J.J. - The idea for this story came to me after reading a romance set in the 1700s. It really has nothing to do with this story. Funny where inspiration comes from, ne?
Well, for the time being, I'm greatly interested in this story, so updates should occur regularly. But we all know how many authors say that...
Anway, please enjoy.
By: J.J. Banks
You left a stain
On every one of my good days
But I am stronger than you know
I have to let you go
No one's ever turned you over
No one's tried
To ever let you down,
Bless your heart
I got a disease
Deep inside me
Makes me feel uneasy baby
I can't live without you
Tell me what I am supposed to do about it
Keep your distance from it
Don't pay no attention to me
I got a disease
Feels like you're making a mess
You're hell on wheels in a black dress
You drove me to the fire
And left me there to burn
I got a disease
Deep inside me
Makes me feel uneasy
I can't live without you
Tell me what I am supposed to do about it
Keep your distance from it
Don't pay no attention to me
I got a disease
I think that I'm sick
But leave me be while my world is coming down on me
You taste like honey, honey
Tell me can I be your honey
Be, be strong
Keep telling myself it that won't take long till
I'm free of my disease
Yeah well free of my disease
Free of my disease
"Oh my go– Is that a spider web?"
Hiei glanced up from his book. He turned a bored expression to where Kurama was standing with a horrified look across his face. "I don't know. Is it?"
Kurama turned and glared at him. "This is completely disgusting, Hiei. The whole top floor looks like it hasn't been cleaned in weeks."
Hiei narrowed his eyes, frowning defensively. "You know I don't have time to clean up here. This stupid company takes up all of my spare time."
"Then let the maids come up here once in awhile!" the red-head cried in exasperation.
The answer was quiet, but unquestionable.
The top floor was his sanctuary. Where he could live and escape, without having to constantly glance over his shoulder and watch his every step. If no one was allowed up here, there was no need to fear what people would see.
"What about one person?" Kurama's voice interrupted his reverie.
"Yes..." Kurama began to pace and Hiei could almost see the wheels gyrating in his mind. He spoke as if Hiei weren't even there. "Just one person. Their job will be simply and only to clean the top floor. Someone with no connections to the business, or demon, world. Someone slightly naive..."
"Kurama..." Hiei began in a warning tone.
"The risks are almost non-existent." Kurama faced him. Seeing Hiei's disagreeable face, he smirked. "Either you go along with this, or I'll force you to spend an hour a day cleaning."
Hiei scowled. He tried fruitlessly for several minutes to come up with some way out of this. Not being able to think of anything, he growled in response. "I want the best."
"Of course," Kurama replied with a smile.
He gave a long, bitter sigh before grumbling, "Fine."
As his red-headed assistant turned and left, he got the sinking feeling he had just agreed to a lot more trouble than one hour of cleaning was worth...
Welcome to Jaganshi Manor
Make good eye contact, smile, act respectfully, call him sir, don't act nervous, because then you'll wring your hands . . .
Botan ran through all of the typical maid criteria in her mind. This was her biggest job yet, and she certainly didn't want to screw it up by some stupid slip of the tongue. Mr. Jaganshi had hired her through referral, so she had to live up to expectation, which did not include a nervous, twittery girl.
But she was nervous. Her fingers were red and splotchy because she hadn't stopped wringing them since she had gotten into the limo. Well, perhaps before she'd gotten into the limo because she'd been so shocked that she'd actually been riding in one, she started twisting early.
It had been a pleasant surprise though. All of her previous employers hadn't even bothered to send a ride for her, much less a limo. In fact, most of them hadn't been rich enough to rent a limo in the first place. Wait... was this a rental?
"Excuse me?" She leaned forward towards the open window where she could see the chauffeur. "Is this limo a rental?"
The young man tilted his head back a little before letting out a loud laugh. He was laughing at her. "A rental? Are you kidding lady?" He grinned. "Out of Mr. Jaganshi's twelve limos, which he owns, this one he mostly uses to pick up new employees and other business people he works with."
Botan's jaw dropped. He owned twelve limos? Good grief, and she would have been impressed with merely owning one. She glanced at the classy leather interior surrounding her. Had he even been in this one, if it was only for picking up other people?
The chauffeur saw her surprised expression and laughed again. "Not used to working for the other half, eh?"
She silently shook her head, suddenly getting a whole new meaning to the word 'nervous'.
"Ah, don't worry about it. We were all there once." He stole a glance at her through the rearview mirror. "My name's Yusuke, by the way."
"Botan," she said with a small smile. "I'm a maid."
His eyebrows arched in surprised interest. "You're the new maid? The one for the top floor?"
"Top floor?" she asked worriedly. "Is that bad?"
"Oh, no, it's not bad. The top floor is where Mr. Jaganshi's living quarters are, his office, room, that sort of thing. Usually he doesn't let anyone up there, but he's getting so busy, his assistant finally convinced him to hire someone to keep things clean and liveable up there."
"Oh..." she murmured, thinking how easy her job would be if she only had to clean one floor.
"Hey look," Yusuke said, looking out his window. "We're here."
Botan rushed to the window on her left, feeling like a five year old child with her palms pressed against the glass, lowering her head and tilting it upward in an attempt to see the top of the house. Well, no. House was an understatement. Her throat went dry and if she hadn't been sitting down her knees would have betrayed her. It was more like she was trying to see the top of the hugest, most breathtaking mansion she'd ever seen in her life.
Suddenly, 'one floor' seemed like a very burdensome task to take on all by herself.
"Wow," she managed to say breathlessly.
As they slowed to a stop in front of the huge iron gate, Yusuke said, "Welcome to Jaganshi Manor."
Botan's eyes widened as the large gate creaked open, allowing the sleek limo to pass through. They rode along the extensive driveway, Botan gaping at the beautiful landscaping and the numerous statues and fountains. They came to what Botan assumed was the front entrance; two huge, oak double-doors at the top of a flight of stone steps, guarded on each side by two winged-lions.
"This is your stop," she heard Yusuke say through her haze of amazement.
"Thank you." She glanced quizzically at him. "Do I just . . . walk in?"
"Yep. Somebody should be waiting for you."
She smiled appreciatively at him before climbing out of the limo, tilting her head backwards to once again see the top of the huge mansion. She didn't even notice Yusuke walk by her with her luggage in hand. When he reached the top of the stairs, he turned and looked at her. "Hey - you coming?"
"What? Oh - yes!" She flushed embarrassedly and jogged up the steps after him. Yusuke opened the door and she entered behind him. As she beheld her surroundings, she almost tripped over Yusuke, who had stopped to place her luggage on the ground. She stumbled a little before catching her balance.
They were standing in a large hall with a grand staircase in the center. The ceiling was very high and made out of a light blue crystal. Gigantic paintings lined the walls, and there were numerous statues and vases. Several doors led off into other rooms and the top of the stairs led into two hallways. The place was more like a five star hotel than someone's home. It was a designer's invention gone to the limit - everything stylish, everything perfect, everything metal, marble or glass.
"It's so . . . big."
"Mansions generally are."
She turned towards the cool sounding voice. It was a young man, probably in his late twenties, with silken red hair tied back in a loose ponytail. He was wearing a forestry green suit that made his timeless green eyes stand out. He smiled softly and offered her a hand to shake.
"I'm Kurama, Mr. Jaganshi's assistant."
She took his hand nervously. "Hi, I'm Botan. I'm the new–"
"Maid, yes I know. I'm here to show you around." He turned towards Yusuke, nodding a little. "Thank you, Yusuke."
The chauffeur grinned and saluted. "No problem." He winked at Botan. "Good luck."
"Thanks," she said weakly as he walked out the door.
"Now then," Kurama said. "Someone will take care of your things, don't worry about that. Let me show you to your living quarters and where you'll be working."
She followed him dutifully up the stairs. Once they reached the top, he pointed to his right. "That hall is the servant's quarters, where most of his employees stay."
She nodded, thinking that's where he would be showing her room to her, but he surprised her by turning to the left. "Most of the main rooms are downstairs. The kitchen, the dining room, the ballroom, the entertainment room, and so forth. Up here is where many of the spare rooms are, the sewing room," he pointed these out as he walked, "the conference room, the library, several spare bathrooms..."
Her head felt dizzy as she tried to remember where everything was. She knew she was going to get lost no matter how hard she tried though. Kurama turned a corner and they came into a large room with no doorway, but many entrances into other hallways. "This is what we call the main room."
There were many couches and bookshelves, and a burning fire in a large stone fireplace on the north wall. But what Botan was most interested in was an elaborately decorated spiral staircase in the far corner.
It had to lead to the top floor. Her suspicions were only confirmed when Kurama started walking towards it. The top of the staircase held a door, which Kurama carefully pushed open, Botan following timidly behind him.
There was only one hallway, but it was wide and Botan could barely see the other end of it.
"This is the top floor," Kurama said. "You'll be in charge of the maintenance and cleanliness of the entire thing." He glanced uneasily at her. "Is that alright?"
Botan snapped out of her amazed reverie. "What? Yes, of course. With nothing else to do but clean all day, I'm sure I'll have plenty of time for . . . er, however many rooms there are."
"Twelve. Six on each side."
Kurama sighed. "Probably not even twelve. Here, let me show you around." He began with the first door on the right. "This is Hiei's personal library."
Botan raised an eyebrow. "Hiei?"
Kurama winced at his own blunder, growling slightly. "I meant Mr. Jaganshi. As his assistant, I'm permitted to call him by his first name." He shot her a careful look. "You should probably stick with referring to him as Mr. Jaganshi."
"Of course," she said quickly. "I wasn't thinking of calling him anything less."
"Good. Now back to the library. One of the rooms you'll clean every day." He held the door open for her to peer inside. It was smaller, but that could only be expected since it was just for one person. Several leather armchairs were placed around a fireplace, and a pretty coffee table was in the center of the room, a large, spinning globe on top of it.
She nodded her understanding and he shut the door. "To your left is his office. Also a room that needs to be cleaned every day." He opened that door, revealing a spacious room with a large, cluttered desk. "His desk is best left alone, but everything still needs to be dusted, vacuumed, whatever."
He moved to the next row of rooms. "On your right is the conference room." It was a room that held a long narrow table, lined with fancy swivel chairs. "Not used too often, and not that messy besides, so probably clean it two to three times a week. The room on the left is sort of a sitting entertainment room. It's not used that much, but when it is there's usually food and company, so make sure to clean or check it four to five times a week."
Botan noticed there was a huge plasma screen television on the far wall. Kurama caught her staring and chuckled a little. "He doesn't even use that. But it looks cool, and he could afford it, so here it is."
Botan giggled a little. Maybe she'd just have to watch it sometime...
They left that room and Kurama pointed to the next two rooms. "Those are the guest bedrooms. One of them is for any company he has that spends the night. Sometimes his sister, sometimes me, anyway... The other guest bedroom is where you'll stay."
Botan's jaw dropped. "M-Me? My room is up here?"
"We thought it only logical," Kurama said in slight amusement. "Since this is where you'll spend most of your time."
"Of c-course..." she stuttered, trying to hide her surprise, but especially the new wave of nervousness. She hadn't thought she'd be living on the same floor as the master of the house, let alone in the same hallway.
"The next two rooms are the bathrooms. One is the guest bathroom, yours in other words, and the other is Mr. Jaganshi's."
Botan paused. "Do I . . . ."
"Yes," Kurama smiled apologetically. "You'll be cleaning his bathroom. He never cleans it on his own."
She sighed. She knew this was part of the job, but she still felt uneasy going through a man's private bathroom. She'd never been a personal maid before. Let alone a personal maid for a millionaire bachelor. Even though she didn't care about the bachelor part. So didn't.
Kurama pointed to the next room, right beside Mr. Jaganshi's bathroom. "That's Mr. Jaganshi's bedroom. Also something you need to clean." Here, he gave her a hard look. "I hope you realize that you are not to touch any of his things. You're only allowed if he gives you permission, and if anything turns up missing, alias stolen, you'll be sent to jail as well as—"
At this, Botan felt the need to defend herself. "With all due respect, Kurama, this isn't my first maid job. I know the rules. I'm not stupid." She shot him a cool look to rival his own.
His eyes widened in surprise and he blushed a little. He blinked before letting out a nervous laugh. "I apologize. You're right. We were very choosy about who we hired for this job, and you were referred to us as one of the best, dependable and honest."
Her cool look dissipated and she blushed prettily. "Thank you."
Not wanting to create an awkward silence, she coughed slightly after a moment and motioned her head towards the last three doors. "So what about those last three?"
Kurama's face grew grave. "Those three are off limits. They'll be locked at all times. Only if Hiei, er... Mr. Jaganshi I mean, grants you permission may you clean them."
Botan nodded slightly. She only had to clean nine rooms. A few which didn't need cleaning every day and two that were her own bedroom and bathroom. Her job really was going to be easy.
"Now the last part of your job. . . ."
Perhaps she'd spoke too soon.
"Is rather hard to explain. Mr. Jaganshi has never let any employees work up here, but now that he is, nearly everything falls to you."
Botan raised an eyebrow. "I don't understand."
"Well you'll be a maid. But in every respect of the word. As in, if Mr. Jaganshi calls for you or asks a favor, you'll need to do it immediately. Sort of like..."
"Yes." Kurama smiled. "But only if he asks to be waited on. Usually, he prefers to be left alone."
Oh yes. She was definitely a personal maid. She managed a weak smile. "Alright."
"Good." Kurama placed a hand on her shoulder and led her back to the guest room on the right side of the hall - now her room. "Why don't you settle yourself in? Breakfast is always at seven downstairs in the kitchen. If you have any questions tomorrow, try to find me, and I'll help you."
"Don't mention it." He smiled one last time and gave her shoulder a squeeze before turning down the hall.
Botan watched him go until he disappeared behind the door at the end of the hall. She opened the door to her room, and cautiously stepped inside, not really knowing what to expect. "Oh . . . my . . ."
Her eyes widened as she slowly stepped into her room, mouth open in awe. It was enormous! There was a good chance she might have been able to stick her old apartment into this room. There was a king-sized bed in the middle, four tall posts holding up sheer white draperies that clothed the top of her bed elegantly. The comforter was white, with an intricate pearl stitching across the top.
It looked so nice, she would have thought she had stepped into Mr. Jaganshi's room on accident, except everything looked too feminine to be a male's room. The carpet beneath her feet was plush, and she hesitated only a moment before ripping her shoes and socks off to feel it beneath her bare feet.
She couldn't stop the girlish squeal that escaped her lips as she sprinted across the room, taking a flying leap onto her bed. She laughed when she bounced back up, effectively ruining the neat bedding as the blankets billowed up and landed on top of her. She panted slightly, pushing herself up on her elbows. "Wow... bouncy mattress."
But how bouncy?
She clambered to her feet and jumped as high as she could. She landed none too gracefully on her bottom, before sailing up a good four feet. She shrieked in delight as the bounces gradually lessened and she came to a stop on top of a pile of sheets, pillows and blankets.
She giggled, catching her breath as she glanced around the room again, taking it all in. She'd never thought she'd be in a room this nice as the one living in it, not the one cleaning it. Of course, she'd be cleaning this one as well, but this was her room. Where she would be living.
She flopped back down on the bed, spreading her arms wide. She could still hardly believe it. No one had thought to tell her that Hiei Jaganshi was a millionaire. Her old agency had called her with a new job offer, saying a single man needed his living quarters cleaned because he could never find the time.
Of course, she had suspected he was somewhat rich when they told her he'd be sending a ride (which turned out to be a limo, one of the twelve he owned). But she really hadn't expected all of this. At all.
She sat up with a thoughtful look across her face. Just who was she working for anyway? Usually, she made it a point to know, so she didn't end up cleaning for some psychopath serial killer, but at the time she had just lost her apartment and was about to go bankrupt... She would have taken any job.
But she had gotten this job. Housing and food were paid for, not to mention whatever income she made (which was probably nothing meager). Her face brightened at this thought. She could start saving up her money. When she had enough, she could move out into a new apartment and start painting again. Her true passion.
Enlightened at the thought of no more cleaning, she got off the bed and began exploring her room. Two large bay windows were on the sides of her bed, and she eagerly walked up to the one on the left, pulling back the curtains. She gasped.
So this was the backyard of Jaganshi Manor. It was three times the size of the front. From her window, she could see a small stable, tennis courts, a gigantic pool (complete with three hot tubs), and many pathways through the gardens. The gardens mostly consisted of roses, but there were plenty of other plants and trees, as well as fountains and statues.
Amazed, but getting used to the feeling, Botan drew back from the window, walking back into her room. There was no closet, but she figured it was probably in the bathroom. There was a desk with a decorative lamp next to it, as well as something else on the top that Botan couldn't make out. Curiosity getting the better of her, she walked towards it.
As she got closer, she drew in a quick breath, able to see what the foreign object was. "It's a laptop." She leaned closer to it. "I've never even owned a computer! And here's one of the most expensive types on my desk! I would have been satisfied with a mint on my pillow..."
Seeing the assiduous piece of technology gave her an idea. She flopped quickly into the chair and flipped the laptop open, waiting for it to boot up. She didn't have to wait long. It opened in seconds with a small ping and a chirpy, 'Welcome!'
She pulled up the web and found the search box. It was time to find out a little more about her new employer. She quickly typed, "HIEI JAGANSHI', into the small box and waited for the results.
She clicked on the first one titled, 'JAGANSHI'S EMPIRE BOOMING'. It was a newspaper article.
Hiei Jaganshi, new found owner of the alleged weapons industry, previously owned by the Toguro brothers, has made yet another successful deal, scoring at least 13 million with Russian incorporates.
Weaponry Inc. has become increasingly profitable ever since Mr. Jaganshi's overtaking. Rumors are circulating that the young bachelor is on the verge of producing yet another weapon, soon to be open for market.
Mr. Jaganshi was responsible for the building of the Titanium I rocket, as well as the trifle-automatic. A gun as powerful as original automatics, but able to fit into your pocket.
The article continued about more business deals, and how Mr. Jaganshi's industry was taking off with enormous profits, yadda yadda yadda...
So he was a business man. She should have figured - most millionaires were. He was obviously smart, and good at what he did.
She sighed and leaned her chin in her palm. There had been no picture. But how hard was it to picture a wealthy business man? An image slowly began forming in her mind. Bald, navy blue suit, neatly trimmed mustache, maybe a little pudgy, perhaps a cigar. . . .
She was snapped out of her reverie as a knock sounded on her door. She snapped the laptop shut and rose to her feet. "Come in!"
Kurama opened the door, her two suitcases in hand. He grinned sheepishly. "When I said someone would bring your stuff up, I forgot that no one is allowed up here."
Botan chuckled. "Also," he continued. "I forgot to mention one final thing. Tomorrow, Mr. Jaganshi thought it best to meet with you, since you are going to be allowed access to his room and office, and other personal living areas. He would have done it tonight, but he's away on . . . business."
"Oh? Alright then," she tried to say, but it came out more like a squeak. He wanted to meet with her? What if he didn't like her? What if he fired her on the spot? Her dreams of becoming a painter would once again be flushed down the toilet.
If she had thought she was nervous before, it was confidence compared to what she was feeling now.
"Don't be nervous," Kurama seemed to read her mind. "I know he's one of the most eligible bachelors in–"
"What? No – I wasn't!" Botan blushed furiously.
He laughed. "Okay. But seriously, you'll be fine. I'll try to be there before you meet him, but in case I'm not, just remember - he seems very aloof and cold, but he's not as bad underneath. Don't be intimidated."
Botan frowned. She would be nervous about impressing him, but she certainly wouldn't be intimidated by him. She had yet to be completely intimidated by another's presence.
"Good." He glanced around. "Like your room?"
"Like it? I love it!"
He grinned boyishly, obviously pleased with her reaction.
"I was just going to go check out the bathroom before you came," she said.
"Oh, well don't let me interrupt your exploration." He grinned. "See you tomorrow at seven!"
He walked out the door and Botan paused a moment, listening to his fading footsteps, before eyeing her suitcases. They wouldn't take long to unpack, but it was almost six o'clock now and she wanted to take a bath. A nice, long relaxing one. After seeing her room, she expected a nice bathroom, complete with nice little Jacuzzi bubbles. She picked through her suitcases and found a pair of cotton pajama bottoms and an old t-shirt. She grabbed under garments as well before scurrying into the hall.
She knew Mr. Jaganshi wasn't there, but that didn't stop her from thinking he was going to suddenly pop out of one of the doors and fire her for not wearing shoes or something. She mentally slapped herself. She hadn't even met him and she was already worried about running into him. Stupid Kurama... telling her not to be intimidated...
She got to the guest bathroom and slowly pushed open the door. It wasn't what she had expected.
It was beyond what she had expected.
If she didn't know any better, she'd have said she'd just walked into a day spa. The tub, if you could call it that, was ivory and the faucets were lined with gold. It was almost big enough to swim in - with, oh yes, various Jacuzzi bubbles. There were numerous oils and soaps around it, all feminine smelling.
Feminine room, feminine bathroom... had they prepared it for her? Or were all their guest rooms styled for women?
Oh well. She certainly wasn't complaining. She took her time filling the tub with steamy water, enriching it with the scent she had chosen, french vanilla. She slowly undressed, relishing in the sultry air, before slowly sliding into the water.
Her skin instantly tingled, and she bit her lip happily. How long had it been since she had been able to just bathe and relax like this? Too long. Every woman needed something like this on a regular basis to keep her going.
She closed her eyes and settled into one of the made seats in the corner, humming her own rendition of 'Man, I Feel Like A Woman'. She let the scented water swirl caressingly around her skin, exhaling softly. She drifted off, losing track of time.
Her next conscious thought was that of the cool feeling water. She blinked in surprise. Had she really soaked so long that the once nearly burning water had cooled? She brought her hands up and gazed at her wrinkled fingertips. Yes, she had.
Feeling languid and sleepy, she crawled out of the water and grabbed one of the huge, fluffy towels. She sighed contentedly and buried her face in the soft surface. "Mm..."
She noiselessly pulled on her pajamas and padded over to the door. She glanced both ways down the hall, who knows why, and scurried kitty corner to her room. She dove into her messy bed and wrapped whatever she could around her like a cocoon. She smiled to herself, thinking she could definitely get used to this, before drifting into sleep.
She was awakened in the middle of the night by a muffled crash. She sat bolt upright in bed, not certain she had heard correctly. Another barely audible crash confirmed that she wasn't merely dreaming. Her heart quickened against her chest. Was it a burglar? It seemed unlikely. With someone as rich as Mr. Jaganshi, A.K.A, lots of money to spend on security, breaking into the huge mansion wouldn't be an easy task.
But still . . . She slowly crawled out of the blankets, tiptoeing silently across her floor. She took a deep breath before slowly pulling her door open, half expecting to get shot or something. She was greatly relieved to not even see the culprit. In fact, the hall seemed eerily silent.
That was until she heard a soft groan of pain.
Her breath catching in her throat, she turned towards the sound. There was a dark, shadowed figure staggering through the hall. They were either drunk . . . . or badly injured. Botan hoped it was the former.
Thoughts of burglary were fast leaving her mind, but she still wondered who it was, and what they were doing on a supposed 'forbidden' floor. The figure bumped unceremoniously into the wall, before righting themselves again. They walked to the door of Mr. Jaganshi's room, and after fumbling messily with the doorknob, pushed it open and stumbled inside.
Botan barely contained a small gasp from escaping. They went into Mr. Jaganshi's room! She felt like she could call security, but then she remembered that he wasn't supposed to be back until tomorrow, so they couldn't be going in to kill him.
Unless... a new thought entered her mind, and her mouth formed a small 'o' of understanding... it was the master of the house himself, arriving home. But... it couldn't be.
She waited for at least five minutes for the figure to come back out. If they were going to steal something, they certainly wouldn't waste time. But no one ever came back out. The thought that she might have been right was deeply unsettling, but she crawled back into her bed, determined to force it out of her mind so she could continue resting easily. She had people to impress tomorrow.
J.J. - And so it starts... perhaps a little slowly, I'll admit, but I've never been great with introductions. -.-;;;
Spare a soul and review anyway, ne?