Posts Tagged gardener
Ala instinctively crouched down, planting her hand on the railing in order to peek up. Had the gardener seen Danno leave? Perhaps he knew she was alone. There was no reason for him to be back after she told him his things were not in the house. Fear curdled deep in her stomach. His figure enlarged as he walked toward the window, closer to her. She crawled on her hands and knees under the sill, trying to get to the back of the sofa. She could not remember where she had left her phone. Most likely on the kitchen counter. If she got up now, he would see her going to the kitchen.
The house phone began to ring. She looked up to see if the gardener was calling, and he was gone. She crawled toward the kitchen and plastered herself against the back door before slowly inching up to look out of the kitchen windows.
She did not see him in the backyard, but saw that all of the dishes had been left out from the early morning breakfast. She would have to wait to clear the table because Bruno could be lurking. What did he want from her? Perhaps she should call Emmanuel to let him know that a member of his staff was harassing her. He would probably inquire about how everything else was going, and she wasn’t sure that she could adequately lie over the phone.
Her stomach began to spin and she did not feel safe in the house any longer, at least not by herself. She tiptoed to Emmanuel’s room and found a pair of her shoes, that did not require she wear socks, and slipped them on. She retrieved her purse and phone and slowly made her way toward the front door. There were no cars in front of the house, not to say Bruno hasn’t parked far away to throw her off. She positioned the house key firmly in her hand and stepped outside, quickly locking up, then bolted down the porch steps. She jogged, looking behind her frequently, to her parent’s house. The porch light was turned on, welcoming her and she had never been so relieved to be going back to this house.
She let herself in and locked the door behind her, peering out to see if she had been followed. The street was clear. She sunk down on the bottom step to catch her breath and ran her hands through her hair. The air was stiff and she fanned herself with a magazine from the end table. The house has not been this hot the last time she was there. She heard a whack, a quick high-pitched whip, coming from upstairs.
Her parents were surely still at this hour. She heard a thump and then laughter. She stepped carefully, not wanting to disturb the noise, or let her parents know that she was home. Her parent’s bedroom door was open slightly, and purple light spilled out onto the carpet. She approached and looked inside of the room, then stepped back quickly.
A dozen naked bodies, all moving and squirming, were coiled together in a heap in the middle of the bedroom floor.
A large, powerful, pulsing knot rose up from her stomach to her rib cage and perched between the bones as Danno drove them back to Emmanuel’s house.
“Wrong”, her brain kept telling her. “Wrong, wrong”. She ignored the message. She seemed to climb outside of her aching, sweating, exhausted body and was watching. She made note of what a beautiful couple she and Danno made. She watched his hands work the wheel steadily. He was quite possibly going to lose his job because of her, and he wasn’t panicked in the slightest.
This time he pulled into the carport. Ala found the keys in her purse and lead him around to the back of the house. She opened the gate and saw a squat khaki clad man was perched by a rose bush snipping away. She stepped backwards quickly, nearly crushing Danno’s foot and closed the gate quietly.
“Is something wrong?” He said.
“I think the gardener’s here,” she said. She peaked over the fence.
“He isn’t supposed to be?”
“I guess he is, but I don’t want to talk to him right now. Let’s go around to the front.”
She basically tiptoed to up the front steps and opened the door. Danno touched the back of her neck and when she turned to face him, he kissed her.
“You don’t have to do this. What I think you’re going to do.”
“It’s fine. How soon will you have it back?”
“As soon as I can get a new access card. Two days max.”
She nodded and looked out of the back window. The gardener was still hard at work on the roses. She walked slowly down the hallway toward the study.
She heard his steps behind her. Maybe he should not go in with her. It was too late though. She opened the door. The books and papers were neatly stacked as they had been the day before. The window had been left open so the room smelled like wisteria. Danno, with hands in his pockets, walked over to an overstuffed brown leather armchair, and had a seat.
“Would you like a drink?” Ala said.
“No, I’m fine thanks.”
She was nervous. Her hands shook. She didn’t know how to stay calm like he did. The doorbell rang.
“Oh great! Who is that?” She said hysterically.
Danno got up.
“I’ll go see. Everything’s okay.”
He brushed past her. Ala quickly got the magnet out from behind the painting. She brought it over to the vase and, nearly spilling the rare sand everywhere, she tipped it until she heard a soft clink, and pulled the magnet up with the key attached. She jammed it into the desk drawer and took out the album.
She flipped through quickly, being careful not to smudge any photographs or tear any of the pages until she saw the list of birthdays. The first birthday, 7-23-47, was someone named Lawrence DeGrello’s birthday. She crawled over to the safe and turned the dial to each number. She lifted the latch and pulled up. The door opened into a deep dark hole in the floor. She tried to peer in without feeling down there first, but had no luck.
Danno came and leaned on the doorframe.
“It’s the gardener. He wants to talk to you.”
Instead, he turned, walked out the front door, and came back inside one second later with the morning paper. He carried it out the back door and had a seat on one of the lawnchairs. She took a deep breath. He was staying, for now.
She heard the phone ringing. She followed the ringing to her purse, which was flung into the corner of the foyer, and found the phone.
“Ala. It’s mom. Whose car is that?”
Ala rushed to the window and tugged the blinds out of the way. The Aston Martin gleamed in the sun, more beautiful than she had remembered it. It sucked all of the attention from the rest of the cars on the block for certain.
“Oh, I don’t know.”
“You don’t know?”
“No.” She hated when her mother did this. This repetitive passive aggressive communication was so juvenile.
“It’s parked directly in front of Emmanuel’s house”
“Why would someone park there if they weren’t actually inside of Emmanuel’s house?”
“You’re asking as if I parked it there.”
“Well, did you?”
“No, I arelady told you I don’t know whose care it is.” She heard the back door closing and lowered her voice. “I’ve never seen that car in my life. I assure you, I’m perfectly fine.”
Silence. Staying calm was the sure way to shut her mother up.
“Alright then. What are your plans for the day?”
She felt him watching her from behind.
“I’m a little busy now explaining things to the gardener. I’ll talk to you later.”
“Don’t forget to call. Dad wants to talk to you.”