Chapter 64 - Tired

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∞ 64 ∞


Valentina closed her eyes for several seconds as she walked down the long hallway towards the master bedroom with her broken bucket of cleaning products and a clothes basket wedged between her arm and hip on the other side. She was very tired. Her brain was tired. Desperate as she had been, just as it had been with the rest of her experience in the Southwest of France, the job had been one big, unprofitable mistake.

After several weeks of working for the Shnellbrot-Thomases she was feeling far less generous toward the couple and their awful, affected, monotone drawl had began to grate heavily on her ears. It was like listening to a big, heavy, metal thing being dragged over rough pavement. To Valentina the monotonous speech hinted at a miserly character, as if the speaker was too tight (too cowardly perhaps) to let out or even to accept too many words and sentiments held within. The poor children! Their lovely little voices hadn't yet been effected and still sounded like chirpy little fairy voices – but not for long. They were doomed! The S-T's upside down and back to front manner in general grated on her nerves. Minor things were given importance, while rather significant things were trivialised: asking for tea, when someone else wanted coffee was "a frightful bore" and it was "absolutely splendid" and "marvellous" when the dishwasher repairman finished his servicing... however when someone's child had nearly drowned, the entire matter was "a bit tricky". Strange! And that was saying something, because she knew very well that she wasn't the most ordinary person.

She tried to find things she liked about working for the couple: Ignoring the extra work, the children were the best part of the job by far – apart from the twins who had unfortunately inherited both their parents' worst traits. (When they weren't ripping things down, they just stared at Valentina with a soulless, slightly appalled look.) All of the girls were lovely (and so cute). And polite! Valentina liked them very, very much. Each of them was either very clever or very sensitive, or both and Valentina wasn't sure if they each felt appreciated for that. She probably should have been the nanny. Valentina knew it was mean spirited, but (apart from the twins) she found it hard to understand how the children could have belonged to the couple. In an effort to be more generous, she decided that both Emily and Edward must have been quite clever and sensitive children and that growing up must have really had a bad effect on each of them... She could not however imagine either of them as ever being cute though.

Another nice thing was the house itself. While Emily dreaded the building, however unprepossessing architecturally, Valentina thought the place had a nice feeling about it. In addition to all the expensive things that needed to be done and how "jolly unfriendly" all French people were as far as she was concerned, Emily hated living in the house because she was secretly convinced there was a ghost occupying it and the thought terrified her. For her part, Valentina also thought there was a ghost in the house, but was less disturbed by the possibility.

Still, it was a bad match.

She had just had the slightly appalled look... followed by the gracious I-am-not-going-to-make-a-big-deal-out-of-it-THIS-ONE-LAST-TIME air. She had left the door open to the cleaning products cupboard in the laundry room again. (Mr S-T would be getting an ear-full of how frightfully awful the cleaner was.) Apart from the cleaner's "prissy, pedantic, know-it-all nature" (and that she had forgotten to use the quick-wash cycles on the dishwasher AND the washing machine both at least once!) the point was a huge source of irritation for Emily, who had terrible anxiety that the twins might drink the disinfectant or the window cleaner and die; after all they were the only boys they had!

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