**Episode 2! Keir is out of his element. I feel like this is going to be a few parts, so I hope you’re in for a bit of a journey. Enjoy!**
Eoin was surprisingly helpful for a man who didn’t move or say much. It was on his suggestion that I set up dinner buffet style on the long island in the middle of the kitchen. He said it was created for that purpose, to keep arguments that the table to a minimum. I’d noticed that it basically split the kitchen in half, so it made sense. All cooking taking place on one side and the dining area on the other. I had the impression it had once been a more traditional dining room, but that renovations had opened up the space. But it could have been designed that way. At any rate, I had the chicken cacciatore, rice, and sauteed vegetables set up, along with plates and flatware, just in time for the pack to start trickling in.
Thanks to Eoin, that is. Because at my request he’d sent out notification of when dinner would be ready. People came from every direction they could. And the space suddenly filled with almost twenty people. Laughing, talking, loud people. Most of them introduced themselves—though I’d have no hope of remembering everyone’s names—and expressed their thanks, which was nice. I tried to keep a smile on my face as I kept an eye on the food, removing dishes as soon as they emptied and replacing them with full ones. It didn’t take long for everyone to have a very full plate and to sit at the table.
I cast an eye over the island. After consolidating some of the dishes, I left the empties in and next to the sink. I’d do the dishes as soon as they were done eating. But for now, everyone appeared to be content. Anything that was left, I made sure was out on the island so that seconds could be obtained if they wanted. Pleased with the outcome, I took the opportunity to slip around the corner and out the back door.
The night was cool and I took a deep breath before I sat on one of the Adirondack chairs. This far outside of town, there was nothing but the setting sun and nature sounds. It was peaceful, and it worked to help me decompress faster than I expected. I was still nervous, especially knowing that they were all eating and judging my skills right now. But being able to sit and breathe for a few minutes really helped to lower my cortisol levels.
Eoin’s deep voice made me jump, but I kept the noises inside this time. I hadn’t even heard the door, though maybe I left it open. I gripped the arms of the chair and then turned just my head—and looked way up—so I could see his face.
“You startled me.”
“What’s. Wrong.” There was barely any inflection in his voice, but just enough to let me know that he was…concerned?
I pasted on a smile. “Nothing. I’m fine.”
He narrowed his eyes. “Then whey are you sitting out here and not eating with us?”
I blinked. Blinked again. “It’s not…I don’t…” I had to take a breath and a second to get my brain working properly. He’d surprised me with that. “It’s not my place to eating with you all. I cook the meals. You eat them. That’s how it works.”
Eoin narrowed his gaze, and crossed those thick arms across his chest. “But you have to be hungry. You haven’t eaten in hours.”
I was touched by his concern, but also amused by it. I tried to be kind when I said, “Human metabolism is different than wolves. I had lunch, and I’ll be fine until I get home. I’m good.”
Eoin didn’t move and just kept giving me a glare. “It’s chilly out here.”
“Feels nice, though. It was hot in the kitchen while I was working.”
“Keir, you should come back in and—”
I held up a hand. “Please. Go enjoy your meal. I’ll be back in when y’all are done to clean up.”
Eoin stared at me for a good ten more second before he abruptly turned on his heels and, without saying a word, headed back into the house. I held on for a moment, staring at the doorway, before I sighed out a breath and relaxed again. It was nice, his concern, but unwarranted. I was here to do a job and nothing else.
I turned to the door when I heard footsteps and a second later, Eoin appeared carrying a plate, a glass, and had a blanket slung over one arm. I had the brief thought that he must have made noise so as not to startle me again, but then noticed the sheer amount of food on the plate. Before I could say anything, Eoin thrust it at me.
“You need to eat.”
I took the plate so it didn’t spill. Eoin set the glass on the arm of the chair, and then draped the blanket over my lap. Then without another word, he turned on his heel and strode away. I stared after him again, baffled.
I was missing something, but I didn’t know what. I kept trying to figure it out, wracking my brain for the piece that would make it all make sense. But then the smell of the food got to me and my stomach growled. I chuckled at myself, because I really was hungry. If Eoin hadn’t delivered a plate, I would have been fine. But now that it was right in front of me, it wouldn’t hurt to eat it. Not that I’d be able to finish all of it. I chuckled as I dug in.
I was halfway through and getting full when the footsteps were back. This time though, it wasn’t Eoin who appeared. Andreas appeared, leaning against the doorframe, with a wide smile on his face.
I quickly set the plate down and all but jumped to my feet. The blanket fell, and I tried to catch it, but ended up overbalancing and nearly taking a header into the chair. But Andreas moved fast, catching me and setting me back on my feet.
“Thanks.” Gah, that was so embarrassing. Especially in front of a prospective employer. I steadied myself and then smiled. “And yes, I’m good. Did you enjoy the meal?”
Instead of answering right away, Andreas tipped his head, studying me. “Eoin was concerned you weren’t eating with us.”
“I’m the hired help, sir. That’s not my place.”
Something passed over his face, but it was gone before I could figure it out. He gestured to the seat I’d just vacated, and then took the one beside it, angling his body toward me. I sat carefully, both so I didn’t embarrass myself again and because of the surge of nerves.
“You cook like this every night?”
The question took me off guard for a second, and it was impossible to read the alpha’s expression. Instead of trying to figure out what he actually wanted me to say, I opted for the truth.
“I can, absolutely.”
Andreas’s mouth quirked up. “Not what I asked.”
Oh. Right. I cleared my throat. “I can, yes. But it probably wouldn’t if I was in charge of the meal planning. Sometimes, sure. It’s always nice to have a special meal. But it would be intermixed with simpler meals. Still hearty and filling, all the things you would need.”
Andreas sat back, studying me for a long moment. “It would be breakfast and dinner every day. You would have a card for grocery shopping and meal planning and prep would all be up to you. Because we would need you seven days a week, compensation is very generous as well as room and board. And of course, if you need a day off, all you have to do is tell me. If that sounds like something that interests you, we can talk particulars.”
I could only stare. One meal, one conversation, and he was ready to offer me the job. I though, at best, I would get offered a trial period. But the alpha was handing me the whole shebang. All I had to do was say yes. But was it the right choice?
I managed a smile. “Let’s talk particulars.”
2 thoughts on “Flash Fic Friday”
Ha of course it’s the right choice, although I must say my union loving liberal self bristled at the 7 days a week nonsense LOL. What a charming story, though. I love it!
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There’s a method to my madness, love. Just hang on!
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