"When you told me we were staying here, I kept waiting for you to tell me it's a joke, but you don't joke, do you, Mr. George?"
"I'm not a comedian, I'm a butler," he says, without a hint of humor and walks away towards the leasing office, leaving me to fend for myself in the early April afternoon. Various residents watch me from balconies. Distrustful eyes give me the creeps and I begin tapping at my phone in distraction.
George returns within moments and I wonder if he failed to secure us an apartment. Can we stay in a hotel tonight after all? Dare I get my hopes up? As he approaches, my heart sinks to see keys in his hands and I wonder with a hint of anger how he accomplished it all in such a short span of time.
"I'd hoped you didn't get the apartment," I say.
"Don't be cynical, Ella. Besides, people enjoy doing business with a man in a tuxedo. Makes it all the more pleasant."
I must seem crazy getting an apartment here yet having a butler in a tuxedo. Though, in truth, it doesn't seem like anyone is paying him the least mind. Why? Because he is a man? Everyone in this place is eye-fucking me. I shouldn't have worn this skirt today. Sigh.
"Follow me, Ella," he says, waving a hand in front of my face to break the reverie.
He leads me down a short hallway to a door at the end. Opening it, I follow him inside a small one-bedroom apartment. It can't be more than 600 square feet of space.
"You and I will share this space?" I ask. This can't be the plan.
"No, it won't be just the two of us," he answers, but doesn't say more.
I stamp my foot and wait for him to answer.
"You are to be provided a butler..." he begins, eyes smiling at my crossed arms. "...and a bodyguard. Your new security will be Peter. He will stay with us also."
"Peter?" I say. I've never met this one. At that moment a good looking man of middle age walks from the bedroom.
"All is clear," he reports to nobody before entering the kitchen. Without looking at me, he opens the cabinets and removes a new coffee maker and cups. George joins him and begins making coffee for the three of us while I stare and stare and stare.
"Who the fuck are you?" I ask.
Blue eyes bore into my own. Oh, he is very handsome.
"I see a couch and a bed. Where are you going to sleep?" I ask, crossing my arms again.
"George will have the couch of course," he says with a smile. Then, the smile melts off his face. "And I will share the bed with you."