A month is what you have
The sound of hums echoed from the kitchen as James bobbed his head to the beat of the music in his mind while frying the eggs.
“James, I feel healthy enough now to cook for you guys. You shouldn‘t be in the kitchen.” Miss Grace said as she walked toward him with a smile on her face.
“I know… Being a butler is not my only job, I was a chef…” James blurted out, pausing as he turned to look at her.
“You are a butler? Who‘s Butler…? Why are you here if you are supposed to be working as someone‘s butler?”
“Because..! Well… Because I got fired. You see when you love a job and it gets taken away from you… well, you never really recover from it.”
With a look of pity on her face, Miss Grace smiled weakly and mumbled, “You poor fellow. Now, I understand your love for my kitchen.”
Laughing nervously, James studied her kind eyes, rubbed his neck, and mumbled, “Well, thank you for understanding.”
There was a long pause as they stared at each other, and then Miss Grace sniffed the air, crying out, “James the egg is burning!” With a look of horror on his face, he quickly jumped into action while grabbing the handler of the frying pan and taking it off the stove as soon as possible.
The smoke detector started screaming as James stopped the smoke by beating the frying pan with a towel, feeling nervous while listening to Miss Grace laugh out loud at him being so clumsy. “Good morning?” Elijah said as he walked into the kitchen looking confused and slightly worried.
“What is that bad odor?” Rookie blurted out, scratching his neck as he tried to smell the air. “James just burned our breakfast…” Elijah teased, looking at the nervous look on his butler‘s face.
“James ruined breakfast?! Woohoo!” Matt mocked as he followed Ryan into the kitchen.
“So, are we spending today on an empty stomach?” Ryan laughed, picking up on the other‘s desire to tease James because this was the first time he had burned something. Smiling sheepishly James muttered, “Sorry, I‘m sorry…” “Come on guys. It‘s not fair to tease poor James,” Miss Grace said, trying to stop herself from chuckling along with the others. Feeling the humorous atmosphere in the room, James couldn‘t help but giggle at his mistake too, and then said, “Since everyone is awake…”
There was a brief pause as he gazed at the faces in the room and then he let out, “Is Peach still asleep.”
Scratching his brow, Elijah darted his gaze away from the others as the thought of him kissing Peach popped into his mind for a second and his heart thudded against his chest.
The kiss wasn‘t meant to feel so damn right to him when he knew it was wrong in all sense,
the moment their lips touched he felt like he was drowning in nothing but feelings and passion.
And if that moment was to happen again, he didn‘t think he would have a second thought and not make the same mistake twice.
Shaking those memories from his mind, Elijah looked over at Miss Grace as she said, “I will
His gaze followed her until she disappeared out of the kitchen, and then he looked back at Matt, staring intensely at him.
“What?” Elijah asked, feeling uneasy under the intensity of his man‘s stare. “Nothing. You just seem a little distracted, is everything alright?” Matt asked, lowering his gaze a little. Elijah shook his head and replied, “Of course everything is fine… why wouldn‘t things be?” The sound of a gentle knock on her door made Peach cover her head with the sheet, and then she heard her mother‘s voice, “Peach, darling… Are you awake..? Breakfast is ready.” “I am not well, mama! I will not be coming downstairs today…” Peach shouted back nervously. Then she pouted and let out a sigh of frustration, mumbling, “Or ever.” The entire night, she spent it thinking about how she was going to face Elijah. But now the morning is here, she didn‘t think she could do it anymore.
And it wasn‘t helping that her mind was torturing her with thoughts about what happened last night, and the rush of emotion that came with it was overwhelming her. When Miss Grace turned the knob and realized that the door was locked, she frowned and said, “Honey, how sick are you… is it severe?”
“No, it‘s not. I just have a slight headache.” Peach lied, hoping that her mother bought it.
“Okay, but you can not stay in here without eating, so promise me when you feel much better, you will come downstairs.” Pressing her lips together, Peach pinched the sheets, knowing there is no way she could hide away from Elijah forever. But at least a couple of hours sounds better than seeing him now and pretending like last night never happened. “Okay,” Peach called out, “I promise.” Sighing, Miss Grace turned away from her daughter‘s door and walked away, feeling a bit worried about her. When she got to the dining hall, and Elijah‘s gaze fell on her, seeing that Peach wasn‘t with her, he blurted out his thoughts, “Where is Peach?”
“She wouldn‘t be joining us. She isn‘t feeling well.” Miss Grace said with a worried expression as she sat down between James and Ryan.
Without his approval, his emotions began clouding his judgment as they did yesterday, and his sense of worry and anxiety only grew stronger after hearing of Peach‘s illness. Furrowing his brows with a look of worry on his face, Rookie commented, “How serious is it?” “Should I make a hot bowl of soup for her?” James added concern laced through his voice. Miss Grace shook her head, trying not to sound anxious as she answered, “It‘s just a slight headache. She will be out later.”
The way James, Rookie, Ryan, and Matt sighed in relief made Elijah realize his men cared for Peach greatly and that her personality was infectious to them.
After Breakfast, as James was clearing the table with Miss Grace, Elijah stood up from his seat looked over at Rookie, and said, “Follow me,” As he walked off, Rookie took a deep breath before waking from the chair and walking after him.
Nervously, Ryan, Matt, and James gazed at Rookie‘s back until he faded out the dining hall doorway, and then they eyed each other, trying to figure out what Elijah wanted to tell him.
Once Rookie entered Elijah‘s room, shutting the door behind him, he looked at him with a concerned look on his face.
“Boss?” Rookie called out gently.
“Bryan Checks,” Elijah began, leaning back on the chair. “I need to know every single detail about this man. When you are done investigating him, I should know his blood type, and how many toes he has on his feet… I should know him more than the woman that gave birth to him.
The pressure from such a request, especially from Elijah, sent shivers down Rookie‘s spine and he gulped nervously as he spoke, “Uh… Yes, boss.”
This was the first assignment he was getting from his boss, and with the background, Elijah was from, he knows his career could either thrive or flunk depending on how well or how terrible he does his investigation.
“A month is what you have. Whatever financial requirement you need for this job, I will give it to you,” Elijah said as he looked at Rookie, giving him an encouraging smile.
Taking a deep breath, Rookie nodded his head as he blurted out, breathing down his nervously, “Thank you, sir, I appreciate that.”
Although a month was a lot of time, Elijah knew Rookie was new to the country and it would take him a while to become familiar with the people here and to work with them. Also, a man as powerful as Checks won‘t have his life as an open book and it would take a while for Rookie to figure things out about him. This was his first big move to establish himself, and it needed to go perfectly. And having the wrong kind of person could very easily affect that. Leaning forward, Elijah rested his elbows on his knees and said, “Rookie,”
“Yes, boss! He answered eagerly.
“Do not leave a single stone unturned. Remember your objective… Find all information about Checks, and report back to me once you have finished. I want every dirt you can find on this guy. Got it?”
“Yes, sir. I understand.”
Humming happily, Miss Grace took her time dusting the lobby of the motel, trying to get her mind off her daughter‘s behavior, even though it was hard since she kept having the sudden urge to go up and check on Peach.
Suddenly, the sound of a knock on the front door startled Miss Grace and caused her to drop the rag she was holding. Then she turned around and headed over to the door, and the moment she opened it, her face grew pale and her body froze where she stood.