldn’t come down from. How many sweet words would he speak before I finally overdosed? How long would it be before they ended and the crash hit me?
“I-I can’t,” I said finally.
He held me tighter as if I might run again. I pushed away from him gently.
“Sir, it’s not right,” I sighed.
“Why?” He asked.
“Because you’re not well, sir.”
I felt him stiffen. I knew it would hurt him to hear it, but it was the truth. He wasn’t well, and he may never be. How could I possibly ignore that?
“I have no real knowledge of your condition,” I said, pulling away from him. “The man I have these feelings for is Jack Weston, and, from what I’ve been told, I’ll be lucky to see him once a week. How can I do that, sir? How can I distance myself from my feelings to care for you when you’re not well? How am I supposed to just go along with whatever fantasy your mind’s created for that day? How can I have feelings for Jack Weston when he barely exists?”
I looked away. The hurt in his eyes made my chest ache. I couldn’t face him, but it was true. He gently turned my head back to face him and pressed his forehead to mine.
“Then wait for me,” he begged.
“Jack Weston will always return,” he reassured me. “So until I find the way through the labyrinth in my mind and make it back to you, please care for my body. Whoever it may host. Your training is for one week. Please, stay at least that long. When I finally return again, then I will accept any answer you give me. Alright?”
The Stranger In My Bed
I stayed silent for a long time. One week. One week to see the true condition of Mr. Weston. To see if I could handle what he became. And what if I couldn’t?
I jumped at the sound from the intercom. I rushed from him and took a deep breath to steady my voice.
“Yes?” I asked.
“Dinner will be ready shortly, ma’am.”
“Thank you, we’ll-”
A hand suddenly covered my mouth and Mr. Weston stepped forward. He pressed the intercom button.
“Phillip, this is Mr. Weston. Give Thomas his dinner and deliver a cart to my room. Ms. Walton and I will be staying in this evening,” he said.
“Right away, sir.”
He slid his hand from my mouth and rested it on my waist. I blushed. What was he thinking?
“Sir, what are you doing? Thomas is-”
“Thomas is fine,” he said, waving off my worries. “If the chef is calling for dinner that means it’s already seven. I’m sure by now you know that seeing me twice isn’t usual. There will be no third time.” He pulled me to him and kissed me gently. “In the few hours we have left, I want you to know the real Jack Weston. Maybe it will give you something worth waiting for.”
The chef arrived a short time later with a cart of food. Mr. Weston moved it to the fireplace and motioned for me to sit. I went over and sat in one of the large armchairs. Mr. Weston sat across from me.
Please, eat if you get hungry. For the time being, ask me any questions you want to know about me. I’ll answer as honestly as I can,” he promised.
I thought for a while. There were so many questions I had. Where should I start? I guess the beginning was best.
“How long have you been ill, Mr. Weston?” I asked finally.
“As long as I can remember,” he sighed, “but Thomas says it happened around the time I was ten.”
“How old are you, sir?”
“I’ll turn thirty this June eighteenth, and please stop with all the ‘sir’ and ‘Mr. Weston’ nonsense for now. You’re talking to ‘Jack,'” he said, smiling.
“Is “Jack” short for something?”
He grimaced. “That was the one question I was hoping to avoid, actually. I did promise you though. “Jack” isn’t short for anything, but it is a nickname. My first name is “Jupiter.”
I put my hands over my mouth to keep from laughing. It didn’t work. He rolled his eyes.
“Yes, yes. Let’s get it out of your system. My full name is “Jupiter Arthur Weston” and I’m sure you can see why I never go by it,” he sighed, shaking his head.
“Why-why,” I was laughing so hard I couldn’t get the question out.
“Glad to see I can bring you joy somehow,” he said, rolling his eyes. “To answer what I believe is your question, I will only say you have a reason to be grateful for not being born into an ancient, wealthy bloodline. Believe it or not, my name isn’t even the worst among us.”
I tried to stifle the rest of the giggles that kept slipping through my lips. It took a few minutes. Finally, I took a deep breath to calm myself. I cleared my throat.
“Well then, speaking of your family. If I may ask, what happened to them?”
His face grew serious. “Honestly, there’s no one thing. Illness, suicide, murder, accidents. Before we knew what happened our once-great bloodline was down to just four people.”
“Four?” I asked.
“My parents and my younger brother died in a car crash when I was nine,” he said sadly.
Silence. What could I even say now? He sensed my discomfort.
“Don’t concern yourself with it. It happened a long time ago,” he said, trying to ease my mind. “I’ve come to terms with it, in a way. Though there is a theory among several psychologists that losing my family at a developing age and being thrust into the responsibilities of running a multi-billion dollar estate may have led to my illnesses. Who knows though? Go to five doctors and you’ll get five different diagnoses. They all see what they want to see.”
Silence again. I thought carefully.
“So, to make sure I understand,” I said slowly, “you lost your family as a child, inherited a fortune, and lived isolated from the world with nobody but your caretaker?”
“Correct,” he said, nodding.
“But decided against becoming the next Batman?”
He looked at me in bewilderment, I couldn’t help but smile. He suddenly burst into a fit of laughter to rival my own previous outburst. He laughed for several minutes before he could finally compose himself.
“I suppose that may have been an option,” he said, still chuckling, “although who knows? Perhaps there’s a Batman hiding inside me yet. Please, don’t let him hurt my body. I had a persona once that decided he was a fitness expert. I was myself for two days after, but I couldn’t move from bed! God, the pain!”
I knew he said this as a joke, but it made me curious about these “personas” of his. The ones he knew, the ones still hidden. Could I deal with them all?
“How many are there?” I asked.
It seemed like I’d pulled him from some conversation in his head. He seemed a bit startled at the sound of my voice.
“Sorry, what was that?” He asked, smiling.
I bit my lip and reconsidered asking him. I had already asked some very personal questions. I’m sure this had to be a difficult thing for him to discuss. He seemed to sense my hesitance.
“Anna, please, don’t hold back,” he begged. “Ask me anything.”
“How many different versions of you are there?” I repeated finally.
He sighed. “That’s a fair question. I’m not entirely sure. Thomas started some kind of book to keep track of them, but after twenty years I still have new ones appear from time to time. From what Thomas had told me there are about five that appear most frequently.
One is a musician, one is a photographer, one is a chef, one is a doctor, and one is a playboy. Until now there have really been no women in the house, and Thomas keeps him away from the housekeepers, but I dare say he would be the one to give you the most trouble.”
“You keep saying Thomas tells you. Does that mean you have no memory of these episodes?” I asked.
“Not that I have no memory, more like a very bad memory. It’s like being drunk,” he said shrugging. “Everything is very hazy and distant. You know what you’re doing, but at the same time don’t have the control over yourself to stop it. When I wake up my next ‘good’ day I have a vague memory of who I was and certain things I did, but I have no idea how much time has really passed or the extent of my actions.
My personas also know and retain certain details about my life. For example, I always know Thomas and I always know where we are. Everything else is a mystery.”
I nodded along as he told me everything. I felt very sorry for him. To be a prisoner in your own mind and body. To wake up without realizing how much time has passed or what you had even done during it. It had to be a little scary.
He reached over and held my hand. His eyes looked tired, but not from lack of sleep. I could only imagine how exhausting it was to live the way he did.
“Are you hungry, Anna?” He asked. “Eat something before bed. Do you have any more questions?”
I looked over the cart and grabbed a meat pastry that looked good. I nibbled on the edge and thought. All this time alone. Nobody but him and Thomas in this large house. Or was there? A small doubt crept into my mind.
“Mr.-” I paused as he shot me a look, “Jack, is it really only you and Thomas in the house?”
He seemed confused by the question.
“Of course. Phillip too, I suppose. Why do you ask that?” He asked.
I played with the pastry in my hand a moment, refusing to look at him. It was kind of embarrassing to ask. I didn’t want to offend him. Even if I didn’t I wasn’t sure I’d like the answer he gave.
“Well…” I started slowly, “it’s just that, I imagine it gets lonely at times.”
At times, yes.” His voice was still confused.
“It seems a bit strange that a grown man would always be alone in his home,” I continued.
“Perhaps, but I dare say my situation is a bit strange itself,” he said, shrugging.
“After all, men still have their needs… Some that perhaps a caretaker couldn’t fill,” I hinted.
I saw a flicker of understanding cross his face. He shook his head.
“As I said, there aren’t really any women in the house,” he said simply. “I’m not even sure how many of the housekeepers are female, honestly.”
“Well, she wouldn’t need to live here,” I emphasized. “I’m sure there are plenty of women you could get to stay for one night. Maybe just an hour if that’s all you needed…”
I shot him a quick glance. The realization suddenly hit him. His eyes went wide.
“Oh. Oh! No, no, no, no!” He said quickly. “Anna, don’t worry. I have nothing to do with those kinds of women. Thomas is quite strict about staying away from illegal activities and I couldn’t even imagine-” He shook his head vigorously as if to shake the very idea from his mind. “Look, I’m sure my behavior the last couple of days has given you the wrong impression, but I promise I am not a sex-crazed maniac. I swear to you my actions lately have been completely out of character for me and you are the only woman who has ever made me feel this way.”
My heart fluttered a bit at the last sentence. Though I was relieved to know he wasn’t just bringing in women whenever he needed them it did leave me curious.
“So, if it’s not with women, then how do you… fulfill those needs?” I asked.
He turned away and cleared his throat. I could see the faint traces of blush on his cheeks. He shrugged vaguely.
“Well, by myself of course,” he muttered.
“So are you saying you’ve never-”
“I’m not saying that.” He let out a sigh. “There has been the occasional woman pass through here, but nothing serious. A weekend fling at best, and not many of them. I may not be very active, but I do know what I’m doing.”
I couldn’t help but giggle a little at his defensiveness. He turned back to me and smiled.
“If I may be so bold, what about your experience, Anna?” He asked.
I blushed a little. “I’d say similar to yours. With a couple of short-term relationships thrown in.”
“I seem to make bad choices in the men I bring home,” I sighed. “Not many memories, just a lot of regrets.”
“I hope I won’t become one of them,” he said gently.
I couldn’t look at him. I just hoped he was right about that. I’d had too many regrets already.. Suddenly he stood and walked over to me. He leaned in and gave me a gentle kiss.
“Anna, might I make one request of you tonight?” He said, cautiously.
“What’s that, sir?” I said instinctively.
He half-smiled as I slipped back into the “caretaker” role. He brushed his fingers along my neck and down my chest, resting them on the bustline of my dress.
“Take off your clothes,” he murmured.
“Sir!” I shouted, covering myself a bit.
“I know, it sounds awful,” he explained, “but understand, I don’t know how long will pass until I am myself again. I don’t know what will happen with my personas between then and now, and even if nothing happens you still might leave in the end.
I want to see you with my own eyes. Have every inch of your body in my memory, clear and detailed. I want the knowledge that if any part of me sees you that way, that I was the one who saw it first. I promise I won’t lay a finger on you without your consent. I just want to see you.”
It was a completely insane and inappropriate request, but I felt as if I couldn’t reject him. Not because I was obligated to fulfill his needs, but because I wanted to show him too. I wanted to be the woman “Jack Weston” would never forget.
I stood and turned away from him. I didn’t think I would be able to keep my nerve with him watching me. I took a shaky breath to help steady myself.
“Anna, if it’s too much-“