The flight seemed so short. Not long after we had reached cruising height, we seemed to start our descent. I know that can't have been the reality, but that is what it felt like. My mind was in a whirl. I had an underlying anxiety about mum. She had been working crazy hours for years and now to do nothing, give up our home and not even have Lilith or me to look after. She needed the rest though. Then I had to look ahead. What was it going to be like with Mark and Jean. Would they expect me to clean the house and do the cooking as well as modelling. How on earth was I going to be able to sit still for hours at a time. I usually struggled to be still for minutes. Would they allow me to get a part time job. I would need to generate some money whilst I was there. What job would I be qualified for? Or could the professional modelling work out?
They had told us that they would meet me by the information desk. I hoped it would be Mark. I could remember what he looked like. The gentleman next to me, got my hand luggage down from the overhead compartment. I could have done it myself, but he was trying to be nice, so I smiled and thanked him. I followed the directions for the baggage reclaim, but had to stop on the way to go to the toilet. When I stopped, I'm pretty sure I caught that same guy, who was following behind me, staring at my arse. I'm not used to that. I guess that was something women have always had to put up with. If I am honest, when I had my crush, I tried to get to see as much as she had on offer, although I tried to be discrete.
I checked the mirror. Make up still good, check. Dress not too wrinkled, not that I could do much about it, check. Hair still OK, check. I almost forgot the reason I went in. Bladder emptied, check. I waited for my luggage. When it arrived, I started manoeuvring myself to get it, but another guy, who could see what I was doing, reached and grabbed it for me. Huh, this being a woman thing, had some advantages. So I smiled and said thank you again and headed off towards information.
I could see Mark there, but he was facing another direction, so he didn't see me until I presented myself in front of him and introduced myself.
“Hi Mark. I'm Jesse.”
“Hi Jesse.” He shook my hand. “Let me take that for you.” He then led me to the railway. He bought a ticket for me and we had to wait for the train to arrive.
“How was your flight.”
“Short. I feel like I barely had time to think before arriving. Everything is happening so fast.”
He smiled at me. “That's life, kid.”
The train arrived and we got on. I had never seen trains like this before. It was double storey. You got on and then had a choice to go upstairs or down to the different levels. It was a bit awkward with a case but Mark took control of that. After only a couple of stops we had to get off and change. Again after only a couple more stops we were getting out at Milsons Point near North Sydney. We then walked maybe half a kilometre to get to this rather large 3 storey house. Thankfully, Mark was manhandling the suitcase, it had wheels, but I was glad it was him rather than me. I guess, I am getting into this letting the man do the heavy lifting attitude.
The outside looked old, not very modern at all. The windows were all oldy worldy, like I sometimes saw on the TV showcasing British houses. Small panes of glass linked together with black lines. I could see the top floor had the most windows, but still in the same style. The inside, on the other hand, was immaculate. Almost clinical, spotless. The first floor was converted to an open plan design, with columns for support. So a large kitchen lounge diner. There was a beautiful staircase. There were a few other rooms that were closed. Mark was happy to show me the formal dining room, a toilet and a home theatre room with speakers in the ceiling and a projector with screen. The next floor was bedrooms and ensuites. Mark was telling me that originally it was a 6 bedroom house. 2 bedrooms on the 3rd floor, which they had converted to a studio, 4 bedrooms on the second floor, but they had lost one in the renovations, so that they had 3 bedrooms, all with ensuite. He showed me to the room they had prepared. It was white with more white. The curtains were a sort of net type material, but multiple layers, so it would mute the light, but not cut it out. White wardrobe, white drawers, white double bed with more white gauze enclosing it and white linens. The only non white feature was the flooring which was bamboo. The ensuite was a dark wood contrast. The floor was still the same light coloured bamboo, but the white sink sat on black granite and the cupboards had a walnut frontage. The tiles for the shower looked like dark wood. The fittings were all brass.
Jean was upstairs in the studio and would join us for lunch when she was ready. I got the impression that I was only to go upstairs to the studio when invited. I unpacked and hung up all the clothes I could. That didn't take me very long, so I wandered around in the rooms that he had shown me and had a look at the art work on the walls. I really wasn't educated regarding art. I didn't worry about who the artist was or the technique involved, I just wanted to know if I enjoyed the piece or not. I have to say all of it fitted its surroundings perfectly. In the formal dining area there were these paintings of people dining by candlelight. I particularly liked one where the background was a courtyard filled with cars, which this cafe faced and a couple were facing each other touching wine glasses together. And that was where they found me, staring at the painting and appreciating the feeling of contentment it generated.
“That was inspired from a visit to France. I think we were touring vineyards, tasting wine and ended the day with a lovely meal at a cafe.” Jean told me.
“It's beautiful and it gives me the warm fuzzies.”
Jean laughed. “I wish you could write my next review. Let's go and get some lunch and get to know one another.”
Jean was slightly older than Mark, and dressed a lot more casual. There was still a bit of paint in her hair, but with her warm smile, I felt welcomed. We walked to a small shopping area that had a food court at its centre. We had a casual stroll around the different stalls and each chose differently. I had a chicken parmigiana with chips, Jean had a curry and Mark had sushi.
“I'm afraid, neither of is much of a cook, so we tend to eat out quite a bit.” Jean commented.
“I can cook. I would be happy to. I can make up a list of the meals I can prepare and if you get the ingredients I will sort it out.”
“That is a surprise.” She leaned forward and spoke quietly so it would be difficult to overhear. “I thought girlhood was only a recent event.”
“True, but I have been cooking for years. Mum had to work a lot. It was easier if I cooked.”
“We have never done something like this before. Having someone stay with us. I had to have you. You really fired my brain up with ideas that I wanted to paint. I'm going to be blunt here.” She said, looking into my eyes. “I was expecting you having to stay with us to be a right pain, and yet, straight away, you want to make our life better.”
I wasn't sure how I was supposed to respond to that. I didn't want to be their servant, but I did want to fit in. “I have been told that I do great foot massages.”
“I'm sure you do. I wouldn't want you to touch my feet until after I had had a pedicure. I tend to get a bit focussed on my work and then neglect myself for a bit. I don't want to think about the state of my feet. How about we go for a pedicure together tomorrow?”
“Err... that sounds great.”
A good start, I thought. Mark seems a bit quiet, but Jean is full of passion and life. Both were nice.
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