“What can she do?”
“Si, she cook and cleans. What more do you need her to do?”
“Nothing, Zia (aunt), can she speak good English?
“Ovviamente! (Obviously) She was only 9 when we moved here. She knows more than whole family.”
“Okay. There is a job. It’s for the son of the Hayden family. He needs a domestic housekeeper.”
“No, no. My unmarried niece will not live with single man.”
“But Zia... money is good.”
“Quanto (How much)? Tell me?”
“Here is all the paperwork. The salary is at the bottom. If you let Siena work there, Mario’s debts will be paid off quicker.”
“Grazie. I will think of this.”
“Be quick, Zia, this job will not wait. I will come back tomorrow.”
Siena watched out of the small frosty window as her cousin Diego walked away from the small cottage.
“E ora? (What now?)” She sighed, gliding her finger along the steamed glass to make a smiley face.
“Siena, come down!” She heard aunt Maria call.
Siena entered the tiny kitchen and began to prepare dinner. She could feel Aunt Maria’s eyes watching her every move but didn’t want to engage in a conversation in fear of what she may hear.
Siena had been begging her aunt to let her go back to studying for so long now that she had lost hope.
She couldn’t complain; many marriage proposals had come for beautiful Siena but her aunt had declined them all, having greater ideas for her. She wanted her to work to pay off her son’s debts.
Siena lived with her uncle, aunt, and cousin Tia. Her cousin Mario had mingled with the wrong crowd when they moved here and ended up in trouble. He was now in prison, yet his debt was still owed to a dangerous loan shark.
Cousin Diego had tried to help as much as he could; he was wealthier than them. When aunt Maria went to him for help, he said he would try his very best.
“Siena. Do you want to work?” Aunt Maria asked, sitting on the old couch.
“I want to study, Zia,” Siena admitted, looking into her aunt’s silver eyes.
“Lo so (I know), but that can’t be right now.”
“Please, Zia. I will work after. I will send you all the money I earn. Per favore (Please)!” Siena pricked back the tears. She wanted to study; she wanted to become a fashion designer and learn everything.
Her dream was becoming nothing but a dark cloud sitting above her head.
“You must contribute to this familia.” Her uncle chimed in.
“Siena, I know I promised your mama and papa before we left Italy that I would help you study. I will still help you but I need you to do this for us.” Aunt Maria’s desperate tone cut at Siena’s broken heart.
She had no choice but to comply. Her aunt and uncle had helped her. They fed and clothed her. They didn’t have much but they looked after Siena. Tia was Siena’s age, but she was allowed to keep studying for now.
“Okay, Zia... I will work,” Siena croaked, wiping her tears away from under her emerald eyes. She was thankful no one could see her as she faced away towards the cooker.
“That’s my girl!” Aunt Maria slapped Siena on the back and squeezed her into a tight embrace.
“Percorrere (come), let me explain to you.”
Siena slammed her room door and ran towards the mattress on the floor. She sank down into it and sobbed into the sheets. She was heartbroken; her dreams had been crushed before they even had the chance to blossom.
Her long hair hid her broken features as she helplessly sobbed into the night. She was going to be someone’s maid, a housekeeper, a servant. How could her life take such a turn?
Siena was to go with her cousin Diego tomorrow to be interviewed. If she got the job, she would move into the apartment straight away and fulfill all domestic needs for the homeowner.
In one evening, everything had changed. She hated Mario. Selfish Bastardo! Did he know who was suffering because of his stupid actions?
“Siena?” Tia poked her head into their shared room. She spotted her cousin weeping on the mattress in the corner.
“I’m so sorry Siena, I tried to tell mama not to send you away.” Tia choked out her words. She loved her cousin; she was her sister. Tia’s eyes searched the deflated lump sprawled out on the mattress.
Tia stretched out her arms and hugged her cousin. “It will be okay.”
Tia brushed away Siena’s hair to meet her emerald orbs. “You will live like a queen, Siena.”
“A queen?” Siena scoffed.
“Well, maybe not a queen but it beats being here.” Tia smiled at her cousin.
“Oh sorella (sister), you don’t know how lucky you are.” Siena sniffled at her cousin. “Never take your studies for granted, okay?”
“I won’t.” Tia smiled, wrapping her arms around her dear cousin.
“Maybe a hot rich man will fall madly in love with you.” Tia laughed, tickling her cousin.
Siena squealed and giggled. “It will take more than being rich and handsome to win my heart.”
“Oh, I know, Siena. No one around here has ever been good enough for my sorella, but someday you will find the one who steals your heart.”
“Someday, but not anytime soon, Tia. Oh, I will miss you so much!”
“It won’t be the same without you here, Siena.” The two cousins fell asleep in each other’s arms.
They had always been close, but when aunt Maria put a stop to Siena’s studies, she made her do other jobs. Tia was in college, and aunt Maria made sure to save enough for her own daughter.
Siena had been a waitress, a cleaner, a bartender. Every little job you could think of to make ends meet for the family.
She was thankful that she had at least graduated from high school; it hadn’t been easy when they moved here from Italy. Siena and Tia had to learn English quickly, and both were made fun of by the other students.
“Wake up, girls!” Aunt Maria strolled into the room, her broad shoulders moved to stretch open the curtains.
“Diego will be here soon. Siena, you must pack in case you get the job.”
Siena took a deep breath before fluttering her eyes open. She looked towards Tia, who was quietly snoring.
After freshening up, Siena packed her few belongings into a tattered old duffel bag. Her clothes were ancient hand-me-downs from cousins and neighbors.
Being poor was something that Siena wanted to break out of. She wanted to be able to live a comfortable life with her own money.
Siena brushed out her waves and tied up her hair into a ponytail. She never wore much makeup, but after a little encouragement from aunt Maria, she settled for a little mascara and blusher from Tia.
Siena felt nervous as she carried her bag down the creaky steps. She didn’t know how long she would be away. She looked at the walls around her, the chipped mint green paint in every corner.
She couldn’t decide whether she would miss it here or not.
“Cousin! You’ve grown.” Diego jumped up from the couch and embraced his not so little cousin. He hadn’t seen her since they had moved here.
After seeing her, he did wonder whether she would be right for the job. Her looks were something else; those bright emerald eyes were hypnotizing. Perhaps he was sending an innocent lamb into a lion's den.
“Zia, did you mention to Siena who she would be working for?” Diego stared blankly at his aunt.
“Yes, a young family,” Aunt Maria bit back, giving Diego a look to say be quiet.
Diego looked over at his young cousin once more. She had no idea she would be working for a single man. He would have to brief her on the way to the interview.
“Ready to go, Cugino (cousin)?” He took Siena’s small bag from her and put it into the boot of his car. His cousin had worn a white loose blouse with dark jeans.
Diego pretended not to notice the small tear in the pocket of Siena’s beige coat. It wasn’t the most professional of outfits, but it would do.
“Ready, Fratello (brother).” Siena fell into Tia’s arms, wiping Tia’s tears from her eyes.
Tia felt sadness and guilt that her poor cousin was snatched away from living her hopes and dreams, all because of something Mario had done.
“Be good, Siena.” Aunt Maria croaked as her short but strong arms wrapped around her niece.
Siena slid into the passenger seat of her cousin's car. She smiled reassuringly and waved as the car took off.
“How is Brianna?” Siena asked her cousin. He smiled at her question.
“She is very well, thank you. We have a 1-year-old boy. Charlie.”
“I heard! How does it feel to be a father Diego?”
“Oh, it’s everything!” He beamed. “Siena, did Zia tell you that you are working for a young family?”
“Yes. That is what Zia told me. Please tell me they are nice, Fratello.”
Diego’s smile fell from his face as he glanced beside him towards his innocent cousin. He sighed while tapping his fingers on the steering wheel.
“Siena you are not working for a family, but for a man. One man.”
“Cosa!? What do you mean?” Siena’s nose wrinkled as she asked. Whatever could he mean? Surely Zia would not send her to live with a man who she could only assume was single.
“Yes, Siena. He is Asher Hayden. He has a swanky apartment just outside the city. I am friends with their family driver. He let me know that they were looking for a housemaid for their son.”
Diego’s chocolate eyes had darkened as he sighed again.
“Just have your wits about you, cousin. These rich men think that they are entitled to take whatever they want. If he harms you or makes you feel uncomfortable, you call me, okay?”
Diego pulled out an old brick cell phone and placed it into Siena’s trembling hand.
Her mind was a mess right now. She felt confused, nervous, afraid, and curious all at once.
There’s no way she would let someone harm her; she thought back to the amount of times she stood up for herself to perverts. Stupido men!
“Don’t worry, Diego, I can handle myself.” She smirked at her worried cousin.
“Mrs Hayden will be the one to interview you. You must impress her.”
Siena slumped back into the seat as she stared out of the car window. The sky looked cloudy and glum. They had been on the road for two hours; now, she was getting restless.
“Diego. Do you live far from the apartment?” Siena was nervous to hear the answer. She would prefer to have someone close to her.
“We live an hour away, but don’t worry. I am in the city a lot for work. My cab business does well there.”
“I feel nervous, Fratello.” Siena’s words were a mere whisper.
“Don’t be nervous, Siena, I have already told Alec to look out for you. He is my best friend.”
Siena peered out towards the city line at the tall skyscrapers standing proudly. Her heart began to pound. If the interview went well, this would be her home for God knows how long.
Diego parked his car outside a lavish building. It was surrounded by a stunning stream that led up to a porcelain water fountain.
Siena stepped out of the car and looked up at the intimidating structure before her. It looked so modern.
“Grazie, Diego.” Siena nodded to her cousin before taking steps towards the automatic glass doors.
“Good luck, Cugino. I will wait for you.”
Siena took one last deep breath before walking through the doors. She entered what looked like a sort of lobby. A security guard stood beside the door she just entered and one stood beside the elevator.
“Excuse me, I’m here for the housemaid interview,” she explained, trying to sound as confident as possible.
One of the security guards raised his brow at her before pressing the button on the elevator.
“I will escort you.”
With a quiet ping the elevator opened to a small hallway leading up to a large obsidian door. After pressing the doorbell, a middle-aged woman greeted Siena at the door.
“Angela Hayden, nice to meet you…?”
“Siena. Yes. You’re a lot younger than I thought you would be,” Angela quipped, stepping deeper into the apartment. “Please take a seat.” Angela gestured towards a cream couch in an open lounge area.
This place was stunning. Siena had never been anywhere as luxurious as here.
She watched Angela tuck back a loose strand of golden hair before picking up a clipboard and taking a seat on the opposite couch.
“So, Siena. How old are you?
“I am 20 next month, ma’am.”
“Twenty!” Angela’s eyes widened.
“Si... Yes,” Siena replied, silently gulping.
“So young; why aren’t you studying?”
“I... I cannot afford to study right now. I mean my family needs help with money”
“I see. Do you know what this job entails, Siena?”
“Yes.” Angela peered at the young girl with curious eyes. Such a bright young thing, why on earth would a girl like this be subjected to such a role?
She should be studying and following her dreams, but Angela had no place to pry or let the actions of this girl concern her.
“My son Asher is a very successful, sought-after architect. He’s a very busy man. This is his home.”
Angela watched the young girl take in her surroundings, her twinkling meadow eyes glancing from one place to another.
“Your job is to stay here and meet all his needs. Do you think you can do that?”
“Yes, ma’am,” Siena replied without hesitation.
“You must not disrupt his life; you have to be as quiet as a mouse, Siena. Is that understood?”
“Yes ma’am. I will just do my duties and be out of the way.”
“Good.” Angela nodded. “Okay Siena. I like you. I get a good feeling about you. I see here on your paperwork that your salary is to be paid to a Maria Rossi?”
“Yes. That’s my Zia, my aunt.” Siena smiled, which was odd for someone who just found out all their earnings were going into someone else’s bank account.
“Please review this leaflet, Siena. This holds all the information you will need.
“You will be given your own set of keys, a uniform and also a bank card which is to be used to buy home groceries only and some necessities you may need.
“Though you can use it to buy yourself food too, you will probably just eat what you are cooking.”
“Thank you so much, ma’am.”
“Call me Angela.”
Siena grinned from ear to ear as she followed Angela around the open apartment. The color theme was mostly whites and creams with the odd pop color of reds and maroons.
It screamed bachelor pad, but had a nice feel to it.
There was a breathtaking view of the city skyline that could be seen from almost every room; it was truly breathtaking.
“This will be your room; you have your own shower and you may use the card to buy your own toiletries.”
“Oh mio Dio! (Oh my God!)” Siena beamed, she couldn’t believe her eyes. She was standing in her room, which was the size of the whole of her old cottage.
A stunning queen-sized bed sat towards the middle of the wall, a plasma TV, an en-suite bathroom.
She couldn’t contain her excitement as she took in her new bedroom. She wanted to squeal loudly but tried her best to stay professional.
“My son will return home this evening. Please have dinner prepared. I will leave you be. Congratulations on securing this role. I’m sure you will serve my son well.”
“Si! I will, thank you so much, Mrs Hayden. You will not regret this.”
Angela turned on her high heels and trotted through the apartment towards the front door. “Come down with me, I will give you your keys and pass. Your uniform is in your wardrobe.”
Diego met Siena in the lobby. He threw Siena a huge grin. He knew his cousin could do it; she just went and bagged herself a very good job.
“Well done, Siena, I will let Zia know. You take care of yourself. Call me if you need anything.” Diego embraced Siena.
“Okay.” Siena croaked, trying to swallow the sad lump forming in her throat.
“You will be fine, Siena.” Diego winked at his cousin before heading out of the building after Angela.
Siena bit her lip while standing before the glass doors. She turned around with her keys and pass in hand and walked towards the elevator.
The security guard was an older man, he offered to take her up but she declined. She could do it by herself.
Siena walked into the swanky apartment and closed the door behind her. This was it, the start of a new chapter for her. She picked up the leaflet that Angela had given to her.
Housekeeping for Asher Hayden
- Drop off and pick up dry cleaning (weekly)
- Cook breakfast every morning and dinner every evening
- Clean and dust the apartment daily
- Buy weekly house shopping including necessities, groceries, toiletries etc
- Iron any last minute clothes that need it
- Serve all/any guest that enters the apartment
- Hair must be tucked away in a ponytail or bun during working hours
- Uniform must be worn during working hours
- Organize Asher’s mail and leave in his study
- Pick up any incoming calls to the apartment
- Answer the door in a polite and professional manner
- Sunday is a day off, you are free to dress as you wish but may still be required to help around apartment
- Do not play loud music or disrupt Asher
- Do not speak to Asher unless spoken to
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