#2671
Location: Nikolaos Alexandros' Home • Date: Monday 28 January, 2002


He hadn't slept. He'd stayed the night in Constanta, not wanting to return home after his visit with Malanda. He'd stayed lost in his thoughts throughout, until the sunlight crept into his windows and he knew he had get on with his day. Lack of sleep was something he was used to and could work around. He would be fine.

His work, however, would have to be put off for another day, as he took Monday to handle personal issues before returning home in the evening. He was uncertain what to expect when he walked in the door, but all he wanted was a bath and some sleep.
#2674
The house smelled wonderful, like home.

She had been conniving, but it was worth it. Esme tried to be a kind person when she could, but she could only handle so much and for so long. So when she saw the flyer in the market that morning for the ominous looking "Monday Mayhem" club party she knew that she would only be doing Gemini a favor by leaving it on the kitchen table. And it seemed to work.

And so the housekeeper was taking advantage of the peace and quiet while the youngest resident of the house was out drinking to prepare for the rest of her night of drinking, which Esme did not understand but she was at least thankful for it.

There were pasties in the oven, soup bubbling on the stove. She had tidied all of the bedrooms and bathrooms, and the study, and was now folding laundry in Nikolaos' bedroom.

She might have also moved a few of Gemini's things, too.

From each room.

Including the kitchen.

Humming an old family song to herself, she sat on the edge of the bed and lazily waved her fingers over the pile of clothes to watch as they one by one folded themselves. It was difficult, but it was good practice, and her magic was getting better and better.

It was much easier now that the house was quiet for once.
#2707
The first thing that Nikolaos noticed was blessed peace and quiet, just what he had explained to Malanda that he had needed. Gemini must not be home. Then the smell hit him, and he realized that he had neglected to include dinner in the wants he was listing in his head. Dinner, bath, sleep. Probably best done in that order.

No one was downstairs, and while food seemed to be cooking in the kitchen, he did not see his housekeeper there. She had to be around somewhere, though. No one else could make dinner smell quite like home as Esme could. He made his way up to his room and found her there.

"Hey," he said as he came into his room and saw her folding. "Dinner smells amazing."
#2710
"Oh," Esme smiled as she saw her employer enter, unsure when she should expect him. She had known that he had not returned the night before, but she was not one to pry. Instead she carried on with her work as per the usual, hoping that he would be home in time to enjoy dinner. And if he had not arrived, she was still going to enjoy a wonderful meal to herself enjoying the quiet.

"Cornish pasties and arlije soup," the housekeeper explained, her smile growing for the briefest moment.

"It'll be about an hour, only just got the pasties in a bit ago. Hope you don' mind the wait. An' I'll be finished with this soon, too."
#2713
That sounded perfect. Though, if it was going to be an hour, he might as well get on with other parts of his list.

"I can't wait," he said with a smile. "Thanks for getting that ready, and doing everything else. I was thinking I would... er..."

He trailed off as he looked around his room, noticing only now what seemed different about it.

"What happened to Gem's things?"
#2714
"Hmm?" Esme looked up, glancing around to see what he was talking about, as she had been lost in thought with the laundry.

"Oh, I put them back in her room," the housekeeper answered, her tone pleasant as she gathered the clothes to put away.

"I hope it's alright, I didn' mean to overstep. I jus' thought you might want things cleaned up a bit, is all."
#2716
"No, that's perfect, thank you," he said, relieved. It was nice to see his own space again without her clutter.

"Anyway, I just thought I would take a bath before dinner. It's been a long couple of days."
#2717
"Oh, of course," Esme set the clothes down again and hurried over toward the bathroom, snapping her fingers to Illuminate the lights within and making her way over to the tub.

"I'll get it started for you," the housekeeper called back over her shoulder. "An' I washed the towels, too, so I'll just get those out. Did you need anythin' else?"
#2719
He would have told her that he could handle it by himself, but he had lived with her long enough by this time to know she was going to do it and wanted to. He followed her into bathroom.

"Where is she anyway?" he asked as he started unbuttoning his shirt. "I kind of expected her to tackle me as soon as I opened the door. Did she run off back to England?"
#2720
"Oh, um, about tha'," Esme glanced up at him with a sheepish expression before busying herself with the linen cabinet.

"I might've dropped a few hints about a party in Thessal'niki. But she went of her own free will."
#2722
That brought a grin to his face.

"Well, it's nice to have a peaceful night," he remarked as he dropped his shirt to the floor and checked on the water filling the tub.

"I'm guessing Luminita is busy covering for my day off still. She'll probably let me have it later."
#2723
"She yelled a lot of things in a couple differen' languages this morning over breakfast," Esme confirmed, bringing the young man his towel. She met his eyes briefly before her own gaze wandered to his bare chest, but she immediately looked away to tend to something else. Months ago she had briefly had the thought, but time passed and she quickly came to the realization that he would never see her the way she would want him to and that it had been a fleeting moment of weakness.

"Did you need anything else?" she asked, once she was sure she'd taken care of the tub and the towel.
#2724
Nick contemplated the question as he removed the last of his clothing. She had already done quite a bit.

"That should be all for now," he answered after a moment and stepped into the tub. It was nice and hot. "Oh, that's wonderful," he added as he lowered himself into the water.
#2725
Esme knew she shouldn't have looked, but she did anyway. It was not as if she hadn't seen him before, but these past few months with so many people in the house had been strange. She had even found herself getting along with Luminita, though perhaps it was only due to their shared annoyance with the youngest member of the household. She was reminded in that moment why she was here, that he had not helped her as well as she had hoped with finding her father, that she was no closer to having a husband.

That her family had probably forgotten about her, and all of her strange tendencies.

Esme stooped to pick up his dirty clothing, choosing to ignore the scent of the intoxicating leaf he smoked in his spare time.

"If you need to wait longer before dinner, 's fine with me," she managed, her gaze averted once more as she moved the clothing to the basket. She did not want to use her magic, just in case she missed. Putting things in a specific location was much more difficult than coercing them to fold themselves, for some reason.

"It'll keep well enough. But otherwise I'll leave you to it, as I don' wish to bother you any."
#2730
"You're no bother," he assured her as he slouched with closed eyes.

"Honestly, I'm glad for your company, but I understand if there were other things you wanted to do before dinner."