He arose slowly with no sense of purpose, as he knew there was nothing for him to do on this great estate. It was miles from town and he didn’t know anyone in the area. His great aunt, Sophie, — who only half heartedly agreed to take the boy into her home after the persistence of the orphanage — didn’t particularly like children in general, or boys in particular. She thought them unruly, untamed, and often dirty and rude.
After he was showered, his hair still wet, he slipped a t-shirt over his head, pulled up his blue jeans, laced his sneakers and descended the grand staircase to the main foyer; it was enormous: more square footage than the entire foundation of his parent’s cottage had been.
It was 10:30 in the morning. “Bonjour master Michael,“ a sweet voice sang. With a start, he turned and looked up slightly to capture Stephanie smiling down at him. She was tall – to a fourteen year old boy she seemed Goddess-like – and he thought she looked like an angel: at twenty her alabaster skin was flawless, her features defined but soft, her lips plush and ripe.
Surely, he feared, she will hear my heart pounding, and it was seemingly so strong that he was momentarily deafened by it, watching her mouth move, unable to discern what she was saying.
Finally he gathered himself as her words pushed past the beating in his ears. “… I asked if you had slept well. Would you like some breakfast?”
Even with his knees on the verge of collapse, he managed a fabricated “Yeah sure, I guess, whatever,” attempting to present a detached coolness that every fourteen year old boy feels he must own.
“Magnifique young Michael, “she continued and clasped her hands with a smile growing across her face. “A growing boy needs to sleep well and eat well. Miss Sophie is in the dining room waiting for you.
How does she do that? How can she excite me so, and at the same time make me feel like such a little boy?
As she escorted him to the dining room he marveled at her beauty. She moved with the elegance of a ballerina and the confidence of a model. Her legs seemed endless, her neck swan-like. The slow sway of her hips mesmerized him. He all but trembled in her presence, a strange concoction of fear and excitement ran through him.
She led him down the curved staircase covered with burgundy colored wool carpeting. There were large portraits of what he imagined were famous women lining the walls. He followed her across the grand foyer, noticeably watching from behind as she swished from side to side.
As she opened the massive doors to the dining room, he peered through to see Sophie seated at the far end of the 20-seat dining table. A serving table was up against the wall with a wide assortment of breakfast foods, juices and coffee.
Such special treatment was alien to him. And he couldn’t help but wonder if the pomp and circumstance was for his benefit, or whether they actually lived like this every day! The table contained eggs benedict, toast, French croissants, breads, spreads, and dessert cakes.
Sophie looked years younger than she was. I guess money can do that.
Michael thought that just for Sophie to dress and look the way she does — everything just so — must be a full time job. She wasn’t beautiful, but she was elegant. And in a room of strangers she would certainly stand out as the social crème de le crème. Even at fourteen, coming from a middle class neighborhood, he noticed that.
Her features were strong and chiseled, with a dark complexion, more Italian than French. Her hair was raven black, long and luscious, pulled tight into a high ponytail that fell to the middle of her back.
She was intimidating as she sat there so elegantly, her back perfectly straight, one leg symmetrically placed behind the other, her ankles arched into silk pump shoes. Everything about her, like her home, seemed perfect: like an artist’s masterpiece that came to life before him. Her clothes were immaculate. The lines of her muted pink skirt and matching suit jacket were feminine, yet crisp, providing a mixed air of power and distinction. Even her stockings in a subtle pale pink matched perfectly. Everything about her was complete to the smallest detail. The delicate silk blouse, with its deep neckline was sexy, provocative even, in contrast with the air of “distinction,” which Michael somehow knew wasn’t by accident or without thought.
She was unlike any woman young Michael had ever met before: sexy, provocative, elegant, and commanding – and, she was his new legal guardian.