Stan squirmed in her seat as the darkened figure continued the descent towards the Rover. The leather steering wheel protested loudly with a squelch from her tight grip. Stan’s knuckles paled to white as she held her breath in wonder. Had Addy secretly slipped Justin information about her visit to the property? She sucked in her bottom lip between her teeth and bit down in anticipation of Justin’s green eyes appearing on the other side of the rain streaked window.
She closed her eyes for a second and heard Justin’s voice whispering apologies in her ear. His breath tickling her skin and making the hair on the back of her neck rise. He’d trail a line of soft kisses down her neck and then mix a gentle nip to her throat. The sensation of his lips to her throat always made her squirm in anticipation as it was a clear sign he was in a playful mood. She hummed a soft sigh before opening her eyes and noticing the figure approaching was much too tall to be Justin.
A pair of cool blue eyes appeared to almost glow from behind a masquerade mask as the strange male peered into Stan’s car. He tapped on the window and motioned for her to roll down the window. She noticed the expensive, non-waterproof watch on his wrist as he held his hand up to shield his eyes from the rain. What kind of person could completely disregard the expense of such an item, she wondered as she pressed the button for the passenger side window.
“Please pull around the drive and toward the carriage house to the right,” the male spoke with accent Stan couldn’t quite place. “You’ll find a restroom to the right of the exit. There’s a small waiting room, you may change there before you enter the house for the party.”
Stan blinked as she once again thought the male’s eyes glowed at her. He was young and handsome, with a boyish quality. She felt mesmerized by his eyes. “Change?” she asked him in confusion. “I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m Stan Smith,” she pulled out a business card from the back of her cell phone and handed it to him. “I’m with Calling Shots, I spoke with a Trevor Giles about viewing the property. I’m here for a couple of days.”
The male took a step back from the window with a puzzled look. Rain started to fall inside the Rover, pinging off the seats and dashboard.
“Stan Smith?” the male questioned with a raised brow. “Mr. Giles invited you?” The way he questioned Stan made her tremble. Had she made a mistake?
“Yes, that’s correct. Look, you’re getting my rental all wet, can you get in the car and I’ll dig up my email?” she pleaded. The male gave a short nod and then opened the car door. Stan sighed in relief as she rolled up the window to stop the rain. The stranger was going to probably leave a new puddle in the seat but as least she wouldn’t have to worry about a shorted-out dash.
“Look. Here. See this is from yesterday from Trevor confirming my visit here. Should I call him? He told me the property was empty except for a few members of household staff. He never mentioned a party.” She handed her phone over and waited for, she didn’t know what exactly, maybe an approval.
“I see,” he replied as he held the phone away from him, so he didn’t drop water on to it. “There appears to be a miscommunication between Mr. Giles and his landlord, the real owner of this property.” Stan felt a zing of panic as she heard the mention of a landlord. “I’m Phillip. Please, if you’ll pull around to the carriage house, we can get this straightened out.” He motioned with his right hand toward the drive.
“O. K.” Stan put the car into drive and started toward the carriage house.
She watched as Philip reached into his suit pocked and pulled out his own mobile. His thumbs flying on the keyboard. Was he texting Trevor? She didn’t want to have to reschedule and it would take her forever to drive back and find a hotel at this hour. She pulled into the building Philip had indicated as the carriage house and was stunned by the grandeur of a simple parking structure. It was an open building with parking spaces for at least 10 cars. 3 large crystal chandeliers hung from the tall ceiling, bathing the room in a warm glowing light.
Stan parked the car but waited to pull the keys from the ignition. She waited for Philip to speak but he continued to text. She gave a small clear of her throat and then smiled politely at him when he turned his head to acknowledge her.
“Did Trevor give you the all clear?”
“Mr. Giles is currently out of the country and not able to confirm your arrival.” Stan let out a scoff and wanted to wave her phone at Philip, but he lifted a hand to indicate she shouldn’t speak just yet. “Due to the weather, Mr. Hampton is welcome to having you stay at his home but only in the designated rooms you are assigned, and you are not to roam the estate tonight. You’ll be given a coms device. Should you need to leave your rooms for any reason, you will call me, and I will escort you. Leave your keys with me, I’ll ensure your vehicle is cleaned up and restored if there is any weather damage. Do you accept these terms for shelter and protection?”
A loud crack of lighting sounded from outside as Philip waited for her response. What was happening? Stan felt a queasiness form in the pit of her stomach as she mulled it over. She needed the commission from finding this location. If she didn’t get paid, then ripples she didn’t want to acknowledge would start forming larger waves of devastation. A chill ran down her spine as she gave Philip a quick nod.
“Yes, I agree.”