I woke up grateful that I didn’t dream of Aiden last night. Or at least I don’t believe I did because my Mom didn’t come in the room to wake me. I get up and dress in my college sweatshirt, jeans, and leave my feet bare.
I couldn’t find anything I could make for breakfast so, I place an online order for groceries, which thankfully will arrive in about an hour, or so. I make myself some coffee and I immediately think of Cat. I always loved getting up before her and having her coffee ready, Decaf for her, and Caffeinated for me. Handing her that steaming cup always brought a smile to her face and God is she beautiful when she smiles.
“Alex? Are you okay?” I look over and see my mom in the doorway, with a look of concern on her face.
“I’m good. Coffee?”
She shakes her head no and I remember my mom is a tea drinker. “Tea?”
She smiles. “If you don’t mind?”
“Not at all,” I grab the kettle, to fill it up, before setting it back on the stove to boil.
“Don’t you keep help here anymore, Mom?” I asked searching for the teabags and scoring some in the third cabinet I looked in.
“Yes,” I noticed she was fidgeting again. I had to wonder why that question would make her nervous.
"The only reason I ask is Tina stopped by last night.”
“Yes, she mentioned that there is usually a doorman and I remember there being a cook and a maid, the last time I was here.”
My mother toyed with the empty cup I put before her. “Your Father let them go.”
“Why?” I place a teabag and a small pitcher of cream near her cup.
Now she really looks upset. “Mom, what is it? What’s wrong? Did something go wrong? Did you not have enough money to keep them on? What?”
“No, no… nothing like that. Your father just … he just didn’t want them around anymore.”
“Why?” None of this was making any sense.
“I don’t know he just didn’t,” she replies rather forcefully.
“But that doesn’t make any sense. Why leave you alone in this huge house all on your own. Surely he didn’t expect you to handle the upkeep of this place by yourself?”
She places the cup down, and then asks, “What brought Tina here last night?”
She was trying to change the subject, a typical Mom move. Put too much pressure on her and like an ostrich, she buries her head in the sand hoping whatever threat there is will disappear, just because she can’t see it any longer.
I’ll ask her again later. Right now it’s not that important. “Tina dropped off the minutes.”
“She could have faxed them.”
“I know that’s what I told her but she also brought the financial reports and Dad’s insurance papers.”
My mother smiled. “She really is a dear sweet girl. Always thinking ahead. Always thinking of others.”
“I’ve already placed a call to get the ball rolling. Did Dad have a personal lawyer? Someone who was in place to be the executor to the will?”
My mother shrugged. “I don’t know.”
Again it bothered me how remiss my father was in keeping my mother apprised of things. Thank God, I’m here. “I’ll check with, Tina.”
The doorbell rang and my mother jumped. Her nerves must be shot with all this stress. “It's most likely the food delivery. I ordered some supplies. I hope you don’t mind.”
“No. That’s fine.”
I open the door and tried not to look disappointed. It wasn’t food but Tina back on my doorstep.
“Tina," I said to acknowledge her presence. This time I didn’t wait I just opened the door wider and ushered her in.
“I’m sorry, I…” Tina stopped talking to give me a once overlook, shook her head, and then started talking again, “I realized when I got to work this morning that I didn’t give you the number to your father’s personal lawyer. Obviously, you’re going to need that if you are going to probate the will.”
I wasn’t sure if I was grateful or creeped out by the way this woman seemed to be able to read my mind. I half began to wonder if there were cameras in the house and if she was secretly watching my every move. The thought unnerved me.
I was about to say something but the doorbell rang again and this time it was the food delivery. Thank God! I have such a hard time thinking on an empty stomach.
The man dropped the packages in the foyer and before I had the chance to say anything, Tina grabbed four of them and took them into the kitchen.
I can’t really say if I find her helpful or exasperating. She’s definitely a take-action sort of person, which my father must have loved, being the same way himself.
I gather up the rest of the bags and follow her into the kitchen.
“Tina!” My mother immediately brightens upon seeing her.
“You asked Tina to get your groceries? Alex, I’m stunned! Such tasks are way beneath her pay grade.”
“No… I didn’t…” I start to defend, but Tina cuts me off. “I only just arrived, Mrs. Bragin. I just had good timing, I guess.”
Tina looks over at me but upon seeing and interpreting whatever look I have on my face I see her frown in response. I couldn’t say what I looked like because I’m feeling a mixture of emotions: frustration, gratitude, annoyance all because of her, and shock that my mother would think I would treat Tina that way.
“Well, I’m glad you’re here,” my mother said, “Alex was just asking me about his father’s personal lawyer and I don’t know who Cillian used to make his will.”
“That’s why I came back this morning I had forgotten to include that information in the report I gave him last night.”
“Oh, aren’t you a dear? Thank you, Tina.”
“You could have called,” I commented grumpily, I really needed something to eat.
Tina was putting some bread away in the breadbox on the counter when she looked at me and frowned again. “If I’ve overstepped any boundaries, Mr. Bragin. I am sorry. I’ll just go.”