She knew she didn’t love her boss. She didn’t even know his real name. She already knew the one she loved. She loved George, her childhood sweetheart. It was as simple as that. He was handsome, muscular, courteous, and charming. He treated her like a princess. They had grown up together, went to the same schools, and were expected some day to marry and have children who would grow up in the same area and repeat the cycle. Everything was so planned, so neat and tidy.
But Vanna also knew George was only a mechanic and he would never change. He liked being a mechanic and having dirty fingernails. “It’s honest work,” he would say. But she was not quite satisfied. Doubts were gathering, like storm clouds on the horizon, because George didn’t make enough money. How could she quit her job? How could he support a family on what he made? She could envision kids racing around the house with patches on their clothes or wearing hand-me-downs. The family would live paycheck to paycheck, never getting ahead, never having enough money to travel the world or buy fancy things. “Yes,” she reasoned, “I love George, but love is not enough. I want excitement and more life than he can give me.”
That night when she and George made love, she gave herself completely, knowing it might be their last time together. George was thrilled she was so passionate. It was the perfect time to show her his surprise, a wedding ring. “Let’s go off tonight and get married,” he whispered. “We’ll have a great life together.”
“Not yet, George,” she answered. “There’s no hurry. We’ve been together forever, it seems. Let’s keep something for our dreams.”
The following day as she got ready for work she turned on the weather channel. “I hope today’s weather will be unusual. I’m getting tired of every day being hot.” To her surprise the weatherman was predicting isolated thunderstorms and to be prepared just in case. She dismissed the warning when he said there was only a 20% chance of rain.
Her work day started out the same. She arrived at eight, went in and made coffee. The kitchen was in total disorder. Beer cans and glasses were everywhere. Other rooms were also in disarray. She sighed and began cleaning the Great Room and the kitchen. At least she had job security since her boss had so many parties.
Vanna never used her boss’s name. She had been told to always address him as “Sir”. When the delivery service brought a package she noticed that it was addressed to Sir Reginald William Duke IV. The name was regal and pompous, leading her to imagine old money, distinguished heritage, and glorious titles. Once she got past all the formalities she decided she would call him Reggie.
Vanna could picture her name being changed to sound like royalty. And what if she was no longer a maid but she had her own maid? And what if she lived in a large mansion or castle? Her blood would change from red to blue. She giggled as she imagined all this happening to Vanna, the daughter of the town drunk. George could have been a good husband but he could not have given her the quality of life she envisioned. So goodbye love, hello money! It would all be coming her way.
Later that day Reggie called her over to his desk. His coins were out and he held one in the palm of his gloved hand. “I’ve been meaning to talk to you. I’ve planned an intimate get together tomorrow for a few of my friends. You will be my special guest.” He rubbed the coin and waited expectantly as if there was no choice. “Of course, this will be after you get off work. It might go a bit long so don’t have anybody waiting up for you. Oh, and don’t tell anyone. I don’t want the press popping in for pictures.”
Without hesitation her words tumbled out. “Of course, Sir. I’d love to.” This was not her usual way of responding. She liked digesting everything and sorting things out before she said yes or no. This time she felt compelled to answer immediately.
Later as she went about the house, she thought about what he said. “Tomorrow, a few intimate friends, special guest, after you get off work.” Somehow it seemed strange with her being a guest but expected to work anyway. She was excited but cautious. What did it all mean? But like the weather forecast, Vanna dismissed any reservations she had.
Since there was no mention of how she should dress for this intimate get together, she put her best dress in a small suitcase along with a few essentials. (To be continued)