The voice on the other end of the call declared before promptly hanging up.
The butler blinked in surprise, then sighed and set down the phone. “Alright then, let him sleep it off here tonight. I’ll inform the boss later.”
Rose led Clara through the Melendez family’s rear garden, straight into a small copse of trees.
Clara had never looked at the place carefully before. Even when she had been Mrs. Melendez, she had only walked in the rear garden.
“Look at this! These are some of the saplings the Melendez family imported. Virtually no one comes here,” Rose explained.
“Oh, I see.” Clara looked around. Indeed, all the trees surrounding them were unfamiliar to her.
“Come look over there!” Rose pointed to something in the distance.
Following her direction, Clara saw, through the canopy of leaves, a large swing! She had no idea the Melendez family had such a thing!
Was it Emmett’s doing? Or perhaps Sophia’s?
Rose skipped excitedly towards the swing and took a seat, patting the space beside her. “Come, sit! Wait until all the stars come out. It’s truly beautiful. Whenever I’m stressed or tired from work, I come here to stargaze. It’s therapeutic!”
Clara took a seat beside her, looking up at the twinkling stars against the dark canvas of the night sky. She felt a pang in her heart.
She missed her mother.
Would her mother be disappointed if she knew Clara was working as a maid now? Would she think Clara had let her down?
“What are you thinking about?” Rose asked suddenly.
“Nothing much. How did you find this place?” Clara diverted the question back to Rose.
“I got lost here once, while cleaning. That’s when I discovered this place. And if you look further back, there are roses growing over there!”
“Roses?” Clara turned around and squinted in the dim light. She could make out the red blossoms not too far away.
She stood up and walked towards the roses. “Did the Melendez family import these too?”
“I’m not sure about that. I never dared to ask the butler. I was afraid he would ban me from coming here,” Rose confessed, sticking out her tongue. “So, do you like this place?”
“Do you feel better now?”
Clara looked at Rose, a small smile playing on her lips. “Thank you, Rose. I do feel better.”
“You’re strong, Clara. I know you wouldn’t cry unless something serious happened. I can’t do much, but I can share this place with you. I hope it helps.”
“It does, Rose. This place is wonderful.”
Clara crouched down to smell the roses. Her heart felt a little heavy, a little bitter.
They stayed there for a while before heading back…
As soon as Clara stepped into her room, the butler’s grumbling voice rang out behind her. “You’re a maid. Have you forgotten your duties? Young Master is drunk. Go attend to him at once!”
Clara was taken aback. “He’s drunk? But isn’t it inappropriate for me to attend to him now?”