William took out his phone and made a quick call. He ordered some people to come to the room. At first, I thought he called his cooks and cleaners or gardeners and I wondered what truth they had to tell me. Anyway, I didn’t wait for long before I got the shock of my life.
The masked men who stormed the place earlier came into the room one after the other and this time, they were without masks. I knew it was them because they were still dressed in their black uniform.
“What is this?” I asked, a little scared.
I thought William had brought them in to deal with me. With every passing second my fear rose, my heartbeat tripled and the room suddenly became too hot. What was happening? Why was he so calm with the same men that almost killed him? Seeing the questions in my eyes, William spoke up.
“Charity” He called. “These men are my workers and sometimes, they play the role of bodyguards too.”
“I still don’t get it.” I fired at him. “What has that got to do with the fact that they stormed this place, killed someone and even blew up your car? And they work for you?”
“The position of a housekeeper isn’t what you thought it to be at all, Charity. We want someone who will take care of the house and everyone in it. It is the duty of the housekeeper to monitor guests and strangers who visit this house, to make sure attacks against this house do not succeed. Our safety will lie almost completely in your hands if you accept this position.
The interview was to see who amongst the others will be determined to get what he or she wants as well as the one who will do everything possible to save the life of another person. We found both in you. You stayed till late this evening, you didn’t give up and also you were willing to save our lives.”
“But it wasn’t only me.” I frowned, my eyes narrowing to a slit. “Last time I checked there were five of us left for the interview. Maybe the boys escaped but the girl came into your home after she was almost raped and the woman, she was killed by your so-called workers!”
“Really?” William asked with amusement in his eyes. I could tell he was having fun with what I was saying and I wondered why.
“You are having fun with this, right?” I queried.
“Not really, but there are people I will like to introduce to you.”
He then called out, “Mrs Hope, Tina, Fred, please come in.”
So you see, I got another serious shock of my life when the three of them came in. I looked from Mrs Hope to the other two, Fred and Tina.
“I saw your dead body,” I said to Mrs Hope, my voice shaky. “How come you are standing there?”
“No dear,” She countered. “You saw me pretending to be dead.”
“But the gunshot wa…”
“Was fake.” She said, cutting me short. “Even the blood was fake.”
“You are one of them?” I asked her.
Mrs Hope stepped forward and held me by the shoulder. “Yes, I am dear.”
“You deceived me,” I withdrew from her hold. “So what about all that talk about your children and money for their university education?”
“Actually Charity, these are my children,” She said referring to Tina and Fred.
“I thought you said you had two boys and a girl?” I asked again.
“Yes. My second boy, Jerry, is recovering from the injury he sustained. You hit him very hard you know.”
“I didn’t touch him. I didn’t hit anyone.”
“Yes you did, but without knowing.”
It was then I recalled the masked man who was bent on raping the teenage girl, Tina. I knew it was him they were referring to because he was the only one I dealt with. I was so shocked and confused. This was entirely new to me. What if I had killed him? I thought. Will they still say it was an interview? Will they forgive me? How can they even do such a thing?
When I got tired of thinking, I put my thoughts aside and looked up at Mrs Hope as well as everyone in the room like I was seeing ghosts and aliens. They expected me to say something but I had nothing to say. Mrs Hope saw how confused I was, she then asked the others to leave so she could talk with me alone. They obeyed and left, even the almighty William Avero left too and that surprised me. I didn’t know he could be obedient to his own worker
For the next hour, after we were left alone, Mrs Hope tried to make me understand by explaining things to me. She said when they placed the vacancy advert, they knew they were looking for an honest person who cared about others more than him/her self. They were looking for such a person because their own lives, as well as that of William’s, were constantly threatened.
They needed someone trustworthy to have their backs and also the position was a very sensitive one. They delayed the interview because they wanted to know who amongst the applicants will be patient enough to wait for the employer and also who will assist to fight if there was an attack.
Everyone left except me. At the time, I thought we were five left but I was really the only one left. Mrs Hope was already a worker in the house and so were the girl and the two young men, Mrs Hope’s children. They were only out there to see what would happen, how I would react to the situation. According to Mrs Hope, she was the first housekeeper and she knew that the task being given to me was no child’s play. Everyone was going to have to put their trust in me.
“But why all of this?” I asked. “Why do you people need protection? If you aren’t doing anything bad then you don’t need protection.”
“We are not doing anything bad dear and really, what we do is not as easy as you think. We train on a daily basis because of the work we do” Mrs Hope said.
“I hope you people are not asking me to be a thug for William or his father? Fighting their battles and protecting them from the people they’ve hurt?”
“It’s far from that Charity. You see, William is a celebrity, yes. But that is just a cover to hide what he is really doing. He is actually a crusader with a mission to dis-stabilize greedy politicians and help the common man. He never one day liked his father’s role in politics and this is his way of rebelling against it. We have all suffered one way or the other and so we had good reasons to join him. When you get to know William, I assure you, you will see him differently.”
“Okay,” I said, still wondering about everything. “So what exactly is my job description like?”
“You will supervise the cleaning of the house, you will monitor guests and strangers and sometimes you will attend to them on behalf of William. You will make sure the CCTV cameras in every part of the house are in working condition. You will be part of the patrol team, only you will watch the house while others watch the compound. The idea is to make sure intruders don’t get into the compound and the house. You will be trained on how to use weapons and hand combat for battles. Als……”
“Hold on please.” I interrupted her. “I’m I being recruited into a military base? Or something similar to it?”
“No dear. You are only being recruited as a housekeeper” She said with a smile. “But you will need the training.”
“Look ma, this is too much to take,” I said truthfully. “I will have to think about it. I don’t really know if I want to do this.”
“I know its not an easy decision. It was same for most of the employees but they have not regretted joining our team. I’m sure you won’t either.”
We talked a little more and when we were done, I promised to think about everything I had been told.
“I need to go home now,” I said to her. I was feeling tired and I needed to rest.
“It’s late.” She prevailed on me. “At least feel free to pass the night here. You can use the opportunity to get to know the others. It will help with the decision you make.”
“Okay,” I said after brief thought. It’s not like anyone would get worried about me since I was staying alone. As for my brother, we could always talk over the phone. “Will you show me around? I really want to know something more about how things work around here” I said.
“Sure.” She agreed.
We got up from the bed and walked towards the door. Mrs Hope suddenly held me by the shoulders and I turned to face her.
“Thank you.” She said, with a smile.
“Why are you thanking me?” I asked, confused
“I am thanking you because if what happened outside was real and not just an interview, I am sure you will stand with me and do all you can for me.”
“I was only doing what I thought was right” I replied.
“I know my dear,” She said, rubbing the back of her hand against my cheeks. “That is why you are so special. I hope you wouldn’t reject our offer?”
“I don’t know yet. I can’t say”
“It’s okay, I understand.”
We left the room together and walked around the house but I wasn’t allowed into any room that had the inscription ‘Private, or Off-limits.’ The mansion was a very spacious one and full of helps who did the normal cleaning and workers who were both patrol and combat teams. They were very nice to me and I felt like part of them already. I was invited to have dinner with them and it was there I saw how happy, mischievous, funny and friendly they were. Although it was fun, I didn’t see William that night, he didn’t join them at the table.
Maybe he doesn’t want to mix, I thought. Employers always have a way of separating themselves from their employees. I quickly put the thought out of my mind. I just wanted to enjoy the meal and the company of the workers.
That night, after I got back to my room, I didn’t feel the way I felt before. I was more comfortable and relaxed. Tina gave me her nightie. After showering I changed into it and jumped on the big bed. It was very soft and comfortable but it didn’t help to remove the question in my mind. “Can I do this? Can I handle this job?” I knew it wouldn’t be easy to decide immediately so I simply turned the other way and closed my eyes. After all, the next day was another day.