There she was. Standing in the middle of the hallway waiting for him. But the perfectly erected picture of perfection he was used to seeing now had ratted hair, scratches on her hands and face, and make-up streaked across her cheeks. And even worse, her expression was filled with a deep and deadly emotion: ire. He stepped towards her cautiously.
“Miss – “ he couldn’t even finish saying her name before she stormed off.
He followed behind, close at her heels.
“Miss Taylor!” he cried again, pulling her to a stop as he grabbed her arm. “What’s going on?” he insisted.
She eyed his arm on hers, coolly at first. Her gaze travelled up his arm to his face – there was something new in her eyes – fear? Insecurity? He stood stupefied. Without shifting eye contact, she slowly and forcefully removed his hand from her arm, returning it to his side. The moment was interrupted by the entrance of her maid.
“Miss Taylor,” she began, without looking up, “your new dresses arrived today. They will be ironed and stowed in your closet within the hour.”
The maid stopped in her tracks when she saw the uncomfortable scene before her. She flinched as if waiting for a hard scolding.
“Goodness, how sweet of you,” Miss Taylor ogled, her voice evoking a sweetness that was clearly foreign to her. “Please, take your time, you’ve been such a big help.” Her warm and charming smile seemed to knock the maid completely off her game.
“Uh, yes.” She stuttered. “Thank-thank you.” She continued down the hall in a daze, glancing back once or twice in astonishment.
The Chauffeur heaved a sigh of relief. “So you are ok,” he laughed. “I thought-“ his words were cut off by the swift return of her eyes to his – this time blazing. She allowed her deadly stare to drill holes in his psyche for a few precious moments before she curtly turned on her heel and walked slowly upstairs.
The Chauffeur stood in shock.
“I’m so fucking done with this” he spat, throwing his arms in the air. Rank with indignation, he stomped back outside.
Unfortunately, he couldn’t escape her. Every time he saw her in the window; every time she was waiting in the hall, the picture was the same. And she wouldn’t talk. She wouldn’t even move.
Later that week, they crossed paths in the hallway, the same disgusted look penciled into Miss Taylor’s face. Completely undone by the display consistently repeating before him, The Chauffeur decided he’d had enough. He secured his hand on her arm and dragged her to the side of the house, gruffly releasing her beside the aluminum bird feeder. She held her balance, a startled and frightened look on her face. He took a deep breath, attempting to calm himself.
“Miss Taylor” he stated matter-of-factly, “I don’t know why you’re angry with me, but either you tell me and we work it out, or we return to maintaining our professional relationship. I have a job to do here and, frankly, I’m tired of playing games.”
He stood waiting, his patience depleting by the second. Miss Taylor’s lips opened momentarily, as if to speak, then closed tightly. She shut her eyes tightly, as if in pain. Upon re-opening, her demeanor flipped from incredulity to rage within seconds. The capillaries in her face burned red and she began to shake. With an exasperated cry, her arm launched at the bird feeder, sending it rocketing across the yard, sprinkling bird seed far and wide.
Unapologetically, she turned back to him, her finger shaking in the direction of the scattered mess.
“Clean. That. Up.” She seethed. “Now.” The Chauffeur’s plea for closure was left hanging sloppily in the air along with his dignity. He moved to implore her once again, his anger tamed momentarily by his confusion, but she stepped back, deepening her glare. He started, unsure how to proceed. Feeling satisfied with her display and simultaneous eradication of his attempt to blindside her, she stormed back to the house leaving him, once again, befuddled and lost.
The following day, with the startling fluidity of Houdini himself, things returned to business as usual. Miss Taylor’s pleasant demeanor returned and The Chauffeur became just one of her servants once again. After about a week, he caught her staring at him from the window again as he waited by the car. But this time she smiled. He could see her fingers on the pain of glass, her pointer finger moving as if to wave at him. He sighed, shook his head, and got in the car to take it in for detailing. She watched him meander down the long, skinny driveway, through the ivy creeping across the arch, and out of sight.