Beauty and the Beast - Page 17

“First of all, can you please call me Skye from now on,” I said.

Her eyes widened, then she grinned. “For sure, I can do that.”

“Second, I’m not an invalid so no trays for me.”

Her grin got wider. “Then please come this way, Skye.”Chapter 12SkyeBreakfast was served in a massive orangery. It was at least three times the size of my apartment. The lofty glass roof allowed the winter sunlight to flood the room. It was full of plants, flowers, and vines creeping along the walls. Despite it being a winter wonderland outside, the heat emanating from the floors created a toasty atmosphere inside that glass hall.

Mary Jane led me to a long banqueting table, where there was an impressive, almost wasteful display of dishes on it. I had only seen this kind of spread offered by five-star hotels or in luxury cruise liners. Not that I had been in any, only photos in magazines. I stared at the assortment of pastries and bread, fruit, doomed dishes of cooked food standing on electric warmers, jams, honey, and different cereals in tall glass containers, but these, I only glanced at. What truly held my attention was the view from the glass walls.

“The Chef can also make an omelet or cook some eggs for you in any way you want if you prefer,” Mary Jane said softly next to me, but I couldn’t take my eyes away from the scenery. Beyond the glass was the panoramic view of the other side of the house. It was a picturesque, endless tapestry of rolling, meticulously cared for lawns and hedges. In the distance another massive fountain stood. It was simply too beautiful to put into words.

I pulled my attention back to Mary Jane. “I’m sorry,” I apologized. “But this place is just incredible. It’s so massive and so beautiful.”

“Yes, it is. The grounds stretch across 1065 acres, and the house was recently voted in House and Country magazine as the most beautiful home in Boston.”

“I’m not surprised,” I murmured.

“So… would you like some eggs?” she repeated, handing a plate to me.

I looked at the lavish selection again and actually felt overwhelmed by the available options. Who was going to eat all this food? The house seemed empty. Or was this perhaps just the way of life here?

“There’s so much food here. Is it always like this?” I asked, waving an arm.

She shook her head.

“You mean the Chef went to all this trouble for me?” I asked, shocked.

“Ah, it’s no trouble,” she replied. “We rarely have anyone stay anyway. Actually, we’ve only ever had one visitor stay the weekend.”

“I’m not much of a breakfast person so I won’t be able to eat even a fraction of all this food.”

She smiled, a warm friendly smile. “Don’t worry. There are many mouths to finish whatever you can’t eat. Plus, our Anton couldn’t help but go overboard. He thought the boss was staying for breakfast, something he never does.”

“Oh,” I said as I picked up a slice of bread.

“Here, let me toast that for you,” Mary Jane offered. Using a pair of tongs, she took the slice off me and popped it on a rolling toaster. I watched the bread disappear into the machine and pondered whether to glean more information from her about Luca. I couldn’t see a reason not to.

“The boss doesn’t usually stay for breakfast?” I queried casually.

“Nah. To be honest, I’ve never seen him, and I’ve been working here for almost two years. Sometimes I even wonder if he is just a mirage. He comes in at the oddest hours and leaves just as inconspicuously. Madam Mitterand, the housekeeper, is the one who personally attends to him. Besides her no one else has any access to him apart from his many bodyguards, of course.”

“So you’ve never seen him?”

“Nope. Madam never allows any of us to attend to him.” She looked at me curiously. “Did you see him last night?”

I nodded.

“Really? Last night? So you’re—”

She stopped just in time, but we both knew what she had been about to say. All of the staff would eventually realize I was here to service their boss. My stomach clenched at the thought, but I squared my shoulders and straightened my spine. It didn’t matter what any of them thought. All that mattered was my father recovered. I’d take being labeled a whore a million times over than to have him unable to undergo his treatments because my pride was greater than my love.

“I’m sorry for badgering you,” she apologized.

“You’re not badgering me. I’m glad to have someone to talk to.” I knew she had meant no harm and I smiled.

She grabbed a small bowl. “Do you want some fruit? What about juice?”

“Um… sure,” I said.

My toast appeared perfectly golden brown as I reached for it. I grabbed a small jar of strawberry jam and a pat of butter that had fashioned into a flower and started walking towards the table.


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