His Fill-In Housekeeper by Lola Lois Raphael

James and his friends sat in a bar, drinking. He was annoyed seeing Johnson cuddled with a girl. The idiot knows nothing but girls. That is all he ever does anytime they agreed to meet up here. He felt a nudge against his ribs and scowled at Peter. ‘’What is it?’’ He growled.
His Fill-In Housekeeper
His Fill-In Housekeeper by Lola Lois Raphael
Peter ignored his reaction. ‘’I think you’ve had more than enough to drink.’’ He admonished, leaning back against the seat with half closed eyes. James snorted. ‘’I can handle my drink.’’ He said even though he knew it was a lie. He was on his fourth drink and could feel his head throbbing, his eyes getting blurry. He really doesn’t know why he drinks since his alcohol tolerance level is low. ‘’Hi James, what are you doing tonight? You know you can always come home with me.’’ A skinny girl in jeans designed to bruise internal organs and a snug shirt said suggestively with a wink. She made an attempt to slide unto his lap but his icy stare had her taking a step back. ‘’I guess I will see you some other time.’’ She said as she scurried off, obviously to find a new prey. Paul watched James as if he had lost his mind. ‘’That girl has been offering herself to you for months, I just don’t know why you are not jumping at the offer.’’ He said with disbelief. He really doesn’t know why James has been pushing that girl away since she started making moves on him. James shrugged and gave him a pointed look. ‘’I am not interested.’’ He said flatly. Out of his friends he couldn’t even pinpoint the most wayward, Johnson’s lust for girls is unnatural and the twins’ Peter and Paul could be worse. Johnson turned to him, dislodging the girl on his lap and told her to excuse them which she did after planting a kiss on his cheek to which James rolled his eyes. He cleared his throat noisily. ‘’I have always wanted to ask you this…is there a problem? I mean I haven’t…are you not…’’ He broke off abruptly and just stared at James who was giving him a blank stare. ‘’What are you talking about?’’ James asked. He knew the guys are giving one another a knowing look but he had no idea what they were about. ‘’Maybe he is impotent.’’ Peter put in with a guffaw. James’ eyes darkened. Although these guys are his best friends they annoy him more than any other on earth. ‘’What I am or not is none of your business. Just because I don’t sleep around with random girls the way you do doesn’t mean I am impotent.’’ He said defensively. Paul sighed. ‘’Leave him be. I’m sure he has his reasons for being so saintly.’’ At least one of them is being sensible James thought. When he was growing up and had seemed to lack the enthusiasm his friends have when it comes to girls he had thought he had a problem. He had even attributed it to the fact that he was shy and not as outspoken as the others, but now as a 26 year old he knew he should be thinking about getting married and having a family of his own, so he had tried to date a few girls but so far none has proved productive and right now he really isn’t in the mood to try his hand at any sort of different sex relationship. He likes things just as they are and his nosy friends can stick their nose out of his business. He stood up and staggered on his feet. ‘’Oh no,’’ he muttered as he raised a hand to his throbbing head. Peter sniggered. ‘’Told you to watch your drink.’’ He said and stood up, ‘’I will drive you home. You look like you will drive yourself into a ditch.’’ He dug his hand in James’ pocket and retrieved his car keys, laid a firm grip on his arm and led him out. The next morning James could feel someone trying to wake him up. His head was pounding painfully and he knew he had the mothers of hangovers. He felt someone pull at his hand and his body being nudged. This could be none other than one of his annoying friends he thought. ‘’Go away,’’ He grumbled without opening his eyes. ‘’It is good to know you are alive, you sleep like the dead.’’ James could hear the humour, the sonorous voice and feel an enticing breath wash over him, surely this is none of his friends and his housekeeper knows when to leave him alone and she doesn’t talk like a…a girl? His eyes shot open to see a girl leaning over him, her face close to his. ‘’Ah,’’ he screamed and bolted upright so that she fell backwards on her rear and landed with a soft thump on the floor. ‘’Who are you and what are you doing in my house?’’ He asked the strange girl. How had she gotten in here? ‘’I work here.’’ The girl as she stood up. Well, maybe she isn’t a girl after all. He figured she must be in her early twenties. She works here? He is not hearing that right, there must be a mix up somewhere because she is definitely not working here and not for him. Ever since he had moved into the house he bought from his father an act of independence on his part, he had fired all the servants and brought in new ones except the housekeeper Mrs. Benjamin. He has always seen her as a mother figure and she has been fond of him too. She takes care of him the way a mother does a child and he had been pleased with her. ‘’You are a liar.’’ He was staring at her accusingly. Surely she doesn’t expect him to believe her right? He is the master of this house and he knows his employees. The girl smiled at him, two dimples popping out of her cheeks and James stared at her as if in a trance. ‘’I have to fill in for my mother.’’ She tilted her head, her arms crossed in front of her. Seeing how confused James was, the girl explained. ‘’I am Mrs. Benjamin’s daughter, I have to fill in for her because she is ill.’’ She held out her hand to him. ‘’I am Elizabeth Benjamin.’’ James gingerly took her hand and quickly dropped it. ‘’Your mother doesn’t need to send you as a substitute. I can take care of myself. I already told her to take care of herself, is she feeling better now?’’ He asked with a genuine concern. He had been worried sick when she called him yesterday morning to tell him she had fallen ill and would not be able to show up for work, he had told her to rest and see the doctor that he would take care of himself and had even given her a month’s leave but surely she hadn’t believed that. ‘’She is.’’ Elizabeth said and smiled, the dimples popping out again. Why is she always smiling? James asked himself. ‘’You don’t have to stay, I can take care of myself.’’ He really doesn’t feel comfortable with her presence. And she really has to stop smiling. Elizabeth gave him an amused smile as she looked round his room. ‘’I can see you did a good job of that.’’ She said ironically. James felt like an idiot, just a day of Mrs. Benjamin’s absence and his room looks like an animal pen, an unkempt one. Trying for dignity, he stood up to clear the mess. ‘’I will take care of it,’’ he groaned and tried to walk past her but she nudged him gently back to the bed. ‘’You are in a bad shape. I will get you something for your hangover.’’ After she left James could feel his heart flip and flutter. Chapter Two She is driving him crazy! That is all James could think about. Her smile, walk, voice and her dimples are driving him nuts. For the past three days he had been avoiding her like the plague as best as he could. He makes sure he arrives home late and goes out early, but still he couldn’t stop the feelings he felt towards her. He knew it was all wrong that he is obsessed with a girl, maybe it is all just a bad dream and he would wake up and find the familiar elderly housekeeper but he knew it was not a dream. She is here to plague his thoughts and he really hasn’t been doing much these days than thinking about her and how he found himself in this situation. He was so deep in thoughts that he didn’t see her come in, her familiar scent assaulted his senses and his eyes darted to hers. ‘’Good morning Mr. Daniel,’’ she greeted him with a bright smile as she breezed into the room. James felt his heartbeat accelerate and he averted his gaze. He had thought her referring to him in formal terms will further create a professional relationship between them but he had been wrong. ‘’Good morning,’’ he mumbled. He quickly got out of bed, his eyes fixed to the floor. ’’I will just…’’he trailed off as a form of excuse as he quickly darted into the bathroom. Elizabeth just watched him leave with a hint of inquisitiveness. How comes he behaves as if she makes him uncomfortable which is totally ridiculous. The first thing her mother had told her when she offered to take over from her until she regains her health is that James is not the wayward type and that she can be rest assured that he would never make any immoral move towards her which she herself can testify to, but why does he avoid her? There are countless days in the last few days she had caught him staring at her as if in a trance, and always expels a sharp breath anytime her skin touches his. Hmm, maybe he isn’t as immune to the feminine charms as he and her mother thought. The first day she had saw him, she had thought it absolutely impossible that her mother is working for such a…can she say ‘’an absolutely gorgeous guy?’’ she had expected a withered old man, but had changed her expectations when her mother told her he couldn’t be more than a few years older than her, so she had expected a spoilt brat. What she never expected is a man who looked as if he just stepped out of a fashion magazine. After she graduated from the University she has been doing odd jobs, teaching at an Elementary School and private tutoring as she hasn’t been able to nail a good job, but she believes with her qualifications she can provide a luxurious life for her mother. She isn’t thrilled about her last working place because the man whose daughter she was tutoring was a pervert and irritates her to death. When her mother resumes work here she would get a new job, a real one and regard it as a new beginning. She brought herself out of her reverie. ‘’I should really get to work. This monstrous of a building requires hours of hard work to be sparkling clean, coupled with the fact that the Boss’ room looks like a jungle of dirt.’’ *** ‘’You look like a Zombie,’’ Paul commented as soon as James entered the bar and slumped down on the settee. James scowled at him as he stretched his tensed body. He is not in the mood to talk so he figured it would be best if he just pretended they are not talking about him. ‘’I will say he looks like he hasn’t slept in days.’’ Peter leaned towards him, his unwavering gaze scrutinizing him. James snorted, so much for not wanting to talk. ‘’I don’t think we are here to talk about my sleeping habits.’’ His friends knowing what has been giving him sleepless nights wouldn’t do him any good. They will tease him mercilessly and he really isn’t looking forward to that. Teasing is fun while it is not directed at you. ‘’I think it has to be a girl.’’ Johnson who has been silent said his eyes boring into James’. James shifted uneasily in his seat. ‘’Stop looking at me like that, you are making me feel uncomfortable.’’ He grumbled. Did Johnson always have to be the attentive one? There are times he believes Johnson have the ability of seeing into one’s soul and getting into one’s head which is really creepy. ‘’Seems like he is trying to keep it a secret.’’ Peter remarked. He knew James was hiding something which is almost impossible for him to pull off as he is an open book most times. James hid his amusement. How comes his friends know him so well? He knew he could hardly keep secrets from them, especially from Johnson whose eagle like eyes seems to know everything. What would they do when they realizes he has been fantasizing about his curvaceous Housekeeper’s daughter? He thought with a smile. Paul nudged Peter. ‘’He looks moonstruck.’’ He whispered. Peter acquiesced with a nod. ‘’I have never seen him like this before, at least he is finally dating.’’ He whispered back to his twin brother while watching the daydreaming James. ‘’We have to find out who this girl is.’’ Johnson mouthed to the others and they silently agreed. James was in his own world and had no idea what his friends were planning. *** What James never expected to see the next morning was his friends screaming around him, thereby disrupting his beauty sleep if he can call his dream that. ‘’Go away,’’ Jeez…these guys could really be annoying at times. ‘’I am still sleeping can’t you see that?” Why are they here so early by the way? ‘’You don’t get to talk while you are sleeping.’’ Peter replied with a smug smile. ‘’We are not going away until you tell us what had you looking so damn smug last night.’’ Johnson sat down on the bed and made it obvious they are in no hurry to leave him alone. He could as well start spilling his guts which he really doesn’t want to. Can’t a man have his privacy? James dropped the pretense of them actually falling for his defensive tactics and he sat up. ‘’I really don’t know what you guys are talking about. You should be specific with your line of questioning.’’ ‘’Trying to be a smartass huh? Well…’’ Just then James’ bedroom door opened and Elizabeth stepped in. ‘’That’s her!!!’’ the three guys exclaimed. Chapter Three James sighed with contentment. Finally he had found gratification. With Elizabeth he has it all. The next few days after his friends had gathered in his room and saw her, they had asked him tons of questions he hadn’t found amusing answering, he couldn’t really answer them then, and now there are still some questions he couldn’t answer. His friends all had been certain she was the one behind his sleepless nights and he had tried to deny it then but Johnson had really made it impossible as he always seems to be staring right into his soul, and he had finally confided in them. He doesn’t know what he sees in her, but she makes him whole. She is the answer to his puzzle and he knew he would do anything to make her happy always. Now he knew the reason he had been finding it hard to commit to other girls was because he hasn’t found the right girl, a girl specially made for him. He had known many girls but none had captured his heart the way Elizabeth has and he knew his heart will always be hers. Now he could sit back and watch himself being blown by the wind of love. He wouldn’t mind been blown to a deserted island, in as much as he have his Elizabeth with him. Anytime James remembers what his friends made him do when he was trying to woo Elizabeth he couldn’t stop the smile that lightens up his face. They had instructed him on how to woo her as they all believe if he were left alone to do it his way he would probably only succeeded in sending her away, so they had volunteered to help. Paul actually wrote it for him on a sheet of paper, James still can’t believe Paul actually did that for him, but he is crazy at times. He had then tried to follow the rules, some sucks but some are helpful. What really matters is the fact that his friends care enough to help him gain his happiness and he will always be grateful to them for that. A week after they had talked his ears off about courting Lizzie, he had taken the first step. He smiled to himself as he remembered the day he had tried to ask her out on a date. He didn’t refer to it as a date to her, but to him and his friends it had been a date. He had taken her out on the pretense of picking up few things at the Shopping Mall and he had made it so that he convinced her to have dinner with him at the nearest restaurant, claiming after the day they had, she shouldn’t have to do anything more than go straight home to her mother which he volunteered he would drive her there himself. He had been tongue tied and felt incredibly stupid at his clumsy attempt to take out a woman on a date. The evening would have been a total disaster if not for her cheerfulness. She had talked to him, listened to his lousy attempts to talk about himself, teased him and laughed with him. By the end of the evening, he had felt confident and had managed few sentences without stuttering or staring at invisible holes in the ground. That night in his room he had been so excited that he called Johnson to relay the events of the day to him and his friend had made him feel better by his encouraging words and his teasing and he had eagerly anticipated the next time he would get to take her out again. James had silently wished that Mrs. Benjamin doesn’t get well anytime soon, so as to have Elizabeth to himself, fussing over him like a mother hen. He knew it was bad to wish his ever efficient housekeeper an extended illness, but the thought always keeps jumping to his mind. He really can’t stop himself from wishing that he could have her all to himself without disturbance from the outside world. The next few weeks that had followed he had been blindly and totally in love with Elizabeth. When her mother had called to inform him of her intention to return back to work after a month’s leave he had been dejected. He had then goes to the older woman to tell her of his intentions towards her daughter, and fortunately for him she loves him too. Mrs. Benjamin had been surprised but she told him she had noticed changes in Elizabeth but she had no idea it was because of him and the woman had given her consent. The day he got married to Elizabeth was the best day of his life. Their marriage had been an elegant one. He wanted the best for his bride. He reconciled with his Father and the man was too happy to be angry with him much as finally he was doing something he wanted. His family and hers had been present, including friends and colleagues. That day he had sworn to love her with all his mind, body and soul and he will forever be faithful to that vow. Reminiscing about his early days with Elizabeth always brings a smile to his face and a radiant beam to his heart. ‘’Daddy,’’ James looked up to see his wife and their four year old boy running towards him. He stood with outstretched hands and beamed at them. Anytime he sees his beautiful wife and their cute kid, he feels like the most blessed man on earth. He knew his happiness lies with Elizabeth and their son, and he had his friends to be grateful for, for they were the ones that taught and led him unto this path, and of course he had to thank Mrs. Benjamin for bringing Elizabeth into his life. James grinned as his son jumped into his arms and he swung him up in the smile, his face radiating sheer happiness as he gazes steadily at his beloved wife. Ours is a happy family.


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