"How is he doing?" Muttered the large man, resting in his chair, elevated above them all.
Sally ran her worn fingers through her aging ginger locks. "He's not doing any better. He's slowly dying, and, well…"
"I know." Grunted the man. "Is he comfortable?"
"Yes," Whispered Sally as she clenched the puffy edges of her white blouse. "I made sure of that."
"Thank you." The man's dark eyes focused on an objective she could not see, as his sausage like fingers interlaced under his chin. "You are dismissed. Attend to him as necessary."
Sally drifted out of the master's quarters. Outside the unnerving room, stood a silent figure, eyes glowing bright as he stared down at Sally. "Ah, Philip, how are you doing?"
"I'm doing quite fine." Smiled the man as he adjusted his cufflinks. "Is Master MacMillan busy?"
"No, I think he's just frustrated with the state of his father, its…"
"Bad. He's not recovering, is he?"
"No. He's not responding well to the medicine, and…" Sally's somber smiled shivered as she thought about it. "That's why he brought me on. To make him comfortable since I'm a no-good nurse."
Philips gentle fingers gripped her shoulders. "Don't say that. You are a great nurse."
"I've done terrible things. I failed them. How could you say that?"
His dark face beamed with a kindness that she could only see from him. "I think you were exactly who he needed. Besides, you think Evan would settle for anything but the best?"
Sally smiled and crinkled her crow's feet. "No, I guess not."
Then with a smile, and a twirl on the ball of his foot, Philip asked, "Would you like a cup of tea?"
While she appreciated the thought, she still had concerns. "Don't you need to attend to Evan right now?"
"You know there's no helping him when he's agitated as he is now."
She shrugged her shoulders. "I guess not. A cup of tea couldn't hurt."
Within minutes, Philip had the sunroom set up, and a pot of tea ready. The two sat within the warm Friday morning rays. "So, Sally, enjoying your time as part of the MacMillan household?"
"Other than the MacMillans, very much so," slyly smiled Sally.
Philip chuckled warmly, his bright teeth shining in the early light. "Oh, you." Recomposing himself, he continued with, "You know they may try to fire you for saying such scandalous things," with one of the most ridiculous posh accent Sally had ever heard.
"Oh, but they couldn't!" She responded in turn, imitating the huffiness of a vastly overweight baron.
"Oho, but they could!" And with that, the two laughed wiping away what may have been the beginnings of tears. "But enough on that, I do hope you are enjoying yourself here."
"I am. I trust you are doing well, as well?"
"And the Thompson boy? How is he?"
"He's coping. He's quite restless, but he's picked up a weekend shift at Herman's."
Sally's green eyes shifted from the window to the warm grey eyes of Philip. "He's not…"
"Of course not. Evan made it clear that he would break Herman with his own tools if he was to ever try to."
Sally let go of a sigh she didn't know she was holding. "That's good. That's good." She leaned back in the chair. "What is he doing by the way?"
"Who knows. Whatever it is, it's been keeping him from taking the saw to the trees out back."
"And the gouge marks I saw?"
"I should amend my statement with an 'as often'."
"Ah, fair enough." Sally took a long sip of her tea. Whatever brew this was, it was quite good. "What kind of tea is this?"
"Earl grey with honey."
Sally swirled the tea in her cup. "Very nice."
A loud thud echoed through the manor, and roar emanated from the depths. "Philip! Where are you!"
"Looks like duty calls." Murmured Philip as he finished the last remaining dregs of his tea. "I'll be seeing you later."
"And the same to you." Sally brushed herself off as Philip left to attend to the master of the house and decided that now was as good of time as any to check up on the patient. A nurse's duty never ends.
Hiking boots trotted through the moist leaves, crunching as he went. It was an awfully nice morning, Jake had to admit. He liked these kinds of quiet mornings. There weren't many things like it in this day and age. He looked through the branches as the does munched away at the sprigs crawling their way out of the leaves. He didn't bother them, so they never bothered with him. The way it should be. As he approached his camper van, he noticed something strange. Some of the branches on the way were recently snapped, by someone much taller than him. And he was by no means short, only just short of six feet.
"Good morning, Jake Park. May I have a minute?" Spoke a calm, accented voice behind him. Too close behind him. Jake spun on his heel as he looked up at the bright grey eyes of this stalk-like giant. His neatly combed, shorn-short, kinky hair only proved to Jake exactly how large this man was, as he leaned over him.
"What do you want?" Cautiously spat Jake as his hand went to his back. He could potentially throw his thermos at him, if the man made any suspicious actions.
"I only wanted to talk." The man brushed off the breast of his dark blue suit. "You do know this is, private property, yes?"
Jake's hand grasped onto a swivel wrench he kept on his belt. If push comes to shove, he'd be able to do a quick hit, then hide. It's why he always wore greens and browns. He just hoped his green parka wouldn't be too loud. "No. Who are you?"
"The name is Philip Ojomo, caretaker and righthand man of the MacMillan Estate. One which you seem to be squatting upon." Philip took a bow, but his eyes never left Jake's own.
"How did you find me."
"Just one of the many things I am skilled at. One could call it a gift." The man's dark hands returned to the center of his body, interlaced. Casual. Waiting.
Jake's knees flexed subtly under his cargo pants as his stance was minutely widened. "So, you're not hired by them."
"No, I am not hired by your mother." Stated the butler with a disinterested look. "Your father doesn't hire men of this sort."
Jake narrowed his eyes. "How'd you know that."
"I did my research."
Jake glanced back at the trailer, then back to the help. "So, what is it that you want."
"As I said, I am just here to talk," Philip gestured. "I assure you, that I, nor the Estate, have any intention of selling you back to your mother, or forcing you to vacate the premises. Consider this a warning of sorts."
"You are not the only one in these woods. Keep to yourself, and you should be fine. But we will not claim responsibility if you happen upon someone, or something that wishes to be left alone."
"So, you're saying to keep my nose out of your business?"
Almost imperceptibly, the expression on the man's face changed. "I'm saying you don't want to see what goes bump in the night." His eyes suddenly seemed much colder. As if they were seeing what he could be, had the man five minutes and a lack of restraint. Then the warmth returns. "The master of the estate has no issue with you living on the premises. I hope you enjoy your stay. If you would like, we will discourage your mother's men from entering these woods."
Jake didn't trust the man. "I would like that, thank you. Anything else? Just keep to myself, as I have been?"
"Nope, nothing else. Just be safe." The man sighed, and his eyes glazed as one does when they reminisce. "It is after all, quite easy to lose things in woods like these." And with that, as quiet as he came, the man stalked off into the woods.
Jake let out a breath as he relaxed himself. His hand came to rest upon the paneling of his camper van. Should he leave, they may find him and bring him home, if the butler was able to find him so easily and sneak up upon him. Should he stay, who knows what would happen. Jake opened the van and sat in the driver's seat. His buckle clicked, and the engine sputtered to life. Was this what he wanted? Jake opened the glove compartment and pulled out a quarter. Heads, he goes. Tails, he stays.