Lost and Found
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William sits in the passenger seat of his own car, being too tired to drive home. He has just returned from a grueling business seminar. Even though he came out on top, he longs for better days when he isn’t traveling so much. It has taken over his life, and he can’t help thinking that it’s not too good for relationships either. It has ruined every one. He lives a comfortable existence in a nice house and can even afford a housekeeper. As much as he enjoys all that he has accomplished, it is a lonely existence. His only saving grace is his live in housekeeper, or as some would say, his domestic servant.
Heidi sits in the driver’s seat and handles his BMW 7 series like a pro on the rainy roads. He rarely even drives it anymore. She has use of it most of the time. She either takes him in to work or he drives himself with her, and then she takes it to run errands, eventually picking him up in the afternoon. He smiles a bit as he looks over at her, knowing he would be a lot less efficient if she had not been around all these years. She performs all of his domestic duties and some business ones as well, with great efficiency. She has accompanied him occasionally on business trips, but usually does not. He knows that when he is away, it gives her a much needed break from performing so many duties for him.
She had come into his service one day when he saw her outside a coffee shop asking for spare change. He had asked her if she wanted a one day job cleaning up after a party. She had done such a good job with the task, that he hired her for weekly cleaning. Eventually he gave her more and more, until finally she became a live in domestic servant. That was 5 years ago.
“Almost home Mr. Chambers,” The 24 year old says, “Do you want some dinner? I made some chicken soup right before going to the airport.”
“That would be great, Heidi,” He answers then pauses, “How long have you worked for me?”
“5 years 1 month,” She answers with a smile.
“In all that time, haven’t I told you that you don’t have to give me a title?” He asks.
“I know, but it’s just hard to do otherwise,” She smiles, “I’ll try, William.”
William rests his head back and glances out the window a moment. Letting out a yawn, he turns a bit and stares off toward the middle of the car. After a moment his eyes focus within the low glow of the dashboard lights and he realizes that he has been staring at Heidi’s legs. Even though it’s an honest mistake from being so tired, he quickly looks away and clears his throat. Closing his eyes a moment he tries to get the business trip out of his head. Opening them again a moment later, he sees Heidi smiling at him. He turns a bit to face her.
“You can nap,” she says, “I can handle the rest.”
“I know you can,” He sighs, “Damn good job of it all too.”
“Thank you,” She smiles.
William again stares lazily off in her direction. He looks her over and sees that she is wearing the skirt and top he got for her a few months back when he needed her assistance on a business trip. He remembers how professional and neat she looked in it. She fit the roll perfectly. He had told her of the scenario and that he had needed a good looking assistance to impress foreign clients. He had told her she could refuse if she was not comfortable, but she went anyway. He can’t help thinking that the highlight of that trip had been seeing how she looked the next day on Miami Beach in her two piece bright green bathing suit. Her long auburn had hair flowed in the light breeze much like it does now with the window down part way. He remembers how self conscious she seemed that day. They had even built a sand castle, before sitting on the beach helping her study for her community college final exams. He had paid for her classes as an additional benefit and because he has always thought she would eventually move on someday.
His expression flattens out a bit as he remembers another part of the conversation that day. He had asked her why she had not meet a nice guy to settle down with. She reminded him that she was trying to finish college that he had paid for, and that it wasn’t the right time. But she ended the conversation with something that he has always remembered. It had puzzled him so much and still does. But she would never explain it. He remembered her words exactly, ‘I have had my eye on someone, but he is…unobtainable’. She never explained it further and he has never asked.
“I got the things that you wanted,” Heidi says, waking him from his daze, “Some new shirts, and the special gift you wanted for New York next month.”
“Oh thank you,” He says with a yawn.
“You’re on top of things as usual. How about a raise?” He asks with a smile.
“Oh just your charm, wit, and perfect haircut will do, thanks,” She answers.
“Well you are the one that gives my haircuts, and all the rest you make easier too,” He smiles.
“Yes,” She says softly, deep in thought.
“Better than getting it wrong all the time right?” William asks.
“Oh I hate to think what would happen if I did that,” She smiles.
“Me too. But I’d probably just put you over my knee,” William jokes.
“Ha! Well in that case I have kartal escort to tell you that the soup kinda sucks,” She giggles.
“Funny. There is no way you can get me to believe that,” He smiles.
They have always joked around. William knows it is barely tasteful at times, but she always throws it back at him. It keeps him on his toes and has the added effect of keeping him in tune enough to deal with any client he comes across. She has never thought less of him, and he always takes the comical lumps in stride. He knows she is a force to be reckoned with. She once scolded him for tracking dirt in the house. It ended with just her pinching him on the leg with a half frown, half grin.
The casual nature of their arrangement has had many adjustments. He walks into the bathroom from his room in nothing more than his boxers, and she sometimes helps him finish dressing on important days. Although she has only done it one time, and it was only a few weeks ago, she exited the hallway bathroom with just a t-shirt and panties on. William realizes that he may have looked a little taken back after seeing it. He thinks that is probably why she has never done it again.
“Ho man,” William stretches as they pull into the long driveway and stop.
“I’ll get the stuff,” Heidi says, “You go on, shower, rest.”
“Oh I’m not helpless,” William says as he starts gathering his things, “Besides, I have to get in better shape.”
“Oh you’re fine,” Heidi smiles, “You hit your treadmill 3 times a week. Better than I do.”
“Yeah but I’m feeling rather filled out lately,” William says as he follows her into the house, “You do that yoga thing with that way too tight piece on out on the lawn though sometimes.”
“Oh I do that in the morning now after I drop you off, and I stopped wearing that thing,” She says.
“Oh what do you wear now?” He asks.
“Nothing,” She grins.
“Maybe I should call in sick tomorrow,” He jokes.
“If you do you’ll stay in bed and not be able to look out there anyway,” Heidi says.
“Naturally,” William says.
“But that’s why you should eat my food,” She says.
“Wait, that’s the tofu rabbit food stuff you eat for lunch?” He grins.
“Yeah well, it keeps me healthy,” She said as she takes some things into the kitchen.
“Some of those greens look like the weeds at the edge of the backyard near the trees,” William says.
“Some of them are,” Heidi smiles, “Why do you think I put those sticks and string around them? So they don’t get chewed up by the lawn mower. I want to get something more permanent to put around them.”
“I guess that makes sense,” William said, “The mower already gets enough fiber.”
“But you don’t William,” She says.
“Well maybe throw some hamburger on top of it and I’ll try it,” He smiles as he heads up the stairs.
“You know I could just make my food all the time. Then you’d have to eat it,” She jokes.
“Fine, torture me then. But go ahead and get what you need to section off your weeds if you want,” He hollers down the stairs.
“Good, your punishment begins tomorrow, and thank you,” She smiles as she walks back into the kitchen.
A second later Heidi hears the shower run. She smiles knowing full well that she will keep to what she says. His next meal of, ‘rabbit food’ as he calls it will be a surprise. But after all it is her job to keep him and his house going. She decides she wants to plan it and will have to give it a little thought before tomorrow. She knows she will work her usual miracles at some point. She has always done her job and cares for him, and if only her really knew why. Soon she realizes that she had been daydreaming a bit too much as William has already finished his shower.
“Hot,” she smiles at him in his boxers when he returns.
“Just too tired to get dressed sorry,” William sighs, “Can’t believe how beat I am.”
“Yeah but you managed to get something on,” She smiles as she sits on the family room chair and watches as he sits down across from her.
“Oh that was hard enough to do,” He yawns, “But that’s nothing you want to see anyway.”
“You sure?” Heidi jokes.
“No I guess I’m not sure,” William says as he takes a sip of the wine she had set out for him, “But still I don’t want to scare you or something. I need to keep you around.”
“Scare me?” she says as she sips her wine, “How so?”
“Well you know. I am your employer, and shouldn’t be displaying myself like that,” He says as he watches her pour him more wine.
“Whatever you say boss,” She smiles as she shifts to the side, “But you haven’t answered my question.”
“You know you can have all you want of this wine. You don’t have to sip it”, William says.
“Oh no. You know what this does to me. Half a glass and I’m on the floor,” Heidi says, “So?”
“Yeah the floor is clean, you see to that. Oh yeah. Company Christmas party. I had to carry you into the car, then upstairs,” He grins.
“I was blitzed. But they kept pouring more,” She smiles, “Anyway I guess I was lucky you were not like other guys…so?”
“Like the 10 other guys that were after you at the party and maltepe escort bayan my secretary.” He says.
“Wow, Sheila wanted me too? Yeah, well anybody could have had me unfortunately. Even you. But you didn’t take advantage of me. That’s what I love, I mean, that’s why you’re a good boss,” she corrects quickly and drinks more wine, “So?”
“I had to tell Tanner from accounting to back off. I did it rather forcefully too. He had you in his arms heading to the taxi lane,” William says as he finishes the glass and pours more for both of them.
“Damn I guess it’s good I don’t remember much of that night,” Heidi says starting to feel fuzzy, “So?”
“So I knew that you were my assistant and I had a responsibility. Have. That was it. But the comment about him dressing good for the unemployment line comment I made seemed to sober him up a bit,” William says now starting to slur a bit.
“Is that the only reason?” She says now with an obvious hint of intoxication.
“I was responsible”, He says softly, “No other reason, even when you tried to kiss, um, when you tried to drink more.”
“What? What were you going to say?” She says with a haze.
“Nothing,” He says softly and gulps his wine.
Thinking for a moment, Heidi knows exactly what he was going to say. She had no idea that she tried to kiss him that night. She has had some feelings for him for a long time now, but she must have tried to act on them 6 months ago at the company Christmas party. But he never told her. For a moment she wonders if perhaps he has feelings as well. If this is true then why has he not acted on them? In her haze she begins to reason it out and comes to the conclusion that perhaps she is overreacting and their relationship is as it always has been. They are employer and employee and that is all. But it doesn’t stop her in her haze, from trying to find out for sure.
“Can you answer my question boss?” She asks with a heavy haze.
“Question?” William asks in his own haze filled state, “Oh yeah I’ll try your food. Nothing to lose I guess.”
“No, I mean yeah, good you can try it,” She stutters, “I mean why would it scare me if you walk around here like mother nature made you?”
“Not appropriate. But I thought we were talking about food. Or was that before?” He slurs, “Walking with stuff hanging out around my assistant. When are you going to find someone anyway and settle down?”
“Should let me judge what’s inappropriate. But I am waiting for someone. Someone that is in my mind all the time,” She says.
“So not, like it’s not inappropriate for me to let it all hang out? Oh yeah sorry for freaking out that one time you came out all with those, you know, on them, hearts, red. It’s ok. You live here too. Wait… waiting for who?” He asks.
“Wow, you remember the hearts. Someone special, more like wishing rather than waiting,” She says as she sips the last of her wine, “He doesn’t know how special he is.”
“Well they,” He says as he looks at her grin, “Sorta stood out, yeah sorry.”
“It isn’t even that big. Like the size of a fifty cent piece. Good eyes. Not as big as your outline in your boxers,” Heidi says then nearly chokes on her wine, “I didn’t say that.”
“Yeah there is a crease in these because they are new I guess,” William says as he reaches down to adjust them.
“Keep pulling on them and it shows even more,” Heidi slurs, “Yeah go ahead.”
“Well not anymore,” He says as he pulls on his waist band, “Crease is gone.”
“Yeah but something else isn’t leaving much to my imagination,” She slurs as she stares at the front of his boxers.
“You imagine creases in my boxers?” He asks.
“You are thick sometimes, but I guess it’s just as well,” Heidi says, “Sorry that was rude.”
“Ah I’m not putting on weight am I?” William says as he stands and stumbles forward a little.
“No you’re not, you look so good,” She answers unintentionally, and then tries to cover, “I mean you are fine.”
“Ok thanks. But back to that, the other thing. Just tell him how you feel,” He slurs then looks at his boxers, “I don’t see any creases now.”
“No they don’t boss, I mean William. That’s not what I meant,” She stutters.
“Well it’s ok wear what you want,” He says with a smile, “Wait, were we talking about your underwear or mine? I’m confused now.”
“Yeah me too a little. But, ok you say I have your permission to come out of the shower any way I want?” Heidi grins.
“As long as you don’t mind an honest reaction,” He says with a slur, “I can do the shame, ah same if you’re not careful.”
“Well let me know the next time you take a shower,” Heidi grins with half closed eyes.
“Oh Heidi, you do so much,” William laughs as he nearly stumbles into his chair, “You don’t have to help me shower too.”
“Why not?” She says without thinking, “I mean, well if for some reason you can’t.”
“Hope I’m never that sick or bad off,” He smiles.
“So it would be bad taking a shower with me?” She asks with a grin.
“Wait, what?” He stammers, “Were we really talking about that?”
“Yeah I guess so, but you started it,” Heidi laughs.
“I escort pendik thought this started with your rabbit food,” William says.
“That was way before that,” She slurs.
“So how did we get on this thing about showering?” He asks.
“Somewhere between the second and fourth glass,” She answers.
“And a crease in my boxers,” William says.
“Something besides the crease, William,” Heidi says.
“Are they ripped?” He asks, looking down at himself.
“No. Well I guess in a way. You know you are kinda thick when you’re drinking,” She says as she sets her glass on the end table.
“Ah well, I’ll look at them tomorrow,” He says as he stops looking down, “As long as nothing is showing.”
“Yeah too bad,” Heidi sighs.
“Were you saying something about telling something to someone?” William says, stopping a moment to analyze his rather haphazard sentence.
“Yeah a while back,” Heidi sighs.
“Well say something when you get a chance,” William smiles.
“I wish,” She sighs, “But I can see he doesn’t feel the same.”
“Sorry”, He says almost unaware of his own words, “Maybe take a chance anyway. You should be happy.”
“So should he,” Heidi whispers, “I’d do anything to make him happy.”
During a long pause, Heidi thinks of his words. They seem to resonate within her even with a head so clouded, she can barely see him. How she wishes to say something but knows that even sober, if she were to make hints about it, he would not catch on. To her, this seems to be the life of a professional man. He’s on business so often. Still his words give her a moment of clarity, and enough to do as he suggests.
In a moment of liquid courage, Heidi stands up out of her seat. It takes more than one try, but she manages it eventually. She walks over to him and sits down beside him. Looking into his eyes, she does her best to speak. But before she does, she leans over and kisses him softly on the cheek.
“That’s for the night you brought me home from the party”, Heidi smiles weakly.
“It’s no problem,” William says as he looks at twin images of her.
“You told me to say something, and not wait,” She says after making a large effort to stand, “Ok then. I’m in love with you William. With your smile, the way you look at me, talk to me, and take care of me, and everything else about you. I love you.”
William watches as she turns and stumbles up the stairs. He sits a moment staring at the glass of wine now nearly gone. Her words take a few minutes to hit him. Suddenly and with a brief moment of clarity he cannot believe that he had not seen it before. All the smiles, extra efforts in her every day work, her closeness sometimes when they would be working, and other things had escaped him until now. He wonders if his deep involvement in his work makes him so unaware. She makes his life so much easier with the work she does. All the papers she prepares while he works on another task, keeping his house spotless, paying all his bills, doing all the laundry, doing his shopping, leaving little helper notes with smiley faces, taking care of him when he is sick, and putting up with him.
“I only hired her to keep the house up,” He says softly to no one, “But she’s so much more.”
William sets the drink down and closes his eyes. He thinks of her doing all those things without him really asking. He thinks of the fishing and camping trip a month ago, and how last minute he asked her to go. How her face glowed when he asked her. They had a wonderful time staying up late just talking around a campfire. He remembers that it looked like she wanted to tell him something that night. But she hesitated. The next day it was business as usual. William starts to drift off to sleep right there on the couch and as he does, he thinks only of Heidi and how such perfection has been here all along.
“You need to get up for your meeting,” Heidi says to him, “William wake up.”
“Oh my,” He yawns and notices he is still on the couch.
William lifts his head and looks out the window to see that it is already morning. He slowly rises and goes upstairs to quickly get dressed. Even from upstairs he can smell the breakfast Heidi is making. As he descends the stairs while fixing his tie, he thinks of how he is going to bring up the subject of what she said last night. As he reaches the table, he can feel the tension in the air. He knows what he wants to say to her but just can’t seem to get the words out. He can’t help thinking that his dedication to work is what makes it so that he is not good in situations like this. It starts to irritate him a little as he knows his own mastery of difficult business situations and the fact that he can’t even talk about something so simple. The words do not come.
It’s the first time they have been silent during breakfast in all these years, and all Heidi does is take a few bites and push her food around. As she begins to clean the kitchen, William remembers that this has always been something she usually does after he leaves. William still feels awkward with the vague memory of her telling him she loves him last night. He is not completely convinced that she even said it. But maybe he had said something odd too, based on her silence this morning. Because he has to go deliver a lengthy report on his trip, he doesn’t have any more time to dwell on it. He knows that throughout the day it will come back into his thoughts.
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