I was out on the rock wall the moment it stopped raining on Christmas day. I wanted to wait for Jacob to appear but he never showed. I wanted to wait for Ben to wake up and come out and sit with me but he somehow managed to sleep right through lunch and they let him. I wanted to be out here alone but Lochlan wasn't having it so he elected Dalton to sit up on the patio, just in case.
But then I saw this other man walking across the wet grass, hands in a long suit jacket, hair perfectly combed. He looks like a hockey player. I watched him organize his facial expressions as he came closer and then finally he stopped about six feet away from me.
I'm Asher. Asher _______.
Striking name. When did you change it?
He looked at me with his eyebrows up but said nothing.
What was your given name?
He looked out to sea. They said you were incredibly precocious. Have they told you anything about me?
No, they prefer the ambush. And since you specifically said I was precocious I can only imagine you are somehow connected to Caleb. Are you a psychiatrist?
I was contracted by a team, including Mr. C_____. My role here will be to look after your needs, as a housekeeper and driver. Butler. Bodyguard. Assistant. He keeps throwing out words hoping I will like one and grab a hold of it.
I snort but say nothing. He looks back at me and tells me his quarters will be above the garage. I nod. Now it makes sense that we finished and furnished the loft up there completely.
What are my needs, exactly, Asher?
You're trying to manage a large active household, doing it injured and under duress.
I have PJ and Loch. I have Mike if no one else is free. I have help.
Mike is retiring, Loch is a busy man, I hear, as are the others.
No one is ever too busy for me.
I'm not here to replace anyone, Bridget.
PJ looks after running the household.
PJ has his hands full with you and the children. I am here to help lighten his load as well. You have quite a family here, I'm told.
Yes and we don't like outsiders.
When I am not at your service I will be invisible.
How did they find you?
My godfather is _______.
You are Batman's godson? Seriously?
Asher smiles and nods. He wants to help. Everyone does at this point. I am not here to spy or take notes, I'm here to take out the garbage and drive Ruth and her friends to the mall.
What do you mean?
How far will you go to see that my needs are met?
Not that far. I'll make you a cup of coffee and call anyone you need to call. I'll keep you in the yard or take you to your appointments and I'll even listen to you complain but the most important things they told me is that I am not to let you out of my sight when outside and I'm not allowed to touch you inappropriately.
What about hugs?
Hugs and touching are two different things.
Okay, yes, you're going to fit in just fine.
I don't think you're supposed to hug the butler though.
No, well, not now. Maybe once we've brainwashed you.
Is it a...cult?
Yes, Asher. Yes, it is.
The leader is Lochlan?
What makes you say that?
They told me he would be the most difficult one to win over.
You have your work cut out for you, yes. But he isn't the one you'll have to win over.
He shoves his hands in his pockets. So if I make the coffee will you introduce me to the other members of your family?
I would be happy to.